Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Purple Cabbage Pork Carnitas

It doesn't get much easier than this.  As you can tell from my lack of blog posts, I've been insanely busy and utilizing the crock pot has been a dinner saver for us.  Here's what you need:

1   3-4 lb. Pork Shoulder Blade Roast
1   cup fresh pico de gallo
1   cup chicken stock
1   head organic purple cabbage
Salt, pepper, cilantro, guacamole, extra pico de gallo, and lime wedges are optional, but recommended to taste

Place pork and chicken stock in slow cooker on high for 5-7 hours.  Add pico de gallo once pork pulls apart easily.  Meanwhile, slice bottom off the head of cabbage and cut in half.  The leaves should peel off fairly easy, but you may have a few tears here and there.  Rinse cabbage leaves and pat dry.  When pork is finished and tender,  place a few scoops of it on the cabbage leaf and top with guacamole.  Add cilantro, pico de gallo, some fresh squeezed lime juice, roll it up and enjoy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crazy Coincidence, or Paleo Preventative Medicine?

I'm thinking back to a year and half ago.  I may have been scrubbing or disinfecting something at this exact moment.  At least one of us may have been sick in this house with anything from a runny nose to a fever or some sort of stomach bug.  After years of me having stomach pain after nearly everything I ate, and then having our oldest daughter at 3 years old complaining in harmony with me about hers hurting, my husband suggested we take a look at the paleo diet and going gluten-free.  We did, immediately the following day.  Not a speck of gluten was consumed and everything we ate was unprocessed and fresh.  We had no stomach pains.  That was day one, but it was enough to keep us going.  Throughout the next week, we all felt better with each passing day.  Although I read everywhere that eating this way would help keep you healthier, I was skeptical that it could really work for my family because it seemed that we got EVERYTHING that was going around, no matter how much we tried to avoid the sicknesses.  I kept waiting and waiting through last year during the fall, then winter, and now that we're approaching spring I'm pretty convinced that it isn't a crazy coincidence my husband, both kids, and myself haven't been sick once except for a runny nose that lasted a day.  No fevers, no ill appointments at the doctor, no antibiotics, no sick days from school.  (Trust me, I'm superstitious, so I'll be knocking on wood after I say this) I think it's the Paleo diet thing that has been keeping us so healthy.  I can't count how many times I've seen friends posting on Facebook about having sick little ones at home and I just pray that whatever bug that has gotten a hold of their kid doesn't decide to jump ship to one of mine at preschool or a playdate.  With the overabundance of snot, coughing, and little fingers getting put in places they shouldn't be,  I figured it was bound to happen.  But it didn't. 

Aside from the fact that eating a diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and grass-fed, pastured and free-range meats gives you plenty of essential vitamins and minerals to help keep you healthy, I think the gluten and processed sugars are where we found our culprits.  I'm amazed at the information about the link between gluten and our immune system's ability to fight infection.  The best resource I found to understand it better is through none other than Robb Wolf and his book, The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet.  It was entertaining, informative and gave the scientific explanation as to why it works.  Check it out if you are even just a little bit curious.  I didn't have anything else to read on a long car ride, and so I grabbed this from my husband's bag, and I'm so glad I did.  It became my preventative medicine.  Although the transition to this lifestyle had a few hiccups the first week, it was well worth it.  Having our kids at ages 3 and 4.5 aware of what is paleo and what has gluten in it and what doesn't and the sense to ask, "Is it gluten-free?" is music to our ears.

Order The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf

Friday, March 11, 2011

Almond Coconut Breaded Paleo Fish Tenders

Anything that resembles a fish stick or a nugget makes for an automatic tantrum-free dinner, so this might be one of my utility recipes that's a go-to when my brain is too fried from explaining for the ninetieth time to my four year old that 48 degrees isn't warm enough to go swimming in the outdoor pool.  Although, the coconut and hint of lime in this recipe definitely reminds me that spring and summer are just around the corner and we'll be back at the pool in no time.

Paleo Fish Sticks

6 small mild fish filets (wild cod, halibut, sole, etc.) cut in half lengthwise to make 2 tenders each
1/2 cup lime juice
2 whole organic brown free range eggs - lightly whisked in a large bowl

First, start by marinating the fish tenders in a shallow dish with the lime juice for 30 minutes.  Remove from dish and add to egg mixture making sure to coat all tenders.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and begin breading.

