Monday, 28 October 2013

Sunday Roast

It's Sunday and we are into our routine.  Have you noticed that as we age we like our routine more? No?  Then you must not be doing it right!  Luckily part of our routine includes eating better than we have in years and feeling better for it.

BP (before Paleo), Paleo Grandad's favourite meal was my nachos - corn chips, refried beans, sliced green olives, sliced black olives, and lots of Tex-Mex cheese melted on top (even though he is extremely lactose intolerant).  As a treat, I made nachos for him last night and they are no longer his favourite -  he was violently sick after.  I know - TMI, but lesson learnt, I don't think he will be asking for nachos again any time soon.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Paleo Make-up

As we age our skin changes, usually getting drier, but I found I also developed skin conditions that I have never had in all my 60+ years.  Eczema, dry skin to the point of cracking, breakouts and itchy scalp were making me crazy (ier).  There are companies (in the U.S., of course) that sell skin products with natural ingredients at a significant cost but I also found a few websites that had recipes for skin products using ingredients mostly found in the kitchen - arrowroot, baking soda, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut oil, jojoba oil and Castor oil (almost sounds like a recipe for cake, doesn't it).

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Sunday Roast from the 70's

No, the roast isn't from the 70's, the recipe is.

Remember when you (or your Mom) would make a pot roast using packages of Lipton Onion Soup Mix - a popular recipe in the 70's?  Lipton Onion Soup Mix has all sorts of over processed ingredients that we don't want to put in our system any more - onions (dehydrated), salt, cornstarch, onion powder, sugar, corn syrup, hydrolyzed soy protein, caramel colour, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, monosodium glutamate, yeast extract, natural flavors, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate - yuck!

While watching an episode of America's Test Kitchen I watched them recreate this dish with only two ingredients that were not Paleo - soy sauce and brown sugar - an easy recipe to Paleo-ize.

Fall is the perfect time for pot roast, so I had to make this roast for Sunday dinner with some roasted broccoli.  This is a put-everything-together, put-it-in-the-oven-and-forget-about-it kind of meal and you can never have too many of those.

Paleo Oven-Cooked Pot Roast
(original recipe from America's Test Kitchen)
Serves 6

For the roast:
4 lb. chuck roast (or other cut of beef suitable for long, slow cooking)
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2" chunks
6 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered (optional if you are strict Paleo and don't eat potatoes)
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos

For the rub:
3 Tbsp. arrowroot
4 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. coconut sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. celery seed

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Criss-cross two 30" x 15" pieces of aluminium foil in a large roasting pan.
    3.  Place the onions, potatoes, carrots, bay leaves and coconut aminos on top of the foil.

      4.  Combine all the rub ingredients in a small bowl.

       5.  Take the string off your roast and divide it in two pieces at the natural seam.  Cut off any large
             pieces of fat or tissue and then lay the roasts on top of the vegetable mixture.

       6.  Pat the roasts dry and rub the spice mixture all over both sides of the meat - use all the spice

   7.  Now grab opposite corners of the foil and fold together tightly.  Do the same to the other corners
        sealing the package.

   8.  Place the roasting pan in the oven and leave it for 4-1/2 hours.

  9.  Remove the roast from the foil, tent with another piece of foil and let rest for 20 minutes.

 10.  Discard the onions from the vegetable mixture and move the carrots and potatoes to a serving
        dish and cover to keep warm.

 11.  Pour the pan juices through a gravy strainer to remove any extra fat.

 12.  Serve by slicing the roast and pouring the sauce over the meat and vegetables.

Paleo Grandad and I got four dinners and two lunches from this recipe.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Benefits (and yumminess) of Bone Broth!

If you haven't already tried making bone broth (different from chicken stock) you really should give it a try.  It is inexpensive and really easy to make, especially if you have a 6-quart slow cooker.

Bone broth made from good quality bones (i.e. pasture-fed, healthy) has numerous health benefits:
  1. Boosts the immune system if you have a cold or the flu.
  2. Nutrient dense food.
  3. Improves digestion.
  4. Good source of amino acids.
  5. Contains magnesium, phosphorus and calcium for bone and tooth health (helps remineralize tooth enamel which we all lose as we age).
  6. Supports joints, bones, hair, skin and nails from the collagen in the broth.
  7. Some studies say it even helps eliminate cellulite - and who wouldn't want that.

