Pizza Spaghetti Pie with Crunchy Fried Onions (W30 Friendly)

You may notice I haven't been posting that many recipes lately. That's because many of the recipes I've been cooking lately have been some of my favorites that I've already posted to the blog, like deconstructed tacos. Also, some of them are pretty much straight from another blogger's recipes. In that case, I usually post pictures to my facebook page: Hannah's Paleo Page for Friends. Recently I made Strawberry Rhubarb Sherbert from Dairy Free Ice Cream cookbook by the Spunky Coconut. That was delicious. In fact, I'll probably finish it off tonight. Even Andrew loved it. I also made Tortilla Espanola from Inspiralized recently with a few tweaks. I was too lazy to type up the modified recipe and also thought it was pretty darn close to the original. Andrew also loved that dish!

Anyway, in other news, I'm getting ready to leave for Camp Nerd Fitness in GA on Thursday. I'm really excited as I was never allowed to go to camp as a kid, but now I can go as an adult. They will have paleo food and all kinds of healthy activies and active events. I can't wait! So I had just a little bit of food prep to do for this week considering it's a short week for me. And when I come back, I start my Low Histamine Whole30 on Monday 9/22. So anything non-LHW30 I have to eat or give away before then. I'm enjoying tomatoes now while I still can, as I suspect I have an issue with tomatoes. :(

This recipe was modified from http://paleomg.com/almost-5-ingredient-pizza-spaghetti-pie/.


Ingredients:

  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • Fried onions (available in some Asian grocery stores, ingredients are onion and palm oil and they are nice and crunchy like onion straws)

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place spaghetti squash cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes or until the insides easily come out when scraped with a spoon. (Careful: hot!)
  3. Once squash is done cooking, remove threads and place in an 10 x 13 or large spherical casserole baking dish.
  4. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add italian sausage seasoning to ground beef. Mash together and break into small crumbles. Cook until no longer pink.
  5. Add tomato sauce, remaining herbs and salt and pepper. Mix well.
  6. Add sausage mixture to the dish and mix well with spaghetti squash threads.
  7. Lastly, dump whisked eggs over top of the casserole.
  8. Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the top of the mixture forms a slight crust that doesn’t give when you press on it in the middle of the dish and the eggs are cooked.
  9. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Top with fried onions right before serving.
 
Makes 5-6 servings.

LASIK Laser Vision Correction Surgery


Since I'm so far behind on blog posts, I won't waste time re-capping our last minute super crazy and exhausting trip to New Hampshire over Labor Day weekend. Let's just say we left at 10 pm Friday night, drove approximately 12 hours without sleeping, hiked with all 3 dogs all day through tough terrain in the heat Saturday, camped and barely slept at a shared site Saturday night, hiked through more difficult terrain and worse weather to Mount Washington on Sunday, then drove 12 hours home without sleeping Sunday night. Monday I pretty much slept all day until Andrew woke me up around 4:30 pm. I stayed up until about 8:30 or 9 pm. Here's his Trail Journal recap: http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=472520.

Also, by the time this posts, it will be less than 6 months until Andrew starts his Appalachian Trail through hike! March 10, 2015. He's very excited for the trip and I'm so happy that he is making his dream come true.

Anyway, let's back track from all that. Back it on up to Thursday, August 28. The day of my LASIK surgery at Whitten Laser Eye Institute in Charlotte Hall, MD.
Good bye glasses, glasses case, contact lenses for astigmatism in both eyes (with different prescriptions on both eyes), contact lens cases, and contact lens cleaning solution (surprisingly expensive stuff).

Hello sunglasses, artificial tears, two prescription eye drops and eye sleep shields. Just for one week. As of 9/5 I am cleared from everything except the artificial tears as needed over the next three months as my eyes finish healing. Everything came with the procedure except the "Systane" artificial tears which were about $25 at my local grocery store and the Rx eye drops which were $8 each.
 By the time of the surgery I had already had two previous appointments with Doctor Whitten, who by the way is the same doctor that did Tiger Woods' surgery and several other famous people's. I also knew two people personally who had their surgery done there. Even though my insurance didn't cover any of the procedure (I called) I didn't want to trust my eyes to an unknown doctor without personal recommendations. I paid the $3800 out of pocket from my saved pet sitting money, but they also have payment plans.  The first appointment is a free consultation to determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK and to check your prescription for the first time. You have an opportunity to ask questions to the doctor an other staff then.

