Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tuna & Peaches Salad {AIP, Whole30, Paleo}


I already have a recipe for tuna and peaches here on the blog... it's a Belgian favorite, so it was one of the first recipes I posted.

Since then, I've dappled with AIP a bit, and I've discovered I feel great on this diet {I hate that word}. And while I don't follow it strictly, I do eat mostly AIP now. This means I limit my consumption of mayo.

At first I was sad - no mayo means no tuna and peaches. But then I remembered my dear friend avocado. Of course! Avocado would help me.

And boy did it ever! Tuna and peaches have become my traditional Saturday post-WOD lunch. The hubster still down his in mayo, but I now revel in the deliciousness of avocado!

Tuna & Peaches Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1 peach or two canned peach halves
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Method:
  1. Mix together the tuna, vinegar and avocado, seasoning to taste.
  2. Place the greens on a plate, top with the peach halves, then the tuna mix.
  3. Enjoy immediately. {If making ahead of time, pack the peaches and tuna separately from the greens.}

Belgian Classics - Mustard Patties {Whole30, Paleo}

I'm starting up AIP full-force this Monday. I've actually been sticking to the AIP guidelines for the last week, but I haven't yet informed my mother-in-law about the restrictions, so I'm saving my official start date for the day after tomorrow. Therefore, I'm sharing this recipe from awhile back now, since it's not AIP compliant.

Okay. I don't really know if this is an actual Belgian classic, but it is at least a family favorite over here in Wallonia. This was actually my first introduction to my beloved Bister L'Imériale Mustard. This is one of my mother-in-laws' go-to weeknight dinners, as it requires very hands-on work.

You can substitute any mustard you'd like for this recipe, though I would suggest choosing one that has a bit more complexity than a simple yellow mustard. If you really enjoy your meat paired with a sweet note, a quality honey mustard would accentuate the flavor of the grilled onions quite nicely.



This dish is sweet and simple and goes perfectly with a simple side or greens or, to stay with the Belgian theme, throw together a quick Belgian Endive salad.

And if you are hesitating or thinking you may have sliced too many onions - don't. They reduce greatly and no matter how many I end up slicing, I never seem to have enough on my plate!

Enjoy!


Belgian Mustard Patties

Ingredients:
  • 250 grams ground pork
  • 250 grams ground beef
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup mustard
  • 5 large onions
  • Fat of choice for frying
Method:
  1. Slice the onions and cook over medium-low heat in FOC until translucent and slightly browned.
  2. Meanwhile, mix together the pork, beef, garlic, olive oil and about 1 tbsp of the mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Form 6 patties from the meat and cook over medium-high heat until just before desired wellness. 
  4. Spread both sides of the patties with the remaining mustard and allow to cook for about 30 seconds per side.
  5. Serve the patties hot and topped with the grilled onions.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie {AIP, Paleo}

So Mika from Slightly Lost Girl recently shared her recipe for Pumpkin Spice Na'tte... and once I finally got around to reading it, I fell in love with the flavor! It tastes just like autumn should taste - like pumpkins and warm spices!

But.

I'm not a huge fan of hot drinks. I love a steamy cup of tea, and hot black or bulletproof coffee really hits the spot, but once too many flavors coffee into play, I just prefer my drink to be cold and frappe. Yes, even in autumn.

I still craved the flavors of Mika's Na'tte though, so I decided to combine them into a smoothie, crossing my fingers that it would turn out alright and not tasting like banana...

It worked wonderfully. And you know what else? It makes a delicious pudding as well!

Now I used the same spices as Mika, except for the mace - simply because I can't find it here in Belgium. If you are lucky enough to live in a country with mace, add in a dash - your taste buds are sure to thank you!

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Inspired by Mika's Pumpkin Spice Na'tte

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 banana
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground turmeric
Method:
  1. If making a smoothie: Blend everything until smooth together using an immersion blender or a high power blender.
  2. If making pudding: Blend everything except the milk and ice together until smooth using an immersion blender or a high power blender.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Kombuchapple Mocktail {AIP, Paleo}


A couple weeks ago, Carolyn, the Community Manager at Lover.ly, contacted me with a fun idea. You see, their job at Lover.ly is to make wedding planning fun - and for the moment they are focusing on cocktails {and mocktails} to help brides who'd like to add a bit of flair to their reception

