Soaking up the Summer! Roadtrips, Snack Food, and Insecurities!

Ok, so I know over and over again I have apologized at length about neglecting this bad boy.  Well, I’m done apologizing.  I realize I’ve taken quite the break from posting on here, but I’ve been very UNapologetically enjoying my summer and living life to the fullest!  I’m taking advantage of the precious few days/weeks that I have left before I go back to school and there’s nothing to feel sorry about in that!  If that irks you, meh, get over it!

As I sit here typing, I am waiting anxiously for morning to come so that I can embark on my roadtrip to Texas!  Some may think that it’s absolutely ludicrous to spend multiple hours in the car alone….I CAN’T FREAKING WAIT!  Sometimes it’s all dark and stormy for me to be alone in my own head on the open road, but I am in desperate need of this time to sort some stuff out!  Admittedly, I am really pretty apprehensive about being out of my own kitchen and my gym for almost two weeks.  But what the hell.  Life is about embracing the fear and giving it hell, right?  That’s what I’m telling myself at least!  Plus, I prepped some snacks for the road and packed ALL of my workout clothes as well as my jump rope and a kettle bell.  So really, I see that as preparing myself for success!

Before I get to food, I just need to say that my 10 year high school reunion was last weekend.  It was about as good as I expected it would be.  The hardest part of it for me was that I was THAT girl.  You know, the one that a ton of people had to second guess as to who it was.  I posted this picture on facebook on the morning of my reunion:

10 year change

The left side was taken on the morning of my high school graduation in May 2003 and the pic on the right was taken the morning of my 10 year reunion (July 2013).  It kind of set me back a bit looking at the comparison.  First, I guess I hadn’t realized I was that big by the end of high school, and secondly, I realized that I actually got quite a bit bigger before I started losing weight.  Anyway, this comparison photo was shared among several people and I got a ton of really positive comments on it.  Many of them somehow involving the word “inspiration”.  I have to admit that that particular word makes me really awkward.  I want my various passions to inspire people.  I want to inspire my students and those around me to continue their own education on whatever topics fascinate them.  I want my actions, purpose, and interactions with others to inspire those around to treat people better.  Yeah, I lost weight….a LOT of it.  And yes, I have done a complete 180 with my life, my choices, my social circles, my desires, and my needs.  To say that I’m humbled by people calling me an inspiration would be inadequate.  I don’t know, I’m probably just insecure.

Ok enough head case ranting.  I made some BOMB Banana Bread Granola for my trip tomorrow! Not gonna lie, the cooking time is gonna be a bit sketchy because my power went out towards the end of baking….so you might have to play around with the timing.  But the flavor is OUT OF CONTROL!! I swear, it tastes just like banana bread.

banana bread granola

Banana Bread Granola

  • 1.5 cups mixed nuts of choice, roughly chopped (I used pecans and cashews…it’s what I had on hand!)
  • 10-12 dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 smallish very ripe bananas (I’m talking brown and spotty on the peel….that means they are SUPER sweet!)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat up your oven to 325 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork until they are almost pureed smooth.
  3. Add in your melted coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, and salt. Mix well to combine.
  4. Stir in your nuts, coconut, and dates….making sure you coat all dry ingredients well.  The dates will probably clump up together, just try to break them up as much as possible.
  5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out your granola mixture onto the baking sheet.  Make sure it is in an even layer, and spread pretty thinly., no more than 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Bake for 40 ish minutes, stirring the mixture halfway through.  You want to bake until the granola starts to brown a bit and has dried out some.
  7. Remove from the oven and LET IT COOL!!  It is the cooling that makes it all “crispy” and granola like!  Due to the “wet” nature of this mix, it may never crisp up completely.  But I found that I really kind of like the chewy texture of mine!
  8. Once it has cooled completely, I stored mine in an airtight container in the fridge.

