Paleo Orange Spritz Cookies

Happy Holidays, folks! I don’t know about you all, but the only positive that I have been able to pull from this year’s Covid Christmas season is that I’ve had more time for holiday baking. In a normal year, I’d be so busy every weekend from Halloween to New Years, that I’d be lucky if I could find one solid afternoon to make a cookie or two and that would be it, but this year, I think I’ve baked at least 2 batches of something every weekend for the last 3 or 4 weeks. That means that I finally perfected the conversion of my mother’s Orange Spritz Cookie recipe (my perpetual favorite) to a paleo recipe. If I’m not mistaken, the original recipe came from Wilton in the little booklet for their electric cookie press back in the 70s or 80s. My mother would pull out that little appliance every year and make these cookies in triple batches so that we could share with neighbors and friends. You can find a modern version of the recipe that uses all butter and no shortening, but the original had both and produced a lightly crispy cookie (rather than chewy), which is what I always loved about them. Nowadays you can’t find the electric press, but you can get a manual cookie press from Michaels, or most stores that carry cake and cookie decorating supplies.

It’s taken 3 or 4 tries to get it right, but I’ve now used this paleo version twice with consistent results. Note that to keep it paleo, you should forego the red and green sugar sprinkles that the original recipe called for, but I won’t judge if you go for it anyway.

Paleo Orange Spritz Cookies

Recipe by paleosherryCourse: DessertCuisine: EuropeanDifficulty: Medium
Prep time


Cooking time



My favorite holiday treat made paleo.


  • 1/2 c butter (softened, but not melted)

  • 1/4 c palm shortening

  • 3/4 c maple sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 c almond flour

  • 1 c tapioca flour

  • 6 tbsp coconut flour (divided)

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 2 tsp orange extract

  • 1 tbsp ground orange peel


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Mix almond, tapioca, 2 tbsp of coconut flour, and salt together in a bowl and set aside
  • Mix butter, shortening, sugar, and egg in mixer until well combined. 
  • Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture until all ingredients are combined.  Dough will be stiff.
  • Add extract and orange peel
  • Let dough sit for about 5 minutes and add the other 4 tbsp of coconut flour. 
  • Let sit again another 5 minutes before loading dough into cookie press.  
  • Press cookies onto parchment-lined cookie sheets (as close together as you can with the press is fine.  they don’t spread much).  If the dough isn’t stiff enough for the press, try adding another 2 tbsp of coconut flour to the dough and letting it get absorbed before trying again.   If it’s too stiff, you can add a tbsp of water.
  • [Optional] add sprinkles to each cookie 
  • Bake for 10-12 mins until edges look lightly browned. Cookies will crisp when cooled.


Hanging on to that Wagon (Trying not to fall off)

It’s been a long time since I posted a new article, but in my absence, the world has been doing a lot of changing. What hasn’t changed, is E.J. and my commitment to paleo eating, and we’ve been relying quite a bit on the favorites we’ve accumulated over the last few years and put over on the Favorite Recipes page to keep us on track even in the strangest of times.

You may have noticed one or two additions in the last year or so on that favorites page – and even a few that have disappeared. Unfortunately, the Internet is a fluid thing, so when I detect that a favorite recipe has disappeared from its original host, I’ve been posting my own copy of the recipe so my friends can continue to use this site as a hub for tried-and-true Paleo recipes.

As far as sticking to the plan goes, we’ve been pretty good…. I’ll admit to enjoying more than a few non-compliant glasses of wine over the last 6 months, and we may have leaned a little heavier on the Paleo chocolate chip cookies, but overall we’ve been able to basically maintain or at least only experience minimal backsliding into old habits.

That being said, we managed to enjoy a socially-distanced 2 week vacation where we overlanded/car camped up one side of the Rocky Mountains and down the other side, and that much sitting over that long a time is bound to put on a few pounds. So, we are now going into the 4th week of another Whole 30, and things are starting to right themselves in our health and weight again.

In fact, I think we’ve really upped our game when it comes to Whole 30 meals this time, and I’ve discovered some new recipes that I think are worth sharing with my fellow paleo peeps because they’re so healthy and don’t compromise on flavor, so here goes:

This one is fantastic, and you’d never know it was Whole30 compliant. If you’re a buffalo wing fan (like we are), you’ll love these
This stuff is really good – I’m quite partial to my sweet potato salad recipe in the summertime, but this is a great fall/winter version with a light mustard and vinegar flavor with dill and bacon

If you’re looking for a simple but flavorful side dish for a special occasion that falls during your Whole30, check this one out:

And if you’re not on a Whole30 and want to try a crowd-pleasing grill recipe, this one was a hit on our trip:

Hang in there, everyone!


