WHEN FOOD LOOKS UGLY BUT TASTES GOOD… A STORY IN KITCHEN FAILS

Happy Monday!!

It really is a very happy Monday because today marks the first day post 21-Day Sugar Detox! I can’t believe we made it! Honestly, it went by pretty fast (for me at least… pretty sure The Boy feels differently) and I feel inspired to keep it up. Well at least until Thanksgiving.  Because, pumpkin pie. And apple crisp. And cookies…

I can say now, post 21DSD that prior to starting this, I wasn’t entirely convinced that your cravings for sugar could go away. But I (shockingly) really don’t crave a lot of the things I missed in week one! I know, I know, I’m annoyed with myself for saying that too.

Anywho– last weekend, The Boy and I let cooking take over our lives. We spent the ENTIRE weekend Costco’ing and grocery store shopping and cooking so that we had food prepped for the entire week. It started out all fun and games… I was a Martha Jewart with my “Not Sweet Donuts” and he, a full fledged Mario Jewtali whipping up tomato sauce and ketchup from scratch (I know, right?!)

But then it overtook the entire weekend and we both vowed never again. Cooking a meal together here and there… good. Cooking for hours and hours on end? That’s where all relationships go to die a slow (cooker) death.

So this weekend was supposed to be all actual fun and games. But somehow, I kept getting sucked back into the kitchen. The raw cauliflower and broccoli in the fridge was begging to be roasted. And the 1/2 can of pumpkin and green tipped banana that was about to turn ripe? I mean what was I supposed to do? Just let it them sit there? There were Not Sweet Donuts to be made, people! I TRIED to relax, really I did.  But I kept hearing the coconut butter in the pantry saying “make me into a truffle, woman!”

I don’t know who I am anymore!

For my final #21DSD cooking fest, I really wanted to try these veggie patties from the 21 Day Sugar Detox book. Diane Sanfilippo (the creator) says they make great “buns” for burgers and are also great on their own so I figured they seemed both easy and yummy.  And since there were carrots in the fridge (okay, I may or may not have gone out to buy said carrots) I really had no other choice but to whip these patties up.

AND the total prep time said 10 minutes and it was just a few simple ingredients… So I took it to the kitchen!

I shredded up 4 cups of carrots and zucchini. But that part alone took seventeen years. I was already feeling defeated but I am not a quitter (well I did quit the piano in like 4th grade. And tennis)

So I carried on…

I mixed up three eggs beaten with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp garlic powder and then mixed in 1/4 cup of coconut flour until it became dough like:

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And then I tried to squeeze out the excess water in the veggies which turned into one hot orange mess. After that, I added the veggies to the mixture:

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I added coconut oil to the skillet and added 1/4 cup of the mixture in blobs on my pan over medium-high heat:

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All seemed to go well… Until it was time to flip… and they completely fell apart…

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(Not to mention they were burnt… #oops)

And at the end once plated, the “patties” looked like this:

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And not like THIS:

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Hmmm.

Take note dear readers: I am an honest woman. It would’ve been easy to just not post this blog at all– and never share this mess of a veggie patty kitchen fail but I’m not one of those bloggers whose food looks all gorgeous and amazing and like you want to eat it SO badly that you’re embarrassingly wiping the drool from your face while looking at your instagram feed. I want you know that I don’t have a full plate of food porn on the first try… because this blog is all about trying and failing and trying some more… like that inspirational quote that is on like all of those greeting cards and kitchen magnets and stuff.

I want you to know that I fail. A lot. And this was one big hot plate of fail. #aintnoshame

The good news? They tasted good. Like really good! So maybe it’s more of a veggie hash than a patty?

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The next day while at a local natural market, Jimbo’s in San Diego, I saw they had already shredded up carrots and beets and zucchini and I thought maybe I wold have better luck. So I tried again… because well you know that quote…

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and these ones stayed together more! Success!

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but then… they also burned! Fail.

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Sooo not quite sure what the answer is here– other than don’t judge a food by it’s burnt and mushy appearance…because really they do taste great!

