All posts by Jana Snyder

12 real-food Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes (some paleo, low carb)

12 low-carb paleo real-food Thanksgiving + Christmas recipes

Here are some of my go-to recipes and preparation tips for Thanksgiving and Christmas. All of them lean toward whole foods; some of them are Paleo, or keto, or adaptable. (I’ve already added an extra, and this list will probably grow as I find new favorites.)

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The stars

green bean casserole

Crock-pot green bean casserole – This recipe, with all the ingredients of the original classic, has two helpful twists: It’s handy when you need to have one less thing in the oven (so, every holiday), and you can make it ahead. (Don’t want to use canned soup? There’s a link to a make-your-own recipe.)

Cream of pumpkin soup – Easy to make ahead; one of my favorites! Just as good with coconut milk as with the original cream.

Low-carb mashed “potatoes” – If you’ve tried mashed cauliflower before and been disappointed, maybe you just didn’t add enough fat! Try this recipe. (My picky husband says I nailed it!)

20 cranberry sauce recipes – Including several refined-sugar-free and a couple Paleo ones.

7 roasted sweet potato recipes – Not a marshmallow in sight!

Quinoa stuffing – I haven’t made this recipe yet, but I plan to soon. I’ve never been a fan of stuffing — too mushy. But combining the savory flavors of stuffing with quinoa? Genius — and gluten-free!

Timetable for roasted vegetables – If you haven’t tried roasting vegetables – or if you have, with disappointing results – check this out! This is one of our all-time favorite ways to eat vegetables, and I put together a list of which veggies need to cook how long. Roasting brings out so much sweetness, with zero added sugar, honey, or anything but olive oil, salt, and pepper.

This is my favorite pan for roasted vegetables, and anything else that can be made on a rimmed cookie sheet: USA Pan Jelly Roll Pan. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS PAN!!! Bakes evenly, rinses off like brand-new teflon every time. Everyone in my house has been threatened to not even think of co-opting this for some craft or garage project!(Note: This link is through my Amazon affiliateship, but I truly do love this pan!)

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Sweets

sugar-free gingerbread prune cookies

No-bake sugar-free gingerbread bites – You could also make these with pumpkin pie spice.

One-ingredient gluten-free pie crust – Here’s the simple crust I use to make shot-glass desserts. Add some sugar-free pumpkin mousse or pumpkin cheesecake, and you’ve got a guilt-free substitute for pumpkin pie. (There’s a recipe for that in my Guilt-Free Treats cookbook.) Don’t forget to pile on the whipped cream!

Sugar-free dairy-free coffee ice cream – My husband declared this “better than Marble Slab coffee ice cream” – his favorite!

Blueberry cheesecake fat bombs – Keto-friendly li’l bites of goodness.

Keto snickerdoodles – Enough said!

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Leftovers

turkey pot pie

Turkey pot pie – The traditional, much-anticipated, day-after-Thanksgiving meal in our house. Sub a mashed potato or cauliflower crust for a gluten-free or low-carb version.

Monte Cristo sandwich – If you eat bread or gluten-free bread, here’s my favorite way to use leftover turkey and cranberry sauce. (Much easier than the pot pie.)

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Tips

Thanksgiving and Christmas food prep FAQs – How long to cook turkey or ham?, how much food per person?, and other answers and handy resources.

 Do you have any favorite real-food, Paleo, keto, etc holiday recipes or tips? Comment below!
12 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes - sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and/or low-carb
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12 Healthy Christmas Recipes - sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and/or low-carb

2-minute grain-free biscuit/muffin (Paleo, Keto, Whole30 friendly)

Paleo, Keto, grain-free, gluten-free English muffin

If you’re committed to living a gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo, low-carb, or ketogenic lifestyle, one of the hardest things to live without is bread — right?! You’re gonna love this: this Paleo/Keto biscuit recipe fits all those requirements AND it involves one bowl, a minute or so of whisking with a fork, and less than two minutes in the microwave. So easy! You can also use it to make avocado toast or strawberry shortcake!

It looks like an English muffin, but the texture is really more like a biscuit. It’s so quick and simple, and helps round out so many meals, it’s earned a permanent spot in my recipe file. Just know that it doesn’t have a lot of flavor on its own — definitely a supporting player. So you’re probably going to want to enhance it with other flavorings — notes on that follow the recipe.

Note/Update 8/16/18: I’ve improved this recipe since the original post. The instructions below now contain what I think is a much more fool-proof version.

