Monday, December 4, 2017

What I Ate in a Day – Holiday Edition

I’ve partnered with Enlightened to bring you this blog post and share how incredible their ice cream tastes. Seriously, I am so impressed. If you like Halo Top, Enlightened will knock your socks off. The texture and mix-ins are a zillion times better! Read on to see how it fits into my day, macro-wise, and why it’s truly THE BEST “healthy” ice cream on the market. 

We’re all up and at ’em well before 6:00 AM. A rule in our house: No television before 6:00 AM, so when I come downstairs, I see Mal and Quinn sitting in the kitchen. Mal is eating breakfast and Quinn is playing with toys. Our kitchen counter is an absolute disaster, but, hey, real life, so I snap a photo of the whole scene. We went to Edaville the night before and didn’t get home until kind of late, so our stuff pretty much exploded everywhere. Rise ‘n shine!

Murphy, of course, followed me downstairs. It was breakfast time after all!

After I feed Murphy, I pour myself an iced coffee and add some protein powder and almond milk eggnog to it. Delicious! I’ll be drinking this combo until Christmas for sure!

As I’m taking my first sips of coffee, I remember that it’s the first day of 24 Days of Togetherness, so I ask Quinn to pick an activity for the day. He picks: “Get a Christmas Tree and decorate it,” and we are all super excited. We talked about getting our Christmas tree in the next week or so, so things worked out perfectly!

After that, I get myself ready for the day and then take Murphy for a walk. Shortly after that, Mal leaves for school. We say goodbye and then I get Quinn ready for school. I drop Quinn off and then drive home. (This timeframe is kind of a whirlwind, so I forget to snap photos.)

Back at home, I make myself a rice cake with peanut butter mixed with collagen (for extra protein) and cinnamon. The peanut butter jar is just about empty, so I give it to Murphy. He’s one lucky pug.

I take my rice cake and immediately head upstairs to my office to get to work. I work at my stand-up desk for a few hours and then break for a quick lunch. On the menu: Carrot spirals mixed with ground chicken, peas, and pesto. Mmm! Easy, delicious, and nutritious! 🙂

After lunch, I hop in the car and drive to the Capital One Cafe to meet my new video/digital marketing team. I know, right?! Who am I? Ha! Well, I’m stubborn control freak, who finally admitted that she needs help with CNC because she can’t do it alone while simultaneously running Designed to Fit Nutrition and Nutrition House Software. Anyway, we spend about an hour brainstorming ideas and content for the New Year, and I can’t wait to share a new (and improved!) side of CNC with you guys!

After our meeting, I stayed at the cafe and worked a little while longer. Eventually, I headed home and heated up a quick snack to keep me satisfied until dinner: Roasted butternut squash with peanut butter and cinnamon.

As I’m eating my snack, Mal pulls into the driveway. We have an appointment to check out some options for new kitchen counters and we’re running late, so we hop in the car.

We check out a bunch of options and mostly narrow-down our choices. It’s a big decision, so we decide to “sleep on it.” What do you guys think?

(The hunk of wood is a sample from our kitchen cabinets, which we’re not changing.)

After that, we drive to Quinn’s school, pick him up, and immediately head to Weymouth (near where we used to live) to pick out our Christmas tree.

Chilly tiny human = all of the momma snuggles <3

Annual photo! 🙂

We picked out a beauty of a tree (not too short like last year) and then headed home. We are all starving, so I put on a pot of high-protein pasta and dinner is done before we know it. In the mix: pasta, steamed broccoli, butter, and grated Parmesan.

After dinner, we start to decorate the Christmas tree, but, unfortunately, 2 out of 3 sets of lights are totally dead. Wahhhh. What a buzzkill. We decide to hold off on decorating until the next night, so we have time to buy some new lights. But the night isn’t a total letdown because it ended with birthday cake-flavored Enlightened “The Good-For-You” Ice Cream. Ooooh, yes. And, guys, this stuff is no joke. I’m so impressed with the taste, flavor, ingredients, and macro-nutrients. It’s an all-around winner in my book! The birthday cake tastes JUST like ice cream cake – pretty much exactly like it! OMGGGGG, it’s so good!

enlightened birthday cak

More about Enlightened… It’s ice cream that makes you feel as good as it tastes. (Probably TMI, but Halo Top often destroys my stomach if I eat too much, but I haven’t had any issues with Enlightened.) Enlightened is loaded with protein and fiber, but low in calories, sugar, and fat, and it comes it some incredible flavors, including caramel oatmeal crunch, chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate peanut butter, cold brew coffee, red velvet, sea salt caramel, and more! Sounds pretty amazing, right? Well, IT IS and you need to try it. So, where can you get some? Enlightened has a store locator on their website. Local folks: You can find it at some Shaws, Stop & Shop, and GNC.

