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Friday, December 3, 2010

Pumpkin Chili -- PALEO






I love the fall. From the colors outside to the heart warming stews and soups. Even though I am from sunny So Cal, we do have the occasional tree that changes color on my block. And now that the temperature has dipped into the mid 60's it's time to break out a great fall recipe. Yes, the mid 60's is downright cold, just in case you were wondering. I realize that we are rapidly approaching winter and fall is almost over. But I've been a little busy lately, so I'm a bit behind.


This recipe is originally from Trader Joe's. It's just tweaked a little to take out the sugar and beans, etc. I never knew one could put sugar in chili. That just seems weird. All ingredients are available at Trader Joe's. If you don't have a TJ's in your area these ingredients are all available at your local natural grocery store.


So let's enjoy a big bowl of fall (ok... almost winter) Pumpkin Chili.


What you'll need:


3lbs. Ground turkey (or grassfed ground beef)

1 onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced (I like red, yellow or orange)

1 14oz can of canned pumpkin (make sure it's just pumpkin)

1 tsp pepper

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 jar chipotle salsa

1 box of Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

1 tsp cumin


What you do:


Cook the ground turkey, diced onion and pepper in a large pot until the meat is crumbly and no longer pink. Drain. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and then simmer for one hour.


That's it! Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Stirfry Pork Wrap - Paleo




I didn't really even know what to call this, but I do know it's amazing! I guess it was meant to be. You see, I had a pork roast sitting in the fridge for the last couple of days. As I went to throw it in the crock pot I could not find the lid anywhere... and I do mean anywhere. After about an hour of searching, I decided it was a lost cause and I would have to find another way to cook my pork roast. As I was reaching for one of my cookbooks this tiny sheet of paper floated down before my eyes. On it was a recipe for pork burritos. It must have been a really old recipe. We haven't used a tortilla in this house for a very long time. None the less, it started by creative juices flowing... The following is the actual conversation I had in my head:

hmmm... burrito? that's no good. What about a lettuce wrap? hmmm.... no lettuce in the fridge. Oh, but I love the flavor of lettuce wraps. Oooo... PF Chang's. OMG, is that a spider on the bananas? I could make the "guts" to a lettuce wrap, but that's no fun to eat with a fork. 6:15... shoot, I'm running out of time... What can I wrap it in? Tortilla... no. Mu Shu pancake? Temping, but no... crepe? ya... in my dreams. And then it came to me. AAAAAAAAA (angels singing) I will make a very thin pancake out of egg!

Ya... I'm nuts

What you'll need:
A pork roast or if you want to make it easy on yourself get ground pork
1 onion sliced thinly
1 package of coleslaw mix (cabbage, carrot)
1T ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3T Tamari (wheat free)
2 tsp sesame oil
2 T lime juice
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (mind the heat for the little ones)
1 egg per "wrap"
fresh chopped cilantro for garnish if you are trying to impress
What you do:
Since this is all about fast, get yourself the ground pork, brown and crumble it so it looks like taco meat. Add the ginger and garlic, onion and coleslaw mix and stirfry until veggies wilt.
Stir in the Tamari, sesame oil, lime juice and red pepper flakes. Blend all ingredients well. Turn off the heat and let the mixture rest while you make the eggs.
To make the egg "wraps":
Use a small skillet. Coat the skillet liberally with oil. Crack and beat an egg in a bowl and when the oil is hot add the egg to the pan. Swirl the pan so the egg spreads into a very thin pancake. Don't flip it. Just keep swirling until the egg cooks through. Slide the egg out of the pan onto a plate and keep warm.
Assemble just like a burrito and garnish with cilantro.
Enjoy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tuna Salad with Capers and Sundried Tomato


How insanely yummy does this look? I actually want to jump through the screen and have a bite right now! The inspiration for this little salad comes from my friend Carol at Anaheim CrossFit. She is a serious sea food lover. She is also on day one of her Paleo program along with a few other poor soles who I'm sure are in carb depletion hell right about now. Hang in there guys... it gets better.

It's also an ode to Carol because rumor is she doesn't know how to cook and you don't even really need to have a kitchen to make this salad. So let's get to it!

What you'll need:
Romaine, butter or any lettuce you happen to have laying around except iceberg. If you even have a shred of iceberg in your house you should go outside immediately and flog yourself repeatedly with the garden hose. I don't want to hear how iceberg lettuce make a great "bun" either. It basically has no nutritional value what-so-ever.
tomato
1 Persian cucumber (or 1/2 an English)
1/2 a red onion
a can of dolphin safe, free range, cage free, net free, line caught, humanely treated, grass fed albacore tuna packed in water (I'm being silly)
3 or 4 pieces of sundried tomato packed in oil
a couple tablespoons of capers
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
What you do:
Rinse the tuna and squeeze the water out of it. Put it in a small bowl and flake it up with a fork. Add the capers. Chop up the sundried tomatoes into bits and mix in with the tuna and capers. This is where your taste comes in. I like strong flavors so I like lots of capers and lots of sundried tomato. You may not, so play around with the amounts to your liking.
Chop up your lettuce, tomato and cucumber and mix together. Put that on your plate and top it with a big 'ol scoop of the tuna mixture. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon and garlic powder. Pour some over the salad.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chicken Vegetable Soup - PALEO




Disclaimer: I was home today... sick. I made this soup so everyone in my family would have something nourishing to eat since they are sick too. Translation: This recipe takes an hour but it's worth it :)


Do you ever have a half-eaten rotisserie chicken sitting in the fridge or am I all alone in this one? For me it usually starts when I bring one home from the store in the morning planning on using it for dinner (I'm usually making the big bowl of awesome yumminess. Check it out under salads)


When 5:00 rolls around and I go to the fridge to get my ingredients, I find my rotisserie chicken... The lid is mangled, the carton is ripped, the chicken looks like it's been attacked by a wild animal. It's clinging to life... hoping to be resuscitated. It's breasts are nowhere to be found and I'm left with two options. Starve or make dinner out of the underside of the chicken. The culprit who did this to my chicken shall remain nameless but let's just say he blew in at about noon, completely famished and went for it like it was the last supper. Ladies, if this happens to you on a regular basis you can solve the problem with a simple love note. Since we are an Italian household I prefer, "U toucha my chicken, I breaka u face". Just make sure it's displayed prominently to halt the meat hooks before it's too late.


So... as I was saying. I need to turn my half-masticated chicken into dinner. We happen to all be sick in this household right now so I think chicken, vegetable soup is in order.


What you'll need:


A rotisserie chicken, preferably with some meat still attached to it

veggies of your choice such as:

cabbage, carrot, broccoli, onion, bell pepper, etc.

1T Italian Seasoning

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 bay leaves

a little salt if you want


What you do:


Pick the chicken clean of meat and set the meat aside. Get a big ol pot of water going on the stove and drop the chicken carcass in the water with the garlic and bay leaves. Boil the heck out of it for about 45 minutes adding water as necessary to keep the level up. While waiting for the stock to cook saute your veggies until they are crisp tender. Strain the stock with a fine sieve to get rid of the bones and other particles. Return the stock to the pot. TASTE. Does it need a little salt? Is the flavor of the stock too strong for you? If so add some water. If you are not used to homemade stock the flavor will be more intense than the flavor of boxed broth.


Add in the veggies, the chicken and the Italian seasoning and simmer about 10 minutes.


Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Steak with Tomatoes and Feta - PRIMAL












My life has certainly changed since the beginning of this blog nine months ago. Back then I was a harried mother of two-year old twin boys with a heck of a lot on her plate and not enough time in the day to do it all. Wait... that sounds familiar...






