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Jen, Jo, and the Proposal – 1 year later

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IMG_7590Today is April 4, 2016. Formerly my birthday, but now christened “The Day We Got Engaged” by Joseph. I think this is his excuse of getting out of my birthday gift. WRONG YOU ARE, DEAREST BABES. WRONG YOU ARE. Just kidding. I love you.

It’s been a long time coming, but I have finally decided to post a blog about our proposal. It’s been exactly one year since Joseph asked me to marry him, but not a day goes by when I don’t look down at my left hand and think to myself, “Wow. I am really engaged to the love of my life.” *cue cheesy romantic music here*

IMG_3852The question that people tend to ask me, “Did you know it was going to happen?” Every time I reply, I see a look of disbelief and skepticism in their eyes. “REALLY? You had NO idea he was going to propose on your birthday? *eye roll*”

Scout’s honor! I really had no idea that he would propose on that day. Not even an inkling. The topic of marriage is not new to the both of us. We had been talking about spending the rest of our lives together for awhile now – maybe somewhere around year three of dating, and I had a general idea that 2015 would be the year he would possibly propose. It had been about five plus years or so of dating, Joseph moved to Houston for me, we’re both working full-time, and so and so forth. However, I figured that it would be at the very EARLIEST summer of 2015, and I never imagined he would propose on my birthday. Actually, I even mentioned to him a couple of times, “Psh you wouldn’t propose on my birthday or holidays, HOW CHEESY!” Hahaha. Oops. I promise I don’t think it’s cheesy now. On top of that, I knew (or at least I thought I knew) that there was NO way he could propose on my birthday because I had planned my own birthday weekend to a T. Here was my plan:

  • Friday: Get mani/pedi done in the morning and then crawfish dinner with my cousins
  • Saturday: Tea party with a few of my girlfriends in the afternoon, dinner at my parent’s house with my entire family, and then go two-stepping later that night with my friends
  • Sunday: Brunch with Joseph

I called and made reservations at a local tea shop, and I even decided the week of my birthday that I wanted to go running in the morning on Saturday with Joseph. I PLANNED my birthday weekend out. So even if I thought Joseph would want to propose that weekend, there was no way because I made the entire weekend schedule for myself. Or so I thought.

IMG_7543

The weekend began according to plan. I treated myself to a mani/pedi, had dinner with my cousins Friday night (UGH THEY ALL KNEW ABOUT THE PROPOSAL THAT NIGHT HOW SNEAKY), and on Saturday morning, the day of the proposal, Joseph and I went running. Prior to the run, Joseph showed up at my house with a new dress and a Tiffany’s necklace. He walked towards me with a sign from Blake Shelton’s “My Eyes.”

Those high heels and that sundress,
turquoise heart hanging ’round your neck…

He purchased a birthday dress and a new necklace for my tea party. Ugh. Joseph is amazing at being thoughtful with his gifts. Again, there was no inkling of an impending proposal because this was my birthday. Of course he’d be all cute with a birthday gift like that. It’s Joseph. I know that sounds very boastful, but truly, for anyone who knows Joseph, they know that he goes all out with gift giving. Hey, I’m not complaining!

There was nothing in Joseph’s behavior that indicated that he was about to propose. He wasn’t shifty or nervous or anything like that. I was just moseying along in my life as usual. We finished our morning run, and I went home to get ready for my tea party, and he went back to his apartment to just… hang out alone I suppose. Haha, it never occurred to me.

One of my nearest and dearest friends (and sorority little sister), Jessica, was going to pick me up. This seemed normal. I am a birthday girl after all, and birthday girls are picked up on their birthday. I even sent a quick selfie to Joseph about 10 minutes prior to the pick-up saying, “I feel like a birthday princess!” This was about 20 minutes before he proposed. I wonder how he felt seeing my face and my text and knowing he was going to propose within the hour.

Jessica said she needed to pick up my other nearest and dearest Joanne. This made sense, Joanne was from out-of-town, staying at her in-laws, and with no car. Of course she needed a ride. And of course she would be running late which meant that we needed to “get out of the car and wait at the house for her to finish getting ready.” (LOL I LOVE YOU JOANNE) Again, everything leading up to the actual proposal made complete sense to me. Either I am the most oblivious person alive, or everyone was freakishly good. I think it’s a mixture of both. I had no idea that I was being proposed until the very moment that Jessica turned to me outside of her car and said, “Ummm… I think you need to go that way…”, pointed, and there I stood across the field and saw the path of books.

