Paleo Spinach Orange Smoothie

It’s Hump Day, y’all! That means we’ve reached the halfway point of the week and we’re ALIVE. Praise the good Lord almighty ;) I’ve been busy this week, between work, getting ready for a friend’s baby shower this weekend, cleaning the house, trying to catch up on laundry & maintaining some semblance of a hairstyle. On that note – can I get a holla for the topknot?! Seriously, whoever made that an acceptable style is my hero!

Since I’m about to run to work, let’s get down to business: the smoothie. This was a random creation I threw together one night last week since we had almost nothing to eat at the house (wife fail!) and we were starving. My husband doubted my smoothie powers (“I really think this is going to be gross”), but little did he know I’m a wizard when it comes to smoothies. Okay, wizard might be pushing it but it WAS delicious! SO delicious, in fact, that he even requested it the next day. Booyah! That’s what I call #winning. Here ya go!

PALEO SPINACH ORANGE SMOOTHIE (makes 2 servings)

Yum!

Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 small oranges, peeled
  • 1 banana, ripe
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple
  • 1-2 TBSP raw honey
  • Handful of spinach
  • 8-10 ice cubes

Put all the ingredients into a high-powered blender (we use our Vitamix & LOVE it!) and blend until smooth. Cuz it’s a smoothie.. see what I did there? ;)

ENJOY!!

P.S. I’d love to hear from you! You can find me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram (search “theculturedcavewoman”).

Paleo Zucchini Lasagna

Y’all, I am so super excited to share this recipe with you! Because it’s delicious. And nutritious. But mostly because it’s delicious. Ya know, Paleo can be really overwhelming, especially in the beginning.. but the more you play with your food (yes, mom, I’m allowed to do that now), the easier it gets! I promise! This recipe was created from a deep craving for some good ol’ comfort food… and there wasn’t any around. Aren’t the best things usually born out of desperation??

Anywhoo, the recipe. It’s fairly easy & makes a huge quantity of lasagna. We ended up eating off of the pan for the entire week – it was so nice to have a quick, ready-made something in the fridge that we could heat at a moment’s notice. I love meals like that, where there’s enough to last for days – especially when you’re too tired to make dinner on a Wednesday night or lunch on a Sunday. Can I get an amen??

PALEO ZUCCHINI LASAGNA

The ingredients!

The ingredients!

  • 5 medium/large zucchinis
  • 1 pkg mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (this one in the picture is sugar/preservative/additive free)
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1 cup cashews, raw and unsalted
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste

 

In a small saucepan, combine the cup of cashews and 1.5 cups of water and let soak for 20 minutes.

Rinse the zucchini under cold water & use a mandolin slicer to thinly slice the zucchini.

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Sprinkle salt on each of the slices of zucchini and layer them in a colander over the sink. The salt helps the zucchini “sweat” and removes all excess moisture so your recipe doesn’t end up soggy. Let them sit for about 10-15 minutes.

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After the zucchini has “sweated”, lay them flat on some paper towels & dab until dry.

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After the cashews have soaked, use a food processor to grind the nuts into small pieces.

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Add the spinach to the cashews, along with garlic powder, salt & almond milk and blend until you reach a ricotta cheese consistency.

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In a nonstick pan, brown your ground turkey with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add the chopped onions and cook until meat is cooked through and onions are tender. Add the marinara sauce and mushrooms and stir until combined. Let cook an additional 3-5 minutes or until mushrooms are soft and then remove from heat and set aside.

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Layer the zucchini on the bottom of your pan.

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Top with a layer of meat sauce, then add a few spoonfuls of the nut “cheese” and spread with a spatula (this took a gentle hand!)

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I finished with a layer of meat sauce & then baked at 350 for 25 minutes (or until heated through). Enjoy!!

The finished product!

The finished product!

