Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I've been really disappointed with myself for falling away from Paleo.  I'm coming up on my 1 year anniversary of going Paleo and I'm not where I had envisioned myself to be.  I went about 8 months as Paleo and have since been struggling with the last 2 being a complete failure.  I can certainly feel the change in my body since I've not been eating Paleo.  I've gained back some weight and that feels really bad.  I gave all my old clothes away and am consequently living in the same pair of pants day in and day out.  I refuse to go buy new clothes.  I simply must make a change and overcome this trial.  The holidays are over for the most part and I will be turning my focus to preparing my meals in advance (BE PREPARED!) and concentrating on taking care of myself.

I think, looking back over this past year, I can begin to piece together my downfall.  I started Paleo January 3rd and by May I had quite losing weight despite having plenty still to lose.  This was very disappointing to me.  I was eating next to nothing and spending quite a bit of time thinking about my dietary preparations and yet getting nowhere.  I continued on through June and by mid July I was still at a standstill.  This is when I decided to add in exercise.  Naturally I went overboard and hurt myself.  I continued on into August with exercising until I could no longer push forward.  This was a tough blow because I had pinned my hopes of kick starting weight loss with exercise.  I forged on through September and mid October and managed to maintain my weight but not lose any.  I went on a mini vacation in mid October and started off trying to be Paleo but ended it off the wagon and it's been a struggle since then.  I started picking up extra shifts at work while still going to my parent's place to help them.  Some of my hours at work were night shifts and during all this I quit preparing meals in advance.  I basically quit cooking too.  I just feel tired and don't feel like spending time in the kitchen after putting in extra hours.  I lost motivation.  I just quit.  It's really quite hard to realize this and put it down in writing but it's the truth.

So, let me make a list for this new year so that I can reclaim myself, my health.
  1. Start cooking again! (A good place to start is with the Paleo Plan meal calendars.  I still have my printouts from when I started that a year ago.  Do this and don't think about coming up with recipes.  It's like auto pilot.  All I have to do is cook what they tell me and eat it.)
  2. Be true to Paleo!  (No sneaking non paleo food items.  Cold turkey like I did a year ago.)
  3. Slowly introduce exercise! (Start with going to the pool on my days off.  Eventually start a C25K.)
  4. Only talk about my "crazy diet" here! (This may seem a little odd but I hate the scrutiny and stupid ass questions I get from people that I really don't give a shit about.  These are the people who I know aren't asking me because they want to make a change in their life.  These are the assholes who every time they see me eating something, come up and stick their nose in my plate and then proceed to ask me if "bagels are paleo, you mean no spaghetti, how about whole wheat bread, french fries...that's a potato they're a vegetable".  They just keep rattling off grain based foods the whole time they quiz me.  Why?  I really don't know other than they are jerks.  So, I really only care to talk about this with like minded people and maybe my close family and friends (Some of whom I am going to have to gently inform that I don't like being made a spectacle of in front of non paleo people when we all sit down to eat.  Please do not worry about what I'm going to eat, I'll figure it out and no one will probably even notice that I'm not eating grains, legumes, or dairy.)
  5. Blog more and update Facebook!  I think being more active within the online Paleo community will help.  Forging ahead on my own is sometimes lonely and I have only myself to rely on.  So if I don't plan ahead then the whole show grinds to a halt.  I'll still only have myself to rely on but at least I'll have people to talk to about it.
That's all I can think of for now.  It's probably a pretty good place to start.  I think I may have run off on a little tangent in #4 but it felt kinda good.  Here's to a great 2012 and thank you 2011 for being the year I started my new life even if I did have a little trouble solidifying it.

A Fresh Start

Below is the second running post I posted on my now defunct running blog.  I'm incorporating these old post into my paleo blog so I have everything health related in one spot.  I figured it was as good a time as any to import these since I'm not really doing any cooking or following a paleo lifestyle or running.  Why you may be wondering?  Well, I'm gearing up for a fresh start.  I'm going to be focusing on diet again and my hip/back injury is really close to being rehabbed that I plan on starting a C25K program soon.

Originally posted August 28th, 2011
Okay, so I've made it to the point where I can go around the block without much soreness to the muscles in my lower legs.  But now I've got other problems.  Namely some blisters.  They aren't bad but there's some blistering going on and it's mainly on my left foot.  After visiting the forum at Invisible Shoe I've learned that this is more than likely caused by pushing and pulling with my foot and probably due to over striding with that leg.  It just so happens that the little injury I inflicted on myself from my rowing and shod running extravaganza is on my left side.  I'm also having some lingering hip flexor soreness from that injury as well.  So clearly I need to continue to rehab and take it easy while I'm out there as well as continuing to work on my form.

I've been trying to convince my sister to join me in huarache running but she thinks I'm borderline nuts although I think she would like to try it.  I was talking about form and how after a particular evening's run I hadn't done so well with form due to knocking some little blisters on my foot.  I picked my foot up to show her and she snapped the following pictures.
Perhaps I'm use to them but I really didn't think they were all that bad.  However everyone on Facebook thought they were gross and that it looked painful.  Well, it might have looked painful but it's not.  The dark areas aren't really blisters  more like a callus with blood.  I'm not sure what they are but they aren't a thin layer of skin with liquid underneath. It's blood but it's dispersed through the skin layer and it seems a couple of layers deep.   Now on my left foot you can see a rather larger blister under the area between my big toe and second toe.  After this I learned to shorten my stride and I haven't put that big of a blister on since.  As a matter of fact, I haven't really put on any blisters since concentrating on the length of my stride.  Now, I need to figure out what I am doing wrong that is causing the blood spots.  I suspect I may be landing to hard on my foot which I'll stew over in another post.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Addition

So my little blog is going to be getting a new addition. Earlier this year I started a blog to yak about my new adventures with running. I decided to streamline and import those posts over to this blog so that I would have everything in one place and perhaps make it easier to blog. So, over the next few weeks you may see some of those posts showing up here as I work them in. I decided to combine them because becoming Paleo has led me to trying to exercise. I say "trying" because I seem to always manage to mess it up and injure myself and then I'm on the sideline.

Imported blog post from August 28, 2011
Let me put this out there right now so that there are no misconceptions...I'm a piss poor blogger. But sometimes I like to be able to put down in writing what I'm feeling so I turn to my blog page. None of my friends are in to running or attempting to run (since that's my current state). So I'm going to ramble about here until I get bored of writing about it.

Let's get on with it shall we? I'm in the process of trying to turn my life/health around. I've changed my diet (permanently) to Paleo and now I'm trying to incorporate activity. About three months into my dietary change I began having dreams about running. It wasn't the dreams where you're in slow motion or you can't get to your destination or something is after you. These were dreams of running for enjoyment. I was happy in these dreams and running because it was something I loved. So this of course set me off on the idea that I was suppose to be, by some intrinsic nature, a runner. I was sure it meant something, it must be a sign. It's my dream and we should follow those, right? Well, I didn't. I went for a couple more months before I decided to do something about these dreams. The time came when I decided that I had better act on my subconscious. I didn't really know where to start so I downloads a C25K app for my iPhone and started my journey.

