Cucumber Dressing

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Salad dressings are something we’re asked about a lot. It really is a challenge to find ones free of vegetable oils and soy.

There is one store-bought brand I highly recommend, and which I keep on hand in those times of emergency where home-made dressings aren’t a viable option. That brand is Tessemae’s and their dressings are free of all those naughty ingredients that other brands like to sneak in.

That said, when time is available, there is something lovely about making dressing from scratch. I particularly love my Citrus Salad Dressing for summer salads, and this Cucumber Dressing works wonders to liven up a fish dish in the winter.

Plus, cucumber is actually incredibly healthy.

Despite popular belief that it consists of nothing but water, cucumbers contain numerous nutrients, including a number of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and potassium. To learn more about the health benefits of cucumbers, Dr. Mercola has an excellent article titled, 9 Health Benefits of Cucumbers.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon honey/raw agave nectar
1 teaspoon olive oil

RECIPE

Simply place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until smooth.
Serve over salad, fish or grilled chicken.

Enjoy!

Camilla Carboni

@camillacarboni | camillacarboni.com

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Make Your Own Fruit Basket

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Now this isn’t exactly a recipe but it’s fun and lets you do something with all those fruit rinds you’ve been throwing away. It’s also a great idea for a party, I made it at my Super Bowl party this year.

SUPPLIES

1 watermelon
a melon baller (an ice cream scoop will work as well)
a bowl
a knife
toothpicks
any other fruit you want

DIRECTIONS

Cut your watermelon in half the short way.
Use the melon baller or ice cream scoop to scoop out the flesh of both halves of the watermelon and place in a bow, set the flesh aside it will be used to fill your basket up later.
Place one half of the rind aside, this will be the bottom of your basket.
Take the other half of the melon, you’re going to use this to make a handle for your basket. Place this rind cut side down and using your knife cut a strip from the middle. (I used honeydew melon rind in my picture, if you do this you’ll probably need to connect two strips with a toothpick to make it big enough to sit over the bottom of your basket).
Once you have your handle stick a toothpick into the bottom end of each side of the handle and stick it into the bottom of your basket.
You should now have a basket with a handle.
Now it’s up to you, you can cut flowers or decorations out of the rest of the fruit and connect it to your basket for decoration using a toothpick.
Cut up the remainder of your fruit, mix with your watermelon and stick into your basket to serve.

Have Fun!

Melissa Van Dover

@mvandover | melissavandover.com

 

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Nutty Mocha Protein Shake

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Protein shakes are a great way to start the day and an excellent boost for the afternoon. With just a few ingredients, a basic egg white protein powder shake can be turned into a delicious milkshake-like treat, without the dairy.

This Protein Shake is packed with nutrients, as well as a caffeine pick-me-up. The cinnamon and cacao provide antioxidant protection against free radicals and the almond butter adds healthy fat while providing a creamy base for shake. Best of all, it takes about 2 minutes to make!

INGREDIENTS

6 ice cubes
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 scoop egg white protein powder
1 heaped tablespoon almond butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 heaped teaspoon cacao powder
1 shot espresso

RECIPE

Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse for about a minute until smooth.
Pour into a tall glass and enjoy your morning boost.

It’s really that simple! Enjoy this tasty and nutritious boost to your day,

Camilla Carboni

@camillacarboni | camillacarboni.com

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How To Make Paleo Gravy

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Gravy is delicious and can bring so much flavor to a variety of things. Gravy doesn’t have to be reserved for just turkey, you can add it to almost any form of meat you’re cooking. One of my favorite things to add gravy to is meatballs, not that tomato sauce isn’t good but sometimes I want something different.

Now I’ve heard a variety of negative remarks when it comes to making gravy. The first is that it’s too difficult to make, this honestly just isn’t true. The second is that you need flour, well yes that helps but thankfully we have tons of Paleo flours that will work just fine. So no need to worry about gluten!

Lets get started…

INGREDIENTS

meat renderings (i.e. the juice left over from your meat after you cook it)
tapioca flour
chicken or beef stock (this is to help fix a few issues we’ll discuss below)
whisk

RECIPE

Pour your renderings into a frying pan and place over low heat. (We’re talking low heat, you may see a few bubbles but you don’t want boiling.)
Add 1 tablespoon of tapioca flour and whisk it to incorporate thoroughly.
Here’s the trick, you are going to repeat the previous step until your gravy starts to thicken. (I would wait a minute or so between each tablespoon because gravy is one of those things where all the sudden it will start to thicken).

Here are two issues you may run into and how to fix them:

  1. You need more gravy than you have renderings!- simply add either beef or chicken stock to your renderings prior to adding tapioca flour. This will give you more gravy in the long run, you may also want to add a touch of salt and pepper to ensure your gravy is appropriately seasoned.
  2. You put too much flour in and now it’s like goo!- slowly whisk in either beef or chicken stalk. Make sure you do this slowly, it will help to thin out your gravy and get it to the right consistency.


Enjoy!

