Two moms. Five daughters. Opposite ends of the globe.

Two moms. Five daughters. A friendship that spans opposite ends of the globe.

We have been best friends for ages with a shared love for good food. A desire of good health for ourselves and our families have lead us to exploring the paleo lifestyle together. Enjoy our adventure!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Oxtail Stew

I have been intrigued by ox tail for ages. I've passed it by many times in our local Asian grocery store and this week, my curiosity finally prompted me to toss a package in my basket. The girls giggled when I explained that this funny cut of meat really was the tail of a cow; followed shortly by wrinkled up noses when they realized they would soon be eating said tail. I was excited to try something new, but also perplexed with the "now what" question. I searched for recipes online and nothing quite tickled my fancy. As I sat at my computer, chilled by the sudden drop in temperatures and cool breeze blowing through the cracked window, I knew my only choice was to prepare the oxtail in a good, old-fashioned, slow-cooked stew. I relied on memories of beef stew from my childhood and began sifting through our recent CSA produce. The result was delicious! The girls were a little "grossed out" at having to discard the fat around the meat, but other than that they practically licked the bones clean.

Serves 4

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 4 oxtail pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 turnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 5 large cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • salt, pepper, and cayenne (for a little kick)

  1. Heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Brown the oxtails on all sides. Place them in the slow cooker.
  3. Season the oxtails with salt and pepper, and cayenne, if using.
  4. Fry the garlic until fragrant.
  5. Add vegetables to the pan and fry for 3-5 minutes until they begin to brown.
  6. Add just enough beef broth so you can easily scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan.
  7. Pour beef broth into the slow cooker.
  8. Add vegetable mixture to the slow cooker. Do not stir.
  9. Top the slow cooked contents with chopped bacon.
  10. Secure the lid and cook for 4-5 hours on High.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Asian Lettuce Wrap

Time was ticking away. The girls were complaining of hunger pains, despite the jumbo, protein-filled breakfast they had eaten only a couple hours before. And in reality, I didn't have much time to cook something up and still call it lunch. I had been immersed in the Share a Primal Recipe thread  at Mark's Daily Apple where hundreds of mouth-watering, paleo recipes have been posted.

With a couple of Asian inspired recipes fresh in my mind (and a nearly empty fridge), here is what I cobbled together: a messy, but tasty lettuce wrap filled with sesame-cucumber salad, Asian noodle salad, and bacon!

Serves 4

  • one serving of Sesame-Cucumber Salad (recipe below)
  • one serving of Asian Noodle Salad (recipe below)
  • 8 large, sturdy lettuce leaves
  • 8 slices of bacon, fried

  1. Build wraps using the bacon and salads. Serve immediately!

Note: Other meat, such as roasted chicken could be easily substituted for the bacon.

Sesame-Cucumber Salad (inspired by Melissa at The Clothes Make the Girl)

  • 1 T tahini paste
  • 1 T cashew butter, unsweetened
  • 1 T coconut aminos
  • 1 T rice vinegar, unsweetened
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 cucumber, sliced in thin strips by hand or with a  mandolin slicer


  1. Combine the tahini, cashew butter, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Mix until well blended.
  2. Stir in the cucumber.

Asian Noodle Salad (inspired by Melissa at The Clothes Make the Girl)

  • 2 T coconut milk
  • 1 T tahini paste
  • 1 T cashew butter, unsweetened
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 1 tsp coconut aminos
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 package kelp noodles, boiled for 10 minutes and drained
  • 1 cup coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage


  1. Combine the coconut milk, tahini, cashew butter, lime juice, coconut aminos, garlic, and ginger. Mix until well blended. The sauce with thicken quickly, but thin out when combined with the noodles.
  2. Stir in the noodles and cabbage.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ginger Pork

This has always been one of my favorite dishes to order at the local Thai restaurant, two blocks from our house. I had a real craving for it during a period when we were trying to save money and without a second thought, I decided I could make it just as good (if not better) in my own kitchen. And I was right! The simple ingredients create such a tangy, yummy flavor. This is one meal where leftovers are scarce!

