Thursday, December 29, 2011

RECIPE: A Very Healthy Salad

I have to admit, since we are between Christmas and New years, I feel like I haven't had enough vegetables, so tonight I decided to make a big healthy salad. I will be experimenting quite a bit, so keep watching to see what crazy concoctions I come up with!
4 cups fresh spring salad mix
1 red ripe tomato
1 avocado
1/4 jicama
1/4 cucumber
2 ounces bleu cheese crumbles
1. Place lettuce in a large salad bowl. Cut tomato, avocado, cucumber and jicama into small pieces and add to greens. Throw in bleu cheese crumbles.
3/4 cup pure virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil (It would be very easy to use Wildtree Basil Pesto instead!)
Sea salt & pepper to taste
Pour in 1/8 cup dressing and toss. Add more as desired. Toss, plate and enjoy!
If you're wanting to try this as a main course it would be excellent with some grilled chicken or steak thrown on top!
For more information about Wildtree products, click here: Wildtree

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

DIET: Surviving Eating While Traveling

When you choose to eat specific foods and avoid others, it's not always possible to follow your own guidelines when away from home. Traveling for a week or more can be a real challenge, especially if you're relying on someone else's cooking  resort, restaurant, family or friends. I have found that if I take some snacks along then I know I can easily miss a meal or two without feeling drained. This way I have some time to locate foods that make me feel good and that my body approves of. 
We recently returned from a trip to the tropics where our main activity was scuba diving. This trip was another Paleo lifestyle challenge/hurdle since we stayed at   an isolate dive resort with the food being part of our package. We have been to     this resort many times, so we do knew pretty much what to expect. 

Breakfast was scrambled eggs, made-to-order omelets, bacon or sausage, an 
assortment of breads (such as pancakes, waffles, French toast, bagels, English 
muffins) cereals, oatmeal, and fruit.

Lunch is consisted of a salad bar, soups, rice and beans with tortillas, some 
sort of protein in a pasta dish, a meat, steamed vegetables, and cookies.

Dinner always has a larger variety including some sort of fish, chicken, pork or 
beef, pasta, rice or potatoes, steamed vegetables, a salad bar, soup, and a 
variety of home made desserts.

There were assorted beverages such as tea, lemonade, water, sodas, juices,     and coffee. 

Since I love meats, salads, veggies and fruits I was hoping I would be able to 
stick pretty close to eating foods that are at least somewhat close to Paleo 
Mermaid friendly!
I was able to make wise choices. Most of my breakfasts consisted of eggs and bacon or sausage, mushrooms, cheese, and other vegetables if I chose an omelet. Lunch and dinner were very similar as I always began filling my plate withsalad greens, cucumbers and tomatoes. I chose a small plate for whatever meat was served, cut it into pieces and topped my salad with it. That worked very well, even when   the meal was spaghetti. If I recall correctly, only one meal fish only was served. That night I just made a larger salad.
Eating the foods I did certainly helped me to feel good all week long. I got a lot of sleep, drank lots of water and felt like I always had tons of energy and lots of stamina. A lot of divers eat a lot of carbs while on dive trips because they say they stay warmer. Personally, I think eating lots of carbs makes me feel sleepy and sluggish even during dive trips!
The diving was awesome. I made 24 great dives during the week including two night diveswhere we studied fluorescent critters. For more information about our dive tripand on the topic of fluorescents, please read our report on our website,  
Happy hunting, gathering, eating and swimming!

Monday, December 26, 2011

RECIPE: Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Since it's the time of year for Pumpkin pie, I decided to transform my mother's      recipe to fit my more Paleo-friendly lifestyle would be my first challenge. 

The original recipe my mother has always used is as follows:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 (15 ounce) can of organic pumpkin purée
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 unbanked 9 inch (4 cup volume) deep-dish pie shell

What is okay: 
Sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, eggs, and pumpkin purée.

What must be replaced:
Sugar, evaporated milk and pie crust.

My Revised Version:
3/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spices
2 tablespoons almond flour
3 large eggs
1 (15 ounce) can of organic pumpkin purée
1 1/2 cups vanilla almond milk

2 cups finely ground pecans
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spices

9 inch (4 cup volume) deep-dish pie pan

My mother is 80+ years old and is pretty set in her ways. She didn't want me to 
tamper with a recipe that's tried and true, but if I was going to spend hours in 
the kitchen preparing the family dinner I was certainly going to make my 
favorite dessert with foods I eat. Mom wanted a traditional flour pie crust, but 
she always eats the filling and leaves the crust anyway, so why should she 
really mind? Besides, one of her favorite desserts is a dish I make that has a 
nut crust. To me, this is a match made in heaven ... Or in my kitchen! 

