Monthly Archives: April 2011

Paleo Lean Down Challenge

I’ve been thinking about paleo a lot recently because down south our spring is almost over. I have always had bad allergies during the spring season. I would live on allergy medicine. It was starting to get so bad that I thought I was developing asthma. I had inhalers everywhere, and was taking Singular.  This was not good. My mom has had asthma all my life and it has always scared me.

Well, about a year ago I started to eat a mostly paleo/primal diet. I noticed that I relied less and less on my inhalers and stopped taking Singular.

Then spring came. I have had no problems this spring. I haven’t taken any medicine or used my inhalers. I had two allergy attacks that occurred after rolling around with the dogs and rubbing my face afterward. 2 times. That’s it. I used to spend weeks in allergy mode and live on the allergy meds just to breathe.  Now I have no need.

If it has done this for me in just a year of eating mostly paleo (I’m not strict paleo, but adhere to it about 80% of the time. ) I can only imagine what it will do when I go strict. I’m joining a paleo lean down challenge this weekend. Strict paleo, no cheating. I’m really interested to see how good I’ll feel after that.

My hardest problems are strictly lack of will. I am a stress eater and will eat everything in sight when I’m upset. I work at a school where high carb and high sugar foods are everywhere. I have a hard time saying no to things like cheezits and cookies.

I feel really motivated to make this challenge work for me and finally lose those last 10 pounds I’ve wanted to lose. I’ve lost around 25 pounds in the last two years. I used to be a size 14 and I topped out at 190lbs. Now I hover around a 10 and 165lbs.  I have taken pictures and measurements with T and we are doing this challenge together. When we are done we will show you the results.

T is a certified level one crossfit trainer and works out about 3 times a week. I am a certified couch potato. I’ll walk the dogs or take in a Zumba class once a month. It will be an interesting view on the nutritional lifestyle that is paleo; especially when we put it up against the calories in and calories out mentality.  I don’t plan on limiting my nutritional intake. I will eat when hungry and keep it to meat and vegetables.

I can’t wait to share the progress with you. I hope it may make a few more converts in the process.

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Coconut Curry Chicken

This was a pantry scraping recipe today. We are at the end of our fresh food and so I had to get a little creative with what I had available. Ginger is a great addition to many meals and has a long shelf life. I keep it in the cabinet with my garlic and onions. Ginger adds flare and spice, plus it is good for you. I served this over zucchini “noodles”. This is a good technique to hang on to for when you are craving that pasta. You can use a julienne peeler or a food processor.  The taste is not the same as pasta but the texture will satisfy the cravings and add some delicious zucchini flavor.

Coconut Curry Chicken

2″ of peeled ginger root diced

4 cloves of garlic diced

5 red jalapenos sliced thin

2tsp of coriander

2tsp of cardamom

1 tsp black pepper

7 chicken thighs (or piece of your choice)

1 can of coconut milk

Handful of fresh chopped cilantro, green onions, and cucumbers for toppings

2 grated zucchini for “noodles”https://leetsstreet.wordpress.com/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=518&type=image&#

Add the first 6 ingredients to an oven safe pot with some olive oil. Cook on medium high for about 3 minutes. Add the chicken. Brown the chicken on both sides. Don’t worry if your spices are getting stuck to the pot, we will de-glaze it with coconut milk.

Pour in coconut milk and scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the tastiness up. This is called de-glazing. you can do this with wine or stock. It is the best way to start a good pan sauce too.

Leave uncovered and let cook on low in your oven for 2 hours. You can speed up the time if you prefer by increasing the heat to 400 for about 30 minutes (check to make sure it is cooked through before serving).

While that cooks make your zucchini pasta.

Remove the pot from the oven. Place the chicken pieces on a plate and set to the side for a few minutes.

Place the pot on a burner on medium heat. Toss the zucchini in the remaining curry sauce. You may need to add water if the sauce is too thick. I added about 1/2 of a cup of hot water.

Cook on medium for about 5 minutes.

Place chicken back in pot with zucchini. Serve the chicken with with cilantro, onions and cucumbers.


