Paleo Egg Roll Filling… Minus the Roll.

I made the not-so-bright decision to pull two pounds of ground pork out of the freezer.

Not one, but two.

Apparently I was over-zealous with how much I thought I could eat this week.

Or maybe how much I like homemade Italian sausage. Which is a lot.

But, seriously. I have my limits.

Perusing my fridge, I realized that I had a head of cabbage that had been hanging out in the back for…. longer than I care to admit. Cabbage doesn’t ever really go bad so I peeled off the leaves that had started rusting and voila! Inspiration was born. (I also had to steal two carrots from my roommate – but she got dinner out of the deal… and I still owe her two carrots.)

Below is the result of my said inspiration. It’s hearty, filling and 21 Day Sugar Detox-friendly.

You know that filling from egg rolls? Yea. It tastes like that. Minus the greasy fried egg roll bit. (Who likes soggy fried food anyway? mmm.. French fries in duck fat… okay. I do.) But let’s bring it back to egg rolls. I hated the roll and only ate them so I could have the filling and maybe the dipping sauce. But this recipe is so tasty that it doesn’t need the dipping sauce. So this is the best thing ever. 

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  • 1 lb organic, pasture-raised ground pork
  • ½ head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 organic carrot, shredded
  • ½ cup organic daikon radish, julienne cut
  • ¼ cup organic green onion, diced
  • 2 tsp fresh organic minced ginger
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice 
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 3 ½ tbsp coconut aminos
  • ½ tsp (or more) dried red chili flakes
  1. Over medium heat, cook the pork until no longer pink along with the ginger, spices, salt and coconut aminos.
  2. Add the cabbage and carrots and cook for three minutes more, stirring often to make sure the cabbage cooks.
  3. Add the daikon radish and continue to cook until radish is slightly cooked and cabbage is cooked but still tender. (It shouldn’t be bright green – if it is, keep cooking.)
  4. Serve on a bed of lettuce or put it in a bowl and eat it. Or if you feel like being all fancy, fill Belgian endive cups with it. This would also taste good on cauliflower rice. Or just grab a fork and throw manners to the wind and eat out of your skillet.

What. Don’t judge me. 

“Breaded” Fried Zucchini

I’ve been jonesing for this stuff for the past few months and somehow managed to fight the urge to buy zucchini out of season. Not sure how I managed it, but I did. Now that my garden is going crazy, here’s a nice little zucchini recipe for y’all.

I served mine up with some clean BBQ sauce that’s made locally here in Portland. They’re delicious just by themselves but this sauce. It’s an addiction. 

One little note before I give you the recipe: use Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal. Usually, if you’re baking, I’m an advocate for not-Bob’s but this time around, you need the larger “grain” to mimic Panko breadcrumbs. Just trust me on this one. 🙂

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Breaded Fried Zucchini

  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced into ¼-3/8" medallions
  • ¾ cup Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal
  • 2 large, organic and pasture-raised eggs, beaten
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  1. In a medium skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Test out a bit of egg to see if the skillet is done – you want it to start spattering immediately. 
  2. You’ll need a bowl and a plate – one for the egg and one for the almond meal. Beat the egg in the bowl until it’s well blended.
  3. On the plate, combine the almond meal, salt and pepper and sift with a fork until incorporated.
  4. Dip the zucchini in egg, then in the almond meal and once again in the egg and place in the frying pan. Repeat until the pan is full with a single layer of zucchini.
  5. Cook until the egg is done and golden brown. Remove from pan and put aside. Repeat until all zucchini has been cooked.

Simple Vegetable Soup

I feel almost bad posting this recipe. It’s just so easy. And I always get rave reviews so with tomorrow being the Friday Soup Supper at my church – it’s more or less a tradition during Lent, this is sure to be a crowd pleaser. (And if people don’t like healthy food, I won’t complain – I’ll be set with leftovers for quite a few days!) But back to the rules of Friday Soup Suppers:

  • No meat products, whatsoever.
  • No meat products, whatsoever.
  • No meat products, whatsoever…. minus fish and shellfish.
  • It must be soup.

Following? K. Good. The rules are simple… thankfully. I wanted to sneak in some bacon fat… but didn’t want to risk it. And, I really wanted something I could eat for a change. (It’s not usual that I get to eat at a church gathering.) So, rather than buy something pre-made from the store as was suggested (ew! Why would I do that to people?!?!?), I decided to toss some veggies together with a few spices and call it good.

Literally.

That’s all I did.

Oh, and I tossed in some red pepper flakes? Why? Because I can. And I like to keep people on their toes.