Carolyn asked a few of us bloggers how we'd craft a signature drink for a fall wedding or how we'd recreate one of our favorites. Our drink could be a twist on a classic or our own concoction - and we could share the recipe on our blog! {Yay for y'all!}

Now, I don't drink alcohol for medicinal reasons, so I knew I'd have to create a mocktail. I thought back to my favorite mixed drinks from my drinking days, all while keeping the idea of fall in mind. I immediately thought of my in-laws' orchard, picking apples every fall, and pressing them into enough juice to last us the year! This surplus of juice inevitably led the hubster to creating a very simple mixed drink, consisting of Calvados, an apple-based alcohol, and apple juice over ice. Simple, as I said, but also very tasty! Everyone who tried it liked it and it's the drink we served every time we have company over for dinner.

I decided to create my own, alcohol free version using kombucha. The only kombucha I can find Belgium has three flavors - and the Classic flavor has a very alcoholy taste to it, making it perfect for this mocktail. Feel free to use whatever kombucha you prefer, but stick to a classic or apple flavor in order to remain true to the original drinks' taste.

This mocktail is paleo, and is also AIP friendly. Being alcohol-free, kids can get in on this fun drink as well! If you drink alcohol, feel free to replace the kombucha with Calvados or any other apple-based alcohol such as hard cider. You could even offer both options to your dinner guests {or wedding invites}. If you are planning a wedding, don't forget to check out Lover.ly - their site is packed with amazing ideas!

Kombuchapple Mocktail

Ingredients:
  • Ice cubes
  • Classic or apple flavored kombucha
  • Apple juice
Method:
  1. Fill a long drink glass about half-full with ice cubes {about 3 cubes}.
  2. Cover the ice cubes with kombucha, then fill the glass the rest of the way with apple juice.
  3. Serve with a fancy straw and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sweet & Tangy Tuna Wraps {AIP, Whole30, Paleo}

Paleo lunches to go are fairly easy to come up with, provided you have access to a table, or at least a fork at lunch time. Paleo lunches on the go are a completely different story.

In my pre paleo days, I would often swing by my local sandwich shop and order a third of a baguette with all the fixings. It was easy to eat, tasted great and filled me up. {We'll skip over all the damage it was doing to me for now...}

Since baguettes, and therefore sandwich shops, are out of the question now that I'm paleo, what do I turn to?

Wraps.

I wrap the heck outta all the fixings and I eat those bad boys with one hand if need be - all while being on the go. They're easy to eat, taste great, and fill me up. {Plus, no crash later on the day, just steady fuel to keep me going - I am on the go after all!}


There are many wrap tutorials and recipes on the net, but I find this "burrito" method to be the easiest - and this filling combo the tastiest!

I used red cabbage to make my sauerkraut, mostly because I find it prettier on my plate and in wraps. Feel free to use regular sauerkraut if that's what you have - the flavor is the most important part anyway!

For this wrap I used green cabbage {Savoy cabbage, I believe is the official name}, but I've also used other sorts of cabbage, collard greens, beet greens... any sturdy leaf will do. If you're worried about how well they'll hold up, double up the layers. {I usually double up when using beet greens, for example.}


The secret to a successful wrap is get the wet factor just right. You want the filing to be moist enough so you're not choking it down, but not so juicy that it's leaking out the bottom. When inventing your own fillings, don't forget to keep this in mind.

Sweet & Tangy Tuna Wraps

Ingredients:
  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1/2 of a peach
  • 1/2 of an avocado
  • 1/4 cup sauerkraut
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-8 sturdy leaves, hard stems removed
Method:
  1. Place a largeish sheet of aluminum foil on the work surface {if you don't like foil touching your food, lay down a layer of parchment paper on top of the foil}.
  2. Arrange the leaves on the foil, overlapping so no holes remain.
  3. Mix together the drained tuna and the avocado, seasoning to taste. Spread out down the middle of the greens, leaving a space at the bottom.
  4. Cut the peach half into 6 wedges, arrange on top of the tuna.
  5. Spread the sauerkraut out next to the peaches.
  6. Close the wrap. First, fold up the bottom. Next, fold over one side, then the other. Fold up the bottom of the foil, then fold over one side. Roll the wrap tightly to finish closing the foil around it.
  7. If eating immediately, tear of the top of the foil and eat, removing syrups as you go.
  8. If packing to go, place another piece of foil over the top, folding to close.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Stress and Autoimmune Disease {Just Say No}

I'm a teacher, so I have a long summer vacation each year. This year, I decided to focus on relaxing and recentering myself. I mean, I had the time, so why not?

