Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Coconut Macaroon Cookies

While perusing through Facebook the other day, I came across a post by Paleo Parents for Creamy Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroons. The recipe looked very easy to make and only called for 5 ingredients and pretty healthy ingredients at that (ok, except the chocolate chips).  I'm not a huge macaroon fan, but Stacy and Matt's raving about these cookies made me decide to trust them and give the recipe a shot.

Wowie Zowie! They are so good, so buttery tasting, even though there is no butter! I now love macaroons!! Well these at least :)

I used Artisana Raw Coconut Butter instead of Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate (they are basically the same thing).

I did not have any course salt, so I used regular, granulated sea salt...I would only use a 1/2 tsp. next time as it was just a tad saltier than I would like.

Here is a link to another macaroon cookie recipe that inspired the Paleo Parents to make their cookie. Clean Macaroons with Coconut Strawberry Glaze, I have not made this version yet, but I'm pretty confidant, it will knock my socks off!

Some of you may be wondering why I am consuming sugar when I am supposed to be doing a Whole30. Well, I have decided, or I should say the perfectionist in me decided that I would rather start my Whole30 again at the first of the month instead of at the end of a month. So, Sat. Sept. 1st, I restart my Whole30 again. I have decided this time around not to do the Auto Immune Protocol, but a regular Whole30. I can always revert back to the AI Protocol if need be.

Despite only making it to day 21 on my last Whole30, I have been enjoying increased energy and creativity, which I have put to good use decluttering my house and rearranging some of the furniture in more pleasing positions. I do have more projects up my sleeve pending my husbands approval of course. I am excited to see what benefits I will reap, completing a whole 30 days!


Friday, August 24, 2012

My Whole30 was thwarted by a piece of cheese!

Actually it was two pieces!

I'm back to Day 1 on my Whole30,  I mistakenly ate two pieces of cheese in my what-was-supposed-to-be In & Out double patty, lettuce wrapped with grilled onions burger. My poor hubby, felt so bad since he was the one who goofed my order. I trusted that he had ordered correctly when I received my burger, and proceeded to eat it, after a few bites, I knew something was off, as the burger seemed so much more tastier than usual. I took a good look at my burger and saw cheese! Ahhhh, I was only 9 days away from completing my first Whole30! My husband suggested I just don't worry about it and continue on, but I couldn't, my conscience would not let me. In the book It Starts With Food, they state you need to be off all gluten, dairy, legumes, grains and sugar for a whole month at least to let your body heal properly. I really do want to give my body that chance of uninterrupted healing, so that is why I am starting at day 1.

I will not however, be doing the Autoimmune Protocol of the Whole30 this time around. But if I start having problems, then I will go back on it again.

Not making any excuses, just letting everyone know why I am starting over. I don't look at it as a failure either, it's just a setback, something to learn from (always check your food before biting into it).

I've had to make an ice cream cake for my son and his cousin's birthday party and guess what!? I felt no desire to eat any of it, or lick the spoon or bowl! I'll be enjoying my Prosciutto Wrapped Dates while everyone else is eating the ice cream cake and I'll be feeling perfectly content! :) If that is not progress, then I don't know what is!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Practical Paleo Giveaway Winner!

I would like to thank all of you who participated in my first giveaway and I hope that those who did not win, will still grab themselves a copy of Practical Paleo.

Now for the Winner...

Eileen Lindsey!! I have sent you an e-mail with more information.

Thanks again and I wish you all great health and happiness!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Natural, Essential Oil Hair Detangler Spray

I was so excited when I came across this post by Frugally Sustainable for their homemade herbal detangler spray. You see, I have fine hair, but a lot of it and it is always frizzy and dry, my daughter also has fine hair, but it gets tangled so easily and she quite often cries when I brush her hair. I decided to make it and give it a shot, boy am I glad I did! My hair is now softer and when I air dry my hair, my natural curls are more pronounced and looks prettier, in fact, I've gotten several compliments. My daughter loves using this on her hair as well, it really helps make her hair easier to brush.

