Sunday, March 24, 2013

Soooooo Close!

It's the end of Day 20, and I am definitely looking forward to the end of tomorrow! I fully intend to spend the next week indulging (especially in homemade, honey-sweetened, coconut milk coffee creamer), but, like I've said before, then I'll get back to a no-sugar lifestyle. This will be my first indulgence, from Juli (who is AWESOME - I want to be as cool as her!) of

No Bake Caramel Cheesecake Bars (Minus Cheese)

(Juli's picture, not mine)

Prep time: 
Total time: 

For the crust
For the filling
  • 1.5 cups roasted, unsalted cashews
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup raw honey
  • 2-3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2-4 tablespoon canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the caramel
  • 12-14 medjool dates, pitted and soaked in water for an hour
  • 5-6 tablespoons canned coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • salt to top it all off with

  1. Place dates in a bowl of water to soak.
  2. Let’s first make the crust!! Add walnuts to your food processor and blend until you get a meal, almost a walnut butter. Then add the rest of your crust ingredients and blend until well combined.
  3. Add crust mixture to an 8×8 glass baking dish lined with saran wrap, press down until evenly distributed. I sound so professional right now.
  4. Wipe out the inside of your food processor, no need to scrub, then add your cashews and blend until you begin to get a clumpy mess.
  5. Then add your coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla extract and honey and puree until well combined.
  6. And lastly, add your coconut milk, 1 tablespoon at a time to break down the cashews completely. I used about 3 tablespoons for mine until the cashews became this soupy paste.
  7. Pour your filling onto the crust and use a knife or spoon to spread mixture throughout the entire pan, covering the crust, then place in the freezer for about 1-2 hours or until completely hard.
  8. Once your dates have soaked for about an hour, remove them from the water, and add them to a food processor and pulse until dates have broken down (less than a minute).
  9. Then add your coconut milk tablespoon by tablespoon to the dates while the food processor is still running. Then add your water as well.
  10. And add your vanilla extract and pinch of salt.
  11. Process until you get a caramel. Just let it run for a while. Pick your nose. Look at a trash magazine and BOOM. Caramel. May take 3-5 minutes, tops.
  12. Spread caramel over hardened cheesecake filling.
  13. Top with some course salt.
  14. Place it freezer for about 30 minutes until everything has set.
  15. Cut bars into the sizes you want. The saran wrap will help you pull them out without destroying their gorgeous looks. Just pull on the side of the saran wrap and it will pop right out.
  16. Eat. Eat and remember how wonderful it is to be paleo.
That's how it's gonna be, folks! Three weeks on, one week off. I have really found that I CAN HANDLE IT, and have seen some pretty great things happening with myself, so, naturally, I want to keep it up.

I do have to say, though, that this was not a diet. I didn't count calories or carbs or points or any other hooey. I ate pretty much what I want, when I wanted, as long as it didn't have any sugar (natural, refined, or sugar-substitute), and I also ate as much as I wanted/needed to feel satisfied. I have no clue how many calories I consumed over the past day, let alone the past 3 weeks, so don't ask! Frankly, I don't care. I feel really good, and I am seeing changes happening in my body.

Take, for example, my "skinny jeans": I have a pair of size 10 Banana Republic Skinny Jeans that I chose from a crap swap, eh, maybe 6 years ago. When I got them, I had to pour myself into them (literally - the havoc wreaked on my poor body by my babies is epic). It wasn't pretty. Now, however, they are FLIPPIN' LOOSE!!!!! They aren't skinny jeans at all, but loose jeans. See the following picture and judge for yourself! (Yes, you are looking at my butt, btw...)


Anywho, I'm pretty impressed with myself. Now, if I could only get the "baby belly" to hit the high road, I'd be pretty dang happy! Working on it!
Ta ta for now! Oh, also, I can't find a flippin' picture of me "before" that doesn't look freakish to the point where I would have to explain myself (Ahem. 80's wine night. 'Nuff said.), so, you're going to have to trust me on this, my before was heavier. Also, since I'm close enough to the end of The 21-Day Sugar Detox,  this butt picture will be my "after". Mwah!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

PMS? Or Just an Insane Craving For Chocolate...

I apologize right now to any men who may be reading this. Guess what. I'm going to talk about PMS. Yep. That lovely fun time in a woman's month when she feels less than human. Yippee!

So, guys, I'm sorry. There. I said it. Now on to today's post...

I caved today. Majorly. I have come to the conclusion that making chocolate-covered strawberries (like I did for Valentine's day) "for the kids" when I'm doing the 21DSD is a BAAAAAD idea. I ate 4 of them today! Whoops! Maybe it's PMS. Could be.

Oh, well, tomorrow is another day. I am not going to beat myself up when I have come so far, I just wanted to, well, come clean. Integrity is important to me, and I don't want to give the impression I survived the whole 21 days without a single "oops".