The Paleo Pumpkin Pie turned out perfectly and there were NO leftovers!            Everyone raved over how good it was, so I just smiled and thanked them for their 
compliments. I will make another one and include photos later.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

RECIPE: Spitzbuebe ... NOT Paleo!

Being crazy in love with someone who was born and raised in another country, I am trying to keep his family traditions going. One such tradition is making Swiss cookies called Spitzbuebe. These yummy cookies are basically a jam-filled shortbread sandwich cookie. Since they are far from approved for Paleo or Atkins Lifestyles I will likely limit my own consumption to a couple. That's fair ... Since the recipe makes two dozen I'll be eating less than 10% of the batch! 

Yields: 2 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/8 cups confectioners' sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup seedless jam, warmed until syrupy (I used plum jam made from fruit off of our trees)

1. Prepare the cookie dough: Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add 1 cup of sugar in a gradual stream and continue to beat, occasionally scraping the side of the bowl, until pale and fluffy ‑- 5 to 8 minutes. Beat in the yolks one at a time and stir in the flour. Shape the dough into 4 1/2-inch-thick squares and wrap each in plastic. Chill for at least 45 minutes.

2. Make the cookies: Heat oven to 350° F. Line two baking pans with parchment paper and set aside. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out 2-inch round cookies and use a star cutter to punch out half of the centers. Transfer to the prepared pans. Reduce oven temperature to 325° F and bake until golden ‑- about 12-15 minutes depending on your oven. Repeat with remaining dough. Cool completely on a wire rack. Turn the whole cookies over to expose the lightly browned bottoms. Spoon some jam on them - enough to cover the inside of the cookie. Place the star-cut tops on the jam covered bottoms. I use a sifter to evenly coat the cookies with the remaining powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
The ingredients ... 
Ready for the oven ... 
Ready to be eaten!

Merry Christmas to My Swiss Knight! I'm making you a batch this afternoon! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

RECIPE: Cool Whip Cookies ... So NOT Paleo!!

Okay, so it's the Christmas Eve eve and I thought I'd share a recipe that's NOT Paleo ... In the least! As I mentioned before, it's just not possible to be 100% 24/7/365, so here's a splurge. I made these in multiple flavors for gifts to my friends this year and everyone seems to love them.
They are called Cool Whip Cookies. They are light and fluffy and down right delicious! I found the recipe on Here's the link: Cool Whip Cookies
Try them for yourself!
1 - 8 ounce container of Cool Whip topping
2 large eggs
1 box cake mix (I chose Spice Cake)
1 cup powdered confectioners sugar
3 tsp ground ginger (separated)
Break eggs into a medium to large sized mixing bowl and beat well. 
Add Cool Whip topping and beat again. 
Add 1/2 cake mix and 2 tsp ground ginger, blending well. Then add remaining cake mix and blend well. Batter will be quite sticky and that is normal. 
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put powdered sugar in a bowl and mix in 1+ tsp ground ginger to taste. (Only for ginger cookies, not other flavors!)
Lightly grease cookie sheet.
Drop batter by teaspoonfuls into a bowl of powdered sugar and roll to coat.
Place cookies on the greased cookie sheet and bake for 9 - 11 minutes. 
Cool cookies on racks.
I usually get 5 dozen cookies from one batch.
Mixing Cool Whip and eggs
 Adding cake mix and extra ginger
 Adding ginger to powdered sugar
 The batter and sugar
 Ready to go into the oven
 9 minutes later

Here are some photos of different batches I've made. From upper left: Ginger, Triple Chocolate Fudge, Lemon, Red Velvet
 Triple Chocolate Fudge
  Red Velvet (I added a little extra Hershey's cocoa powder to add more chocolate flavor!)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

RECIPE: Roasted Chicken & Barley Soup

I have been a big fan of Gavan Murphy for a while now. I will be posting several of his recipes ... Some as he posted them, some with my modifications. 
We have been invited to attend a Christmas Eve "Soup Potluck" and I was at a loss as to what to take. I checked Gavan's recipes and found this one. Since my neighbor sells Wildtree Products I wanted to incorporate at least two of their products into the recipe. I used their Chicken Bouillon Soup Base and their Garlic Galore Seasoning Blend. Here's a link to her Wildtree page for more information about their wonderful products: Wildtree
So, here's the recipe!
2 tablespoons olive oil (I substituted Wildtree Grapeseed Oil)
½ cup white onion – fine dice
½ cup celery – thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove – minced (I used 1 tsp. Wildtree Garlic Galore Seasoning Blend)
6 ounce baby portabella mushrooms – chopped
1 medium roasted chicken – meat shredded
1/3 cup barley
2 bay leaves
1 14 ½ ounce can chopped tomatoes
6 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (I used 6 cups of water and 4 tablespoons Wildtree Chicken Bouillon Soup Base)
3 tablespoons. fresh parsley – chopped

