Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Guest Post from Thoughtful Cave Dad

Hi, I'm Paul, from Thoughtful Cave Dad.  Well, one of the Pauls anyways.  There are actually two of us nutcases over there having some fun with this family-oriented Paleo blogging thing.

When Heather asked me a month or so ago to write a guest post she said, "We obviously have enough time, so there is no rush."  Little does she know me, since I'm writing this within about 5 days of her due date!

I have to admit, though, I've struggled a bit trying to figure out what to write for the past month since she first asked me.  See, Heather and I don't know each other well. In fact, like most of us on these interwebs, we've never met and have only interacted a bit via Facebook.  But despite that, I am truly honored she asked me to write guest post for her during this most special time of her life.

To get some inspiration I did the thing we do on the internet.  I checked out her blog a little more closely than I had in the past, looked at both her personal Facebook page and her blog-related page. And the thing that struck me most were her pictures.  Not the Paleo Food Porn we Paleo bloggers are famous for, but those of her and her husband Joshua, and their two little, incredibly beautiful girls, Lyla and Lacie (who's yet to arrive as I write this, but there are pictures of Heather and Lacie together as one, and they are truly beautiful!).

Looking through all these pictures of this young family is incredibly moving.  They are very obviously very much in love with each other, and I can see how much Lacie adores both Mommy and Daddy. Maybe it's a little sappy to say this, but yes, they remind me of my wife and daughters when they were young. The love seen on their faces and in their eyes is what we feel in our hearts.  We are very different families on the surface.  Heather and hers living down south in Georgia, a place I've only passed through many years ago long before marriage or children, and me and mine living up here in the fast-paced life of the Northeast, 40 or so miles from Boston.

But yet, at the same time, we have so much in common. A mother whose daughters are her whole life; a father who will, and does, do anything possible or necessary to love and support the ladies who bring him so much joy; and little girls, innocent, beautiful gifts from God.  Especially those little girls. They're magical creatures.  They have the power to turn the worst days into Sunshine and Rainbows, their smiles can melt the harshest anger, and their hugs make nothing else matter at all.  I know this from my own experience, and I can see it in Heather’s family photos.  They have something very special.  A gift only God can bestow.

Both of our families are in the middle of a major transition as well. Heather and Joshua with the impending arrival of their second daughter, Lacie.  Our family is in the process of uprooting our lives and moving to a new home and a new town. We’re leaving the home my wife and I build 18 years ago; the only home our girls have ever known, the house we brought them home to when they were born. Heather's family will experience the joys and struggles of new family dynamics, Lyla will be a big sister (one of the most important jobs she'll ever have), Heather will have 2 little ones to keep track of during the day, and Joshua another reason to get up in the morning and to come home to at night.  We will have to deal with a new house we don't know and that we didn't build, neighbors a whole lot closer than we're used to, and our girls, for the first time, will be in different schools and have to make all new friends.

These are HUGE, scary changes for both of our families and they come with lots of stress and the anxiety of the unknown.  But, as the saying goes, "Worry is a misuse of imagination!". These changes open up just as much opportunity and adventure as anything else.  We are all beginning a new chapter in our lives, and are faced with the blank pages waiting for us to write down the plot and fill in the characters.

As I write this, I think of how fortunate we both are to have brought the Paleo lifestyle to our families and how we are both trying to help others find this way through our blogs and other efforts. How we both found our way here from the SAD way of life we knew previously.  In both cases it was a major change and upheaval to our lives.  For some the prospect of making dietary changes is just as scary as having a baby or moving to a new town; possibly even more so.  But I look back on my own journey and realize how far I've come and how grateful I am that I made this change for me and my family.  I look at all the good things which have resulted; the clearer skin, the better sleep, the lowered anxiety, and the remarkable health we've all enjoyed, and I thank God for leading me and my family in this direction.

To be sure, there were plenty of challenges.  No one wants to give up pizza or pancakes, and to be frank, many of the Paleo re-creations are poor imitations of that sugar and chemical-laden garbage we used to enjoy (and sometimes still do on rare occasions).  The kids especially have had times where our families food choices made them stand out as different at school, and concessions are often made on my part to accommodate them.  No dad wants to give his girls a food-oriented complex, after all!

