Posted in Main Dish

Paleo Shepard’s Pie

As usual I modified what I’m sure was a delicious recipe in order to suit my particular tastes, available resources and food intolerances. The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking by Haley Mason & Bill Staley of http://www.primalpalate.com has a ton of great information, meal plans and shopping lists. If you are a person who likes to have plans, lists and tasty recipes, buy their cookbook.

I have three, 6’2″, 210+ lb males that frequently require feeding in my life. All eat paleo and in addition to that I am gluten, casein and nightshade intolerant. Why is this important? Because it means I have to find satiating, delicious, high volume meals that occasionally allow me to leave the kitchen. This Shepard’s Pie fits the bill. Although, next time I will be doubling the quantities to have leftovers.

As always, read all the directions before you start. This is a skill I’ve only gained in my 40’s. Whether it is recipes, knitting or sewing instructions. READ ALL THE DIRECTIONS BEFORE YOU START ANYTHING. Trust me, life will be easier.

Shepard’s Pie– Ingredients: ground beef, zucchini, yellow squash, onion carrots, cauliflower, marjoram, thyme, salt, pepper, granulated garlic, Worcestershire sauce, ghee (or other cooking fat)

2 lbs. grass fed ground beef (lamb or buffalo would work too)

2 tsp. marjoram

1 tsp. thyme

1 Tbls granulated garlic

1 Tbls Worcestershire sauce

Mix above ingredients into meat (if this grosses you out wear clean, rubber kitchen gloves while mixing), pat into  9 x 13 pan, bake for 35-40 min at 350 degrees

SP Saute

1 ½ cups each coarsely chopped zucchini, yellow squash & carrots

1 cup chopped yellow onion (Medium sized onion?)

-Saute the veggies in 2 Tbls ghee or grass fed butter

-Put sautéed veggies on top of cooked meat

1 Large (or 2 small) heads of cauliflower

Boil a large head (or two small heads) of cauliflower in water (or bone broth if you have it) until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain, cool a bit and place cauliflower into a food processor. You need a food processor. It will change your life. Puree until creamy and season to taste. Meaning, put ghee, salt & pepper as needed. Spread this fake mashed potato creation on top of your meat & veggies and proceed to browning your cauliflower topping. About 15 minutes on a high broil setting. Watch it so it doesn’t fry to a crisp. Slightly brown is perfect.

This is an ugly picture, but it is a realistic expectation. It may not look fantastic, but it tastes great!

Shepards Pie Finished

Enjoy!

Posted in Low Carb, Salad, Side Dish

No-Tato Potato Salad

Potato salad is a favorite of mine. Especially my potato salad. However through my real food discovery process, which involved a six month Nightshade elimination protocol, I no longer eat white potatoes on a regular basis. Yesterday I had a breakthrough in the kitchen with an acceptable substitute for my old favorite potato salad. Using turnips. Yes, turnips. And the good news is they will impact your blood sugar way less than potatoes as they are much lower in carbohydrates. I pay close attention to the amount of carbs I eat as I’ve discovered I feel and function best when I keep my daily carbohydrate in take between 50-75 grams a day. Here is a link to read up on Nightshades: http://www.thepaleomom.com/2013/08/what-are-nightshades.html

Feel free to add and modify the recipe to your own taste preferences. For example use celery for more crunch or Dijon mustard in the dressing.

