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We’ve been keeping it pretty low-sugar and low-carb around here for the last few weeks, but it is, after all, Christmas! I had to bake up some treats, even though I did end up freezing more than half of them so we wouldn’t eat too many. It would be really easy to eat a lot of these at once – the cream cheese dough makes them soft, pillowy, and dreamy.

The Softest Cranberry White Chocolate Cream Cheese CookiesActually, I have to admit that freezing most of the cookies doesn’t stop me from eating them. They’re also super delicious right out of the freezer! Oh, well, I tried. =)

cream cheese cookies [click to continue…]

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We had Thanksgiving with friends this year and the hostess made really great sweet potatoes. I’m not a huge sweet potato fan, and I especially detest yams. Most sweet potato casseroles I’ve seen are covered with marshmallows and so overwhelmingly sweet I just can’t eat more than a bite or so. The sweet potato casserole my friend made was not ridiculously sweet and was super delicious! I realized that, with a few quick changes, it could be Paleo and even more tasty, so you know I had to make my own version. This Paleo sweet potato casserole with a nut streusel topping is a scrumptious, healthier alternative to the usual holiday casserole suspects!

Paleo Cranberry Apple Sweet Potato Casserole

Yes, those really are sweet potatoes. I hate yams (which are actually totally different from sweet potatoes, even though a lot of people use the words interchangeably), but have discovered I actually like white sweet potatoes. Most of the sweet potatoes available locally are white or the purple Okinawa sweet potatoes, and I like both options a lot more than the ‘normal’ orange sweet potatoes, mostly because they’re not as overwhelmingly sweet. Don’t let a lack of white sweet potatoes stop you from making this – just use whatever is available where you live! The original recipe from my friend actually used canned sweet potatoes, so you could even use those, in a pinch.

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I may or may not have purchased a huge bag of mandarin oranges at Costco under the assumption that they were clementines in a bag instead of a box. Okay, so I didn’t really read the label, but it was the weekend and I was just trying to make it back out of the store in one piece! Costco in Hawaii is crazy, even more so than on the Mainland, because it’s so much more affordable than other places to shop. Sure, the container yogurt costs more, but it’s 4x larger, too! I’ve done the math, and Costco is actually less expensive for some items than the Commissary.

Kale, Cranberry, Almond Salad_

Because we’ve started making so many smoothies, the farmer’s market and Costco have definitely become our best friends! Between sending Papi Chulo to work with a salad for lunch most days and making at least one smoothie a day, we go through a lot of produce. That’s good, though – I’d rather shop more often and stock up on fruits and veggies than eat out all the time. It costs less and is far more healthy. [click to continue…]

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Cranberry Apple Smoothie

Have you fallen in love with smoothies yet? I tried making smoothies several years ago when I just had a ‘regular’ blender, and they never quite turned out right. Now that we have a high-powered Ninja blender we’re making smoothies practically every day! We have so much fun heading the farmer’s market every week to stock up on produce and seeing how many fruits and veggies we can pack into one smoothie! This week we have leftover cranberry sauce that my husband’s been using in smoothies, but you don’t have to use leftovers for this cranberry apple smoothie. I originally made it with unsweetened oven-roasted cranberries, instead.

Cranberry Apple Lemonade Smoothie

Homemade cranberry sauce works just as well, though! If you’re using roast cranberries, a sweet apple works very well. If you’re using cranberry sauce, you may want to choose a tart apple, instead. Either way, make sure to pick a nice, crisp apple.

cranberry apple [click to continue…]

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Buck Books Paleo Event and Thanksgiving Break

I’m super excited that the Paleo event is finally here! The last time I checked, the list of books is now actually 15 titles long. Most of them are 99 cents, but Amazon sets pricing restrictions on books with large file sizes. Because of this, the cookbooks with lots of high-resolution images are priced at $1.99 and the two biggest books are $2.99, which is as low as Amazon will allow them to be priced. Those are still fantastic deals and I doubt most of these books will ever sell for this little again. I can’t wait to stock my Kindle library!

In other news, I don’t plan to post again until after Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a great day with friends, family, and food.

Happy Thanksgiving

natashal

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Roast Cranberry Edamame Feta Salad

Have you ever roasted cranberries? I hadn’t until just a few days ago, but I’ll be doing it a lot more often now that I know how quick and easy it is! I bought a bag of cranberries earlier this month because I saw them at Whole Foods and they looked so perfect and tempting. I didn’t really have a plan, but I figured I could at least make them for Thanksgiving, if nothing else came up. Well, something else came up and now I have to buy more for Thanksgiving! That’s okay, though, because this roast cranberry edamame feta salad is delicious and totally worth an extra trip to the grocery store.

Roasted Cranberry Edamame Feta Salad

So why roast cranberries instead of just adding dried cranberries? Almost all dried cranberries have lots of added sugar. Yes, cranberries are very tart and you may want to add a little maple syrup when you roast yours, but the amount of sugar in most of the dried cranberries I’ve seen is pretty appalling. According to the bag I’m looking at right now, one 40 gram serving of these popular, name brand dried cranberries contains 29g of sugar. On the other hand, 100g of raw cranberries has just 4g of sugar, which means that a 40g serving would only have 1.6g of sugar. That’s a big difference! The added sugar in the dried berries pushes their sugar content past the AHA recommended daily amount for most people. Drizzling a teaspoon of maple syrup on your cranberries before roasting them adds 4g of sugar. See how much better off you are when you roast cranberries instead of reaching into a bag for the dried, sweetened version?

raw cranberries [click to continue…]

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As you know if you’ve visited my blog recently, I started a garden in our apartment last month. I’m currently growing microgreens, a Petomato tomato, and an AeroGarden that’s mostly filled with lettuce. I just have cell phone photos this week, but I wanted to share how well everything is doing!

