Archive | July, 2011

Chocolate milk shake with GELATIN!!!

31 Jul

Here’s another recipe using my basic gelatin prep method.  Watch and learn, my friends!


A perfect dairy- free cuppa coffee

29 Jul

Starbucks VIA + hot water + 1/4 c. Trader Joe’s unsweetened almond milk = PERFECT coffee.

If there’s anything I think about more than food.. it’s coffee.  The smell of it sets me into a tizzy.  The coffee itself, well, it changes me, man.  I don’t get hyper but it definitely flips a switch, transforming me from 8-AM “omg I hate riding the bus and work and hard boiled eggs” Lauren to Mother ‘freakin Theresa.  But I just hate black coffee, and dairy doesn’t sit well.  So, up until a few weeks ago, it was either deny my cravings or spend $2.50 at Crazy Mocha, add some half and half and sweet ‘n low, savor it for five minutes and spend the rest of the day with a mild tummy ache and the rest of the week with a pimple.  The former won out in all but my most desperate moments.

That was until I discovered Starbucks VIA through my boyfriend’s coworker, a member of a restaurant supply store that sells 50 for $10.  Lately, though, boyfriend’s stash is low and he’s being stingy with disbursements of said substance, despite my desperate text messages of “COFFEE PLZ PLZ PLZ” around 4:00 every day.  You can get them 50 for $28 at free shipping, too!  Still only $.57 for 16oz!  Just add hot water, and dare I say it, it’s BETTER than chain coffee!

Also new to my life is Trader Joe’s unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  I’ve tried SO MANY substitutes for creamer- Almond Breeze, hemp milk, coconut milk, coconut creamer, stevia, cashew milk… nothing ever measured up.  This stuff is awesome- it’s 40 calories per cup and the PERFECT mate for VIA.  I’m a fiend for sweetness, but this combo doesn’t need anything, it’s delightful and nutty and so much “lighter” than coffee with cream- perfect for summer!

I’ve found the Holy Grail of coffee for you, my dairy- free friends. So, tell me below- do you have a favorite brand of coffee? What’s your perfect ‘cuppa?

Chocolate Pudding- made with gelatin

25 Jul

A few years ago, after diet number “who knows” battling the last 15 pounds of my 60+ weight loss, my hair was thinning and my nails were brittle.  Enter flavorless gelatin, derived from the collagen inside animals’ skin and bones.  (Macabre.  And I used to be a vegan.)  It has about 30 calories per tablespoon and is all protein, mainly glycine and proline.  Want to learn more about the health benefits of gelatin? Click HERE and HERE.

For starters, you can get the basic Knox brand from the store, but a much cheaper option is to order in bulk.  I’ve used NOW brand beef gelatin powder, which is about $25 for FIVE POUNDS (which lasts FOREVER) as well as Great Lakes brand, which is considerably more expensive but is a finer powder (which lends to slightly better gelling) and is from free-range cows (you can order porcine gelatin as well, but I haven’t yet tried this.)

I’ve experimented with using it to thicken soup, ice cream, smoothies, and to make my own “jigglers.”   Of all these methods, my favorite by far is “moo-sse.”  Seriously, I LOVE this stuff and eat it almost every day.  The gelatin keeps my nails and hair strong and shiny, and this fairly low-calorie dessert keeps me satisfied after dinner.  You get a HUGE serving for around 100 low-carb calories. Plus- there are INFINITE possibilities for mix-ins!  I’m sharing my recipe for basic chocolate pudding in this post, but STAY TUNED for many more, and please, feel free to share any combinations you dream up!

First, I’ll show you how to set the gelatin:

Basic gelatin prep:
Makes enough for about two servings of pudding

2 T Gelatin
4 c. Water

Measure 1 c. water into a microwave-safe container.  Sprinkle gelatin into the water and immediately whisk with a fork until combined.  Let the mixture sit undisturbed for about 8 minutes.  Pop the whole thing in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until water is warm, almost hot, to the touch.**   Add the remaining 3 c. water and whisk until blended, cover, and refrigerate at least 8 hours.  This stuff will keep for awhile- I’ve never had any spoil on me.

**Note: If you have a fancy-schmancy microwave, it will take less time.  I have the cheapest one I could find- but I would imagine the longest you’d want to heat the water with any model would be about 1:15.  It’s important to get this “just right,” so I wouldn’t recommend doubling or halving the recipe.

On to the MOO-SSE (get it?!):

Chocolate Moo-sse

  • ~2 T Cocoa (I prefer Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • Liquid Stevia, to taste

Optional add-ins:

  • Almond or Coconut milk
  • Cayenne pepper (personal favorite!  You’ve gotta try it!)
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Maca powder
  • Avocado
  • A tiny bit of xanathan or guar gum to thicken and smooth
  • Cottage cheese (If you can tolerate dairy, I HIGHLY recommend this- it makes the pudding extra creamy)
  • A TBSP or two of heavy cream

Weight loss: It’s pretty painless, actually.

