Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Spaghetti Squash and Sausage Stuffed Cabbage

2c spaghetti squash (follow cooking instructions on sticker)
1lb bulk sausage (no casing)
1 can tomato paste, (optional)
1 medium to large head of cabbage, leaves peeled and blanched.
(side note: you can jazz this up with onion and garlic if you like.)

First, brown the sausage and set aside...

To prep the cabbage, set up a large pot to boil water in. While the water is heating up remove the bottom stem of the cabbage with a large knife and slowly begin peeling away the top leaves. Cabbage leaves are tightly packed together, be gentle and patient. Some leaves may need to be wiggled free. If the leaves rip, don't worry, you can use them anyway (as long as the main rib of the leaf is still intact). Stop peeling when it becomes impossible to remove more leaves. Set the cabbage aside and make some cole slaw later....Once the water is boiling, use a set of tongs to drop a couple of leaves into the water. You want them to be wilted but not completely cooked through. Repeat the blanching process until all the leaves have been wilted, set aside on a towel to drain.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set out a medium glass baking dish.

For the mixture:
In a large mixing bowl combine the sausage and the squash, mix together. You can always add in more, or conversely less, of the squash, depending on how you want the consistency. For a more smooth and creamy texture, add more (you will have mixture left over), or for a more crumbly texture add less. The squash is sweet, so keep that in mind. Add a little olive oil, a dollop, whatever that means to you. For me it's just a 1 second pour. Mix in thoroughly.

Spoon the mixture into the center of each cabbage leaf, fold the sides and begin to roll. Secure with a WOODEN, UNCOLORED toothpick and set in the baking dish. Repeat until all the leaves are gone. You may need to add in a second baking dish. You will have left over mixture, you can use it to stuff more vegetables in the coming days: bell peppers, eggplant, etc....

Cover with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. If you opted for the tomato sauce, mix the paste to a consistency you like and after 15 minutes, take the rolls out and pour the sauce over the rolls. Recover and bake for 15 minutes.


Links to chew on...

Really pretty salad

Tilapia ala Katherine

What to do with a rutabega

Thursday, December 3, 2009


CSA stands for Community Sustained Agriculture and for an affordable weekly, or seasonal fee, you get fresh local vegetables on a weekly basis. There are numerous opportunities throughout the Austin area, but for the sake of convenience, here is a list. To the right of the page there is also a great listing of local farmer's markets.

Have a favorite CSA or local farmer's hookup you'd like to give mention to? Please leave the information in the comments!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Try This, Instead of That

I've been working on this modification post for what seems like for-evuh, and I hope I cover enough considering that Thanksgiving is officially nipping at our heels!

Here are some suggestions on modifying your favorite dishes:

1. Use honey, unsweetened applesauce, and fruit juices instead of sugar and sugar substitutes.
2. Arrowroot powder can be used in place of flour for gravies, pie fillings and other sauces.
3. Skip the marshmallows and glaze on yams. Use nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and a bit of honey.
4. Roasted acorn squash is a great side if you find yourself in a sea of no-no eating at the relatives' house! Check out this recipe, just nix the grain for cauliflower pulverized in your food processor! If you MUST use a grain, go with quinoa. It's the least offensive of the grain group, and is more closely related to leafy greens like chard.
5. Stuffing may be difficult. I posted a great recipe on making your own paleo stuffing. If this is too much, bypass the stuffing altogether for a "rice" pilaf courtesy of Mark's Daily Apple.
6. Pies and sweets will also be hard. If you make your own paleo sweet treats, do not expect them to taste like their sugar loaded doppelganger. Check out this fruit crumble, via Caveman Food. Yummy stuff. Please also review some of the recipes on this blog.

Speaking of Mark's Daily Apple, here is a great collection of low carb substitutions which you may find helpful.

Good luck kids, if you slip up don't get down about it. Wake up Friday morning, take note of how badly eating like crap makes you feel and start a new day. Be safe, and have a great holiday!

ps....please add in recipes that you find amazing in the comments! Please!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Veggie of Week!

I've been so busy lately that Veggie of the Week has fallen through the cracks! Please accept my apologies!

Mel Posted a great bit on Okra and since this is one of my favorite veggies to cook, I decided to profile it here in the food blog. Just like brussels sprouts, this veggie has a hard reputation to overcome. Most people in the south eat it battered and fried (YUM) or stewed with tomatoes, but really, this little guy has so much more to offer....

What is it? Okra's origin is traced to the Ethiopian Highlands, and made its way gradually to parts of the world via trade routes. It came to the United States by way of the slave trade and is in the same family as hibiscus and cotton. Okra loves the southern climate and is very easy to grow.

Why should I eat it? 1/2 cup of okra supplies 2g of fiber and is abundant in these vitamins: vitamin A, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and folacin. That same serving has 257mg of potassium and 50mg of calcium. It's good stuff.

How do I cook it? Very, very carefully! My mom made okra plenty of times when I was growing up and I never understood what the big deal about the sliminess was, until of course, I went to make it myself. The more I stirred, the slimier it got. The sliminess can be beneficial if you are making a stew, as the mucous acts as a natural thickener for stocks. I complained to her about my okra failure and she let me in on the secret: Be gentle. Don't stir.

Try out Mel's recipe! She's usually spot on with the goods, so don't delay!

The more you move the okra, the more you break the membranes thus releasing that slime that has turned you off for years and years. My favorite dish to make with okra is a kind of Indian beef pan casserole with a tomato base:

1 can tomato paste
1lb grass fed ground beef (or lamb)
1/2lb-1lb okra, cut gently into 1/2" pieces, set aside
1 bay leaf
seasonings: ground coriander, ground cardamom, curry powder, tumeric

Brown the beef and mix in the tomato paste. Add in water to thin the paste into a desirable consistency. Begin adding in amounts of the seasonings, careful to allow some time for everything to mix (ie- dash here, dash there, stir, simmer, taste). I usually start with a tablespoon each of the curry powder and tumeric, half a tablespoon of the coriander and cardamom, and move up from there. Now, once you've reached your appropriate level of flavor and consistency, gently take the okra and place it on top of the tomato/beef/curry, cover with a lid, turn the heat off and walk away from the stove for appx 10-15 minutes.

After 10-15 minutes, stir the dish and serve. The okra should be crispy but not raw, and should not be slimy. Pair with cauliflower "rice" (cauliflower pulverized in a food processor and cooked in a pan with olive oil). Yum. Yum.

How does this fit in with the Zone? 1c of okra has 9g of carbs (one block), which makes it a perfect option if you are running low on allotted carb blocks for your day.

Please Step Away From Your Salad

...and do something different with your veggies. Melicious sent me a lovely article last week detailing ways to cook fall greens. For those of you who are new to this world of sans corn and potatoes, I hope the article inspires some new dishes.

Cooking Fall Greens

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Turkey Stuffing!!!!

I love bread stuffing, my mother's is to die for, but I'll be bringing my own for Thanksgiving:



* 2 1/2 cups almond meal
* 1/3 cup powdered egg whites
* 1 Tablespoon baking powder
* 1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning, such as Bell's Seasoning
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup water

Heat oven to 350 F.

Butter the bottom of a large loaf pan - if desired, line the bottom with parchment paper and butter or oil that as well.

1) Mix dry ingredient together (a whisk works well).

2) Add wet ingredients and mix well.

3) Pour into loaf pan.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until top is lightly browned (if you insert a toothpick into the loaf and it comes out clean, you can remove it from the oven.)

When cool enough to handle, remove from pan and break into large chunks. Let cool. At this point, I like to leave it out to dry for a few hours, or put it in a low oven. You can cut it into cubes first, if you'd like, or after it dries out a bit.



* 1 loaf low carb stuffing bread
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 6-7 cups chopped celery - about 2 small bunches
* 1 green Bell pepper, chopped
* 1 bunch parsley, chopped (about 2 cups)
* 4 teaspoons poultry seasoning, such as Bells
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* Salt - start with 1/2 teaspoon, or 1 T chicken or turkey soup base (see below)
* 1 cup water or broth, plus more according to moisture needed
* 1 - 3 eggs if baking it, and if desired (nutritional info includes 1 egg)
* 1 T cooking oil


1) Make low-carb stuffing bread, or use about 1 - 1½ lb loaf of low-carb bread if you have access to it. Different types of bread will bring different results, so you may have to adjust the amount of liquid, seasonings, etc. I based the nutritional information below on using my homemade stuffing bread. In any case, allow the bread to dry out for awhile, either on the counter on in a low oven. It doesn't have to be totally dry, just kind of stale-level dry.

2) Saute' onion, celery, and pepper until soft. Add parsley and cook for a minute or so, until wilted. Add seasonings. I include about a Tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon Soup Base at this point.

3) Mix together the vegetables and the bread. Add a cup of broth or water, stir, and taste. Adjust seasoning and moisture. If you're going to stuff poultry with it, leave it on the dry side because it will absorb a lot of juices during cooking. You can eat it just as it is, but if you bake it, the flavors will come together better. Adding egg will make it come together in more of a melded together form. I usually add one egg, but don't like it too melded. You can add 2, or even three eggs. Mix well and bake at 350 F. for about half an hour, or until browned on top.

Pork Rinds?

As your faithful recipe web crawler, I must submit this recipe for approval...