I do think it that its time to hang up my apron for a minute and take a weekend or two to just have actual outside of the kitchen fun and games.

I grabbed the leftover shredded veggies this morning to add to a my salad and found this note inside from The Boy:

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I think he’s ready for his non-cooking-picky-ordering-almond-latte-drinking GF back.

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THIRSTY THURSDAY… HOT CHOCOLATE THE PALEO/NO SUGAR WAY

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Sweater Weather!

While most of the country has moved far beyond sweater weather and into frozen tundra status, Southern California is finally seeing a cool down that allows me to finally break out my favorite clothes of the year: adorbs boots, cozy sweaters and cute jackets!

We had taken quite a long break but that made the reunion that much more exciting!

The other day at work, we taped our primetime holiday special and the set was decorated like we too lived in the frigid parts of the country, complete with “snow” (cotton that looks like snow- ah the magic of TV).

I don’t know if it was the fake snow or the Christmas trees, but mother nature got the hint and she gave us one very chilly night. So while we were taping for hours outside, everyone was happily sipping on hot chocolate and I had a total case of HCE (Hot Chocolate Envy)

I was left to my own devices… sipping on hot water and pretending it was hot chocolate. But even I, who used to (okay I still do) pretend I could sing– (I use this little anecdote to prove that I have a very vivid imagination), couldn’t convince myself that my mug of hot water was in fact, hot chocolate.

So last night while still battling the sniffles, and still in the sweater weather spirit, I decided to make my own, 21 day sugar detox friendly version

First: I took 1 cup of light coconut milk and 1/2 cup of full fat, 1 and a half cups of water, 1/2 cup of cocoa powder (unsweetened of course), 1/2 tsp of vanilla and some cinnamon and whisked it all together. Then I put it on the stove over medium heat and let it simmer:

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Once the cocoa was fully dissolved, I poured into a mug:

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And of course, enjoyed the piping hot drink with a truffle:

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It only took a few minutes to make (sweet!) and it’s a richer and bittersweet cocoa than your typical chemically pouch of cocoa.  Post 21dsd I would maybe add the slightest touch of honey or maple syrup to sweetened (probably 1/2 tsp per mug)

There was a lot left over so I stuck it in the fridge and decided that adding a bit to my morning coffee seems like a pretty genius idea!

Paleo Mocha anyone?!

We are entering the final days of this! three more full days to go! I can’t believe it! Although I have to say I think I may keep it going… at least until Thanksgiving… then all bets are off.

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(No) Sugar, (Pumpkin) Spice & Everything Nice… In These Delish Pumpkin Spice Donuts!

We are entering the home stretch of the 21 Day Sugar Detox… compared to week one, week three seems like a breeze. No more headaches, my skin keeps getting clearer, my sleep keeps getting better.

I do have a cold but I think that’s from the fact that I work in very close quarters where my co-workers are sneezing on me about every 30 seconds.

And I can really and truly say my cravings for sugar really just aren’t there. Yes, I still want treats and snacks but the “not sweet treats” fill that “sweet” tooth. I’m a huge creature of habit and this has made me realize how many sweet things I was eating just because it was a routine… even if it was healthy… there are certain things I would eat daily just because I was used to eating them daily and not because I was hungry for it or even wanted it.

And while less than one week from now, this whole “I’m a changed person” mantra may be thrown by the wayside as I’m  elbow deep in a sugar laden pumpkin pie (mmm, pumpkin pie), for now I’m committed to the last days of these 21. And so instead of sugary ooey gooey pumpkin pie, I have not at all sugary Pumpkin Spice Donuts:

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No, these aren’t your Dunkin, Starbucks or Tim Hortons Pumpkin Donuts variety. There is in not a morsel of sugar (clearly), no frosting (hashtag duh) and no artificial pumpkin anything about them. But before you go clicking out of the browser, I promise you these are actually good! (not to mention they don’t contain a days worth of calories in what can be consumed in just a few bites)

I have to admit that even I wasn’t expecting much given the last pumpkin “treat” I tried to make on this detox tasted more like feet (or what I would imagine feet to taste like- can’t say I have much experience there), but these were actually really quite delicious.