Everyone says that when you are getting proposed to is an out of body experience. This is very true. It’s surreal. You’re looking at yourself and going, “OHHMYYYGOOOOOOSSHHH IT’S HAPPENING!!!” Do I remember what he said? No, not at all. I only remember what he said because it was fortunately captured on video. Besides that, it would have been a blur of him getting down on one knee and me crying away whispering, “Yes! Yes!” To my knowledge, every bride-friend that I know does NOT really remember what their fiances/husbands said to them on the day of their proposal. It’s a blur of intense emotions. So tip to the guys, don’t stress too much about what you’re going to say. She loves you for you. Speak simply and from your heart. She’s going to say yes.

What I do remember is the moment that I realized it was happening. As I walked towards the first book station, I remember thinking, “Wait. No. Wait. Wait. What? This is not happening. Wait, I’m so nervous. Wait. No. It’s happening RIGHT NOW?” I was in a state of shock, and I felt nervous and tingly realizing that this was it.

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Path of books leading to him. ❤ LITERARY LOVE.

During the large expanse of field that I traversed across, I encountered my favorite books of all time. The 5 Love Languages. Harry Potter. Perks of Being a Wallflower. Eleanor & Park. Pride & Prejudice. A single line was highlighted in each book with a short and personal message from him. I think by book two station I was bawling. I was so nervous, elated, flabbergasted… I can’t even begin to describe the wide range of emotions that my mind went through. 1) This guy is making me WORK by walking to him. He would. 2) This guy annotated books for me. That is an English teacher’s fiance, no doubt. 3) My Fitbit hit 10,000 steps during my walk. Woohoo! That’s a sign, right? Haha.

The last station held a book of “us.” Our story. The best story. And there he was. Waiting for me. Seeing him get down on one knee… that’s an image that I will cherish in my heart forever.

After the proposal, I turned and saw all of my family, his family, and my close friends cheering and whooping along. WHERE DID THEY COME FROM? I’m still in ugly-cry mode right now, but I guess that’s just how life goes.

But wait, whatIMG_7562 about my tea party that I reserved? Right? Joseph already called six months ahead and reserved the entire restaurant for the engagement. He told the owner that I would call sometime in the spring to reserve a table for myself. He told the owner to go with it. And she did. And after my proposal, everyone that gathered together for us continued to celebrate. HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE?

I love thinking about this moment. I love remembering the day and how it went, and I love remembering the shock and joy that I felt. Even now, I can’t believe it happened. And I can’t believe that Joseph did all of that for me. Joseph thought this all through. He’s amazing. I am thankful each and every day that I am engaged to someone like him.

So it’s been one year since we’ve been engaged. And there are now about four months until we are married. I cannot wait until we are officially husband and wife.

Here’s a video capturing the moment, filmed and edited my friend, Karmina. I HAVE AMAZING FRIENDS.

Until the next post,

Jennifer

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Indoor Cycling/Spinning: Jennifer’s Thoughts

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Because I am engaged to someone who is so deeply entrenched in the fitness industry, I happen to partake in such physical activities myself. I am a loyal fan of anything Joseph teaches (Insanity LIVE and more recently Joseph’s new classes over at Equinox River Oaks which include but are not limited to: MetCon3, Best Butt Ever, Armed and Dangerous, Stacked, and Precision Running). However, there are times when I dabble in other forms of exercise. In the past year and a half, I’ve taken a couple of indoor cycling classes and yoga classes as well. The next two posts will be about my experiences with them. I promise that the paleo recipes are coming soon. Somewhat soon. I’ve been slacking. I know.

I have only really taken indoor cycling at one boutique studio in Houston so far, Revolution Studio. It has multiple locations in Sugar Land and in Houston, so I like it because I can purchase a few classes and take them close by home (Sugar Land) or by Joseph whenever I’m in the area of his apartment. I’ve probably taken about… 10-15 classes so far, and I have had the opportunity to cycle with about 4-5 of the instructors. It’s a great studio, and I strongly recommend it for those who have a studio near them! I believe that they still have a special for first-time customers. $25 for a week of unlimited classes! Pretty good deal if you ask me.

The next few few paragraphs are going to walk through my mindset (as a first time indoor cycler) of a class. As a forewarning, there’s a lot of complaining, crying, and confusion.

*Walks In*

Okay… it’s dark. Very dark. Extremely dark. Where is everything, everybody? What is everybody grabbing up at the front? Do I do that too? I see, weights. Let me grab a pair before I head to my bike. This seems to be a thing. How do I find my bike? WHY IS IT SO DARK. Where the heck is my bike at? Okay, bike 26, third row. Good, good. Clip in, clip in….. What does that mean? Tad embarrassing so I need to look around. Oh, I see. Clip my spin shoes into the bike. I got it, I got it. Okay, okay…. I’m clipped in, let’s go! (For beginner riders, I do recommend asking for help. They are there to help you!)