Nevertheless, I do intent to go right back to no sugar after Easter. I have actually come to enjoy my not-sweetened chocolate treats, especially the Paleo Mocha Frappo that the Paleo Parents posted, compliments of AndreAnna of Here's the recipe:

Paleo Mocha Frappo
  • 1 C ice (use AndreAnna’s tip of making coffee ice cubes if you can plan ahead)
  • 8oz black coffee, chilled
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 2T coconut cream concentrate (coconut oil will work as an alternative)
  • 1 VERY (overly) ripe banana (or green tipped for 21DSD)
  • 1 can cold coconut milk
  • 2 egg whites
Instructions for Topping
  1. Whip cold egg whites with electric mixer in cold (preferably metal bowl) until they form soft peaks
  2. Open the can of coconut milk and skim the coconut cream off the top (about 2-3oz from a 14oz can) of the separated coconut milk
  3. Use a whisk or fork to loosen the coconut cream from a solid
  4. Slowly fold in the coconut cream to the egg whites, return to refrigerator (will keep in airtight container for a day or two)
Instructions for Smoothie
  1. Put ice in blender
  2. Add half the coconut water from the canned coconut milk (or 5oz of milk alternative) and all other ingredients and blend until smooth
  3. Add a dollop of the whipped coconut topping, dust with a pinch of cocoa powder
  4. Enjoy!

Diet (other): Gluten free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free
Number of servings (yield): 2 tall or 1 venti frapp

So, there it is: my confession (I ate chocolate and strawberries.), my conclusion (I will go back to no sugar.), and my self-absolution (I am not a failure, and I have done very well on this detox!). Hopefully, you all will see it in your hearts to forgive me too?

Monday, March 18, 2013

2/3 of the Way There! Woo Hoo!

I am now 2/3 of the way through my 21DSD, and I have come to some very interesting realizations. Yes, we all know there is WAY too much sugar in the standard American diet, but, until I got to this point in my detox, I never really understood what that meant.

I had gotten a drop of honey on my finger while making the kids an almond milk "steamer" and nonchalantly and unintentionally licked it off, purely out of habit. Whoa. That one little drop of honey was SOOOOOO sweet, it made me gag! Keep in mind that this reaction to a tiny bit of natural sugar is coming from the chick who would eat three York Peppermint Patties at one sitting!

I plan to end my 21DSD as scheduled so that I can enjoy my work banquet next week, wine club (especially wine club!), and Easter. However, when the craziness is all done, I'm going right back to no sugar. I can totally do it 3 weeks a month. It's actually been quite easy for me, and I do notice the difference.

Be prepared for before and after pictures, coming soon!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Paleo "Oatmeal"? Heck, yeah!

Since I am now on Day 12 of The 21-Day Sugar Detox, I have had to come up with interesting meals that both the kids and I can eat AND WILL ACTUALLY ENJOY! And, since I have always been a big fan of oatmeal/cream of wheat or rice for breakfast, imagine my excitement when I created this totally 21DSD-safe "oatmeal" that the kids really do like!

Here's what I did:

Paleo "Oatmeal" (21DSD, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free)


Make your own coconut milk using 2 cups of water and 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut. Place coconut and water in a blender, pulse, and let sit for 4 to 5 hours or overnight, pulsing periodically. At the end of the soak time, run the blender for about 5 minutes. Place a flour-sack towel or thick cheesecloth over a jar, and pour the coconut-water mixture into it. Squeeze the coconut milk out and reserve the leftover coconut shreds. Continue until all of the coconut is thoroughly squeezed and the blender is empty. Enjoy your coconut milk! Now, take the leftover coconut shreds (which don't have much flavor anymore, now that they have had the goodies squeezed out of them) and use them for the oatmeal...

1 c. leftover, finely blended coconut (from making coconut milk)
1 green-tipped banana (or use a ripe banana if you're not doing 21DSD) 
2 T. raw pumpkin seeds (or seed/nut of your choosing)
2 tsp. cinnamon (to taste)
1 c. unsweetened almond milk (I used vanilla.), divided

Put coconut in a pan. Add remaining dry ingredients. Pour almond milk in to just moisten "oatmeal". Heat on very low heat, stirring frequently. DO NOT BOIL! Remove from heat when "oatmeal" is steamy, and put servings into bowls (If I double the coconut milk recipe, the remaining leftover coconut will feed my 4 kids and myself a decent-sized breakfast, but my kids are little oinkers! *wink*). Top with remaining almond milk. Yum! This "oatmeal" is great for chilly mornings when nothing but comfort food will do!

If you're not doing the detox, you can add raw honey, raisins, apples, even chocolate chips.

If you try it, let me know what you think and if you tweaked, added, subtracted, etc! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Over Halfway Through!

Here I am, on Day 11 of The 21-Day Sugar Detox, and I am still feeling pretty great, especially now since I know I've passed the halfway point! Here's some inspiration for the day, in case anyone is needing a boost/reality check/whatever:


"Nothing changes if you change nothing.

