Monday, August 13, 2012

Stoplight Chicken

 It's back to school!!!!!! This time of the year brings so many varying emotions to many people, for others, it means heavier traffic for their commute. I am a student, however I have not had a summer break in YEARS, so it means good sales on new clothes for me :) Regardless, back to school time means that Fall is right around the corner, YAY! I know in our family, Fall is the busiest time of the year, but I love it! The Crock-pot is about to get put into overdrive!
 I just recently had my bi-annual dentist appointment (I know, you're thinking "why do I care?") and this is important to my Paleo friends for a good reason! I have never had a cavity (I have had my fair share of oral surgeries and braces, so don't hate me too much) but, I worried a little as I went to this appointment. First of all, it had been a year (I know, gross. But, time flew by, don't judge.) Second, I have picked up a liking of red wine, and third, I have a slight coffee addiction - okay, slight may be downplaying my daily intake just a little, but I do drink it black, that's how I justify it.
(There is a fourth in there too - I have gone to the same dentist my whole life, even driving back from Auburn to see him. He was a good family friend and all the girls in the office we amazing! BUT, it was time to be realistic, I needed a dentist here. So, I sucked it up and found one I think I am going to like!) Anyway, I was told by the dental hygienist and the Doctor, I have a remarkably clean, pretty mouth, even more so since it had been a year since my last cleaning. After confessing my coffee addiction, the Dentist all but asked how I have the mouth/teeth/color I do. Our conclusion? My Paleo lifestyle. Yep! It's a full body benefit, including your teeth and gums. It makes sense, your mouth is the first place affected by your intake. When you eliminate sugar and "fake" from your diet you are not piling layers and layers onto your teeth, plus general health is evident in your gums and speed of tooth degeneration. It's a win-win situation! And, no cavities for me! Yet, another reason to step to the other side!!!!

 Here is another easy, peasy, crock-pot, chicken recipe. You can cut all the veggies the night before (if you desire, of course) throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning and come home to a full meal at the end of the day!!!!
This is also a "they will never know it's Paleo" meal!



Stoplight Chicken
1 pound(ish) chicken breasts
1 green pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
6-8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 large tomato, diced

4 large garlic cloves, diced
Olive oil
LOTS of Italian seasons
(splash of red wine, balsamic vinegar, or chicken broth if you have it on hand)




-Pour a few teaspoons of olive oil on the bottom of the slow cooker
(I like to put a few onion rounds on the bottom of the crock pot as well, to sit the chicken breasts on top of. Just a random thing I do...)
-Chicken and diced garlic goes in, drizzle with some olive oil & seasons go on

-Throw all of the peppers on top of the chicken
-Season with some leafy seasons (basil, oregano, rosemary etc.)
-tomatoes go on top of the peppers
-if you are using wine, vinegar, or broth, splash some in 
-finish off with some good Italian seasonings
-Cook on low 6-8 hours. 
You could also use frozen chicken breasts but will need to up either the time or temp. I prefer to cook chicken on low and usually set the timer for 6 hours. My crock-pot switches to a "warm" mode when the time is up, and after a few more hours in the pot, it is usually just right. IF you use less chicken you may want to keep it more to 4-5 hours. Chicken is finicky and will dry out quickly, play around with your pot and find your perfect cook time (just make sure it's fully cooked!)
 If you do not have a timer on your pot & have to leave it on longer, I would add a little more olive oil and definitely use at least a 1/2 cup of either wine or balsamic vinegar AND chicken broth. Instead of pouring it in on top of the peppers, pour it in BEFORE you add them to allow the chicken to soak all the juices up!


Enjoy!





You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are.






Monday, July 23, 2012

Breakfast Bake

Good Monday Morning! (Oxymoron, I know)

Since going Paleo, I have discovered the joy & deliciousness of FRESH veggies & fruit. I do not mean grocery store fresh, I'm talking either home grown, or day of, farmers market fresh.
We planted a variety of vegetables in our back yard this year -- it has been a learning experience to say the least. BUT, we have gotten some great zucchini, tomatoes, a few peppers, green onions, mint, and more cucumbers than I know what to do with. Randomly our okra just started to grow, I'm not so sure how that is going to turn out.
 Apparently, we also fed a family of cut worms (no worries, they aren't coming back!) and I'm learning more and more about the "perfect soil" (which seems almost impossible to achieve) But it has been a fulfilling experience (as well as stressful at times) and we are already planning what we are going to do for next season!
 If your not lucky enough to have veggies in your back yard, I recommend finding a market that showcases locally grown foods. The best ones are only open a few (maybe just 1) day(s) a week. (ensuring FRESH, just picked products)
Not only are you supporting your local agriculture/ hard working families, but you will get some of the most delicious food you can imagine!
If you are around Birmingham, you have many options on a Saturday morning. Last weekend, we went  to Pepper Place and it did not disappoint. We got blueberries, watermelon, apples, jalapenos, green peppers, figs & onions, and had a great time sampling all the salsas, fruits, coffee and even a margarita mix! One of the best things about Pepper Place is the addition of local craftsman as well. I got the prettiest, handmade bracelet from a local jeweler for half the price of what I would have paid in a larger department type store! They also had a chef demonstration (and tasting!) and live music. If you live in the area or are ever down here during the summer months, try and make a point to spend a Saturday morning at the old Dr. Pepper plant.

 I don't know about everyone else, but I love breakfast food, especially for dinner. It's usually an easy & comforting meal that we never tire of.
 This recipe is one of our favorites (believe it or not, it has NO bacon in it) and even after stuffing our faces, we usually have a decent amount of leftovers! This is another recipe that your Non-Paleo friends would enjoy, so keep it in mind for Holiday Breakfast/brunch or when you wake up to a house full of mouths to feed!

Egg Bake
1 lb. grass-fed, hot*, Italian sausage (aka not processed, get it from behind the meat counter)
12 eggs whisked
2 yellow onions - thinly sliced
1 red onion - thinly sliced
4 oz. sliced mushrooms
handful of parsley
salt/pepper
Italian seasonings of choice
garlic
paprika

(* The hubs does not like spicy food, but with the addition of the eggs, etc. there is not too much heat. If you are nervous about it being too spicy though, do 1/2 lb. mild 1/2 lb. hot.)
(And, if you are not a mushroom fan, you could leave them out & still achieve the same consistency)

- Pre-heat oven to 375
- Remove sausage casings & brown (season with a little bit of garlic) (I love using my Pampered Chef "smasher" as I call it, to break apart & get good crumbles. If you ever get roped into a PC party, make sure you purchase this little guy. I use it almost EVERY meal!)

- Put sausage in a greased baking dish (glass seems to work best) Use a slotted spoon to do this so most of the grease stays in pan.


- While the pan/grease is still hot, cook the onions & mushrooms until tender - season


- While the onions/mushrooms are cooking, pour the whisked eggs over the sausage


- season egg mixture (make sure to use your paprika here!)

- When onions/mushrooms are caramelized, position them to cover the top of the egg mixture


- Bake for 30ish minutes (depends on the depth & thickness of your dish)

Enjoy!!!!!

You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are.







Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Deer & Sweet Potatoes

 I know, I know.. I'm slacking with my blog, I missed 2 weeks BUT..... I did PASS my comprehensive exam and then took a much needed beach vacation.
 I really should be working on a 15 page paper I have due Friday, but this is just so much more fun :)

 I had posted a quick phone picture on Facebook yesterday of a deer roast and had a few people ask for the recipe, so don't judge me on the picture - I wasn't prepared for it to make it to the blog.
 For the second recipe, it's summer (DUH)! Ovens are HOT, it's beyond HOT outside, and I don't know about y'all, but I sweat way more than I am comfortable with, so after a good WOD ("workout of the day" for all you non-crossfitters) the last thing I want to do is heat the house (and myself) slaving over the stove. I love "grill only" meals, (almost as much as I love my crockpot) they are usually so easy to prepare and have less clean up. So fire up the grill & enjoy a night away from the kitchen!

If you don't have a stockpile of deer meat, scroll on down to recipe #2. If you want a stockpile of deer meat, call me. We have a LOT to eat before next season starts.

Recipe #1 - Don't go freaking out on me, remember - I told you in the beginning, we hunt and we eat deer meat. If you don't agree with that, I suggest you go on & delete this blog from your viewing history and find something else to read.

Deer is actually very tasty and SO very good for you.  On average you are getting 30g of protein and obviously it's about as paleo as it gets. (Especially when I'm cooking one of the deer I shot with my bow he he) Even livestrong.com did a little blurp on the nutritional value.
I'm not kidding, we have enough meat to feed a large army, so if you live close, you are more than welcome to come gather your own surplus ;)

 Pre-Paleo, when I was preparing a roast (and by preparing, I mean after it's thawed out and Perry gets all the silver skin etc. off) I would soak the roast in buttermilk overnight. This draws the blood out of the meat and gives it a less gamey taste. (You only have to do this with the larger pieces, the ground meat is not near as gamey) If your not Paleo (or not 100%) buttermilk is a good soak, if you are stricter Paleo - full fat, canned coconut milk is a good substitute.
(The mushrooms & apples in the recipe also help smooth out the flavor. I'm picky & I can't stand to eat anything that has that wild game taste).

This recipe is Paleo, but you can change some of the ingredients around to suite your desires. Obviously, we don't weigh our shoulders and back-straps into perfect little packages when field-dressing our harvest, this recipe was fitting for a large piece of meat, make adjustments as needed per your weight.

Ingredients
*Deer roast (stating the obvious here, huh?)
*3-4 cups chicken (or beef) broth (organic or homemade - this round I used homemade & it was YUMMY)
*large onion - roughly chopped (large pieces)
*5-6 garlic cloves - chopped
*4oz mushrooms - sliced
*large apple - chopped (large pieces)
*1/2 cup full fat, canned, coconut milk (or you could use a red wine, but cut that to 1/4 cup & add some sort of cream. Pre-paleo I would use a can of what ever cream of ___ soup we had on hand, but honestly we really liked the taste of the meat in the coconut milk & we do NOT like coconut flavor so I think you should try it!)
*Garlic Powder
*Italian herbs
*Pepper
*pinch of red pepper flakes
(I use a bass pro shop deer seasoning too. Probably not 100% Paleo but what-ever, it's tasty!)

These are some of those intense directions, so prepare yourself.......................

1) Pour some of the broth on the bottom of the crockpot & sprinkle half of the garlic in it (Really, I don't know if this makes a difference, but it's what I've always done, so I like to think it's imperative)

2) Plop your prepared (no silver skin, soaked overnight if you desire) roast in the crockpot

3) Season your meat & add the rest of the garlic (Remember: Salt dehydrates meat so use it sparingly)

4) Pour (it's more like splat) the coconut milk over the meat

5) Throw in the mushrooms, apples & onions ( I usually add a little more seasoning on top of these, especially the red pepper flakes - I like it spicy!)

6) Cook your roast on low for 6-8 hours & get on with your busy day!




RECIPE #2
Grilled Sweet Potato Glory
Seriously, these little round pieces are AMAZING. Even your non-paleo friends will devour these things. 

2 sweet potatoes (try to get the long skinny ones) cut into thin rounds (like chips)
Package of Bacon - slices cut into oneish inch squares
Cinnamon
Salt
Pepper

Heat the grill up (low to med-low)
Get out a large piece of aluminum foil
put a handful of the bacon on the foil (helps keep the potatoes from sticking)
put the potato rounds on top of the bacon & the rest of the bacon pieces on top of the potatoes
Sprinkle cinnamon, pepper and salt over the mixture (more cinnamon than pepper and more pepper than salt)
roll the sides of the foil up over the potatoes (making a little foil boat)
Cook the potatoes on the top rack of the grill for 20 minutes 

(sorry I don't have a picture of this one, it's on the computer that has decided not to turn on. When it works again - aka when Perry fixes it - I'll add one to it!)













Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chineseish Stirfry

 As usual, life is insanely crazy right now. I take the National Comprehensive exam in a week, so I'm freaking out just a little.... Since I have spent the past couple weeks with my nose stuck in the books, and since I should really being studying right now, this is going to be a short one. I promise, after next week, I'll have more time to ponder on life in the Paleo world and get back to researching and blogging on all the tid-bits I learn along the way!

*Disclaimer* You cannot knock this recipe until you have tried it. Trust me, I turned my nose up at cabbage for most of my life. Just try it once & I guarantee you will be hooked, especially if you were a big Chinese food eater before you crossed over ;)
This is such a yummy meal that makes A LOT and will give you plenty of left overs making the preparation well worth it.  
I usually use my food processor for this, but wanted to make sure the results would be the same if I didn't, so the pictures of the "noodles" are not as pretty as they usually are when they are shredded perfectly in my processor, but the taste was the same! No excuses on this one!

I used our WOK, if you do not have a WOK add that to your list of things you NEED in your kitchen. It makes stirring large quantities so much easier & with it being non-stick it's a cinch to cook in & clean up! BUT, if your making this recipe before your kitchen gains a wonderful piece, use the BIGGEST pan you have or you will end up with a mess all over the stove top. (You may even want to half the recipe to fit)

What you need......

2lbs of Chicken (You could use beef as well)
1/4 cup almonds, chopped (optional)
1 can water chestnuts, sliced
1/4 cup green onion, chopped OR a shallot diced
4-8 ounces mushrooms (stems removed) sliced (cut in half)
cup of sliced pineapple (or a can of organic pineapple, drained & cut into small bite size pieces)
Red pepper chopped (or green)
Small onion chopped
2 cups of broccoli
2 cups shredded cabbage (about half the head of cabbage)
toasted sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
coconut aminos (this stuff is amazing - it takes the place of soy sauce!)
sesame seeds
pepper
paprika
cumin

I like to go on & get everything cut & ready to go, so get all your veggies & meat prepared.
(The cabbage was just "chopped" for this go round, but if you have a food processor throw it in there for the perfect sliced "noodles")




Get your WOK (large pan) warming up over high heat

-Add a few drops of sesame oil, swirl around to really coat the bottom of the WOK 

-Add the meat & season away, you want a lot of flavor in your chicken! Cook about 5 minutes (until, mostly done - do NOT overcook-it will dry out!)