The second appointment is prior to the surgery and they check your Rx again.This appointment is pretty quick. If they haven't already, they give you the prescriptions for eye drops to get filled. One you have to start using two days prior to the surgery. It continues after the surgery and is an anti-biotic. The other is Prednisoline which is for after the surgery. They take payment on that day. I also asked to see the procedure room. It made me feel better seeing where I would be the next day. At my initial consultation they asked me to take out my contacts and not wear them again before the surgery. Also a few days before there are other things you can't do like wear eye makeup. And the day of the surgery there are more restrictions like no perfume, hairspray, etc. I just stopped wearing those items two weeks prior to be sure.

I had my surgery scheduled for 7:30 am. You need a driver on the day of the surgery. I asked Andrew to take me. We got there around 7:20 and were out of there before 8:00 am. First, they called me back in an exam room and checked my prescription again. Then I went back in the waiting room for a few minutes. Then they called me into the surgery room. Andrew could watch the procedure on a TV screen through a window since I signed a release form for him to be able to do that. He wasn't particularly interested in seeing it, but we figured it would probably be his only chance to see the mechanics of LASIK. At this point, I had already opted to take a Valium from the staff, which is provided if you desire. I had never taken one before but I was pretty anxious and stressed so I figured it would help. If nothing else, maybe it would help me sleep after the surgery on the ride home. In the surgery room they give you a hair net to pull your hair back. Before the doctor comes in, they have you lay back on one of those chairs kind of like the ones they have at the dentist office. Then they flush your eyes with numbing drops. Tons of numbing drops. Which was a relief because I was so terrified it would be painful. I heard there was pressure during the surgery, which I assumed was the nice way of saying this will hurt a lot.

Then the doctor came in and talked with me and added more numbing drops. He taped one eye closed. He explained that I would feel some pressure and then things would be a little blurry, then clear again. The whole time I would be able to see. He used what appeared to be a clear plastic tool to hold open my eye, not at all like some scary device I imagined. Looking out, it looked like a clear plastic eye shaped cover. Not sure what it actually looked like to others. It felt like it was going right over top of my eye, sort of like a large contact but not pressed into the pupil area like a contact would be. Then the small laser machine was lowered. There are no restraints on your arms or head so I was pretty nervous. Also, it was extremely cold in the office, which they warn you about and so I wore sweatpants, winter socks and moccasins, and a sweatshirt. A zip up sweatshirt so I could remove it without messing with me eyes afterwards.

Anyway, the laser machine was lowered. I felt a slight pressure as I can only imagine the laser cut my eye open into a flap. But seriously, pressure is kind of a strong word for what I felt. It was more like someone was lightly touching your arm, but of course on your eye. Almost like the pressure of a light brush from someone' hand. Very very light pressure and absolutely no pain. Very quick, too. A matter of second to cut my eye open. Then the doctor lets me know I will be seeing lights going in a circle and feeling vibration. Just look at the lights. I looked at them, and they went in a circle. I smelled my own burning flesh from my eyes and knew the lights were cutting my eye to my new prescription. I just held my breath during the cutting and it only took a few seconds, maybe 30 if that. Absolutely no pain and I didn't even feel anything. I did hear the noise of the laser making a vibration sound but that's it. Then I could see a small white brush, almost like a nail polish brush, brushing off my eye. I didn't feel anything. Then I suppose the flap of my eye was placed back down and brushed again. Still no feeling. A few more numbing drops added to my eye, then it was taped closed. My thoughts were, really, that's it? What I actually said was "That was great!" (meaning no pain and not scary!) During the entire procedure Dr. Whitten talked me through it, explaining what I would see. The lasers also center on your pupil so if your eye moves they move with your eye.

The procedure repeated on my left eye which was equally pain free and equally quick. Then the doctor came around to the front and gave me a hand up. I could see! Everything was a little cloudy but it was very clear! I could read!

Then they took me into another room where Andrew was waiting. He said he could see my jaw clenching and unclenching on the monitor! They just show the head on the monitor, not the whole body. Bayla explained the recovery procedure and gave me two Tylenol PMs and water so that I could sleep when I got home. They consistently emphasized to sleep for 4-6 hours after the procedure as the eyes would be painful/uncomfortable afterwards while they healed. There were two numbing drops only to be used if you could not sleep immediately after the procedure, eye shields to tape onto your eyes for the first week to keep you from rubbing them while sleeping, artificial tears to keep them moist and sunglasses as they are sensitive in the sun. They had several restrictions for the following week including not to lift weights, get water/soap directly in your eyes, wear eye makeup, etc.

