Tuna-Stuffed Eggs

Tuna Deviled EggsHard boiled eggs are little protein packed miracles, if you ask me. They are delicious on their own, portable, easily made in advance, and happy to be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. I love having them on hand for meals or snacks or for a protein boost in a salad. They make a great appetizer or nibble if you have a bunch of people coming over. Really, when you get down to it, hard boiled eggs are simply amazing.

Since I make them so frequently, I thought I’d share one of the ways I like to stuff them. I was making tuna salad the other day and adding some chopped egg when I decided I wanted to try reversing the idea. Instead of egg in my tuna, how about tuna in my egg? It worked beautifully and made for a nice change at lunch. Pair these eggs with a bunch of fresh veggies or a lovely salad and you have a satisfying meal. Or pack a couple for after a heavy weight workout and your muscles will be thrilled. Be sure to let me know how you like your deviled eggs in the comments. There are so many fun variations, I love to hear about them all!

Tuna-Stuffed Eggs

4 hard boiled eggs

1 small can of tuna, about 4-5 oz. drained

1 Tbsp. Paleo mayo

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. capers, minced

1 scallion, minced

pinch of paprika

salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1) Drain tuna and place in a medium bowl. Add mayonnaise, mustard, capers, scallions, and pepper to taste. Mix gently but thoroughly.

2) Cut hard boiled eggs in half lengthwise. Pop out the yolks and add them to the tuna. Break up and mix together.

3) Sprinkle a little salt over the cut side of the eggs. Fill each cavity with the tuna mixture. These can be filled quite full since the tuna adds volume to the mix.

4) Dust with paprika and eat!

Serves 2 (or more as an hors d’oeuvre)

Three Good Choices

Fast cheap easy or fakeThis little quote makes me smile. I think it’s good to keep in mind and it fits with how I’d like to always look at food, but sometimes things get a little out of control.

I’ve been thinking a lot about balance lately and how to incorporate good food choices throughout my day while occasionally straying outside the Paleo framework. As many of you already know, I struggle with moderation and have a long history of all-or-nothing thinking. I love following a Paleo lifestyle and continue to believe it is the better way for me to live and eat. When I am focused on Paleo food choices, I feel better, have steady energy and moods, and happily go about my business. Until I stumble. And then I sometimes have a very hard time picking myself back up.

More and more research is coming out about how the food industry creates craveable food that lights up the reward center in our brains. Some people, and I’d be willing to bet I fall into this category, have a reward center that lights up like a Christmas tree at the mere thought of certain foods. Frankly, I probably light up for both healthy and unhealthy foods! The problem with certain foods, primarily various sugar-fat-salt combos, is that once the reward center is set alight, it is very hard to satisfy. In fact, as with some other drugs, it keeps screaming to be satisfied and takes more and more of the food to satisfy it. So just when I think I’m okay to have a small piece of chocolate, the impulse to eat the entire bar goes into overdrive and I can do my best to fight it, but there’s a good chance it will still get the better of me.

One of the things that I’ve realized is that I might need to consider being okay with all-or-nothing sometimes. That maybe, I have to be nothing. Forever. That’s possible and I’m still working on that. I’ll share more of those thoughts another time.

But I am also considering that reframing my thinking is critical to making a shift towards balance. Sometimes I say to myself, “Stop eating that. You’re being ridiculous. You know it’s wreaking havoc on your mind and body and yet still you eat it! Stop it!” But then, before I can stop, I need to have one more bite or one more piece so that I can start fresh the next day. I’ve often called this “The Last Supper Syndrome”. However, when I think about it differently, worrying less about the bad and more about the good choices, I seem to make better choices, more consistently.

This is extremely important because consistency is key. It’s not one bowl of ice cream or one weekend of socializing that is going to take away any health gains I’ve made by eating right over the long term. In fact, there are arguments to be made that taking a break every once in awhile to relax and reset is even a good thing. But an all-or-nothing type of person doesn’t necessarily see it that way and will spend a long time in the “all” phase before feeling ready to tackle the “nothing” phase. What ends up being consistent is not a lifestyle of good choices and balanced eating, but a lifestyle of less-than-stellar choices for a few days of healthy ones.

I’d like this to change. Here’s what’s working for me right now…

MAKE 3 GOOD CHOICES A DAY

That’s it. I’ve taken the focus off the foods that I don’t want to eat and placed it firmly on the things that I do. I don’t worry about whether I’m going to have a glass of wine or not or indulge in something non-Paleo, which would previously derail me for days at a time. Instead I look at each of my food choice opportunities and ask myself if this is one of my good ones. You know what’s been happening? The good choices are prevailing more often than not. A sip of my husband’s cider didn’t turn into my own cocktail, because I didn’t really want one. It wasn’t forbidden, even in my mind, but I did ask whether I wanted to grab some bubbly water instead and make it one of my good choices. And that’s what I did. Tea in the evening instead of something sweet was a choice, not because I had to but because I decided that would be one of my good choices. Not forever, just for then.

Habits take a long time to form – 21 days is a myth. For many people or situations, it can take much, much longer. We have to start somewhere if we want to make progress and by making that switch, focusing on the good choices instead of beating myself up for the bad, I’ve been able to make some good choices lately. Long may it last!

Honeyed Walnuts

Walnuts with honey and black pepper

Sticky, crunchy, sweet with a kick, honeyed walnuts are truly divine. They can be used to top salads, like my Tuna-Apple Salad (post coming soon!), or sprinkled over sweet potatoes or even eaten as a snack. There’s not much more to say about these except maybe, be careful. They are rather addictive!