-Add in the broccoli, water chestnuts, onion, and mushrooms - cook for about 2 min while stirring 

 -Add the pineapple, cabbage, red pepper, green onion (or shallot) and garlic and add a few splashes of coconut aminos (about 4 tbsp.) and cook 3-4 minutes, until the cabbage softens up a little. 


-Season everything well (use ground ginger, a pinch of cumin, a fair amount of paprika, a dash of garlic powder, handful of pepper) and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top, if you like really salty flavors, you can always add some more coconut aminos to give you more of a soy sauce flavor! 

I told you it made a lot, but is well worth it! YUMMY!!!




ENJOY! :)

You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are.




Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Paleo vs. Italy/Easy peasy Chicken



Paleo vs. Italy..... It's no secret on which entity won that battle, but really I would consider it more of a tie or a close game than a complete win. One of the reasons we (as in the hubs & I) eat Paleo is to rid of all the "fake" that is in your typical food; Italian food doesn't contain near as much "fake" (okay, I keep using "fake" as a nice word, really what I want to say is T-total crap, but you insert what you like wherever you see "fake") anyway, Italian food is about as close to clean as you can get. Most bread does not have salt, their fruit is all organic, their meat is all (mostly) grass-fed, you won't find a white egg anywhere in the country, and the cheese is pure, non processed, non greasy deliciousness.  I even had the opportunity to watch Pecorino cheese being made. I won't go into the entire process, but it was very interesting to watch my food take shape. Have you ever stopped to think where every bite of food you eat came from? How did it get from point A to your mouth?!?!?! Ponder on that while you learn all about cheese :)
 The first picture below is the heating process (which removes any Lactose!) The liquid (sheep milk) will chemically change into a solid matter (hello, no lactose!) The maker was showing me the solidifying by making an indention (look closely) in the top layer.        
              The next picture is the product of the heating process. After the cheese begins to solidify the cheese maker scrapes off the top layers and the picture below is the result. This is about as Paleo as it gets when it comes to cheese. To me it was a warm tasteless goo, but the Italians love it & they were eating it up...

After the "cheese matter" is scraped off the top, it would be patted into the strainer type bowl where the liquid is squeezed out, preparing the block to be aged. The block would then be placed in a temperature appropriate, dark cellar where it would sit and age anywhere from 6 months to years!
And that my friend, is how REAL cheese is made! While I was watching this process, I had a slight feeling of embarrassment. We as American's are known for a cheese. Do you know what American cheese means? It means processed - once again, what a joke! We are known for a square, jiggly, plastic wrapped, questionable colored, fake, processed product. It's time again to hang our heads in shame.  I've said it before, I am proud to be an American (you totally sang that line in your head didn't you) and I know that I am blessed to live in a free country, but sometimes we are so overly stupid and take advantage of everything from the land we live on to our God given bodies. Did you know that in Italy, it is against the law to turn the heat on before November, and that they HAVE to recycle everything. They are so proud and appreciative of their lives as a whole. I watched an American (in the NC airport) walk up to a row consisting of a trash can, a plastic recycle can and a paper recycle can and throw his plastic bottle into the trash can. AH! We don't even recycle when the opportunity is right in front of us. 
For those of us that have made the vow to go Paleo, the phenomenon discussed above is part of the reason the decision probably came with turmoil and it's some of the reasons we still hit bumps in the road. Us Paleolithic followers are one step closer to appreciation and understanding, but we still have to live in a world with people who have no desire to understand. We know what is good and bad for our bodies (or we are constantly learning!) but others are so shut off. It has become humorous to me how people react to Paleo, besides the normal "why the heck" looks, I have begun to enjoy the people that want to argue. Really, I want to laugh at them, but I keep that to my self and I attempt to quickly educate. I had someone actually get offended to learn that lactose is bad. HA! I wanted to break out the hundreds and hundreds of studies that back up why this is true, but I contained my self and inwardly judged. I have also heard someone say "well, my mom smoked the whole time she was pregnant with me, I turned out to be okay, so I have no intention of quitting when I get pregnant." (this person is NOT okay either, very unhealthy and a lot of problems). I know, I know. All you can do is shake your head in disgust, plant the seed in their minds and take the high road out. Thankfully though, for every stubborn, stupid, shut off person, there is usually one who you can "get to come to the dark side." While in Italy I had many people asking questions about the Paleo lifestyle, and I know at least 2 people are seriously considering the switch! It is such an accomplished feeling when you know you have helped someones well-being! So my advice is to be as educated as possible on why we eat or don't eat certain groups of food. People shun anything new or out of the ordinary, and/or they will have a million questions. Be ready to stand your ground & educate, and try to be nice and patient. We don't need any more stereotypes :)

Want an ever so easy recipe (what we are having for dinner tonight!)? You won't even need to write this one down! AND you will have some hearty broth at the end!
Next time whole chickens (cage free, organic diet, etc.) are on sale, buy as many as you can (or buy them whole price, what ever floats your boat). Stick them in the freezer and pull one out when you are way too busy to put any thought into dinner!  



If your chicken has a "bag" inside, you will want to get that out. I try & get the hubby to do this whenever possible, it grosses me out. 

Get your trusted crock-pot out & get her ready to go

Put your chicken in the crock pot & season with what ever your heart desires. I always include garlic, (tenderizer) pepper, and some kind of Herb. If you can, try to avoid salting the chicken because this can dry the meat out. (If you HAVE to have salt on your chicken, do it after you take it out of the pot) You won't need any liquid, so basically you are DONE with dinner!

Cook the bird on low for 7ish hours (depends on the weight & how frozen it is, but 7 is about the max it needs to cook.) 

I usually slice a red onion & throw it in on top of the chicken, but this is just our preference.  

Now, don't go getting all motivated to clean the kitchen & throw the juices out! After it cools, pour it in an air tight container (an old mason jar etc.) You will need to scrape the top layer of fat off (after it solidifies) and voila! You now have organic, salt free (as long as you didn't add salt) chicken broth! It will keep in the refrigerator for a few months, if you can keep it that long! 

Yay for being home & back to my normal eating! I had an AMAZING time on the other side of the pond, but I was also glad to be back in my comfort zone of living! 
I will try & do another post this week to get back on track! If anyone has any recommendations, arguments, comments, etc. I really appreciate the feedback, it's good to know I actually have people that read this and/or use a recipe or two! 

