Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bacon Mushroom Mooseloaf

Or how about just a Bacon Mushroom Meatloaf… named this way as I substituted moose meat for ground beef.  I’m pretty lucky to have a family that hunts and shares their freezer full of meat with me. 



  • 2 lbs. ground meat
  • 1 lb. nitrate-free bacon, chopped (I used Maple Leaf Naturals)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. mushrooms of any kind, chopped
  • 1 cup  almond flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • pinch of Himalayan sea salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 – 3 Tbsp. hot sauce and 1/2 cup Ketchup

How to put it all together

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and grease a medium sized casserole dish
  2. In a frying pan, sauté the bacon until crisp.  At this point you will want to drain some of the fat as there is a fair amount.  Then add the onions and mushrooms and continue to cook until they are translucent. 
  3. While the bacon mixture is cooking, crumble the beef in a bowl, then add the eggs and flour and mix with your hands until well combined. 
  4. Drain the rest of the fat from the bacon mixture.  Then add the bacon/onions/mushrooms to the beef.  It will be hot, so you may want to use a spatula to fold in.  Also add the salt and pepper. 
  5. Transfer everything to the greased casserole dish.  Round the top off a bit. 
  6. Pour the ketchup/hot sauce over the top and spread it evenly. 
  7. Place on the middle rack in the oven, but put a baking sheet under it in case of spillage. 
  8. It should cook in about 45 minutes, but use a thermometer to be certain to have the proper internal temperature. 
  9. Serve along side a side salad. 


Monday, October 15, 2012

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

It’s October and you know what that means?  Pumpkin season…pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin soups…anything pumpkin is good for me. 

And this brings me to today’s recipe… a Pumpkin Pie that is so simple to make and a healthy alternative to the store-bought varieties (Costco being by far the bestest pumpkin pie you can buy – you see people leaving the store with carts full)… plus it tastes great. 

(This is not my own recipe.. I found it online somewhere a while ago and realized while making it that it’s Paleo Friendly – Bonus)

Pumpkin pie

Preheat your oven to 350F. 


  • 2 1/2 cups  mixed nuts (I used almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts)
  • 1/2 cup  chilled dates, pitted (about 5)
  • 1/2 tsp.  pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp.  Himalayan Sea salt
  • 1 tsp.  GF Baking Powder
  • 2 Tbsp.  butter (I used Ghee – a clarified butter)
  1. Process the nuts in your food processor until ground, but not too much as you don’t want to make nut butter. 
  2. Next add the rest of the ingredients to your nuts and pulse until well integrated. 
  3. Grease a 9 inch pie plate and press the nut mixture firmly on the bottom and sides of your dish. 
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, but keep an eye on the sides of the crust.  If it gets too dark, cover with aluminum foil. 
  5. While baking, make the filling.


  • 15 oz. 100% pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup  Coconut milk (canned, full fat)
  • 2 tsp.  pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp.  ground cloves
  • 1 tsp.  ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp.  group nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp.  ground ginger
  • pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 3 Tbsp.  raw, unpasteurized honey
  • 1 Tbsp.  Arrowroot powder
  • 3 eggs,  room temperature and whisked

  1. Add all ingredients into the food processor and mix until well combined. 
  2. Pour the pumpkin mixture onto the crust, but careful not to overfill. 
  3. There will be extra filling, so I filled 3 small ramekins 3/4 full to make pumpkin pudding.  (yummy).
  4. Bake the ramekins and the pie for 50 minutes.  If you shake the pie, the center should jiggle slightly. 
  5. Also monitor the crust during the baking process.  Again if it’s browning too fast, cover with foil slightly. 

Pumpkin pie1

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Cooking Marathon

I hope everyone is having a great weekend.  The weather sure has changed in this neck of the woods.  Bye bye summer, hello Fall.  I do love the fall for it’s crisp morning air and all of the changing colors. I especially love the morning dog walks on days like these:


 It also means the start of pumpkin time and I love anything pumpkin, especially pumpkin pie. 

I made some pumpkin tarts with my class this year right before the Canadian Thanksgiving Holiday.  The kids were so stoked…they each got to take home 4 tarts…some didn’t quite make it home as they ate some before going home.  (And I didn’t take any pics…woops).

This week I also stepped up my fitness regime to another level.  I joined a local gym and signed up for 1 month of unlimited Crossfit.  For those who may not be familiar with Crossfit, the definition is as follows: 

Constantly varied, functional movements at high intensity. 

