Friday, August 22, 2014

Paleo Cooking: Easy and Delicious (Recipes Included)

When I talk about eating Paleo, I try to emphasize how easy it has been for me to adapt.  First, I already did not eat most wheat products so that wasn't too difficult.  And then there was the issue of the elimination of dairy products.  I don't drink milk and the only real dairy product I love is cheese.  And I will miss cheese.  And when I go to Paris next year I will definitely eat some brie.  Oh, I may have a "Lactose Intolerance Moment" like Meg Ryan did in the movie "French Kiss" but I shall eat cheese on that once in a lifetime trip.  OK, so back to the simplicity of Paleo cooking.  Paleo cooking is not only easy but really pretty delicious.  And Paleo recipes?  They can literally be found everywhere.  There are, however, just a few things you need to make sure you have on hand to make these delicious dishes and then you are ready to begin.

Here are some of the items you need to grab on your next trip to the grocery store:
*Olive oil
*Coconut oil
*Coconut milk
*Almond milk
*Almond flour
*Tapioca flour
*Maple Syrup

This is a pretty good start to make some of the dishes that I have tried and think that you might enjoy as well.  Now, the only proteins I eat are chicken and fish.  If you eat other meats, then your meal possibilities are even greater than mine. As I mentioned before, I purchased a Paleo cookbook written by two bloggers.  I chose this cookbook because while thumbing through it the recipes looked simple and the photographs beautiful.  And then as I looked closer, I was really impressed with all of the great information this book provided.  It gave lists of items to eat and not to eat.  Foods to stock up on for Paleo cooking and even recipes for making your own condiments and milks.

                                                  You can find this cookbook on Amazon
Co-author is Juli Bauer who write the blog PaleOMG.  Click on the link to learn more about Juli and get some GREAT recipes.
George is the other co-author who is the "creative genius behind the wildly popular food blog" Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations.  Check it out too to get LOTS of Paleo recipes.

I previously shared their Bacon Pecan Cabbage Recipe and today I want to share another delicious recipes from their cookbook.

*Coconut oil for greasing the wire rack
*2 pounds chicken wings
*1 tsp. course sea salt
*1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
*1 tsp. granulated garlic
*1 cup of your favorite hot sauce

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, place a wire rack
     on top and grease the wire rack with coconut oil.
2.  Arrange the chicken wings on the rack and season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.  Place
     in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
3.  After 15 mins. remove the wings and place in a large bowl.  Pour the hot sauce on them, tossing
     to make sure they are evenly coated.
4.  Place the wings back on the wire rack and place in the oven.  The recipe says to keep them in
     there for an additional 15 mins. but I think I left mine in there a little longer.  Use a thermometer
     to make sure they are done!
                          These Hot Wings were as good as any I have had out at restaurants!

And for those of you who have a sweet tooth here is a quick fix I found on Pinterest:

*1 slightly under-ripened banana
*1 Tablespoon honey
*Olive oil or coconut oil

Lightly drizzle some oil in a skillet over heat.  Slice the banana and place in the heated oil.  Cook on each side for a couple of minutes.  Whisk the honey and 1 T. water together.  Remove the pan from the heat and pour honey mixture over the bananas and then sprinkle with cinnamon.  This tastes sort of like Bananas Foster! 
                                                 Click HERE to see original Pinterest post.

       I hope you will try these recipes and see how fun, easy and delicious Paleo cooking can be! 

                                                       Remember to EAT GOOD FOOD!
                                                                 HAPPY WEEKEND!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

She Taught Me How To Be A YaYa

How can it be possible that my first little grandchild, Parker Ann started Pre-K4 last week?  It seems like only yesterday I was sitting around, chomping at the bit waiting for her to be born.  This first little grandchild entered our family and stole the hearts of every single one of us.  I spent lots of time with Parker when Sarah eventually went back to work part time and so we bonded in a way I will forever cherish.  Wherever I went, Parker went.  We have gone grocery shopping together, taken Mam-Maw to doctor's appointments, visited the zoo, restaurants around town, the list is endless.  This little girl taught me how to be a YaYa.

Oh, I knew how to be a mother, having had four children of my own, but being a YaYa is something totally different altogether.  Things shifted somewhere and the rules were definitely not the same.  As a mother, I knew I had a huge responsibility raising my kids.  I had to provide structure and discipline for them and I realized very quickly that we may not be friends while I was raising them but one day that would come.  With a grandchild, it is different.