I didn’t get a great “after” photo, but you get the idea!! This turned out delicious – the hubs took some to work & texted me after he ate saying, “It tastes just like REAL lasagna!!!” Which is quite possibly the best compliment in the entire WORLD! That’s what I want Paleo to be for you guys – super incredible tasting AND good for you!! I can’t wait for y’all to try this one! :)

PS: I’d love to hear from you! You can find me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram (username: __theculturedcavewoman__ or just search “itsbrenae” and it will pull up!)

Crockpot Shredded Chicken Tacos (with Paleo Tortillas)!

I don’t know if you’re like me, but after a long day of work, the LAST thing I want to do is cook for 2 hours. Which is why I LUURVE my handy dandy Crockpot. Seriously, I could kiss the person who invented those things!! And this is one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made in mine. It literally takes 5 mins of prep work & then a few more for the tortillas and voila! Perfect dinner on the table. Wham bam thank you ma’am.

PS: For those wondering, my first day of work yesterday was amazing!! The people I work with are pretty fantastic & I can’t wait to see what I’ll gain from being there. I’m actually looking forward to going in today, which is something I haven’t felt in a long time. Yay new jobs!

PPS: This was a last minute toss-together meal, so I didn’t take very many pictures, especially of the tortillas! Okay, okay, I didn’t take ANY of the tortillas. Food blogger fail. Haha! I’ll post the recipe today though & hopefully get a separate post up soon with some darn photographic instructions!

CROCKPOT SHREDDED CHICKEN TACOS

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 2oz can diced green chiles (mild)
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Add all of the above ingredients, starting with the chicken, to your crock pot.

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Stir together, set on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours, depending on how long you plan for. When the timer beeps, shred the chicken using a fork & enjoy!

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PALEO GUACAMOLE

  • 3 medium avocados
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • a few turns of coarse ground black pepper

Cut your avocados in half, starting at the top and moving your knife around the seed in the middle. Pull apart gently & remove the seed. Squeeze out the avocado into a bowl and mash with a fork. Add the tomatoes and red onion & mix together.

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Squeeze the lemons directly into the bowl, making sure no seeds fall in! Add the spices & stir. The lemon juice should give it a nice smooth texture. Add more salt/garlic powder to taste, if you wish!

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PALEO TORTILLAS

Okay y’all, I warned you! No pictures for this one. So I’ll try to use beautiful words and paint a mental image instead ;)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 TBSP almond flour
  • 1 TBSP coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • sprinkle chili powder
  • sprinkle onion powder

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, making sure there are no clumps of batter. Spray a non-stick pan with some coconut oil & heat it over medium heat. Wait a minute or so for the pan to warm up, then pour about 1-2 TBSP of batter into the pan. Quickly swirl the pan around to spread the batter out – you want it to be pretty thin all around!

Cook for about 1 min on each side, or until you can flip it easily. I found the easiest tool to flip it with was a rubber spatula. My plastic spatula would tear the tortilla. Cook until golden brown on both sides, then remove & do the next one. Repeat until all of your batter is gone.

The finished product!

The finished product!

The finished product!

The finished product!

Y’all. These tacos HIT. THE. SPOT. Like fo real. You definitely have to be a little more gentle with the Paleo tortillas than normal ones, but when a craving strikes… these deliver. It was so nice to actually be able to HOLD my taco and take a bite. It didn’t fall apart. I didn’t have to wrap it in lettuce, which I do sometimes! It was just nice for a change of pace.

