Paleo Breakfast Sandwich.

Breakfast seems to be one of those meals that people struggle to fit in. And when you remove cereal and toast and muffins from your diet, then it becomes even more difficult. But I do notice a major difference when I eat a larger breakfast- I don’t eat as much throughout the day. I don’t snack as much and I have a lot more energy.

This is just a basic template for paleo breakfast sandwiches. You could use different veggies if you don’t have zucchini or you could do a combination of veggies. Sweet potatoes and carrots would be good and have a sweeter flavor that would go well with bacon. If you eat potatoes you could use potatoes, zucchini and carrots. Or just all potatoes. So basically make potato pancakes or latkes. I like zucchini because it has a mild flavor that goes well with eggs and is also a good way to get in some veggies at breakfast.

paleo breakfast sandwich

Paleo Breakfast Sandwich
 
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated (about 1.5 cups of grated zucchini)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T. coconut flour
  • ⅛ t. onion powder (or 1 T. grated onion)
  • ⅛ t. salt
  • ⅛ t. pepper
  • 2 eggs, fried in coconut oil or butter
  • 2 pieces of sausage, cooked
Instructions
  1. Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Wring out the grated zucchini in a tea towel to remove the excess liquid. Place in a bowl.
  3. Add the egg, coconut flour,onion powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Mix everything together until well incorporated.
  5. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop out ¼ cup of the zucchini mixture. Form into a patty using your hands and place into the skillet. Continue with the rest of the zucchini.
  6. Cook the zucchini patties for 5 to 6 minutes on each side.
  7. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel while you cook your eggs and sausage.
  8. Make your sandwich!

 

 
paleo breakfast sandwich

I tend to make things too thick, so my suggestion would be to make the zucchini pancakes and sausage a little thinner than you think they need to be. Otherwise it’s difficult to pick up and eat like an actual sandwich. I ate this with some sliced mango, but it would also be good with grapefruit. The eggs and sausage need something to balance it out, so something citrus-y is delish!

Enjoy!

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3 Years.

3 years ago today I woke up on my wedding day. It was colder than I was hoping for and the weather forecast called for rain. But that didn’t stop us from having a beautiful wedding. And at the end of the day all that mattered was that we were married.

anniversary

As I was texting my husband Happy Anniversary this morning, I received an anniversary text from him. Today is very different from this time 3 years ago. Today I woke up at about 4:30 AM to a nurse coming into my hospital room and taking my vitals. Followed by someone else coming in to draw my blood. I have no idea how cold it is outside, but it looks sunny with a few clouds. My husband is busy driving around on the east coast, working hard on a business trip. Good thing we had already planned to celebrate our anniversary this weekend!

It’s amazing how it’s only been 3 years, but we’ve truly lived out a lot of our vows. We wrote our own vows but we also said the traditional ones.

To have and to hold,
From this day forward,
For better, for worse,
For richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health

Well we have for sure lived out the whole in sickness and in health thing. We’ve had more than our fair share of hospital visits, I’m really sick and need to go to the ER phone calls, trips to Rite Aid for prescriptions and doctor visits. There’s something about seeing your spouse laying in a hospital bed that just makes you realize how fragile life is and marriage is. I think if you can laugh even when one of you is laying in a hospital bed, then you have something strong that will help you appreciate the “for better” and push through the “for worse”.

anniversary

Happy Anniversary Husband! You make all the good times amazing and all the hard times bearable.

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Friday Five.

I guess the title of these Friday posts is no longer very relevant since I’m sharing more than five things/pictures from the week. But Friday Six just doesn’t sound as good.

Here are last weeks 100 Days of Happiness photos.

100 Days of Happiness photos

1. Flowering trees. So pretty and a surefire sign that Spring is here. Although what is this news that it’s going to snow this weekend…???

2. Beautiful weather. Beautiful husband. Beautiful park. My not so beautiful frisbee throwing skills.

3. New French Vanilla coffee from Trader Joe’s. I can’t really taste the vanilla much since I tend to use a hefty amount of French Vanilla Coconut Milk creamer, but it’s delicious nonetheless.

4. Wine in a mason jar. Nothin’ wrong with that!

5. Playing Monopoly with TJ and his family and TJ winning. It was everyone’s goal before we started to take down TJ, yet he still won. That man doesn’t have a competitive bone in his body…(sarcasm)

6. Dinner (and after dinner Target run) with my husband. No picture of that one but good food, good conversation and walking through Target makes me happy.

