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Autumn Apples- Paleo Friendly Dessert

Looking for a great paleo and Whole30 friendly fall dessert? These apples are delicious, easy, and perfect for a healthy dessert.

Autumn apples, paleo dessert, whole30 dessert, healthy dessert

I’ve been a little crazy for ghee since I did my first Whole30 this year. I did another Whole30 in August and actually completed it. During that month I was on Instagram often, sharing pictures of my meals and gaining inspiration from other paleo foodies. I noticed almost all of them were using OMGhee and raving about it.


I placed my order for my first jar last week and received it this morning. Can I just say, WOW! I immediately opened my jar, feeling like a kid on Christmas morning, and had a little taste. Caramel. No joke, this is one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth. I started dreaming up ways to play on that delicious flavor.

Although in Oklahoma we don’t seem to get fall until October or sometime even November or December, the minute September hits I start obsessing over all things pumpkin and apple. As the days grow shorter these things come into season and are the freshest and best of the year. So there is my story and here is my recipe.

Autumn Apples

Autumn apples, paleo dessert, whole30 dessert, healthy dessert

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Cut your apples into bite-size chunks.
  2. Over medium heat melt your ghee and toss in your apples.
  3. Squeeze the lime juice onto the apples.
  4. Add your pumpkin spice and continue to cook the apples until soft. It only takes about 5 minutes. Now you enjoy. Easy (and delicious) as pie.

You can easily increase this recipe and serve it this Thanksgiving or at holiday parties. It’s a nice break from the usually unhealthy treats we find around the holidays.

Looking for more delicious apple recipes? Try these 35+ Apple Recipes

Super Bowl Smoky Franks

While I do most of my shopping at local grocers or through the Oklahoma Food Coop, a few days ago I paid a visit to the Whole Foods in Oklahoma City. It’s definitely one of my favorite grocery destinations but it’s at least a half hour away.

franks

My favorite thing to stock up on is Tessemae’s. This company is simply amazing. It’s a family business that makes delicious dressings, sauces and marinades from whole, all-natural ingredients. No sugar, dairy, gluten or anything you can’t pronounce. They’re Paleo and Vegan friendly! After grabbing a few bottles of Tessemae’s, I meandered back to the meat department to pick up a few items. I saw a package of Applegate’s cocktail franks and a lightbulb went off. I have seen the little smokies in BBQ sauce at countless parties but never thought about making a cleaner version. Until now that is, just in time for Super Bowl Sunday!

superbowlsnacks

Ingredients

  • 2 packages  Applegate Farms “The Greatest Little Organic Uncured Smoky Cocktail Pork Frank”
  • 1 bottles Tessemae’s Matty’s BBQ sauce

Directions

  1. Follow pkg instructions for the smoky franks.
  2. Add bottle of Tessemae’s and heat through or throw them both in a crockpot if you want to keep them warm throughout your party.

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I was going to plate mine up all fancy- like with toothpicks, but I’m out so here are my ‘clean’ paleo-friendly BBQ cocktail weiners on a plate.


Chunky Chicken Soup

Cooler weather for me means loads of soups, stews and chili. I am slightly obsessed with my slow cooker. I find it fascinating that you can just throw some meat and veggies inside, go about your business and come back to a delicious home cooked meal. It’s nothing short of magical. This recipe is as easy as it gets. It’s one of my go-to meals no matter what season. I’ve shared it with family and friends and everyone always raves about it. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.

soup

Ingredients

  • 2 onions
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch of carrots or 1 lb bag of baby carrots
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • 2 lbs of chicken thighs
  • 32 oz. broth ( I use Pacific brand vegetable broth or bone broth if I have it but any stock or broth will work)
  • 1 can of coconut milk ( I prefer Native Forest organic brand, bpa-free can)
  • Poultry Seasoning ( I use a jar of Litehouse freeze-dried poultry season, but alternatively you can use a couple tablespoons of regular poultry seasoning)

Now comes the hard part.