Such a sweet and delicious paleo treat!  Can’t wait to smash on this in the car!!!  With that, realize it may be a bit until I post another full out entry, BUT be sure to follow me on FaceBook and I will be sure to post tasty food pics of what I’m smashing on during my travels! And while you’re at it, check yourself….be an inspiration for someone.  Do it! Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister

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Baking Queen

baking supplies

Hey friends!  So it’s been a crazy past few days!  Last week was full of prepping for my annual Luau at my house.  The party ended up being a giant success!  Lots of awesome people in attendance and TONS of great food!  I love hanging out with the folks from my gym, they are a stellar crew.  Pretty sure I drank my body weight in hard cider, but who cares!  It’s summer.  Live it up, I say!

This week is ALL about baking.  I’ve been prepping all week for The Duo competition on Saturday.  Because I’m going to have a booth set up, I’ve been doing LITERALLY nothing but baking every afternoon, evening, and night this week.  I’m kind of over it!  In my fridge right now are four pans of Maple Bacon Blondies, four pans of Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies, about 10 dozen Oreo Balls waiting to be dipped in chocolate, and enough Chocolate Chunk cookie dough for about 15 dozen cookies.

I can’t wait for Saturday to be here so that I can stock my fridge with REAL food again and get back into a regular eating schedule instead of eating random protein that is hiding in the back of my fridge.  So because of all of the baking, I have no recipe for you.  I suck at life.  I know.  My bad.  Again, it’s summer. Meh!  Make some desserts that I’ve linked up top.  If you haven’t tried them out before, get on it now!  OR better yet! Show up on Saturday and just buy the treats I’ve already made!  Do it.  It’s a Win-Win!

Well that’s all I’ve got for right now!  If you don’t hear from me for a few days, there’s a really good chance I’m in a sugar coma.  Somebody bring me a steak and some veggies…..

Until then, Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister

Birthdays and Bacon

Oddly enough, the two go completely hand in hand!  I’m sitting here, writing to you all on the eve of my 28th birthday.  I remember a time when I thought, “Damn! 28 is SO OLD!”  Ha.  Right.  Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t know how I feel about getting closer to 30, but I feel awesome about my age.  That being said, I feel like 27 is going to be a very hard year to beat.  I discovered CrossFit, went fully Paleo, and began reclaiming my life as my own while I was 27.  I traveled, I met TONS of amazing people, I launched a blog, and I have tried my hand at selling my Paleo baked goods.  For real, 27 was pretty stellar.  So, BRING IT 28! You had better be freaking awesome, because you have some major expectations to rise up to!

On to bacon.  I can’t express enough how much I love bacon.  Hell, I have a bacon figurine that sits on my desk at school that I refer to as my “boyfriend”.  Several of my students have commented that they are bringing me bacon tomorrow as birthday gifts.  That is just weird to me….and unless it is in an unopened package, will NOT be consumed by me.  I ain’t dumb.  I love em, but I don’t trust middle schoolers with food handling or prep of ANY kind and I don’t really want to spend my birthday in the bathroom.

Couple of exciting things are going down!  The first is that I will be selling my Paleo treats at CrossFit Artis during “The Duo” event on June 29th.  Check out their page for info!  It’s going to be an AWESOME day!  Not to mention, I’ll be there, slinging treats.  What can beat that?!? Nothing.  That’s what. Not a damn thing.

Secondly, I recently bought what I like to call “almost booty shorts”.  This is HUGE for me.  I can’t even begin to describe how huge this is….I mean, I spent the better part of my life HATING my body, especially my thighs.  Let’s face it. They pretty much dominate my legs.  Anywho, I’ve apparently begun to embrace them OR I’ve quit caring what people think, because after the one ridiculously hot day this past week, I put my foot down and went out and bought some shorts!  No more WODing in capris.  It’s too freaking hot! So yeah, if you happen to be around the gym and you catch me in spandex, deal with it.  I have, and they are kind of making me feel awesome…..so if you rain on that for me, I might have to punch you square in the face! 🙂

Back to bacon.  I made this bacon egg scramble tonight to eat for breakfasts for the remainder of the week, and it was SO GOOD!  Plus, it was stupid easy to make.  I know the picture kind of sucks, but trust me, get after it!