Best Whole30 Dish I’ve Made Yet

Well folks, I’m 3 days from finishing up this latest Whole30… E.J. and I decided to tackle another one for June, and I’ve almost made it to the end.  Yes, it was really hard at the beginning, but I’ve lost about 5 lbs, my clothes all fit better, and I’m glad I did it.

Interestingly, the last 2 weeks of this one was accomplished with EJ out of town on his annual training exercise at Fort Hood for the National Guard.  I wasn’t sure if it would be easier or harder without him, but I actually found it to be fairly easy with this latest recipe I found which he would hate… you see, E.J. believes cheese does not belong on hamburgers… and I think, he’s nuts.

So, this was the perfect opportunity to try Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole… and I’m sooooo glad I did.  The flavor is amazing, and while I’ve actually eaten it several different ways, the picture above is my favorite.  A bed of lettuce, warm casserole, and a fried egg to crown it.   Even though this is called a casserole, it’s more like the consistency of Hamburger Helper (which is also a long time favorite of mine), and the cheese sauce is so tasty, I have half a mind to serve it like queso dip for one of our weekend get-togethers this summer.

I know, I know… “nutritional yeast” as a cheese flavoring sounds absolutely awful, but I’m really glad I got past that and tried it anyway.   I can’t wait to have it again tonight for dinner!


2 New Favorites!

I know it’s been months since I’ve posted anything new – I would say it’s because my work life is so hectic right now, there isn’t much time for anything else, but that’s not really true.

Realistically I have simply been maintaining – rotating through a lot of my favorite recipes which I’ve already shared here, and trying a few new ones (with disappointing or just ok results).  EJ is a bit less picky than I am, so he’s been fine with everything I’ve made, but I just haven’t been really wowed by any of the new dishes until recently.

So, here are the 2 new favorites I’ll be adding to this week:

Picadillo with Plantains (from A Calculated Whisk) – this is amazingly simple and delicious.  I’ve made it nearly 3 weeks in a row now, and I still love it.  We’re not olive lovers, but there’s a suggestion to add boiled or fried egg on it- and I highly recommend both.  It’s also really good topped with this Creamy Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing from Paleo Gluten Free Eats.  It’s quick enough to pull together for a weeknight meal (30 mins or so) and reheats really well when prepped in advance.

Instant Pot Cashew Chicken (from Whole Kitchen Sink) – this is another quickie that can be pulled together quickly enough for a weeknight meal.  I used chicken tenders for quicker and smaller cuts, and spread this over caulirice (fried rice w/ coconut aminos is a real treat).  We managed to acquire a large container of roasted cashews, and this is a great way to enjoy them without snacking between meals.  I also cut back on the sugar content by omitting the coconut sugar, and instead adding some fresh squeezed orange juice.


Recipes · Victories

10 lbs and New Recipes

Well, I know I went off the grid for awhile, but it’s been good…  my work situation is stabilizing a little, and E.J. and I decided to spend September doing a “quiet” Whole 30 – basically we have been following the Whole 30 rules all month, with the exception of special occasions, and choosing meals that are as compliant as possible when we eat out.

For me, this was a much needed self-check.  I had managed to gain about 20 lbs of my original 70 lost 2 years ago.  Some of it was just falling back into old habits of eating too much and craving sweets after dinner, even when the meals and sweets were fully Paleo compliant.  Some of it was the 2 European trips we took where we threw healthy eating out the window for 2 weeks each.  Most of the recent damage was actually due to emotional eating and alcohol consumption, generally due to my company being acquired and the chaos that ensued from that event.

I was still exercising and doing my best to eat according to plan, but even the best diet can be totally derailed when the “treats” become commonplace.  On top of that, all it takes is a bottle of cider or glass of wine with a weekend meal, and most of my resolve goes out the window.  Next thing I know, I’m eating bread and ordering full desserts…

Anyway, in August when my clothes were too tight, and I started feeling sluggish again, I was ready to get serious about eating right again.  Fortunately, E.J. is a great partner in these cycles, and was right there with me.

The 30 days will actually end next week, but I’ve already lost the 10 lbs I had targeted for the month.   I’m back in my favorite jeans and dresses in time for the fall, and feeling a lot better overall.  It’s funny how taking control of your diet and your weight can help you feel better about taking control of everything in your life….