The change has come around in the way of being a gym owner (my husband surprised me on my 40th birthday) and taking care of my mom who is very ill. Those two things have put me right over the top and headlong into crazy-land. Now is not the time to be disorganized... Alas, I am.






I'm not organized by nature. I struggle with it every day. I am a typical mother screaming down the freeway to the next appointment or play date. I am the mother who makes the grocery list and conveniently leaves it in my car or on the kitchen counter, not figuring this out until I'm elbow deep in the zucchini and I can't remember if I am out of tomato paste. I am the mother who has three inches of grey roots that desperately need to be covered but no time to do it, so I'm sure by now people are confusing me with a skunk.






For those reasons and many more, I decided to bring Primal Mama to semi-homemade status. I will still be including scratch recipes but they are going to be lightning fast. Some of my recipes won't be recipes at all. They will be about what you can pick up and throw together, because I know most of you out there feel me. We may have totally different backgrounds and lifestyles, but I know most of you are trying to fit 40 hours into 24.






This brings me to my next announcement:






Primal Mama is also going to include recipes that are, well... Primal.






Yes, that is right... I'm branching out big time. This may upset all of you Paleo diehards but if you look back on my recipes, many of them are not "pure". I will never give up my use of vinegar and truth be told I love and a desperately miss cheese. Now let me explain the fine print.






When I say cheese, I don't mean those nasty plastic filmed slices of yellow dye #17 mixed with corn syrup and gluten. This is what they lovingly refer to as "processed cheese food". What in the name of all things sane does that mean? First of all the word "processed" is displayed right on the front of the package. That's scary enough. They don't even attempt to hide it or call it something else like the case of Yogurt Bites marketed to children with "yogurty goodness" printed on the front and "contains no yogurt" printed so small you have to have the Hubble telescope to read it. Oh man, I've gone off on a tangent again. By this time you should be used to it.






I mean cheese... real cheese. 100% grass fed New Zealand cheddar (Trader Joe's) or raw cheese from US Wellness. I also love sheep's milk feta. The real stuff not the rubbery "Athenos" brand or the like. Real feta can be found at a Mediterranean market. If you live in the middle of "lilly white world" you may have to order it on line. And the bonus of good feta is... It's grass fed!






So you will see some recipes in the future that contain some cheese. I will label them with PRIMAL if the recipe contains cheese or vinegar or other dairy products. I will label the recipe PALEO if it fits in that category. For example:






PRIMAL RECIPE:






Steak with Roasted Tomato and Feta






What you need:






Grass Fed steak (I used Rib Eye)






A container of cherry tomatoes






1/4 to 1/2 cup awesome quality feta






olive oil






cracked black pepper






dried parsley






What you do:






Preheat oven to 400. Place the cherry tomatoes on a cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil over them. Roll them around the pan so they get coated in the oil. Sprinkle with black pepper. Put them in the oven and forget them for about 20 minutes. The tomatoes are done when most of them have popped and have a semi-deflated look. In the meantime grill up the steaks to your liking. If you are not a grill master, it is worth the money to buy a grill pan and cook them stove-top.






Plate the steak and put a scoop of cherry tomatoes on top. sprinkle with the feta and a little dried parsley for color.






Enjoy!



Friday, September 3, 2010

Primal Mama Goes Semi-Homemade




I know, I know, it's a big announcement. But I have to do it or this family is never going to eat again. Since becoming the proud new owner of Anaheim CrossFit my time for cooking has been whittled down to opening a bag of salad greens at about 9pm.


My poor husband. I lured him into marriage with my cooking. Every night I would cook no less than four courses of delicious and beautiful food complete with table setting. He would come home from work and the entire house smelled like the dish I was making. I even wore an apron... and make-up.


Exactly 20 months after we married all hell broke loose in our house. Yes, I am talking about the birth of our twins. Ever since that beautiful day in January of '08 our house has been utter madness. I remember thinking that things could not get anymore chaotic. Now I just laugh at those memories. The truth is that things have gotten more chaotic exponentially. Only now on most days I roll with the punches. Oh, who am I kidding...


I digress.


The point of this post is to announce that I will be offering many recipes from now on that are faster than fast. They will consist of things you can grab from the market and literally put together in a snap. Can you open a bag? Can you hold the handle of the knife while using the sharp end to cut? Then you can make these recipes!


So let's kick off with a little kabob and side salad that is beautiful and tasty. You can have dinner on the table in 10 minutes or less.


What you'll need:


premade kabobs from your local store (I like Sprouts)

a package of salad greens

a small packet of walnuts

a container of blackberries

a small container of strawberries

a small handful of dried cranberries (these contain sugar)


for the dressing:


equal parts of olive oil and lemon juice


What you do:


Preheat your broiler/grill pan and throw on the kabobs turning them every few minutes until cooked through. When you buy them from the butcher they can give you exact cooking times... just ask them!


While the kabobs are cooking, toss all of the ingredients for the salad together. All you have to do is open the containers, slice the strawberries in half and dump everything into a bowl. Whisk together the dressing.


Serve. Done.


This picture is from a restaurant where I had lunch with friends. It was my inspiration to recreate this meal in no time flat. Good luck!


Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Italian Burgers with Marinara and Eggplant

Sometimes I absolutely love it when I screw up. Don't get me wrong, there's more times than not when I'm kicking myself for it. Like the one time that I waited six months to get my son in to see this "premiere" neurologist only to find that I left the house, got completely lost, didn't have the phone number and had an old address. That was no bueno. Or the time when I decided to go to my favorite ethnic grocery store deep in the heart of Anaheim on a Tuesday afternoon. Tuesdays are their "sale" days where you can actually save 1/2 a cent on their already rock bottom prices and it seems to bring out the entire populous of Southern California. Every cart was taken and I felt like Steven Segal in Under Siege trying to get to the cucumbers.



But let's get to the good screw ups. Like the time last year when my husband loaded my bar at CrossFit much heavier than I thought he did. I told him the weight I wanted and he upped it by 10 pounds. I finished the WOD without ever knowing and ended up doing "heavy Fran". I screwed up for not checking my weight, but came away with a sense of accomplishment I would have never allowed myself.



And now let's talk about the screw up that created this post. I've been making dinner in the morning the past week or so. It's the only time that I have to do it since my husband and I are now the proud owners of Anaheim CrossFit. Our partner coaches in the morning and we coach in the evening. Yes, the evening... right across dinner time. This leaves me with exactly zero time in my day to be disorganized or forget anything. Alas... last night, dinner was forgotten. I was scheduled to make my meatballs (the first recipe post on this blog). They are super yummy and cook in the crock pot so they are really easy. But the trick is that you have to remember to actually make them. Fail.



So I had the grass fed ground beef and Hot Italian Sausage defrosted. What in the world was I going to do with that? Pasta?... Not on your life. Then by divine Italian intervention, it came to me. I would make a version of nothing I had ever heard of.



What you'll need:


a pound of grass fed ground beef

a package of Hot Italian Sausage (I used pork)

a jar of Trader Joe's marinara (look for lowest sugar possible)

an eggplant (optional)


What you do:


Mix the ground beef and 4 links of sausage (casing removed) with your hands. Give it a good squish to really get it mixed well. Shape the meat into hamburger patties and set aside. Cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch slices that can be put on top of the burger. Brush the eggplant with oil and sprinkle with pepper. Grill the eggplant on a grill pan or saute it until it's soft and set aside.


