No-Bake Berry Tarts | Paleo, Vegan

Summer time is finally rolling around, even though we've still had lots of spring showers here in the Bay Area!  We've had some chilly days, but each time the summer sun decides to shine, I find all the inspiration I need to get my BBQ/grillin' hat on.  Because who doesn't love a paper plate of perfectly grilled meat with some cool, refreshing sides?  And once you've got your ultimate summer plate stacked up just right, there has to be a sweet treat to finish it off - am I right?

My mission was to come up with a cool, creamy treat - perfect for topping off those summer nights - that doesn't require heating up any household appliances.  Because you know that heating up an oven is not always the most welcome idea when the house is already warm!

Whole30 Breakfast Bowls with Spicy Cream Sauce

I think most of us have realized by now, that meal prepping is "a thing" - and everyone & their mom seems to be doing it!  What I don't think all realize, though, is that it doesn't have to be an all-day Sunday event that involves mountains of plastic containers that barely fit in the fridge, with the same-ol' boring foods packed in.

Preparing your meals ahead of time can be done any day throughout the week, and it doesn't have to be every single meal for the day - so don't be overwhelmed!  Start small with the meal that's most difficult for you to make in the moment, due to time constraints, schedule, or any other variable.  For us, that's breakfast.  

Because when you wake up in a rush to get out the door and start your day, it can be tough to fit in time to cook.  So rather than grabbing a bar, heading for the nearest Starbucks (although I do love it...), or skipping breakfast altogether:  prep this tricky meal ahead of time!  Even if it's just for a few days out, you will absolutely thank yourself later.

Cookie Dough Fudge Bars | Paleo

"School's out for the summer...."  "School's out...."  okay, that's all I know from that song.  But it's fitting, and ringing through my mind, because guess what?  School is out.  You guessed it - for the summer!

I just finished my first school year with a new district (I'm a speech therapist by day) and am so excited!  The year was filled with challenges and so much learning as I went, but it was a really good year.  I am so thankful for a great job working with kids that make me laugh every day.  And another big take away?  High schoolers aren't as scary as they look or seem.  They're actually so fun to work with, and I can't wait to jump back in for round 2 in August!

Asian Lettuce Wrap Filling | Paleo, Whole30

I may be alone in this, but... eating things with my hands (unless those things are fries) seriously stresses me out.  I'm talking sandwiches, tacos, wraps, etc.  Anyone else?

Fillings dripping out, taking a bite & watching stuff fall out the other end (not to mention just having to put my hands all over my food)?  No.  Way too many variables when all I want is to chow down on some delicious eats when I'm hungry and just want to get the food in my belly.

Everything Aioli | Paleo, Whole30

The secret to avoiding food boredom when eating paleo or on a Whole30?  Hands down:  sauces, dips, spreads, condiments... you get the gist.  Anything that turns a basic roasted veggie or grilled protein into something delicious that you will crave!

I use each with moderation, of course, but still find that even the lightest drizzle of a flavorful sauce can add SO much "oomph" to any simple meal.  

Balsamic Roasted Rainbow Carrots | Paleo, Whole30

Like many, my motivation for things comes and goes over time:  exercise, eating squeaky clean, waking up early, drinking plenty of water.  They're all things I wish were second nature & just happened.  Because if they did, life would be so easy, right?  The stars would align, and I would walk around feeling perfectly fit, rested, and hydrated all the time.

But as I'm sure y'all know there's this thing called life.  And it's unpredictable.  You've got to roll with whatever it throws at you - good times, bad times, super busy times, late nights at work and early morning meetings... and what goes to the wayside?  Probably your extra 16 oz of water intake, or those 2 more hours of sleep your body really needs.  For me?  It always (unfortunately) seems to be my exercise routine, or some type of meal prep that should get done.  

Sun Basket Meal Delivery Review

3 Free Meals - Sun Basket

If you're anything like me, you've been bombarded with meal delivery talk lately.  They seem to be everywhere:  commercials on TV, friends posting their discount links on Facebook...  Have you gotten one of the coupon flyers in the mail, too?  Where they come with a gift card glued on that you feel wrong throwing away?  I've stuck at least a few of those in a kitchen drawer, telling myself I'd eventually check it out or pass on to a friend...

