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!
  • Saturday, August 1, 2009

    Eat Clean Live Strong

    What do I mean by "Eat Clean?"

    So much of our food supply is processed and bloated with ingredients that our bodies don't need and can cause significant damage. Reverting back to a "paleolithic" or "caveman" way of eating can provide our bodies with whole food nutrition and ease strain on digestive organs, reduce the inclination for disease and help us feel better from the inside out. Adding in the Zone protein-carb-fat ratio and spacing meals out through the day keeps our metabolisms in peak performance. Finally, focusing on keeping our pH in check by use of foods with alkaline properties, keeps the cells healthy and the body in balance. That's what I mean by clean. Simple, readily available ingredients to assist the body in doing what it does best: keeping us healthy, happy and strong.

    The coaches at Crossfit Central wanted to provide a place for recipes and general discussion on the Paleo-Zone-Alkaline way of eating. Here are some basics:

    1. This is NOT a diet, this is a lifestyle change.
    2. Lots of vegetables, some fruit, lean meat, NO SUGAR.
    3. Emphasis on balance and variety in your nutrition will help you succeed.
    4. You are what you eat, make it count. Pick organic/humanely raised whenever possible.

    The plan is to collect recipes, discuss topics on eating, and showcase a new and exciting vegetable each week. Please send me articles, recipes, and any questions that you have to bring up in this blog. Our greatest resource is each other, as we are all in different stages on this journey to wellness.

    Eat Clean Live Strong!

    Thanks for checking it out!