While the eggplant is grilling, cook the burgers in a deep skillet until no longer pink in the center. Top each burger with a slice of grilled eggplant and then pour the Marinara sauce over each burger. Turn the flame down low until the dish heats through.


I knew that this was a keeper when I had to leave the kitchen to tend to my boys. When I returned the pan of six burgers had been reduced to four... sans eggplant. The lonely mutilated eggplant lay in the bottom of the skillet clinging to life. Mental note... husband despises eggplant. So except for the eggplant faux pas I got two thumbs up and no leftovers. I hope you enjoy this easy dish as much as we did... eggplant or not!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mark Sisson is coming, Mark Sisson is coming!




Aloha and greetings from Hawaii! I am here enjoying a week with my sister's family, my family and my mom. It's been a very long time since all of us have been together under one roof (well, three condos really). We are having some great laughs by the pool, eating lots of yummy primal dishes and CrossFitting our hearts out at our friend Kimo's Place, CrossFit Hawaii. It's the greatest thing in the world to have my family by my side when we are doing a WOD. Even my little guys get into it. One of my twins can do overhead squats and burpees. Have you ever watched a toddler squat? It's a beautiful, flexible and fluid motion. And how they can hold it at the bottom endlessly with a perfectly straight back?... wow.


Anyway, shifting gears, my purpose for this quick note to you is to announce that Justin Flynn, owner of Orange Coast CrossFit, located in Costa Mesa, CA, is having Mark Sisson, of Mark's Daily Apple come on down and impart all of his wisdom in a talk held on Wednesday, August 18, at 6:00 pm. There are only 75 spots and it's about a third full within 24 hours of the announcement. One of the best things is it's affordable at $20.00 a head.


I am an avid follower of Mark Sisson. His advice is sound, he is steeped in the primal ways and at 50 plus years old, it is obvious that he practices what he preaches. His book, "The Primal Blueprint" is a wealth of information, easy to read and very entertaining while getting the point across. He also has a new cookbook out that I'm anxious to check out.


If you are anywhere in the area and you can get to this seminar, I highly recommend it. So come on down to Orange Coast CrossFit, say hi to me and soak up all the info that Mark Sisson has to offer. You will leave enlightened!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Chicken with sun dried tomato and onion relish

Many of my recipes are accidentally on purpose. Now you're thinking... "What exactly does that mean?" Well, what it means is that I haven't grocery shopped in more than a week and the ratio of food to laundry in my house is way out of proportion. If only the fridge were as full as the laundry basket we'd be in recipe makin' heaven! But alas, that is not the case... not even close.





I've managed to actually defrost some chicken so that's a start. I open my refrigerator to find the usual... A tumble weed rolling by, an old cow skull, the theme song from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly plays in my head as I stare down the last onion. (Gosh I love Clint Eastwood). Fortunately this time around it's a blessing to be limited on time and ingredients in the kitchen.





I pull out my trusty jar of sun dried tomatoes, a lonely purple onion, some olive oil and a smattering of pine nuts that I've found in the depths of my freezer. Good enough for me! Let's make some chicken.





What you'll need:




All of the above ingredients, plus boneless chicken breasts, garlic powder and pepper




What you do:




Start of by marveling at the lack of ingredients in this dish. Remember that feeling as you take you first bite and are shocked by the wonderful flavor. It can't be this good and this easy... can it?




Slice your raw chicken breasts in half horizontally and pound the thicker side down a bit so the chicken breast is an even thickness. Give it a sprinkle of garlic powder and ground black pepper on both sides. Get a pan nice and hot with a swirl of oil and lay the chicken breasts (two at a time... don't crowd the pan or the temperature will drop and you will have "steamed chicken"...ewww). Cook for about 3 - 4 minutes per side and remove to a plate. While the chicken cooks dice up the onion and cut about 7 large pieces of sun dried tomato into strips. You'll also need about 1/4 cup of pine nuts. Tent the chicken with foil to keep warm.




In the same pan, add a little more oil and drop in your onion. Saute it until its nice and soft. Add in the tomato and give it a stir for a minute. Lastly, stir in the pine nuts, lower the heat and keep stirring until the pine nuts brown. You can go from brown to burnt really fast here so pay attention!




Place the chicken on a plate and top with the sun dried tomato and onion relish. It looks very gourmet when you are done so don't let our little secret out!




Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Emergency Dinner - Broccoli Chicken

Most of you know already that I am an extremely busy, overtaxed, slightly neurotic mother of four. Two grown daughters, and twin boys that are now 2 1/2. My oldest daughter is turning 21 in a couple of weeks, my youngest daughter just graduated from high school and my boys... Well, my boys continue to try to snuff the life out of me on a daily basis. I think they may be succeeding. Sometimes I take a step back, look at myself in the mirror and laugh hysterically. What in the world was I thinking having more children at 40? I am really starting to think that women have a built in "forget" mechanism that blocks out our children's ages at 18 months - 4 years and ages 13 -17. We have to. Otherwise there would be no children on this earth. So I'm smack dab in the middle of the 18 months - 4 years category. But this time around I have been blessed with two "full steam ahead" maniacs at once. Those of you that have boys are nodding in agreement right about now.





Between the screaming and the throwing of objects, the constant protests, the refusals to nap even when their eyes are practically rolling back in their heads; the demands for "more juice!" (it's 90% water... don't get all freaky on me), the eating of rocks, prying my son's mouth open only to find "wings and legs" and the obligatory wail for having a toy snatched out of tiny hands followed by the retaliation bite and conquer, I guess I'm right where I should be... staring down the double barrel of toddlerhood at point blank range... and I think I'm out matched. Don't get me wrong. I love my kids. (when they're sleeping). :) So with my flack jacket, my toddler mace, my helmet and an occasional glass of wine, I spurn on.





I think you can actually hear the theme song from Barnum and Bailey's Circus when you walk through the front door of my house. It is a literal circus combined with a zoo and a war zone most days. Not only are the kids at a tough age but the dishes in the sink are having little dish babies right before my eyes and the laundry looks like the blob oozing out the top and spilling over the side of the basket. Seriously! We only have four people living in this house and two of them are under three feet tall. How can there be so much laundry?





So in between my usual duties: nurse maid, referee, diaper changer, taxi, nurturer, boo boo fixer, good cop/bad cop, facilitator, house keeper and physical education coordinator (not to mention jungle gym and pillow) I also have to find time to cook. Well, lately I haven't had any. So today I am happy to bring you my latest emergency dinner.





What you'll need:




A rotisserie chicken


broccoli florets


olive oil or oil of your choice




for the sauce:




5T wheat free soy sauce (I apologize to the paleo gods, but I'm not giving it up)


2tsp sesame oil


2T rice wine vinegar, no sugar, no salt version


1tsp garlic powder


1tsp ginger


1tsp honey, optional


black sesame seeds for garnish


nuts: almonds or cashews... or which ever you like




What you do:




Start by whisking up the sauce. If you are using more than half of the chicken or if you like a stronger flavor (like me), double the sauce recipe. Debone and cube up the rotisserie chicken and put it in a bowl. Poor the sauce over the chicken and let it take a little swim. Take out a large pan and get it nice and hot with your oil. Next place the raw broccoli in the pan and stir-fry it for about 3 minutes. It won't be cooked through so here's what you do next. Take a 1/3 cup of water (or chicken broth if you want to get all fancy) and poor it in. BEFORE YOU START: Have the lid to the pan in the other hand. Quickly poor in the water and cover the broccoli with the lid. Now you are steaming the broccoli but it will still have a "pan fried" taste. Take the lid off when all the water is absorbed. Stir in the chicken and heat it through.