Melissa Van Dover

@mvandover | melissavandover.com

 

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Grass-Fed Does Not Necessarily = Grass-Finished

http://www.builtlean.com/2013/03/20/grass-fed-beef/
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The grass-fed subject comes up a lot and it’s a very important part of the Paleo philosophy. A while back, Melissa wrote a post about the difference between grass-fed and vegetarian-fed and now, following a number of recent inquiries, we wanted to delve a little further into the subject and the need to check not only on whether your meat is grass-fed, but also whether it is grass-finished.

Grass-fed is the hottest new food label, and for good reason. Grass-fed beef describes the meat from animals who have been fed their natural diet, and hence are healthier, happier and hormone-free. The problem is, as soon as food labels become sought after, everyone wants to add the “grass-fed” title to their advertising campaign and sadly, we’re starting to catch some examples of “grass-fed”, but grain-finished.

What is grass-fed, grain-finished?

This means that the animals were initially fed their natural diet of grass, but then, prior to being slaughtered, were fattened up on grains. And that’s when we run into health side-effects. Like us, animals are not accustomed to eating grain and it causes them intestinal irritation and inflammation, resulting in the need for antibiotics and other treatments. As such, the meat we then eat has traces of unnatural sources. Grain-finished meat also boasts less omega-3 and a significantly lower amount of vitamin E, among other vital nutrients like beta-carotene, B-vitamins and minerals.

Our best grass-fed advice?

Ask your butcher if the meat is grass-fed and grass-finished. Read your labels carefully. And last but not least, see if you can purchase your meat directly from the source: from a local farm.

I personally buy my grass-fed, grass-finished meat in bulk from Corner Post Meats and highly recommend their product. Chances are, you can find a great local meat source option near you and then, not only can you be sure of the quality of meat that you are purchasing, you can also save with bulk order discounts.

Here’s to grass-fed, all the way!

Camilla Carboni

@camillacarboni | camillacarboni.com

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Squash, Bacon & Almonds…Oh My!

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It can be difficult to find breakfast options when you’re following a Paleo lifestyle. Not to mention if you have food allergies, in my case an egg allergy. While this can be a pain, it often forces you to get creative and think outside the “Breakfast Plate”.

So in a fit of inspiration I came up with this dish. The benefit is that you can easily make enough to last you a whole week, when you’re busy this is a life saver! Not to mention that it’s packed with delicious and healthy flavors. Now on to the recipe….

INGREDIENTS

1 large acorn squash
3-4 tablespoons avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1- 2 tablespoons cumin
1/2 pack of bacon
1/2 cup sliced almonds

RECIPE

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut squash in half and remove seeds, place on baking sheet cut side up.
Coat squash with avocado oil, salt, black pepper and cumin.
Place squash in oven and cook for 40 – 45 minutes or until you can poke through the squash with a fork.

In the mean time…

Cook your bacon, there’s obviously multiple ways to do this but I prefer to line a baking sheet with foil and cook it in the oven at 425 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.
Remove your bacon from heat, after it’s cooled chop it up and set aside.
Now, place your almonds in a frying pan and roast over low heat.
Remove your almonds when you can start to smell them in the air and they’re starting to turn a light brown color. Set aside.
Remove your squash from the oven and either peel off the skin or cut the skin off, cube the flesh of the squash.
Mix your bacon, almonds and cooked squash together and you’re ready to eat.

Enjoy!

Melissa Van Dover

@mvandover | melissavandover.com

 

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Paleo Garlic Naan Bread

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Naan Bread has always been a personal favorite of mine, and something I have missed on my Paleo journey. So, it was with great delight that at one of our cooking demos, a lovely lady in the audience requested that we make Ethnic Paleo recipes. That was all the convincing I needed!

My first batch of Paleo Naan Bread I made without the salt and garlic. It came out perfectly but due to the large quantity of coconut milk in the recipe, it had a heavy coconut flavor. Since I know that not everyone loves coconut-infused foods, I went on to make the second version–salted, Garlic Naan Bread–which tastes just like I remember it from years ago.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup almond meal/flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup arrowroot flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk (canned, full fat)
1 tablespoon grass-fed butter, melted
2 heaped tablespoons crushed garlic
2 teaspoons coconut oil

RECIPE

In a mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
Add the coconut milk, butter and garlic and whisk for about a minute.
In a medium saute pan, melt 1 teaspoon of coconut oil over medium heat.
Add enough naan batter to fill about 3/4 of the pan, allowing room to flip the naan bread easily. (Avoid making the naan bread too thick, as the inner layer will take a while to cook due to the high-liquid contents of this recipe).

Naan Bread Progress
Let the naan bread cook for about 4 minutes, or until it’s solid enough to flip.
Flip the naan bread over, add the other teaspoon of coconut oil to re-grease the pan, and cook on the other side for about 5 minutes.
Flip for a third time to ensure the first side is cooked thoroughly (you may need to allow it another few minutes), then plate and allow the naan bread to set for about 10 minutes before enjoying plain, with a spread of grass-fed butter, or alongside a piping hot curry.

Tip: If you can prepare the Naan Bread in advance, cooking it the day before and leaving it in the fridge overnight lets the bread rise slightly, forming the thicker Naan Bread commonly served in Indian restaurants. You can then simply re-heat it before serving.

