Comfort food: the name means different things to different people. Almost everyone I know has at least one food they can think of that makes them feel calm and cozy, reminds them of home and most importantly tastes freaking fantastic. I happen to have more than a few comfort foods, mostly because my mother was/is a great cook. Among the top of the list are: Chicken Corn Casserole, Beef Stroganoff, Tuna Helper (yes the shit from the box, it reminds me of camping as a kid) and Chicken Pot Pie.

The last one is a rather new addition to the list. Mum never made it very much when I was a kid as far as I can remember, but Meghan’s mum makes it a few times a year and its just the best. I could honestly eat an entire one of Carole’s pies in one sitting. Granted I could say that about a lot of foods, but its definitely true when it comes to chicken pot pie. That being said, behold! Paleo Chicken Pot Pie:

http://cosmopolitanprimalgirl.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/paleo-chicken-pot-pie/

I decided to forgo the almond flour crust as I needed to save my almond flour for the protein bars. I replaced the crust with mashed potatoes instead. Now technically potatoes aren’t entirely paleo, there’s no literature that says that they’re bad for you but they’re generally frowned upon because of the high starch content. However, I work out 4 times a week and play badminton 4 times a week on top of that, so I’m thinking that starch doesn’t spend a whole lot of time in my body. This pie was seriously tasty though, I really enjoyed it and it tasted exactly how it was supposed to. Mine was a little more liquidy than maybe it should have but I think I added too much chicken stock.

Now for the protein bars. For these I basically did a whole bunch of research and compiled all of my favourite things about the different recipes into my own special recipe. Boy did it ever work, these bars are seriously tasty. They’re actually a bit too tasty, I just want to eat them all right now. But they were made to be a quick nutritious snack for before the gym or practice so I must exercise self control (get it? exercise, gym, sharp like a tack I tells ya). Here’s the recipe I made, feel free to tweak things as you see fit:

1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup flax meal
3 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup coconut flakes
2 1/2 cups chopped mixed nuts (I used almond, macadamia, sunflower seeds, raisins)
4 tbsp almond butter
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix everything except the nuts together first so that its like a smooth sticky paste. This is the base of the bars so its important that there’s no lumps or anything. Then add in the nuts and mix until they’re all incorporated. Pour into a lined baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Should make about 15 or 16 bars.

I was able to make a fairly decent estimation about the nutritional content of the bars:

272 Calories
7.82g Protein
5.72g Fiber
24.38g Fat

Now I know that last number seems fairly high, however about 95% of that fat is monounsaturated fat (also known as healthy fat). Monounsaturated fats help reduce blood cholesterol and reduce inflammation in the blood vessels. They’ve also been shown to help reduce things like osteoperosis and macular degeneration but more studies are needed to verify those findings. When you’re looking at the nutritional content of foods that you’re eating, its definitley more important to be concerned with the types of fats you’re eating, rather than how much of it.

Side note, makes sure your nuts are chopped well, mine were a little coarse and it made slicing the bars a little difficult.

Also I’m so happy that tomorrow is my rest day lol, yesterday was fitness for the badminton team plus I did a WOD (Crossfit workout) for my legs afterwards. I also worked out this morning and had practice this evening, needless to say my body is a little sore.

I’ve decided to start trying to do Crossfit on my own with the equipment I have at my disposal. As excited and passionate as I am about it, there’s no way I can afford to take classes at a Crossfit gym, its just way too expensive. Which really sucks because I’d really like to be able to compete in Crossfit. But oh well, being poor is the life of a student lol. I’ll just have to stick to the totally awesome, really fun soul crushing workouts for now. And yes the words totally awesome, really fun and soul crushing all go together when I describe workouts 🙂

Sorry about the longish post today, had a lot of things to talk about apparently. Also don’t forget to refrigerate the bars after they’ve cooled, there are things in them that can go bad.

