Posts in "Paleo"
Cranberry-Orange Margaritas: A Paleo Holiday Cocktail

A few people have reached out to me and asked me to share this cranberry-orange margarita I created a few years ago because the site I posted it on originally is no longer live, so here it is! This is the same post from 2013 (WHAT?!) but I figured while I was at it I should take some new photos, and I couldn’t resist using a blood orange this time—they are so pretty.

I love cranberry and orange for Christmas, and if you add a little cinnamon and tequila, you’ve got something really festive. Cheers!

A Paleo Holiday Cocktail | Freckled Italian

Ingredients: (Makes two)

  • One cup of fresh cranberries

  • Three cups of water

  • Two teaspoons agave nectar or honey (You can use more or less, and I prefer honey)

  • One teaspoon cinnamon

  • Zest of one orange

  • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

  • 1/3 cup tequila


To make the cranberry syrup:

  1. In a saucepan, bring cranberries and water to a boil. Add agave or honey, orange zest, and cinnamon.

  2. Reduce to a medium-low heat and simmer for forty minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and strain.

  3. Let cool and store in a jar/container.

To assemble the cocktail:

  1. Sprinkle some salt on a plate and combine with a dash or two of cinnamon and a pinch of orange zest. (You could also add a little sugar—I had a margarita the other day with both sugar and salt on the rim and it was so good!)

  2. Cut orange in half and reserve one slice for a garnish. Moisten each glass with orange and place rim in salt plate.

  3. In a small pitcher or cocktail shaker, combine equal parts orange juice, cranberry syrup, and tequila (1/3 cup each). Stir or shake.

  4. Fill each glass with ice and pour cocktail. Garnish with an orange slice.

Cranberry-Orange Margaritas | Freckled Italian
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What I Eat in a(n Average) Day
What I Eat in a Day | Freckled Italian

The other day a friend of mine was flipping through my cookbook and asked me if I'd write a post about what a normal Paleo food day and/or week looks like for me. I always love hearing what other people make for meals and snacks, so I thought today I'd go over what a pretty typical day might look like in my life.

Lately I've been experimenting with intermittent fasting (a post of its own, eventually) so I skip breakfast but I'm still trying to decide if I like it or not. So for the purposes of this post, let's stick to three meals. The following are options, I don't eat all of them (although some days I probably could):


  • Coffee! Black and usually over ice. Sometimes I get an almond milk latte if I'm out.
  • Two eggs fried in grass-fed butter over a handful of greens (usually spinach or spring mix).
  • A smoothie with spinach, pineapple, frozen berries, and a splash of orange juice.


  • 1-2 cans of tuna mixed with mayo, dill pickle relish, crushed red pepper, and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I'll eat this with sliced cucumbers or over a salad or sometimes just by itself.
  • Sliced turkey with pickles, avocado, mustard, and mayo all layered in a romaine lettuce leaf. I'll usually eat 4-5 of these at a time.
  • 2-3 hot dogs (without a bun), topped with mustard and sauerkraut if I have it.
  • If I feel like cooking I make cauliflower fried rice (Trader Joe's has pre-shredded cauliflower rice now and I always have a bag of it in my fridge lately). This is my cauliflower fried rice recipe with daikon instead of cauliflower, but you can easily sub one for the other.
  • A big salad with turkey, ham, and/or chicken, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, whatever other veggies I have in the fridge.
  • Leftovers from dinner the night before.


  • Fruit: usually grapes but sometimes an apple sliced up with a side of peanut butter (not Paleo but doesn't bother me).
  • Sliced veggies: usually cucumbers, carrots, or celery; also usually dipped in Ranch dressing which sometimes I'll make with coconut milk and homemade mayo but most of the time I buy from the store (also not Paleo but I'm cool with it).
  • Turkey and mayo or sliced tomatoes and mayo on a rice cake (which isn't Paleo--can you see a pattern in my snacking habits?).
  • Sliced radishes dipped in room-temperature butter and topped with a little salt. YES.
  • An avocado, cut in half and seasoned with salt, pepper, cayenne, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice if I'm feeling fancy.
  • On-the-go snacks I try to keep in my bag: Larabars, beef jerky. (These keep me from stopping at a drive thru and eating a gross burger without the bun, which is usually my road-trip order when I'm starving).