I did a bit of Crossfit over the summer while visiting family in Vancouver and was hooked from day 1, but this was the first week back at it since coming home.  Crossfit is relatively new in my city..and I am so happy that the gym is offering it.  My goal is to get in the best shape of my life, to tone down, get strong and leaner and I know that this is the way for me to get there.  I can’t wait to explore the next part of my fitness journey and see where it takes me. 

Now the title of this post is “Sunday Cooking Marathon”.  That’s right.  I spent about 3 hours today cooking meals for the week.  I am limited in time during the week and sometimes my nutrition lacks when I don’t have the time I’d like to cook the meals I’d like during the week.  So my trainer gave the a tip:  spend a few hours on Sunday cooking your meals for the week.  They are easy to freeze and heat up in the microwave or stovetop during the week.  How smart is she?  Thanks Kaiya!

After figuring out the final details to my meal plan for the upcoming week, I took off to the store to grab the necessities.  And I even found something for the dog today, which he loved instantly. 

Photo1 (2)Photo1 (3)











As I sit here typing this, my house is beginning to smell of chocolate goodness from the yummy no-grain cocoa granola.  So what is on the menu this week?  Voila!  Take a look and let me know what you think Smile  I think this week is going to rock.

  No-oat Cocoa Granolano oat granola1

Cauliflower Rice for Tuesday’s Salmon dinner (this is a previous pic)


Bacon Mushroom Mooseloaf












Paleo friendly Pumpkin Pie

 Pumpkin piePumpkin pie1










Spicy Thai Beef and Noodle Soup


Back soon with more goodies Smile


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Paleo Challenge is Complete!

Well my 30 day Paleo Challenge is done. And I have to say it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I had a couple of cheat meals or items, but if you remember correctly, I had mentioned that a little bit of indulgence is ok.

So here is what I concluded after going more or less Paleo for 30 days:

  • I was never hungry in between meals
  • Protein rich meals fill you up and make you feel satisfied.
  • There are some incredibly delicious recipes on the www that allow the treats without feeling guilty.
  • Pasta, rice and potatoes are not necessary with every meal.
  • I ate a lot more greens.
  • My belly is no longer bloated and I have a ton of energy.
  • I lost a few pounds, my clothes feel looser.

Will I continue?

For the most part, yes. I think I will still allow myself to eat Quinoa again because I do believe its a healthy ancient grain. But I am going to continue with limiting my pasta and other starchy foods. I have found that eating foods on a bed of spinach is just as satisfying and way healthier of course. But if I end up going out for dinner at a restaurant or cafe and pasta is on the menu, why not allow it as a treat from time to time. Yes, I am gluten intolerant, but at least not celiac.

I'm going to leave you with a few pictures of my food and meals from the last month.

spicy turkey stoup1

Chef Salad










Spicy Turkey Stoup

                                                                                                                                 Chef’s Salad

no oat granola

No Oat Chocolate Granola











BBQ Salmon and Cauliflower Rice                                                                           Cocoa crusted Pork Tenders and Squash

cocoa pumpkin muffins 2










Cocoa Pumpkin Muffins                                                                                        Grilled Turkey Spinach Salad











Pumpkin Swirl Loaf                                                                                        Chocolate Cake in a Mug

pesto stuffed flank

.Pesto Stuffed Flank Steak and Garlic Roasted Broccoli


And I challenge YOU to try and make some healthy eating choices.  It is the start of a new month, Turkey Time is near and we will undoubtedly be consuming some rich holiday foods between now and the new year.  I am going to do my best to maintain my new eating habits and continue to stay active, but I’m not sure how long I can resist Pumpkin Pies Smile

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

No Oat Chocolate Granola

no oat granola

OK, I just have to share this one with everyone.  Once again, not my recipe, but it’s so good that I have to share it here. From www.paleoplan.com

It’s definitely gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, and paleo friendly.  I believe even vegan. 

While I was making this, the entire house started to smell of chocolate.  It was out of this world. I made it in the evening, so I had no trouble falling asleep to the seductive aroma of warm chocolate.


