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  1. Grain-free Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Tart {Paleo, Gluten-free + Vegan} + Video

    As if I could find a better pairing, two of my favorite foods come together in the perfect marriage, for this rich, silky, decadent treat that’s low carb, low in sugar, grain-free and vegan. The smooth fruity taste of Terra Delyssa’s organic extra virgin olive oil is the perfect compliment to super dark chocolate and in all it’s impressiveness this dessert comes together in no time.

    Grain-free Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Tart {Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegan}

    Grain-free Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Tart {Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegan}

    Truth be told, I am not much of a baker. Mostly it comes from a lack of caring about most baked goods and sweets. I know you’ve heard this story before, in the nearly 8 years of Tasty Yummies. What I do love, admittedly daily, is a couple of squares of high quality super duper dark chocolate. It’s really just about all I need.

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  2. Skillet Baked Eggs and Greens with Herby Feta Yogurt Drizzle

    Breakfast for breakfast, breakfast for dinner, breakfast at any time, this flavor-loaded Skillet Baked Eggs and Greens with Herby Feta Yogurt Drizzle is a one-skillet meal that you too will be obsessed with.

    Skillet Baked Eggs and Greens with Herby Feta Yogurt Drizzle

    Skillet Baked Eggs and Greens with Herby Feta Yogurt Drizzle

    If you haven’t deducted from the insane amount of breakfast and brunch posts – I love eggs. I love meals centered around eggs. I like eggs for breakfast, just fine, but I also really love eggs for dinner. Shakshuka is one of my absolute, all-time favorite dishes, but to be fully honest, baked eggs of any kind will forever have my heart.

    I also have a really big soft spot in my heart for one-skillet meals, especially those that can get me everything I need in one gorgeous pan. This meal is a fabulous, versatile dish that can be served at any meal – breakfast, lunch or dinner. With a gorgeous bed of nutrient-abundant greens, laced with the caramelized shallots and scallions, topped with the most perfect, soft, baked eggs with luscious, runny yolks, it’s all topped with a rich, drizzly, herby, feta-yogurt sauce that is the finishing move to end all finishing moves.

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  3. Crispy Paleo Chicken Fingers {Buffalo-Style and Original}

    These Crispy Paleo Chicken Fingers are a grain-free peek into my childhood. Growing up in Buffalo chicken fingers were a staple, but going gluten-free and consequently paleo, I have forever been on the hunt for the perfect, crispy tenders. I have perfected my recipe over the years and I am finally sharing with you.


    Crispy Paleo Chicken Fingers

    Crispy Paleo Chicken Fingers

    We all had those foods we heavily mourned over, then forever lusted after when we first went gluten-free. Being a true Buffalo girl, growing up in the land of pizza, chicken wings and epic bar food, that food for me was chicken fingers. I have no shame in admitting that. I can fully remember the day I discovered my gluten intolerance, being so sad that I would never have chicken fingers again. A loss of great proportions. That said, I literally feel like I have spent the last nearly 13 years of being gluten-free, testing, making and perfecting my chicken finger game. I take my chicken fingers very seriously.

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  4. Healing Golden Bone Broth Latte

    This Healing Golden Bone Broth Latte is an inflammation-fighting, immune system boosting, super drink and it’s full of comforting, healthful goodness! 

    Healing Golden Bone Broth Latte

    Healing Golden Bone Broth Latte

    Part of living life to it’s fullest and getting out there to travel and experience the world – is being exposed to things. Foods, illnesses, germs, bacteria, toxins – it can definitely take it’s toll on your immune system. I am proud that despite having several autoimmune diseases, my tireless work to maintain my health and vitality and how I’ve worked hard train my immune system and it’s little warriors to do it’s job and do it well – it’s working! I feel great, I beat illnesses swiftly, if they do take hold and I am not knocked on my ass with every little life shift, stress or travel – which, truthfully, is basically what the majority of the first 30 years of my life was all about. The fight of one illness right to another, bronchitis, swine flu, respiratory infections, every stomach virus or flu around, I had chronic allergies and all the other usual signs of a compromised immune system.