I hope you enjoy these & let me know how you like them!! :) You can find me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram (username: __theculturedcavewoman__)

Salmon with Roasted Butternut & Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus

Ahh yes, another Monday has arrived! And just in order to brighten yours up, here is my first recipe post of 2013!! Yaaaay! I’m hoping it brightens mine up too, to be honest ;) This weekend was particularly sad, since it was the last few days before the hubs & I head back to work. Womp womp. We’ve had SUCH a good Christmas break & it’s so hard to think about only seeing each other for a couple of hours in the evening after spending 14+ straight days together. The only bright point is that we are both people who function well under structure, so getting back into a routine will be rather enjoyable. Call us nerds. But my house may actually stand a chance at getting cleaned & laundry might actually make it into drawers and closets! I mean, there’s not need to get crazy now, but still. Hopefully there will be some benefit to gettin’ back to the grind. ;)

Soo, one of our (many) New Year resolutions is to stay away from any meat that has been treated with hormones, antibiotics and the like. I know this can get pricey (believe me, we’re feelin’ it!), so while we definitely can’t always go that route, we’re trying to do it as much as possible. That being said, I decided to go with Sockeye salmon for this dish! It’s a little pricier than Atlantic salmon, but it’s not farmed or treated with anything. And the taste… OUT OF THIS WORLD. Seriously, I don’t think I could ever go back. Plus, the peace of mind in knowing we’re putting GOOD stuff into our bodies makes it completely worthwhile :)

SALMON WITH ROASTED BUTTERNUT & BACON-WRAPPED ASPARAGUS

The ingredients!

The ingredients!

  • 2 fillets sockeye salmon
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 5-6 slices of bacon
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375 and begin cutting up your butternut squash. Slice the ends off first, then cut into 4 equal pieces. Carefully run your knife down the sides, peeling the skin off. Quarter the remaining pieces into cubes, like this:

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Toss the squash pieces with 1 TBSP olive oil & sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. Line a cookie sheet with foil (we ran out, which is why I don’t have any in the pictures HA), lay the squash evenly on the sheet & roast for 30-35 minutes or until tender.

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Meanwhile, rinse the asparagus off under cold water and dry. Cut about 1-2 inches off the bottom stems (that part isn’t very tasty!) and place into groups of 2-3.

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Cut your pieces of bacon in half and wrap tightly around the asparagus. Line another cookie sheet with foil and place asparagus on the sheet. Add a dash of salt & pepper to each group of asparagus & drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil. The bacon will provide some grease, so don’t go overboard here! Just enough to give it some good flavor. Turn your oven to 400 & cook for 10 minutes, flip & cook an additonal 5 minutes or until bacon is crispy and asparagus is tender. I ended up broiling them on high for a minute or 2 at the end to really crisp up the bacon!

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Spread a little olive oil on a cookie sheet, and drizzle a little on top of the salmon. Divide the 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt. 1/8 tsp parsley flakes and dash of pepper between the 2 fillets.

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Cook at 425 for 12-14 min or until done. If you want to cook the asparagus and salmon at the same time, just cook the salmon for 15-18 minutes instead or until done (it will flake off with a fork).

The finished product!

The finished product!

The finished product!

The finished product!

The salmon was tender but moist. The flavor combination between the asparagus and bacon was incredible. And roasted butternut squash – always a winner!! This was such a great meal – not a crazy amount of prep time, great medley of flavors & full of good nutrition! A new fave in our house, for sure!

Let me know what you think! I’d love to hear from you on here OR you can find me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram (username: @itsbrenae) :)

California Highlights (Christmas 2013)!

Guys, I haven’t posted in over a week & I’m having some withdrawals over here! I decided not to blog while we were in California for a few reasons – the main one being that family is so incredibly important to us & rather than sit & stare at the computer, we chose to put it away and actually spend time WITH everyone. I’m sure you all understand that! We had such an awesome time, just laughing and talking and being with one another. We packed quite a bit into 9 days, but loved every second of it. It went by way too fast (as per usual) so we’re back and already thinking about planning our next visit out there!