  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup raw unpasteurized honey
  • 3 Tbsp. Camino Cocoa Powder
  • 3 Tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Butter
  • pinch of pink Himalayan Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. 100% organic Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Here is what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 225F. 
  2. Take walnuts and almonds and pulse in the food processor until it gets a coarse consistency.  You don’t want to end up with a fine nut flour consistency. Leave in the food processor for now.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the honey with Earth Balance Butter.  When melted together, add raw fair trade cocoa powder, a pinch of salt and Vanilla extract.  Whisk together until it becomes the consistency of chocolate sauce.
  4. Add the chocolate mixture to the nuts in the food processor and pulse so that everything is well incorporated.
  5. Now add coconut and pulse again for a few seconds.
  6. Spread the entire mixture evenly over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Place in oven for 3 1/2 hours. 
  8. Allow to cool and then break apart into smaller pieces.  I used a large chefs knife to roughly chop it up.

This recipe will make a large container full.  Don’t leave on your countertop unless you want to be tempted to snack on the granola every time you walk past it.  It’s hard not to, so tasty Smile

no oat granola1

Monday, September 10, 2012

Spicy Turkey Stoup

Paleo-friendly, in other words, Gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, high protein goodness.

I’m calling this one a “stoup” because it’s a combination of a soup and stew.  The recipe makes enough for 2 people to enjoy, and even some leftovers for the next day.  Bonus!

spicy turkey stoup1


  • 1 lb turkey breast, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. Coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
  • pinch of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 8-10 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 Tbsp. red Thai curry paste
  • 1 tsp. Bragg soy sauce
  • 1 can (400mL) reduced fat coconut milk


  1. Marinate the turnkey in 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, salt, pepper, chilli and garlic for about 1 hour, in the fridge.
  2. Heat a wok to medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, add the rest of the coconut oil and sauté the onions until translucent.  Add the chicken and marinade to the onions.  Continue to cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Once the turkey is browned, add the mushrooms, red peppers, soy sauce and red curry paste and continue to cook until the peppers are al dente.
  4. Add the coconut milk and stir.  Cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, or until the turkey is completely tender. 
  5. Enjoy over rice or pasta (if not following a Paleo lifestyle). 

Spicy turkey stoup

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Paleo-friendly Pumpkin cocoa muffins

The recipe is courtesy of www.paleoplan.com.  I did make some changes (in red) to customise it because that’s how I roll.  I also added an ingredient.  Makes 12 small muffins.

cocoa pumpkin muffins 
  • 1½ cups almond meal/flour
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (or cook and puree pumpkin yourself)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder I used 2 tsp GF baking powder instead of 1 tsp. each of baking powder/soda
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon I used 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice  I used 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt Pink Himalayan Sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (optional) I did
  • 2 tsp almond butter   MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Almond Spread
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbsp. raw, unsweetened, fair-trade cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbs sliced almonds I omitted this
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
  2. Coat muffin tins with coconut oil (or use paper muffin cups and add 1/2 tsp melted coconut oil to batter).
  3. Mix all ingredients in a stand mixer and pour evenly into tins.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes on the middle rack.
  5. Sprinkle almonds on top immediately after taking them out of the oven. (I didn’t do this)

These muffins are actually pretty good, and even easier to make. They weren’t at all sweet, and you can really taste the pumpkin and the pumpkin spices.   The coconut adds a nice flavour too.  I will definitely be making these again very soon, but I found so many other paleo friendly cookies and muffins that I want to try out too.  I think next time I am going to make the muffins a little larger, so maybe only 6 muffins. 

cocoa pumpkin muffins 2

Nutritional analysis….per serving….

153 calories

12 grams of carbs

11 grams of fat

5 grams of protein

Week 1 of the 30 Day Paleo Challenge

So week 1 is almost over (Day 6 today), and so far so good.  I’ve been sticking fairly close to the plan, and only had one hiccup when someone placed a nice piece of 75% Lindt Chocolate in front of my nose.  But I was good, only had a small piece and my chocolate craving was gone. 

The whole idea behind me doing this challenge was to limit all wheat, and I have done that this week, so having a small piece of chocolate really is not going to make a huge difference. 

For people that are wondering what a typical day on a Paleo diet may look like, here’s an example of what I had Thursday.

  • Breakfast – a green smoothie with spinach, frozen fruit, a Tbsp. of almond butter and Coconut milk. 
  • Snack – handful of nuts and apple
  • LunchRoasted vegetable soup and some leftover grilled salmon
  • Snack – celery with almond butter
  • Dinner – Chicken stir-fry served over 2 cups of fresh baby spinach.

It was rather tasty and very manageable.  I love the idea of serving a stir-fry over spinach because it definitely forces me to eat more greens.  In the past I would have had some rice to go with the stir-fry, but I was so full after dinner, rice wasn’t necessary. 

