Monday, December 27, 2010

Sorry for my lack of posts! Moving and moving...

I have to apologize for my lack of posts over these last few weeks.  A pretty rough combination of moving and the holidays are to blame, but I will be back at it soon enough and the The Paleo Parent will have its own home as well when it moves to, thanks to my husband offering to bring his techie talents to the site.  Stay tuned and enjoy the rest of your holiday season!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Chops N' Sprouts

Sage is one of my favorite herbs to use in cooking pork of pretty much any kind because it has such a subtle flavor that never tastes too overpowering for me.  Below is one of my most frequently used pork chop recipes and a new favorite way to roast brussels sprouts.  I'm one of those crazy people who actually loves them, especially roasted.   I used this brussels sprouts recipe for Thanksgiving.  One of our family friends has a strong dislike for brussels sprouts and will only eat a single one each year.  This was a challenge to me, so I made it my goal to make some she would actually eat more than one of, and this did the trick.  I think she actually ate four of them.   As for the kids, they tried some, too.

Sage Rubbed Pork Chops with Honey Buttered Roasted Brussels Sprouts


4 -1/2 lb chops about 3/4 inch thick (Spring Hill Farm)
2 tsp.  dried sage (if you have fresh, use that instead)
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. ground pepper
2 tablespoons organic butter (grassfed)
1 cup organic beef broth  (I have used chicken also, which works fine as well)

Combine sage, salt, and pepper and rub on both sides of chops.  In a large skillet, melt butter over med-high heat.  Place chops in skillet for 3-5 mins, then flip, until both sides are browned (almost seared).   Add beef broth and cover.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40-45 minutes.  Drizzle any leftover liquid over chops when you plate them.  They should be very tender and nearly falling off the bone.

Brussels Sprouts

1 lb. brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons organic butter (grassfed)
2 tablespoons organic raw honey
sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Rinse and remove yellow leaves and stems from sprouts.  Chop sprouts in half (some leaves will fall off).  Add them to a large mixing bowl.  Heat butter and honey in a small bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds until melted.  Stir to mix them, then drizzle over sprouts.  Toss with a slotted spoon to coat all the brussels sprouts.  If you are salting, add a few grinds of sea salt now and toss again.   Spread sprouts onto a large greased jelly roll sheet or cookie sheet and roast for about 10 minutes, then remove from oven, flip them, and return to oven for additional 10 minutes or until some of the sprouts' outer leaves are slightly charred.  Do not scorch all of them :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

ATTENTION: Calling All Crabcake Lovers!

Crabcakes are one my favorite things to order at a nice restaurant, but they are usually packed with all kinds of ingredients that don't really agree with my stomach, so I thought I would try to make a paleo version at home, using tuna, since that's what I had on hand.   I made tuna cakes in the past, but always used ingredients that I don't incorporate in my diet anymore, and therefore had to improvise.  They felt naked without some sort of sauce to drizzle on them, so I made a quick mustard sauce that worked well.  These did the trick for us, served them with a side of steamed veggies.

Cilantro Lime Tuna Cakes

2        cans tuna (or 2 small cooked tuna steaks, or 12 oz. lump crabmeat)
juice of 1 lime
1-2    cloves of garlic
1/4    cup organic onions finely chopped
1       tablespoon dried cilantro (or fresh if you have it, but you will need to use more)
2       brown eggs
2       tablespoons coconut flour
5       tablespoons organic extra virgin coconut oil -2 melted and 3 reserved for frying pan.
sea salt and pepper to taste

In a medium mixing bowl, combine tuna and lime juice, then add the garlic, onions, and cilantro.  In a separate bowl, gently whisk the 2 eggs.   Add the 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil to the tuna mixture, then mix in the coconut flour.  Add your salt and pepper now, if desired, then pour the eggs over the tuna mixture and stir with a fork until eggs are thoroughly incorporated with tuna.   In a medium skillet, heat remaining 3 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium heat.  While oil and skillet are heating, form tuna mixture into small cakes, about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter and about 3/4 inch thick.  Now, these had a tendancy to pop, so I would recommend a splatter screen while frying them so you don't get a shot of hot oil in the eye.  Gently place cakes into skillet and fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  I used tongs to gently flip them, which helped to prevent them from falling apart.

