Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Sweetly Spiced Tilapia with Grapefruit Salsa

15 Apr

IMG_0275

It’s been a while since I’ve made something new. I can sense a lack of eagerness in the house–for school, cooking, creative efforts, etc. Maybe it’s the early warm spring weather tricking us into thinking summer is around the corner. Maybe it’s just busy schedules and recovering from spring break outings. So, in the spirit of reviving our days, here is what I came up with for dinner the other day.

The cancer fighting properties of grapefruit coupled with the anti-inflammatory and heart healthy properties of both avocado and fish make this dinner a nutritional powerhouse. It’s also refreshing for the warm weather to come, and for your last fish Friday. Enjoy!

Tilapia 

  • 6-8 tilapia filets, or wild caught salmon (open links for info about choosing the best and safest fish, there is even an app to download)
  • 3/4 cup juice (I used 2 oranges, and the remaining juice from the grapefruit scraps)
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp liquid aminos (or gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • crushed red pepper to your liking

Place filets in 9×13 baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients. Pour over fish. Let sit while you prepare the salsa and cauliflower. Preheat oven to 375. Bake for 15-20 minutes until done. Broil for the last few minutes if you want the top layer to be a bit crispy. Serve with grapefruit salsa and cauliflower rice.

Grapefruit Salsa

  • 2 pink grapefruits, peeled, white pith removed, chopped
  • 2 avocados, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1/8 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 jalapeño, de-seeded and finely diced
  • 1 sweet pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prepare ingredients. Mash avocado to desired consistency in bowl, add chopped grapefruit and remainder of ingredients. Stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve or refrigerate for later use.

Cauliflower Rice (the easy way!)

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cleaned and roughly chopped
  • Finely diced brocoli, carrots, and/or cabbage (optional but makes it look more appetizing)
  • Olive oil or grass-fed butter to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

This is by far the easiest and tastiest way to make cauliflower rice–no food processor necessary! Steam veggies until fork tender. I use my veggie steamer basket in a medium pot with lid. Drain water, use masher to”rice” veggies. Add butter and/or oil, and spices to taste. Too easy!

IMG_0276

IMG_0275

 

 “One can make a day of any size.” -John Muir

Best,

Heather

Bacon Biscuits

13 Mar

IMG_0194

I whipped up these yummy biscuits last night to go with some leftover ham bone soup. The idea came from fastPaleo and the medium was one of my favorites: cauliflower. I loved that they were packed with meat and veggies, rather than a ton of almond flour. My kids loved that they were super tasty and spongy. Enjoy!

1 package nitrate free bacon
1 head cauliflower, cleaned and roughly chopped
3/4 cup almond flour or cashew meal
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp pepper
2 eggs

IMG_0192   IMG_0193

Preheat oven to 375. Place bacon and chopped cauliflower on foil lined baking sheet. Bake in oven until bacon is cooked and cauliflower is nicely roasted–about 15-20 minutes. Halfway through, mix to coat cauliflower with bacon grease. Once done and slightly cooled, place contents of pan in food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Keep yourself from eating too much straight out of the food processor! Spoon into mixing bowl. Add the remainder of the ingredients and stir to combine. Spoon onto parchment lined baking sheet into rounds. Bake for 15-18 minutes until nicely browned. Serve! Refrigerate leftovers. They would be perfect with eggs the next morning or alone as a quick snack.

Happy Thursday,

Heather

Happy Hearts Day

15 Feb

I didn’t have any new bright ideas for paleo/primal-friendly desserts for Valentine’s Day this year.  Instead of baking hearts, we ate a heart.  From a cow.  Really.

Let me be clear…this is new territory.  In the past three years of exploring the primal diet and lifestyle, I have been avoiding the organs.  There’s just so much else out there that is more easily palatable, I figured, why bother?

We are coming to the end of our 1/2 cow we bought last year and one of the remaining items was its heart, almost four pounds of nutrient dense meat.  The numerous benefits of organ meat are hard to ignore: higher protein content, abundant vitamins and minerals, double elastin and collagen content, metabolism boosters, rich in dynamic antioxidant CoQ10, source of the “X factor” Vitamin K2, and more.  The question is how to prepare it in a way that the rest of the family (and me!) will enjoy it.  Valentine’s Day seemed the perfect catalyst to dive in and give the heart a chance.

To start the adventure, I consulted one of my favorite cookbooks that my husband gave me a couple years ago, Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon. Sally explores many unique sources of natural nutrition and has a lifetime of great ideas in one collection.  To prepare beef heart, she recommends a Peruvian Antichuchos recipe starting with a long marinade. This is what I came up with:

Beef heart

  • 1 beef heart, trimmed and cleaned of hard parts and excess fat, cut in cubes
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup vinegar (I used half raw apple cider, half white balsamic)
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced

Balsamic Glaze

  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey

Start with partially frozen (half thawed) beef heart for easier cutting. Trim excess fat and hard parts that don’t look appetizing. Cut into small cubes. Combine marinade ingredients in bag or bowl, add meat and marinade for at least 4 hours or up to 24. Place meat on skewers and grill on outdoor grill or sauté in pan over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. Ensure not to over-cook. Transfer meat to plate. In same pan, add wine, balsamic vinegar and honey. Bring to quick boil and simmer for a few minutes until liquids start to evaporate. Pour over beef heart cubes.  Serve with toothpicks as an appetizer or as a main dish with a plate of cauliflower rice or your favorite roasted veggies.