bacon egg scramble

Bacon Breakfast Scramble

  • 8 strips bacon, diced
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 bell peppers of choice (I used a little red, orange, and yellow) diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. In a deep skillet, cook up your bacon pieces.  The time will vary based on the thickness of your bacon, heat of the pan, etc.  Just be careful not to burn your bacon.  That’s a most tragic event.
  2. When your bacon is crisp, remove it from the skillet, leaving the bacon fat behind in the pan. Place it on a paper towel to drain some of the grease off.
  3. Add your peppers, onions, and garlic to your skillet.  Saute the veggies in the bacon fat for 5-7 minutes over medium high heat, or until they become translucent and begin to soften.
  4. When you veggies are cooked through, add back in your bacon. Cook together for a couple of minutes.
  5. Lastly, add in your scrambled eggs and your hot sauce.  Scramble the eggs into the mixture, keeping it moving around your pan so it doesn’t burn.
  6. When your eggs have cooked through, (3-5 minutes later) taste it for salt and pepper.  Season to your liking and serve!

I am planning on topping mine with some fresh avocado and smashing on breakfast like a CHAMP!  This is going to be a birthday breakfast of champions!  Enjoy your bacon, your thighs, and your birthday! Because I’m going to enjoy the HELL out of mine! Peace, Love, and Paleo.

-Meister

Orange Pecan Cookies

orange pecan cookies

Apparently, I shouldn’t go on vacation.  Ever since I got back from Austin, I have been getting gradually sicker and sicker.  It sucks, pretty hardcore.  I finally caved and am taking the day off tomorrow, mostly to sleep…because I haven’t been doing any of that lately.

In other news, because of said sickness, I have watched several random movies this evening.  I NEVER just sit on my couch and watch movies, like ever.  I get all sorts of antsy, so I’m usually reading or working on some sort of project.  So naturally, I started baking these cookies tonight while watching movies.  I figured, hell, I pay for all of these channels, might as well watch some!  So far tonight, I’ve watched “Friends with Benefits” “Apollo 13” and now I’m watching “The Other Boleyn Girl”.  This movie is nuts!  Henry VIII was NUTS! But Eric Bana is pretty to look at….so this movie is watchable.

On a slightly sadder note, I think I’m gonna hang up my baking mitts for a while.  Starting Monday, I’m beginning what I’m dubbing the “Cancun Challenge”.  I’m 99% sure I’m going to Cancun in July and I want to look as amazing as possible in the swimsuit I just bought.  Therefore, starting Monday, I’ll be officially doing another Whole30…..which will actually be more like a Whole90.  No more paleo treats for me…..but have no fear, I’ll continue to bring you deliciousness.  It just means I’m going to have to rely heavily on taste testers!

Without further ado, here are these tasty little devils!

Orange Pecan Cookies with Orange Coconut Butter Drizzle

For the Cookies (makes about 5 dozen):

  • 5 cups almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup raw honey
  • zest and juice (about 1/2 cup) from 2 oranges
  • 2 cups chopped pecans (I used dry roasted, unsalted ones)
  1. In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.  Mix in your pecans with the dry mix!
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix together all of your wet ingredients, including the orange juice and the zest from both oranges. (Seriously, invest in a microplane or a zester, the are AWESOME!!)
  3. Mix your wet ingredients into your dry, combining thoroughly.
  4. At this point, I usually refrigerate the cookie dough for at least an hour.  This makes it WAY easier to roll later.
  5. When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Roll your dough into walnut sized balls (about 1″) and slightly flatten them.
  7. Place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes. I let mine go for just under 10 minutes and the were perfection!
  8. LET THEM COOL!!!  For real, let them cool for at least 30 minutes before you even think about putting the drizzle on them.  If you don’t want to top with the drizzle, feel free to smash on these bad boys as soon as they are cooled!

For the Orange Coconut Butter drizzle:

  • 3 tablespoons coconut butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • pinch of salt
  • small splash of vanilla (1/8 teaspoon for you measuring types)
  1. Put all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Microwave for about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir all together.
  4. Use a spoon to drizzle the mixture over the cookies all fancy like!  Or if you are feeling really fancy, you can make your own “pastry bag” out of a ziploc bag.  Load your drizzle goo into a baggie, seal it, and snip a small amount of the corner off.  Drizzle that deliciousness all over your cookies.
  5. STUFF your face!!