Serves 3


  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 4-5" piece of ginger, grated (watch your knuckles)
  • 5-6 T coconut aminos
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth (homemade is best!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, quartered and seeded
  • 1 1/4 pounds pork loin, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1-2 T coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped into large pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into large pieces

  1. In a glass bowl, combine the sesame oil, grated ginger, coconut aminos, chicken broth, salt, and jalapeno.
  2. Add the pork and marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In a pan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.
  4. Fry the onion until it turns golden brown and begins to caramelize.
  5. Add the red pepper and fry until it softens just a little.
  6. Remove the onion and peppers from the pan and set aside.
  7. Turn the heat to medium-high.
  8. Scoop the pork into the hot pan, transferring as little liquid as possible.
  9. Fry the pork until no longer pink.
  10. Add the reserved liquid and simmer until it thickens.
  11. Add the onion and peppers back into the pork mixture and simmer until the vegetables are heated.
  12. Serve hot over roasted cauliflower or cauliflower rice.
Roasted Cauliflower: Break apart or chop one head of raw cauliflower into large bite-sized pieces. Spread thinly on a cookie sheet then drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Bake in the oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, flip and cook for another 10-20 minutes, or until browned. Serve immediately.

Cauliflower Rice: There are many ways to prepare Cauliflower Rice and this is my favorite. Finely chop or grate one head of raw cauliflower. Spread thinly on a cookie sheet then drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until browned. Stir halfway through to brown the cauliflower more evenly. Serve immediately or it tends to get a bit soft.

Note: In my original recipe, I used soy sauce instead of the coconut aminos. If you use soy sauce, reduce the amount to 3-4 T or it will taste too salty. Also, I love cauliflower rice, but I am not a fan of the mess it makes in my kitchen. Lately I have been opting for the lazy person's cauliflower rice aka roasted cauliflower. It tastes the same and is a cinch to clean up!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Accidental Sloppy Joe

Known by many names including barbecues, yum yums, and juicy burgers (or perhaps savoury mince roll if you're a friend of Kelle's from Australia)... what is not to love about a good homemade sloppy joe? Except that I didn't start out making sloppy joe tonight. Cool temperatures have put a chill in the air and I was going to celebrate fall's arrival in Alaska with a big pot of chili. Fortunately, somewhere between pulling out all the ingredients and serving up bowls of steaming hot chili, the mixture in the pan tasted so good, I just stopped and served it as-is. Voila! The best sloppy joe I've ever cobbled together!

Serves 4, with plenty of leftovers


  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 T fresh herbs, chopped
  • 1 T basil
  • 1 T Italian seasoning
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T chile powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can tomatoes with chiles, blended in a food processor


  1. Heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Fry onion, bell pepper, and garlic, until onion begins to caramelize.
  3. Mix in herbs, basil, Italian seasoning, cumin, chile powder, and bay leaves.
  4. Add pork, beef, and turkey. Fry until meat is cooked through.
  5. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and mix well.
  6. Simmer for 20 minutes then serve.
Note: The chili that never happened was going to have beef broth and additional seasoning added.

...but I don't Knead That! Fennel and Pork Stuffed Mushrooms

Stupid title? Not if you start humming, "I'll do anything for love..." first. Humans need things to be healthy happy humans. We need a place to live, and yummy food, and awesome friends... we need stuff for fun like puns and homophones, but we don't knead bread. :o)

Ok, so the first inspiration for this meal came from someone else's blog, who I would love to give credit to ---but when I went looking for a link to pizza-stuffed mushrooms I could NOT find it anywhere, so then I wondered if I dreamed it... and I'm still not sure but since I couldn't find it I decided to come up with my own. Many low-carb cooks have made pizza on mushrooms so its not entirely new.

The second inspiration for this meal came from a pre-paleo favorite cookbook called "What You Knead" by Mary Ann Esposito that was given to me by my fabulous mother in law ages ago. One of my favorite recipes from that book was "Fennel and Pork Calzones." Mmmmmm mmmmmm! Now that I'm convinced that wheat is BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD I don't really need this book anymore, and I'm probably a stage 4 hoarder when it comes to books, and it was a gift.... so I can't throw it out, and if you eat wheat you're probably not even reading this blog.... but if you do, and you'd like to borrow it just ask. Or, trade me for a book on "how not to write run-on sentences."