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Portabella Mushrooms.

Eating Paleo is probably as easy (and delicious) as it’s ever been with all the recipes available for Paleo-fied breads, muffins, cookies and cakes. I have made my fair share of paleo muffins, waffles and cookies. I’ve tried cauliflower rolls. But a lot of times those recipes are time-consuming and sometimes I just want to eat!

I’ve always loved portabella mushrooms and I recently started using them more often as a base for sandwiches and pizzas. In the last few weeks, I’ve topped portabella mushrooms with chicken burgers, chicken and raw cheddar and with pizza toppings.

portabella mushrooms

Portabella Prep:

1. If your mushrooms are dirty, feel free to wipe them down with a damp paper towel. Don’t submerge them in water as they will absorb the liquid and turn out very watery.

2. Using a spoon, scrape off the brown/black gills on the underside of the mushroom (where the stem is). This will help keep the mushroom firm when you cook it. It’s not necessary to remove the gills, but I have found that if you don’t, more liquid will come from the mushroom when cooking.

3. Season the mushroom. For pizzas, I don’t do any extra seasonings. For burgers and sandwiches, do whatever sounds good. Here are a few of my favorites: marinate the mushroom for a few minutes in olive oil and balsamic vinegar; olive oil with black pepper, garlic and onion powder and oregano.

4. From here, it depends on what you are making…

For portabella mushroom pizzas – top the uncooked mushroom with pizza sauce, toppings, raw cheese, whatever you would put on a pizza. Bake in the oven at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes.

For burgers and sandwiches – bake the seasoned mushroom at 350 for about 10 minutes, flipping it over about halfway through. Once cooked, top the mushroom with a cooked burger or sandwich toppings.

portabella mushrooms

portabella mushrooms

portabella mushrooms

portabella mushrooms

portabella mushrooms

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Marriage & Grace.

Marriage-MusingsIf you were a fly on the wall in the Ceravolo household on any given weeknight around 4:30, you would find me sitting on the arm of the couch texting my husband the following words. “When do you think you’ll be home?” 95% of the time I know what I am going to make for dinner but when to start cooking it differs each night. TJ has been working a lot lately and has been getting home closer to 6 (or later). But some nights it’s around 5. I never know!

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One of my biggest pet-peeves is cooking dinner and then having it sit there. I like for it to be ready five minutes after TJ gets home. That’s when it tastes the best and also it means I don’t have to wait around to eat. There have been many nights that I have an attitude because TJ gets home later than he says he will be. It drives me nuts!

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One night a few weeks ago, I had dinner ready to go and found myself waiting. And waiting. And waiting. I was starting to get annoyed. I went to the window and looked out towards TJ’s work building. A few more minutes went by. I called him. No answer. I texted him. No answer. Blood pressure started rising. That’s when I saw him. I knew immediately that it was him. He had a folder in his hands.

And he was running.

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Now I knew why my call and texts had gone unanswered. And I found myself smiling. My blood pressure returned to normal and I was no longer annoyed. So even though I could have assumed that he was running because it was a little cold out, I chose to give him the benefit of the doubt. I chose to believe that he was running home because he values me and our time together and he didn’t want to be any later than he already was.

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I started to think about giving the benefit of the doubt in marriage. Now, I definitely don’t want to make myself sound like a harsh wife, but there are probably more times than not that I don’t give TJ the benefit of the doubt. Rarely do I ever do anything with a malicious heart- so why would I choose to believe that he purposely ignores my texts or stays at work 10 minutes late just to upset me and ruin both our nights?

Proverbs 21:19 says “Better to live in the desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.” Other translations use the words contentious, fretful, angry, hot-tempered and irritable. Yikes! While I would never use the word quarrelsome to define myself, I have been known to be a bit irritable and nagging at times. What woman hasn’t! I never outright ignore scriptures that I don’t want to like, but I can be dismissive. I will use phrases like, “Well I’m not as bad as some people.” Or “If you knew all the times I kept my mouth shut!”. Or my all time favorite, “I’m not nagging, I just care about your health/safety/etc.”

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Giving the benefit of the doubt is similar to the concept of grace, but there is one key difference in my mind. God knows our innermost thoughts and the deepest, darkest, ugliest parts of our heart and yet he still gives us grace. It is a free gift that we cannot earn. He doesn’t make us earn it. Which is such a hard concept for a lot of us to grasp. We have been taught at an early age that we have to earn most things. We have to work hard to get the things we want in life. And yet God freely gives us grace despite the fact that we do not deserve it.

