Recipes from Quarantine--Pancetta and Gruyere Frittata

Recipes from Quarantine--Pancetta and Gruyere Frittata

Recipes from the Quarantine Files

You know those memes about finding recipes online and having to wade through a million stories and musings just to GET TO THE RECIPE ALREADY? Well, I feel you. Here is the bare bones recipe if that’s all you’re here for. If you want my musings and methodology, you can read on.

12 eggs from Smith Heritage Farms. If you use other eggs and the frittata is gross, that’s on you.

8 oz pancetta

5.3 oz of gruyere cheese (we’ll discuss this very specific amount below)

2 shallots, sliced

Some spinach, kale or other greens

¼ cup half and half or full fat coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Bake at 400 in a deep dish pie plate for 30-40 minutes.







I found myself at Publix yesterday. It was my first time going anywhere other than my house or work in many days. I don’t know how many days, because what day is it? For that matter, what time is it, and who are you anyway?

Anyway, I’m at Publix and I haven’t been anywhere in a while, so I’m already discombobulated because there are lots of people wearing gloves and masks (and shorts! Because apparently summer also happened). I mean, I’m also wearing gloves and carrying a Clorox wipe which feels super odd, but to see so many other people doing the same thing was jarring. Like one more confirmation that THIS.IS.SERIOUS. Then a car drives by me and the person driving is wearing a FULL ON RESPIRATOR whilst in their own car, and I’m really trying to figure out if I now live in the Twilight Zone.

So as I go inside to get things, I experience what most people are experiencing as they go into grocery stores. I think, I’d better make this trip count, by God, because we are practicing social distancing, and we can’t just run back if we forgot anything. So I’m standing there thinking about what’s in our freezer and what is something that might feel “special” to break the monotony of… these days, and for some reason I remember the frittata I made on Christmas morning.

And while the toilet paper aisle might be empty and the rice is sold out, but there is pancetta and gruyere to be had, my lovelies.  

Now I do realize that people are having trouble finding eggs. But The Joyful Food Co. is stocked up on Smith Heritage Farms Eggs, and those just so happen to be the best eggs, so if you’re local, we’ve got your back as far as eggs go.

While this recipe is gluten-free, it isn’t dairy-free. It also isn’t low-fat or guilt free, but it is delicious and it is probably something you’d only make occasionally. Like on Christmas morning or during a quarantine for a global pandemic.

Let’s get started. Get a deep dish pie plate and grease the inside with butter or ghee. You’re gonna start by slicing your shallots. If there is a proper way to do this, I can’t teach you, because I don’t know. I just treat them like cylindrical onions, and it works ok. You can buy diced pancetta, which would be optimal for this recipe, but all the diced pancetta I’ve found has nitrates and nitrites in it, and those don’t work for me. Boar’s Head has a kind that is uncured and it comes in thin slices like prosciutto. I get that kind and just chop it up.

Chop up your shallots and pancetta and sauté them in a pan. You don’t really need to add oil, because the pancetta will release some grease. Cook that until the shallots are nice and soft.







Drain as much grease from it as you can and put all of that into the bottom of the pie plate. Sprinkle some spinach or kale on top. I always have some random greens in my fridge for smoothie making and this week, it happened to be spinach. I don’t know how much. Whatever looks right. Are there even rules anymore?







Then you’re gonna grate the gruyere cheese. It is a stinky cheese, so be warned. Smells like feet, but tastes like heaven. Why 5.3 oz of cheese, Elizabeth?, you may ask. That is a very specific amount. Well, friends, there was a block of gruyere cheese at the Publix and it looked about right, and it just so happened to be 5.3 oz. Since I used it all, and the frittata was good, it became a thing. If baking is a science then cooking is experimental art.

Oh my word, my cheese had a coupon on it, and I didn’t even notice. I could’ve saved $1 on cheese and I missed my shot.







You’re gonna crack those 12 eggs, add ¼ cup of half and half or coconut milk. If you don’t have those, it doesn’t really matter, just leave it out. Add some salt and pepper and dump the grated cheese in, and whisk it up. Pour that mixture over the other stuff in the pie pan.







