Category Archives: paleo

Paleo Dinner Party

Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved –
I can cook. My husband however has an amazing passion for cooking.  His culinary interests surfaced over the last few years of our marriage and now he does the majority of the cooking and meal planning for our family.  As expats what has made living in England so exciting is easy resource to organic and local produce.  We can order our meat from the nearby butcher, pick up our fruit and veg from local food markets, and even have our vegetable boxes delivered from organic farms. In fact it has been months now since I last stepped inside a grocery store as we can get everything else we need delivered to the home.  This is a huge difference from living on military bases where you bought what you could find and tried hard not to shop on or the days after payday.  I believe being able to have such an amazing access to high quality, variety, and fresh foods have been the foundation of my husband’s journey  in cooking.  
In a month we will have my mum and sister over to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary with a vow renewal in the Snowdonia region of Wales.  As we were researching places to stay our biggest concern was about having an adequate kitchen.  My family adores Ryan to pieces and they are so excited to have him cook for them again.  We have been compiling his favourite recipes as we look forward to entertaining with my family and our friends in Wales.  Which makes this a perfect opportunity to participate in an entertaining competition with Taylor Wimpey. I have been asked to put together a menu of a starter, main, dessert, and drinks to serve as I bring my family together this summer.  I am trying my best to keep this mainly paleo as my family all eats a similar diet.  Since we are a multi cultural family who has lived in many places I made sure to reflect different aspects of that in the menu and ingredient choices. 

Welcome Drink – English Garden
Starter – Bacon and Cider Mussels
Main – Courgetti and Meatballs
Dessert – ‘Get Some’ Ice cream
Wine – Sangiovese
Welcome Drink: English Garden
Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved –

This will be directions to make per individual glass.
Four fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 a tsp of grated ginger root
3 slices of cucumber
1 tsp of stevia or fair trade raw cane sugar
Soda water
Put the mint, ginger, and cucumber at the bottom of the glass. Fill the glass with ice. Add one part gin to three parts soda water. Stir so that the ingredients mix throughout the drink. While you are stirring add the sweetener. 
The Starter: Bacon and Cider Mussels
Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved –

1Kg of mussels, scrubbed clean and de-bearded. 
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
150ml of cider (an alcoholic cider, for my American readers)
1tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar and add water until the mixture equals 150ml 
One bunch of parsley, chopped
150gr of smoked bacon lardons
Grass fed unsalted butter
Coconut oil
Directions for Mussels:
In a pot (or pan that has a lid) melt a tbsp of butter and fry the smoked bacon lardons until crispy. Take the lardons out and set aside but keep the fat in the pot.  Melt a tbsp of coconut oil. Add the mussels, the cider, and garlic. Cover and let them steam for about four minutes or until they have all opened. You will want to shake them around in the pan occasionally to prevent them from burning. Take the mussels out and set aside, leaving the cider mixture in the pot. Add the parsley and half of the bacon and cook for two minutes.  Pour over the mussels and then sprinkle the remaining bacon over the muscles. 
The Main: Courgetti and Meatballs
Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved –

Ryan’s Paleo ‘Courgetti’ and Meatballs
My family grew up in southern Italy and so Italian food has always been a quintessential part when we get back together.  What I love about ‘real’ Italian food in my home of Napoli, is that the dishes keep it simple.  You can taste every one of the ingredients with each bite.  It is probably why I am not a huge fan of ‘American-Italian’ food which can contain a lot of dishes that are covered in heavy sauces, smothered in cream and cheese, and have chicken thrown in for good measure. This recipe is perfect as I feel it meets my needs for Italian food while satisfying the needs of a Paleo diet. 
3-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 chopped chille (omit if you do not like spicy)
500 gr of freshly chopped tomatoes
Fresh basil to taste, chopped
6 oz. of  wine, Pinot Grigio 
Sea salt to taste
Coconut Oil (or butter)
Directions for Sauce:
1 tbsp of coconut oil melted in a pot and add the garlic. Let the garlic cook on a medium low heat, just until it gets brown but before it gets crunch.  Follow with adding the tomatoes on an increased high heat setting.  Crush the tomatoes as you stir them in the pot until you get a thick liquid texture with chunks of broken down tomatoes.  If you are adding peppers, now is the time to add them and let them cook for two minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Let it stay on high heat until it starts to boil. Then cover and put on low heat to simmer for at least 30 minutes.  You do not want to cook all the water out of it, but if you wanted to simmer it for longer you can. 
For a family of four we use 3 courgettes. For two people I would suggest two. Take the courgettes and chop the ends off and discard. Slice the courgettes in a mandoline into your preferred size.  If you do not have a mandoline you can use a knife or if you wanted really thing noodles could use a vegetable peeler.  If you use the peeler you will then need to cut them into strips afterwards.  Put a colander in a large bowel and add the courgette noodles to the colander   Add enough sea salt to distribute evenly with the noodles to help suck the water out of them to make them pliable.  Set aside.
Time to Start the Oven: Preheat oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5
500 grams of meat
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 egg
This is per preference, but my husband likes to mix 250gr of minced pork with 250gr of minced beef. However if you want all beef or all pork you can use 500gr of your choosing.  
Directions for Meatballs
Crack and beat an egg in a bowl and mix with the meat and the onion and mix together evenly with your hands.  The size can vary but golfball size meatballs works well or you can make a bigger meatball per person.  Once your meatballs are formed take a skillet or pan and heat up 1/2 a tbsp of coconut oil.  Add the meatballs and cook them until they are nice and brown on all sides. 
Final Preparation
Take a casserole dish and add the meatballs. Take the sauce that has been simmering and pour on top of the meatballs. Put in preheated oven, uncovered, for about forty minutes.  Put the noodles on plates or in bowls, spoon the sauce and meatballs on top. If desired grated parmesan on top. Garnish with two our three basil leaves. 