“Turn your resistance to an easy 3.” Okay…. turn my resistance to what? There are no numbers. Or any indicator to tell me to turn to 3? What does this mean? Now she’s telling me to turn it to 6? Is there some internal measuring guide that all the cyclers in here know about that I don’t know… I’ll just pretend to jimmy around with the resistance… I don’t know.

Wow, this instructor is something else. Is she a motivational speaker? Reaching new heights? Being a better me? YES. I AM A BETTER PERSON. YES. I AM GOING BEYOND. YES I AM LETTING GO OF MY DAILY STRUGGLES. Did I sign up for a work-out class or a self-help class? Whatever. I like it.

“OUT OF THE SADDLE. UP. DOWN. UP. DOWN.” Oh geeze. Oh geeze. What? When do I go up out of the saddle? Oh crap, everyone is already out of the saddle. Time to get my butt up there. WAIT. WHAT JUST HAPPENED. I’m up and out of the saddle, but now everyone is down… how did that happen???  What did I miss? I’m a teacher for goodness sakes, when did I miss those instructions? Oh, there’s some kind of pattern, I see. How is everyone following along so quickly? Stare intently at person in front of me – she seems to be a pro. WOW THIS CHICK IN FRONT OF ME IS GOOD. I AM JUST GOING TO FOLLOW HER. THANK YOU GIRL IN FRONT OF ME FOR KNOWING WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

“Okay, now turn that resistance up!” Wait. What. It’s already a struggle getting in and out of this dang saddle. I can’t tell what I hate more… when I’m in the saddle or when I’m out of the saddle. WHY ARE MY THIGHS BURNING OUT OF THE SADDLE, BUT WHEN I CYCLE IN THE SADDLE I CAN’T FEEL MY TUSH. WHAT IS THIS TORTURE. WHY DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF. The struggle is too real right now.

Left. Left. Left Right Left. Wait. No. Crap, I’m not bouncing along with everyone else. How do I get in the rhythm? How is it that everyone can bounce in sync perfectly? What is this madness? WHY IS THIS NOT HAPPENING FOR ME?! Ugh, I hope everyone doesn’t notice how out of sync I am… good thing I’m in the back… Right. Left. Right. Right… Nope, nope, not happening right now. I am just going to bounce along alone in this room. Clearly, I have no ability to indoor cycle like a normal human being. UGH I HATE MY LIFE.

How is the world is everyone in here capable of whooping and shouting for joy? I am dying. WHY ARE YOU ALL SO HAPPY. WHAT CULT HAVE YOU JOINED. I will not whoop and cheer. Let me concentrate on getting out of here in one piece.

Nice, we get to work our arms now. I grabbed the 3lb weights initially because come on… those 1lbs look so dinky. I obviously already lift 5lbs at the gym. I’m all good.

Oh jeebus. I am not good. Why is it somehow insanely difficult. WHY CAN I BARELY LIFT MY ARMS. WHAT IS THIS CRAZINESS. It burns. My arms are engulfed in flames of pain and torture. Stop telling me to pump my arms. Please. Please. Can. Barely. Lift. Arms. Burning. Please. Send. Help.

Okay, okay, I’m getting the hang of this. I got my bounce going on, I fit in with everyone, I can maybe muster a little, “Whoo!” here and there. YEA, I GOT THIS. YEA I AM A RIDER, AND I AM A PART OF THIS COMMUNITY. I AM IN THE ZONE. I’m doing quite well! “OKAY NOW TURN THAT RESISTANCE UP TO AN 8 AND GET OUT OF THE SADDLE! NOW WE ARE GOING TO DO CRUNCHES” …. *cries inside* I can’t feel my legs, arms, and core right now.

“You can do it. Set your expectations and go beyond them. You are powerful within these four walls. Let everything else melt away. Whatever is going on in your life, just ride past it and put it behind you.”

Man, I am feeling inspired to be a better person. UGH I MADE IT THROUGH A CLASS. I AM ALIVE HALLE-FREAKING-LUJAH. Time to clip out? Ummm… embarrassing, why I am incapable of getting out of this bike… my shoes won’t clip out! “Lean on your right heel and turn it sharply to the right/left. It’s okay if you’re stuck, just take your feet out of the shoes and leave them in the bike.” NO. I REFUSE TO BE THAT “NEW RIDER” WHO CAN’T GET OUT OF HER DANG BIKE. I AM GOING TO CLIP OUT OF THIS DANG BIKE.