Pop it in your preheated oven. Here’s where I always mess up when I’m trying to share a recipe. I don’t time anything—I’m a total mess. I’m just like, cook it til it’s done, but I’ve realized as I’ve tried to train people to work in my kitchen that they do not like that attitude. I’m so specific about everything and then I just wave my hand vaguely on baking times. I have learned that people want an exact time or at least a range. People are so high maintenance. So for your benefit, I took a picture of the clock when I put the frittata in, and I took a picture of the clock when I took it out. So I can confidently give you a range of 30-40ish minutes. There. Are you happy?







We had ours for dinner, and I served it with asparagus, because that’s what I had, and it was good. My youngest son hates asparagus and opted to have kimchi with his, so clearly it’s a versatile frittata that pairs well with many things.







I hope this provides a nice break from your regularly scheduled quarantine meals of rice and toilet paper.



Elizabeth Wood
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Whole30 Results!

Whole30 Results!

I finished up my Whole30 before Thanksgiving, but things got a little busy around here, as you can imagine.

The last week of Whole30 dragged on a bit, but my husband and I made it through. He was weighing himself throughout (yes, I know that's against the rules!) and seeing good results which inspired him and made it feel very worth it. Overall, he ended up losing 15 lbs in 30 days which I think is very impressive! I don't really keep up with my weight closely, but I had a doctor's appointment on Day 2 and one on Day 27. While weight loss wasn't my main priority, I think we can all agree that losing a few pounds is usually not a bad thing. According to the nurse, I lost 3 pounds, which is nothing like my husband's results, but I can live with that!

Towards the end of Whole30, I was excited to have my coffee like I like it again (with heavy cream), eat some potato chips (overall, they're pretty tame with ingredients being potatoes, avocado oil and salt) and have a drink. But when it was all said and done, I wondered if going back to all that heavy cream in my coffee was a good idea. I knew once I had it, I wouldn't want to give it up, and I hated to undo all of the good I had done by giving it up for 30 days. During Whole30, I had been drinking Nutpods, which are Whole30 approved, but contain natural flavors and other stabilizers. I started wondering which was actually worse. So I went to Sprouts and started examining the different non dairy milks and creamers. I found one called Milked Cashews and the only ingredients were cashews and water, and I really like it. Since it doesn't have stabilizers, it does tend to separate pretty easily, but it's a good taste. Of course now that I've bought it twice, it looks like they've discontinued it!







One strange thing I've noticed is that I just don't want the coffee as much as I used to. I used to crave it all the time! I think maybe what my body was craving was the dairy in the coffee. Now I have some coffee and it's fine and I am not thinking about it all the time or drinking it every night. And would you believe I haven't used heavy cream even once since the Whole30 ended?

Other changes I've noticed is that I don't think about snacking at night anymore. That was a hard habit to break, but I just don't think about it, much less have the food on hand anymore (I'm spending a LOT less on snack foods at the grocery store, too!). I do eat my chips sometimes and the only sweet thing I crave anymore is dried mango. I enjoyed some pecan pie at Thanksgiving, but when it was gone, it was gone. I actually even threw some away!

I'm pretty proud that I haven't slipped back into all of my old habits. I think going for 30 days really does make a difference. If I had done if for even 20, I think I would have been more likely to go back to some of the unhealthy choices.

So even though I've always been a fan of Whole30, I'd say I'm even more of a believer now. I do think my coffee addiction was really a dairy addiction and Whole30 helped me break that. If you're thinking of giving it a go as a new year's resolution, I think you should go for it! You have nothing to lose but some unwanted pounds and inflammation and possibly some addictions to sugar or dairy or other things.

Remember, we're here to help! We have so many compliant meals and soups, but we're also here to encourage you and celebrate your victories! You can do this!

Elizabeth Wood
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Whole30, Day 19--Changes I'm Noticing

Whole30, Day 19--Changes I'm Noticing

This morning when I woke up, I had to count the days to remember what day I'm on in the Whole30. I think that's a good thing, because it means I'm not agonizingly waiting for it to end. And for me, it's going by more quickly than I anticipated. Here's a calendar that Whole30 designed that covers a lot of the experiences you have on this journey:






The hardest day for me, by far, was day 14. According to the calendar, that's a hard time on any Whole30 journey. We upped the ante by having a birthday party for my son and the table was covered in chips, cookies and candy corn. It was so hard not to absent mindedly grab a chip as I walked by or to enjoy some candy corn--the most controversial of all Halloween candy (I'm a fan!!!). Not to mention that there were TEN 12-13 year old boys in my house, and my nerves were screaming for tequila. But I did it! I ate hamburgers and grapes and drank water and lived through it.