Turnip Salad

2 cups cubed (1/2” cubes) turnips, sautéed and browned until they start to get soft, but not mushy

2 TBLS coconut oil

½ cup chopped carrots

¾ cup chopped dill pickles

1 cup chopped white onions

4 extra-large eggs, hard boiled, peeled and chopped

Salt & Pepper to taste

Dressing

½ cup mayo (see previous post for homemade mayo instructions)

2 tsp garlic juice (I buy the jar of minced organic garlic and drain the juice from that)

2 tsp minced garlic

1 TBLS lemon juice

1 TBLS apple cider vinegar

2 tsp prepared yellow mustard

1 tsp salt

  • Chop the turnips and cook in a pan over medium heat with the coconut oil. Boil the eggs.
  • While the turnips and eggs are cooking, chop the other salad ingredients and place in a bowl.
  • Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate container and set aside.
  • After the eggs have cooled peel & chop them and put in the bowl with carrots, pickles & onions. Cool the turnips a bit and add them in with the other veggies.
  • Mix the dressing in with the salad ingredients and chill at least an hour before serving.
Posted in Low Carb, Main Dish, Seafood

Paleo Crab Cakes With Garlic Aioli

Seafood is something that I’ve been trying to incorporate into our diet on a more regular basis. It’s a great source of protein, omega 3’s and a variety of minerals. However my disgust of shrimp, prawns and most fish make it a bit of a challenge. Two of my favorites are crab and salmon and I always try to eat wild caught. Fortunately the price of crab has been almost affordable and is my go to lazy meal choice. I had a package in the freezer and decided to try my hand at crab cakes. I looked through a few recipes, made adjustments and cooked up the following. It was very tasty.

Crab Cakes with Garlic Aioli

Crab Cakes

1 lb crab meat

3 green onions chopped

1/3 cup chopped onion

2 tsp prepared mustard

2 tsp garlic granules

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 cup almond meal

1 large egg

1/3 cup homemade mayo (see previous post on my blog)

  1. Whisk the egg in a bowl and add all the ingredients except crab and almond meal. Mix until blended and then blend in crab and almond meal. You can add more or less almond meal so you have crab patties that will hold their shape when you fry them up.
  2. Form 6-8 patties and fry them in bacon, ghee or your fat of choice for 5 minutes on each side.

Garlic Aioli

½ cup homemade mayo (see previous post on my blog)

1 tsp garlic granules

1-2 tsp minced garlic

1-2 tsp garlic juice

2 TBLS lemon juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

I like to buy the organic, chopped garlic in a jar and drain the juice out of that.

Feel free to adjust the amount of garlic to your own preference. I like garlic.

  1. Mix the above ingredients until well mixed.

After frying the crab cakes and plating them, put 1 to 2 TBLS of the garlic aioli on top. Enjoy! 🙂

Posted in Blog

Paleo Is Not A Diet

What I like most about eating real food is that it has impacted other aspects of my life. Leading me to the decision to write about the fact that paleo is not just about the food. It has made me a more mindful person when it comes to the lifestyle choices I make, the importance of my food sources and the people I listen to.

Lifestyle adjustments are important. You must make a conscious effort to lead a life with as little stress as possible. This means learning to say no. I am a giver, fixer and problem solver. In years past I would over extend myself (constantly being busy) thinking it was a good thing. It’s not. I thought volunteering for booster clubs, helping friends in crisis on top of going to college and raising my family was just the way it had to be. I’ve learned in middle age that other people (including employers) not planning well in their own lives is not my problem. I’ve learned that taking care of myself first helps me be better for the people I love the most. For me what is important is my family and friends and being able to spend quality time with them. Material things are not what nutures our spirit. What matters are the relationships we build. This “paleo” lifestyle has taught me to expend energy in a way that fosters relationships. Group dinners and gym potlucks, coffee or workout dates with friends are examples. Reach out to those around you and plan events that improve your health and help you connect with your community.

Where your food comes from matters. I do my best to buy local organic vegetables, pastured eggs and grass-fed meat. I grow what I can during the summer in my own garden which provides me with healthy doses of Vitamin D and joy from digging in the dirt. If you don’t have your own room to garden check out community gardens in your town. Some schools or local farms have gardens that will exchange produce for weeding time. It is a way to connect to the land and teach yourself and your children about where food comes from. It also offers the opportunity to try new fruits and vegetables in the real food recipes you are making. If gardening is out of the question, find your local farmers market and make it a weekly excursion.