How cool is this wine I saw in Greve? I really wanted the main ingredient to be bacon ;)


Have a great week and remember.......
You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

PaleoISH/Almond Butter

 I leave for Italy tomorrow and have a list a mile long to accomplish today, but blogging seems to be top priority right now ;) this will also be the last post for about 2 1/2  weeks (unless I find some extreme motivation while in the land of carbs). I plan to eat as PaleoISH as I can, but still enjoy some of the things Italy is famous for. The Villa we are staying at, and where we will be eating most meals, grows all of their own organic fruit and vegetables, so thats a plus. I have been told that Tuscany is not known for their pasta like most people associate with "Italian food." Apparently, Olive Garden (which you should never even step foot into again - they are worse than Chili's in how they process, prepare & cook their foods) is the Americanized version  of Italian food. Go figure, American's go and take over again! We will be surrounded by roasted veggies & meat, which is awesome, but then they throw in the yummy bread and finish with gelato. Thats where I may have to live the culture and gain the whole experience :) Casa Cares makes their own organic olive oil & wine, both of which I have full intention of shipping cases back to Alabama!  I have individual bags of pistachios for the plane and CLIFFKids fruit strips as a snack to keep in my purse, J.I.C. I am also taking a box of Quest bars, which are as Paleoish as you can get when it comes to a processed bar. I would not recommend them for daily consumption (not to mention they are NOT cheap) but if you were traveling and need to keep something on you, these are a winner. I ordered them from BodyBuilding.com (Here is the link). While on the Bodybuilding.com topic - this is where we order all of our vitamins. I suggest you take supplements, Paleo or not, my view is they can only help. I'm sure some strict Paleo followers may disagree with me, but as I woman with an iron deficiency and history of osteoporosis, I am trying to be proactive. I take a Women's multivitamin (This is the one I take now) I like them a lot, but they do contain soy so I am going to try THESE next time we order. The Hubs takes a Men's multivitamin, and we also both take a Fish oil with Omega-3. Your vitamins are something you don't want to slack on. I don't recommend buying them at your local big box super store (aka Wally-World, Target, Kroger, etc.) spend a few extra dollars and get some that are actually going to be absorbed into your bloodstream and give you the benefits you need. You also know you are getting gluten free, natural ingredients.  Many of the cheaper vitamins do not provide your body with an adequate amount of anything because for one, they do not include the amount of nutrients your body needs (they may contain just enough for the nutrient to be detected, there for earning a label of "vitamin") AND,  you will flush them out the first time you urinate (ewe, I know - I just used the word urinate, but other labels didn't seem appropriate and it's the truth of process!) We also drink Xtend during/after a hard, training type workout. This is definitely not something a strict Paleo follower would drink, and it does have a small amount of soy in it (ugh, it's everywhere!) But, for me personally, the benefits outweigh the cons. This intra/post workout drink helps me feel hydrated (without the extreme amount of salt or sugar other sports drinks offer) it contains the needed amount of potassium, chloride, sodium (your muscles need some sodium, but not near as much as Gatorade has) to help with cell hydration and muscle contractile function. Yet, the main reason I swear by it...... I personally think it helps keep extreme soreness at bay. Don't get me wrong, I still get sore, but Xtend seems to help. Trust me, while CrossFitting, every little bit counts when it comes to being able to sit down or raise my arms. Here is the one we drink, I recommend the watermelon, it tastes like a jolly rancher!

Remember how in my last post, I recommended a food processor? Well, here is an EASY PEASY recipe that uses your food processor and will save you money!
We do not eat peanuts (if you need a refresher, read here on why we say no to legumes) BUT, no need to fret! You may not be able to eat peanut butter but, you can have almond butter!
 I buy the 3lb. bags of whole (unsalted, no sugar added, NOT roasted) almonds from Sam's (so much cheaper than whole foods! Just make sure you are getting pure almonds - READ every label!)  
 2 cups of whole almonds equal a little over 1 cup of almond butter (it does have a thicker constancy, so 1 cup will last you a while)
 You can tailor the recipe to your specific (cooking/eating) needs by adding seasoning to the processor if desired. (Think cinnamon or nutmeg a pinch of salt, pepper etc.). I rarely add anything and if I do, it's cinnamon for when we are dipping bananas in it.
 If you have time, roast your almonds before creaming them. This is an easy step that really enhances the flavor, but will not affect the out come of the butter if you skip it!

1) Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees & line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, pour the almonds on the baking sheet & season lightly if you desire.
  ( My processor handles 2 cups of whole almonds well, so I use 2 cups per process.)
2) When your oven is pre-heated, bake your almonds for about 8 minutes. Do not over bake the almonds, you will end up with a bitter taste and an ugly color. (Reminder, you can skip this step! If you are using the butter in a recipe, there is most likely no reason to roast them first)

3) When the almonds are roasted and cooled enough to handle, put them in your processor (with the chopping blade in-tact) if you are seasoning, season them to desired strength.


4) This step depends on your processor and amount of almonds, adjust your time accordingly. Turn the processor on & find something else to do ;). My process usually takes about 10-12 minuets. The almonds will go through stages - first they will be sandy, then they begin to cream.

5) Once you think it's creamy enough, let it blend for 1-2 more minutes to really get the ideal texture. 

6) Store in an air tight container (I use a small mason jar)

How easy was that!?!?! Now you never have to spend the 20 something dollars WholeFoods charges for their pure almond butter!

Everyone have a great rest of the week, weekend and next 2 weeks! Keep an eye on Facebook/Twitter for Italy updates! I'm crossing my fingers for a good internet connection!

You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are.




Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Get it together! Handy little Paleo guide


FINALS.ARE.OVER.... I leave for Italy in 8 days and take the National Comprehensive Exam in a little over a month, neither of these things am I anywhere near ready for. If I wasn't overwhelmingly busy, I wouldn't know what to do!

We were lucky enough to get a break from life this past weekend, and take a last minute trip down to gulf shores. For the most part, we ate Paleo(ish). We took our own food and were somewhat picky about what we ordered when we ate out. BUT, then we ended up at LuLu's and the jalapeno hush puppies and the jet ski killer (an oh, so yummy & sweet drink) definitely won the battle! They were amazing, but I did pay for it later. For us though, this is how WE see and approach the Paelo lifestyle, with a matter of give and take. Basically, I do not have enough self control (yet) to realistically say I will never eat anything bad, ever again and if I were to completely limit myself, I would begin to resent everything I "had" to eat and eventually end up leaving the Paleo world. I also know myself well enough to understand, it's easier to avoid the situations that tempt me. NO, this does not mean you have to be a recluse and end your social life - stop being such a negative Nancy - it means asking the waitress not to bring the warm, gooey, gluten filled bread or the crispy soy bean oil soaked chips. OR, if you are with a non-Paleo group, I try to sit at the end of the table (not being in the middle of all the temptations being passed around) and keep a conversation going (I have no trouble yacking away 'till my food arrives!)
Another tip I can offer that has worked for me, if you know what restaurant you will be visiting, look their menu up online before you leave. Have in mind a few options (and what substitutions) you can order, then never look back. This way you don't take 5 hours trying to cipher through what you can eat (I hate being that girl,) you know what questions you may have for the waiter, and you are not as tempted to "cheat"

Summer is fast approaching (feels like it's arrived in Alabama) and many people will be taking vacations and getting out of their normal routine on occasions. This is not an excuse to defer going Paleo, actually I don't think there is any acceptable reason, it's simply the fact that you just aren't ready. YOU HAVE TO BE READY. Seriously, your head has to be in the right place and you have to go at the change with a "no turning back, this is for the better me, I can do this" mindset. It took us a year to be ready, and about a month of conversing, researching and planning for it. I still think it is one of the best decisions we ever made and regret taking so long to finally "come to the dark side." My personal take - I could not have started this alone. I advise you have a Paleo Partner. I'm lucky enough to live in the same house as mine so I do not have non-Paleo food hiding out in my pantry. If your not so lucky and have to share your space with a "not so Paleo" pal, divide the pantry. Keep your temptations out of site until you have built some control. Find a Paleo partner and hold each other accountable!
It's time for YOU to start planning..... and yes, at the beginning, it takes a LOT of planning. You may want a night you can set aside, while watching T.V. or unwinding that you can plan out your meals and snacks for the week, research any questions you may have come across (i.e. can I eat _____) and make your grocery list. I try to have my list done and store conquered by Sunday night so I can get all of our snacks and things made for the week. It sounds so tedious, but once you are in the habit, it's second nature and gives you such a sense of accomplishment!
While getting your mind right, keep this chart handy so you can re-train yourself how to think.