Almost as quickly as I started I managed to derail myself. I decided that it wasn't enough to start a running program after years of sedentary behavior. I also hopped on my Concept 2 row machine and proceeded to over do it thus wrecking my lower back, which I have done in the same manner previously. So I gave up the row machine and decided to keep running since I could do that with nothing more than a little tightness in my lower back afterwards. I kept pushing through each week until I got to the end of week 4 when my body told me if I wasn't smart enough to stop; it was going to make me. I puttered back home and laid up for about 3 weeks while my back and hip re-cooped. During this time I read about running and tried to figure out the physiology of the human body. In the process I came across information about barefoot/minimalist running which I had heard about but since I was a couch potato I just chalked it up to a bunch of nutters. But this time I was on a mission to become the runner I had been seeing in my dreams and so my curiosity was peaked and I hunted around on the internet for blogs and websites. It seemed that the Tarahumara were always sited as the inspiration for barefoot runners and I found a video on them which it turns out I had already seen when watching NatGeo about a year ago.

So I started thinking about buying some minimalist footwear. Problem is, I'm poor and I didn't really want to invest a lot of money into something that might be my next fad. So, I gave up on the idea but it didn't really give up on me. I would find myself looking at barefoot bloggers and wishing this was something I could try. I even started trying to go barefoot more often but I'm such a tenderfoot that I knew I would be able to start running that way. Eventually I came across Steven Sashen's website Invible Shoe. So I began trolling around there and reading the message boards and his blog and watching the videos he has posted until finally I decided to buy a do-it-myself kit. I got the Classic DIY kit and the 6mm Contact kit. I put together my Contact kit and started my new journey of trying to become a minimalist runner. Heck, I was just going to try to become a runner who just happens to wear next to nothing on her feet. Here is a pic of my totally unpedicured, polish chipping off the toenails, flip flop tan-lined feet.
I went for a little spin half way around the block after I put these together and was so excited. That little 6mm sole did wonders for making me comfortable while running on the sidewalk but it made me FEEL the sidewalk. It's sort of hard to explain the feeling of running in these huaraches. They are snugly attached to your feet yet your feet are not bound in a pair of shoes. The sole is minimal and you feel the ridges and debris on the sidewalk yet it doesn't hurt when you land on a pebble.

After running up and down the block a couple of times I could certainly feel some soreness in the muscles of my lower leg. I had read about how you should change from a heel stike (cause by modern foot ware) to a forefoot strike so I expected some muscle soreness. So I'll be taking short spins around the block until I no longer have this soreness in my lower leg. I'm certainly looking forward to increasing distance and working on my form (forefoot strike, shorter stride, softer landing). It's a lot to think about and the feedback is constant. I must look like someone who is completely in the zone while I'm out there because believe me when I say it takes every bit of my pea-sized brain put one foot in front of the other, correctly.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

No Soup For You!

I have been absent entirely too long.  I started a facebook page for my blog and I confess that I would much rather post recipes and pictures there instead of here.  Although I've been a little lazy at that as well.  I must admit that I've been having a rough go of it.  I just have not been trying that hard to stay with Paleo and I can certain feel the inflammation back in my joints and see the pounds back on the scale.  I know what the problem own nature.  I'm one of those that starts a bunch of projects and as soon as the new wears off then it all collects dust.  So, I have to try real hard to keep myself from becoming one of my abandoned projects.  I thought I better get back to blogging as one way of getting the train headed in the right direction.  So tonight I'm going to post some soup recipes although I don't have pictures.  I'll try to get a picture of each one before they're gone and add it at a later date.  Now, I like to puree my soups but you could leave them chunky if you like. 

Zucchini-Chipotle Soup

6 zucchini, cut into large chunks
2 onions, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
1 quart chicken stock
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes
1T mexican oregano
2t cumin
2 chipotle peppers with adobo sauce
2 oz. sherry

1. Heat some lard in a pot and add the onions.  When they become soft add the garlic and cook for a couple minutes.
2.  Add the cumin and oregano cooking for about a minute.
3.  Add the sherry to deglaze the pot and let cook for a minute.
4.  Add the zucchini, chicken stock, tomatoes, and chipotles. (If you do not have enough liquid to adequately cover the zucchini then add more stock or water until you do.)
5.  Simmer until the zucchini are soft.  Puree if you want.

Cauliflower Bacon Soup

1 large head of cauliflower, broke into florets
1 onion, diced
2 garlic, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 oz white wine
1-2 t of Bell's Seasoning
1 quart of chicken stock
1 apple, diced
1T butter
4 strips of bacon

1.  Cook the bacon in a large pot or dutch oven.  Remove when done and reserve for later.  If you had fatty bacon remove some of the grease but keep enough to cook the veggies in step 2.
2.  Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper and celery to the bacon grease and cook until it begins to soften.  Add the wine and cook for a minute.
3.  Add the Bell's seasoning (I got this in New Orleans but I'm sure it's available nationwide, it's a blend rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, and marjoram).
4. Add the cauliflower and chicken stock.  Bring to a simmer.
5.  Add the butter to a skillet and melt.  Add the apple and cook until it's soft. Grate some nutmeg over the apples.  Cook for another minute or two..
6.  When the cauliflower is soft, remove from the heat and add to a blender.  Add the apple and the four strips of bacon and puree.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bacon Squash Dutch Baby

For breakfast I usually make a batch of omelette muffins or I have leftovers from dinner.  But I was wanting something different and something a little more bread like.  I was thinking of those french toast type casseroles.  I knew it wasn't going to be quite that heavy since paleo cooking doesn't produce a heavy or dense product but still I wanted something besides straight up eggs.  I started searching Chowstalker and came across The Foodie and The Family's grain free German apple pancakes.  I did a little search for German pancakes and learned that they are also called Dutch Babies.   After searching for different recipes to get an idea of what to do with mine, I just decided to use The Foodie's recipe.  I wanted to make a savory dish but I wasn't entirely sure of what to leave out since I had never made one before.  In the end I just replaced the sweet ingredients with my savory ones and kept the syrup since the dish is suppose to be sweet.  The end result was something that was very reminescent of bacon and pancakes with syrup.  It was quite yummy but it wasn't really the prettiest dish from a photographer's eye.  So, I'm just going to post the recipe and when I figure out how to make it as pretty as The Foodie's german pancake I'll do it justice add the picture.  Check out The Foodie's beautiful german pancakes here:
Bacon Squash Dutch Baby