And if you're really like me (as of about a month ago), you still haven't tried out any of the services.  Because what's the big deal anyway?  I kept wondering how good of a deal it was, whether or not the food would spoil as it sat on our porch waiting for us to get home from work, and why I would pay to get low-quality meats and produce that probably wouldn't lend themselves to a grain & dairy free meal anyways.  The Paleo struggle, right?

3 Free Meals - Sun Basket

Breakfast Meatloaf Muffins with Sausage Gravy | PALEO, Whole30

If you haven't noticed yet, I almost always steer clear of muffin tins.  LOVE that muffin shape & convenience for grab & go meals, but HATE the thought of cleaning the tin.  

Or spending so much time baking a yummy dish that smells delicious & I can't wait to eat... then watching half of each muffin stick to the bottom of the tin as I try to remove them.  Seriously, nightmare material.

Chunky Monkey Chocolate Pudding | PALEO

"Chunky Monkey"...  What is it about that phrase that immediately gets my mouth watering?  Must be all the delicious memories of that rich & decadent flavor combo of banana - fudge - walnut.  

And now I'm wondering, was it Ben & Jerry's famous ice cream flavor that started the chunky monkey craze?  And everyone else jumped on board with loads of cookies, shakes, and brownies?  Or vice versa?  Don't know, and honestly doesn't matter - cuz this is one bandwagon that I have no shame in jumping on!

Slow Cooker Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya | Paleo, Whole30

Ever since I made a giant batch of Cajun Seasoning Blend for my "Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta", I've been on a major kick with that flavor profile.  I just love the savory-spicy kick that even a pinch of Cajun spice adds to any dish.  Cajun scrambled eggs?  Yum.  Cajun chicken soup?  Delicious.  Cajun Slow Cooker Jambalaya?  Perfect.

No-Bake Almond Butter Apple Pie Snack Bars | Paleo, Whole30

One of my all-time favorite flavor combos is apples and cinnamon.  Add almond butter and a dash of sea salt to that, and magic happens:  it tastes like apple pie... I promise.  

So you could easily mix up a snack bowl of apple sauce, almond butter, and chopped apples with the cinnamon-sea salt sprinkling over top and get that super yummy flavor...  But there's something about these no-bake bars that feels so much more satisfying.

Sheet Pan Alfredo Chicken & Broccoli | Paleo, Whole30

With Spring Break over and our normal work-week routine back in full swing - I've had simple, one dish meals on my mind.  And with a busy schedule PLUS being on a Whole30?  I was in serious need of some simple meals I could make on-the-fly without making endless trips to the grocery store (which is sometimes the way it goes when Whole30ing... am I right?)

One of my favorite compliant dishes here on my blog is my Paleo Chicken Alfredo "Pasta".  And while I believe every minute of cooking that spaghetti squash, grilling the chicken, and blending then simmering the sauce is absolutely worth the end result... I'm going to be honest:  I don't always have that many minutes to spend on dinner, especially during the work week.

Frosted Carrot Cake Cookie Bars | PALEO

For as long as I can remember, my mom's dessert of choice has been carrot cake.  Maybe because it's sweet and nutty - just like her!  Haha, totally kidding Mom! (about the nutty part

My mom is actually my best friend, and it's probably for that reason that carrot cake has become one of my very favorites over the years, too.  I guess because I wouldn't mind being just like my mom, even if it's just sharing some favorites!

Chunky Vegetable Superfood Stew | Paleo, Whole30

After a trip to Disneyland that was filled with mostly good food choices, then sprinkled with kettle corn, ice cream, cocktails, and a corn dog ~ your girl was left craving vegetables something fierce.

Chocolate Almond Buttercream Cups | PALEO

You know what makes almost everything better?  Remembering that you have a sweet, chocolatey treat waiting for you in the freezer.  And when that sweet treat tastes like your favorite chocolate candy cup from childhood, but doesn't hurt your stomach & make you feel bad about yourself?  Hey, even better!