….

…. still struggling.

….

….Okay, I give up. I’m slipping my feet out of the shoes and leaving the rental shoes still attached to the bike. Defeated. Embarrassed. Everyone is probably staring at me thinking, “Ha, look at that poor girl. Clearly a first time rider. Can’t even clip out of a bike.”

*Leaves knowing that my body will hate me yet thank me the next day.*

I hope that there is something in that little anecdote that any of y’all have experience when taking an indoor cycling/spin class. Either that or I am just a hopeless failure at indoor cycling/spin and need to give up. As much as the crying/questioning/complaining, I actually do enjoy taking those classes a lot. I feel like I’m getting a great comprehensive work out, increasing and improving my cardio, and I genuinely want to be a better person from the instructors’ motivational pep talks. I can see how people become addicted to these places. Unfortunately, due to my current financial means (not to mention the fact that my fiance teaches group fitness himself), I am unable to consistently pay for and attend indoor cycling/spin classes. But if given the opportunity and when the time is right, I definitely plan on purchasing passes again. I am interested in trying out different boutique studios, but it’s harder for me seeing as I’m out in Sugar Land for the majority of the week. Perhaps once I’m married and moved in with Joseph in Houston, I’ll have the ability to check out a few studios in Houston.

I love the community and Revolution Studio though. Spin communities are a whole different breed of fitness, I can tell you that. I can see that the instructors and the staff up front have genuine care and concern for their riders, and it’s clear that they have a very loyal, positive, and great following of people. It’s easy as a beginning rider to feel left out and out of place, but I think given the chance, they will open their arms to you and welcome you in.

What are your thoughts? What have you experienced as a first time rider? Anything similar? Different? Any recommendations on different places to check out?

Until the next ride,

Jennifer

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Recipe

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LOOOONG time no post. My bad, ladies and gentlemen. Jennifer and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary recently… ok maybe almost over four weeks ago, but the important part is that I baked her an anniversary cookie cake. A whole cake?! Yeah, but no worries. It was finished off mainly by me.

Back story behind the cake. Five years ago when I asked Jennifer to be my bae, I “baked” her a cake and drove 6.5 hours from Lubbock to Austin to give to her. And when I say I “baked” her a cake, I mean my good friends from college, Jenny and Carmen, baked the cake for me (gracias). It was a chocolate cake filled with ganache and icing that read “girlfriend?” Thankfully she said yes or else that would have been an awkward and long drive home. Cheesy way of asking a girl out right? Possibly.

But every year since then, I have had someone help me bake a cake every year because my baking skills suck. Also, shout out to Matt and my sister, Jennifer for years 2 and 4. Year 3 I had midterms to study for so no cake, but this anniversary shall continue the tradition from here on out.

Cakes

This year I decided to finally bake a cake on my own. This recipe is pretty easy and straight from a paleo dessert cookbook (purchase book here) I received as a birthday present this past year. Thanks again, Jenny.

The Paleo Chocolate Lovers Cookbook - a gift from our friend, Jenny.
The Paleo Chocolate Lovers Cookbook – a gift from our friend, Jenny.

For the cake ingredients, you need to gather:

  • 2 cups – almond flour
  • ¼ cup – arrowroot flour
  • ½ cup – coconut sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon – sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon – baking soda
  • ½ cup – palm shortening
  • 1 teaspoon – vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces of dark chocolate, finely chopped or 2 and ½ ounce cacao nibs

For the frosting ingredients, you need to farm for:

  • ½ cup – palm shortening
  • ¼ cup – honey
  • 1 teaspoon – vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons – coconut flour, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons – almond flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon – sea salt
  • Liquid vanilla stevia to taste

Ready, set, cake!

  1. Preheat that oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot flour, coconut sugar, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Add palm shortening and vanilla extract. Beat with an electric mixer. Make sure you add enough of the wet ingredients so the cookie actually bakes.
  4. Fold in the chocolate (or cacao nibs)
  5. Line a 12” cast iron skillet with unbleached parchment paper on the bottom only.
  6. Spread cookie dough evenly in the skillet and pack it down.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the edges are beginning to brown slightly.
  8. Let the cookie and the skillet cool completely before frosting.

Frosting time!