On the drive home, maybe about 10 minutes in to the 30 minute drive my eyes started tearing up and hurting. I had suspected that might happen so I kept them closed as Andrew drove me home. They were pretty uncomfortable but not completely unbearable with eyes closed. Also I had stayed up a little later than usual the night before reading so that I would be tired after the procedure. We got home around 8:30 or 8:45. We stopped to pick up my weekly CSA vegetable subscription. I had given Andrew the address and told him to use his discretion to decide what veggies to get me. I had the window rolled down while we were parked there and he came back and asked me a few times, "Do you like wax beans? Do you like eggplant?" It was sweet. I wanted to get Arby's, my favorite ever fast food after the surgery because the office was right next to an Arby's but unfortunately Arby's isn't open that early in the morning we found out. Although I did have him pick up Arby's for me on his way home from work that day.

Since he had planned to go into work at 11 am, he was able to spend some time relaxing at home. I was glad for that in case I needed anything, which I didn't. Although I did need help walking into the house as I kept my eyes closed. He led me to the bed, I put on my eye shields, tucked myself in and passed out. I woke up a few times over the next 6 hours due to pain/discomfort in my eyes, but I forced myself to go back to sleep to get through it. 6 hours later I got up and my eyes felt perfectly fine! The cloudiness was gone.

The next morning I went back for my checkup. I had asked my Mom to drive me just in case because sometimes I am a slow healer. They said I wouldn't need a driver but I asked her in advance anyway just to be safe. I also didn't take any pet sitting over Labor Day weekend and took off work Friday (the day after the surgery) in case I needed to rest. I was glad I did, because even though my eyes felt fine, I still rested during the day as I was healing. The follow up appointment was quick. They checked my vision, which was now 20/15 (better than 20/20) and examined my eyes. There is one small red spot and a few noticable "blood shot" veins, but not much. Otherwise they look the same. The veins were gone within a day or two and the red spot will go away as my eyes heal. They gave me a form to take to the MVA to have the vision restriction removed from my license.

I forgot to mention that the day prior to the surgery, Dr. Whitten advised me to look at lights around me at night before the surgery. He said if I had any globes of light or streaks that I would have that after the procedure, too, but he wanted me to know it was already there. I have both globes and streaks! Sure enough, they are still there after the procedure. Also, driving at night is slightly more strenous now. Either that, or I am just noticing it. It's always been a little difficult for me, but the more lights I see the more it seems to tire my eyes at night.

A week later, I had another followup appointment where they checked my prescription and eyes again. They said I did not need any restrictions, and just to continue using the artificial tears for the next three months. They said to come back in a year for a follow up!

So that's it. It was quick, painless (other than the recovery nap) and I'd highly recommend it. Honestly, I freaked myself out way too much. The procedure is nothing to be afraid of.

Tapioca Pudding (Dairy Free)

First off, this is my first post in over 2 weeks. To everyone who has continued reading my blog, thank you! So sorry for not posting in so long. I usually post at least 1-2 recipes per week.

On 8/28/14 I got LASIK. So the week leading up to LASIK I was very busy preparing everything so that I really wouldn't have anything to worry about after the surgery, in case the recovery took longer than expected. I'll have a post up soon about LASIK- it's phenomenal. But anyway, I cooked up several meals, organized/cleaned everything, and took care of all of my errands. That way, I could just rest after the surgery and do whatever I felt up for (watching TV/movies, reading, sleeping, etc.) Then, I felt well enough the day after that I decided to join Andrew for a weekend of backpacking in NH (post to come). I had already cleared my scheduled of pet sitting in case I wasn't able to drive or wasn't feeling up for it. Last week was my only week of no pet sitting in quite some time (although I had a decent amount over last weekend) so I was enjoying having some time to myself and reading and getting to bed early. Last week, according to my fitbit, I got an average of 8.5 hours of sleep a night! Anyway, things have slowed down a little in my schedule so I've finally had time to post again.

I used to absolutely love rice pudding and arroz con leche before going paleo. Even though some paleo peeps do enjoy white rice occasionally, rice does not agree with me at all. So my second favorite pudding becomes by favorite...tapioca pudding! Yum! This is a tasty dairy free version!

Recipe modified slightly from http://paleoleap.com/coconut-tapioca-pudding/


Ingredients

  • ½ cup small tapioca pearls;
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1/2 can of water (in empty coconut milk can)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 large egg yolks;
  • 1/4 cup honey or other sweetener of choice
 
Hint: The pudding will take on a distinct flavor of whatever sweetener you use. I used honey. Next time I'll probably use coconut palm sugar for a more caramel flavor. Also, I purchased my tiny tapioca pearls at one of our local Asian grocery stores. Remember, as the tapioca cook they will absorb liquid and get bigger, so get the smallest tapioca you can find.

