Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Work in Progress

I experimented with making my own meatloaf recipe tonight.  This isn't really anything new, I've been making meatloaf for years.  But I've been trying to figure out how to get the classic texture without using breadcrumbs, and without having to add something that drastically changes the flavor.  I really like this recipe, however it uses coconut flour AND coconut milk....and I could really taste it. Good variation, but not "classic".  The meatloaf I made tonight tasted AMAZING, but didn't hold together quite as well as I had hoped. It held up well enough, but not great. A good starting point!

1 lb ground beef
1 lb mild italian sausage
just less than 1 package of button mushrooms, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 can tomato paste
1 small can tomato sauce (no salt added)
1 egg
~1/4 cup flax meal (I usually use almond meal, but I decided to try something different)
black pepper
~1 T dried oregano 
~1 T dried parsley

Preheat oven to 375. Throw everything in a bowl and mix. Hands work best! I like to take a little ball of the mixture and cook it in a frying pan so I can see if I need to adjust the seasonings. Put the mixture in a pyrex dish... I used 13X9, use whatever you got...and bake for 1 hour. Let rest for about 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.

I also made "ketchup" to put on top...

1/2 can tomato paste
1 small can tomato sauce (no salt added)
~1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
~1/2 T honey
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of cloves
pinch of allspice
black pepper
1-2 t "Italian Seasoning" (or use any combination of dried herbs...rosemary, parsley, thyme, basil etc.)

Mix everything together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Some Simple Stuff

Wow, it's been a long time since I updated! And I'll be in Maui for the next week, so I'll just jam a whole bunch of good stuff in one post. Here goes.....

First, an interesting article from Mark's Daily Apple about how to wake up feeling alert!

Ok, I'm adding a link to this article even though it doesn't really have anything to do with paleo... it's paleoISH maybe? Maybe? The top 5 things people regret on their deathbeds.

Now, some really simple paleo stuff I've been enjoying as of late:

Nature's Otter Pops: Take a bag of grapes, stick them in the freezer. Eat. My roommate Ivan says they taste like Otter Pops.  They are the perfect sweet snack, especially since it's finally starting to warm up around these parts.

Tuna Stuffed Avocado:  This is not something new; you've probably come across a million variations of this. But an on-again-off-again house guest, Jeff, made one for me the other day and it was the best I ever had. Maybe it was because it was so simple. Or maybe it was just because someone else made it.  All he did was drain a can of tuna, add a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, then he stuck it on top of a halved avocado. Whenever I've made it, I end up putting a whole bunch of other veggies in it-which is good too- but this was fast, easy, and satisfying.

Pretending Coconut Milk is Yogurt: I always have coconut milk in my cupboard. And I usually have some in my fridge too. I try to get the organic "Thai Kitchen" FULL FAT version, I open a can, transfer it to a tupperware to keep in my fridge and eat over a few days. If you keep it in the fridge it thickens to a consistency similar to Greek yogurt.  I take a banana and whatever kind of berries I have at the moment (sometimes I use mango and banana), put in a bowl with a few scoops of coconut milk, then add walnuts and UNSWEETENED coconut flakes, and cacao nibs. I kinda feel like I'm making a banana split. I'll eat this for a snack or dessert mostly.  Sometimes I eat it for breakfast if I'm starting to get burnt out on eggs.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tilapia with Green Olive Tapenade

Very quick and easy meal.  I based this recipe on one I saw on a Food Network Canada cooking show a few weeks ago. The original recipe is here.

6 tilapia fillets (or any white fish)
3-4 tomatoes
1/2-1 cup large green olives (I got some from an olive bar, not the pimento stuffed ones)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Herbs de Provence

Preheat oven to 400.  Put olives, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until almost smooth. You might have to scrape down the sides a few times. Place fish on an oiled baking sheet and spread the olive tapenade in an even layer on top of fish. Put a couple slices of tomato on top of each filet, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and Herbs de Provence (if you don't have this you can use thyme and/or rosemary). Bake for ~ 7 minutes depending on thickness of fillets, then broil for a couple minutes. I served this with roasted broccoli that I tossed with some wonderfully amazing port wine reduction and herb butter which someone so graciously left at our house after a bbq (thanks Lorraine!).

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pulled Pork and BBQ Sauce

First off- props to my roommate Yogy for making this for dinner tonight. This is not an original recipe by any means. In fact, you can find tons of recipes for paleo pulled pork, and I have tried quite a few. This is by far the best I have come across. I've also had some successes and failures with all sorts of BBQ sauce recipes, and this one turned out great. So I'm just going to post links for the recipes...