They had enough sweetness to taste like a treat (only using one green tipped banana). Dare I say, I would even make these post 21DSD. And for those of you who aren’t convinced, you could add a bit of honey or maple syrup to sweeten them just a tad while still keeping them paleo and refined sugar free.

Ladies and Gents… it’s Pumpkin Donut Time!

First I pre-heated the over to 350 degrees and then added all the “wet” ingredients into a bowl (2 eggs, 1/4 cup pumpkin, 1/4 cup plus 2 tbs full fat coconut milk, 1.5 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar and whisked it all together:

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Then I added 1/2 cup almond flour, 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1/2 tsp of baking soda, 2 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice, and 2 tsp cinnamon:

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And mixed it up until it became a well combined dough:

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Next, I greased my donut pan with coconut oil and placed the mix in a plastic bag and snipped off the corner:

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And then squeezed the dough out in a circle until it was about half full:

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I sprinkled each donut with some unsweetened shredded coconut and popped them in the over for 30 minutes:IMG_1304

And when the buzzer went off, they looked like…. this!

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MMM pumpkin donuts (they smelled fantastic):

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Even though the recipe says it makes 6 donuts, I had leftover dough so I put the rest of it in a mini loaf pan too… how cute! If you don’t have a donut pan you could easily make these in mini loaf pans or even cupcake tins:

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And now for the taste test!

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The Boy and I were in agreement that these were delicious! And exactly what we needed to get us through the final week!

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Wednesday Wins: A Day 10 Update and Two Sugar Detox Recipes That Taste Amazing!

Day 10 and I’m getting really into this sugar detox thing.

As a general standards & practices in my normal not detoxing life, I try not to weigh myself on the regular because it’s a mutual hate-hate relationship with that steely plate of judgement. But I weighed myself on day 1 of this detox so that I could get a whole picture on if the benefits would outweigh (quite literally!) the negatives of giving up the white powdery goodness. And although I promised myself I wouldn’t step on the scale during these 21 days, (especially because I really didn’t do this detox with weight loss as my intention),  I woke up this morning thinking “maybe I’m eating too much fat” and convinced myself that I’ve perhaps gained weight while sacrificing the sweet stuff.

Um, hell to the no.

So in a momentary Oh-No-I-Did-Not-Give-Up-Sugar-Just-To-Gain-Fat-By-Eating-Fat  I stepped on the scale and watched the numbers like I was a contestant on the Biggest Loser — minus the tight spandex biker shorts and the commercial break that leaves you hanging.

I held my breath… and then looked down…. and I’ve lost three pounds!

Once again, this Diane chic really knows her stuff. Honestly, I feel full and satisfied by incorporating a healthy amount of healthy fats into my meals and snacks. I do think I am eating too many nuts… but between the weight loss, the clearer skin and the better sleep, the proof is in the (chia seed) pudding that this thing is working!

You know what else is working? This no sugar extravanagza has made The Boy into a chef! It’s like this detox has been his Bar-Mitzvah of cooking.  It’s turned him from a boy who would just plop raw chicken on a baking sheet and bake it as is (gross, plain and dry) to a man who seasons, sautés, makes sauces from scratch and is giving ME pointers for recipes I should try.

So yesterday, he informed me that he made the Chocolate Truffles from the “Not Sweet Treats” section of the 21 Day Sugar Detox cookbook and that they were in his words “delicious!”

And since he is a tough critic and brutally honest, especially when it comes to treats (the smoothies I made us other day were a bust) I knew they had to be good. So last night I whipped them up. The book offers up two options, but I made a hybrid combo with my own little twist and they did not disappoint!

How I made it:
In a bowl I combined 1/4 coconut butter softened and 1/3 cup almond butter, then I added 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp of vanilla, 1 tablespoon of cacao nibs and a few shakes of cinnamon. I mixed it all up and stuck it in the freezer for three minutes. Once they set, I scooped them into little balls and rolled them in unsweetened coconut and stuck them back into the freezer (it made 13 truffles total)

And they looked like this!