12 eggs
2 C. almond milk
1/3  C. coconut oil, melted
1 T. maple syrup
1/2 C. coconut flour
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
2 C. diced butternut squash
2t. chopped thyme
2t. chopped rosemary
1 package of bacon, cooked and chopped
2 green onions diced, white bulb and green tops
1/4 C. coconut oil
1/4 C. maple syrup
1/8 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
pepper to taste
  1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, 1/3c coconut oil, 1T syrup.
  3. In a small bowl combine the coconut flour, baking soda, and cayenne pepper.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk until well combined.  Set aside while you prepare the rest.
  5. Add the butternut squash to a skillet with a little fat of your choice.  Cook until it just begins to soften.  Add the herbs and toss well. Remove from skillet.
  6. In same skillet, heat the 1/4 C coconut oil and the 1/4 C maple syrup.  Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and cook about 1 minute.
  7. Add the squash and bacon to a 9x13 dish, sprinkle the green onions over, and then pour the oil/syrup mixture over it.  Whisk the egg mixture a little and then carefully pour into the baking dish.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees and then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for 20-25 minutes longer.
** Notes:
  • While I liked the sweetness of the dish I think I will put less syrup in the next time so that I have something a little more savory but with a hint of sweetness.
  • I did a small dice on my squash but the next time I will use large chunks (probably quarter size or a little larger), especially if I precook the squash like I did in this recipe.  I'm still debating on whether to pre-cook the squash or leave it raw and letting it cook as the dish bakes.  If I decided to add it raw to the baking dish then I will try a small dice.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shredded Chicken with Jalapeno Cream

I bought a new cookbook the other and I'm in love with it.  Not that I wasn't in love my old cookbooks but...well...they were old.  Shameful, I know, to just abandon my old faithfuls for a new book with no grease or tomato splatters and a firm spine but I did.  My new book is wonderful, full of recipes that require no paleo tweaking and others that will require minor adjustments.  I bookmarked 10 recipes after a cursory review and got right to work on two of them today.  They turned out really well despite my botching of the second recipe rendering it a distant cousin of the recipe I started off with.  That's why I love cooking, sometimes you screw it up and yet things will still turn out just fine...most of the time.  Oh, the name of my book!  It's Eat Cuban: Recipes from Floridita by Andy Rose.

For the first recipe I decided to try a poultry recipe.  Now the original called for duck but I went with chicken.  Also I cheated big time and bought a rotisserie bird to save a little time.

Shredded Chicken with Jalapeno Cream Sauce

For the chicken:

1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled and shredded
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2T. fat of choice
4T sherry
2 roma tomatoes; peeled, seeded and sliced into strips
1T parsley, chopped

1. Heat the fat in a large skillet and add the onion, garlic and pepper.  Cook at med-low heat and sweat until soft.
2. Stir in the sherry and increase the heat to high until the liquid is reduced by half.
3. Add the tomato and parsley, stir to mix. Remove from heat.
4. Add the shredded chicken to the skillet and mix well.  (You may have to turn the heat back on to warm the chicken up.)

For the jalapeno cream:
1t. garlic, diced
2T shallots, diced
2T. fat of choice
2T sherry
1/2 C. chicken stock
1/2 C. coconut cream
1 to 2 jalapenos, diced
1T chives, chopped

1. Over low heat sweat the garlic and shallots in the fat until for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the sherry and increase the heat to high, boil for about 2 minutes.
3. Add the chicken stock and boil until the liquid is reduced by half.
4. Stir in the coconut cream and jalapeno. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sauce is reduced by half.  Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.
5.  Pour over the chicken mixture and mix well.  Top with the chives.

Carrot and Sweet Potato Salad

Okay, I have to admit that I really sort of botched the original recipe.  It was towards the end of my cooking marathon and I was completely out of steam.  Having said that, I think it really turned out okay.  I guess what I have is something similar to the original but a recipe that's sort of it's own.

Carrot and Sweet Potato Salad

4 Carrots, sliced
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
1 bay leaf
2 cinnamon sticks

For the dressing:
2 garlic cloves, diced
4T cider vinegar
4T olive oil
pinch of allspice
1T. coconut sugar
2T mint leaves, chopped
3-4 T pumpkin seeds

1. Mix all the dressing ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Put the carrot and sweet potato in a large saucepan with the bay leaf and cinnamon and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook until tender.  Drain and dry completely. 
3. Transfer the carrots and sweet potato to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chile Verde Chili

Tonight's dinner started brewing in my noggin about a week ago when the weather turned of chilly and everyone began talking about chili, pumpkin bread, Honeycrisp apples and squashes.  Fall could very well be the best time of the year, I know I certainly think it is.  I had decided to make a white chili but since I wanted to use pork my sister kindly told me that it wouldn't be white chili because that is made with chicken.  Who knew?!  Well, I wanted pork and that was about all I was going to say about that.  I then realized that what I was thinking of was a chile verde and not white chili. So I was back on track and the ingredients I wanted to use were popping up in my head and I started scribbling things onto a shopping list.  After looking in the cupboard and the freezer I discovered I had everything I needed except one ingredient which some how did not make my shopping list.  Anyway, after running around all day and going to the retirement home to have dinner with my Grandma I got started on my "chile verde chili".  Why the extra "chili" in the title?  Well, I wanted something super meaty, like the way I make a standard beef-tomato chili, and not a straight up chile verde.  It's the kitchen after all and the cook can do whatever they want.

Chile Verde Chili

1 pound of pork roast/steak, cubed
1 pound ground pork
4-5 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced
3 poblano peppers; skinned, seeded and chopped
2 jalepenos, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1T mexican oregano
2-3 t. cumin
1/8 c. tequila
1 can Herdez salsa verde (or better yet get some tomatillos and make your own)
2-3 c. chicken broth
3 T. coconut cream

1.  Fry the bacon in a dutch oven and remove when crispy.
2.  Working in batches, brown the pork chunks.  Remove from pot when done.
3.  Brown the ground pork and remove from the skillet.
4.  Add the onion and cook until starting to soften.
5.  Add the garlic and let cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
6.  Add the tequila and deglaze the pot.
7.  Add the poblano and jalepeno, stirr to incorporate.
8.  Add the cumin and mexican oregano, mix well.
9.  Add the salsa verde, coconut cream and the chicken broth.  Stir well.
10. Add the meat and mix well to incorporate.  Cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes.  Add some fresh cilantro before serving.

So what ingredient did I forget?  A plantain.  I wanted to add a mashed up green plantain for the starchy flavor and because I thought it would thicken the chili.  But I had it in my head that I had all the ingredients for this dish and I forgot all about wanting to add a plantain.  Maybe next time or perhaps I'll go the store tomorrow and add it in to the big pot of leftovers that I have.  Then again perhaps I'll just make tostones and scoop up the chili with those.

Some cubed chayote squash or zucchini would have been pretty tasty in this as well.  Next time because there's always another supper to cook for!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Asian Pork and Cabbage

I had been seeing recipes for Asian lettuce bowl and it made me think about eggrolls.  I decided that I wanted to try a cabbage roll with a crispy coating.  I gathered all my ingredients and pulled out some spices that I thought would make a tasty profile and set to work.  When it was all said and done I was really satisfied with the flavors but maybe a little disappoint with the texture of the rolls.  I just didn't get that really crispy crunch I was looking for.  I suppose there is just to much moisture in the leaves for the coating to remain crispy.  I only made 5 rolls in my test batch and I decided to just chop what was left of the head of cabbage and make burgers out on the filling.  The flavors were still there and the prep time was significantly reduced (although not nearly as pretty).  So, I'll probably still make this in the future but I won't go through the trouble of making rolls.

