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.

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