"Breading" mix

1/2 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. sea salt *optional
1/2 tsp. ground pepper

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and pour onto a large plate.  Lay tenders one at a time and press onto the mixture making sure to coat both sides, then place on a large greased baking sheet.  Bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Serve hot with a side of the coconut "mayonnaise" for dipping

Monday, March 7, 2011

Coconut "Mayonnaise"

Alright, now this one's a little out there and "mayonnaise" might be stretching it, but I used this to replace mayonnaise for a dipping sauce I made for this fish.  I made two batches, the second slightly runny so I could drizzle it over the fish.   I will absolutely be using this to fill the void in all those recipes I want to make, but haven't, because mayonnaise was a necessary ingredient.

Although heating it probably depletes some of its nutritional value, I made this by gently simmering coconut milk down with a few other ingredients until it was a mayo consistency.  I have to forewarn you though, it takes quite a bit of coconut milk to make a very small amount of this stuff.  You can use different things to flavor it and in this particular one, I used lemon and garlic.

Coconut Mayo Recipe

2 cups organic coconut milk (full fat)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove organic minced garlic

In a medium saucepan, add all ingredients and bring to a boil.  Once they are boiling, reduce heat to low and continue to stir frequently until it thickens to desired consistency, about 7-10 minutes.  For a consistency and texture similar to goat cheese, heat longer being careful not to burn it.   This made about 3/4 cup of the slightly runny and about a 1/2 cup of the thicker mayo.

If you don't want garlic in it, feel free to omit, but the lemon or lime juice is necessary for that tangy flavor of mayo.  Apple cider vinegar might be good to use as well.  Check back for the recipe for the fish pictured.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bratwurst Casserole

In need of some color on my plate and currently obsessed with using purple cabbage any way possible, I came up with this casserole of sliced bratwurst with a good mix of vegetables.   The kids loved this and kept calling the bratwurst a hot dog.  I'm fine with that, because I know what all went in to these "hot dogs."  They loved helping me make it too, with the youngest adding the cabbage and the oldest tearing the kale into pieces.  After a second and then a third helping, I figured I better take a picture before it's all gone.   I'm sure you can get creative with the seasoning of this dish, but I wanted to keep it simple and enjoy the natural flavors of the vegetables, for the most part. 

Bratwurst Casserole

1 lb. pastured pork bratwurst - slightly pan seared for slicing - Spring Hill Farm
1 bunch organic kale- removed from main stems and torn into bite sized pieces
1 cup chopped organic carrots
1/2 head thinly sliced organic purple cabbage
1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves organic garlic-minced
1/2 small organic yellow onion thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large rectangular glass casserole dish, add all vegetables.   In a small condiment bowl, mix olive oil with cider vinegar, then pour over vegetables.   Toss the vegetables until coated.   After a quick searing of the whole bratwursts in a large skillet, slice them into bite sized pieces (even smaller for really young children to prevent a choking hazard).  The searing cooks the outer edges of the meat making it more firm and easier to slice.  Toss the bratwurst pieces on the vegetables, evenly distributed, and cover with foil.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking for another 15 minutes.  Don't overbake or kale will turn brown and cabbage will become mushy.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cassava Noodles

Let me first just say that I'm positive these still need work, practice, and a great beef gravy to go along with them.  Cassava flour (from the yucca root) is technically not paleo by most standards for various reasons I'm not going to get into.  You decide if you want this to be part of your diet.  If Groc and his fellow hunter/gatherers ate this stuff raw, a different species might be dominating the food chain, but at some point, however, someone got hip to the fact that if they boiled them, it released the toxins and was then edible.  And here we are...

Rather than bore you with the process of detoxifying the Cassava, I'll get to creation of the noodle.  So I did quite a bit of reading up on this and found a local farm in Ohio that sells all kinds of flour, cassava included.  Links are at the end for those of you interested in purchasing some. 

Again, don't make this a staple, but if you want to have something reminiscent of the Beef with Egg Noodles, this might (and I mean MIGHT) get you there, or at least provide you with a fun science experiment in the kitchen.

