Stainless Steel: Non-Toxic, High-Performance Cookware

 

stainless steel cookware

 

In the advent of convenience, a host of non-stick skillets, pans and pots have entered the cookware market. Made from a synthetic polymer and multiple chemicals, they may not be the best choice for the health of you and your family.

 

It’s hard to rationalize cooking your organic, fresh from the farm meat and produce on a toxic chemical-derived surface. We are exposed to environmental toxins at all angles, and I recommend cleaning up as much of your cookware, household cleaners and personal care products at home as you can afford. Do what you can within your control. 

 

I have received many questions about what cookware is the least harmful to use. My resounding answer is always stainless steel. Stainless steel is my preferred cookware choice for several reasons that extend beyond it’s safety. If you’re wondering what my second choice is…. cast-iron!

 

 

Stainless steel is the best cookware for creating flavorful, browned & tender food.

 

Stainless steel cookware heats evenly and it’s uncoated surface allows for rapid browning. The browning process is called the Maillard reaction that gives food it’s caramelized flavor.  Trust me, I’ve compared cooking with non-stick at my sister’s house to cooking with my stainless steel cookware set. It’s incredible the difference you’ll received in flavor and texture.

 

This Cuisinart 12-piece Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel set is what I use at home. This set has everything you need to transition your old stovetop cookware to stainless steel!

 

 


non toxic cookware

 

Stainless steel is the professional chef’s choice cookware for flavor and time.

Because of it’s even and rapid heating, stainless steel cookware cooks food faster than non-stick pans. I am able to saute cauliflower rice in 50% less time than I could with my previous coated cookware.

Crispy sweet potato fries straight from the stove are one of my favorite ways to use stainless steel cookware. Just heat your solid fat of choice and fry sweet potato wedges until crispy!

Stainless steel creates a nice crust on tender meats like ribeye steaks – especially helpful if you don’t have a grill but want a restaurant worthy meal at home!

 

 

Everyone’s biggest hang-up with stainless steel? CLEANING IT!

Stainless steel is easy to clean if you follow my tips!

Here are my top tips for easiest cooking & cleaning with your stainless steel cookware!

 

For easiest clean up, do not cook higher than medium heat on the stovetop.

Use enough fat to grease the pan or pot so that food does not stick.

If cooking a low fat protein such as chicken breast, continue to move the meat around until it has achieved a crust. This will help prevent it from sticking when you want to flip the meat.

Immediately after cooking is complete, transfer food to a serving dish. Run warm water over cookware and use a gentle bristle brush to scrub any stuck-on food off.

Use a vinegar cleaner to get stainless steel pans shiny and new after each use and cleaning! My favorite is Aunt Fannie’s. Just be sure to avoid a citrus scent since it can rust the steel.

Cooking eggs? Heat your stainless steel skillet over medium low or medium heat until warm. Add enough fat to cover entire bottom of skillet (1 tablespoon for a 9-inch skillet will do). Cook eggs as desired, using a rubber spatula to gentle move and lift them before they stick. Transfer eggs to serving dish and immediately run under warm water and use a gentle scrub brush to clean.

DO NOT use abrasive scrub brushes or products containing bleach or citrus-derived ingredients which can cause rusting.

 

 


 

 

 

This post contains affiliate links which I receive a small compensation if you choose to make a purchase through my site. 

Breakfast Fries with Bacon-Chive Crumble (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

 

paleo fries with bacon

The question here isn’t “Why would you eat fries for breakfast?” It’s “Why the heck not?”

These Paleo AIP Whole30 Breakfast Fries with Bacon-Chive Crumble came about on a Sunday morning. I wanted a hearty breakfast full of veggies and bacon, but I didn’t want ANOTHER skillet. I do a lot of skillets. No more skillets. JK made one today.

These loaded sweet potato fries could be eaten any time of the day. What makes them really special is the savory, salty bacon-chive crumble that is flavored with lemon & garlic! It makes all the flavors here pop so you’re not just eating a pile of boring vegetables.

You can find this recipe over on Autoimmune Wellness where I am a monthly recipe contributor!

CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE

 

 

 

Looking for more Paleo fries? Check these out!

Triple Meat Poutine

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Garlic Dill Parsnip Fries

 

 

Why I Joined the Beautycounter Movement

If you’ve been following here for awhile, you may have noticed I don’t take on many affiliates or sponsorships. I didn’t start blogging to make money or grow a business. I started Grazed & Enthused so that I could make an impact in the autoimmune community after having my life turned upside down from autoimmune disease and infertility. While this was never meant to be anything more than a free food blog, I was fortunate enough to be offered a cookbook contract after 1-year of blogging.

 

With The Healing Kitchen, I have been able to reach thousands more people who share something deeply in common: an unyielding effort to better themselves and their family through diet, lifestyle, toxin-free products and emotional healing.

 

My mission for this website is to a create a community of likeminded people who gather here with the sole purpose of improving their physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing. I have achieved my mission by offering allergy-friendly recipes every week for the last 3 years, establishing a social media community of women who have each other’s backs, and offering my personal experiences in the very public space that is the Internet.

 

Along the way, I have discovered the ways I can make the farthest reaching positive change. Beautycounter is one of those ways, and it has allowed me to connect with hundreds of women from all walks of life who want to clean up their personal care routine and protect their bodies and their family’s health.

 

I joined the Beautycounter movement 5 months ago, and it has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only have I gained friendships, but I am able to use my best assets to grow a business that helps to support my family while making a positive impact in other people’s lives. It’s a win-win-win.

 

After struggling with almost a decade of autoimmune disease and infertility, I have found my happy place with food, exercise and lifestyle choices like my skincare, makeup and household products. Once I educated myself on the negative impact toxic products have on our health, it was both relieving and empowering to make choices that support my health and the health of my 1-year-old daughter.

