Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Llama Chops

I bought a llama sight unseen. I hadn't even tasted llama before, but I researched it, and Tara had made llama chops and told me they were good. So, Tara's source said I could get a grass fed llama sent to the processor for a  good bit less money than grass fed cow, so I jumped in.

People say the funniest things, like "I don't think I could eat anything fluffy...." and "How could you eat a llama???" But, who picked cow, chicken, and pig in this country? People eat all kinds of things all over the world. I have a non-fiction book in my GT classroom called, "What the World Eats" that shows Seahorses on a Stick!

So, llama is somewhere between beef and pork. It doesn't have any game taste like deer.
We started with the steaks.

I left the steaks out of the fridge for a few minutes to knock the chill off. I heated up my favorite pan to medium and added a little coconut oil. I dried off one side of the steaks with paper towel, then seasoned them with Salt Trader's Cheryy Wood Smoked Sea Salt, (salttraders.com) a little turmeric, and freshly ground pepper. Then I put them, seasoned side down, in the skillet for 3 minutes.
Then I turned the skillet down to low for 3 more minutes. I seasoned that side of the steaks the same way.
I flipped them over and turned the skillet back up with the same process; 3 minutes to get a brown sizzle on them and 3 more minutes to make sure they were "medium." I flipped them once more for good measure.
I set them aside to rest and did the other 2 steaks. (They were BIG.)
 They were also very good! "Delicious, unique, a little chewy."

So, a llama roast will be next. I am looking forward to it!

                                                      There's our Ger, proving his fitness.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Paleo Elderberry Cocoa Bark

I've been reading about elderberry. Elderberry provides a huge boost to your immune system. People make elderberry syrup and elderberry jam. I'd ordered some freeze-dried elderberries from nuts.com. (I always get my big chunky coconut chips from nuts.com, too) They look like little freeze-dried blueberries, but they aren't as sweet.

I wanted to make a paleo elderberry cocoa bark, so I did. It's good.
 I melted 2/3 cup coconut oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. I took it off the heat and added:

3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
2 TBSP honey (pure maple syrup or real agave nectar would work, too)
2 tsp real vanilla
 I stirred this up and then added:
3/4 cup coconut chips ( the chunky coconut from nuts.com)
1/4 cup freeze-dried elderberries, optional (goji berries or nuts would be nice, too, if you don't have elderberries on hand)

I poured this mixture onto a foil-covered cookie and spread it out. I think I'll use wax paper next time, though. 

Anyway, I popped it into the freezer so it would set up. I left it about 30 minutes. Then I took it out and broke it up and put it in a freezer bag.  Most of us around here loved it, but if elderberry is new to you, you might not want to eat too much of it at a time. It's been known to make a few people nauseous, so that's my disclaimer. It's also known to cure nausea, so who knows? Maybe I will try to come up with something with cooked elderberry as an ingredient - that might make a difference.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Grass Fed Burgers with Mushrooms

Burgers - grass-fed burgers, with chopped up chunks of portobello mushrooms and spices, cooked in a little coconut oil....Hey, who needs a bun, right?

Speaking of buns, has anyone else noticed how the bread aisle in the grocery smells different to you now? I have. Since being paleo for a few years now, whenever I have to go down the bread aisle, I can hardly breathe! There's this cloyingly sweet, bothersome smell...... it's just so wrong to me now. Have you noticed that, or is it just me?

Anyway, I took 2 packages of burger for this dinner. One was grass fed burger and one was deer burger. (You can fix yours however you want, but I like to mix my grass fed burger with deer burger to cut the game taste in the deer) I mixed it up with:
 3 large portobello mushrooms, chopped
 1 tsp smoked sea salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
freshly ground pepper, to taste

I put a heaping TBSP of coconut oil in my favorite new skillet and heated it up to medium.
I formed big patties and cooked the burgers, turning once there was almost a crunch on each side. I served these beauties with fresh salsa and guacamole on top.

They were so delicious.

They are good fuel for the upcoming Open. (and Regionals, and the Games!)
 Good luck to everyone!
Fuel up!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Paleo Cocoa Chia Cake

I do love the weekend, don't you? I love making new paleo meals and blogging them, catching up around the house, and playing with Daisy.

Today I made a Cocoa Chia Seed Cake. I like it. It's gooey and dark and warm. It's even good for you and there's no guilt whatsoever.

Here's what I did:
I took 5 eggs out of the fridge so they wouldn't be cold when I needed them in the recipe.

I measured 1 cup of water into a 2-cup measuring cup and added 4 TBSP of chia seeds. I timed them for 15 minutes, stirring often so it would become a gel, not just a clumpy mess. (Yours might want to just be clumpy at first, but keep stirring)

I rubbed coconut oil on a 9 x 12 glass baking dish.

