Pumpkin Spicecream

25 Oct


Here is my newest submission because for one thing, we are in the middle of National American Pumpkin Spice Season, but I also want to be in on the smoothie bowl trend.  This is cold, filling, and has a dose of protein to boot.  With extra toppings, this would make a hearty breakfast, but it also makes a light dessert if that is your preference.

1/4 cup water
a heaping 1/2 cup frozen pumpkin (1/3 of 15 oz can)
1/3 cup cottage cheese** 
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp maple syrup, more for garnish/to taste 

toppings: whipped cream, coconut flakes, chopped apples or pears, chopped pecans, drizzle of honey, maple or even chocolate syrup!!

Place everything in your Vitamix or blender. Blend until mixed thoroughly, you may have to scrape down the sides with a spatula once or twice during processing.  Spoon out into a bowl and sprinkle with your choice of yummy toppings.  (If you are using a regular blender, you may want to allow the frozen pumpkin and banana to soften slightly.  Also, I freeze the pumpkin in pre-measured amounts because I use it in my morning breakfast smoothies.)

This is such a great treat–it is full of natural goodness, with a solid dose of protein to boot.  My kiddos all really liked it (the dollop of whipped cream sealed the deal for them!)  Everybody wins!

**To avoid dairy, increase the amount of frozen pumpkin to 2/3 c and add a tbsp of almond butter and a pinch of salt.  After all my experience making smoothie bowls, the consistency and flavor will be just as good.  :)

If you are new to our site, please also check out my two other favorite pumpkin recipes:  Fall’s Best Pumpkin Muffins and Pumpkin Sausage Soup.

Enjoy, Leigh



Acai Bowls 

21 Oct

Those butter avocados came from a tree in my yard

I moved to Hawaii nearly 2 1/2 years ago, and there were many new foods I had never seen or heard about before living here.  Shave ice**, Poke, Musubi, Loco Moco, and Acai Bowls…there have been so many new foods I have experienced!

One that I’ve loved is the Acai Bowl.  These are for sale everywhere here, usually around 8 dollars a pop (GAH!!).  Because I am living life and not blogging much, I just assumed Acai Bowls are everywhere on the mainland by now and are not a novel concept anymore.  However, when my uber-hip, jet-setting sister told me she had never heard of them, I decided to let you all in on this really fun treat, just in case you haven’t seen them or were not sure what is in one.  This is just fun to eat.  It’s breakfast, a cold snack, or comforting dessert.

1 Packet of frozen Sambazon Acai puree
1/4 cup liquid (I use water but you can use any juice or milk you prefer)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries (or any frozen berry)
1/2 frozen banana

Throw them all in blender and mix.  Consistency should be of a soft sorbet, you’ll have to scrape down the sides if you aren’t using a Vitamix with its tamper. Top with your favorite toppings: sliced fruit, coconut, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, and a drizzle of honey if you want an extra kiss of golden sweetness.

Next time you see these Acai Packets, grab them.  THIS is what to make.

**It’s not “shaved” ice.  Shave Ice.  Say “shaved” and you’re definitely a tourist!

If you’re in my neck of the woods, let’s meet up at Surfer’s Coffee Bar for one of the best Acai Bowls on Oahu!!




I love ALL food

19 Oct

I am interested in maintaining this blog in spite of the fact that I am not in the same place I was when we began back in 2012.  Last year, it seemed it was about time we took it down, because I think we posted about twice all year, but something kept us from it.  I like it here, I feel like this is where I can spill my mind to the public without blowing up people’s Facebooks.

Every time The Prime Pursuit posts something non-food related, we lose followers and that makes me sad.  I know with blogging we are supposed to have a niche and stick to it.  But, it turns out that while my passion for telling people about primal food has waned, my enjoyment of getting my thoughts on “paper” is still there.

The bottom line is that I just don’t want to be put in a box one way or another.  I still eat healthfully as much as I can reasonably manage it in a house of seven people.  I am sorry, but I bristled at being “the paleo lady” because I just don’t want to be restricted by any labels.  I love ALL food.  You’re going to see me downtown eating a fat cheeseburger with fries, because food categories and amounts don’t own me.  One really nice thing about the Army lifestyle is leaving the old labels behind and starting fresh.