Dessert: “Get Some” Ice Cream

This is a recipe from the Life hacker who bases a lot of recipes off of a Paleo idea. 
You can read more at:

4 whole eggs (pastured of course)
4 yolks (in addition to the whole eggs above)
2 tsp vanilla (I use Bulletproof Vanilla)
1 gram vitamin C (ascorbic acid) or 10 drops apple cider vinegar or lime juice to taste.
100 grams (7 tbs) grass-fed butter
100 grams (7tbs) coconut oil (or substitute half Upgraded Cacao Butter for amazing taste)
50 grams (3tbs + 2tsp) MCT oil (important for consistency)
80 grams (5.5tbs) xylitol or erythritol (or more to taste – you can add up to 160 grams if you want)
~100 grams water or ice (just under 1/2 cup; add less than you think you need, then increase the amount).
(optional) 1/4 to 1/2 cup of low-toxin Upgraded Chocolate powder

Directions for Bullet Proof Ice Cream:
Blend everything but the water/ice in blender. It takes a while to get the butter blended into perfect creaminess.
Add water or ice and blend some more until well blended. Ideally, you want a yogurt-like consistency for creamy ice cream, or add more water for a firmer, icier texture
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and turn it on.
This will make perfect consistency ice cream. 

Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved –

I recommend Sangiovese or if you want something with a twist of something different, Valpolicella.  Although if your guest prefer a white wine, you could offer the option of the white wine that you used from the sauce to compliment the menu. However I have to state that my sister is a level II sommelier and she most definitely take the lead when it comes to choosing and pairing wines with our meals this summer.  I look forward to hearing what she has to say about this menu.  
Final Notes: 
I do not like the negative connotation that the word ‘diet’ draws up as some think that its something you do for a short period of time to lose weight.  I believe that eating is a way of life. At home we have a diet that is based off of Paleo and is rooted around information you can find from the Bullet Proof Exec.  
This was a post for the Taylor Wimpey Dinner Party  competition.  You can read more about Taylor Wimpey and the competition here:


*Photography unless cited belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved –

One Hundred and Five

Day 20, Monday: Get real. Share Something you’re struggling with right now.
This is me last summer and fall while eating paleo, doing strength training, and taking coconut oil. 