I haven't made these in bulk, but that's because I don't have a pasta machine. (imagine that!) This is my test run with just a small amount of flour to test it out and make a few noodles.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil

I used about 1/4 cup cassava flour with a pinch of finely ground sea salt and added a teaspoon-at-a-time of water and stirred until it formed a dough ball.    I pressed the dough down on a sheet of wax paper with wet fingertips until it was about 1/8 inch thick and used a pizza cutter to slice it into fat noodles.   If you can get the noodles off the paper in one piece, drop them into the boiling water for about 3 minutes and remove them.  The result is a thick, sticky noodle that is basically tasteless.

I may try these in a beef gravy recipe someday, but I wanted to accept this challenge from Roxanne to make pasta, and not spaghetti squash :) If you try these, please share your experience with me!

Here's the link:

Buy Cassava Flour

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Comfort Food: Paleo Meatloaf and Mashed Cauliflower "Potatoes"

Comfort Food:  Paleo Meatloaf and Mashed Cauliflower "Potatoes"

I realize this is not the most visually appealing dish, but the taste makes up for its lack of photo-geniality.

The weather around here has really been on my nerves with the flip-flopping of temperatures and had us feeling blah with the recent coating of snow and ice.  I found this to be the perfect comfort food on a nasty winter night. 

Although I'm not typically a fan of ground meats, meatloaf was on my mind, so naturally I had to attempt a Paleo Meatloaf.  My mom would call this "stick-to-your-ribs-food" and rightfully so.

Paleo Meatloaf

1 lb. grass-fed ground beef (turkey or bison will work also)
1 cup organic tomato sauce -divided into 2 equal parts(If you don't make your own, an 8 oz. can of organic sauce will work)
1 roma tomato - diced
1/4 cup organic onion - diced
1 clove organic garlic - minced
1/2 organic green pepper - diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 ground pepper
1 organic free-range brown egg - gently beaten
1 tablespoon organic coconut flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl combine ground meat, half the tomato sauce, vegetables, spices, herbs, and coconut flour.  Once ingredients are thoroughly mixed, add the beaten egg and stir well with a fork.   Add mixture to a greased 8.5 in. x4.5 in. loaf dish.  Press down into dish with a rubber spatula to force out any air pockets.  Pour remaining tomato sauce over loaf and spread using a rubber spatula.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.  While that is baking, you can prepare the the mashed cauliflower.

Mashed Cauliflower "Potatoes"

2 heads organic cauliflower- broken into florets
2 tablespoons organic grass-fed butter or ghee
1 clove minced organic garlic
1 tsp. chives or 1/2 tsp. italian herbs
1/2 ts. ground black pepper
Sea Salt to taste

Steam cauliflower in a steamer basket inside a large pot of boiling water for about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and place cauliflower in a large blender or food processor.  Do not add liquid or your cauliflower with become runny.  Be patient. Stop the blender and stir the cauliflower making sure to push any florets down so they get into the mix.   Repeat until they are consistent and look like mashed potatoes and pour into a medium sauce pan over low heat.  Add butter and stir until melted before adding herbs, garlic, pepper and salt.  Continue stirring over low heat for a few minutes to help the moisture out and thicken the cauliflower mixture.   Serve topped with a thick slice of Paleo Meatloaf and continue to wish winter away, (unless of course you are lucky enough to live on top of a snowy mountain with a great pair of skis)~~~

Friday, February 11, 2011

Orange Beef and Veggies with Cauliflower Rice

After asking for "challenges" from some of the Paleo Parent fans on facebook, I decided to start off with the one I knew I could manage right away with things I had on hand.  Orange Chicken and Mongolian beef or Chinese food in general was the suggestion, so this one's for you, Becca. 

I did a little digging for some paleo friendly products to use for making Chinese food, and bought some, but I wanted to do this without those products first just to see if I could make it work.  The resulting pile of beef and vegetables was delicious and will only get better with some of these products I ordered and can't wait to try.

With soy sauce being a staple in many Chinese dishes, it proved to be a little challenging to make this without any.

Here's how I made this work.  All the ingredients can be adjusted depending on how sweet/salty/spicy you want it.

Orange Sauce

4 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
1 and 1/2 cups of fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons raw honey (this is key to help thicken the sauce)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic - minced
1 tsp. chives - finely chopped *optional
salt and pepper to taste - this is really up to each individual and the sauce is flavorful enough without it, but the addition of the salt gives it the added touch of what is missing by not using soy sauce that would have otherwise salted it.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter or coconut oil.  Add orange juice and honey, then the remaining ingredients.  Let the sauce come to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer stirring occasionally for about an hour until sauce has thickened a bit.  It will still be pretty watery even when it's ready to use.  While the sauce is simmering, you can prep the meat and vegetables.