Crock Pot Pulled Pork
BBQ Sauce

I ALWAYS eat pulled pork with coleslaw.  Back in the days when I would eat  a pulled pork sandwich, I would put the coleslaw right inside the sandwich. Here is a recipe(ish) of the coleslaw I made tonight. I say "ish" because I don't measure so you just have to taste it as you go along. It's also not quite paleo because I used sour cream as the base for the dressing. If you want to make it paleo, simply replace the sour cream with some homemade mayo.

1/4 head of cabbage (red or green),  core removed and shredded
2 carrots, grated
1 apple, grated

1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 of a yellow onion, grated
1-2 T apple cider vinegar
1-2 t hot sauce
caraway seeds (optional)

I shredded the cabbage with a knife, but from time to time I use the food processor with the grater blade to shred and grate everything. Throw everything into a big bowl and in a separate bowl mix the sour cream and vinegar. Grate the onion into the bowl and add hot sauce and salt to your tastes. Caraway seeds are optional- I threw them in because I had them and don't use them for anything since I no longer make bread.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore

I don't really know what the "classic" version of chicken cacciatore is. All I know is that this takes less than 20 minutes to put together, it tastes good, and it makes for some good leftovers. Shout out to my momma who used to make this when I was a kid!

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (use dark meat if you prefer, just bake a bit longer)
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
2 bell peppers (any color), sliced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
at least 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1- 28oz can of crushed tomatoes in puree
1/2 a can of tomato paste
Any fresh or dried Italian-ish herbs 1-2 tsp. (herbs de provence, basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, "italian seasoning")
Salt and pepper
Crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 375.  Place onions in the bottom of a casserole dish, then layer the chicken (season with salt and pepper), bell peppers and garlic, and mushrooms.  In a bowl, mix together the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs, a couple pinches of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper (as much or as little as you like).  Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken and veggies, and bake for about an hour. I kinda mixed everything around and flipped the chicken after about 40 minutes. My oven tends to be on the cool side, so it takes me about 1hr 15 minutes.

No pics, again. Sorry!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A new, old favorite

This is going to be a quick, pic-less post. My apologies in advance. You'll just have to take my word on this one....

Roasted broccoli with garlic oil

Preheat oven to 375.  While it's preheating, chop a few cloves of garlic and put into a pot with a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Heat over low heat, just for a few minutes.  If it starts sizzling turn the heat off and just let it sit- you aren't trying to brown the garlic here.  Cut the florets off your head(s) of broccoli, place on a baking sheet and drizzle your garlic oil on it, but reserve the garlic.  Season with salt and pepper and toss so everything's evenly covered. Roast for 30 minutes, remove from oven, and toss with reserved garlic.

The broccoli should be nicely browned on the edges, and has a similar flavor to kale chips.  But this tastes even better than kale chips in my opinion because they are more..... toothsome. I'll try to remember to post a picture the next time I make this dish.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Braised Artichokes

This dish is based on a recipe I came across this weekend in a magazine. I spent the weekend in Vancouver and read cooking magazines en route, and I came across a lot of good stuff that I could easily make paleo friendly. So there will be lots more to come in the near future!

Quick-Braised Artichokes and Onions

Quartered artichoke hearts, or halved baby artichoke hearts (link to how to prep after recipe)
3/4 of a bag of frozen pearl onions (defrosted)
~4 T olive oil
2-4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 c water
juice of 1 lemon
~10 mint leaves
salt and pepper

Heat 2 T oil in a pan over medium-heat until it is screaming hot. If artichokes have been in lemon water (to prevent browning) pat them dry and add to pan. Brown for a couple minutes on each side, you should get some good color here. Add a little salt and pepper. Move artichokes to a bowl, add more oil to the pan if needed, and brown the onions.

Add the artichokes back into the pan with the garlic and cook for no longer than a minute. Add the water and lemon juice, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10-20 minutes (depending on the size of the artichokes). The artichokes are fork tender when done. Remove cover, add mint, and let cook for another couple of minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.

I didn't specify the amount of artichokes, because I just used what I harvested from our garden today (6 small artichokes) and supplemented with the pearl onions (because I happened to have them). If I had made a trip to the store, I would've used celery and braised that as well. As a matter of fact, I will probably make the same recipe with celery this weekend.

We ate this tonight with homemade sweet potato fries and a bun-less burger. The burger was a grilled pattie on top of a slice of tomato, with roasted garlic and avocado mashed on top.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Have you ever...?

...made your own sausage? Sausage can be a great protein option for your paleo(ish) diet. However, if you check the ingredient list of most store bought brands you will find some very un-paleo things... corn syrup or sugar, preservatives, fillers, gluten. Luckily you can make your own! If you're fortunate enough to have a stand up mixer with a meat grinder and sausage stuffer, you're really in for a good time, but there is plenty you can make with some pre-ground meat and spices.