Banana Nut Breakfast Bars | PALEO

I have been loving bars lately, because they're just so easy.  Easy to make, bake, and grab to eat.  

And when you're using Paleo ingredients, that "bar" texture is an easy one to re-create.  Things like creamy almond butter, fluffy almond flour, and smooth bananas just seem to lend themselves perfectly to a fudgy bar consistency.

Whole30 Guide to Coffee

After doing my initial research on the Whole30, and learning about all the things I could not enjoy, I had one question I was almost scared to ask:  What about my coffee?

Thankfully the answer to coffee on Whole30 is YES, but I was left with just one more question that was equally as scary:  *gulp*  Will I have to drink it black?

While I can stomach a cup of black coffee, I certainly don't enjoy it (just not that girl).  So when I realized that black coffee was NOT a must, I got to work:  figuring out my favorite ways to make my coffee delicious, yet 100% compliant.

Skillet Chicken with Sun Dried Tomato "Cream" Sauce

I have seen a few different versions of a skillet seared-then-baked chicken with sun dried tomatoes floating around on Pinterest & Instagram (like this one from "Diethood" and this one from "Cafe Delites").  All have looked SO drool-worthy, I couldn't wait to give it a try with my own spin!

Berry Coconut Scones | PALEO

I went through plenty of dieting highs and lows when I was in high school (and beyond) - where I would bounce back and forth from "treating myself" to restricting everything I ate.  Anyone else?

Butternut Squash Oven "Fries"

First things first, let's throw a few things out there:  Potatoes get crispy in the oven.  Squash does not.  I went on a mission to make this happen-- crispiness, that is.  And I pulled out all the stops to get my squash ACAP (as crispy as possible)!

Simple Seared Scallops

A light, tender protein that cooks in 5 minutes or less?!  It may sound too good to be true, but these scallops are the real deal!

I love how they taste so light & summery over a giant fresh salad- yet can fill you right up on a chilly night, served over creamy Butternut Squash Cauliflower Risotto or with spaghetti squash in my Creamy Lemon Garlic "Pasta" with Scallops.

Scallops are a tricky protein- they're easy to overcook.  The best way to foolproof, perfectly seared scallops every time?  Keep it simple.  

Cake Batter Freezer Fudge | PALEO

I've had a "cake batter" flavor combo on my mind for some time now, with a list of recipes I could try it out on.  Then I remembered my Cinnamon Roll Freezer Fudge, and how I've been meaning to come up with a new flavor to share.  So, I spent a few minutes in the kitchen, put the two thoughts together, and.... IT WORKED!

Apple Spice Sausage Patties

I love me some eggs for breakfast, but I'm not gonna lie~ they do occasionally get redundant.  And I'm left in search of something different to start my morning:  like these sausage patties!

Paleo Pizza Bread

If you couldn't tell, I'm a pizza fan.  I make that fit with my lifestyle (with just the occasional slip) by making a fafillion variations of pizza-inspired Paleo stuff- some here on my blog:

Butternut Squash Cauliflower "Risotto"

When developing new recipes, I love to go through my own recipe index and take a look at which categories are sort of... lacking.  This time around, I noticed that while I seem to have lots & lots of healthy breakfasts and main dishes, I could use a little help on my "sides".  Enter this Cauliflower "Risotto"!

One Pan Maple Butter Chicken & Vegetables

There's something really satisfying about cooking an entire dinner with one dish, isn't there?  Even if it takes twice as long with a ton of prep- it just feels easier somehow.  

Luckily, this dish is not only a one-pan-wonder, but it also cooks in 30 minutes, and takes only about 10 minutes to prep!

Green Eggs & Ham Breakfast Bake

While I don't have kids of my own at this stage in life, I do spend my days surrounded by them.  I work in the fields of pediatrics & education, and get my fair share of kid shenanigans from kids ages 3 to 22.

That, combined with the fact that I'm basically a giant 5 year old on the inside, leaves me in a constant state of awareness when it comes to all of the important current events:  like Dr. Seuss' birthday and "Read Across America Day" on March 2nd!