    I can tell that this month, with loads of travel and eating a bit differently that I traditionally would at home, later nights and longer days – that I have definitely asked a lot of my little immune system army in a short amount of time. And while they’ve been keeping up with their end of the deal to keep me well, I can certainly feel that my body is definitely working overtime right now to keep it that way. I love that I can chill and know that all of my hard work protecting my immune system was important and now I sit back and let it do it’s work.

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  5. How I Healed My Skin and My Safer Skin Care Routine

    How I Healed My Skin and My Safer Skin Care Routine

    How I Healed My Skin and My Safer Skin Care Routine

    Throughout high school, much of college and to be fully honest, well into my late 20’s and early 30’s, I always struggled with my skin. Chronic hormonal acne, cystic acne, zit beards, backne (if you don’t know, this is short for back acne and it’s totally fun), unexplained breakouts that weren’t exactly pimples and weren’t allergic rashes – ya know, all the usual suspects. I never had a full face of explosive cystic acne that would create an absolutely epic “before” photo for a blog post like this. I generally just wouldn’t allow photos to be taken of me when it was at it’s worst. But, I also cannot really recall a time that I ever had fully “clear” skin. There was always something. I got pretty good at mastering the art of coverup, I tried what seemed like every over-the-counter and prescription creams and gels, took several rounds antibiotics, absolutely terrifying pharmaceuticals (see also: Accutane), I spent money on mineral-based cosmetics and nicer brands. None of it helped.

    My skin has come a very long way.  These days, I am happy to share that I have super clear skin, very few, if any breakouts ever, little to no scarring or residual marks from the years acne and an even, smooth skin tone. I have skin that actually glows. I never thought I’d see the day!

    How I Healed My Skin and My Safer Skin Care Routine

    A rare makeup-free selfie. No filters. No editing.
    Full disclosure: Great lighting. Filled in brows and I have eyelash extensions.
    No makeup on my skin, just washed and pat-dried skin with moisturizer and facial oil.

     

    I know many of you want me to tell you about the one single thing I did to clear my skin. The one magical product that helped my hormonal breakouts. The one way to get rid of cystic acne. Phew, I wish it were that easy. You guys, it’s not. It’s just not quite that simple. But, in this multi-layered approach to healing my skin, each piece is important and likely dependent on the others, but none of it is overly complicated. It’s about being informed and making choices that work for you on a foundational level, so you can be on your way to clearer, more beautiful skin! For good.

    Eating a clean and balanced nutrient-sense, properly-prepared, whole foods based diet, that includes healthy fats and proteins, as well as unrefined, complex carbs and a conscious removal of refined sugars from my diet – this probably was what brought the most drastic improvements on my quest to heal my skin. Beyond that initial shift,  I would say addressing my digestion on a foundational level, healing my gut and dealing with underlying dysfunction and dysbiosis, this was equally as, if not more, important to the equation. Finally, getting rid of toxic, skincare products and cosmetics, this was the last piece to the puzzle, to allow my skin to truly shine and glow, to reduce uneven skin tones, acne scars and blemish marks, dark spots and reducing the fine lines that come with age. I cannot emphasize enough that what you put ON your body is just as important as what you put IN your body.

    It Starts in the Gut

    Why Our Gut Affects Our Skin 

    When our digestive system is working properly, and our guts are in peak working condition, we give our bodies the chance to actually absorb, assimilate and utilize all of the important nutrients from the nutrient-rich, whole foods we consume. All those nutrients are distributed to different areas in our bodies, to the various systems and organs, of these important recipients is the largest organ in the body – our skin.

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  6. Slow Cooker Shredded Beef – Three Ways {Paleo, Gluten-free}

    Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Recipe – Three Ways {Paleo, Gluten-free}

    Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Recipe – Three Ways {Paleo, Gluten-free}

    We have fully entered the season of busy. Easy weeknight meals are one of the things you guys ask for most, and this is also the struggle I see with many of my nutrition clients, simple, approchable meals for the busy work week. So, today I am sharing one of my favorite, simple slow cooker recipes, that comes with 3 different variations, so you won’t get bored. You could literally make this dish every single week as part of your meal planning and mix it up a million different ways.