So tomorrow I’m going to plan out next week’s menus and see what other creative ideas I can come up with to limit wheat.  I’m so used to taking sandwiches to work for lunch, which is my biggest challenge as far as meals are concerned.  If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.  Would love to try out something new.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Paleo Challenge

So after being so successful with Tommy Europe’s 4 Weeks to a New You Fitness Challenge, I decided I wanted to continue making progress with my overall health and fitness.  Why not? I have nothing to lose, other than a few more pounds and a bunch of fat, especially in my mid section. 

I’m not a fan of dieting, been there and done that in my college years.  It was great to lose the weight, until it all came back (and then some) after the diet was over.  So I have been keeping track of what I eat, and thanks to Tommy Europe’s nutrition plan included in his program, I was able to see my eating trends for a little while now.  I love his meal plans, so easy to follow and very delicious.  I had to tweak a few things since I am trying to avoid gluten as much as possible.  Then a thought occurred to me.  Why not cut out wheat and gluten completely for 30 days and see what happens? 

This was going to be a tough one, because I do love my pasta and rice and bread. When I started looking up ideas for meals, I came across the Paleo Diet.  What the heck is that?

According to www.paleoplan.com, The Paleo diet mimics the types of foods every person on the planet ate prior to the Agricultural Revolution (a mere 10,000 years or 500 generations ago). These foods (meats, seafood, organ meats, eggs, fresh vegetables and fruits, plus some nuts and seeds) are full of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, fiber, beneficial fatty acids, and low-glycemic carbohydrates that promote good health. The Paleo diet doesn’t contain refined sugars and grains, dairy, trans fats, high-glycemic carbohydrates, and processed foods that often cause weight gain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many other health problems.

Ok, that doesn’t sound so bad to me!  It actually makes a lot of sense.  As for what this plan allows me to eat, really, it’s not that far off from what I’m already doing.  I already eat lots of lean protein such as salmon, prawns, chicken, turkey and wild game.  I love eggs too.  I always try to eat as much fruits and veggies as possible (more fruits than veggies though).  What about the foods I can’t eat?  Refined sugars won’t be a problem because I refuse to eat white sugar any ways.  This plan however does not allow the consumption of dairy products, and I do love my cheese and yogurt. 

So here’s the deal.  During the summer I decided to stop drinking cow’s milk and switched over to goat milk.  And I am so happy I did.  Within about 2 weeks, I noticed a huge change already.  I was no longer bloated.  So I will continue to consume goat dairy, including goat yogurt and goat’s cheese.  I especially like a tall glass of milk after a workout or even before.


So my new challenge has begun.  30 days would not be an impossible task to see if going wheat free would really make a difference in my body composition.  I guess we will find out. 

Wish me luck.  I will be posting on my progress. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

My fitness journey–6 years in the making…but not over yet!

1-August Eve 498
I am a person that likes to be challenged.  Ever since my breast reduction surgery 6 years ago, I am finding ways to keep active, get fit and have fun.  Fitness and nutrition have not always been easy for me.  I would get frustrated and discouraged when I wouldn’t see results fast enough (I still do at times).  I was plagued with digestive issues and food intolerances (still am), which made the nutrition aspect fairly tricky. 
I would sit in front of the TV and watch episode after episode of Fitness programs.  I loved watching Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper kick the butts of obese contestants on The Biggest Loser.  But my all time favourite fitness show was and still is The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp.  If you aren’t familiar with this show, in Canada, it airs on Slice. 

