Easy Homemade Paleo Mayonnaise

EasyPaleoMayoI have had hankering for my most favorite Crisp Chicken Salad recipe that I saw on daytime ABC show, The Chew. So crisp, so delicious, and I love to roll it up in some lettuce leaves and chow down (will post a recipe to this on another day).  Now, I have been on this quest to eat “clean” and make healthier eating choices to improve my own health and wellbeing.  So I wanted to take this fabulous chicken salad recipe and see how I can make it just a little “cleaner” by not using store-bought mayonnaise that’s full of preservatives.

This version of mayonnaise is a paleo mayo recipe that found a few years back and adapted to my own taste. You can either use an immersion blender, a regular blender, or a food processor (my preference). Just make sure if using a blender or food processor, it has an opening where you can pour in the oil while it’s running.

Also, it is highly recommended that you use a light olive oil and not extra virgin olive oil, as the extra virgin will affect the flavor of your mayo with an overwhelming olive oil flavor. So light olive oil works best for this recipe.

The trick to get this mayo to be the perfect consistency is the SLOW pour of the oil. Use a measuring cup with a spout that you can easily pour in a very thin stream into the bowl of your processor. This ensures that the emulsion process works right and turns into that thick, creamy mayo you know and love.  Pour the oil too fast, and you run the risk of it separating and being more like a runny salad dressing.

Paleo_Mayo_Ingredients

** This recipe does have raw egg in it, so if you are squeamish about raw eggs, this recipe may not be for you.

Welcome 2014 – The Year of Awesome

hello_2014Happy New Year everyone! Today is the first day of 2014 and I am very much looking forward to this coming year. 2014 is going to be the Year of Awesome.

Like most people are doing these past few days, I am sitting down and reflecting on where I am now and documenting where I want myself and my family to be in the coming year. You may call this making resolutions, but I always thought the word “resolutions” is a little too cliche (and a little lame). Besides, who remembers those “resolutions” after the first month? So let’s call this my “Goals & To-do List for 2014”. That’s much better.

Smile More, Stress Less.

  • In my quest to become a better me, I need to remember what is important, what is not, surround myself with positivity and let my smile shine. Life is too short to hold on to stress and negativity.

Get Fit.

  • I am 3 months postpartum, and I can’t really use the “baby weight” excuse all year. It is time to get my but and gear, work on a more active lifestyle. Notice I said get fit instead of lose weight. As much as it would delight me to see the scale tick downward, my main goal is to be stronger, have more energy an just generally feel better.

Change our diet.

  • Kind-of goes hand-in-hand with getting fit, but I need to make some changes to be a healthier me, and make sure my kids have healthy habits. Nothing too drastic, and no traditional “diet”. I’ll write about this more later, but I am going to stick to more whole foods, especially when feeding my family. In addition to that, I plan to cut out sugar AND artificial sweeteners, and cut my consumption of wheat and other carbs. Nothing processed.

Take Zumba Instructor Training.

  • I found the one exercise activity that I absolutely love. So much so that I get sad when Zumba class is over because I want to keep going. I started it 3 years ago after my first son was born, did it through my 2 last pregnancies and now I’m on a mission to use Zumba as a tool for my “Get Fit” goal above, and become a Zumba instructor.

Organize and clean house.

  • I have plenty of stuff. My kids have plenty off stuff. Too much in fact. It is time for some major purging of my closet, kitchen cabinets, and toy room. The Salvation Army/Goodwill will have lots of donations coming their way from me. I can’t wait to get rid of the clutter and feel more in control of my house.

Save more and spend less.

  • I like to shop, but it is time to prioritize. We have lots of things that we would like to save for in this house, which means I need to spend less on non-essentials. And like I mentioned above, we have too much stuff as it is. So I am making an effort to be more budget conscious, focus spending only on needs and essentials.

Use my fancy camera more.