* 1/2 cup butter
* 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
* 1/4 pound smoked ham, finely ground
* 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
* 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2 cup fried pork rinds, crushed
* 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
* 1/4 cup dry red wine
* 2/3 cup blanched almonds

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onions. Cook until light brown. Add ham, parsley, and spices. Mix well.

Combine mixture with pork rinds, eggs, wine, and almonds.

Serves 10. 4.2 net gram of carbohydrate per serving.

This is considered an Atkins original, low carb all the way, but pork rinds? Who is brave enough to test this? This isn't paleo by a long shot, but interesting nonetheless....

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

November programs at Crossfit Central started this week, and I know we have some new people (welcome! welcome!) running around. For some of you the nutritional component is daunting and somewhat confusing. There is a lot of information floating around, all extremely helpful, and you will hit your stride soon.

First, I'd like to direct you to a post by resident Crossfitter Catherine Hart regarding the importance of words and your success in living a healthy lifestyle. Speaking negatively also includes the use of words that may seem harmless in context, but have exceedingly negative connotations. Using the word "diet" is, in my humble opinion, the WORST word to use when referring to your new eating style.

Diets are always referred to as something temporary; something which will eventually end and a person can resume their way of life, presumably with a smaller waistband. Diets fail because they are not permanent. Looking for permanent results requires permanent change. You are not going on a diet, you are making a lifestyle change, prepare accordingly. This is not a time-out from life, it's relearning how to take care of yourself.

1) Remove anything and everything from your house that does not fit with your new menu. Alter your shopping list forever. Stick to the outsides of the grocery store. If you get the urge to grab a box of "impulse buy crap" do yourself a favor and read the ingredients. Do you know what 90% of that crap is? Me neither. Skip it and move on.

2) The first day is going to be easy. Days 2-5 may be a complete nightmare. Prepare accordingly. You may be slightly irritable. You may eat an entire bag of something, JUST MAKE SURE IT'S ON THE GREEN LIST PEOPLE. Eating handfuls of almonds, while high in fat, or carrots, is still miles and miles better than eating handfuls of chips/cake/candy/(insert crap food). See item number one.

3) Tomorrow is always a second chance. If you suddenly find yourself in the midst of consuming a half gallon of chocolate ice cream, do not freak out. You can always try again tomorrow, and eventually it will get easier. We all have our choppy moments, those will never go away. The goal is to have your moment and then get back up again, hopefully with a renewed sense of purpose. Feeling defeated will not help you.

4) Be patient with yourself and plan ahead. You don't have to go so far as planning an entire week's worth of meals, however, pre chopping vegetables and having zoned snacks ready for when you arrive home tired and hungry can save you from making a poor decision.

5) Begin eating fruit as dessert. Frozen grapes that have been mashed are pretty incredible. You can make a fairly convincing "ice cream" using almond milk and frozen fruit. Blend together as a thick smoothie and then put in the freezer.

6) Worried about fiber and calcium? Here you will find a table that lists a per serving amount of fiber for veggies and fruit. Ignore the pasta! As for calcium, please read THIS AMAZING ARTICLE on new developments in the calcium supplement debate. Calcium is important, but the notion that without dairy or supplements you are destined to live your elderly years hunched over and cracking bones raises my eyebrow of suspicion....

Ok. Those are my tips. I'm not going to delve into zone vs. paleo. vs. primal, you need to figure out which works best for you. Ask your coach, research each one online, and my personal favorite: try each for a few weeks at a time and see what works! Good luck, and as always, please post questions or additional tips and info in the comments!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Most of you read Mel's Blog, The Clothes Make the Girl, however, if do not currently check in on her please make it a daily part of your blog stroll. She's a stellar source for recipes.

This post is no exception to the rule.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lovely Lessons: How to Politely Pass On Dessert

Please check out this post on Mark's Daily Apple on how to politely decline dessert.

We all find ourselves in situations that are hard to maneuver, especially when it involves well meaning friends who love eating and drinking things outside our nutritional parameters.

Keep up the good fight! Don't back down!!
The holidays are quickly approaching! Do yourself a huge favor and develop a strategy now. I'll be posting modified holiday recipes that can help you stay on track. If you see any that look tasty, please send them my way to post here on the blog.

Sweet Potato Pie

(Taken from Catalyst Athletics)

Time: 1 hour

• 12 oz yams
• 12 oz sweet potatoes
• 1/2 cup coconut milk
• 1/4 cup almond butter
• 3 tsp cinnamon
• 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 1/2 tsp ginger
• 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
• 1 tsp cardamon
• 1 tsp cloves
• 2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel and chop the yams and sweet potatoes into cubes. Boil the yams and potatoes in water until soft; around 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the water, then mash well and add the coconut milk, nut butter, vinegar, and spices. Mix, then add the eggs. Continue mixing until the pie is uniform and smooth.

Grease a 6-inch baking dish with coconut oil. Pour the pie mix into the dish, then bake for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool, then cut into squares and serve. This can be prepared a day ahead of time, and you can serve it cold.

Some options: Sprinkle the top with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Top with pecans.

Zone info: 6 servings at 3.5 carb blocks, 0.3 protein blocks, 8 fat blocks (12 grams)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Food as Medicine

"The meat taken should be that of hens or roosters and their broth should also be taken because this sort of fowl has virtue in rectifying corrupted humours." -15th Century

Chicken soup has been used for centuries as a remedy for colds, the flu and other ailments, respiratory illnesses being top on the list. Beware of store-bought chicken soups as most contain large quantities of sodium and other preservatives, which if you are eating the soup for healing will completely defeat the purpose. Making your own chicken soup isn't all that time consuming and your body will be thankful for it while the seasons change.

If you want to go all out, make your own stock! It takes time, so set aside an entire afternoon. You can freeze it up to three months, which basically means you have on demand chicken soup medicine for the majority of the Texas winter. I like this recipe here, and it gives you a great reason to learn how to roast your own chicken, which isn't nearly as complicated as you may think.

If this is all just too much for you, store bought broth is absolutely fine, just read the ingredients and pick as low sodium as possible.

Easy and Healing Chicken Soup ala Erika Jeanne
2 quarts chicken broth
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery
as much garlic as you can handle, 4-5 large cloves is what I use
*garlic is especially important during the winter months
one carton of small white button mushrooms, chopped
1 package of chicken leg quarters, you want the bones and the skin
*get more chicken if you want more protein
Olive oil, amount is up to you
1/4c flat parsley

Seasoning Suggestions:
(side note: I was taught to cook with seasonings by adding them in until I felt uncomfortable about it, it's really never led me astray. Taste and smell your concoction often while adding flavor to the soup, less is always more the longer something sits on the stove)
*rubbed sage
*ground thyme
*lemon juice instead of salt
*ground pepper
*cayenne pepper (GREAT FOR THE FLU AND COLDS)
Start with pinches and gradually increase. This recipe should become your heirloom :o)

Chop your veggies first and set them aside. In a large soup pot throw the onions in by themselves, no need to prep with oil and saute until the are just about translucent. Throw in garlic and saute around for a minute or so, just until you can smell them both combining. Add in the carrots and celery with a quick pour of olive oil. In a separate saucepan brown the chicken quarters in olive oil until the outsides are mostly cooked. You want the chicken to cook the rest of the way through in the soup. Add in the broth to the onions, garlic, carrots and celery, give a quick stir and allow to heat up. As the broth starts to simmer a bit, throw the chicken quarters in and bring to a full boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cover the pot.

Cooking time should be 45 minutes to an hour(or all day if you have the time), you can reduce the heat to almost nothing and simmer for 2 hours if you so desire. The longer it sits the better it tastes, really. Once the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes or so, remove it and shred the meat into thin strips using two forks. Don't remove the skin or bones, keep all that stuff in the soup until you are ready to eat it. You want the fat, you need the fat, the fat will keep your body strong while it defends itself. Do. Not. Be. Afraid. Of. Fat.

Stir the soup every so often, taste it a lot and add seasonings as it cooks. Once it's all done, give to a sick friend, or if you are the ailing one, eat as much of it as you can stomach and then *PASS OUT* for as long as possible. You can freeze the soup for future ammo too.

Please post your own variations on the chicken soup recipe in the comments!!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pumpkin Sausage Soup

(via Caveman Food)

serves 6

1-1.25 lbs bulk breakfast sausage (she tells you how to make your own)
1/2 a large onion, minced
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 small cooking pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (or one 15-oz can of pumpkin)
4 cups chicken stock
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
pinch of dried rosemary
1 tsp paprika
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp sea salt or to taste
2 T butter or some other more paleo cooking fat
1/2 cup coconut milk

Heat the butter in a heavy deep pot and saute the mushrooms over medium-high heat until golden. Remove from the pot to a small bowl, leaving the butter. Add the onions to the pot and saute them until golden, then remove them to a separate bowl. Add the sausage to the pot and brown it until it is cooked through and looks tasty. Remove the sausage from the pot and set aside.

Add the pumpkin to the pot and deglaze with the chicken stock. Add the onions back in and simmer until the pumpkin is soft, about 10 minutes. Puree the soup (a hand blender is easiest, but a regular blender will do). Add in all the remaining ingredients except the coconut milk (don't forget to add in the cooked mushrooms and sausage!), and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut milk.

Tomatillo Chicken Stew

This recipe comes to us via Mel and is a perfect dish while the weather is changing! If your tongue is sensitive to spice, add in some sliced avocado to help bring the heat down.

