Paleo recipes: Fast enough for busy moms

I've blogged a few times about my husband and I switching to a Paleo diet.  It's more a way of life than a diet diet.   For me, the thing about a change like this is it takes time for me to feel like I'm back in my groove.

To be honest, I nearly gave it up and quit about a week in because I just couldn't figure out what to eat. I literally wandered around the kitchen thinking "there's nothing I can just grab."  No longer can I just grab an eggo waffle or a yogurt for breakfast while I'm putting breakfast on the table for the kids, getting lunches ready, prepping for school and preschool, tripping over toys, cleaning up spilled milk, emptying the dishwasher AND trying to think of what to cook for that night's dinner.  My hubs is so dedicated, he wrote up three lists of fast meals and snacks for me and taped them to the inside our pantry door.  (Love him!)

Now that I've gotten over the new diet hump, I'm on a roll.  I've had to adapt and come up with new meals - ones that are fast enough for me, a busy SAHM of a two and a four year old.  I'm also often in need of paleo meals on-the-go for times when we're at the pool or packing a picnic lunch for the park.

I've come up with a few paleo meal ideas I thought I'd share with other busy moms so there's no excuse to get off track because "there's no Paleo-friend fast foods."

Fast Paleo Breakfast Ideas: 
Banana Smash: Mash up a banana, mix it with a heaping scoop of almond butter, pour some unsweetend coconut flakes over it and mash it all together.

Fruit smoothies:  You know when strawberries start to get a little "ehhh?"  Right when that happens I throw them in a baggie and freeze them and use them for smoothies.  Fruit smoothies are one of my - and my kids' favorite paleo breakfasts.   Mix frozen strawberries (or fresh and some ice), blueberries, a banana and some coconut milk in a blender!  Nothing like drinking your fruit...and these are even kid approved!

Another one of my favorites is an easy take on a tropical smoothie.  Add ice to the blender, pour in coconut milk (enough to cover about half of the ice), add fresh or canned pineapple and a whole banana. 

Hardboiled eggs:  At least once a week I'll hardboil a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for when I need a quick paleo snack.  These are great for when I don't have time to make scrambled eggs, fried eggs, or an omelet.

Fast Paleo Lunches:

BLT Club Lettuce wraps:  Using bibb (or Boston) lettuce as the "wrap", roll up a piece of lunchmeat turkey, add a slice of bacon, some tomato and avocado slices and hard boiled egg. Roll up and eat like a wrap.
Tomato & Cucumber Salad with Prosciutto: Cut a tomato and cucumber into large chunks.  Loosely rip 2-3 pieces of prosciutto on top and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Tuna in a Tomato:  Mix half a can of tuna fish with half an avocado add salt and pepper to taste.   Slice a whole tomato into 8 equal wedges without cutting completely through.  Put the tuna mixture on top of the tomato and drizzle with balsamic.

Smoothies: In addition to the above smoothie recipes, my go-to lunch smoothie always an almond butter banana smoothie because it's filling enough to last me 'til dinner.   Add ice to the blender, cover ice partially with almond milk.  Add a heaping spoonful of almond butter and one banana.  Blend and enjoy.

Leftovers from the night before (unless, your husband is like mine, and steals them all for work!)

Fast Paleo Dinner Ideas:

Chicken Lettuce Tacos: Throw four or five whole chicken breasts (they can be frozen or thaw) into a crockpot with a small jar of salsa and a pack of taco seasoning.   Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.  Shred the chicken with a fork about an hour before the cooking is done.  Stir and let it continue cooking in the crockpot.  Use bibb lettuce or romaine with the spine cut out to make tacos.  Top the chicken with guacamole (smashed avocado, lime juice, salt and pepper)
Old Bay Steamed Shrimp: Water+Vinegar+Old Bay+Shrimp=1 delicious paleo dinner.  Serve with a side of sweet potato fries and you're set in no time.


Delaware Beaches: 10 Kid Friendly Activities You Haven't Done...But Should!

I have been coming to the DE beaches my entire life.  As a kid, we went to my grandparents' beach house in Lewes...and now with a 2 and 4 year old, myself, we return nearly every weekend to my in-law's beach house.  We take daily bike rides (have you tried the Breakwater Trail or the bike path around the Villages of Five Points?), hit up the pool, and of course truck a cartful of stuff to the beach. 

Despite returning every one of my 32 years, I still manage to find new kids activities at the Delaware beaches each time I return.  When we come down for week long stretches, it's nice to find beach and boardwalk-alternatives, especially for the really hot, rainy, or really crowded weekend days.

Funland at the Rehoboth Boardwalk, Jungle Jim's and the other water parks, outlet shopping, and the beach are the obvious kid-friendly activities.  But aside from the biggies, there are some real hidden gems (many of them free).  Lucky you - now I'm letting you in on my little secret so you and your kids can get even more out of the DE beaches. Free events are indicated with an "*"


6 Paleo recipes (and snacks) even my kids will eat

About two weeks ago my husband and I started doing the Paleo Diet.  The "caveman diet" as it's often referred, cuts out grains, legumes, dairy products, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils and focuses on veggies, fruits, fish, proteins, seeds and nuts.