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And for the taste test:

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Big fan. Huge. Really satisfying and delicious and the cacao nibs added a nice crunch!

Although you wouldn’t know it from this blog, it’s not just the sweet stuff that is proving to be satisfying. Earlier this week I tried my hand at “Faux-caccia” I love the name and I love the dish…

It’s a few simple ingredients- some minced garlic, eggs, coconut flour, coconut oil, basil, rosemary and oregano!

The dough was a bit hard to work with to get it to be even and not break apart:

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And then… I realized a quarter way through baking that I forgot to put in the oregano… Oopsie!

So I improvised… and by that I mean, I took it out of the oven and smushed some oregano into the dough. Mario Batali does that too, right?!

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Pre-sace it looked like this (and it smelled great!):

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And then I added a sauce made of just tomato paste, water, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano and baked it for ten more minutes and when it came out it looked like this:

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Bellisimo!!

And this was amazing! I made it a second time this week and doubled the sauce the recipe calls for to make it even yummier… and it was. Oh folks, it was gooood.

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“Chocolate” and “Pizza” on a Sugar Detox? Who would have thought?!

Not this girl!

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TRIED IT TUESDAY: THE HOLY GRAIL OF SUGAR DETOX FRIENDLY TREATS!

Day 9 of this 21 Day Sugar Detox and we are going strong. (whoo hoo!)

We had a momentary “why are we doing this” moment this weekend.  Okay we’ve had a lot of those… but it was particularly intense one when we were at the movies on Sunday. mmm popcorn. So bad for you yet so, so good.

And then there was the cute couple sitting RIGHT next to us with a huge extravaganza of Dylan’s Candy-- they were laughing and smiling while they were chowing down on their filled to the brim bags chock full of gummies and chocolate treats and all things sugar.

And then were was us.

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With our raw almonds.

Just as good as candy and popcorn, right?

We saw St. Vincent and while I admittedly cry at Disney commercials or cute old couples holding hands as they walk down the street, I was really emotional in this movie. I’m pretty certain it’s a side effect of the sugar detox. It’s like my body needs to get rid of all the sugar in any way possible including in my tears. AND, call my crazy- but I swear those tears of mine tasted like sugar as they rolled down my cheek. Maybe I was imagining it. Or maybe The Big Man Upstairs felt bad for me and decided to produce sugary tears.

It’s like a miracle on par with the 8 days of Hanukkah. I should be on one of those divine intervention shows or something.

Anyway, I have to say day 9 and I’m feeling good! The headache I had all last week has seemed to dissipate. I am still pretty tired but otherwise feeling great! My skin has cleared up a lot which is great because any day where you don’t feel like a teenager in the middle of puberty is a win in my book.

And I don’t find myself craving sugar at every minute of the day. Sure, I want something that feels like a treat after dinner but I’m finding the sweetness in things that normally wouldn’t taste that sweet to me- like macadamia nuts and green apples. God I hate myself for saying that but it’s true. I guess this Diane Sanfillipo character knows a thing or two, huh?

So last night, I came home to the BEST present ever from my brother and sister-in-law:

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My OWN personalized cutting board! And after snapping these omg-I-love-this pics, I knew it wasn’t enough. I had to make something right then and there because this gift was just too cute not to use right away! Also, a treat sounded nice…

SOO I took it to my kitchen… whipped out my 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbooks and decided on the “Not Sweet Treat” Apple Crumble.

I sliced up four green apples on my uh-mazing new cutting board:

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(how cute!!)

And added a heaping tsp of cinnamon and the juice of 1/2 a lemon:

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and coated the apples evenly (or rather, even-ish):

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In another bowl I added 1 and 1/4 cup of almond meal (Trader joes brand!), another heaping tsp of cinnamon, a pinch of sea salt and 1/4 cup of softened coconut oil (not melted but stirable):

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It started to turn into a crumble but needed a bit more coconut oil– after mixing it all up it looked like this:

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I greased my baking dish with coconut oil and put the apples in the pan followed by the crumble:

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I baked it in the over at 350 for 20 minutes covered in tin foil and then another 25 minutes with the tin foil removed and at the end, my kitchen smelled like what I would imagine McDreamy to smell like (is he still a thing? I stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy years ago) and I got this:

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Truth- when I saw this, I thought okay wellll it smells good but it doesn’t look that good and I bet it doesn’t taste that good either…

But like that lesson we learn in 2nd grade, Do. Not. Judge. A. Book. By. Its. Cover.

