Sorry, here’s the link to the new Web site: Clean Eats In The Zoo
Stop on by!
Sorry, here’s the link to the new Web site: Clean Eats In The Zoo
Stop on by!
First off, I apologize for the picture quality on this. It was taken with my phone and it just doesn’t do this justice. Secondly, I know it seems that I post a lot of “treats” during the week, but being that I always post my meal ideas on the weekend, I like to share some dessert ideas the other days. OK, now that I’ve attempted to justify my innate need for baking, we can move on.
Recipe: Grain-free Apple Crisp (serves 4-6)
4-5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cubed
2 TBSP cinnamon
2-3 TBSP honey
3 TBSP Tapioca starch or flour (I’ve used THIS before)
1 cup almond flour
1.5 TBSP cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or more, depending on how much you like the crunch!)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all ingredients for apple filling in a bowl and pour into a 9-inch pie dish. In a separate bowl, mix the topping ingredients together and then crumble on top of apple filling. Drizzle with a teensy bit of honey. Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes. Uncover for the last 5 minutes to brown a bit on top.
I used to buy sweet potato chips from Costco that seemed a good snack for Superman. But, we realized that even though he does great with sweet potatoes, for some reason, he had digestive issues with those chips. So I was bummed. There aren’t a lot of snacks he can eat, and because of that, he’s skinny. I feel a big burden to feed my man, and when the number of things he can eat dwindles away, it can be a bit discouraging. Enter experimentation. It’s all about trying new recipes with ingredients I know Superman does well with. And since he loves to have something crunchy to snack on, it seemed logical to try sweet potato chips.
These are incredibly simple. I am sure you could change this recipe up and just toss them with a bit of olive oil or coconut oil and bake them in the oven, but I haven’t done that yet. I really wanted to “recreate” something fried for the poor guy.
3 medium sweet potatoes
1 quart olive oil *Note: You could use another type of oil, but this oil is what Superman does the best with, so that’s what I used.
salt to taste
Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. In a food processor (with slicing blade attached), feed in halves of sweet potatoes so they are sliced thin (I think my blade is a 1/8th” blade). If you don’t have a food processor, you could use a mandolin or slice them very thin by hand. The thin slices are vital for that crispiness.
Heat olive oil in a pot until it hits about 330-340 degrees. Gently drop a handful of sweet potatoes into oil and cook for 5-6 minutes, until just turning brown. If you take them out too soon, they will be soggy. If you take them out too late, you’ll have burned chips on your hand. Remove and lay on paper towels to drain, and sprinkle with salt. Lather, rinse, repeat.
*Note: Again, you could also try this in the oven by tossing the sweet potatoes with a bit of oil, spreading them on a parchment-covered cookie sheet, sprinkling them with salt, and cooking them at about 375 for 10-15 minutes if you prefer to avoid frying. I haven’t tried this method yet, but it seems like it would work just fine.
I was having fun experimenting in the kitchen and felt like brownies. I came up with this recipe, but it didn’t taste like brownies. It tasted like cake. So cake it became. But it’s good cake! And being that I love to bake and my kids love to eat, it was a good combo. And at least I can feel good knowing they’re not gonna have a sugar crash afterwards.
Recipe: Paleo-fied chocolate cake
1 cup almond flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted + a tablespoon or so for greasing pan
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup honey
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a glass pan with coconut oil (I used an 11×7 pan, but you could use 9×13 for thinner cake or 9×9 for a thicker cake). Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl and set aside. Whisk eggs, melted coconut oil, vanilla and honey together and pour into dry ingredients. Stir until combined and pour into greased pan. Cook for about 25-30 minutes, depending on how thick your cake is going to be.
*Note: You could do a lot with this recipe: add in some dairy/soy free chocolate chips, add in some almond butter, stir in a bit of peppermint extract or just leave them be. They’re delicious!
Just a reminder: my recipes serve our family of seven. Sometimes we have leftovers, sometimes we don’t. It just depends on how hungry we all are. =) You can adjust the amounts and use less meat (or more) to fit the needs of your family.