You can make this recipe with fresh tomatillos, or you can use canned chile verde tomatillo salsa as a substitute for the tomatillo sauce.

Tomatillo Sauce

* 1 1/2 lbs tomatillos
* 1-2 jalapeño chile peppers, or 2-3 serrano chili peppers (include the seeds if you want the heat, remove them if you don't want the heat), stems discarded, chopped
* 1 clove garlic, chopped
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 Tbsp lime (or lemon) juice
* Pinch of sugar


* 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-inch cubes
* Salt and pepper
* Olive oil
* 2 yellow onions, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
* 2 cups tomatillo sauce
* 1 teaspoon dry oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped
* 1/2 cup packed chopped cilantro (about one bunch, rinsed and chopped, stems and leaves)


1 Make the tomatillo sauce. Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse well. Cut the tomatillos in half and place them cut-side down on an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan. Broil for 5-7 minutes until blackened in spots. Let cool enough to handle. Place the tomatillos, any juice they have released, chile peppers, garlic, salt, lime juice and sugar in a blender, and pulse until well blended. If you make ahead, refrigerate until needed.

2 Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot on medium high heat until almost smoking. Pat dry the cubed chicken parts with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper over them. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, and adding more olive oil when necessary, brown the chicken pieces on two sides. When you place the pieces in the pan, make sure there is room between them (otherwise they will steam and not brown), and don't move them until they are browned on one side. Then use tongs or a metal spatula to turn them over and don't move them again until they are browned on the other side. Do not cook through, but only brown. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and lower the heat to medium. There should be a nice layer of browned bits (fond) at the bottom of the pan.

3 Add the onions to the pan, and a tablespoon or two more olive oil if needed (likely). Add ground cumin and coriander. Cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are softened and the browned bits from the chicken have been picked up by the onions and are no longer sticking to the pan. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more, until fragrant.

4 Add the browned chicken, the tomatillo sauce, chicken stock, and oregano to the pan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Add the cilantro to the stew in the last minute or so of cooking.

Serve over white rice, accompanied with sour cream if needed to offset the heat from the chiles. The stew will thicken as it cools.

Serves 4.

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

This recipe comes to us via Katherine and requires the use of a slow cooker (CrockPot). If you do not own a slow cooker, I highly recommend making the investment. For those of you still enjoying oatmeal, there really is nothing more satisfying on a frigid morning than real, slow cooked oatmeal...

Anywho on with the CHICKEN CURRY!

Katherine says: I tried this recipe today- I followed it very loosely. I browned the chicken then threw the following in my crockpot:

1 onion chopped
3 sliced zuchinni
a few carrots
2 c chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
1/2 jar of green curry paste (super yumm)
salt, pepper

I put it on low for about 2.5 hours. Around 2 hours in, iI put in fresh basil.

Cabbage is a perfect addition to this dish and don't be afraid to get creative. I'd go one step further and add in water chestnuts and bamboo shoots.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

* 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 cups unsalted hulled (green) pumpkin seeds
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
* 4 scallions, chopped
* 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook pumpkin seeds with salt and pepper to taste, stirring constantly, until seeds are puffed and beginning to pop (some will brown, but do not let all of them), about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and cool completely.
Pulse seed mixture in a food processor with water, cilantro, scallions, and remaining 4 tablespoons oil until mixture forms a coarse paste (not finely ground). Transfer to a bowl and stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Cooks’ note: You can make pesto 2 days ahead and chill, its surface and top of bowl covered with plastic wrap. Bring to room temperature and season before serving.

Agave Nectar = "Liquid Death"

Katherine asked me this morning between classes why agave nectar should be avoided and suggested I post about it here on the blog. She, like many others who have pledged to eat better and clean up their pantries, switched to sweetening with agave nectar due to it's low glycemic index rating.

Below are some excerpts from an article I found that details the manufacturing process of agave nectar and explains why it's not a good choice from a raw foods diet perspective, which is mostly paleo except no meat. You can read the full article here.

....Agave Syrup is not a “whole” food. It is a fractionated and processed food. Manufacturers take the liquid portion of the agave plant and “boil” it down, thus concentrating the sugar to make it sweet. This is similar to how maple “sap” that comes directly from a tree is heated and concentrated to make maple “syrup.” Agave Syrup is missing many of the nutrients that the original plant had to begin with.

....Agave Syrup and other concentrated sweeteners are addictive, so you end up trading a cooked addiction (eating candy bars or cookies) for a “raw” addiction which is not much better. Eating concentrated sweeteners makes it harder to enjoy the sweet foods we should be eating – whole fresh fruit since they don’t seem as sweet by comparison.

....agave needs to be hydrolyzed so that the complex fructosans are "broken down" into fructose units or it won't be sweet!!

Robb Wolf often refers to agave nectar as "Liquid Death" and compares it to corn syrup. In keeping with a whole foods and paleo diet, free and clear of processed anything, sweet things are hard to come by. Sometimes we just have to come to terms with the fact that the "sweet" we grew up with (and possibly became addicted to) isn't natural.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Oven Roasted Turkey with Leeks and Dried Fruit Recipe

Oven Roasted Turkey with Leeks and Dried Fruit Recipe

2 leeks, roots trimmed
2 tbsp unsalted butter (optional)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 turkey tenderloins
1/4 c golden raisins
1/4 c dried cranberries (or apricots)
1 tsp fresh thyme

1. Trim off the dark green part of the leeks, leaving the white and just an inch or two of the light green part. Cut the leaks almost in half lengthwise, leaving the halves attached at the root end. Rinse under cool running water, separating the leaves gently to rinse out the dirt and sand. Pat the leeks dry with a paper towel.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, turning often. Remove from the pan and let cool.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use a sharp knife to butterfly the turkey tenderloins. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and pound each tenderloin to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch. Sprinkle the surface of the turkey with salt and pepper. Place one cooled leek in the center of each tenderloin. Scatter the raisins, cranberries and thyme over the leeks. Dot the top with the remaining tbsp of butter.

4. Gently roll the turkey over the filling and tie with two pieces of kitchen twine. Repeat with the other tenderloin. Season the outside with salt and pepper.

5. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the same saute pan over medium high heat. Add the two rolls of turkey to the pan and sear all over. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 10-15 minutes, until an instant read thermometer stuck into the meat registers 160 degrees. Take the turkey out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting crosswise into medallions.

Fragrant Lamb Meatball Curry

Fragrant Lamb Meatball Curry

Serves 4


500g Lamb Mince
10g Fresh Ginger
1/2 Red Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Tsp Ground Cumin
25g Ground Almonds
Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Curry Sauce

1/2 Red Onion, roughly chopped
25g Fresh Ginger
2 Cloves of Garlic
150g Fresh Tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 Tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tsp Ground Coriander
1 Tsp Ground Turmeric
15g Coconut Oil
4 Whole Cloves
4 Cardamon Pods, crushed
3 or 4 Small Pieces of Cinnamon Bark
1-2 Chillies
400ml Coconut Milk
50ml Water
8 Curry Leaves
1 Tsp Garam Masala
Juice of ½ a Lemon

Coriander Leaves, to garnish

To make the meatballs

1. Finely chop the onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor. Add to the lamb mince together with the ground cumin, ground almonds and a little salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.

2. Divide into 20 even sized pieces and roll into balls.

To make the curry sauce

1. Place the red onion, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, ground cumin, coriander and turmeric in a food processor and blitz until a paste is formed.

2. Heat a shallow saute pan, approximately 5cm (2") deep and 25cm (10") in diameter. Heat the coconut oil and then gently fry the spices until their aroma is released. Add the paste and cook for a few minutes. Then, add the coconut milk, water and whole chillies. Stir well, bring up to the boil then cover and gently simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in the garam masala, curry leaves and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

To cook

1. Pre heat the oven to 180℃/160℃ Fan.

2. Brown the meatballs in a non stick frying pan. Drain any excess fat on kitchen paper. Place the meatballs in a single layer in the pan with the sauce.

3. Cover and cook in the oven for 30- 40 minutes.

To serve

1. Garnish with coriander leaves.

2. Serve with boiled brown basmati rice and Coconut, Cucumber and Mango Salad.

Spinach With Pine Nuts and Raisins

(big thanks to Mel for sending this my way!)

2 tbsp. raisins
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 bunches spinach, washed and trimmed
3 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
8 thin strips of lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Soak raisins in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes; drain and set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until soft, 4–5 minutes.

3. Add spinach and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Cover and cook, stirring, until wilted, 2–3 minutes. Add pine nuts, lemon juice, lemon zest, and raisins. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with lemon wedges and matzo, if you like.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Almond or Walnut Stuffed Dates

10 raw organic dates, pitted (no sulfur)
5 whole raw almonds
5 whole raw walnuts

Very neatly put the almonds or walnuts into the hole where the date pit used to be. Serve em up!

Carrot Coconut Salad

2 medium organic carrot, grated
3 T. shredded organic coconut
1 T. organic extra virgin olive oil
1 T. organic balsamic vinegar
sea salt

Grate the carrots with your food processor/grater. Add coconut, olive oil, balsamic, and sea salt. Mix thoroughly and serve cold.

For extra yummy factor add in raisins and pineapple.


