July 19, 2014

Banana Bread

I've accumulated several frozen bananas this summer and needed to at least use a few of them before I either abandon them or throw them away.

So I made this Perfect Paleo Banana Bread recipe. I ended up using an extra banana; so, when I realized that I had three and the recipe called for two, I threw in another 1/4 cup almond flour and about 1/16 of a cup of coconut flour (to keep the proportions the same). The bread came out so moist! I put it in the refrigerator after letting it sit out all night because of the amount of moisture it has.

July 15, 2014

Blueberries & Chia Seed Pudding

Fresh blueberries are the perfect addition to this standard paleo breakfast item: Chia Seed Pudding. There are so many variations of Chia Seed Pudding; but, the simplicity of vanilla and blueberries is perfect for the summer. This recipe makes a wonderful mid-week breakfast.

For anyone who has not tried chia seeds before, they expand upon exposure to liquid and soak up the liquid around them which is what causes the combination of chia seeds and coconut milk to form a pudding. Yum!

Chia Seed Pudding
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. honey

Combine all ingredients in a glass, sealable container. I mixed everything together and then split it between two mason jars. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, pull the pudding out of the refrigerator and stir to re-allocate the chia seeds. It should be thickening by now. Repeat another 1-2 times and then refrigerate overnight. Spoon into a bowl and top with fresh blueberries (or other fresh fruit and/or nuts) for a great breakfast.

This should make about 4 servings.

Optional Alteration
Instead of topping your pudding with fresh blueberries, pull out your juicer when you're making the pudding.
1/4 cup fresh blueberry juice
2 tbsp. chia seeds

Juice fresh blueberries until you have about 1/4 cup. Add the blueberry juice and additional chia seeds to the pudding mixture above.
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July 12, 2014

The Busy Bee (Central Market - York, PA)

There is a little slice of heaven on Philadelphia Street, about 1.5 blocks from N. George St. in York, Pennsylvania. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the place comes alive with local vendors with all kinds of offerings - hand-painted pottery, salads, espresso, burritos, freshly-baked cookies, Mediterranean food, hand-cut fries, just to name a few - But, I usually bypass all of that and head straight for the stand on the back wall (Pershing St.) where Andrew and his crew are always buzzing around their small kitchen, putting amazing culinary creations into recyclable brown to-go boxes.
The standard menu is full of breakfast and lunch treasures - oatmeal with out-of-the-ordinary mix-ins, breakfast sandwiches, salads with only the freshest ingredients and burgers. But then, there is the ever-changing menu of specials. That's usually where I start, as I know there are wonderful "back-ups" in the tri-fold menu if nothing on the board catches my eye. Surprisingly, the offerings are healthy and paleo-friendly! Many of the salads are a unique spin on a classic spinach salad with chicken.
Habanero BBQ Pork salad with Apricots, Red Onions & Almonds

Finally, one day, I was in the mood for a burger. Not only are their burgers wonderful; but, they're buffalo! There's something special to me about a buffalo burger. And, you know it's a good spot if it's on the menu.
Kaptain Chesapeake (buffalo burger with crabcake) without a bun or chips, over spinach

July 10, 2014

Fresh Farms Cafe (Lancaster, PA)

One of my day-trip adventures was to the Tanger outlets in Lancaster. After shopping and, surprisingly, only spending 1/2 of the budget I gave myself for the shopping spree I was on the hunt for a lunch spot. The lady at the Ann Taylor Factory store told me about Fresh Farms Cafe which is right near the campus of Franklin & Marshall College.

It was so hot outside that day, and they have smoothies on their menu. Unfortunately, after a few probing questions, it became apparent that their smoothies were the kinda laden with sugar and almost vacant of fresh fruit. The wonderful girl working the cashier told me about a juice place around the corner. I rushed there before it closed and satisfied my juice/smoothie craving before returning to the Cafe for lunch.
My Order: Healthy Trio Salad with Balsamic on the side. The chicken and tuna salad had so much flavor that I didn't need the dressing. It doesn't seem like it, but this is a HUGE salad! I was so full after eating the whole thing.

This is a great place to stop if you're ever in town and looking for a healthy lunch spot. All of their produce is local, and everything was very fresh.