I'm happy to say that I am noticing positive improvements in the way I feel, which makes it easier to keep coasting through this round of Whole30. I started because I was having terrible inflammation and waking up with just about every part of my body hurting. That has drastically improved. I also think that my stomach is flatter and my face looks less puffy. I don't own a scale, but I did go to a doctor's appointment on Day 2, and have a follow up near the end of this Whole30, so that's the only way I'll know if my weight has changed. My jeans definitely fit better. I can clearly see that my husband has lost weight, which isn't surprising because men lose weight so easily (annoying!!).

According to the calendar, I should now be floating through the Tiger blood phase, and I have to be honest and say I don't think I've ever had that tiger blood energy in my life. The only time I've ever bolted out of bed wide awake and ready to go is if I hear a child or pet puking somewhere. I mean, I obviously get out of bed every morning, but I'm never happy about it. However, I have been waking up right before my 5:20 alarm every day and I feel like it's time to get up, so that's definitely something.

The only thing I'm kind of struggling with is nighttime eating. When my kids go to bed, I almost always grab a bag of chips or some chocolate and watch TV with my husband. Even after 19 days, my body wants to do that. When I make the grocery list now and don't include chips and snacks, it is really a lot smaller (not to mention cheaper!), and I think how unnecessary all of that is, and how much healthier I am without it. I hope my will power will extend past 30 days when it comes to this nighttime eating.

So am I the only one who isn't experiencing full on Tiger Blood during Whole30? I think my DNA is set up for lazy housecat blood. What are your experiences with energy levels during your Whole30?

Elizabeth Wood
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Whole 30, Day 14: Products that are Saving Me

Whole 30, Day 14: Products that are Saving Me

We've reached Day 14 and for the most part, I feel like we're on autopilot. It's really not the hardest thing--the biggest thing I miss is all of the unnecessary snacking that I typically do at night. Which is unnecessary, so it's good that I'm not doing it.

This round of Whole30 brings with it SO MANY Whole30 approved items that simply were not in existence the last time I did this, 6 years ago. Here are some of the products I'm loving that are making this Whole30 go more smoothly.

1. Rebecca's Ranch Dressing







This is one of those things that I rarely eat, although when I do, I always love it. I'm really enjoying it on Whole30 as a dip for raw veggies, grilled chicken, or just about anything. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I love savory and super flavorful things and this ticks all the boxes for me. I've even mixed it with this Primal Kitchen BBQ sauce to make a delicious barbecue ranch dressing for a salad topped with smoked pork. YUM!







2. Organic Avocado Mash + Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel seasoning







Getting plenty of fat is essential for feeling full on Whole30. I eat this about once a day with a meal. Its so convenient, especially not needing to wait on an avocado to ripen! And the seasoning is the perfect savory addition I crave.

3. Savory Nuts







The perfect snack to keep in your purse or your car. When you get held up at an appointment or forgot to pack a lunch....these are just enough protein and fat to get you through to your next proper meal.

4. French Vanilla Nut Pods







Heavy cream is my weakness for coffee. I do not sweeten my coffee or like flavored coffee, but the french vanilla in this takes the edge of the almond/coconut flavor that I don't like in these types of creamers. Do not misunderstand that this is in any way the same as heavy cream. However, it is adequate. Dare I say that at Day 14, I'm starting to like it. I did not like the hazelnut flavor and I did like the pumpkin spice flavor, but the french vanilla is my favorite.

5. Protein by the Pound







Whether it's sloppy joes, chicken salad, carnitas, grilled chicken, bacon burgers, meatloaf, or salmon patties--having a pound of protein in the fridge or freezer is perfect. Didn't plan ahead for dinner? You don't have to fall back on the old stand by: eggs. Just add some veggies or a salad and you're good.

What have been your lifesaver Whole30 products or hacks? I still have 16 days to go!

Elizabeth Wood
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Whole30 Diary, Day 6--Treat Yo Self Culture

Whole30 Diary, Day 6--Treat Yo Self Culture

Any other Parks and Rec fans out there? If you're like me, you can hear Tom and Donna right now telling you to Treat Yo Self!