Mustard Sauce

I didn't really measure this but I think I used about 3 tablespoons of organic brown mustard with about 3 tablespoons of full fat coconut milk and a tablespoon of raw honey.  Stir it up until they are all combined and smooth.  It should be a little bit runny so you can drizzle over the tuna cakes. 

I can't wait to make these again!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Paleo-ish Almond Flour "Cookies"

I hate feeling like I should always omit the sweets.  Sometimes, I just want dessert and today was one of those days.  I cam up with these delicious almond flour cookies that are a cinch to make.  I didn't use a recipe on this one but just tossed some things together and hoped the result was edible, and it was!

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a cookie sheet.

Here's what I used:

2    large brown eggs - whisked
2    tablespoons honey
2    tablespoons organic unsalted butter or Kerrygold Irish butter
1    tablespoon vanilla extract
1    cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour

*1/4 cup organic (70% or higher dark unsweetened chocolate cracked into small pieces)

In a mixing bowl, gently whisk together the eggs, honey, melted butter, and vanilla extract.  Add almond and coconut flour until all ingredients are combined and moist.  It should look and feel like a softer, less firm cookie dough.  If you are using dark chocolate, add it last and stir until it is evenly distributed throughout the dough.   Scoop small spoonfuls ( I actually used a baby spoon because I wanted these to be small cookies)  onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until peaks of dough are golden brown.   The cookies won't flatten out during the baking process, unless you use a bit more butter or liquid like coconut milk.  You can pretty much expect them to look more like little biscuits.  

After I got the taste test approval from the little ones, my oldest said with a grin, "Mommy, I'm thinking about those cookies again in my belly, and my belly wants another one."

With that, I consider this cookie experiment a success.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Paleo Dad's Breakfast

I figured it's my turn to post something after seeing all my wife's recipes because I like to be involved in not only eating them, but preparing our paleo meals, too. She's been bugging me to post some of the things that I've put together because she really enjoys them. I'm not much of a cook and don't really know what I'm doing in the kitchen, but I'm still able to put together some really tasty meals and this just shows that anyone can do this without fancy recipes and measuring out a ton of stuff.

So here's a quick and easy breakfast that I make frequently. Scrambled free-range brown eggs with fresh organic salsa and sliced avocado on them. To start, I use a scoop (I don't really measure anything) of organic extra virgin coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. I usually scramble 3-4 eggs in it. When those are done, I put them on a plate and throw some salsa on top with some sliced avocado. It tastes good, keeps me full of energy, and satisfied until lunchtime.

~The Paleo Dad

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Curried Chicken Soup

If there's one thing I've learned about my kids, it's that they LOVE soup.  I love that they love soup for a few reasons.  Soups are so easy to make by just throwing a bunch of ingredients in a pot and letting it simmer and they are an easy way to get the kids to eat things they wouldn't normally eat chopped up on a plate (ie. onions, celery, carrots, etc.).  My girls specifically love eating anything as a bisque which is great because I can hide so many healthy ingredients them.  Although this recipe isn't a bisque, it is a twist on one of their favorites, chicken soup.  By adding coconut milk and curry with avocado, it kicks the flavor up a few notches without overdoing it for them.

Curried Chicken Soup

1/2 small free range cooked chicken (bones and skin reserved)(Harvest Hill Farm)
1 quart of organic chicken stock (or you can make your own)
1 quart of full fat unsweetened coconut milk
4 stalks of organic celery
2 cups of sliced organic baby carrots
2 cups of organic cauliflower, split into small pieces
1 organic medium onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 clove minced garlic
1 tablespoon yellow curry (use red for a more spicy soup)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Sliced Avocado for garnish

In a large stockpot, pour chicken stock and add the bones and skin from the chicken, heating over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat and add garlic, onions, carrots and celery and cook until just tender.  (be careful not to overcook them)  This should take about 10 minutes.  Once the vegetables are tender, add the chicken meat to the skillet with the vegetables and toss to combine them.   Add in curry powder and stir until curry looks even on vegetables and chicken.  Once the bones and skin are removed from the chicken stock with a colander or strainer and sauce pan, return stock to stockpot and add in the chicken and vegetables mixture and return to low heat.  Pour in the coconut milk, then season with thyme, and any salt and pepper (if desired) and simmer for about 30-40 minutes over low heat uncovered.  Stir occasionally.  Serve with sliced avocados as a garnish.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Turkey, Bacon, Avocado Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries and Almonds and My Kid Friendly Variation