 

Beautycounter is an industry leader advocating for increased regulations in our poorly regulated personal care and cosmetics industry! They advocate at the federal level in Washington, educating lobbyists and Congress on the need for more stringent safety regulations. You can help by supporting Beautycounter in any of the 3 ways listed below.

 

Want to learn more about our Never List? Check out these Things you’ll NEVER find in any Beautycounter products!

 

How do I join Beautycounter?

Become a client, member or consultant.

I started as a client & I am now a consultant.

 

BECOME A CLIENT

Start switching your skincare and makeup products to safer and highly effective Beautycounter products. Scroll down to see my favorites! Need help color matching? Just email me so I can help. There’s a 60-day return policy on all products, even used products, so if you decide something isn’t right for you, you will get a 100% refund.

 

BECOME A MEMBER

A Band of Beauty member is a client who gains special privileges after joining the yearly membership program. I highly suggest becoming a member because your product credit can easily add up in one order to get a free product with your next!

For an annual fee of $29, you receive the following benefits:

** Free full-size product when you sign up & place an order with a $50 minimum (free gift changes every month!)

** Free shipping on orders over $100

** 15% product credit on all orders to use on future purchases – this adds up fast!

** Special deals throughout the year for members only

 

BECOME A CONSULTANT

 

Are you interested in joining my team to share your passion for non-toxic skincare, makeup and personal care products with your friends, loved ones, peers and community? Beautycounter consultants come from all walks of life. We are stay-at-home moms, nurses, therapists, nutritional therapy practitioners, functional medicine doctors, hair stylists, make up artists, small business owners, bloggers, waitresses, bank tellers, you name it. What we have in common is the drive to build a business for ourselves that makes a positive impact in our little piece of the world.

We are a direct retail company, which is different than an MLM. Beautycounter consultants are essentially the middle women for getting safer products in the hands of North Americans. This helps keep product costs lower & ensures the education piece of the movement stays intact.

 

By joining as a Consultant on my team, you will get:

** Personal mentorship by myself and our Managing Directors to help you grow and succeed. While we are independent consultants, it truly takes a village to change our beauty industry.

** 25% discount on all Beautycounter products as well as 40-50% discount at enrollment on your choice of several starter kits

** The ability to grow your own business from anywhere in the US or Canada and be part of a hugely successful and growing movement

 

How to join as a Beautycounter Consultant:

** Click this link to join today!

** Enter your email address and other required information to create your account. It will then say to “choose a mentor”, which defaults to “Beautycounter HQ.” Under that option, click “Select a different mentor”, and type in “Alaena Haber” in the first and last name section

** Add your $85 Enrollment Kit into your cart. This is the package you are required to purchase to become a consultant. It includes all of the information and learning materials you need to get started with your business as well as order forms and product catalogs

** You can also add one of the product packages at a discounted rate when you first enroll, or you can order specific products a la carte if you desire! I suggest taking advantage of the deeply discounted Starter Kits because your enrollment monthis the only time you will be able to receive such a deep discount on them!

** Once you finish the enrollment page and complete your order, you will be all set. I will be notified that you have joined my team, and I will be here to help you! You will begin receiving a series of emails from me and our team leaders with EVERYTHING you need to know to get started!

 

 

Questions about joiningas a client, member or consultant? Email me at alaena@grazedandenthused.com

 

 

My Safer Skincare & Makeup Favorites!

 

Beautycounter’s full Sun Protection line is my topchoice for adults and children over age 6 months old! It contains non-nano zinc oxide which is the safest mineral based sunscreen available. It’s important to avoid chemical-based sunscreens, which you can read more about in my article Safer Sunscreens for Your Family. 

 

 

beautycounter sunscreen

 

 

The Rejuvenating Collection is a highly effective anti-aging line that includes everything you need to combat fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, puffiness and dark circles! The Rejuvenating Eye Cream is a must and has helped my crows feet and puffiness significantly.

You can get the whole line in a discounted package or get each product individually. This line does NOT contain any harmful chemicals found in most anti-aging lines like Retin-a, parabens, phalatates or synthetic fragrances.

 

 

 

 

Beautycounter’s Tint Skin Foundation is a medium coverage, buildable moisturizing foundation that also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It gives your skin a bit of luminous glow without making you look shiny. It is gorgeous & instantly gives skin a beautiful boost!

 

 

Our Kid’s Bath Collection includes shampoo, conditioner and body wash made with safer ingredients that moms can trust. The colorful, kid-friendly pump bottles contain gentle yet effective bath time favorites and kids will love the berry and orange-vanilla scents! If you have a child under the age of 2, you may want to consider the Baby Bundle Collection which is what I use on Grace!

 

 

 

Looking for brighter, even and more vibrant skin? The No.1 Brightening Collection taps into the skin-boosting powers of vitamin C combatting sun spots, age spots, scars and dark spots. I’ve used it to heal old acne scars, sun damage from growing up in Florida & for glowing skin. 

 

beautycounter vitamin c collection

 

 

Why You Can’t Lose Weight Breastfeeding

 

 

Post-partum weight loss seems to be top of mind for many new moms. Part of this is an innate drive to return to our previous physique but I would argue the majority of our motivation stems from external influences.

 

These unrealistic expectations have wired our brains to expect a magical post-partum shedding of baby weight by simply breastfeeding or chasing after our toddlers which is the answer every celebrity named Jessica gives when asked how she got her body “back”. Note my sarcasm.

 

While some women are able to lose weight breastfeeding, there are many women who do not.

 

This can be a hard pill to swallow for those that are frustrated with a limited wardrobe and in the process of working through post-partum body image. Not only are we familiarizing ourselves with a totally new identity as a mother, but we also may feel internal or external expectations to return to a previous version of ourselves (physically and emotionally).