    
Change your approach on food, more specifically your approach on fat. It's not a bad thing. Fake is bad, clean and fat is good! 
  While updating your thought process, you may also want to update some of your kitchen essentials. At this point, I do not know how I ever lived without a food processor. You obviously do not have to own a food processor to eat Paleo, but trust me - it will make your life so very, very much easier. I got a Cuisinart 9 cup (sold here on Amazon) and have enjoyed it so far. I have found myself using the mandoline slicer (This is the one we have) more and more (well, actually I have avoided it since my little finger incident, but it is a very useful tool when used correctly!) You definitely need some good sharp knives and we use our oven safe wire rack (Here is an example sold on Amazon  - make sure it's oven safe!) to bake sweet potato chips,fries and chicken tenders. I have also used our waffle iron more than you would think, don't go getting rid of anything thinking you won't use it anymore!
So, really - what's stopping you? You give me an excuse and I'll give you a rebuttal. (Don't even try the whole it's too expensive line. It can be, if you let it. OR you can take the 5 extra minutes and take advice from people like Paleo On a Budget and shop the sales.) It's possible. So get it together and let's do the dang thing :)

You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Legumes & Stuffed Mexican Peppers

 Well, it happened..... I had my first major kitchen injury and it was NOT fun. I've had the occasional burn (once, when pan searing a steak - I grabbed the cast iron handle with my bare hand to take it out of the 500 degree oven, that injury comes close to this one) or the chopping "cut" (usually happens with stubborn fruit) But, this one has terrified me of my medallion...  I was slicing sweet potatoes lengthwise to make enchilada "shells" and wham my middle finger met the blade. It was such immediate pain, I had it off the blade before the blood began to poor. I'll leave the gory details out but it took off such a chunk, there was nothing left to stitch back together. I am going to have a Rachel Ray finger( she has no finger tips left due to all her chopping, slicing and grating injuries). Do you know how sensitive your finger tips are? Well, I found out for you! It was hard to function - washing my hands, taking a shower, writing, typing, you name it, you use your fingers for it, and even though you have 9 others, they only seem to work correctly as a complete team. It's been almost a week and it's finally starting to numb a little. I actually caught a ball in kickball last night and didn't want to scream from pain, so I guess we're getting somewhere. Regardless, take my advice and use EXTREME caution when using anything with a blade, really let me reiterate - EXTREME caution!!! 
 I saw a quote recently that said "vegetarian is just another word for bad hunter" and I couldn't help but laugh out loud. To each his own, but how in the world could anyone function on rabbit food and legumes/beans. Legume (or in the south lAygUume)... it's such a fun word to say but we stay as far away from them as I do my medallion slicer. But, what exactly is a legume and why are they forbidden? I wondered the same thing, and even though I still have a lot to learn about the curious, toxic little creatures, here is some information I have gathered thus far..........
Legumes are either the actual plant or the fruits of plants categorized in the Fabaceae family. AH HA! It all makes sense now doesn't it? Kidding, kidding, I have no idea what that really means so in my terms a legume is a family of pants including beans, garbanzos/chickpeas (which is what hummus is made of) lentils, peas, peanuts and soybeans. Farmers use legumes as a rotational crop to replenish soil that is lacking in nitrogen because they fix the depletion with the bacteria found in their roots, and because of their deep roots, legumes are also used in erosion control (imagine the "erosion control" it's doing to your intestines). Legumes give you gas (we'll save this for another day, but for the most part gas is just about eliminated while on paleo). In their raw form they are extremely toxic and even through all the sprouting, soaking, and cooking they still contain toxic traces.  Legumes contain phytates which inhibit nutrient absorption and can cause inflammation.  They also contain the devilish proteins we call Lectins. Lectins are believed to have something to do with the survival of the plant, in other words they protect the plant and wreck havoc on your digestion. They move through your body intact causing everything from autoimmune issues (hence, a reason why Doctors recommend a Paleo type diet for anyone suffering from diabetes, celiac, lupus etc) to leaky gut. Uh, do you want leaky gut, because I sure as heck am going to avoid it. (Lectins dredge across your intestine walls and after so many disruptions, the healing process is no longer able to occur.) Leaky gut is how food sensitivities begin, ever know anyone who was just all of the sudden allergic to something... Think on that for a minuet.
As far as soy as a separate intity goes, I personally always thought it was one of those really good for you, healthy things (like tofu & soy milk) WRONG. As well as all the issues listed above, soy also comes with new research that has found it tempers with the bodies hormones. More specifically, a soy compound in the body behaves like estrogen. It simulates the hormone and in some cases causes the estrogen-receptors (hello, biology class all over again!) to become temporarily blocked. One article I found said their research supported that soybeans and processed soy products (which are even worse) were linked to longer and more painful menstrual periods in females and a decreased sperm count in males. Remember that next time you go to drench your food in soy sauce! I do believe there is still a lot of research to be done on this subject, but as far as the Martins go - we will try and be 1 step ahead of the following :) (SIDE NOTE - when eating out, attempt to avoid places that cook their food in soybean oil, Chili's is a big culprit of this. At the least, ask them to cook your food separately)


So, what can you eat!?!? Here is a yummy recipe that is super simple and has no legumes in sight! (It's not spicy as written, but I added some diced jalapeno to mine!)


Stuffed Mexican Peppers
Here's what you'll need...



~5 poblano peppers (look for the full ones, not the ones with a side caved in)
~1lb. chorizo sausage (you could use less, but we liked our peppers overflowing)
~1 yellow onion thinly sliced
~ 1 large tomato diced
~ half of a bunch of cilantro finely chopped (optional) 
~cumin
~garlic powder

Here's what you do.......

Preheat the oven to 425 & line a baking sheet with foil (unless you want to scrub pepper pieces all night)

Start browning the sausage & crumbling the pieces as they cook (I love my pampered chef mix & chop for this) when the sausage is about half way done, add the onions then as they cook down add the tomato. If you are using the cilantro add it and the cumin & garlic powder to taste (I load the spices on)

While the "stuffing" is cooking, begin preparing your peppers (Don't look at these things like they are indestructible, they need care when being handled so you don't rip them to pieces!)
Cut the tops of the peppers off, remove the seeds and gently cut a slit on one side (not a rip the whole way down giving you 2 pieces, just a slit)

When the stuffing mixture is done, stuff your peppers (duh, I guess you kind of figured that part didn't you?)