After looking in the fridge and realizing I needed to restock, I used what I had left for lunch the other day in 2 ways.  The first was just a pretty simple spinach salad with roasted turkey breast, avocado, slivered almonds, bacon, and dried cranberries.   My dressing was just a mixture of organic balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Honestly, I didn't put much thought into this recipe because I just threw together what I had on hand.  I used one thick slice of roasted turkey breast pulled apart into pieces, 1 piece of bacon (crumbled), about 2 cups of fresh organic spinach, 1/2 of an avocado, and and small handful of almonds and cranberries.  I love cracked pepper on my salad, so I added a few grinds of it for a little spice and mixed together 1/8 c. of some balsamic vinegar with a teaspoon of olive oil to dress it.

For the kids, keep it simple with these turkey, bacon, and avocado rollups.

I don't need much explaining for these.

1 Slice roasted turkey breast
1 Thick slice avocado
1 Slice of bacon

Roll it up like a burrito.  You don't have to be a toddler to enjoy this.  If you want to add a bit of sophistication to this, drizzle some balsamic vinegar and add spinach to it before rolling it up.
I served these rollups with fresh organic blueberries and grapes for the kids.  My youngest daughter, who always hijacks my meals, climbed on my lap and stole half of my salad as well.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Crazy for Coconut Bread!

Well, I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I have a hard time with not eating bread, considering its convenience when I'm trying to feed the kids in a hurry.

I found a few different recipes for coconut bread, but most called for baking powder or soda, or had added sugar or honey (which I have heard you aren't supposed to heat past a certain temperature)  So, I combined them to make this coconut bread that my kids went crazy over.  I mean literally, I couldn't get them to stop eating it.  I kept telling them they were going to spoil their dinner, but had to step back and remind myself of the ingredients and that this was actually good for them with its heavy dose of protein and fiber.

Crazy for Coconut Bread

3/4 c.   Organic Coconut Flour (see my link for Paleo Cooking essentials to purchase some)
   6       medium or large brown eggs (got mine locally from Harvest Hill Farm)
   1       smashed organic banana (Trader Joes)
1/2 c.   Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (also on my link for Paleo Cooking essentials)
   1       grind of sea salt (optional)

Preheat Oven to 350.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs together.  Add smashed banana and whisk until combined with egg.  Add coconut flour, oil, grind of salt until all ingredients are combined.   Pour into greased loaf pan (I used a 5 x 9 in. glass loaf dish).  I used Kerrygold Irish butter to grease mine, but I think I will use coconut oil next time because the bread stuck in a few places.  Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.   30 minutes will keep it more moist and 40 minutes will produce a more dry crumbly bread.   Slice and serve warm plain or with honey, bananas, butter, or nut butter.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Garlic Meatballs, Spinach and Sweet Potato Fries

So, I was craving a burger and fries and decided to go with a variation instead...The Meatball and sweet potato fries.  I've had trouble in the past trying to make meatballs with no flour without compromising the consistency, so I tried coconut flour this time and it worked out well.  I'm notorious for just winging it without a recipe to follow, so this is what I came up with:

Sweet Potato Fries- Start with these because they need to go in the oven before the meatballs.

2 Large peeled sweet potatoes sliced into 1/4 inch sticks
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. chili powder
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil until coated.  Add in remaining ingredients and spread onto greased baking sheet.  Bake on middle rack for about 15 minutes, then flip using a spatula and continue baking for 15-20 more minutes. 

The Garlic Meatball

1 lb.  grass-fed ground beef
1 egg
3 cloves fresh minced garlic
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/4 cup of organic coconut flour
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste
cracked pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine beef, garlic and onion.  Add in the chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper (optional).  Mix well, then add the coconut flour and olive oil until thoroughly combined.  Whisk the egg gently and add to beef mixture until all ingredients are mixed through well.  Form mixture into 1 inch meatballs on greased cooking sheet/jelly roll sheet (so meatballs don't roll off).  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until browned on the outside. 