 

Compounding frustration may be stories of friends, family members and peers who say the weight just melted off with breastfeeding. I really think this tends to be more the exception than the rule though.

 

I personally have not lost any weight since 5 days post-partum.  I exercise most days of the week and eat a diet full of vegetables, seafood, meat, broth, fruit & adequate snacks. I am a healthy weight for my frame, able to sustain my milk supply to nourish my daughter at least 7-8 times a day, and fuel myself with enough food to energize my workouts. I am still 10 pounds over my normal weight and am 5-feet-tall. It’s noticeable and wardrobe-limiting, but more importantly it means my body is supporting my breastfeeding relationship by reserving its energy stores from something far more meaningful than a few aesthetic pounds.

 

Those are just 3 of many ways I feel healthy and happy in my “new body”. No it may not look the same – my breasts sag (one is quite a bit larger than the other due to her feeding preference), my hips are wider and I still don’t fit into some of my old pants, but I have nursed my daughter almost 4,000 times in the first year of her life. And that feels a lot better than any skinny jean would ever feel.

 

But after participating in several motherhood groups, I realize that many breastfeeding women are still frustrated with their weight despite being fully immersed in the joy that is motherhood. I wanted to do a little digging during my acceptance process (it’s been a difficult one and still is some days) because I enjoy learning about the physiological state of my body and hormones.

I’m writing this article in hopes that other breastfeeding women who feel frustrated with their weight loss resistance understand the strong influence lactation hormones have on our physiology and begin the process of acceptance of their beautiful breastfeeding bodies.

 

With this knowledge, we can continue to support and love our bodies through nutrition, movement, sleep, laughter and our favorite self-care activities. By understanding the incredible diligence of our lactating bodies, we can honor our current physical state with respect, love and nurturing, just like we do with our babies.

 

Some days will be harder than others. If you can tip the scales towards a more positive body image the majority of the time, your mental health will improve. Nothing feels worse than occupying our time and thoughts with an obsession about how we look. We’re missing the point of life (and joyful moments with the life you created). We’re only on this earth in this body once – how much time of it do you want to spend thinking about your appearance?

 

When those hurtful thoughts enter your mind, don’t just ignore them or let them fester and ruin your day. Address them. Ask yourself what just happened to cause that thought to occur? What is the underlying emotion – a feeling of inadequacy? Feeling under-appreciated by others? Mourning your previous life? You may have an unmet need that requires a fairly simple solution. My body image improved post-partum when I hired a nanny 6 hours a week and was able to leave the house do whatever I wanted – go to the beach, the gym, a coffee to shop to work. My weight hasn’t changed, but my sense of self has.

 

You not losing weight is not your fault. It is your body’s way of protecting your child by protecting your supply. Exercise and diet does not override your hormones.

 

Prolactin is the main hormone responsible for lactation. Prolactin is elevated during pregnancy along with estrogen and progesterone which prevent the production of breastmilk during pregnancy despite the presence of prolactin.

 

After a woman gives birth, estrogen and progesterone drop dramatically and a few days later our breastmilk comes in as prolactin remains high. The continued suckling of a baby sends a signal to your pituitary gland in your brain to produce more prolactin, subsequently maintaining your breastmilk supply. As long as you continue to nurse, your brain will continue to make prolactin and to a varying level suppress progesterone and estrogen. Prolactin levels are also dependent on pre-existing maternal conditions, genetics and stress.

 

You may have noticed that with the return of your post-partum period you see a dip in your supply a few days prior and during. That’s because estrogen and progesterone are no longer suppressed continuously and are cycling up and down as you ovulate and menstruate.

 

This inverse relationship between female sex hormones and prolactin may be a cause of weight loss resistance since adequate levels of estrogen and progesterone promote the metabolism of fat.

 

More importantly, prolactin decreases the ability of our tissues to metabolize fat according to a Swedish study of 30,000 women and men. Now the cohort in this study weren’t breastfeeding, so that’s my only issue with the study design, but it does give us potential insight into lactation-induced weight loss resistance.

 

Other lifestyle factors that contribute to weight loss resistance post-partum include the lack of time available for energy expenditure through exercise. Prior to giving birth, I had time to do a 45-minute circuit everyday and take my dog for 2 long walks, one in the morning and one in the evening. These days, my goal is to do something activity 30 minutes a day, which means I’m about 6 to 8 hours less active each week.

 

A breastfeeding woman also has an increased demand on her energy and nutrient stores. We must listen to our hunger signals to sustain our supply and properly nourish both ourselves and our babies. This isn’t the time to diet and cut calories, or we may compromise our supply and our health quickly.

 

I’ve seen this time and time again with friends. They want to lose the baby weight and subsequently their milk supply falls and they end up weaning their baby as early as a couple months old. This is likely the reason me and my sisters didn’t receive the benefits of extended nursing. My mom said she didn’t produce enough milk, but we both agree it’s because she wasn’t taking care of herself nutritionally. This lack of flexibility in our energy intake in order to maintain supply is another contributing factor to our decreased ability to return to our previous size.

 

So what’s a nursing mama to do?

 

Understand the physiological reasons for your inability to lose  weight or fat. Your body is smarter than you are & wants to preserve its back-up energy source via fat stores. The human body does not thrive in a famine, and it will do what it needs to prevent a famine environment, especially when a baby is involved.

 

Respect your body for what is has given this earth. You have created a life-giving force that will change this world. What it looks like in a mirror, or to other people is irrelevant to the health of your child and the lifelong love and bond between the two of you.

 

Do your best to nourish your body with the food and energy it needs to recover from pregnancy, maintain your supply, and keep your mood balanced. It’s 100% okay if your nutrition is not “on point” every single day. That is an exhausting expectation to put on yourself. If you think you “should” be eating certain foods, remove that negative energy expectation from your mindset. Instead, choose to eat nourishing foods, or choose to eat ice cream for dinner. But don’t feel guilty about your choice either way.