So here I am.  I have five kids now.  I have lots to say about that, and I want to discuss healthful living, intuitive eating, getting back on track with exercise after two back-to-back pregnancies, and the daily-discipline of sorting priorities.  I hope you’ll stay with us in spite of the fact that I declared myself free from food-related trademarks.

I think we can keep our blog title, because don’t we all desire to remain in the prime of life…?  I will still share primal recipes as I find them but will you forgive me if I post a cake recipe that has been made with AP flour?  I have a good one, you need it in your repetoire!!

With humble honesty,

the ZONE tips and tricks

6 Sep

_uploads_2015_09_change-challengeOur gym started up a nutrition challenge this month, so it seemed like a perfect time to dust off the keyboard, and spark some motivation. The challenge is to follow the Zone diet parameters, with bonus points for eating Paleo, WOD, and extra physical activity. Negative points given for not following Zone parameters at every meal/snack, or having more than one alcoholic beverage per day. No better day to start than today!

In a nutshell, the Zone is about balancing macronutrients to keep your hormones balanced and inflammation at the cellular level at bay. Each snack and meal relies on the 40-30-30 principle of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, respectively. Dr. Barry Sears expounds in detail about the “metabolic state” of the zone and it’s health, fat loss, and athletic performance benefits in his book, Enter the Zone and his website. I strongly recommend purchasing the book and reading it cover to cover. Dr. Sears’ athlete case studies are fascinating, and learning the science is essential for motivation and longevity.

After a few body measurements and lifestyle questions, you get a personalized block prescription. For women, this is generally around 11 blocks per day, divided up into 3 blocks for main meals and 2 x 1 block snacks. Planning your blocks requires precise measuring of all foods at first. For example, 1 block of each macronutrient equals 9 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, and 1.5 grams of fat. OK, break. Let your head stop spinning. Bookmark the macronutrient block list in the book, or print this out, and keep it on your kitchen counter.

Paleo and the Zone are two totally different animals, but can be combined by choosing paleo friendly foods to fill your Zone blocks. Choose whichever foods make staying in the Zone easier for you, but emphasis should always be on quality REAL foods.  I personally  avoid sugar and most grains, and do my best to choose low glycemic foods. However, I sometimes add foods like Organic Greek yogurt, gluten free oats, and cottage cheese for easier snacks and meals that don’t upset my particular system. Remember: it’s not about being “paleo,” or “zoning,” it’s about doing what’s best for your particular body.

If you’re new to the paleo diet or need to brush-up on tips for that, start here. If not, below   you’ll find pointers for making the Zone diet work for you. It’s a challenge at first, but the rewards are worth it, and YOU are worth it!