What inputs you allow into your head are important. We are saturated in media these days and it is vital to find sources rooted in solid science when it comes to our health. I have read voraciously over the past six years trying to expand my knowledge of nutrition and have listened to many health lectures that were way over my head. To be honest I rely on people with a background in science to decipher it for me. Chris Kresser, Sarah Ballantyne, Aglaée Jacob and Robb Wolf are people I trust to give me honest information, because they have scientific backgrounds and understand how to look at the efficacy of a scientific study. They also will adjust their nutritional and lifestyle advice based on current research. Be a skeptic when it comes to nutritional advice. Educate yourself and never assume what you are hearing or reading is fact, because every study can be funded by someone with their own agenda or a desire to protect their money. Ideal health comes from doing your own research and determining what your optimal diet is through elimination and reintroduction of foods.

Be selfish when it comes to your wellbeing, because in the end it makes you healthier and happier for the people that matter the most.

Posted in Main Dish, Paleo

Paleo Crockpot Pot Roast

It is an exciting time in the paleosphere! Recent research reports in the media are reaffirming the importance of healthy fats in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, improving autoimmune conditions and diabetes through eating real food, as well as the important message that activity and movement throughout the day is imperative for longevity and health. If a person desires reclaiming or maintaining their health, the information is out there and it is free. Eating the right food is but one piece in having health. You must also get exposure to daylight, sleep, exercise and movement throughout the day to be the specimen of vigor we seek. All the best to everyone in their pursuit! If you don’t know where to start and want a mentor and guidance, reach out to someone in your life that has started down the path already. It can be scary to start what might be a drastic change in your life, but people (like me) want to help. Just ask!

Paleo Crockpot Pot Roast

(Please note that my method is not a traditional one and chefs everywhere would disapprove, but it works.)

I took a frozen 7-bone pot roast out of the freezer, put it in my cast iron skillet and threw some salt, pepper and garlic granules on top. I heated the oven to 375 degrees and put the frozen roast in for 30 minutes and then flipped it for 10 more minutes.

APotRoast

From there I placed the roast in my crockpot on low and covered it with a couple cups of bone broth, yams/sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, kale & onions. I cooked it on low for 6 hours before serving. As I had already seasoned the roast and bone broth with salt, pepper and garlic I didn’t add any additional seasonings. However, I sometimes throw in a tablespoon of Italian seasoning or rosemary if I need to.

Here is a before & after:

DSCN0659

DSCN0664

Posted in Dessert

Plantain Chocolate Chip Nut Muffins

Happy New Year to you all! I’ve been in the kitchen quite a bit lately and have come up with a couple of new, easy snack type foods that meet my gluten, dairy and legume free requirements. One is a lettuce wrap that I fill with ham, turkey, salami, cucumber, onion and carrots mixed with homemade mayo & homemade Italian dressing. Yum! Quick, veggie rich and reminiscent of a drippy sub sandwich. The other a muffin recipe which I posted below.

I really want to go on a rant about eating real food and how overweight, unhealthy people could immensely improve their lives by making changes to the food they put in their pie-hole. However, I’ve decided to make my New Year’s resolution that I won’t talk about food. Hence the recipe and not the rant.

My blossoming interest for the year is learning more about how we can repair the land and environment through restoring grazing animals to the grasslands. I read a great article in Harper’s magazine a couple years ago that piqued my interest and after listening to a great podcast on Robbwolf.com I realized I need to know more. Alan Savory’s TED Talk on the subject is on my to-do list for the week. http://robbwolf.com/2014/12/06/episode-248-soil-carbon-cowboys-russ-conser-peter-byck/

I came across a gf banana bread recipe, made several modifications and it has become a great treat food at our house. They actually cook up like muffins! (If you are a seasoned paleo baker, you know how miraculous this is.) I’ve made them with and without the nuts and chocolate chips and they are tasty either way.