 

Welcome to the weekend that was all about baking. Pearce and I set out to find some recipes that would curb both of our sweet tooths. And then we met our new best (mind you expensive) friend Almond Flour. Almond flour, or ground almonds is a great alternative for flour. It has a different consistency than one might usually like in a flour, but lends itself well to many recipes as we discovered.

First was the quest for a chocolate chip cookie. We found a recipe on “The Urban Poser” blog. She makes many gluten, dairy, egg, and grain free recipes. She warns on the post that these will be the best GF, DF, EF cookies you’ll ever eat…she wasn’t wrong. We even bribed our friend John to come over because we were baking cookies and by the time he showed up, well, let’s just say the cookies had gone missing. Needless to say he wasn’t super impressed, but Pearce and I’s taste buds and tummies sure were. Regardless of whether or not you have dietary needs or you’re doing a challenge like Pearce and I, this recipe is worth making once! Here is the recipe:

http://urbanposer.blogspot.ca/2012/07/perfect-grain-free-chocolate-chip.html

Onto the next delicious endeavour: Pancakes. With such great success on the cookie front we found a pancake recipe that also used almond flour. The pancakes were definitely the fluffiest GF pancakes I’ve ever seen (Pearce said the same, and he has a bit more knowledge on the topic of GF pancakes). They tasted great. Pearce and I subbed the coconut milk for chocolate almond milk and added the leftover chocolate chips we had into them. I would have liked just a touch of extra sweetness, but Pearce thought they were perfect. I ended up drizzling mine with a bit of honey and voila! Definitely a great Sunday morning breakfast:

http://crossfitrebellion.com/paleo-pancakes-the-most-delicious-version-yet-2/

Finally, I made the granola…again. I know, terrible, but I miss cereal! Anyways, tasty and since I didn’t link it last time I will here. I added a whole mess of nuts (it only calls for a 1.5 cups of nuts and I’m pretty sure I added at least 4), but the “sauce” can coat a lot and why not make a bigger batch? Just means more morning deliciousness:

http://paleomg.com/pumpkin-granola/

So there you have it, a weekend of sweets. We did eat other stuff this weekend, I swear. There was a lovely stir-fry Pearce made and I’m currently making a cauliflower soup. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I would have loved to give you pictures today, but to be honest we everything before I could even take out my camera haha. Hope everyone had a happy weekend! Did you bake anything delicious this weekend?

So, here I am, past the 1 week mark and still surviving.

For those of you who don’t know Pearce and I were seeing a personal trainer in the summer. Jason was (still is) amazing. Such a great guy. You know what he didn’t tell me though, or rather what I didn’t count on? Losing weight. I know that seems silly, but I didn’t really think I would lose as much as I have. Now, I’m not boasting, trust me, because I’m about to tell you the downside of losing weight and also being pretty darn poor — You can’t afford any new clothing that fits. So basically I walk around with a saggy, baggy butt and can’t do anything about it! Haha. Someone should have warned me 😛 

Anyways, point is that now that I’ve started the paleo challenge my clothing is getting even bigger. I am really enjoying have no grain in my life, as crazy as that sounds, because not only do I feel less bloated ALL THE TIME, I also feel like my stomach is thanking me. Though, let’s be honest, I’m still craving sugar pretty bad….

Enter: Pumpkin Granola. This is the same “granola” that Pearce talked about a few posts ago. It is amazing. I literally want to make a batch EVERY week and just eat it all. It’s going to save me this month, I can feel it. I’m also going to try making some DYI “peanut butter cups” (almond butter of course) today. I hope they turn out. Dark chocolate with no added sugar is relatively easy to find at bulk barn, the time to make them in my life has not been! Haha, so I’ve had a whole mess of chocolate sitting on my shelf for 4 days…that must be some sort of record for me, seriously.

Wish me luck! Have a happy Thursday!