Treating yourself is good, but I can get carried away with it....and oftentimes (most times!), I'm using food to do it. For instance....

I have to shuttle my kids around to various activities? Treat yo self! Pumpkin cold brew from Starbucks.

I made it through an excruciating middle school social studies worksheet with my son? Treat yo self! Tequila + La Croix after dinner.

I worked all day at work, got dinner in the crock pot and then worked a football concession stand? Treat yo self! Reeses Pieces for dessert.

Got up at 4:45 AM to work Pepper Place, sweated in the sun and feel exhausted and sleepy? Treat yo self! (bunless) burgers, fries and soda for dinner.

All of these examples are autobiographical, in case that wasn't blatantly obvious.

Does this sound familiar to you? Does it sound healthy from a mental health or a food perspective? Also, is it really "treating" yourself if you're consuming things that will make you feel bad tomorrow or that put you into a slippery slope of unhealthy eating?

I know I was getting into a Treat Yo Self spiral and I know the Whole30 addresses this issue. Adulting is hard and after cleaning the house or paying the bills or doing all the hard things, we want a reward. I don't think that's a bad thing, but why was I always falling back on food--and unhealthy food at that?

I'll be looking for other ways to Treat Myself over these next few weeks. Ways that aren't going to derail my health, make me feel bloated or cause me to wake up with a headache. I have some ideas but would love to hear yours as well.

  • Buy a bouquet of flowers while grocery shopping.
  • Sit on my back porch and watch the birds (I'm suddenly enthralled with the birds in my yard. I know, I'm old.)
  • Take my dog to the dog park.
  • Watch a funny TV show with my kids. Or if I'm needing alone time, lock myself in the bedroom and watch TV alone.
  • Read a book--something I rarely do, but thoroughly enjoy.
  • Last night, I treated myself by going to bed at 8:30! I had things I could have been doing for work, but I was tired, and I gave myself permission to delay those things and REST. That is a treat indeed!

How do you Treat Yo Self and do you need to make some changes? What else do you suggest I could do to Treat My Self without junk food or alcohol?



Elizabeth Wood
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Whole30 Diary, Day 3--Getting Off the Slippery Slope

Whole30 Diary, Day 3--Getting Off the Slippery Slope

Hello, it's Elizabeth! My husband and I started a Whole30 on Sunday and I thought it might be valuable to document some of my thoughts around it here, since this is something that many of our customers and friends are curious about. First off, I bet you'd be surprised to know that this is only my second Whole30. My first one was nearly 6 years ago!

While we all know the good reasons to do a Whole30 (first and foremost your health!), if you're like me, you're also great at coming up with good reasons NOT to do a Whole30. For instance--

  • I'm a baker--I need to try my recipes!
  • What if there is an event and everyone is drinking and I want to have a drink too?
  • My family goes out to eat every Friday night--what is that going to look like?
  • And the biggest one for me: don't mess with my coffee. I can give up anything except the cream in my coffee. You will have to pry the heavy cream from my cold, dead hands!

Even though I had plenty of (not super valid) excuses not to do this, I had a lot of very valid reasons to do it.

A lot of you know I had some health problems this summer (not related to food or lifestyle--it was just a fluke I was born with). I spent a few weeks in the hospital, had to travel to receive medical care, and relied heavily on meals brought to us by amazing friends (who were so sweet to consider our dietary issues). Anyway, I had a lot of antibiotics, anesthesia, and other things pumped into me. I was sedentary for 5 weeks and I had multiple surgeries. My system just felt messed up and even after recovering, I was feeling sore all over, all the time, which I knew was due to inflammation. My husband's reason is that he was eating a lot of convenience and comfort foods as he sat with me in the hospital, which led to some weight gain that he was unhappy with. Not to mention that seeing people your own age in the hospital with severe illnesses is very sobering. It makes you want to work harder to stay healthy.