½ lemon – zested (I didn't have a lemon, so I omitted this)
1. Begin by preheating soup pot on medium heat for 1 minute.
2. Add olive oil and sauté the onions and celery for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not brown.
3. Add garlic, mushrooms and bay leaves and continue sautéing for additional 3 minutes.
4. Add broth and tomatoes. Stir and bring to a boil.
5. Once boiling reduce to a simmer and partially cover with lid.
6. Cook for 15 minutes.
7. Add barley and cook for 20 minutes.
8. Add shredded chicken and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.
9. Finish by adding fresh chopped parsley and lemon zest.
10. Taste and season.
And now for some photos ... 

 Soup's ready ... Just added the fresh parsley and a little fresh ground pepper!
Could this possibly look any more festive?
 We each had a HUGE mug of soup and this is what was left over. 
 These are the Wildtree products I used ... Well, and their Grapeseed Oil. 

RECIPE: Paleo Almond Cranberry Cookies

Since Christmas is right around the corner I thought it would be a good time to post a new recipe I found online. I love almonds. I love walnuts. I love cranberries. And, I love honey, so this recipe seemed to be right up my alley. I made them the other day and I was correct ... I LOVE them! They are little energy bombs and are great for any time of the day. Try them out and see for yourself!
2 cups almond flour
¼ cup ghee or butter (melted)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/4 cup cranberries (whole or chopped)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon almond butter (optional)
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)
1. Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
2. Roll dough in plastic wrap.
3. Refrigerate 1 hour.
4. Slice.
5. Cook on parchment covered cookie sheet about 10 - 12 minutes until light brown.
325 degrees
Makes 36 cookies

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I am a get-outside-and-enjoy-the-day kind of woman. I would rather be outside walking through the woods, fields, and along the waters edge rather than just about  anywhere ... Except underwater. Underwater is my favorite place to be!   
I have seen commercials recently that suggest everyone should get out and find whatever exercise is right for him or her - just get out and exercise! It has been  my experience that getting exercise makes me feel better. I have more energy     throughout the day. From what I have read, if you exercise first thing after you    wake up, you will boost your metabolism and have more energy throughout the   day  ... who could resist that?!?  
I have found out I really like to walk. I can throw on my sneakers, grab a camera and go for a walk. It's a great way to explore the community and nature, plus it     gives me more opportunities to take photographs and learn more about the flora,   fauna and creatures that share the local environment. Walking also gives me       time to think, to plan, to clear my mind.   
I love to scuba dive. Scuba diving has been my profession since 1996. I love it   more now than I did when I first started and I cannot ever imagine a time in my life when I would not want to scuba dive. Scuba diving is great exercise.  Staying is decent shape to scuba dive is important, so cross training during down time is a   good idea. Walking and swimming help tone muscles, so I swim a lot weather      permitting. Yoga and Pilates help with balance, core strength, and overall good    health. I am planning on adding more yoga and Pilates to my routine, as well.       Stretching, deep breathing, drinking lots of water and getting plenty of sleep are a part of my daily routine, no matter where I am or what the conditions are like. 

Happy hunting, gathering, eating and swimming!

DIET: Part 2

Making it through the Holidays.  

There is absolutely no way to make it 24/7/365 without deviating from any lifestyle. You might be invited to a dinner party where the host is unaware of your specific lifestyle. You may find yourself out with friends at mealtime and someone suggests a restaurant that doesn't have a wide variety of dishes that can accommodate your lifestyle choices. You might find yourself right smack dab in the middle of the Holidays filled with gravy, cornbread dressing, starchy vegetables, and sugary desserts and treats, or just about anything that isn't on your list of "approved" foods. We all have our likes, dislikes and favorites. We all have lists (even if it's a mental list) of foods we will eat and those we won’t. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are difficult to get through without indulging.  

With that being said and borrowing a popular phrase from Nike ... Just Do It.  Okay, do it, but in moderation. Even the most popular diets allow for indulgence days. I know that if I eat sugar, flour and other starchy foods I will feel sluggish, I will be congested, I will feel bloated, and my digestive system will go haywire, but who can resist some of the wonderful treats that have always been part of Holiday traditions?   