Plate this beauty and sprinkle with black sesame seeds and a palm full of chopped nuts.


Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cajun Scallops

I've lived a whole lifetime since we last talked... and it seems that I have emerged stronger. Sometimes certain circumstances seem so daunting there comes a crossroads; a choice. The choice for me was to crumble or to look within and pull from a strength that I reserve for the hardest times in life.



Most of you know by now that my mom is terminally ill. This was a complete shock since my mother has never had a medical problem in her life. She is 71 but looks and acts 50. She is completely self sufficient, could throw her own suitcase into the overhead bin of an airplane while traveling the world solo and out squat many of us. So when the words "stage 4 brain cancer" came out of the doctor's mouth, all we could really do was stare at each other in disbelief. Of course this spurred the all encompassing question in my mind: "Why?"



Well, I don't know the why and I probably never will. But what I do know is that I watch my mother's continuous grace under fire. She is the epitome of strength, of mercy, of love. She still smiles just as big. She still has a sparkle in her eye. She is humble and honest and courageous. In the wake of radiation, her hair falling out, the right side of her body failing her and her beautiful face swelling from massive doses of medication, she doesn't complain. She only hugs her family with all of the love that a mother could give and suggests that we go get hamburgers and shakes and fries and mud pie with a huge smile and her car keys in her hand. She insists that we live it up and party like rock stars with the time we have left together. I wouldn't have it any other way.



I know that many of you have lost parents, or children, or other loved ones and some of you have lost them without warning. For that, I am deeply sorry and wish you peace. I am grateful and humbled that I have time with my mother. Whether it is days or months, it is time and I am taking full advantage of every minute.



I know that one day sooner than we all hope for, the inevitable will happen. I am deeply saddened when I think of what lies ahead. But I am equally grounded in the fact that I embody my mother's spirit and she will truly never leave me. I have her strength and her decision making ability. I have her warmth and her genuine compassion for others. I have her giving spirit. I have my mother's adventurous side and the little part that likes to flirt with danger. I am forward and honest because of her. I am my family's rock, all because of my mother. Some of these qualities took me years to achieve... other's were just innate. But they are all qualities that I am proud of and come squarely from her example.



I chose Cajun Scallops to honor my mother. Cajun because she's spicy and scallops because they've always been a family favorite.



So here's to you mom! You are and forever will be my hero.



What you'll need:


Olive oil

1 large red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings

1tsp Cajun seasoning

1/2tsp black pepper

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/2 cup chicken broth (low sodium, gluten free)

1 pound of fresh sea scallops

Tabasco


What you do:


Get out a heavy frying pan and coat it with some olive oil. You can use coconut oil or other oils if you want. Get the pan nice and hot and toss in your scallops. There's a little trick here: Don't stir the heck out of the scallops. Just let them sit, first on one side and then the other. I would say about a minute per side depending on the size of the scallops. You want to cook them until they are just opaque inside and not like rubber superballs. I always do a "practice scallop" and then cut it open to check the "doneness". Remove the scallops to a plate and keep warm by tenting with foil. Throw in the onion and saute it until it's soft about 5 minutes. Add in the Cajun seasoning and pepper and stir until well combined. Now stir in the chicken broth, the garlic and a dash or two of Tabasco and start scraping the pan to get up all the browned bits of flavor goodness. Really give it a stir and a scrape. You are making a quick sauce here. Once the sauce has reduced slightly, turn off the flame and add the scallops back in to coat them with the sauce. Serve immediately so the scallops don't continue to cook.


Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Baked Chicken with Mushrooms and Olives

Sometimes I think I need to rename this blog "The chicken blog". We eat A LOT of chicken in this family. My true favorite is grass fed beef, but there are only certain things you can do with a piece of grass fed beef besides grill it. I love the true flavor of how meat should taste and don't like to muck it up with a lot of sauces and spices.



Chicken on the other hand is a different story. I can think of nothing more gross than a plain old piece of chicken with nothing on it. Ewww. No thank you. It reminds me of "Cybergenics" if any of you are old enough to remember along with me. I think it must have been the late 80's when Cybergenics hit the market. It was all the rage. Take 413 different kinds of supplements with god knows what in them and eat nothing but boiled chicken and green beans and watch the weight fall off! The package came complete with full color photos of before and afters that were mind blowingly awesome (and equally photo shopped, I'm sure). I must admit, I fell for this diet. And so the journey began...



The journey ended as promptly as it started. By the third day of eating nothing but boiled chicken and green beans I had succumb to the desire for a supersized #3 combo. I remember the exact feeling as my eyes glazed over, I grabbed the car keys and drove like a maniac straight to the golden arches of doom. That started a chain reaction and by the end of the week my Cybergenics story ended with a three pound weight gain.



Years later when I actually learned to cook, I vowed to myself and all eating my food that I would never make a plain old piece of chicken. This chicken recipe has some of my favorite flavors and a good healthy dose of fat from the olives. I hope you love it!



What you'll need:


4 - 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup green onions, chopped

1/4 cup lemon juice

3T olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1tsp dried rosemary

1tsp dried oregano

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup black olives, sliced


What you do:


Start in the morning by mixing up the lemon juice with the spices, olive oil and green onion in a zip lock. Add in the chicken and give it a good squish. Let it sit in the fridge all day until you are ready to cook in the evening.


Preheat oven to 400. Place chicken pieces in a lightly oiled pan. Bake covered for 25 minutes. Add the mushrooms and olives to the pan and continue baking covered until chicken is cooked through (about 15 more minutes give or take).


Alternative method: Have that hunk of a man (woman) in your life fire up the bbq and grill the chicken. Sautee the mushrooms and olives on the stove top. Pour the mushrooms over the chicken and serve. This is my preferred method as long as my husband is grilling shirtless :)


Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chicken Marsala




It's Wednesday and the images in my head of my team mate and me carrying a 140 pound log up and down the field at the CrossFit Southwest Regionals are finally starting to fade. I only wish the two giant black bruises on each of my shoulders would fade just as fast. I had the most amazing time over the last weekend. I got to meet new friends, cheer my team on, root for the individual athletes and see some of the most awesome displays of fitness in the world. I was all to sad to see it end. But everyday that passes by is a day closer to getting to go the CrossFit Games and cheer some more. I am inspired!


Seeing this incredible display of fitness reminded me of how important fueling our bodies properly really is. So let's get some good protein going in a delicious dish that's easy to make and really quick.




What you'll need:



4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (free range is best)

2 tsp ground fennel seeds

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

3 1/2 cups Marsala wine or chicken broth (low sodium/gluten free)

1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms (Mother's or other health food store)

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 shallots, thinly sliced

olive oil

4T plain coconut yogurt (So Delicious brand, Sprouts/Whole Foods/Mother's)



What you do:



Coat the chicken pieces with the fennel, pepper and red pepper flakes and set aside. In a deep saute pan, add the Marsala wine (or chicken broth), the garlic, shallots and dried mushrooms. Bring this mixture to a boil and then simmer it until it reduces by half. While the sauce is simmering use a grill pan (or your barbeque) to cook up the chicken. I like to slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally and pound out the thick end to make more of a cutlet before cooking. When the sauce has reduced, remove it form the heat and whisk in the yogurt. This gives the sauce a creamy texture. Plate the chicken and pour the sauce over the chicken.


Enjoy!


PS. When choosing your Marsala wine there are three choices. Secco, semi-secco and dolce. The Secco has under 40 grams of sugar per liter. In this recipe we are not using a whole bottle and there are about 4 to 6 servings in this meal. So the sugar content is respectable. If you are freaked out by this go ahead and use the chicken broth. The taste is still devine!