Or in this case, an apple crumble by it’s almond mealy crust.

Because I cut into this:

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Put some in a bowl:

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and then took a bite:

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and sweet mother of Granny Smith apples this thing was GREAT. Like make it post 21 Day Sugar Detox level great! The apples were sweet, the crumble was crunchy and I was in disbelief that this was actually a part of the detox program. I would recommend this to anyone following any eating plan ever.

And for the record, yes I did think “this would taste delicious with some ice-cream”

But we will save that for T-13 days from now :)

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A Saturday on a Sugar Detox

It’s the weekend!
But it’s the first weekend in the 21 Day Sugar Detox. This should be interesting.

Or a total disaster.

The Boy and I were noshing on green beans and turkey meatballs at 10 am with our coffee… Because that’s what you do on a sugar detox, right?! (side note so impressed he cooked them AND they were really good)

We took the ferry over to Coronado Island (so beautiful) and were immediately overwhelmed by the smells of waffle cones and ice cream that were wafting right under our noses – taunting us and saying “Eat me! Eat me!” We held our ground and carried on. Then… Cupcakes! But no! We will not cave! It’s only day 6.

Soo we were left on this side of the sign…

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#nocupcakesforyou

Hungry for a snack we thought it would be a good idea to wander the aisles of the local market (a weird hobby of ours) and torture ourselves with all the things we can’t be eating.
Until finally we hit the snacking jackpot

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Insert sarcasm here
Or this photo…

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Cupcakes? Who needs them!

After we were fully energized on rabbit food we hit the water for a kayaking adventure!

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Post kayak party we were starving… So we hit up Burger Lounge for a great 21DSD friendly meal! I also love that they they use grass fed beef! (Although I opted for the turkey)

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We came home and still wanted a little snack… Sooo we dug into the “Not Sweet Treat” I made from the 21 Day Sugar Detox cookbook and smothered some not sweet frosting (surprisingly good) on top of it!!

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For the “frosting”:
1 tbsp coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut butter
1 tsp nut butter (I used macadamia)
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

Mix it all together and you’ve got yourself some sugar detoxified frosting! :)

So day six and we are going strong… But we are off to a party that will be laden with cupcakes and cookies…

Wish us luck!

XoJ

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FRIDAY: WHEN A SUGAR DETOX MAKES YOU DO CRAZY THINGS!

What a week!

Monday kicked off the start of The 21 Day Sugar Detox. The Boy and I decided to do this after a few too many weeks of sweets and treats and by Monday at 4pm we were g-complaining (that would be complaining to each other over g-chat) about what a mistake this was. BUT we are determined to stick it out — hopefully without wanting to kill each other– I mean, after all, there is that famous saying “the couple that detoxes together stays together”…. or something.

I actually have to say, more than missing sugar itself, these first few days made me realize how often I just want something sweet not because I actually want to eat something sweet but rather because I’m bored or tired to want to procrastinate or stressed and instead of just doing what I need to be doing, I live by the motto “BUT FIRST- something sweet!” Because really, who says, “I’m so stressed, you know what I could really go for? A big cruchy bowl of… BROCCOLI!”

No one.

At least no one I want to be friends with. #broccoliaddictsneednotapply

So today, day four, I can honestly say I don’t have sugar cravings and that’s something to be a fan of!

But, what I’m not a fan of? The headache and constant fatigue I’ve felt all. week. long. I guess that’s why this thing is called a 21 day detox and not 21 days of feeling amazing.com

I do however like that this is bringing out the cooking side of me even more! (more posts on that later) AND I have to say, it’s 17x more fun doing this with someone else. Okay, scratch that – there is really nothing FUN about this, but it’s more tolerable knowing someone else is going through it too… you know, because misery loves company and all that jazz.