Last week I experimented with making some breakfast sausage patties, cooking them, then freezing them so I could have them as a quick breakfast throughout the week. It worked out great! The recipe is based on one I found on The only difference is that I don't really measure, but that's not so important unless you are baking. I kept the proportions about the same.

Breakfast Sausage Patties (all spices/herbs are dried)

~1 lb ground meat (I used pork, but turkey would work fine here)
1/2 T salt
1/2 t sage
1/3 t savory (the ONLY reason I used this is because it came in a pre-filled spice rack, so I happened to have it on hand. I'm pretty sure you can leave it out if you don't have it)
1/8 t nutmeg
2/3 t marjoram
1/3 t ground black pepper

Just mix everything in a bowl and form into patties. I like to crush the herbs in my hand before throwing in, to get the oils flowing and whatnot. Fresh ground meat makes a HUGE difference here. The first time I made this I think I ground in some extra pork fat which made all the difference. Ground pork and ground turkey tend to be a bit dry since they're so lean.

I browned the patties on both sides, about 2-4 minutes per side depending on the size of the patties. Let cool and store two at a time in zip top bags in the freezer. I put a bag in the fridge the night before I want to have them for breakfast and then reheat in a pan or in the microwave.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Some Good Stuff

A couple of good articles I've come across lately.....

Five "Bad" Foods That Are Actually Good For You

A couple of good recipes to share....

Ropa Viejo is a Cuban beef stew with red peppers, onions, and green olives. This version literally takes 10 minutes to put together, and a you just let it go on the stove for a couple of hours. I eat this over mashed rutabagas while my housemates enjoy it over rice.

Taco Chicken Wings The genius of this recipe is the idea of dipping these oven broiled hot wings in guacamole. I'm all for any excuse to eat guacamole, and this is one of the more delicious vehicles I've come across. I've also used the spice mix as a rub for ribs!

Crab Stuffed Salmon We made this a couple weeks ago as a birthday dinner for Dato's mom. I was expecting it to be delicious... but it was even better. This was not a cheap meal, but cheaper than going out to dinner. I think it was about $90 total to feed 6 people.

If anyone has any links to articles, website recommendations, or recipes they would like to share.... please post to comments!

Friday, May 6, 2011

BLT Chicken Salad

This is one of my best ideas, if I do say so myself. I just finished eating about 15 minutes ago and I was so excited, I had to post it right away. Now, I don't condone wrapping burgers in lettuce because they are too darn juicy, but lettuce is a great vehicle for tuna/chicken/egg salad, etc. I like the hydroponic butter lettuce because it lasts a long time in the fridge.

1 lb cooked chicken breast
5 slices cooked bacon
1/2-1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup almond mayo or other homemade mayo, thinned out
Avocado slices
Butter lettuce leaves
Salt and pepper

Cut the chicken and the bacon into bite size pieces. I like my pieces of bacon to be about twice the size of the chicken. Combine chicken and bacon in a large bowl with tomatoes. Thin out mayo with 2 T of water, or your fat of choice (I used warm bacon fat! But that's just me...) and add to chicken. Mix well, add salt and pepper to taste- I found it didn't really need much salt because of all the bacon (and bacon fat). Serve it in butter lettuce leaves with a couple of slices of avocado on top, and eat it like a taco!

If you don't want to make the mayo, you could probably substitute a vinaigrette made from Dijon mustard, lemon juice or red wine vinegar, and olive oil. I also think this would be wonderful with hardboiled eggs instead of chicken.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Have you ever...?

...made your own mayo? One of the headaches of the Paleo-ish diet is diligently checking labels and coming to the realization that there isn't much in the way of store-bought sauces, condiments, and marinades that is Paleo friendly. Ok, fine. You can eat your salad with oil and vinegar 29 days out of the month.... but sometimes, don't you miss those creamy mayo based dressings? Now, you're probably not eating mayo on a sandwich anymore, but what about some aioli (fancy garlic mayo!) on grilled artichokes?

I've made mayo plenty of times with egg yolks, lemon juice, and oil- pretty much the classic way. However, the mayo you are used to eating is made with some sort of vegetable oil that is high in Omega-6's, which you probably are trying to cut out of your diet. So when I've made mayo, I've used olive oil which has a very strong flavor. This is fine if I'm making aioli, which has garlic blended right in, but otherwise it's a little much.

Another problem for some people is the fact that it usually uses raw eggs. I personally don't mind, but some do.

So I found another way to make "mayo"....

1 cup slivered almonds (I was just shy of a cup, so I used some macadamia nuts, too)
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 cup water
1/4-1/2 t salt (optional)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Put almonds, olive oil, half the water, and salt into a food processor or blender and let it go on high for a couple of minutes, until smooth. Add the lemon juice and the rest of the water and blend until combined. Transfer to a container and chill for a couple of hours.