Into 1 lb. ground beef, bison, pork (or other favorite ground meat), combine 1 egg, ¼ cup tomato sauce, ½ cup white onion (minced), 3 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley, 2 Tbsp. minced red bell pepper, 1 Tbsp. minced garlic, 2 tsp. minced fresh oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Roll into meatballs and either cook in pan (until browned throughout) or bake in oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes depending on size. Serve as is or with a favorite sauce.

Stick a toothpick in each and serve as appetizers!

DIY: Primal Nut Crackers


via MDA

2 cups fine almond meal
1 tsp baking soda
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt
4 tbsp water

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir to form a moist, sticky dough. Add more water or oil if needed. Using wet hands, place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using your fingers, flatten the dough out into a uniform thin layer free of cracks. Bake in a preheated 350 degree over for 15 minutes or until dough becomes dry and golden in appearance. Remove and cool on a wire baking rack. Once the dough is cooled (and this is important, because it becomes very brittle right out of the oven) use a pizza cutter to create “crackers.” If not consuming immediately, be sure to store in an air-tight container.

Tip: Use these as bases for smoked salmon, chicken salad, etc.

Chipotle-Lime Deviled Eggs

Chipotle-Lime Deviled Eggs (adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen recipe)
(Makes 12 deviled egg halves, can easily be doubled. Recipe created by Kalyn.)

6 eggs (preferably about a week old)
2 T mayo (make your own)
2 T fresh lime juice
1 T yellow mustard (not Dijon)
1/4 tsp. ground Chipotle chile peppers
1/2 tsp. salt (optional, or use Spike)
2 green onions, green part only, finely chopped

First, make perfect hard-boiled eggs. Let eggs cool, then peel and cut in half crosswise. While eggs are cooling, slice green onions, and finely chop with chef's knife. When eggs are quite cool, carefully remove yolks and put into small bowl. Mash yolks well with a fork.

Mix together lime juice and Chipotle chile powder. (If you don't do this, you'll have large flecks of chile powder in the deviled yolk mixture. The chile powder won't dissolve completely, but adding it to the lime juice does make it blend in better.) Add lime-Chipotle mixture to mashed yolks, then stir in mayo, mustard, salt, and half the chopped green onions. Taste for seasoning to see if you want more mustard, Chipotle chile powder, or salt. Stir until mixture is well combined.

Arrange eggs white halves on serving plate. Use a rubber scraper to scoop yolk mixture into a small plastic bag. Cut a small piece off one corner of the bag and squeeze from the top to force the yolk mixture out the hole, into the egg halves. (This can also be done with a spoon or a cake decorating tool.) When all egg white shells are filled with deviled yolk mixture, sprinkle with remaining chopped green onions. Serve immediately.

Spaghetti Squash Fritters

1 Spaghetti Squash cooked
*cut the squash in half and place in a roasting pan with a little water. Roast in the over at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes (sometimes longer, depending on the size). Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Scoop out insides.
Coconut oil (a few tbs for frying)
1-2 Beaten Eggs

1. Heat oil in a pan, medium to high.
2. Coat a spoonful of squash in the egg and then place in the oil for frying.
3. Fry until golden brown.

Repeat until desired number of fritters have been made

You can make all kinds of veggie fritters this way! Just grate the vegetable and coat with egg, then fry them up.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Courtesy of

• 2 eggs
• 1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
• 1/2 C nut butter (not peanut butter! - cashew/macadamia nut butter works well)
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
• coconut oil

Mix all of the ingredients except the coconut oil in a bowl. Stir well, until you have a uniform batter. Next, use a bit of coconut oil to grease a non stick skillet. Spread some of the batter into the skillet to form a pancake, then cook over low/medium heat. Flip after 1 to 2 minutes, being careful not to burn them!

Once you've cooked all of your pancakes, you can serve them with a variety of toppings. A few that I like: chopped apples and cinnamon; heated blueberries; real maple syrup; and unsweetened applesauce.

Zone info: 3 servings at 1/2 carb block, ~1/2 protein block, 15 fat blocks

Baked Deliciousness

Almond Macaroons
1-1/4 cups almonds
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
2 egg whites, beaten
1/4 cup raw honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Grind almonds coarsely. Combine cinnamon and lemon and add. Beat egg
whites very stiff, fold in honey and continue beating. Fold in lemon
juice with almond mixture and blend. Drop from a teaspoon onto ungreased
parchment paper. Bake 30 minutes at 250 degrees F. Remove from paper
while still slightly warm. Makes 30 macaroons.

Carrot Cake
This is a moist and delicious carrot cake with a hint of orange. Very much
like a 'real cake'.

6 eggs, separated
1/2 cup honey (or less)
1 1/2 cups carrots, cooked and pureed
1 Tlbs grated orange rind
1 Tlbs frozen orange juice
3 cups almond flour

Preheat over to 325° F.
Beat the egg yolks and honey together. Mix in carrot puree, orange rind,
orange juice and almond flour. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold in.
Spoon into a greased loose bottomed 9 inch springform pan. Bake for about
50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out
clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to
cool completely.

Almond muffins
1 cup almond butter
1 cup sliced raw almonds
1 cup pure coconut milk
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
3 eggs

Beat and pour in muffin cups. Cook at 400 for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cod Fillet with Mushrooms, Marinated Artichoke Hearts and Tomato Sauce

I just made this dish this evening with a side of green beans, and it was incredible. Plate licking delicious!

*Cod Fillet (size of fillet is up to you)
*3-4 large baby porto mushrooms, sliced
*can of marinated artichoke hearts, drained slightly, use the oil already present as the fat of the meal
*small can of tomato paste, thinned into a sauce-like viscosity

1. Sear the cod fillet(s) in a large saucepan
2. Before the cod is cooked all the way through, throw in the artichoke hearts and saute for around a minute
3. Throw in mushrooms and tomato paste sauce, you want it to cover the ingredients but not be soupy
4. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and leave for around 8-10 minutes, maybe less depending on how thick the cod fillets are
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste


Monday, September 14, 2009

Sea Scallops with Roasted Cauliflower and Raisins

YES! As soon as I'm back on with fruit, I'm all over this dish. Thanks to Lauren for sending it in!!


1. 1 head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into florets
2. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3. Salt and freshly ground pepper
4. 1/2 cup pine nuts
5. 1 cup golden raisins
6. 1/4 cup saba or aged balsamic vinegar (see Note)
7. 1/4 cup water
8. 1 small shallot, minced
9. 8 jumbo sea scallops (about 2 ounces each)
10. 1/3 cup tarragon leaves


1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a medium bowl, toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the cauliflower on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 50 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender and browned in spots. Spread the pine nuts on a pie plate and toast for about 3 minutes, until golden.
2. Meanwhile, in a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine the raisins, saba and water and microwave at high power for 3 minutes. Cover and let stand until the raisins are plump, about 30 minutes.
3. Strain the soaking liquid into a small saucepan and simmer until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the olive oil and the shallot and season the dressing with salt and pepper. Set the raisins aside.
4. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until smoking. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet in a single layer. Cook over high heat until deeply browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook the scallops until lightly browned, about 2 minutes longer.
5. In a bowl, gently toss the cauliflower with the pine nuts, raisins, tarragon and dressing. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to plates. Top with the scallops and serve right away.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Autumnal Eating Doesn't Have to Sink You

Now that the temperature in Austin has dived down past the 100 degree mark and we are soaking up the first weekend of rain in months, I have developed a hankering for stews, stocks and soups. Autumn is a slippery slope for eating well, as our bodies revert back to preparation for a long winter, we tend to crave rich foods more frequently. Understanding your body's cravings is the first step to successfully staying healthy during seasonal changes.

I don't need to cite large studies and reports to tell you eating habits take a nose dive as the temperature falls. There is a reason why we crave fats, sugars and hearty meals during this time and it correlates directly to thousands of years of living off the land, not the grocery store. Our bodies need sugar and fat to keep going and unfortunately, due to processed fats and sugars being readily available in large quantities only in the last 60 years or so our internal primal clock hasn't been reset. Therein lies the problem. We have thousands of years of biology telling us to eat eat eat, because food becomes scarcer as the temperature falls, and yet thanks to the modernized food industry nothing ever really becomes scarce...just terribly expensive.

How is a person supposed to handle this maddening conundrum? My strategy is careful planning, and adjustments to comfort foods so they remain healthy and within my nutrition structure, but taste damn near scandalous.

This morning I discovered this Beef Burgundy recipe, sure to quell the most vocal of tastebuds, from Mark's Daily Apple. Please check out the link and see the pictures of this dish being created. The mushrooms are to die for.


1/4 pound bacon
4 tablespoons butter (or lard)
2 1/2 – 3 pounds of beef cut into 2-inch cubes. Rump roast, chuck roast, sirloin tip, and top or bottom round are all options.
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons almond flour
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
3 cups full-bodied red wine such Cotes du Rhone or Chianti
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1 pound white or brown crimini mushrooms


Preheat oven to 425.

Cut the bacon into short strips. In a deep saucepan, saute the bacon in 1 tablespoon of butter until bacon is cooked but not crispy.

Pat beef dry with a paper towel and add it to the bacon in 3-4 batches. Brown each batch of meat then remove from pan.

Set bacon and meat aside in the casserole baking dish you will use in the oven. Sprinkle salt, pepper and almond flour evenly over the meat. Bake meat in the oven without a cover for 10 minutes so the flour is absorbed into the meat and hopefully creates a slight crust on the outside. Remove from the oven and turn the heat down to 325.