Totals: P 117 C 125 F 66

Question of the Day

Have you ever tried Halo Top? How about Enlightened? 

 

 

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Iced Cranberry Scones

These Iced Cranberry Scones are a perfect treat to have around during the holidays! When you make them with organic ingredients, they are a healthier alternative to the Cranberry Orange Scones at Starbucks made with Monsanto Milk (from cows raised on GMOs) and lots of refined conventional sugar (26 grams per scone!)

My scone recipe calls for a very small amount of sugar… I just add a couple tablespoons of coconut palm sugar to the entire batch of dough, plus a little organic powdered sugar to the glaze. I use organic coconut palm sugar in my baking often. You can use it as a 1:1 substitute for any recipe that calls for regular old sugar. It’s completely unrefined and not bleached like typical white sugar, helping to preserve all of its vitamins and minerals. 

To ensure your scones are fluffy and tender, you’ll want to use cold butter – so keep it in the fridge until needed. Also put the coconut milk in the refrigerator the night before (or at least 20 minutes before) making the recipe. This will keep the butter from melting while you are mixing and rolling out the dough, and will help you make perfect scones!

When you’re ready to bake up some scones, start by heating your oven up to 350 degrees. In a large glass mixing bowl, measure out 1½ cups of organic sprouted wheat or spelt flour. Add two tablespoons of coconut sugar, a couple teaspoons of baking powder, and a dash of sea salt. Mix well…

Take the cold butter out of the fridge and cut in 6 tablespoons of organic butter with the back of a fork or pastry cutter, until it forms little pea-sized crumbles…

Using a citrus zester, grate about a teaspoon of zest from an organic orange. Stir in the orange zest along with at least ¼ cup of dried cranberries. Add more if you like lots of cranberries! 

In a separate bowl, whisk one egg with ¼ cup plus two tablespoons culinary coconut milk. (This is the type of coconut milk that is intended for cooking and generally found in a can. Just make sure you choose a BPA-free version)

Add this to the flour mixture and mix gently – only until combined. Do not overmix, as this will create tougher scones! 

If you find the dough is dry after mixing in the egg and coconut milk, keep adding coconut milk (one tablespoon at a time) until the dough just comes together but is not sticky. If you add too much simply sprinkle the dough with a little more flour.

Add some flour to your favorite cutting board and a good rolling pin to prepare it for rolling out the dough. This will keep the dough from sticking.  

Remembering not to over handle the dough, place it on the floured cutting board and gently roll each side out until it is 1” thick. Cut the scones into your desired shape and place them on a large baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper

If you want a more golden brown finish to the top of your scones, brush them with extra coconut milk before baking. Put the scones in the oven and set the timer for 25 minutes.

While they’re baking, you can quickly mix up the glaze. All you need to do is whisk together three tablespoons of coconut milk with a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar. Add another tablespoon of sugar if you want it a little thicker. Put the glaze in the fridge to keep it cool. 

When the scones are done baking, pull them out of the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before adding the glaze. After they’re cool, drizzle each scone with a bit of glaze…

Now, call up a friend and enjoy your fluffy scones with a cup of hot tea! Yum! 

If you have any leftovers, keep them in an airtight container to keep them moist. They are best heated until warm before you serve them…

Food Babe's Iced Cranberry Scones

 

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups sprouted wheat or spelt flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries, more as desired
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons culinary coconut milk, more as needed

Glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Cut in the butter with the back of a fork or pastry cutter until the size of a pea.
  4. Add the orange zest and cranberries and mix gently to combine.
  5. In a small bowl mix the egg and the coconut milk together. Add to the dry ingredients and mix only until combined.
  6. Roll the dough out on a floured cutting board until it is 1'' thick. Cut the scones into your desired shape and put on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes.
  7. While baking, make the glaze by combining the coconut milk with the powdered sugar.
  8. Drizzle on top of each scone once you have let them cool. Enjoy!

Notes

**Please choose all organic ingredients if possible**

3.4.3177

 

Kitchen essentials used in this recipe:

If you know anyone who is a scone-lover too, wrap some up on a plate with a bow for them. Also share this recipe with them. I’m sure they’ll be thankful!

Happy Holidays!!!

Xo, 

Vani

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A New Chapter For the MDA Forum Community (With a Giveaway)

Inline_What's_Next_MDA_ForumWhen I first began this blog more than a decade ago, I was adamant about the role of a community with it.