Fennel and Pork stuffed Mushrooms

12 cupcake sized mushrooms. (if you want to make use of your muffin tins, but any size will work.)
1 pound ground pork
1 onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, diced (or smushed thru a garlic press. am I the only one who uses those?)
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 red, green, or yellow pepper (capsicum) diced (I didn't have one, but better with.)
1 Tablespoon fennel seeds (whole)
1 small can tomato paste, or 2 foil packs
S&P to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400F/200C
Brown the meat with the onion and garlic. Pour off extra fat if needed, or add a tablespoon of fat if the meat was very lean. Add the veggies and fennel seeds and cook until the veggies are to your liking.
Remove from heat and stir in the tomato paste.

Prep your mushrooms. Brush off any dirt and remove the stems and gills. Toss with olive oil and prep your pan. If they are the right size, you can stick them in an oiled muffin tin... If they are larger just place them in an oiled 9x13 inch pan, or whatever size you need. Stuff the mushrooms with the pork mixture. I ended up with about 10 that were cupcake sized, but I had luckily found perfect deep mushrooms. The large flat ones they call "field mushrooms" would work, or even "button" mushrooms... if you have leftover meat just put around the mushrooms you fill in the pan. Yes, you can use any pizza filling/sauce mix you like....Yes, if you eat cheese you can top them with cheese... (but at the end of the cooking time so it doesn't brown too much...)
Pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes....

Chicken Pancakes with Cucumber Salad

The Reality and the Beauty Shot

Twice in the past few weeks I've tried recipes off the backs of packages. The first was "Authentic" Indian Curry. (Which turned out really well - but I can't top Angie's Indian food so I won't even try.) And the second was "Chicken Pancakes with Cucumber salad" from the back of Ayam's coconut mild powder. It was pretty close to paleo as-is, and looked pretty good.

The reason for the 2 very different pictures? Well, if you've ever tried, you know how tough it is to make anything usually flour based without flour, and food blog pictures are supposed to be pretty... but when your next idea flops in the artistic photographs department, ya still gotta eat~ and this tasted really, really good.... Another egg and some careful flipping saved the day, but I wanted to post the first attempt as a reminder that the whole point of eating this way is be healthier and the reasons we share these recipes is to show that you can eat healthy and have some darn good food in the process...even if it sometimes falls apart!

Cucumber Salad (good for this recipe, or as a side for anything Thai!)

2 Cucumbers
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
1 Tablespoon tamarind puree (recipe called for plum sauce)
1 Tablespoon lime juice
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Slice sideways in thin slices. (you'll end up with half-moons.) Mix with all remaining ingredients...adjusting as needed to taste. Set aside while you make the pancakes.

Chicken Pancakes (or scramble!)

400 grams leftover chicken, or turkey... finely chopped. I used a hand chopper and ended up with around 2 cups of diced meat.
1/3 cup coconut flour
1 cup coconut milk
1 heaping tablespoon chopped red chillis-- from a jar. (Know thy palate ~ adjust to taste.)
2 green onions, sliced uber thin
2 eggs

Mix all ingredients well... grease your fry pan and scoop out mix 1/3 cup at a time to form pancakes. You will be much more successful if you use a medium heat and WAIT at least 3-4 minutes before attempting to flip. Don't be shy with oil in the pan. (I used coconut oil of course, but you don't have to.) If you are in a hurry, lack patience, or have anger management issues--- go for the scramble! Which really means, try making pancakes but don't stress when you go to flip them and they completely fall apart... OR--jump right to my salvage step-- add another egg (or two,) adjust seasonings, take your time, and go for the pretty pancakes. Either way, serve the cucumber salad over or next to the pancakes... Enjoy!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bacon-Veg Brekkie

I am always on the lookout for quick and easy breakfast dishes. I've never been a big fan of sweet breakfasts. I've never found eggs very filling. And so I had a habit of starting my day with hot grains. Since dropping grains from my diet, breakfast is my "challenge meal". I have plenty of inspiration for lunch and dinner meals, but I find my creativity pretty lacking at 5:00 AM. A typical weekday breakfast is fruit and nut butter, smoothie, or leftovers; something I can grab on my way out the door. On the weekends, I like to relax and share a hot breakfast with the family. This dish began as simply fried tomatoes and asparagus and has now evolved into this breakfast hit that everyone in my family loves.

