The 3 best shrimp to buy (and which to avoid)

The 3 best shrimp to buy (and which to avoid)

By: Leanne Ely


It’s time once again for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe. Today you’ll learn a tip, a trick and you’ll get a great recipe to try it out with. Neat, huh?

Today’s Focus is on SHRIMP

Everyone loves shrimp. It’s easy to prepare, it’s versatile and it’s delicious. Shrimp is the most eaten seafood in the United States. Probably because it’s found in virtually every type of cuisine imaginable, from Asian stir-fries to Indian curries. But shrimp is one of those controversial foods that should only be eaten if it’s of a certain quality.

Allow me explain.

Shrimp isn’t a terribly nutrient-dense food, but it is a great source of protein and a good source of calcium. It contains iodine, omega-3s, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It also provides us with selenium, an important mineral that’s good for your mood, your cardiovascular system and your heart. And—bonus!—selenium in shrimp is known to be quite well-absorbed by the human body.

However, it can be difficult to find high-quality shrimp and shrimp that has been caught in a sustainable way.

See, you don’t want to be eating farm-raised shrimp. And you especially don’t want to be eating foreign farm-raised shrimp.


In Latin America and in Asia, where there were once nice happy little shrimp farms, there are now shrimp factories. Shrimp are crammed into ponds of roughly 15 square feet. These shrimp farms are generally swirling with feces, antibiotics and chemicals. I would say that farmed shrimp from Asia and Latin America (tiger prawns and black tiger shrimp) are the number one type of shrimp not to buy.

Imported wild shrimp, though, aren’t a good choice either. That’s because they’re fished by large trawlers that disturb all kinds of sea creatures by scraping along the floor of the ocean.

Wild caught shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico have been compromised with the oil spill. We’re being told that they are safe for human consumption, but I’m not 100% convinced.

So, which shrimp do you buy?

Your best choice would be California coonstripe shrimp, Oregon bay shrimp and British Columbia spot prawns.

If you can’t find any of those options and you must have shrimp, search for US-farmed shrimp that come from a farm that uses a full circulation system. Read your labels or ask the fish monger. And yes, the responsibly farmed shrimp are going to cost more—that’s just the way it is!


Now it’s time for your Trick:

When marinating shrimp (if you ever eat shrimp again after reading this!), leave the shell on so that every bit of the marinade is absorbed. Use the shells to make stock by boiling them with garlic, onion, celery and carrots, along with your favorite spices. Use it for chowders or soups.

And your Tip:

You absolutely must not overcook your shrimp or it will be rubbery and gross. Once the shrimp is pink, it’s done.

And your Recipe:

Shrimp and Snap Pea Stir Fry
Serves 4

4 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 large jalapeno, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound peeled, deveined shrimp
1 large carrot, chopped
2 cups trimmed sugar snap peas
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons coconut aminos

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil over medium heat. To the skillet, add the garlic, onion, jalapeno, salt and pepper and shrimp. Cook for 10 minutes, until shrimp is opaque and curled into a “c” shape. Place shrimp into a bowl. Heat the remaining coconut oil in the skillet over high heat. To the skillet, add the remaining ingredients (carrot through coconut aminos) and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender. To the vegetables, add the shrimp and stir. Serve warm.

6 Essentials for at Home Smoothies!

6 Essentials for at Home Smoothies!

By: Leanne Ely


Smoothies? They’re fantastic.

I drink one every single day.

Smoothies can pack in a lot of nutrition when you don’t have a lot of time to make a full meal.

Now, smoothie bars are popping up ALL over the place, but you can set up your very own smoothie bar at home for a mere fraction of the price.

Here’s how:

Equipment. The only piece of equipment you need is a good blender. I adore my Nutribullet, but the brand doesn’t matter too much as long as you buy the best blender you can afford. You need to be able to pulverize ice cubes, greens, and nuts to smith-ereens. There’s a reason these drinks are called smoothies and not lumpies. Yuck. Oh, that blender should also be easy to clean.