Paleo biscuit / English muffin recipe

3 Tablespoons fine blanched almond flour

1 Tablespoon coconut flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon avocado oil or melted coconut oil

 

In a cereal or soup bowl, stir together the dry ingredients, then push them to one side of the bowl.

Place the egg and oil in the empty spot and whisk with a fork till well blended. Then stir the wet and dry together till it’s all the same consistency. It will be about as thick as wet mashed potatoes, or thick cornbread batter.

Grease a 7 oz ramekin. UPDATE: You can still cook it in a ramekin, but I’ve found that a tall coffee mug with parallel sides works nicely, too, and you get a little taller result with a flatter bottom. (I love this chemical-free, soy-free avocado oil spray from  Chosen Foods.) Put all the batter in the ramekin or mug, even out the top, and microwave for one and a half minutes.

dish + spray for Paleo Keto English muffin

The ramekin may be hot! If using a coffee mug, just grab the handle. After removing it from the microwave, turn the muffin out and let it sit till cool enough to handle. If the top is lumpy, just slice that bit off, for even toasting. Slice horizontally into halves or thirds, and let some of the steam escape before toasting. Toasting can be done in a toaster or oven, but toasting is essential to get a nice golden crust, for both visual appeal and texture.

Ways to use it (and enhance the flavor):

Paleo, Keto, gluten-free English muffin with chia seed jam

  • Spread with one or more of your favorite toppings — butter, ghee, cinnamon, nut butter,  sugar-free jam. (I like this chia seed jam from The Kitchn.) Of course, avocado toast is also the bomb!

Paleo keto avocado toast

  • For garlic toast, toast it lightly first, then spread with butter and garlic salt, and broil till you like the color. Watch it closely!
  • Serve it toasted but untopped, along with some good olive oil to dip it in. Better yet, enhance the olive oil with balsamic vinegar, roasted garlic, or your favorite seasoning blend. We like it with zaatar.
  • Also a great accompaniment for soup or any dish that wants its sauce sopped up with bread!
  • You can try it as a sandwich bread: I find it too dense for this, but you may disagree.  🙂
  • I’ve also used it as the shortbread-biscuit component in my family’s version of strawberry shortcake. (Don’t expect pound cake: this is truly strawberry shortbread.) Toast in the toaster, then crumble into a small bowl. Top with macerated strawberries, drizzle with some cream, half-and-half, or coconut milk. You can also top it with whipped cream if you like. Or instead of the crumble, stack it up…

keto strawberry shortcake

Enjoy!

Note: Inspired by this recipe from Running to the Kitchen, but I’ve tweaked the recipe to make it a one-bowl deal, and to make the muffin a bit less soggy. See her original for a cinnamon-raisin version (not so keto-friendly).

How to not eat all the Halloween candy

woman sneaking eating halloween candy

sad-jackolantern-350sqIs there one time of year when more temptation is packed into two hours than Halloween? If you find yourself asking, “How can I keep from eating all the candy?” every year around this time, here are some practical tips.

(Note: some of these ideas can also help you get through the candy deluge that happens around Valentine’s, Easter, and Christmas.)

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Fatigue and insomnia: I’ve tried all the cures – here’s what works for me.

does tea help you sleep

I’ve struggled with insomnia my whole life, I think. The battles my parents went through to get me to sleep at night as a child were epic. (I know: I heard about it years later. My parents were still shaking their heads, years later.) When adolescence and its lovely hormonal cocktail hit, things ramped up some; then motherhood was a whooooole new level!

I’ve tried medications and alternatives. Here are all the things I know to try. At the end, I’ll list what has and hasn’t worked for me.

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25 Ways to Nurture Yourself

woman walking outdoors for self-care

One of the main reasons we do emotional eating is because we’re feeling stretched to the breaking point. One of the best ways to combat that is with regular, intentional self care.

But many of us don’t know how to do that. And in fact, we may be used to thinking of food and drink indulgences as “self care.” Yeah, it can make you feel better in the short run, but it doesn’t help turn your heart and mind in a more positive direction.

We often think that the most efficient way to fix our disordered eating is by attacking the eating part of the cycle. But in reality, the most effective way to turn the tide is to begin to practice regular self care, which helps even out our emotions and stop the cycle of self-punishment. (I’ve written about this before: 5 steps to address emotional eating; How emotional eating keeps you stuck.)

