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!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Kid Party Kababs!

I have twins in first grade and was asked to contribute specific items for the holiday party... 24 paper plates?  No problem!  24 fruit kabobs.....sigh.  There are tons of super cute ideas on the net that are easier...but somehow I got snowmen on the brain and they just had to be.  I am NOT a food photographer, and I could have tried a little harder to make the picture cuter, but I still have a dozen of these bad boys to go, and they are supposed to be at school TOMORROW, not Wednesday like I thought.

I didn't have a melon baller, so I used a tablespoon for the big sections and a teaspoon for the head... 1/2 a grape for the hat brim, and another grape for the top of the hat.  Raisin bits made up the eyes and buttons.  (cut in long halves, pre-poke the hole beforehand with an extra skewer.)  And little slivers of carrots for the nose!  I had all kinds of ideas with apples, apple bits, watermelon mittens even... but these were what I ended up with tonight.  They did keep getting cuter and cuter...I'm sure some super pinter-person will do them up even nicer and get great pics.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Whole 30 Chicken Pot Pie!!
No kidding! 

Pot Pie is one of those recipes where there are endless attempts to "paleotize" the crust or the rich, gravy like filling... And some look beautiful, but that doesn't fly when you're on a Whole30.  Well, I am wrapping up the end of the first week of a whole30, so they didn't work for me.  And I have leftover chicken...

What I came up with is a little more involved than I usually do, but I wanted a rich base to hold it all together, and I didn't want to use any nuts or thickeners at all.  So it's not a pie... but it's the flavor of the pot pie I love, not the crust, so really- do we need it? Paleotized or not?  I think not, and I also think it turned out absolutely delish.

Paleo Pot Pie

2 cups bone broth
a few split pigs feet - optional?
1 heaping teaspoon lard

1-2 T of oil of choice (coconut or rendered fat is what I tend to use)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup diced sweet potatoes

3+ cups chopped leftover chicken (or whatever you have on hand)

1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon sage
S&P to taste

First:  Simmer the two cups of stock until reduced to 3/4 cup or so.... I wanted it RICH, so I added a split pig's foot and my carrot and onion trimmings and simmered it covered until the liquid was reduced to somewhere between 3/4 and 1 cup.
Strain out the solids and bring it back to a simmer.  (make sure its hot)  Then remove from heat and whisk in a heaping tablespoon of cold fat.... I was aiming for the richness obtained when this is done with butter, without the butter... eh, maybe it was just adding a little good fat, whatever, the final dish I'll stick with this.

Next:  In a large frying pan... brown the chopped onion in oil... then add all the other chopped veggies and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften.

Then: stir in the chopped leftover chicken and stir in.  Add thyme, sage, S&P and stir.
Stir in the reduced cup of stock and adjust for taste.  (I also added a smidge of marjoram)
Pour into a greased pie pan and press it in nice and snug.
Cover with foil.

Bake in 350F oven for about an hour... let set for a few minutes and then be amazed.

(If you don't want to mess with reducing stock...I guess you could cook a little bit of sweet potato or turnip or something in about a cup of broth or stock, smush it up, and use that instead...)
Beef and Butternut Soup

Photo credit to Angie!  :o)

I should call this post "Basic Soup 101" because most of my soup endeavors start off about the same.  One chopped onion, 1 pound ground beef, 1 can chopped tomatoes, 1 can tomato paste, and as much stock as you can fit in the pot.  After that, anything goes.  Today I finished off some mushrooms and carrots, added some spices, set it to simmer in my favorite cast iron skillet, and headed to Costco....where I found pre-diced butternut squash!  I added half the package to the pot when I got home and simmered a little more until the squash was tender.  I saved a serving for Angie to try, and smashed the rest of the squash before I served it to my kids.  They think they don't like pumpkin or things that look like pumpkin.... HA.  

Basic soup:

1 onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
Beef stock - 4 cups approx.
S&P+other spices

Brown onion and ground beef in a few T of your oil of choice... (I use fat rendered from making bone stock....can't beat it!) I also use pretty lean ground beef-- if you use fattier beef you may not need oil, drain excess if needed.


