Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Proof is in the Pudding: This Paleo Stuff Works

For the most part, my intent with this blog is to share tasty Paleo recipes that others might enjoy.  But, I just had to share today's exciting news.  This Paleo stuff works!  Now, I already knew that it helped with body re-composition (i.e., weight loss), because I've lost a fair number of inches and my husband lost his belly.  And I already knew that it helped my performance in the gym -- both lifting and CrossFit metcons.  And I knew that it helped alleviate my PCOS symptoms.  But even with all that, most people attribute it to plain ol' diet changes -- you know, that it's really that I just decreased my calories (although I actually eat more calories now than before, but whatever).  I know different, but it's hard to prove that food composition really matters.  

But today, I have some tangible proof (okay, maybe people will make the same arguments...).  My husband has had high cholesterol the entire time we've been married -- it started at the ripe old age of 22 for him (me, though overweight most of my life, great cholesterol, go figure).  I cooked for him the way you are supposed to according to the American Heart Association.  You know, low-fat, lots of fiber through whole grains, etc.  He's always been active and pretty much at his ideal weight (even with a small beer gut in the last year or two).  But always the cholesterol.  We figured it must be hereditary...not much else we could do, right?  Lipitor was in his future.  

Fast forward to 6 months of primarily Paleo eating for the hubby, and guess what the results showed today?  Cholesterol that is in the normal range.  Seriously -- only 6 months of generally eating Paleo and we've accomplished something that 12 years of the SAD couldn't accomplish.  For me, the proof is in the pudding...or should I say lab work?

I imagine if you've somehow found my little blog that you're already interested in Paleo.  But if you're sitting on the fence, wondering if you can really make this kind of commitment, I encourage you to give it a try.  What do you have to lose (except for inches and some points on the bad cholesterol)?

A quick and easy recipe coming your way soon.  Lots of traveling this week, which means no cooking at home or recipes to share.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Baked "Spaghetti"

My sweetie traveled all week and said his stomach hurt from all of the eating out.  This was my creation for his "welcome home" dinner.  I really wanted to try a chicken satay, but didn't get my chicken marinating (maybe tomorrow?).  Of course, his rental had a flat and he didn't get home until late...but he thought it was a great lunch today:)  I'm always looking for inspiration and this one comes from a baked spaghetti dish my best friend's mom made.

  • Ghee or other oil 
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (I used one red and one orange)
  • Mushrooms, diced, about 8 oz or so
  • 1.5 pounds sausage (look for a kind with no nitrates, and if you can find it, no sugar)
  • Olives, sliced or diced (I had about 10 sitting in the 'fridge)
  • 3-4 cups spaghetti sauce (homemade or jarred -- if jarred, look for one with no sugar, and if you're really hardcore, no alcohol)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 3-4 zucchinis, sliced lengthwise
  • 2/3 cup macadamia nuts, crushed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat ghee or oil in a large skillet or pot (big enough for veggies, meat, and sauce)
  3. Chop veggies (onion, peppers, mushrooms).
  4. Saute veggies until they are tender, but not brown.
  5. Add sausage and cook until no longer pink.
  6. Add olives, spaghetti sauce, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
  7. Simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavor to meld.
  8. Slice zucchinis.  If you have a mandolin, you can make pretty fast work of this.  I cut them longways (is that even a word?), for a long "noodle".
  9. Crush macadamia nuts.  You could whirl them fast in your food processor or take out the stress of the day and use a meat mallet
  10. Pour a ladle-full of sauce on the bottom of your baking dish.  Put a layer of zucchini "noodles".  Then add more sauce.  Layer until you are finished, ending with a layer of sauce and covering all of the zucchini.  Top with nuts.
  11. Put in the oven and bake between 15-20 minutes, or until nuts are browned, but not burnt.  Then, cover loosely with foil and bake another 15-20 minutes.  Remove, serve, and enjoy.  It might be a little "saucey", depending upon how thick your sauce is.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Browned Cabbage with Hot Pepper