Every day I did pretty much the same thing: I worked out, I prepared a bit for my upcoming school year, I blogged some, I cooked good food, I did chores and I spent time with the hubster. And I was relaxed. Some weekends were a bit hectic when we had lots of plans, but my weeks were always fairly calm, allowing me to recharge completely.

Life was good. I was well rested as I got 9+ hours of sleep every night, my digestion was improving more and more each day, my mood was cheery and I was productive when I sat down to work. Not only was I publishing new content on my blog nearly daily, I was also whizzing through lesson plans and had even managed to mop my floors on a weekly basis.

Then my work year started up again, which meant early mornings and 4-7 hour work days with no chores, lesson/food prep or blogging getting done in those hours. I also have weekly meeting with my colleagues, as well as running around town to get all the necessary paperwork needed to work, as I am not Belgian. The hubster and I just joined our local crossfit box, which moved my morning workouts to the evening, entailing more meal prep so we have easy dinners after late sessions.

It's been two weeks, and let me tell you - I can feel the difference.

I am tired. I feel like I can't get enough sleep. I'm always in bed before 11 o'clock, no excuses, but that only gives me about 7 1/2 hours of sleep.

I am touchier. I have less patience with my students as well as with the hubster. Especially on our way to crossfit - I have a million things that need to be done at home, yet I'm leaving... {The physical activity does me a world of good, both mentally and physically, so this is something I won't give up. It's also why I go, even though I complain about having to go :P}

My digestion is all over the place. I eat things I normally have no issue with, and they bother me. I eat things I usually have issues with, and they don't bother me. My IBS has come back full force and I spend the better part of most days feeling completely miserable due to bloat, cramps, gas, pains... or a mix of all four.

This picture was taken Friday... the large black pot was used Tuesday, just to give you an idea of my priorities right now.

My appartment is a disaster. I fall behind on the dishes, my floor hasn't been swept for two weeks and there is clutter everywhere I look. The only things I manage to keep up with is food prep {because we gotta eat} and laundry {because we gotta crossfit}.

I haven't started working on this school year's project yet. Every year my school chooses a theme and every class works in a project based on that theme... my students don't even know what this year's theme is. #badteacher

All this to say... I said no to the hubster this weekend. You see, it's his village's annual festival all this weekend, and we usually stay with his parents and enjoy the festivities all weekend long. It's a great time to see old friends again and catch up with people from the village we don't get the chance to see nearly enough.

I decided not to go Friday, Saturday or Sunday morning. I decided to only go Sunday afternoon so I could treat my godson to a couple fair rides and games and quickly say hi to everyone.

The hubster was upset, and I can understand him. A year ago, I would have said yes to the whole weekend - and I would have had a great time! But I also would have fallen even further behind on the dishes. My floor would still have bits of food on it. My counters would still be strewn with food containers and papers to file. I would have lost even more sleep. I probably would have yelled at at least a couple people for absolutely no reason. My students would be forced to wait another week to find out about the year's theme. My IBS would have continued to get worse. And I would most likely have fallen sick (my throat is a bit scratchy as I type...).

A lot has changed, and I'm a lot stronger than the person I was a year ago. I know my body and my limits a lot better now, and I can affirm myself a lot easier. I have also realized that putting yourself first is primordial, not selfish.

I, like everyone else, deserve to be healthy, and stress management is a huge part of that. Having autoimmune issues magnifies that need even more. Not only are folks like us more susceptible to fatigue and stress, but we also have reactions that can be much stronger and far more painful than the average Joe. Sadly, we must also learn to accept other's judgments. Ours are diseases that, for the most part, can't be seen. People have a hard time relating to things they don't know, especially if it can't be seen.

Prepping MYO Salads {from Paleo To Go - enter to win a copy here} and Bone Broth {from The Paleo Approach Cookbook} - with lots more food prepping to come! I finally got all my dishes done and put away!

I decided I was worth it. I took my weekend. I relaxed. I slept. I corrected papers. I cleaned. I tidied up. I went grocery shopping. I prepped food... and I wrote a blog post. And tomorrow I'm going to spend a lovely afternoon with my godson, surrounded by wonderful people who don't realize just how much I needed to say "no". These people are surely going to crack jokes about how "lazy teachers are" or about how "stressful" teaching must be - but I won't care. They aren't in my shoes, so they couldn't possibly understand - and I can't blame them for that.

