A Well Balanced Blog

Paleo Sweet Vodka Cream Pasta Sauce

Paleo Sweet Vodka Cream Pasta Sauce

Sweet Vodka Cream Pasta

So I totally stole this basic recipe from Rachael Ray about 11 years ago when we lived in Ohio. I made my own little tweaks to make it a huge hit in our house, and we ate it ALL THE TIME. John was only 2 years old at the time, and we lived in this adorable little house in the heart of Oakwood. The entire neighborhood was like a Norman Rockwell painting -- cute houses with porches, parks on every corner, women pushing strollers and kids playing outside. My husband was doing a year of school so he was home all the time (literally the only year like that EVER in our lives). And I was only 31 years old ... take me back, y'all!!!

I digress. Back to the pasta sauce. You guys, this stuff is just delicious. Honestly, you could serve it as soup and everyone would love it. We rarely eat real pasta anymore, but I will bust out some gluten free pasta or spaghetti squash just to eat this sauce. You can add some ground meat or meatballs to give it some more protein, or you can just go vegetarian with this meal. Regardless, it's delicious. Go make it. Plus, it sounds impressive when you tell people that you make your pasta sauce from scratch.

Ingredients

  • Avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 good sized shallots, minced
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup bone broth (or chicken broth)
  • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes (approx. 32 oz, I use Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • Sea salt & cracked pepper
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • Fresh basil for topping

Instructions

  1. Heat a little of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic, shallots, and butter or ghee. Saute shallots for about 3-5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add vodka to the pan, then let it reduce by about half (2-3 minutes).
  4. Add bone broth, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Stir to combine and bring sauce to a bubble.
  5. Reduce heat to bring it to a simmer.
  6. Add honey and season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for about 20-30 minutes to develop flavor.
  7. Stir coconut milk into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat.
  8. Blend with an immersion blender if smoother consistency is desired.
  9. Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash and top with ribboned basil, YUM!
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The Best Shredded Beef

The Best Shredded Beef

Shredded Beef

What can I say? It's shredded beef. Beef is yummy. And did I mention it's Whole30 approved AND paleo friendly?

This shredded beef is delicious and the possibilities are endless. Serve it on top of a big salad, enjoy it with salsa and guacamole in some Taco Tuesday festivities, or add a little BBQ sauce for some sliders. Or my personal favorite, just eat it straight out of the crock pot with your fingers. Enjoy, y'all!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lb. chuck roast (I use grass fed, but choose a cut that's on sale because they're all good!)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 cup bone broth (chicken or beef broth can be used)
  • 1 large onion

Instructions

  1. Put meat in large crockpot.
  2. Mix spices together and then rub over all sides of beef.
  3. Roughly chop the onion and place it on top of the beef.
  4. Pour bone broth on top.
  5. Set crock pot on low for 8-10 hours. The longer, the better!
  6. Beef will shred easily and pretty much melt in your mouth.
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Breakfast Scramble Muffins

Breakfast Scramble Muffins

Breakfast Scramble Muffins

Fixing a healthy breakfast on school mornings is like UGH. Am I right? I have great intentions when I go to sleep, but by the next morning all I can think about is coffee. It doesn't help that it's still winter here in Alaska, so the sun doesn't even come up these days until about 9:30 am. More reason for COFFEE.

And then there's the whole "trying to feed a teenager breakfast he will actually eat" thing. Sigh. But these have gotten the thumbs up from my 7th grader. What's really great about these are they're super easy, you can repurpose your leftovers, and you can sneak in some really healthy ingredients along with stuff like bacon. #momwin

Seriously, I throw all sorts of stuff into these egg muffins. Potatoes, bacon, sausage, apples, spinach, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, cheese ... maybe I should call these Kitchen Sink Muffins. And remember, you can even add in some collagen peptides for extra protein. Go crazy, moms. The sky is the limit! Time to dig through your produce drawers and get some extra nutrients into our kids ... and ourselves.