This won't have the same texture as mayo, it's a little grainy. But it works! And the nuttiness masks the strong olive oil flavor. I used it this evening to make a salad dressing- just thinned it out with lemon juice and water, and added some fresh herbs. I've used this recipe before (subbed honey for agave syrup) and I liked it as well- a little tangier.

The rest of dinner consisted of grilled lamb chops with charmoula, and zucchini and tomatoes stuffed with crab and scallops.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I made a batch of this on Friday, and I have been eating it on just about everything since. I just keep it in a sealed container in the fridge and it makes the same meats and veggies that I eat daily a little more exciting.

There are a couple of ingredients in a classic pesto that I leave out. Parmesan cheese, obviously left out since it is not paleo, and pine nuts, left out because they are SO FREAKIN' EXPENSIVE. I don't just restrict myself to basil, although that is what I made for the most recent batch.

1 bunch of basil
1/2 cup walnuts
1-3 cloves of garlic (depending how you like it, and I like it garlicky)
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Put walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, and leaves of one whole bunch of basil in the food processor. Pulse and then blend on high until a paste is formed. With food processor running, slowly drizzle olive oil in until it is a consistency you like. I keep mine pretty thick. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.

The basic formula for this paleo pesto is as follows:
  • leafy green
  • nut
  • garlic
  • oil
  • lemon
Choose almost any herb(s) or baby leafy green. I've used basil and cilantro; parsley; arugula; baby spinach.

As far as nuts go, if you want to spend the money you could go with pinenuts. I like walnuts the best but you can try cashews, macadamia nuts, or pecans.

Here are some ideas of how to eat it:
  • On top of/mixed into scrambled eggs
  • On chicken breast
  • A spoonful mixed in with steamed or sauteed veggies
  • Mixed with spaghetti squash
  • On top of a hamburger patty
  • Thin out with a little water and use as a salad dressing
  • On top of baked salmon (my favorite!)
And there are surely more uses than that!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Snack Attack

I had been thinking about doing this post for a while, and was inspired to actually do it when I saw Crossfit Cadence's Facebook page the other day on just this topic. When people are curious about the Paleo diet one of the first things they ask about is snacks. It's a tough one. You can only snack on raw almonds for so many days in a row. And it was easier waaaaay back in the day (you know, before November) when I could just have some pretzels or some string cheese if I was a little hungry (read:BORED).

So I would really appreciate it if people could comment with ideas/recipes for snacks. Here are mine:

  • I try to snack on the same kinds of protein I would have for a meal. This is satisfying if I really am hungry, but we all know that most of the time we're snacking is not because we're actually hungry. I always have leftovers so I can have a couple of slices of a chicken breast, a hardboiled egg, a little piece of steak or a pork chop. Honestly though, since going Paleo-ish in November I don't have the desire to snack nearly as much as I used to.

  • Deviled eggs. Slice some hardboiled eggs in half lengthwise and scoop out the yolks in a bowl. I mix mine with Dijon mustard (check the label to make sure there's no sugar in it!) and olive oil, then stuff it back in the egg whites by the spoonful. Sprinkle with paprika, cause it's not a deviled egg unless there's paprika on it!

  • Take half an avocado. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, or hot sauce, or olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Eat with a spoon.

  • Angie and I experimented with paleo-friendly hummus (faux hummus, or "fummus" as we call it). We used macadamia nuts and zucchini instead of garbanzo beans, and we had great success with adding roasted red peppers or roasted garlic. She documented it here.

  • Unsweetened coconut flakes. These actually make you feel like you're snacking. Just pour some into a bowl and mindlessly munch away. You can find them in the bulk section of Whole Foods, and Bob's Red Mill makes some which I like because they are really big pieces. I put a small handful of the flakes, ~1/2 a box of raisins, and some nuts into a bowl to make a trail mix.

  • Berries/fruit with coconut milk. I eat this because it is kinda like yogurt, kinda like a dessert, all good. I use FULL FAT coconut milk, usually Thai Kitchen brand cause there are no preservatives. You just gotta make sure to shake the can very well. I put some berries or slice a banana into a bowl and just dump some on. No measurement, just whatever I feel like.
Please, please, please chime in with what works for you when it comes to snacking!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chicken Saltimbocca

I have made many different variations of this dish, and when I did a quick Google search to see what the classic version was, it seems that all you really need for a dish to be called saltimbocca is chicken (or veal), sage, and prosciutto. You can make this as simple or as complicated as you'd like. Here's what I did earlier this week:

3 chicken breasts, cut into thirds, pounded to about 1/4 inch thick
1 package of proscuttio (8 slices?), cut in half
1 large shallot, sliced
2 cloves of garlic
~1 tsp dried sage, or 1 fresh leaf for each piece of chicken
8oz mushrooms (optional), sliced
2 T capers (optional)
1/3 c chicken stock
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper

Slice the chicken breasts in thirds on a diagonal, basically making the pieces as evenly sized as possible. Take a ziploc freezer bag and drip a few drops of water in it- this will keep the chicken from sticking to the bag as you pound it. Put one piece of chicken in the bag at a time and do not seal. I use a heavy pan to evenly and gradually pound the chicken until it is ~ 1/4 inch thick.

After all the chicken is pounded, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sage. Sage is a pretty strong herb, so use as much or as little as you like. If you are using fresh sage, just place one leaf on each piece of chicken, and then a piece of prosciutto on top. Otherwise, just put a piece of prosciutto on top of each piece.

Once all the chicken is prepped, heat a very large skillet over medium-high heat with whatever fat you want to cook with. I used olive oil. Once the pan gets really hot place a few pieces of chicken in the pan prosciutto side down. It is very important that the pan is very hot so the prosciutto will sear onto the chicken. Don't move the chicken for a couple of minutes, then flip and sear on the other side for about 2 minutes. The chicken is thin, so it should cook pretty quickly. You will have to do this in batches, I did 3 pieces of chicken at a time.

When all the chicken is cooked and removed to a plate, add more oil if needed, and throw in the shallots and garlic. Sautee for about 30 seconds, then add the mushrooms. We got some oyster mushrooms from an asian market (only $3 for 8 0z instead of at least double that price at a grocery store), but you could use whatever you'd like- white button, cremini. Cook until soft then, with the pan still very hot, pour in the chicken broth to get all the delicious bits off the bottom of the pan. Let the liquid come up to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. It will start to thicken up. Add a squeeze of lemon right at the end, and the capers. At this point you can serve the sauce right over the chicken, or add the chicken back into the pan to reheat.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Have you ever...?

...made your own almond milk? I've never had store bought almond milk. I had been hearing and reading about it so I checked out a box of it at the grocery store, and there was a whole bunch of un-caveman-like stuff in there in addition to the almonds and water. Turns out, it's even easier than I expected to make your own. How easy? This easy:

1 cup almonds (whole, slivered, whatever you have)
3 cups water

Equipment: blender, fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth

If possible, soak the almonds in a bowl of water for 1-8 hours. If not possible, don't worry, this is not going to make or break your "milk". Put almonds and 3 cups of water in a blender, and let it go on high for about 30 seconds. Line a fine mesh strainer with a couple layers of cheesecloth, set it over a bowl, and dump in the mixture. Let it sit for 40-60 minutes until fully drained, then give the cheesecloth a good squeeze to get out every last drop.

This is just a basic recipe. If you
want it sweetened you can throw in 4-6 dates before you blend, or use your sweetener of choice. You can add some unsweetened cocoa powder. I like it with some cinnamon and nutmeg- it tastes like horchata. To be honest, since I've never had store bought almond milk, I have no idea how this compares. It could be horrible. But I'm 99.3% sure that it's not.

The real reason I thought to make this recently is because I wanted to make a smoothie and thought I would try something different than my usual coconut milk. I used 3/4 cup almond milk, 1 very ripe banana, and 6 strawberries.

Oh, and don't throw out the almond meal that remains after the straining. You can use it as a crumb topping for a fruit/berry cobbler:

Mix almond meal with a couple tablespoons of fat (ghee, butter, coconut oil), 1 egg white, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.

In a baking dish combine desired fruit (peaches, fresh or frozen berries) and the juice of 1 lemon. Spread the almond topping over the berries and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes- until the top is golden brown. Let cool before digging in. I imagine you could eat this for breakfast with a little almond milk poured over it... like oatmeal!

Look at that. Three recipes in one post.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chile Colorado

This can be made with pork or beef. As a matter of fact, I think this is the first time I've ever had it with pork. I adapted this recipe and it made enough for 3-4 people, next time I will definitely double the amount of meat so I can have some leftovers.

~2 lb pork roast, cut into 1" cubes
1 yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic
3 dried ancho chiles
2 dried guajillo chiles
2 cups chicken broth (homemade or reduced sodium!)
1 cup water
2 T preferred fat for cooking

Put pork, 1/2 the onion, and 2 cloves of garlic into a large pot/dutch oven. Add just enough water to cover the meat, and add ~ 1 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer partially covered anywhere from 60-90 minutes. You want to cook it until the pork is tender enough to cut with a spoon.

While the pork is cooking, bring the chicken broth and water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the dried chiles. Cover and let sit for 20-30 minutes until the chiles soften a bit. When they are cool enough to handle remove the stems and seeds. Don't worry if some of the seeds remain, these chiles are pretty mild. Put the chiles in a blender or food processor with their cooking liquid and a couple of pinches of salt and puree until smooth.

