Tag Archives: paleo

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

How to store fresh spinach

fresh baby spinach + how to store it

Ingredient readiness makes healthy homecooking so much easier! Fresh baby spinach is one of those things that’s ALWAYS on hand in my fridge. Its flavor and texture are very mild, and it’s an easy way to add healthy greens to so many dishes. But if you don’t store it right, it can quickly waste away into a slimy mess in the bottom of the veggie drawer!

Here are my tips on storage to keep spinach fresh as long as possible.

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Why the food-health connection is so personal for me

my family - why food + health is personal to me

The connection between real food and health is a very personal topic for me.

It began when I was 15, sitting in a pastor’s office with my parents. (I was about that age in the photo above. I’m on the left.) My poor mom and dad were at their wits’ end: they couldn’t figure out why their daughter had turned into Dr. Jekyll and Miss Hyde. I was prone to such angry, violent outbursts that I sometimes frightened my own mom and dad. I could see it in their eyes.

After listening to our story for a bit, the pastor asked my parents a surprising, pivotal question: “Have you had her tested for hypoglycemia?” (low blood sugar).

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Success story: Annie sought relief from chronic pain, and changed her life

success story; Paleo Annie, before and after

Today, I’m sharing a success story that touches on a topic near to my heart: lupus. My dad suffered from lupus for a little more than three decades before he went home to Jesus in 2010. Before he was actually diagnosed, he was bedridden and in severe pain for weeks at a time, for more than a year. After diagnosis, he was on heavy-duty meds that kept the pain and inflammation under control for many years, enabling him to live a more-or-less normal life. Once a week, he went in for his methotrexate shot, and I think he took other medications as well. In the end, lupus + the meds + the stress of caring for my mom as she declined in Alzheimer’s did him in. If only we’d known then how much of a role food can play in lupus and other autoimmune diseases, he may have been able to take less medicine, and been with us longer.

But now, many lupus sufferers are discovering that the Paleo diet or some variation of it helps reduce their symptoms. On Instagram, I met Annie through the #paleo hashtag, and I was intrigued when she mentioned that she has lupus. She recently shared the before and after pics you see above, and I asked if I could share her story here. (You can find her on Instagram as @wholepaleoannie.)

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Taco hash – get your grain-free, dairy-free taco fix!

grain-free dairy-free taco hash

When you’re craving tacos, but you know you feel better if you skip the tortilla and/or the cheese, this Paleo-friendly way to get your taco fix is quick and simple when you’ve got prepped ingredients ready to go.

This isn’t a recipe: it’s an assemblage of several things I keep on hand, thrown together. If you have all the ingredients ready, this will cook up in about 15 minutes, maybe less. It’s super easy! I’ll walk you through it…

diced sweet potato and onion

I’ve always got cooked diced sweet potato and diced onion on hand in the fridge. (Check out my sweet potato post for tips and a how-to video.) On this happy day, I also had cooked, seasoned, crumbled hamburger in the freezer. I don’t always have it on hand, but when I’m cooking hamburger for a recipe or immediate meal, I try to cook extra. It’s cooked with onions and maybe garlic, and seasoned with a little salt and pepper (not too much, since it’s usually added to other things that may already have salt and heat). Then I divide it into single-serving baggies, and stash those in a gallon baggie in the freezer. The small baggies are quick and easy to thaw, making meals like this much quicker.

I rarely cook dishes like this by recipe anymore. But for those who aren’t so comfortable winging it, here’s my guess, per serving:

  • onion – about half a small onion, or a quarter of a large one
  • hamburger – about 4 oz. or 1/2 cup
  • sweet potato – equal to or a little less than the hamburger

On this particular day, I added some diced bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and kale, but those are quite optional. Another no-chop option would be to just stir in some salsa.

Then I add a generous sprinkling of homemade taco seasoning (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon; start small, taste, and add till it suits you), stir it in, and boom! – it’s done!

(Here’s my gluten-free, sugar-free taco seasoning mix recipe.)

Toppings are optional. If I’d had avocado or guacamole on hand, I would’ve used one of those. But I didn’t, so I topped it with dairy-free “sour cream” (coconut milk yogurt with a splash of lemon juice stirred in). You could use real sour cream, if you do dairy.

Yum! Tons of flavor. You won’t miss the taco shells or the cheese at all!

Taco Hash - Ready in 15 minutes, if you have some simple ingredient prep done. Paleo + Whole30 friendly, too!

Success story: Jo got rid of psoriasis and IBS

Jo's healthy lifestyle success story - before and after

Today, I’m sharing another story from one of my Instagram friends: Jo Romero from the UK. We’ve never met in real life, but I loved her story when she shared it on IG, so I asked to share it with you.

I love that her story includes healing from so many things, and that she continues to listen to her body and tweak her diet as needed. And of course, that she’s discovered how great it feels when you eat real food!

Here’s her story in her own words:

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