  1. Mix together all the ingredients – palm shortening, honey, vanilla extract, coconut flour, almond flour, salt, and liquid vanilla stevia. Before adding the vanilla stevia, try testing out the frosting first. You can add as much stevia as you want to taste.
  2. Decorate the cookie cake however you want. I used a pastry bag I bought from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
  3. So the cake I baked for year 2… I tried to write happy anniversary and it ended up saying happy birthday according to some people. So I decided to just write a 5 on the cake because it’s the thought that counts right? I also added 5 stars because 5. I ended up with tons of extra frosting, but that’s okay. Jennifer doesn’t like frosting too much, so I didn’t want to overload the cake for her sake.
Year 2 cake... Happy Anniversary! Or... happy birthday???
Year 2 cake… Happy Anniversary! Or… happy birthday???
My attempt at frosting year 5 cake lol
My attempt at frosting year 5 cake lol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s it! Happy Anniversary, Babe!

Paleo-friendly cookie cake for year 5!
Paleo-friendly cookie cake for year 5!

Until the next meal,

Joseph and Jennifer

Breakfast Egg Muffins Recipe

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Apologies for the ridiculously delayed blog post! Joseph’s work schedule has been particularly busy at work these past two weeks, and I started teaching a brand new novel study that I’ve never taught before, so that usually means me attempting to stay ahead of my kids each night by studying up on the content that I’m about to teach… #procastination. Sigh. Plus, we’ve both just been too lazy to blog. We have tons of recipes to share, but we just can’t seem to find the time to just sit down and type away. Professional blogging is no joke!

Most of the recipes that I like to use the most in my kitchen are the ones that are most convenient, i.e great for meal prep and easy to make. I like recipes that are easy to cook in bulk! This is not only for meal prep but also because Joseph tends to eat a massive amount of whatever I make (he loves me? or he loves food? who knows…).

This recipe is for breakfast egg muffins. This recipe is not only extremely easy, but it’s also flexible as well! If you don’t like the ingredients that I put in, you can change it up to meet your needs and wants! The breakfast egg muffins store very easily for meal prep, and you can eat them as an on-the-go breakfast or even eat them for lunch. I do both!

First up, gather the ingredients:

  • 5 links of Applegate pork breakfast sausage
  • 10-12 eggs (Grade A, cage-free, and organic is preferable)
  • ghee, coconut oil, or other fat of choice
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 green bell pepper diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 onion diced into small pieces
  • shredded cheese of choice (I use mexican blend)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and also washing your hands!

Take the breakfast sausage and dice them into small pieces. Sausage is typically a no-no when it comes to paleo-friendly foods, however the Applegate brand is one of the better brands that have pre-made/cooked meats that are paleo-friendly. You will of course still have to check the ingredients listed on the back of any Applegate product to double-check if it’s pale-friendly, but the pork sausage has been verified by us!

Applegate Classic Pork Breakfast Sausages are paleo-friendly! These are pre-cooked as well.
Applegate Classic Pork Breakfast Sausages are paleo-friendly! These are pre-cooked as well.

In a medium/large bowl, scramble your eggs and season with salt and pepper. I also sometimes throw in FlavorGod seasoning just because! Add the green bell peppers, red bell peppers, onions, as well as shredded cheese (as much as you desire). Honestly, this is where you have fun. You can add diced cook mushrooms, diced tomatoes, chopped broccoli, bacon, basically anything that floats your boat! There IS such a thing as putting too many different ingredients because it will overflow your muffin tins. My recommendation is to vary it up each time you make it. Bell peppers and sausage one day and maybe mushrooms and bacon the next day!

Scramble together eggs, breakfast ingredients of your choice, salt/pepper and other seasonings of your choice!
Scramble together eggs, breakfast ingredients of your choice, salt/pepper and other seasonings of your choice!

Grease the cups of a muffin tin with your ghee/coconut oil/lard of choice. This is where it can get tricky. If you grease it TOO much then your muffins will turn out… well, greasy! Grease it too little and your muffins end up sticking to the pan. My recommendation is to use silicone baking cups (to purchase click here). There’s no need to grease, and the muffins slide out perfectly.

Place equal amounts of sausage in the bottoms of the muffin tins. Don’t worry, the sausages will rise up throughout your muffins. AMAZING.

Pour your egg mixture evenly on top of the sausage. You will want to pour it about 5/6th of the way full (a little more than 3/4 but less than the brim of the muffin tin). Don’t pour to the brim or else you will have a colossal crazy mass of muffin, but pour too little and you have dinky little muffins. 10 eggs will make about 10 muffins, and 12 eggs will make about 12 muffins.

Meat on the bottom of the tins and then evenly pour the egg mixture on top.
Meat on the bottom of the tins and then evenly pour the egg mixture on top.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and try to allow it to cool for about 5 minutes before digging in! Use a knife to loosen the egg muffin from the sides of the pan.

