BBQ Bacon Chicken Burgers

There’s nothing like the grill in the summertime. I am a huge fan of barbecue everything. Sweet, salty, smoky flavor is amazing. These burgers hit the spot. I wrap them in crisp lettuce leaves and top with fresh tomato and sautéed balsamic onions.
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BBQ Chicken Burgers
1 lb ground chicken
3 slices nitrate free bacon (sure you can use turkey bacon but what fun is that?!)
2 scallions-ends and tips removed
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 T barbecue sauce (I love Paleochef)
1/4 tsp Ground pepper

In a large skillet, fry up the bacon slices.
In a food processor, combine the scallions and bacon until they are minced.
Add remaining ingredients and give it a few pulses to combine.
With wet hands, form 4 burgers.
Grill on med-high 4 -5 mins and flip and cook until internal temp reaches 165.

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Keep Moving Forward: My guest post on Paleoparents.com

Keep Moving Forward. This is the theme of a Triathlon-Mom blog I absolutely love. I have to say that she really hit the nail on the head with that. Three words that mean so much and are, in my opinion, the key to health and fitness success.
For the last three years, my family and I have been engaged in a food and fitness revolution. I have become fully engaged in eating Paleo, working out, and spending quality time with my family. Balancing these things is what makes me feel that I am living a healthy and happy life. This balance can sometimes be difficult to achieve. And like most Moms with young kids, I think the fitness piece is the most difficult to maintain. There are times where it seems impossible to do it all. The kids get sick, we overcommit to activities, the house is a mess, we moved, etc… But through those times, the one thing that I always try to keep in mind is how far I have come. I have worked so hard to get to the fitness and health place I am in. I can not go backwards. So what I have to do is keep moving forward. It can be as little as an extra walk around the block, a great stretching session when I am feeling overwhelmed, or a climb up my kids playground in the backyard. As little as these things may seem, they are all a step forward. A step towards being active, healthy, and enjoying life. Every workout, every great Paleo meal, is one step forward.
With all that motivational talk aside, I have a few simple pointers for those who are looking to include fitness into their lives and are not sure how they can make it work. Keep in mind that of course everyones situation is different. These points are just a rough outline of what I have found to be helpful to me.

1. Keep it fun- There is nothing worse than logging hours on a treadmill while staring at a wall. Besides the fact that it’s not doing your fitness routine justice, it’s just plain boring. And boring is not something we want to do every day. Try to incorporate things you like to do. If you love being outside, look for an outdoor fitness class, ride a bike, or take a hike. I tend to mix up lots of different style workouts to keep myself from getting bored with the same old same old. In the same week I can mix spinning, weight training, suspension training, and running outside. It keeps it from becoming boring.

2. Find a fitness friend- You don’t need a ton of gym buddies to make your workout enjoyable. One friend who you reliably see at the gym can make the difference between a great workout and no workout at all. If you work out at home, having another Mom with kids to share that with is a great idea too. I am very lucky to have had a few friends at my old gym and recently found a friend at my new gym. Just her texting me asking if I am going today is enough to help motivate me to get there. And having a friend to share fitness enthusiasm with is great. It’s the “I’ll try it if you do” idea from your childhood. Its great being able to motivate each other to try new things.
Rock climbing with a fitness friend
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3. If you are a Mom, find a place that you can bring your kids to- I can not stress this one enough. If you have young children, do not join a gym where you can’t bring kids. You will never go as much as you would otherwise, and when you do it can be stressful to have to coordinate childcare.

4. Enlist in some help- Take classes with instruction, use personal trainers, ask the staff for help if there’s a machine you aren’t familiar with. If you are home, watch youtube videos or bodyrock.tv for inspiration and guidance. The more you know, the more confident and less apprehensive you feel.

5. Set a goal- Setting a goal is proven to be motivating. So sign up for an event or partake in a “gym challenge”. Theres nothing better than reaching a goal you set for yourself.
My triathlon “medal”. I set a goal and followed through.
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6. Make being active a family affair-Spend your weekend free time hiking, skiing, walking or biking with your spouse and kids. We love riding bikes as a family. There are usually plenty of safe trails and parks to ride in. Go to your town Recreation department and ask for information. Check out http://www.active.com for local events you can do with your spouse or the whole family. My husband and I have done a number of events together, and we have a blast every time.

If the “keep moving forward” message really feels like it makes sense to you, check out Swim Bike Mom’s video on youtube. I watched it multiple times a day when I was training for my triathlon. It is incredibly inspiring.

Heres a great protein packed snack that provides great nutrition, and enough fat to keep you satisfied.

BLT Egg Salad

2 hard-boiled eggs
1 Tbsp homemade bacon mayo (make mayo the way you normally do but sub bacon grease for half your oil)
1 Tbsp finely diced red onion
2 Tbsp finely diced of celery
5 grape tomatoes, quartered
3-4 slices pastured bacon, crumbled
Pepper to taste

Mash up the eggs in a large bowl.
Add the rest if the ingredients and mix.
Serve with veggie scoops or lettuce boats (romaine works great).

