Friday, April 22, 2011


Tastes like chicken!  Thats' what I thought while reading an article in the local paper about whether, in the future, insects would be our primary protein source.  I'm pretty sure I won't have to be eating bugs and grubs but I would if I had no choice.  I just don't see the need to eat them now.  Of course, they would have to be fried.  I couldn't eat a big grub right out of the ground while it's squirming.  Eeekk!

When it comes to keeping people tied to the old ball and chain, marketers and snack companies are at it again.  This time Snackwell brands is trying to reintroduce their product due to lagging sales.  They've rolled out a new marketing campaign for targeting dieting women.  The hook is pre-portion packs so you won't over indulge.  I was never much of of a cookie and snacks kind of girl but I know that opening more than one package would not hold me back from a craving.  But it's not something I worry about now.  Paleo has taken care of any snacking and over eating issues that I once had.  It's sort of miraculous in that regard but I'm not the only one that has experienced this.  I've read other Paleo bloggers report the same thing.  So, these poor ladies will think they can solve their snacking problem with these little cookie packs when really they just need to go Paleo. (Click here for the article.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Simple and Quick

I made a really simple meal today from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen.  It was very quick and super tasty and probably one that will be added to my list of go to dishes.  So without further ado.

Tomatillo Chicken & Spinach over Spaghetti Squash

3 chicken breasts, cubed
frozen spinach, thaw & remove excess liquid
2 cans Herdez tomatillo salsa
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 spaghetti squash
  1. Cut the squash in half, lay cut side down in a dish with and inch of water. Nuke for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, brown chicken breast until it is cooked through.  Remove from skillet
  3. Saute the onion and garlic until soft.
  4. Add the chicken back to the skillet along with the spinach.
  5. Add the tomatillo salsa and heat through.
  6. Serve the chicken mixture over the spaghetti squash.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Today's Headlines

Here's what happening in your world.

First a little diddy about Lucy's diet.  A team of archaeologists have uncovered some evidence that suggests that A. afarensis, of which Lucy belongs, may have been butchering animals.  (Here's the link to the BBC story.)  Of course with all big discoveries that challenge the standard notions comes controversy (read about that here).  I like archaeology and anthropology so I think these stories are interesting.  Make sure you check out the link posted on my resources page that details the hominid timeline.  Even if you aren't so sure about the whole evolution part, just take a look at when H. sapiens shows up and then look at how long it was before early farming hits the timeline.

The second headline today is about a vegetarian publication using photos of meat dishes to advertise their recipes.  Apparently they had airbrushed the pictures to make them look vegetarian or vegan.  I found the following excerpt especially entertaining.
Angry at being taken in by the images, one reader commented on the magazine’s Web site how awful it felt “to have craved any of the foods featured here, because now I feel I was craving animals.”
Another excerpt was dead on...I confess this is what I was thinking.
Other commenters criticized the editors as contributing to public perceptions of vegan food as bland and unappealing. “Any omnivore who catches wind of this will be left with the impression that vegan food must turn out so unappetizing that even the leading vegan magazine will not show legitimate photos of it,” a commenter said.
Until next stay classy, San Diego.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


The other day I saw a pic for Chili Colorado on Everyday Paleo that got my tastebuds all revved up!  I had been avoiding Mexican dishes because I thought it would trigger a craving for homemade tortillas, Mexican rice, tamales, et cetera, et cetera.  Mexican cooking is home to me, it's what my taste buds were brought up on and living without everything that is the soul of Mexican cooking is what always brought me to my knees before.  I always wondered if I was really going to live the rest of my life without a taco and then I'd give in and be back to my old habits.  Well, this time I'm pretty sure I've made it past all the looming doubt and am satisfied with my choice but I've been avoiding anything remotely Mexican out of fear of failure.  I have taken a few baby steps like making Mexican Cauliflower (a riff on the rice dish) and I did eat at Chipotle the other day (salad, thank you).  So when I saw Sarah's chili colorado I had enough of avoiding my favorite cuisine.  I stopped at the store and picked up some stew meat, went to the pantry and grabbed my jars of chiles and spices and got with it!  I never really have a recipe when I'm making a chile sauce and I never knew the proper name for a red sauced beef dish is Chile Colorado.  But it's never to late to learn a few things and now I'll actually have a record of what I put in the pot.   While my sauce is a little darker due to ancho and negro chiles it's still tasty!  I've been eating it for breakfast in lieu of my standard bacon and eggs and I'm loving it!!