Basic ingredients. You need a good variety of fruit (fresh and/or frozen) and some greens (also fresh and/or frozen) on hand. You also need ice cubes, protein, fiber, and liquids like coconut water, coconut milk, and almond milk. I always have blueberries, strawberries, bananas, spinach, and avocados in the house for my smoothies. When it comes to protein, I only use Saving Dinner Perfect Paleo Protein. Don’t bother with the powders full of synthetic ingredients. If you don’t have any good protein powder on hand, use nuts or Greek yogurt for that protein punch. I use Saving Dinner FiberMender or chia seeds for my smoothie fiber add in. And my liquid of choice is always coconut water or unsweetened almond milk.


Add ins. If there are certain things you like to add to your smoothies, keep those items either close to the blender for easy access or with your refrigerated smoothie ingredients. Some ideas for add ins or flavorings? Ginger root, pumpkin pie spice, coconut oil (sounds crazy but it’s a great way to get in some good fat!), and walnuts.

Set up: Have all of your smoothie ingredients located conveniently. You know, so you actually use your home smoothie bar! Put your smoothie ingredients all on the same shelf of the freezer and have a smoothie section in the main area of the fridge. You can also put your pre-measured fiber and protein powder or nuts together in a bag or con-tainer so you can save a step by measuring them every single morning. Try taking some time once a week to put your smoothie ingredients in freezer bags (except the liquid and/or ice), so you can just dump all your smoothie stuff in the blender in the morning without having to measure/rinse/scoop.


Recipes. You will need some delicious recipes, which should be kept close to the blender. I have you covered there with some of the collections we’ve put together, and I’ve added a couple of smoothie recipes for you below.

Smoothie it. Add your liquid first, then put your other ingredients on top. Stuff the blender full with spinach leaves (you won’t even taste them). If you expect you’ll have trouble with any bitterness of the greens, start with a handful and add more as you get used to the taste.

That should be all you need to get your smoothie bar functioning. Have fun, and bottoms up!


Here are three delicious smoothie recipes.  Enjoy!

Blackberry Pie Smoothie
Serves 1

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 to 3/4 cup water (or more coconut milk)
1/4 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup blackberries (frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup spinach
1 tablespoons chia seeds
1 scoop Perfect Paleo Protein Smoothie Mix
2 teaspoons Saving Dinner FiberMender (optional)
1 tablespoon Just Juiced Greens (optional)

In a blender, place coconut milk, water, coconut cream, blackberries, spinach, chia seeds, Saving Dinner Perfect Paleo Protein, Saving Dinner
Fibermender and Saving Dinner Just Juiced Greens (optional); blend until smooth and enjoy! It’s ok to add a tad more milk of your choice, if a thinner smoothie is preferred.


Cherry Chip Smoothie
Serves 1

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 to 3/4 cup water (or more coconut milk)
1/2 cup dark cherries (frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup frozen spinach
1 tablespoons cacao nibs
1 scoop Perfect Paleo Protein Smoothie Mix
2 teaspoons Saving Dinner Fibermender (optional)
1 tablespoon Just Juiced Greens (optional)

In a blender, place coconut milk, water, cherries, frozen spinach, cacao nibs, Saving Dinner Perfect Paleo Protein, Saving Dinner Fibermender and Saving Dinner Just Juiced Greens (optional); blend until smooth and enjoy! It’s ok to add a tad more milk of your choice, if a thinner smoothie is


Vanilla Blueberry Smoothie
Serves 1

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup frozen blueberries
4 ice cubes
1 scoop Saving Dinner All-in-One Vanilla Smoothie Mix
2 teaspoons Saving Dinner Fibermender (optional)

Blend together almond milk, frozen blueberries and ice cubes until almost smooth. Add Saving Dinner All-in-One Vanilla Smoothie Mix and Fibermender; blend until combined.


Poolside snacks for the kids

Poolside snacks for the kids

By: Leanne Ely

You get the towels ready, the sunscreen applied, and settle down to enjoy a few minutes of sun while the kids play in the pool only to hear, seconds later, the familiar refrain, “Can I have a snack?”