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Rachel is a 36-year-old mother of three boys. She has a B.S. in Nutrition, is a Physician Assistant, and a fitness enthusiast. Because of a love for cooking (and eating!) she will be sharing recipes, tips, and ideas on her blog at http://www.paleofamilyeats.com
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Grain Free Apple Cider Donuts

Apple cider donuts are a fall classic. My kids go nuts for them. Recently we went apple picking, and because my oldest can not have gluten, I made a gluten free version as a substitute. It was a fantastic recipe, and the donuts were spot on. Problem is they are not grain free. So I decided to waste some ingredients (yes, sometimes its painful but part of the process) and figure out a better recipe that the kids will love without the grains and excess sugar.
I came up with a coconut flour based recipe that yields a moist, tender donut. I have learned that with coconut flour baking, half the battle is keeping the moisture (coconut flour absorbs a lot of moisture). So this recipe may seem excessive in the egg department, but I believe it’s necessary. No one likes to choke on a dry donut 😉
The recipe has no added sugar in the actual donut, so for those cutting sugars doing 21 dsd or other detox, I believe these would be a great “sometimes treat” with a dollop of coconut whipped cream. For the kids, I rolled in cinnamon/date sugar while they were still warm (otherwise it won’t stick).
Use a mini donut pan, or even a small whoopie pie pan (yes, with that coconut whipped cream you can do a delicious clean apple cider whoopie pie!). For tge record, I think a regular size donut would fall apart because of the hole. But if you try it, let me know how it turns out.

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Grain Free Apple Cider Donuts
1/2 cup plus 2 T coconut flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 eggs
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup apple cider
1 T vanilla extract
1 T melted coconut oil
**3 T honey or maple syrup (totally optional. Omit for 21 dsd. I didn’t add in the newest batch and we loved them without it).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease mini donut pan (or whoopie pie pan) with coconut oil, butter, or ghee.
Combine dry ingredients and mix.
Combine wet ingredients in another bowl and whisk until uniform.
Pour wet into dry ingredients and mix.
Add to donut wells and smooth with wet fingers.
Bake about 12 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pan a few minutes and roll in cinnamon/date sugar (optional–just mix about a half cup date sugar and 1-2 tsp cinnamon).
***If you go the whoopie pie route, use coconut whipped cream that’s been refrigerated a day or so. This way it’s stiff, not drippy.

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“Cheesy” Chicken Meatballs

Fall is a very busy time for us. Having three super active boys makes it tough to have time for cooking. And on some days, when we have sports or other activities, dinner needs to be made at warp speed. Prepping ahead is a huge help for me. I try to shop on Sundays and prep Sunday or Monday so that putting together lunches and dinners are easier. I usually draw up a plan for the week, then shop and prep.
Tonight was one of those crazy nights. We got home from sports and they were immediately whining and in the refrigerator trying to gobble down everything in sight. Luckily, I had prepped Paleo Parmesan, nut cheese, raw veggies, fruits, and had ground chicken on hand. So in a matter of 20-25 mins dinner was ready and they devoured it. These meatballs were a huge hit. The texture is nice and smooth (big for the 3 year old who freaks when there’s anything “bumpy” or “crunchy”). The flavor is amazing–almost like a lasagne meatball. I suggest doubling the recipe since these will be gone in a flash!
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“Cheesy” Chicken Meatballs

1 lb ground chicken
2 Tbsp marinara sauce (I love Raos)
1/3 cup basic cashew nut cheese, ricotta style
1/4 cup Paleo Parmesan
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix with hands until well incorporated.
With wet hands, form in golf ball sized meatballs on parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake 17-20 mins or until internal temp reaches 165 degrees.
Serve over zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice, or spagetti squash.
Makes 12 meatballs.

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Paleo 101: The Salad

I’ve got a few new readers that I know are new to Paleo. So every now and again I plan to do Paleo 101 posts, just for them. There’s so much info out there and when you start out, it can be super overwhelming. Eating this way doesn’t have to be fussy, complicated, or look like it should be in a food magazine. It should work for you and the work it takes should suit your lifestyle. In order to do that, sometimes you have to cut the fussiness and just EAT REAL FOOD. So from here on out, look forward to easy to make meals and quick tips on making it work. 🙂
THE SALAD
One of the easiest Paleo meals to prepare is the salad. You start with a big bowl of greens. Then add some veggies, protein, and top with home made dressing. I know a lot of people get bored of salads when they go Paleo, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way. There are endless combos that will turn boring into delicious. You just need some inspiration and a little imagination.
Salads are a great way to liven up leftovers. Grilled meats, fish, roasted veggies, fruit, and even chili find themselves perched atop leafy greens in my kitchen. After all, you worked so hard to nail that perfect chicken recipe. It deserves to be enjoyed a second time in a new and exciting way.
The Basic breakdown of how I “build” my salads:

1. Leafy Greens- kale, spinach, spring mix, romaine, arugula, red leaf, butter. There are so many out there.

2. Veggies–there’s the usual: cucumber, onion, carrot, peppers. I also love mixing it up with blanched asparagus, beets, grilled zucchini, roasted broccoli, snap peas, heirloom tomatoes. There are dozens of vegetable varieties that work great in salads.