Another reason is that I knew I needed this is I feel like my entire family has entered what I've named the Slippery Slope of Healthy Eating. And as the primary food preparer/grocery shopper, I was the one taking them there. You see, when we first adapted this lifestyle, there was NOTHING ready made in grocery stores that was compliant. I was used to making everything from scratch (which incidentally is how The Joyful Food Co. was born). Now there are some things at the grocery store that are compliant and fit the bill (I LOVE seeing the Whole30 logo on items), but there are a TON of things that are only marginally good. Even finding marginally good things feels like such a novelty, that I'll end up buying them out of excitement! What I mean is, I'll find a snack that is grain-free, but sweetened with brown rice syrup. Or I buy some awesome cassava tortillas from Sprouts but use them to make quesadillas with cheese. Or I get a bun-free burger at Five Guys but add french fries and a root beer. Or I go to a Mexican restaurant and order fajitas with no tortillas, but I add sour cream and eat my weight in tortilla chips. The list goes on and on and suddenly, I'm not remotely living a Paleo lifestyle anymore (even though I know I feel so much better when I do). All of these small decisions add up quickly, and can make you wondering why you feel like crap because you thought you had a mostly clean diet.

So here we are on Day 3 and the hardest thing so far, besides not using heavy cream in my coffee, was making that initial decision to start--which is kinda how life works and probably why Nike's slogan is Just Do It. Just Doing It is hard and most things in life I want to Just Not Do. But this? Is so worth doing. 

What about you? Do you need a reset in your diet? Are you falling down the slippery slope of kinda healthy-ish food? I know you can think of lots of reasons NOT to do a Whole30, but what are the reasons that you might really need this?

Elizabeth Wood
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Quick and Easy Dinner Recipe--Impossible Cheeseburger Pie

Quick and Easy Dinner Recipe--Impossible Cheeseburger Pie

Last night I had a pound of grass fed ground beef thawed out and wanted to try something different. I didn't feel like burgers (plus I don't know how to use our grill. I also have no interest in learning because my brain is too full) or meatloaf or meatballs. I remembered this thing I used to make early in my marriage. What you may not know about me is that I never knew how to cook or bake until I overhauled my family's diet and was forced to learn. All of my 'expertise' back then came from the backs of processed food boxes. On the back of the Bisquick box was something called Impossible Cheeseburger Pie and it was easy and yummy. So last night, I decided to try my own. There were a number of Paleo and keto versions online (that might very well be better than the one I made), but I needed to work with what I had on hand, so I did my best. My version uses dairy because my family eats high quality dairy sometimes. Most blogs go on and on about how amazing the dish is, but I'll be honest and say it's not fancy or overly impressive. It's a different way to use a pound of ground beef and my family liked it a lot. Also I wonder if many of you think I make gourmet meals every night or if I just bring home food from the store every night. It's definitely somewhere in the middle. I cook almost every night, except for Friday nights when we go out to dinner, and if I'm in a pinch I do bring home a pound of protein from the store. So I wanted to give you a glimpse of a fairly regular dinner at my house. The main variation here is that 99% of the time we have sweet potatoes with our dinner, but I didn't serve them last night because I had these fresh cucumbers from Boozer Farms that were a much easier alternative! Also we rarely eat cheese so that was a treat in itself. Lastly I have no patience for trying to take a professional grade food picture when I just want to get dinner on the table so we can all chill out and watch Parks and Recreation after.







So here's the deal:

You'll need

1 lb of ground beef

1/2 of an onion, diced

seasonings of choice (see below)

1/2 cup of cheese (optional)

2 eggs

1/2 cup cassava flour

1/2 cup any kind of milk (dairy or non dairy)

*the only milk I had on hand was unsweetened vanilla almond milk, so I used 1/4 cup of heavy cream and 1/4 cup of water

Heat up the ground beef and onion in a skillet until the beef is cooked through and the onion is soft. Drain the grease and season however you'd like. I used sea salt, pepper and garlic powder. You could also go with Italian seasonings and add some tomatoes and mix in some uncured pepperoni. Or add a taco seasoning and add some salsa. Be creative!

Put the meat and onion mixture into a 9 inch pie plate. Top with cheese if you're cool with that. In a separate bowl, mix together the cassava flour, eggs and milk. Pour that mixture over the ground beef and cheese. I sprinkled paprika on top because I thought it looked nicer. Bake at 400 for about 15-20 minutes. I don't time anything which makes teaching my recipes to others very challenging.

I kept looking at it and thinking it wasn't done, but what I realized was that cassava flour doesn't brown like almond flour, so be careful not to overcook for that reason.