In that journey I did run across some new recipes I’d like to highlight:

  • Cajun Sweet Potato Chowder – This stuff is amazing.  It’s a little higher-carb than many other Paleo soups because of the potato, but it’s positively yummy!
  • “Honey” Mustard Chicken – I made this one with the date paste to keep it Whole30 compliant, but it was positively scrumptious.  I served it with broccoli, and smothered the extra sauce on it as well as the chicken
  • Apple Squash Pork Casserole – This is a great one for fall as temperatures are cooling off, and I modified it a little to account for the fact that I smoked a pork shoulder in advance, and just braised it a bit longer in the pot with the apple juice before adding in the rest of the veggies for the casserole.



Getting My Groove Back

Ok, after a couple more weeks of emotional upheaval, I’m finally getting my groove back.  I went for a run this morning, did some yard work, and ran some errands with my favorite National Guardsman that will be leaving me in another week and a half for a 3 week school in the north east.  I’m expecting the next few months to be a roller coaster ride to say the least, but I am at least trying to stick with the diet basics and lose that last 5 elusive pounds since the vacation.  I made a small bit of progress again this last week, and I’m hoping to keep it going.

We also had a couple of real winners in the new recipe department that E.J. really wants me to share, so here you go:

  • Pressure Cooker Ropa Vieja – normally I struggle to enjoy roasts.  I’m not sure why, but I just don’t love them the way EJ and my mom do.  But this one is absolutely AWESOME.  I actually used the alternate slow cooker method instead of the InstantPot, but the meat was tender and the sauce was phenomenal.  This could easily have been something from a fancy Cuban restaurant and will definitely be going on the favorites list.  I paired it with tostones (fried plantains) and guacamole
  • Cajun Salmon with Strawberry Salsa – I had been looking for a savory recipe to use some of the incredibly fragrant strawberries that we’ve been getting in the stores this season.  This was a total winner and I plan to make it again.
  • Sweet Potato Seafood Chowder – although the heavy sweet potato content means lots of carbs, this was a very tasty version of the classic soup.  I practically doubled the seafood that it calls for, just because I like a chunkier chowder, and would highly recommend it.

Hope you all are enjoying the summer!


Summer Fare

Hey guys, I don’t know if the rest of the country is feeling it, but we’ve had a steady run of highs in the mid to upper 90’s down here in Houston since E.J. and I returned from vacation.  I’m not generally a fan of the heat – my idea for surviving June-September is simply moving between A/C and the pool, but warmer temperatures do mean it’s time for grilled meats and fresh summer produce.  The strawberries we’re getting in the stores this year are amazing, and I’m looking for new ways to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies into some lighter dishes.

Here are some of the summery dishes we’ve really enjoyed recently:

  • Sweet Potato Salad – this one has been on my Favorites page for awhile, but it continues to be a crowd pleaser.  I broke this out for EJ’s National Guard leaders when they came over one evening during their Annual Training and they all loved it.
  • Asparagus Basil Salad – As a Whole30 compliant side dish, this one is amazing.  I served it as a side for Prociutto wrapped Cod.  The dijon mustard and spices blend well with the avocado and tomatoes, and I’m sure this will be making several more appearances this summer.
  • Coconut Lime Chicken – I used the Instant Pot method for this recipe and was pleasantly surprised… the flavors are a bit different than what I’m used to, but with enough salt to balance the sour and spicy, it’s really, really good.  I will definitely make this again.
  • Spinach and Strawberry Salad – I’ve been making this one for awhile, and it’s a great use of those fresh strawberries I mentioned. I like to top it with pecan or walnut oil and a blueberry or date balsamic vinegar.


Recipes · Strategies · Victories

Better now.

Ok, last week’s post was definitely borne of sheer frustration, but like all things – patience pays dividends.  I stuck with the plan – Whole30-focused meals with an emphasis on portion size.  This seems to be the magic combination for me.  I’m down 7 of the 12 lbs I gained on the trip, so I just need to keep on keepin’ on.  For me, the quantity of food is every bit as much a challenge to my weight goals as the quality, and I know I’m doing it right when I’m starting to get hungry about an hour before each meal.  It’s not exactly the most pleasant hour, but I’ve borrowed one of E.J.’s tricks and have a cup of coffee or a glass of lemon water during those hours to calm the hunger pangs.

E.J. posted this morning on the variations on the Paleo diet that he’s experimented with.  What I discovered is that while Keto may work well for some folks, my body does not do well with cheese & other dairy products, even when lactose free.  I get really bad swelling, terribly painful constipation, and honestly I have a harder time eating proper portions because I really love the taste of cheese with meat.  Paleo/Whole30 focus on veggies and healthier root vegetables works better for my digestive system, and as long as I cut out the dairy, my rings and clothes fit so much better.  Fortunately E.J. and I are able to agree on a strategy, and so far it’s paying off for both of us.

