Three Days

Three days of feeding my body.

Three days of being normal.

Three days of planning for – and deeply enjoying – my dessert without guilt.

Three days isn’t much, but it’s big in my world.

Did I mention the Chocolate Halo Top is just heavenly after a sixty minute adventure on the stairmaster? Because it’s lovely, lovely, lovely.

I woke up early today (potty break – too much water in the day) and, since I was strangely awake, I went for a run …and, sort of like Forrest Gump, I sort of kept going just because I felt like it. Almost 12 miles! Just a tiny bit short. I felt so tired, but it was a GOOD tired, and after a shower, I was motivated for work even more than normal.

Shockingly, even 16 hours later, I still feel well-rested and energized. I guess fueling your body right – not over or under feeding it – really does optimize it.

 

I feel strong. I will love myself again, and I’ll do it three days at a time. 🙂

Bon appetit, my friends.

~ Tori

Dining at Disney: Cinderella’s Royal Table

For those of you who didn’t know, my husband and I are DISNEY JUNKIES.

Seriously, we’re at the parks almost every weekend. Epcot is our favorite – especially during the Food & Wine or Flower & Garden festivals – but we’ve been recently rediscovering the cuisine of Magic Kingdom and I have to admit we’ve been pleasantly surprised.

Last week was our ninth wedding anniversary (cue the “Awwwwws!”), so I surprised him with reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table, located in the beautiful castle the park is so famous for!

Let it be known, Cinderella’s Royal Table is not something you can do impulsively: you have to book reservations MONTHS in advance, and even then you can’t guarantee you’ll get an ideal time slot. I booked almost three months in advance, and managed to get a 10:15pm reservation for dinner. Not ideal dining time, but beggars can’t be choosers.

There are some caveats to keep in mind with dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table:

  • You pre-pay for dinner. It’s roughly $75 per person, but that covers a soft drink, appetizer, entree, and dessert, plus tax and gratuity.
  • It’s a pre-fix menu, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
  • If you don’t like being visited by Disney princesses in full costume throughout your meal, this is not the place for you.
  • NO ALCOHOL. (boooo)

That being said, I was very impressed by the food quality, presentation, and overall experience!

The Menu at Cinderella's Royal Table

The Menu at Cinderella’s Royal Table

The appetizer selection was a bit small – but the cheese tray was scrumptious and my husband said his sea-scallop compote was very nicely plated and surprisingly flavorful.

The dinner entrees, however, were STELLAR. We both enjoyed the filet and shrimp and, though again small portions, they were perfectly cooked and the tenderness of the steak was downright impressive.

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Seriously, this may be small, but it packed a ton of flavor. And the shrimp is almost as wide as the steak!

I was so tickled to see how many gluten-free and allergy-sensitive options they had! They offered vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and diet conscious choices, which was honestly very impressive.

Of course, since we were celebrating our anniversary, we didn’t really follow our normal diets (we both stick closely to Paleo), but rather we enjoyed the bread basket (so delicious!), and got whatever dessert sounded best.

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Almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

I tried the flourless chocolate cake (I can’t resist chocolate) and he tried the seasonal dessert, which turned out to be a delicious strawberry cheesecake I ate too quickly to take a picture of – whoops!

All in all, I would definitely recommend Cinderella’s Royal Table to anyone looking for some fine-dining on Disney property with all the fun of a character meet-and-greet. The food was worth the expense (unlike some of the other dining options, which are egregiously overpriced), and the ambiance was lovely.

Naturally, we took lots and lots of photos with the princesses.

 

P.S. It’s probably not a surprise (based on these photos), but we did enjoy a few drinks at Epcot before heading over. Hey, we were celebrating, so it’s 100% acceptable.

On that note… bon appetit, my friends!

Tori

Lemon Coconut Creme Paleo (and Candida-diet friendly) Cake!

As I mentioned before, a close friend of mine has been struggling under the confines of a very restrictive diet (Phase I of the Candida-diet) and the lack of variety has been very draining on her.

Her birthday was last week and I knew she was very upset that not only could she not indulge on her birthday with a drink, a birthday cake was totally out of the picture.

Or was it?

I decided I was NOT going to let her celebrate her 28th birthday without a sweet treat to make it special. Working with no grains, no sugars, and limited approved ingredients would make for a challenge, but I was ready to test my culinary prowess.

This is what I made my best friend:

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What you are looking at is:

Grain Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free, and 100% Paleo-Approved.

And, most importantly, DELICIOUS.

How did I do it?

Well, if you recall, a few weeks ago I decided to experiment with a Candida-approved Italian bread recipe that turned out REALLY well.

Running with that variation, I decided to see if I could turn a savory bread into a sweet cake with some mild variations. After FOUR experiments (using different measures of coconut milk, eggs, and flour ratios), I came up with the following PERFECT cake mix:

PERFECT PALEO (SUGAR FREE!) LEMON CAKE:

3/4 cup unsweetened, pure coconut cream
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut fiber
1/2 cup granulated Stevia
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tbsp alcohol-free pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut oil
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon, with pulp

The cake would be prepared like any other cake: dry ingredients are first in the bowl, and then you’ll fold in the wet ingredients.

Place dough (it’ll be thick, but pliable) in a 9″ round cake pan that you’ve greased ahead of time. I used organic coconut oil spray, but you can go with whatever oil you prefer.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350.

But what is a CAKE without icing?