 

Move your body in ways that feel good to you. Same goes for exercise as it does for food: choose activities that you genuinely enjoy even if that means not renewing your Crossfit membership and walking an hour a day instead. This may not be the time to PR your deadlift or train for a marathon. You are doing the work of Mother Nature right now – and that is plenty of energy expenditure for a human body.

 

Find clothes that fit. I’ve had to overhaul key pieces of my wardrobe several times since conceiving. Breastfeeding and motherhood changes the shape of many women’s bodies. My bra size, shoulder width and hip width is greater now. Instead of stuffing myself in clothes that don’t fit properly, I decided which staples I couldn’t live without and found flattering pieces. For summer, several comfortable dresses, shorts and cute sandals go a long way.

 

Give comparison the axe. It’s easy to compare ourselves to other women. We may have feelings of jealousy when we see women without children, or women with children with body types we envy. Or we may compare our current self to our previous self – the most harmful comparison of them all. Something I have learned in my adulthood is the way someone looks has little to no bearing on their happiness, health, integrity, or heart. A woman who secretly struggles with disordered eating may look beautiful to someone else, but she may be wracked with anxiety and in chronic state of depression. Or a new mom who looks like she has it together may be struggling with her body image, marriage or maternal identity. When we judge others and compare them to ourselves, we are telling a double lie. Focus on your health, your baby’s health and the beautiful bond and family you have selflessly created.

 

Looking for more baby articles?

 

Check out of my post on how I introduced solids to my real food baby!

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Our Tongue Tie Revisions Story!

 

Roasted Bone Marrow Spread on Grain-Free Toast (Paleo, AIP)

 

bone marrow spread

 

 

Days that involve roasted bone marrow are days that I hope my faulty hippocampus remembers. Because they are the best days. Seriously, I have the worst memory out of anyone I know, and it has been severely compromised further since I had Grace. I can feed her, put her in her playpen, then 5 minutes later wonder if I fed her or not. We have been getting better sleep since I nightweaned a month ago, but I’m still drowsy a lot of the day. My adrenals are run down – I don’t know how you get through the first year of keeping a human alive without tanking your adrenals. Enter nutrient-rich foods like bone marrow.

 

I do have some tried and true methods for keeping me as alert, functioning & as capable as possible that do not involve caffeine though.

 

— My adrenals prefer a higher fat diet, but my nursing supply needs it’s carbs, so I switch between higher fat days and higher carb days to keep things balanced.

— Getting a daily dose of organ meat, even if it’s just a lil bite of Grace’s liverwurst, really does wonders for my energy.

— I also feel revived if I go sit out in the sun for an hour while she naps in the middle of the day, sleep until 7 am (I have been getting up at 6am to work out, but I’m going to cut back the number of days I do that to only 2-3 a week), and eat more frequently than I would if I weren’t breastfeeding.

— Being more diligent about either ingesting or topically applying magnesium – I usually see results almost instantly with supplementation.

— Coconut water helps balance my electrolytes and helps me stay hydrated when water seems to not cut it.

 

 

One of the easiest ways for me to get my energy in these days is with these Mission Heirloom Yucan Crunch crackers!

You can find them on Amazon and they qualify for free shipping! They are paleo & AIP which means free of grains & just 1 ingredient (yuca)!

 

 

I keep a 4-pack of Yucan Crunch wrapped tightly in my pantry & it lasts me at least 6 weeks like that. You can toast your crunch, or you can eat it par-baked the way it comes. My favorite way to toast it is in a 300 degree oven brushed with garlic-infused olive oil until lightly browned (I don’t use a timer – just keep a close eye on it). Most days I just eat it par-baked with something delicious smeared on top like smashed avocado, liver pate or smoked fish. 

 

 

But I’ve had a package of grass-fed marrow bones sitting in our deep freeze for a month, and bone marrow is one of Grace’s favorite foods (and one of her first foods) so I wanted to come up with a unique way of eating it that we both could share. She doesn’t eat the crackers of course – I just spoon teaspoon size balls on her tray and she picks them up and licks it off her fingers.

 

 

bone marrow butter paleo

 

 

This Sweet Bone Marrow Spread is made by combining freshly roasted bone marrow with baked sweet potato and coconut oil. It doesn’t have the super creamy texture of butter, but you could achieve that by just blending your roasted bone marrow with a whole avocado and refrigerating it until firm rather than using sweet potato here.

 

 

Instead, it is more of a smear to top crackers or use as some of the most nutrient dense baby food on the planet. The sweetness of this Bone Marrow spread will make it more palatable to babies as well (although Grace used to eat gloopy bone marrow by the handful at 6 months old, she no longer prefers it by itself).

 

 

If you think bone marrow sounds too fancy for you to make, it’s not! It really is just one of those high-priced items on steak menus that can easily be made at home, and snuck into your purse in a small glass container, and then quickly lumped onto your steak when the waiter walks away. Budget tips.

 

 

bone marrow gluten free

 

 

 

You can share this Bone Marrow Spread with your kids or hoard it all for yourself!

 

 

 

1 review

Sweet Bone Marrow Spread

Preparation 0:05 2017-05-29T00:05:00+00:00 Cook Time 0:20 2017-05-29T00:20:00+00:00 Yields 1/2 cup     adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 2 marrow bones, about 6-8 inches long
  • 2/3 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • for serving: flaked sea salt and ground cinnamon (optional but sea salt is recommended)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Roast marrow bones for 20 minutes or until the bones are browned and some of the fat is bubbling. Let rest until cool enough to handle.
  3. Use the long handle of a spoon to scoop all the marrow and fat out of the bones into the bowl of a food processor. Combine with sweet potato and coconut oil until very smooth.
  4. Refrigerate until firm for the best texture. Serve on Yucan Crunch or other crispy vehicle of choice with flaked salt and cinnamon sprinkled. For babies, you can serve warm on a spoon or cold.