In the saucepan on the stove, add 1 tablespoon of butter to the remaining fat from the bacon and meat and sauté the carrots and onion until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste, garlic, thyme, parsley and bay leaf. Stir in the wine and beef broth and bring to a gentle boil. Let simmer for 3-5 minutes, then pour over the meat in the casserole pan. Cover the dish and cook in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours. The liquid should be gently bubbling the whole time. You’ll know it’s done when the meat is so tender that it easily pulls apart with a fork.

While the meat is cooking, slice the mushrooms and sauté in the remaining tablespoons of butter.

Here is a tip directly from Julie Child: Don’t crowd the mushrooms. If you cook too many at once the pan will fill with liquid and they won’t brown. Saute them in 3-4 batches, adding butter as needed. Set the mushrooms aside.

When the meat is done, remove the casserole pan from the oven.

Put a bowl under a colander and pour the meat and liquid into the colander so the liquid drains out. Bring the liquid to a gentle boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Pour over meat and mushrooms. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Almond Flour Biscuits via Healthy Indulgences

1 and 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted organic butter or non-hydrogenated shortening
1 cup plus two tablespoons of finely ground almond flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
4 egg whites

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

1. Cut cold fat (butter or shortening) into dry ingredients with the tines of your fork, rotating the bowl around with your other hand until the mixture has pea-sized chunks throughout. You could also use a pastry blender, in which case you probably don't need to read these instructions.

2. Chill mixture in the fridge for 5-10 minutes or as long as you can stand it. The longer the better. The more the fat can get cold and hard, the puffier your biscuits will be. Remember that!

3. Separate the egg yolks from the whites (using the shell halves to tip the yolk back and forth a few times). Reserve yolks (save all that creamy goodness for ice cream or homemade mayo!) and whisk egg whites with a fork in a bowl for 20 seconds, until no longer stringy and gloopy. You just want 'em a little foamy.

4. Remove mixture from fridge and whisk in the egg whites for a couple of seconds, breaking up any massive chunks in the dough with your whisk or fork. It'll be an extremely runny dough with chunks of the almond mixture. Pour it into greased foil-lined ramekins/nonstick muffin cups/a muffin top pan and get that sucker in the hot oven before the fat can even THINK about softening!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sweet Potato Post-Workout Mash, No Fork Needed

Many weeks ago I needed an easy way to eat sweet potatoes after a workout and I was often without a fork so decided to put my cake icing experience to good use.

Easy, No Utensil Sweet Potato Mash

*Bake the sweet potato until soft throughout.
-450 degree oven for 45mins, wrap in foil
*Let the potato cool, and then take the skin off.
*Place in ziploc bag and mash it up.
*Rip off small corner tip at the bottom of the bag with your teeth.
*Use the opening to squeeze the sweet potato into your mouth.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Curried Chicken Salad

Catherine Hart made this dee-lish recipe from Mark's Daily Apple for a Labor Day BBQ. So. Darn. Delicious.

Homemade Mayonnaise

(adapted from Marian Burros recipe from Pure and Simple)

* 1 egg
* 1 1/4 cup olive oil
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
* pinch of cayenne pepper
* 1 teaspoon dry mustard


Blend egg, mustard, pepper and 1/4 cup oil in blender until smooth. Add the rest of the oil and blend again until well mixed. After blending, take off lid and add lemon juice, mixing well with a spatula. Put lid back on and blend again until mixed. Pour into bowl or Mason jar and refrigerate.

The mixture will not be as thick as the chemically produced store-bought brand, but it will mix nicely with the chicken, and the meat will soak up some of the flavors.

Curried Chicken Salad


* 1 pound organic, boneless skinless chicken breast
* 3-4 stalks of celery, sliced lengthwise then chopped
* 1 cup chopped apple
* ½ cup chopped walnuts
* 3-4 tablespoons blender homemade Mayonnaise (more if needed)
* Curry powder (lots!)
* Sea salt & pepper to taste

Large fresh leaves of Bibb or other lettuce


Slice uncooked chicken breast into long, thin strips, then cut down into 1-inch cubes. Add to skillet with a little bit of water, and cook until just tender and white all the way through. When done, drain and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, curry powder, and salt and pepper, adding curry until it reaches your heat level of satisfaction.

In a separate bowl, toss chicken with nuts, celery and apple. Finally, add chicken to wet ingredients and stir it all together. Spoon into lettuce leaves, wrap up, and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Green Chile Sauce ala Lauren J.

**Send me your favorite paleo/zone recipes to upload for everyone to enjoy!!!**


* 6 Anaheim chiles
* 1 tablespoon canola oil
* 2 cups chopped onion
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth


Preheat broiler.

Place chiles on a foil-lined baking sheet; broil 14 minutes or until blackened and charred, turning after 7 minutes. Place in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and discard skins. Cut a lengthwise slit in each chile. Remove and discard seeds and tops. Chop chiles to measure 3/4 cup.

Heat canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté for 1 minute. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute. Add chiles, coriander, salt, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place half of chile mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Return pureed chile mixture to pan; stir well. Remove from heat; cool completely.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Primal Nutella

Coach Jen Cardella, this one's for you....

101 Salads

Many weeks ago The New York Times posted an article listing 101 simple salad recipes. It's a GREAT resource, bookmark it and refer to it frequently for inspiration. Get Yer Salad On!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Artichoke Curry Bison Burgers

Artichoke Curry Bison Burgers over at Cindalous Kitchen Blues have me drooling.

Yes please.

Paleo Lemon Meringue Pie


Lemon Filling
1 cup lemon juice
5tsp finely grated lemon rind
(approximately 4 lemons)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 /2 cup coconut milk
4tbs arrow root
5 egg yolks

5 egg whites
2tbs maple syrup

2 and a half cups crushed pecans
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp unsalted butter melted

Chill crust in fridge until hard. Then add filling.


Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place lemon juice, lemon rind and maple syrup in a medium size pan on low heat.

In a small bowl, combine coconut milk and arrow root powder. Add to lemon juice mixture, stirring consistently until simmering.

Beat egg yolks together in a small bowl then add to simmering lemon mixture, stir constantly for 3-4 minutes, or until mixture has thickened. Pour into a pie dish.

To make the meringue, beat the egg whites and maple syrup in a medium size mixing bowl until stiff peaks form.

Spoon the meringue on top of the lemon filling then place into oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Cool before serving.

Sweet Potato Chips

Son Of Grok shout out!


Sweet Potatoes (We usually do 1 or 2 at a time)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Optional)

Sea Salt (Optional)


1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees

2. Very thinly slice sweet potatoes into chips. You can use a food processor or other method for this but I have found that for us, using a knife and doing it by hand is worth the effort.

3. (Optional) Toss your chips in a small amount of evoo and some sea salt to give your chips that salty and slightly oily flavor. I say that this step is optional because these chips can be made with just the sweet potatoes plain. My wife likes them plain while I like them flavored so if you like the plain, skip this step.

4. Arrange the chips on baking sheets in a single layer. Stacking the chips will cause you baking problems.

5. Put in the oven to bake for approximately 1.5 hours. Every 30 minutes or so, take out chips and flip them over. Your chips will be done when they appear crispy and many of them are turning a slightly darker brown.

6. Enjoy!

Garbanzo Free Hummus

-2 peeled and cut zucchini
-3/4 cup of tahini
-1/4 cup of olive oil
-1/2 cup of lemon juice
-4 cloves of garlic
-2.5 teaspoons of sea salt
-1/2 tablespoon of ground cumin

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor (or blender).
2. Blend thoroughly.
3. Enjoy!

La-la-LOVE Sausage

Spicy Tunisian Sausage

1 lb ground lean lamb (or ground beef/pork/chicken)
1 heaping tsp cumin
2 tblsp smoked paprika
1 tblsp red pepper flakes
pinch of cinnamon
splash of pomegranate juice
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp grated ginger
pinch of dried thyme
dash of salt

Form into patties and fry 'em up using olive oil or coconut oil.

Almond Crusted Chicken

Here's another great recipe via Katherine, via Maggie!

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into fingers
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1.5 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1/4 - 1/3 cup oil for frying (I used palm oil shortening, but I wouldn't hesitate to use olive oil or coconut oil either - or lard if I had it!)

Heat the oil a large pan over medium-high heat (but closer to medium than to high - you don't want the almond flour to burn).

Put the beaten egg in one bowl and the almond flour plus seasonings into another bowl. Dip each chicken finger in egg, then in the almond flour mixture.

Cook the chicken in two batches until it is golden on each side.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Exciting Vegetable of the Week!


What is it?
Cauliflower is part of the same family as broccoli, kale, cabbage and brussel sprouts, and shares similar health benefits. This vegetable is also very easy to grow in your backyard garden. Its season is between December and March.

Why should I eat it?
Cauliflower is one of the power veggies, bringing high levels of fiber and folate to your dinner table. The vitamin C content is off the hook, topping the charts at over 90% of your daily value in only 1 cup. It's an incredibly versatile vegetable and can be enjoyed cooked or raw. Read about its health benefits here.

