For the Love of Sardines

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Having Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, it is inevitable that your body will do some pretty wild things when you least expect it.  I mean, you always expect things to happen, but when they do they still shock the hell out of you.

The crazy part is, the second you have the food part down, the exercise and supplementation components all in place and you are feeling like you are on top of the world, that is when your body will crash after the brief moments of bliss.  You then get up, try to rest, regroup, and figure out where the problem in the system is.  Each time this happens, you are starting from square one.  Why? Because, we are getting older, facing different elements, experiencing different forms of stress, etc.

Last year a situation happened where I stopped being able to sweat.  It was incredibly uncomfortable, but it was due to a medication interaction.  It was resolved and all was well in Hillary Land.

Fast forward to a couple months ago-or more and I stopped sweating again.  Now it is just my body doing some weird stuff.  Why am I sharing this?  Well, this is my life.  This is my blog.  What I cook is real.  What I have been eating is real.  Why I have been eating what I have been eating is real.  That’s what brings me to this present moment.

My doctors and I have been trying to figure out how to get me to sweat.  It is incredibly uncomfortable and painful when I get hot.  I itch and it feels like little knives are stabbing me.  If you ever see me outside running at CrossFit Bloomfield in the early morning, it’s because it’s nice and cool outside.  The only way I am comfortable working out is when cool air is blowing on me.  It is kind of annoying, but whatever works. Right?

So what was our solution? Grumble grumble grumble bla bla bla….after 17 years of being on birth control we made the decision to get off. Why?  Maybe my body didn’t need the extra hormones after all.  Maybe at the age of 35 my body finally had enough and was starting to rebel.

So am I sweating yet?  Not exactly.  However, I am actually enjoying running.  I am having more energy throughout the daytime than I normally do which is kind of major.

The only thing that has happened which is slightly weird is that I have had this MASSIVE craving for wild caught sardines.  I want them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I want them in a bowl full of cauliflower rice, beets, kale or arugula, and curry powder.  It could be that my body is craving the extra calcium.  Who knows.  Normally super salty things bother me, but the salty sardines don’t bother me the way they could have bothered me in the past.

So what else have I done to seek out some calming practices in hopes that I can sweat?  Meditation, a Musar class (ask me about it, because it is super awesome!) and to rest when my brain and body need to be done for the day.

What is the point of this post? To let you know how important it is to listen to your body. I am constantly in a state of figuring out what the right path for me to take is.  It changes on a regular basis and I need to constantly remind myself that THAT IS OKAY!  Being resistant to my body’s journey will only add unnecessary stress.  I urge you to be your own advocate and embrace the messages your body sends you.

That, my friends is my Truth.

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Sardines with beets, cauliflower with pepitas, carrots, celery and curry powder and kale on the bottom

 

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Snack Art

This weekend CrossFit Bloomfield hosted the Festivus Games again and it was sooooo much fun! Exhausting, but fun! I think I slept like a baby that night.   Four workouts in one day definitely makes for some sore muscles for rest of weekend.

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From this weekend’s Festivus Games

Because of the exhaustion, I wasn’t really up for cooking.  What I was up for was playing with my food.  You know that feeling when you are just so tired you start just moving things around on your plate and you forget you are hungry?  Well, that’s kind of what happened.  I knew I wanted to saute up some veggies, but I started rearranging them and made a fun little portrait.

Then I thought, how fun would this be with a side of hummus or guacamole to dip in and you have the perfect veggie plate/afternoon snack for both kids and adults?!

Have fun with your food!  Before you chop your veggies, make some art.  Before you dip your veggies, make some art.  Sometimes, it is OKAY to play with your food.  When you do, take a picture.  I would love to see what you create!

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Veggie Art before they got chopped for my stir fry.

 

 

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Lemon Basil “Cream” Sauce

There is nothing better when food feels like it is giving you a big hug.  Normally, bear-hug foods are typically terrible for you.  Foods in this category would be anything with thick, cheesy cream sauces, dense cookies and cakes, flaky pie crusts, buttery noodles and anything else that is super heavy and starchy.

Time to clean the drool up off your shirt and counter folks! I have seen a lot of cream sauces made with avocado, so I decided to give it a try for myself.  It did NOT disappoint.  You can put it on anything and everything and it is super easy to make.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp of fresh basil
  • 1/2 squeezed lemon
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 avocado
  • salt and pepper to taste IF NEEDED

Directions:

  • Blend until completely smooth in blender.
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Blended and ready to use.

I cooked up some mushrooms, zucchini/daikon noodles, shallots, garlic and spices and ground turkey and poured the avocado cream sauce over and mixed.  HOLY BALLS this was delicious!!!!