Directions

  1. Chop all your veggies into bit sized chunks.
  2. Place veggies, then the chicken in the slow cooker.
  3. Throw in your seasoning
  4. Pour in your broth and coconut milk
  5. Cook on low for 4 -6 hours. It’s generally ready at the 4 hour mark but you can leave it on low for as long as you like. I leave mine on low until it’s gone, usually a day or two. It just gets thicker and tastier!

Let me know if you try it and like it! If you make any modifications I’d love to hear about those as well. Enjoy!

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Norman’s Farmer’s Market

One of my favorite places in the world is a farmer’s market. I’ll admit it, I have a slight obsession with local, whole foods and it doesn’t get any better than this. There’s something so soothing about spending your morning walking around an open air market. This morning, I took my 2 children to our local farmers market to load up on local fruit and vegetables for the week. In addition to the homegrown seasonal produce, vendors offer local honey, fresh eggs, flowers for your garden, herbs and spices. So many friendly faces to greet you and answer your questions.

farmersmarket

Our haul included aloe vera, basil, and mint plants, very reasonably priced at a couple dollars a piece. An entire box full of wild blackberries for 8 dollars! Sweet Oklahoma peaches, a few plums (half of which my children ate before we made it back to the car), a zucchini, a red bell pepper (my favorite and only one dollar!), a basket of grape tomatoes, a few jalapenos, a cucumber, some red onions, and an eggplant.


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I also got a packet of steak seasoning from Ms. Netties, Pino’s Prime Steak Seasoning to be exact. I spent the most time here looking at all the different rubs, dips, teas, and seasoning blends they offered. There were so many amazing products, I had such trouble deciding! They even have little recipe cards to tell you what to do with their different products. The gentleman I spoke with was so helpful, and I wish I would have asked his name, he took the time to tell me about all the packets I was interested in and even let me try a few. He smokes a lot of salts, peppers, and garlic. They smell out of this world! I wish I could have bought more but my budget for this week wouldn’t allow more than one. He also offers a variety of homemade herbal teas. I can’t wait to head back next week and pick up something new. If you aren’t in the Norman area and able to visit the market, they have a website available for orders.

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Norman Farmer’s Market is located at 615 East Robinson, Cleveland County Fairgrounds. It’s open April through October on Wednesdays 8 a.m. to noon and Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon. For more information on the vendors and their offered products or how to become a vendor please visit their website.

Do you visit your local farmer’s market? What are your favorite local foods they offered? Share in the comments below or on our Facebook page.  

 

Perfect Summer Chicken Salad

I’ve seriously been craving some chicken salad. I’m pretty sure it’s the barrage of Subway commercials advertising their version. As with most things, I can make it better. That’s not arrogance, it’s the truth. I’ve perfected mine over the years. I use fresh organic ingredients and make my own mayo. I swear I’m not crazy! Don’t worry, it doesn’t take very long and it’s really simple.

chickensalad

Ingredients-
  • 1 lb. of chicken
  • A couple cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 T. salt
  • 4 cups of water
  • Handful of grapes
  • 2 small to medium sized apples
  • 1/2 cup- full cup of nuts (more if you like a lot, less if you don’t, I used almonds and walnuts because that’s what I had but I use pecans just as often.)
  • 1 stalk of celery
  •  1 or 2 tablespoon of butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of rosemary
  • 1/2 cup of homemade mayo
  • A bit of red onion (optional)

Instruction-

  1. Place all those ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then turn the heat off and cover. Let the chicken finish cooking for another 15 -20 minutes.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, chop the following; grapes, any color will do, apples, again any color, nuts, celery, and red onion.
  3. When your chicken is finished place in a bowl and use 2 forks, or your hands, to shred it into chunks.
  4. Next melt the butter or coconut oil in a sauté pan and add your chicken and a tablespoon of rosemary. Toss lightly on medium heat for a few minutes.
  5. Let it cool all the way and then combine your chicken and everything you chopped.
  6. Now, add about a ½ cup of  homemade mayo and stir until combined.

chickensalad2


Done and done. I recommend that you cover and refrigerate for an hour or more to let the ingredients meld well. When you’re ready to serve spoon into romaine “boats”. I generally don’t eat grains but I’ll be honest and tell you that when I was at the grocery store these butter croissants in the bakery were speaking to me. I couldn’t resist and I made a little sandwich. It was absolutely delicious and the perfect summer chicken salad. I hope you enjoy!