Asian Cabbage Rolls (or Asian Pork Burgers with Cabbage)

1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1t. minced ginger
1/4c. to 1/2c. white wine
1T. coconut aminos
1T. Red Boat fish sauce
3T. coconut cream
1 Star Anise ground (or about a heaping 1/8t. of ground star anise)
1/4t. ground ginger
1/4t. clove
1/4t. cinnamon
1/2t. white pepper
2 pound pork
1/4c. coconut flour
1/4c. almond meal
1 head of cabbage
1 egg

1. Start a large pot of water boiling.
2. Heat fat of choice in a skillet and add the onion and carrots.  Cook until the onion is soft.
3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook about 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the white wine and deglaze the pan (about 1 minute) then add the aminos and fish sauce. Stir to mix.
5. Add the coconut milk and cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid is gone.
6. Scrape into a large mixing bowl and add the spices.  Mix well.
7. Once the onion mixture has cooled a little, add the ground pork and mix well to incorporate all the spices.
8. Separate the leaves of the cabbage and blanch in the boiling pot of water until soft.  Remove and set in a colander to drain.
9.  To assemble: dry the cabbage leaves with a paper towel, scoop a spoonful of the pork mixture at the stem end of the cabbage leaf and roll up folding the edge in after the first roll.
10. Coat the roll in the egg mixture, then roll in the almond meal/coconut flour mixture.
11. Fry up in a skillet with the fat of your choice.

*If you don't want to go through the trouble of blanching the cabbage and rolling you can just chop the cabbage and cook in a skillet and make burger patties out of the pork mixture (I added some of the almond meal/coconut flour mixture to the meat just to have that flavor in there).  They aren't as pretty but just as tasty.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I started Whole 30 about five days ago.  When you decide you're going to do something you don't put off the start date, you just dive right in.  At least that's what I do.  See, my sister is having a cookie contest in four days.  I would have been right in there tasting and judging the cookies all the while telling myself that I would get back to paleo tomorrow.  Well, I started Whole 30 and didn't think about that cookie contest until yesterday when I told my sister that I wouldn't be tasting the cookies.  I'm still gonna bake and enter the winning gluten-laden cookie but I won't be tasting the other entries.  My sis told me she would make me paleo cookie so I would have something to eat that night...awww.  So I was thinking about that and combined with the little sweet tooth I'm having today I made some almond meal cookies.  I probably am not suppose to eat something like this so I think tomorrow I will take them all to work and put them in the lounge where the animals I work with will scarf them down, probably without knowing the difference.  I thought I would at least put a picture up here and tell you where I got the recipe and how I changed it to fit what I had.

While at my Mom's place I looked at Chowstalker and found a couple of entries for chocolate chip cookies.  I wrote down the recipes (since she doesn't have a printer) and then forgot to take them with me when I left. (*head smack)  I remembered the almond flour cookbook (by Elana Amsterdam) that my Mom got me so I found the cookie recipe in there and pretty much used it.  It called for grapeseed oil which I didn't have so I used the light olive oil (it's pretty tasteless, very light golden in color).  It also used agave nectar but I used the coconut sugar crystals that Mom got me a few months ago.  Since I was using a little less liquid (with the obmission of agave) I decided to put an egg in there.  So here's a pic followed by the recipe.  All in all they were pretty tasty.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2c. almond flour
1/2t. salt
1/2t. baking soda
1/2c. coconut sugar
1/2c. light olive oil
1T. vanilla
1 egg
1/2c. Enjoy Life chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients.
3. In a small bowl combine wet ingredients and mix.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir to combine.
5. Add the chips and stir some more to combine.
6. Scoop onto a cookie sheet, leave about two inches between cookie.  Press down lightly on the cookie to flatten (because it doesn't really spread that much while bake).
7. Bake for 10 minutes, remove and allow to cool on the cookie sheet before you remove.

Tamarind Glazed Chicken

I'm on the hunt for some new cookbooks.  Our big box bookstore closed and since then I've been going through cookbook withdrawal (they did carry a good selection of cookbooks).  I love looking at cookbooks and finding a good ethnic cookbook whose recipes I can tweak a little (sometimes not at all) to fit my Paleo needs.  I've been testing out Indian inspired dishes and have discovered that I really like some of the flavor profiles.  I think my next cookbook purchase will be an Indian cookbook.

I stood in front of my bookshelf the other day and pulled Padma Lakshmi's Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet off the shelf.  I had marked a couple of recipes way back when but never tried any of them.  I found this one which originally called for fish as the protein.  She mentioned that it would be good for chicken and so I went with that.  

Tamarind Glazed Chicken Legs

1 1/2 c. water
1 ounce (about golf ball size) of tamarind pulp
1 small onion, diced
2 T ginger, minced
1-2 t. honey
12-14 chicken legs

1. In a small saucepan bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat and add the tamarind pulp.  Break the pulp up with a fork.  Cover the saucepan and let it set for about 20 minutes.
2. After 20 minutes, mash the tamarind some more.  Use your fingers to knead any clumps.  Pour the mixture through a strainer using a spoon to mash the pulp through as well as any liquid.
3. Place the chicken legs in a baking dish, rub with the fat of your choice and season with salt and pepper if desired. Place in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.
4. In a skillet heat some fat and add the onion.  Saute for about 5 minutes then add the ginger and let cook about 1-2 minutes.
5. Add the strained tamarind gravy to the skillet and cook at a slow simmer, adding the honey after 5 minutes, until the sauce is reduced by half. 
6. When the chicken reaches the 15 minute mark flip the legs over and cook for another 15 minutes.
7.  Pour the tamarind sauce over the chicken legs and cook for another 10 minutes or until the chicken is cook through.

Bacon-Salmon Patties

Because without bacon things do not go as well.  While driving home tonight I got a craving for seafood.  I wanted tuna or swordfish or even salmon.  So I stopped at the grocery store and could only find salmon so salmon it is!  I had my recipe put together in my head before hitting the store so I picked up a few other things and headed home to prepare my supper.  It turned out really great and I'll probably keep this in mind for a future meal but subbing tuna steaks in for the salmon fillets.