My plan is to enjoy my most favorites of the Holiday treats, but in limited quantities. I will drink more water and extend my walks to help offset the effects that those foods have on my body.   
Part of Christmas tradition is baking. This year I made several of the sugary varieties, but I also made a couple of sweets specifically for myself. I found a Paleo Almond cookie recipe online, so I modified it a bit and gave it a try. I also made my ever-popular Cave Girl cookies. Both contain almonds, walnuts, cranberries, spices, etc., but they are quite different in taste and in texture.  I made Conrad's favorite Swiss cookie - Spitzbuebe, plus four flavors of crinkles. I have "sampled" all four flavors of crinkles, and I must say, the ginger and the red velvet are my favorites! Luckily, I made these to give to neighbors and friends, so most of them will be out of our house by this afternoon!   

Now I have to decide what to serve for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner. I’m thinking a pot of soup for Christmas Eve and a sit-down meal for Christmas day.

I love to bake, to cook, and experiment. It's safe to say you can expect to see quite a few posts of recipes and photos in the near future! 

Happy hunting, gathering, eating, and swimming!

Monday, December 19, 2011


Let me begin by saying I am not a physician, a health care professional, a nutritionist, a chef, a food critic, a personal trainer or any other profession that qualifies me as a food or diet expert. All I am blogging about here are my personal experiences, my preferences, and my quest to explore a healthy, fun, flavorful lifestyle. If you are looking for professional advice, please look elsewhere. If you are curious about the journey I have chosen, please check in often to see how my journey progresses.  
I have decided that the beginning of this journey must involve researching foods, what I like and what I don’t like. So I began to explore the foods that are recommended for the Paleo Lifestyle on my quest to find what is right for me. I am going to call it the "Paleo Mermaid Lifestyle” since I will be writing about my own interpretation. My plan is to try several recipes each week, and to post photos and my impressions on the recipes I try. 
I will begin by listing the Paleo foods that I like, those that I will try, and those that I will avoid. I don't expect that I will love every recipe I try, but I do plan on exploring a lot of ideas that I have never considered before. After all, I hated asparagus and curry for the first 49.8 years of my life and since then I have learned to love them both prepared several different ways! When we are traveling and the opportunity arises I will try local cuisines and work on recipes to adapt them to my lifestyle.
I am going to refer to several websites and books throughout this journey and I will make a list of my inspirations. For a lot of information of foods, in-depth details about spices and herbs I refer to - Terri Geiser is a very dear friend whom I admire and trust for accurate information. 

The Foods I Like: 
VEGETABLES: (Click: CookingWiser's Vegetable Chart)
Acorn Squash
Bell Peppers – green, yellow & red 
Butternut Squash
Fennel Bulb
Mustard Greens
Sweet Potatoes 
Turnip Greens
Yellow Squash
FRUITS: (Click: CookingWiser's Fruit Chart)
Purple Grapes
Red Apples
Yellow Raisins 
Almond Butter 
Coconut Oil
Grapeseed Oil
Olive Oil 
Pine Nuts
Pumpkin Seeds
HERBS: (Click: CookingWiser's Herb Chart)
Garam Masala
Lemon Grass
Sea Salt  
SPICES:(Click: CookingWiser's Spice Chart)
Caraway Seed
Cayenne Pepper
Celery Seed
Chili Pepper
Fennel Seed
Pepper (Black or White)
Poppy Seeds
Sesame Seeds
Agave Nectar
Maple Syrup
Bleu Cheese
Cream Cheese
Sour Cream 
Chai Tea with Almond Milk 
Green Tea  
Black Currants  
Carob Powder 
Pink Sorrel 
All Seafood 
Artificial Sweeteners 
Corn Syrup 
Starchy Vegetables  

In case you missed the category links listed above, for more information with amazing charts about food groups please click on the following:
Herbs: CookingWiser's Herb Chart
Spices: CookingWiser's Spice Chart
Vegetables: CookingWiser's Vegetable Chart
Fruits: CookingWiser's Fruit Chart

WHEW! That's actually a lot of foods! I'm sure there are some I've not listed, but I will update the list occasionally, I'm sure.

Happy hunting, gathering, eating, and swimming! 

DIET: Part 1

How my " Paleo Mermaid Lifestyle" began … 

I was a chunky kid ... I was a curvy teen ... I have been curvy in multiple degrees ever since.   A couple of decades ago I decided to loose weight, so I created my own diet. That was during the low-fat craze, so I ate a very bland, dry selection offoods including oatmeal, toasted fat free bread with fat free cheese, fat free yogurt, bananas, apples, sugar free Jell-O, Lean Cuisines, and diet Mountain Dews ...  every day ... for several months. Hey, if I couldn’t have great tasting food at least I would have caffeine! The low-fat diet worked ... quickly ... but I felt like crap and  looked bad, too. People frequently asked me if I had been sick. I lost 70 pounds, but  over the course of the next year or two I gained it all back. Duh!   