So yesterday was the Ryerson Invitational badminton tournament, the first tournament of the season for the varsity team. The team made an excellent showing and I was especially impressed with the rookies. I was also fairly impressed with how I played, not to sound egotistical or anything but that’s basically the best tournament showing that I’ve had in a while, and it only gets better from here.

However, the coaching and the playing weren’t my only concerns for the weekend…I had to figure out what I was going to eat for the day. The tournament started at 9 and ended at 8, freaking long day of badminton lol. Now I’ve been competing in badminton tournaments for a very long time so normally figuring out things to eat isn’t an issue. It usually comprises of bananas, apples, protein bars, sandwiches and granola. In case you didn’t know, on the paleo diet those last three things aren’t allowed, so I had to supplement something else. I made a feast: spice rubbed roasted chicken breast, curry masala sweet potato fries, chili lime sweet potato fries, pumpkin nut bars (recipe to follow) and turkey meatloaf. I think that was the best food I’ve ever eaten at a tournament.

So now I’m sitting recovering from the tournament yesterday, my body is rather sore. I haven’t played that hard for that long in quite a while. But its at least nice to know that my de-load week paid off. I didn’t do any lifting at all last week so that I could make sure that my body was in peak shape to compete. Apparently it worked. But now that we don’t have another tournament till February I can go back into off season training mode. Heavy weight, gym 4 times a week, so excited!! That de-load week was driving me nuts, seriously.

Now I’m following in Meghan’s footsteps and giving spaghetti squash a try. I’m making spaghetti (squash) and meat balls with homemade meatballs and homemade marinara. Should be good. I’m also going to try and move as little as possible for the rest of the day lol, oie my legs hurt.

Here’s the recipe for the pumpkin bars that I talked about before: http://www.theroastedroot.net/gluten-free-pumpkin-squares/#more-569

Just sub the brown sugar for 1/2 cup of honey and you’re good to go. These were seriously tasty, I added a cup of chopped nuts and some coconut just for some added protein for the tournament but they’d be awesome plain as well.

So, I’ll admit it…I shirked on the no sugar before November 1st. Mainly because Halloween came around and all my lovely friends made things like cupcakes, rice crispie squares and brownies. I came to the conclusion that on my last night I might as well load up before not getting any sugar for a month..so I ate it all! I felt so sick, but it was worth it haha.

For the record, we started Wednesday and I’ve been sugar free since, scouts honour! Moving on! I did recently discover spaghetti squash and boy am I glad. That squash is the most delicious of them all, I think at least. I had never made spaghetti squash so on my second go I took some photos to share with you all how to do it. It honestly has such a light taste you can trick yourself into thinking you’re eating pasta and as an added bonus it is WAY better for you. So here, in NUMBER OF STEPS is how you make spaghetti squash.
1. Buy squash…this is what a spaghetti squash looks like…also preheat oven to 375 degrees:

2. Cut squash in half. Now if you’re like me, be very careful. These babies can get away on you, but eventually you’ll have this:

3. Note all the seeds and gunk? Yeah, you need to scrape that out. Don’t get too carried away though, you want some squash left over once you’re done:

4. Add a little oil to the squash so they won’t stick to the pan.

5. Place squash cut side down on a cookie sheet, put in oven.

6. Wait about 30 minutes (or until you can stick a fork through the squash)

7. Take out squash, let cool and shred into spaghetti!

Now you have delicious spaghetti! Nom nom nom.

 
On another note, I made this Jambalaya today from OMGpaleo and I adore it. It’s so tasty and the riced cauliflower really adds a nice texture. Here is the link: http://paleomg.com/jambalaya/

I’m still surviving, the dark chocolate almond milk is really helping 😛

Hope everyone had an awesome Halloween!

So today I attempted to make paleo chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin granola…Apparently I have a bit of a sweet tooth lol.

Before I talk about how those went, I should probably mention that I’ve been eating paleo for the better part of a week now. I wanted to get a bit of a head start because as mentioned earlier, I’ll be drinking beer at the Vanier cup and that would kinda ruin the challenge if I had gluten before 30 days were up. Just figured it was something I should mention, it’ll make the next paragraph make a bit more sense.