    My favorite thing about each of these recipes are the many varying ways to serve it up:

    • lettuce wrapped
    • on a salad
    • over cauliflower rice (or traditional grains, like quinoa or millet)
    • over zucchini noodles
    • in any kind of veggie bowl
    • filling for tacos, fajitas, burritos or enchiladas with your favorite tortillas
    • sandwich
    • filling an omelette
    • nachos
    • add to soups or stews
    • stirred into a scramble or frittata
    • add to fried rice or fried cauliflower rice
    • over ramen noodles
    • just spooned straight into your face!

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  7. Spicy Pumpkin Fries {Paleo + Whole30}

    Spicy Pumpkin Fries {Paleo + Whole30}

    Spicy Pumpkin Fries {Paleo + Whole30}

    Fall is officially upon us, which means we can finally celebrate all things pumpkin! For what it’s worth, I believe in waiting it out, slowing down and fully holding onto summer as long as we can. Each season flies by far too quickly, so I truly try to savor each moment and live in the present. The next season always comes.

    But the time has come, where we can go hog wild on pumpkin everything. While there is a plethora of pumpkin recipes here on Tasty Yummies, these Spicy Pumpkin Fries may be one of my all time favorite pumpkin recipes. I shared these last year as an exclusive email list-only recipe and the response was so huge, I just couldn’t let these get lost in the abyss of email inboxes gone by, so here we are!

    Savory, spicy and just a little crisp – this is what fries are all about, no matter what they are made from. Traditionally we know that fries out in the wild, are submerged in a vat of adulterated vegetable and seed oils, these oils are truly some of the worst things we can put it our body. (read more here) But, when made at home, baked with high quality oils, you can enjoy without the worry of toxic fats.

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  8. Why to Choose Grass-Fed Meat vs Grain-Fed

    Much like some of the other basic nutrition topics we’ve been covering recently, I know for many of you, this information on Why to Choose Grass-fed Meat, it may be old news. Feel free to skip on by and wait for the next post, but if this information is new to you or you want a refresher or to learn more, I got you. As you have heard me say, time and time again, every day, every single day, I encounter people outside my little sheltered food/nutrition bubble, who haven’t yet received this information and knowledge that many of us take for granted, being deeply rooted in our daily food choices for some time. Rather than assuming that everyone already knows this stuff, I would rather create simple posts that are easily accessible to them/you to share, inform and empower you with the knowledge to make better decisions for you and your health. 

    Why to Choose Grass-Fed Meat vs Grain-Fed

    Nutrition

    Not all meat is created equal. But, I am sure most of you know that at this point. As you also know from recents posts here on Tasty Yummies, fat can absolutely be an incredibly nutrient rich part of your diet, but this same macronutrient when of the wrong variety, can also cause numerous diseases, inflammation, digestive issues and more. The diet of the animals we eat, can greatly change the fat in it’s tissues (and consequently the meat that we eat), among other nutritional differences. According to a study 1http://www.csuchico.edu/grassfedbeef/research/Review%20Grassfed%20Beef%202010.pdf conducted by California State University’s College of Agriculture, grass-fed beef nutrition includes significantly more omega-3 fatty acids (2 to 4 times more yhan grain-fed)  and more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-fed beef. The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in grain-fed meat is much worse than grass-fed and it’s not because the omega-6 content of beef fat skyrockets with grain feeding; it is however because the omega-3 content is basically nonexistent in the grain-fed animals. Due to the modern, standard American diet (SAD), many people are highly omega-3 deficient and therefore the ratio to bad omega-6 fats is severely imbalanced due to it’s prevalence in a SAD, which can lead to a chronic exacerbated inflammatory response, a general state of systemic inflammation, and the development of the various diseases with an inflammatory root.

    Conjugated Linoleic Acid of CLA is a strong polyunsaturated fatty acid that must be obtained from our diets. CLA has been shown to discourage weight gain and build muscle, as well as support metabolic and cellular health by helping to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria and boost immune health. It has even been shown to lower the risk of cancer. 2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15941017 High-quality grass-fed beef and butter from healthy, grass-fed cows or other animals are the top sources of CLA.

