The Summer’s Final Chapter

This blog post is a little bit different and a lot more special.  This is because, as I head off to school today, I am finally able to reflect upon the last 3 months, outlining the stress and uncertainties I … Continue reading

The Perfect Paleo Pancakes

This weekend, I finally achieved pancake perfection. Fluffy, heavenly, delightful, pancake perfection.  But before I share the secret recipe with you, I will quickly detail the events leading up to this delicious discovery.

This past week was filled with work, job interviews, school preparation, workouts, and overall stress. But the one thing getting me through it all, was knowing that on Friday night, I could climb into bed and turn off my alarm.  Finally, a morning where I could sleep past 8am – maybe even 9am if I was feeling adventurous. This sleep-in excitement must have gotten the best of me, though, because at 6:45 Saturday morning I found myself lying in bed, wide awake, going over my plans for the rest of the day in my head.  So my hope of a sleep-filled morning was an ultimate fail — but I wasn’t going to allow the rest of the day to be! My early rise quickly led to a beautiful morning hike with my mom at Soldier’s Delight, and a chance to finally prepare the proper breakfast that I had been waiting all summer to make, pancakes. 

I found a pancake recipe in a paleo cookbook that I had checked out from the library (surprise, right?), and decided to give it a try. Although I don’t follow a paleo diet, there are many aspects of the “caveman diet” that I agree with, and I thought that looking over the book would be a great way to find some simple, healthy recipes to cook while at school this semester.  And naturally, the pancake recipe needed to be my first paleo experiment. Since I didn’t have all of the ingredients that the recipe called for, I decided to take a chance and add my own twist to these plain pancakes — and the result was definitely worth it. Also, despite the elaborate alliteration you will discover in the title, this recipe was very simple and only took a total of 15 total minutes in prep and cook-time.

Paleo-Pecan Pancake Perfection

  • 1 cup of almond meal
  • 1/4 cup of flax meal
  • large handful of whole pecans
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

And because my creative juices continued to flow, I added a sauce to drizzle over these awesome cakes…

Peach-Blueberry Sauce

  • 1 peach
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Combine almond meal, flax meal, salt, baking soda, and pecans in food processor and pulse
  2. Add eggs, vinegar, agave, and coconut oil to mixture in food processor and blend until thoroughly combined
  3. Spread spoonful of coconut oil over griddle or stove-top pan on medium heat
  4. Use 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake
  5. Flip ’em
  6. Make Sauce (combine all ingredients in blender)
  7. Plate 2-4 pancakes and drizzle sauce over top!

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I added some shredded coconut, extra blueberries, and peach slices to top off my pancake masterpiece, so feel free to be creative. The recipe makes about 12 good-size pancakes, depending on how big you prefer them. There is also plenty of sauce to save for later that you could drizzle over a parfait or cereal. Or you could just pour it in a glass and drink it like I did this morning.

I am already dubbing this pancake recipe as a staple in my college diet because, for some reason, I feel like pancake brunches on our lazy weekend mornings might be something that my roommates will approve of? Just a guess. I only have one more week until I go back to school, so I need to perfect my cooking skills before then… and I think this was a good start!

The Ultimate Green Smoothie

I have finally decided to go back to the basics and introduce you to the first raw, gluten-free, and vegan recipe I experimented with this summer. It all began the morning after my first appointment with the health counselor, and … Continue reading

Coconut-Lime Grilled Chicken Salad

On Sunday, I decided to get a head start to the week by pre-selecting about five different recipes that I wanted to try to make for dinner. Since my parents are away in North Carolina, and unable to cater my every meal, I thought this week would be a great test to see whether or not I can survive for the next year, living in a house where I will be required to cook (or order takeout) for myself each day. On one hand, if I fail this test, I guess I’m screwed and should probably open up my current job search to include sushi restaurants, since I could benefit from an employee discount. However, if I succeed, this year could be the beginning of a culinary adventure!

After making a list of the various ingredients I would need, I headed to Wegmans to stock up. Little did I know, my attempt at being a mature, independent, and capable adult would be shattered simply by approaching the free-sample stand they had set up of organic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The following is an excerpt from my conversation with the guy giving out the free samples:

  • Me: Hi! Can I try one?
  • Old Man: Where’s your mom?
  • Me: Ummm.. I’m just by myself..
  • Old Man: Well, how old are you dear?
  • Me: 20…
  • Old Man: Oh! Well now I’m embarrassed… I just needed to make sure you were at least the age of 14.. you know, for liability reasons, since younger kids aren’t always aware of peanut allergies that they may have.