Once the pork is done I transfer it along with the cooking liquid to a bowl, and use the same pot to sautee the remaining 1/2 onion and 3 cloves of garlic (chopped) in your fat of choice. After a couple of minutes use a slotted spoon to add the pork back into the pot and cook for 5 minutes more. Then dump in the chile mixture and use the reserved pork cooking liquid to thin the sauce to whatever consistency you like. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Then eat!

I just had a bowl of this and a spinach salad for dinner. I imagine this could easily be made in a crock pot by making the chile mixture and pouring it over the pork, onion, and garlic; then adding enough water to completely cover the meat. Cook on high for 5 hours, or low for 8 hours. Seems like it would work!


So, what did you make this week? Does anyone have any recipes to share (successes or failures)? Any questions you want to throw out there? Maybe someone else has had the same question before, and found an answer...

Here's a little tip I want to share: burgers wrapped in lettuce leaves- don't do it. Well go ahead and try it, but don't say I didn't warn you. Unless it's also wrapped in paper (a la In-n-Out's protein style burger) it's way more trouble than it's worth. I usually eat my bun-less burgers with a fork and knife, but I figured I'd give the lettuce leaves a shot today. If you decide to try the lettuce method here are a few pointers:

1) Eat outside, preferably not in any clothes that you need to wear in public afterwards
2) Once you pick it up don't put it down or else you'll have an even bigger mess
3) Don't try this after your hand has been ripped open from 100 pullups and 70 toes-to-bar in the past week

I am making pork Chile Colorado for dinner tonight, and I will post the recipe later!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thai chicken soup

Before November, this would've been a recipe for Thai chicken noodle soup. So I took out the noodles and added some zucchini and everything worked out just fine. You can make this soup in no time, and it's even better the next day after the flavors have really had a chance to hang out.

2 Anaheim peppers
1 jalapeño
3 cloves garlic, sliced, chopped, minced.... whatever you prefer
1 yellow onion, cut in half and sliced into half moons
6-8 cups REDUCED SODIUM chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini (I'll tell you about this in a minute!)
3 T cilantro, chopped
1 bunch of basil, chopped
juice of 2 limes

Heat your preferred cooking fat in a big pot over med-high heat. Coconut oil would be DELICIOUS here and I can't believe I didn't think of it until now after I've already cooked the soup. Anywho....

Sautee the onions, peppers, and garlic with a couple pinches of salt until they start to soften. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once it boils add the chicken and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat and simmer for ~7 mins, until chicken is cooked through. Add the carrots and zucchini. I decided to turn my zucchini into noodles to replace the rice noodles I used to use. Just take a veggie peeler and run along the zucchini lengthwise, and repeat. This worked wonderfully. Finally, add cilantro, basil, and lime juice and turn off the heat. Taste and add salt as needed.

I like it very spicy and the one jalapeño tonight just didn't cut it for me. I would probably throw a Serrano in there next time. I imagine this would be great with shrimp instead of chicken as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Asparagus almond frittata

Here is a recipe that my friend, Margaret, sent me. Frittatas are great. They are one of those clean-out-your-fridge kind of meals- you can take whatever veggies and meat you have and throw 'em in, and it's almost guaranteed to be delicious.

8 eggs or equivalent egg whites or egg beaters
2 cups cooked veggies (asparagus or broccoli)
2 cooked/diced chicken breasts
2/3 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup cottage cheese (optional)
1/4 cup plain or unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Beat eggs, add salt and pepper and remaining ingredients, mix well. Pour into greased 9 inch glass baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until you can insert a knife in the middle and it comes out clean. Cool and refrigerate covered, lasts several days.

She's going to try out a sweet version as well, and hopefully lets us know how it goes:
Subtract veggies and chicken, add 1 t cinnamon and 1-2 cups berries.

Thanks, Margaret!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Boredom (and a couple of recipes, too)

Trying to stick with an exercise routine? Better switch it up *cough*CrossFit*cough* to keep yourself interested. You started mountain biking? Great! Now how long would you stick with it if you only rode the same trail over and over? So our venture into paleo(ish) eating shouldn't be any different.

Everyone has their go-to foods- you know they are good for you; you know how to cook them; you know you don't hate them (chicken and broccoli sound familiar?). Ok, it's time to add some excitement to your life.