Monday: Stuffed peppers with pears and cauliflower *Whole30 Compliant
Recipe: Stuffed peppers
2 lbs ground beef
6 bell peppers (whatever color you like–I picked red)
1 onion, diced
2-3 TBSP olive oil + some for basting
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, until translucent. Add ground beef, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until meat is almost cooked through. While that is cooking, cut tops off of peppers. Cut out insides and remove. Baste outside of each pepper with olive oil. When meat is done, stuff each pepper with meat mixture. cover with top of pepper and cook for 20 minutes, until it starts to wrinkle a bit. Remove and let sit for a few minutes before serving.
Tuesday: Slow-roasted chicken and carrots with apples *Note: I happened to have an afternoon available on Tuesday to do this recipe. It would work great on a weekend, too, if you have more leisure time.
Recipe: Slow-roasted chicken and carrots *Whole30 Compliant
2 whole chickens
1 large onion, quartered
2 TBSP garlic salt
1 TBSP black pepper
1 TBSP parika
pinch cayenne pepper
olive oil for rubbing
12 carrots, cut in 2-3 inch pieces
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Rub chickens with olive oil all over. Stuff with onion quarters. In a bowl, mix all the spices together, and then rub over chicken generously:
Let sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes and put in oven for 3 hours, undisturbed. After about 2 hours, spread carrots on parchment paper-covered cookie sheet and place in oven. Check chickens after 3 hours. If temperature is 170-180 degrees, remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before carving. If not, cook a little longer.
Wednesday: Leftovers from previous days…don’t forget–save your chicken carcass and make some soup!
Recipe: Seared top sirloin steak *Whole30 Compliant
2 lb top sirloin steak, or 2 1-lb top sirloin steaks
1/4 cup olive oil + a few tablespoons for cooking
3 TBSP garlic salt
1 tsp pepper
Combine olive oil, garlic salt and pepper in a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Add meat and let marinate for at least an hour. Heat few tablespoons olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak and cook for 4 minutes. Flip over and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Cut into slices or cubes and enjoy!
Friday: Pizza night! (Superman’s request) with spinach salad and frozen berries
Recipe: Almond flour pizza HERE
Coming up tomorrow–a delicious chocolate cake recipe that is oh, so good!
Some of you may already know that I home school our kids. There are a number of reasons we have chosen to go this route, but in the interest of saving time and not boring you, I won’t go into them in too much detail right now.
One big reason why we pulled our kids out of school was because one of our children was exhibiting “A.D.D.-like” behavior. His teacher at the time told me she “didn’t want to scare me” but that she saw many signs pointing to Attention Deficit Disorder in our child. Now I knew this child was squirmy and couldn’t have cared less about sitting in circle time or focusing on a specific task. But I also realized he was in kindergarten and was a boy. And I truly believe not a lot of boys that age want to be doing those things, either. This poor boy’s spirit was being broken every day after failing time and time again to do what the teacher was asking of him.
After much consideration, we decided to pull our two school-aged kids out of public school and see if we could meet their needs better at home. Our other son was having the opposite problem, and was bored out of his mind in class.
After teaching our kids for a few months, I got to see first-hand the fidgety-ness, the tapping of pencils, the unfocused learning, and the constant redirection our son struggled with. Along with these things, he suffered from terrible asthma and allergies. He was on 5 medications from November through June just to keep him “functional.” He would snore so loud at night,we heard him across the house. His nose was constantly stuffed up and we had many nights of Albuterol treatments. We had emergency room visits due to his asthma and he had eczema over his arms and legs.
And then, about a year and a half ago, after Superman was finally diagnosed with Celiac Disease, we found great help through a homeopathic doctor. We discovered our son was allergic to dairy and soy. This doctor informed us if we cut dairy out, we would most likely be able to drop all his medications. I was skeptical, to say the least, but willing to try anything. Shortly after this, we decided to start eating a Paleo diet and cut out all grains, dairy, legumes and sugar. The results were astounding.
Our son, our dear boy who had been suffering since birth from a myriad of breathing and skin issues, and had had his adenoids removed (which made no difference) and whose conventional doctor suggested surgery to widen his nasal passages, was off ALL his medications! For the first time in his life, he made it through the whole winter season without one asthma problem…without any allergies…his snoring went away, his eczema went away…and guess what? He started to be able to focus! It really was a miracle.