Here is a synopsis of the show:
The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp returns for a fifth entertaining and inspirational season with new men and women looking to lose weight in record time in order to fit into a sexy new outfit. Motivated by a special event, participants strive to transform themselves physically and mentally in just four weeks by undergoing an intense fitness and nutrition regimen.
While thousands of people are obese, a far larger number simply want to slim down and tighten up to fit into that slinky party dress, a pair of skinny jeans, or even last year’s bathing suit. But the toughest part of achieving your ideal body form – and the ultimate challenge – is getting rid of those nagging last 10 pounds.
This irreverent and fast-paced series is driven by a dynamic and unforgiving personality: Tommy Europe. Tommy is Canada’s most sought-after personal trainer whose modus operandi is a military-style “in-your-face” approach. A thrilling combination of scary and sexy, he is the drill instructor who’s everyone’s best friend and worst enemy. Also acting as the nutrition coach in the new season, Tommy ransacks the fridge and cupboards, trashes the sugar and fat, and completely overhauls the participants’ nutrition and lifestyle with shock and awe.
This season brings a wide range of participants, including aspiring actors, marketing whizzes, and a former football star, all working hard to achieve their ultimate weight-loss goal
Enough was enough and I decided to get my own butt in gear. I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t helping myself by sitting on the couch.  So  I joined a gym and went twice a day to shock my system. I started feeding off of Tommy’s energy and motivation.   I joined fitness classes and started having fun, but also started seeing results.  The weight loss was slow, but it was there.  But I still felt like I was missing something.  The routine seemed to be the same and I was once again getting bored. 
Then came Kickboxing.  I LOVE this sport.  I found this to be a great stress reliever because I could hit and kick things and not get into trouble for doing so.  And so the journey continued.  My membership at my regular gym came to an end and I went full force into my new love. 
I also started branching out into other avenues for fitness.  I began cross training by hiking, mountain biking, swimming and kayaking.  Almost 1 1/2 years ago a new Bootcamp facility opened up and so I thought I’d give that a go as well.  I started making even more progress and the trainer helped me to tweak my nutrition so that I would see optimal results.  After a year of Boot camp, I saw tremendous results.  I lost a total of 15 lbs. and 4 inches off my waist. 
The_10_Pound_Shr_4d7fe5d833b9fThen one day, as I was grocery shopping at my local Save On Foods, I walked through the book section.  And there it was, starting right at me (and calling my name, I swear), Tommy Europe’s new book:  The 10 Pound Shred, From Flab to Fit in 4 Weeks.  I took it as a sign and bought it.  I liked how the program was very functional and the meal plans were awesome as well. Tommy guarantees that we will see results if we follow his recipe for fitness and give it our all.  And he was right.  He didn’t make it easy though. I had to work my butt off. I lost about 8lbs, but another 4inches in total off of my waist and hips.  And that was all it took for me to fall in love with this guy. If people on his show can have those results in just 4 short weeks, then I knew it wasn’t impossible for me too. (If only he could be my personal trainer on a regular basis – and more money since he doesn’t come cheap). 

Fast forward about 15 months to July 2012.  Tommy Europe has done it again.  He released yet another amazing program, this time completely online.  His new program is called 4 Weeks to a New You.  And I guarantee you will see results, as does Tommy.  You get 12 different videos that last a maximum of about 35 minutes.  Each video will make you work your butt off and you’ll be sweating those pounds right off. 
One of my favourite things about the program is that the workouts were always different and kept me on my toes. I never got bored and loved that Tommy was right there working out alongside me every time. He motivated me to get through the sets when things got tough, which made me want to work even harder. I cursed, moaned and groaned during some of the sets, but felt amazing at the end of each workout. Over the last month, I have gotten stronger, more energy and my sleep has improved. My nutrition has also improved immensely. I lost some inches and weight and am on my way to surpassing my goals  I loved that the program worked as I definitely got some results.
So Tommy decided to kick it up a notch and create a challenge.  He called it the 4WTANY Challenge.  Right up my alley!  For some reason, I work extra hard when someone dangles a carrot in front of me… I am held accountable and I get ‘er done.  And this challenge had the ultimate carrot…a personal training session with the man himself.. Tommy Europe!  Did I read that right?  OK..that was all I needed to get going.
Fast forward to August 27th – the end of the 4 Week Challenge.  The day has come to submit our results to Tommy.  So my entry was a video.  Click on the link below and it should open up a new window in your browser.  Hope you enjoy. 

And so my fitness journey continues.  I have not yet met my goals, but am definitely on the way to getting there and even passing them.  I am so excited to be able to train with Tommy Europe, even if it’s only for one session, but I’m hoping that he can give me some insight and more tools to help me progress even more.  I am so proud of my progress and accomplishments so far.  It was not easy, but well worth all of the effort I put in and everything I learned to date. 
One of the things I learned the most during my journey is that fitness does not have to be a chore.  The trick is to finding something that motivates you and that you really enjoy doing.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, simple is best, like getting on the mountain bike for an hour or so, or strapping on the rollerblades and blading with the dog.  This summer I discovered Stand-Up Paddle boarding as well, which is an amazing full-body core workout.  Heck…go for a run, or check out your community swimming pool.  As long as you’re getting out there and doing something different that you enjoy, you will see results. 
And Tommy…If you’re reading this…I’m so looking forward to Shredding it with you.  I’m ready for whatever you throw at me.  This girl needs to step it up a notch or two and get a swift kick in the butt. 

Have an awesome night… back soon.