Added bonus: Kids can heat these up while we sit on the couch with extra large mugs of coffee. #highfive

Ingredients

  • Muffin filling (bacon, potatoes, sausage, veggies, apples, etc!)
  • 8-9 eggs, scrambled
  • Dash of milk, about 2-3 tablespoons (regular, almond, coconut will work)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Prepare muffin tin with parchment liners (I have better luck with liners than oil spray)
  3. Fill muffin cups about halfway with fillings of choice. (If using meat or potatoes, make sure they are cooked first!)
  4. Scramble eggs in a measuring cup. Add milk and scramble well.
  5. Pour egg mixture into muffin cups until they are about 2/3 full.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, until eggs are set and just starting to brown.
  7. Season with sea salt and pepper if desired.
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Gluten Free Brownie Skillet

Gluten Free Brownie Skillet

Gluten Free Brownie Skillet

I've always made my brownies from scratch ... I've never been a fan of brownie mixes. And I'm super particular about how I like my brownies, which I'm sure is not surprising to anyone. First thing, no nuts. EVER. And I like them super fudgey, so I always stick to the shorter baking times because dry brownies are dead to me. No thank you. And you can have alllll the corner pieces -- I want the center ones.

You can bake these in a cast iron skillet or regular baking pan, either will work just fine. Just keep in mind if you go with the skillet that the brownies will continue to cook for a few minutes after removing from the oven, so figure that into your baking time. But personally I think there's nothing better than putting a giant brownie skillet with decadent toppings right in the center of the table for everyone to dig into. Maybe add some vanilla ice cream. Who needs plates???

*If you do choose the baking pan, make sure to really grease that pan and cool completely before removing and cutting.

Keep in mind, these are not what I would call "healthy" whatsoever. But they definitely fall into the "cleaner" category of desserts, so let's just feel better about that. Hey, sometimes you need some decadent brownies for a special occasion and I'm happy to oblige!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of butter (one stick)
  • 1 cup of sugar (I use raw sugar)
  • 1 dash of vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of gluten free flour (I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour)
  • 1/3 cup of organic unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Toppings of choice (I used melted dark chocolate and chopped peppermint bark)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease cast iron skillet or 9x9 inch pan (I always use melted coconut oil!)
  3. Melt butter in saucepan or in microwave.
  4. Mix melted butter with sugar and vanilla, then beat in eggs.
  5. Add in dry ingredients and mix until fairly smooth.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Let cool and then add toppings.
  8. Eat your heart out!
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Honey Toasted Pecans

Honey Toasted Pecans

Honey Toasted Pecans

Pecans are a big deal in Texas. Growing up, we used to get at least one giant gift box of pecans from my dad's accounting clients. I have distinct memories sitting by the fireplace (not with a fire because hello, it was Houston so easily 75 degrees outside) with a legit nutcracker chomping on fresh pecans.

This recipe came about because I really needed something to top my pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake. And these are pretty freakin' delicious! You can put them on salads, mix them with dried fruit for a snack, top your holiday desserts, or just eat them off the parchment paper once they have cooled off. Enjoy, y'all!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup raw honey, heated
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toss pecans in warmed honey and spread out evenly on cookie sheet.
  3. Sprinkle raw sugar on top of pecans.
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and spread out to cool on parchment paper.
  6. Cool completely and then try not to eat them all at once.
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Hey Girl, Hey!

I’m Amanda! I’m a Pilates & Barre Master Trainer, Nutritional Therapy Consultant, Director with Beautycounter, military wife, and mother of two very energetic boys.

I’ve given up the unrealistic notion of being awesome at everything and embraced the idea of just keeping the important stuff well balanced.

My life is not nearly as cool as my Pinterest boards, you guys. But I do try to live a healthy life and make better choices for my family. If you have any interest in doing the same, please stick around! Read More…

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