Serves 4


  • 8 slices bacon, chopped (we prefer peppered bacon)
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • salt and pepper, to season


  1. Fry up bacon until nearly cooked.
  2. Add veggies and continue frying until desired tenderness is reached.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Crunchy Radish Salad

This salad is so stinking easy and delicious, I can hardly believe it. Unfortunately, I can't take credit for this delicious creation as my nine-year old was in charge of salad the night this hit landed on our plates. We had just received some uber-fresh Alaskan radishes in our CSA produce box and both my girls were crinkling their noses up when I said the "R" word. I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of radishes either. The normally no-so-fresh ones available at our grocery store tend to be dry and bitter and not something I buy without a specific purpose. So when I opened up the box and saw a bunch of them staring up at me, I figured I better use them right away or they'd get pushed to the back of the fridge only to be discovered in a few weeks, when I could gladly call them bad and have an excuse to toss them. I washed them and tasted one... and had to call each member of my family into the kitchen and make them taste how good these were! Delicious!!!


  • 1 bunch radishes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 granny smith apple, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2-3 T olive oil
  • 1-2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 T spicy coarse mustard (we used Tabasco brand)


  1. Mix olive oil, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust, if necessary.
  2. Add radishes and apple to salad bowl. Pour dressing over top and mix well.

Tip: You probably won't need all the dressing.

PB (Paleo-Butter) Cup Smoothie

"Two great tastes that taste great together"... Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is considered the finest creation by H.B. Reese, a former employee of Hershey's who branched out to start his own confection company. I have to agree. I'm not a huge fan of candy, but in my pre-paleo days, this is one sweet treat that would tempt me to indulge in crappy check-out stand candy. But... just because I'm not eating sugar (or peanuts) these days, doesn't mean I don't still crave those flavors. This smoothie is my answer to that craving. And my ultimate fallback "dessert" whenever my kids talk their dad into bringing some non-paleo treat into the house!

And for the record... if you  hear my girls talking about eating "Chocolate Ice Cream" for breakfast, please don't go calling children's services on me! I love giving them the royal treatment first thing in the morning with this healthy dish!

Serves 3-4

  • 2-3 bananas, cut into 5 or 6 pieces each and frozen
  • 1-2 cups unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk 
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2-3 T cocoa powder (I prefer Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)

  1. Add frozen bananas to the blender then top with almond butter and cocoa powder.
  2. Add milk until it nearly covers the fruit. This makes a thick, but drinkable consistency. Use less for a thicker, ice cream like dessert.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour into cups. Drink immediately!

Smoothie Galore

Give me some frozen bananas, "milk", and fresh fruit and I will make you a smoothie that leaves you begging for more! I have always loved these cold, blended, fruity drinks, but even more so now that I've cut sugar out of my diet. In my house, we have smoothies several times a week. For breakfast, when we're running behind schedule. For lunch, on the weekend, when I don't feel like cooking. After dinner, for dessert, or any other time someone has a sweet tooth. I make them with more liquid and drink straight from the blender or make them super thick, top with nuts and seeds, and eat like gorgeous ice cream sundae. They take only minutes to make and are perfectly paleo!

Fresh Blackberry Smoothie. Is there anything better? 

Serves 4 (unless I don't feel like sharing)

  • 1-2 bananas, cut into 5 or 6 pieces each and frozen
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries (optional)
  • 1-2 cups fresh fruit
  • 1-2 cups unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk 
  • 1/3 cup almond butter (optional, for protein)
  • flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped nuts (optional)
Tip: Frozen bananas give smoothies the smooth, creamy texture and makes smoothies icy cold without needing ice, which can water down the fruity taste. At the same time, bananas don't add a strong flavor, so I count on the fresh fruit to do that. The smoothie pictured above was made with a pint of fresh blackberries.

  1. Add frozen bananas to the blender then top with fresh fruit and almond butter, if using.
  2. Add milk until it nearly covers the fruit. This makes a thick, but drinkable consistency. Use less for a thicker, ice cream like dessert.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour into cups. Top with seeds and nuts, if using. Drink immediately!