How should I cook it?
Trim the green leaves and the stem (if there is any). Cauliflower can become quite crumbly, and I generally just chop it up with a large knife, not separating the florets at all. From here you can do lots of things:

*MASH THEM UP!!! Steam on the stove until they are very soft, then transfer to a blender (or food processor). From here you just puree, adding water/soy milk/non flavored almond milk/milk(!) to add a little fluffiness. Do this slowly, you don't want soup! Do you like rosemary garlic mashed potatoes? Roast a few cloves of garlic in the oven with olive oil (20-30 minutes), puree with the cauliflower and add in a little rosemary. Transfer to the stove top if you need to heat it up more.

*Steamed, plain jane style. Lemon juice, olive oil and red pepper flakes are a perfect dressing.

*Curried! One of my favorites is curried cauliflower with chicken and cabbage. I've taken a great recipe from Catherine Hart and added in cauliflower and chicken.

*3 tbsp oil (olive or coconut)
*2 bay leaves
*3/4 tsp whole cumin seeds
*1 1/2 lbs (700 g, 9 cups, or approximately one head) cabbage, finely shredded
*1 tsp ground turmeric
*1/2 tsp chilli powder
*1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
*1 tsp ground coriander
*2 tomatoes chopped

1. Heat the oil over medium high heat and add the bay leaves and the cumin seeds. let them sizzle for a few seconds.

2. Add the cabbage and stir for 2-3 minutes.
Add the turmeric, chili, cumin, coriander, tomatoes and mix with the cabbage.

3. Lower heat, cover and cook cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. I have cooked this for only 15 minutes when I was in a hurry and for as long as 30 minutes and they were both tasty...just depends on how soft you like your cabbage.

4. Remove the cover, turn heat up to medium high and, stirring continuously, cook until dry.

You can cook the chicken separately and measure it out when you serve up the curried veggies.

Increase or decrease the measurements depending on how much you plan to make.

How does this fit in with the Zone?
One block of carbs is approximately 1 and 1/4 cups cooked and 2 cups raw. It is perfect if you find yourself needing a substantial meal that ranks low in carbs.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Have a Confession

I love mushy, overcooked squash. The mushier and more overcooked, the better in my opinion. Overcooking is the WORST way to consume vegetables, which conveniently brings me to my ultimate question of the day:

How much of your vegetables are consumed raw?

Seriously folks, vegetables are nature's medicine, and cooking them down to the mushy pulp I speak of renders their mega nutrients obsolete! It's very hard, I completely understand. My heart goes out to you if you are new to the world of vegetables, however, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Here's some tips to get you started, and remember, mostly raw is ok too...

*Chop spinach up into small chunks and toss it with water chestnuts. Use as a base to put your grilled meat or fish on top of. The heat from the cooked meat will wilt the spinach.
*Every bitter green fares a little easier on the taste buds if you mix it with something sweet. Dino kale diced up with dried cranberries (or chopped apples) tossed with olive oil, lemon juice and toasted pine nuts is amazing.
*Dice bell peppers, cucumbers, and crumble cauliflower into a bowl with 6oz of salmon. Add olive oil, pepper (salt if you aren't strict paleo), and diced mint for extra zing!
*Use a veggie peeler and slice yellow squash and zucchini into "ribbons" and use as the base for your cooked meat entree. The heat from the meat will blanch the squash.
*Cabbage marinated in olive oil and a little apple cider vinegar loses it's crunch and becomes soft, which for some is easier to manage.

Please let me know if you have anything to add to the list, or if there is a veggie that you have yet to tame, I'll see if I can't locate a recipe for you!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Coach Q&A

Last week I was contacted by a CFC client with a question regarding protein. I emailed the question to Carey Kepler who is a great resource when it comes to the Paleo/Zone diet.

According to the blocks concept, if I am supposed to eat 10 blocks a day this would only be 70g of protein. However, I've heard lots of people say that you should be eating a gram for every pound that you weigh. That would mean I'm supposed to be getting 135-140 grams of protein, which is more like 14 blocks of protein. Is this right?

You have heard this and I have heard this along with a lot of other protein suggestions. In the Zone we recommend you eat the block size you are recommend, if you are not getting the results that you should( ie. weight loss, better energy, pr's, hormone balance) then you may need to up your protein or fat depending on what your goals are.... I am an example of someone that would eat more protein because of my level of fitness and the intensity at which I train....

The Zone Diet is a great outline for weight loss and performance, however, it is subject to YOUR individual goals. This is definitely not a "one size fits all" approach to eating. If you are feeling tired or aren't seeing results that you want, schedule a meeting with your coach to review your food journal and discuss what you can tweak.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Like Crispy Meat and Seafood?

Most everyone does, and switching to Paleo/Zone doesn't leave a person much in the way of options if a recipe calls for breadcrumbs or batter... Our fellow CrossFitter Blake got creative with flax and walnuts, and found a perfect substitute.

Take a pork tenderloin, slather it in dijon mustard, then rub it with a mixture of ground walnuts, flax meal (optional) and any seasoning you wish (I just use a little salt & pepper). Put a little olive oil in an oven-safe pan, sear it all over, then finish it in the oven, uncovered, at 375 until cooked through (depending on size, probably 10-20 minutes oven time). In the summer, to stay cool, I cut the tenderloin into medallions and individually rub them with mustard & walnut mixture, then brown them on each side in the skillet, covering with a lid to cook through, about 5 minutes per side. Finish searing without the lid on, to get more crispness. Once cooked, let the meat rest on paper towels to absorb any extra oil.

I also use the same technique with cod, and you could use any fish you like, or chicken. Basically anything you'd otherwise douse with bread crumbs, you can substitute in this recipe.

Bright and Zesty Broccoli


* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 1 head broccoli, cut into small pieces with stalks peeled
* 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice


1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the orange zest and red pepper flakes and allow to heat briefly, about 1 minute. Stir the broccoli into the mixture; season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking about 5 minutes more; transfer to a serving bowl. Pour the orange juice over the broccoli and toss to coat. Serve hot.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Exciting Vegetable of the Week!


What is it?
The Garden Beet is a root vegetable easily grown by novice gardeners. The entire plant can be consumed, which is fantastic. Most people are familiar with pickled beets or canned beets, and that is unfortunate. Hopefully some of you will take the steps into uncomfortable territory and test these veggies out. Beets date back to prehistoric times, and can be eaten raw, unlike potatoes.

Why should I eat it?
Beets are in the same family as spinach and chard (last week's superstar), and share similar health benefits. Read all about them here! Beets are an excellent source of the B vitamin, folate, and a very good source of manganese and potassium. Beets are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus.

How should I cook it?
Beets have a very sugary, earthy taste to them and that should be considered when pairing with meat. Lamb and pork are my personal favorites, chicken is a little light in flavor and gets a little lost next to the robustness of the beet. Try it out and see what you think....

  • Trim the stems (save for salads!) and the bottom root, quarter and place in a roasting pan with a little water for steam. Heat the oven to 425 degrees and roast for 30-45 minutes until they can be pierced easily with a fork.

  • Steam them on the stove top

  • *After the beets have been cooked, add them to a salad, or serve next to pork or steak. My personal favorite is tossed with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and shallots.

    Need a hearty dose of vegetable medicine? You have two options...

    Eat the beets raw:

    * 4 medium beets (about 1 pound without greens)
    * 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
    * 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
    * 1 medium garlic clove, minced
    * Salt
    * Freshly ground black pepper
    * 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    * 2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon or parsley leaves

    Trim the stems and any dangling roots from the beets. Remove the skins from the beets with a vegetable peeler. Using the shredding disk on the food processor or the large holes on a box grater to shred the beets. Transfer them to a medium serving bowl.

    Whisk together in a small bowl the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Whisk in the olive oil. Whisk in the tarragon and adjust the seasonings.

    Drizzle the dressing over the shredded beets. Toss to coat the beets with the dressing. Serve salad immediately.


    If you do not have a juicer, stop reading this and go buy one immediately, or at least before the seasons start changing. There is nothing more healing than a big strong swig of spinach/beet/chard/carrot juice. Feeling a little crazy? Add some garlic. Whew, it's making me sweat just thinking about it....

    The stems are great for salads, or steamed like spinach.

    How does this fit in with the Zone?
    Beets are considered to be an "unfavorable carbohydrate" in the Zone world, due to their high sugar content. I have always felt as though their health benefits outweighed the sugar content and eat them in moderation. Due to their being edible in a raw state, paleo gurus don't seem to have a problem with them. 1/2c of beets is one block of carb in the Zone diet, which is typically plenty.

    **Important** 24-48 hours AFTER eating the beets, your urine will be pink or red. Don't freak out, it only last for a couple of trips to the bathroom and then the dye is out of your system.

    Wednesday, August 12, 2009

    Crab Cakes

    Mark's Daily Apple sent out this UH-MAZING crab cake recipe that I just had to share. If you have not yet discovered the joy that is Mark's Daily Apple, go there right now and sign up for his newsletter. Always great (and useful) information.

    Here's the recipe:


    ingredients Crab Cakes

    1 pound crab meat, combination of lump and claw
    2 egg yolks
    1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot or onion
    2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
    2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
    1 teaspoon lemon zest (grated off the outside of a lemon)
    1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
    1/4 teaspoon paprika
    1/3 cup olive oil


    Bundle the crab in a thin dishtowel and give it a few hard squeezes to release moisture. You’ll probably be able to get a couple tablespoons of liquid to drip out.