These are simply delightful!  I hope you enjoy them.  I’m trying my best to NOT eat all of them….please send strong willed thoughts my way as I embark on the Cancun Challenge!!  It’s gonna be really tough, especially because I also won’t be drinking….like at all.  Crazy.  I know.  Last time I did that I lost a whole bunch of my friends over it. Meh, oh well!  Sending delicious paleo treat love your way! Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister

Laundry, Packing, and bars……GO time!

No, not the drinking kind of bars…although I’m pretty sure a few of those will be involved this weekend, but more like the fruit and nut kind of bars!  Perhaps even venture to call them “knock off” bars…..you know the ones I’m talking about!  Not gonna mention them here….I don’t need to go an get myself flagged, or worse, sued!  Oh the horror!!!  Ain’t NOBODY got time for that!  Anyway, I made these:

larabars

And they were freaking delicious!! So that’s the recipe you all will be granted this evening!

Before I get to that though, times are super exciting!  First of all, I am packing my suitcase (not really yet, but I will be in a little bit) gearing up to head to Austin, TX for a long weekend of Paleo LOVE!!!  Yep, I’m going to the PaleoFX conference. Go ahead and click on that link, find the speakers and schedule tabs and cream your little Paleo jeans.  I’m BEYOND excited!!!  I’m prepared to geek out pretty hardcore, good thing I’ve got my girl Missy with me to keep me in check and out of jail!!

In addition to the conference, Austin may be one of the greatest towns in ALL the land!  I’m pumped to be going back there.  One of my bestest buddies in the whole wide world lives there, and it’s been way too long since I’ve seen his face.  Throw in getting to meet up with one of my totally rad cousins and her BF, and I’m like a fat kid in a cupcake shop!!  Needless to say, this is the EXACT weekend I need before getting into the swing of State Testing at school.

Last bit of exciting news, I picked up these little beauties today!!!

PM shirts

Yep, it’s legit!  I can’t wait to see people reppin’ these!!  Not to mention, the women’s cut ones are completely obnoxious….I mean baby blue/teal with purple screen printing?  I mean, who even suggests that?!?  Oh wait…. MAJOR thanks and props to the guys at Courtyard Ink!  They were totally amazing to work with and created some extremely quality work.  Much love guys, and you are definitely getting any of my business in the future!!

Anyways, enough blabbering!  The bars were super easy to make, did it all in the food processor!  In the future, I’m planning on adding some Paleo protein powder to these bad boys to make protein bars…..oh yeah, that’s happening.  Can’t freaking wait!

Salted Almond Fruit Bars….with a hint of Cocoa

  • 1 pound dates, pitted and chopped into chunks
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped (I used dry roasted ones….salted or unsalted, whatever you dig!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Add your chopped dates to your food processor and pulse until they become a paste.  They will clump into a giant ball, you will have to push it down multiple times….get used to it, you’ll have to do it on almost every single step during these!
  2. Add in your coconut oil, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla.  Pulse until they are incorporated, again, pressing it down whenever it comes into a ball.
  3. Next add in your shredded coconut and your chopped almonds.  Again, pulse until they are all combined, pushing it down when needed.
  4. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper.  You will want to leave a little hanging over the edges so you can lift your bars out later.
  5. Using your hands (it’s honestly the easiest way….so get down and dirty!) press your mixture into an even layer in your pan.  You want to make sure they are pretty densely packed, mine ended up being about 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Toss that pan in the freezer for at least an hour, a couple if you’ve got the time.
  7. Lift your bars out and slice them to whatever size your heart desires.  I got 12 bars out of mine.
  8. Wrap individually in parchment paper and store in the fridge until you want to smash!

If you want them with more of a chocolate kick, add more cocoa!  Want to use a different nut, get after it!  Live your life.  With that, I’d better get on to actually packing!  I might post some randomness from Austin over the next couple of days, but nothing legit until next week…..most likely.  Please understand, k thanks!  Until then, peace, love, and PALEO y’all!