Seeing as The Boy and I live a few hours apart, we can’t cook our meals together, but we can (and did) cook together over Facetime… we made the same recipe for the no sugar almond butter cups… are we nerdy or what?

Don’t answer that.

HIS:

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MINE:

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HIS:

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MINE:

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Note: While these aren’t bad, the are not as good as they look!  Def would be better with the tiniest drop of honey or maple syrup to sweeten then a touch… #honestyonlyonthisblog

Okay moving right along… you know what else I learned about doing a sugar detox?

You lose your mind and do crazy things (a side effect that was NOT listed in the book but I am certain is to blame) Because yesterday, I volunteered myself to chop off all of my hair at work… What?!

We had the fabulous celebrity stylist Giles Robinson here and I was asked if I wanted to cut off my hair (I think the real reason I was asked was because everyone at work was sick of seeing my bright red hair turned orangey faded mess) and  in a total state of no sugar deliriousness I said, “sure!” (again, what?!)

Right before the chop chop snip snip:

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and then it happened:

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The last time I cut my hair short was in 8th grade and I promptly cried in bathroom in the salon (lest my hair stylist knew I was miserable… I’m not a fan of confrontation.) and so when I saw this on the floor, I can’t lie, I was immediately taken back to 1998… #PTSD

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I had to remind myself that I’m a grown up… at work… who volunteered for this… and I must keep it together. But it was a bit hard.

A few more snips and before I knew it… I looked like this!

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I was shocked at first (I usually freak out when I get 1/2 inch trimmed and this was that multiplied by a million) I mean look at all that hair in my hand! (gross, yes, but cute photo op!) but I have to say, this Giles Robinson knows what he is talking about because life with a LOB (long bob) is fun so far! Giles was super charming and his British accent was very distracting as he was snipping away… so I didn’t realize how much was coming off. I was just thinking about having a spot of tea in a cute little flat while noshing on crumpets. But he did a killer job and was as sweet as can be. #newbestfriend

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You can see all the hair cutting madness today on Home & Family!

I did wake up this morning and totally forgot I had cut it off so I sort of (okay, full disclosure- not sort of) had a freakout moment when I looked in the mirror…but a few swipes with a flat iron and 24 hours post big hair cut chop of 2014, I’m feeling great!

Maybe it’s the new hair (and the extra time it gave me to hit snooze) or maybe it’s the lack of sugar… perhaps it’s the perfect combo!

Happy Friday!

xoJ

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN: LAST MINUTE COSTUMES AND SUGAR FREE, GLUTEN FREE, BUT NOT DELICIOUS FREE CANDY!

Happy Happy Halloween!

If you’re like me and have procrastinated a costume, fear not. I was asked to be on Home & Family today to show off some last minute costume ideas (and my red hair that is now fading to a reddish orange…) and I have to say all are easy and fun.

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From left to right: Identity Thief, Me as a Self Portrait, An Iron Chef and Gods Gift To Women (pretty sure most guys I’ve ever dated and the male species in general already feel this way about themselves… #canigetanamen)

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If all else fails, go get yourself a Halloween inspired Mani and call it a costume. That’s what I did last year and I have to say, I wasn’t upset about it. Costume shopping is stressful. So many weird machines making noises. So many kids sneezing on you. So many weird costumes that have been turned into a sexy version… I swear I saw a sexy refrigerator last year.

You know what’s NOT stressful? That hand massage they give you when you get a manicure.

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I did my nails like this last year! #itcountsasacostume

And now onto the sweet stuff…

Halloween as we all know can be a dangerous slippery slope of candy so cute and miniature that you think lie to yourself, and say “one little twix can’t hurt! It’s so portioned controlled and I will totally be satisfied with just one!”

Then before you know it, you’ve consumed an entire giant plastic pumpkin full and feel anything but miniture.  Well folks,  I’m here to tell you, you can in fact have your Halloween sweets without that terrible mix of sugar and shame.