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Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

Spaghetti is a staple in most households. It’s easy and fast, which is especially important on those busy nights when family activities outweigh cooking time. Most importantly it’s kid-friendly! For years I used whole grain pasta and store bought sauce. Last year when my family gave up grains and processed convenience food our weekly spaghetti dinner was one of the hardest to give up. After a few months of tweaking our diet and learning to eat new things, I revisited our old favorite. I now make my own sauce and use spaghetti squash instead of traditional noodles. Making spaghetti squash is just as easy as boiling noodles but adds more veggie and nutrition to your meal! This whole process does take a bit more time, but you can cut it drastically if you make the sauce ahead of time in a large batch and refrigerate or freeze it in jars perfectly portioned for your needs. This recipe is adapted from The Clothes Make the Girl blog. It will knock your socks off!

spaghettisquashmeatballs

Sauce

  • A couple tablespoons of Ghee (or clarified butter)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ large green bell pepper, chopped
  • A few cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1T. Italian seasoning (checks your label and make sure it’s just spices, no nasty additives! Or you can use your own blend of whatever Italian herbs you have on hand. Oregano, thyme, savory, sage, marjoram, basil, and rosemary is what’s in mine)
  • 3T. tomato paste
  • 1/4c. Balsamic vinegar (no sulfites)
  • 2/3c. Beef or chicken stock (homemade if you make it or at least an organic one with no sugar or chemical ingredients)
  • 2- 28oz cans of organic diced tomatoes (nothing added to them, I use Muir Glen)
  • A few fresh leaves of basil, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

sauce

First melt your ghee in the pan on med-low heat. Add your chopped onion and sauté a few minutes, and then add your diced pepper and your Italian seasoning. Cook until the onions are clear and soft. Turn your heat up to med-high and add your tomato paste, stir it around for a few minutes and add your vinegar. I use a whisk to get it combined well. Toss in your garlic. Next, drizzle your broth slowly in the mix and keep whisking until it’s a nice consistency. After a few minutes add your tomatoes. Now let your sauce simmer for a while. The original called for a minimum of 2 hours, but I only had 30 minutes and it was still tasty! Next time I’m going to make it and put it in the crock pot all day on low. I bet it’s even better!

Meatballs

  • 1 onion
  • ½ green bell pepper
  • A couple cloves of garlic
  • 1lb grass fed beef or bison
  • ½ c. fresh parsley
  • 1 T. Italian seasoning
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 T. water
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. cream of tartar

meatballs

Preheat oven to 400 F

Toss your onion, bell pepper, and garlic in your food processor and pulse until diced. Add your meat, vinegar, seasonings, salt, pepper, parsley and give a couple quick pulses to combine. In a separate bowl combine your water, cream of tartar, and baking soda and mix with a fork. When it stops fizzing add it to your meat. Pulse well until everything looks smooth and combined well.

Roll the meat into balls in your desired size. I do about a spoonful and it fits perfectly in the middle of my palm. Place your meatballs on a baking sheet and cook about 15 minutes. (I always make a double batch so I have extra, at this point I would put half into a bag and freeze. When I’m ready to cook them again, I let them thaw out a bit and then pan fry to brown.) Throw your meatballs in your simmering sauce and let them love each other for a while.