One hundred and five. That is neither the current temperature nor my weight. It signifies how many days I have successfully blogged in a row without fail.   Although you’ll see blog posts on here as far back as 2005, blogging as I have in the recent months is a new thing for me. It is no longer about just showing photo updates of my kids to my family. I went from 5 readers in January to over a 170 in May. Through finding my purpose in blogging I have found my voice. To have blogged every day since Monday the fourth of February is a big deal for me. I have successful done something every day for three full months. 
However that is not always the case in my life. Perhaps it’s my continual transitional life that has programmed myself to constantly start things without always seeing the end. 
Which leads me to the subject of the prompt. I have been struggling recently with commitment to exercise and eating cleanly. I’m very great at starting an exercise regime and do great and planning to stick to paleo. I can do a couple of weeks and then I usually miss a day which somehow leads to a long enough ‘break’ that Im back to finding the commitment again to start all over.
I have had good streaks in the past. I was doing great last summer/fall while temporarily stuck at my in-laws for a few months. Perhaps because exercise and food were the only two things I could control in my life at that point while being treated and controlled like a sixteen year old by people who like to control and step in when I parent. I was sticking to paleo and was concentrating on weight training and interval training to lose fat and tone up. I have quite a boyish figure and I somehow was transforming my body to have a waistline and the appearance of curvy hips. My husband, who was back at home in England, saw photos of my progress and cheered me on.
However I have now gotten into a rut of not exercising. While my diet is void of fast food, pre-packaged food filled with preservatives, sodas, and junk food it is not strictly paleo. I do eat fats, but the good kind. Meaning nothing that says ‘low’ or ‘non’ in front of it. However thats not only what I have been eating as of late. Abs are made in the kitchen an I have covered mine quite well recently a lot of white flour, white rice, white potatoes and white sugar. I used to not even have sugar in my house but bought it for baking and then let it slowly creep into my meals because the lazy side of me thought it was easier than getting a spoonful of honey. The other white ingredients have been reintroduced and used more out of necessity while things have been a bit tighter around her financially. My typical paleo breakfast of eggs, bacon, avocado, blood pudding, and tomato got replaced with porridge that I started eating with my kids. 
I’m not overweight. I am glad I have a much healthier body image than when I was growing up.  However I am now carrying extra weight in fat in my mid section. Since I have had two kids via csection that means I have harder work ahead of me with rebuilding my abs.  After being a slave to the scale with horrific eating habits in the past It’s not my weight in numbers that upsets me. I know a number on the scale cannot tell me how much fat I lost and how much muscle I have gained, since muscle weighs more than fat.  All extra ‘fat’ weight goes straight to my tummy and the way my clothes are fitting right now upsets me. Especially because I know from experience that even if I had not worked out at all, but had done strict paleo, I would be looking at a flat stomach right now.  I have done the vegetarian and vegan things many times before and have done the extreme limiting of ‘calories’.  What I can tell from results is both get me ‘skinny fat’ and eating a paleo diet of meat and veggies with good fats like bacon and avocado and eating way more colories that way has gotten me skinny toned.  While my younger self stressed over the scale of being a perfect 100 and fitting in my size zero jeans, I just want to to toned with muscle with as little body fat as possible. I do not care what number the scale says, what size clothes I fit in, or how many calories I am consuming.  But results do not come without action. 
That is what I am currently struggling with and what I hope to over come. 
With my vow renewal only two and a half months away in August I know I need to start working harder if I want to see change. 
I have blogged every day for 105 days, certainly I could stick to getting my body in shape before 02.08.13, yeah?
Q: Any advice or motivation you can give me that had worked for you? 


*photographs found here belong to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

The Night Before

‘Kitchen': Ours is my husband’s man cave because he loves cooking.
#photoadaymay #photoadaychallenge
‘Hog & Mollusks’ for dinner.

Painting at 1am.

‎9pm I did a 3 hour online photography course, followed by making cake pops. Now at 1245am I’m starting an acrylic painting. Sleep? Nah.

Work & Pray

Something you do everyday': Pray. I’ve also started reading my Bible daily.
 I got the cover hand painted when I was living in Thailand.
#photoadaymay #photoadaychallange #Bible #pray
#maycreative #photoadaychallange 
Taco salad with organic grass fed beef and homemade guacamole.

‎”Without new ideas, success can become stale.” – Anthony Bourdain @MoLestationsNoReservations

Vidal Sassoon, a man of great vision and passion leaves us with a legacy.


Maddox’s birthday is coming up and so it is time to start getting his party planning into order.  If you remember I made Ronan’s Indiana Jones invitations back in January.  For Maddox’s party this year he wanted a Super Hero party…more specifically a DC Justice League party.  I decided to tie his theme together with a Comic Book Pop Art look.  Here are the double sided invitations that I made tonight. The dots I think took the most time. Maddox says he really likes them and I look forward to making the decorations.

Handmade invitations for Maddox’s Superhero party

‘Circle’. #photoadaychallange
 #photoadayapril #love #quote #Corinthians #frame
Pulled Pork with Kale-slaw and celery sticks. Kale-slaw made with homemade mayonnaise
made with avocado oil, s&p, garlic, mustard powder, and egg.
Vibrant purple blooms outside our flat.
Boys got a £1 coin for helping mummy tidy this afternoon. Off to Sainsburys to get a special treat.

Jasmine Star Quote: “At the end of the day you can take mistakes and turn them around. Dont pay to play.” @creativeLIVE

‎”Sometimes we give up our dreams for safety & comfort. But I was ready to risk safety & comfort for my dreams.” – @jasminestar

Looking Down

‘Looking down’ upon the tracks below.
#photoadayapril #photoadaychallange
Homemade chili with ground lamb, swede and sweet peppers know top of a bed of roasted sweet potato fries. #paleo cooked by: @ryana_official

Walked an hour in buckets of pouring rain for the school route. My feet, legs, and gloved hands are soaked to the bone. So cold…

Came home late from work to find my sons watching Wonder Woman without me. #missingout

Swede Day!

It may not be national swede day…if one exists…but we sure love that veggie in this household! Yum!

I love Swede. ‘A Vegetable’.
#photoadayapril #photoadaychallange
Ribs with homemade sauce and mash from swedes and sweet potatoes.
April showers bring May flowers. But I hope the Tulips survive through the rain and cold.
My two favourite reasons for living life.
Myself as a pop art comic girl.
Work for a cause not for applause. Live to express not to impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt.