5 Minute Strawberry Jam {Paleo}


A few weeks back, my dad brought home a giant flat of local strawberries~ and I got to work being creative!  The first recipe I shared was for Strawberry Shortcake Muffins (see that recipe here).  I promised that I would be back with another simple strawberry recipe, and here I am!

Friday Five: Budget-Friendly Paleo Dinners

Hi Guys!

Lots of changes here on my end recently... the biggest is that I moved!  I had been living on my own in the Central Valley of California while I attended college & finished grad school, but have now relocated to a town in the San Francisco Bay Area.  My boyfriend & I moved in together, and I have a "big girl job" all lined up to start in August.  Lots of big changes, so I'm very grateful to have some down time to get situated.


Part of moving means tightening up that budget & keeping tabs on all of our expenses.  In light of my move, and the fact that I know I'm not the only one budgeting, I decided to put together a Friday Five post with some dinner ideas to inspire your grocery lists- without breaking the bank.

Call me crazy, but I actually think that being on a tighter grocery budget can be fun... It forces you to get creative!  I hope some of these recipes give you an idea of what to make for dinners this week  :)

Just a tip: Try sitting down & planning out your meals at the beginning of the week- or whenever you grocery shop.  Make sure you're buying enough to make all of the meals you will need, and plan for leftovers to have for lunch!

Click the title to go to the recipe!

Frosted Fudge Brownies

Brownies have been on my list of desserts to "Paleo-fy" for quite some time now.  I finally went for it, and my only regret?  Not making them sooner!

They are the most incredibly moist, rich, and fudgy brownies I have ever tried.  The fact that they are gluten, grain, soy, and dairy free, and actually full of healthy ingredients, is just a huge bonus!  I snuck an entire large sweet potato into this recipe, and I promise you (nor your kiddos) will ever taste it.  Both the sweet potato & the coffee are my secret ingredients that lead to the most decadent chocolatey brownie you will ever taste.  The frosting is amazing too- it adds the perfect fudgy layer & amps up the chocolate factor even more.

Paleo Shrimp Scampi

I love incorporating seafood into my diet, but especially so during the summer time.  It's a great source of protein, vitamins, and body-beneficial types of Omega-3s.  Seafood also tastes amazing, too!

In this recipe, I pair the light, sweet flavors of large shrimp with zesty lemon & mouth-watering garlic to create the perfect bite.  The spices really make the dish in this one.  To turn this classic dish Paleo, I leave out the white wine completely, and swap the butter for avocado oil.  As long as it's seasoned right, you would never know that this dish was completely dairy free!  The avocado oil has a wonderfully smooth, buttery texture that creates the perfect light sauce, just like traditional butter would.  

Friday Five: Paleo Swaps for Dairy & Grains

One of my favorite things about eating Paleo is that it is so simple.  Stick to meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, & oils- and you are all set.  (See my Paleo Pyramid here for the basics.)  I do realize that simple can also mean "boring" to some.  We all see tempting recipes with old comfort foods that sound so great.. until you think of the future discomfort you will feel if you eat them!

Next time you're feeling tempted by an old "comfort food", try making a health-friendly alternative that you can feel good about, too.  There's tons of fun options out there to keep you feeling satisfied!  Here are five of my favorite swaps for dairy & grains.

Pasta


Swap it out for veggie noodles!  You can buy a snazzy vegetable spiralizer (see a fancy one here, or a more budget-friendly version here) for a spaghetti shape, or go the poor man's route like me- and use a vegetable peeler to make thicker ribbons.  Try using sweet potatoes, zucchini, or parsnips.  Also google "spaghetti squash"- it's baked in the oven then scraped with a fork to make something similar to angel hair pasta.  I love all of these options~ such a great way to get in extra vegetables while fulfilling those pasta cravings.  Top it with my Tomato Basil Meat Sauce & you've got a complete meal.

Butter




Avocado oil is a great alternative for butter in savory dishes.  It's great for sautéing vegetables, cooking seafood, and grilling meats while keeping that smooth buttery flavor.  When I'm baking or cooking dishes with a sweeter flavor profile, coconut oil is my go-to.  It's also great as a sweet potato topping with a little cinnamon!

Whole30 Eats: Pre-Cooked Meat

As much as I love to cook, I'm always on the lookout for quick & easy meals that I can whip up fast.  Meats always seem to require the most time & effort when it comes to preparing meals, so I love finding pre-cooked options that I can quickly grill or heat up when I'm in a pinch.

The meats I have to share with you today are some of my favorite finds.  They're perfect for any Paleo or clean eater, as they have super simple ingredient lists that are free of added junk.  Each of the products I want to share with you guys today are Paleo-friendly & 100% Whole30 compliant.

If you're unfamiliar with the Whole30 program, I highly recommend checking out their website (www.whole30.com).  Basically, it's a 30-day nutrition program where you eat super-strict Paleo.  No gluten, grains, dairy, soy, added sugars (of any kind), legumes, certain oils, etc.  The focus is on eating real, whole, nutrient-dense foods that your body needs.  It's a great way to jump start a healthy lifestyle, or to reboot your system.

I completed my first Whole30 a few months ago, and loved both the mental and physical results I felt.  I did, however, find grocery shopping to be a little tricky at first.  It's crazy how many little fillers and random ingredients are snuck into foods you would least expect to find them in.  After lots of time spent inspecting packages for non-Whole30 ingredients, I feel like I've got a pretty good grip on which foods might contain certain bad ingredients; and where to look for some good options without spending hours in the grocery store!

I thought I would help those of you who are on a Whole30 journey, or just trying to eat squeaky clean Paleo, by taking out the guess work & coming up with some lists of foods to look for.  Let me know if there are any other food categories you'd like to see (snacks, bars, etc.) & I would be happy to help!

Just a Tip:  When shopping for meats, look out for hidden sugars, starches, nitrites, MSG, & carrageenan.