I get a lot of questions asking what I eat for breakfast.  My usual response is: "uh, food?".  I don't know if folks think I eat small children and pets or if they just can't fathom life without milk & cereal; toast & jelly; bagels & cream cheese; etc.  After I mention the food part, I move to the basic explanation: "meat, good fat, and veggies".  That usually leads to the question: "so, what do eat"?  (I'm not kidding here.)  In response to that question, the answer for today is eggs and browned cabbage.  The cabbage (and eggs) is great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  It come straight from A Fresh Taste of Italy, although it's so simple, I can't believe I needed a recipe:)

  • 1 large head of cabbage (about 3 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, or to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste (optional)
  1. Cut cabbage into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Heat oil, garlic, and peppers in a large pot over medium-low heat.  Cook until garlic is fragrant, but not brown.
  3. Add cabbage and stir to coat cabbage with oil.  Cover and cook, stirring often, for about 20 minutes or so.  Cabbage should be lightly browned and tender.
  4. Sprinkle lightly with salt, if needed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Curried Ground Meat (Keema, Part 2)

Sorry about the title, inspiration left me.  Anyway, my real inspiration came from one of the recipes in Robb Wolf's new book The Paleo Solution.  As an aside, if you haven't read Robb's new book, you really should.  It's good.  He's funny.  It's a nice blend of the science from the Paleo Diet and the fun writing style of The Primal Blueprint.  Even if you're a Paleo expert, I think you could gain something from the book.  Anyway, back to the recipe.  As I looked at the recipe for Curried Pork, I thought, wow, that looks like a simplified version of Keema, with an added can of coconut milk and some fresh spinach.  But that's one thing I love about making Paleo foods -- the possibilities are endless, and the recipes can be as simple or complex as your little heart desires.  [I made a "double" batch so we'd have leftovers, but you can easily cut this recipe in half.]

  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1 onion, diced (optional)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork (use any combination of ground meat that you want)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (get the no salt added kind) or 2 firm tomatoes, diced (optional)
  • 1 Tbs ginger (optional)
  • 2-4 Tbs curry powder
  • 1 tsp minced hot pepper (optional)
  • 1 can coconut milk (get the full-fat variety)
  • Spinach (I had a big tub)

Heat oil over medium heat until hot.  Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the meat and cook until no longer pink.  Add the garlic, tomatoes, ginger, curry powder, hot peppers, coconut milk, and spinach.  Cook for a few minutes until blended together (maybe about another 5 minutes).  Cook about another 10 or 15 minutes until sauce has boiled down.  Taste and add more curry powder if needed.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Grandma's Beef Salad Salad

When I was growing up, we had a lot of beef roasts.  I don't really know why, but I think it was because the meat was fairly inexpensive and they didn't take a lot of on-hands cooking time (my grandma didn't really like to cook, although she always had dinner prepared for us.  Love you grandma!).  One of my favorite things was what she did with the leftover roast.  Basically, we had "beef salad sandwiches".  In other words, leftover beef, mixed with mayo, and onion, then spread on a sandwich and topped with lettuce and tomato.  If we had celery, pickles, and hard-boiled eggs, we might add that to the mixture.  Who knows why I liked it - certainly nothing special or fancy.  Anyway, today the idea came to me when thinking about what to do with the leftover roast from yesterday.  I remembered how my grandma made the beef salad, but swapped out the mayo with avocado.   I also stuffed the meat mixture into a tomato and served it on spinach. You could use many different ingredients and come up with the salad that fits your palate (and what you have in the 'fridge!).

  • Cooked meat, chopped (I used beef roast)
  • Avocados
  • Cayenne pepper (if I would have had a defrosted New Mexico green chile or jalapeno, I would have added that instead)
  • Diced onion
  • Tomatoes, insides removed (or, you could just slice the tomato on put on top of the salad)
  • Spinach and/or other salad fixings
  1. Dice meat.
  2. Dice onion.
  3. Core tomatoes for stuffing (or slice).
  4. Mash avocados until they are creamy.  Add cayenne pepper and diced onion.  Then add meat.
  5. Stuff avocados with meat mixture.  Serve on a bed of spinach.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Beef Roast

I've always liked beef, including beef roasts.  The problem was, the roasts we had growing up, were, well, dry (sorry, grandma!).  When I got to college, I thought that the solution was to top it with a can of cream of mushroom soup.  Now adays, I like to think I've progressed to something better.  There's a nice crust on top, but the meat is exceptionally tender.  Even my husband, who has never typically liked beef roast, thinks this version turns out pretty good.  