  1. Make double the protein when cooking, and reserve leftovers in individual 1, 2 or 3 block labeled containers. Use a Tupperware container filled with marked ziplock bags or small containers to stay organized.
  2. Pre-cut and prep veggies and fruits in individual 1, 2, or 3 block labeled containers too. This will give you the ability to grab and go zone snacks or even meals when life is busy, and keep you from grabbing something you will regret later.
  3. Keep it simple, and separate macronutrients for the first two weeks. Pick your protein, pick your carbohydrate, and cook liberally with healthy oils. Forget your favorite curries and casseroles for now. Computing recipes will hurt your head and your motivation. I once spent two hours of my life trying to compute exactly how much of my favorite chili recipe I should have for dinner. My kids were yelling for dinner to be on the table, and I was glued to the calculator. Not good.
  4. When you misstep, don’t throw in the towel. Remind yourself that you are only one meal or snack away from being back in the zone.
  5. If you are feeling super hungry at dinner time, choose cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, or eggplant as your carbohydrate for that meal. Your plate will be maxed out, and you will not feel like eating anymore once it’s empty–I promise.
  6. If you know you will be in a situation where there will be dessert, skimp on your carbohydrates during your meal and enjoy a few bites of post-dinner dessert like a normal person.
  7. Always eat your pre-bedtime snack. It’s usually only a 1 block snack, but it’s both satisfying and rewarding. Also, it keeps your body in the Zone while you sleep. You might not be hungry, but eat it anyway.
  8. The book recommends eating a Zone favorable snack prior to your workout. My workouts often occur before the sun comes up; so, I prefer to stay fasted, drink a 1 block Zone favorable post workout drink, and eat a 2 block breakfast post shower.
  9. The first 2-3 weeks are hard. Plain and simple hard. You will be hungry, feel slightly deprived, and counting down the minutes until your next meal. This will not last forever. After this bit of a hump, you will feel balanced, full of energy, and likely experience “the Zone.” It is real and it is remarkable.
  10. If you have ever suffered from any digestive issues, they will likely cease. Your excretory system will be in check and regular. Even including organic yogurt, and cottage cheese regularly, my digestive issues were non-existent.
  11. Critics say it is too high in carbohydrates. The truth is, our body needs carbohydrates to function. By function I mean exist, not perform. Athletic performance requires even more carbohydrates as fuel.  Our body doesn’t need grains and sugar, but it needs plenty of vegetables, fruit and (gasp!) even starchy tubers now and again. Newcomers to the paleo/primal lifestyle or high intensity training will see amazing results keeping their carbohydrate intake to 50g and under daily. Our bodies can not withstand that forever. We will plateau (in weight loss and performance). That’s when experimentation with adding more carbohydrates in real food form is necessary, and when zone parameters can help.
  12. Be a little flexible with your fat intake, especially if you’re an athlete. Don’t count the healthy oils you sauté with, and don’t go “nuts” counting your nuts. There was a time I would count exactly 3 nuts per block of fat and even cut them if they looked too large. That’s what I call “nuts,”and not to mention, NOT emotionally healthy.
  13. Mustard, vinegar, and spices are your best friends. They are about the only thing not counted in a day besides water; use liberally!
  14. Drink a lot of water: before, during, and after meals. Unsweetened beverages are also your best friends between meals to keep your mind off food: black coffee, tea, sparkling water, and evening herbal teas.
  15. Depending on how much you feel like eating at the time, choose your carbohydrate blocks wisely. 9 dried apricots is the same carbohydrate block as 1 cup chopped strawberries plus 1 cup blueberries. Get the picture?
  16. You will have ZERO problem filling your protein requirement. Filling your carbohydrate blocks with paleo friendly foods; however, can be tricky. It’s easy for the general populati0n to stay in the Zone by choosing two slices of bread as two carbohydrate blocks, but vegetables and fruit take more consideration. Bottom line: choose REAL foods that come from nature, and nothing packaged that has more than 5 ingredients.


Breakfast Ideas- 3 block

  • 3 eggs and 4 cups of spinach or kale scrambled, medium whole apple with about a Tbsp nut butter
  • 3/4 cup organic cottage cheese, 9 dried apricots, small handful of nuts
  • 1 cup plain organic Greek yogurt, 1 cup pumpkin puree, cinnamon, small handful of nuts
  • 3/4 cup organic cottage cheese, 1 cup chopped strawberries, 1/2 cup blueberries, small handful of nuts
  • 2 eggs, 3 nitrate-free sausage links, whole Larabar

Lunch Ideas-3 block

  • 4 cups spinach or kale mix, 1 cup grape tomatoes,  3 oz leftover chicken, 1 tsp olive oil and vinegar as dressing, 1/2 apple for dessert
  • 4 cups spinach or kale mix, 1 red pepper chopped,  4.5 oz nitrate free deli meat, 1 tsp olive oil and vinegar as dressing, 1 cup strawberries for dessert
  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese mixed with 3 Tbsp chopped avocado and 1/2 cup salsa, 9 baby carrots and 3/4 cup snow peas for dipping