I recently got a recipe for sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, and paleo Almond Butter Cups from Diane Sanfilippo (kick ass author of The 21 Day Sugar Detox) Yes, this is the same detox that The Boy and I will be starting on Monday! And yes, these are 21DSD approved! #thankyougod I’m a little nervous (okay panicked really) about ruling out ALL types of sugar- even the paleo approved ones from my life for 21 looooong days, because well, sugar is good. BUT I am determined to do it in hopes of feeling better and clearing up my skin!

Yes, Please.

Yes, Please.

You can see the whole recipe for these delicious looking gems in my article today for Giuliana Rancic’s FabFitFun here!

Hope you all have a fabulous Halloween!

xoJ

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WEDNESDAY CALLS FOR COOKIES… AND I’VE GOT A WINNER FOR YOU!

I totally missed Made It Monday this week because I was still in shock over bright hair fest 2014. Every time I look down at my hair I forget that I dyed it and the shock sets in all over again. I’m pretty certain in those moments, I look certifiably insane to everyone around me…

Anywho, I realized I still needed to make something but I haven’t had time to grocery shop. And then I remembered that I wrote about how the lovely folks over at Primal Bakeshop sent me a batch of their brand new Paleo Pread Salted Caramel cookie mix to try! And so last night, try I did!

In related news: The Boy and I have decided to give up sugar for 21 days starting on Monday (AH, I KNOW) and try Diane Sanfilippo’s 21 Day Sugar Detox. Which means no sugar of any kind including those that are Paleo approved. So aside from being totally cranky for three weeks (sorry, world) this might be my last homemade post featuring delicious sweets and treats for a while. Life is hard.

But I have to say, after trying these out, I’m not upset that this is what I’m going out on. And I’m not even someone who likes salted caramel things. But holy amazingness to the max. These are gooooood.

So let’s get started! Shall we?!

The mix looks like this!

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Now what’s so great about Pread’s cookie mix is that it already comes pre-packaged for you with simple, easy to follow instructions!  It’s like the convience of those crappy for you cookie mixes you grew up with paired with the nutrients and the delciousness of paleo grain-free-refined-sugar-free cookies!

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(The contents of the Pread package)

So all I needed in addition to the pre-packaged ingredients was some butter (I used ghee to keep it dairy free) and one large egg:

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I melted 8 tbsps of Ghee over medium heat and then removed the pot from the heat and stirred in the pre-packaged amount of coconut sugar:

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Then I added in my egg

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Followed by the almond flour pre-package that came with the mix (it also has a few other ingredients mixed into it giving the cookie that salted caramel flavor):

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Once it looked like this I put it in a bowl and stuck in the freezer for ten minutes while I preheated my oven to 350 degrees.

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Then I scooped the dough into balls and put them on my baking sheet:

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The directions say to do 6 at a time… I did 9…   So when I opened the oven after thirteen minutes, they looked like this:

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(Noted… There are directions for a reason…oops)

I immediatley sprinkled with a dash of salt!

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For the next batch of 8, I added a few dairy free, soy free chocolate chips from Enjoy Life… because what sounds better than a salted caramel cookie? A salted caramel cookie with chocolate of course!

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And for the last three, I added some 90% dark chocolate to see how that would taste. because more chocolate is always a good thing!

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The mix said I would get 16 cookies but I got 21 and they smelled like 21 pieces of Y-U-M:

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And they tasted UNBELIEVABLE. Like OMG-I-COULD-EAT-ALL-21-OF-THESE-RIGHT-NOW-BUT-I-WON’T-BECAUSE-MY-PANTS-WON’T-FIT-IF-I-DO-BUT-WOW-I-REALLY-COULD-AND-MIGHT-AND-WHO-NEEDS-PANTS-ANYWAYS-THERE-ARE-ALWAYS-ELASTIC-PANTS-HAND-ME-ANOTHER-COOKIE-NOW-PLEASE unbelievable.

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They were that perfect mix of crispy edges with a soft chewy center. I only tried one without the chocolate and honestly, and  I can’t believe I’m saying this but no chocolate necessary!!! They are SO good. And without the chocolate it means there isn’t a drop of cane sugar in this cookie! (Also, they come in at about 130 calories a cookie in case you were wondering– Not bad at all!)