Note: I HATE cutting up veggies for soup. A few years ago, I bought a veggie cuber thingy. I use it so so so much in the summer when I’m making cucumber and tomato salads or have a bunch of onions to quickly cut or… am making veggie soup. It’s somewhat of a pain to clean as the blades are super sharp. (I’ve been known to kill my finger a few times on it.) But after a while, I’ve learned a technique that works for me. Anyway, it’s not one of my favorite gadgets but for stuff like this, I highly recommend it (especially if you have a BB&B 20% coupon).

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Simple Vegetable Soup

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 organic zucchini, cubed
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped 
  • 3 carrots, cubed
  • 2 28-oz organic crushed tomatoes in BPA-free cans
  • 4 qt water
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose seasoning (salt and MSG-free, I use the Oregon Spice Blend, bought at Bob’s Red Mill Store in Milwaukie, the blend in the bulk organic spice section at Fred Meyer’s/Kroger’s or the organic blend from Costco)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  1. In a medium sized stock pot, saute onions in EVOO over medium heat until translucent.
  2. Add garlic and continue to saute for another minute.
  3. Toss in carrots and cauliflower and sautee until tender. Add zucchini and stir. Let sit for another three to four minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes (and all of their juice!) and water. Stir and add spices.
  5. Simmer over medium-low for half an hour, or until veggies are cooked. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Sauteed Cabbage

My best friend flew in late last night and I needed something quick to feed her for breakfast before she hopped her train north. I’ve also been on a cabbage kick – it’s a winter veggie and it’s best to eat veggies that are in season locally. They have the nutrients that your body needs to help you cope with whatever season you’re in. Sauteed cabbage is sweet and delicious and filling – especially when coupled with a protein. This morning, the protein came by way of salmon. Always a win in my book!

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I tend to cook my cabbage in some way before I eat it and never ever eat it raw. For those who have thyroid health problems, namely hypothyroidism, it is best to avoid raw cabbage as it brings thyroid hormone levels down even more. I like avoid that and still get the vitamins A, C and K, phytonutrients (which act as antioxidants) and lots fiber, folate, calcium and potassium my body needs. Basically, cabbage is a powerhouse and one that I would rather not miss out on!

Sauteed Cabbage

  • 1 head green cabbage, shredded
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp bacon fat
  • pink salt and pepper to taste
  • a splash (about 1 tsp) raw apple cider vinegar
  1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the bacon fat and add onion.
  2. Saute until onions are almost translucent and add cabbage.
  3. Add salt and pepper and vinegar and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring often.

Sauerkraut, straight up

Sauerkraut. You either have fond memories of dancing the Polka at Oktoberfest or your grandma opening up a can (with a can opener) of the most foul-smelling concoction you’ve ever let your nose experience. What if I told you that the canned stuff, the stuff we’ve become accustomed to isn’t the same stuff that our ancestors ate… and that what they ate actually tasted good? Well, I’m telling you. It’s delicious. And the probiotics are even better than what you can get in yogurt (which only has a few strains, wild fermentation has many many more stains of good bacteria in it). See? Here’s a fancy chart to illustrate it:

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I’ve had a hankering for some good Polish hunter’s stew. Unfortunately, the main ingredient is sauerkraut and I have none… so this hankering is going to have to wait. Oh well – in a few weeks, you’ll see a post for the best stew that will get your blood flowing again. Seriously. It’s that good. And it has 3 kinds of meat in it – mostly bacon.

I outlined the necessary supplies on my fermented red potatoes post so check that out before you start. If you want more information about why sauerkraut is good for you, check out my Latin American sauerkraut recipe. Also, when you go and buy your cabbage, don’t waste your money on the organic stuff – cabbage is one of the Clean 15. Going to WinCo or some other bargain grocer and spending $.50 per pound is perfectly acceptable and it’s what I do! That makes two liters of finished sauerkraut cost me about $5 total. I can buy a pint and a half of raw sauerkraut at the store for $10. Umm – yea. I’ll take my deal any day.

