Monday, February 27, 2012

Cave Dude Beef Stew

I have been living like a cave-dude for 65 days now, and as of this morning I have lost 30 pounds.
It has to be said that I am quite a large girl to begin with, so there is a lot to lose.
I am thrilled with my way of life.
I have slept better, feel better, have so much more energy, and my joints don't hurt at night.
It has not been difficult to live this way at all.
Sure in the beginning when your body detoxes itself from the sugar and the carbs, you get a little freaky, but I made it through.
I crave different things now that my body is processing clean foods.
It used to be I needed something sugary in the morning for breakfast. Captain Crunch, waffles with syrup, berry yogurt with bran buds, to name a few.
This morning I came down stairs and thought...I think I'll have beef stew for breakfast!
Seriously...65 days ago you could not have paid me to have beef stew for breakfast. I needed that sugar carb rush to get me going out the door.
My daughter about gagged when she saw what I was eating. She is still a hold out on our new way of eating, I think all 15 year old girls are most likely difficult to deal with, but we will break her yet.
Not only did I have beef stew for breakfast, I also had a spinach salad to boot!
Too freaky!
Here is the recipe for my Cave Dude Beef Stew.

Beef Stock

3 cups of beef stock
2 pounds of beef cubes (we used the grass fed beef)
6 celery stalks, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 box of mushrooms sliced
1 can of diced tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
Spices, whatever kind you enjoy in any amount you choose.
Olive oil

Saute the onions, garlic, and carrots in some olive oil till they are tender and wilty.
Remove them to a large bowl.

Saute the mushrooms and celery in olive oil till tender.
Remove them to the same bowl.

Saute the beef in small batches so they can brown evenly. It took me four batches to get mine done.
Remove to the bowl.
I then added a cup of stock to the pan turned the heat down and de glazed the pan.

I added all the meat, veggies, and stock to my crock pot and cooked on low from morning till night.
The beef was tender and juicy, the veggies soft and yummy.
It has made for several healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it too.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Getting Lean By Beefing It Up

Chewy being himself
Since my Mother In Law passed away, I have been following in my kitty cat's example.
Sleeping more, staring out the window mindlessly, not giving a crap...basically.
It has been a few weeks and we are all starting to move forward again. The grief has given way
to fond remembrances and happy thoughts of her instead of weary sadness.
It has been easy to stay on course of our new way of eating for the most part.
It's now become a habit...a norm.
I hadn't weighed myself since January and now at the end of February I thought it might be nice to do it again.
Total elation!
I have so far lost 25 pounds and dropped 2 pant sizes.
I have never felt this healthy or this strong.
I have lost so many things in my life by living in the Paleo / Primal way.
I have lost heart burn.
I have lost the tightness in my chest that I always felt.
I have lost the anxiety that used to plague me (even though things are pretty good for me)
I have lost the bloated, thick, and uncomfortable feeling in my middle.
I have lost the winded feeling when going up stairs.

I read a few blogs every morning, and one of them is Nom Nom Paleo.
This woman eats very well and has a wide variety of meats and veggies that she cooks daily.
I have wanted to get more grass fed meats into our diet, but was leery of ordering them off the Internet and having them shipped.
I have been researching a few farms in Ohio that might be good to purchase from, but many have certain times of the year that they butcher and you have to wait till summer or fall to receive it.
I remembered there was a shop not ten minutes away from out house that had a big board outside claiming different meat specials of the week.
I never went in there. I mean...really! I got my meat from Costco.
A huge amount of meat for a cheaper price.
That's how we used to do it, until I had watched several videos (US Wellness Meats has a very explanatory video) and read countess articles about the differences of grass fed beef versus traditional grain fed beef.

I went to Luigi's Market on a lark.
Just to see if I could get free range poultry or bones to make my soups.
To my suprise they carried grass fed beef as well as the poultry and humaine raised pork!
They have been the nicest people to deal with.
I bought 25 pounds of chicken breasts, 40 pounds of bones to keep frozen and make my stocks from, and 30 pounds of grass fed beef.
They will cut and package everything just how I would like it and even carry it all out to the car.
Nothing has tasted better than that grass fed beef.
It has a wonderful texture and flavor.
The first thing I made was a slow cooked roast that I was able to pull apart with forks...yummy!
Pull Apart Beef
Here is the recipe for one amazing grass fed beef recipe (we have eaten it for breakfast too!)

Pull Apart Beef:

3 pound beef roast
2 cups of my homemade totmato sauce (you can use any sauce you like)
2 tablespoons of Bragg's apple cider vinegar
1 small onion chopped
5 pieces of garlic smashed open (you can use chopped from a jar)
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 tablespoon rustic tuscan seasoning (you can use any spices that make you happy)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
I also used a few good shakes of dried kelp flakes

I let the roast thaw a bit, rinsed it and patted it dry.
Place it it an oven safe pot or baking dish on top of a large piece of foil.
Fold the foil up around the roast to hold the sauce in when it is poured on top.
Next mix the sauce with all the other ingredients.