  • I purchased a nice DSLR camera last year for myself for Mother’s Day.  I got it to take better pictures of my kids, and I need to use it more for that purpose.  I still have a bit more to learn about using this camera and could use some new lenses to play with. Also, I need to get to make sure I have more pics in front of the camera with my kids. Don’t want them to look back at all their pictures and think they were mother-less.

Have more fun.

  • I am going to have more fun, play with my kids, and do more of what I love. Got to remember not to take life too seriously, and get down on the floor and play with my kiddos. I will work on a bunch of craft projects and get my kids in on the crafting action. We will have fun!

Blog more.

  • I like to write. I like to document and share things in my life. I need more practice at it. And I need to do it more than a couple times a month.

So that is my master to-do list for 2014. I know that being a mom of a preschooler, toddler, and infant all at once can be a bit chaotic. I’m not striving for perfection, but doing the best I can.  It will be the Year of Awesome, so let’s rock this new year.

Lobsters – A Life Lesson For My 4 Year Old

lobster_lessonsI am learning that four year olds are inquisitive, and you can never quite predict what is going to come out of their mouths and when.  My 4 year old is in the normal phase of asking question after question on how things work, where things come from, and why things are they way they are. He is just trying to understand how his world works. To me, it gives me a fascinating insight to how his little brain works and to see the world from his eyes.

This week I was reminded of all that when I took the kids on routine trip to the grocery store. Without fail, when we walk near the fish counter, Joey must pay a visit to the big lobster tank to say hi to all the lobsters. He just loves to stare that them and watch them crawl around each other. Some days it is hard to pull him away, and this day was no exception. But soon I was able to drag him away so we could complete our shopping. Then he starts asking me questions about the lobsters’ eyes, and where their mouths are and what they eat. Since I am not really an expert on lobster anatomy and such, so I usually tell him my best guess and recommend that we look it up when we get home.

Then Joey asks, “Mommy, what do people DO with the lobsters?”

“Well honey, they take them home and cook and eat them,” hoping that would be the end of it.

“Cook and eat them? Why do they do that?” he asks.

“Because lobster is delicious,” I answer him, part of me wondering what the heck he thought they were for… decorations?

“Well how do people cook them, put them on a fire?” he then asks.

GULP… Oh boy. Now I know how lobsters are cooked, and really I never gave the way they meet their demise before they make it to my plate much of a thought. But how does throwing something into a super hot pot of water to boil alive sound to a 4 year old?  In my mind, I’m trying to find a way to gently tell him about the (torturous?) way lobsters come to their end and decide that the truth is probably the best way.

“They way lobsters are cooked is that they get put in a super hot pot of boiling water for a few minutes and when they turn bright red, they are done cooking and ready to eat.”

“Well mommy, when people try to eat them, won’t their claws pinch their mouths?”

“Um… no honey, after you cook a lobster, they are no longer alive so their claws no longer work,” I told him.

I look at him waiting for the next question… “Oh, okay,” he says. Then seemingly drops the conversation. That was enough for his 4 year old brain at that moment.

Oh boy. Lessons on life and death and where the things we eat really come from. All that can come up in one little conversation about lobsters.

The whole thing made me laugh a little an I knew that he would probably bring it back up again (he did). When I thought more about it, it made sense that usually the food we take home and eat (specifically meat or most seafood) is not alive and walking (or swimming) around. It has already been taken care of and packaged for us to take home to cook. So when he brought up the cooking of lobsters again later, we made comparisons to the chicken or beef that we eat that were once walking around on a farm before it made it to our store and to our table. And really for a 4 year old, we don’t need to go into much more detail on the in between for HOW they got there. It’s interesting to see his wheels turning while he processes how it all works.

So will he actually try lobster? Are you kidding me? This is my picky eater we are talking about. Though we told him how yummy we think lobster  is (not that we go on eating lobster all the time), he is not so convinced.

Next life lesson that has come up in the last 24 hours… How is the baby is going to come out of mommy’s belly? Since I did not quite know the appropriate 4 year old answer at the moment, I told him that we would talk about it later.  So I better figure it out before he asks again (and he will very soon).