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....