    Grass-fed beef, is also one of the best protein foods around, is also higher in precursors for vitamin A and E and cancer and heart disease-fighting antioxidants compared to grain-fed beef. It is also higher in B vitamins, vitamin K and trace minerals like magnesium, calcium, and selenium. Grass-finished beef has higher proportions of cholesterol neutral stearic fatty acids and less cholesterol-elevating short chain fatty acids, such as myristic and palmitic acid. Grass-fed meat truly shines in the micronutrient profile for one major reason: Grass-fed cows get more nutritious food.

    Why Grass-fed Meat is Healthier

    Ideally these animals are grass-fed for their whole life. Only exclusively grass-fed cows live out their entire lives on grassland. The rest may start their lives on open pasture and are then eventually moved to a feedlot. Often meat being sold as “grass-fed” is an animal that was fed grass for a short time, early in it’s life, but finished with grain, to increase weight gain, to fatten them up and reduce costs and increase profitablity. Just 80 days of grain feeding was enough to destroy the omega-3 content of the beef. CLA content plummeted in the same amount of time. The longer the animals were fed grains, the lower the quality of the meat. This is one of the many reasons that 100% grass-fed or grass-fed and grass-finished should be sought out.

    Read more about the cost of grass-fed meat and how the labeling of grass-fed animals can be downright deceitful.  While the FDA no longer governs this label claim, you should still look for it and additionally look for seals such as American Grassfed or PCO Certified 100% GrassFed for assurance that the claim was verified and means the animals were 100% grass fed and raised on pasture. You can also look for The Certified Grassfed by AGW seal. 3http://greenerchoices.org/2016/12/30/grassfed-general-claim/ Even more reasons to get to know your farmer or rancher and ask the important questions directly to the person that actually knows. As Michael Pollan says “shake the hand that feeds you“!

    Read the rest of this entry »

    References   [ + ]

    1.http://www.csuchico.edu/grassfedbeef/research/Review%20Grassfed%20Beef%202010.pdf
    2.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15941017
    3.http://greenerchoices.org/2016/12/30/grassfed-general-claim/
  9. Chicken Kofta Skewers {Paleo, Gluten-free}

    Loaded with Middle Eastern flavors these Chicken Kofta Skewers are simple to make and they are packed with taste from an array of fresh herbs and spices. These can be made as kababs or meatballs and served alongside your favorite salad or made into a wrap, with pita or lettuce.

    Chicken Kofta Skewers {Paleo, Gluten-free}

    Chicken Kofta Skewers {Paleo, Gluten-free}

    While we are deep into September and days away from the official start of Autumn, in Southern California and really, much of the country right now, the memo hasn’t been received and summer weather is still upon us. Besides, there’s no reason that grilling should be relegated to just summer.

    Chicken Kofta Skewers {Paleo, Gluten-free}

    Regardless of the time of year, these delicious, Mediterranean-inspired kofta skewers as they are as if a kabab and a meatball made a baby and it makes for a surprisingly easy, but tasty, weeknight meal. Whether you fire up the grill, cook them up in a grill pan on the stove or roll them into meatballs and cook them up that way, you can’t go wrong. The beautiful blend of herbs and spices provides a wonderful array of flavors. In my mind, they are a cousin to gyro, one of my most favorite Greek dishes and they make for a really easy, yet still exotic option for even a weeknight meal.

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  10. Is Your Olive Oil the Real Thing? Terra Delyssa Is.

    Is Your Olive Oil the Real Thing? Terra Delyssa Is.

    Is your olive oil the real thing? Can you trust that what you are cooking with is safe? I know you are all concerned about fake, substandard olive oils. We’ve all seen the news reports and media coverage of the market being flooded with olive oils making big health claims, yet many being found to be mislabeled and adulterated with other substandard oils like soybean or canola – it’s SO important to find an olive oil you can trust. There are so many reasons I choose to cook with Terra Delyssa Olive Oil and why I personally stand behind and recommend it, to my nutrition clients and to you, my readers, as well as my very own family.

    Terra Delyssa does not hide it’s origin. Their olive oils are one of very few that are actually offered to consumers directly by the farmers / producers. Obtained from the first cold press of freshly hand picked olives grown on farms that have been passed on and run for many generations, cultivating and producing Olive Oil, the traditional way, known to the region of Sfax in Tunisia, situated on the Mediterranean coastline.