Preparation

  1. In a large saucepan placed over a medium heat, combine the tapioca, 1 can of coconut milk, the water and vanilla.
  2. Bring to a simmer over a moderate heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until the tapioca is translucent and tender (about 20 minutes). Whisk in the remaining coconut milk.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Add honey or sweetener to coconut mixture and stir. Pour in about ½ cup of the hot coconut mixture to the bowl with egg yolks very slowly while continuing to whisk the entire time. Make sure to take your time with this step, otherwise you’ll end up with scrambled eggs! Then pour the egg/coconut mixture back into the saucepan, stirring constantly, and keep stirring for about 5 minutes.
  4. Refrigerate the pudding until solid, and serve chilled.

Makes about 4 generous servings.

Buttery Scallops with Herbs (21DSD, W30, AIP Friendly)

 
 
These scallops turned out sooo tasty! But then again, it's really hard to go wrong with scallops. I am glad they turned out good because I had a bit of sticker shock when I got them at the grocery store. First time I've ever cooked scallops by themselves. I served mine with a side of baked winter squash topped with Trader Joe's Vodka Sauce (primal).

Ingredients:
2 pounds of scallops
4 tablespoons butter (use ghee for W30/21DSD and coconut oil for AIP)
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon dried chives
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
sprinkle of sea salt

1. Heat a large skillet on medium low.
2. Add cooking oil of choice.
3. Add scallops.
4. Add seasonings. Stir.
5. Cook for about 20 minutes or until scallops are white or slightly golden in color and tender.

Serves 2-3.

Tomato Frittata (W30, 21DSD Friendly)

 

This recipe was inspired by one I saw from Civilized Caveman's blog: http://civilizedcavemancooking.com/breakfast/tomato-frittatas/. I bet it would be so good with bacon in it like his recipe! Mine is a tad simpler since I didn't have any bacon on hand but I had plenty of eggs and tomatoes. I had mine for breakfast this week with some baked winter squash.

Ingredients:
6 tomatoes, preferrably large ones
approximately 6 eggs
sea salt- omit if using a seasoning blend with salt in it
1 heaping teaspoon of your favorite seasoning blend, I used Ms. Dash's Salt Free All Purpose

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Rinse and dry tomatoes. Carefully cut the tops off, so that the tomatoes have a level top.
3. Using a spoon, carefully remove the inner parts of the tomato including seeds.
4. In a mixing bowl, add the eggs and seasoning. Scramble with a fork.
5. Put the tomatoes with their new flat side up in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Carefully pour egg mixture into each tomato, stopping just shy of the top to prevent overflow.
6. Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through.

Serves 3-6.

Pumpkin Chai Smoothie


This recipe was inspired by one from PaleOMG. I love Chai tea lattes and even though I almost never have caffeine any more, I love the flavor of all the chai spices. I dug through my tea bin (I have waaaaay too many herbal teas) and sure enough I had some chai tea bags! Yum! Great fall flavors and it wasn't weird drinking the tea herbs.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 can plain pumpkin (about 1/2 cup or so)
1 chai tea bag
1/2 banana (frozen)- optional
1 scoop vanilla protein powder- I am using Amate Life protein powder but you can also use this one
6-10 ice cubes

1. Open chai tea bag and add all spices inside to the blender. Toss bag.
2. Add all other ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.

Serves 1.

Healthy Imitation "Frosty"

This is a very tasty snack that rivals what I can remember of the Frosty! Yum!

Ingredients:
3/4 cup coconut milk (or other milk substitute)
about 10-15 ice cubes
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I am using one from Amate Life that I won from a weight loss competition, but this is a paleo friendly one)
2 TB unsweetened carob powder
1/4 banana
 
1. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
 
Serves 1.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie




I won a 10 week weight loss competition with my local zumba class. Part of the prize was the Amate Life weight loss supplements, including their vanilla protein powder. It is very tasty. You could also subsitute with Vanilla Paleo Protein Powder.

Ingredients:
1/4 can plain pumpkin puree- approximately 1/2 cup
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 banana (frozen, if possible)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
a scant tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
6-10 ice cubes

1. Add all ingredients to blender.
2. Process until smooth.

Serves 1.



Easy Gazpacho Soup (W30, 21DSD Friendly)

 

 
This is a tasty summer soup traditonally from Spain that is served cold. I never had the opportunity to try it while in Spain but I made the recipe this summer with fresh veggies from my CSA. Yum!