10 Pasilla chiles
2 Ancho chiles
2 Negro chiles
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 small can Herdez salsa casera
Chicken stock
1T. cumino
2T. mexican oregano
1-2 lbs of beef stew meat
  1. Stem and seed the chiles then put them in a pot with about 3-4 cups of stock.  When the stock begins to boils turn the heat down and let them simmer 10-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile brown the beef in a dutch oven or pot then remove.
  3. Add the onions to the pot and saute until soft then add the garlic.
  4. Add the spices and beef back to the pot along with the salsa casera.
  5. Add the chiles and liquid to a blender and puree.
  6. Pour the chiles sauce into the pot and stir well.
  7. Cook at a low simmer for about an hour so the sauce reduces and the meat is tender.
  8. Serve with a big dollop of guacamole!

In the News

While browsing the headlines I found the the headline pasted below and just had to click on it.  As a former fast food junkie I sometimes think about that food but not because I crave it.  I think about how much of it I used to eat.  It's embarrassing to admit just how much fast food I ate.  I ate it often and I ate huge quantities when I went.  It's no wonder I was a mess. 
"Wendy's Natural Cut Fries: Better Tasting, Yes. Natural, No"
Wendy's introduced the "natural cut fries" shortly after I had started Paleo and during a conversation amongst coworkers about the fries, I remember thinking I'll never know what those taste like.  In the past I would have hit the drive thru at the first opportunity I had in order to do my own taste test.  Today I'm content not know what they taste like.

There was a rather interesting paragraph in the article that I think sums up the state of nutrition in this county.

To make food cheap they eliminate quality.  In order for it to look good they add chemicals to offset the effects of shelf life.  And to think, I put all of that in my body.  Yuck! 
That, says CMO Ken Calwell, would be too difficult given fast food customers' demands for items that are cheap and can be hoisted through a car window.  People are saying they want high integrity ingredients, things their grandmother would have used, that don't look like they came out of a chemistry lab," Calwell explained in an interview with BNET. "But they're also saying I've got a family to feed and can only afford to spend about $4 on my lunch, and I've only got about a minute or two to eat it."

The link is below is to the article in case you want to read it.  It's short and won't take much time and they even tell what they spray on the fries to keep them looking good and what they dump in the oil  so it's able to withstand repeated fryings.  You may not want another fry after this.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cooking in Bulk

Well, it's my weekend to work again.  That's means I need to cook all my meals in advance so that I am prepared and ready for my busy week.  This week I also prepared a couple dishes for my Mom so she has paleo meals for the next few days.  She wanted me to prepare the Saudi chicken dish that I found over at PaleoMiddleEastern the other day.  I also prepared an old family favorite, hamburger stew, which is very paleo friendly.  I usually try to make a meal when I visit my parents just so I can dazzle them with my culinary brilliance show them how tasty and easy paleo cooking can be.  Tonight I chose to prepare a dish from Mod Mex: Cooking Vibrant Fiesta Flavors at Home by Scott Linquist.  I have quite a few Mexican cookbooks but they are all traditional cooking.  Mod Mex is the only modern Mexican cookbook that I own. 
I was raised on Mexican food and in the first few weeks of my Paleo life I had the most doubt about my new lifestyle whenever I thought of Mexican food.  Let's face it, a taco isn't a taco without the shell.  I've been hesitant to try any Mexican style cooking because it's just not going to be the same without tortillas, rice and beans.  I did make a cauliflower dish a few weeks back that was a riff on Mexican rice.  It turned out really well so I made it for my Mom.  She was really pleased with it and said it satisfied the urge she was having for those flavors.  So, I browsed through some of my cookbooks and thought I'd try a few things from Mod Mex.  Mainly because they aren't the traditional dishes that I grew up with and I thought that maybe I could work my way towards trying more Mexican flavored dishes in the future.

Pepita Encrusted Salmon

2 C. of pumpkin seeds, raw
2 T. olive oil
s & p to taste
Salmon fillets, skinless
2 eggs, lightly beaten

1.  Toss the seeds in the oil and season to taste with the salt and pepper. 
2.  Toast in a skillet until they are lightly brown and starting to become crisp.  Remove from heat and let cool.
3.  Once the seeds have cooled slightly add them to a food processor and pulse until they are coarsely ground.
4.  Dip the fillets in the egg wash and then dredge in the ground pepitas.
5.  Cook in a hot skillet until fish is done.