I had always heard people talk about how being a grandparent was different but never really understood it until I became one myself.  This job is not filled with the same responsibilities that come with the the job of parenting.  I am the fun person, the friend, the one who gets up in the tree house with picnic lunches for two, spends hours playing mermaids in the swimming pool and doesn't mind when finger painting if the paint gets all over both of us.  Yes, this job of being a YaYa is definitely an easier one than being a parent. 

I knew this day would come, however, I never realized it was so close around the corner.  While we were playing and having fun something happened:  Parker Ann grew up enough to be able to attend school.  All day long.  With a lunchbox, backpack and nap mat.  Oh  This fact made me happy and sad at the same time.  Happy because I know she is so ready to meet new friends and learn new things but sad because those lazy days of early childhood have slipped away in the wind.  Oh, we will still have weekends and holidays and, of course, the entire summer.  But this is a change and one I know so well. 

But Parker Ann will still be my "little" girl no matter where she is in life and I will forever keep all of these wonderful memories we have made together in a very special place inside my memory to take out and smile at as she continues to grow up and I grow older.  She taught me how to be a YaYa.  With that first smile, snuggle, kiss and coo.  She had me.  I will never be the same.

      Thank you, Parker Ann for giving me one of the BEST jobs on the face of the earth!
                                             Thank you for teaching me how to be a YaYa.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Eat GOOD Food: Eat MORE, Not Less

"Eat MORE, Not Less".  Whenever Karol said those words to me I must admit it made me a little shaky and weak-kneed and downright scared!  Growing up in the era that I did, the philosophy had always been "If you want to weigh less then you have to eat less."  Oh, I had heard all of the sayings about "If you don't put fuel in a car it won't run" but surely that didn't apply to me.

Well, here is what I have learned:  If you are eating GOOD food and working out, then you might need to eat a little more to get your metabolism revved up.  This also scared me a bit because suffering from hypothyroidism is no joke; it is a real metabolism killer if you don't get it under control.  It seems that we have to do more to get the same results as others.  But, hey...I was willing to give it a try if the experts thought it would work.

Like I said, I had been eating "good food" for quite some time but I was limiting my intake while attempting to work out daily.  Karol explained that this simply would not work.  She asked what I ate after a workout.  Hmmm...I thought the idea of working out was to burn calories; why would I want to just turn around and put them back into my body?  I answered, "Maybe a piece of fruit occasionally."  She shook her head and said, "Protein Before Fruit" and eat that protein within 30 minutes of finishing your workout.  OK, so what kind of protein could I grab right after a workout?  She said, "A boiled egg."  That was easy enough.  So I tweaked that in my daily routine.

Other things I tweaked in my daily routine included to stop eating peanut butter with my apple slices and instead eat almond butter.  I found a really good one I like that is all natural....

Another thing I did was to look at the label on my Mio Liquid Water Enhancer.  When Karol saw that I was using this, she asked me if it had sugar in it.  "Of course not", I said.  She told me to go home and look at the ingredients on the bottle because "Sometimes the label will say '0 grams' but you'll see sugar in the ingredient list.  They're allowed to round down on labels.  Well, she was right, the Mio had to go!  Check out THIS LINK to see all of the different terms for sugar.

The other thing I did on my own before starting to work with Karol at Genesis Experience Alexandria
included purchasing a good Paleo cookbook (which I will discuss more in detail later in the week).  The one I chose was, The Paleo Kitchen.  This book has some pretty awesome recipes and while you might still be in the "thinking" stage of trying this program, I will give you one to try so you can see how delicious and easy the recipes are to prepare.


Saute' 6  slices of diced bacon over medium heat.
Take the bacon out and add 2 cloves of minced garlic.
Thinly slice 1/2 head of green cabbage and 1/2 head of purple cabbage.
Add the cabbage to the bacon grease and garlic and sprinkle with coarse sea salt and pepper.
Stir and allow to reduce down.
While the cabbage mixture is simmering, take 1/2 cup of pecan halves and toast them in a skillet.
When the cabbage mixture is done, add your bacon and pecans in.
This is a wonderful, savory side dish that goes well with chicken or pork dishes.

S0,  here's what's on the schedule for today:
Take a Hot Yoga Class
Work out at Genesis Experience with Karol...and
                                                         EAT MORE GOOD FOOD!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Dreaming of Paris...

I will be "Dreaming of Paris" until we take our trip there next year.  And for many years after that I'm sure.  I am still dreaming of Italy and hope to go back there one day.

