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Browned-Butter Applesauce

Browned-Butter Applesauce

My goodness, Lovelies. It’s been nearly a year since I posted. A year!

Tsk. Tsk. Shame on me! While I’ve been away from blogging I have been doing many things, most notably attending grad school for my MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) degree while continuing to teach at our local community college, raise two active & involved kiddos, and be a good wife, sister, daughter, & aunt to the people I love most (many of whom have been struggling with health issues this past year). What I haven’t been doing is cleaning my house, sleeping, following the healthiest-for-me lifestyle.

And I feel it.

With just one semester until graduation, I’m refocusing my energies on realizing my own vibrant health. I am striving to be fit in every sense of the word: physically, emotionally, mentally. You’ll notice two major changes around the site:

1. I’m now an im-perfect paleo follower. I allow grass-fed dairy. I may occasionally use rice. I love a good green juice in the mornings. To those of you who identify as Paleo Purists, I have no intention of offending you or forcing my beliefs on you. I respect your choices because I am certain you have valid reasons for them. I, too, have valid reasons for mine. Let’s agree to disagree on a few points and we’ll be fine.

2. I’m going to focus a bit more on whole wellness, not just Paleo. I have a love affair going on with Bikram yoga, and I’m going to share it with you soon! We’re also going to discuss some strategies for emotional well-being in the age of overwhelming stress. (Especially since we parents who so lovingly tend to the needs of our children tend to forget to provide equally loving self-care).

So, without further delay, here’s a welcome back to blogging recipe idea for you to try. I’ve included pictures (remember: don’t judge my house–I’ve been busy with grad school and teaching and parenting and care-giving) and approximate measurements (I’m not much of a measurer).

I don’t know about you, but I love apple pie. It is buttery, filled with the goodness of cinnamon apples, and touched with just a tiniest hint of creamy vanilla. (Unless, of course, we’re talking a la mode, which is its own hazard…) The thing is, apple pie doesn’t love me. The added sugar, the refined crust, the empty calories, all send my PCOS into a tailspin. So, in an attempt to preserve all the flavors I love, I give you my favorite way to make applesauce:

Browned-Butter Applesauce

Ingredients:

  • Four(ish) apples (I used a Granny Smith, two Galas, and a Jonah Gold)
  • Three(ish) tablespoons grass-fed butter
  • Pumpkin Pie spice (or cinnamon and nutmeg in a 2:1 ratio)
  • Vanilla extract (five to ten drops, really not a lot at all)

Method:

IMG_9708Peel, core, slice the apples to approximately a 1/3″ thickness (don’t measure, it’s not that critical–just don’t slice too thin or the apples will turn crisp instead of soft).

Arrange the apples in a single layer on a buttered baking dish (use about 1 tablespoon of the butter to grease the dish; I prefer to use a baking stone).

Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and arrange evenly over the apples.

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Sprinkle the entire tray of apples and butter with the Pumpkin Pie spice.

A little. A lot. You’re the boss.

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Bake in a 350* oven until the apples are soft and browned (do not crisp your apples!). You should turn them occasionally while they are baking. The time will depend on your stove, your apples, your altitude. Adjust accordingly. The more browned your apples, the more the sauce is reminiscent of apple pie.

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When the apples are thoroughly browned and soft you can mash them into sauce one of two ways: with a fork or with a food processor. You know your people. Do they like chunky sauce? A fork is your tool. Smooth operators? Process away!

Mix in a touch of vanilla extract and serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold. But enjoy it either way!

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Whole 30 Challenge, Road Trip & Party Survival Guide

Lovelies! How are you all this morning?

On Day #10, I am soaring–yes soaring!–on the feel-goodness of this plan! I’d try to describe how wonderful I feel, but I’d rather just encourage you to find out for yourselves. Nothing is as effective and motivating as first-hand experience.

For those of you already Whole-30ing along to Melissa and Dallas Hartwig’s Whole 30 program, a word of motivation: Do it.

Don’t sort-of-kind-of-ooops-I-had-a-cookie-or-two do it.

Do it as it is written.

There is absolutely no gray area to dabble in. Like the Hartwig’s point out, every bite, every nibble of inflammatory foods puts you back at square one of the healing cycle. It’s commendable you’re putting in the effort, now reward yourself with commitment and follow-through for thirty days. It’s just thirty days. Thirty days that have the potential to be life-changing if you put in the effort. Your one-and-only body will thank you. And, when in doubt, listen to the wise advice of Master Yoda:

Pretty simple when you think about it, right? Either you do it. Or, you don’t. I’d do it if I were you!!!!

So, while I truly believe that the mental clarity and feel-good-body results alone are more than enough to promote the Whole 30 program, the physical body-composition results are equally impressive. Don’t get me wrong, I still have some weight to drop, but in just ten days, do you know what’s happened?

Let me explain…

On Day #1 I put on a pair of jeans that barely zipped and buttoned (A full size smaller than what I wore in January, but still, NOT pretty!). On Day #5 I put on the same pair of jeans without any struggle (or unsexy overhang–yay! Be gone, overhang!) Yesterday, even fresh out of the washer–even with it being “that time of the month”–those jeans had a little room in the waist and hips. Today, I. CAN. FEEL. MY. HIP. BONES. Holy moly! I can’t believe I have them! They’ve been buried as deep as Atlantis for the majority of my adult life, especially post-kiddos. So deep, in fact, that I think I believed they, too, were mere myths or legends. Not so! They do exist! Sure it’s going to take a little more work in the gym to see the ultimate results that I want, but the careful attention I’m giving to my food sure is paying off! Hip bones, by golly!

This is where I say: If I can do it, you ABSOLUTELY can do it! No fuss about busy schedules or liking milk too much to give it up. (Lovelies, you are NOT baby cows who need fattening!). I don’t believe any of it. Not one little syllable. You are exactly as capable of doing this as you believe yourselves to be. When you are committed, nothing can derail you–not even a 1,200 mile road trip to party with family! (Yes, I’m really doing that–in just a few short hours, in fact).

How am I going to survive 600 miles each way, plus two days filled with food, family, and fun? I will be packing my own eats and politely asking for the support (not sabotage) that I need. No questions about it. Black, white, not a shade of gray. Most of my family knows my plan and my goals–the rest will soon find out. I will not indulge in birthday cake, grainy-carby-finger foods, or sugary-dairy-creamy-debauchery of any kind. And, lest you think I’m a party-pooper, I say this: How can I enjoy the party if I am feeling less than my best?

Now that I know what my true “best” feels like, temptation is an abstract idea that affects others. NOT me. It is liberating!

Want to find out what your “best” feels like first hand? Here’s your three-step get-started plan:

  1. Go to the Hartwig’s website. (Click here if you haven’t saved it from previous posts!)
  2. Print out the four pages of the Whole 30 program.
  3. Start. Now.

I believe in you! Keep us posted on your progress!

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