Or, said even more simply…

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

These words resonate with me often.
I think many of you who read this blog regularly know that I’m a proponent for things like practicing an attitude of gratitude, living your life in the driver’s seat, and being open to opportunity when it comes up and grabs you in the face.
I’m also always in favor of putting people first.
What you may not know is that I am a serious fan of change. And I don’t mean the kind that jingles in your pocket or in the bottom of your purse.

I mean real change. Life change. BIG CHANGE.

change cartoon
Photo credit: Drew of
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that “big change” always has to mean geographically, physically or even financially large in size, volume, or expense.
It could simply mean a BIG change in mindset.
Most of us have made up our minds about a lot of things, perhaps right now the way you eat is something you think you’ll never question again.
Perhaps you can’t possibly imagine moving somewhere far away from a life you have created and have grown to love.
Perhaps you can’t imagine ever (gasp!) not CrossFitting. (Relax, I’m not saying you shouldn’t CrossFit!)
Or perhaps even your entire view of the world was as one thing or one way, but somehow, with some motivation and inspiration – or perhaps a good kick in the fanny to “wake up” to the world around you – you could view the world almost entirely differently. That is a BIG change.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should be questioning whether things you fully know and believe in your life are “non-negotiable.”

What I am asking you to consider is this:

What if something you think is non-negotiable right now really is negotiable?
What if simply changing how you think about all of the non-negotiables in your life could actually change your life?
What if you made some of those non-negotiables suddenly open to discussion?

Changing your thoughts can change everything about your life.

“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” – Brian Tracy


How can you go about changing your thoughts?

  • Create a gratitude journal. Or even simply a list each night, or once a week. Write down all the things in your life for which you are grateful. Do not focus on that which makes you feel unhappy, disappointed, or unfulfilled – these are counter-productive thoughts.
  • Reconsider your non-negotiables. As I outlined above, question yourself – very seriously – about that which matters most to you. Then make some tough choices. Open your mind up to something outside of your comfort zone, and allow the changes to flow.
  • Look outside of yourself. Maybe this change of thoughts requires help from others – friends, peers, or colleagues perhaps. Reach out to people you trust, you may be surprised at how ready they are to lend a helping hand.
  • Change just one small thing. Sometimes making the first change is the hardest – whether its in mindset, or a physical change – just the first step may cascade into the others much more easily than you imagined.

How do you approach change? Are you afraid of it? Do you face it head-on?"

I'd love to read what others think about this. Leave me a comment!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Paleo Parents and Slim is Simple movie

It is Day 9 with my 21-Day Sugar Detox, and I have to say that I am actually doing quite well! The only thing I have really missed, as far as sugar goes, is my homemade, Paleo creamer. I usually mix a can of full-fat, organic coconut milk with honey, cinnamon, and vanilla, but, on the 21DSD honey isn't allowed, and I discovered the Costco Kirkland vanilla has sugar in it, so those are out. And, as much as I hate to say it, coffee without those things just doesn't taste very good! I still put the coconut milk and cinnamon in it, but without the honey, it just isn't the same. =(

As I said, though, I am doing quite well. I was looking through my pictures for a "before" picture (which, I realized, I don't have a whole lot of - I've never really liked having pictures taken of me - gee, I wonder why...), and when I find one, I will post it. Since I'm only on Day 9, it'll be a while before I post the "after" picture, but I will.

I just checked out the Paleo Parents blog (Their cookbook, Eat Like a Dinosaur, is great, and they're coming out with a new cookbook, Beyond Bacon, soon.), and saw that Stacy, the mom of the Paleo Parents, had done the 21DSD. Naturally, I wanted to check out her "before" and "after" pics. The difference is quite astounding! And all in just 21 days makes it even more impressive!

Which brings me to the second part of the title of this post... Slim is Simple movie. Now that I've been sugar-free for over a week, and I feel pretty dang good, I want to share some things I've learned. Check out the movie and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day 3 of The 21-Day Sugar Detox! Ready to ROCK!!!

I am feeling pretty dang good! I did have a brain-fade on Day 1 - I ate a Coconut Crème Pie LaraBar, thinking of the coconut oil (21DSD safe), nuts (also 21DSD safe), and the unsweetened coconut (again, 21DSD safe), but forgot completely the dates (NOT on the 21DSD "yes" list!). Oops! Oh, well! Since it was just a brain-fade and not an intentional attempt on my part at sabotage, I do not feel bad about it and have just moved on!

Speaking of moving, I have been doing the workouts also. Day 1 was fine and dandy. Day 2 was a bit tougher. Here we are at Day 3, and I have not been able to complete my workout yet - darned kids! Always wanting something! ;^)

I am sore today, a bit. Obliques, especially. Must've been the side plank moves. Ugh.

Anyway, still doing it. Still liking it. Still looking forward to where I'll be in 18 days! Woo hoo!