Now, I knew I’d never recreate a perfect, fluffy icing …and if I did, I realized it would be very temperature-weak, since it would have to be comprised of coconut oil which melts at pretty much any temperature over 72 degrees. So, I decided to forgo a traditional icing and aim for a lemony, zesty glaze to drizzle on top. After dabbling, I landed on the perfect recipe cited below.

ZESTY PALEO (SUGAR FREE!) LEMON ICING GLAZE:

1/3 cup unsweetened, pure coconut cream
4 tbsp coconut oil
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 egg white
1/3 cup stevia
1 tbsp alcohol-free pure vanilla extract

The icing is best prepared in a sauce pan on the stove, stirring NONSTOP until it thickens. Pour over cake while still warm. You’ll have a ton with this recipe, so think of this like a Lemon Tres Leches cake!

And there you have it! My best friend got to enjoy a slice of REAL CAKE on her birthday, and I had a real win in the kitchen!

For those of you worried about calories, the entire cake was roughly 2,100 total (with the icing included), and that worked out to about 10-12 slices, depending on how heavy-handed you are with your servings. If anyone wants a full nutritional breakdown (I have it!), let me know!

So, what are you waiting for? Time to start baking!

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Valhalla Bakery – The Real Trip to Heaven!

Let me preface this post by saying immediately: THE CAKE MENTIONED IS NOT PALEO, nor is it any way diet-friendly, which is why I absolutely loved it.

As I’ve said on here many times, I’m trying to learn to be less obsessive about my relationship with food, and with that comes a leniency –no, a revelation and enjoyment– of the occasional splurge. This post is about one of those splurges.

Back in April, I attended the Florida Film Festival opening night party, which featured booze, decadent food, and the talented film elite of Central Florida. While there, I discovered a vendor passing out TO-DIE-FOR cupcakes, and made a mental note to look her up on Facebook later to commission a cake from her.

True to my word, I searched for her the very next day – April 10th – and immediately asked what steps I needed to take to secure a delicious, heavenly scumptoid for a holiday get together. Valhalla Bakery Inc., run by the coolest tattoo-covered, blue-hair sporting woman I’ve ever met, truly lives up to its name.

Since both my husband and I LOVE key lime pie, I ordered a custom Key Lime Pie Cake for Father’s Day. Now, I don’t *technically* have kids with my husband (yet), but we do have two fur-babies, and I considered Father’s Day to be the closest acceptable holiday to show up with a cake, since there was NO WAY I could hold out until my birthday in July.

Needless to say …this was the best Father’s Day ever. Check out this miraculous cake:

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In case you can’t read it, it says: “Happy Father’s Day! Love Taco & The Black Bat!” The baker cracked up when I placed the order. What can I say? We love our doggies.

Dear God… it’s beautiful. It truly is Valhalla!

I can’t begin to accurately describe how wonderful this cake is. Layers of moist cake (thicker than normal cake; it actually tastes like the crust of a real key lime pie, but extra thick), sweet cream icing, and a heavenly glaze of key lime deliciousness (honey based, I think?) that made it downright sinful.

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I didn’t ask about calorie-content or worry about how many miles I’d have to run to burn it off.

I ate a slice that day, and a second slice the next day, and damn it… it was worth it. 🙂

We froze the rest to enjoy at a later date, but I can say it was an act of sheer will power not to dig in with my hands and just shovel the rest in. Valhalla Bakery, you win at life! ❤

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Saturday Accountability: CHEAT DAY!

I have very little say other than:

It was my cheat day.
I went to an all-you-can-eat Argentinian steakhouse.
Margaritas.
Cheese.
Sangria.
Dulce de leche.
Picana steak.
Jumbo shrimp.
Cheese.
Potatoes.
Cheese.
More and more and more.
Did I mention there was a cheese bar?!

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Back to normal tomorrow: under 1,350 calories, burning no less than 1,000 calories in exercise. Today was a fun rest/cheat day, but I’m already feeling the repercussions: stomach is KILLING me!

Time for some alka seltzer and a warm bath.

Bon appetit, my friends!
– Victoria Elizabeth

P.S. I should mention my weight was down to 129.8 this morning: a solid 6 lbs down from Monday. I figured I should document it here now, as today’s cheat meal will likely prevent me from seeing that number again for several days, if at all. :/

New Obsession

I admit it. I’m one of those people.

I love the fall flavors.

All of them.

Pumpkin spice, caramel apple, you name it… I inhale them.

I swear, I’m not into it to be cool: I just ADORE them. Can’t help it.

Always on the hunt for healthier alternatives, I decided to scope out the Greek yogurt section for a treat. My hope was to find a nice, low sugar vanilla option that I could blend some pumpkin purée and cinnamon into and cry while I watch someone else eat my beloved pie.

Then I found THIS:

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Oh… My… God.

This stuff is AMAZING.

Just 80 calories, 12g of protein, and only 7g of sugar, this tastes like caramel apple pie a la mode!

It has little chunks of apple in it, and it’s got just enough caramel to make it decadent without overpowering the creamy flavor of the yogurt.

This tastes like real dessert. I’m floored.

I normally try to limit my consumption of fake sugars (or any product with an ingredient I can’t pronounce), but these delicious Dannon science experiments might be good enough to make me break my rule daily. So good.

And for just $1 each, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than my normal kryptonite: the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte.

Pick one of these up next time you stop by Publix – you won’t regret it!

Bon appetit, my friends!

– Tori