CSA box
For the past few years (except this year; we are determined to have a successful garden this season!) my household has received a CSA box once a week. CSA stands for "community supported agriculture" are basically buying into a share of a farm's harvest, whatever it may be. By signing on for one of these things you are supporting your local farming community and getting delicious organic veggies at a great price (ours came out to $22/week for a household of 4 adults), and you have a chance to try some things you would never really consider buying at the grocery store. Here are just a few things the CSA box introduced me to: pumpkin (and I mean, like, an actual pumpkin that I had to figure out how to cook, not a can of pumpkin puree), parsley root, romanesco, turnips, green garlic, and agretti. Here are the links to the two farms that I used to get my veggies from (they now operate their own individual CSA programs)

I'm not even going to tell you how many different spices we have in our kitchen. A lot. A lot a lot. And I think I've attempted to make something with every single one. When we go to the grocery store we always check the spice aisle because sometimes there is a sale (spices can be pretty pricey) and we stock up on our basics- cayenne pepper, chili powder, thyme, rosemary, etc- and then sometimes, when we're feeling a little crazy, we'll get something like annato seed, or cardamom, or caraway seeds. And then figure out what to do with it. I definitely grew up in a household where the spice cabinet consisted of salt and pepper and that's it (love you mom!) so it's fun to experiment by making our own rubs for bbq-ing, or trying to replicate the amazing food from Los Cubanos.

Have you ever...?
I learned to cook from watching the Food Network. I really did. Now I'm learning to cook again by poking around every single paleo website known to man and I'm still seeing things I never would've thought of on my own. Every week I'll try to post something like yesterday's "Have you ever...?" and hopefully you will say, "No, I never!" and then go try it.

Ok, here are the recipes for the rest of my meal from yesterday.....

Pork loin marinade:
Juice and zest of 1 orange
Juice of 2 limes (zest of 1 lime)
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 t dried oregano
1 t salt
1 t cumin
1 t black pepper

This is a very quick marinade based on a Cuban "Mojo". Quick to put together and quick to do the job. You do not need to let the pork marinate for more than an hour or so.... actually you wouldn't want to because longer than that and the pork will end up mushy from all the citrus. Yuck. After that, you pretty much just grill it until it reaches an internal temperature of about 150. Then (and this goes for all meat!) let it rest before you slice it so the juices don't all run out, otherwise you will have a big mess AND dry meat, and nobody wants that.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad (shout out to Dato for introducing this to me):
2 cucmbers, sliced into half moons
2 tomatoes, sliced into half moons
2-3 green onions, sliced or chopped
Handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
Equal parts red wine vinegar and olive oil, maybe just under 1/4 c each? (I add a little more vinegar)
Salt and pepper to taste

Um... mix it all together in a bowl! I like to let it sit for 10 minutes before eating.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Have you ever...?

...grilled Brussels sprouts? Did you know that Brussels sprouts are in the same vegetable family as cabbage, broccoli, and kale? Did you know that it is indeed "Brussels sprouts" (with an S!) and not "Brussel sprouts"? But I digress.

A lot of people hate these tiny cabbages, but I have always loved them. Roasted, cooked in bacon fat, lightly steamed with butter. But just when I thought I couldn't love them anymore, Alton Brown (a la "Good Eats" on the Food Network) told me :YOU CAN GRILL THEM. It's so simple that you would never think to do it. At least I didn't. Click here for the original recipe, but here's the gist:

1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts (try to get them about the same size for even cooking)
2 T olive oil (or whatever fat you like to use)
1T minced garlic
1 t dry mustard
1 t smoked paprika
1t kosher salt (depends on your taste, I found 1 t to be a little salty)
1/4 t black pepper

Heat your grill over medium heat.

To prep sprouts, cut off a little bit of the stem end, but leave the sprout in tact. Remove any outer leaves that, well, don't look delicious to eat. Partially cook the sprouts by putting them in a microwave safe dish and microwave for 3 minutes. To the bowl add olive oil, garlic, mustard, paprika and salt and toss to evenly coat. Once the sprouts are cool enough to handle, put 4 or 5 sprouts on skewers (preferably metal) with about 1/2 inch in between them. Grill covered for 5 minutes, turn and cook for another 5 minutes. It may take a minute or so more on the grill depending on the size. Remove sprouts from skewers and toss in the original mixing bowl (if desired) before serving.

If you use wooden skewers make sure to soak them for 30 mins prior to cooking so they don't catch on fire.

On a delicious non-paleo note, this is a great way to prepare any thin skinned potatoes, too. New potatoes, fingerling, baby yukon gold. Just boil them until they are halfway cooked, toss in some olive oil, salt, and spices and throw them on the grill. Toss them in butter and chopped chives after or serve them with garlic mayo. If you're going to deviate from your paleo diet, you could do a lot worse than potatoes.

We had these tonight alongside a grilled pork loin and tomato and cucumber salad. I will post the recipes for those two delights tomorrow!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

This is based on a recipe from "The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (15th edition)". You know, that red and white plaid binder with the recipes all divided up with different tabs that your mom used to have? This was one of the few casseroles that did not require "condensed soup" as one of the ingredients and it's very versatile. You can switch up the meat, the veggies, the topping.