I hope the rest of you have a relaxing, stress-free weekend. And, if you need to say no yourself, I hope you have the courage to do so. Need some ideas for relaxing? Here are my favorite ways to chill out:

-Read a good book.

-Sip some hot herbal tea. 
-Listen to music and fold socks.


What are your favorite ways to relax?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cookbook Review {Paleo to Go}

When I was contacted to review the Paleo Parent's most recent book-baby, the ebook Paleo to Go, I jumped for joy! Not only do I adore Stacy, Matt and the boys, but I also love their recipes! Actually, the second paleo cookbook I bought over a year ago was the gorgeous Beyond Bacon - and I continue to cook from it to this day!

But let's move on to the book in question today: Paleo to Go.


I said that I adored Stacy, Matt and the boys, and the biggest reason for this is because they are REAL. They lead normal lives, enjoy spending time together, and eat good food. I feel like I can relate to them, like they could easily be my next door neighbors. Really rad next door neighbors, of course, but I'm sure they'd give me an egg and a cup of coconut flour if I knocked on their door asking for some.

Because of this relatable vibe they give off, many families turn to them asking for advice on how to make it all happen without going crazy! In response to these questions, they wrote their first eBook, 3 Phase Paleo, which guided families through the steps of converting their diet over to a paleo template.

Their second eBook is a great complement to 3 Phase Paleo, perfect for those just starting out on their paleo voyage, but is also an excellent stand-alone book for those who have already adopted a paleo lifestyle - but who struggle to make it easy on a day-to-day basis.

Paleo to Go is a guide and recipe book for exactly what the title implies: eating paleo while on the go! This book takes all the guesswork out of constructing healthy, wholesome breakfasts, snacks and lunches - for children and adults alike.



While reading through this book, I realized just how "boring" my lunches are - I have a "MYO salad" nearly every day! This is highly satisfying, and I'm far from being bored by this option, but I realized I could also think outside the salad and try a few different lunch options, starting with Paleo to Go's "Wrap It Up" and "Rosemary Carrot Mash"! Both of these recipes were delicious and satisfying, and a nice change from my standard salads.

This week, I mixed and matched recipes to create my own meals, but for those of you who would like more guidance, Stacy and Matt have also provided combination ideas using their recipes to create perfectly balanced meals designed to keep you or your children full for hours.



The recipes are nicely organized by type, so mixing and matching is made easy. They are also coded by allergy.

You read right: allergies are taken into account in this amazing guide.

The top eight allergy-causing foods are not only explained but also avoided in this book! Can't do eggs? There are recipes for that! Need to be nut free? They've got you covered! Dairy gives you hives? You guessed it - no problem! Everything is clearly labeled and substitutions, when possible, are noted. This makes allergy-ridden lives so much easier - and that much tastier!

But, all those great features aside, my favorite thing about Paleo to Go is how child-friendly it is. While every delicious recipe is perfect for adult meals, they truly are tailored to younger tastes and wants. This book could be handed to a child, after the "rules" for building a perfect meal have been explained, and they would have a blast building their own meal! There are several tips and tricks for getting younger ones involved in the food prep, including a printable "no complaints" food list to make packing school lunches a cinch!



So, to summarize, Paleo to Go is a wonderful guide for preparing delicious, real food, covering breakfast, lunch and snacks. Some of the dishes would also be wonderful at dinner time!

It's perfect for anyone looking for new packed-lunch ideas, or anyone with children - especially if they aren't yet convinced by the paleo lifestyle! The ingredient lists are simple, but the flavors are stellar - making each recipe easy to prepare and guaranteed to please!

It's also an eBook, which means you get it as soon as you pay for it - no ordering and no waiting! If, like me, you prefer to physically turn pages, Stacy and Matt formatted this eBook to print perfectly on letter sized paper! If you can't wait any longer to own a copy of Paleo to Go, click here to view more details. You can even get a special deal when you buy both the eBooks together! Click here to view more details.

If you are feeling lucky, enter my contest below for a chance to win a copy of Paleo to Go!

In any case, check out The Paleo Parent's blog where you'll find tons of family-friendly paleo recipes for all occasions!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest runs until September 30th!