    Terra Delyssa fully controls their olives from tree to bottle, crushing all of their olives within 24 hours of harvest, testing every single batch in their state of the art laboratory. By honoring of traditional production methods of hand selection and true cold-pressing this keeps the oil’s acidity low, while maintaining it’s high levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients high.

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  11. Overnight Grab and Go Yogurt Chia Pudding Parfait

    This nutrient-dense, creamy, rich Overnight Grab and Go Yogurt Chia Pudding Parfait is the perfect, customizable, easy meal that’s packed with quality protein and fat, plus lots of valuable micronutrients, to keep you full, energized and well-fed for a busy and healthful day ahead!

    Overnight Grab and Go Yogurt Chia Pudding Parfait

    Overnight Grab and Go Yogurt Chia Pudding Parfait

    With back-to-school and back-to-real-life being the reality for many of us right now – easy meals, fuss-free eats and healthy food that fits into a busy lifestyle, these are all of great importance to staying on track with our mindful lifestyles.

    I know breakfast can be especially challenging, mornings are busy and grabbing something carb-loaded, sugary or sandwiched between bread – that can be easiest and most convenient. I get it! But, you’ve all heard my spiel about building a fire for your day. The general idea is that quality fats and proteins, they are the like solid log on your fire, the energy that will burn slowly, more steady and for longer, no huge and sudden drop off! However, carbs and sugars, those are kindling. These are the sticks and the leaves, the bits of crumpled up paper, that burns up super quickly. So, you get that jolt of fire (aka energy) POOF and then it’s gone, there’s the big crash when your fire goes out and then you inevitably need to add even more kindling (or even better, a log) if you can ever hope to stoke a fire that will last throughout the day.

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  12. Mint Mojito Iced Coffee {Paleo and Keto Options}

    This Mint Mojito Iced Coffee is the perfect, refreshing way to say goodbye to summer! Bright, fresh, creamy, minty, a little sweet this updated recipe brings lots of options to make without dairy or refined sugar, so you can totally customize your brew!

    Mint Mojito Iced Coffee

    Mint Mojito Iced Coffee

    First off, welcome to the brand new Tasty Yummies website!! This new design and format has been several years in the making and I am so proud to finally be able to share it with all of you. I am hopeful that this new website format will make it so much easier for you to navigate, search and enjoy all of the content I create. I am also excited to have a new home base for everything I envision for the future of Tasty Yummies. I really hope you enjoy.  And I also have to say a big huge thank you to all of you for your years of support, for reading, following along and sharing with others. It is my dream to be able to create and share all of these things I am so passionate about with all of you and it’s because of your support and your desire to spread the love, that I am continually able to do so.

    OK now, secondly, can we please not rush away summer? We still have several weeks left. I get it the kiddos are heading back to school. The reality of cooler weather and the hustle and bustle of non-summer life are looming. So why not hang on a little longer to the goodness of summer. I am proposing this refreshing drink is the perfect way to do so. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that we are smack dab in the middle of an epic heat wave here in Southern California so enjoying the last bits of summer, for us, shouldn’t be a problem.

    My first experience with this drink was at Philz Coffee in Huntington Beach, overlooking the ocean, soaking up all the summer vibes. I had heard about this epic combination of coffee with fresh mint and thought it sounded wackadoo, but I am never one to scoff at a strange pairing. Some of the best things I have ever tasted were fully unexpected.

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  13. Grilled Watermelon Salad with Arugula, Feta and Charred Limes

    Grilled Watermelon Salad with Arugula and Feta

    Grilled Watermelon Salad with Arugula and Feta

    Fruit and I have certainly had our ups and downs over the years. I like to describe our tumultuous connection using the Facebook relationship status of “it’s complicated”. In the past couple of years as I have worked very, very hard to get my gut issues under control, despite the usual suspects, I have come to find that many fruits, especially those highest in fructose to be one of THE biggest triggers in my chronic bloating, gas and general gastric upset.

    This isn’t exclusive to me and it’s actually quite common with folks that struggle with bacterial imbalances in their gut, SIBO, leaky gut, etc. Fruits high in fructose can cause fermentation in the gut, which can lead to some not-so-pleasant after effects.

