What I’ll be eating Superbowl Sunday

What do you think when you think of professional sports?

Competition? Wearing your team colors? The social aspect? Where you’ll be watching the game?

Either when I’m watching the game from a home, a bar, or heading down to the stadium, I can’t help but think of what food & drinks will complement my sporting experience.

I’m heading over to a Superbowl party this afternoon and I’m planning to bring the fixings for these Paleo Margaritas

paleomarg

They come from Danielle Walker’s paleo inspired blog, Against All Grain. She also has a cookbook I highly recommend!

A couple weeks ago, the below picture came up in my Instagram feed and I have been dreaming/drooling about it ever since. I couldn’t help but order one. So, on my way over to the party, I’m swinging by the 4505 Meats Butcher Shop to pick up one of these babies.

4505sub

It’s not gluten free or paleo but my god, will you look at that thing!?! It gives new meaning to “Go long!”

Whether or not football is your thing, may your day be filled with culinary delights!

 

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My Whole 30 – Week 1 Recap

I’m happy to say I made it through my first week of The Whole 30 with shining success! No grain, no pain!

I’ve had sustained energy and an extremely steady mood. I’ve known for some time how gluten and wheat caused me to have mood swings, but in the past week, in addition to being quite chipper for no reason, my chronic back pain has dissipated and my skin is perfectly clear and evenly toned – radiant! It’s crazy to think that the foods we eat release hormones that can cause our bodies to act against us. As described in the book I reviewed last week, everything we eat sends messages through our body and when we eat things like dairy, sugar, grains, and alcohol especially, our bodies struggle to balance it out, releasing insulin and leptin and a whole bunch of other hormones just in order to not get sick.

All our bodies want to do is feel good, naturally. With the way I’ve been eating the past week, I intrinsically feel like my body is not at war with food and it’s thanking me for taking better care of it by being way more alert, steady, and ridiculously happy for no reason! Like earlier today, I had a Michael Jackson dance party in my kitchen for no particular reason! I mean, well it IS Michael – care to join me for another?

Now THAT is good cooking music!
And I have been cooking a LOT – I have turned on the burner for almost every meal over the past 6 days. I’ve been trying out some new recipes (with some epic wins and some semi fails) but mostly have been making “hot bowls” – a mishmash of sauteed veggies with a generous serving of protein mixed in. I also started a new exciting full-time job with a very fun company this past week and have been pretty busy with that, so I’m happy that “hot bowls” are so easy to make.

Day 1 breakfast: 3 pastured eggs cooked with organic red onion, broccoli and spices in coconut oil, topped with guacamole and fresh diced roma tomato. Black coffee on the side.whole30-Day1bf

Day 2 lunch: Organic spinach salad with chicken breast, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, pepitas & my savory herb vinaigrette.Whole30-Day2lunch

Day 3 lunch: Curried onions and red peppers with chicken and cashews on a bed of coconut sauteed kale.Whole30-Day3lunch

Day 4 dinner: Big winner! Onion, garlic, lamb burger topped with grilled red peppers and guacamole on a bed of spinach surrounded by steamed broccoli and carrots. YUM! Then again, in case you didn’t know, I LOVE lamb.Whole30-Day4dinner

Day 5 breakfast – I scrambled 2 pastured eggs with onions, peppers, and spinach, then topped it off with fresh plum tomatoes and guacamole. I also made home brewed coconut cream chai and savored a medley of blueberries and macadamia nuts. Easy and delicious.Whole30-Day5bf

Today, Day 6, I went grocery shopping to stock up for the next week. I bought a wide variety of organic produce and sustainable organic meats and spent around $100 for what I’m hoping will last me the next week and a half. Following the advice in the Well Fed Paleo Cookbook, I prepped a bunch of stuff this evening to help make meal prep easy and seamless throughout my upcoming busy week.Whole30-Day6mealprepThe fun included baking 2 pounds of organic chicken breast tenders that I can use in salads or toss into stir fry or other hot bowls throughout the week. I shredded cabbage and beets and steamed a large yam. I made cauliflower rice (a recipe from Well Fed) and added cashews. I made more of my savory herb vinaigrette (sans the tamari since no soy) and whipped up a jar of spicy salsa fresca. I did all this prep in under an hour! I feel like I’m ready to rock out another week!