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Sauerkraut

  • 2 heads cabbage, washed and shredded, with two whole leaves set aside
  • 3 tbsp sea salt, non-iodized (iodine kills bacteria… which is not what we want)
    1. In a large bowl sturdy bowl (I use a massive stainless steel bowl), mix all of the ingredients.
    2. Now comes the fun part: Pound with a wooden pounder or meat hammer for about 10 minutes, until the cabbage starts juicing well. You will see it becoming more and more wet as the time goes on and when it is finished, you will be able to squeeze some in your hand and have the juices run between your fingers.
    3. Place in 1- or 2- quart, wide mouth mason jars and press down firmly until juices come to the top of the cabbage. Do this in small increments, making sure to have all of the air bubbles pressed out.
    4. Stuff one of the saved whole leaves down around the cabbage, being careful not to rip the leaf, to get out all air bubbles and to keep the mash down below the juice level.
    5. Using a clean, round and flat river rock (not bigger than the mouth of the jar) or a glass dunker, place on top of the whole leaf and push down. This will keep the mash below the juice level for the whole fermenting process. It is okay if the top of the rock or dunker is above the juice a little bit.
    6. With a clean rag, clean the lip of the jar and place the lid on the jars and let sit on the counter for 14 days (after three days, there will be bacteria growth and after 14 days, there is a more complete panel). A cool place (65 degrees Fahrenheit) is best as the warmer temperatures help bad bacteria grow.
    7. Place in the refrigerator and let sit for an additional week – do not open during this time. So, your kraut will have fermented for three weeks total.
    8. Open jars once a day during the sitting-on-counter phase to allow gas to escape. 
    9. Sauerkraut will keep indefinitely in the fridge. Enjoy!

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    Note: If the sauerkraut doesn’t smell sour, pickle-y, or kraut-y or is growing black sludge, toss it out! You’ll know if it smells bad (as in going to kill you). Lacto-fermentation, what this process is called, is very very safe. However, there are times where the tools are not clean and bad bacteria gets in. The best way to prevent this is to use a clean workspace and a clean jar. As always, wash your hands thoroughly prior to beginning.

Tomato Orange Bisque

Stormy weather can only mean one thing: soup that’s bright and fresh. And this one won out. I had all the ingredients on hand and didn’t need to run to the store – always a major victory in my book.

This dish can easily be made paleo by substituting the butter for coconut oil and the cream for full-fat coconut milk. I made today’s batch with coconut oil and pasture-raised heavy whipping cream. There is a farm in Mulino, OR that I like and the local market sells it. Their cows are raised well and their cream is fantastic. It’s not raw, unfortunately, but it’s also non-homogenized. I’ll take some victory where I can get it. And once in a while, it’s a nice treat.

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The inspiration for this recipe is from Elephant Delicatessen, a Portland-based deli. Their bisque is city-famous and has never disappointed.

A little note: You can transfer this soup to a blender and blend it that way… but I hate doing that. Hot things splashing around and the risk of burns do not sound like a lot of fun. (You’re reading the blog of a girl who once dumped boiling water on her stomach on accident…. so yea. I’m paranoid. And a bit accident prone.) I bought a handy-dandy immersion blender a few years ago. It’s saved me. And my stomach (literally) a few too many times. If you’re wondering how you’re going to afford one, a month of no Starbucks venti whatever-it-is-you-drink will quickly cover the cost. (And save your stomach – Starbucks. Really? Ew.) They can be found on Amazon here or at any store that sells kitchen tools. When I bought mine, they only had chrome. If I was able to do it over again, I’d totally get the turquoise. On a serious note, it’s a must-have for any paleo or primal foodie… or anyone who values not having a second-degree burn (and I still have the small scar to prove it… not that I will).

Bon Appétit!

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Tomato Orange Bisque

  • 3 tbsp unsalted organic grass-fed butter (like Kerrygold) or coconut oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 28-oz can unsalted organic diced or whole tomatoes (BPA-free lining)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup fresh organic orange juice (about three oranges)
  • ½ cup organic pasture-raised raw cream or full-fat coconut milk
  1. Melt the butter (or coconut oil) in a stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add tomatoes, salt, black pepper, baking soda and thyme. Bring to a boil.
  3. Lower heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the stock pot.
  5. Add orange juice and whipping cream or coconut milk.
  6. Bring to a simmer, adjust flavor with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve hot.

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Fermented Red Potatoes

Potatoes. They are my guilty pleasure in life. I love love love good French fries. I love skillet potatoes. I love the roasted potatoes you get with breakfast at Mother’s Bistro in downtown Portland. And kettle chips? Forget it. I’m a goner – and so is that bag. Unfortunately, they don’t love me and usually make me (and my sister) ill. My mom was doing some research a while back to find out why her two favorite daughters became ill after eating potatoes. And here’s what she found.

According to the American Cancer Society,

Acrylamide has probably always been present in some foods, but this wasn’t known until Swedish scientists first found it in certain foods in 2002.

I can’t blame GM foods for this one, fair enough.