Bake the peppers for 20 minutes

I added diced jalapenos to mine (Perry hates hot) and served them with some homemade salsa!








Thursday, April 12, 2012

Clean up & have a drink!

     GOOD MORNING! What a fast week it has been, (It's Friday in our house!) I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter as much as we did. Speaking of Easter, we used it as a cheat day, well P used it as a cheat day, I used it as an indulgence day. NEVER again (to that extreme at least) I was sick as a dog. Word to the wise, after you have eaten Paleo for over a month, I don't recommend indulging in each food group you have given up all at once. After having croissants (coated in a yummy sugar, butter paste) & sausage balls, potato salad, deviled eggs, green beans (the rest of lunch was Paleoish) angel food cake, a few Hershey's Kisses and a packet of cotton candy pop rocks (the Easter Bunny had no trouble finding us & I told you, I took it over board) I was DOWN for the count. I almost didn't make it to my class presentation Monday night. It was that bad.  BUT, I look at it this way, at least my body has truly taken to my new lifestyle, it doesn't want anything that is not beneficial and it's going to do what it has to in order to get rid of it..... Which leads me into my next rant........ getting rid, repairing, detoxing, cleaning up and cleaning out. These are all phrases that have been clouding my thoughts lately. We are putting so much effort into "cleaning up our diets" (diets as in food consumption, not diet as in restrictions) but what about cleaning up our lives as well. NO, it's not that bad. I didn't just reveal some big life secret. I don't have any addictions (after giving up my sugar/cupcake addiction, the only one I have left is to my chapstick, honestly I don't know how anyone could possibly have a narcotic or extreme alcohol addiction & actually live through a WOD) I'm referring to the general environments and themes we live in on a day to day basis.
     See, as a side note - let me explain some of where I am coming from. As most know, I am a working on a Master's in Counseling (as well as being a BIG people pleaser). As a therapist, we do feelings. We learn about them, dissect them, analyze them, talk about them, question them and strive to understand where they came from. Some people can travel through their day without acknowledging a single emotion/feeling they experience. NOT me, I can barely make it through a fleeting thought or action without at least doing a quick emotional inventory. I do the same with others outward expressions. I feed off of others, which will be great when I have an emotionally distraught child in my office, but as far as daily life I have to learn to be less affected by people who are negative, harsh and condescending.  Basically, others have too much control over my mood and experiences. As humans, we all suffer from this to an extent, (ever tried to be a beam of sunshine with the biggest Debbie Downer on Earth? It's not easy) some of us just "feel" it more intensely.
      SO... how do I begin to fix this? Well, for starters I turned to Facebook. Duh, where else do you make a life change? It's time to de-friend the negative. (Okay, to be honest, some come with strings, and in defense of not causing a world war, they may just get the "unsubscribe" instead of the de-friend. I know, I know, I'm a sissy & need to practice all of what I preach, but let's take this in baby steps. Give a girl a break!) No more adverse and cynical statuses on my feed. There are so many people who's mouths need a good washing, and others who are just looking for someone to be miserable with, not to mention the people who just get under your skin and remind you of things you never wish to think of again.
    Alright, so step one = in process. Next comes the polite distance in the real world. Ugh, this could be ugly (but only momentarily) Sometimes, I see/think of people who have relationships that are nothing but detrimental (this includes actual relationships as well as friendships) and wonder why in the world they would continue to associate and try with that person (then I secretly analyze & diagnose the situation)  It's time to start cutting the strings. You (I) have let it get there, you (I) lost your (my) boundaries...... Think on that for a minuet. You have an exact situation in your mind don't you?
  Toxins in your life do not come just from direct relationships. It may be a condescending radio segment, a twitter feed, a hostile work environment, etc. etc.   Respect your well being enough to let it go! As for me, I know it's not realistic to think I can just rid of everyone and everything "bad"so I have to learn not to let others have as much of an influence on me and my feelings & thoughts.
As I rid of toxins in my life, I hope to be a positive influence on everyone I come in contact with. We all have the right to be happy. We have the right, but we also have the control. We have to give ourselves the gift of control.  Ah! This is getting deep, I need to stop while I'm still ahead - but really, when you find yourself in a noxious situation, instead of throwing a pity party & looking for company to share your misery with, put your energy into making it better for YOU. (DISCLAIMER - obviously, I'm not talking about situations such as grieving or unavoidable "deadline" pressure or stress, I'm simply referring to the baggage we carry as a result of others and completely avoidable situations).
Alright, I'm stepping off of my soap box now.
   
     One of the main questions I get from people about the Paleo diet is "what about alcohol?" Well, my guess is cavemen didn't have the luxury of a million different types of beer, wine and liquor - but if I had to guess, I would venture out and say they found some grape or berry to "enjoy" :) In all of my research, I have found that if you are going to drink (in MODERATION, and over the age of 21 of course - don't go getting all legal on me) then you should stick to the non-sugary (mostly red or dry white) organic wines or 100% pure agave tequila. We have found a couple wines we enjoy at whole foods and Publix also has a select few. My recommendation is the Frey white table wine or the Pacific Redwood Pinot Noir. Both are made with organic grapes and neither have any added sulfites (the red actually has no detected sulfites what so ever)
I also like the Pacific Redwood "RED" but Perry thinks the Pinot is one of the best he has EVER had! So even if you aren't Paleo - you can definitely enjoy the benefits of a sulfite free wine! The bottles are about $11.00 - $15.00 depending on where you get them (which is a little more than I used to spend, but we TRY not to finish a bottle in 1 sitting!)  

If you looking for a little more ZEST in your "consumption" - I may have the answer for you! I've yet to come up with a good name for it, so suggestions are welcomed! 
I took the basic recipe for a NorCal margarita and made it a little more me. A NorCal consists of 2-3 shots of agave tequila, juice from 1 lime and soda water to taste. If you can handle a tiny drink that tastes of straight Mexico, then have at it. That is the drink for you, but as for me - I'm working on my acquired taste and trust of tequila (we met in college and had a non existent relationship for a long while) As yall know, we play in a kickball league which could also be called drinking ball 101, so I needed something I could take with me in a larger thermos & enjoy for 7 embarrassing (example -last night I somehow got plowed over and ended up on my back, then after actually making it to a base, practically slid in a SPLIT into second - had 2 people fall on top of me and still managed to be called out. UGH) 

I went to work, I pulled out our handy dandy, Battery operated, Margaritaville, Margarita machine to do the job (Which I highly recommend - it is a tad smaller than the original, but has a much smaller price tag. AND since its battery operated, it can conveniently travel and work anywhere we want it to! We got ours at Sam's club & have gotten every penny we paid for it!) Now, much like my real cooking, I don't really measure anything out, so bare with me. Play around with the recipe and make it to your liking!