Um, what.

…So you can understand my increased uncertainty and overall concern regarding my independence, after just being mistaken for a preteen.

Anyway, I am finally moving past that unfortunate experience and am now prepared to share the dinner I made last night. I wanted to do a simple salad with grilled chicken, so I took a leap of faith and threw some seasonings and juices into a bowl to make my own marinade. And to my surprise, it worked! Here’s the recipe:

Coconut-Lime Grilled Chicken Salad

Marinade:

  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos (you can substitute low-sodium soy sauce, too)
  • a few generous shakes of jerk seasoning
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp Himalayan Salt

Salad:

  • few handfuls of mixed greens
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

I coated 3 chicken breasts in the marinade and let sit for 10-15 minutes while the oven was preheating to 375.

Since I have no grill skills, I cooked the chicken in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Then, I sliced one of the breasts, served it on the salad, and drizzled the leftover marinade on the top, as a dressing.

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It was actually one of the best grilled chicken recipes that I’ve tasted, so I’m pretty impressed with myself. Let’s hope the next four dinner recipes that I have planned for the week don’t fall short. Except, when you think about it, there aren’t really any expectations when you have a 13-year-old in the kitchen.

My 3-day, No Food, Just Juice Extravaganza

Last week, I was introduced to my best friend and worst enemy – the juicer.

During one of my visits to my health counselor, she suggested I try a short juice cleanse. I said I was familiar with the concept, and she explained that juicing allows your body to detox, gives your digestive system a rest, and also allows the body to absorb the nutrients in fruits and vegetables much faster and more efficiently than simply eating them or blending them.  With this advice in mind, I had been researching various juice cleanses over the last few weeks, but had not committed to going out and buying a juicer just yet. Juicers themselves are pretty expensive, and although I was eager to try something new and challenging, I didn’t want to spend my money just to realize I didn’t much like the taste of homemade juice.  Fortunately, an unexpected monetary reimbursement arrived at my doorstep last week, and since it was conveniently addressed to me, I found myself driving to Bed Bath & Beyond the very same day to buy the juicer of my dreams… or maybe nightmares.

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I made my first juice right when I got home, consisting of some sort of peach, strawberry, apple, and ginger combination.  It was then that I decided my plans for the upcoming weekend. I decided to do what any average college student would do over a summer weekend — a juice cleanse. I researched online and finally found an abbreviated 3-day juice cleanse endorsed by juice guru Joe Cross and also recommended by Doctor Oz.  It consisted of 5 juices a day, each juice containing a variety of different ingredients (all fruits and vegetables) that you could play around with and substitute if needed. With their convenient ready-made shopping list in hand, I ventured to the grocery store last Friday night to select my produce.  I could barely fit all of the fruits and veggies in the fridge, but after pre-bagging the ingredients for my five juices into five separate bags the night before, I was ready.

Day 1: I started off strong and excited, but after the 3rd juice, I was getting pretty sick of having to clean the juicer every single time I used it. By the time I finished cleaning the kitchen of the mess I had created from one juice… it was time for the next juice. And I wanted a sandwich.

Day 2: I had less cravings and actually only ended up drinking 4 of the juices because I was pretty busy and didn’t have time to be at home hanging out with my juicer all day. Also, my feelings escalated, and I began to utterly despise the cleaning of the juicer.

Day 3: I pre-made my juices in the morning since I was going to be nannying the whole day, and my cravings were horrible because I was around all the crappy food that the kids eat.  By the end of the day, my stomach was hurting and all I could think about was some amazing sandwich that I could not eat.

juice

And finally… 14 glasses of juice later, my cleanse met its end.

Transitioning back to food has been a little tricky because I am getting fuller much faster, so I’ve had to be extra careful when I’m eating meals to not stuff myself just because I normally eat more.  Overall, I’m glad I did the cleanse and would recommend it to someone who has lots of time and patience for the constant juicing.  Almost all of the juices that I made were really delicious, and I only felt hungry a few times – the rest I knew were just cravings. I noticed that my skin looked much better while I was juicing and I also noticed that I had more energy.  The only basic downfalls were the amount of time and energy put into the prep and cleaning of the juicer, as well as the food shopping beforehand.  The juicer is being put away for now, but I think that I might just have to try another weekend cleanse at the end of the month before I go back to school. Gotta get my money’s worth!

To read more in-depth about the exact cleanse I did, here is the link: Joe Cross’ 3-Day Reboot