Here are 25 ways to practice self-care — and only one of them involves food!

self care tip; schedule a date with the sunset

  1. Schedule yourself a daily appointment to watch the sunrise or sunset.
  2. Go for a goal-free walk at your favorite time of day.
  3. Wander a flea market, book store, garden center, or hardware store. Your choice.
  4. Put your phone on airplane mode for an hour or two.
  5. Add to your gratitude journal – or start one.
  6. Play with your favorite child or pet.
  7. Take a guilt-free nap.
  8. Organize something. foliage in vase
  9. Wander a garden.
  10. Meditate.
  11. Re-read old journal entries.
  12. Write without expectations or self-criticism.
  13. Read an old favorite book.
  14. Forgive someone. You might start with yourself.
  15. Make found poetry.
  16. Watch inspiring videos. Or funny ones, that just make you laugh.
  17. Dance to your favorites.
  18. Cook something that pleases your soul and nourishes your body.
  19. Spend time in a hammock or lounge chair (weather permitting). Tune into the sounds of nature around you.
  20. Go stargazing; get out of the city, if necessary.
  21. Harvest some flowers and/or foliage from your yard, if possible. Arrange them.
  22. Schedule time with an authentic friend.
  23. Read some Psalms and pray.
  24. Take a soaking bath while listening to a favorite book, podcast, or music. (With favorite scents in the water or in a candle, if that’s your thing.)
  25. Get to bed in time to get eight hours of sleep.

What are your favorite ways to practice self care? Have you seen it make a difference in your health?

25 ways to practice self care

Thanks to my Instagram friends for adding to this list:  @afreshattitude, @cheesegirlpa, @corinnescleanjourney, @lynettesart, @my_crazy_low_carb_life

 

Photos:

Woman outdoors: by Alexandre Croussette on Unsplash

Kansas sunset: by Jana Snyder

Foliage in vase: by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Blueberry cheesecake fat bombs

blueberry cheesecake fat bombs

A picture of this sugar-free keto treat has been in my @jana.realfood account on Instagram for a while, and people keep commenting,”Where’s the recipe for those blueberry cheesecake fat bombs? I want to make them!” So finally I got the hint: here’s the recipe!

 

Blueberry cheesecake fat bombs recipe

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2/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (strawberries or raspberries would probably work great, too!)

8 ounces cream cheese

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice (or more, to your taste)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 drops plain or vanilla stevia extract (omit, or add more, to your liking)

3 dashes of salt

 

Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes, until softened.

If using fresh berries, wash them and remove the stems. Frozen berries work fine, too. Just make sure they’re sugar-free!

blueberries - fresh and frozen

If using frozen berries, let them sit at room temp for 10 or 15 minutes before blending.

Combine all ingredients using an immersion blender* or food processor, and mix until well combined. Taste, and adjust lemon juice and/or sweetener to your preference. This amount makes for a very subtle flavor. If you like a stronger lemon flavor (I do!), you may want to add quite a bit more.

Spoon the mixture into small muffin silicon molds or candy molds*. Place in the freezer for about 2 hours, or until set.

Pop them out and store in a bag in the freezer. Enjoy!

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*Equipment I recommend

This is the immersion blender I use and love. It comes with a blender attachment, a whisk attachment, and a carafe. So handy for making whipped cream. And essential for homemade mayo, or dump ranch dressing!

Here’s a cheaper version. Just a blender, no whisk or carafe.

Here’s the candy mold I use for fat bombs. (This is not what’s shown in the picture.)

Please note: These are Amazon affiliate links; if you buy something through them, I will get a li’l something from Amazon, with no additional cost to you. 🙂

blueberry cheesecake fat bombs

Who should limit carbs, and why?

sndbite-why-limit-carbs

Now that you know what carbs are to your body, and what carbs are on your plate, this will help you understand how they matter to your health, and whether or not you might benefit from limiting your intake. (Oh, and by the way: sugar is a carb!)

(4.75 minutes)

Related things you may find helpful:

Small steps to big change: 10 simple diet hacks to cut down sugar and carbs (ebook you get free when you subscribe to my newsletter)

Recipes – scroll down to find “SUGAR FREE TREATS”

How to make zoodles – grain-free, fast-and-easy zucchini noodles

A low-carb substitute for mashed potatoes

click to go to soundbites index

 

Which foods are carbs?

Question; Which foods are carbs

If you’re confused as to which foods are carbs and which ones aren’t, this should help clear things up.

Related things you may find helpful:

How to make zoodles – grain-free, fast-and-easy zucchini noodles

A low-carb substitute for mashed potatoes

Small steps to big change: 10 simple diet hacks to cut down sugar and carbs (ebook you get free when you subscribe to my newsletter)

Recipes – scroll down to find “SUGAR FREE TREATS”

click to go to soundbites index