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Waldorf Salad




Greetings from Primal Slacker!

I know that all of you can relate when I say I have a busy life. If there were only like 900 more hours in the day, I think I could get everything done that needs doing. It seems the last couple of weeks have been extra challenging, though. I am proud to say that I am representing Orange Coast CrossFit as part of the affiliate team during Regionals. This great honor has taken over what microscopic moments I have left and filled them with WODs, stretching, chiropractors, ice packs, jacuzzi baths, etc. Ten years ago I'm sure the last sentence would not have read like that. It would have been a lot less about stretching and chiros and ice... But I have to counter that with 10 years ago I would not have been on the affiliate team. I was sitting on the couch, with a pizza and 26% body fat. Although I am getting older and it takes a little longer to recover, I have never been stronger both mentally and physically. So this is a long winded excuse to say I'm sorry I haven't posted a recipe in a while. I hope all of you did not turn to bread sticks in rebellion.

Summer weather is here today and I always feel like something light when it's hot. And so it is time to make a Waldorf Salad. YUM.

What you'll need:

1 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced apples
1/2 cup sliced grapes
1 cup diced chicken (Trader Joe's Just Chicken or rotisserie)
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup plain coconut yogurt (So Delicious brand)
1 T lemon juice plus a little more

What you do:

Look at this easy recipe and notice that you do not have to have a kitchen to make this. So all of you that do not cook... no more excuses. All you need is a knife and a bowl. (They're the sharp silver thing with the handle that will send you to the hospital if you grab the silver end and the thingy that looks like half a sphere). So get out your sharp thing with the handle and chop up said ingredients and place them in the half-sphere. Before you put the apple in, squeeze a little lemon over it so the apple doesn't brown and make your salad look ugly.

For the dressing mix up the yogurt and lemon and taste. If you like a little more tartness then add more lemon.

Mix the salad and dressing together and serve. That's about it! Go for it you non-cooks. I have every confidence that this one is bullet proof :)

Enjoy!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fajitas




Well, I'm a moron! For the last zillion years I have made fajitas at least a couple of times per month. It's such a regular go to item in the house that I was sure I had posted the recipe long, long ago. Alas, I had not! What evilness lurks in my brain to be withholding such an easy and delicious recipe from you? It's my favorite kind of dish to make too. Marinate in the bag all day... 10 minutes to the table at night. And hardly a dish to clean up (especially if you use paper plates). How "ungreen" of me... I know. Next time you see me, you can let me know what you think of my "ungreenness". But I am warning you, I deadlift over 250 pounds now... you may be playing with fire.

So let's get started.

What you'll need:
Grass fed skirt steak (4oz per serving)
1 purple onion
1 white onion
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 2 limes
zest of 1 lime
2 tsp chili powder
1tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne (or more for more kick)
additional lime wedges to serve with
guacamole

What you do:

Start this one off at about 11pm the night before. Prep for this great meal by praying to the gods that your son will sleep this fine night so you can be refreshed in the morning and actually feel human. At midnight realize that you have fallen asleep on the couch with a bite of apple hanging out of your mouth and the almond butter that should have gone in with the apple is now pasted to the side of your face and in your hair. At 12:05 thank your husband for taking over the child care duties while you passed out. Sit down on the couch with said husband and watch in amazement as the same son that did not nap, the same son that got up at 7am after only 4 hours of sleep the night before, the same son that has been going nonstop all day, continues to run and laugh and scream with delight and jump on his trampoline. Face it there is no end in sight. Now do what any other irrational and exhausted mother would do. Pack up your son and head on out for what we lovingly call the 55 loop. Drive the 55 fwy from Orange to Costa Mesa for the next hour until he falls asleep. Consider staying in the car all night. After all, it's quiet in there. Get back in the house and colapse into bed. Sweet dreams, you now have 4 hours until it starts again.

Now in the morning start off with a big-ass cup of coffee. Get out a 2 ziplock bags. Slice up the onions and peppers and place them in the first bag. Slice up the meat in strips making sure you slice across the grain. This ensures the meat is tender when cooked and not stringy. Put the meat in bag #2. Whisk up the olive oil, limes, lime zest and spices. Poor it over the meat, seal that baby up and squish it all around to coat the meat. Stick the meat and veggies in the fridge. When it's time to cook in the evening, get out your pan and cook up the veggies in a little oil until they are crisp-tender. In the same pan cook the meat in two separate batches so you don't crowd the pan. If you put all the meat in at once you will steam the meat instead of saute it.

Serve the fajitas up with some additional lime wedges and store bought guacamole. This literally takes 10 minutes to throw together. The perfect meal for when you are just shy of comatose.

Enjoy!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

BBQ Rub Pork Butt






Before I get started, let me just say that I am not from Texas. I am not from Louisiana or Alabama or any of the Barbeque states. I don't pull a smoker around hitched to the back of my car. I don't own overalls, make bathtub gin or say Yee Haw! Barbeque in my world is a verb, not a noun. So with that disclaimer you can rest assure that I am no barbeque genius.

Truth is I love real barbeque. I love the sloppy sauce, the smoke ring, the bark... It's pure heaven. As a matter of fact when my friend Jill's dad visits from Austin, TX (my surrogate home town) I am praying that he pulls his trailer sized barbeque grill all the way out here so he can feed me. I am also secretly hoping that his grill is manufactured in the shape of a pig...

So, what I am trying to do here is to create a barbeque like flavor and feeling in a paleo world. There are a few things that have to be eliminated to make barbeque paleo friendly. The big one of course, is sugar in all of its forms. So I made up this little dry rub and slapped it on a pork butt. Let me just say it came out so delicious it never made it to the plate. My husband and I, once again, scarfed dinner while standing over the stove like mad jackals devouring a zebra. When we were done we actually laughed out of embarrassment. It was quite a feeding frenzy.

And so with the barbeque god's pardon... here is my recipe for a nice little paleo friendly pork butt.

What you'll need:

3 pound pork butt (shoulder)
extra virgin coconut oil
a heavy cast iron skillet or dutch oven

for the rub:

1 3/4 T chili powder
1T paprika
3/4 T black pepper
3/4 T garlic powder
2 tsp Herbs de Provence
1tsp onion powder
1tsp mustard powder
1tsp cumin
1/4tsp cayenne pepper

What you do:

Preheat your oven to 350. Mix the rub spices together in a bowl. Take out your pork butt and coat it with the rub. You can use the entire amount of the rub or you can go a little lighter. The flavor is strong. We used the whole thing and loved it. Now give that pork butt a massage and work those spices in there!

Get your heavy pan going with a couple of tsp of coconut oil. When the pan is hot sear the pork butt on all sides. You're not cooking it here, you're just making a crust on the outside so just a couple of minutes per side at the most. When you are done searing, cover the pan with the lid or heavy aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes are up, turn the pork over and turn the oven down to 250. Cook the pork at one hour increments (turning it after each hour). It took me a total of 3 hours to cook ours. You will know that the pork is done when you can easily shred it. It will literally fall apart. The smell this puts off while it's cooking is out of this world. No wonder we scarfed the whole thing down in five minutes flat!

This is not a typical Primal Mama 15 minutes and you're done recipe, but it is worth the time if you have it to spare on the weekend. Sometimes I really need barbeque and this recipe satisfies that need. Let me know what you think!