Overjoyed

 I’m so overjoyed! The Foodee used one of my recipes on their blog today. I could do nothing but dance and say “yay” for a few minutes. Thank you Foodee! Welcome all visitors. I hope you find some more recipes that you like and that inspire you to cook. Foodee has a lot of great recipes for paleo cooking and I highly recommend checking it out.


Mexican Braciole Over Cauliflower Rice

Braciole (bra-zhol) is an Italian dish that consists of thin cut of meat stuffed rolled up and braised. Two years ago I was in Florida for my grandmother’s birthday and being the good Italian grandma that she is, she cooked a huge feast. One of the dishes was these beef rolls simmering in tomato sauce. I had never heard of it before. They were delicious. Well fast forward two years. I’m browsing my favorite food sites and up pops the braciole recipe with pork instead of beef. I had a huge loin defrosting in my fridge so I thought perfect! I will finally try this.

The recipe I read called for using the fat you trim off the meat to be used in the stuffing. I figured it was worth a try. You can of course choose to stuff this however you please. I went with a more Mexican flavored dish than the classic Italian ones.

Mexican Braciole

8 pork cutlets

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

3 gloves of garlic chopped

1 yellow onion chopped

3 tsp garlic powder

3 tsp oregano

2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp cumin

3 tbsp olive oil

Filling

1 dried ancho chili

5 red jalapenos (green will work too)

3 cloves of garlic

5 green onions

fat trimmed from pork

Heat a deep pan on medium high heat. Add olive oil, garlic, and onion to the pan. Cook until the onions begin to look clear.

Add tomatoes and paste to onions. Fill the empty cans with water and add that to the pot. Stir in all seasonings and simmer covered, over low heat.

While your sauce simmers prepare your pork cutlets.

I had a pork loin so I cut finger thick pieces to create pork chops.

Then on a cutting board I placed one cutlet. I covered it with parchment paper and pounded it thin. This is your chance to really get that stress out.

My cutlets were still frozen so I had a triceps work out too! You want to pound them until they are about 1cm thick.

The key to this step is to pound evenly so that one section does not become too thin and split.

Continue this until all the cutlets are pounded out.

Process the filling in a food processor until it forms a paste.

Spoon a tablespoon of filling on to one side of a cutlet.

Roll the cutlet tightly making sure to keep the filling in the center.  Tie the roll-up on each end tightly. If your roll ups are longer you will want another tie in the middle.

Continue to fill and roll until all the cutlets are done.

Carefully place the roll-ups in the sauce and cover the pot.

Cook for 6 hours on low heat occasionally turning the roll-ups.

In the last 5 minutes of cooking, wash your cauliflower and chop into large pieces. Process in a food processor with a grater or grate it by hand with a cheese grater. This will yield what looks like rice.

Cook the “rice” by steaming it or pouring enough boiling water to cover the bottom of the pan. Stir frequently, rice is done when it is soft but not mushy.

Serve the braicole on top of the “rice” and spoon more sauce on top. Sprinkle some fresh chopped cilantro on top.


T’s New Favorite Meal

Chicken balls, awesome balls, stuffed awesome balls, not kibbeh, sorta croquettes. There is no name that isn’t either vulgar sounding or too vague to describe the dinner we had tonight. So I’ll refer to them as T’s favorite. In reality they are a stuffed chicken ball that is then “breaded” and fried. I got the idea while surfing the food sites I love to check and saw a recipe for kibbeh. The recipe wasn’t paleo and was made with fish. (I really don’t like fish) But, I loved the concept of grinding meat into a paste and stuffing it with something tasty and frying it. So I set to thinking of how I would make this delicious and paleo. I came up with this.

It was definitely a learning experience for me because I had to make adjustments as I went along in how and when to cook. I scorched one because the oil was too hot. Couldn’t really get the stuffing in because it was too leafy. In the end I came up with a killer dish that was worth all the trouble.

This is not something you can whip up quickly. Sorry. It would have been quicker if I knew what I was doing. Next time they will be more delicious and I will make twice as many.