Friday, 18 October 2013

The Dangerous Office Treats

It's a Friday in the office and, for our office, a little celebration for Healthcare Assistants Day so, of course, someone had to bring in treats - and they didn't bring in vegetables!  BTW - I am not in the picture - just some of my work colleagues.

If you still work outside the home, you probably have experienced the office treat problem many times.  What to do?

You can always make sure you have a Paleo treat or other acceptable Paleo food with you at all times (additive-free jerky, nuts, a little non-sulphured dried fruit) so if you are surprised by office treats, you have something to healthy to eat while everyone else in your office chows down on the fat and sugar laden stuff - won't  you feel virtuous?

If you know ahead of time that there are going to be office treats, bring a suitable Paleo treat (lots of Paleo treat recipes on Pinterest or the many Paleo blogger sites out there).  OR

Just give in, have one treat - over and done with - get back on track and don't beat yourself up about it.  So...guess which treat I had from the selection in the picture?

Paleo Grandad was working yesterday (moving fancy cars around a lot all day) and his day finishes when he is done so I never know when he will be home for dinner on those days.  I do the prep work when I get home and then when he lets me know he is on his way I start cooking, but he got caught in a traffic jam and I ended up eating before he got home.  On the menu was Paleo Chicken Strips (a combination of two different recipes - one from The Paleo Mom and one from Paleo Comfort Foods) and they were delicious.  I had the leftovers for lunch today.  The side is oil and vinegar coleslaw with a handful of dried cranberries mixed in.

Paleo Chicken Strips

(Serves 4)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

2 large chicken breasts
1 cup almond flour
1/2 bag of pork rinds
1 tsp. (more or less depending on the heat you like) chipolte powder
2 eggs, beaten in a large bowl
2 Tbsp. olive oil or coconut oil
  1. Cut the chicken breasts into strips - long or short - up to you (this is easier to do if the chicken breasts are still slightly frozen).
  2. Put the chicken strips in the bowl with the beaten eggs and stir to coat. 
  3. Place the almond flour, pork rinds and chipolte powder in a food processor and pulse until you have everything combined.
  4. Roll the chicken strips in the flour mixture and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Drizzle the oil over the strips and bake for 20 minutes or until browned and crispy.
  6. I served the strips with some of the Golden BBQ sauce for dipping.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Are Baby Boomers Set in Their Ways?

Raise your hand if you are a Baby Boomer and you are not set in your ways?  Yeah, that's what I thought.  But maybe, as Baby Boomers who expect to live for another 20-30 years and want to be healthy enough to enjoy that time, we need to re-think our diet.

I have another work colleague (my age) who is trying (and succeeding) in losing 25 lbs. by counting calories and eating chemical-laden protein bars and an apple for lunch.  His motivation is to lose some weight around his middle before his European vacation and to use the new calorie-counting app on his phone.  As I said, he has succeeded so far, but at what cost to his health?  Anyone who has yo yo dieted for most of their adult life will know that no diet works if you can't sustain it.  As soon as you get sick of protein bars and start eating real food again, back comes the weight, the spare tire and the physical effects of being overweight. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Thanksgiving Dinner for Eight

Granddaughter Emma's Thanksgiving dinner plate.
It\s Canadian Thanksgiving dinner! You have to have turkey (I think it's a law), cranberry sauce, stuffing (or dressing), Brussels sprouts (my law), mashed potatoes cauliflower and gravy, so I have been scouring my many Paleo cookbooks for ideas. I found many delicious recipes and with some of our traditional Thanksgiving favourites already being Paleo (turkey!), not a lot is different from the Thanksgiving dinners we all grew up with.  Unfortunately, I was so busy cooking and serving, I didn't get the pictures I needed for the blog - sigh - but the food was good.  Two days of cooking. half an hour of eating and another forty-five minutes to clean up.  A lot of work but worth it to have the family together.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Paleo Turkey Burger and Kale Chips

If you work in an office you are probably faced with kind co-workers who bring in food - usually something full of gluten and sugar.  Normally, I can resist by thinking of the stomach ache I will have if I eat the treat but, this morning I succumbed to waffles.  Was it worth it?  While I was chewing - yes, 5 minutes later - (sigh) no, they weren't worth it.  Something in my brain switches off when I decide to eat a treat knowing I will pay for it, but I do it anyway.  Over and done now, back on track for the rest of the day (the waffles are all gone anyway).