Enjoy

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thai Beef Salad


So now let's talk about dinner. This dish is by no means original. In fact, very few dishes in the world are. But it's the way they can be changed to fit the paleo lifestyle that makes them unique. You've heard me profess my love of Thai food. It's got to be my favorite. But there's almost nothing that's going to be paleo friendly coming from that region of the world. (They do give us coconuts, bless their hearts). So we shall do a small tweak here and there and make a great paleo friendly Thai Beef Salad (que salivation).

What you'll need:

4 oz of steak per serving (Sirloin works well)
1 bag of salad greens
1 cucumber, scored and chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 large tomato, seeded and thinly sliced
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped
1 bunch green onion, chopped
1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
several limes, juiced
zest of 1 lime
1/3 cup olive oil
1tsp soy sauce (or fish sauce)
sweet chili paste (trader joe's or supermarket)

What you do:

In the morning, in a big baggie, marinate the steak in the olive oil and 3 crushed garlic cloves. Oh, what the heck, squeeze a lime in there, grate a tsp of lime zest, add a tsp of sweet chili paste and throw it in too. Let it sit in the fridge all day. When you are ready to start dinner, throw the bag of meat in the freezer for about 10 minutes. This firms up the meat and makes it easier to slice really thin. While you are waiting on the meat, slice up your onions, chop the cilantro, slice the tomato. If you have one of those really cool but utterly useless cucumber peely things (to make stripes on the cucumber skin) you can use that. Otherwise just scrape the skin with a fork or just leave it alone and chop the cucumber.

Take the meat out of the freezer and with an extremely sharp knife, slice it very thin. Heat a pan with a little oil and stir-fry the beef. Remove the beef from the heat when cooked and let it cool. Place all salad ingredients and meat in a large bowl.

Mix 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup lime juice, 1T. soy sauce (or fish sauce), 1 crushed garlic clove and 1tsp sweet chili paste for the dressing. Poor over the salad and toss to coat. If you want more heat you can use some red pepper flakes.

Enjoy!

ps. I have no idea why the first paragraph of this post is blue and underlined. I'm going to have my two-year old look at it for me when he wakes up.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Primal Mama Greek Pizza...(faint)


PLACE TOPPINGS HERE



There are lots of paleo pizza recipes out there and they're all pretty good. Reading through them got me inspired to make a pizza of my own. If you've been following my blog you know that I like a lot of flavor in my dishes. This pizza is no exception. Instead of a plain almond meal crust, we are going to jazz it up with some spices and veggies. You can add or omit anything that sounds good (or doesn't sound good) and the basic crust will still be there. So get you primal chef hat on and let's make a pizza!

What you'll need:
(2 servings)
crust:
1 cup almond meal (trader joes)
1 egg
1 tsp olive oil
1T minced sun dried tomato
1T minced kalamata olives
2tsp Italian seasoning

sauce:
1 can tomato sauce 8oz (low sodium)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1tsp onion powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning

toppings:

Quartered artichoke hearts
thin sliced red onion strips
bits of cooked chicken or cooked Italian turkey sausage

additional:

foil

What you do:

If you have a pizza stone use it. If not, use a cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 400. Mix your crust ingredients in a bowl with your hand until well combined. Mix your sauce ingredients together and let the flavors combine. Take your stone/sheet and cover the baking surface with foil. Spread a tsp of oil on the foil. Take the dough and press it into your shape of choice right on the oiled foil. This is not meant to be a deep dish pizza so spread that dough until it's about 1/4 inch thickness. Now bake the crust off for about 15 minutes. Open the oven door. Let the smell transport you to the Greek Islands. Imagine you're beach front with a glass of Grappa. Rename your husband Nickolos Stranokravokopolus. You're wild and free and enjoying the sunshine with no children in sight... aaahhhh.

Yes, I know pizza is from Italy but it's my fantasy so back off! If you want to go to Naples or Venice you can, I'll be on Santorini.

Back to the pizza. Spread the sauce out all the way to the edges of the crust and put the toppings on. Bake it for an additional 10 minutes. Let it cool slightly before cutting.

This in no way is New York pizza. The crust is more like a cracker than pizza dough. But it is a great pizza without the carb coma and fat ass that goes along with NY pizza. Feel free to play around with your own crust ingredients and toppings. Make sure you let me know what you come up with!

Enjoy!

ps. This makes a really good cracker bread for dipping or an open-face sandwich. Be careful though!!! The calories are pretty high!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Marinated, Grilled Chicken




Sometimes I feel really limited by eating so much chicken. I'm actually having a huge craving for something beef but I can't do a thing until my order from US Wellness comes in. I'm trying a few new cuts this go round so I'll have to see what I can create. Seafood is almost completely out for this family. The smell of it makes my husband sick. What I do like about eating so much chicken is that it makes me more creative in my recipes.

This chicken has a distinct Middle Eastern flavor. It's quite delicious and of course easy to make. I have to admit, I don't ever use the grill. It's not because I'm a girl, or because I think of grilling as the "man's job". It's because some years ago I had a freak grilling accident where I singed off a good percentage of my eyebrows and let's just say my bangs didn't need a trim for about six months. My daughter still laughs about it to this day. Of course she wasn't the one faced with a two-foot flame shooting out of the grill scaring me so badly that I dropped my cell phone into the BBQ. Well, okay... it is kind of funny now, but I can assure you I wasn't laughing back then. Can you imagine the look on the guys face at my local T-Mobile store when I brought in the half melted phone?? Priceless.

What you'll need:
4 Boneless chicken breasts (free range)
for the marinade:
1T. Dried mint
1T. Olive oil
1T. Lemon Juice
1T. Soy sauce (I know it's not paleo. Stop wagging your finger at me)
1tsp. Chili powder
1/4tsp Pepper
4 Garlic cloves, minced

What you do:

Wake up to another glorious morning. Stretch and smile... It's going to be a good one. Meander over to the kitchen and open the drawer that contains the staff of life... no, not bread silly... COFFEE. Root around in the drawer and realize that you have none. Drop to your knees and scream like Stanley Kawalski in Street Car Named Desire. Pull yourself off the ground using as much drama and histrionics as possible. Check out of the corner of your eye... Is your husband watching? This is the perfect time to smile meekly and give him the "will you go get me coffee" look. It usually works.

While you are waiting for your coffee throw all the marinade ingredients together in a bag and toss in the chicken. Give the bag a good squish to coat the chicken well. Let it sit in the fridge all day. Come dinner time it's ready to grill! You can bake it at 350 for about 20-30 minutes or until juices run clear if you don't have a grill.

Enjoy!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lettuce Wrap Carnitas




I owe my husband for this one. We were rushing all around one morning and both trying to get out the door for a very long day away from home. We were on our usual broken sleep pattern the previous night thanks to one of our little men that thinks sleeping is overrated. I was on my second cup of coffee and praying for mental clarity as I walked into the door jam for the second time that morning. Then I saw it... the pork tenderloin I had defrosting from last night. I just stared at it. I wasn't going to be home in time to prepare a pork tenderloin unless we planned on eating dinner at 10pm. That's when hubby noticed me... catatonic... staring... at a pork loin. I was already overwhelmed and the day hadn't even started. He came over to me, threw his arm around my shoulder and said, "Why don't you just stick it in the crock pot."

This is why I married him.

I had a few minutes before I had to bolt out the door. I've never cooked a tenderloin in the crockpot. It seems a little sacrilegious to cook such a quality piece of meat that way. But I was desperate and it was a great suggestion.

Dinner that night was a surprising hit. The pork came out moist and tasty. I dressed it up nicely into tacos. It could not have been any easier!