T’s Favorite or Stuffed Chicken Balls

2 strips of bacon

4 chicken tenders

1/3 cup of coconut flour

2tsp dry chopped onion

1tsp thyme

1 tsp garlic powder

1tsp red pepper

1tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Stuffing

2 cups of chopped spinach

3 chopped green onions

5 tbsp chopped almonds

dash of pepper

dash thyme

pat of butter

Coating

1/2 cup of coconut flour

1/2 cup of shredded coconut

Add the ingredients for the meat balls into a food processor and blend into a paste.  Cover tightly and refrigerate for an hour or up to one day.

Toss together all the stuffing ingredients in a pan until just beginning to wilt. This takes about 2 minutes on medium high.

When the stuffing has cooled enough to handle remove the meat from the fridge. It will be a sticky mess to handle. So get a large bowl of ice water and  dunk your hands into the water in between forming each ball. Dunk your hands, spoon about a golf ball size of meat into your hands. Press your thumb into the center of your golf ball. Wiggle your thumb in a circle until you form a deep well. Fill the well with your filling mixture. Carefully press closed the opening.

Continue this until all your meat is gone.

Set up two bowls: one with coconut products, the other with eggs. If you’ve ever made battered chicken or steak the process will be the same here. Get a  meat ball wet in egg, roll ball in coconut, place on rack. Repeat until all the balls are coated.

I tried to fry these and I scorched one so bad that I stopped. I’m not good at frying. T says my oil was too hot. Which is probably the case. Rather than burn the entire dinner, I baked the rest on a rack over a pan to catch the drippings. If you are a fryer, fry them, if not bake them.  I baked them at 400 rotating half way through until they were golden all around. This took about 20-30 minutes.These came out super tasty and worth the little extra hands on time. We ate these with roasted brussel sprouts and some guilty ranch dressing.


Collard Greens and a Spice Rub

Believe it or not I had never eaten greens until I moved down south. Shocking, I know! I avoided greens for the longest time expecting them to taste terrible. Why did I wait so long? Collard greens are delicious and full of great for you nutrition. It is very closely related to cabbage but it doesn’t form a head like cabbage. They are high in many vital minerals, they help lower cholesterol, and have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer. Look here for more on collard greens. They are also very cheap, usually under a dollar for a head.

The dark green leaves take a little more time to prepare than just eating a salad but the taste and health benefits are definitely worth it. I doubt that any true southerner would say these are the traditional way to prepare them. But, I feel everything tastes better with bacon and butter. Try this recipe out and I guarantee you will be a greens convert too.

For our meat portion of the meal T found a spice rub in Men’s Journal that was very tasty. We made a few alterations to the original cutting a significant portion of the salt and sugar. It is spicy and sweet without being overpowering. Below are the measurements we used.

Collard Greens

2 bunches of greens washed and cut

1 yellow onion sliced

3 cloves of garlic diced

3 slices of bacon diced

1/2 stick of butter

1/3 cup of chicken stock

pepper (do not add salt because the above ingredients add quite a bit on their own)

Dry Rub

1tbsp ground cumin

1tbsp ancho chili powder (regular chili powder works too)

1tbsp salt

1tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp black pepper

1.5 tsp cayenne

Wash the greens well. No one likes a gritty side dish. Trim the main stem from the center of the leaf and discard. Cut the leaf into ~1 inch squares.


Melt butter in a large deep pan over med low heat. Add bacon, onions, and pepper to the butter.

Cook bacon and onions on medium low until the onions begin to get soft and clear. Add the garlic and continue to cook until you have a browned the onion and rendered a lot of delicious fat. Remember fat is your friend. Fat is what our brains run on. Don’t fear the fat!

Add the greens and stock to the pan. Toss a few times to coat and cover.

The greens take about 30 minutes from this point. You will want to occasionally stir them. They will be lovely and wilted when done. If there is still a lot of liquid uncover and stir for the last 5 minutes.

I seasoned some chicken legs and pork chops with the rub and grilled them until done.

We ate the meat and greens with some roasted broccoli. This is my favorite way to make broccoli and it is so simple. Just cut up into large chunks, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper, then roast at 350 until lightly browned.

This meal is perfectly paleo and so yummy. Try it for your next BBQ.



Meat with a side of meat

Yes, this is roast chicken with a side of chicken wings. There is an acorn squash and some beets for color. I love paleo!