Sauce for the roast

Next pour the sauce on the roast and fold the foil together so it makes a good tight package.
Some liquid might make it out, but that's happens.

Looking saucey

All ready for the oven

I baked it at 320 degrees for five hours. When I unwrapped the package I put the meat in a bowl, shredded it apart with two forks and added a bit more of my homemade sauce into it.
It was so good we had it for dinner and then breakfast the next morning.
We were so hungry I completely forgot to take a picture of the finished product.
I hope you try this recipe and love it like we do.
Have a great day.

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Sweet Lovely Mother In Law passed away.
I was not ready for this, neither was any of our family.
Barb loved the sun and the color yellow.
I just wish we had longer on this earth.
I get caught up in just the everday living and often forget to take the time to show real love.
Show the love today...let everyone know how much love you feel for them.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Primal Brownies...Better than the Bowl

This is a too true statement.
The Super Bowl has never meant anything to me but as a day to cook too much food and drink one to many martinis.
I thought this year might be hard to manage, as we are avoiding things made with bread, or potatoes.
I am also trying very hard to cut down on how much cheese I eat.
It seems excessive at times, but yesterday I acted as through cheese was it's own food group...mmmmm...cheese...and not Primal, but hey...a must have on occasion.
I searched through the web for days to find recipes that would be good for our new way to eat, and still be healthy for us.
Buffalo Chicken Dip

I made Buffalo Chicken Dip, which was spicy and eaten with celery, and carrots.
Bacon Guacamole

Bacon Guacamole was amazing and served with Primal Crackers (made in triangle forms to be better for dipping.
Primal Brownies

For dessert I had made Primal Brownies the day before. If you let them sit overnight the flavors deepen and the chocolate comes through with force.

Here is the recipe:

1 Stick of butter (I used unsalted organic)
8 ounces of Sour Cream
4 ounces of softened cream cheese
1 tbsp of vanilla
4 large eggs
1 cup of coconut flour
1/3 cup of honey
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp aluminum free baking powder
1/3 cup unsweetened coco powder
1/3 cup organic heavy cream
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate pieces (I used 70% dark)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

 In an 8" by 8" baking dish I cut parchment paper to fit the pan.

Beat softened cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth.
Beat in butter, vanilla, and honey.
Whisk together dry ingredients.
Add eggs one at a time to cream cheese mixture, and beat until incorporated.
Add dry ingredients and heavy cream.
Fold in chopped dark chocolate.
Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pan, and smooth top with a spatula.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and top feels firm to the touch.
When done, place pan on wire rack and cool completely.
Cool pan of brownies overnight in the refrigerator.
Before serving I melted a bit of dark chocolate in the microwave and drizzled over top.

I hope your Super Bowl night was healthy and fun!

(The pictures of my other Super Bowl eats are from and on my Pinterest page)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Krispity Krunchity Kale

This happens to me less and less now that I have been Primal eating for six weeks. still happens.
I know I could have a square or two of dark chocolate to satisfy that craving dancing around in my head ,but I am trying to hold out...just to see if I can.
Because in the past...I never could.
I would start out on Monday morning full of energy and renewed faith in myself that THIS would be the magic week that I could stay on not mess exercise everyday.
It never happened.
After three failed attempts at Weight Watchers, twice on Jenny Craig, and some other silly being a weight loss over the counter drug that gave me a life threatening blood think I would have learned my lesson and just give up.
I had.
But watching my mom in the hospital those days really hit me hard. The hospital was where I was going to end up.
Sooner rather than later.
I shoved that chocolate bar out of my head and started thinking of what I could eat that was the anti-chocolate.
If I could be satisfied by something so far away from what chocolate is...and represents...then I would feel like a winner...stronger than that 'old' me who caved easily.
So what is the ani-chocolate?
Leafy...dark green...fibrous...Kale!
I hate kale.
Well...I had never tried kale before...because it was green...gross.
It smelled
But so many people on the Primal and Paleo blogs love it, rave about it's vitamin and mineral content.
They cook it, steam it, and even put it in smoothies.
Good gosh! How desperate do you have to be to put kale in your smoothie...ack!
The only recipe I was willing to try with kale right now is the baked kale chips.
Seasoned, salted, and baked to crisp nothingness.
I took a recipe from Pinterest for kale chips and gave it my own spin.
I love them.
How weird is that? How much my palate has changed since December? Bunches!
I keep a bowl of kale chips sitting on our kitchen island next to the bowl of Primal Crackers.
When that chocolate bar comes running at me...I run to the kitchen and munch on these spicy chips till I have won.
I am stronger than chocolate...who knew?!

Spicy Kale Chips

Here is the recipe...

1 bunch of Kale (rinsed and patted dry)
1/8 cup Olive Oil (I used Chili to give it some kick)
Handful of spices and seasonings (I used Kelp sprinkles and Italian Herbs)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Rinse and pat dry the Kale.
Tear it into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl.
Toss it with the Olive Oil and spices.
Spread it out on a lined baking pan.
Bake for 8-20 minutes (ovens vary, so watch it closely, you want it crispy not burned)
Store in an open container.