Spaghetti Squash

Cut in half and place face down on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes at 350F. Let cool a bit, scoop the seeds out and then use a fork to pull the squash from the edge, making spaghetti like strands.

spaghettimeatballbites


At this point you could be finished, just plate it up and enjoy! I, however, put my squash into a cupcake pan and placed a meatball in each one. Baked for about 15 minutes to make spaghetti “bites” for the kids using the sauce for dipping. Unfortunately I didn’t think about binding it together and they fell apart as soon as I took them out. We still ate them, they were still delicious, but next time I will have to use an egg wash to see if I can get them to stay together. Bon Appetit!

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The Importance of Buying Local

produceAs a well known produce fanatic, I received several calls/texts/Facebook messages this morning about the grand opening of Sprouts Market. I do plan on checking out what they have to offer, but I’m less than ecstatic for a multitude of reasons. I had a chance to talk with a few of Sprouts opening team members. I asked where their produce came from and was told “a warehouse is in Dallas” before that it come from California. While cheap prices and great deals are something most people get excited about, I personally, prefer to buy local for many reasons.

First of all Norman lost an amazing local grocer, Native Roots Market, that provided a wonderful variety of local and seasonal produce. As they opened a new store in the Deep Deuce area of downtown Oklahoma City they made the decision to close their store in Norman when confronted with the increased competition by Natural Grocers and Sprouts Market.

Buying locally grown food is important for so many reasons. The average piece of produce travels 5,000 miles to get to your supermarket. Choosing food that has traveled fewer miles (and therefore used less fuel) is good for the environment. The Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment notes that food transported long distances is not likely to be as nutritious as food grown and consumed locally. Eating food that was grown organically and without harmful pesticides does your body good. Plus, buying directly from your local farmers ensures that they’ll stay in business for years to come. When you buy direct, your dollars stay within your community, and strengthen the local economy. More than 90¢ of every dollar you spend goes to the farmer. This is important because as mergers in the food industry have increased, the portion of your food dollar paid to farmers has decreased. Vegetable farmers earn only 21¢ of your dollar; the other 79¢ goes to pay for marketing, distribution, and other costs.


7 ways to eat more local foods-

  1. Shop weekly at your local farmers market
  2. Join a CSA or a Co-op
  3. Buy from local grocers that stock local food
  4. Support restaurants and grocers that buy locally produced food
  5. Preserve food from the season by freezing or canning to eat later in the year
  6. Grow your own food!
  7. Visit local farms

I recently join the Oklahoma Food Co-op. I’m much more excited about all the local, fresh meat,  and vegetables that are offered for very reasonable prices. I love the fact that I’m supporting my community while receiving organic, fresh food. It’s an amazing thing to know where your food comes from, who’s growing/raising it and how.

Share your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

 

 Photo credits: Quiltsalad

Easy Homemade Sausage Patties

If you’ve been following my Whole30 posts you know that I can’t have any sugar or other food additives. If you are a label reader you know it’s nearly impossible to find sausage from the store that doesn’t have sugar. Other frequently seen ingredients include mechanically separated turkey ( the cousin of  “pink slime” ), soy protein concentrate (soybeans, so they can use less real meat), sodium phosphates (another salt that’s been associated with kidney damage), dextrose (a form of sugar), sugar (more sugar), MSG (another salt), sodium diacetate (still more salt!), BHT( a preservative ) and caramel color (an artificial coloring containing two substances believed to cause cancer).

That is NOT what I want in my body! What’s a girl to do for breakfast that can’t have eggs, due to an allergy, or breakfast meat for breakfast? There aren’t a lot of options.

The addition of breakfast into my daily routine has been one of my hardest struggles this last month but it’s a Whole30 requirement.  The plan calls for eating something within an hour of waking. I was always a coffee not food kind of girl I started out by re-heating leftovers. This is a great option, especially if you’re short on time or you don’t have anything prepared. However, it’s not always satisfying to someone that enjoys breakfast food. I had to rethink my idea of breakfast and come up with something delicious and compliant to get me excited about breakfast.