If you try this or a variation of it, let me know. The options really are endless and this base could be an easy way to do a taco theme without corn or flour shells or an Italian theme without bread or pasta.




Elizabeth Wood
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Gluten-Free Vs. Paleo

Gluten-Free Vs. Paleo

Gluten-free. Vegan. Dairy-free. Paleo. Whole30. So many labels exist to describe foods, diets, and lifestyle choices lately--it's hard to keep up! We often find that there is some confusion about these labels, which is not surprising. Unless you are living these lifestyles (by choice or necessity), these words are often just terms you've heard that don't mean a lot. I'd love to break down the difference between Paleo and gluten-free today, and maybe in a separate blog post, we can explore the differences between some of the other terms (for instance, what's the difference between Paleo and Whole30??).

Gluten-free is simpler to explain as it is just the absence of gluten. Gluten is the protein present in wheat, rye, barley, and malt. Gluten exists in places where you would think it would be--like breads and cereals, but it also shows up in places you never would have guessed like soy sauce, canned soup and even makeup! Gluten is harmful to people diagnosed with celiac disease. Some people who do not have celiac disease have found that they simply feel better when they don't eat it.

Pre-packaged gluten-free foods are widely available in grocery and convenience stores now, which is great for people who need to avoid it. But if a food is marked "gluten-free", does that make it healthy? No. It simply means that it is safe for someone who cannot tolerate gluten to enjoy. Gluten-free foods may still contain dairy, refined sugars, corn syrup, artificial colors/flavors and preservatives. Most gluten-free foods are made with starchy flours like corn, potato, tapioca and rice, which are high in carbohydrates. Many gluten-free foods overcompensate with sugar and salt to mask the different taste or texture that might be off-putting to consumers.

So what in the world is someone with gluten intolerance to do? Optimally, by sticking with whole foods that are naturally gluten-free, you would avoid gluten AND eat healthily. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store where you can get fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. If you still want to enjoy gluten-free grains like oats, rice, corn or quinoa, prepare them from scratch. But what about baked goods--does that part of your life have to be over?

My answer is a resounding NO and this is where we'll get into the definition of Paleo. First of all, anything that is Paleo is automatically gluten-free as well. The Paleo diet excludes gluten and other grains (like oats, rice and corn), legumes (like soy, peanuts and beans), dairy, refined oils (like canola, soybean, cottonseed) and sugars.

There are a variety of reasons why someone may choose to follow a Paleo diet. Some choose it because it helps them get better results in the gym. Some people are label readers who value "real" and whole foods and the Paleo diet only allows real and whole foods. Some people who suffer from autoimmune disease find that eliminating grains, dairy and sugar greatly decreases the inflammation in their bodies, giving them a greater quality of life.

If you are simply looking at the items you'd need to eliminate, it does sound as if following the Paleo diet would be very challenging. However, Paleo does include:

  • meats and eggs (preferably free-range/pastured)
  • nuts and seeds
  • vegetables and fruit
  • healthy oils like avocado, olive and coconut
  • natural sweeteners like honey and pure maple syrup

At first glance, it doesn't seem like baked goods are readily available with these ingredients, but Paleo may be your surprising answer to healthy, gluten-free treats that actually taste good! Instead of starchy flours, Paleo bakers use almond and coconut--not only are they tastier, they are protein-packed and nutritious. Almond flour also holds moisture well, which makes Paleo baked goods more moist and much softer than their typical gluten-free counterparts. Paleo baked goods do not rely on refined oils or sugars, but contain ingredients like coconut oil and honey. While Paleo baked goods should still be regarded as occasional treats, it is nice to know that if you want to "splurge", you don't have to go into a sugar coma to do it!

Here are the ingredients of a popular store bought gluten-free sandwich bread:

Ingredients for a popular, store bought gluten-free bread





Here are the ingredients of our Paleo sandwich bread:








I love that more and more consumers are becoming label readers, as I think we should all know and be concerned about what is in our food. As a completely Paleo business, we decided from the beginning that we would always list every ingredient on every item we sell. Typical gluten-free bakeries place more emphasis on the one ingredient that is missing from their food (gluten), while glossing over the actual ingredients used to make their items. As a 100% Paleo food company, we are proud to list all of the (real, whole, nutritious, and yes--gluten-free) ingredients that are in our food.