    Whisk the egg yolks. Add the shallot, celery, dill, lemon zest, hot sauce and paprika. Gently mix this into the crab. The mixture is not going to look like it will hold together, but don’t worry.

    To form the crab cakes all you need is a round cookie cutter about 2 inches wide. Using a tablespoon measurement, scoop 2 generous tablespoons of crab into the cookie cutter.

    Press the crab down very firmly with your fingers. Gently lift the cookie cutter.

    Using this method, you should be able to make at least a dozen crab cakes. Cover the cakes and refrigerate for one hour or more. This helps the ingredients bind together.

    Preheat your oven to 375. On the stovetop, heat the olive oil in a pan. When the oil starts to sizzle, use a spatula to slide the crab cakes into the pan. Cook about 2-3 minutes on each side until they are browned and crispy. Don’t put too many in the pan at once.

    Use a spatula to scoop the cakes out the pan and onto a cookie sheet. Put in the oven for another six minutes to make sure they are warmed through the middle. Garnish with dill.

    The most important steps in this recipe are using the cookie cutter to shape the crab cakes and refrigerating them for at least an hour before cooking. Other than that, let your regional tastes take over. Add red pepper if you like or mustard. Play around with the seasonings. But forget all about the breadcrumbs. You won’t even miss them.

    Yes there are pictures, and yes you will want to make them immediately. JUMP FOR CRAB CAKES!

    Tuesday, August 11, 2009

    Paleo Stories: Melissa Joulwan

    Melicious decided to take on Amanda Byers' 30 Day Paleo Challenge this summer. Here's what she had to say....

    1. How did you prepare your kitchen for the challenge?

    I'd been following very strict Zone, so I wasn't eating grains at home at all -- the only time I ate grain was a Saturday morning Tex-Mex feast with corn tortillas. When I started following paleo, I had to eliminate the dairy from my diet, but not from my fridge 'cause my husband was still eating milk and cheese. To minimize temptation, we divided the shelves of the refrigerator: top for him because he's tall; middle shelf for me -- and we put "his food" in one of the drawers.

    After we saw Food, Inc., Dave went on a tear and read every label in the fridge. We got rid of a lot of sauces and such that weekend, but now the fridge is pared down to just the healthful things we eat regularly, and we found Good versions of the stuff we tossed, like organic salad dressing and organic, gluten-free tamari sauce. If you make yourself a food detective, you really can find what you need in a form that's Good for you.

    A fun change that happened this week is that I realized I had an entire cabinet I hadn't opened in two months. It's where we kept our canned stuff. I cleaned it out and donated the food -- mostly canned beans and soups. Then I took my new stash of spices, bought matching jars and labels, and re-vamped my seasonings cabinet. Now my spice jars are on spinning lazy-susan trays so I can see all my options for kitchen magic. The entire renovation cost less than $30 and has made me so happy!

    The easiest way to succeed in eating well is to identify the foods you like and fit in the program, then eat them often. I realized I was looking up the same spice blends and recipes over and over, so now my favorites are printed out and taped inside my cabinet doors. It's a hands-free, no-fuss way to manage recipes.

    Grocery lists! Dave and I made a template for our grocery lists that divides everything by store (HEB or Vitamin Cottage) and organic vs. conventional. Each week, we print out the template and stick it to the front of the fridge. As we run out of stuff, we put an X on the list. Totally anal and totally useful.

    2. Did you eat out at all with friends? If you did, how did you go about picking menu items that fit?

    Previously, eating out was a challenge because I wanted to "eat like normal people" and "have fun and cheat." Now, I'm not that fond of it because except for rare occasions, the food I made at home tastes so much better!

    But socializing is part of life, so again, food detective skills have to kick in. I found a place near my office where I can get grilled fish on a bed of lettuce and raw cabbage with guacamole on the side (Wahoo's Tacos). It's not as good as homemade, but it does allow me to go out with friends for lunch, and sometimes, that's more important.

    I had a pretty big triumph recently... it was my work friend's birthday, and when I asked where he wanted us to take him for lunch, he said, "I know you won't want to eat there, but can we go to Dirty Martin's?" In case you're unfamiliar, Dirty Martin's is a burger joint on the UT campus. Bacon cheeseburgers, fried EVERYTHING, milkshakes... you get the idea. Last year, I would have either declined to go ("You guys have fun! I'm going to stay here and eat my packed lunch.") or gone with them and said, "F*ck it!" then had tater tots and a burger... only to feel badly about it later.

    Before we left, I looked at the menu online and decided what I was going to eat: hamburger salad! Two thin burger patties on a bed of lettuce with sliced tomatoes and pickles. PERFECT! I got to enjoy the beautiful summer afternoon, had a bite of a fried pickle, one french fry off a friend's plate. It was awesome.

    On the way back to the office and in the elevator ride up to the 12th floor, all of my friends were holding their stomachs and moaning. "Why did I eat so much? I'm stuffed!"

    I wasn't happy they weren't feeling well, but I was enormously happy that I felt great, my hunger was satisfied, and I wasn't excluded from "normal people's" fun.

    3. What was the most difficult thing you had to deal with?

    As always, I'm impatient. I adopted a paleo diet because I want to lose more body fat/weight. I love how good I feel, and food is pleasurable again in a way it hasn't been for a while. I feel like the extra paleo "rules" have actually freed me, in a way. I'm feeling very creative in the kitchen, and I love that. But now that I'm at my healthy weight, my body does not want to give it up. It's going to be a slow process, and doing it this way is the right way, but it's mentally challenging. I want to reach my vanity weight! ;-) ... and that's going to take a commitment for the long haul. But food-wise, I've found it surprisingly easy. I even ate at Sea World and CHOSE to have a cheat. But if I'd wanted to stay clean, I could have done it: salad, BBQ'd meat, snacks in my purse. Despite the fact that there is garbage food EVERYWHERE, it's also getting easier to find clean-ish food, if you use your spy skills.

    4. What was the easiest part of the challenge and did it surprise you?

    I was VERY reluctant to give up dairy. I wasn't eating much of it: a glass of milk at breakfast, a 1/2 cup of yogurt mid-morning, and a 2% string cheese in the afternoon. But man! I didn't want to say goodbye to them. I decided to try dairy-free for a week, just to see how it felt and to see how I liked eating substitute foods. It's been a breeze! I haven't missed the dairy. And I've replaced it with things that are yummier: tahini dressing over vegetables is creamy and delicious, without the dairy side effects. I was shocked how much better I felt when I eliminated the dairy. And as a reminder, I ate half a cheeseburger on my vacation and felt like I'd swallowed a kettlebell. That was the last time I wanted cheese.

    *******Make no mistake about it, changing your diet is H.A.R.D. However, there are certain things you can do to make sure you stay on track. PREPARE PREPARE PREPARE!!!

    Sweet Tooth Rampage is one of my favorite sites. They have a wealth of recipes, including stuff to help appease your demanding sugar cravings.

    Sugar is bad. Fake sugar is worse. Using naturally sweet things to make naturally sweet desserts is best. Here is a selection of some sweet links to help you through the dark times.

    Baked Things
    Frozen Treats
    Dried Fruits

    If you fall off the wagon, remember it takes 3-4 days for your body to withdraw from sugar. Try to ride out the cravings until then.

    Got a favorite paleo friendly sweet recipe? Post it in the comments!

    Sunday, August 9, 2009

    Exciting Vegetable of the Week!

    Swiss Chard

    What is it? Chard is a bitter green, and in order to enjoy it you have to know how to cook it. They belong to the same family as beets and spinach, and rank highly among the super greens. I enjoy eating the stems raw, especially if I'm feeling run down. They are, um, invigorating, give it a go sometime.

    Why Should I eat it? Fuh-IBER! This plant has close to 15% of a person's recommended daily intake, and these bonus nutrients: vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, vitamin E and dietary fiber. It is a very good source of copper, calcium, vitamin B2, vitamin B6 and protein. In addition, Swiss chard is a good source of phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, folate, biotin, niacin and pantothenic acid.

    This vegetable has whole body benefits, you can read an in depth article here.

    How should I cook it? My personal favorite is sauteed with onion, garlic, olive oil and chicken. Chard is naturally salty, and makes the dish virtually seasoning free, save for a little black pepper.

    Use chard in place of cooked spinach, and pair with any meat, poultry or fish. If you are having trouble getting used to the flavor, use bacon(!) to help you transition.

    Traditional (Northern Italian Chard)

    1 yellow onion
    1 bunch Swiss Chard chopped
    3-4 garlic cloves diced (roast these bad boys for extra WOW power)
    pre cooked chicken (baked or pan fried)
    copious amounts of olive oil
    dash of red pepper flakes

    1. Chop onion coarsely and throw in a large pot with nothing coating (I use a cast iron dutch oven) That's right, no oil. This will make them soft and sweet. Once the onions are close to translucent, pour some olive oil in and cook a little more.
    2. Throw the diced garlic and pepper flakes in and cook 2-3 minutes
    3. Put the chard in and cover. Let steam slightly for a couple of minutes, then start stirring.
    4 Once the chard is wilted, place pre-cooked chicken in to heat up and soak up some juice/oil.
    5. Serve!
    *Original recipe calls for white kidney beans, but this makes the dish non Paleo. If you go for the beans, watch the measurements so you don't go over in carb blocks. Just like black beans, the serving size is 1/4c per 1 block.