I use it on my hair by spraying it on damp, towel dried hair, then combing it in with a wide tooth comb and letting my hair air dry if I have time and keep my hair curly. If not, I will blow dry my hair till it is mostly dry, then let it air dry the rest of the way, then I use a large bore curling iron to straighten my hair. I also prefer to spray my daughter's hair when it is wet, but use it on her dry hair as well.

I was able to find dried marshmallow root at my local health food store and bought some jojoba oil there as well. I already had two, small spray bottles that I had saved to re-purpose for a project like this. Following the recipe was very easy, just make sure you simmer and not boil the marshmallow root/water mixture. Also, it is very important to use distilled water so that water deposits will not clog up your spray nozzle.

I chose Young Living Lavender essential oil for my detangler spray.

Here is a list of possible oils you can choose from...

Melaleuca Alternifolia
Eucalyptus Blue
Clary Sage 
Palo Santo

Many of the oils on the list are also beneficial in helping hair loss and/or dandruff problems.

If you use store bought hair detanglers, please make this and give it a try, I truly believe your hair, scalp and body (no nasty chemicals!) will thank you.

Stephanie Maria Mckenzie
Member# 1143752
Young Living Essential Oils

Monday, August 13, 2012

Prosciutto Wrapped Dates

Since no sugar is allowed on the 21 Day Sugar Detox or the Whole30, I have been searching for sugar free bacon locally with out any luck at all. Online, you can purchase some from U.S. Wellness Meats, but we cannot afford that right now unfortunately.

While reading posts in the Whole30 Forum, someone mentioned they used prosciutto in place of bacon and that the ingredients were only pork and salt...perfect! The person mentioned that he purchased his from Trader Joe's, so the next time I was down there (I love Trader Joe's) I looked for it. They had a few different kinds of prosciutto, only one did not contain sugar, so please always read the ingredients, never assume. I ended up buying two packages, each pack contained 4oz and cost $5.90...yikes I know, but I was desperate lol. I later found the same brand of prosciutto (still be sure to check ingredients) at Costco, you get 12oz for $12.00, so you basically get 4oz free over there, a much better deal!

Anyhoo, the reason I was hoping to find some sugar free bacon or an acceptable substitute was to make these gorgeous, tasty beauties!

Prosciutto Wrapped Dates

Prosciutto Wrapped Dates

Package of Prosciutto
Dates- I prefer the caramel like flavor of deglet, but medjool will work great too.

If you were to use a whole 4oz package of prosciutto, you will need 14 dates. Each slice of prosciutto makes two wrapped dates.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

With a knife (regular of paring), gently press into the flesh of the dates. Then with your thumbs, pry the flesh open as gently as you can and remove the pit.

When all dates have been pitted, carefully remove a slice of prosciutto and gently tear in half with your hands. Then take one half and fold lengthwise. then wrap around the date. Don't worry about the prosciutto tearing while you are removing it, it happens all the time, you can still salvage it easily, just fold as best you can and wrap.

Lay on parchment covered baking sheet seem side down.

Bake in oven for 12 minutes. Let cool, then enjoy!

*If you are able to have dairy, stuff dates with feta cheese before wrapping.

**If you are able to have nuts, stuff dates with almonds, walnuts, or pecans before wrapping.

Here are some photos of me putting them together...

Here is a picture of the brand of prosciutto I used.

I got this package from Trader Joe's. The one from Costco is a two pack and looks a little different.

Some of you might be wondering why I am eating dates when I am trying to avoid sugar. Simple, dates are a whole, unprocessed food, perfectly fine to include in your Whole30 as long as you don't over do it. (Plus they are full of fiber, B vitamins, potassium, etc...)

These dates are perfect for taking on a hike or bike ride, they are little energy bundles! I hope you will give them a try, they are quite delicious!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Easy Homemade Air Freshener Using Young Living Essential Oils

I have a new page on my blog called Uses for Young Living Essential Oils, I will be listing all posts pertaining to EO's on that page as well, to make it a little easier to find. I hope that you will find these tips and projects useful.

