Chocolate Almond Butter Cookies

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If you know anything about me, it’s that I love a good cookie. Chocolate chip especially are my favorite. Now cookies don’t exactly go hand in hand with trying to eat healthy, so I’m usually scouring Pinterest for a healthier cookie recipe. I also don’t have a lot of baking ingredients on hand, so I had to find something I could make with very few ingredients. That’s when I found this recipe for flourless chocolate almond butter cookies!

I decided to give them a shot, and oh man am I glad I did! These cookies do still contain sugar, but I felt a little bit better about them being flour-free. They are chewy and delicious, with a perfectly nutty chocolate flavor. They definitely satisfied my craving! There is also an identical recipe without the cocoa powder that I want to try. I imagine them being more like traditional chocolate chip cookies.

These cookies were super simple to make, and best part is they only having six ingredients. They are so easy to whip up on a whim, with ingredients I usually have on hand in the house. (Though I did have to make a trip to the store for chocolate chips.) I know they will stay in the rotation when I need something sweet!

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Cookies ready to go in the oven!

Dear fellow military wife

As hubby and I are gearing up for yet another deployment, I can’t help but to think about all the things to come. There are so many facets to this crazy life, some good and some not so good. (I don’t say bad, because nothing about being married to my best friend is bad. Some parts are just harder than others.) Every time hubby is away I get asked a series of questions about military life, deployment, and everything in between. I have several friends that are also military spouses, and I also know there are millions out there that I will never meet. So it has been on my heart for a while to write something like this.

If you are a military spouse, I hope this speaks to you in some way. If you know one, please share with them.

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Dear fellow military wife,

How are you doing? That question seems so simple, but so few people remember to ask. Your husband is gone again, you are left to deal with life at home alone, and most questions asked of you are concerning your husband. “How long is he going to be gone? When does he come home? Are you worried about him? What exactly is he doing?” For most of these questions you don’t even have an answer. I know you feel like most people don’t understand you or your situation, but I do. So I ask again, how are you doing?

I know how it feels to want to say everything is ok when it is not. I know how you want to put on a brave face for your kids, your family, and your friends when you are suffering through the hard moments. I know what it’s like to only feel like half a person for months at a time. I just want you to know that I see you, because I am you.

To the girlfriend who is waiting for the boyfriend she just started dating, whose friends all think she is crazy for waiting for a guy she barely knows, I was you.

To the wife whose husband is getting ready for deployment and who is facing taking care of their home all alone for the first time, I am you.

To the first time mom whose husband is gone and is raising their baby alone, hating that he is missing all of those first moments, one day I will be you.

I do not know you, but I know what you are going through. I know what you are experiencing – all of the fear, anxiety, worry, anticipation, loneliness. I know how you feel, even though most people around you may not. I may not know you, but we share a special bond through being a military wife. You just know another one when you see her, and you just want her to know that she is seen. All of her struggle is your struggle. And all of her joy is your joy. 

So I hope you are doing okay. I know some days are harder than others, but it makes the good days all that much better. Whatever it is you are going through, whichever part of military life you are living right now, just know that I am here for you in spirit. Someone is always thinking of you. You are braver than you think (or else you wouldn’t be where you are.) Others may think you are crazy for choosing this life, but we both know you didn’t choose the life, you chose the man. And we both know that the man is worth it. 

Others may not understand you, but I do. I see you. I am you. And we are going to be okay.

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Fresh Watermelon Smoothie

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Watermelon Raspberry Smoothie

Watermelon has to be one of my favorite things about summer. It just screams sunshine and warm days. And as much as I love just cubing it up and enjoying it straight up, I also love to be a little more creative when it comes to food. I happened to have half a watermelon hanging out in my fridge, so I thought – why not make a smoothie with it? I didn’t want to just throw some watermelon and ice in a blender and call it a day, so I looked around for some more items I had on hand that would make a yummy fruit smoothie. Thus this watermelon raspberry smoothie was born!

Ingredients
  • 1-2 cups cubed watermelon
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup water
Directions

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

As you can see, I’m not very exact when it comes to measuring. I just scooped what I thought would be enough watermelon into my blender, and eyeballed the amount of frozen raspberries (it looked to be about 1/2 a cup). Mine did start out very watery so I just kept adding ice cubes until it was the consistency I wanted. The citrus is the perfect counterpart to the sweetness of the watermelon and adds just enough tartness.