Swimming seems to make children hungrier than anything else, and you can be almost guaranteed that if they aren’t asking for something to eat while they’re in the pool, they’ll be asking for something as they’re getting dried off.

Stay ahead of the game this summer by stocking up with healthy poolside snacks that you can easily grab to keep your kids nourished as they play. To help prevent you from falling into the trap of tossing packaged processed food products at them, I have some great suggestions for you for healthy poolside snacks for the kids. (Note: these snacks are great for kids any time, but they are convenient for the pool.)

Strawberry Banana Smoothie made with fresh Ingredients

Smoothies. Whip up some fruit, yogurt, and (if you have a good blender) try to sneak in some spinach (they’ll never know!) to be served poolside. This snack gets bonus points because they can sip on their smoothie as they go in and out of the pool without getting their hands dirty in between. I’ve added a bonus smoothie recipe for you below!

Apple slices with nut butter. For something a bit fun, spread peanut butter (or almond butter) right on the apple slices and let the kids skewer them for easier (less sticky) poolside eating.

Hard boiled eggs. The ultimate grab and go protein. When my kids were small, I always had at least a half dozen boiled eggs in the fridge at a time for easy and portable snacks.

Veggie sticks. Carrot sticks, celery sticks, sliced bell peppers, cucumbers…with or without dip (try hummus or a nice creamy cheese for some extra protein), your kids will eat their veggies poolside because of the aforementioned level of hungry they will be!

Sandwiches. Put together a little assortment of sandwiches and/or wraps for the kids to nosh on when they get out of the water. Egg salad is a summertime favorite—just be careful not to leave them out in the sun too long! (Tip: bring a cooler out on the deck.)

Frozen grapes/cherries. If it’s a hot day, everyone will enjoy snacking on a handful of frozen grapes or cherries!

Muffins. There are a million (or more) recipes floating around for muffins and quick breads that are healthy for your kids (I’ve included one at the bottom of this article). These types of snacks, when baked with wholesome ingredients, are an excellent little nutrition boost for your kids. Make a great big batch and store them in the freezer so you always have a nice fresh snack for the kids.

Meat and cheese. Put together your own homemade version of those horrible processed packaged lunch things you see at the grocery store. All you need are uniformly shaped bits of nitrate-free deli meat, cheese, and whole grain crackers. Kids love stacking these things together. Add some fresh berries, and you have a perfect mini meal.

Trail mix. Raisins and other bits of dried fruit, seeds, nuts, coconut, a bit of dark chocolate…whatever you have in the cupboards that looks like it would work in a trail mix, pop it in a container and away you go.

Fruit. Of course, bananas, apples, watermelon slices, peaches, strawberries, etcetera, all make delicious and portable sweet snacks in the summer time.

Keep your kids well fueled with healthy snacks like these when they’re playing near the pool (or anywhere!) this summer.

Berry Banana Blast Smoothie

1 banana, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup organic plain yogurt
1/2 cup water (if needed to thin out smoothie)
1/2 cup ice cubes
1 scoop protein powder

Place banana, strawberry, spinach, and water in a blender. Blend 15 seconds, then add ice and protein powder. Blend 30 seconds or until thick.

Whole Wheat Carrot Muffins
12 muffins

1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces low fat vanilla yogurt
1 medium carrot, shredded

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Mix all the dry ingredients (flours, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, allspice and ginger) in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg lightly and mix with oil, milk, vanilla and yogurt. Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and stir. Add the carrot to the mix. Fill the muffin tins 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake for about 15 minutes. To make sure that they are ready, you can insert a toothpick in the center of the muffins and see if it comes out clean.

5 Restaurant Worthy Summer Dips

5 Restaurant Worthy Summer Dips

By: Leanne Ely


Some foods just plain taste better at certain times of year. For instance, I bet you don’t think much about making beef stew on a hot summer day. One thing that tends to scream summer is a cold dip. And I’m not talking swimming pools here, people! Some fresh crisp veggies and a nice refreshing dip makes for a perfect summertime lunch.