Why should you use Young Living Essential Oils?

For myself, if I purchase a product with my hard earned money, I want it to do what it says it will do or be what it says it is! When it comes to Essential Oils, God's medicine chest that he bestowed to us, I want it to be pure and and potent...the very best, since it will be rubbed on the skin of my children, husband and myself not to mention taken internally. That's right, with only the exception of a few oils, you can safely ingest Young Living EO's! I like that peace of mind!

Here are some links to further explain why Young Living Essential Oils are the best on the market and why I have chosen to be a distributor for this company.

Young Living-choose your country

Young Living Essential Oil's Seed to Seal Process

Young Living Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils

Young Living Membership Options

Stephanie Maria Mckenzie
Member# 1143752

Homemade Air Fresheners Using Essential Oils

I came across these two links that show you how to make your own natural air fresheners with out chemicals or harmful ingredients. These projects looked easy, fun and very practical, not to mention a perfect opportunity to use some Young Living Essential Oils :)

Super Simple Homemade Air Freshener by The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking

Easy Baking Soda Air Freshener by Smashed Peas and Carrots

I loved both ideas so I made both...

The large jar with the heart nailed on the lid is for the kids bathroom, the cute owl one is for my daughter's room and the jar with the pink design is the downstairs bathroom. I will be making more for the other rooms of the house. I would use relaxing scents for bedrooms such as Peace and Calming, Lavender and Orange.

I used Joy in the jar that is for the downstairs bathroom, I told my husband I wanted everyone to come out of the bathroom feeling joyful, he said he always feels joyful coming out of the bathroom anyway lol. For the the other two jars, I used Orange, it's one of my kids favorites.

Other oils that can be used...


Citrus Fresh
Peace and Calming
Christmas Spirit (my favorite)

These are just a few, there are many to choose from!

Please do your body and your family's body a favor, don't buy the chemical laden air fresheners anymore!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sauteed Cinnamon Peaches with Coconut Cream

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox and the Whole30 simultaneously. They are not the same thing, the Whole30 is much stricter and it's purpose is much more encompassing. I am following the Autoimmune Protocol as outlined in Dallas and Melissa Hartwig's book "It Starts with Food", they are the creators of the Whole30. My list of food that I can eat has been narrowed down by the Autoimmune Protocol, so I need to learn how to prepare tasty dishes with the foods I can eat, luckily, there is still quite a bit to choose from.

I created this dish to add a little flair to my meal yesterday, and found it to be very good, so good I wanted to share it with you all.

Sauteed Cinnamon Peaches with Coconut Cream

Serves 1

1 Tbsp Coconut Oil ( I prefer the cold pressed, flavorless kind)
1 Cup Sliced, Ripe Peaches (fresh is best, but frozen is great too)
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt
Coconut Cream
Unrefined sugar, honey or stevia (optional)

Put can of full fat coconut milk in fridge so that the cream will harden and rise to top. Best to leave in fridge overnight, but at least 3 hours will work.

Spoon out hardened, white coconut cream from can into a small bowl, save rest of coconut milk for a smoothie. Whisk coconut cream until creamy and looks like whipped cream without the stiff or soft peaks. Put back in fridge and keep cold.

Heat a small skillet on medium high heat. Add the coconut oil to skillet and let get hot. Carefully add the sliced peaches to the hot skillet and let sit for a few minutes before stirring. Add cinnamon and stir every so often, but let the peaches sit for a few minutes in between. When peaches are lightly caramelized, turn off heat and put in a serving bowl. If you need to add some extra sweetness, now is the time to add it (I did not use any in mine and found it perfect for me). Put a dollop of coconut cream on top, then sprinkle on a small amount of cinnamon.