Bacon-Salmon Patties

6-8 pieces of bacon, fried
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 t. ginger, minced
1T. balsamic vinegar
1t. Red Boat fish sauce
1t. Coconut Aminos
2 scallions, chopped
2-3 pounds salmon fillet, remove the skin
1 egg
1/4c. almond meal

1. Fry the bacon and set aside on a paper towel. Drain most of the grease out of the skillet.
2. Add the bell pepper to the skillet and let it cook for about 4-5 minutes of until it starts to get soft.
3. Add the garlic and ginger, stir to incorporate and let it cook about 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir to coat the peppers well.  Turn off heat.
5. Add the bacon to the food processor and pulse until it is in large chunks.
6. Add the red pepper mixture, fish sauce and aminos to the bacon in the food processor. (A'la Bacon Jam)  Pulse until it is a fine blend.  Scrape into a medium size mixing bowl.
7. Cut the salmon into large chunks and add to the food processor.  Pulse until is is chopped to a medium-fine texture.  You may have to make two batches depending on the amount of salmon.
8. Add to the mixing bowl with the bacon and pepper mixture along with the egg and mix.
9. Add the almond meal and mix well.  Form into patties and fry in the skillet with the fat of your choice.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I'm doing the Whole 30

I have been messing around and in general just failing for a couple of months now.  I'm tired of it.  I don't feel as good as I used to and I don't feel like I can call myself Paleo when I'm not really fulfilling my obligations of living a Paleo lifestyle.  I thought about telling my family and friends to check in on me and ask me how things are going but you know's not their responsibility.  When I went Paleo on January 3rd I didn't ask anyone to check in on me, I didn't ask them to hold me responsible.  As a matter of fact I didn't tell anyone I had started Paleo.  I chose that path on my own and held myself responsible for my choices.  I refused all non-Paleo food items and as time passed people began to understand that I was eating differently and I would tell them when they asked but I didn't trumpet the fact. 

Well, something has to change.  I need to be responsible to myself for getting back on track but I also want those around me to know that I'm serious about this and that Paleo isn't some short term diet program.  I don't mind if they want to inquire about how things are going but more importantly I want to feel proud when I answer that question.  So I'm committing myself to a Whole 30, starting right now (9:41pm).  I'll post some updates here on my blog and occasionally on twitter (I don't use that very much) and I'm also going to post on my personal facebook page so everyone knows what I'm up to.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Carne Asada

Mexican food is my first love and what I consider to be my native palette, if that makes sense.  I recently discovered fried plantains and have since fallen in love with them.  I keep making them any chance I get.  While at my parent's house this past week I cleared out the plantain supply at their local grocery store and fried up a big batch of tostones.  It was delicious.  My Mom had some super thin beef steak in her fridge so I dug around in her cupboards and found a can of chopped "chili ready" tomatoes and some carne asada seasoning.  I will try to replicate this at home using fresh ingredients and a homemade carne asada seasoning but in was so yummy I decided to go ahead and post a pic and give the basics of what I did.

Cut the beef into small chunks and sear in a skillet with some lard.  Remove to a plate and set aside.  Add a chopped onion to the skillet and saute until soft then add some garlic.  When the garlic has become fragrant add cumin, crushed mexican oregano and stir to coat the onions well.  Add the beef and then add a couple of tablespoons of carne asada seasoning.  Mix well then add the tomatoes and some broth until you have enough liquid in the skillet to just barely cover the beef mixture.  Simmer it covered for about 20 minutes then remove the lid and simmer for another 15-20 minutes or until the sauce is reduce by half.  Enjoy it with the tostones!

Pumpkin Beef Stew

I bought some beef shanks with the notion of using them in a stew at some point.  Yesterday I finally got around to it.  I bought a pumpkin and thought I'd use in a stew or in my omelette like I use butternut squash.  Well, needless to say I didn't like prepping the pumpkin.  It was more difficult than butternut squash but maybe I just love butternut squash more.  With the help of my Mom, which means I passed the work off to her, the pumpkin got peeled, seeded and cut into chunks.  I cut the meat off the shank bones and seared it in a skillet that had rendered bacon fat in it.  I also chopped an onion and sauteed that in the skillet.  I put the chopped bacon, onion, beef chunks, pumpkin and shank bones (with morrow) in a crock pot with beef broth, a bouquet garni and some sage.  I let it cook away until the meat was tender, the morrow melted and the pumpkin soft.

Coconut Carrots

This is a quick carrot dish that allowed me to use up the coconut liquid I'd been saving after skimming the cream out of the cans.  I don't usually cook with butter but I was at my parent's place and they don't have all the pantry items that I do.  So, I put a big pat in the skillet tonight.  If you don't use dairy I suppose you could use coconut oil which is probably what I would use when I'm at home.  I just peeled the carrots and sliced them in half length wise then cut them in half inch diagonal chunks.  I put them in the skillet with the butter and let them cook until they were starting to brown a little then I added about a quarter cup of chicken stock and the coconut liquid (which was reserved from two cans of coconut milk after removing the cream).  I covered it and let it bubble away until the carrots were soft then I removed the lid and let it simmer until the sauce was reduced to a thick caramelized cream.  Quite delicious!!


I like making omelett muffins, spanish tortillas, frittatas or whatever else they are known by.  I just like having my breakfast made ahead of time so all I have to do is gently heat it in the morning.  It saves me time in the morning and I like that.  I can go to the pool without getting up extra early and on the mornings I don't go to the pool I can either sleep in a little bit or spend the morning relaxing before I go in to work.

The good thing about these omelette type dishes is that they are all quite easy to make and can be loaded with whatever you like.  This omelette is loaded with butternut squash, green & red bell peppers, onions and sausage.  Just saute it all up first and pour the scrambled eggs over the top and let it cook on low.  Towards the end pop your oven/broiler proof skillet under the broiler and let it finish cooking.  Voila!!  Breakfast for the work week is complete!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

7 Spice Cauliflower

My Mom was in town visiting the other day and she knows that I love cauliflower.  So, while she was at our little co-op store she bought me a head of purple cauliflower and a head of yellow/orange cauliflower.  She's also been asking me everyday since then if I had made anything yet with them.  Well, tonight I finally did.  I decided to roast the cauliflower just like NomNomPaleo does.  I hadn't roasted cauliflower and it always looks so yummy when she puts her pics of it on her blog.  The only thing I did was change the spice.  She uses curry for her dish but I decided to go with 7 Spice simply because I had a couple of dishes last week that used curry and I wanted a break from it.  The 7 Spice was front and center in my little noodle because I emptied the package into a spice jar yesterday.  It smelled so wonderful and I knew I needed to make something with it.  The cauliflower was perfect for it!  It turned out wonderful.  Now I've got to figure out what I'm going to do with the purple cauliflower. 

I snapped a quick iPhone shot of the cauliflower (sorry but I didn't feel like hauling my camera out for it).  I tried to use my sister's Bloggie but it put a very orange hue on the photo.
Just toss the cauliflower with some oil and then add the spice (I used about 1 1/2t. of 7 spice) along with some salt and pepper.  Have your oven set a 450 degrees.  Cover the dish and roast for 15 minutes then remove the foil and stir.  Roast for another 20 minutes, taking the dish out a couple of times and tossing the florets about.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tostones filled with Cuban Pork Roast

Every now and then I make something that knocks my socks off. Maybe it's because I sometimes just wing it in the kitchen and perhaps it's because I'm trying new ingredients and don't know what to expect. But I just love it when it happens.

A few days ago I was checking out the new post at Modern Paleo Warfare and was completely inspired to try out a new ingredient, plantains.  Now, I think that I have tried a plantain before but since I can't really remember what I did with it, I'm not going to count it.  So for all intents and purposes I'm saying that this is the first time I've used a plantain.