 

 

 

 

bone marrow paleo

 

Real Food Guide to St. Petersburg

We have been back in the Bay Area for 6 months now, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the new gluten-free and Paleo-friendly offerings here since we moved away 4 years ago. I know the Tampa Bay area is a frequent tourist destination for familes and spring break, and I’ve gotten a ton of emails and messages about where to eat here! While I don’t go out to eat more than once a week, I have cultivated a nice little collection of restaurants I think you’ll enjoy. These aren’t all super AIP-friendly but if they are, I make a note below. You can eat Paleo at all of the places below with guidance from the kitchen and your server. These places are all located in St.Pete but some places in Tampa to check out include: Oxford Exchange, Boca Kitchen & Bar, Daily Eats & Ciccios/Water.

 

 

Coffee, Treats, Sandwiches & Soups

First, Craft Kafe is a bakery, coffee shop and restaurant that is 100% gluten-free and does not bring gluten-containing flours into their kitchen. They stone-grind their flours in house & make an impressive display of fancy treats every day. The owners have a Greek heritage so you’ll get hints of the Mediterranean in their pastries and energy bars. I enjoy the Energy Balls made from walnuts, dates, coconut and cacao powder and my husband is obsessed with their Vegan & GF Blueberry Loaf. What really makes Craft stand out is their open-faced sandwiches loaded with eggs, avocado, chorizo sausage and cheese (if you eat dairy of course). They also offer vegan soups, salads and homemade almond milk for coffee and tea that is made with water, almonds, dates and vanilla. Seating is limited at the beachside location but they are opening up a larger spot downtown soon!

 

 

 

 

Grassfed Steak, Grilled Veggies & Wine

One spot we like to frequent downtown for special occasions is Rococco Steakhouse. We first sampled their food at the Food & Wine Festival a few years ago and were super impressed with their composed dishes. These daysI stick more to the basics because the basics are oh so good. I get the grilled grassfed ribeye with grilled broccoli and asparagus. They also have a higher quality selection of wines and cocktails. It is a romantic atmosphere, so I recommend reserving this place for date night.

 

 

Fresh Seafood & the BEST Grilled Octopus

The owners of Craft also own Selene – one of the best restaurants on the beach. Come here at sunset and sit outside to get views of the gorgeous orange, yellow and pink skies. On the weekends, there is a low-key live band outside. The menu is influenced with Italian & Greek cuisine. They label GF options on the menu and there are also several AIP-friendly options as well. I get the Grilled Octopus every single time – it is addicting and is large enough to be an entrée if you aren’t sharing with a side of vegetables. I usually order the Grilled Catch of the Day with sautéed veggies on the side. I’ve had snapper, salmon & wahoo. All have been super delicious! Make a reservation because this place gets super packed on weekend nights – service is a hit or miss too!

 

 

 

Coffee, Coconut Water, Smoothies, Juices & Cider

Cider Press Café is an adorable vegan restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg that offers tons of veggie-filled dishes, smoothies, juices, fresh coconut water (my fave), kombucha, coffee and tea. Their homemade almond milk is my favorite in the area and their almond milk Americanos are a must-have! I haven’t been able to eat here yet because it is a pretty nightshade-heavy menu (vegans love their nightshades) but their smoothies are really fun & interesting and hefty enough for a light meal.

 

 

Yummiest Real Fruit Popsicles Around

We have several healthy popsicle companies in the area but, in my opinion, none of them compare to The Hyppo. I love the décor just as much as the pops – it’s fun, whimsical and very kid-friendly (and dog-friendly too!) They have a rotating selection of 500 (5 HUNDRED) popsicles and right now offer 3 juice pops that are completely AIP & Paleo friendly since they don’t contain added sweetener. I get the Kale Apple Cucumber juice pop for Grace all the time while my favorites for myself include Starfruit Basil, Pineapple Cilantro, Grapefruit, Cucumber Lemon & Coconut Avocado.

 

 

 

 

Healthy Grain-Free Fast Food

There’s one restaurant group in the area that pretty much owns the bank accounts of every Millenial here. They know what people want – fresh, fast and tasty food on a budget. Ciccio’s & Fresh Kitchen are owned by this group and they are great family-friendly places to grab protein and veggies. The only downside is they use canola oil mixed with their olive oil, but hopefully they’ll move away from that the more I complain about it? At Ciccio’s I always get the Citrus Chicken Bowl, leave off the tomatoes, add extra avocado and steamed broccoli and have it over spaghetti squash. Fresh Kitchen offers some neat bases for their bowls like sweet potato noodles, mashed sweet potato & kale slaw. They also label menu items as gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free which is helpful!

 

 

Favorite Healthy Grocery Store for Snacks & Prepared Food

Rollin’ Oats is where I WISH I could shop everyday – it’s a little too pricey for that but I always make a run over there each week to stock up on products I can’t find at our grocery chain here. For snacks, they have toooooons of energy bars, dried fruit, kale chips and chips like Jackson’s Honest and the new coconut oil Terra plantain chips. Last night for dinner, I grabbed their coconut oil roasted salmon and grilled vegetables (had to pick bell peppers out of them) and an energy bar. They have a big selection of ciders, wine, organic produce & cosmetics too.

 

 

Creamy Kale Salad with Mango & Figs

creamy kale salad

 

 

 

Whoo! It’s been a little bit since I posted a new veggie-heavy recipe! I love inspiration for new salads and side dishes, but it seems like most of my readers prefer main dishes and treats, so I tend to post those more often. But we cannot underestimate the value of a tasty kale salad that you actually look forward to eating!