Dinner Ideas-3 block

  • 3 oz. grilled or roasted chicken, 1.5 cups brussels sprouts roasted with olive oil, 1 cup strawberries for dessert
  • 4.5 oz. poached salmon, 12 spears asparagus roasted with olive oil, 1/2 cup red beets roasted with olive oil, 1/2 cup blueberries for dessert with a few nuts
  • 4.5 oz. grass-fed burger wrapped in lettuce, 2Tbsp guacamole and slice of tomato on top, 1 whole (approximately 5in.) baked sweet potato with 1/3 tsp. organic butter

Snack Ideas-1 block

  • 1.5 oz nitrate free deli meat, 9 baby carrots, 1 Tbsp avocado
  • 1  oz. organic cheese, 2 stalks celery, dab of organic peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup organic cottage cheese, 1/3 cup canned organic pumpkin, cinnamon, a few crushed pecans
  • 1/2 cup plain organic greek yogurt, a few nuts (yogurt is combination protein/carb)
  • 1/4  cup organic cottage cheese, 1/3 of a Larabar, a few nuts
  • 1 oz. leftover chicken, 1/2 apple, a few nuts

Perfect 1 block snack muffins

In mini food processor combine 1 egg, 1/3 banana, 1 tsp almond flour, 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon. Pour into lightly greased muffin tins or nonstick muffins cups. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until gone. Makes 2 muffins–eat both for a 1 block snack. You can triple or quadruple the batter to make more to have on hand.

Flavor options: substitute the banana for 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin. The pumpkin ones are clearly not as sweet and come out with a wet texture, but they do the trick when you’re feeling a bit deprived🙂

Happy Challenge!



The Waiting

2 Feb

“40” from U2’s War album has been on repeat in my head for the past few days.

How long to sing this song?
How long…how long…how long…

I am in a time of waiting.  Waiting for things that I presume shall fulfill my immediate longings and bring clarity and order to my life.  Some of these things have been in the queue for months, and others for years.  These desires can’t simply be forgotten.  They are woven into my personal journey.

Waiting.  Waiting.  Day after day after month after month after year.  How long will I wait?  At this point, I am emotionally folding my arms, stomping my feet, and pouting like a 5-year-old in a corner!!  I recognize this in myself, and it’s finally driven me to the question: How can I wait well with grace, poise, and dignity? 

Compare the words of Isaiah 40:30-31 alongside those of David in Psalm 40, (which just so happens to be the “40” Bono is singing). Isaiah says that those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength, soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, etc.  Pssshaw!  This all has not sat well with me.  In my time of waiting, I haven’t felt exhilarated.  I don’t feel strong, and I certainly don’t feel renewed.  Waiting’s exhausting.

There’ s one keyword in these passages I’ve been glossing over: I’m weary because I am not waiting on the LORD….I’m waiting on the THING!! 

So back to my question: how do I go about waiting well?

For one thing, the object of my desire simply cannot be a condition that defines my success.  Consider the differences between a goal and a desire. Goals are achievable with hard work.  Desires are different…think: aspirations, wishes, longings.  They are arrows aimed at targets.  We can do everything to set up perfect conditions for the arrow to hit that bullseye, and then we have to keep our fingers crossed that a rogue gust of wind doesn’t knock it off course.

I want some things really badly, but in reality, I have no control over whether they come to me.  How much power am I giving those desires in my life?  I don’t know.  But it helps to identify what’s in my power to accomplish, versus what I can only cross my fingers for.

Secondly, I have recently noticed a few steps outlined in Psalm 40.  I have to share, because it provides a little more clarity on how to wait, with excellence.  

1.  Choose patience in word and action.  Though the waiting is at times a desperate feeling, our actions don’t have to be desparate.  Feelings often catch up.

2.  Believe He hears, upholds us and is our firm place to stand.  No matter how long.  He will deliver us from this, through this, or to something else.  Belief is very empowering, and can carry us through times of uncertainty.

3.  Get a new song in your mouth.  (Sounds better than the 5-year-old whining I default to).  The scripture says He puts it there!  It doesn’t come from willpower!  This new song is a hymn of praise for God and the beauty in creation that surrounds us.  Honestly, it’s much more beautiful to everyone’s ears.