They also have a pretty extensive coffee menu; and, it seemed to be popular among locals.

The juice store around the corner is also great. They have smoothies and juices; and some of the juices are pre-made and can be bought to-go. I bought one juice to go and brought it to work as part of a healthy, clean piece-meal lunch the next day... Larabar, hard-boiled egg, nuts of some kind and juice (beets, carrots, etc.)

July 8, 2014

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins & Blueberry Jelly

One of my favorite things about getting more familiar with cooking and baking and growing in the kitchen has been trying new flavor combinations and developing a sense for what flavors pair nicely with each other. This lemon and blueberry combination is far from original. But, I took two separate recipes that I found on two different sources and created a wonderful combination.
I seriously bought poppyseeds over 3 months ago because I wanted to make this recipe. I finally got around to making them this weekend; and, my motivation was the blueberries which I used to make Against All Grain's Homemade Blueberry Preserves without Pectin to go on the muffins! I actually mashed the blueberries with my hands which proved to be way more efficient than fighting each berry with the back of a fork. Once I had most of them mashed, I started heating everything and mashed the big ones with the back of a spoon as they softened with the heat. I used 1/2 cup honey, max; and it's definitely sweet enough.
Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
This combination is even better than it sounds! I was a little nervous about the muffin recipe because recipes that only use coconut flour tend to be dry; but, they have so much moisture and the perfect lemon flavor! I was SO HAPPY about the texture of the jelly which is perfect. It's so smooth and spreadable. These are definitely two recipes that I would recommend separately. But, together, they make one of my favorite paleo weekday breakfasts thus far!

July 7, 2014

White Rose (York, PA)

So, the White Rose has become a staple in my lunch routine... especially when I'm in need of a salad after realizing my packed lunch found it's final resting place in front of the house sprawled across the road. Yes, that happened... See the Ruby Tuesday post for details of the travesty.

My favorite salad is the Field Greens Salad with Grilled Chicken, no cheese or croutons with Balsamic Vinaigrette on the side. It is a great salad! I've also had it with Grilled Salmon and Shrimp & Scallops... all versions are great. I really like that this salad comes with a hard-boiled egg.

Then I stumbled upon their sweet potato fries... Here we go again. Needless to say, they're great and I've had them more than once. First with a burger (obviously without a bun) and second with the Pulled BBQ Pork Sandwich (without a bun). The second was my take-out choice one night before an after-hours meeting.
Field Greens Salad with Grilled Chicken
I'm not convinced that these sweet potato fries are Gluten-Free. I think I'm nervous they're not; so, I haven't asked. The salad is a great sustainable meal to fill you up and pump some nutrients.

White Rose Menu

July 6, 2014


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July 5, 2014

Tropical Chicken Salad

Besides blueberries, I am lately loving mangoes. My step-grandmother showed me the right kind of mangoes to buy... the yellow ones from Mexico and how to cut them. I'm embarrassed to say I had given up on mangoes after fighting too many not-so-ripe mangoes. I decided to add a different spin on my beloved chicken salad. I packed this for lunch with chopped Romaine... It was like bringing the islands to my office! I really liked the way the mango was balanced by the red onion; and, the chicken is the perfect base for so many flavors.

Tropical Chicken Salad
1 can chicken breast
1/2 avocado, cubed
1/4 red onion, diced
1 tsp. fresh cilantro
1/2 mango, diced
1 tbsp. toasted coconut (optional)
sea salt

Shred the chunks of chicken breast with a fork so it is not as chunky. Mash the avocado into the shredded chicken so it mixes together. Fold in the red onion, cilantro and mango. Sprinkle with toasted coconut, if desired. Season with sea salt & pepper, to taste.

Serve over lettuce/greens for salad or in Romaine leaves for lettuce wraps. It's also great on it's own! 

July 4, 2014

Red & White on a Blue Plate

This is such an easy thing to do but can be an impressive appetizer for guests or the perfect pair to a steak fresh off of the grill.

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Bell Pepper Slices
1 red bell pepper, sliced into 3-4 wide slices (1 off of each side)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Goat Cheese

Grill the peppers with the inside of the pepper down until heated. Take off of the grill and fill with goat cheese. Return to the grill, this time with the skin down, for a few minutes to heat/melt the goat cheese.