Last night I had something akin to what my sister refers to as a “gluten nightmare”. Essentially I had a dream that I had finished my challenge and to celebrate I went to Basillique (a great Mediterranean place near my house), ordered a large BBQ chicken pizza and promptly ate the whole thing to myself…shortly afterward I keeled over in pain, someone called an ambulance and I woke up. What I imagine happened in my dream was that after not eating dairy or grains for 30 days my body stopped knowing how to process it and I developed an intestinal blockage or something. I guess we’ll find out if that’s true when I get my BBQ chicken celebration pizza…

Back to the baking. I’ve spent a bunch of time of foodgawker lately trying to find new food blogs that might deal with paleo food so that I could find some exciting recipes to try. That’s where the cookies came in, this one blog that I found said that they were basically the best chocolate chip cookies ever, gluten free or not. Due to this proud boasting I figured I’d give them a shot, although they’re vegan cookies so I was skeptical.

Lies, they could never contend with a glutenous cookie. They don’t completely suck, to be honest they don’t actually taste half bad, but still if a vegan ever tells you that their desserts are better than yours, smack them. Hard. I won’t leave you with the recipe for the cookies because honestly there are probably better paleo cookie recipes out there.

Now onto the granola. As I type this it is currently sitting cooling on top of my stove. My apartment smells like heaven. Seriously it basically smells like someone spread pumpkin pie and maple syrup everywhere, its divine. Being that its paleo granola, there’s no oats or grains in it, its all just nuts and seeds. I adjusted the recipe a bit and added raisins, but I will absolutely make this one again, hot damn its tasty. I imagine that it will also be really filling. Cereal is definitely one of my favourite snack foods but it never really fills me up which is annoying.
Here is the recipe for the granola, many of my future recipes will be pulled from that site:

http://paleomg.com/pumpkin-granola/

This is a great site for getting paleo recipes, the girl who writes it is pretty funny too. Not only that but she’s also a crossfitter, and Crossfit is something that I really really want to get into so its fun to read about that as well. If anyone wants to know what Crossfit is, just Google it, its awesome. And yes I’m probably crazy for thinking that its awesome, but oh well, that’s me.

That’s all from me for now, I have a spice rubbed trout fillet in the fridge that requires consumption.

Pearce has pretty well explained what eating paleo means…well in terms of what foods we can and cannot eat. What wasn’t explained was how insane I will likely go over the course of this month. In my mind there is only two options for me on this 30 day “journey”:

  1.  I pass with flying colours. The call of the cake, cookies, muffins, cupcakes, scones, donuts, chocolate (you get my drift) will not have any barring on my success. I will not crave them often and I will feel better.
  2. I fail miserably…ending roughly on day 15 with me stuffing my face full of cake (an entire one I imagine).

Okay, so I’m being slightly facetious. Seriously, I am excited about starting November 1st, but I knew the “no sugar rule”** would be an absolute challenge for me and decided I would start early. If you don’t count the amount of sugar in a ranch salad dressing then I’ve been going sugar free for 4 days…and yes I’m feeling it. I have become increasingly aware of my craving for sweets, which happens just about every time I finish any meal past noon. Like my grandfather I am a true “dessert after every meal kinda gal”, though I don’t always have it…I always want it. Tougher still is the fact that I used to bribe myself will sugar! I know, I’m awful, I would say “if I just do a couple more sets and run intervals I won’t regret those chocolate covered pretzels I’ll grab before rehearsal” or “if I work extra hard on this essay until [said time] peanut butter and jam reward for me!” How do you replace your best incentive?

 

…seriously, anyone? If anyone has any good “curb the craving tips” please post them below. Oh! And if you say eat some fruit I will want to throw things…maybe at you.

**To clarify this means no refined sugars. Honey and the like are okay.