 

I eat salad every single day but not because I am in love with the taste – I just know how much better I feel when I get a large amount of greens in my day.

 

This kale salad couldn’t be easier to whip up and is really delightful. The tangy avocado creamy dressing softens the kale while the mango and figs add sweetness and texture & the shallots add a little pop of flavor! Trust me – shallots and mango below together. You’ll see.

 

Yesterday we got home from a mini trip to my parents who live 3 hours away. It was just me, Grace & Rafael and our first time on the road together! On the way there, Grace screamed her head off for a solid hour until I finally was able to pull over and check on her. She had thrown her pacifier overboard and her face was bright red. I could see the blood vessels bursting out of her forehead & then I started to cry.

 

I felt so bad for not pulling over sooner, but I thought she would tucker herself out and take a nap (she despises the car seat even for short trips to the store so this is her normal). Once I soothed her and gave her Lamby back – she slept for a good portion of the remaining drive.

 

But then I realized I forgot her Pack n’ Play at home (where she was going to sleep at my parents) and her pajamas! So I had to stop at Target and buy another dang Pack n’ Play for the child. Traveling with a child ain’t easy…. I don’t know how people go to Europe & Asia with their kids. I envy their patience.

 

We also made a pit stop at an outdoor shopping mall so that I could do some retail therapy after the stressful drive. I find the best clothes when I’m stressed (I also ate a bar of Alter Eco Salted Dark Chocolate on the drive that was supposed to be part of my mom’s Mother’s Day gift…. well guess what, THIS mom needed it more. Gramma understood.) The chocolate and a new romper, dress and clutch did the trick!

 

I’m starting to overhaul my wardrobe. I used to dress really well and then when I went through a Hashimoto’s flare and gained a shit ton of weight, I couldn’t fit into any of my clothes anymore so I just bought a bunch of stretchy loose things that aren’t that flattering.

 

Then I went straight into pregnancy and post-partum from that flare, so it’s time to get back to enjoying clothing. I’m a pretty low key dresser – a combination of moderate boho with a lot of athleisure thrown in but I like a good, figure-flattering dress more than anything.

 

It feels confidence-boosting to start focusing on that little piece of me once again. I’m sure every new mom understands!

 

Looking for some other KALE RECIPES?

 

Golden Chicken & Kale

golden chicken and kale

Kale Pesto Chicken Soup

kale pesto chicken soup

 

 

 

 

This easy creamy kale salad will get your whole family to eat their greens thanks to the sweet additions of mango and dried Turkish figs!

 

 

1 review

Creamy Kale Salad with Mango & Figs

Preparation 0:10 2017-05-29T00:10:00+00:00 Cook Time 0:00 2017-05-29T00:00:00+00:00 Serves 2     adjust servings
creamy kale salad

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 6 cups chopped kale (stems removed)
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 6 dried Turkish figs, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, combine avocado, oil, lemon, vinegar and sea salt until smooth and creamy.
  2. In a large bowl, toss chopped kale with avocado dressing until well-coated and slightly wilted. Toss in remaining ingredients.
  3. Serve immediately or let flavors marry for 30 minutes prior to serving (my preference!) either room temperature or cold.

 

 

Paleo Baby Birthday Cake (Paleo, AIP, Nut-free, Sugar-free, Egg-free)

A

paleo smash cake

 

How cute is this Paleo Baby Birthday Cake made from sweet potato, beef tallow, carob, avocado and coconut flour!? It’s free of all grains, dairy, nuts and sweeteners which means it fits the bill for any real food baby, toddler or adults big day!

 

I cannot comprehend how my baby girl is going to be a one-year-old next month. My pre-baby life seems like an eternity away but only 365 days will have passed. They have been filled with emotions at every extreme and not a ton in the middle. Lots of laughing, smiling, heart-bursting joy but also my fair share of tears, frustration, anger and fatigue.

 

Motherhood is by far the hardest journey I’ve ever been on inclusive of my journey with Hashimoto’s and infertility. I spent many nights of my pregnancy up with anxiety about how I would be able to be the 24/7 guide for another life form. It’s just as hard as I thought it would be, but you take the good with the bad and you let the good keep you going.

 

 

paleo first birthday cake

 

I wanted to take some time today to reflect on what I’ve learned in the last year. You can skip ahead to the recipe if you’d like; this will just be my form of self-therapy.

 

 

Having your heart beat outside of your chest and inside the body of another human being is the scariest, most gut-wrenching feeling I can imagine. Every time I hear her cry my cortisol shoots up and I get a pit in my stomach. I know I can’t protect her from everything but I sure wish I could. Watching the news is near impossible for me now, traveling by airplane is a feat, and I’ve had to unpack a lot of post-partum anxiety lately. I know it’s normal, especially for someone who defaults on the anxious side, but it still needs to be addressed lovingly.

 

She makes me smile so wide and for so long, my lips are actually chapped by the end of the day. I thought high school and college were fun, but parenthood has me smiling and laughing more than ever before. She has taught me that my heart is a bottomless basket of love, care and pride. I wish I had more videos of the two of us interacting, but we are home alone so much that I’d have to set up a hidden camera to catch it all. Actually that’s not a bad idea

 

Part of me wishes that being a mother was my 1 and only purpose here on earth, but it’s not. It will always be my #1 purpose but I also am realizing I need to expand some of my love and attention to other areas of my life like my marriage, my career and my friendships. None of those things will ever give me the same type of joy and pride that she does, but they all make me a happier and more complete human

 

I am intrinsically terrible at asking for help. I really need to work on that (but I’ve come a long way since she was a newborn). Even though I’m a stay-at-home mom right now, I have a nanny who comes 6 hours a week so I can go work at a coffee shop, go to the dentist or get a pedicure. This has been extremely beneficial for my mental health. I’ve also started asking my husband for more help around the house. In fact, he vacuumed and steam-cleaned all the floors yesterday (amen, thank you to my incredible hub).