This watermelon smoothie is the perfect pink drink for summer! (That Starbucks pink drink ain’t got nothing on this.) Pour yourself a glass and soak up those summer rays!

 

Garlic Parmesan Chicken & Zoodles

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I finally put the spiralizer that has been sitting in my kitchen drawer (for over a year) to use last night and made zoodles for the first time! I have NO IDEA why I haven’t been making these already! They were super easy and this recipe that I just put together on the fly was delicious. No, it is not 100% Paleo, but still really healthy and a great way to change up how you eat your veggies.

I decided to use the thin side of my spiralizer. Since it was my first time making zoodles I chose to go with thin ones so they more resembled pasta noodles and didn’t end up still crunchy. I’m glad I did because they turned out perfect and exactly what I was looking for. If you haven’t tried making zoodles yet, what are you waiting for?? You can find a spiralizer on Amazon for under $10, and making them was super simple. If you have kids, this would be a great recipe to try out with them. I’m sure they would have a blast making noodles from a vegetable!

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I decided to salt my zucchini and let them sit for about 20 minutes to extract some of the water. I’m not sure this step is entirely necessary. It did make them a lot softer, so if that’s what you are going for then go ahead and do it. I think it did cut down on cooking time too, since the zucchini noodles were already pretty soft. I only had to saute them for a couple minutes since they were so thin. I also should have used more zucchini. I used 2 for both my husband and me, and it wasn’t exactly enough since they cook down so much. Next time I would definitely go for 3 or 4.

I hope you all give this recipe a try! I was really impressed with how it turned out for my first try making zoodles. I can’t wait to try more recipes and incorporate veggie noodles more often into our dinner rotation.

Ingredients

  • 2-4 zucchini (depends on size and how many servings you want)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • butter (I used vegan butter, but use whatever you like)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Use spiralizer to cut zucchini into noodles. I tore mine off after 6-7 turns to not make one super long noodle.
  2. Place zucchini noodles in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 20 minutes. Squeeze out excess water with a paper towel. (This whole step is optional.)
  3. Cut chicken breasts into cubes and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat with olive oil. Cook chicken until done. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Place a little more olive oil and a tablespoon of butter into the pan. Add garlic and zucchini. Saute zucchini noodles 3-5 minutes or until soft. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and stir in to melt.
  5. Plate zucchini noodles, topped with chicken, and another small sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
  6. Enjoy!

 

You can find the exact spiralizer I used from Amazon here.

Progress & Pancakes | The Paleo Fix

It’s been about a week and a half into my Paleo Fix challenge and it’s..well, going. Haha. Week one was a bit bumpy, followed by a weekend where all things Paleo basically got thrown out the window. As I mentioned in my original post, we had a weekend full of celebrations. Friday night we went to Tupelo Honey Cafe for my dad’s birthday dinner. And well, if you’ve ever been there, you know you can’t just pass on the biscuits and blueberry jam. Saturday we went to Plaza Azteca for a friend’s birthday dinner, where I indulged in chips, tacos, and a margarita. Then Sunday we spent most of the day at the beach, followed by an early dinner at Chick’s (aka a few beers in the sun followed by more tacos and crushes at Chick’s.) I picked a GREAT time to try and start Paleo, huh?

Even after an entire weekend full of treating myself and not following my diet plan, I don’t feel one ounce of guilt. As my husband says, you don’t want to be the weirdo at the party. So I enjoyed myself, and I am happy I did.

This week has (thankfully) been a whole other story. I have stayed on track, with the exception of the pizza we had for dinner Tuesday night. I was fighting some sort of 24 hour cold and just did NOT feel like cooking dinner. This challenge to me isn’t about being 100% super strict Paleo, so making a few small exceptions throughout the week isn’t a big deal.

Even with a weekend full of indulgences, I am still seeing progress! I am down 5 lbs (which is probably mostly just bloat, but hey) and can notice a difference in the way my body looks and feels. I’ve been taking photos once a week to track my progress, and while you can’t notice a huge difference, I can still see a change. The biggest change is in the way I feel, and that is way more important to me, and the whole reason behind doing this challenge.