Sauteed Spinach - We needed something green on the plate, so my husband suggested this to use up the spinach we had left.  Feel free to add in or omit ingredients of your choosing.

4 cups of fresh spinach
2 Tablespoons of Kerrygold unsalted Irish butter
Sea salt, cracked pepper, 1/2 tsp. minced garlic (if you're not sick of the garlic already) (optional)

In a medium skillet, melt butter over low heat.  Add salt, pepper and garlic if you're using it and when garlic become fragrant,  add spinach to the mixture and stir until coated and spinach begins to wilt.  Once spinach is wilted, heat for another 2-3 minutes over low heat.  Serve topped with meatballs.

I hope I haven't forgotten anything and that you enjoy the recipes.  I would consider this either a great recipe for the kids, or I got lucky with them not being picky today, but either way, they ate it without a complaint!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cooking Essentials Shopping List Link and Suggestions for Paleo friendly meats

I took some time to add a link to the sidebar for some essential things to get you started in "paleo-izing" your kitchen.  These items are some of the ingredients I use on a regular basis that aren't always readily available in the grocery store, or if they are, they tend to be more expensive than if you purchase online.  Take a minute and look them over.  Something my husband did recently was sign us up for's Prime Eligible shipping status, which allows you to have all your items shipped free when you sign up ($70/yr) and you get them 2nd day express delivery!  The $70 is so worth it when you look at just the shipping cost of the first few items you buy.  If I'm running low on an item, rather than pack the kids into the car and head to grocery store, I just hop online and buy my items (make sure they say Prime Eligible, otherwise you pay for shipping) and get them either the next afternoon, or the following day.  This saves me so much time and effort because, honestly, when I take my kids to the grocery store with me, I leave vowing to never take them with me EVER again.   The items I added to the Amazon store are in different sizes and quantities, so there are plenty of options for those of you just starting out without having to buy a ton of each item.

For meats, always remember these keywords on labels:  GRASSFED, ORGANIC, FREE-RANGE, PASTURED, ALL NATURAL, NO PRESERVATIVES, NO ADDITIVES.  Now I realize some of these are pretty hard to do all of the time, but if you dig a little bit, you can find local farmers and markets that carry these kinds of items without having to spend a fortune.  One of the best resources out there for this is 

For fruits, veggies, and herbs, feel free to go to the local organic farms in your area, or joining a CSA is also an option.  Heading to a farm is a great outing to take the kids with you.  Most love heading out and helping with the picking and plucking of various fruits and veggies.  If you have the time, energy and a green thumb, you could always grow some of your own.  I love growing my own, since I know exactly what is in the soil and I can grow them organically.  It doesn't get an fresher than picking it out of your back yard one minute and eating it the next.  Herbs can be particularly expensive to purchase fresh every time you need something specific, so growing them in pots and keeping indoors is also a great option during the cold weather months.  

Now that I've covered some of the basics, we'll get to the good stuff next time...the recipes!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Paleo Parent Introduction

A brief introduction is in order for those of you who are exploring the world of eating Paleo and what it means to get yourself and your kids on the primal wagon with as few dinner table tantrums as possible. 
There is so much evidence out right now about the benefits of eating primal or paleo that I assume you have heard about here and there, otherwise you probably wouldn't be visiting my blog.   My focus here is to help busy people and parents stay on track by featuring recipes, creative ways to feed your children paleo meals, and various links to other helpful resources available to you.  I encourage you to read up on it.  The evidence speaks for itself, so unless you are a vegan or vegetarian for personal, moral, or religious reasons, this may be the lifestyle for you and your family to feel your best.  If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you can still paleo-ize your diet, somewhat, by eliminating a few things from it, such as breads, pastas, and other foods containing gluten and dairy.  Certain fruits and vegetables can also be inflammatory to your body and therefore should be limited in your diet.   My posts on here will be focusing on the good choices you can make for you and your family without getting into the details of why, because there are experts out there that can explain it better than I could ever attempt to.  I love to cook and try new recipes, and get such satisfaction out of creating delicious meals that my kids will eat that will keep our family healthy in the long run.  Enjoy!