April 2013

18 posts

Virginia Is For Hunter-Gatherers' Spicy Tomato Basil Sauce

I’m excited to welcome Brent and Heather as guest bloggers! 

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Brent and Heather are the adorable and talented couple behind Virginia is for hunter-gatherers, a paleo blog dedicated to health and wellness through home-cooked meals. I first discovered their blog last year when I peeked in on a burger party they threw with Russ Crandall. Now, that’s my kind of party.

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After losing over 70 pounds collectively, Brent and Heather spend their free time cooking and blogging their real-food passion for the world.  People: Do yourselves a favor and sign up for weekly new recipes at vahuntergatherers.com or join them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Ever since that fateful day last November when I drooled over their inventive burger combinations, I’ve been hooked on their clean, unfussy styling and photography. Plus, their recipes are always simple and delicious. I’d be a dummy if I didn’t ask them to help me with a blog post and, thankfully, they agreed to write one. Without further ado, here’s Brent and Heather’s Spicy Tomato Basil Sauce!

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Once upon a time, when Heather and I first started our own documented cooking adventures, we were pretty lost.  Still in the initial sticker shock/grief period of, “But what can I eat?,” we spent a lot of time scanning the internet looking for “paleo-friendly” recipes and meal ideas.  Michelle’s blog was one of the first I came across, as I was a pretty intense tumblr addict.  Once I moved to Virginia and was juggling two jobs, tumblr went away, but Nom Nom stayed.  I later found out the connection between fitbomb and nomnompaleo, and I was excited to see a pair that really thought about fitness and health when it comes to movement and diet.  Plus, there’s the added benefit of following the family adventures since I’m not quite ready to enlist my own little army of helpers.

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#recipe #paleo #primal #gluten-free #guest post #tomato sauce
Paleo Eats: 4/27/13

Hey, look! A new Paleo Eats! Remember when I used to post every single day about what I ate? Things have been more than a little crazy over here (and you’ll find out why soon enough!), so photographing and editing daily posts about my meals has taken a backseat to family time. But yesterday, I whipped out the trusty camera again to capture a few food-related Kodak moments.

We were already behind schedule by the time we woke up. Henry was dashing off with power tools to Lil-O’s co-op preschool for a mandatory maintenance day, while I stayed home to help Big-O with his science project. So for a quick, hearty breakfast, I made everyone fried eggs over leftover Pressure-Cooked Kale & Carrots.

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While Lil-O busied himself with his Lego collection, Big-O and I turned our focus to his second-grade science project: Making a poster to show how he made yogurt. (Yeah, I know it’s not Paleo, but for you dairy-abstainers, you should definitely check out this recipe for this Simple Coconut Milk Yogurt.) 

Want to see how we transformed a liquid into a solid with the magic of bacteria?

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#paleo eats #yogurt #paleo #primal #lamb #gluten-free
Forky Friday: 4/26/13

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Spring has sprung in my neck of the woods, and the stands at the farmers’ markets are brimming with crisp tender greens and baskets of bright red, juicy strawberries. After a chilly winter cooped up indoors, I’m ready to cook up a bunch of vegetables and fire up the grill. In this week’s edition of Forky Friday, I’ve got links to inspiring cooking videos and recipes that will help you get your groove on in the kitchen!

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#Forky Friday #asparagus #The Food Lab #Chris Kresser
Thanks, The Kitchn (and YOU!)

Wow! Henry and I were tickled pink this morning after reading The Kitchn’s wonderful review of the Nom Nom Paleo iPad cooking app. More than anything, we truly appreciate that Emma, the reviewer, took the time to explore every little feature that we lovingly and painstakingly crammed into the app — many of which are impossible with a physical cookbook.

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(Image courtesy of The Kitchn)

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#The Kitchn #Paleo #Primal #ipad app
Look, Ma! I'm Cooking With Chef Michael Mina!

A few months ago, I won the Food Blogger to Media Star Contest thanks to many of your votes. As the grand prize, I recently filmed a guest spot cooking my Mexican Chocolate Pots de Crème recipe with Chef Michael Mina for Cook Taste Eat.

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Guess what? It’s finally up!

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17 notes
#Cook Taste Eat #video #Chef Michael Mina #Mexican Chocolate Pots de Creme
Spicy Salmon Cucumber Bites

Want to impress your pals with an elegant yet simple hors d’oeuvre? Look no further than these spicy salmon cucumber bites! If you’ve already got some cooked salmon and mayo in your fridge, you can whip these omega-3-fatty-acid-packed appetizers in a jiffy.

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Here’s what to gather to make 16 bites:

  • ¼ cup Paleo mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco
  • ½ pound cooked salmon
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and cut crosswise into ¾-inch thick slices
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 bunch chive sprigs (optional garnish)

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#recipe #salmon #cucumber #appetizer #hors d'oeuvre
Forky Friday: 4/19/13

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Today is an especially somber day, and I’m feeling a bit conflicted about posting a Forky Friday. I’m doing it because I made a promise to stay on schedule, but I totally understand if you want to skip today’s post and keep your eyeballs on Twitter instead. Admittedly, I was riveted by the rapid-fire #breaking tweets that were populating my feed last night.