Now, don’t get me wrong. This dietary change didn’t turn our son into some perfect angel child with a yearning for academia. He will always be my little skateboarding musician. But boy, oh boy, is it sure much more of a pleasure to teach him! He can actually think clearly and not look like he’s struggling just to connect two thoughts.
So, that’s my story of full belief in this lifestyle. Not only did Superman improve dramatically (that’s a story for another day), but our son, who I thought was just “born with” those issues, was healed! It’s now been a year and a half, and he has still not had an ounce of allergy meds or asthma meds since we changed his diet. It’s amazing. And soooo worth it.
Some people feel this type of dietary change is just too much to handle. Why live, they ask. Well, I say, why live miserably? Sure, we’re all going to die. But what kind of quality of life do you want? I would rather live to be 75 and feeling darn good physically then live to be 95 and struggling mentally and physically. To me, it’s all about quality of life. I want to know I treated my body the best I could, and when the good Lord wants to take me, I’m good with that. I just want to feel healthy and clear-in-mind for as long as I can. And my son is living proof that making these dramatic changes is so worth it!
*Disclaimer: Although I truly feel this diet would benefit nearly anyone, I also understand it may just be too much for some. And not everyone may experience “complete healing” like our son did. But, I truly believe even little changes can go a long way…buying quality meats and produce is a huge step in the right direction. I always tell people, “Try it for 30 days. If at the end of 30 days, you don’t notice a dramatic improvement, you can just go right back to the way you were eating.” But I’m pretty sure that won’t happen. Here’s a great program to help you get started: Whole30. Check it out and see if it’s up your alley.
I adapted this recipe from the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook. I am not a fan of green olives, but for some reason, when they’re wrapped in sausage they strike my fancy! I made these for a snack the other day for the kids and I. They all approved. *Note to self (and anyone else who may not think about things thoroughly all the time…): Make sure you buy pitted green olives–these are hard to eat when you have to munch around a pit! The first time I made these, I made that mistake. The kids liked them a lot better being able to freely bite into them. =)
2 pounds ground pork sausage
1 tsp red pepper flakes (if you don’t care for spicy, cut this in 1/2)
10 oz jar pitted green olives (something like THIS is fine–just make sure to read those ingredients. You don’t want any junk added)
1 TBSP tomato paste
Combine all ingredients except olives in a bowl…with your hands. Scoop out a few tablespoons of sausage and form into a ball in your hand. Smash flat-ish and press a green olive into the center. Mold the sausage around the olive until it is completely covered and in the shape of a ball. Set aside and repeat until you have used up all the sausage.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and place the balls into pan.
Cover with lid and cook for 4-5 minutes. Turn over and cover with lid again for about 2 minutes. Take lid off and cook for another 3-4 minutes, so the liquid evaporates and you get a nice brown color on the bottom of each ball. Remove to a paper towel-covered plate and let cool for a few minutes before you bite into the flavorful goodness. Don’t wanna burn those taste buds!
These were so fun to make, and a great simple Christmas gift for friends or family.
First, I bought microwaveable soy wax (hey, soy is good for something!). I was glad I went for microwaveable…it saved a lot of time.
The wax is in shavings in a big bag:
I also bought concentrated candle dye:
And cinnamon candle scent:
And a candle thermometer (probably not completely necessary, but it was on sale for $5 at Michael’s, so I picked one up):
I melted a few cups of the shavings in a big bowl in the microwave for a few minutes, stirred and microwaved a bit more. Then I added a piece of the concentrated dye (read label for how much to use) and a few drops of scent and let it cool until it got to 175 degrees. Meanwhile, I dipped the bottom of each wick in a bit of the wax and stuck them to the bottom of the 6 oz. jars that I bought. Then poured the melted wax to partially fill the jars:
Let that cool until hardened:
Repeated the process and poured a second layer on. This time I didn’t add dye so it would be a layer of white on top:
Let that cool and voila! Homemade Christmas gifts! As you can see, my red dye ended up cooling to pink. I’ve come to terms with that. Next time I’ll add more dye.
I ended up making 10 candles, and the total cost was about $2.50/candle. Not bad!