We harvest some lettuce every two or three days, but in spite of a recent harvest the AeroGarden is looking pretty full!

aerogarden

The cilantro never sprouted, so I replanted that space with another lettuce. The smallest lettuce plant (front and center) is just barely over two weeks old! It’s between parsley and chives. Parsley is slow to sprout and grow, but it’s starting to look good.

aerogarden parsley

The Petomato is also doing well in its window home. It’s still very sturdy! It, too, has grown quite a bit in the last two weeks.

petomatoWe both love how much fresh produce we’ve been able to grow in our apartment and look forward to even more soon! If you’re short on space or looking for a winter gardening solution, I highly recommend both the AeroGarden and the Petomato.

Do you grow herbs or vegetables indoors?

natashal

 

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After talking about purchasing a blender for over half a year, we finally decided to get one last weekend. We took so long to decide for several reasons: we knew we wanted a larger model capable of really crushing ice, but our kitchen is fairly small and getting pretty full; several people Papi Chulo knows kept telling him about the Vitamix and there are frequent demos at the Nex, but we couldn’t bring ourself to pay that much for a blender; and we just couldn’t decide whether we actually wanted it to use it or just because it seemed cool. Ultimately, we decided to get a Ninja blender that comes with two single serving cups as well as the large pitcher (and we paid less than 1/3 the price of the “less expensive” Vitamix!). We are totally thrilled with our purchase and have been making smoothies every day since then.

Papi Chulo loves cramming his smoothies full of kale and berries, but I set my sites on going a different direction. After a lot of experimenting (and far too much espresso!), I came up with a mocha oatmeal smoothie that I love. It has veggies, chocolate, and even coffee. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Mocha Oatmeal Veggie Smoothie w Espresso [click to continue…]

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Buck Books Paleo Event

A lot of people seem to think eating Paleo means frying up eggs and bacon every day and eating a whole chicken for supper, but that really isn’t the case. Well, I’m sure some people do eat like that, but pretty much any sensible Paleo cookbook will tell you that vegetables are crucial for a healthy diet. I actually think people assume Paleo is all beef and bacon because our modern food system tends to make us feel like meat and grains are the only available options. Even though we’re not, strictly speaking, a Paleo household, I still really enjoy reading Paleo cookbooks and blogs because they’re inspiring. They tend to lack processed ingredients and added sugars, which are two things we do avoid. They usually highlight ways to prepare vegetables, frequently more interesting ones that we wouldn’t have tried otherwise.  They encourage snacking on things like cucumber slices and bell pepper instead of crackers and more crackers.

spinach fall salad

 

All these reasons (and more!) are why I’m looking forward to the Buck Books Paleo Event on November 25. Buck Books works with Kindle authors to present daily deals, usually in the form of 99 cent books. You don’t actually buy anything through Buck Books – all sales take place Amazon- but Buck Books helps organize and promote the sales events. Basically they’re a community that helps authors promote their work. A sale gets scheduled, people find out about it through Buck Books, lots of people buy the book while it’s on sale, and then the books rise in the Amazon charts and gain greater exposure. Featured books frequently make it to top spots in the Kindle store, which is pretty cool.

But I digress.

Buck Books has coordinated a Paleo book sale for November 25. At this time, there are a dozen titles at a confirmed price of 99 cents. The selection includes highly-rated cookbooks like Beyond Bacon and The Ancestral Table. Pretty cool, huh? Even if you’re not into Paleo, I think these books are helpful and can open your eyes to new ways to prepare foods. Besides, cook books are always fun, right? You can check out the full line up on the Buck Books Paleo Event page. I know I can’t wait to buy a few more books at a great price?

Not into Paleo at all? Buck Books has deals every day. At the time of writing, one of the featured books is slow cooker recipes and another is a book on how to format your WordPress website. You can sign up for a daily email notifying you of the daily sales, or you can just check the website and see them. You don’t have to sign up for anything to take advantage of the on sale books. I’m heading over to Amazon to check out that slow cooker book as soon as I publish this post!

If you’re looking to expand your Paleo library, I hope you enjoy the even! If not, I hope you find some other great book deals to fill your Kindle library. I read a lot and am not particularly impressed with our local library, so getting books on sale is always exciting for me!

natashal

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In addition to planting a Petomato and starting up an AeroGarden, we’ve also recently begun growing microgreens. After a couple rounds of planting and harvest, I feel ready to share some tips on how you can grow your own microgreens, too! I know they’re trendy, but don’t let that deter you – they’re popular for a reason.

In case you don’t know, microgreens are different from sprouts. Traditional sprouts are not grown in dirt (people grow them in jars or special sprouting trays and wash them daily) and are typically consumed, roots and all, once their first set of “seed leafs” appear. Microgreens are planted in soil and usually aren’t harvested until their second set of leaves, which are also their first “true leafs” appear. Some people treat sprouts and microgreens as totally different entities, but others see them as sort of shades of the same project. No matter which way you think of them, microgreens are tasty and nutritious! Microgreens are also great because you can grow them pretty much year round and they don’t take up much space. Doesn’t fresh produce in your apartment during winter sound awesome?

How to Plant and Grow Microgreens [click to continue…]

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