I’m not gonna lie – over the past week, though I’ve been fully satisfied and never hungry between meals – I’ve had subtle cravings, specifically for wine and chocolate.
I’m a single woman in my 30’s, go figure.
However, I’ve resisted the temptation and leaned on ginger tea and blueberries in my times of need.

Feel free to follow my daily activity on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. And I’m happy to explain any of my technique or go into more depth for any of the dishes above. Please leave your questions in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading and have fun cooking!

sweet potato frittata with goat cheese and thyme

sweet potato frittata with goat cheese and thyme
A dish I would often make when I was working in the kitchen of the guest house in Italy was frittata. It’s easy, affordable, protein filled, and can be made using a variety of ingredients.

Well, this morning when I awoke I was hungry and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make today but then it came to me in a flash (and perhaps slightly influenced by what I had in my kitchen pantry) – sweet potato frittata with goat cheese and thyme. Super fast to make and filling, it’s a great source of protein and complex carbohydrates to balance blood sugar.

eggs lemon zest thyme

Sweet Potato Frittata with Goat Cheese and Thyme

Prep time: 15 minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes
Serves 4 to 6

1 medium sweet potato
4 pastured eggs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons of thyme leaves
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
¼ cup goat cheese crumbles

  • Peel and slice the sweet potato into ¼ inch rounds (about 1½ cups) and steam over high heat for 6 minutes until slightly tender but no where near falling apart.  Meanwhile zest the lemon, separate the thyme leaves from their stems.
  • Whisk the eggs together and add the zest, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  • Heat a heavy non stick pan over medium high heat and add the olive oil and sweet potato slices in a single layer. Fry on each side (about 2 minutes each side) then add the egg mixture and evenly sprinkle the goat cheese over it.

Here comes the fun part, FRITTATA FLIPPING!!!  If you’re feeling bold, you can try doing it like this guy or you can try it by using a plate to flip.
sweet potato frittata with goat cheese and thyme mixture in pan
How I do it:

    • After I pour the mixture into the sizzling hot pan, I make a few breaks in the bottom of it using a spatula, in order to get as much of the egg cooked on one side as possible.
    • When the edges are golden brown and peeling away from the pan, cover the top of the pan with a large plate or lid and holding it firmly, in one fell swoop, flip the pan and plate over and slide the other side back into the hot pan.
    • Cook for another couple minutes, pushing the edges down to make sure they fully cook then transfer to a clean plate, slice, and serve.

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Buon Appetito!

As always, your thoughts are welcomed in the comments section below.

lucky black eyed peas

dry black eyed peas

Happy New Year!

In southern lore, black eyed peas are thought to bring good luck when eaten in copious amounts on New Year’s Day. So, in the midst of your New Year’s eve prep or New Year’s Day recovery, slow cooking them in a crock pot is awesomely lucky because it’s super easy!

Some prefer to soak the beans for 8 hours to break down the carbohydrates before cooking them and while I have done this before and it definitely reduces the slow cooking time drastically, I have found they are more flavorful when slow cooked from dry beans in chicken broth. For the vegetarians, you can substitute the chicken broth with veggie broth and omit the bacon. Also, this is an excellent “day 2” dish, meaning it’s even better the longer it stews in it’s own juices.

I reckon that the luck of this dish comes from the spice. But that could just be me…

I just can’t get enough!

I will be the first to admit I have a spice addiction – hot sauce in particular. I consider myself a connoisseur of spice. (Sounds classy, doesn’t it?) At one point, I realized that my hot sauce habit was costing me $6 a week. I found this phenomenal secret sauce and I was having it shipped to me directly from the manufacturers in Portland because I couldn’t find it anywhere within 300 miles of San Francisco. Ridiculous, I know! I saw things were getting out of hand so I (tried to) cut back. Then I was averaging about $3 on a good week (just half a bottle)… hopefully I have my habit under control.