4.  From a place of speaking, believing, seeing beauty…we are able to openly share the story of His goodness.  What a place from which to encourage others!

Waiting, with his grace…


Liquid Breakfast.

30 Apr

I am not a proponent of smoothies.  Drinking calories, as it were.  In my heart, I feel that smoothies can be sugary calorie bombs, without providing satiety.  I scoff at the Vitamix guy at Costco making them for people, proclaiming the health benefits…then when no one is looking he caps it off with a 1/2 cup of agave.

Enter 4th child.  This season of life, I am looking for time hacks around every corner.  I have perfected the art of the 40-second shower, stopped folding our laundry, and (gasp!) started drinking my breakfast.

Because the days of softly scrambled eggs topped with natural sausage, over sautéed greens and sliced avocado are gone for a while.  Sorry breakfast, you are not a life-event anymore.

It’s so handy!  It’s only taken me 100 tries to get it to taste right.  :)  My hubby and I drink this a few times a week now.  We tweak it with a spoonful of nut butter here and there, and I always throw in my prenatal vitamins.  They are the worst.

Pile these ingredients into the blender in the following order:

1. 3/4 c milk of your preference
2. 1/2 c cottage cheese (sorry–dairy.  Sub 1/2 avocado, but up the liquid.)
3. 1 c greens (packed & overflowing out of the cup)
4. 1 frozen banana broken into 3 pieces
5. 1/2 c frozen mango–or any frozen fruit

Blend until smooth.

 Vitamix is nice and fastest, but it is not necessary.  Greens? Check.  Potassium?  Check.  Protein? Check.  Breakfast done, and well-rounded enough for me.  Carpe diem!

Kid Approved. Alternatively titled: Got Smoothie?

This is the same recipe, substituting the blueberries with mango.

This is the same recipe, I used blueberries instead of mango.

Heart Satiety

10 Mar

I haven’t posted anything in quite a while.  I’m riding a long wave of creative apathy and straight-up boredom in the kitchen.  I have been making the same things over and over; I am not creating new foods over here, and really not searching for any either.  In fact, Heather and I have contemplated turning the blog off because we have nothing new to tell you about.  Besides, everyone who eats a primal diet appears to have started a blog about it, and with much better photography!

In terms of food-spiration, I have nothing.  I know how to employ a clean-diet, it is a great tool.  I feel sad, because I have seen the paleo/Whole30 community take a turn to the obsessive side over the past few years.  Orthorexia is a thing now.  For heaven’s sake, have we not just swapped out one crazy for another?  All the blogs, and food pics and pins, and humblebragging on social media.  Craziness.

The saddest thing is when my own friends feel like authentic failures if they have a month or two, or twelve, of bad eating.  It is a crazy-cycle.  Feelings of tremendous success and pride after accomplishing a month of clean eating, which are subsequently chased away by “failure” (eating some bad food).  It becomes ridiculously mentally consuming.  Are we equating failing at life with eating sugar/grain/dairy?

There is so much talk about “satiety” after meals, and striking that perfect macronutrient-balance, which supports activity but not body fat.  That is a great place to be.  A clean diet provides plenty of physical benefits, but it offers zero relief for the emotional hunger we endure.  That emotional hunger will eat us alive if we do not respond to it properly…we will scratch for anything to fill the void.

Heart Satiety is what we need.

Isn’t heart-satiety what we are all chasing after, above and beyond the satiety of the stomach?  Where can we find such satisfaction of the soul?  I have a hint: it starts at taking the focus entirely off of self, and meeting people’s needs with no abandon.  That might sound harsh.  But tirelessly giving back will never make anyone’s day feel worthless.

Take on only the good of the clean-diet lifestyle.   Good food and the workouts serve ME, and not the other way around.  This mindset is freeing, and makes clean eating all the more enjoyable.  There is a general trajectory of good health-choices, which include a healthy social life, and systematically serving others.  Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1).  Relationships are more important than food!

In the trenches too,




I don’t really agree with this.  And, I am not attracted to Ryan.


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