My favourite cooking shows are America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country and, while most of their recipes are not Paleo, I get lots of ideas for recipes that I can try to Paleo-ize.  On one episode recently they made Potato Buns and Turkey Burgers, with a trick so the turkey is not dry (one reason I don't use ground turkey very often).

Monday, 7 October 2013

Time to Stock the Fridge

Slow-cooker Beef and Butternut Squash with Cauli-Mash
Those baby boomers who still work (like me), probably still do your grocery shopping on the weekend.   I do my grocery shopping for the week, along with the prep work and pre-cooking, so when I come home after a long day, it takes me about half an hour to get dinner on the table.  Unless you just use all frozen vegetables - those without sauces or sugar are just fine - you need to shop for fresh produce each week and we eat a lot of vegetables.

You may think that because it is called the "Caveman" diet, that the Paleo way of eating is mostly meat - not so.  It is mostly vegetables, with protein next, then fat, then nuts and seeds.  If you buy the vegetables that are in season and locally grown - right now pumpkins, squash, cabbage, rutabagas, Brussels sprouts, beets and sweet potatoes in our part of the world - it is more budget friendly.  Here is what I bought for this week.

I already had some beets, cabbage and mushrooms left from last week along with some fresh kale so I just added another bunch because we eat a lot of kale.

So, what am I doing with all this?
  • Kobucha squash - baked with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to go with the roast free-range chicken and coleslaw for Saturday night dinner.
  • Butternut squash and leeks - used to make Rubies and Radishes Slow Cooker Beef and Butternut Squash Stew.  It makes enough for three meals for two people and is scrumptious.
  • Kale - to make kale chips to go with the turkey burgers.  The recipe will be on the Friday blog.
  • Brussels sprouts - cleaned and prepped to add to ground beef (seasoned with Magic Mushroom Powder), served with a baked sweet potato for a quick dinner later this week.
  • Cauliflower - to make Cauli-Mash as a side dish for meatloaf (with Paleo BBQ sauce) and coleslaw. 
  • Broccoli - roasted with cauliflower for a side dish with baked chicken legs.
  • Sweet potatoes - our local supermarket had these huge sweet potatoes on for 49 cents a pound so I stocked up.  Paleo Grandad shreds them and fries them with peppers in ghee to go under his breakfast eggs.  I will make baked sweet potato fries, bake them and boil them to use in various recipes throughout the week.
  • Cabbage - for oil and vinegar coleslaw and stir fried with egg on top for breakfast.
  • Bananas - for when I just have to have something sweet.
  • Plantains - either for plantain pancakes again, or I'll let them ripen more and fry them in coconut oil for a starch to accompany some pork chops and cabbage later this week.
Buy all the vegetables that look good to you that week (organic if it is in the budget but, if not, don't worry - just buy lots of vegetables), buy enough protein (including eggs) to allow for protein at all three meals, buy some good fat (coconut oil, olive oil, ghee), some fresh fruit for your sweet tooth (but limit to once a day if you are trying to lose weight) and there you have it.

It is Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and my two sons and all their children are going to be with us for dinner for the first time in a long time so I am in a planning frenzy to create the most delicious Paleo Thanksgiving dinner for nine people - stay tuned.

Friday, 4 October 2013

What's for Breakfast?

I am happy to report my sleep is getting better - I have had several nights this week where I have slept for 7+ hours - what a difference it makes physically and mentally.  My favourite breakfast start is coffee with full fat coconut milk and coconut sugar which I drink on my way to work.  I take breakfast to eat an hour or so later.  Whole30 recommends that you have real food first, then coffee but I just can't seem to eat as soon as I get up.  So what have I done differently this week: switched to decaf coffee and worked a four day week (which I am trying to do regularly) - that's it.
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