But for now, we have to face reality. In the form of unpacking and catching up on bills. Womp womp. HA. We got back late Sunday night and feel like we’ve been trying to recover ever since. The house is an absolute wreck right now (seriously, like, it’s embarrassing). Laundry needs to be done. I need to get my hiney to the darn grocery store, for goodness sakes! That empty fridge has been taunting me for the past 2 days. Why is it that I always need a vacation after a vacation?! Anyone else feel me on that?? ;)

Alrighty, so.. while I didn’t blog on the trip, I DID take a lot of pictures! Below are some photo highlights of Matt’s sister’s wedding & our Cali trip, for your viewing pleasure! PS: I can’t believe the next time I post it’ll be 2014!! Where the heck did this year go?!

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The beautiful bride and groom! And my Jersey Shore husband ;)

The wedding was perfect. And went off without a hitch! They decided to go with a rustic Christmas theme & the end result was honestly one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen! We are all dyyying to see the pictures – hopefully we’ll get a sneak peek soon :)

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Goodness gracious, I love this man!

We left the next morning for California on 4 hours of sleep, got stuck outside IN THE RAIN for 45 mins just to check our bags (because the airport was so dang crowded), only got in 1 argument and then finally landed in LA. Grandma had lunch waiting for us at the house & then immediately took us to Trader Joe’s (the way to my heart)!

Grandma spoiled us & bought our groceries for the entire week! Here were a few faves :)

Grandma spoiled us & bought our groceries for the entire week! Here were a few faves :)

My phone had been on the fritz for quite awhile (and Sprint service is terrible where we live), so we took the plunge, joined our phone accounts & switched to Verizon!! Best decision ever. I’m not usually a gadget person, but the iPhone 5s is just so beautiful, it makes me want to weep. Camera quality = A+++.

We became iPhone 5s owners!

We became iPhone 5s owners!

My awesome uncle (who’s been a Canon Rep for over 20 years) gave us tons of lessons and tips for shooting better pictures. He also blessed us with a tripod!! So excited to see the difference it makes in my cooking posts :) the hubs has been playing around with the ISO and aperture every day since then. It’s a perfect mix – I see the artistic shot and he knows how to set the camera up for it! Teamwork, y’all.

My Canon Rep Expert uncle gave us a few lessons in how to take better pictures! If you look closely you can see all of us in the reflection!

My uncle, husband & I! If you look closely you can see all of us in the reflection!

My stepdad gave me one of my fave Christmas presents :)

My stepdad gave me one of my fave Christmas presents :)

My almost 80-year-old Grandma showed Matt the fantasy football stat sheets she makes every week. My Grandma is a G!

My almost 80-year-old Grandma showed Matt the fantasy football stat sheets she makes every week. My Grandma is a G!

The cheese platter I made for Christmas!

The cheese platter I made for Christmas!

Oh the beauty of California… I seriously cannot express in words how much I miss mountains. And hills. And terrain of any kind. Houston is just so darn flat!! After spending 9 days wandering around in this glorious creation, we decided that we are definitely gonna have to travel more in 2014. Fo real.

We went hiking. A lot. (This is a pic of my brother and sister!)

We went hiking. A lot. (This is a pic of my brother and sister!)

We hiked across water.

We hiked across water.

Up a 200 ft incline.

Up a 200 ft incline.

And to a waterfall!

And to a waterfall!

All in all, it was a beautiful trip that filled my heart with so much happiness!! We are going into 2014 with joy and expectation for what’s to come. So many changes and new beginnings –  I, for one, cannot wait to see what this year holds. I have a feeling it’s gonna be a big one!! So on that note, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoy your New Year’s celebration tonight!! Stay safe and bring it on 2014 :)

Our first married Christmas picture together :)

Our first married Christmas picture together :)

Find me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram (username: @itsbrenae)!! I’d love to hear from you! :)

The Cultured Cavewoman’s Fave Trail Mix

Wheeew. Soo, the next 2 days are going to be an absolute WHIRLWIND. My beautiful sister-in-law is getting married tomorrow night (and Matt & I are both in the wedding), so we have rehearsal dinner tonight, then more decorating & other last minute wedding madness after that. PLUS, we are leaving for California on Saturday morning… so we need to pack! Like, yesterday. I have 2 loads going in the washing machine right now & am trying to not freak out about everything that needs to get done before we take off. And to top it all off, my husband (very generously) passed along the sickness he just recovered from a couple days ago. Yay me.