Today, I added chopped carrots and mushrooms, pepper, and about a teaspoon of mixed italian blended spices.

Add chopped tomatoes and paste

Stir to mix well and add broth or stock.  I just aim to fill the pot... for me and my stock pot that's about 4 cups.  

Simmer on low until done.  Or until you come back from the store and add:

2 cups diced butternut squash which case, simmer until squash is tender.  

Salt to taste and enjoy!  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Veggie Pork Soup

Nothing warms me up in winter like a delicious soup. And with busy evenings full of cross country skiing, girl scouts, and swimming nothing beats walking in the door and having a hot meal ready to eat. My idea for this soup came from a recipe I saw for sage pork chops. The seasonings go well with the ground pork and vegetables and taste even better the next day. Make extra for packed lunches; my girls ate it all week!

Serves 4

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 cup cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup roasted winter squash or sweet potato, cubed
  • 4-6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Fry ground pork until cooked through.
  3. Add the meat and all remaining ingredients to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Serve hot.

Monday, November 19, 2012

French Dijon Chicken and Green Beans

Since learning of the paleo lifestyle, I have been a fan of Melissa Joulwan at I am an even bigger fan since getting my hands on her cookbook, Well Fed. She presents two ideas in her book that have been just as valuable to me as the recipes themselves. First, she talks about a weekly cookup: spending time every weekend preparing food for the week. This has become a Sunday morning ritual in my house. Each of us picks out a dinner recipe to make through the week, set a timer, and spend the next hour laughing and having fun in the kitchen. The girls are responsible for cutting veggies for packed lunches and the dinner recipes we selected while I roast and fry up meats and prep some of the more complicated items. Her second concept is then using these prepped meats and vegetables to create super quick meals by simply heating and adding seasoning or a sauce.

I'd love to take credit for this creamy delicious dish, but Melissa's "Hot Plate" ideas inspired my 10-year old Sunshine to create this recipe all on her own.

Serves 3

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 3 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cups fresh green beans, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup baby tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup spicy dijon mustard (check ingredients to ensure it's paleo-friendly)
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir chicken into the hot oil. If chicken is pre-cooked, continue to the next step. Otherwise, stir fry chicken until cooked through.
  3. Add green beans, carrots, and tomatoes. Fry 3-5 minutes. 
  4. While veggies are cooking, mix remaining ingredients together to make a sauce.
  5. Pour sauce over chicken and veggies. Mix well.
  6. Cook until vegetables reach a desired softness. (We prefer them still crunchy!)
  7. Serve immediately.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Baked Smoothie

I recently followed an interesting online conversation regarding the tagging of recipes as Whole30. In many cases, recipes that contain non-compliant ingredients were incorrectly tagged as Whole30. Duh... they shouldn't be. However, the more controversial recipes were those than contained all compliant ingredients but did not necessarily meet the intent of the Whole30 program.

This is where my interest in the conversation suddenly increased.

When my daughters and I complete a Whole30, our intent is to spend 30 days ridding our bodies of toxins and eating the best we can by eliminating all the "illegal" foods prohibited during this program. My kids are 9 and 10. The promise of better health is not quite good enough motivation for them to want to eat this way. So my challenge, as mom and head chef of our household, is to entice them so that they want to adhere. Show them that I can take some of their old favorite dishes and turn them into Whole30 compliant dishes and usually, make them taste even better than before. I'm not talking paleo-ized mac-n-cheese and fried chicken. But do I look at recipes I've been making for years and seriously consider how I can improve them in a way that makes them healthy to eat? Heck yeah! And I don't feel I'm straying from the spirit of Whole30 by doing so.

So I apologize if I'm one of "them"... one of the people who has been tagging recipes as Whole30 that don't meet the intent of the program. I thought I've always made good judgement of what is or isn't. But maybe my perception of the program differs from what it is meant to be. I'm sorry and I will try to be more conservative in the future.

Like now... (tempted as I am, I will forego the Whole30 tag)

My daughter came home from school one day last week and proudly relayed to me how she turned down cupcakes being passed out for a friend's birthday. This is my sweet-tooth kid and I know the willpower it took for her to say no. A LOT. And so when she ended that story by asking if we could make a treat over the weekend, I gladly agreed.

