Category Archives: party tips
As many of you know I can’t handle sugar, cake or even Paleo treats, but when I was at home over Christmas my Stepmom adapted her Eleison cake to be gluten and grain free. She has made a version of this cake for years and it is a favorite for everyone in our family. I was proud of her for adapting the recipe to her gluten free lifestyle. Everyone at the dinner was thrilled with the cake and no one missed a beat. I don’t think they even knew the difference.
I didn’t try since it I knew I would probably run to a closet hide and alone licking the pan. I mainlined decaf coffee with coconut cream to get through the awkwardness. It worked quite well I might add and then in a few minutes the horror of not eating cake was over. All was right in the world when I covered this cake up with foil and put it out of sight. My dad said this was the best Paleo cake he ever had (and he is definitely a cake expert).
This recipe does call for organic sugar which is better than regular sugar in that it is not genetically modified from corn or beets. In my view all sugar is really the same as far as it’s effects on the body so whether it is white, brown, honey or maple it seems to have a similar impact. My vote is to keep sweet treats to special occasions if you can handle that and just refrain if you can’t stop with one reasonable piece. If you do eat sweets always pair them with lots of fat or protein to blunt the blood sugar spike.
But over the holiday season something has to be said for updating and improving old habits especially when is comes to how much emotion is tied up in keeping traditions alive. My Stepmom loves to make recipes from both of her grandmothers and I was so proud of her when she was able to recalibrate this year. By adjusting this cake recipe she can stay gluten and mostly grain free to keep her arthritis symptoms away. You can read more of her story here.
This cake may not be perfectly Paleo but it is a heck of a lot better than what you find in the stores so if you are going to eat cake try a healthier version like the one below. This cake used to have several cups of white all purpose flour so it has been upgraded and now includes a lot of dense real food with healing benefits.
3 1/2 cups Blanched Almond Meal Flour
1/2 cup Organic Tapioca Starch
1.5 cups of softened ghee or butter
2 heaping tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups of organic coconut sugar
1 cup finely chopped almonds (not almond flour)
2 tsp of Organic Pure Vanilla Extract
Melted Stone Ground Organic Chocolate 80% Dark(optional)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Beat the ghee/butter and sugar until it is fluffy in a large mixing bowl.
Add the 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 6 whole eggs, then beat it all together.
Mix the the dry ingredients into another bowl.
Then slowly add it into the wet ingredients.
Grease 9×12 oblong baking dish with coconut oil.
Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for an hour and half.
Stick a fork in the middle and see if it comes out clean.
Cut it into squares once cooled then serve with whipped cream
For a Dairy Free version: whip coconut cream like they did here.
You can top it with some melted chocolate if desired. Just use a double boiler and melt some Stone Ground Organic Chocolate 80% Dark over medium heat then drizzel it on top with a spoon.
Are you looking for more grain free indulgences?
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My little sister follows the paleo lifestyle the way I do, maybe not quite as strictly because she is pretty healthy and feels great. She loves traditional foods so I wanted to incorporate that into her bridal shower that I threw for her on Dec 27, 2012 in our hometown of Nashville, TN. She is getting married June , 2013 in the mountains of NC to her Paleo groom you can read more about them here.
My sister requested a French theme becasue she loves France and speaks as well as teaches French. My mind went immediately to Pate and Macaroons! I knew this was a theme I could build a fun (and nutritious) party around. I enlisted my childhood friend Megan to help with the decorations and games because that is her strong suit. My little sister was thrilled with how it all turned out and some of the guests told me it was the best shower that they had ever attended!
Megan made these party favors that had a dual purpose. People got to have a french style napkin at the party and a souvenir to take home. What brilliant idea! Megan made trays with chalkboard paint so she could label the food in French.
We had a grilled veggie platter, an exotic cheese (including raw Gruyère and a Spanish goat milk) cheese tray with honey, gluten free Mary’s Gone Crackers, crudites, organic meatballs and pastured chicken liver pate.We also had a pumpkin Thyme soup, nuts and olives. I don’t eat the crackers but it was nice to have something for the non-paleo (most of the guests were not) people to eat that wouldn’t gluten contaminate everything. Notice my new pate terrine from Le Creuset that I got for Christmas!
We had spiced apple cider and San Pellegrino to drink.
Here is a shot of my plate with lots of veggies, grilled and raw with pate, meatballs and fruit salad. My chef husband helped me with the food which took a lot of the pressure off. He is a lifesaver!
This is my sister and me enjoying the party. Megan made this great sign of the names of the Subway stops in Paris. It was a great touch that added to the ambiance.
This is a shot of my creamy pumpkin thyme soup that we also served at the shower. It is made with coconut milk so it is dairy free! It was a big hit with the ladies and my stepmom was so surprised that she could not taste the coconut flavor at all. It was low carb and very warming on this chilly December night.
I made this winter fruit salad with pomegranates, coconut flakes, persimmons and mandarin oranges. It is important to eat with the seasons for more nutrient density and a lower carbon footprint. This salad reminded me of the ambrosia salad my grandma used to make without the marshmallows and sweet dairy dressing of course.
The grain free macaroons that my husband (and chef) made were the pièce de résistance! Everyone went crazy over them. The guests were fighting over the last ones.
Here is one more pic of my adorable little sister opening her gifts which she requested to all be non-plastic and no toxic Teflon! Go little sis! Congratulations! I gave her my favorite set of CorningWare FrenchBake and Serve Set so she can bake lots of Paleo treats! We thought it would be fun if she wore a beret if you are wondering why she is wearing that cute hat.