Since I know many of you are following me for some new recipes, here is a new one I’ve stumbled into recently:

Easy Paleo Pecan Crusted Salmon – This one is super simple to put together and can easily be made into a one-pan dish by adding asparagus, broccoli, or another veggie to the pan, drizzled in oil and sprinkled with spices for a healthy roasted side.

Now that we’re back into the swing of things, I’m hoping to try a few more new recipes this week and I’ll be sure to share the ones that turn out well!

Reality Checks

It’s Just Not Fair…

Ok, Ladies – this one is for you.  Guys – go back to Paleo Marine and revel in your luck at being male for a bit or go find some new recipes to try on the Favorites page.  You can come back next week and I might have something for you.

<begin female rant>

Ok, so ladies, this is the reality check for those of you who have struggled with your weight your entire life.  Here are a few truths that I can confidently say given my last 2 1/2 years with E.J:

  1. Keeping weight off is just as hard (if not harder) than losing it.
  2. It never comes off as fast as it is put on
  3. Men can always reach their weight goals faster, with way less effort (like most things in life)

I know this sounds a bit catty, but I’m dealing with menstrual cramping and bloating while EJ’s shedding 2-4 lbs a day since we returned from our trip.  It’s just so not fair.

I’m doing everything right – I picked up my running routine in the mornings and prepped all of our meals for the week.  I am avoiding snacking and watching my portion sizes.  I am avoiding sugars, dairy, and alcohol and still am only down 3 lbs from my post-vacation weight.

Logically, I know that the weight is clinging because of my cycle, and yes, I know it takes longer for women’s bodies to let go of it, and yes, I realize that all I need to do is just stay the course and eventually things will work the way they’re supposed to, but damn it, this just sucks.

When I was losing the weight a few years ago, I was able to have more patience with the fits and starts – because I had already come so far, it was easier to grant myself the grace to accept when my body worked against me, but right now the combination of all of my clothes being tighter or just not wearable and E.J.s success in dropping the weight is making me want to scream. It’s almost enough to go climb inside a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, regardless of how gross it will make me feel afterward.

I’m not gonna… I’m just saying I’m a grown woman and you can’t stop me 😉

So if any of you were under the illusion that weight loss with Paleo was somehow easy, or that it’s easier to maintain and/or re-lose it after it was lost initially, I can tell you it’s not.  I struggle with it every day just like anyone else, and I have days like today when I could really use a good glass of wine or three, but I stick to it for 3 reasons:

  1. I really like the feeling when I look in the mirror or at a photograph of myself and like what I see
  2. I know that this frustration and weight gain is temporary
  3. I am super competitive, and I refuse to let E.J. win 🙂

Let’s face it, it’s probably mostly that last one…

Ok, I’m done.  I’m sure next week I’ll feel much better and have some nice new recipes to share!

<end rant>


What if you can’t prep?

I’ve mentioned several times in the past that no matter how much you commit to a healthier lifestyle, there’s always going to be some weeks when meal prepping in advance isn’t going to happen.  While I will be the first one to tell you that that is generally a bad idea for E.J. and I (it’s like taking a test without studying), I will say that sometimes it’s just the way it is.  As much as it adds some additional stress and pressure to come up with healthy options during the week, I will say that I do appreciate the occasional break from my weekly kitchen marathon.  Next weekend, E.J. and I are going on vacation, and I don’t want to make a bunch of food that will end up sitting in the fridge while we’re gone, so, if you don’t cook your meals in advance, how do you stay on track?

Here are some of my strategies:

  • Raid the freezer – When I make batches of chili or butternut squash soup (some of E.J.s favorites, I often make double or triple batches and freeze some.  I also try to keep frozen shrimp, fish, and sausage, and steak which can also be thawed a day in advance and used during the week for quick dinners.
  • Catch of the Day – Some of the quickest and healthiest meals can be pulled together by simply picking up some fresh seafood on the way home, adding spices and baking or sauteeing into a delicious meal. Pick up some pre-prepped cauli-rice, salad, or spiralized veggies while you’re at it to pull together a balanced plate
  • Charcuterie – Growing up, E.J. and his family often packed picnic lunches that they enjoyed on weekend outings that consisted of bread with butter, salami or beef sticks, cheeses, peppers, radishes, fruit, nuts, and other small bites.  This is our plan for lunches this week, so I’m making 2 loaves of our new favorite “Paleo Keto Bread” and we’re each going to pack a selection of items to make into small sandwiches.
  • Eating Out (Worst Case) – While this used to be our go-to solution for not having food in the fridge, we now try hard not to eat out more than 2 or 3 meals in a given week.  It’s hard to practice portion control and avoid bread & chips, but best bets for us include Mexican, seafood, Mediterranean, and BBQ/steakhouses.