I placed the following ingredients in a mixing bowl, stirring every time I added each thing:

the chia gel
1/2 cup dark cocoa
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
5 eggs (room temperature, remember? I whisk them in a measuring cup first)
3/4 cup agave nectar (or honey)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup almond meal ( I make my own and leave it a little chunky)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut (nuts.com)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup goji berries, optional (nuts.com, again)

I poured the batter into the prepared dish and baked it in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.
I cooled it completely on a wire cooling rack.

This was just what I needed on a snowy day!

Paleo Pot Roast

Ger hit a huge milestone today. He snatched 275 lbs! He and Cassie both hit PRs today. Her PR snatch was 120 lbs!  They both also placed 1st in the Firebreather competition. (Jared Chamberlin took 3rd, too. How about our coaches? My little Outlaws.....)

Anyway, this pot roast is what Ger and Cassie had last night for dinner. It must be good fuel, huh? lol

It's braised to perfection. It's made happy with time, moisture, and heat. Grass fed roasts do so well with this recipe.

I took a 2 1/2 lb grass fed beef roast and browned it about 6 minutes on both sides in the dutch oven with 2 TBSP coconut oil over medium heat. I removed the dutch oven from the heat and added:

2-3 lbs organic carrots, peeled and cut
1 organic sweet onion, chopped
2 TBSP minced garlic (garlicgold.com)
1 tsp smoked sea salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp celery salt
2 cups basic chicken stock ( or bone broth, if you have that made...)

I put the lid on my dutch oven and took the top rack out of the oven. I put the dutch oven in there and cooked it for 3 hours at 300 degrees.

It was so tender and delicious.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Paleo Dark Chocolate Brownies

You just can't find better people than Rhonda and Phil Kearns.  Phil is the man. He is the man that got Ger doing CrossFit.
When we have pot luck paleo-ish meals at the box, Rhonda brings these brownies and they are dense and incredible! I asked her if I could share her recipe on this blog and she said yes! Even better, it's Valentine's Day and Phil made them for Rhonda today, so I got to share that pic with you, too.

Rhonda says:

"Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Oil an 8 x 11 baking pan
In a large bowl, add each ingredient  one at a time. Whisk each item completely before adding the next.

1 1/2 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup almond butter (or your choice, like pecan butter)
4 egg whites
1 cup honey (or agave nectar)
1 TBSP vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (at least 70%)

It will be like a cake mix in texture. Bake 30-40 minutes.

You will have grain-free dark chocolate brownies!!!
Hope you enjoy!"

Thanks for sharing the recipe for these gooey, dense, dark brownies, Rhonda and Phil.

                        This is my favorite pic of Phil and Ger, doing a pinkie-swear....

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Paleo Red Cabbage Slaw

I wanted to make something cold, raw, and crunchy as a side dish tonight, so I used my food processor. This made quick work for a Paleo Red Cabbage Slaw. I never really liked slaw before I switched to paleo eating - there was always too much gooey mayonnaise for my taste anyway - and I would pour off some of that unnecessary blobby stuff.  If I made it myself, I would increase the amount of cabbage and carrots to adjust for that.

So, if you are looking for mayonnaise, even paleo mayonnaise, this isn't the recipe for that.

But, this is a crisp, fresh, healthy, and clean side dish that you just might like.

I shredded one small head of organic red cabbage and 2 peeled organic carrots in my Cuisinart food processor. I poured these shredded vegetables into a large serving bowl as I went along. (see photo - that is not cheese in the photo! It looks like it, doesn't it?)

In a small bowl, I made up the "dressing," just enough to stick it together:
1/8 cup macadamia oil
1/8 cup olive oil (or you can just use 1/4 cup olive oil only)
1/8 cup Pom juice
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar (you've got to try some of the ones from The Flying Olive, guys!)
1/8 cup brown mustard
1/2 tsp caraway seeds 
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

I stirred this up with a whisk, and poured it on the red cabbage mixture and stirred with a wooden spoon. I set this in the fridge until my Garlic Chicken Thighs were ready to come out of the oven.

"Dinner's ready! Everyone? Let's watch the DVR of The Biggest Loser while we eat. Go, Bob! Look, he's got on a Rogue Fitness shirt!"

Next time, I'm dicing up and apple to add to it!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chocolate Covered Bacon

First of all, let me say that Ger is not going to eat this. He is so sugar-free. His discipline is amazing.

But, the rest of us may be saving up a little percentage of our time when we aren't 100% paleo, so I thought it would be a perfect time to have my sister, Annette, guest blog about her chocolate covered bacon. See, we all know CrossFitters LOVE their bacon AND it's almost Valentine's Day, so here's a great idea for Valentine's Day!

The pics are from my sister's kitchen when she was prepping for her and Andy's Superbowl party. The first pic shows a container of chocolate covered bacon. (Focus on that - NOT the chocolate covered pretzel rods in the upper part of the pic. A little dark chocolate is more easily justified than that empty grain!)