Elizabeth Wood
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Whole30 Approved!

Whole30 Approved!





As most of you know, our little shop began as a Paleo bakery. Six months into our business journey, at the request of our customers, we began to offer prepared meals.  We have always worked hard to make sure that our ingredients and finished products were Paleo compliant. As time went on, we began working to transition to using clean and pastured proteins. We began with free-range eggs, then added  grass-fed and finished beef, followed by organic chicken and finally pastured pork. We began to notice that throughout the year, we always had a number of customers doing the Whole30 program. We thought this was awesome because we strongly believe that Whole30 is not only invaluable for determining food intolerances, but it encourages a healthy relationship with food. Because so many of our customers have found success by following the Whole30 program and because Whole30 compliant meals take so much time to make at home, we began to hone our meal ingredients so that they were not just Paleo, but they also followed the Whole30 template.

As someone who has seen firsthand the difference Whole30 can make in someone’s life, it is such an honor for me to tell you that we are now partnering with Whole30!

What does this partnership mean?

We submitted our menus, along with ingredients (and ingredients of ingredients) to Whole30. They checked everything out with a fine-tooth comb and have approved our meals (with the exception of chicken pot pie, but we couldn’t remove that—there would be rioting in the streets!).

Is anything going to be changing?

Some subtle changes will be coming to the menu next week as we begin to roll this initiative out—for instance, plantain chips have become a “slippery slope” of compliance, therefore our Whole30-approved Bento will now contain a different option. Plantain chips will still be available as a choice, but will not be labeled as Whole30 approved. We will also be removing peas from our shepherd’s pie and tweaking our ranch formula a bit (one of our suppliers began adding sugar to a spice blend we were using), but you will not even notice the difference. Those are literally the only changes we’ll be making. Since we have always put forth the effort to stay within Whole30 guidelines, this will be a fairly easy transition.

Is this a big deal?

This is a HUGE deal! I can’t even pretend I’m not completely awestruck, because Whole30 is such a big deal to me and I have admired Melissa Hartwig so much since reading “It Starts With Food”. It’s kind of like having one of your favorite celebrities notice you and tell you you’re doing a good job! Whole30 standards for retailers and restaurants are as high as you’d expect. They do not put their name on products they don’t believe in. Not to mention, we are the only Alabama-based business selling pre-made meals that are stamped with the Whole30 seal of approval. So yes—this is a BIG DEAL!

We are so excited to continue providing delicious and Whole30 compliant and APPROVED meals to our customers—we love seeing the positive changes in your health and your lives!

Elizabeth Wood
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It's Okay to Be an Ingredient Snob

It's Okay to Be an Ingredient Snob

One of the first, and most important, lessons I learned when my family went Paleo was how to read ingredient labels. Even on items that would seemingly have no strange ingredients in them (like mixed nuts!), it seemed there was almost always a strange oil or some form of sugar (which is often listed under a variety of names) on the ingredient list. 







When following a special diet, there is something so utterly disappointing about finding a food item on the shelf that looks like something you can eat, only to read the ingredient list and find one ingredient that you can't have. Or worse, to buy the item, eat it, feel sick, and THEN notice the bad ingredient!

Because I had to be SO strict with ingredients when my family made our lifestyle change (we started out on the SCD diet), I became an ingredient detective of the highest order! Because of our experience, I also knew how important it was for people to know EVERY.SINGLE.INGREDIENT that has been added to their food.

When I opened the bakery in 2015, I made a commitment to list every single ingredient on every single item and we are still doing that.








We take the same care in choosing ingredients for our customers as we would if we were serving this to our family. We also take our responsibility as consumers very seriously and aim to support farms that share our values in the treatment of animals and people. For this reason, all of the chocolate products we use are organic and fair-trade (also free of dairy and soy).








Our chicken is always organic. Our beef and beef bones (used for our bone broth) come from Miller Farms in Delta, AL. The cows there are grass-fed and grass-finished. Our eggs come from free-range chickens (fed a non-GMO feed) at Gravel Ridge Farms in Cullman. Gravel Ridge also provides us with pastured pork.








As for our vegetables and fruit, we use organic when it is possible, and it is about 30-40% of the time. Many of our baking ingredients are also organic, including our pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, and coconut flour.

