Paleo & Juliet

A different kind of romance

Gluten free fried okra

Okra is one of those veggies you either love it or not. I LOVE okra! Gimme okra fried, baked, in soups and stews – it’s just good stuff. My favorite would have to be breaded. However, breaded takes on a new meaning when it comes to Paleo.

After the Paleo movement, one thing I missed was breaded fried okra. Once the craving could be denied no longer, I picked up some fresh okra and was determined to make it without using anything to coat it. Flour-less fried okra. Gluten-free okra. The results? Not. so. bad.

I sliced them lengthwise, added salt and pepper and fried in avocado oil. Much to my surprise, it was not the slime pit I anticipated. The sad part is, once they were cooked and drained, they were consumed before I thought to take a picture of the finished product! Well, that’s what cravings do – it sets you on a one track mind until the goal has been accomplished, and you’re full.


I have tried using almond flour and coconut flour but cannot keep the flour to stick to the okra while cooking. I’ve tried the flour alone and making a batter with eggs – still to no avail. If anyone has a solution, would love it if you’d share!

Okra lovers, add your spices and fry away! You’ll still get your okra fix and it will be a healthy one to boot!

Bring on the plantains

fried plantains

Last summer when my husband was in full UC flare mode, due to the foods we were limited to eating at the time, I tried to switch things up with plantains. Not real sure of how to proceed with them, I checked out my big ‘ole virtual cookbook and found the simplest way to prepare plantains – pan frying.

It’s soul-satisfying to find recipes that use minimum ingredients (clean eating) and are truly delicious. Quick and simple, we victoriously discovered another food that didn’t compete with my husband’s digestive system.

Plantains are like bananas in that they sweeten as they ripen. It’s a matter of preference (and tolerance to sugars) as to how ripe they should be when cooked. For us, I cooked them when they were semi-green when the sugar count was low.

To prepare plantains for cooking, peel and slice either lengthwise or into little medallions about 1/4″ thick. To pan fry, simply heat butter (remember real butter is better, grass-fed is best!), coconut oil, or ghee in a frying pan over medium high heat. Gently add plantains to the pan and sprinkle with cinnamon. Lightly brown on both sides, remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Enjoy as a snack or light dessert. We didn’t have any left overs!

Three simple ingredients for fried plantains:

  • semi-green plantains (or ripened to your choosing)
  • butter, ghee or coconut oil
  • cinnamon


If this seems too simple, get those creative juices flowing and share with us how you switch it up. The possibilities are endless….add shredded coconut, douse in carob powder, drizzle melted chocolate (70% or greater) over top, sprinkle with fruit….you get the idea!




Paleo pizza pairs perfect with Type 1 Diabetes

This past fall marked one year that my son Jonathan (23 years old), was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Although hard to believe, instead of sitting around and dwelling on it, with the help of nurse educators and the internet, he, his now wife, Savannah and the rest of his support team, got educated. He and Savannah immediately (and drastically) changed their diet.

One of the realizations that came with time, was the fact that, what one person with T1D can eat without issue, doesn’t mean it won’t affect another negatively. In Jon’s case, one of his favorite foods was culprit to spiking sugar levels.

Which food? Pizza.

The problem with pizza was the crust. The crust is loaded with carbs and gluten (unless gluten free). So we tried a Paleo pizza crust made from summer squash, eggs, basil, oregano, shredded cheese and garlic salt. The results have been progressively amazing. Why progressively amazing? The first few times I had to tweak the recipe to keep it from being so eggy, then spread it out thinner in order to get it crispy, and lastly to experiment with baking times.


Above, before baking….

Below, baked crust and loaded….toothpicks are markers for items yummy for me, but  unfriendly for Ulcerative Colitis.


The end result…




With a vegetable crust, you won’t feel bloated and if you’re T1D, your sugar will  most likely be stable!

One way to save a recipe flop

My son asked for a vanilla cake. Wanting it to be healthy and delicious, I started looking for recipes (Paleo) online. I came across one named “My Famous Vanilla Cake (Moist and Heavenly). The cake pictured made my mouth water just looking at it. The recipe had been reposted on Pinterest, and numerous other sites. It HAD to be good, right?

Well, I knew there were issues when I had to literally “piece” the dough in the pan. After baking the height of the cake didn’t warrant slicing in two. I had followed the recipe and used premium ingredients. What a fail. I was so disappointed. Not just the fact that I did not have a vanilla cake for Jon, but at the waste of money on ingredients, as eating healthy does not come cheap.


Determined to not let it go to waste, I did as instructed and sliced the “cake” in two and placed both sections on the counter on freezer paper. I got out my biscuit cutter and cut cookies out of both pieces of cake. Tasting crumbs, I knew the mess of cake I had in front of me had potential.