When it’s hot outside, you may be tempted to head to the deli for your favorite dips. But, nine times out of ten, those packaged food items are full of non-healthy ingredients. Luckily, you can easily make your own summer dips that can take a regular snack or mid-day meal from okay to restaurant-worthy.

Let’s take a look at five popular summertime dips and how you can easily make them yourself.


1. Tzatziki. Absolutely wonderful as a dip for fresh cut veggies, tzatziki is also great on a sandwich, with tortilla chips or on some nicely grilled fish. To make this Greek dip, mix some plain Greek yogurt with a shredded cucumber, some olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic and a pinch of dill. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

2. Hummus. Ridiculously delicious, hummus is a great source of protein and a very versatile dip. Great with fresh cut veggies, warm bread or crisp tortilla chips, hummus is easy peasy to make at home. Traditionally made with chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil and tahini, hummus is easy to tailor to your own tastes and dietary needs. For the paleoistas out there, swap out the chickpeas and swap in some organic chopped zucchini and a bunch of fresh parsley. Yum!

3. Ranch dip. Another classic dip for fresh veggies is the famous old standby: ranch dressing. It’s not easy to find a version of ranch dressing that doesn’t contain GMOs, but it is easy to make your own. All you need is some Greek yogurt, a bit of apple cider vinegar, raw garlic, fresh dill, sea salt and black pepper. Mix until you get a taste and consistency that you like and enjoy!

4. Guacamole. More than just a dip, guacamole is great with chips, sure, but it’s also amazing on a sandwich, spread on burgers, on top of chicken breasts, mixed in with spicy seasoned ground beef or just eaten with a spoon. So yummy! And it’s a cinch to make your own. All you need is a perfectly ripe avocado, fresh garlic, lemon or lime juice, cilantro and some salt. From there, you can just enjoy as is, or you can toss in whatever you like: lobster, crab, tomatoes, pineapple, red pepper, and so on and so forth!

5. Baba Ghanoush. Quite close to hummus in the ingredient list, baba ghanoush requires just a bit more labor. You start with roasted eggplant that must be chopped well (or it could also be blended if you like a more smooth baba ghanoush). Add in some garlic, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil and spices of your liking. Traditionally, you’d use cumin, crushed red pepper, a bit of basil and cilantro or parsley. Serve with cucumbers, tomatoes and/or pita bread.

If you have picky eaters at home, if you can find a dip they like, it can be a great motivator to try new veggies and meats.

Did you say Paleo Margarita?

Did you say Paleo Margarita?

By: Leanne Ely


If you ever find yourself lost at sea, you better hope you packed some limes in your carry on or that there’s a lime tree near by! Limes were believed to have saved many a sailor from dying of scurvy (a disease cause by a Vitamin C deficiency) way back when.

There are two different types of limes: sour and sweet. Sweet limes are difficult to find in the United States. You’re probably most familiar with one of the sour varieties—Key limes (known for making delicious pies) or Tahitian limes (the larger, egg-shaped variety).

It so happens that sour limes are more nutritious than their sweeter relatives.

For a small fruit, limes pack a big nutritional punch:

Vitamin C. Lime juice is extremely high in Vitamin C. If you could stomach an entire cup of the stuff, you would get more than 100% of your daily recommended amount of this essential nutrient. Vitamin C is required to develop connective tissue, support blood vessel walls and heal wounds. Vitamin C is also a key ingredient in preventing colds.

Citric Acid. The citric acid content of limes helps to protect your body against harmful bacteria. Research suggests that lime juice might actually prevent some bacterial infections.

Flavonoids. Limes are high in flavonoids, which act as antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants help to protect our bodies from damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Flavonoids are also linked to prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer and degenerative nerve disease.

Anti-carcinogens. Liminoids are special compounds found in citrus fruits, effective in fighting colon, stomach, breast, lung, skin and mouth cancer. Scientists have discovered that the anti-carcinogenic properties of limonoids can remain in the body for up to 24 hours after consumption! To put this into perspective, the powerful anti-carcinogens found in green tea only remain active in the human body for 4–6 hours post consumption.