Breakfast egg muffins
Freshly baked egg muffins. NOM NOM NOM.

You can store in an an airtight container and refrigerate to eat later. You can eat these as is or serve these with salsa, bacon, paleo-friendly wraps (to purchase wraps, click here), or if you are not strictly paleo, you can even crumble it up and throw it in a tortilla for an easy breakfast wrap!

Again, feel free to be creative and add whatever breakfast ingredient you would like! The options are endless!

Did you add any additional ingredients when you made yours? If so, please share! We’d love to know all of the different combinations you can do with this dish! Remember to hashtag #jenjoandpaleo!

Until the next meal,

Joseph and Jennifer

Baked Sweet Potatoes Recipe

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It’s been an incredibly crazy week for me and Joseph. It was my school’s Homecoming week, and I’ve been so busy with the Homecoming Coronation and Dance festivities. I can honestly say I literally spent almost 80 hours this week at school: monitoring my kids while they painted, decorated, and set-up for the dance; communicating with vendors for the dance; handling ticket sales and unsuccessfully trying to count/add/divide/multiply monetary amounts (my number skills are horrendous), and worrying about the weather raining out our Homecoming Coronation Ceremony which was outdoors. My poor kiddos got the full dose of crazy me this entire week, and poor Joseph, who is always ever-so-supportive, was stuck with the “assistant babysitter/food delivery/emotional support man” throughout the entire process. So I haven’t been able to even think about properly blogging until now. I’d hate to skip a week of not posting anything, so I’ll provide a recipe for a very easy side dish, baked sweet potatoes!

Sweet potatoes are not only paleo-approved but that are also absolutely delicious and can be cooked in so many ways. Sweet potatoes are GREAT for athletes, and they are a wonderful source for carbs.

Joseph and I like to cook our sweet potatoes in a variety of ways, and we’ll share those recipes in the next few posts! However, there is one very simple, tried-and-true sweet potato recipe that ANYBODY can do. Baked sweet potatoes!

Now, gather your ingredients:

  • Sweet potatoes (your preference to how many you would like and which kind of sweet potato you’d like to use)
  • Ghee (or coconut oil)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
  • Flavor God seasoning (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is warming up, wash the sweet potatoes well. After drying the sweet potatoes, take a fork or small knife and carefully prick small holes all over the sweet potatoes.

Using a cooking brush, coat the sweet potatoes with melted ghee or coconut oil.
Using a cooking brush, coat the sweet potatoes with melted ghee or coconut oil.

Melt the ghee, and with a cooking brush coat each potato with your ghee/coconut oil. Place in the oven for about 40-50 minutes.

Easy baked sweet potatoes! Eat as is or add ghee, salt/pepper, flavor god seasoning! :)
Easy baked sweet potatoes! Eat as is or add ghee, salt/pepper, flavor god seasoning! 🙂

And voila! That is it! When you are ready to eat your sweet potato you have the option of mixing ghee and salt/pepper to the potato. Joseph likes to add Flavor God seasoning to his sweet potato. I just eat it plain-jane because I love the taste of sweet potato alone.

We’ve been using baked sweet potatoes as part of our meal prep. We bake the potatoes, cut them in half, and couple them with some kind of protein and maybe a small veggie side. Absolutely perfect and easy for meal prep!

Hope you enjoyed this short and sweet post! Remember to hashtag #jenjoandpaleo!

Until the next meal,

Joseph and Jennifer

Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” Recipe

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Hi everyone!

It’s been somewhat of a crazy week what with school starting up again and me (Jennifer) being back in the classroom molding the future of our world! Juuuuusstttt kiiiidddinggg! …but not really. Haha. 🙂 Anyways, with my school schedule in full swing and Joseph’s intense work hours, blogging was put on small backburner for a few days and we apologize for that!

Today’s entry is going to be a simple-but-sweet recipe for one of the most staple and versatile ingredients in a paleo pantry. Cauliflower. In the paleo-centric world, cauliflower can be used as a great substitute for restricted food items such as bread, rice, and white potato. Just as a side note, and I’ve mentioned this briefly in a previous post, but white potato is now an acceptable Whole30 food to eat, but only in moderation. Now, I’m not going to sit here and lie to you – yes, cauliflower is used as a substitute, but for those of you who feel like bread/rice/potatoes are an extension of your being like I do… cauliflower will never TRULY replace the taste of bread/rice/potatoes… however, if cooked correctly, it is certainly enjoyable! And the nutritional benefits to cauliflower are through the roof!