Ingredients:
6 large tomatoes
1 bell pepper or spicy pepper if preferred
1 cucumber
1 onion
6 cloves garlic
2 sprigs parsley or pinch of dried parsley (I used dried basil and a sprig of fresh cilantro as I didn't have any parsley at Andrew's house)
2 lemons
drizzle of olive oil (optional)
salt & pepper
1 cup water

1. Remove top of tomato. Add tomatoes to food processor and process until chunky.
2. Remove ends of cucumber and cut into large chunks. Peel if desired. Add to food processor.
3. Remove outer peel and top and bottom of onion. Cut into large chunks. Add to food processor.
4. Peel garlic and add to food processor.
5. Juice lemons and add juice to food processor. Add herbs if desired. Add olive oil, salt, pepper and water.
6. Process until chunky. Serve cold.

Makes 6+ servings.

TN Vacation for Chris & Manu's Wedding

We went on vacation to Tennessee last week. We left on Wednesday 6/6 and came back Sunday 6/10. On Wednesday we spent most of the day driving down there. It took us about 10 hours including our gas/bathroom stops and a stop at Panera for lunch. At Panera I got a delicious Cobb salad with chicken, bacon, avocado and cheese.That evening we went over to Andrew's brother's house (the one that was getting married) and had dinner with him, his fiancee Manu and her family who was visiting from Brazil. It was very nice meeting them and her mom had cooked a delicious Brazilian meal for us. After that, we went for my first ever trip to Trader Joe's to stock up on groceries. We got some good stuff including their sweet apple sausage, dairy free coconut milk "ice cream" and some dried fruits.
My first time at Trader Joe's


At Candlewood
Thursday morning we got up early and went for a jog at a nearby park (Springbrook Park). It was very pretty. Then we played on the playground there. When we got back to the hotel we went for a swim in the pool. We stayed at Candlewood Inn & Suites by the Alcoa airport the first two nights and it was very nice. That afternoon we went to the Knoxville zoo which was fun and then to the Botanical Gardens which were a huge let down. After that we went to pick up Andrew's tuxedo rental with his brother and half brother. We went to where his Dad was staying for dinner and he had a cook out for us and the rest of the family including hot dogs and chips. His Dad was staying at the wedding venue which is a cute farm and barn with several houses that you can rent. We stayed and talked with family for a while then went back to the hotel and went to bed.
At cookout (our legs are in a hot tub although you can't see that)
Friday morning we used the gym at the hotel then checked out. Andrew dropped me off with Manu (the bride to be), Andrew's sister in law Kari and the bride's Mom. We went to get our nails done at a fancy spa. Manu's friend and bridesmaid met us there. I got my first ever pedicure and my nails done as well as some spa treatments on my feet. I got my nails a sparkly red with an accent nail of sparkly silver on my ring finger nails. I got hearts on all my fingers and I got hearts on my big toes. Then we walked over to a cafe called Newk's for lunch where I had a Southern Salad which was lettuce, tomatoes and chicken salad. After lunch we picked up some beverages for the reception at CostCo. Then Andrew picked me up and we checked in to our bed and breakfast. After that went to the rehearsal. Andrew was in the wedding party. After the rehersal there was a rehearsal dinner where his Dad was staying. There was some very good food including Brazilian stew his Dad made, salad and sausage as well as appetizers of veggies and fruit. We left there and went to bed.

Rehearsal

Saturday morning we had breakfast at our B&B then we used their kayaks and went with his uncle kayaking nearby. It was very pretty. I was also impressed that the hosts of the B&B were so accomodating to my paleo diet and even made me all kinds of paleo treats. We did that for about two hours then came back to the B & B, had a quick lunch (lettuce, lunch meat and TJ's bacon cheddar wraps) and shower, and headed to the wedding. We got there about 3:00 for a 6:00 wedding. I got ready with the bride and bridesmaids. We were all doing our hair and makeup. Then they did some wedding photos before the wedding and I took pictures, too. The wedding was beautiful and very nice. It ended around 9:30 but we stayed until about 10:30 or 11:00. We danced a lot and enjoyed some BBQ and cake there.
 
Kayaking

 
 
Bride & Groom

Wedding Party
 
Andrew's family: Half brother Luke, Mom Lisa, Chris the Groom, Their Dad Don, Older Brother Donnie and Middle Brother Andrew
Sunday we checked out of the B&B early and headed home. It took us about 9 hours to get home with stops although we only stopped for food and gas. We mostly ate junk on the way home although our hosts sent us on our way with a delicious breakfast. We picked up the dogs from boarding before they closed at 5 pm and then we came home, played with the dogs and read a little. We walked the dogs and I went home early to unpack all my stuff.
On the drive home