So yes, transitioning to Paleo can be tough, and it requires a lot of work.  But it's really like any other transition or change in life which requires us to move from the known comfortable routine of our lives into the uncomfortable, often unpredictable, chaos of the unknown.  It requires trust, and Faith, and yes, a whole lot of work!  And many times it really doesn't seem worth it.  We must trust, though, blindly sometimes, that the future holds as much adventure and excitement as any other possibility.  And that with each big change comes growth in ourselves, for the better.  As Nietzsche said, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger!".  So I choose to enter this major transition in my family's near future with the same excitement that I know Heather and her family are facing with the approaching arrival of Lacie.  The future is unwritten, a blank page for us to write the story on.  And so it is with those of you committed to making a change in your own lives to improve your health and heal your family.  Choose health and happiness.  Fill in those blank pages, create those new characters, and trust in God that he led you here because He has even greater things in store for your future!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mint Chocolate Chip Soft-Serve


Summer is in full swing, and ice cream is necessary to beat the heat. And sweet cravings, for that matter. I have become particularly fond of my ninja throughout these hot summer months. Perfectly delicious soft-serve "ice cream" is only seconds away...

Mint Chocolate Chip Soft Serve
serves 2
Ingredients:
  • 1 ripe banana, frozen
  • 2 TB coconut milk
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 2 drops vanilla extract
  • 1 TB coconut sugar
  • 1/4 C enjoy life chocolate chips
  • 2 drops mint extract OR about 20 sweet mint leaves
Add all but chocolate chips to blender and pulse until smooth. Add chocolate chips and pulse until chocolate is chopped to desired size. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Primal Shortcut Baked Beans


This past Memorial Day, my family got together, as we do for every occasion, for a big ol pot luck supper. We had our traditional smoked pork butt with all the fixins. I don't know what quite goes better with barbeque pork than....barbeque baked beans. True, legumes are not a favorite among the paleo peeps, but every once in a while you just have to indulge, ya know? These particular baked beans are still gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and Primal friendly. The best part is, they only take 30 minutes to make!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hazelnut Crusted Cod with Lemon Butter Sauce


Since fish is pretty much the best choice when it comes to picking a protein, I am always playing around with different methods of preparing it. This one happens to be my newest favorite. There are just so many layers of flavor and texture, beautifully wrapped into one easy to prepare dish.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Salisbury Steak Meatballs


A spin on the traditional meat-and-potatoes manly meal, these meatballs were made with both my Cowboy, and my little one in mind. Everything is more fun in the shape of a ball! And just as I hoped, they both gave me rave reviews. As if their clean plates and requests for seconds didn't say enough ;)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Coconut Crusted Cod and Pineapple Salsa


Mother's Day is just around the corner, and in my case, a baby is following closely behind. So Cowboy is taking me to Destin for my Mother's Day present / babymoon. With the beach on the brain, I have been stuck on seafood all week. I cooked up a delicious shrimp stir-fry, some pan fried cod with mushrooms and onions, and last night I concocted my first successful coconut crusted fish recipe.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Pickled Onions and Peppers

 
This sweet and spicy combination is delicious spooned over my Slow Cooker Pulled Pork. Brine the onions and peppers when you put your roast in the slow cooker, and they will be ready just in time for supper. The longer they sit, the better the flavor. You may want to make a double batch to enjoy some later!

Amazing Slow Cooker Pulled Pork


 
This super succulent pork roast is so incredibly tender, it just falls apart. And it only takes a minute to throw together! Paired with Sweet and Spicy Pickled Onions and Peppers, the juicy pork and crispy veggies are a perfect combination.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Broccoli Leek Potato Soup - Primal and Paleo versions

 
 We had a couple of cold, rainy days last week. I was in serious need of some warm and filling comfort food. I had just picked up some leeks on my last grocery trip, and I was anxious to put them to use. As soon as I started cooking them up, my kitchen smelled wonderful, and I knew this dish was going to be awesome.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Strawberry Banana Gelatin "Shots"

 Here is a fun and kid-friendly treat that anyone will enjoy! With an added bonus of gut-healing powers from the added gelatin! Yay!