I've seen many "cake in a cup" recipes and at some point realized they look suspiciously similar to our favorite PB Cup Smoothie. So here's my take on it... They're delicious and contain only Whole30 compliant ingredients.

Makes 9 muffins

  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond butter
  • 2-3 T 100% pure cocoa powder

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth.
  3. Grease cupcake pan or fill with liners.
  4. Divide batter evenly to make 9 cupcakes. Tins should be about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

French Country Curry

I think I first tasted curry in college, when my friend's French mother made us a deliciously rich and sweet and spicy gravy served over chicken and mashed potatoes. I loved the flavor from the moment it hit my tongue and soon after searched all my cookbooks (a very limited collection at the time) looking for something similar I could replicate. Finding nothing among my mostly Betty Crocker and Good Housekeeping recipes, I devised my own curry gravy of curry powder, chicken broth, cream, and honey. It was warming and comforting and tasted divine; my foray into a twenty year (and counting) love of curries. This recipe is a recent experiment inspired by that first curry fed to me by Mrs. O. and has quickly become our "new favorite" curry.


Serves 4-6

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 pound paleo-friendly smoked sausage, sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Japanese eggplant, cut in half length-wise and thickly sliced
  • 1 zucchini or yellow squash, cut in half length-wise and thickly sliced
  • 1 cup green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2-4 T Thai yellow curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 1 cup sugar-free applesauce 
  • 1-2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2-4 tsp lime juice

  1. Heat oil in a dutch oven or large pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Fry the onion until it turns golden brown and begins to carmelize.
  3. Add the chicken and sausage and fry until the chicken is done. Frying the meats together will impart a nice savory flavor on the chicken. Remove the meat and set aside, leaving any liquid in the pan.
  4. Add curry paste to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes. The paste will become fragrant and may begin popping and sizzling.
  5. Add about 1/3 can of coconut milk and mix well with the curry paste. Fry for 5-10 minutes or until an oil sheen appears and the coconut milk begins to separate.
  6. Add the vegetables and fry 5 minutes, ensuring the veggies are covered with the curry paste and coconut milk mixture.
  7. Stir the meat back into pan.
  8. Add the remaining 2/3 can of coconut milk and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
  9. Add applesauce, fish sauce, and lime juice and mix well. Reduce the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes until the veggies reach a desired consistency.
  10. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Easy Asparagus Soup

My best soups get made when I clean out my refrigerator.  And this was no exception.  I had too much asparagus, (I blame Costco!) some slightly wilty mushrooms that were on their last legs, and not a whole lot else.  That's fine, not much else needed.  Beware the blending process...always a hazard.

Easy Asparagus Soup

1 onion, chopped
2-3 T of your favorite cooking oil
1 Cup (heaping!) chopped mushrooms

1 liter of stock or broth

3 cups chopped asparagus, woody ends removed

Several cranks of good fresh ground pepper
Salt or a squeeze of lemon juice to taste

Chop onion and cook in oil in your favorite soup pot for a few minutes while you chop the mushrooms.  Toss those in and let them cook for a few minutes while you prep the asparagus.  Keep a few of the prettiest tops if you want for a garnish.

Pour in stock and bring to a simmer.  Blanch the tops if you'd like for a minute or two, then scoop them out and set aside.  Add the rest of the asparagus and pepper, and cover.  Simmer until the asparagus is tender, 15-20 minutes.

With extreme caution!!!!! Blend small batches of the soup until smooth.  Taking the center hole cover off your blender lid and covering it with a towel helps.  Or use an immersion blender.  Or let it cool some first... but never underestimate the crazy disaster that blending hot liquids can become...

Right before serving, add a pinch of salt and/or a tiny bit of lemon juice.

***My kids do like soup, but they would look at this and declare "YUCK!" without hesitation.  So I called it "Invisible Soup" and had them cover their eyes while I fed them a taste.  They loved it. I wouldn't let them see it until they declared me master chef of the universe. :o)  Enjoy!***

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

What to do with the yummy "Pumpkin brains!!!" as we were calling them while we carved the pumpkins with the kids... Well, you can't waste them.  I had enough seeds to try 3 different flavors... its easy enough to do... the one thing I read about after that I didn't do was to soak them in salt water overnight.  Apparently it makes them a lot less tough, and I will definitely add that step next time.  Depending how often you want to check on the seeds, a variety of oven temps will work.  I used 325F and checked about every 5 mins. for a total of about 20-25 mins.  There was one recipe that called for balsamic vinegar that sounded good....maybe we need another pumpkin?


2 teaspoons melted coconut oil OR olive oil OR clarified butter
Teaspoon coarse ground salt, about as much pepper...
-mix with 1 1/2 cups cleaned pumpkin seeds and roast until lightly brown and crunchy.  Stir every 5-10 mins.

Warm Spice:

2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of cloves
salt to taste
-mix with 1 1/2 cups cleaned pumpkin seeds and roast until lightly brown and crunchy.  Stir every 5-10 mins.

Hot Spice:

2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
mix with 1 1/2 cups cleaned pumpkin seeds and roast until lightly brown and crunchy.  Stir every 5-10 mins.

I couldn't pick a favorite!

Pumpkin Joe

I wasn't sure what to call this... but it was just so scrumptious!  It almost ends up the consistency of mashed potatoes... I had it on lettuce, by itself, and here with a little avocado on top.

Pumpkin Joe:

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 spoon chopped garlic from a jar...

brown all the above in a pan with your go-to oil...


1 small can tomato paste
1 small can chopped green chili
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
S&P if desired
1 1/2 cups of water.  (Yes, that much water!  Or beef broth, or more or less to your liking... but even with 1 1/2 cups its pretty thick.)

Simmer stirring pretty much constantly for 10 mins or so, adding water as needed to get the consistency you want.  That's it!  Enjoy.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

I have two tweens. And we have been striving for a paleo lifestyle after many years of eating grain-ful, but otherwise generally healthy meals. I think one of the keys to keeping the girls "on board" with paleo is our ability to re-create past family favorites within this new paradigm. Today's challenge was to paleo-ize a commonly requested cold-weather Saturday lunch: canned Italian Wedding Soup. The girls have asked me to attempt this before but they couldn't decide on a replacement for the orzo or couscous usually found in this soup. I suggested we try veggies cut into tiny pieces and cooked al-dente and by some miracle, they agreed! I let the girls pick which veggies to try and they decided on carrots and zucchini. I julienned them with a mandolin slicer then further cut them into tiny orzo-sized pieces. We added the veggies at the last moment so they would maintain some of their texture and resemble a grain. This soup was an instant hit!


Serves 4-6

Meatball Ingredients:
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 T dried Italian seasoning
  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • salt and pepper 

Soup Ingredients:
  • 10 cups homemade chicken stock or paleo-friendly chicken broth
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, julienned and cut into tiny pieces*
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, julienned and cut into tiny pieces*

*I use a mandolin slicer to julienne the veggies into thin matchsticks.

  1. In a large bowl, mix the meatball ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Use a spoon to scoop the meat mixture and roll into small 1-inch balls. Set the meatballs aside.
  3. Pour stock/broth into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the meatballs, one at a time, and simmer for 10 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.
  5. Beat the egg in a small bowl and pour very slowly into the soup.
  6. Reduce heat and add the spinach. Simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Add the carrot and zucchini and serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Apricot-Cranberry Ginger Balls

If you haven't yet made your own homemade version of Lara bars... what are you waiting for?  The best site with the most versions I have seen is at Chocolate Covered Katie's blog.  This is NOT a paleo blog!  She's Vegan and does a lot of raw...and its all desserts.  BUT - her fudge babies are great, and they are paleo--well, most of them! The original recipe is very good, much like a chocolate brownie.  My kids love the "hot chocolate" flavored ones the best.  But today I wanted to use up some dried apricots, and was in the mood for something spicy.  