3. Protein–grilled meats, chicken/tuna salad, leftover slow cooked chicken thighs, roasted chicken, chili, brisket, hard boiled eggs.

4. Fruit–berries, apples, pears, cherries, grapefruit, oranges, mango are some of my favorites.

5. Healthy Fats–toasted coconut chips, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, toasted pine nuts, avocado.

6. Dressing–simple oil and vinegar with a few herbs, creamy dressings with homemade mayo or avocado as the base.

I plan to blog more of my creative salads to offer some inspiration. Here’s a recent one that really hit the spot on a warm, sunny day.

Strawberry Almond Salad With Creamy Balsamic

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*measurements are approximate

The salad:
2 cups spring mix
1/2 c diced cucumber
1/4 c diced red bell pepper
1/4 c shredded carrot
Handful grape tomatoes
3-4 oz grilled chicken (leftover) diced to 3/4 inch cubes
Handful of quartered strawberries
Handful whole roasted almonds

Put all ingredients in bowl in order listed
Top with dressing and enjoy!

Creamy Balsamic Dressing
3 Tbsp homemade mayo
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Whisk together and voila! Creamy Paleo dressing with zero dairy, zero gluten and tons of nutrients 🙂

Slow Cooked Apple Sauce

Fall is here! The leaves are turning, the air is crisp, and the apples are ready to be picked. Fall really calls for comfort foods. Apple pie, hot cocoa, soups, and stews are all perfect fall food.
This past weekend we picked two giant bags of beautiful, fresh apples. Because my husband and I are doing Whole 30 this month, a pie was out of the question. So I made slow cooked applesauce. I kept it chunky and added a dollop of coconut milk whipped cream and we had a clean apple pie. It was delicious. For the kids, I mashed more and made it smoother. They loved it. My 5 year old is having a bowl for breakfast right now 🙂

Slow Cooker Apple Sauce

8-10 apples (filled my slow cooker 3/4 full)
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1-3 tsp ground cinnamon (adjust to your taste–I personally love cinnamon)
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Put all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 hours.
Mash with potato masher to desired texture.
Top with chopped roasted nuts or coconut milk whipped cream

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Broccoli Parmesan Zucchini Noodles

Growing up I had a lot of favorite foods. My parents owned a restaurant, and my Mom is an incredible cook. One thing I always loved was pasta with butter, broccoli and a dumpload of parmesan. Even when I was pregnant, I had her make it for me (yes, when you are pregnant your Mom should still cook for you regardless of age). Today after I got done with my daily report to her, I thought about what she used to make and this popped into my head…Let the craving begin. Im doing Whole 30 this month, so I decided to create this dish and make it totally Paleo. It came out incredible. I am betting my sister is going to be really happy I posted this!

Broccoli Parmesan Zucchini Noodles

Makes 1-2 servings (or 1 serving if you just got back from the gym and are STARVING)

1 zucchini, spiral sliced (if you dont have a spiral slicer, you need one. Or you can use spagetti squash)
1 cup broccoli flowerets, cut bite size
3-4 Tbsp “Paleo Parm” (recipe below)
1 tsp minced garlic
2 large or extra large eggs
2 Tbsp ghee/coconut oil
2 Tbsp coconut milk (canned)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Steam your broccoli however you like (I use the steamer basket in a pot with an inch of water-about 5 mins, covered).
Heat ghee/coconut oil in large skillet over medium heat.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, coconut milk and salt/pepper.
Add eggs mix to the pan and scramble away.
When the eggs are almost done, add the zucchini and the garlic and continue to sautee until zucchini is tender (about 5-6 mins).
Add broccoli.
Add parmesan to pan and toss the whole thing to coat.

“Paleo Parm”
Makes a jar of parm to use as you wish–sprinkle on veggies, coconut chips, meats, fish…
1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt

Combine ingredients in food processor and run until parmesan cheese texture. Store in a jar in the refrigerator.

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Quick Paleo Nutty Apple Bowl with Coconut Whipped Cream

It’s been chilly here in the Northeast. Morning walks to the bus stop require my fuzzy slippers and hoodie. Fall is my favorite season. Its the season of apple picking, pumpkins, boots and scarves. Here’s a great quick fall treat that’s whole 30 friendly and makes great use of the billion apples your kids picked!

Quick Nutty Apple Bowl with coconut whipped cream

Makes 1 bowl.
1 firm fleshed apple, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp macadamia nuts
1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

For coconut whipped cream
1 can chilled coconut milk (refrigerate can 24 hours)
1/2 tsp real vanilla extract

Heat skillet on medium high and melt coconut oil.
Add apples and nuts and sauté 2 minutes.
Add spices and continue to sauté until apples are tender (another 2 minutes).

Scoop coconut cream from top of can (the cream will separate from milk in the refrigerator–this is why it must be refrigerated) and place in mixing bowl.
Add vanilla.
Using a stand mixer or hand beaters, whip at high speed until light and fluffy.

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