Ingredients   
*100% agave nectar tequila
*Limes
*Mango
*Club Soda (I buy the small bottles, you don't need a lot)
*Coconut water (I just buy the individual ones that have an added flavor too! We used the Pineapple infused one last night) 
* 100% agave nectar 
*Ice

For our concoction, we cut up the mango (click HERE if you need a mango cutting illustration) put it in the bottom of the blender, squeezed 3 limes onto the mango pieces, used enough coconut water to cover the pieces, eyeballed about a cup of tequila (maybe a little more, I let the Hubs do the pouring) counted to 3 while squeezing in the agave nectar and topped with a splash of club soda (this makes the consistency & cuts down the acidic taste) filled the top of our machine with ice & let it do what it does best. I put a lime half in each thermos bottle then topped the mix off with an extra shot of tequila! VOILA a YUMMY, refreshing, Paleoish Margarita! (if you just love tequila or club soda, you could leave the coconut water out - I just haven't gotten to that point yet) WOOO HOOO for summer concoctions!

Whew - that was a long post - I'll try and work on that for next time! Have a great, toxin free (he he) weekend! 

         You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are.




   

Friday, April 6, 2012

Gluten

 WOOOOO HOOO for Friday! What a week it has been, I am almost done with all of my projects/presentations/papers that my teachers like to cram in during the last few weeks of school. I think, if I were a professor, I would give all of my assignments the second week of class.. Just saying.
 I am highly impressed with the response to "say no to dairy" I'm telling you, it makes sense and as surprising as it is (I ALWAYS cooked with & ate cheese) I don't miss it at all, even my craving for frozen yogurt has passed :) While we are on the "say no to ___" boat, lets travel down the gluten road.
 First off, what exactly is gluten you ask? WELL.... Most people associate it with grains, which is correct, sort of. It is actually a protein composite, and even though it is most commonly found in wheat and grain products, gluten sneaks up everywhere. Basically, gluten is what makes foods thicker, sticky, chewy, gooey,  or "fake" flavorful. Even if you were not born with a direct gluten allergy, many people will develop an intolerance because it is so destructive on our bodies. We were not meant to ingest gluten, our bodies freak out when we flush our system with it and it does whatever it takes to get it the heck out. Major issues can arise when this becomes a vicious cycle, never giving our bodies time to heal from the shock we gave it.  If you want to do some more research Click here for an easy to read Paleo based article. Or here for a Women's Health article.
My two cents on this, in case you were wondering.....
 Just because you claim to eat "gluten free" doesn't mean you are eating healthy, or that you are going to lose weight. Actually, my guess is you would probably gain weight and end up being more out of whack than before you started. Gluten free does not = healthy or calorie free. You take away something (gluten) you have to add something in it's place, and from the labels I've read, that something seems to come in the form of empty fat & calories. In today's bandwagon market there is everything from cake mix to ice cream marked with the infamous gluten free banner, but HELLO how does that even make sense in the grand scheme of health? If someone is restricting their diet because of an allergy or disease they suffer from, they need to be as conscious as ever about what they put into their bodies. People who are just trying to be the healthiest they can, well Gluten is a good thing to limit, but there is so much more to balance everything out.  Now, don't get me wrong or label me the nasty food police, I understand needing a special indulgence EVERY NOW & THEN. The issue comes with our society's backwards way of thinking. We as humans have a hard time owning our feelings or taking responsibilities that go against the normal daily grind. We are flat out scared, but it has to change.
What does all of this have to do with Paleo?!? My rant was a long way of saying, going Paleo isn't just changing what you stuff your face with. It's a complete, complicated lifestyle change. You HAVE to change the way you think and be ready to be snuffed by someone who will probably never care enough to understand.
 WheW, I feel better now :) So, on a lighter note, as a whole the hubs and I are really starting to notice a difference with our Paleo lives. Not only do we both have more energy (which was something he was really striving for) and better digestive "procedures" but our workouts are starting to show improvement as well. Last week I conquered the band free pull ups and last night I battled double unders. I still hate double unders with a passion, almost as much as running, and they make me say things that would embarrass my momma (of course I married the double under king, which just makes me more aggravated at the situation) but even with a healing quad, I didn't scale them and it didn't take me 5 hours to complete. That right there is proof my body is improving. I've been working on those stupid things since week 1 of crossfit. This video here is an example of someone I would like to hit in the face. He makes them look so easy, and this is after he did a WOD. Seriously, him and Perry can go live on an island together and have double under competitions all day long...........  

Last week I said my amazing crock pot was slaving away on our dinner, and it did a wonderful job. So easy and tasted wonderful. It may even be cooking right now to be enjoyed again tonight :). It's just too easy for when you are too busy to spend an hour in the kitchen! Even non-Paleo eaters can really enjoy this one! They will never even know you are feeding them right ;)

Easy pulled pork


2-3 lb. meat (we used a boneless shoulder roast)
2 yellow onions - sliced
1 green pepper - sliced (optional)
1/2 - 1 cup organic chicken broth
salt
garlic powder
paprika
black pepper
white pepper
chili powder
( I also used my rosemary grinder, garlic sea salt grinder and Perfect Pinch's roasted garlic and bell pepper seasoning - apparently I like to season with garlic!)

*When I made it this time, I did not use a green pepper because I was serving Basalmic acorn squash chips with it. If your not doing a side, add the pepper to give you your greens and make a complete meal!  


Get ready for some complicated instructions....... here we go.......

1) put 1 of the sliced onions on the bottom of the crock pot.
2) Season your meat then put it on top of the onions
3) pour the broth over the meat. (If you have meat on the 2lbs side, use about a 1/2 cup. If you have closer to 3 lbs. use about 1 cup.)

4) put the other sliced onion on top and add some more spice


5) Cook on low for 8-10 hours (more like 8 hours - if you are going to be gone & let it cook for more than 8, I would add a little more broth to it)

6) No peeking :) when it's done, shred with 2 forks 

Enjoy this beautiful Easter weekend and take a second to reflect on all it means. We are all so blessed!

You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are. 



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In the land of Firsts.