The basic recipe and procedure is really easy... almost equal amounts of dried fruit and nuts...add spices or cocoa... and blast it all in the food processor until it looks like coffee grounds.  See her site for more, but here is my recipe for today:

Apricot-Cranberry Ginger Balls

6 dried apricots
2 dried dates (big medjool ones, 3 or 4 if you have really small dates.)
1/2 cup dried cranberries.  

(Total amount of dried fruit is 1 cup!)

2/3 cup almonds

1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
pinch allspice
pinch ground cloves
pinch of salt

Dump all ingredients into a food processor and run it until it looks like coffee grounds.  Takes a while, but pay attention so you don't get paste.

Form into balls, or press into an 8"x8" pan and cut into squares.
Makes 16

(When I make these, I dump the finished mix onto cling wrap...form into a log, wrap the log in the plastic wrap and squeeze it together... then I unwrap the log and cut it into 16 pieces.  Then take the chunks and roll them by hand into bite sized balls.  The first time you try these you may think there is no way the mix will stick together, but it does!)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Alaskan Sourdough Pork

In local slang, a Cheechako is someone new to Alaska while a Sourdough is an Alaskan old-timer. This tangy and spicy barbecued pork is delicious enough to satisfy even the most crusty of old sourdoughs. Pre-paleo, my family loved the yummy barbecued meats grilled up at Sourdough Mining Company, a replica of an old mill house filled with gold mining memorabilia. Since it's impossible for me to eat there without indulging in their corn fritters and honey butter, we have steered clear from there for quite a while. This dinner was my successful attempt at serving the girls a Sourdough worthy meal!

Serves 4-6

Pulled Pork Ingredients:
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 pound pork loin roast
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper 

BBQ Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 cup liquid, reserved from the cooked pork
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 T fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1/4 - 1 T sambal olek (or another paleo-friendly hot sauce)
  • 1 T spicy brown mustard
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T frozen pineapple juice concentrate (100% juice)

  1. Place chopped onion in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Add the roast. Cut slits on the roast and embed a garlic clove in each one.
  3. Pour chicken broth over the roast.
  4. Cover with slices of bacon and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook meat on low for 6-8 hours, or until meat is cooked through and tender.
  6. Strain pork, reserving liquid and set aside.
  7. In a sauce pan, add all ingredients for the BBQ sauce.
  8. Simmer for 20 minutes, until sauce thickens.
  9. Stir pulled pork into the sauce and serve immediately.
For a complete sourdough dinner, serve with paleo coleslaw and sweet potato fries.

Paleo Coleslaw: Chop cabbage and carrots or use a pre-packaged coleslaw mix. Whisk together a dressing made with olive oil, rice vinegar, and spicy brown mustard.

Sweet Potato Fries: Peel 2 sweet potatoes and cut into fry size pieces. Soak in cold water for 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Drizzle with olive oil and spicy spice mixture (I like using berbere, an Ethiopian spice mix). Spread onto a cookie sheet and cook for 30-45 minutes at 400 degrees.

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    Beef Enchilada Stew

    It's Labor Day. Woo hoo... time to put away the white pants and pull out the slow cooker! OK. That's a lie. I don't own white pants AND I use my slow cooker year-round. But now that it's September and cool weather is upon us (at least in Alaska), I feel much more obliged to make slow cooking part of my weekly routine. Even on a holiday when I'm not coming home from a busy day at work and wanting dinner ready to go, there's something comforting and cozy about a slow cooked meal.

    Serves 4

    • 1 T coconut oil
    • 1 1/2 pounds stew meat, cubed
    • 3 slices bacon
    • 1/2 to 1 T cajun seasoning
    • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 can (28 ounces) El Pato enchilada sauce

    1. Add 1/2 T coconut oil and meat to the slow cooker.
    2. Cover with slices of bacon and sprinkle with seasoning.
    3. Cook meat on low for 4-6 hours, or until meat is cooked through and tender.
    4. Heat remaining oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
    5. Add garlic and fry until frangrant.
    6. Add onion and fry until it turns golden brown.
    7. Add enchilada sauce and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.
    8. Stir in contents of slow cooker, including the liquid. Cook 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
    9. Serve over roasted or stir-fried vegetables.