Beef prep:

2- 6oz. sirloin steaks sliced into thin strips
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon coconut oil
6 cups mixed vegetables (I used a bag of frozen organic mixed vegetables- broccoli, carrots, cauliflower)
1/2 cup organic beef broth - make sure it's gluten free

Lay beef strips out on a clean surface and sprinkle desired amount of salt and pepper on each side.  In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Add beef strips and brown them on each side.  Reduce heat to medium, add beef broth and vegetables and cover.  While the vegetables are cooking with the beef, you can make your fried rice.

Cauliflower fried "rice"
1 head of organic cauliflower, rinsed
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Using a cheese grater/shredder run the head of cauliflower over it over a large plate or bowl.  The pieces will look like rice.  Do this until all the florets are gone and only the stalks remain.   It should produce about 2 cups of "rice."  Heat coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add cauliflower rice to it.  Toss rice in the oil stirring frequently for a few minutes being careful not to let it burn.  When rice starts to get slightly browned, remove from heat and keep covered. 

Put it all together -  Pour the orange sauce into the large skillet with beef and vegetables and turn the heat up for a few minutes tossing the mixture to help more moisture out and thicken the sauce further.  Serve over a scoop of cauliflower rice and drizzle any remaining sauce on top. 

The kids won't know the difference - at least mine didn't.  Enjoy, and look out for the Mongolian beef recipe with some of my new products in a few weeks!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kale Chips - Strangely Addictive

Next to Seaweed Chips from Trader Joes, these come in a close second and are easy to make, and easy to eat half, or all of the bowl, by yourself!

A friend turned me on to these and I was shocked at how much I like them. Strangely addictive is what I would call them.  They're different, so don't expect Kettle Chips.  These are delicate and light and satisfy the crispy crunch we miss from our pre-paleo days of snacking on potato chips. 

Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut kale leaves off of the main stems of one bunch of rinsed kale.  Then cut into bite sized leaves.  Add to a large mixing bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon Olive Oil and sprinkle with Sea Salt (about 1 tsp. or less).   Spread leaves on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10-15 minutes on  middle oven rack.  Be sure not to let the leaves turn purple or brown and burn.  Trust me, burnt kale chips are utterly disgusting.   If you want to get really crazy, you can season the chips with chili powder, garlic, or whatever other seasoning you are in the mood for.

Indulge with your favorite GF cider beer like Woodchuck or Strongbow today while you enjoy the slew of new and imaginative Super Bowl commercials and try to talk yourself out of eating pizza, fried chicken wings, and whatever other gut buster you encounter.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto: What Now?

The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto: What Now?

I had to share this. It's such a disappointment, but so few people know about this stuff going on because they just trust that a well known store like Whole Foods would be a safe place to buy high quality food. (Don't get me wrong, I know they still sell high quality goods.) After reading this article, I visited the Whole Foods Website and I had to chuckle. Their home page reads:

Whole Foods
Selling the Highest Quality Natural and Organic Products

Are we to assume now because they're selling products containing GMO/GE ingredients that these products have only the "Highest Quality" pesticide, herbicide, and Round-Up Ready-laden ingredients in them? Therein lies my point. By offering foods that are tainted with GMO/GE ingredients, you may as well throw "Highest Quality" out the window. Maybe in describing their Organic foods, it's accurate, but not so for the "Natural" foods. Man-made chemicals in your food are not natural.

I'm pretty certain I was told at one point last year that Whole Foods didn't sell anything that had GMO's/GE's in it. I assumed that statement was true(yes, totally naive), and never checked it out because, c'mon, it was Whole Foods. I considered them to be the Gold Standard of grocery stores.

So this makes me wonder if there will ever be a grocery chain that sells only organic food, grassfed beef, free-range poultry, pastured pork, etc. that won't sell out at some point. If such a store ever comes about, they'll have my business and I'll gladly pay more for those organic products and the peace of mind that comes with them.

To learn more about Monsanto, I would highly recommend watching The Future of Our Food, then do your own research. (You can watch it online free by clicking on the highlighted title.) The greed involved in our food supply is honestly heartbreaking. While you're at it, check out Food, Inc. too.