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Asparagus Bundles

We have all seen bacon wrapped asparagus served as an appetizer before.  Why not perk up our asparagus side dishes in a perfect little bundle that will be fun for people of all ages to feast upon at any meal?!

This recipe is stupid easy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bundle of asparagus
  • 1.5 table spoons of coconut aminos
  • 1.5 table spoons balsamic vinegar
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • 1 package of Paleo Turkey Bacon

Directions:

  • wash and cut the ends off the asparagus
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Divide the asparagus up wrap a piece of turkey bacon around each mini bundle of asparagus.  You will have enough turkey bacon for all of it.  Place on a parchment covered backing sheet.   Drizzle with the coconut aminos and balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle some garlic powder on top.

Bake on 370 for about 35-37 mins

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Delicious bundles ready to enjoy!  These are perfect with eggs for breakfast or with any dinner.

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Mock Chopped Liver

L’shana Tova!

The title is probably NOT the most enticing.  I know your eyes are not bugging out of your head and you probably aren’t salivating… UNLESS you are the oddball like myself that absolutely loves a good chopped liver and all its vegetarian alter egos.

I also love when there are healthy and tasty options for appetizers that won’t leave you feeling guilty.  My mom has been making this string bean mock chopped liver ever since I can remember and it has been a staple at all of our holiday gatherings.  However, it always had hard boiled eggs in it which we both can’t have anymore.

We were talking on the phone and discussing ways that we can reconfigure the recipe so that it would still have the same texture and taste without the eggs and that’s where the idea hit me to try using roasted chestnuts.  They are starchy, nutty, sweet and savory all at the same time.  THEY WORKED!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of steamed string beans
  • 1.5  packages of organic roasted chestnuts
  • 2 large sauteed onions (completely browned) or 1 onion and 1/2 cup of chopped leaks. and a clove of chopped garlic
  • 3/4 cup of chopped pecans
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

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Saute your onions and garlic until nice and browned.

combine chestnuts, steamed string beans, pecans, sauteed onions/garlic, salt and pepper (to taste)  in your food processor.  Blend until everything is completely blended.

 

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This is what the consistency should look like when its done.  Serve up with some vegetables to dip in or some crackers.  This is ridiculously addicting with cucumber slices!

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Fried Sweet Beets

I LOVE fried green tomatoes, but tomatoes make me itchy.  I wanted to create an alternative that would be tasty, slightly sweet, and have a little crunch to it.

I knew that red beets would be too potent, so I went with chioggia beets for their mild and sweet flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of almond flour
  • seasonings to taste. (I used South African Smoke Seasoning from Trader Joes, sea salt, and garlic powder).
  • Olive oil for dredging
  • Avocado oil for frying
  • 1 Chioggia cut about 1/4 inch thick

Directions:

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Cut your beets.

Mix your spices and almond meal together onto a plate.

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Dip the slices into olive oil.

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Move the olive oil covered sliced beets to the mixture of spices and almond meal and make sure the beets are covered well. Put back into the olive oil and back into the almond meal so it has a double coating.

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In a fry pan on medium to high high heat, fry your beets in avocado oil.  Fry on both sides.

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Holy hell balls was this good!

Okay, now that I had one…or two..FINE I HAD 3! I had to do something with it before I ate the whole plate myself!

Soooooo I decided to layer it like you would an eggplant parmesan.  However, I had made homemade cashew gouda cheese.  I had just cooked up some spaghetti squash and had some frozen peas, which happen to one of the few legumes that don’t bother me.

I layered these ingredients and baked it on 375 for 40 minutes.  DELISH!

 

 

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Snack Attack to the Max

So I tried this store-bought bag of this amazing snack a couple weeks ago.  It was supposed to be a paleo version of a cross between a Chex Mix alternative and a trail mix of sorts.  It was super addicting and super delicious.

Two problems exist with this item.  1. It is way too pricey.  2. I can consume the whole bag by myself within a matter of hours… or minutes if no one is watching.

I was determined to recreate this snack and I think I did just the trick!

Ingredients:

  • 1 plantain sliced thin with either a knife or a mandolin
  • 1/8 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of coconut flour
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans or a mix
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp of beet powder
  • seasonings to taste (I used a mix of garlic powder, sea salt, oregano, and South African Smoke Seasoning)

 

Directions:

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Mix your thinly sliced plantain, nuts, pepitas, seasonings, coconut flour, and coconut oil all in a bowl.  Mix well.

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Spread evenly on a parchment paper covered baking sheet.  Bake at 400 for about 25-30 minutes stirring/gently tossing every 5-10 minutes.

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Let cool and enjoy!

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