Our trip to Paris (and France) will be with several couples and we will fly to Paris to explore the city for a few days,  followed by a River Boat Cruise.  Of course, we are beyond excited and all preparing in our own little ways for this trip; some more than others.  I have taken a photography course that will be helpful in capturing all of the beautiful sites there that will keep me "Dreaming of Paris" (and France) for many years to come.  The other thing I have done is to start re-studying my French using Rosetta Stone.

Many years ago, I took a French course in college.  Although it would seem more feasible to take Spanish here in the U.S., I still opted for French.  We live in Louisiana where French is spoken freely in many circles.  Oh, some is the "French of Paris" and other is the "Creole French of Louisiana".  Anyway, I decided to take the class in hopes of gaining enough knowledge that if I one day visited Paris I could at least communicate a bit with the people there.  Well, here I am 30-something years later getting to finally fulfill that dream and I'm once again sitting in front of a screen attempting to brush up on those language skills...
                                                       Not too bad for a beginning, huh?
Right now, however, I could only talk about boys, girls, men and women who walk, run and swim.  Drink water, milk and eat bread.  Have cats, dogs, horse and fish.  Oh well, I suppose that's a start!

                                    And here is my "Dreaming of Paris" photo of the week...
                                                     The "Love Lock" Bridge in Paris
                                                            PHOTO CREDIT

                                         Oh, yes...I DO intend to visit this bridge on my trip!

                                                                   AU REVOIR!!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Favorite Things: The Scent of LEMONS

I'm not sure what first attracted me to the scent of lemons.  Their freshness, the fact that my maiden name was Lemmons or even maybe memories of those commercials featuring Mr. Clean.  Whatever the reason, the fact is I am simply obsessed with the fragrance of lemons!  And today I want to feature a few of my "Favorite" lemons products.

I suppose the first lemon products I fell in love with were the Verbena L'OCCITANE Products.  When I first discovered this store several years ago and popped in, I took a sniff of this spray and instantly knew it would soon become one of my favorites...
The fresh scent grew on me so quickly that I had to also purchase more of their lemony scented products...
                                                            Verbena Body Lotion
                                                              Verbena Body Salt Scrub
                                                           L'OCCITANE Deodorants

Nothing makes me feel more relaxed and refreshed after a long day than pouring some bath gel into the tub and sinking into some fresh lemony bubbles.  Followed by drying off and spraying myself with the Eau de toilette and slathering on the body lotion.  Over time this has become my "official scent".  I didn't really realize that until my daughter moved 1200 miles away and one of the first things she purchased to ease her feelings of homesickness was some lemon spray (Click HERE to read post). 

So nowadays I am always on the search for new lemon scented products that will live up to my standards of "worthy of purchasing".  I must admit that I am a bit of a "Lemon Snob" and will not purchase just any old item that has the word lemon on the label.  That's why I was so excited to FINALLY find some other products recently that I just can't live without!  One is the Meyer Deep Cleansing Soap...
I try to keep this soap by my kitchen sink at all times.  It is a great product that smells wonderful AND you can get 5 soaps (all Lemon scented if you prefer) for only $18 at Bath & Body Works!!

After tucking my "New Favorite Hand Soap" into my shopping bag, I continued to browse the shelves and came upon Bath & Body Work's Sparkling Limoncello Luxury Hand Lotion...
I actually kept 2 bottles of this on hand during the summer months because I not only like to put it on my hands but also use it after swimming and sunbathing on my entire body.  It contains Olive Oil extract that simply takes moisturizing one's skin to another level.
                                                                   (Photo Credit)
     And Yes...I hope to one day soon have a lovely lemon tree growing in my very own back yard.
                                                    Ahhh...The Scent of Lemons.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Eat GOOD Food: Because Nutrition Matters

"Eat GOOD Food:  Because Nutrition Matters".  That is the motto of the Whole Nine Genesis Experience program I have looked into this week.  I told you that having hypothyroidism is such a bummer because one of the effect of the condition is the ability to lose weight and/or maintain it, especially when your TSH fluctuates from time to time.  My physician and I discussed my relationship with food and my husband and I did as well.  The conclusion was that I "eat good food", I just don't eat good.  Does that make sense to you?  OK, let me explain.  I don't eat junk food, processed foods or carbohydrates (which turn into sugar) or sugar for that matter.  However, I realized that I needed the expertise of a nutrition expert to help me out with how much I should eat and when I should eat it.  It had come to the point where food was just freaking me out.  I don't know what other way to put it.  My doctor told me it had become an obsession, that I was fixated on it.  And I didn't deny that.  I asked how could I not be when my weight fluctuated with those TSH numbers?  It was such a frustrating, vicious cycle.  I think at one point they threatened to take the scale away from me.  As well they should!  So, admitting I have this problem was Step 1, right?  Step 2 was finding someone who could help me with nutrition and teach me to think of food in a healthy manner.