    Sunday, September 2, 2012

    Cran-Balgar Roasted Chicken

    We're kicking off a fresh start and new school year with a strict Whole30 challenge! The summer has been hectic but the girls and I are ready to get back on track with better eating habits. In addition to my commitment of providing "real" food meals in my home, I am getting back into the habit of posting our fab recipes online.

    This dinner was a complete experiment that turned out phenomenal! Sunshine wanted me to make a sweet-and-spicy sauce for the roasted chicken I was preparing. I wouldn't exactly call this sweet and spicy, but the gravy was so rich and delicious that we were fighting over who got to lick the pan!

    Serves 4

    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (or wheat-free tamari/soy sauce)
    • 1 T frozen cranberry juice concentrate (100% juice)
    • 1 T hot chili sauce (paleo-friendly)
    • 1 T coconut oil
    • 12 chicken drumsticks
    • 8 garlic cloves, skin-on
    • 1 onion, thinly sliced
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1 bag cabbage and carrot "coleslaw mix"

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Mix the balsamic, coconut aminos, cranberry juice, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Set aside.
    3. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.
    4. Sear chicken legs on all sides then add to the marinade sauce.
    5. Fry whole garlic cloves until lightly browned.
    6. Add the sliced onion and fry 3-5 minutes, until onions begin to brown.
    7. Place chicken legs back into the dutch oven, over the onions and garlic.
    8. Baste chicken with the remaining marinade.
    9. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
    10. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
    11. Serve over cabbage. 

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    Egg Masala and Tuna Curry

    It's the day after Easter and I have this in my fridge:

    We could have spent the next week or so having crazy-faced, hard-boiled eggs in our lunches... but I'm not that much of a hard-boiled egg fan to begin with. So instead of prolonging their life, I went about making a list of recipes where I could get rid of all the eggs in one go. My very uninspiring list consisted of egg salad. Not exactly what I was hoping for. Then I recalled that years ago, I came across an Indian curry calling for hard-boiled eggs. I have to admit my first reaction to seeing that was "why in the world would I waste a perfectly good curry sauce with eggs?" But over the years, the recipe has caught my attention more than once. That curiosity combined with the dozen plus eggs smiling at me from the fridge finally caused me to take action and give it a try. Fearing a big thumbs down from everyone in the family, I made a backup dish to accompany it: our favorite tuna curry, which I usually serve over a cabbage salad.

    The results? Pretty amazing. Not only did the girls gobble it down and beg for more, I surprised myself by going back for seconds! And... it was divine with the tuna! I will be adding this to my list of school night "quick fixes", for sure!

    Serves 4

    Egg Masala Ingredients:

    • 2 T coconut oil
    • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
    • 2-inch piece ginger, finely chopped
    • 3 cups tomato sauce
    • 4 tsp ground cumin
    • 2 tsp hot curry powder
    • 2 tsp ground coriander
    • 2 tsp lemon juice
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 4 T cilantro, finely chopped
    • 8 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced in half

    Egg Masala Directions:

    1. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. 
    2. Add onion and ginger and fry until onion begins to carmelize. 
    3. Stir in tomato sauce, spices, and lemon juice and simmer for 10 minutes. Add a little water if the sauce becomes too thick.
    4. Stir in cilantro. 
    5. Gently place eggs in the pan and spoon sauce over top. Heat until eggs are warmed through.

    Tuna Curry Ingredients:
    • 2 T coconut oil
    • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1-inch piece ginger, finely chopped
    • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
    • 3 small cans tuna, drained
    • 2 T curry powder
    • 1 T cilantro, finely chopped
    • 2 tsp lemon juice

    Tuna Curry Directions:
    1. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. 
    2. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno pepper and fry until onion begins to carmelize.
    3. Stir in tuna, curry powder, and cilantro and cook until tuna is hot. 
    4. Squirt with lemon juice and serve immediately.
    *Both these gorgeous dishes are inspired by recipes in cookbooks from Madhur Jaffrey.