  • Some kind of one-pan chicken dinner (like this one).
  • Crock-pot chicken tacos (usually as a salad or on lettuce cups).
  • Grilled fish with a side of veggies.
  • Zucchini noodles with tomato sauce and meatballs.
  • Burger bowls (basically a burger on top of a big salad).



  • I'm awful at drinking water but I constantly try to get enough. 
  • La Croix (my favorites are coconut, apricot, and the cucumber melon)
  • Kombucha (I get a growler filled at a local brewery every week)
  • I have a glass of wine 1-2 nights a week (usually Pinot Noir, Sauvingon Blanc, or Rosé)

I'll occasionally roast a whole chicken one night and spread that out throughout the week--chicken breast for dinner, leftover meat on a salad for lunches, etc. Then I save the bones and make broth with carrots, onion, and celery. I can do a post about that whole process if you're interested, just let me know!

I also wanted to make a note about food and social media--I think about this a lot because generally the things I share on Instagram really aren't Paleo. My day-to-day food is delicious but kind of boring (and not super photogenic, ha!), so when I post something on Instagram it's usually because it's really pretty and also not something I have every day. I just think it's important to remember that because on the Internet it looks like I'm eating French fries and donuts and pizza or tacos all the time when in reality I'm probably eating a salad for lunch like everyone else out there trying to be healthier. Sometimes I'm annoyed when I see super fit people sharing junk food all the time and I don't want to mislead you (although I wouldn't exactly classify myself as super fit). Alright, I'll step off my soapbox now.

There you have it! What are some of your favorite things to eat in an average day? If you have other questions for me, let me know! I love reader requests.

Photo by Andi Perullo for Freckled Italian/The Big 15 Paleo Cookbook.

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The Whole30 That Wasn't

On December 31, pretty close to midnight, I decided that January of 2016 would be my first ever Whole30. 

You might know that I've been Paleo since 2011, and you might also know that in 2015 I kind of fell off the wagon. (I posted a bit more about this back in November, if you want to read it.) My parents split up, my mom got cancer, and I've never felt more stressed out in my life. Before I knew it I was eating whatever made me feel better (mostly Thai food and mochas). Fifteen pounds, some new bald spots, a lot of anxiety, and a few body image issues later (fueled by the inspiration that is New Year's Eve), I finished my glass of champagne and the French onion dip I had been working on all night and declared 2016 to be The Year I Return to Paleo.

And that's still true--I know I feel more like myself when I stay away from grains, dairy, and sugar. I totally identify with the Paleo diet and I kind of love it. But I've always been skeptical of the Whole30 for two reasons, first because it's so restrictive; and also because it ends.

Here's something that's kind of scary and a little embarrassing: a few months ago I came across a piece online that was one of those lists of things that happy and successful people do regularly, and one of them was fasting. A 24-hour fast is supposed to have all kinds of emotional and physical benefits, so I jumped on the bandwagon and pretended it would be this meditative thing that would make a profound difference in my week; but the truth was that I figured not eating once a week would make it really easy to lose some weight pretty fast.

Over the last few years of my life, I've learned that I can get a little obsessive about my food. When I was in college I used to write everything I ate down in a little notebook. I wasn't even counting calories or anything, I just liked seeing a whole day on one page. It comforted me in a really strange way. Those were the days I could eat an entire jar of cheese dip with one of my roommates and not gain a ounce...but then again they were also the days I used to run 5 or 6 miles for fun.

So while I think that Whole30 is an amazing way for people to get to know Paleo and take a really intense look at their usual food choices, I don't think it's for me. I went Paleo all at once and found a way to sustain that for almost four years. I would still occasionally eat sugar or sushi or even a piece of cheesecake or something--but only if I really wanted it, and if I was out with friends, doing something fun. Over the past year I've just taken myself out for treats because I felt bad, which only made me feel worse. I believe deeply that you can make yourself feel better with the right food--but stuffing your face with carbs when you're sad isn't the way that works (even if it feels really really good in the moment). You have to find a way to actually take care of yourself, in a sustainable way.

So on January 12, when one of my good friends invited me to have dinner at one of my favorite restaurants with a few other food writers, I met her at the bar and she said "You're going to have a drink, right?" and I did. And I ate a delicious meal (and laughed to myself that I thought maybe I'd just come and sit and talk without eating) and had an amazing time and went back to Paleo the next day.

It wasn't always a work in progress for me, but now it is. And that's okay.

Photo by Sarah Gatrell for Freckled Italian.

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