    Grilled Watermelon Salad with Arugula and Feta

    It took me some time to discover that fruit was one of the biggest culprits and more, it was hard for me to understand how a nutritious, healthful whole food, like fruit could be create such gnarly side effects. Seemed wrong. It was in experimenting with a low FODMAP protocol that I found some of the greatest relief and while there are still some fruits today, that I have to be careful with and mindful of how much I consume, it has changed so significantly over the last few years as I have worked hard to heal my gut and get my gut bacteria in better balance.

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  14. How-to Make Cold Brew Coffee {+ Video}

    Learn How-to Make Cold Brew Coffee with this surprisingly simple process. It takes just three simple steps to the best cold brew you’ll ever have. No super special equipment needed, it’s much more affordable than your local coffee shops and you can customize the strength of your brew to your liking.

    How-to Make Cold Brew Coffee

    How-to Make Cold Brew Coffee

    It has happened slowly over the last year or so, as my body and my health has continued to shift and improve, but I have developed a pretty solid morning habit that involves a quality cup of organic coffee shortly after I rise. I have come to find that this morning routine serves many purposes for me, personally, but most importantly, I find it’s a really beautiful morning ritual, something that I greatly enjoy and always allow myself the space to honor and totally embrace, no matter where in the world I am.

    Often I am asked “is coffee good for you?” As you can probably imagine, my answer to this question is quite similar to how I respond to many other food and health related questions and that is – “it depends”.

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  15. Grain-free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Paleo}

    Paleo-friendly, dairy-free and gluten-free these Grain-free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are a total breeze to whip up and you won’t believe how few ingredients they have. 

    Grain-free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Paleo}

    Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookie Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches

    These cookies may look familiar to you, they are the star of my popular Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookie Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches! But they are just way too solid on their own, that I felt they definitely deserved a dedicated post of their own here on TY.

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  16. Ideas for Camping Meals and Hiking Snacks

    Ideas for Camping Meals + Hiking Snacks

    Ideas for Camping Meals + Hiking Snacks

    I am super excited to share this post with Ideas for Camping Meals and Hiking Snacks from my recent camping trip. Being in Yosemite for 7 days and being responsible for prepping and cooking dinner each night, for 8 – what an absolute honor and a task. Calling upon my knowledge as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and bringing my food blogger vibes, all while keeping it easy, accessible and making everyone happy – that may have been one of my favorite food challenges, to date.

    Ideas for Camping Meals + Hiking Snacks

    Obviously (and selfishly) all the food I cooked for the week had to be gluten-free with options for being paleo-friendly, as there were three of us that ate this way. The rest of the group could eat everything, which made it quite easy. Given that the days were filled with epic, day-long hikes, some as long as 14 hours and 22 miles or boot camp style workouts and yoga, I also wanted to be sure I was nourishing everyone adequately and providing high-quality, nutrient-dense food while keeping it affordable and doable given the restricted nature of camp cooking. Also full disclosure, I still wanted to keep it all fun and campy, because after all, camping is a time to relax, let loose and have a good time.

    Below you will find all of the meals I cooked for the week, along with links to recipes where appropriate and info on how I made it happen. At the bottom you will also find some suggestions for hiking and trail snacks, supplements, etc.

    These may not be the best photos, I left my DSLR camera at home and chose to just enjoy the trip and relish in the moments rather than focusing on food styling and perfection. So, instead we have lots of iPhone shots from myself and my girl Natasha of The Feisty Kitchen, who also coincidentally makes a really rad prep and sous chef / partner in crime.

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  17. The Healing Practice of Pratipaksha Bhavanam

    The Healing Practice of Pratipaksha Bhavanam

    Our thoughts have the power to transform our reality.

    The Healing Practice of Pratipaksha Bhavanam

    Vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam – Respond to negative thoughts and patterns by thinking and doing the opposite.