Plantain Chocolate Chip Nut Muffins

2 medium sized yellowish plantains cut into chunks

3 eggs

1/2 cup sunbutter

3 TBLS melted coconut oil

3 tsp lemon juice

1/3 cup tapioca flour (or gf flour substitute)

¼ maple syrup

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Put all but the walnuts and chocolate chips in a food processor and process well (1-2 minutes, scraping sides as needed). Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips. Scoop by the ¼ cup into a greased 12 muffin baking pan. Bake for 20-22 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes a dozen muffins.

Posted in Uncategorized

Crazy Cooking Frenzy

I cooked for 6 hours today. I’ve been slacking the past few weeks, cooking the old standbys (meatloaf, stew, hamburgers, salmon on the Traeger) and decided to pull out a few of my cookbooks and try some new recipes. Man, I love Sarah Fragoso. I have three of her Everyday Paleo cookbooks. I flipped through one of them and settled on meatballs with spaghetti squash, sloppy Joes, BBQ sauce and stuffing, compiled my shopping list and hit the store. In addition to those I made some BBQ chicken thighs and beer can chicken. Yes, I know beer is not paleo, but I had a can left over someone left at our house and decided to use it. (I don’t eat chicken so I don’t have to worry about the gluten exposure.) Long story short I cooked a lot of food. I’d post pictures, but I’m exhausted. However my fridge and freezer are stocked for at least the next week and I only have four things to cook tomorrow. The hubby has eaten 6 huge meatballs and 1/3 of the chicken and now he’s asking for cookies. Too bad.

This was a long day, but I actually prefer batch cooking when I have the time. There is something very satisfying about knowing I can pull food out for the next week that is healthy, tasty and satisfying.  If you are trying to decide which cookbook to buy, the one pictured below is a good one. 🙂

everyday

Posted in Healthy Living, Side Dish

Make Bone Broth – It’s Good For You

Do I understand the nutritional minutia behind the benefits of bone broth? No, I don’t. My degree was in Social Studies and Japanese, not biology or nutrition. While I eagerly read tremendous amounts of nutritional texts, blogs and pubmed.com articles focused on nutrition, I don’t get the majority of the science specific details contained in the text. However, I have gleaned over the past few years there are some easy ways to add nutrient dense food to your daily diet that taste fantastic. Want the broad strokes of why you should eat bone broth? Here you go:

  1. Boosts your immunity
  2. Helps heal your gut
  3. Has lots of good minerals and ‘stuff’ (amino acids) from the bones that you don’t get in other food
  4. Has some good fat

Want the specifics of why you should include bone broth in your real food life? Read here:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/03/health-benefits-of-bone-broth.html

Here’s a recent media article too:

http://wellandgood.com/2014/11/05/why-new-yorkers-will-be-sipping-bone-broth-in-coffee-cups-this-winter/

I’ve started drinking a small bowl of bone broth for breakfast when I don’t feel like making breakfast. Lazy I know, but my knitting demands are high this time of year. I also include a few cups whenever I make stew or pot roast in the crockpot. It makes for some amazingly satisfying cold weather eats. It is also incredibly easy to make. The ‘set it and forget’ phrase from an infomercial comes to mind. Here is how I make my beef bone broth. I do beef bones as they are the highest quality of bones I can get easily.

Beef Bone Broth

3 lbs or so of beef leg & joint bones

Crockpot big enough to accommodate them covered in water

2 tbls apple cider vinegar

I lay the bones as flat as I can and completely cover them with water (I use filtered) + about ½ inch extra water. Add the apple cider vinegar. Set the crockpot on low and leave it alone for 24 hours or so. I usually add 1 cup each of onions, celery, carrots and 2 tsp to 1 tbls of salt (to your taste) and cook for a couple more hours. I then strain all the veggies & bones out and put the crockpot in the fridge to cool. When cool, I scrape off the top layer of fat and toss it (some leave that fat). I put some the gelatinous looking golden colored bone broth in the fridge to eat during the week and if I have extra I bag it in Ziplocs and freeze. That way I can add it to my pot roast, soups or stews later. In the summer I put the crockpot out on the patio as the smell can get a bit strong and the extra heat source isn’t needed.