    How does this fit in with the Zone? Chard is one of those veggies that is over 1c per serving, so just pay attention to the onion. Cooked onion is about 1/4c per carb block. If you are sad about the dish not being salty enough for you, add in a little vegetable or chicken broth around step three. Just a touch, you don't want to make soup.

    Organic vs. Conventional

    A couple of weeks ago my coworker revealed to me that organic food was shown to be no healthier than conventionally grown food, a "huge study" had proven this.

    My face contorted a bit.

    Yes, down on the micro nutrient level, there is probably little difference. I doubt that organic and conventionally grown vegetables differ all that much in composition or nutritional value, but that isn't the point. I saw the "groundbreaking study" in news articles for the next week or so, and my blood pressure rose each time.

    It's not what organic food has in addition over conventionally grown food, it is what it is lacking that makes it so much better for you.

    I think we can all agree that food without poison will generally be better for you, but there is so much more to the organic food industry (oh, yes, we've arrived) that you must become an informed shopper. This is especially important regarding meat and poultry.

    Here is a great article on what it means to be organic.

    Saturday, August 8, 2009

    Attack the Bland!

    If you are accustomed to rich, creamy sauces and dips to flavor your food, the transition into Paleo-world can be a fairly bland shocker to the taste buds. You must learn to rely on other foods and spices to season your meats and veggies.

    I'd like to introduce you to the joys of aioli sauces, tapenades, and dairy-free pesto concoctions to help you through the change.

    Aioli is a comprised of olive oil and garlic, with an egg yolk and it makes a fancy garlic mayonnaise. Here's a traditional aioli recipe:

    * 2 teaspoons crushed garlic, or more if you wish
    * 1 egg yolk
    * 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    * 1/4 teaspoon salt
    * pinch of pepper
    * 1 cup olive oil (or vary the oil for different flavors)

    Sub the table salt for celery salt, and I doubt you will taste a difference...unless you are serious salt aficionado, in which case you may be SOL my friend. Learn to love it sans salt.

    You should have all of the ingredients at room temperature before you start. Make this in a bowl that is heavy enough that it won't move across the counter as you're mixing, or make it in your food processor.

    Mix the garlic, egg yolk, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a heavy mixing bowl with a hand mixer until the yolk lightens and thickens slightly (about 1 minute).

    Start adding the olive oil, drop by drop, mixing all the while with your hand mixer. You can add it a bit faster as you go along, but as with mayonnaise, the key to success is going very slowly. When you are done adding the oil you can adjust the seasoning as suits your taste.

    This makes 1 cup. Wow! You just made mayo! Congrats! Consider this a "base" of sorts. Add in sun dried tomatoes, saffron, mustard, or my personal favorite, more garlic.

    Tapenades are made from marinated olives, capers, peppers, artichokes, and lots of other veggies, that are crushed and when combined with olive oil, become a delicious spread.

    Traditional Recipe:

    * 20 pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
    * 1 Tbsp rinsed, drained, and chopped capers
    * 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
    * 2 tsp olive oil
    * 1/2 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
    * Fresh cracked black pepper

    Put it all in a food processor, or large mortar and pestle and grind it up until smooth. Keeps for two weeks and tastes amazing as a stuffing for pork and poultry.

    For the Pesto portion of this post, I'm deferring to an AMAZING collection of recipes posted by our very own wonderwoman Melicious. Please take a moment and read all about it right here.

    Google is your best friend while searching for ways to add some spark to those meals. Use it religiously if you feel in an eating rut. Also, never underestimate the power of lemon juice to perk up your food.

    Do you have a sauce recipe that helped you through the dark times? Post it in the comments!

    Grocery Lists

    Do you make a grocery list before going shopping? Simple things like making a list and eating before you shop can lessen the chances of you making an impulsive buy.

    Coach Jen Cardella shared her grocery list with me this week:

    Costco List:

    tri tip
    baby tomatoes
    bell pepper
    lots of almond butter
    rotisserie chicken

    Central Market:

    nitrate free, antibiotic free bacon
    grape seed oil
    chicken breast

    One of the things that I hear constantly around the gym in regards to eating is the need for preparation. You must, must, MUST plan ahead and this is where lists become increasingly important. When you are in the grocery store, stay away from the center aisles as much as possible and stick to your list. New to making lists? They aren't so bad, just itemize by store (if you go to more than one like Jen does) and then break it down by produce, meat, oils/seasoning, and non-food items. Voila! You will be thankful that you outlined your choices beforehand.

    Friday, August 7, 2009

    Event Alert!

    Nutrition Workshop
    Tuesday, August 11th, 7-8pm

    Next Tuesday, August 11th, the Crossfit Central coaches will be hosting a Nutrition Workshop for people wanting to learn more about the Paleo and Zone approach to eating. Bring your food journals and questions!

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009

    Brussel Sprouts ala Katherine G.

    This recipe comes from Katherine over at the Crossfit Women blog. Everything is better with bacon, no?

    Roasted Brussel Sprouts

    1. Heat oven to 425. Cut off the bottoms. Cut each sprout in half or into small chunks if they are big.

    2. Pour some EVOO onto a cookie sheet and shake it around until the whole sheet is covered with a thin layer of oil.

    3. Place sprouts cut side down onto cookie sheet.

    5. Place cookie sheet in heated oven and cook for 10-15 minutes. I started with 10 minutes then did a few extra so they would be nice and caramelized.

    6. Take out the sheet and shake it around. Then place the cookie sheet on top of the stove for about 5 minutes for a little extra heat/cooking time.

    7. Sprinkle with Sea Salt.

    8. Devour.

    Brussel info: contain significant amounts of Vit.C and antioxidants plus some fancy cancer-fighting phytonutrients. 1 block= 1.5cups of sprouts

    Side Note: Brussel Sprouts taste better when they are fresh, not frozen. Their bitterness also depends on your genetics (yes! crazy!) so if you try them out and the taste is too much, thank your ancestors. You are what is known as a "super-taster" and probably find lots of things too intense for your uber sensitive taste buds.

    Lettuce Taco Joy

    Stressed about needing a taco fix?

    Use lettuce instead of a tortilla!

    Lettuce Tacos
    3-4 Leaves of romaine lettuce folded in half (or lettuce of your choice, just make sure the spine is sturdy)
    2-4 oz chicken/beef/turkey (shrimp is 3-5 oz)
    Taco Seasoning (packaged mixes often have corn syrup solids or sugar, check before you buy! Or make your own.)
    salsa (again, if you don't make your own, make sure to read the label!)
    avocado (1/2 or the whole thing depending on how much fat you need)

    **Tasty options: sauteed purple cabbage/mushrooms/squash/diced tomatoes
    Black beans can go in here if you are following Zone and not paleo, just make sure you are aware of the portion size, 1/4 c is one block of carb.

    This meal makes approximately a 2/3/4p-1/2c-3/6f meal depending on how you fill it up.

    Sunday, August 2, 2009

    Exciting Vegetable of the Week


    What is it? Artichokes are from the thistle family and if left on their stalk, bloom into a beautiful purple flower.

    Why should I eat it?Because dear reader, they are so very good for you. The thistle family has been celebrated for its unique detoxifying abilities for centuries. Your liver will love this vegetable and due to its anti-inflammatory properties, your sore muscles and joints will thank you too.

    How should I cook it? Boil, grill or broil.
  • Boil...Set a large pot of water up to boil. Snip off the tips of each leaf, and chop the top of the artichoke off (the goal is to "open" the center, length varies .25"-1" depending on the shape). Make sure the stem is trimmed close to the base. When the water is boiling, place artichokes base up in the water and cover, turning the heat down to a simmer. Let boil for approximately 30-45 minutes. When the leaves can be easily separated out from the artichoke, they are ready. Place on a cloth or paper towel base up to drain and cool.

  • Grill...Trim the artichoke as instructed above. Slice the artichoke vertically. Take a melon baller or spoon and scoop out the "choke" or the densely packed sharp leaves at the center. This can make a mess, so don't get too hasty! Coat the inside of the artichoke with olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using a medium fire grill, transfer the artichokes cut side up and grill for 10 minutes. Flip them and cook cut side down for 5 minutes. Viola!

  • Broil...Follow prep instructions above for grilling, only dunk them in water with lemon juice to avoid turning them brown. Make a bowl of olive oil, salt and pepper to coat the artichokes. Pull them out of the lemon water, pat dry and coat them up in the olive oil mixture. Place cut side down on foil and place in the broiler for 5-7 minutes. Make sure that you don't have them too high up or they will burn. Flip over and cook for another few minutes.

  • Now what? When I was growing up, I dipped artichokes in mayo or clarified butter (YUM), but given that I'm off the dairy what are my choices?
  • Olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic and red pepper flakes.

  • Roasted red peppers pureed with garlic and olive oil

  • Sun dried tomato pesto (minus the cheese)= olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, garlic

    The meaty part at the base of each artichoke leaf is what you are aiming for. Dip the base in sauce and scrape off with your teeth. Then feel free to melt into a pile of happiness. Yum.

    How does this fit in with the Zone?
    One medium sized artichoke is 1 block of carbohydrate, and plenty for one person to eat. If you are running low on allotted carb blocks by the end of the day, artichokes are a perfect fit.

    Feel free to send in your thoughts and any other recipe suggestions you would like to add. If you decide to take the plunge and give artichokes a spin this week, let me know what you think!