This recipe is quite versatile, you could use nutmeg is place of cinnamon if you like. Also in place of the coconut cream, you could use fresh raw cream or regular whipped cream.

I hope you give it a try and let me know if you liked it.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway of Practical Paleo By Diane Sanfilippo

This giveaway is now closed.

The winner of the Practical Paleo Book is: Eileen Lindsey!

"What is paleo? "Paleo" is short for Paleolithic, but the name is actually less important than the power of the overall approach.
While the term "Paleo" has gained traction in the mainstream media and on bookstore shelves everywhere due to the improved health of those who follow the lifestyle, you could call it "Primal", "Grain Free", "Real Food", "Whole Food", "Nutrient-Dense", or "Ancestral". Whatever name you choose, the "Paleo" way of eating is simple: Mimic our Ancestors, who suffered from fewer chronic diseases than modern populations." Diane Sanfilippo  Pg. 22 Practical Paleo 

I feel so honored that my humble blog was chosen to receive an advanced copy of Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo to review. I am so excited to share this book with you today, it truly is a treasure! I'm actually not really sure what to call this book, it's not just a book or a cookbook, it's both, wrapped up in a gorgeous, photo filled, information packed book! You know those authors who publish health books, then make you wait a year or more and publish a separate cookbook to go with their health book, well there is no waiting with this one, cookbook is included!

Her book is divided into three parts:

Part 1: The Why-Food and Your Body.

Part 2: Thirty Day Meal Plans

Part 3: Recipes

In part one, Diane explains the science behind the "Paleo" or as I like to call it the "Real Food" way of eating. She explains in detail and easy to understand terms why real food is best for our bodies. She includes colorful and extremely helpful guides and illustrations as well as many tips to help us when eating out or on an airplane or at a party.

Part two contains the meal plans. She has 11 different ones to choose from depending on your health issues:

Autoimmune Conditions

Blood Sugar Regulation

Digestive Health

Thyroid Health

Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue

Neurological Health

Heart Health

Cancer Recovery

Athletic Performance

Fat Loss

Squeaky Clean Paleo

Each meal plan contains Diet and Lifestyle recommendations, nutritional supplements & herbs to consider, supportive nutrients & foods that contain them and then the meal plans themselves. I personally plan to implement the Autoimmune Conditions, Thyroid Health and Fat Loss meal plans for my particular health issues.

Part three is all about the recipes! She includes step by step picture tutorials on how to chop an onion, how to chop a pepper and how to chop anything. I have found them tremendously helpful and am now chopping more like a chef than a crazy lady :) She has recipes for salt blends and spice blends that are wonderful. She has really inspired me to break out of the salt and pepper only mold and start using more of the spices in my cabinet!

The very best part of the recipes is that they are fast and easy to prepare with short ingredient lists for most...just how I like it!! Also each recipe has a least one gorgeous photo for you to drool at, taken by the talented Bill Staley of The Food Lovers Kitchen. I must stress the fact that this book, from start to finish, is chock full of glossy, beautiful skimping on that. I don't know about you, but I love looking at photos when I'm reading a cookbook or book on food.

Here are some of the recipes I have made from Practical Paleo...

This was adapted from her recipe Chicken Wings, two ways...

First my husband could only find regular size drumsticks at Costco instead of the recommended drummettes (or you can use wings too of course). Secondly I decided to only make it one way lol. I doubled the recipe for the Pineapple Teriyaki wings and boy was I glad I did...they were finger licking good! I really appreciated that there was no actual teriyaki sauce called for in the recipe, the combination of ingredients give you a delicious, lightly sweet sauce to mimic the teriyaki flavor without the harmful soy and sugar.

Pumpkin Pancakes...

Thank you, thank you Diane for giving the option to use a banana as a sweetener for these yummy, nourishing pancakes! This is a picture of my son's plate with the whole shebang of butter and maple syrup on top. Mine was just plain with butter, but still quite sweet that I did not miss the maple syrup.