This dish is spicy all by itself and definitely doesn’t need any extra heat. In fact, if you’re sensitive to spice, feel free to halve the amounts of jalapeño and cayenne.

Though optional, I recommend a dollop of sour cream on top to balance the spiciness. And for the full southern comfort, I always like having cornbread with this dish. For those gluten free like me, I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix (available at most fine grocery or natural foods stores), and I use coconut milk and coconut oil in place of milk and butter. Super tasty!

Lucky Black Eyed Peas

Prep time: 30 minutes
Ready in: 6-8 hours
Serves 8

6 cups chicken broth
2½ cups black eyed peas (rinsed)
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
6 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
1½ teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt, to taste
cornbread (optional)
sour cream (optional)

  • In a heavy pot or in a ceramic crock pot, sauté the onions, garlic, bell pepper jalapeño, bacon, and spices over medium heat until onion is translucent and bacon is cooked, stirring constantly.
  • Transfer to crock pot / slow cooker, add the black eyed peas and broth, stir it up, cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  • If after 6 hours the peas are still not soft enough, turn the heat up to high and check on their tenderness and stir every 30 minutes until ready.
  • Divide into bowls with a piece of cornbread and a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!

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lucky new year black eyed peas

I wish you health and happiness in 2013 and as always, your thoughts are welcomed in the comments section below~

thai lamb green wraps

thai lamb green wraps close up

I love lamb*. I was wary of it until I first tried it (maybe because I’ve had a tender spot in my heart for Shari Lewis and Lambchop?) but now I consider it my favorite meat. When cooked for the right amount of time with complimentary spices, it is so tender and flavorful. It satisfies something within me and always leaves me fulfilled, even just from a small portion. *If the idea of lamb turns you off, I have also made these using grass fed beef and replaced the mint leaves with cilantro… bom!

The health benefits of lamb are vast. Lamb is an easily digestible complete source of protein. It is rich in vitamin B12 which plays an essential role in metabolizing proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. B12 helps to produce red blood cells and lowers the levels of homocysteine which in turn, lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Lamb also contains easily absorbed amounts zinc, iron, and selenium, all of which produce red blood cells and support the immune system. Additionally, selenium enhances thyroid function, facilitates the activities of various essential enzymes, and has antioxidant properties which promotes liver health and prevents certain cancers. So much good stuff, no wonder why my body LOVES lamb!

Now, do you love lamb?

I call these “green” wraps, meaning rather than using a tortilla, try using greens as an alternative.  As you can see from the picture, I used dinosaur kale which by itself has an abundance of it’s own health benefits. I have also used different varieties of cabbage, collard greens, radicchio, and romaine lettuce leaves. Whatever you prefer to use to wrap it up, go for it!

Thai Lamb Green Wraps
tweaked from a recipe by Wolfgang Puck

Prep time: 10 minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes
Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish

4 to 6 medium to large leaves of kale, cabbage, lettuce, or wrapping green of choice
1 pound grass fed ground lamb
¾ cup chopped red onion (about half a medium sized onion)
5 cloves chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons coconut or peanut oil
¼ cup port wine or honey
1 medium finely chopped red bell pepper
¾ cup chopped water chestnuts
¼ cup fresh mint leaves

  • Rinse green leaves, trim the tougher bits off the end, and set aside to dry. Sometimes I leave them out of the fridge for a few hours so they wilt or I massage them with a bit of salt to make them more pliable, though it’s not necessary.
  • Mix the lamb with the onion, garlic, ginger, chili flakes, hoisin sauce, salt, and pepper using a fork.
  • Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. When super hot, add the coconut or peanut oil, and stir fry the lamb mixture until it is cooked, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the red bell pepper, water chestnuts, and port wine or honey, and cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Spoon the mixture into the green wraps and garnish with fresh mint.

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This dish pairs most excellently with my simple spicy sesame green beans as a side dish. Enjoy!

thai lamb green wrap

Your thoughts are welcomed in the comments section below!