I had decided that I wanted to pair the plantains with pork and I wanted to do something a little Cuban or Caribbean inspired.  I also had come across a site selling tostones (fried plantains) presses.  One of the presses would make little cups and I found these totally cute so I had to try!

I'm pretty sure that tostones are my new favorite thing.  I can't get over the chip like quality they had after frying.  These will take care of a chip craving if you are having one.  They would be perfect for salsa if you want chips and dip.  Plantains aren't sweet like bananas are and are quite starchy.  Perfect for chips, right?!  The green plantains (which are unripe plantains) aren't sweet at all and are perfect for frying.  Heck, for all I know the black (ripe) ones may fry up well too.  A few days ago I had read about soaking the green plantains in salt water and then peeling them and slicing but I had forgot all of that by the time I went out today and purchase them.  I got home and sliced them in about 1 inch chunks and then scored the peel and pulled it off.  I didn't have any problem at all with removing the peel.  I'm not sure why those recipes said to soak them first.  Perhaps it was for flavor and not ease of peeling.  Anyway, I did not soak them because I was really wanting to get started.  To make the plantain chunks into cups I just put each chunk (after frying it first) into a well of a mini muffin pan and using a tart shaper I pressed down until I formed a little cup.  I took them out and put them back in the oil for the second fry.  *Note: I found it easier to press the plantain chunks into cup form while the chunks were still hot from frying.*  Alright, enough babbling!!  Let's get on with a photo and the recipe!

Tostones filled with Cuban Pork Roast

For the pork:
1-2 pounds of pork roast cut into chunks
1 small onion, diced
1T of garlic, diced
1/2 of a tiny bottle of white wine (93 mL)
2t. cumin
1t  mexican oregano, crush it in your palms when you add it to the pot
1/2t. smoked paprika
1/2 C orange juice
juice from half a lime
juice from half a lemon
zest of one lime
zest of one lemon
1/2 C chicken stock
1/2 can of coconut milk (I used the cream and not the watery part of my can)
salt and pepper to taste
1T. chopped cilantro
1-2T of FOC (I prefer bacon grease or lard)

1. Heat the fat of your choice in a dutch oven.  Once hot add the pork in batches and sear until browned.  Remove from the pot to a plate with a slotted spoon.
2.  Add the onion and garlic to the pot and saute until it starts to soften.  Add the wine to deglaze the pot.
3.  Add the pork back to the pot with the onion and garlic.  Add the cumin, mexican oregano and smoked paprika to the pot and stir.
4.  Add the orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, chicken stock and the zest to the pot.  Bring to boil and cover.  Simmer for about 20 minutes.
5.  Add the coconut cream and mix well.  Add salt and pepper. Cover and simmer another 10 minutes.
6.  Remove the lid and allow the mixture to cook at a fast simmer until most of the liquid evaporates and a thick sauce remains.
7.  Remove the chunks of meat with a slotted spoon to a cutting board.  Roughly chop the chunks to get a small bites of meat.  Add back to the sauce in the pot, add the cilantro and mix well to coat.

For the tostones:

3 unripe (green) plantains

1. Cut the plantains into 1 inch chunks (they should fit in the mini muffin well without sticking out the top).
2. When the fat/oil is hot, add the plantain chunks and fry until lightly golden.  Remove from grease to a paper towel.
3.  Place the fried plantain chunk into the muffin well and press down firmly with a tart shaper.  Remove the plantain cup and place it back in the oil for the second fry.
4.  Fry until they are a deep golden/lightly browned color and remove.
5.  Fill the tostones cups with the meat mixture and sprinkle with some extra cilantro and maybe a dab of fresh salsa or guacamole.

*I had plenty of meat leftover so you could buy a couple more plantains.
*Don't forget to press the plantain chunks while they are hot.  I found they pressed easier while hot.
*If you don't have Mexican Oregano don't worry about it.  However, please do not replace it with the old standard oregano.  They are completely different and you wouldn't want your Cuban feast to taste Italian would you?

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I found this recipe one day while hunting and gathering on the web (my favorite past time).  I've had it tucked away in my notebook and had forgot all about it.  I was digging around for another recipe when I flipped this over.  I decided to just make it as printed although I didn't have pomegranate molasses.  I did have molasses (probably not kosher paleo) and pomegranate juice so I pour a little of each in the skillet.  I have since learned that you can get a sugar free pomegranate molasses online or at a Mediterranean market.  The brand is Cortas and it doesn't list any ingredients except pomegranate juice on the label.  That's what I read anyway so I'll be looking into that for future recipes.
This recipe is apparently a mash up of two dishes, muhammara and shakshouka.  Muhammara is a hot pepper dip containing walnuts and spices.  Shakshouka features eggs cooked in a spicy tomato stew.  That being said, it wasn't a spicy dish.  So if you like heat then bumped up the spice.  It's a wonderful dish and something different for breakfast.  I made the stew base, which makes quite a bit, and stored it in the fridge.  Every morning I put a scoopful in a small skillet and heated it until it just starts to bubble.  Then I cracked my eggs on top of the mixture and covered the skillet until the eggs were poached to my liking.

Shakshouka (found at EatsWellWithOthers)

3 red bell peppers, roasted, skinned, and seeded
2 oz walnuts
4 cloves garlic
1 large onion
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
28 oz canned diced tomatoes
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
pinch red pepper flakes
6 eggs
1/4 cup parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Combine the roasted red peppers, walnuts, onion, and garlic in a food processor and process until the combined.

2. In a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, combine the red pepper blend, molasses, tomatoes, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes so that flavors can meld. Add salt to taste.

3. Crack the eggs into the pan and into the sauce, gently, so that the yolks don't break. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes or until set. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

*The original called for feta cheese which I omitted.

Roast Chicken

I love a roasted bird.  This is another one of those simple "back burner" sort of dishes.  I can just pop a bird in the oven and let it go while I work away on some other recipes that I'm testing out and require a little more attention.  Roast chickens are quite simple to make.  I change up my seasonings every time I make one because you really can't go wrong.  Then you just pop it in a 350 degree oven (breast side up) and roast it for about 2 hours.  Basically it's 20-25 minutes for every pound of chicken.  My bird was a little over 4 pounds.  The only thing you have to do is peek in the oven during the last half hour and if the bird looks like it's browning to much just cover it with a little foil to keep it from burning.  I'm not putting a recipe down because roast chickens are so simple.  Just season with whatever you have and roast for the time listed above.  I always rub a little olive oil or better yet bacon grease on the bird before putting it in the oven.  For the bird in the picture I mix all my spices into my solidified bacon grease and made a paste.  I pushed some of this up under the skin as well. Super simple and quite tasty!!

Beef Bourguignon

What to do with tough old stew meat?  Slow simmer it for hours in wine and herbs.  I pulled the old Betty Crocker cookbook off the shelf because it has all these standards in it.  And 'ol Betty done good.  The chunks of beef were super tender and had great flavor.  I was pretty pleased with it and it was really easy to make.  When I'm cooking all my meals for the weekend it's nice to have a couple of dishes that sit on the back burner while I busy myself with other recipes.