Sure, I wanted to share the knowledge I’d gained (and the experiments I was trying), but I also wanted something more to the experience. I wanted a healthy comment board that encouraged rigorous discussion on blog topics. And I wanted a forum to foster camaraderie and support among readers.

It was critical, I believed, for folks to be able to talk with each other, to ask questions, and to share ideas for what was on their minds and not just on the blog that day. So, my team and I made it happen. The MDA Forum was born. It flourished, in fact. It became, in its own way, a hub of information within the Primal circle for sure, and even within the emerging ancestral movement.

But today it’s time for a new chapter.

It’s no secret the forum has been plagued by serious technical issues since last fall, and I’m not going to mince words here. I know many of you have shared your concerns on the forum itself, on the comment boards, and in private emails to me. I appreciate those messages—and especially the generous offers to to help with community moderation. If only it had been an issue of simple Grokpower…

Those messages and suggestions haven’t fallen on deaf ears. I’ve heard them. My team has heard them and tried several solutions to the issues over the last year, applying considerable time and expense. While we were able to make some headway at times, it seemed progress would quickly be replaced by additional problems. Unfortunately, the forum as we’d built it—and customized it (the operative point from an IT perspective) over the last ten years—had become virtually unmanageable and unconducive to essential updates.

What to do next was a complicated decision, which is why it’s taken this long to be honest. My team and I wanted to explore every avenue and resource for keeping the existing forum but eventually found this wasn’t going to be a reasonable option.

So, we needed a new direction. While the Primal Blueprint philosophy and community aren’t the small, fringe elements they were a decade ago, I wasn’t willing to forgo a community hub. That’s what MDA was founded on, after all, and this wasn’t going to change. What could the next phase be—and how could it intersect with the tools, developments and supports we’ve put together since? Ten years ago we didn’t have a 21-Day Vimify app. We didn’t have Primal Health Coaches. We didn’t have a Keto Reset Group—or anything beyond the bare bones of social media for that matter (since most channels were in their infancy or didn’t exist then).

What we decided upon is what I’m unveiling today: the new Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook Group.

Send a request to join, and once our staff moderators approve the request for membership (no more spambots), you’re good to go. Our Mark’s Daily Apple Editor and our Community Outreach Coordinator will join up with some of our Primal Health Coaches to help answer questions, contribute resources, and maintain the rigorous but respectful community that characterized the best of the MDA forum. 

I realize not everyone is on Facebook—for a variety of reasons. I get that. I don’t deny this was a consideration. As a blogger and business owner these days, however, I’m committed to participating in the social media space (including frequent chats on Facebook Live), and I’ve come to genuinely enjoy it. A lot is possible now for online communities that wasn’t when I started this venture in 2006, and this appears to be the direction things are going.

Most importantly, I should say, without the intricacies of technical investment (i.e. letting Facebook do the hosting and troubleshooting), my team and I will be able to put more time into actual community building—and some fun. With all the headaches of the last year, I’ve missed that, damn it.

Does Facebook offer all the organizational options of a forum? Not yet, but it’s moving there quickly, and it offers a streamlined, spam-free, multimedia experience for community members. The group page is fully searchable, so you’ll be able to look for posts on whatever topic interests you and respond—with notifications when others chime in.

With sensitive topics, if you don’t feel comfortable posting them, send us a line, and we may either do a blog post on it or have one of our moderators present it (anonymously) to the group for brainstorming. Finally, those interested in personal privacy (and I know that’s a concern for some) have the option of creating or adjusting their public profiles (e.g. photos, display names) in ways that serve them best.

As for the existing forum, it isn’t going anywhere but will remain part of MDA as a now archived resource. You’ll be able to go in and search for topics at will. As of this morning, however, it will be closed to further sign-ups and postings. In the next few weeks we’ll also have a team go in and scrub it of spam. Bear with us on that.

I know this next phase of the Mark’s Daily Apple “Forum to Facebook” Community will be welcome news to many…but not necessarily all. I recognize that, and even if you won’t be following the forum community to the Facebook Group, please know I appreciate the insight and support you’ve offered others in the forum over the years—thank you.

Now, let’s turn the page and start building what’s next.

The Contest…and a Request

mda_win_blog_645x445I’m excited to get the group off the ground, but I need your help. Simply hop over to the new Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook Group and join today. The staff and I are ready to go, and we’d love to see as many folks there as possible.

With that in mind, I’m giving away a $500 PrimalBlueprint.com gift certificate to one randomly chosen winner who signs up this first week. That’s right—just request to join the group before midnight PST, Sunday, December 10th, and you’ll be entered to win.