If God gives both of us grace despite knowing every good and bad thing about us, then who I am to not give others the benefit of the doubt. To extend grace, especially in the small, annoying situations that don’t really matter. And to hope that we both can extend that grace and love to each other throughout our marriage.

*These pictures have nothing to do with this post. They were just some fun, newer pictures that I took.*

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Weekly Menu- April 7 to 11

I can tell that this week will be one of those weeks that will be a win if 3 of these 5 dinners actually get made. I need a week of easy dinners (and breakfasts and lunches). I’m having more dental work done on Monday, hence the smoothies for dinner. TJ will have something else I’m sure, since I doubt he’ll be happy with blended up fruits and veggies for dinner.

Most of these dinners represent the typical “equation” for our dinners. Meat + veggies + a carb for TJ. I usually also try to include a higher carb veggie for me, like squash, sweet potatoes or cauliflower. I also try to eat some good fat with my dinner, like grass-fed butter (Kerrygold is a good brand) on veggies or an avocado. Fat does not make you fat! I’ve been eating way more fat than I ever have before and I’ve only been losing weight slowly but surely (the weight I gained while on Prednisone). Being more intentional about eating fat at breakfast and dinner seems to keep the snacking impulses at bay! Yesterday morning I ate leftover fajitas with a whole avocado for breakfast. TJ looked at me like I was crazy! But…I wasn’t really hungry again until dinner. Then eating some fat at dinner keeps me from wanting dessert later on.

So here is our weekly menu. It may not be that exciting, but hey, every week can’t have amazing food. Sometimes you just have to eat to live. Not live to eat. And this week will be an eat to live kind of week.

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Friday Five- 100 Days of Happiness.

Has anyone else seen this all over Facebook? 100 Days of Happiness- Post a picture everyday of something that makes you happy. I rarely post anything on Facebook anymore, so I plan on housing all my “happy” photos here.

Obviously the purpose is to train your mind to look for sources of happiness throughout your day. To embody a sense of gratitude. To take just a few seconds of the day to acknowledge something that brings joy.

I started this on April 1, so here are the first 4 days of April.

100 Days of Happiness

Day 1 : A bowl of delicious things. Banana + raw honey + peanut butter + shredded coconut + walnuts.

Day 2 : Starbucks + computer. Reminds me of spending hours at Starbucks working on my thesis. I haven’t spent time working at a coffee shop in a long time. There is something very comfortable about it.

Day 3 : Bright flowers on a cloudy day. Because of the type of windows we have in our apartment, plant life will not grow in here. I’ve killed every plant I’ve dared to bring home. Even ones that say “impossible to kill”. So fake flowers it is. Even fake flowers can bring happiness.

Day 4 : Smoothie soup. This was so delicious. Frozen strawberries + banana + orange + raw honey + extra water to make it thinner than a smoothie. Eaten in a bowl with a spoon.

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A Taste of Spring.

It’s been a pretty crazy Winter for pretty much everyone, so we are welcoming Spring with open arms! I’ve done Spring Cleaning and our apartment is updated with fresh decorations. Now it’s time to breakout the spring recipes and start transitioning from eating cold weather foods to warm weather foods. I mentioned in this menu post yesterday that sometimes this transition is hard for me food-wise. My tastes and preferences start to change and I find that there are certain foods that I just can’t eat once it starts warming up. Soup, chili, pasta (for TJ), casseroles- all of these are great during Fall and Winter, but not for Spring! Normally when it’s warm out, I crave cold pasta salads, sandwiches and panini’s, salads and anything and everything on the grill! Since going Paleo, traditional pasta salads and sandwiches are out and because of the Crohn’s I’m supposed to steer clear of eating a lot of lettuce, raw spinach and the like. It would be easy to grill up meat and veggies every night but alas, we have no balcony and therefore no grill. OH, the joys of city living.

So this Spring is going to bring some challenges and I’m going to have to get creative. To celebrate the beautiful weather (and because I was craving something sweet), I made a warm weather-worthy cake- Lemon and Strawberry. This recipe came from the Against All Grain cookbook. It was a labor of love and turned out a little disheveled rustic, but it tasted delicious! The cake was sweet and had a subtle strawberry taste, while the lemon/coconut cream filling was tart with a refreshing citrus flavor.