What you'll need:

1 pork tenderloin (this would work with chicken or meat too)
juice of 2 limes
1 T chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup chicken broth (low sodium, gluten free)
1/2 a purple onion
1 green bell pepper
1 head of butter lettuce (or lettuce you can make into taco shells)
store bought pico de gallo (or make your own)
store bought guacamole (or make your own)

What you do:

Kiss your husband for being brilliant and saving dinner. Get out your 'ol faithful crockpot. Put the chicken broth in, the lime juice and the two bay leaves. In a small bowl mix up all the spices. Coat the pork with the spices and give it a little massage. Lay the pork in the crockpot and turn it on low. Cover and forget it. It should be done in five to six hours so hopefully you have a crockpot with an automatic timer. If you don't Amazon.com has them with free shipping. They are worth every penny. If you have time in the morning you can dice up the purple onion and green pepper. If not it's easy to do in the evening. Saute the onion and pepper together until crisp/tender.

When you return home you will be greeted with a wonderful aroma. It's a great feeling to know that dinner is almost ready and you don't have to put much effort into the finishing touches. Shred the pork. Get out the lettuce and put a few leaves on everyone's plate. Top with some meat, sauteed veggies, pico de gallo, and guacamole. If the kids don't like the idea of a lettuce wrap you can easily serve this in a bowl and add anything else they may like to it.

Enjoy!

p.s. For my non-southwest natvies; Pico de Gallo is a fresh salsa made with tomato, onion, jalapeƱo, cilantro and lime. If you can't find it sub it with some high quality jarred salsa.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pork Chop with Apple, Walnut, Sausage Stuffing







This little beauty is quick and to the point which is just what I needed tonight. I spent the day with the ladies at a clinic called Rx Stars. Every one of the ladies is a positive and friendly force to be reckoned with. The energy in these clinics is amazing. If you live in the So Cal area, I highly recommend you come and join us. A high fitness level is not a requirement. All you have to do is bring your can do, kick ass attitude. You will leave a better person.

So after about 80 snatches, 5 rope climbs and a WOD called "Survivor" (I almost didn't), life still goes on in my home and I have to make dinner. Feeling like an elated version of a Gumby/new baby deer combo, I waddle and waiver over to the kitchen. I still can't feel my legs... damn squat clean thrusters, but I also can't wipe the smile off my face. I'm glad dinner is an easy one tonight!

What you'll need:
4 pork chops (about 1 inch thickness)
2 sweet Italian sausages
1 granny smith apple (don't substitute), chopped
a handful of walnuts, finely chopped
2 tsp dried, rubbed sage
pepper
1/2 cup white wine or chicken stock

What you do:

Remove you sausage from the casing and pan fry. If you have a mini chopper, throw the sausage in there to make it into a fine consistency (or chop by hand). Chop up your apple and the walnuts. Put these three ingredients in a bowl and mix together.

Cut a pocket through the center of the pork chop leaving 3 sides intact. Rub each pork chop with some sage and sprinkle some pepper on both sides of the meat. Now take the stuffing mix and scoop it into the chop. It helps if you secure the open end with some toothpicks to keep the stuffing inside.

Get a pan hot and brown the chops quickly on both sides. Not too long now... you just want to brown them, not cook them. Transfer them into a pan and add 1/2 cup white wine or chicken stock. Cover with foil and bake the chops for about 15 to 20 minutes. Be careful! Pork dries out easily so don't over cook them. Remove them from the oven and keep the pan covered for 10 minutes to allow the chops to rest. Serve with a fresh veggie for a quick and tasty meal.

Enjoy!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pad Thai -- Well, sort of...




Let me kick this off by saying Pad Thai is one of my all time favorite meals. Traditionally it's made with rice noodles, bean sprouts, some type of meat or seafood (or heaven help us... tofu) and a to die for sauce that usually has brown sugar and a mountain of salt. Oh, and let's not forget the crushed peanuts. This meal is a paleo disaster and then some. There is absolutely nothing good that can come out of this dish.

For a while I was using it as my cheat meal. Every time we would go out for Thai food, I would order a giant portion of Pad Thai and leave nothing behind but the plate. And then it would hit me... that bloated, miserable feeling from the carb insurgency and pure sugar assault. After the initial bloat, I would get miserably tired and come down with a huge headache. Pad Thai never did this to me before starting paleo. I have since learned that this meal is the equivalent of a gastro-intestinal Hannibal Lechter. It entices you with it's charm and alure and when you least expect it, it eats your guts and leaves you reeling and clinging to life wishing you had never known the name Pad Thai (or Hannibal Lechter for that matter).

So I was at a cross roads. I knew Pad Thai was no longer a welcome dish in my meal plan, but I love the flavor and the texture so very much. There was only one option to consider. Remake Pad Thai into a paleo friendly version.

What you'll need:
1 pound of cooked large shrimp or you can use any meat you wish
1/2 a head of cabbage finely shredded (use a mandolin if you have one)
1 onion finely sliced (mandolin)
3 ribs of celery sliced on the diagonal
2 bell peppers, sliced into thin strips (use 2 different colors)
1 bunch of green onions, sliced into 2 inch pieces (separate whites from greens)
2 eggs
lime wedges
a small handful of cashews
coconut oil

for the sauce:
2 T. sesame oil
3 T. olive oil
1 T. chili garlic sauce (made by Huy Fong Foods available at grocery store)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 T. lime or more to taste
you may want to double this sauce if you want more intense flavor

What you do:

Start off by making a simple omelet from the eggs and shred it into thin strips. Next, heat a large saute pan with coconut oil. Add in all the veggies except for the onion greens. Saute quickly at high heat until veggies are crisp/tender. Once the veggies are done add the onion greens, shrimp and sauce and stir until shrimp are heated through. Not too long now... you want shrimp not rubber.

Place into shallow serving bowls and top with a few cashews and additional lime wedges. If you want to get all crazy you can chop some cilantro and add it over the top. It's a great flavor... I just didn't have any. This is a great dish that is Pad Thai-esque. The cabbage turns out to be quite noodlie and I can breath easy knowing that my craving is satisfied without the empty carbs, sodium explosion and sugar rush. I hope you like this as much as I do.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Paleo can make you fat -- Muffin in disguise





Yes, it's true. Paleo eating can make you fat. That's a pretty bold statement, you say? Yes, I would agree. But alas my friends, it is true.

It's not what we eat. It's not the lean meats, veggies, nuts and seeds and fruit. It's not the prescribed exercise that goes along with it. If we examine the way the caveman ate, there is virtually no way he could have gotten fat. It's how we eat today. What has happened is that we have taken modern eating into consideration and thrown portion size out the window. There is a misnomer that goes along with "unweighed and unmeasured" paleo eating. And that is the idea that we can eat all day long like gluttons and we will come out on the other side unscathed.

I will concede to the fact that it is very hard to overeat protein. It's even hard to overeat vegetables. It's a little easier to overeat fruit and incredibly easy to overeat nuts and dried fruit. Now try this one on for size...

I just made the most delicious muffins on the planet. They come from a website called www.paleoplan.com. This website is actually genius. They figure all of it out for you for a fee. There are preplanned menus, shopping lists, recipes, you name it, it's in there. What a great idea! I can think of nothing easier in the world than logging on and pressing a button and having my meals for an entire week or more planned complete with shopping list. I don't know how any of the other meals taste, but these muffins are pure heaven.