About a decade ago I decided to try Atkins.   I ate lots of savory, flavorful foods   and lost 40 pounds within six weeks! This worked very well for me because I love meats, dairy, and veggies.  I managed to gain weight again, but it took several    years with several major life changes. Being female and over 40 certainly helped, I am sure! Go figure.   

Earlier this year we booked a trip to go scuba diving. This isn't uncommon for us as we often go on dive trips several times   each year. We always have several   digital underwater cameras and camcorders to review, so we carry a lot of gear   with us. It's difficult enough maneuvering airports, shuttles, and those tiny sardine-like seats.  Add to that all the extra gear and it makes for a strenuous adventure! 

Why do I mention this, you may ask? Well, I mention this because since we do fly often I was getting tired of feeling likea sardine in a can strapped in with wire ties! So, my quest began again to explore options - Do I work on losing weight?         Couple a diet with exercise? Look at options of a whole different thought process of how I think of food? Consider the health aspects of dieting? Explore nutritional  information about foods to ensure I am getting everything I need? The answer is   YES ... to all of these questions.  

I remembered how easy it was to shed pounds using low-carb foods, so I resear-ched those options again. Within a couple of days I had decided that route was   worth trying again, so I went to the grocery store and stocked up on lots of meats,eggs, cheeses, and green vegetables. I am now 51 years young and I have         always heard the older you are the harder it is to lose weight. I stuck to my new   eating lifestyle and within 20 days I had lost 20 pounds and kept going. I guess     there's something to be said for the phrase "50 is the new 30" after all!   

In addition to totally changing my eating habits I also added a brisk morning walk  to my daily activities. What I learned from  this is that the more you exercise the more you want to exercise. The more you do it the easier it becomes! I started off walking around the block. During the first few days I would have to stop half way and stretch my back. As I continued on with my routine the farther I was able to   go before I needed to stop and stretch. Eventually, I was able to make it all the     way around the block without pain and then I concentrated on varying my route,   adding longer distances or hills, then finally longer distances with hills. Before I    knew it I was walking the equivalent of a 5K again!  

After six months of low-carb eating and my daily walks, I have lost 50 pounds. I   am pretty much where I feel my best. There’s still some needed toning, but that     improves daily with walking, eating well, drinking lots of water and getting plenty of sleep. The one thing I miss on a low-carb diet is fruit. I do not miss pasta. I do   not miss potatoes or corn. I do not miss grains or wheat flour. And, I don't even    miss sugar, but I dearly miss fruit. 

So, again, I started looking at options. Interestingly enough, one day while            browsing the Internet, I saw an ad for Paleo for the 21st Century and just HAD to  investigate! I requested a download version of the book and I got all excited to    see what foods were on the approved list. The list contained fruits, veggies, meats, fats, herbs, and spices. I was a very happy camper to say the least!  

So my Paleo exploration began. I started researching Paleo websites and found a lot of yummy recipes. There seems to always be a catch or a drawback when    one finds the "perfect diet" and, in my case, Paleo is no exception. One of the key  ingredients to the Paleo lifestyle is fish. I don't eat fish. I love fish. I love oysters, scallops, grouper, halibut, calamari, sushi, sashimi, and a lot more, but I strongly disapprove of fishing practices today so I flat out refuse to eat fish. Besides, after all, I am a scuba diving professional and a mermaid, and fish are my friends, so    they CANNOT be my food!   

As I begin my quest to explore the Paleo/Primal/Atkins-based lifestyle, my plan is to make regular entries here on my blog. I am not a food snob, but I am pretty set in my ways as to what I like, what I will try and what I won't try, so I cannot          honestly say this is a strict "Paleo" lifestyle blog. Because of that I will refer to my diet and exercise lifestyle as my "Paleo Mermaid Lifestyle." 

Thanks for following along as I write about my experiences. Please feel free to    send me suggestions and comments and share your findings so we can explore  this new journey together. 

Happy hunting, gathering, eating, and swimming!     

Welcome to Paleo Mermaid!

Hello! Welcome to my blog. I have thought about something for quite some time   now. Recently I decided I have thought about it long enough and now it's time to   do something about it ... BLOG!

In case you're wondering what's going on in my head, I have decided to write a    blog, share photos, recipes, and other helpful information about diet, recipes,       nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, scuba diving, walking and just plain having fun! What makes my blog different is that I am incorporating pieces and parts of the Paleo    diet, Primal diet, Atkins diet, and adding some of my own ideas into the mix.

Happy hunting, gathering, eating and swimming!