I lined a cupcake pan and placed a “cookie” in each liner. Melted some coconut oil and Enjoy Life chocolate chips and drizzled on top. Allowed each to cool completely then transferred to a container and refrigerated.

The end result? Some pretty doggone cookies that didn’t last but a couple of days. So the next time you have a kitchen fail, think of ways you can redeem what you have. Granted, the end result may not always be what you intended for but the key is to allow creativity to prevail and feed your family instead of wildlife.


How prevalent are GMOs?

Not everyone knows what genetically modified organisms are, much less how common they are in our everyday foods. While I knew +95% of corn contained GMOs, I was not aware (although not surprised) that 75% of all non-organic U.S. processed foods contained genetically modified ingredients. True story according to an article (Wholesome & Delicious) in Better Nutrition magazine.

GMOs lack both research and testing, yet exist in most foods labeled as “natural” and “all natural” or other meaningless misleading classifications. The chart below can help determine which Franken-foods to avoid and which ones to purchase from the organic aisle.


Let produce numbers help you determine which is best for your family. Have trouble remembering, save a snapshot with your phone and refer to it when you’re in the produce section!


Ground venison

We were blessed with a little over 110 pounds of venison this year. While I don’t celebrate the actual harvest, I do give thanks and am very grateful for what God allows us to have. Not only does it save money, it’s harvested ethically and it’s an animal that hasn’t lived life on a filthy feed lot – which, I feel we condone when we purchase ground meat from the grocery store (unless it’s organically/humanely grown).

This year, Addison, our granddaughter was excited to help us with the processing. She turned six this past November and we believe there’s a job for all ages. Since able to walk, her mom and dad have allowed her to help with laundry, kitchen chores, putting up groceries and anything else Addie felt big enough to do. So when it comes to helping, she’s all in!

A friend suggested adding one pound of bacon to each pound of venison and for us, this proves to be the perfect combination. Venison is so lean, the added bacon gives it just enough fat to hold it together, keeps it from sticking to the pan while cooking, and compliments the meat to alter the gamey taste.

Once harvested, the meat is cut off the bone and placed in a cooler of ice, salt and vinegar for twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Change the water, salt and vinegar daily, adding ice back each time. Afterward, the water is drained off and the meat is placed in a tub that has holes cut in the bottom of it, which sits inside of another tub, covered with a lid and placed in the refrigerator. This allows the blood to drain from the meat. After 2-3 days of draining, it’s ready for processing.

We form somewhat of an assembly. I look and clean the meat at the kitchen sink with running water, while my husband, Brian, sets up the food grinder.

After the meat is cleaned, we use the kitchen scales – Brian weighs himself first, then weighs again holding the tub of meat. Some simple math tells us approximately how much meat we have to process. This also lets us know how much bacon to add. Btw, we use uncured bacon without added nitrates or nitrites. (It’s. what’s. good. for. you.)

As he grinds the meat and bacon the first time, I prepare freezer bags to be used with the food saver. Since grinding’s not safe for children, Addie’s eager and perfectly content to be our ‘mixer’; so she mixes the meat in between passes. This helps ensure the bacon is well-blended with the venison. Then, it’s passed through the grinder again. After the second pass, it’s ready for packaging.


We typically package in 1-1/2 and 2 lb. packages. Sometimes we use scales and sometimes we don’t. I’ve noticed we start the season using scales and after a couple of harvests, we end up ‘eyeing’ it.

Fill the bags with meat, vacuum, seal, date and freeze!

Now you can relax knowing you have the convenience of meat in the freezer whenever you need it. The meat is lean, healthy, ethically harvested and fresh!


Paleo blueberry muffins

I’m not sure why being snowed in makes you want to eat, but over the past two days I’ve made homemade pimento cheese, a spa-ghetti-artichoke-mushroom dish, vegetable soup, venison meatloaf, creamed potatoes, peas and carrots, hot wings, cinnamon-orange-pineapple ‘joe’, and some blueberry muffins. There’s only two of us!!!

At any rate, cruising Facebook, it appears I’m not alone. Everyone’s feeds are littered with those complaining about chronic eating while we weather the storm. So let it snow!

Now, about those blueberry muffins…

I’ve tried several gluten free muffin recipes and most fall into one of two categories, dry or undercooked/super-eggy in the center. This recipe was perfect! Thanks to Monica Bravo at Bravo for Paleo for this recipe!

Keep in mind, the quality of your ingredients are paramount to the results. I used organic blueberries (frozen), Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour, Carrington Farm’s coconut oil, free range eggs, grade A maple syrup, sea salt, Arm & Hammer baking soda, and Diamond brand almond milk instead of coconut milk, because it’s what I had. I didn’t use vanilla flavoring, simply because I didn’t have any on hand. I did use muffin liners to avoid having to use extra coconut oil and risk my muffin pan loving the muffins as much as I do.