It's Wednesday, I have a paper due by 5:00 this afternoon, obviously this is the ample time to blog :)
 It's been a great week so far, consisting of a simple menu. A menu we conjured up Sunday night, in the car, on the way back from Auburn. Whole foods is on our way home and gas is expensive (remember it's a 45 min. drive one way for us) I just wish we had thought about that earlier, so I could have been a little more prepared. We spent the weekend in the woods, talking to turkey. Sadly, the turkey did not find our calling attractive enough to find us (in all reality, the south Alabama hunting was just really bad, turkeys aren't fans of fog & it was really foggy) Anyway, it was our first weekend away from our Paleo friendly kitchen and we had to get creative. Auburn has a grocery store called Earth Fare, which we had high hopes for, high hopes that were quickly muddled. In the past, Earth Fare served breakfast, lunch and dinner (much like whole foods) which was perfect for us, or so we thought. Apparently, they no longer serve breakfast and the meat we bought for lunch was tougher than the cheapest, driest meat you could buy at Wally World. It was such a disappointment.
After set back one, we decided we could do breakfast at a local deli where we could get batter free omelets (if you ever order an omelet, make sure to ask if they add any kind of batter to them. Pancake batter is added to most eggs to make them light, fluffy and look bigger) They had the perfect Paleo type (not everything was organic, but it was the better choice) options.  We both ordered a meat omelet, no cheese, no sour cream and add bacon. All was well, until we got our food and realized it was sopping in cheese (wonderful, delicious, pepper-jack cheese at that). Our waitress was awesome and took them back to fix it. The kitchen in this deli is an open air type, so we could hear everything. The cooks proceeded to loudly say "what do you mean, no cheese? These are omelets. Omelets have cheese, who are these people?" Wow.... Our wonderful waitress fired back with, "who cares how you normally make them, they don't want cheese, I wrote down no cheese, so you are going to make a new one, with NO cheese."  (I think this is how you get your food spit in) We eventually got our cheese free meal and I apologized to the girl a million more times (Not sure why, we didn't do anything wrong.) I guess she knew we heard everything and told us, the meal was on the house due to all the hassle.  As we sat there, eating our free, cheese free eggs, we realized this is going to happen again. We are too busy, and travel too much to realistically eat every meal at home. We have eaten at a steakhouse or two, where we got the funny looks when we asked them not to bring the bread, hold the cheese and croutons on the salad (with the oil and vinegar dressing) and ask for no butter on anything. But the deli was our first time having to deal with going against the American norm.  We made it through the first ordeal and nobody ended up disgruntled, but we also learned to be aware of what we eat when we are not the ones making it, be prepared for frustrations and stand your ground. You are a paying customer and if you want no batter and no cheese, you should get no batter and no cheese, regardless of your reasonings for asking for it that way. But while on the eating out topic, it is possible to make smart Paleo type decisions while away from home. Did you know that Moe's (tex-mex, not the BBQ) uses all grass fed meat and organic veggies? Yep, they do! And when you order a Moe's salad they even ask shell, or no shell? You can get a lettuce bowl filled with meats and mexican type toppings and stick to stricter Paleo in there! It can be done!
 After our little cheese debacle, I wanted to know more about why I needed to avoid dairy. There is so much literature out there on why dairy (more specific, lactose) is bad to consume after 2 years old. More people than not have a lactose sensitivity, even if it's not life altering. Think about it though, ever been bloated, gassy, cramped, constipated or nauseous after a meal? Did it have dairy? I would be willing to bet yes. We are the only mammals that drink other mammals milk. Digest that for a second. (animals eat other animals, but they do not drink their milk)
Dairy also causes a high insulin spike, has a high carb count and includes anything the cow was fed or injected with (hormones and antibiotics) If you want to read more into the anti dairy realm, here are two websites I found.
This is my Favorite, easiest to understand article. (click the link)

This website titled NotMilk.com has way too many articles to read them all, and you can't believe everything you read online, but it can get you thinking. I like to see references and studies done to back up the reports and some of these articles have some credible sources. For this website Click Here

In the Martin house, we drink Almond milk (or as many call it "almond juice") I also really enjoy the chocolate flavor when I'm craving something sweet. We started out with the original, but I just bought the unsweetened one as we are trying to eliminate sugar. Drinking your calories is not ideal but, once again, this is the better alternative.

As far as a recipe with this post, we had wonderful kabobs Monday night. We used wild caught shrimp, (Whole foods had it on sale last friday!) peppers, tomatoes, red onion and zucchini. Threw it all on a stick (after soaking them in water) and grilled them to perfection. Easy, peasy! Speaking of shrimp though, am I the only one who just cannot eat them unless they are de-veined? Perry did not believe me when I told him what that little "vein" really was, but after googling it and finding words like "poop chute" "hershey track" and "doody vein" we took the time to de-vein our shrimp before we cooked them! :)

 If you have a quick minuet, give This article a read. It has nothing to do with today's post, but I found it this morning and could not agree more. Paleo women are PHAT!

Enjoy the rest of the week & remember....
You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Hump Day!!!

 Well, it's the Wednesday of my Spring break and naturally I have spent the week studying for comps, working on the numerous group projects I have due soon and last night we took on the yard, I miss the days when spring break meant "forget everything school related for the week." Getting older is not near as fun as I had pictured it to be. Speaking of getting older and gaining responsibilities, apparently when you buy a house, you have to keep the yard pretty, and keeping the yard pretty is one of those responsibilities I would like to give back. Perry promises one day when we win the lottery (the lottery we don't have in the state of Alabama) we will have a yard crew, either that or astro turf. So, we turned yesterday's WOD (CrossFit Lingo for Work Out Of the Day) into "get the ugly running juniper that had taken over the front yard out of there" for time. O.MY.GOSH. that stuff is indestructible and we ran out of daylight. Apparently we get to continue the fun for the next few afternoons, then we have to somehow get grass to grow and pray that the retaining wall stays put.... I woke up this morning and felt like I had done 500 pull-ups, yard work is no joke. Unfortunately, after all that exhausting work we had to come in and make dinner, which was our first epic fail meal. The deer burgers fell apart & our blender did not puree the sauce like I needed. It just didn't work like I thought. Ugh... On the positive side, my food processor was ordered yesterday and I can not wait for it to arrive! If only I had done a crock pot dinner last night, I seriously don't know what I would do without my crock pot. It needed some love, so it is working away making our dinner for tonight!
On Monday we had a Texas Hash that turned out really well. It has eggs in it, so my thinking is that if you added 1-2 more eggs than we used, it would have more of a breakfasty (yes, another made up word) flavor and could be made on Sunday night, divided into little portions and heated up each morning! Once again, this recipe was not pretty and obviously my photo taking skills (or the fact that I am using a point & shoot camera) do not make it look any better. But, who cares what it looks like, as long as it tastes good, right?
We used ground deer for our hash, I know not everyone has a downstairs freezer filled to the brim with deer meat so you can substitute any ground beef!




Texas Hash Casserole
1 lb. ground beef
2 sweet potatoes, shredded
1 onion, diced
6 eggs, whisked & seasoned with garlic & pepper before adding them to the casserole
2 garlic cloves, minced
6oz. can of green chilies, drained
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or any other kind of fat, like bacon grease)
14 oz. organic enchilada sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
salt & pepper to taste.
(I never actually measure my spices, I just sprinkle them on until I think it looks/smells pretty - so feel free to add more!)

You need to use an oven proof skillet for this (I used a calaphon oven safe saute pan because my cast iron skillet was not big enough)

1) Preheat the oven to 450 - shred your potatoes and dice your onion and garlic.

2) Place your skillet over med/high heat and add your fat. When the fat has melted, add the onion and garlic.

3) When the onion begins to soften, add the beef and spice away. (make sure to break up the beef as it browns. I love my handy Pampered Chef mix and stir for stuff like this)




4) Add some more spices :)

5) Pour the shredded sweet potatoes on top of the meat and pat down.

6) Pour Enchilada sauce on top


7) Cover & let simmer for 8-10 min.

8) When sweet potatoes begin to soften, remove from heat and add the whisked eggs. Stir it all together.

9) Put the pan in the oven and bake for 30 min.



Be careful when taking the pan out of the oven & cutting your portion. I always put a pot holder over the handle so I don't accidentally grab the 450 degree handle and hate my life. Trust me on this one, those blisters hurt.....