Trying my hardest to focus on the good though – Christmas in California… it’s gonna be glorious! I’m originally from LA & haven’t seen my family since the wedding (in March!), so we’re pretty darn excited for 9 whole days of vacation with everyone. Sleeping in, relaxing, exploring, spending time together… cannot. wait.

Okay, onto the recipe. We love traveling (seriously.. like, LUUURVE), but we aren’t such huge fans of airport food (is anyone??). One, everything is so ridiculously expensive. And two, let’s be honest… the food just isn’t that great! So we generally try to bring some of our own goodies to munch on while we hang out in the terminal – yummy and cost-effective, the best! Here’s a recipe for one of our fave treats: trail mix!

TRAIL MIX: (makes appox 3.5 cups of mix)

The ingredients!

The ingredients!

  • 1/3 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 2/3 cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup pistachio pieces
  • 3/4 cup organic dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup organic dark chocolate pieces

I decided to toast the almonds, sunflower & pumpkin seeds myself (because they always taste better homemade!). So grab a pan and dump the first 2 ingredients in (I did all 3 together at first but soon realized the almonds would take much longer to toast, so ended up separating them so the smaller seeds wouldn’t burn). Toast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds over medium heat, stirring constantly until they start turning golden brown & smell toasty. Be careful because they burn SUPER easily! Do the almonds next & then set aside in a bowl to let cool completely.

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Dried cherries are my faaaaavorite. Ever. And they taste so delicious in this trail mix!

Yum!

Yum!

Once the nuts & seeds have cooled completely, mix all of the ingredients together in a container. If you don’t let it cool, the chocolate will melt, which is no bueno. Unless you like your trail mix melted together. Then by all means, do whatcha do.

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I know there are like a million trail mixes out there that are prepackaged, but if you’re like me, I usually end up picking out 1 or more of the ingredients that I don’t like. So I have taken to making my own! Not only is it fresh and delicious, but it’s also pretty inexpensive! This whole batch cost me about $12. Can I get a wut-wut?! The measurements of the dried fruit, chocolate & nuts/seeds is pretty darn perfect in my opinion, but feel free to change out any of these ingredients with YOUR faves and enjoy!!

I’d love to hear from you!! You can find me on Facebook, Instagram (username: @itsbrenae) or Pinterest! :)

 

 

 

 

 

You could be featured! Yes, YOU!

So I was sittin’ here this morning thinking about all of YOU, my bloggy friends! I’ve gotten several comments recently about how much people have enjoyed the recipes I’ve posted, how they’re just starting out on their Paleo journey & feel really overwhelmed… And I came up with an idea! Being sick and unemployed does have it’s perks, y’all. Namely.. lots of extra time to come up with ideas.

Anywho, let’s keep the main point the main point! I shared my own Paleo transformation story when I started this blog (you can find that post here) and I think it would be super encouraging and fun for readers to see YOUR Paleo transformation story! That’s right people, I want to hear from YOU! With the New Year fast approaching & the inevitable “New Year Resolutions” to follow, let’s show the world how Paleo is a game-changer in every single aspect of life.

That’s where you come in! Email me (brenaebradley @ gmail.com) with the details of your journey: why you started eating Paleo, how it’s changed you mentally, physically, emotionally, how it’s improved your health, etc. You can include before and after pics too!). You must also share this post in some form or fashion (Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc) to be entered in. I will feature one story every Saturday for the month of January, for the purpose of encouraging those who have just started out on Paleo! The person I choose to feature will also receive a $5 Starbucks gift card in the mail! So what are you waiting for?! Share the post & email me now!! ;) Entries must be submitted by January 2nd!

So excited to encourage others with your success stories! Can’t wait to hear from you!!