We are always happy when we see customers reading our labels in store, because we are proud of the ingredients listed, and because we love seeing more and more consumers CARING about what goes into their food!


Elizabeth Wood
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Paleo on a Budget

Paleo on a Budget

Often when someone is considering changing to a Paleo diet, they wonder if they'll be able to afford it.  Eating Paleo means no grains or legumes, both of which are inexpensive staples in many American diets. The Paleo diet replaces these items with quality meats, produce, nuts and seeds, which are more costly.  While it is possible that your grocery budget will increase, I'd love to share some cost savings I've discovered after eating this way for 5 years.

First of all, in an ideal world, we would all be able to afford to buy pastured/grass-fed meats and organic produce, but those things aren't always available OR within our budget.  Sometimes the challenge of trying to achieve perfection is enough to make you give up before you begin.  But let's get this straight--if you replace processed foods with whole foods (even if you can't afford to get all organic and grass-fed) you have still made great improvements!

So when is it necessary to splurge for higher quality? When it comes to produce, the Dirty Dozen is a great guide that is released every year by the Environmental Working Group that lists the 12 fruits and vegetables you should always try to buy organic. By contrast, there is also a Clean 15 list, which is produce that you shouldn't worry about spending the extra money for organic. These items change periodically and if you want to reference these lists when you are at the grocery store, the EWG has a free app called Dirty Dozen that you can download that keeps updated lists of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen!







Costco is a great resource for organic produce, as are farmers markets! While most local farmers aren't certified organic, they are usually very happy to share their pest control protocols with you! For very local produce, The Joyful Food Co. is a pickup spot for summer and fall CSA boxes from Boozer Farms in Chilton County which is a great way to get a bargain on clean and local produce. 



For pastured meats, I watch stores for sales and stock up when I can. ALDI has a great price on grass-fed ground beef, and Sprouts and Target put theirs on sale regularly! While Costco is a good resource for organic chicken, I find that pastured pork products are the hardest to come by, but Whole Foods and farmers markets are a good starting point. If you have the freezer space, you might consider talking to a local farmer about buying a cow or splitting one with another family.

Remember--don't let perfection be the enemy of the good. Buy organic when you can and when it makes sense. Here are some other pages with great advice for those looking to eat clean on a budget:

EWG Good Food on a Tight Budget (not specific to Paleo, but mindful of "real" food with a priority on organic)


Elizabeth Wood
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Missing Italian Food on the Paleo Diet?

Missing Italian Food on the Paleo Diet?

When changing your diet, there are always things you have to give up. A Paleo diet means saying good-bye to grains, which removes a number of comfort foods from our diet.Often the most mourned are breads and pastas. However, it's not just sandwiches and macaroni we're talking about--what about our favorite Italian foods like pizza and pasta? Must we say goodbye to these foods forever?? 

If you are going to be living a Paleo lifestyle--especially if you're doing it for health reasons--then yes, you will need to omit the traditional forms of pizza and pasta from your diet. But before you hang your head and shout into the wind "IT'S TOO HARD!!!!", let me share some delicious options that will give you the same flavors of the Italian food you love without the inflammatory grains and dairy. And the best part--almost all of the substitutes are vegetables, and eating more vegetables is always a good thing.

Paleo pizza can be enjoyed in a variety of ways--for instance, a portobello mushroom makes a great deep dish pizza! Hollow out the portobello, fill with meat sauce, and top with your favorite pizza toppings! Or what about meatza pie, which uses seasoned ground beef for a crust? Personally, I love to use the flatbread from The Joyful Food Co. as a base for my pizzas!  It's sturdy and holds all of the veggies I like to layer on.

As for pasta, spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles are 2 standards for traditional noodle replacements, but there are plenty of other options. I have served meatballs and sauce over roasted asparagus and sauteed kale. I have a friend who swears by this one dish cabbage "pasta" meal. This pizza pie recipe is the perfect combination of pizza and lasagna. If you're in a rush, we always have family size Italian Bakes in our freezer!  

So while it might not be as easy as boiling water for pasta or ordering a pizza, you can still enjoy Italian cuisine on the Paleo diet--and increase your veggie consumption while doing so!

Elizabeth Wood
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