The results were interesting. It was like a dense steak with a stronger flavor, but it wasn’t as potent as liver.  The biggest surprise was my five year old eating at least 1/4 of the plate – he ignored the beef stew I made (as a back-up!) and ate bite after bite of beef heart. Later he asked if he could have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so he could get super strong.

Overall, we enjoyed trying something new and uniquely wholesome.  In the end, the consensus was we probably won’t go out searching for beef heart as a regular staple, but we certainly won’t be afraid to use it with the next cow! For other ideas try: subbing for beef cubes in a stew recipe or grinding it up in the food processor with some of the extra trimmed fat and making burgers. If you don’t want to use the whole heart at a time, freeze cubes or ground heart in small batches to sneak in recipes for an extra nutrient boost to your regular beef recipes.

If you’re feeling adventurous, give it a try! Let us know how you liked it in the comments below. If you’re already a heart lover, what are your favorite ways to prepare it?

Share your heart with someone you love, 

Heather

Thanksgiving Dressing

22 Nov

paleo stuffing

This is my third year making a paleo dressing.  I simply feel like old-fashioned cornbread dressing is a MUST for a complete Thanksgiving experience.  This year I’ve had a few people ask me about paleo dressing (er, “stuffing”) and so I will share the recipe I came up with.

To save time and mess, my beloved food processor does all my chopping, dicing, and pulverizing, but you can chop/dice by hand.  I prefer the texture when everything is chopped more finely, but other people like it chunkier…to each his own.

4 cups finely ground chicharrones (Pork rinds.  I used two 3 1/2 oz bags)
1 cup pecans finely chopped

3 eggs
1/2 c broth
1/2 stick butter
1 1/2 c celery finely chopped (include the leaves for flavor!)
1 onion, finely diced
1 8-10 oz pkg fresh mushrooms finely chopped
1 bunch fresh* sage, stems removed, finely chopped
5-6 stalks fresh* rosemary and thyme, stems removed, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
juice of one lemon
*Fresh is best, but you may sub poultry seasoning, or dried herbs.  2 tbsp of pre-mixed poultry seasoning, or 1 tsp each of dried sage, thyme and rosemary.


Heat butter in a large pan.  Saute the celery, onion, mushrooms, sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper and lemon juice until wilted and fragrant….mmm…smells like Thanksgiving.  While those are cooking up, 
grind the chicharrones down into a fine breadcrumb consistency.  In a large bowl, mix the ground chicharrones, finely diced pecans, broth and 3 eggs.  When the sauteed veggies have cooled a little, add them, including their juices, to the chicharrones/pecan mixture, stir until mixed well.
Bake in a greased 9×9 dish at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until the edges are brown and crispy.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.  Enjoy a long walk with your friends/family, and eat good food with gratitude.  Relax, and retreat from the web.  Indulge yourself on what you love most, and remember that relationships are more important than food!

Warmest Regards,
Leigh

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Holiday Baking

24 Dec

P1090927 P1090933 P1090929

The holidays are upon us and the baker inside of me is just screaming to create delicacies. This year I decided not to go too crazy because 1. paleo friendly ingredients for baking are expensive, and 2. my willpower against over-indulging is honestly not the best. I don’t flinch at a tray of conventional cookies or cakes, but when I personally bake with health-ier ingredients, a little bit of self-control is lost somewhere in the process! Regardless, it’s still fun to have dessert options and more importantly to share them with loved ones.

Here are three of my favorite no-fail recipes that everyone will love, and you will not waste any almond flour** experimenting. Thank you to Elana’s Pantry and Roost Blog for making my holiday baking so much easier for the past two years!

1. Elana’s Pantry Double Chocolate Mocha Cookies

  • Increase the ground coffee content to 3 Tbsp
  • Replace grapeseed oil with melted coconut oil
  • Increase the sea salt content to 3/4 tsp

2. Roost Blog Gingerbread

3. Elana’s Pantry Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Replace grapeseed oil with melted coconut oil or butter
  • Replace agave nectar with raw honey (sometimes I decrease the honey to 1/4 cup depending on my audience)
P1090937

They even make great holiday gifts!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours,

Heather

**I always have the best luck with JK Gourmet and Honeyville almond flours. They are worth ordering, despite the convenience of other store brands.

Balance

13 Jun

Here might be a typical breakfast for you, and many would consider it to be reasonable and healthy:  fruit-sweetened oatmeal, a banana, and a glass of milk.  Later you might have an apple or a handful of raisins for a snack.