You could also use Netflix to watch these via the instant streaming through your Wii, or if you want to purchase Food, Inc. for your school, gym, or family, the link is below.

Buy Food, Inc.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Update on the Coconut Bread! - Coconut Flatbread

This is really exciting for me because, like I said, it's hard to be a mom (or dad) on the go without sandwiches.  So, this one's for all those parents and kids who are burnt out on the lunchmeat lettuce wraps, myself included.

I want everyone reading this to refer to my Crazy for Coconut Bread post/recipe from a few months ago.  Omit the banana.  Follow the recipe as listed otherwise. Bake on greased 9X13 baking sheet (jelly roll sheet preferred) until golden brown.  This should take less time than the loaf, so just keep an eye on it.

Voila, I give you coconut flatbread.  Slice into whatever sized squares you want, and add your meats, veggies, etc.   The other option is to go old school on it with a Paleo PBJ.  Organic unsweetened Peanut Butter or Almond Butter and some mashed fruit or honey  Strawberries, Blueberries, blackberries, etc.  If you want the mashed fruit to be more jelly-like, just heat it gently in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes to help the moisture evaporate.  Be careful not to scorch it.  Let it cool, and spread it on the bread.   Store the bread in the refrigerator in sealed plastic bags.

If you really wanna wow the kids, you can use large cookie cutters in fun shapes like hearts, stars, footballs, etc. instead of cutting the bread into squares.  Then the shapes are exact.  By all means, if you as a parent want a heart-shaped sandwich, you're allowed, too:)

Enjoy and feel free to tag me with your fun shaped sandwiches on facebook!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pan Seared Salmon with Mushrooms and Leeks

Sometimes I feel like I'm one chopped vegetable away from carpal tunnel, so this was a nice relief from chopping a ton of ingredients.  I was in the mood for some salmon and found this recipe to be pretty simple and super satisfying using only 7 ingredients. (The salad isn't included in that count.) 

Using frozen salmon filets, fresh mushrooms and leeks, and some lemon juice,  this took less than 15 minutes to make, after the salmon was thawed and marinated.

Pan Seared Salmon with Mushrooms and Leeks

6 Salmon filets (about 6 oz. each)
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large organic leeks (these look like huge scallions or green onions) white and light green parts only sliced
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (basic mushrooms work fine, or shiitake)
2 tablespoons unsalted organic butter (grassfed)
Sea salt and cracked pepper

Thaw salmon filets, unless you are using fresh.   In a large flat bottom dish, lay salmon in a single layer and pour lemon juice over them, making sure to get juice on both sides of each filet.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.  On a large clean surface, lay filets out in a single layer.  Sprinkle with desired amount of sea salt and cracked pepper and rub with olive oil.  Repeat salt, pepper and olive oil on other side of salmon.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat for the salmon and another skillet over high heat with butter for the mushrooms and leeks.   Once the butter is nearly smoking, add mushrooms and leeks.  Cook these for 3-5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until they start to brown on the edges.  Add a few grinds of sea salt and pepper along the way.  While those are cooking, add salmon filets to the other skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.  (I had to do 2 filets at a time.) These will be done medium-well for thinner filets.  Place salmon on plate and top with mushroom and leek mixture.  I like my salmon with extra lemon, so I squeezed some more juice on it after cooking it.  I served this with a side of mixed greens topped with a homemade balsamic dressing.

Please feel free to share your feedback on this one and let me know if your kids ate it, and if they liked it.  Mine ate it and liked it, but I'm curious to find out if they're part of some strange minority or if these recipes are well received by other kids.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pork Tenderloin with a Paleo Compote

(Once again, I apologize for picture quality.  Trust me though, the taste more than makes up for it.)

Pork Tenderloin with A Paleo Compote

I love getting my inspiration for recipes from reading different cooking articles and recipes and scaling them accordingly to make them Paleo.  For this, I used a non-paleo compote recipe and did my typical substitutions and omissions to make it work.

Although I'm not usually of fan of fruit with meats, I tend to make exceptions with pork most often.

For those of you who are CrossFit junkies and are reading this, I wouldn't recommend eating this type of high carb fruity meal on a regular basis.  A compote is like a dessert, so feel free to consider this a paleo-friendly cheat meal.