I’ve encountered this recipe for cauliflower mashed “potatoes,” and have tweaked it to meet my tastebuds. The first time I made the cauliflower mashed poatotes, geeze, I don’t even want to remember it, it was barely palatable! I also made the mistake of using TWO heads of cauliflower because I was trying to make a healthy dinner for my parents, cousin, and Joseph. Suffice to say… I made too much of something that was simply not very good, and I had a lot of leftovers (but not the good kind of leftovers).

I’ve finally (kind of) perfected this recipe to where I can appreciate the taste, and Joseph can tell you, I’m somewhat on the pickier side when it comes to eating. This recipe is INCREDIBLY easy to make, I whipped it up on the whim a few nights ago!

Time to gather the ingredients!

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 5 cloves of garlic (you can use more cloves if you really enjoy the garlic-y flavor, or use less if you’re not a fan of garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter (we use Paleo Butter)
  • Kosher salt (for tasting)
  • Organic white pepper

You’ll want to take your head of cauliflower and then wash and trim the cauliflower head and cut up some small florets and stems. You will also want to take your cloves of garlic and peel the skin. You can keep the cloves whole since they will be mashed alongside the cauliflower anyways.

Take a pot and fill it with one to two inches of water, turn on your stove top to boil the water (medium-high). Place your steamer in there (link to the steamer that Joseph and I use can be found here) and then simply throw the cauliflower florets/stems along with the garlic into the steamer. Salt the cauliflower to your liking (you can always add more salt later).

Cauliflower, garlic cloves, and salt in steamer with the pot filled 1-2 inches with water!
Cauliflower, garlic cloves, and salt in steamer with the pot filled 1-2 inches with water!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place the lid over the pot/steamer and steam and cauliflower florets have softened. This will probably be somewhere a little over ten minutes. Be sure to check on your pot to make sure the water hasn’t dried up. I found out the hard way through a corrosive burning smell that permeated the kitchen when my pot was boiling nothing. For those of you who do not own a steamer at home yet, I think you should be able to try cooking the cauliflower by bowling the cauliflower/garlic cloves for a long time until they are soft. I’ve never tried it before, so I’m really not sure, but I feel like it would be okay. If you try the boiling option, please let us know how it turns out!

Place the lid over the pot and let steam for about 10-15 minutes. Be sure to check water level so it doesn't dry out!
Place the lid over the pot and let steam for about 10-15 minutes. Be sure to check water level so it doesn’t dry out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the florets are thoroughly cooked and soft, toss them (including the garlic cloves) into colander to drain. Throw everything into a food processor and add some more salt, pepper, and the two tablespoons of grass-fed butter.

Place all ingredients in food processor. Easy-peasy!
Place all ingredients in food processor. Easy-peasy!
The butter/brand we use. Paleo butter!
The butter/brand we use. Paleo butter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Process everything until smooth! I’m sure you can do this by hand, but that would probably be time-consuming and tiring. I’ve tried whipping this up with a electric hand-mixer which wasn’t as bad as doing it by hand, but I find using the food processor the most convenient. Food processor that I bought for Joseph for our most recent Valentine’s Day celebrations can be found here (I know, we’re so romantic).

YUM, looks good, right? :)
YUM, looks good, right? 🙂

And voila! You have yourselves some cauliflower mashed “potatoes.” I really think the garlic cloves make ALL the difference. This still doesn’t replace real mashed potatoes for me, but I really enjoy making this from time to time because it’s a simple recipe that still tastes delicious! If you try this recipe and post it, please be sure to hashtag #jenjoandpaleo! If you make this dish and tweak it yourself, please let us know what you changed and how it worked out for you!

Until the next meal,

Joseph and Jennifer

Herbed Chicken Drumsticks with Cherry Tomatoes

Posted on Updated on

Hi everyone! Time to share another recipe! I’m honestly not sure where the original source of this recipe is. I came across this recipe about four to five years ago and have since memorized it and tweaked it to my needs. I’m sure there are various versions of this recipe all over the Internet and cookbooks, so if anybody knows of the original source of THIS exact recipe, please send it to me so that I can provide this recipe with the proper credit! The measurements of all the ingredients are possibly off…. only because I’ve made this dish so many times I tend to eyeball everything that I do.

I LOVE this dish because not only is it paleo-friendly, but it is incredibly easy to make and you don’t have to have a “paleo-pantry” to make this. In fact, I used to make this dish in college before I even know what “paleo” was. At the time, I didn’t realize that this recipe was paleo-friendly, heck, I didn’t even know paleo was! When I found the recipe, I simply thought to myself, “I’m in college and need something easy to cook and impress people with. This will do. This will do.” So for those of you with “regular” pantries, this is certainly something you can make! And for those of you who claim you don’t cook well, this is also something you can make easily!