Acrylamide does not appear to be in raw foods themselves. It is formed when certain starchy foods are cooked at temperatures above about 250° F. Cooking methods such as frying, baking, broiling, or roasting are more likely to produce acrylamide, while boiling, steaming, and microwaving appear less likely to do so. Cooking at high temperatures causes a chemical reaction between certain sugars and an amino acid (asparagine) in the food, which causes acrylamide to form. Longer cooking times and cooking at higher temperatures can increase the amount of acrylamide in foods further.

This isn’t something that only affects a small population and I’m the unhappy recipient, it apparently reaches everyone but only a small population really really have a reaction. Example A runs this blog. And then upon reading further, my mother found out that fermenting the potatoes, or soaking them in salt water for three days, seriously reduced if not all together eliminated the occurrence of acrylamide. Thus making them safer and easier to digest. Crazy, right?

On another note, this is something that my ancestors in Ireland would have done (shameless Irish heritage plug: Éirinn go Brách!) – they would have soaked their potatoes overnight in a salt water brine, not knowing the science behind the why (that wasn’t discovered until 2002), but knowing that it reduced bloating, gas, general GI discomfort and any other allergic reaction that acrylamide causes.

I bet at this point you’re wondering what is going on behind the scenes, at the small organism level, right? Or is that just my science nerd brain at work? (Btw, great science fair ideas here) You’re growing your own bacterial colony. Gross, right? It’s called wild fermentation and it’s fabulous. Over the course of the next few days, the bacteria that occurs naturally on the potatoes (so don’t scrub too hard or use antibacterial soap), will go to town eating the starch and turning it into other stuff that our body can use more readily. They’re basically starting our digestive processes before we even eat it. Again, ew. But it works. And this is what generations did before we were on this earth. Anyway, the bacteria – the saltwater brine keeps out mold and the bad bacteria and yeasts. We only want the good guys in there.

Okay, that’s a lot of science and history. (If you want more science and history, feel free to email me under contact.)

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Here’s how it’s done:

Fermented Red Potatoes

  • Organic red potatoes, cleaned and quartered
  • Sea Salt (no iodine – I like this salt)
  • A quart of water, that has sat out for at least 30 minutes (this allows the trace minerals to evaporate out)
  • A canning jar (such as this one but I buy them cheaper at Ikea or you can use a standard half-liter canning mason jar with a clean lid)
  • A scale that measures little itty bitty amounts. I like this one.
  1. In a glass measuring bowl or something where you can measure out a quart of water, do so. Pour the water in and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Scrub the taters. Cut off any eyes, the stem part and any part that just looks funky. Chances are it is funky. And no one likes funky.
  3. Toss the spuds in the CLEAN jar (that’s right, you need to wash it and sanitize it – but do not use anti-bacterial soap, instead send it through the dishwasher for a cycle).
  4. Measure out 33 grams salt. Yes, that’s 33 grams. One more time: 33 grams. You’ll have to adjust your scale to zero out for whatever bowl you have sitting on top. But, again, 33 grams.
  5. Once the water has been sitting out for 30 minutes, toss the salt in and stir until dissolved. Add to the canning jar with the ‘tots. Seal the lid, place a dunker (I use river rocks that I found, scrubbed and sent through the dishwasher to ensure all dirt was gone) and let it sit. For three whole days. So, if you want potatoes for brunch on Sunday (because I live in Portland and brunch is the best meal of the week), you need to put them on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. Get it? If you don’t have three days, it’s okay. Even overnight will help out a lot. But three days rids the spuds of every single bad thing.
  6. Place it in a cool place… or on your kitchen counter – they look pretty.
  7. When you’re done, and this is important, place the potatoes in a colander and rinse thoroughly. You’ve pulled the starches and any other toxins that they have in them. They have got to go. Also, you’ll notice a “sludge” at the bottom – this is the starch that’s been pulled from them. Ew, right?
  8. After they’re rinsed, they’re good to go – you can cook them any way you would cook regular potatoes. Pretty fancy, eh? I personally like to roast mine with bacon fat (mmm – bacon) and kosher salt and pepper until they’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Enjoy!

Not sure what to do with them once you’re done? Or if you even did them right? Check out Fermented Red Potatoes… Pt 2

Chipotle Salad Dressing

I love Chipotle. It’s where I go when I want a cheat day. And by “cheat day,” I mean that I have rice. Living life on the edge! This is basically what’s going through my head those days:

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So when I tried their new salad dressing, I was hooked. Except that it was a bit too sweet and a bit too salty for my taste. Also, they used adobo sauce – which sometimes contains gluten due to “natural flavors.” There was only one thing to be done. Make my own. So I did. And it’s fabulous and my new favorite. I really want to try it as a wings marinade next – tailgating season is right around the corner!