Over on the Whole30’s website there is a forum for people thinking of or currently doing a Whole3o. It’s a fantastic resource. Connecting with people all over who have gone through this journey and have great ideas. Someone mentioned making their own sausage patties using ground pork or chicken and seasonings. I jumped on that idea! Next time I was at the store I went to pick up some ground pork. I couldn’t find any pork that wasn’t made with a “signature solution”. I’m not sure what that means, but it doesn’t sound appealing or compliant. I just went to my old stand-by, lean grass fed beef. I googled breakfast sausage seasonings. What I like to do when I’m trying a new idea or recipe is look at a lot of them, see what they have in common, and then come up with my own based on what I like. This recipe has been tried a few times, been added too, and tweaked. Honestly I’ll probably continue to make it differently every time.

Jessica’s Sage Breakfast Sausage Patties

homemadesausage

  • 4lbs lean grass-fed ground beef (feel free to use pastured pork or chicken)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • sage
  • garlic powder
  • onion power
  • paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • smoked chipotle (optional)

Chop your onion, garlic and bell pepper very finely, I use my food processor and pulse until it’s a consistency I’m happy with. In a nice big bowl put all 4 pounds of your ground beef and add your veggies. I used about a tablespoon of each of my seasonings, less of a the chipotle seasoning. You would want to add more or less for how much heat you want. Mix it up well with your hands.

sausage

Then form into patties. Make them a decent size, think hamburger patties, but thin, they will puff up when you cook them. I lay them on wax paper, layer them up and  freeze. Once they are frozen I tore each stack out and put them in individual bags. This made me 42 patties and I froze 6 together so I have sausage for 7 days.

sausage2

Whenever you’re ready to eat take them out of the freezer and microwave for 30 seconds. This will make it easier to break them apart. Cook on a medium to medium-high heat for about 4 minutes on each side. I serve them up with a roasted green veggie and sweet potato hashbrowns. Yummy!

sausage3

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My Whole30 – Confessions

I fell off the wagon day 21. I think partly due to lady business, but that’s not really a good excuse. I read through my food log today and realized that the long week/weekend of work I had with very little fuel probably had something to do with my complete breakdown. I made the decision to eat some cookies and get back on the wagon the next day. Fast forward.  A week of eating sugar and feeling TERRIBLE, and I’m back today.

Sugar makes me sick, literally sick to my stomach. I get nauseous and had awful headaches. I felt gross, gross, gross, but I kept eating it.  I obviously have some serious issues. I may be a sugar addict. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, the Whole30 is about so much more than just food. Yes, it starts with food, but it leads you on an incredible journey of self-discovery.

I have another confession. I’m a smoker. Yes, I know it’s as uncool and as un-green as can be. While I was doing my Whole 30 this month, I was still smoking but thinking of quitting. Over the past few weeks I’ve realized that it makes me sick! After I smoke I get nauseous and dizzy. I have to sit down and take deep breathes to not get ill. It’s been a huge deterrent. Besides, why am I eating all this good food and trying to heal my body if I’m still doing something so terrible for it? It makes NO sense.


I’m confident that I will tackle this fairly easily. I’m not a heavy smoker (1-5 cigarettes a day) and I’ve quit twice for two pregnancies.  The first time I quit for over 2 years before I started again. Why would I start again? No idea. I quit last year when I was pregnant with my daughter but started again almost immediately after. Basically, I’m a terrible person. Well, I was a terrible person, now I’m awesome because I quit.

As of today I am back on the Whole30 with absolutely no smoking, more sleep, and more food, including breakfast. I am confident that I can give this one an even better go. I am still working on the sleep thing, but I am getting more. I am doing so much better with breakfast. At the beginning of the week I made my own sausage patties and shredded several sweet potatoes. I also chopped up plenty of broccoli. I am in love with this breakfast! It’s so filling and gives me some amazing energy!

