Archive for the 'Whole Life Challenge' Category

Crockpot Balsamic Chicken (Paleo)

I saw this recipe online somewhere but forgot to write down the source or bookmark it. If anyone knows the original source please let me know so I can link and credit them.

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 24 ounces) or breasts
sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley

Combine the first five dry spices in a small bowl and spread over chicken on both sides. Set aside. Pour olive oil and garlic on the bottom of the crock pot. Place chicken on top. Pour balsamic vinegar over the chicken. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Sprinkle with fresh parsley on top to serve.


Braised Beef – Beef Shanks, Chuck Steak, Short Ribs

I’m pretty sure this will work with any “low and slow” cut of beef. I’m a fan because these cuts are often not very expensive and they’re super flavorful. They do require low and slow cooking though, otherwise they’ll be tough and chewy. I normally do low and slow in the crock pot, but I recently got a dutch oven and I’m obsessed with it.

There is a lot of leeway with this recipe, as you can see, so you can play around with it a lot.

Braised Beef
1-4 beef shanks, chuck steaks, short ribs (as much as you want to cook, basically)
1-2 Tbsp oil
1 bag frozen peppers and onions (or use fresh, of course.)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup chopped carrot (I just threw a few handfuls of baby carrots right in, whole)
1-2 cups chicken stock/broth (depending how much meat you’re cooking)
2 cups of tomato sauce or a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
1-2 bay leaves
1 tsp thyme
1 Tbsp parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 325. Heat the oil in a dutch oven, liberally salt and pepper the beef and sear it on all sides. Remove the seared beef and set aside. Add the peppers and onions, garlic, and carrots and saute until they start to get translucent (if you’re using frozen like me I just saute until most of the water is cooked off). Add the beef back in along with the rest of the ingredients and stir. Cover the dutch oven and place in the oven for 2 hours.

I made this over the weekend and cut the chuck steak with a spoon. Delicious!

Savory Breakfast Bake

Breakfast Bake
adapted from Foodie and the Family

1 lb ground sausage, cooked through
1 bag frozen peppers and onion mix, cooked down
12 large eggs
14 ounce can sweet potato or butternut squash puree
14 ounce can full fat coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a 9×13″ baking pan well with coconut oil. Toss cooked sausage and pepper and onion mix into the pan, spreading evenly over the bottom.

Whisk eggs, sweet potato or squash puree, coconut milk, salt and pepper. Combine well. Pour over sausage and veggie mix in pan.

Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes; until set. Let cool. Cut into 12 pieces and serve room temperature or refrigerate to serve cold.

Breakfast Bake

Breakfast Bake
adapted from Foodie and the Family

3 apples, chopped (I leave the peel on)
2-3 ripe bananas, mashed
12 large eggs
14 ounce can pumpkin puree
14 ounce can full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup maple syrup (optional – omit for Whole30)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a 9×13″ baking pan well with coconut oil. Toss chopped apples into the pan, spreading evenly over the bottom.

In a large bowl, mash bananas. Whisk in eggs, pumpkin puree, coconut milk, maple syrup (if using), vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Combine well. Pour over apples in pan.

Sprinkle the top of the mixture with sliced almonds. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes; until set. Let cool. Cut into 12 pieces and serve room temperature or refrigerate to serve cold.


I make chili kind of a lot and I was feeling in a bit of a rut with my recipe. I Googled around and took ideas from other recipes and settled on this – it came out fantastic. My new favorite chili! I made this for Superbowl Sunday and snuck a couple of servings in the freezer for safe keeping!


2 lbs grass fed ground beef
1 can kidney beans (omit for Paleo – I usually do one pot with beans for Patrick and one without for me)
1 Tbs fat for sauteing
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1- 14oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup good chili powder
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cocoa powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chicken broth OR beef broth OR beer

Heat the fat and saute the onions and garlic. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off excess fat is there’s a lot. Add the spices and let them cook a couple of minutes. Add the beans, if using, then all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 2 hours.

Pastelón (Puerto Rican Lasagna with Plantains)

This is one of those recipes where I can take zero credit other than for my awesomeness for alerting you to its existence. I did make a few little adjustments based on what I had in the house although not enough to consider it an adaptation but I’ll note them below anyway. I got this from the site This Is So Good here. It really is SO GOOD.

Check out that site for lots of good stuff!

Pastelón (Puerto Rican Lasagna with Plantains)
From This Is So Good

  • Coconut oil for sauteing and frying
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds of grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • 12 olives, sliced
  • 6 ripe plantains
  • 8 eggs

*AMYELLA’s NOTES: I halved the recipe because I wanted to try it out before making a ton of it. I wish I had made a full batch! Also, I used a green bell pepper, added a zucchini for extra veg, omitted the cilantro, omitted the raisins, omitted the olives because I didn’t have any. I also layered differently: plantains, half the meat mixture, plantains, rest of the meat mixture. I just poured the eggs over the meat layer and it was really delicious this way too.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, melt a Tablespoon or two of coconut oil over medium heat.  Add in the onion, bell pepper, and garlic.  Saute for 4-5 minutes or until slightly softened.  Add in the ground beef and break it up with a spoon or spatula.  Add in your spices (sea salt through crushed red pepper flakes) and mix well.  Continue cooking until the beef is browned, about 9-10 minutes.

Add the bay leaves, stock, and tomato paste, mixing well.  Simmer uncovered over medium low heat until the liquid is absorbed.  Stir occasionally.

While the beef mixture is simmering, prep your plantains.  Peel them (see here for demo), cut them in half widthwise, and then cut each half into four slices lengthwise.

In a large frying pan, melt several Tablespoons of coconut oil.  Lay the slices of plantain in the oil and fry for 3-4 minutes per side or until lightly browned.  You will probably have to do this in batches.

In a 9 x 13  baking dish, layer half of the plantains in a single layer.

Whisk 4 eggs with a dash of salt and pepper and then pour them over the plantain layer.  Remove the bay leaves from the beef mixture and stir in the cilantro.  Carefully spread the beef over the plantains.  Pack it down a little, it will help the Pastelón hold together better when you slice it.  Next layer the rest of the plantains on top of the beef in a single layer.  Whisk the remaining four eggs with a dash of salt and pepper and pour it over the top.  Spread the eggs so they cover all of the plantains and seep into the beef a bit.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the eggs are set and the top is a golden brown color.  I highly recommend letting the Pastelón sit for 5-10 minutes to help it firm up for cutting.


Sweet Potato Souffle (Paleo)

This is adapted from the Coconut Carrot Souffle here and which I made last week. I thought it was…ok. I certainly liked it enough that I ate it, but to me it was just very “cooked carroty”. That’s a thing. Anyway, I wouldn’t serve it to guests because I don’t think it would be universally well received, but I realized that if I made it with sweet potato it would likely be a huge hit. I tested it out this weekend and I was right. This is definitely making an appearance at Thanksgiving!

Sweet Potato Souffle
adapted from Things I Make My Husband’s Coconut Carrot Souffle

  • 1 lb sweet potato, cooked (wrap in foil whole, place in 400 degree oven, bake 1-1/2 hrs)
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Blend thoroughly until completely smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish or 4 greased ramekins. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Personal Blog

Hi All!
I hope you enjoy the recipes! If you want to read about my random musings you can find me at
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