Okay, time to gather the ingredients!

  • 5-6 chicken drumsticks (this can probably be made with chicken breast, thigh, whatever your preference is – but I am personally a big fan of drumsticks!)
  • 1 cup of cherry/grape tomatoes
  • 1 small onion (I use white onions)
  • 1 medium white potato, optional (Whole30 approved, but in moderation)
  • 3-4 Tsb of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp of thyme
  • 1-2 tsp of oregano
  • 1-2 tsp of basil
  • 1-2 tsp of rosemary

Beginning note: You do NOT need to wash chicken before cooking it. Rinsing your raw chicken with water actually distributes infection around your kitchen! Additionally, chicken companies already go through a cleaning process that ensures the chicken is germ-free. Any bacteria that is lingering will dissipate when your chicken is cooking. Still tempted to wash your chicken? See more information here and here.

WASH YOUR HANDS. Preheat the oven to 375°F.Take your onion and chop it into bite-size chunks. You do NOT have to be nice and neat when cutting these onions! You just want to cut them to desired bite-size pieces that meet your preferences.

These do not have to be chopped in any fancy way - just easy and messy bite-size chunks!
These do not have to be chopped in any fancy way – just easy and messy bite-size chunks!

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. I’m not exactly sure why I do this; I assume it’s because I want some of the tomato juices to seep throughout the dish to make it more tender and juicy. I suppose you can just… not cut the cherry tomatoes and still have the same dish. I admit, cutting the tomatoes is somewhat a pain in the butt! Sometimes I’ll chop up some white potatoes and mix it in with the chicken, tomato, and onion mixture before I throw it in the oven to add some carbs and to make the dish a little more filling. Joseph eats a lot – so I try to do what I can to ensure his stomach gets its fill of good food! But the potatoes are OPTIONAL, so you do not need to add potatoes if you don’t want to.

Throw the onion, tomatoes, and drumsticks all together in your baking dish (9 X 11 is sufficient).

Just throw everything in the baking dish!
Just throw everything in the baking dish!

Go ahead and drizzle the extra-virgin olive oil all over your chicken mixture and add the spices. You can add more/less EVO-oil and spices depending on your desires. I just gave you the measurements as a general guideline. Then, with your clean hands or a mixing spoon – mix everything very well until everything is evenly coated with the EVO-oil and spices.

About four tablespoons of EVO-oil and 1-2 teaspoons of all the spices.
About four tablespoons of EVO-oil and 1-2 teaspoons of all the spices.
Make sure to mix everything well so that the chicken and veggies are evenly coated in EVO-oil and spices!
Make sure to mix everything well so that the chicken and veggies are evenly coated in EVO-oil and spices!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place baking dish (uncovered) into oven and bake for about 50 minutes at 375°F. Turn drumsticks over halfway (25 minutes). Take out after 50 minutes, but make sure to check a drumstick to ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Fresh out of the oven, smells so good!!!
Fresh out of the oven, smells so good!!!

We served this alongside a simple salad (salad spring mix, mixed berries, and drizzled with Tessemae’s balsamic dressing) and steamed green beans!

Dinner is served! Herbed chicken drumsticks with grape tomatoes and potatoes, steamed green beans, and a simple mixed berry salad with balsamic dressing. YUM IN OUR TUMS!!!
Dinner is served! Herbed chicken drumsticks with grape tomatoes and potatoes, steamed green beans, and a simple mixed berry salad with balsamic dressing. YUM IN OUR TUMS!!!

I think that you could probably play around with different oils and spices and maybe add different types of veggies into the dish. I love how easy and versatile this recipe can be, and I love how you can just tweak it to meet your needs! Hope you enjoyed this recipe!

Remember, if you try this recipe at home please reply to this blogpost and provide your feedback. We’d love to hear how the recipe worked out for you! And if you’re one of those crazy “I take pictures of my food and post it” type of people like me, feel free to use the hashtag #jenjoandpaleo to support us!

We tried Revive Root Beer and Living Limon!
We tried Revive Root Beer and Living Limon!
He enjoyed the kombucha! He says it tastes like a carbonated drink.
He enjoyed the kombucha! He says it tastes like a carbonated drink.
Not sure if I liked it too much - it tasted like beer to me, and I hate alcohol. :P
Not sure if I liked it too much – it tasted like beer to me, and I hate alcohol. 😛

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until the next meal,

Joseph and Jennifer