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What do you think of my journey so far? Have you tried a Whole30 and failed only to try again? Anyone have quitting smoking tips for me? I would love to hear about your experiences or if you have a word of encouragement for me.

Share your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are purely the author’s own and are not necessarily shared by Green Oklahoma or other members of the staff. Use caution when starting new diets, if you have any health concerns be sure to consult a doctor. The author is not a doctor or dietitian.

 

My Whole30: An Unexpected Ephiphany

Day 20 is here! I intended to write a half-way point post, but my schedule last week was ridiculous. Normally I would have sucked it up and written the post instead of sleeping, but I didn’t and I’m about to tell you why.

After taking care of my diet and doing well with that for about two weeks, I started realizing that something was still missing. I was feeling better, but still not to that fantastic point. As I told you in my last post, if something is amiss, it’s a good idea to evaluate your diet, your sleep, your exercise, your stress levels, etc. Immediately what came to mind was my sleep pattern, or more appropriately, my lack of a sleep pattern. I’ve always been a night owl but pregnancy and children have compounded my problem.

sleep


I had a baby a little over a year ago and as anyone that has ever been pregnant already knows, sleeping isn’t fun when you’re 30+ pounds, achy pretty much everywhere, and have this wiggly human kicking your organs. Oh, did I mention that for a stomach sleeper it’s basically torture. You have to sleep on your side, with a pillow between your legs to support your hips, because your hip joints are loose, weird, and painful. Seriously, who does that! I won’t even get started on the leg cramps that keep you up all night, if you’re lucky enough to fall asleep. They say this lack of sleep is preparing you for the sleep you aren’t going to get when the baby gets here, which brings me through the next year, baby waking up all the time to eat and be annoying.

On top of being a night owl, pregnancy and baby complications, I also have a job as a bartender. I work from 4 p.m. to around 10 p.m. By the time I get home, eat a bite, clean up, and actually sit down to relax it’s usually well after midnight. A few hours of down-time, kids are sleep, house is clean and quiet. It’s MY time! I can read a book, work on my blog, watch TV, or aimlessly surf the internet. I frequently stay up as late as 3 a.m. or 4 am. The baby wakes up around 9 a.m., sometimes earlier. So you see my problem? I’m getting between four and six hours of sleep at night when for optimal health it’s recommended you get between seven and nine.

I’ve been working on getting to bed earlier. I’m usually getting there by 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. There are a couple of things I’ve had to tweak, I make something in the mornings in the crock pot so I have dinner ready when I get home from work. I eat almost the second I walk in the door. Instead of cleaning up at night, I do it in the mornings. Sometimes that means being okay with a messy house at night or dirty dishes in the sink.  I have been taking a hot bath a few nights a week. It is the most wonderful feeling in the entire world. I put away my phone, my computer, no TV. I light a few candles and for 30 minutes I read a book and let all the stresses of the day melt away. It has literally been a game changer. It makes me so sleepy, I can barely get dressed and in bed before I fall asleep. No joke, a hot bath works like a charm.

I’m still not getting as much as I would like but a week of prioritizing sleep and making an effort to get to sleep earlier has made me feel much, much better. The more I research, the more I understand just exactly HOW important the sleep factor is. Sleep loss increases levels of cortisol, your stress hormone. Which can suppress thyroid function and worsen or trigger hypothyroidism. Thyroid health is so important, it regulates your metabolism and controls how quickly the body uses energy and how sensitive the body is to other hormones. Cortisol also increases blood sugar, suppresses the immune system, decreases bone formation (think osteoporosis), and makes it harder for your body to burn fat. This is literally just the tip of the iceberg. Having your hormones in proper balance is key to making your body function efficiently and making you look and feel your best.

Are you getting enough sleep? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are purely the author’s own and are not necessarily shared by Green Oklahoma or other members of the staff. Use caution when starting new diets, if you have any health concerns be sure to consult a doctor. The author is not a doctor or dietitian.