Sweet Potato Cake with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting

Last Sunday, I went into the kitchen with no plans on what I was creating.  I just pulled out what sounded good, tweaked as I went, and scribbled it all down on a pad of paper we keep in the kitchen drawer.  I didn't wash a single dish as I went, and I got cinnamon & almond flour all over the counters.

Savory Sweet Potato Biscuits

One of my favorite guilty pleasures (that is not even remotely Paleo friendly in any way) would have to be a Starbucks breakfast sandwich.  I'm not sure if this is because I associate Starbucks treats with time spent with my BFF (aka Mom) or if it's because they're just salty, cheesy, savory and delicious.  Probably a combo of both.  

Anyway, you guys know I'm all about creating a Paleo answer to my favorite guilty treats- so here's one to help you out with that breakfast sandwich fix.

Creamy Salsa Verde Chicken

I've been really into cashews again lately for making basically ANY dish turn creamy & delicious.  

They're the best for dairy-free swaps like cheesecakes & creamy sauces.  But, I was craving something a little different- something even more savory.  And the thought of that cheesy cashew creaminess paired with somethin' spicy... just sounded too good!

Paleo Lemon Poppyseed Cookies

Anyone else a once-fan (or current... no judgement) of those giant poppyseed muffins at Costco?  There was a time in my childhood where those big guys were a breakfast staple.  

While the days of Costco baked goods may be long gone in our house, I still LOVE that "poppyseed muffin" flavor.  So, I decided to recreate them Paleo-style!

Buffalo Chicken Breakfast Skillet

During one of my recent rounds of Whole30, I picked up the compliant variety pack of sauces from Tessemae's.  I figured I'd give them each a shot in different recipes and see which were my favorites-- the ones worth repurchasing.  Turns out they were basically ALL a hit, but this buffalo sauce....  TOO GOOD.

BBQ Pineapple Pork Chili

Winter weather, an ever-hungry boyfriend, and the Super Bowl:  three reasons I felt the timing was just right for another chili recipe!

This one is just as easy & just as Paleo as my good ol' "All American Crockpot Chili", but brings a little "I'm ready for summer time" flair with sweet pineapple cooked in to that savory base.

In fact, this one is Whole30 compliant as written in the recipe-  no need for changes!

Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Blondie Bars (Paleo)

Some days I have a lot on my mind & an endless to-do list, and a "food is fuel" mentality.  I prep breakfast & lunch, make a simple, nutritious dinner, and do minimal snacking.  I drink a lot of water & take all of my supplements.  

Other days, I think about food.  All.  Day.  Long.  

"How long ago was breakfast?  It feels like hours ago, I'm starving."  
"Is 10:30 too early to eat my packed lunch?"
"Okay, I'm all out of food.  Gotta go home now."
"This whole bag of plantain chips is basically just one serving, right?"  etc., etc.

Simple Egg Soufflé | Paleo, Whole30

Most mornings, I like my breakfast prepped, easy, and in my stomach in 10 minutes or less (closer to 5 minutes, actually).  Other mornings, I'll spend an hour whisking & mixing & waiting for puffed up golden brown perfection...  Anyone else?

Fruit & Nut Bites: Apricot Macadamia

Apricots grow really well in my home town, which means they're always easy to find.  That also means I'm very picky about them!

I like more of a sweet/tart-flavored apricot (Blenheim is my favorite), while I know some prefer the all-sweet variety.  Whichever kind floats your boat, you've got to try them like this.  Combined with roasted, salted macadamias, sweet coconut, and creamy coconut oil, they taste like little bites of sunshine.  

Creamy Cajun Chicken "Pasta" | Whole30

Some of my favorite Sundays are for dreaming up new recipes, binge-watching Pretty Little Liars educational shows on Netflix, and getting out of my pj's around noon to get in some sort of movement for the day.

Luckily, my TV is close is enough to my kitchen- and I was able to keep up with my show while turning this "Creamy Cajun Chicken" deliciousness into a reality!