I prepped the compote ahead of time as follows:

Butternut Squash, Shallot, Apple, and Golden Raisin Compote

2 medium butternut squash - peeled, 1/2 inch dice
2 large shallots (these look like bulbs of garlic, but tan in color) - peeled and minced
2 apples (I used Braeburn, but you could use almost any type) - peeled, cored, and 1/4 inch dice
1 and 1/2 cups of golden raisins (you can find this near wherever you buy regular raisins or near the salad toppings in your produce section)
1 cup of white cooking wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar * Optional

Preheat over to 450 to prepare for second step of compote.  In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add squash and toss with oil.  Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes.  Remove lid and add shallots.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add apples, raisins, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper and cook for 1 minute.  Add cooking wine and stir/toss frequently until most of the wine is evaporated.  If you are using the agave nectar, add it now and stir once again.  (The agave nectar is not necessary because the dish is plenty sweet without it, but gives it more syrupy consistency.) Sprinkle with thyme and pour into a large casserole dish and set aside.

For the Pork Tenderloin:

2 lbs. pork tenderloin (usually packaged as two smaller tenderloins in one package)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. thyme
Sea salt and pepper

Heat oil over medium-high heat in the same skillet used for the compote (no need to clean it, the flavors of the compote help to coat and flavor the pork more)  Rub the tenderloin(s) with the thyme, and a few grinds of salt and pepper.  Placed the tenderloin(s) in the skillet to sear them on the outsides for about 30 seconds on each side.  Remove from heat and skillet and place on top of the compote in the casserole dish.  I sprayed the meat with olive oil cooking spray to help seal in the moisture.  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees.  Remove foil and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes.  If this sounds just like the roasted chicken recipe technique, it's because it is.  It worked so well, I wanted to try it with a different meat and recipe altogether ASAP and it was a success.  I worried the pork would be dry, but it wasn't at all.  Slice the pork into medallions and top with a couple spoonfuls of the compote and serve with a mixed greens side salad of your choice.

My 4 year old's review of it was, "Mommy, I love these cinnamon apples and meat!" She only tasted apples and cinnamon, which was a great way to mask the other healthies I managed to hide in there.

Enjoy :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Roasted Chicken with Kale, Cauliflower, and Onions

Roasted Chicken with Kale, Cauliflower, and Onions

First let me apologize for the picture quality as I didn't have my camera handy and had to use my laptop.

I love one dish meals.  This is officially my new favorite recipe.  I was amazed at how easy this was and how good it tasted with so few ingredients and spices/herbs.  Considering that kale is a newbie for my kids, I was overjoyed to see them eating it.

I tweaked this recipe from one in my latest issue of Food & Wine that called for potatoes.  I decided to substitute cauliflower in place of the spuds, but every other ingredient was in the recipe, just in different quantities.

Nothing has to be exact on this one, but feel free to use this as a base and substitute other spices or vegetables:

3 lbs of bone-in, skin on, chicken thighs
1 bunch of organic kale (Kroger is where I found it organic) torn into pieces, removed from main stems
1 organic yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 head of organic cauliflower, broken into smaller pieces
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
paprika - to taste
sea salt - to taste
pepper - to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a large roasting dish or pan, add kale, onions, and cauliflower and drizzle with olive oil.  Add a few grinds of sea salt and pepper and toss vegetables until evenly coated in oil.  Lay chicken out, skin side down on a tray and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and paprika (I probably used a total of 1 tablespoon of paprika on the chicken thighs, front and back.)  Place chicken on the bed of vegetables in the roasting dish, skin side up, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika.   Cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and continue roasting for additional 30 minutes.

Hopefully you enjoy the ease of this recipe and are able to sit and relax while it cooks instead of hovering over a skillet :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Part 2 of Supplements - The Calm before the Storm

Everybody who knows me probably considers me one of those "granola kids."  I prefer "closet hippie."
That being said, I love doing things naturally, organically, and I generally steer clear of prescription anything if possible.  I would much rather try to change my diet, or supplements to help with any problems or ailments that might be happening to me or my family. 

In my last post I mentioned the enzymes that were honestly one of the best things I have ever done as a parent, but my kids still weren't sleeping consistently.  Neither were we, obviously.  My husband was listening to The Paleo Solution podcasts a lot at that point and took note of a recommendation from Andy Deas on one of the episodes to try this stuff called Natural Calm to help balance your magnesium and calcium levels, which in turn leads to all kinds great things happening in your body.  You can read the info for yourself here for Natural Calm .  The very first night we took it, we slept great.  We could have been just plain exhausted, or it could have been the Natural Calm, but either way, our sleep and stress levels in general have been much better since we started taking it. 