 

I’m not afraid to tell people no anymore. I used to say “yes” to everything that was asked of me, whether or not it benefited me or not. I am a giver and a helper by nature, and I also have an easily ignited guilty conscience (hello, kindling for autoimmunity and flares). Now if my gut tells me that a particular commitment is going to add stress to my life in an unproductive way, I say no and don’t feel bad about it. The book “Non-Violent Communication” has REALLY helped me with this. If someone is offended, disappointed or pissed off, oh well. Life is too short and modern life is too stressful already to constantly cater to others’ needs before your own.

 

There are no words for the love you have for your child. I cannot even attempt to describe the immensity of my love for my daughter. The fact that Hallmark tries to capture a mother’s love in a 100-word card baffles me. NO WORDS.

 

 

 

 

 

Okay let’s talk PALEO AIP BABY SMASH CAKE!

 

Now that all my sappy emotions have escaped my fingertips, here’s a little valuable information on this adorable 4-layer Baby Smash Cake! I was actually going to forgo birthday cake all together for her first birthday because

1) I didn’t think I could come up with a suitable cake that doesn’t have any grains, dairy, eggs, nuts or sweeteners (even natural ones like maple).

2) I wasn’t sure how I felt about getting her started on treats this early. What changed my mind: I didn’t want to regret not having an adorable, messy photo shoot of my daughter going ham on some cake. It’s an iconic photo!!

 

My first attempt included a similar birthday cake that was made with sweet potato, avocado and banana but the banana constipated her severely, so that was a big no-go! I landed on this version made from sweet potato (which adds sweetness, moistness, density & acts as a binder), beef tallow (healthy fat and it gives the cake its “donut” taste!), coconut flour (to help hold it together), cinnamon (adds a little sweetness without sugar), baking soda (for fluffiness) and an egg replacer (your choice: chia “egg” or gelatin “egg”). The frosting has the consistency of pudding and is made from a whole avocado, carob powder (a ‘chocolate’ flavor without the caffeine), coconut milk and a touch of coconut oil. The coconut oil helps thicken the frosting once it is refrigerated so that is goes on smoothly.

 

The texture of this cake is great for babies because it is soft, squishy and sort of melts in your mouth. I can only closely describe it to a pudding cake, if you’ve ever had one of those! The frosting in between each layer adds moisture too. I was concerned about making a cake that was too dry, her grabbing a giant bite and choking on it on her birthday. Again, still working on that new mom anxiety (eek).

 

 

This Paleo birthday cake is mom-approved in taste, ingredients & cute factor!

 

 

paleo baby cake

 

 

Please tag me in your messy baby birthday cake photos on Instagram or Facebook!

A NOTE ON SUBSTITUTIONS

I don’t recommend many substitutions here! All ingredients have a purpose. For example, the beef tallow is what gives the cake it’s fried donut taste (pre-cheap industrial oils, donuts and french fries were fried in delicious tallow!) If you replaced it with another solid fat like lard, it would definitely change the taste. For a baby, they won’t notice, but if you want to pick at the leftovers you may not enjoy it as much! I don’t recommend adding sweetener, it’s not necessary. If your baby does well with eggs, you can definitely use an egg in place of the gelatin or chia “egg”. No other grain-free flour will work here. Coconut flour has unique binding and moisture-absorbing properties. I would not use tapioca or arrowroot in its place of you’ll get a very gummy cake. You may leave out the cinnamon if your baby has an intolerance to it; the flavor will be slightly altered and it won’t be as sweet or donut tasting. You can replace the avocado in the frosting with coconut cream most likely in a 1:1 ratio. I prefer avocado because of the fiber and other nutritional properties that make it easier to digest than something as high in fat as coconut cream.

 

 

 

aip birthday cake

 

 

Happy Birthday, Baby! Get as messy as you want with this allergy-friendly sweet potato & “chocolate” cake!

 

 

 

1 review

Paleo Baby Birthday Cake

Preparation 0:15 2017-05-29T00:15:00+00:00 Cook Time 0:15 2017-05-29T00:15:00+00:00 Serves 1-4     adjust servings
paleo smash cake

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 large baked sweet potato (1 cup mashed), cooled
  • 1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons beef tallow, melted (measure before melting)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 chia egg or 1 gelatin egg (recipes in notes)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

For the frosting

  • 1 ripe medium avocado, pitted
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk or cream, room temp
  • 1/4 cup carob powder
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have a 3-inch biscuit cutter handy for easy preparation of cake layers.
  2. Prepare the cake. In a food processor, combine the 1 cup mashed and cooled sweet potato with the coconut flour, beef tallow, baking soda and cinnamon until smooth.
  3. Prepare the gelatin or chia "egg" according to directions in notes below. With the machine running, drizzle in the "egg" along with the lemon juice and combine for 30 seconds until smooth.
  4. Place biscuit cutter on baking sheet. Scoop 1/4 cup batter in the cutter and use wet hands to smooth batter into an even circle. Remove biscuit cutter carefully. Repeat this step 3 more times for a total of 4 3-inch mini cakes.
  5. Bake cake layers for 15 minutes. They will rise slightly and be fairly soft when you remove them from the oven. They will firm up as they cool. Cool cake layers completely on the countertop (don't skip or rush this step or the warmth will melt your frosting!)
  6. Meanwhile, while the cakes are baking prepare the frosting by combining all ingredients in a clean food processor until very smooth. Transfer frosting to a glass bowl and keep in fridge while the cakes cool.
  7. To frost the cake: Transfer 1 layer to serving plate. Apply generous layer of frosting on top using a butter knife or mini spatula. Repeat with remaining 3 layers, ensuring you save enough frosting to frost outside of cake too!
  8. Store cake in fridge until ready to serve! Leftovers can be stored for up to 5 days! I ate her leftovers cold for breakfast and they seriously filled my donut void!