My friend Karol works at Whole Nine Genesis Alexandria and I knew that she, herself had been very successful in changing over to the Paleo way of eating.  Robby and I had already been doing some Paleo cooking and I was continuing to work out in my gym but I knew Karol could help me achieve what I was looking for:  A healthy outlook on food.  One of the first things she gave me was the Whole Nine Nutrition Guide...

This is a comprehensive guide to eating; what is good, bad and why.  I had an "Aha Moment" as I read some of the information and asked a few questions of my own.  I wondered why eating almond butter was OK but peanut butter was not.  Answer:  Peanuts are made from a bean, which is a grain.  No grains are allowed on the Paleo plan.  I also asked why it was OK to eat honey and maple syrup.  It was explained to me like this:  This plan is designed along the lines of how your grandparents and parents ate.  They grew their own vegetable and fished and hunted for their protein.  It is a more natural approach to eating.  Processed foods should be eliminated because ultimately they are just not good for you.

I told Karol I was going to come work out with her at her gym on Friday and Monday to decide if I would like to continue doing that three days a week with her.  I am told if I continue on this plan I will see a huge improvement in the way I look and feel.  And guess what she told me...There is no scale in the place!  That's OK with me.  But guess what else?  She said I could weigh myself before I start the program but not again until after the first thirty days.  OH MY GOSH!!!  Now, seriously, someone is going to have to remove the scale from my house.  She said they only take measurements there and you can weigh yourself at home because this program is not about losing weight but becoming healthy.  And when you change your lifestyle,  and in my case my feelings about food, your body will most likely lose those unwanted pounds and you will be able to maintain a healthy weight.

Well, I am hopeful that this program will give me what I am looking for as I struggle with accepting this thyroid condition.  As they say, "It is what it is."  I cannot change the fact that I have a thyroid condition that I must live with.  However, I do not have to let it control my quality of life.

***If you are interested in this program just click on the link or go visit Karol.  She will also let you
      come try out her gym for a couple of times before committing to the program.***

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Books I Am Reading Or Have Read: "The Map of True Places"

Someone recommended that I read "The Map of True Place" written by Brunonia Barry.  To me, this was a "dark" novel.  Set in Salem, Massachusettes.  Zee, a therapist, travels to her father's home to find that his Parkinson's Disease has progressed to the point that she must take leave from her job and move in with him to help care for him.  This also means leaving behind a fiance' and wedding planner and comes on the heels of a patient she's gotten too involved with committing suicide.

While living with her father, a former professor, she recalls the memories of her mother, who also committed suicide when she was younger and has haunted her for years.  This stems from feeling of not being capable of saving her.  Her mother's death along with the death of her patient and the added  responsibilities of caring for her father,  make her ponder her  profession and in the process her personal life suffers.

As Zee, named after Hepzibah from "The House of Seven Gables"(there are many references to this book throughout the novel), attempts to come to terms with where her life is heading, many secrets begin to unfold about her mother, father and other people in her life.  Those secrets and wanting to find out what they were is what kept me reading this book.  If you choose to read it, be aware that the first 100 pages are very somber.

For me, this book was particularly difficult to read because it deals with the subject of an aging parent and a child taking on the role as caretaker.  This hit close to home for me since I am in that season of life.  Although very well written, and I will admit when things began to unfold I became more interested in the storyline, this is not a book I would have normally picked up off of the shelf eager to read.  However, if college taught me one thing, it was to finish what I started and so finish this book I did.

Did I like this book and would I recommend it?  It was not my favorite but I think that perhaps is just my personal preferences speaking; I like books that are well written but also help me escape reality.  However, often times this type of book is what best sellers are made of and it did in fact make some best seller lists.  I suppose the message of this book is that finding your true place in the world may take you on many long and winding paths along that journey.  Some roads filled with happiness and others with sadness.  Life is a mixture of emotions and experiences and that is the truth about this journey called life.
                                                           HAPPY READING!