When you’re at the market, look for limes that feel heavy for their size. They should also have a deep green, glossy skin. Store your limes out of direct sunlight at room temperature for up to a week.

Because it’s difficult to drink straight lime juice (can you say sour?!), try to reap those nutritional benefits by incorporating a little lime juice into as many dishes as you can. Squirt lime juice on your salads and into your marinades. Squeeze some into your daily juice or smoothie. Add lime juice to your avocado before eating it, or squirt some into your drinking water.

If you do drink a lot of lime juice in your water and other beverages, try drinking from a straw. The acid in the limes is hard on tooth enamel, and a straw limits the amount of time spent directly between the acid and your pearly whites.

So limes are great and are amazingly helpful with blood sugar levels. You want to make a great paleo margarita?

– 1 shot quality tequila (made from agave)
– 3 shots sparkling mineral water
– 1 lime quartered and squeezed into your drink

Lime cocktail drink

5 Cool Meals for Hot Days

5 Cool Meals for Hot Days

By: Leanne Ely


No matter where you are in the United States right now—and even Canada—,it is a hot summer. Temperatures are in the hundreds in many areas, and the humidity is reportedly high from friends of mine in parts of the continent where this type of weather is unheard of, even in the thick of summer.

We all know what this means, don’t we? (Besides the fact that we’re all sweating like sinners in church.)

Hot weather always seems like a good excuse to not eat right. People turn to take out and packaged meals because, frankly, it’s just too hot to cook.

Well, you can probably guess what I think of that! Sure it’s hot and sticky out there, but you still have to get good, healthy meals on the table. The temperature isn’t really a good reason to not feed your family well. Besides, who said the stove had to be used in all of your meals?

Let’s talk this out for a minute, here.

First of all, we aren’t supposed to be eating big, heavy meals at night. A bit of protein and a heap of veggies is ideal. As a rule, when we’re watching our figures, it’s best to cut out carbs after lunch anyway. And you certainly don’t need roast chicken as that protein every single day!

While you’re grilling, toss enough meat onto the grill to supply for a week of dinners. Cold chicken, fresh veggies and a homemade vinaigrette is a delicious meal that does not require any heat in the kitchen!5hotmealscooldays

Here are 5 summer meal ideas that don’t require heating things up inside:

1. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and you can boil a dozen of them at a time and have them on hand, ready to add to vegetables for a well-rounded meal. Use them in a spinach salad, or make some egg salad lettuce wraps for dinner and serve them with steamed or raw veggies. An omelet full of fresh veggies served with a barbequed sausage is a great meal option too!

2. Put some cedar planked salmon and veggies on the barbeque! But please don’t put your vegetables in tin foil on the grill—use a proper grilling basket so you get that delicious flavor of the barbeque.

3. Make a big pot of cold vegetable soup. The fancy word for it is gazpacho. Sounds complicated, but it’s dead easy. Grab a bunch of vegetables—Tomatoes, onion, cucumber, peppers, celery, parsley, garlic . . . whatever you like, really. Add some vegetable or tomato juice, spices that you like, a squeeze or two of lemon juice, a touch of vinegar and olive oil, salt and pepper and blend it all up. Store it in the fridge and serve it up cold, as needed, throughout the week. This is also a great use for any leftover vegetables from any of the meals you prepare from our summer menu resources.

4. Serve some Greek yogurt and berries or a dish of hummus with raw veggies for dipping. Dinner doesn’t have to look like what your mom used to put on the table in the evening. There doesn’t have to be meat, rice, pasta or potatoes involved! Use your imagination. As long as there’s some source of protein and a vegetable or a bit of fruit, you’re good to go.

5. If you do miss having some starch for supper, try a grilled pizza! Make whatever pizza dough you normally would and put it on a hot grill and close the lid. After a few minutes, when it has formed somewhat of a firm crust, flip it over and top the crisp side with sauce, vegetables and cheese. Close the lid and let everything cook until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is cooked through. Homemade pizza without using the oven! Your family will bow down at your feet and praise you. Or they’ll at least offer to do the dishes.


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