I can’t believe they came from a mix.  They were so easy to make and you would have no idea they were paleo!

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(look at that soft chewy center!)

Happy Wednesday!

xoJ

 

 

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OMG MONDAY: I DYED MY HAIR… BRIGHT… RED.

Hello hello!

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend! Mine was pretty great! And while I could tell you all about the great gluten free goodies I tried in San Diego, the uh-dorable coffee shop with the cutest tagline EVER (Life’s Better Buzzed) or the long walk on the water with the ginormous yachts that made me think winning the lottery today would be simply stupendous there is something more pressing I need to discuss.

On Friday my hair went from natural brown to looking like a fire hydrant.

Let’s back it up here– I’ve got some explaining to do.

We were doing a segment here at Hallmark Home & Family on “Candy Colored Hair” and my fellow producer asked me if I would be in the segment.

You see, when I was in high school, I so badly wanted to be Christina Aguilera… I dressed up like her for hebrew school, I wore a horrid silver eyeshadow (Mac Electra) because I read that she did. I wore bandanas in my hair because she did… I dressed up like her for Halloween:

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1999…

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(Uncanny comparison, Right?!)

I wanted to do everything she did… including sing like her… (sadly that part never worked out– although I do pretend in my car/shower– sorry neighbors)

I will never forget when I first saw her C’mon Over Baby video.  She had cool lace up pants and even cooler red streaks in her hair.  And I wanted IN.

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UM HOW COOL ARE YOU 2000 CHRISTINA AGUILERA?!

I taught myself the dance and begged and pleaded with my mom to let me get red hair like hers. Mama Salama was never one to let us get hair dye  or even wear glittery nail polish– but after annoying her enough she finally caved and let me get red streaks when we were on vacation.

And I signed a record deal, went on a world tour, was on the cover of Vogue and never looked back it was a HUGE DISASTER.

The red faded to an orangey disgusting mess and sadly I looked more trailer trash and less cool Christina.

So when the producer asked me to get red tips I thought this was FINALLY my chance to channel my inner Christina Aguilera (you know, pre-orange spray tan and leather chaps…)

I was so blinded by my potential pop stardom, I didn’t really realize what I was in for…

The plan was to just dye the tips red so that it would look cool for a few weeks and be gone with a simple hair cut.

But as we all know– there is a quote about best laid plans and I won’t quote it here but let’s just say… you can see where this is going… Before I knew it my hair was bleached wayyyy beyond my tips:

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(this is my “I’m skeptical about what is going on here” look)

And then, this went on my head:
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And this went on my face:

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and while I was promised a deep ruby red… I was feeling a little unsure when I saw this on my hair…

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And while I was scared… and while it was wayyy more than just my tips… when all was said and done I DID feel a bit like Christina Aguilera… or as The Boy pointed out, not unsimilar to an angst ridden teen who works at Hot Topic…

Let’s Compare:

ME:

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CHRISTINA:

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ME:

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CHRISTINA:

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Pretty sure I should just hit the road and go on tour…

Also,  I did curtsey on National TV… so there’s that…

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AND  I’ve been getting some fun reactions… a greasy guy with a gross mustache got all up in my face and creepily cat-called me. And who doesn’t want that?!

But every time I look down I forget that I have this bright red hair and sort of freak out. It’s been three days and I’m sort of missing my normal color.  Also, it’s very hard getting ready in the morning… because now I have to think about how my clothes match my hair. Red is out. But so is pink and anything pastel. I feel like I’m relegated to wearing only spikes and rips and black. Maybe I SHOULD start shopping at Hot Topic…

So now I need to know your thoughts:

1) Do you like it?

2) Do I keep it?

3) Do I keep my hair long and dye it back?

4) Do I use this as an excuse to go for a big cut and chop my hair like this:

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Watch Home and Family Today for the full candy-colored hair extravaganza!

In the mean time I will be putting on a concert at my desk… #sorrycoworkers #imagenieinabottle

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