So let's examine the ingredients of said muffins. There's almond flour, bananas, dates, coconut oil, walnuts, spices, eggs, carrot, etc. All the ingredients qualify as paleo. All of the ingredients are healthy and nutritious. There's another common denominator here: All of the ingredients (except the carrot) are highly caloric. I don't know how many actual calories these muffins have in them but I can imagine it's off the charts. And then it gets even better. I dare you to make these and then just eat one. It's impossible. They are so good they take your breath away at first bite. I have to admit, I knew this going in because I had a bite of my friend Marc's at sectionals and they have been on my mind ever since. I broke down and made them this morning. I inhaled two of them in less than 90 seconds. When I get the courage to re-enter the kitchen I'm going to bag them up and bury them in the backyard. Talk about dangerous!

So what's my point in all this? Just because something is made with paleo ingredients and it beats it's conventional counterpart (the mega-muffin or bagel) in nutrition and quality does not give us the right to eat it with abandon. We have to use common sense and know our calorie contents.

A long while back I posted about Taco Bell and how they are duping us into believing you can have a lean body by eating their "diet" menu. The girl on the commercial had cut her calories down to 1200 per day. My argument was that anyone could loose weight on that little amount of calories (but, ooohhhh the rebound. Get ready to gain it all back plus some). The inverse is true of paleo eating. If we don't stay conscious while we are shoveling food in, even if it is paleo, we will gain weight.

So here is my plea. To be successful on paleo, you don't have to weigh and measure. But you DO have to be conscious. Just because the ingredients are paleo does not give us the right to eat unlimited quantities of food. If you want to make these muffins, go for it. Like I said, they are divine. But have one as an occasional treat. Try to pair it with some protein. I guarantee if you eat these day after day, they will blunt your results.

That's my rant for the day! Now, off to CrossFit

Monday, March 15, 2010

Breaded Chicken Cutlets




Today was crazy. Wait... I think I say that every day. For now, I will blame the time change because it seems that the extra hour we were robbed of is growing exponentially, but only in my home. Perhaps the hour of loss is directly related to the pile of laundry that magically appeared right in front of the washing machine. It must have been some type of time warp where my family changed their clothing 400 times. Could I have been in a coma? I just did laundry!!! How does this keep happening? It doesn't help that my washing machine is in my kitchen. It's not even behind a door. It's right there... staring at me... taunting me. It's laughing at my neurotic nuance called task completion, knowing that I will never be done with laundry until I take my last breath. It knows it has won. I bow my head in defeat and feed the hungry beast for the fourth time today.

I owe this blog to my washing machine. I owe this blog to my dirty dishes, my piles of paper, my dust bunnies, dog hair and bath tub ring. I owe this blog to my two beautiful twin boys who keep me running from sun up to sun down and quite often from sun down to sun up. If it weren't for all of the aforementioned I would have a leisurely life. I could spend hours in the kitchen creating divine four course meals set on beautiful china. And you wouldn't be the least bit interested, would you.

You see, I understand that you have no time just like I have no time and that is why I do what I do. So let's get in the kitchen and make some super yummy chicken cutlets. It was originally going to be fried chicken but it just didn't turn out that way. When things go south in my kitchen, I don't get to upset about it. I just turn the dish into something else. This time it turned out to be a delicious bonus. I hope you enjoy it!

What you'll need:

free range chicken breasts
1 small coconut yogurt plain flavor
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups almond meal
2 T Italian seasoning
2 T parsley
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes (omit for the kiddies)
ice and water
coconut oil

What you do:

Get out one deep bowl and two shallow bowls. Put ice and water in the deep bowl. In the second bowl mix your yogurt and three crushed garlic cloves together. In the third bowl mix the almond meal with the next five ingredients. Now take your chicken and soak it in the ice water for ten minutes. Really cold chicken holds the breading better. Next take the chicken out and pat dry. Butterfly the breasts and pound the thick part of the breast down so they are even and thin. Coat the breast with yogurt and then the almond mixture.

Get your pan hot with the coconut oil and fry up these little guys. They only take a couple of minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel if necessary.

There you have it! No, it's not fried chicken... I have to re-engineer that one. But it is all kinds of yummy. The yogurt keeps the chicken moist and gives a hint of tang while the spices wake up the senses. Just in time too... I think I heard the washer buzz.

Enjoy!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Braciole at lightening speed







Braciole... what the heck is that! Well, let me tell you. Braciole (pronounced braw chawl) is an Italian dish of thin beef or veal wrapped around a filling and baked in wine and tomato sauce. Did I get your attention? Sounds great, doesn't it?

The major problem with making this dish is that it takes a small army and all day to prepare it. First of all, that counts me out immediately. Secondly, it sends me back in time... back to where the level of chaos in my house was at an all time low. Back to where I had the time to spend reading different recipes and not having a matchbox car driven by two year old fingers all over the pages. No one was screaming. There were no battles for attention. No snacks, no runny noses, no songs about going potty... just me and my cookbook...

But there were also no wide eyed smiles, no tugging on my pant leg, no chubby bodies with little dents in the wrists and knees. There were no tiny cuddles and squeals of delight. I must admit, sometimes I long for the days of me and my cookbook, but I'll take the latter any day. Being a new mother (again) is the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done.

So in the best interest of my children, I have taken the traditional braciole recipe and cut the prep and cooking time considerably. The essence of the recipe is still there. The intense manual labor is not. With a few short cuts, you'll have an incredible, Italian delight on your table in about 30 minutes.

What you'll need:
1 piece of grass fed sirloin tip steak per serving
2 cloves garlic, minced
pine nuts
ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper (or you can buy roasted red peppers in the jar)
1 bag of spinach
strips of sun dried tomato in olive oil
1 cup of red wine
1 large can crushed tomato
1 T. Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder

What you do:

Start by roasting your red pepper on the open flame of your stove. Lay the pepper directly on the flame and wait for the skin to blister and turn black. Turn it until all sides are blackened and the pepper is soft. Put the blackened pepper in a paper sack and close it tightly. Remember to make sure your pepper is not on fire before placing it in the bag... it's kind of hard to explain yourself out of that one. Let the pepper sit in the bag for 10 minutes. Rip open the bag and slide your hand over the surface of the pepper to peel the blackened skin off. Cut off the top and bottom ends of the pepper, slice it open and cut out the seed pod. Go ahead... take a little bite. This glorious flavor is what a freshly roasted red pepper tastes like. Admit it, it's heaven.

Next you'll want to pound the steaks to about 1/4" thickness. Lay out a piece of flattened steak. Put some pepper on it. Divide the minced garlic up evenly among the steaks and press the garlic into the steak. Sprinkle a few pine nuts over the steak and press them into the meat. Now lay a slice of that glorious roasted pepper over the steak. Things are getting interesting, aren't they. Next goes a small handful of spinach followed by a few strips of sun dried tomato. Roll that baby up the best you can and secure it with toothpicks.

Get a heavy skillet hot with olive oil and brown the rolled meat on all sides quickly. Remove the meat to a plate. Next put in your cup of wine. Notice the wine bottle has about three more cups in it. What ever will you do with all that luscious wine? Resist the urge to conceal it in a brown paper bag while slumping down in your kitchen like a derelict. It will go really well with the dinner when it's done. Just another 30 minutes... you can do it. Reduce the wine on high heat until about 1/2 a cup remains. Add the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powders. Give it a stir. You may want to hold on to the side of the stove before smelling this broth. It's quite possible you will loose consciousness from the awe-inspiring aroma.

Once you have your broth mixed together place the meat back in the pan and spoon some broth over the meat. Cover it and turn the flame down low. Leave it for ten minutes and then turn the meat over. Baste it, cover it, and let it go another ten minutes.

Serve this beautiful dish with a nice green veggie and don't forget the wine. You wouldn't want it to go to waste now, would you?

Enjoy!