Annette says:

12 thick-sliced bacon strips (about a pound)
1 cup Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips

1.  Cut bacon strips in half to make 24 shorter pieces. This will help keep them flat while cooking. Place on a rack on a large baking pan or in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until crisp. Turn bacon pieces over halfway through baking time. Watch carefully towards the end so that it is nice and crispy but not burned.

2.  Be very careful removing pans from oven as there will be extremely hot bacon grease in the pan that can easily slosh out. Keep pans level while removing from oven.

3. Using tongs, remove bacon and place on paper towels to drain. Cool completely.

4. In a microwave (or place bowl in a larger bowl of VERY hot water..) melt chocolate chips in a glass bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring after each time, until smooth.

5. With a silicone pastry brush, coat bacon on both sides with melted chocolate, leaving about a one-inch "handle" on one end. Top each strip, if desired. Place on wax paper lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm. Store in containers in the refrigerator.

Here's Annette, my sister. She says to try these toppings:

toasted unsweetened coconut (ok - she didn't say the unsweetened part....lol)
chopped dried apple chips
crystalized ginger
finely chopped pecans or pistachios
kosher salt
a mix of black pepper and cayenne pepper
candy sprinkles

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Roasted Pineapple with Cinnamon

I had fresh pineapple spears in the fridge this morning. It's so cold and snowy out this morning that I didn't want to eat them cold. I decided to roast them. They were so good!

I covered a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and rubbed coconut oil on it.  I placed fresh pineapple spears on the pan. I sprinkled them with cinnamon and Dried Valencia Orange Peel. (It's a spice) I put them in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. That's it!

Maybe you could whip them up for your Super Bowl get-together. They are healthy and delicious!

You know, too many people use today's big game as an excuse to over-eat and to eat so much junk. Choose what you put in your mouth wisely. Food is your fuel for your expendable life.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Paleo Beef Tips

I hope lots of people have been signing up for the Open. I read that they had record numbers in the first 24 hours of sign-up. I expected that. It's going to be a very exciting season.

There was a quote on FaceBook the other day that said something like "An athlete is made in the kitchen and polished in the gym." I liked that, except it should say "box," right?

Ger sometimes asks me to make something we used to eat....Paleo. He recently asked for beef tips. I remembered making them with a brown gravy packet! (Just imagine what kind of ingredients are in there.....ugh) So, I had to work on how to make beef tips delicious for the way we eat now. I think I've got it! I am working on building that athlete in the kitchen - Ger takes care of the gym part! I like that he has so many people encouraging him. (Thanks, everyone!)

So, here's what I did:
I put 2 TBSP coconut oil in a skillet and cooked 3 lbs of grass fed beef tips. I set the meat aside.

In the same skillet I'd cooked the beef in, I added 2 diced sweet organic onions and cooked them over medium  heat until soft.
I added 2 diced green peppers. (I would have put in a red pepper if I'd had one) 
Next, I sprinkled in 2 TBSP coconut flour and 2 TBSP coconut cream concentrate. (These 2 ingredients helped to thicken things up and deepen the flavor)
I added 3/4 cup basic chicken stock. I stirred and simmered.
I also added 1 tsp smoked sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and 3 sprigs of fresh thyme. (I took the thyme out before we ate it.)
In the last couple of minutes I added 2 8 oz packages of fresh sliced shitake mushrooms. 
I added the beef tips back into this mixture and called for "dinner!"

Ger Loved It. So did Isaac. Cassie loved it. I loved it! 
 I hope you try it, too.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Paleo Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Doesn't this pic look like comfort food? Sweet potatoes, mashed, hot, and so fluffy and delicious? Don't you find yourself craving this healthy side dish?

The snow came last night. It was was beautiful and gave me another snow day from school. ( the second Friday snow day in a row.....talk about stress reduction!) I am looking forward to having an extra day here at home. I admit I can never keep up with all the things I want to accomplish around here. I wanted to post this recipe though - the coconut cream concentrate gives these sweet potatoes a depth of flavor that keeps you coming back for more.

I'd bought 4 HUGE sweet potatoes. I rinsed them off and put them in a pan, covered them (almost) with water, put a lid on the pan, and put them on the stove over medium heat to cook until very tender when pierced with a fork.

When they were extremely done, I poured the hot water off of them and let them cool for a few minutes until I could peel them. I just peeled them with my fingers - the peel just came right off. I cut the two ends off with a knife. I placed the peeled sweet potatoes back into the pan.

I added:
1 TBSP KerryGold Pasture butter
3 TBSP coconut cream concentrate (tropicaltraditions.com)
1 tsp smoked sea salt (salttraders.com)
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup basic chicken stock

I mashed this all up with a fork and put it back on the stove on low until Ger got home from CrossFit Countdown.  You may need to adjust the amount of chicken stock, depending on your sweet potatoes. You may consider taking them away from savory by adding cinnamon. I may try that another day soon, too.

            Get ready for the compliments! This little bowl shows how much I ate BEFORE dinner!