* I was suppose to serve this over chili verde but I forgot to make it.

I served this with mashed rutabaga that had a few cubes of butternut squash in it and some collard greens with bacon bits and tequila soaked golden raisins.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Extra, Extra!!!

Today while perusing my news pages I came across a headline stating that the Chicago school district was going to ban homemade lunches at their schools.  Here's the link.  I remember school lunches from when I was a kid and they weren't to bad.  However, I recently saw a listing of the school lunches offered in the city I live in and they were atrocious.  It was hamburgers, pizza, chicken nuggets, tater tots and french fries.  This was all during the same week.  Since I have an awful memory I don't want to say that we never got this kind of stuff but I seem to remember that we would sometimes get a junk meal on Fridays.  Sort of like casual Friday at the office.

Another headline stated that States were cracking down on junk food.  They are stipulating what sort of food gets served at office parties, regulating calories per serving, restricting advertising on state property and in general creating confusion without really taking any meaningful steps.  Here's the link.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Odds & Ends

After my mass cooking for my work week I am usually left with a few scraps of various veggies and sometimes a little meat.  I only cook for one so I don't always throw it all in because then I'd have way more prepared than I could eat.  I'd rather bag the veggies and freeze the meat in order to make a different dish later on.  So today I found myself with some veggies in the fridge and not much direction in the culinary sense.  After some thought and visit to the freezer I thought I would just throw a bunch of stuff in the skillet and hope it turns out.  Here's what I had on hand: a ziploc baggie of cubed butternut squash, a bell pepper, onion and some mushrooms.  The freezer yielded some Italian sausage so I decided to combine it all.  It turned out pretty tasty and I was able to use everything up.  The bad part is that it made quite a bit and so I'll probably be eating this for the next 4 or 5 days.  Maybe I'll freeze a couple of servings and take them with me when I go to my parent's place.  Here's a pic of the dish: 
I just slice the onions and peppers and sauteed them until they were soft and starting to caramelize.  Then I added the mushrooms.  While this was cooking, I cheated and nuked the squash a little bit so that it was partially cooked.  I removed the onions mixture from the skillet and took the casing off the sausage and made mini-meatballs.  I dropped them in the skillet and cooked until they were 3/4 of the way done.  I wiped out most of the grease and then added the onion mixture and squash.  I rummaged around in the fridge and found a small container of fire-roasted tomatoes (about 1/3C.) and added that with a splash of chicken stock.  I covered and let it stew for about 10 minutes and called it good.

I also prepared a chicken dish that I found on PaleoMiddleEastern's blog.  Here's the link to the recipe.  It's super tasty!  I used all the same ingredients but my cooking method was different because I didn't want the oven on for an hour.  It was pretty toasty here today and we haven't turned on the air yet so I didn't want to heat the house up more than it already was.  It was just 40 degrees here a couple of days ago and rainy yesterday but it warmed up to 85 today.  So the dogs and I were fussy little babies about the house being warm.  I ended up preparing this in the crock pot and didn't have a bit of problem.  I just put all the veggies in the bottom and piled the chicken (I used legs) on top.  I put it on high and let it go for about 3 1/2 hours.  After a couple of hours I took the chicken out and browned it in a skillet so it would look so pale.  I put them back in the pot and mixed it all up.  I was really please with how it turned out.  Super yummy!
Today, I took a little leap towards my next goal...exercise.  I don't do any right now and I know that I need to be moving.  This is probably going to be tough for me.  I took the dogs to an area near our house that is only used a couple times a year for tractor pulls and an antique tractor show.  It has lots of open space so the mutts can be off leash and I don't have to worry about running into other people or run a chance of them getting to the road.  Today I decided to do some short "bursts" of running.  Although I don't think you could call what I was doing running or bursts of speed.  At one point I kicked it in high gear and was loping along when the little guy thought it would be fun to sideswipe me.  I, of course, dropped like a sack of potatoes.  At least I was on the meadow so the impact wasn't too bad which is good because I dropped right on my bum knee.  It has a huge scab from a tumble I took about a week and half ago that skinned both knees, sprained my thumb and tore a big whole in the knee of my jeans.  Perhaps I'll get better at staying upright while running or at the very least maybe I'll learn how to fall more gracefully!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Grill Time!