Spring recipes

Spring recipes

Spring recipes

The original recipe called for making 2 cake layers and filling the middle with the lemon filling. I wasn’t sure if TJ would like the cake (he actually did!) and honestly, I didn’t want to use the 5 cups of almond flour and 14 eggs that the original recipe called for. So I cut the recipe in half with the plan to just cut the one cake in half- voila! 2 layers. I have a history of not waiting long enough for baked goods to cool. I get too excited and want to continue on with my recipe or in the good ‘ol days, slather copious amounts of chocolate frosting on whatever it was that I made. I really wanted this cake to be pretty so I even waited longer than I thought I should and when I went to invert the cake onto a plate, I could feel that some of the cake came out and some did not. Disappointment. I attempted to remedy it and I don’t think it turned out too bad, but it’s not the prettiest dessert. Sure was tasty though!

Spring recipes

Making this cake gave me the motivation to come up with some more Spring-like Paleo foods that fit my diet, but still fulfill those warm weather food cravings. Hopefully the list of spring recipes (using the term “recipes” loosely here) below will provide some inspiration and ideas whether you follow a Paleo diet or not! Happy Spring!

Spring recipes

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Weekly Menu- March to April

Wow- pretty hard to believe that this week is the start of April! Let’s hope the weather is going to start to reflect that Spring is here. It’s supposed to rain this week in Denver, which is fine. Maybe things will stop being brown and ugly and turn green and pretty.

During this weird transition from Winter to Spring, I find it hard to figure out what to eat and what fits the weather and my mood. I especially start to wish that we had a balcony or a (little) yard where we could have a grill and barbecue every other night. Cooking dinner when it’s nice out is so much easier when you have access to a grill…

Here is our weekly menu. Nothing too exciting, but I am making a concerted effort this week and for the next few weeks to really limit the amount of sugar I am eating/drinking. I’ve said before that giving up grains hasn’t been all that difficult, but giving up sugar has been horribly hard and I’ve failed miserably. So with the exception of my coconut milk coffee creamer and some honey, I am trying really hard not to have any “paleo desserts” or chocolate or stuff like that. So I’ll be upping my intake of fat and protein to compensate for the lack of sugar. We will see how it goes.

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Embrace. My Friday Five.

My word for this year is Embrace. Embrace the great, the good and the bad. It’s easy to embrace the great, amazing times where it’s obvious that memories are being made. It’s even easy to embrace the really bad times because usually it’s clear that there is no other choice. The extremes are easier to embrace. In the extremes, it’s easy to find an attitude of gratefulness. Because you are either grateful for the amazing moment, the one-in-a-lifetime chance or you are grateful that things aren’t worse, that at least you are still breathing.

I would say that in general, the extremes make up 20% of life. The vast majority of days are good. Not great. Not bad. Just good. And while good is obviously better than bad, good can become monotonous. Mind-numbing. Boring. Hours blur into days. Days turn into weeks and then next thing you know, another year has passed. I always have the intention of being intentional. To me, embracing each hour, each day, each month, each season of life is just a softer way of saying- be intentional. Embrace the mundane. Make memories on a Wednesday night. Burn a moment into my brain. Write down my memories and be grateful. Be intentional. Embrace.

Here are five moments from my week for which I am grateful. Moments during which I embraced my life.

1. Visiting my family in Ohio. And by posting these pictures of myself, which I don’t do much of lately, I am embracing the worst side effect of my medication- moon face. Anyone who has ever been on prednisone is probably familiar with this effect and it’s awful. I never had chubby cheeks before and I’m ready for them to be gone. But these are good pictures of my parents so I’ll put my vanity aside for them!

embrace

embrace

2. The best popsicles ever! I bought these on a whim at Trader Joe’s and I think they are going to be a staple in our freezer from here on out. Raspberry, orange and strawberry layers. Oh so good.

embrace

3. It seems that we rarely get really fluffy clouds in Colorado but yesterday there were some crazy clouds over the mountains and the view was really pretty.

embrace

4. Seeing my husband. Since I was in Ohio for 5 days and then TJ was traveling for work for 2 days, I was excited to see him. We’ve essentially only spent a few hours with each other in the past 9 days, but at least we have the weekend!

5. I’m not sure why this is a moment I want to remember but I’m grateful that I’m able to go to the dentist when I need to. I chipped my front tooth recently (thank you Prednisone for my brittle bones) and had to get it fixed. I was nervous that you would be able to see the bonding but my dentist did an awesome job and you can’t even tell I had anything done. Well except that the chip is gone!

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