This was a great recipe, one I’ll definitely make again. Not overly sweet, with just the right texture. If needed, you could sweeten it up by adding coconut sugar to the muffin tops. I thought Monica’s recipe was perfect as it was. Try it and enjoy! 12583824_10207408355400425_1192774735_nI’m thinking I may try this recipe again replacing blueberries with cranberries, just to add some variety.


My daughter, Ashley is a yoga enthusiast. As I watch her practice and see her challenge posts, my mind gravitates to the beauty and grace contained within her. How can this be the same lanky soccer player that kept me in stitches with the “Elaine dance”?



Now she’s a mommy and a lean, mean, yoga-machine that’s inspired me to do yoga. I mean it wasn’t an instant, “I wanna do that!” It’s like I told her, she’s a butterfly and I’m a….well, pigs don’t do yoga!

Please spare the comments about me calling myself a pig. I’m not a pig in an obese sense of the word, I’m a pig in that I love to eat and do not get a healthy dose of daily exercise. Hence, yopi (yoga for those who love eating and lack exercise). So, I’ve worked up to getting started with the goal of transforming into one day, a butterfly.

Even my granddaughter, Oaklee, loves her mom’s yoga workouts. Here she is doing the downward dog…

downward dog

And because she’s too cute to not see her face…here she is covered in birthday cake.


As for my daughter, here’s some of her posts that have me thinking….’I wanna do that!’

ash yoga            ashley yoga

snow yoga

Two days ago I began with a beginner’s session. I had no idea I’d committed to a real workout. I stretched within my limits. I perspired lightly. I realized how out of shape I am. It’s all good though, I’m a pig in butterfly training and it feels great!

 pigs and butterflies.jpg

Most important foods to buy organic – the “Dirty Dozen”

If you’re making a Paleo diet transition or trying to establish a clean eating lifestyle, it can be expensive to go at it in one fell swoop. Below are the number one foods that should always be purchased from organic sources. They’re commonly referred to as the “Dirty Dozen.”

Government standards allow non-organic commercial growers to produce these foods using the highest pesticide loads, as compared to other fresh fruits and vegetables. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicates there are 29 traces of pesticides in the average American body. The Dirty Dozen, by far contain the most which make them the most important to purchase from certified organic sources.

  • Apples k7252-65i
  • Celery
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Snap Peas
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Bell Peppers

If you would like to see which pesticides, how much, and the toxicities of each, check out this website: What’s On My Food?





Sometimes cravings get the best of me. Today, it happened to be spaghetti. Or, I should say, spa-ghetti. What’s the difference? Spa-ghetti is like a trip to the spa for your health and digestive system. Whhaaat?

Spa-ghetti compared to spaghetti

Spaghetti squash is lower in carbs and calories than spaghetti noodles, yet contains enough fiber to fill you up just the same. While both are low in fat and salt, pasta has 87% more calories than spaghetti squash. Although pasta has approximately eight times more protein, spaghetti squash has far more antioxidants.

If you’re watching calories, counting carbs, avoiding gluten or establishing a paleo diet, you owe it to yourself (and your health) to try spaghetti squash. It’s easy to cook and versatile in how it can be prepared. Eat it with your favorite spaghetti sauce or try replacing it with any recipe that calls for pasta.

If you’re practicing clean eating, spa-ghetti is a no-brainer. Standard pasta is made from flour, eggs and salt. Spaghetti squash is, well…squash!

How to cook spaghetti squash in an oven

Spaghetti squash is easy to cook. Slice through the middle, scrape out seeds (dry and plant to grow your own!), place cut side down, in a shallow baking dish with 1/2″ water and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until the top is lightly browned and a fork easily pierces the flesh. Remove from the oven, turn over and use a fork to shred the cooked spaghetti from the inside.

Cooking spaghetti squash in a crock pot

Slice the spaghetti squash through the middle (or leave whole). Add about 1/2″ of water to the crock pot. Place the spaghetti squash in the crock pot. Cook on low overnight or on high for a couple of hours, depending on the size of the squash. Test for doneness by piercing the flesh with a fork or knife. If it easily pierces the skin, it’s done. Remove from the crock pot, turn over and use a fork to shred the cooked spaghetti from the inside.

Spa-ghetti makes excellent pizza crust!

I use spaghetti squash to make gluten-free pizza crust. Cook spaghetti squash, drain add an egg, one cup of colby-jack cheese, a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and a dash of garlic salt. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Line a pizza pan with parchment paper and pour crust ingredients onto parchment paper. Press evenly to cover pizza pan. Bake on the middle or lower oven rack at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until brown and crispy. Remove from oven, cool slightly, spread pizza sauce on top of crust, add toppings and return to oven. Bake according to your favorite recipe. Yum!!!


This is cooked spaghetti squash. How would you use it? Pizza, pasta, salad, side dish?

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