But I’m going to ask one more thing as we begin this new venture. Let me know—on the comment board below or on Facebook—what you’d like to see us do with the new MDA Facebook Group. What ideas, suggestions or requests do *you* have for us? I’m all ears, folks.

Thanks, everybody. I’m excited to have a new direction to move and grow the community. I hope you’ll join me there.

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Are fat bombs the Holy Grail (or Holy Cow!) of Keto?

There’s an old saying (something to the effect) that if you want to ruin a social gathering, just bring up politics or religion.

Truer words have likely never been spoken.

But I’d add one more controversial topic that can quickly turn an amicable feast into a SWAT call-out, and that’s food. Some people don’t really care WHAT they eat while others can be motivated to stab a family member with a fork if the wrong dietary approach is broached.

All this considered, the ketogenic diet is a controversial topic at best…

Some folks think it’s certain death to shift towards a whole foods, low glycemic load, appropriate protein and calorie plan.

And in the other keto corner we have folks who have built a whole religion around avoiding protein, carbs and insulin, all the while recommending consuming enough butter and coconut oil to supply 100 AVN conferences with lubricant.

As is often the case, there’s a lot of nuance between these two extremes. I do my best to unpack this greasy topic in the video below.

Which camp are you in?

Keto is certain death?

The One True Path to keto enlightenment is a vat of butter and coconut oil?

Or perhaps you recognize that as much as one might wish, there’s not a singular route to any way of eating…

If you’re in the latter camp—you’re interested in keto and prefer to tackle your dietary approaches with a bit of sanity and nuance—check out Keto Masterclass.



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Hoos Excited For Basketball!

^^Second helping of kale chips FTW!!!

We had a low-key Friday night – leftover chili and kale chips for all.

This was one of my best batches of kale chips in a long time (ok, I admit it, it was one of my only batches in a long time!) This time I cranked the heat up to about 400* and sprinkled on olive oil, smoked salt, and smoked paprika. They stayed in there about 15 minutes and were perfectly crispy. Everyone liked them!

On Friday night we finished season one of This Is Us and are taking a break to start season two of Stranger Things! #TVMarathon

On Saturday morning we had a light breakfast – toast with PB for me – because we had late morning brunch plans.

Our destination: the UVA basketball game! Mazen pumped himself up by making an arena in his room with tons of animal spectators in the stands.

We went to Hot Cakes for brunch (Mariebette had a 30 minute wait 🙁 ) and had coffees, fruit, and quiche.

We got to the game a little early and The Cavman was out greeting folks. Mazen took one look at him and said “NO! I’m walking the other way!” The Cavman saw him and threw a hilarious fit on the ground because Mazen wouldn’t talk to him. (Sidebar: I was terrified of mascots and Santa when I was little.)

We moved a little further away to take a selfie in front of the stadium…

And all of a sudden Cavman showed up behind us in the picture! Mazen laughed hard. #photobombed!

Mazen was more into the entertainment, the halftime show, spotting the Cavman, and the box of candy we got him than the bball game itself, but he still had a good time!

Isn’t this how you’d want to spend a Saturday afternoon?! Snuggled up with a good Christmas movie and a snack. We all went to the gym for a bit and then settled into the afternoon.

I bought these new boots at Old Navy this week and with a 20% off coupon, they were such a steal! I’ve been wanting a similar $100+ pair from Toms for a while. I love the neutral color, and they are padded and so comfy.

That evening we went to Maya for “Family Date Night.” I forgot how much I love this place!!

M was very happy with his Shirley Temple.

I can’t say enough good things about these two kinds of activity books: Imagine Ink and Water Wow. Both kept him busy for a good 30 minutes at the table before our meal came. I’m ordering about 5 more of each in different categories! The Imagine Ink uses a special marker to color and uncover pictures and puzzles, and the Water Wow uses a water-filled paintbrush to reveal colorful pictures when wet. The Water Wow is reusable because it dries white!

For dinner T had the Pecan-Crusted Pork Chop special, and I got the Cornmeal Catfish. We got lots of southern sides – mac, grits, collards, cornbread. So good!

Saturday morning shenanigans!

Part of this complete breakfast!

Mazen went with Matt to buy a Christmas tree, and I took Gus for a 3.5 mile run.

Sunday afternoon at 4 I went to a Yoga + Massage class at Elements Hot Yoga!! For 10 students, we did a restorative yin yoga while a massage therapist worked on our muscles. Heavenly!

How was your weekend?

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