That is not a balanced breakfast for anyone, friends.  It is a bowl of carbohydrate with some diced carbohydrate stirred in, followed by a peeled carbohydrate, washed down with a glass of carbohydrate.  (Yes.  I know there are levels of fat and protein in each, but I’m talking your fundamental, core macronutrient composition of each food.)

Let me provide a little insight that may help simplify your food choices.  Every food can be placed into one of three groups: carbohydrate, protein and fat.  Those are the only three categories you need to know when considering balancing your meals and snacks.

So, what do you think will happen when you eat the “healthy” breakfast above?  Well, at first, as your glucose levels spike,  you will feel great and your sweet tooth will also be thanking you!  You may feel satisfied for a  short time.  But then comes the switch–you’ll be ravenous in a few short hours, you will feel groggy mid-morning, not to mention your workout will feel…meh.

Food is fuel, but food is also a drug, because what you eat affects your hormonal response.  It is medication by way of food.  Your input is directly related to your output.

Carbohydrate is a substance that affects the hormone called insulin, which is your energy-storage hormone.

Protein is a substance that affects the hormone called glucagon, which is your energy-mobilizer hormone.

Fat is neutral.  It slows the release of energy.  Keyword: satiety.

What does this mean for you?  You can use the hormone response from your food to create positive outcomes in your body.  Cool.  If you have too much of one thing or another, you will foster a hormonal imbalance, which will eventually have more and more of an impact over time.  Even if you don’t have health problems like inflammation, sleep disruption, or autoimmune disorders, you will see that your performance, clarity, and overall energy will improve dramatically.

So…think of every meal as a teeter totter.  Classify your foods in terms of their macronutrient makeup, and ensure you have the right balance.

For those of you who learn visually:

Nourish yourself well!
Leigh

Chicken Shawarma with Yogurt Sauce

10 Jun

chicken shawarma recipe

Chicken Shawarma.

Being an Army family with strong associations with the Middle East…ahem…has had its drawbacks.  But one of the awesome perks of having served in that region for so many months, is the exposure to and appreciation for Middle Eastern cuisine.

This recipe has been a hit with me and my husband, and our children.  I’ve shared it with my neighbors and friends and it always gets rave reviews.  Just go ahead and double this recipe.  Throw one portion of the marinated chicken into a gallon ziplock, and place it in the freezer for another day.   I only really like to make things that are inherently simple, so that is another added bonus.

1 pound chicken tenders, or breasts cut into strips
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin

Combine the marinade ingredients, add the chicken, toss to coat.  Marinate 2 to 24 hours.

If you prefer for aesthetics, or serving as an appetizer for a group, you can skewer the chicken strips.

Grill over hot coals, about 2-3 minutes per side, to desired doneness.  Or you can place chicken on a broiler pan, and broil on high for 2-3 min per side.

Serve with Yogurt Dipping Sauce:

1/2 c greek yogurt
2 tbsp tahini
2 tsp lemon juice
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt

This is a fresh and delicious meal when paired with a cucumber, tomato, and fresh mint and parsley salad.

You’re welcome.  :)

Leigh

Prepare Yourself.

3 Jun

I have to admit my eating habits are on the downswing right now.  With the onset of summer, thank-you baking, and house guests, the level of  “paleo” desserts in my world is through the roof.  I do not believe that cookies and cupcakes and muffins are paleo.  They are calorically dense, bender-inducing cheats.  That’s just me.  And I don’t want to lead anyone into thinking that those items are going to catapult you to optimum health.

With that said, “paleo” cookies, muffins, cakes and confections have their place.  They satisfy that need for something sweet, they bridge the gap from the old way of eating, they are an awesome option for celebrations that call for confections, and they are healthiER than full sugar, flour-based products.  

Sometimes it is nice to have those options in the house for whatever the reason.  But let me tell you.  In a contest between paleo chocolate chip cookies and roasted broccoli…the cookies always dominate.  Every.  Time.  Turns out that lately, when I AM hungry, I am not making good choices :(  and instead of calming down, spending the time chopping and preparing a healthful snack, I am going to whatever is fastest.  

So, I am not motivated to be eating my veggies like I am supposed to.  I wanted to tell you that in order to combat the lure of the cookies and the muffins, the nuts and the nut butter with bananas, I have had to resort to making a big, in-case-of-emergency salad ahead of time.  When I am NOT hungry.

It’s working.

It’s really not anything groundbreaking, but I will share the steps.  Cut up all your salad toppings ahead of time.  They will last a good 5-7 days (sealed tightly), in your refrigerator.  Have it all peeled, washed and dried, and diced, and seasoned and ready.  Dice the meat and hard boiled eggs.  Do not leave one step for yourself, or you will lose your focus in the heat of the moment when you have hit the hunger wall, and turn to something faster and sweeter.

When the time comes, you will thank yourself.  All that fresh produce I purchased is way more enjoyable before it is halfway wilted and slimy anyway.

Keep at it!
Leigh

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 566 other followers

%d bloggers like this: