Tag Archives: paleo

Shrimp Scampi

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So, my husband made dinner. I’m still in shock.

Here is how he did it:

Ingredients:

  • 1lb de-veined jumbo shrimp
  • 4 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

Directions:
In a skillet heat coconut oil, butter, and garlic on medium high heat until fragrant. Add shrimp. Cook until pink on one side, then flip. About 3 minutes per side. Serve with melted butter.

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Paleo chicken legs, fast!

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My little cave-family eats more like a pack of saber-toothed tigers. They eat a LOT! I pride myself on my meal planning (and quantity planning) abilities, but sometimes I fall short. When my fridge is bare I fear I will be eaten next. So, I always have a package of organic chicken legs in the freezer….it just might save my life someday.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 large packages of organic chicken legs (the dark meat is the healthiest part of the chicken, so ditch the chicken breasts)
  • Coconut oil for smearing
  • Spices (this time I used salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375*. Grease a glass baking dish with coconut oil. Placed legs in dish and pat dry with paper towels. Smear with coconut oil. Season liberally with spices, they add a nice texture and crust. Bake until a meat thermometer reads 165*. You can baste with the juices as it cook,s but that’s totally optional. Who has time for that while fighting the family off with a wooden spoon anyway?!

How to cook the perfect steak

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I ate a limited amount of red meat during a weird phase in my 20’s. Then one day I started to crave red meat and decided to reincorporate it back into my diet. For me, cooking a steak was definitely the most intimidating way to prepare red meat. Growing up in Minnesota, I was VERY familiar with cooking ground meat because we are like the hotdish capital of the universe! After much trial and error I have come up with a method that is very easy, not intimidating at all, and super tasty. Move over hotdish, Mama’s making steak tonight. If you don’t have access to quality grass-fed meat you can order from US Wellness Meats, we order from them frequently and everything we have ordered has been amazing!

What you need:

My method:

  • About one hour before you plan to cook your steak, take it out of the fridge and put it on a plate. Cover it with coarse sea salt and rub it in. Do this on both sides. The salt will dissolve.
  • Next get out your pan, I prefer to use cast iron because it heats evenly and it is what my Dad always uses in his kitchen. I always listen to my parents. (Hi Mom and Dad)
  • Rinse the salt off of your steak
  • Get your pan HOT!!!
  • Hold your steak with tongs and find the fatty side of the steak. Push the fatty side of the steak down on the pan until some of the fat melts and greases the pan. Then put your steak in the pan, season with salt and pepper, and let it cook. Once it browns, flip it. Cook and season the other side. Remember not to over-cook your steak. The meat will continue to cook even when you remove it from the heat source. Use the finger test to check if it’s done to your liking. You can also use your meat thermometer.
  • I like to melt a little bit of butter on the top of my steak after its cooked. Let it melt and dig in.

Coconut butter, how do I love thee

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I am IN LOVE with coconut butter. It was my crutch when I was dying for sweets during the “21 Day Sugar Detox” (see sidebar for more information). Well, recently I stumbled upon a new product and I think I am in LOVE! Nikki’s Coconut Butter comes in a variety of flavors and I don’t even know where to begin. Just read the labels and you will see that this company has created something amazing! Vanilla.Cake.Batter….’nuff said!

Healthy GREEN waffles for St. Patrick’s Day!

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It’s St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow and while the corned beef is cooking today we are whipping up a huge batch of green waffles! Paleo Parents came up with an amazing recipe and we tripled it and changed it up a bit. These waffles are green inside, due to a chemical reaction between the sun-butter and the baking soda….very cool! Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium banana
  • 3 medium apples, peeled and cored
  • 1 (16oz) container of sun-butter (or you can use smooth almond butter)
  • 6 medium pastured eggs
  • 3 TBSP arrowroot powder
  • 3 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • coconut oil for greasing waffle iron

Directions:

  • Puree apple and banana in a food processor.
  • Use the whisk attachment on your electric mixer and whip sun-butter on high for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffed.
  • Add puree and remaining ingredients to whipped sun-butter and continue to whip until combined.
  • Grease your hot waffle maker with coconut oil (for each waffle you make).
  • Use about 1 ladle of batter per 8-by-4-inch waffle onto hot waffle iron for 3-5 minutes until browned. Do not fill up entire waffle maker, leave about 40% unfilled so that the batter can spread. If your waffle is soft or floppy, it’s not ready yet – keep cooking for another minute or two!
  • Eat immediately or store flat in freezer and make your own breakfast by reheating in toaster – the waffles will be firm enough
  • Makes about 2.5 dozen!

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Bacon, onion & brussel slaw

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During the week I love to make quick meals that require minimal clean up, preferably only one pan. This week I was scrounging through the fridge and found a few leftover items that I decided to throw into my one pan and see what happens. Voila! Bacon and onion brussel slaw was born. This recipe takes about 10 minutes, so it has quickly become a favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages shredded brussel sprouts (from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 package apple smoked bacon (also from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • salt and pepper
  • balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  • Slice bacon and onion and add to pan
  • Cook over medium heat until bacon is starting to get crispy and onions are brown
  • Add balsamic to deglaze the pan, and scrape the bacon bits off the bottom using a wooden spoon
  • Dump in the shredded brussel sprouts and mix everything together, adding more balsamic to the taste you desire. Salt and pepper.
  • Cover the pan and let it steam over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. It’s just that easy!

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Kombucha fruit gummies = gut healing nirvana!

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I have been getting a lot of recipes for homemade gummies through the blogs that I follow and I have made a fair amount of gummies in the past for the kiddos. This week, I received a recipe for kombucha gummies. Brilliant! The gut healing gelatin combined with the probiotics in the kombucha make for one healthy snack! These would be especially helpful for someone who is suffering from a gastrointestinal illness. I am never one to follow recipes exactly though, so I made up my own version.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups kombucha divided
  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 5 Tbsp gelatin powder

Directions:

Blend 1 cup kombucha, the mango, and the banana until smooth. In a sauce pan heat 1 cup kombucha over low heat (too much heat will destroy the probiotic content). When the kombucha is warm to touch, whisk in the gelatin 1 Tbsp at a time whisking constantly. Slowly adding the gelatin is important to avoid clumps. When all the gelatin is incorporated, add to the fruit puree. Mix everything together and pour into fun shaped ice-cube molds. If you don’t have molds just pour into a shallow pan and when it’s set you can cut into squares.

Running in the snow! The health benefits of outdoor exercise

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Minnesota is getting nailed with snow right now and I could not be happier for two reasons:

1) I don’t have to commute to work today

2) I absolutely love running in extreme weather conditions!

So with our current snowfall averaging 1″ per hour I hit the trails. Exercise in the outdoors is superior to hitting the old treadmill (aka cortisol inducer) for a number of reasons. Mark Sisson writes extensively about moving often and lifting heavy things and he is known for beach running while toting large objects (snow running feels very similar to sand running). Well, out there bounding through the snow banks, I felt a bit like Grok! I made sure to do a few sprints as well (like any good Paleo person would do!). Sprints are something that I have incorporated into my running and have seen great benefits. I have also minimized my long runs in an attempt to decrease my adrenal stress. But on a day like today I had to put in a longer run because the benefits outweighed the negative cortisol effect.

Here are some of the benefits of exercising outdoors:

  • Natural terrain means more variability in the workout and muscles worked. For example, hills and uneven trails strengthen your ankles and work different muscle groups than just running on a flat treadmill would do.
  • Increased Vitamin D production. Ten to 15 minutes of sunshine three times weekly is enough to produce the body’s requirement of vitamin D.
  • Improved oxygenation. Running through the woods is like running in a giant oxygen tank. Breathe deeply and let your body soak it up!
  • Some studies have found that people who exercise outdoors (as compared to indoor) have lower blood levels of cortisol.
  • Exercising in nature improves mood and connects you to the earth. I know I get a huge mood lift after a run outside. The treadmill tends to depress me.

Check out how deep the snow was on the trails in my photo below. It’s still coming down….I might just have to go out for round 2 later on!

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How to brew kombucha

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In our household we go through 4 gallons of kombucha per week (yes you read that right)! Before I started brewing it myself, we spent a hefty amount of cash on the habit. I admit I was a bit intimidated to start brewing it myself (what the heck is a SCOBY?!), but I hiked up my big girl panties and gave it a try. The method to my madness has evolved over time. Here is my technique…

I am going to break this up into initial ferment and second ferment (for those over-achievers out there)

Initial ferment:

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon distilled water
  • 2 green tea bags (for the antioxidant content), NOT caffeine-free
  • 2 black tea bags (you can even get the flavored kind, my family likes peach)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup kombucha (either from a previous batch or store bought)
  • 1 SCOBY

Directions:

Bring the water to a boil and add tea bags and sugar. Allow it to steep 20 minutes. Remove tea bags and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour into a large glass vessel of some sort (we use old gallon pickle jars). Allow to cool. Once cooled, add kombucha (for proper pH) and your SCOBY. Cover with a cloth and put a rubber band around the top. You want the kombucha to be able to breathe, but you don’t want any critters getting in there. Now, set in a low traffic area where there will be a pretty constant temperature, like an unused room or under the sink. Now, wait about 5 days. Depending on where you live and what time of year it is (warmer climate = faster brew). With a clean spoon, sample it. If its sour, you’re ready for the second ferment (if you plan to do this step). If its still sweet, give it a few more days. Always use a clean spoon, and no double-dipping! When you have achieved sourness, your kombucha is ready to drink. But, for those of you who want it carbonated, you will have to do a second ferment. I always second ferment.

The second ferment:

You will need:

  • Glass bottles (I usually fill 6-7 bottles from a 1 gallon jar of kombucha) The kind of bottles that can withstand pressure, as the carbonation creates quite a lot of pressure and the glass can break. I reuse old kombucha bottles.
  • Fruit juice, either fresh or store bought (we use peach juice with our peach tea). The second ferment is where you can have fun with it, mix up flavors until you find one you really like. My family loves peach and strawberry/lemonade. Try adding fruit to it.

Directions:

Remove the SCOBY from the jar and set aside to be used in your next batch. You will grow a new SCOBY with each batch, they can be divided and shared with a friend or stored in a “SCOBY hotel” in your fridge for futre use (see photos below). Pour a small amount of fruit juice in the bottom of each jar. I pour 1 Tbsp into each jar (not too much, depends on how much sugar content you want). Then add kombucha to the top of the jar and put on the lid. Continue to do this with all the jars until the kombucha is all used up. Put the jars back in the same place the kombucha had been and let them sit for a few more days. The longer they sit, the more carbonated it becomes. But, if it sits too long it will become vinegar. My general rule of thumb is no longer than a week. The sugar in the juice produces the second ferment, as the bacteria/yeast eat the sugar they produce CO2 (essentislly its a bacteria/yeast fart…yum!) Then refrigerate and enjoy!

I have a rotation of three batches going at all times (thats 12 gallons of buch!). Once a week is kombucha making day. On this day I brew up 4 gallons, bottle the 4 gallons from two weeks ago (for the second ferment), and rotate the 4 gallons from the previous week to the front for bottling next week. This means my initial ferment is two weeks long, and my second ferment is 1 week long. I store all of this in a back room in our basement that stays pretty much the same temp all year long. Each week on kombucha making day, I put about 28 bottles of carbonated wonderfullness into the fridge for our consumption during the week. This process takes me about 30-45 minutes start to finish. Once you get the system down, its a cake-walk.

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Whew! Are you overwhelmed by my method?! You do NOT have to start out doing this much, just stick to the one gallon and increase as your needs demand.

Feel free to contact me via the form below with any questions….or to order a SCOBY.

Paleo pancakes, four ways

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My kids request Mickey Mouse pancakes EVERY.SINGLE.WEEKEND! So, I do as I’m told (after all, this is healthy food they are requesting!) and I usually make a triple batch so I have some on hand for the week ahead. I’m trying to mix it up a bit though and sneak in some added nutrition.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Whip up some pancakes and add any of the above ingredients (Clockwise from the photo above):

  • Cocoa pancakes: add cocoa powder to the batter and dust with cocoa powder to serve. Top with grass-fed butter pat (I shaped it into a heart).
  • Blueberry: add the berries to the batter. Done.
  • Real fruit snacks: pour the batter into the pan, press fruit into the batter. Cook. Flip. (in the picture above, this was before I flipped the cakes).

The kids love to figure out what’s inside of their cakes. Yum!