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Now onto the pancakes! I have been craving some sort of bread-y breakfast lately (pancakes, waffles, cereal, etc.) so I have been trying to find a recipe that fits in with my challenge guidelines. This morning I found this recipe for coconut flour pancakes! I cut the recipe in half since it was just for me, and added half a mashed banana and a dash of cinnamon to the batter. I topped the pancakes with a little vegan butter (not Paleo), the other half of the banana, and some honey. HOLY YUM. These pancakes were everything I have been craving, and I didn’t even miss the maple syrup. If you need a good and healthy pancake recipe, give these a try! I promise you won’t be disappointed. They were a little hard to flip since they don’t set up like regular pancakes do while cooking, but I found if I used a wider spatula I was able to keep them together for the most part. Plus, who cares what they look like when they are so delicious?

 

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Banana Muffins | The Paleo Fix

Yay for Paleo baking! I’ve been cravings sweets lately (which normally happens when I’m on any sort of diet program), so I’ve been looking for a good baked goods recipe.

Yesterday morning I tried making coconut flour brownies…FAIL. They were terrible. I didn’t even let them finish baking all the way before I threw them out. I could just tell they weren’t going to work. (Insert sad face here.)

So later that evening I was searching online for a Paleo muffin recipe. That’s when I found these. Hallelujah! It’s a recipe I could make with things I already had on hand in my kitchen and satisfy that sweet tooth craving at the same time. I did modify the recipe some. I left out the chocolate chunks and didn’t add the scoop of almond butter in the batter before it baked. Oh man, are these muffins good!

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Next time I would make a few changes – like adding that scoop of almond butter to the batter. Maybe adding some honey for sweetness (though the almond butter might fix that.) And finding some Paleo-friendly chocolate so I can make them more of a dessert. Most of all though, I would DEFINITELY recommend using paper liners. I didn’t and a lot of muffin stuck to the bottom of the pan. But that’s ok, because they are still delicious. And they definitely hit the spot.

A friend of mine sent me a recipe for chocolate Paleo brownies I plan to try out next. I’m sure they will turn out WAY better than the failed attempt I made yesterday haha.

The blog is back! | Paleo Fix Series

Holy cow! I can’t believe it’s been a YEAR AND A HALF since I last blogged here! What?!? Well, I decided to bring the blog back! Yes, I am dusting off the cobwebs and breathing new life into my old baby. (So sorry, my little blog!) I thought about creating a whole new site for the new blog series I am going to do, but I thought why not just keep with old faithful? So here we go!

My new blog series I am calling the Paleo Fix! For the month of June, I am doing a 30 day Paleo challenge combined with the 21 Day Fix portioning system – still doing CrossFit as well. I have several reasons for wanting to give Paleo a try. (1) I have been wanting to try Paleo for a LONG time. I’ve always been curious about it and what it would do for my body, so what better time than now? (2) I’ve been experiencing some inflammation issues, mostly with my skin. I’ve been having crazy bad breakouts lately. I’ve always had issues with cystic acne. There were a couple month there where it got REALLY bad, and I found that Ezekiel break was making it worse, so I have to cut that out (wah!) I’ve always experience some sort of bloating when I have dairy. So why not just go all Paleo and figure out if fixing my diet can help fix these things for me. I am not going super strict Paleo. I am still having my Shakeology, and I am also allowing myself ONE treat meal a week so that I don’t lose my mind haha.

One thing I am cutting out for the foreseeable future is alcohol, for multiple reasons. Let’s just say I picked a GREAT week to start Paleo and cut out drinking. This weekend coming up is full of celebrating, with birthday dinners Friday and Saturday and a dinner with girlfriends on Sunday. AH! Yes, I could say “oh I will just start next week” and go ahead and celebrate with alcohol this week, but I’m not going to. That is not what doing this challenge is about.

There are times I am going to be tempted and it’s going to be hard, and if I start off by letting things slide and giving in…well that’s not a very good place to be. I can’t start off this challenge by making excuses already. If I do that, then I’ll just keep pushing and pushing it back. Plus, I can have plenty of fun without alcohol.

So yesterday was officially day one of the Paleo Fix series! Throughout this challenge I will be posting recipes I’ve tested as well as weekly reflections of how the “diet” is going. (Yes, I put diet in quotations marks, because I hate the word diet.) I’m really just playing it by ear and experimenting as I go. I am excited about this challenge. It’s definitely something different for me. And I know it’s going to be hard. I am BAD at sticking with restrictive diets. But I have really big goals this time and a GREAT BIG WHY! I know just reminding myself of why I am doing this will get me through.