Beef Bourguignon

1 pound stew beef
1 1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small bottle red wine (187mL)
1C broth
2 bay leaves
1t thyme
3/4t marjoram
1C mushrooms, chopped
5 carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks
3-4 strips bacon, chopped

1.  Add some fat of choice to a dutch oven and heat.  Add the beef and sear on all sides.  Remove from skillet and set aside.
2.  Add the onion and garlic to the dutch oven and saute until they just begin to soften. 
3.  Add the meat back to the dutch oven.  Add the wine, broth and herbs.  Simmer, covered for about 45 minutes.
4.  Add the carrots and mushrooms.  Simmer for 30 minutes or until the carrots are soft. 
5.  While the carrots are cooking, add the bacon to a skillet and cook until crispy.
6.  When the carrots are soft, turn off the heat and add the bacon. Stir to incorporate.  Serve!

Korean Fried Collards

For a little tongue in cheek humour, I'm calling it KFC.  You know, the collard ranks right up there with cauliflower for me.  In case you don't know, I love cauliflower.  I went my whole life not eating greens...hard to believe.  I took a chance one day on a bundle of collards and I pretty much think that they're the best thing, sliced bread.  Now, in all my previous collard making experiences I made them by chopping  up some bacon and getting it crispy then throwing the collards in and tossing.  Simply delightful!  Last night I did something different.  I had this recipe in hand for Korean seasoned spinach.  Well, I didn't have spinach but I did have collards.  So, I risked ruining my beloved collards by subbing them in to the recipe but I was sure it would turn out.  And man did it!  They are super yummy and I can't wait to gobble down my lunch today.  I paired my KFC with some roast chicken and it is going to be awesome!  * was awesome!  I wish I made more.
Korean Fried Collards

1 bunch of collards (next time I'm getting at least 3 bunches)
1 1/2 T Red Boat fish sauce
3/4 T Coconut Aminos
1T. sesame oil
1 T. sesame seeds, toasted
1 1/2 t. chopped garlic
1/2 t. coconut sugar

1.  Chop up the collards and rinse in a colander.
2.  In a skillet place a very tiny amount of the fat of your choice.  (I had a skillet that I had cooked bacon in and I just drained all the grease out.)  Once your skillet is hot add the collards.  Toss frequently. 
3.  When they just start to change color add all the ingredients and toss to incorporate.
4.  Remove from heat and serve! 

Hawaiian Meatballs

I just call these Hawaiian meatballs because it's catchy.  I suppose the only thing that makes 'em remotely Hawaiian is the addition of pineapple in the sauce.  But one thing about it, they're pretty tasty.  Slightly sweet from the pineapple with a little kick on your taste buds from the red pepper flakes, plus a little savory or perhaps "umami" from the fish sauce. 

I had two recipes that I didn't quite have the ingredients for and as I was looking at them trying to decide which on to make I thought I would pull a little bit from each.  I'm trying these with ground pork the next time but I had to use chicken and turkey since it's what I had on hand.  One thing I wish I had was a little arrowroot to thicken the sauce some but really it's quite fine without it.  A thicker sauce is simply more visually appealing.

This recipe just sort of came together over the stove so I might tweak it a little the next time.  Perhaps bump up the heat a little or add some more pineapple.  But at any rate this gives you a good jumping off point.

Hawaiian Meatballs

For the meatballs:
2 lbs of ground meat (pork, chicken, turkey, etc)
2T Red Boat fish sauce
2T Coconut Aminos
2t. curry powder
2 green onions, diced
1t. ginger, minced
1t. cilantro, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

For the sauce:
1 can coconut milk
1C chicken broth
1 t. Red Boat fish sauce
1t. Coconut Aminos
1/2 t. curry powder
1 green onion, diced
1/2 T. red pepper flakes (more if you like it hot)
juice from 1/2 lime
juice from 1/2 lemon
2T. crushed pineapple
3T pineapple juice
2t. basil, chopped

1.  Mix all the ingredient for the meatballs in a bowl and then form into meatballs.  Make them whatever size you like.
2.  Put a little fat of your choice in a large skillet and fry up the meatballs.  I like them to be a little crispy on the outside.
3.  Remove from skillet.  Then add the ingredients for the sauce to the skillet. 
4.  Stir and bring to a simmer.  Add the meatballs and simmer in the sauce for 10 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


So, things have been a little tough for me the past couple of weeks.  I sort of just let things (Paleo things) go to the wayside.  Not totally but about 40 percent.  Between my normal work hours and heading out of town to do my usual stint at the folks plus helping my friend pack her home, I've been lucky to sleep in my own bed.  Today was the first day to myself and I made good use of it.  I've been totally Paleo today and even managed to take a mile run in my new Invisible Shoes (huaraches for the minimalist shoe camp) and went to the pool to swim some laps.  It was a great day and aside from my feet being a little tender from the huaraches (I'm just starting out in them) I feel great.

I just had some leftover babybacks that I grilled up for a dinner party Sunday night.  They were awesome.  Here's my iPhone pick of them smoking away on the barbie.

Life is good kids!  I'm glad to have a chance to regroup and get my Paleo life back in order.  I'll be cooking up some meals for my weekend on and will get them posted.  I'm also going to start blogging a little about my attempts to exercise.  Hopefully I can keep myself healthy for that.  I tend to over do it and end up a hurting unit but maybe I can keep it together.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I lost my mojo

For about one month now I've been less than inspired.  I haven't fallen off the wagon (well not completely) but it's been a bumpy ride.  I suppose it all started when I hit my third month of zero weight loss.  I don't understand why this is happening and it does take it's toll on my psyche.  I am not concentrating on weight loss but still I want it to needs to happen.  Other mitigating circumstances may be that in July I moved.  It wasn't very taxing and the move went well but there was some distraction and loss of internet for a time.  Previously I would spend quite a bit of time immersing myself in the Paleo world by visiting blogs and recipe gathering.  I haven't done that for about a month (my last post was July 12th and it was simply pictures).  I did, at least, start working out during this time (C25K, rowing and swimming) but suffered some musculo-skeletal pain/soreness.  It has ended up requiring chiropractor visits and regular doses of muscle relaxants and pain relievers (stuff I never take) as well as liniments and hot/cold packs.  I haven't been able to workout for the past week while I recoop but look forward to starting back up the end of this week. 

While my main meals have been Paleo and I continue to prepare my meals, I have been snacking on non Paleo foodstuffs.  Mini candy bars are a main source of cheating and I've also had a few handfuls of chip during this month.  I've eaten 4 non paleo meals and certainly paid a price for that.  It may not seem like much for the time frame but it feels considerable to me. 

I have been reflecting on what has happened.  I've made it 6 months living Paleo and enjoy it.  I love how I feel and the way I'm beginning to look.  I loved the control I was able to exert over my life.  But it's been slipping this past month.  I really think the fact that I haven't been totally immersed in Paleo is a major factor.  Sometimes being the only Paleo person in my household and within my circle is isolating.  Maybe my lone wolf personality needs a pack sometimes.