    If you’ve followed Tasty Yummies for sometime, you are aware that my yoga practice has played a very integral role in my healing and my health, along with my journey toward self-love and self-confidence. I jokingly say that yoga is the gateway drug that came into my life, rocked me and changed me forever – the “drug” that got me on the path to healing. But in full honesty it truly was the stepping stone that brought me to a place where I could finally prioritize my health and from a totally non-ego centered approach, it allowed me to place ME and my happiness above all else. Yoga was the first introduction I had to learning to love and celebrate my body, to trusting myself and most importantly, to knowing that I was actually worthy of being happy, vibrant and well.

    It was sometime in 2006 that I first stepped onto my yoga mat, and while I didn’t know this at that time, it was that first unrolling of my mat that fully changed the trajectory of my life moving forward. It was the first time that I made a choice to prioritize my self-care above all else, to give myself permission to fully love myself and to trust that what lied ahead, while intensely challenging, would make for a better version of me.

    My yoga practice has evolved greatly over the years. From a daily, rigid, before dawn, self-led mysore practice, to group ashtanga practice, to sweaty vinyasa classes anywhere and everywhere I could take them in, from coast to coast. A few years ago my personal practice eventually reached a place that I was yearning for more and it was then that I received my 200-hour and then 500-hour certification to teach, which I used to host retreats and teach regular classes, publicly and privately. These days, my personal yoga practice is much more private and intimate, with a far less stringent, regimented approach.

    While I don’t have a scheduled 90 minute practice daily anymore, yoga still seeps into every single one of my days, even if just by way of the philosophies and methodologies inspiring my approach to daily living. Often it’s the practice of conscious breath work in a stressful moment, or quite literally physical stretches prior to or just after lifting heavy weights or having a rigorous workout of some kind. Some days I make my way to the beach to flow. Often I don’t. I find myself, most days, without consciousness, creating a symphony of breath and movement when I need it most or finding that beautiful balance between effort and steadiness in all aspects of my living. There may not be any greater constant in my life than the practices I have cultivated through yoga.

    Throughout my yoga teacher training in 2014, I had a great many lightbulb moments. Literally open mouth “Aha!” moments. Realizations not just in what my body and mind were capable of, but rather in recognizing the control that I had unknowingly harnessed through my practice over the years up to that point. The control of creating my own happiness on the mat and in my life. There were beautiful practices that I had cultivated, unconsciously, which greatly contributed to changing me and much of it finally had explanation with these teachings. I could finally put words and thoughts to them and almost tangibly hold them in my hands so that I could study, cultivate, practice and share them with others.

    Studying the yoga sutras and more specifically, Pratipaksha Bhavanam, were probably the most eye-opening aspects of my teacher training and to this day, despite my practice and my teaching career having changed drastically than what I ever could have imagined, they continue to provide daily practices and inspiration for a better life.

    The Healing Practice of Pratipaksha Bhavanam

    Yoga at 8,839 feet?

    It was at the very top of Half Dome mountain on a trip to Yosemite last week, at the end of the most intense and rigorous hike (and experience) of my life, after facing my biggest fears and heading head on into place of great discomfort – that I had a great moment of true revelation! It was on top of that mountain, while sobbing in pure pride for what I had just accomplished, that I had the great realization that it was my yoga and the practice of Pratipaksha Bhavanam that got me through and to the top of that mountain that day! Both literally in the actual hike to the peak, but also the years of healing and transformation that led me to even being able to take that journey to be there, in the first place.

    In every moment of self-doubt on the journey that day, in every intense thought of great fear, in every question of “But, what if I fall?” I had the unconscious ability to tap into this important practice and change both the dialogue and the outcome. I wouldn’t allow it to continue, I honored it in the moment, I expressed gratitude for it’s teachings and it’s purpose, then I shut that shit down and then literally heard the words – “Oh, my darling, but what if you fly?” (Erin Hanson)

     
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  18. Green Tahini Sauce {+ Video}

    Green Tahini Sauce

    Green Tahini Sauce

    Tahini is my life blood. If you aren’t yet aware of what tahini is, it is a condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds, with a consistency similar to other nut butters. It has come to be one of my most coveted pantry staples. I almost always have a homemade tahini dressing or sauce of some sort, on hand, if not two. My garlic tahini, or some variation on it, is mainstay in my kitchen weekly.