    Saturday, April 7, 2012

    Pork and Cabbage Fryup

    The kiddos and I started a strict Whole30 challenge for the month of April to round out our first entire year of eating primal/paleo! The last couple months have been difficult due to extremely busy school and work schedules (perhaps apparent by my lack of posting here). However, I'm proud to say that even though we've treated ourselves with lots of dinners out and quick-fix meals at home, we've remained at least 90-95% paleo. We're now seven days into the challenge and feeling great. Even better, I've heard very little whining about/begging for "illegal" food items (although I did hear from a third party about someone eating a popcorn treat at school...). My oldest, Sunshine, is a real trooper. She is being exactly adherent to the rules of the game and has taken a pretty interactive role in helping me to plan meals. She also updates me daily on our progress: "21 meals down and 69 more to go".

    I previously posted our recipe for Naked Momos. This is one of my family's absolute favorite meals and a quick-fix for me when prepared "lazy mom" style. Earlier this week, I really wanted momos. We didn't have all the ingredients AND I wasn't sure if coconut aminos are ok for Whole30 anyway, so I switched up the spice mixture a bit and ended up with this goregous 20-minute stir-fry. (So delicious... even the spouse suffering from simultaneous kidney+gall stones ate some...)

    Serves 4

    • 1 T coconut oil
    • 1 pound ground pork
    • 3-inch piece ginger, grated
    • 1-2 T Asian spice blend of choice (I used Penzy's Bangkok Blend)
    • 1 bag cabbage and carrot "coleslaw mix"

    1. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
    2. Fry pork for 1-2 minutes, then stir in ginger and spice mix.
    3. Continue cooking until pork is cooked through.
    4. Stir in cabbage and cook until it reaches a desired tenderness.
    5. Serve. 

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Onion Ring Brekkie

    Who says you can't eat onion rings for breakfast??? This meal (which could be one of the best breakfasts I've ever made) was inspired by a photo my spouse found online a couple weeks ago: an egg cooked inside a thick slice of red bell pepper. This morning, shortly after I accidentally volunteered to make brunch without a single preconceived idea, this popped to mind. I'm sure making this with a bell pepper would have been tasty. But I'm a huge fan of sweet, carmelized onion and I'm positive that ingredient alone catapulted this into the "fantastic" category!

    • 1 T coconut oil
    • 1 large sweet onion, sliced into rings about 3/4-inch thick
    • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped (use the small, leftover inner rings from above)
    • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup asparagus, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 4 eggs
    • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
    • 1 avocado (optional)
    • lime juice (optional)
    • hot sauce (optional)

    1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet.
    2. Break the onion rings apart so you have 4 good rings. I found that keeping the rings 2 layers deep made the walls more stable once the onion cooked. Fry onions until they begin to carmelize on the edges. Flip over as needed.
    3. From here out, do not lift or flip the onion rings. Divide the chopped onion, pepper, and asparagus into fourths and place in each ring. Reduce heat to medium and fry a few minutes, until the veggies soften.
    4. Carefully crack and pour one egg into each ring. Cook over medium heat until eggs set and reach desired doneness.
    5. If using cheese, sprinkle over eggs and allow it to melt.
    6. If using avocado, scoop into a bowl and mash with a few squirts of lime juice.
    7. Remove eggy onion rings from skillet and serve with avocado. Top with a dash of paleo-friendly hot sauce. I served these with a slice of bacon.

    Sunday, February 19, 2012

    Indian in Sixty Minutes - Keema and "Aloo" Gobi

    I'm sending a shout-out to Leslie and Sandy, who are currently in India and torturing me with their online posts discussing the fabulous smells and tastes they are encountering. So naturally, when my spouse mentioned Indian food today, I caved in. Specifically, he requested Keema and commented that this has become one of his favorite comfort foods. Keema is like an Indian "Hamburger Helper"; a spiced ground beef mixture with peas and sometimes potatoes that can be prepared in a jiffy. I wanted a veggie dish to accompany this have been wanting to experiment with a Paleo Aloo Gobi for some time. Aloo Gobi is a brightly colored curry of potatoes and cauliflower, made popular in the US by its appearance in Bend It Like Beckham. I love the flavors of these two dishes and feel they compliment each other nicely and thanks to a couple quick tips, this lovely meal can be prepared in less than an hour!