Recipe Notes

Each recipe below makes 1 "egg" which is what this recipe calls for:

Chia Egg: Grind 3 tablespoons of whole chia seeds in a clean coffee or spice grinder. Measure out 1 tablespoon of ground chia and mix with 3 tablespoons of cool water. Let sit in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes to thicken.

AIP OPTION Gelatin Egg: Whisk 1 tablespoon gelatin with 1 tablespoon cool water until frothy. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of hot water until thickened. Immediately use your gelatin egg where call for in the recipe.

 

White Tea Rose Latte (Paleo, AIP)

 

white tea latte

 

I’m so excited my contributor recipe for Autoimmune Wellness is finally up for the month! Mostly because I am now reminded how delightful this white tea latte was when I made it last month. There’s something incredibly calming about taking time to make a special warm beverage, and sitting down to enjoy it all by yourself. I sipped on this frothy little mug of floral, slightly sweetened deliciousness one morning while doing some mundane emails, and it made the moment much more enjoyable.

 

A lot of you have asked where to get rose water! It’s a very affordable rose essence water used commonly in Middler Eastern cooking, particularly baked goods that you see the pastry cases of Greek and Lebanese restaurants. I really recommend exploring other culture’s ingredients in your home cooking. It can spark a love for cooking you didn’t know you had and keep things exciting while on an elimination diet. Even if you’re on a Paleo diet for weight loss, it’s still important to get out of your food rut because there are joy and nutrients to be found outside of steak, avocado, asparagus and sweet potato. Sooo much joy.

 

 

white rose tea latte

 

 

Get the recipe for this White Tea Rose Latte!

 

 

 

white tea latte

Paleo Tortillas (AIP)

 

paleo tortillas

 

There’s nothing that quite gets the Paleo community hot & bothered like a good tortilla. We all just like to roll, stuff, and crunch our way into meat & veggies. Nothing wrong with that, my friends.

 

I used to buy Siete Cassava & Coconut Flour Tortillas but I haven’t been able to find them in my neighborhood! They’re pretty yummy – thin, flexible and taste close to a flour tortilla! When cooked they are soft and crispy-fried. I just can’t afford to buy them regularly, so I wanted to make my own AIP-friendly tortilla at home more affordably!

My Plantain Wraps in The Healing Kitchen are another option.  They’re quite popular among the THK Ride or Dies – pliable, soft and fluffy! They make excellent wraps too, but they aren’t super thin like a traditional tortilla and don’t have the taste of a flour or corn tortilla. But if you are looking for a plantain-based option – there you go!

 

paleo aip tacos

Fill your tacos with your favorite protein, avocados & toppings! I chose ground chicken, avocado, onion and cilantro and then sausage and kale!

 

 

These Paleo Tortillas are made with just a few simple ingredients: arrowroot and coconut flours, olive oil, baking soda and sea salt. Instead of cooking them on a stovetop, which can be really tricky, I bake these in the oven. I actually based the recipe on my Pizza Crust because so many of you were telling me you would use the pizza crust recipe as a wrap! I changed up the ratios and technique though – once baked into 6-inch tortillas they are lightly pan-fried in beef tallow so you can eat them as “soft” or “hard” tortillas.

 

 

A note on substitutions: Tapioca starch is generally replaceable for arrowroot starch, but I have not tried it myself in this recipe. You can replace the olive oil with avocado oil, but I prefer the taste of olive oil in tortillas. I link to the baking soda and cream of tartar I use. If you cannot find cream of tartar, you can use the same amount of apple cider vinegar, but your tortillas won’t be quite as soft. It’ll still work though! Okay I think I covered all the inevitable substitution questions!

 

 

aip taco shells

 

If Taco Tuesday isn’t already your thing, it’s about to be!

 

 

1 review

Paleo Tortillas

Preparation 0:15 2017-05-29T00:15:00+00:00 Cook Time 0:10 2017-05-29T00:10:00+00:00 Serves 6     adjust servings
paleo tortillas

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Bob's Red Mill arrowroot starch
  • 2/3 cup Bob's Red Mill coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • beef tallow for frying (for hard shells)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside a separate 8 square inch piece of parchment paper for step 3.
  2. In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the warm water until well combined. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the warm water and process for 45 to 60 seconds until a wet, fluffy "dough" forms. This will not look like regular dough - it is drier and more crumbly but sticks together when pressed.
  3. You are going to make 6 tortillas with 3 on each baking sheet. Form 3 balls of dough, 1/4 cup each in size, on each baking sheet. Using the extra piece of parchment paper from step 1, use your hands to roll out each ball into a 1/8-inch thin, 6-inch diameter tortilla. Make sure to adequately space out your tortillas so they don't touch. Please take your time when smoothing out the dough to ensure it is even and the edges are smooth! This is important for your tortilla-enjoying experience.
  4. Bake tortillas for 6 minutes in preheated oven. The tortillas should be a pale off-white color and not too brown around the edges. Transfer parchment paper to countertop to allow tortillas to slightly cool. These are your soft shells.
  5. For hard shells: Heat small stainless steel pan over medium heat. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons beef tallow to coat bottom of pan. Use your hands to fold tortillas into the shape of a hard shell and press bottom side of shell into pan for 30 seconds until crispy. Place tortilla on side, maintaining the hard shell shape, and fry each side for 30 seconds. Let cool on paper towel lined plate before filling with your favorite taco night ingredients!

 

 

paleo aip taco tortilla