23 Jul

It’s time for a diet.  Yes, a real calorie counting, strict, diet.  Ugh.  I’ve put on almost 20 lbs over the past year.  Yes, I’ve been eating Paleo, for the most part.  I’ve also started a desk job, finished my last year of grad school (stresssss), been on and off of medication to manage a condition I’ve suffered with for a long time, and been enjoying treats and tasty cocktails a little more than occasionally.  I’m literally at the point where I need a new wardrobe.  True story: I burst a button on my pants last week while I was eating a bonbon.  I’m wearing said pants right now as I type.  Still sans button. #classy

What I’m trying to say is, in no way do I blame the “paleo diet” for my weight gain.  I started this blog to share my experiences and enthusiasm for this way of eating with the world, and, specifically, to encourage certain family members to try it.  The health benefits I’ve seen have far surpassed the initial weight loss.   I look so much better, even at this weight, than I did last time I was 138.  I’ve put on a lot of muscle, my overall athletic prowess has improved, my skin has cleared up, my hair has stopped falling out, the dark circles I’ve had under my eyes since I was a teenager are so much less noticeable,  I don’t have blood sugar crashes if I go a few hours without eating, and as for my chronic health condition, I’m completely asymptomatic, which is rare in such cases.

That being said, it’s all for vanity.  Well, and saving myself the expense of a new wardrobe.  I’m an all-or-nothing gal; cutting a few calories “here and there” for months on end and seeing slooowww results is super frustrating.  Yes, I could probably just clean up my diet, eliminating fruit and stevia and NEVER going out to eat or having a beer, and yes, I’d see results in a month or so.  But I’m ready to “rip off the band-aid.”  I know how to lose weight quickly.  It’s called fasting.  But I also need to function.  So I’m sharing my diet.  It’s a total fat ripper, but I’m never that hungry/ cranky on it.  Sad, maybe, when I pass a coffee shop or refuse a piece of dark chocolate or a summer ripened peach.  But it’s do-able, and it gives me RESULTS.  Plus- weekends are flexible so I don’t have to live like a hermit. - My resolution is to get healthier while still destroying myself with alcohol and drugs


On weekdays, I follow the plan below.  Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays are off, but I’m just eating “normally” and doing social things.

My nutritional breakdown for the day is 1100 calories/ 70 g. fat / 33 g. carbs / 5  g. fiber / 80 g. protein.  Yes, that LOOKS low but since it’s really just missing the carbs my hunger is definitely manageable.

Breakfast: Egg salad and coffee with 1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk

Pre-Workout: (weight lifting days only and included in the above total): Kombucha

Lunch: Salad with Chicken, random veggies (not too many, as this will up the carbs), and olive oil vinaigrette (2 t. olive oil, 2 t. vinegar, 1 t. water, 1 t. mustard, dash oregano) This week’s veggies, spread over 5 salads are 2 cucumbers, 2 roast summer squash.

“Snack:” about 3 PM: 1 T. light olive oil a/p Shangri-La Diet.  A little self-experimenting, and it really does curb my appetite.

Dinner: 4 oz burger patty, seasoned with a rub, salt, and pepper.  I get grassfed beef and don’t know the exact % fat… I’m assuming it’s 85%.  Also, 1 T. coconut oil, straight from the jar.


If I haven’t bored you to death already, here’s my workout schedule.  I’m a desk jockey most of the day, but my commute includes ~25 minute walk to/ from work, and 10 minutes to/from gym.  1:10 total.  Gym time is around noon, I can get 40 minutes of an actual workout if I’m lucky.  I go horseback riding some weeknights and weekend mornings, others I just do 20 minute yoga podcasts and get some R&R.  All in all it’s a pretty lax schedule.  Weight loss is 90% diet and 10% activity Can’t stress this enough; after 70 lbs of weight loss, please trust me.  My biggest dieting failures and worst re-gains have occurred when I have done long, exhaustive, high intensity cardio.  Regardless of how much and how “clean” I was eating at the time.

M/W/F:  Some sort of cardio interval workout.  Spin or Zumba class (depends if I make it to the gym on time) or “sprintervals.”  Recipe for “sprintervals:”  Makes: 1 tired Lauren.  4 sets of 45 seconds MAX EFFORT sprints, 1:30 recovery between each set.  Finish with ~20 minutes moderate effort on the stairclimber.

T/TH: ~40 minutes BodyPump.  I’ve written the breakdown below in case my dear readers want to attempt this at home.  It’s about 5 minutes of each of the following progressions with 1 minute rest between supersets.   This is max reps, so I use about 18 lbs on the bar for my arms, 30 lbs for my back/legs.

  1. Warm up, 1 set of each of the moves I’ll be doing in my workout.
  2. Legs: Squats, that’s it.  Lots and lots of squats, varying the tempo / leg position / squat depth.
  3. Chest: Bench press, varying tempo
  4. Back & Hamstrings: Deadlifts, bent over rows, clean + press.