A few things:
1) I totally eat sweet potatoes. Some paleo peeps are against them, and it is generally advised to cut them out if you are trying to lose weight. If you don't want to use sweet potatoes you can steam some cauliflower and throw it in the food processor until it is smooth and it works just fine as a substitute. Or you can use parsnips or some kind of squash.

2) Ground turkey is not usually my meat of choice because it is so low in fat, and it tends to be dry. But it works wonderfully here especially with the sage. You could use ground beef or ground lamb.

3) I pretty much just use whatever frozen veggies I have. You can really make this with any fresh or frozen veggies you want. Keep in mind that certain veggies, like leafy greens and mushrooms, will make the filling more saucy than others.

1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" cubes
2 garlic cloves, halved
1/4 c chicken broth, low-sodium (or milk if you prefer)
1 T butter (optional, you could use olive oil, or whatever fat you'd like)
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 lb ground turkey
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 c frozen peas & carrots
1/2 c frozen pearl onions
1/2 c frozen spinach
1/4 c chicken broth
8 oz can tomato sauce, no salt added
2 T Worcestershire sauce (technically not paleo, so leave it out if you wish)
1 t dried sage
salt & black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put sweet potato cubes and garlic in a medium pot, with enough salted water to just cover potatoes. Bring to a boil and boil for ~ 15 minutes. Sweet potatoes are done when you can easily stick a fork in them and they slide right off. Drain, mash or beat with a mixer and gradually add chicken broth (or milk), butter, and salt. Keep mashing/beating until smooth, you may have to use a little more than 1/4 c of liquid depending on desired consistency. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

Heat a large skillet (with some sort of fat in it) cook turkey and chopped onion over medium heat until brown. Drain if you'd like, I usually don't. Stir in frozen veggies and chicken broth, bring to a boil then simmer for about 5 mins.

Add tomato sauce, sage, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to turkey mixture. Spoon turkey mixture into casserole dish then spoon the mashed sweet potato mixture on top and spread in an even layer. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

BBQ recipe roll call

There was a ridiculous amount of amazing food yesterday after the Southbay Open event hosted at Crossfit Cadence. Here are the recipes for the dishes I made. Please post your recipes to the comments- whether they were paleo or not (remember this is a "mostly" paleo blog).

Lemon bars- I used (extra virgin) coconut oil instead of grapeseed oil, and you could easily use butter if you'd like.

Asparagus Salad- I added green onions to this. I make this salad at least 3 times a month, as it is a big hit in our house.

Favorite Websites

I decided to start this blog after hearing a few people at Crossfit Cadence (most recently Austin) saying that they get bored with eating the same thing everyday, and that they would love to have a place where we could interact with each other, ask questions, post our favorite recipes, etc... so (hopefully) this is it! Let me tell you, I have done the research for you! When we did the paleo challenge back in November I obsessively looked for recipes and resources, simply because I love to eat good food.

The title of this blog is "mostly paleo" because I'm not super strict about eating paleo. However, I'm not super lax either. I did 30 days completely paleo in November, and that allowed me to really notice what I could and could not add back into my diet. My body just kinda went ahead and made those decisions for me after those 30 days. My tastes have changed a bit and the biggest indicator to me that I can't tolerate something anymore is sleep. I've always had trouble sleeping and when I am eating strictly paleo I sleep better, and when I eat certain things I sleep horribly. It's that simple for me now. For other people you might discover that certain things upset your stomach, affect your energy level, change the condition of your hair or skin.... but you can really only figure that out if you eat "clean" for a while and then experiment with adding foods back in.

So, right off the bat I thought I would post my three favorite websites, and a few tried and true recipes from each.

I've made countless awesome desserts from this website, and I even ordered her almond flour cookbook. But the savory dishes I've tried have been amazing, too. She always uses grapeseed oil, I always substitute coconut oil or butter (you can substitute it 1:1); she always uses agave nectar and I always use honey as a sweetener- in many cases I cut the amount of sweetener in half and it turns out just fine.

This is the best collection of paleo recipes around (well, for now... just wait till this blog gets rolling!) I found this meatloaf recipe on there the other day and it turned out great! Personally, just because I knew it was in there, I could taste the coconut milk. So I would probably use regular milk instead (since I'm not too strict on dairy)... but my non-paleo counterpart, Dato, thought it was some of the best meatloaf he's had.

This website has lots of great ideas and insights. I got his Primal Blueprint Cookbook for my birthday and every dish has been a big hit in my house so far.
The chocolate chip cookies from this post are easy to make and more than satisfying. I've even made them with just raisins instead of chocolate chips and they were great.
These egg muffins are borderline genius and you can put whatever you want in them.

What are your "go-to" websites when you're trying to figure out what to cook? Post them to comments!