Chipotle Salad Dressing

  • ¼ cup Raw Honey
  • ½ cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Adobo Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Dried Oregano
  • ¾ tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mix all ingredients in a blender or using a hand mixer, slowly drizzling in oil at the end. Or, do what I do and put everything in a mason jar, seal with a rubber-rimmed lid and shake it like crazy until the honey is dissolved. Note: Ingredients will separate between use and it can be stored in a sealed container for up to two weeks in the fridge.

 

I Love Arugula Salad and Herb BBQ’d Chicken

Arugula just might be the best leafy green out there…. beside baby spinach. It’s spicy, the texture is pleasant, and it’s spicy. So when a friend of mine celebrated his 30th birthday on Sunday with a BBQ and I knew there were going to be a few paleo (or modified) people there, arugula salad seemed to be the logical choice. And it’s vegan.

For those friends who asked for this recipe, this one’s for you.

But really, the rest of you should make this salad – it’s fabulous. The recipe is from my Mom so I take no claim to this one. But, really, it’s fabulous. Times ten.

As for the chicken, well, here you go to my friends who asked. It was yummy. And I ate too much – but when you eat paleo, eating too much doesn’t really exist in your vocabulary.

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Arugula and Onion Salad

  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ to 1 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • 6 cups organic baby arugula, rinsed (or pre-rinsed)
  1. Saute onion over medium heat in half of the olive oil until translucent and just starting to caramelize.
  2. Add remaining olive oil and allow to sit for a minute longer and let the onions cool slightly, stirring so all of the oil is incorporated with the onions.
  3. Toss with the arugula in a large bowl and add sea salt, to taste.
  4. Serve while onions are still a bit warm.
  5. That’s it! Seriously.

Herb BBQ’d Chicken

  • 6 organic, free-range chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh organic,thyme, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh organic rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Mix the marinade together until blended.
  2. Toss all of the ingredients in a container (plastic ziploc, glass dish and cover with plastic wrap, or a plastic container) and allow to sit for about an hour in the fridge.
  3. Throw on the BBQ until juices run clear and the meat is cooked, about 4 minutes on each side. Unless you happen to have a Traeger (smoker BBQ) – let it sit a bit longer and that’s even better.

Enjoy!

Roasted Cabbage

So I started writing this while I was in the throes of my new diet and decided to not edit what I had written before. I’m feeling much better, but I had zero energy… which is why I didn’t finish a single blog post. Any ideas of grandeur and working out were kicked to the curb and instead, my life consisted of working, eating (barely anything – I felt like I had the flu) and sleeping like Rip Van Winkle. Now on to the original blog post…

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My naturopath has me on a new diet… and it zapped my energy times a million until today. I might even get a short run in. Thankfully, this one is a 10 day crash course and then I can start getting back to normal. And by “normal,“ I mean a less-restricted paleo. In the meantime, no bacon (WHAT?!), no vinegar (HECK NO!!!) and no fruit/chocolate/wine/decaf coffee/hard cider/gluten-free beer/honey/paleo brownies/coconut milk ice cream/all things that bring my life joy.

So. You’re probably wondering, “What CAN she eat?” I’m glad you asked. Meat. As long as it’s not pork or bacon. And green leafy veggies. Like arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and cabbage. And nuts/nut butters/coconut oil/coconut butter/olive oil. And really, that’s about it. Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? It’s mostly paleo. But I love to make my own salad dressings… and they have vinegar. Or I’ll have half an avocado with my breakfast – and that’s off the list. And no eggs. None. So… what does one eat for breakfast if there are no eggs and bacon? Today it looked like a few cucumbers and a handful of almonds. I need to figure this thing out. Luckily, it’s only a week and a half to two weeks. And thankfully, lunch was easy to figure out – roasted chicken breast (salt and peppered) and roasted cabbage (hoping the doc says that roasting veggies is okay otherwise, I’m just going to get a nasogastric tube for the rest of this time). Anyway, done complaining. I hope you enjoy the roasted cabbage as much as I do!

Roasted Cabbage

  • 1 head of cabbage, outside leaves removed, rinsed, and sliced ¾-1" thick
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 10 peppercorns
  • Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a piece of parchment paper on a jellyroll pan (cookie sheet with sides).
  2. Pour enough EVOO on the parchment to spread evenly on the parchment paper.
  3. Using a mortar and pestle (or something that will smash up the spices), smash up the spices and set aside.
  4. Sprinkle half of the spice mix on the pan and lay the cabbage in a single layer on the pan and sprinkle with the remaining spice mix on top.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

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