I'm not a big dieter, but my husband has tried various things before - including being a vegetarian.  If there's one thing I've learned from his diet fads, it's that it's a major PIA to cook for a family when one person is on a diet.  When the Mr. was doing no meat I felt like I was cooking 4 different meals....something for him, a version for me and something that would look and taste yummy enough for a picky 2 and 4 year old to eat.

That's part of the reason why this time I'm also doing the same diet.  Obviously, my kids are not on a diet (so don't even go there) - they're eating plenty of bread and dairy (and fruit snacks) - but I don't consider it a bad thing for me to limit their carbs and processed foods during the one meal where we all sit down to eat - dinner. 

I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with all of us that we've actually managed to eat the same thing for more than one night...gasp it's been like three!  Even before the diet, it was a rarity that we'd all eat the same thing - usually there was a hotdog, a chicken nugget or a grilled cheese somewhere on the menu.  To my pleasant surprise, it didn't take too much any convincing to get my kids to eat coconut chicken and sweet potatoes.  They also enjoyed the spiced chicken with pineapple and peach puree, and couldn't get enough chicken with rosemary and shallots.   BFD (Breakfast for Dinner) is big in my house so there's an easy one because my whole gang is big fans of eggs and bacon and a side of fruit or sweet potato hash browns.  The kids even ate the paleo banana pancakes with agave nectar (we subbed that out for syrup more than a year ago).   Salsa chicken  and/or tacos (jar of salsa + taco seasoning + chicken breasts or ground meat + 8 hours in the crockpot) are another big one...we just eat the filling or put it on a lettuce wrap or over a salad instead of putting it on a taco shell or tortilla. 

One of the best tricks I've found is getting the kids involved in the cooking process.  I have found that they get way more excited to eat something when they've actually had their hands in there cracking the eggs or mixing something.

And I've also found my little guys sneaking my paleo snacks....apple slices with almond butter, grapes, paleo crunch (they really like the apple pie flavor), dried apricots, dates, lara bars, and raisins seem to be popular.  Of course, the most popular with the kiddos was the paleo brownies.

If you plan to do Paleo, you will need to sub out some of your staple pantry items including flour and oil.  Almond and coconut flour are pretty big, as is unsweetened coconut.  If you have a sweet tooth like me, be sure to pick up some cocoa powder, too. 

I've put together a Paleo staples shopping list on Amazon to make it easy for you to get started if you're interested in trying out the diet or at least limiting carbs and processed sugars.


2-in-1 Girls NO SLIP Beach Towel/Bathing Suit Cover up

Okay it's taken me 5 summers but I have finally found the solution to keeping my almost 5 year old daughter's towel on her.  Long gone are the days of her dragging it on the ground of the pool deck or the beach.  Gone are the days of her complaining that it won't stay around her because it keeps coming untucked.  And gone are the days of me stuffing piles of beach towels in the beach and/or pool bag.

I have discovered there truly is a reason they call necessity the mother of invention....I have come up with a way to make a full size beach towel into a bathing suit cover up - pretty much guaranteeing it won't fall off or drag on the ground.  Are you ready for this? Okay, here goes the answer to all your summerly problems...

The 2-in-1 Girls NO Slip Beach Towel/Bathing Suit Cover Up 

It can be used as a full size beach towel...

...then when you're ready to head home, or just need to warm up slip it on like a jacket....

then wrap the long end around the front, putting the left arm through the third arm hole...

There's a tie in the back to tie bow to secure it in place (this picture shows the button version which I later changed because the bow is more easily adjustable for different sizes.)

 If it's too long in the back, just pull the towel up under the bow and it will keep it off the ground.

These babies have been in the works for months now and I'm happy to say I have finally figured out the ideal design!

Want one for your little girl? No problem, they're currently on sale in my Etsy shop "Cuteness Cubed." Just send me a note through Etsy if you don't see what you're looking for and I'd be happy to take orders. 


Removing nail polish from carpet and clothing with bug spray - Mom APPROVED!

I was at the point this morning when I was this close to throwing my hands up and giving one - or possibly - both of my kids back.  I kid...I kid (well, kinda, sorta, maybe).   I should have known something was seriously wrong when my 4 year old daughter was suspiciously quiet in her room for a good 10 minutes.  I didn't think much of it until she asked if I wanted my nails painted.  We were trying to get out the door so I said "no...but did you paint yours because it smells like nail polish." She innocently said "No, but I spilled a little and I cleaned it up." I turned around to little drips of what was now smeared blue nail polish all over the hardwood floor in her room - oh and a half-used roll of toilet paper with the other half crumbled up in little wads with some blue here and there.

Between my gritted teeth I thanked her for trying to clean up the mess she made and told her this kinda thing was better to just let mommy handle.  So as I'm using my blunt finger nails to try to scrape the now-dried nail polish off the hardwood, I turn around to see my 2 year old son basically pouring the entire rest of the bottle all over my daughters comforter and area rug.  This is the point when I'm convinced #3 is NO.WHERE.in.my.future. EVER.

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