The next day when heating up the leftovers for my breakfast, I had a great idea...drizzle on coconut butter. Let me tell you, it is so good this way, very decadent, but without the guilt!

Citrus and herb whole roasted chicken...

This was one of our favorites, so simple, yet full of flavor! The picture above shows the lemon version which my family just woofed down so fast. I saw my oldest son (aka pickiest eater) spooning extra roasted carrots and onion on to his plate, the lemon gave them so much flavor.

OK, I have to admit I goofed the first time I made this recipe, I used oranges instead of lemon, (I actually loved the orange version better) but I had set the chicken, breast down in the baking dish and proceeded to season and roast it upside was still delicious and I ate some of the skin anyway :)

Upside down Orange and learn :)

Lemon rosemary broiled salmon...

Wowie zowie, this is our favorite recipe so far! We all wanted to eat the whole thing in one fell swoop, but thanks to my husband, the voice of reason, we ate half the first night then enjoyed the other half the next night.

Lemon rosemary broiled salmon with sauteed zucchini, onion and kale

When I am finished with my sugar detox, I will be trying this recipe for Flourless mocha-bacon brownies...sounds and looks so good!

In the back of the book, Diane has guides that can be torn out and put on your fridge to help you remember important information.

My favorite guide was the one to paleo foods, I can get in a rut eating the same veggies over and over again, this guide helps remind me there are many vegetables and protein sources to choose from!

I hope my review was able to give you a good idea of what you will be getting if you purchase this "Encyclopedia" of information. It will arm you with the knowledge and tools you need to attain radiant health, which is what many of us are searching for.

This book will be released tomorrow, Aug.7th 2012!

Now for the giveaway! A brand spanking new copy of Practical Paleo will be mailed to the winner's doorstep!

"Like" my facebook page, Reading Your lips

"Like" Balanced Bites facebook page (Diane's page)

Post a comment below stating you have done both of these. The contest will be closed on Aug. 19th 2012 and the winner will be chosen and announced Monday, Aug. 20th 2012

**Update, I've changed the contest end date to Aug. 19th 2012

Good luck!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How to read lips...

I've mentioned in a earlier post that I was not born deaf, my parents did not notice that I had hearing loss till I was around 4 years old because I would not respond when they spoke to me while my back was turned.. That means I had at least 2-3 years of normal hearing before it started to decline (most likely triggered by a high fever of 106 that I had when 2 years of age). My earliest memory of that time, was wondering what all the fuss was, I thought I heard just fine. I had unconsciously learned to read lips to adapt to my new hearing loss and had no clue that I was doing it till later when I was older, I realized I needed to look at someones lips to understand them.

When I was about 6, I had a childhood friend at church who was 4. She and her mother and brother would sit in the pew in front of my family and we would get down under the pew and talk to each other silently, somehow that 4 year old little girl learned to read my lips so we could talk during church services! I vividly remember during one such time, her mom caught us and I saw her lurch forward with a look of pain on her face, her mom had given her a good swat lol (sorry Shannon). As we grew up, we continued to read each others lips to talk about boys in front of our moms so they would not know what we were saying, we did it at school too. It was such a handy ability :)

Years ago, I had someone tell me they wished that they could read lips too. It caused me to really think about how I learned it or how Shannon learned it as well. I came to the conclusion that we simply just watched lips. Yep, that's it, just watch people's lips when they speak and you will start to recognize how words look when they are formed by lips. For the most part, people will form their words the same way. You can practice this by saying the word "Oh", look at yourself in the mirror and see how your mouth looks while saying. Then have some family members say the word "Oh" and compare, you will most likely find everyones mouth looks almost the same while saying that word. Do it again with another word like "My", or whatever word you want, just play with it, you'll have fun learning. To become a really good lip reader, you need to always look at someones lips when they are talking with you, it will help you hone your skill.

I hope you found this helpful and insightful (please do not take this post to mean I think it's ok to talk during church services or to talk about boys behind your parents back, it's not how God would want us to use such a gift).