That’s my all-time favorite bread, made Paleo! I hope you enjoy it too,

Camilla Carboni

@camillacarboni | camillacarboni.com

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Guest Post by Z Zoccolante: Stop Weighing Yourself – How to End a Love Affair with Your Scale

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A Note from Camilla & Melissa:

We love to have guest posts and we’re so grateful that others want to share their stories and experiences with all of us. Every individual is entitled to their own health beliefs and we respect everyones wishes. While some of the comments in our guest posts may not be reflective of a true “Paleo Diet”, it is our hope that the common goal of a healthier life will help to guide you in your own health choices.


Stop Weighing Yourself: How to End a Love Affair with Your Scale

by Z Zoccolante

“You weigh yourself everyday?” I ask perplexed. I’m the friend with the eating disordered past, but scales have never been my thing.
“Morning and night,” she states. “I’ve done it for years.”
“What if you stopped? Like today, what if you just stopped weighing yourself?”
Her bottom lip dips down, towards her espresso cup.
“What are you afraid will happen?”
An expression pools across her face – The admission of something we repeat in our heads but are afraid to say for other’s ears. “What if I blow up like a blimp?” she says with lowered voice.
“So the scale’s your measuring stick. How do the numbers affect you?” . . .

Tiny numbers rule her day. If she’s ‘heavy’ in the morning, the day starts on a bad note. If she’s ‘lighter’ she feels happy, like things are on track.

Her scale’s numbers tell her how to feel about herself. They tell her that after the cake and the glass of wine, she’s ‘heavy.’ They roll over into the next day and affect her decisions about what to eat or what to wear. She’s wondered if the job or the promotion that slipped through her grasp would have been hers, if she were thinner.

Often people don’t realize that weight fluctuates within about five pounds during the course of the month. Hormones change. Digestion can back up. We could be chastising ourselves over a large glass of water!

Many people have love affairs with their scales. But if we measuring our worth in numbers, what are we measuring?

If we allow a number to effect how we feel about ourselves we don’t allow ourselves to be present in our bodies. We shut down our awareness of how our body feels. We disconnect from ourselves and let a number tell us what to feel.

How many times have you felt good in your body until a step on the scale instantly brings you down? How many times have you thought you were a gluttonous blob only to wonder why the scale doesn’t reflect that?

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Look at it this way, if a stranger called you an idiot you probably wouldn’t lose sleep over it. But how would it be different if someone close to you called you that? We’ve let our scales become close to us. They’re inanimate objects that we’ve granted the power to hurt us and control our moods. We nurture dysfunctional relationships with something that doesn’t even have a heartbeat.

Years ago, when I was in the hospital, I’d found myself fascinated with a quote plastered on the wall. It read:

“This is what a scale is: a weighing machine. This is what a scale measures: level, size, balance, range, degree, extent, amount, magnitude, and dimension. Notice this list does not include happiness, self-esteem, worthiness, lovability, deservingness, goodness or badness, beauty, body image, fatness, distress, or sanity.”

A scale does not measure any part of what I love about my friends or about myself.

Imagine your gravestone with the words:
Name: X. Successfully weighed: X.
How sad. What’s the point? What can a number on a scale, tell us about who we truly are?

I invited my friend to do an experiment to test if her fear was true. Would she blow up like a blimp? What was she at risk of loosing?

A few weeks later, having not mentioned the subject again, I slipped in the passenger’s seat of her car.
“I haven’t weighed myself this week,” she said beaming.
“That’s awesome,” I said. “So what?”
“It’s been liberating,” she smiled.

In the months that followed she set a system where she weighs herself once a week, on a predetermined day.
“I used to use the scale as a punishment or a reward,” she tells me. “Now I’m free from the number on the scale affecting me at all throughout my day. It’s pretty fantastic.”

Would you like to be free?

  • Throw your scale away.
  • Be dramatic and burn it in the front yard (safely of course).
  • If that thought causes a minor heart attack, start with a baby step.
  • Reduce the times you weigh yourself.
  • Put your scale in a drawer so it’s not accessible every time you walk in the room.
  • Set up a system, like my friend did, where you weigh yourself only once a week.

Fluctuations are a normal part of life with our bodies. Let’s not obsess over every one of them.

We end a love affair with our scale the same way we would with any relationship.

  • Realize the cons outweigh the pros.
  • Realize the relationship no longer serves you.
  • Realize it’s unhealthy and doesn’t lead to joy.
  • Realize you are more than an arbitrary number.

Desire freedom and true awareness of your body.
And then . . .
STOP IT. Stop weighing yourself. Stop cold turkey or stop with baby steps.

Try it for yourself. Take a breath. GO.
With Love,

Z 🙂


Z Zoccolante

Z Zoccolante is an author, actress, and fairytale dreamer. Her debut memoir will one day help others, who are trying to recover from eating disorders, attain happiness and freedom. As a coach, she specializes in uncluttering and defragging the mind. Originally from Hawai’i, she now lives in LA.

 

You can visit her blog at zzoccolante.com or connect on Twitter @ZZoccolante.