-Meister

Er-mah-GERD! Chocolate Hazelnut Pie!

chocolate hazelnut pie

For REAL!?!?  I’m not even kidding with this pie when I say that my dad is convinced this could be served in a fine dining establishment.  He will eat almost anything I make, but this one topped his list as “I would NEVER EVEN GUESS this is Paleo!!!”  That made my heart happy…..especially when he said he needed an entire pie, not just the one slice I took him.  I’ve been caught saying that this is the recipe that is gonna land me a husband someday.  It’s completely OUT OF CONTROL!  In fact, I can hear the leftovers whispering to me right now from my fridge.  Not even lying when I say that I’m really, REALLY glad I’ve got myself to a better place in my life….because the old me would have eaten this entire pie with a bottle of wine for dinner and wallowed about how crappy things are.  Not saying that won’t happen at some point this weekend, but STILL!  The fact that there is pie in the fridge at this point is a massive triumph!

Today is the last official day of my Spring Break.  I’m somewhat sad.  I did absolutely nothing, and that was great, but I feel like I also haven’t accomplished much. Eh, gearing up for Austin I guess!  Plus, getting back into the routine of waking up early is not going to be fun!  Oh, and it’s snowing today.  What the HELL, Nebraska?  Get your act together!  I’m beyond over this weather!  I’m counting down the days until I leave for Austin, TX next week.  Which I’m completely STOKED for!  I know I’ve said it before, but seriously, I can’t freaking wait!!

Really not looking forward to Open Workout 13.3, mostly because I hate wallballs.  In fact, hate doesn’t even begin to cover it.  I really like having the ability to walk, especially up and down the stairs……I’m already having nightmares of what my legs will be like after I finish that workout.  It’ll be like my first 2 weeks of CrossFit all over again…….going down the stairs backwards, drowning my quads in Icy Hot, and needing to use the handicapped stall for the sheer purpose of having the grab bars if I need them.  No joke.

Alright, enough of my whining.  On to pie!  This recipe takes a bit of love, but in the end it’s really pretty easy.  I mean, you make the entire thing in the food processor….what could be easier than that??

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie

  • 1 bag Enjoy Life chocolate chunks, split in half
  • 1 cup hazelnuts (I used dry roasted, unsalted from Trader Joe’s….they have a good price!)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (plus a bit more to dust your pie pan)
  • 3/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup hot water (like almost boiling)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (not melted)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and make sure you have a rack in the bottom 1/3 of your oven.  It seems weird, but this bad boy needs to cook near the bottom.
  2. In your food processor, place half of your chocolate chunks, your hazelnuts, and 1/4 cup of coconut flour.  Pulse until you get small chunks.  You don’t want them to get too small….this is what gives your pie some crunch.  I would pulse until all pieces are about the same size. Dump this into a separate bowl.
  3. In your now empty processor bowl, add in the rest of your chocolate chunks and your raw honey.  Pulse this until they come together.
  4. While the processor is running on low, slowly add in your hot water and keep blending until all of the chocolate has melted.
  5. Remove the lid and add in your salt, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut oil, and eggs.
  6. Pulse a few times so that it all incorporates.
  7. Now, add back in your chocolate chunk, hazelnut, coconut flour mixture.
  8. Pulse a few times to combine everything.  Not too much though, you don’t want to break your chunks and nuts into smaller pieces.
  9. Pour your batter into a 9 inch pie pan that has been brushed with coconut oil, and dusted completely with coconut flour.  It will almost completely fill the pan, don’t worry!  (I have not tried this in glass, so I would stick to a metal pie pan….I make to guarantees with it baking the same/coming out cleanly with a glass pie plate)
  10. Bake for 35 minutes in the bottom 1/3 of your oven at 350 degrees.
  11. Remove from the oven at 35 minutes, no matter what.  It may not look done in the middle, that is FINE.  It may have risen strangely, that is FINE!  It will all settle itself out, don’t worry!!
  12. Let cool on the counter for an hour.
  13. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, overnight is great too!
  14. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes prior to serving!
  15. Top with paleo whipped cream and SMASH!!!

I topped mine with a few fresh blackberries, because I’m currently obsessed with those!  No berry is same in my house…..Not even lying, plan to share this with friends and family, or be prepared to hide it from yourself.  It’s INSANE!! Peace, Love, and Paleo y’all!

-Meister