I hope you try a new whole food soon and love it too.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Tilapia with Gorgonzola and Herbs

Again yesterday in Ohio was glorious.
In the high 50's and sunny, very unusual for the Midwest this time of year...but who's complaining?
Not me...or my little dog Jack.
My husband is a wonderful boss. If I bat my eyelashes and kiss him in mushy googly-woogly ways he agrees to let me stay home from work.
I batted my lashes and puckered up yesterday morning promising to cook and bake more wonderful Primal food...and do the laundry. How could he resist? Clean underpants are hard to pass up.
My Lunch

It was a great day. I cooked, washed, and was able to fit in two walks with Jackie.
I try to keep proteins always cooked and in easy reach for my family. If not they tend to just grab something that won't sustain their energy as long as a good piece of fish or meat will.
I made turkey burgers, more crackers, some primal cookies, and primal cupcakes.
My favorite thing I made...and sneaked one of them for my lunch was bacon wrapped tilapia with Gorgonzola cheese stuffed under the bacon and some herbs. It was amazing. It was even tasty for breakfast this morning with a spinach salad.
Here is the recipe...

Bacon Wrapped Tilapia with Gorgonzola

6 Tiliapia (mine were large so I cut them down the middle)
2 pieces of nitrate free bacon for each tilapia plank
1/3 cup Gorgonzola cheese (or any cheese you like)
Herbs and Spices of your choosing
Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Rinse and pat dry the tilapia.
Wrap each piece in the two strips of bacon and set on a foil covered cookie tray.
Stuff pieces of the Gorgonzola under the bacon on each.
I sprayed with olive oil from my Misto to keep the herbs on.
Sprinkle generously with any spices of your liking.
Bake for 15 - 20 minutes till the bacon is crisping and the fish looks finished.
Ovens vary, so keep an eye on them at the end.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. It is a yummy way to get more fish into your familie's diet.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Primal Crackers Save The Day...again and again and again...

I goofed off yesterday...a lot.
Generally in Ohio February does not look like the picture above. Snow, sleet, and rain are the usual sights when setting foot outdoors, but yesterday was 63 and sunny!
I was a really bad girl cutting out of work early and heading for the park with my little dog Jack, but who could resist that blue sky and warm breeze? Not me.
Sharon Woods is a lovely park with rolling pathways around a fair sized lake. There are also paths that lead to a rocky water way and is where I took my son's senior pictures this fall.
Not bad, if I do say so myself.
The problem was I didn't give myself time to get dinner going, so it was a left over night.
Being newly Primal I try to keep proteins within easy reach for any kid or husband who opens the fridge.
They lack imagination on what to grab that is good for them.
My son wants something to crunch on and my daughter misses her chips and salsa. My husband misses his wheat thins to dip in his Cowboy Caviar *shudder*(that stuff is gross!)
So last night I quickly made up a batch of my Primal crackers, to help satisfy every need.
My husband was able to crunch these up in his 'leftover' chicken soup.
My daughter had Primal crackers and salsa for dinner (teens are weird).
My son had 'leftover' spaghetti squash casserole and used the crackers to dip it up with.
These crackers are always on the counter now, waiting to satisfy a crunchy need, or just a quick snack.

Primal Crackers:

1 cup almond flour (1/2 cup of dry roasted almonds makes 1 cup flour)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup ground flax meal
1 egg (if the mix is too dry and not staying together at all, add one more egg)
1/8 cup of olive oil or coconut oil
salt and any other spices you would like (I throw a handful of spices in, makes the flavor amazing)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
Mix everything together in a large bowl with a big spoon, then squish it together in a ball with your hands.
Put between parchment paper and roll out to the thickness you desire. (we like them thinner)
Use a pizza cutter to make them into cracker shapes.
Bake on the parchment for 12-14 minutes (ovens vary, so watch them for the crispness you like)

I always make a double batch since they tend to disappear quickly in our house.
Hope your day today is sunny and makes you smile :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Slow Roasted Italian Sauce

I have been getting more bold in the foods that I will eat and attempt to cook now that we are eating whole foods and trying new things.
I was in the process of making my spaghetti squash casserole last night for dinner, so I grabbed a jar of sauce from the pantry. I stopped and stared at the label for a moment.
I had not even thought to check this label out since we started our Primal way of life.
It was a shock to see all the weird ingredients and the sugar content of what should really be a simple thing. Tomatoes and other vegetables cooked and mixed up together into a silky pure goodness.
I had 10 Roma tomatoes in my fridge, onions, and garlic too.
So I got my big girl panties on, looked on marksdailyapple for a Primal recipe and got to work.
I quartered the tomatoes and took the seeds out, chopped up a whole onion and two cloves of garlic.
I put everything in a large bowl and drizzled it liberally with basil olive oil and a boat load of my favorite spices.
I roasted everything for fourty minutes on 350 until it looked like this...
Then I poured it all back into the bowl and hit it with my imersion blender till it looked like this...
What a wonderful flavor it had. I have to say it is one of the best things I have made yet.
I am going to make more batches like this in the future and freeze then or can them.
I hope you try something new soon...and love it!