It was a lot of work and I could feel my adrenals kicking into overdrive but it was nice to have a party with healthy nourishing food that I could feel good about serving and eating. No one asked “where is the bread” or “can I have cake”? Even the pickiest of eaters found something they enjoyed. I made sure I slept in the next day to recover from all the cooking and standing. We had lots of yummy leftovers so we didn’t have to cook the next day, yeah!
I hope you stick to your healthy grain free real food diet next time you plan a party. Your guest will not even notice what is “missing” they will only be full from the traditional foods the way they are meant to be eaten.
Here is a video with some helpful tips for making it through this eating season!
Are you looking to get healthy in the new year?
Do you want to get rid of your sugar addiction?
I have to admit I am not a drinker anymore but I always get questions from clients and readers so I thought I could help with some lower impact adult beverage suggestions. The best choice at a party is to drink fluoride free San Pellegrino out of BPA free glass bottle or some yummy low sugar Kombucha. I know that is not realistic for some people who really like to do it up, I want to offer some not quite so bad alternatives. I don’t want to be a buzz kill but here are some factors to consider:
Alcohol is a poison that overloads the liver with toxins and affects the natural balance of feel good neurotransmitters. It can also spike your blood sugar creating a crash, sending people on a search for carby snacks to boost their mood (think 4th meal). Many people use alcohol as a tension reliever but it actually robs magnesium stores making muscles sore and blood vessels constrict (ie. Hangover). Alcohol increases stress hormones and puts your body into a fight or flight mode adding jiggle to your middle. All this hormone havoc will leave you feeling depleted and much worse than before the holiday happy hour.
Sugar: High glycemic mixers are the biggest culprit in creating holiday belt busting. Plain liquors like vodka, gin and tequila are not so healthy on their own, but it is the cola and juice add-ins that really pump up the paunch. Sugars broken down from alcohol and mixers can also throw off male and female hormones affecting metabolism and fertility.
Diet Drinks: Please avoid diet sodas full of laboratory produced aspartame and Sucralose which are neurotoxins that can cause brain damage. They also contribute to carb cravings, increased insulin resistance and contribute to belly fat stores.
Gluten: A lot of alcohol is distilled from gluten containing grains which can adversely affect people with leaky guts and gluten sensitivity. That means that just about everyone will feel pretty bad and impact their healing progress if they drink too much during the holidays. There is some debate about which alcohol is gluten free because of variations in processing. Wine and liquor from non-gluten grains like vodka, gin, tequila, and rum all seem to have a generally safe consensus from the gluten free community.
Here are some lesser evil options for your party night out:
Mojito: is a mix of rum, lime, mint and club soda. Ask the bartender to skip the sugar and add some drops of liquid stevia from your purse to make it taste just right! 120 calories, 5 carbs
Hot Toddy: Is a mix of cinnamon, clove, lemon, nutmeg, black tea, honey and whiskey or bourbon. Again just skip the honey and add some liquid stevia for a low cal drink. 120 Calories, 5 carbs
White or Red Wine Spritzer: 1 cup of red or white wine and 1/2 cup of seltzer. This will your drink is bigger it may help you drink less because you are full of bubbles. 115 calories, 5 carbs
Champagne: can be a good option too because it has no added sugar (FYI: alcohol is like sugar to your body).105 calories 5 carbs
Vodka Soda with Lime: This is a go to drink for my clients when out because it is available everywhere and it is low maintenece. Don’t get tricked with tonic because it is full of sugar and carbs. 100 calories, 5 carbs
NorCal Margarita: is a classic Paleo favorite which includes a shot of good tequila, the juice of 1 lime and splash of seltzer. You can also add some liquid stevia if you want to sweeten it up. 100 calories, 5 carbs
Grass Fed Girl Cosmo: This is like a drink I used to have in my 20′s but unfortunately this blogger doesn’t get out much anymore. It is made with 1 1/2 oz cranberry/raspberry infused vodka, 1 lime juiced, 1 cup seltzer and 5 drops liquid stevia. 100 calories, 5 carbs
Gin Martini: consists of olives, Gin and vermouth. This seems like a reasonable choice because it has nothing sweet to wake the beast within. a 150 calories, 3 carbs
Gluten free (but not glutton free): Cider and beer have a few more calories than liquor drinks but the hormonal impact is really what matters when it comes to alcohol.
Gluten Free Beer: If you do choose to drink beer please find a gluten free option to help avoid major gastrointestinal distress the next day. Redbridge is a brand made from Sorghum and is gluten free (but I am not sure if it has GMO ingredients). Try to look in your local area for a craft gluten free beer to find a great tasting brew. I have heard that Omission beer tastes great too but there is some controversy about how gluten free it really is. Always use your best judgement and put your health first. Gluten free beer is not so light at 170 calories, 12 carbs but at least you won’t get the runs.
Chilling cider: Some of my friends recommended Woodchuck, Ace and JK Scrumpy ciders which are all gluten free. Just look around your area to find which gluten free ciders are available. Some ciders have added gluten ingredients so be sure to read labels. 200 calories, 15 carbs
Need more recipes and healthier adult beverage options?
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- Want to know how to overcome sugar cravings?
- The lifestyle habit that prevents aging and weight gain?
- How to prevent party pig-out? And also what to do if you blow it?