    Recently with all the fresh, local herbs in season I have been veering off and getting a bit more creative with my tahini sauce. This vibrant, herby, Green Tahini Sauce is so versatile. It’s wonderful simply as a dip for crudités, grain-free crackers or chips. It makes am amazing creamy, salad dressing for a traditional green salad, or better yet the perfect way to dress up a summer potato salad. It’s a lovely compliment to grain and veggie bowls or simply just steamed, roasted or sautéed vegetables of any and all kinds. It is also great in place of mayo on sandwiches. This Green Tahini is also a wonderful sauce for seafood, chicken and pork, especially when grilled or roasted.

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  19. Chilled Zucchini Basil Soup with Lemon Garlic Cream

    This Chilled Zucchini Basil Soup with Lemon Garlic Cream is a summertime dream dish. Great as a starter or add your favorite protein for a perfect, super quick one-bowl meal. 

    Chilled Zucchini Basil Soup with Lemon Garlic Cream

    Chilled Zucchini Basil Soup with Lemon Garlic Cream

    Well, it’s that time again. Zucchini season. The abundance of my favorite veggie at the grocery, farmers markets and home gardens everywhere, means a new year to get creative and find new ways to cook up this tasty little green squash.

    Chilled Zucchini Basil Soup with Lemon Garlic Cream

    I personally find zucchini to be incredibly versatile, stepping in as noodles like spaghetti or fettucini or even rice noodles in Pad Thai. It works well in desserts like cookies or muffins, it makes amazing savory fritters, shoot it’s even amazing in smoothies.

    I really enjoy pureeing raw or slightly cooked zucchini, as it brings a really hearty creaminess without the need for dairy, dairy alternatives or nuts.

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  20. Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookie Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches {+ Video} – Paleo-friendly

    With summer upon us frozen treats are a must, but no need to wreck your body in the process. These Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookie Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches feature my popular almond butter chocolate chip cookies and a banana soft serve filling. Made without dairy or grains and they are low in sugar. 

    Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookie Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches

    Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookie Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches

    [This is an updated post from 2013.]

    It’s truly been years since I have had an old school ice cream sandwich, ya know the ones, soft chocolate cookies, vanilla ice cream filling. While working an event a few years back, I came across a food truck that specialized in just ice cream sandwiches and they actually had a gluten-free and dairy-free option for someone like me. YAY! It was delicious and messy but probably loaded with sugar and lots of other stuff I prefer not to eat. It immediately got the gears turning in my head. I wanted to make a more healthful ice cream sandwich myself and I of course just needed to find the time to actually play with some recipe ideas.

    I know we have all seen the one or two ingredient banana ice cream that has been making it’s rounds all over the internet for the last few years. If you haven’t tried it yet, you must. Stop what you are doing right now, put those bananas in the freezer and make some yummy dairy-free ice cream alternative. It is simple to make and sooo surprisingly creamy and delicious. I realized it would make the perfect ice cream sandwich filling since it is creamy, simple to make and literally has nothing more than bananas in it. A great compliment to some grain-free, dairy-free cookies!

    Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookie Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches
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  21. Billionaire’s Bacon – Thick Cut Paleo Candied Bacon

    I am super excited to share this recipe with you for Billionaire’s Bacon – Thick Cut Paleo Candied Bacon. This was recreated and inspired by Villard restaurant at Lotte New York Palace Hotel in New York City, after a recent trip to the city, along with the Hamptons for an amazing Blogger Retreat I attended. Read on for this amazing candied bacon situation, that features a little sugar and a little spice recreated to be paleo-friendly, along with scenes and highlights from our amazing East Coast trip.

    Billionaire's Bacon - Thick Cut Paleo Candied Bacon

    Billionaire's Bacon - Thick Cut Paleo Candied Bacon

    This bacon will 100% make you feel like you’ve struck riches, you’ll totally feel big time. Aptly named this Billionaire’s Bacon tastes as if it were fit for royalty. It’s sinful really. With the original recipe calling for a full cup of light brown sugar, and having tasted it and devoured it, it’s super tasty, decadent and sweet, but maybe too much so for this low sugar gal. So, I recreated this paleo-friendly version, adapted from the original, to lower the sugar but still offer that sweet stickiness, with the multi-layered spices.

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