You'll want to adjust the seasonings for your taste and the size of your roast.  I had a pretty big roast.

  • 1 beef roast
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1/2 Tbs black pepper
  • 2 Tbs garlic powder
  • 1/2 to 1 Tbs onion powder
  • Juice of 1 lemon or lime
  • Optional: vegetables (e.g., carrots, turnips, brussels sprouts, etc.)
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Mix salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.  Then mix in lemon or lime juice to form a paste.
  3. Coat the top and sides of roast with paste.  Put roast in cooking pan and add vegetables (if using)
  4. Put roast in oven and cook for about 5-6 hours (cooking time will vary depending upon the size and thickness of your roast as well your oven).
  5. You'll know your roast is done when it falls apart with a fork and the paste has formed a nice crust.  If it's still tough when you pull it out of the oven, pop it back in and cook some more.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Grain-free Sunbutter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let me start by saying that I think dessert should be a pretty rare occurrence -- a real treat to be savored when you do indulge.  If you are trying to lose weight or cure your sugar demon, you should probably save these for another time, because sugar is sugar, regardless of the type.  But when it is time to indulge, I think you'll enjoy both the taste and ease of preparation of these cookies.  My family gives these two thumbs up!  I love sunbutter - it reminds me of peanut butter, only it's not (it's neither a legume nor nut, so those with nut allergies may be able to tolerate sunbutter).  They are adapted from a recipe by the Healthy Cooking Coach.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Spoon onto a baking sheet (grease baking sheet if it is not non-stick).
  4. Cook about 12 minutes.
  5. Makes about 16 small cookies.

Chicken Curry Clafouti

This recipe comes from a reader-submitted recipe at Marks Daily Apple.  I love it for a many reasons:  it's pretty quick (especially if you have some cooked chicken on hand from another recipe), easy, tastes good, and is easily adapted to other ingredients.  I've had good luck replacing the chicken and curry powder with blueberries and cinnamon as well as bacon, leeks, and tomatoes.

  • 6 eggs
  • 3-6 Tbs melted coconut butter or ghee (I think 3 Tbs gives it a wonderful flavor, but use more to taste)
  • 3/4 cup full-fat, canned coconut milk (use the portion at the top of the can that is more "cream")
  • 4 cups cooked, chopped chicken (don't overcook your chicken and don't add other seasonings to the chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons curry spice, or to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Butter a 10” round or 13×9” baking dish.
  3. Whisk together eggs, coconut butter/ghee & coconut milk until frothy.
  4. Mix in chicken and curry powder and pour into baking dish.
  5. Bake about 35 minutes until top is golden brown.  Really watch this toward the end -- you may need even less cooking time.  If you use ingredients with more liquid (blueberries, tomatoes, etc.) you will need to cook this a little longer.

Paleo Indian Tacos (Keema)

This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Padma Lakshmi, with a few tweaks to make it Paleo.  It's quick, easy, tasty, and you probably have most (if not all) of the ingredients on hand.  Can't get much better than that, can it?

  • Oil or ghee
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 16 oz ground meat (use any mixture you have on hand; I especially like beef and pork)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 firm tomatoes, diced (you can probably sub canned here, but make sure you get one without added salt and drain the water before use)
  • 1 Tbs ginger (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
  • 1 Tbs curry powder, or to taste (see earlier post for recipe)
  • 1 tsp minced hot green pepper (to taste; New Mexico green chiles work really well!)
  • 3 cups frozen okra (other veggies would work as well, including diced asparagus, green bell peppers, etc.) 
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (this is optional, but it really elevates the dish)

Heat ghee or oil over medium heat until hot.  Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the meat and cook until no longer pink.  Add the garlic, tomatoes, ginger, curry powder, and hot peppers.  Cook for a few minutes until blended together (maybe about another 5 minutes).  Add frozen okra and cook about another 10 or 15 minutes.  Taste and add more curry powder if needed.  Squeeze in lemon juice and stir.  Serve.  I like this over shredded cabbage (for a really fast dinner) or riced cauliflower (cooked).  You might also serve it like tacos in a large collard green or lettuce "shell".