These can also be stored in the refrigerator and re-heated in a pan with a small amount of olive or coconut oil.

Red, White & Blueberry Pancakes

Happy 4th of July!

With 7 pounds of blueberries in the refrigerator, it wasn't a question that I would make something for breakfast using blueberries. Once I had the idea of pancakes, I knew I had to add something red. Otherwise, I might as well be un-American. I remembered I had a few strawberries in the freezer, and it just went from there...

Blueberry Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce
1 banana - either over ripe or thawed from the freezer
2 eggs
1 tbsp. coconut flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. lemon juice, optional
coconut oil for frying
3 frozen strawberries, completely thawed with juice (overnight)
1 tsp. honey

Pancakes: Combine banana, eggs, coconut flour, vanilla extract and lemon juice with a whisk. Heat coconut oil in a frying pan until water sizzles upon contact. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the frying pan. Once the batter starts to cook, and the bottom looks like it's becoming solid, place blueberries around the pancake. Cook until bottom is golden brown. Flip. Cook until done. Repeat with remaining batter.

Strawberry Sauce: Pour strawberries and all juice into a sauce pan. Smash and separate with a fork. Add honey and simmer on Medium heat until pancakes are done, stirring occasionally.

Optional toppings: Chopped Macadamia nuts, Shredded Coconut, Toasted Coconut, Coconut Whipped Cream (Recipe Book)

July 3, 2014

Ruby Tuesday

Going out to eat with my Grandpa is a crap-shoot on whether there will be anything semi-healthy on the menu. He likes American restaurants like Outback but tends to lean towards Asian cuisine like Pho or Chinese... and often Mexican, too. After suffering through a dinner of Chinese food at which he ordered Sweet & Sour Pork (I won't bore/disgust you with the details of how my stomach reacted to that for the next few days.), I decided to preemptively avoid a repeat and suggested Ruby Tuesday for lunch before I left to go back to Pennsylvania for another week of work.

He loves this place, so the idea was a hit. BINGO! I knew there was a salad bar. That being said... This is a great place for paleos to join friends of all diets for a meal without having to dissect the menu. I just ordered the Salad Bar; but, there were also Turkey Burgers on the menu which looked great. And, they have sweet potato fries, if you're feeling froggy. I'm surprised I didn't order those, too.

I would have a picture of my salad, but there's a story... I ate two plates of salad and was super full. I also had a few bites of my Grandpa's ribs which were great. And, I made myself a to-go box salad to take home and to work for lunch on Monday. (BONUS!) Monday morning, I walked out the door with way too much in my hands, as always... and put the salad on top of the car. OK, we all know where this is going, but it gets better than the typical story. But, I didn't have any idea until I got to work and the salad was nowhere to be found. I remembered balancing it on my green tea mug. It had to be in the car. Nope. So, as my boss who I'm living with walked into the office a few hours later, I say "Did you see a sala...?" That's all I got out before he said "Yep, right in front of the house." Talk about embarrassing...

Moral of the Story: The salad bar is great; and, more importantly, protect your salads.

July 2, 2014

Blueberries Premiere

Lots of good posts coming soon! I finally have some time to sit and write this weekend and have so much to talk about. First... There was a fundraiser at work for 10 pounds of freshly-picked blueberries for $32. Of course, I couldn't resist. They were delivered on Monday, and now the challenge/question is... How many wonderful paleo recipes can I come up with to use these sweet balls of fresh juicy goodness?

The first few nights I made salads with the berries and other produce I had.on hand.
Blueberry Cobb Salad
Very Berry Blueberry Salad
1 Romaine heart
1 hard-boiled egg
1/2 avocado, cubed
1/2 cup strawberries, halved
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup Honey Dijon (Recipe Book)
Other toppings: bacon, diced red onion, tomato, cucumber

Very Berry Blueberry Salad
1 Romaine heart
1 kiwi, cubed
1/4 cup blueberries
1/2 avocado, cubed
3-4 baby carrots, chopped
5-6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 hard-boiled egg
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette (Recipe Book)
Other toppings: Onion Poppyseed Dressing, celery