    Keema Ingredients:
    • 1 T coconut oil
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 2 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
    • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
    • 2 pounds ground beef
    • 1 T ground cumin
    • 1 T ground coriander
    • 2-3 T garam masala
    • 1 cup green peas
    • lime juice, to taste

    Keema Directions:
    1. In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat.
    2. Fry the onion until it turns golden brown and begins to carmelize.
    3. Add the ginger and fry 1-2 minutes, until it becomes aromatic.
    4. Add the garlic and fry 1-2 minutes.
    5. Add the ground beef and mix well. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the meat is partially done.
    6. Stir in the cumin, coriander, and garam masala. Fry until meat is cooked through.
    7. Add the peas and cook until warmed.
    8. Stir in a few squirts of lime juice to desired taste.

    "Aloo" Gobi Ingredients:
    • 1 T coconut oil
    • 2 rutabagas, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
    • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
    • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
    • 1/2-1 jalapeno, finely chopped
    • 1 can tomatoes with chiles
    • 1-2 T curry powder
    • 1-2 T garam masala
    • 1 head cauliflower, broken into large pieces
    • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

    "Aloo" Gobi Directions:
    1. In a pressure cooker, heat the oil over medium heat.
    2. Fry the rutabagas, ginger, garlic, and jalapeno until the rutabags start to brown.
    3. Stir in the tomatoes and spices.
    4. Place pieces of cauliflower on top of the rutabaga and tomato mixture. Do not stir in.
    5. Cover with lid and bring to full pressure.
    6. Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes.
    7. Remove from heat and pressure to release naturally.
    8. Top with cilantro and serve.
    Note: The "Aloo" Gobi can be prepared without the pressure cooker. Steam or boil the rutabagas until cooked through then follow steps 1 through 4. Stir in cauliflower and simmer until tender.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Dairy-free lasagna, with zucchini...Lee-Zeehini?

    One of my daughters insists on the name, lee-zeehini. (lee-zee-nee) I don't know why, but whatever works! (and I apologize for the bad lighting!)

    I've tried the "substitute zucchini for pasta" route several times...and it usually works. But for some reason I had put off making lasagna for a looooong time. Not sure why, its easy and most love it. Oh wait! Now I remember--- my kids don't. I may have the only kids on the planet who didn't like lasagna, but they didn't...until now! (and I've always made really good lasagna!)
    I've done this twice before with my usual lasagna ingredients. Well, except noodles! ha ha But my usual stuff included cheese, and I wanted to try without the cheese. And what's not to love about pumpkin? Yum!

    K's LeeZeehini

    2 zucchini, sliced thin (1/4 inch or less... a mandolin would be perfect here. Thinner is better, but there is no need to go vegetable-peel thin.)
    1/2 of a small pumpkin-peel and slice to approx the same thickness as your zucchini
    10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeeze ALL the liquid out

    1 lb. ground meat
    1 small onion, chopped
    few cloves garlic, minced
    teaspoon or more of mixed italian herbs
    about 3 cans of tomato sauce - or more depending how saucy you like it.

    (if you have the time, salt the zucchini slices and let them sit to remove excess moisture - then rinse and pat dry)

    Brown the meat, onions, and garlic, then add herbs and sauce. I like to simmer it for a while if I have the time, it just tastes better-but you don't really need to if you're in a hurry.

    Spoon a little sauce in the bottom of your pan, then layer 1/3 the zucchini, 1/2 the pumpkin, 1/2 the spinach, and 1/3 the sauce. Repeat. Finish with the last of the zucchini and top with the remaining sauce.

    Bake in a moderate oven approx. 45 minutes. Much better if it sits a bit... if you can wait.

    ***My pan was a little smaller than the usual 13x9 I would normally use. May be thin in a 13x9-- can always add more veggies, or make in two loaf pans. And pumpkins and zucchinis vary so much in size, this is why I'm not a fan of following recipes, there are always so many variables! Use as much of those (and tomato sauce) as you need or want. The amount of the rest should be fine.***