On Tuesday, follow this up with:

  1. Lunges & Box jumps
  2. Shoulders & delts (5 lb dumbbells)

On Thursday, it’s:

  1. Triceps: Skull crushers, triceps press, triceps extensions
  2. Biceps: Curls, reverse row.

So there, that’s 6 sets, ~5 minutes each, max reps, low weight.

I’ll be keeping y’all posted with my progress.  As for recipes, I’ll continue to post regularly, I’ve got at least six in queue!


Minimalist Egg Salad

20 Jul

I’ve had this for breakfast every morning while on my diet- more about that in my next post!  I feel my best with a protein rich breakfast- and I’m still sort-of convinced that eating six whole eggs every day just might give me a heart attack.   Since I’m keeping my carbs super low- around 20g/day, I was planning to have a few hard boiled eggs and egg whites without the yolks (ick!) but tried this instead.  It is egg-cellent!  No mayo, either, and I don’t miss it at all!

Minimalist Egg Salad
Raspberry & Coconut
1 huge serving, about 1.5 cups.

  • 3 whole hard boiled eggs
  • 3 hard boiled egg whites
  • 1-2 T. water
  • 1 T. dill relish (not sweet relish)
  • 1 green onion
  • 2 t. dijon mustard
  • a squirt of hot sauce
  • Salt, pepper, and smoked paprika (if you have it)

Using a fork, smash together your three yolks and everything else aside from the whites.  You’ll get a thick, yellow dressing.  Chop the whites and mix to coat.  Refrigerate overnight and sprinkle with salt and pepper again before serving.

291 calories / 16 g. fat / 3 g. carbs / 30 g. protein

Curry Burgers

16 Jul

I suppose I’m on a curry kick!  Lately I’ve been seeing “5 foods I would bring with me on an island” posts floating around the blogosphere. Assuming an endless supply of fish, crabs, coconuts, plantains, rum, and little plastic umbrellas, I think mine would go something like this:

1. Curry Powder (seafood + coconuts!)
2. Salmon (’cause I love it and you can’t get it on an island)
3. Lamb Osso Bucco
4. Sriracha
5. Turtle Mountain Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl coconut milk ice cream

Curry Burgers
Raspberry & Coconut


  • 1 lb ground beef (or turkey or pork)
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 t. curry powder (I use Penzey’s hot curry)
  • 1 t. garam marsala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground or fresh ginger
  • salt and pepper
  • ~ 1.5 T. bacon grease, coconut oil, or butter/ghee for cooking

Mix ground beef, onion, and spices and form into patties.  Season on both sides with a little salt and pepper.  Melt grease/oil in a frying pan (or cook on a grill) to your desired doneness.

Crockpot Thai Red Curry

13 Jul

I’m up to over 3,000 unique views- much better than I dreamed I’d do in my first month! I give most of the credit to my self-promotion on Chowstalker, Dessertstalker, and Modern Paleo. And my SCOBYs(link) are finding new, loving homes!

This is the summer of “quick and easy” from now on. I’m totally loving my crockpot at the moment- I can throw something together at night, refrigerate the base, set it to “low” in the morning, and come home to a hot, hearty meal before heading off to visit this sweet girl…

She’s mine now, at least for a few months. I went trail riding with a friend a few times this spring and was again stricken by the “horse bug” I’d suffered most of my teenage years. Riding has always been super-Zen for me, quiet and mind-clearing like yoga but without the “mental grumping” that usually infiltrates the first 20 or so minutes of my practice. I’ve been “fur-deprived” since starting college in ‘04 – my apartments have never been cat friendly and always too small for a dog- now I’m surrounded by ponies and cats and dogs and goats and bunnies (Oh My!).

Anywho- on to the recipe. Thai food is SO GOOD in the hot summer months, especially cold leftovers! After I recreated MY go-to-Thai restaurant dish I figured I’d try my boyfriend’s- and, we both agree- it was amazing over zucchini noodles (me) and rice (him). Better still, it’s cooked in the crock pot so the only prep work is washing/ chopping veggies and meat.

Crockpot Thai Red Curry

Raspberry & Coconut

1 can coconut milk
1 T. Red curry paste
1 t. tamari or soy sauce
1 t. garlic
1 t. fish sauce
1 t. palm sugar, honey, or brown sugar

1 lb. raw chicken or pork, sliced into thin strips

A mix of your desired veggies:

“Slow” cooking veggies, such as:
sweet potatoes
Hot chili peppers

“Fast” cooking veggies, such as:
Snap peas
Fresh basil (I’d recommend this!)

Mix sauce in small bowl and add to the crockpot base. Add meat and “slow cooking” veggies, toss to coat, and layer “quick cooking” veggies over that. Cover and allow to marinate overnight, then, in the morning, set to low and cook 7-9 hours while you get on with your life.

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