Lately I've been seeing facebook updates from Paleoites about the AHS convention.  Tonight I finally put some effort into visiting some of the Paleo blogs I follow and read their recaps of the symposium.  I have to say that I'm feeling quite inspired.  I enjoyed reading about people finally meeting some of the bloggers they've been following and listening to the speakers and just immersing theirselves in Paleo.  I'm really looking forward to getting dedicated to my lifestyle choice.  I want to stay up late at night visiting all the blogs I used to stop by.  I'm looking forward to re-energizing my meal choices and my weekly menu.  I'm excited about rebooting my exercise program. 

I just realized that it all comes down to effort.  I haven't been putting forth the same level of effort that I used to.  I've simply been on cruise control for the past month.  Only putting forth the minimal effort needing to stay marginally Paleo.  I'm going to reinvigorate myself and my outlook and get this life back in gear!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Curried Carrots

The best part about eating paleo are all the endless spice combinations.  I've found that my palate has expanded and that I appreciate other flavors.  I used to be a salt and pepper kind of girl, I think that was the only kind of spice we ever used outside of some cumin for Mexican dishes.  I remember the first time that my family went to an ethnic restaurant.  It was my 18th birthday (I think) and my Dad declared that we were not going to Sirloin Stockade for the usual birthday dinner.  We had moved to a new area and he thought we should get cultured.  He chose this Greek restaurant and we all order something different and Pop even splurged and got some appetizers (flaming cheese!).  It was a total disaster.  We were completely out of our element.  We've not eaten at that Greek restaurant since (it's very popular in town so it wasn't the restaurant's fault) and while it's funny now it wasn't so much at the time.

But now I love how you can change an ingredient with a few spices.  Take my beloved cauliflower.  My Cilantro Lime Cauliflower is worlds apart from my Cauliflower Pilaf and they are both completely different from my Mexican Cauliflower (recipe coming soon).  I've been branching out with my spices and taking on some new flavor profiles like Indian cuisines.  The possibilities are endless and the meals are never boring.

Curried Carrots

2T Lard
1/4 to 1/2 C. shallots, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 pound carrots, sliced in rounds (1/4" thick)
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground fennel
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
1 C. coconut milk
1/2 C. chicken broth (optional)
  1. Heat lard in a large skillet.  Add the shallots and jalapeno and cook until they begin to soften.
  2. Add the carrots and all the spices.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover.  Cook until the carrot are tender.
  4. Add the broth if you think the sauce needs to be thinned a little. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pesto Kabobs

Last weekend we had our first ever garage sale.  Since I live with my sister and her husband there wasn't much need to keep all my little kitchen gadgets.  They've just been sitting in box for the past however many years it's been since I moved in.  Given the meager penance I am given at my job I don't really see myself moving out anytime soon.  So, while I was parting ways with all those things I've discovered that I have been collecting other things.  Namely, recipes.  I'm always on the search for a new recipe and since I can't really afford to buy cookbooks like I used to I just surf the web.  "Hunting and gathering" I call it.  Sometimes I think that I spend too much time and have more recipes than I can ever really get around to making but I keep doing it.  I finally organized them two weeks ago in to a nice 3 ring binder only to discover that I need another binder.  During lag times at work I'm searching recipes and I sometimes wonder if other people are looking over my shoulder and thinking that I'm looking at the cake and cookie recipes on Tastespotting.  I'm not, I mean I look at them but I don't click through.  Honest.  Whenever I see magazines laying around in an office I flip through to the recipe section that most have and if there is something I like I steal it out of the magazine.  Yep, I'm that girl.  Sometimes I sneak the entire magazine into my purse.  Why do I feel guilty about that?  I mean are they really going to say something to me?  Usually there is an abundance of magazines laying around anyway so I'm sure they wouldn't mind.  I guess I could just ask but I don't because I like to walk on the wild side.  My sister calls me the "diet coke of evil" but let's face it I'm more like TaB.

So here is a recipe riped straight out of some magazine I found laying on the counter at the hospital.  Printed at the bottom of the page is June/July 2011.  I've never heard of this magazine but they had about 5 kabob recipes in the back and I stole them all.  This is recipe is a veggie kabob recipe with a pesto marinade.  It turned out pretty tasty.  I discovered that I'm not a very good kabober.  That is, I don't skewer my veggies in a very orderly fashion.  Some kabobs were heavy on the peppers and onions and others were loaded down with eggplants and tomatoes.  I've got to work on this in the future.  Plus I learned that those little wooden sticks are quite sharp after I kabobed myself a couple of times.

Pesto Veggie Kabobs
*Use any combo of veggie that you like.
1 eggplant, cut into chunks
1-2 zucchini, cut into chunks
2-3 bell peppers, cut into chunks
cherry tomatoes
2 red onions, cut into quarters
1/2 of the pesto sauce (or more if you prefer), recipe follows
bamboo skewers, if wooden soak in water for at least 20 minutes before using
  1. While the grill heats put all the veggies in a large bowl and toss with pesto sauce until coated evenly.
  2. Skewer the veggies and grill until the veggies are browned and slightly soft.  Serve with the excess pesto sauce if you have reserve.
Pesto Sauce
3/4 C packed fresh basil leaves
1 T. fresh parsley
1 clove of garlic, rough chop
1/4 C. pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C. olive oil
  1. Add all ingredients except the oil to a food processor.  Pulse until it forms a paste.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the oil while the processor runs on low.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cauliflower Pilaf

Cauliflower, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways. 

I've come to discover that cauliflower may be my favorite side dish.  While there are other veggies I love more, none seem to have the versatility that I am discovering cauliflower to have.  I was never much of a cauliflower fan in my my pre-paleo days unless it was drowning in cheddar cheese.  But now I love cauliflower because I'm able to dress it up with herbs and spices and it becomes a fantastic dish for when you want a little bit more to fill in the gaps on your plate.  Today I did a riff on rice pilaf and it turned out pretty yummy.

Cauliflower Pilaf

1 cauliflower, riced
1/2 C. raisins
1/2 C. pistachios
5-6 scallions, diced
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 T. olive oil
chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
scant Tablespoon of chopped parsley
  1. Steam the riced cauliflower by microwaving it in a covered bowl for 4 minutes (do not add water).  Let it stand covered until it is time to mix in the ingredients.
  2. Put the raisins in a small saucepan and add enough chicken broth to just cover them.  Simmer until they are plump and soft.  Drain the excess chicken broth.
  3. Add the oil and the pistachios to a small skillet.  Toss occasionally until the nuts are fragrant.  Remove and when they have cooled some give them a rough chop.
  4. Add the scallions to the skillet  that the pistachios were in (add oil if needed) and saute until they soften.
  5. In a large bowl add all the ingredients (cauliflower, raisins, pistachios, scallions, cinnamon, parsley, salt and pepper) and mix to combine.

Now for something kind of fun!  Look at these cute little cauliflower sheep that I found.  This proves that cauliflower can do or become anything you wish.