Honeyed Walnuts

3/4 c. walnuts

1 tsp. coconut oil

1 tsp. honey

pinch of salt

fresh cracked pepper

Directions

1) Melt the coconut oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the honey and mix together.

2) Dump in the walnuts and stir to thoroughly coat all the walnut pieces in the coconut-honey mixture. Let cook for about 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. If they start to get too brown, remove immediately and place on a plate to cool. They will become crunchy as they cool down.

Faux-tato Salad

Cauliflower Salad The other day I saw a salad in a deli display with peas and cheese and crunchy things. It got me thinking about deli salads and summertime and all the wonderful fresh veggies that are available. I started going through the fridge looking for a combination of textures that would be reminiscent of potato salad without using potatoes. For the most part, I am happy to use nutrient dense sweet potatoes (as in this German Potato Salad – so good!), but sometimes I really want a bunch of non-starchy vegetables that make me FEEL like I’m eating potatoes.

In comes the chameleon of vegetables that transforms itself into just about anything you’d like. If you use frozen cauliflower florets, you don’t even have to cook them. They’ve been blanched already so, once defrosted, they have a soft crunch that I really like. Perhaps even more important, frozen cauliflower doesn’t make a mess! This salad combines crunch from the cauliflower, celery, and bell pepper with tenderness from the hard-boiled egg and olives. Add a little brininess from the pickle and an indescribably addictive background note from smoked paprika, and this salad is a winner at any table! My husband gave it several mumbled “Mmm…mmms…,” so I think it’s a keeper.

Faux-tato Salad

1 12 oz. bag of frozen cauliflower florets

2 stalks of celery, finely chopped

4 baby bell peppers, sliced into thin rounds

1/2 c. snap peas, sliced on the diagonal

3 small pickle spears, chopped

2 scallions, finely chopped

10 black olives, sliced

1/4 c. parsley, minced

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

3/4 tsp. salt

pepper to taste

Dressing

1/4 c. Paleo mayo

2 tsp. white wine vinegar

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. dry mustard

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

a couple dashes of hot sauce (like Tabasco)

pinch of salt

pepper

Directions

1) Start by mixing all the ingredients for the dressing in the bottom of the salad bowl. Set aside.

2) Drop each vegetable (everything but the egg), chopped or sliced, into the bowl with the dressing. Mix well. Then add the chopped egg and mix gently.

3) Let sit for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Taste to adjust seasoning and enjoy.

Serves 4-6

Paleo Mayonnaise

Paleo MayonnaiseI haven’t purchased mayonnaise in over a year. When I discovered how simple and delicious real, homemade mayonnaise could be, I ditched the jar of processed spread with canola oil and stabilizers immediately. For a little while, I kept a jar in the fridge for my husband and son, but when it was gone, that was it. And we’ve never looked back.

Mayonnaise makes a creamy dressing, a flavored burger topping, a drizzle that elevates a meal – it is the little black dress of condiments. If you have an immersion blender and tall cup, like the ones in the picture, you can make mayonnaise in 10 seconds, and that includes transferring it to a jar. Once you have mayonnaise, you can add garlic or chipotle peppers and lime or fresh herbs, the possibilities are endless.

I use Melissa Joulwan’s mayonnaise from Well Fed as my base recipe with a bit less oil because it fits better in my jar. So get an immersion blender and make your own mayo for your health and your taste buds.

Paleo Mayo

2 Tbsp. lemon juice (I liked bottled lemon juice for this)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1 egg

1 c. extra light olive oil

Directions

1) Crack the egg in a tall container. Add salt, mustard powder, lemon juice, and olive oil. Walk away for 30 minutes to let it all come to room temperature.

2) Put the stick blender all the way to the bottom of the container. Start blending while lifting the blender to the top. The mayonnaise will come together immediately and be creamy and beautiful.

3) Scoop/Pour the mayonnaise into a glass jar and store in the fridge. That’s it!

Italian Meatballs

Italian MeatballsMeatballs are a Paleo girl’s (or guy’s!) best friend. You can make a bunch of these fairly quickly and then eat them for multiple meals or snacks throughout the week. One of the things that I’ve learned on my Paleo journey is that having prepared food in the fridge makes a world of difference. When you eat the Standard American Diet, if you’re hungry at a moments notice, you can grab a granola bar or yogurt and move on. Sometimes being Paleo means you have to be a little more creative and a little more flexible with how you look at food. I like to have extra protein in my fridge at all times, and meatballs are perfect for that!

As a matter of fact, these meatballs started first as a dinner. I threw together a quick marinara sauce on the stove and plopped in about a dozen of the already cooked meatballs. I let them simmer for a bit to get comfortable together, and then we ate them on top of roasted spaghetti squash. The next day, they were my lunch and it looked more like the picture. Confession: After I took the picture, I chopped the meatballs up, added some more tomatoes, and spread them across three large lettuce leaves. More lettuce, more lunch. That’s how I like it.

I hope you have fun with these and please share with me if you do something delicious with them!

Italian Meatballs

2 lb. ground beef

1 lb. ground pork

1/3 c. coconut milk

1/2 c. almond flour

2 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. fennel seed, lightly crushed

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 c. fresh parsley, minced

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and gently mix everything together. Hands work great for this because you can mix thoroughly but with a light touch.

2) Pinch off a small golf ball sized amount of meat. Gently roll the mixture in your hands to form a meatball about 1 1/2 in. across. Place on a baking sheet. Continue forming meatballs until the mixture is gone.

3) Place in the oven for about 23 minutes until cooked through. Use these meatballs for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks!

Makes about 35 meatballs