I’ve made it a few times with pastured chicken bones and it is delicious as well. Happy bone broth making!

Posted in Dessert, Paleo, Primal, Real Food, Uncategorized

No Bake “Paleo” Chocolate Treats

paleotreat

Sometimes you just want a little treat. My taste buds have changed considerably over the past few years as I’ve switched to real food and dessert for me is very different from it used to be. I’m a former sugar hound of the worst variety. I could make a batch of chocolate chip cookies during commercial breaks, down two or three old fashioned donuts in an afternoon and eat three pieces of pie at Thanksgiving. Now sugar just doesn’t do it for me. Like Pavlov’s dogs, my response to looking at dessert is physical. I actually can feel the heartburn I’ll get and it is so not worth it anymore. I’m sure knowing how toxic sugar is helps me stay away from it. If you want to completely ruin sugar and carbs for yourself, start researching the connection between sugar and cancer, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and let’s not forget, obesity and diabetes. And no, you can’t exercise away your high carb and sugary food choices. It just doesn’t work that way.

While I no longer devour any and all things sweet, I still occasionally have a “paleo” dessert. Which for the purposes of this post just means gluten, dairy and legume free. My daughter-in-law sent me a recipe she had tried and I modified it today to accommodate what I had in my kitchen. I love the texture of this treat as it feels crunchy and is creamy at the same time. I chilled it in the fridge and threw the rest in the freezer to save for later. Here’s what I did:

No-Bake Chocolate Nut Treats

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

-Mix the above ingredients in a bowl and set aside

  • 1/3 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

-Melt the above over in a pan over medium heat and when melted and mixed thoroughly pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until blended.

-Scoop mixture into cupcake papers in a muffin pan and put in the fridge or freezer to harden.

These make a nice, not too sugary alternative to try. Enjoy!

Posted in Blog, Healthy Living, Low Carb

Carbohydrate Reality Check

Carb_Curve_x

Chart credit:   http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-succeed-with-the-primal-blueprint/#fitness

All the way back in 2008 I found out I was gluten and casein (dairy) intolerant and eliminated both from my diet completely for 3 months and after that about 95% of the time. I dropped one size immediately and had no migraines for seven months. After reading Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution in 2010 I went full on paleo and dropped a couple more pounds, was exercising regularly, but couldn’t seem to get rid of my muffin top. Then I saw the chart above, incorporated the information and over three months I lost another two full pant sizes. It completely got me off of “counting calories” and rid of the idea that you can out exercise bad food choices. I was eating great tasting, nutritious, filling food and improving my body composition. What a concept. I also haven’t had to take antibiotics since I made this change. Glean what you want from that. Sugar/bad carbs? No bueno.

Over the past few years I’ve read extensively about diet and exercise and know for me the 80/20 rule is true. Eighty percent of your health, weight and body composition is your diet. You need to quit thinking you can eat whatever you want and then go exercise it off. You are either feeding & healing your body or damaging it. If you are fat, diabetic, suffering from arthritis or generally sickly you need to give your body real food. You can’t medicate away bad food choices. You need to heal your gut and regain control over your health.

There are so many great websites and books for you to use for resources. Here are a few:

Digestive Health With REAL Food by Aglaée Jacob is an awesome, easy to read book about digestion, food and health. She also offers a food challenge and support and will answer questions through a private FB page during the challenge. Invaluable resource! http://radicatamedicine.com/

Have you heard of It Starts With Food? Here is the website http://whole9life.com/

Robb Wolf author of The Paleo Solution has so much great info and tons of podcasts on his site: http://robbwolf.com/

Want encouragement? Have questions? Leave me a comment 🙂