It's not often that my Sister and I have the same day off.  When we do we usually plan to hang out and generally plan dinner for the night.  Since the weather has been warming up, I knew I wanted to get my little Lodge Sportsman grill out and throw some stuff on.  So tonight we decided on ribs and we picked up a wide assortment of veggies at the grocery store.  I didn't take a pic of my plate but my sister broke out her iPhone and snapped a shot.
We put 2 slabs of babybacks on the grill and used two different homemade dry rubs.  They were both awesome!  The first was a Memphis style rub and the other is a seasoning rub that Emeril makes called Bayou Blast.  It was a toss up but I think I preferred the Bayou Blast.  We served it with roasted brussel sprouts, Mediterranean green beans and a warm salad comprised of zucchini & yellow squash, red onions, asparagus and a medley of olives in a oil/wine brine.  It was a wonderful meal.

Memphis Rub
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne

Bayou Blast
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Mediterranean Green Beans
  • 1 lb. green beans, top and cut in half
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
1.  Saute the onion in olive oil until soft.
2.  Add the garlic and cook until it's aromatic.
3.  After rinsing the green beans add them to the skillet while the water still clings to them.  Cook until they are all bright green.
4.  Add the tomatoes and a little water if necessary.  Cover and simmer until they are cooked through.
5.  Add the lemon juice and toss.

*I've never really timed it but I think it takes about 30-35 minutes for the green beans to cook.  Make sure they don't dry out. 

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

My favorite way to have them!  Just cut the ends off and remove outer leaves.  Cut them half and toss in a bowl with olive oil and pepper.  Put them in a baking dish and pop in a 400 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, tossing midway through the cook time.

Squash Asparagus and Onion Salad

For the warm salad we just cut the squashes into spears, the onion into thick slices and the asparagus into thirds.  We cooked them all in a grill pan then tossed with the olives and their brine.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bacon Free

This week, due to my still awful shopping skills, is a bacon free week.  Well, not entirely bacon free.  I did use the bacon grease I had been collecting to cook a few things in.  Although at first, I whined like a baby and wondered what I was going to make.  After awhile, when I realized no one was going to go buy some bacon I shut up and I started thinking about what I was going to prepare for my work weekend.  I usually prepare my dinners and breakfast at the beginning of  my work week so that I can just grab and go.  It works really well for me and being prepared is what keeps me Paleo.  I think I'm getting a little better about menu planning and I'm not ending up with two or three kinds of leafy greens to eat all week.  Now, if I just can remember to grab my lunch when I walk out of the house!  I've forgotten it twice in the past couple of weeks.  Thankfully my sister brought my lunch in yesterday thus saving me from the chicken strip, mashed potato, tater tots and corn extravaganza that was available in the cafeteria.  There was also the wilted salad bar and nitrate laden lunch meats.  Yikes, I was in for a long day but she came to the rescue!  Thanks Boo Boo!

So, here are a few food pics of what I'm eating this weekend.  First up is chicken and collards.  The bacon would have been awesome in this.  I pack this in a small container and have it for my midway snack/lunch.  I work twelve hours so I usually eat breakfast at home and then have a small lunch and supper at work.
2 Chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/2 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of collards
8-10 cherry tomatoes (I bought some sweet yellow tomatoes because they were cheaper)
white wine for deglazing
chicken stock or water for steaming
  1. Sautee the onion and garlic in bacon grease until it caramelizes.
  2. Add the chicken and cook.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the wine.
  4. Toss the collards in and add a little chicken stock or water, if needed.
  5. Cover and let steam until the greens have wilted a little.
  6. Add the tomatoes and cook a few minutes so they are heated through and starting to break down.
Next up is my dinner plate for a couple of nights.  I bought some chopped steak type of meat and just browned it in some olive oil.  I'm serving it alongside some sauteed zucchini that I paired with some leftover yellow tomatoes and some spicy chipotle butternut squash.  Here's the recipe for the butternut squash.
Butternut squash, cubed (1 small)
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 chipotle peppers with adobo sauce
1/2 can of fire roasted tomatoes
Cumin, to taste
  1. Saute the onion until it's soft and then add the garlic.  Cook for a few minutes until it's aromatic.
  2. Toss the squash in the skillet with some fat and let it cook.  I just go to the point that it's starting to brown up on all sides.
  3. Add the cumino and toss it all around for a minute of two.
  4. Blend the chipotles and adobo sauce with the fire roasted tomatoes.  Add this to the skillet with the squash.  Cover and cook until squash is soft.  (You may have to add a little chicken stock or water if it starts to dry out.  Basically you want the sauce clinging to the squash.)
  5. Sprinkle with some cilantro and serve.