That's when the light bulb came on and my husband (he's full of great suggestions) looked in to finding the kid version of this.  We ordered it and as with the enzymes, the kids' behavior improved even more within about a week, and they were sleeping through the night.  We now give them the Kids Calm-Multi instead of their gummy vitamins with DHA and D3.  I just add the recommended dosage to some organic juice in the AM with their breakfast and we're off and running.

Just like the enzymes, fast forward a few months.  We ran out of Kids Calm.  You would have thought someone stole all of their toys and told them Santa wasn't real with how upset they were all the time.  They were on meltdown mode cruise control.  For about a week, we were so busy and just kind of forgot about re-ordering more, until one day it dawned on us that it could be the Kids Calm that they needed.  My mother-in-law was babysitting them after about 3 days of it being back in their systems.  She called me and the conversation went something like this:

MIL: "Oh my gosh, Jill, what is that stuff?"
Me:  "Oh you mean the Kids Calm?"
MIL: "YES!!! It's amazing! The difference in their behavior is like, oh my gosh, they are different kids!"

You get the point.  The stuff is awesome.  When it's grandma approved, you know its good because grandmas, in general, only see halos above their grandkids heads.  For her to notice a significant dip in their behavior when they didn't have it is huge.

Read about it for yourself and when you're ready to order some, here's the link:

Order Natural Calm
Order Kids Calm-Multi

Now, back to the recipes...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Few Supplemental Posts About...Supplements

Belly aches...check.  Constipation...Check.  Crazy meltdowns...check.  Trouble sleeping...check.  Mean and irritable behavior...CHECK!

After weeks on end of this and not much advice or help from the pediatrician, other than "it's just a phase most toddlers go through," I was contemplating going back to work full time, just so I could have a break from the craziness of our two girls.

In a humiliating trip to the local "bouncy place" with the inflatable slides and mazes, during which both of my girls had accidents (the smelly kind), I was venting to a good friend of mine about it and asked her if her sons went through this phase at all, to which her answer was an enthusiastic, "YES!"  Then she started telling me how they stumbled upon this remedy to her son's symptoms through a holistic doctor who recommended it for a different reason.  Digestive Enzymes, she told me, were what ultimately turned her son into the total sweetheart that he is.  Well, enzymes and I'm sure good parenting was involved somewhere along the way.

After giving me a few recommendations of brands to buy and where to buy them, I was convinced these would work for my girls and headed to the local hippie health food store.  The associate who assisted me was beyond helpful and basically schooled me on the topic of digestion in toddlers and adults.  The info she told me made perfect sense and she gave me a few recommendations on things to avoid as well, such as wheat and dairy(paleo and we didn't even know it!) to see how that affected the kids and their behavior.  I left with a bag full of Buddy Bear chewable digestive enzymes, and Buddy Bear chewable probiotics, some D3 chewables, and gummy vitamins with DHA.  Three days is all it took for the enzymes to kick in.  They took care of the all the symptoms I listed at the start of this little rant and my sweet little girls were back to normal, with the exception of some sleep issues.   Either their "phases" ended, or these things worked.  My money is on the enzymes. Now let me just say, my kids aren't perfect angels 100% of the time, but their behavior has improved immensely. 

Okay, now fast forward like 2 months.  I ran out of the enzymes and went to the health food store, only to be disappointed in finding the Buddy Bear Enzymes spot empty!  I went all over town trying to find them, and couldn't, which resulted in us ordering them online through non other than our beloved Amazon.  A few days later, just as the behavioral nasties started to rear their ugly heads, the amazon box was delivered, and the Bears were back in action.   This little enzyme shortage emergency ultimately resulted in us joining Amazon Prime with guaranteed free 2nd day delivery and has been nothing short of a blessing ever since.

You can find links to purchase these to the right in my product recommendations through the Amazon store.  They have generally been cheaper online than in any health food store I have seen, even with shipping if you have to pay for it.  Either way, it has been worth every penny.  While you're at it, it wouldn't hurt to try some for yourself either, especially if you are having any kinds of digestive issues.