If you’re looking for a bit of distraction from the heavy news of the moment, here’s what’s in store: An in-depth article about one of my favorite rancher, cool videos featuring spicy rabbit heads, coconuts, and amazing food art. Plus, you’ll get a peek at a couple of new Paleo cookbooks on my crowded kitchen bookshelf.

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Ready? Come along, friends.

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#forky friday #prather ranch #paleo #primal #Gather #PaleOMG
Vote Real Food (& The Domestic Man) FTW!

One of my friends needs your help, guys and dolls!

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Russ Crandall, the talented and humble blogger behind one of my favorite sites on the web, The Domestic Man, is a finalist in the Best Special Diets category in The Saveur 4th Annual Best Food Blog awards! I met him briefly for the first time this year at PaleoFX and he is one of the friendliest and most talented guys around. Plus, there is no ego at all with this soft-spoken and modest fellow.

Not only does he have spot-on recipes, story-telling, and photos — he has a super inspirational story about how he healed himself with real food. I begged him to guest post on my blog months ago, and he delivered one of my most popular recipes to date: Caldo de Langostinos! Click here for the recipe.

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Still don’t believe me? Check out these other fantastic recipes:

Now, here is where you come in: Please vote for The Domestic Man on Saveur’s page. Please note that you have to register with Saveur.com first before voting. If you voted for me last year, you’re already in the system. Voting ends at midnight, Friday, April 19th, so please hurry!

To vote, click here and then hover over one of the blog name and select “Register”, and fill out the form. Then return to the voting page and cast your vote.

Thank you!

15 notes
Asian Chicken Thighs

No, I’m not calling this dish “Asian Chicken Thighs” solely because I’m of Chinese ancestry. (Though come to think of it, I call dibs on putting the prefix “Asian” on every one of my recipes. They sound more exotic that way, don’t you think?) 

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Rather, this simple weeknight chicken dinner hits all the notes that you’ve come to expect from Asian comfort food. It’s savory, sweet, tangy, and packed with umami. And did I also mention that the marinade can be ready in just minutes?

Here’s what to gather to feed 4-6 people:

  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 slices of fresh ginger, each approximately the size of a quarter
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons macadamia nut oil or fat of choice
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon Red Boat fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or if you’re on the Whole30 or avoiding honey, use ½ small apple, peeled, cored, and diced)
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 pounds chicken thighs

Here’s how to make the chicken:

Dump everything except for the chicken into a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Then, bake the bird parts for 40 minutes at 400°F. The end!

What?!? You want to see step-by-step pictures? Man, you guys sure are demanding. But if you insist…

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#chicken #recipe #paleo #primal #Asian
I'm a Hoarder

As you can see, my shelves runneth over. Clearly, I have a problem, but I have no desire to curb this addiction.

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(Click the image above for a larger version!)

I’m always looking to expand my collection (a bunch more are on the way!), so I want to know all about your favorite cookbooks. Please share your recommendations in the comments section below!

20 notes
#cookbooks
I Left My Heart in Texas (Last Two Days in Austin, TX)

I know what you’re thinking: What the FEENA FOO?!?! (BTW, that’s Lil-O’s favorite made-up curse phrase of the moment.) Wasn’t your trip to Austin over TWO weeks ago?

Yes, grasshopper, your observation skills are very strong indeed. But I did tell you that I was gonna milk this trip for as many blog posts as possible. Before the gull wing doors lock on this modified DeLorean, gulp down a chill pill ‘cause we’re talking one last trip to Austin.

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Bright and early Easter morning, our posse met up with Melicious

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….her hubby Dave….

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….and Danielle for brunch at 24 Diner. See? We do eat several meals at this restaurant every time we’re in Austin. As luck would have it, a bunch of other like-minded Paleo food bloggers had the same idea and we ended up dining in a booth next to Julie, Charles, and baby Scott…

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…and waving out the window at a whole mess of other Paleo pals brunching al fresco.

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#Austin #eating out #dining out #paleo #primal
Forky Friday: 4/12/13

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In today’s edition of Forky Friday, I’m throwing link love at posts that defend the healthfulness of eating meat, stress the importance of knowing where your meat comes from, and help you choose the best blender for your buck. And as a bonus, I’ve included a video to a crunchy brunch idea that I’m guessing you’ve never tried before.

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Let’s dive right in!

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#Forky Friday #paleo #primal
Eating Out: Barley Swine & Lick Ice Cream (Austin, TX)

It’s been over a week since we left Austin, but in my mind, I’m still there, eating my way through the city with my friends.

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Want to see what we ate for dinner — just a few hours after finishing up our fantastic lunch at Elizabeth Street Cafe? Then let’s grab some plutonium and fire up the flux capacitor. Hop into my DeLorean, and we’ll travel twelve days back in time to relive my dinner at Barley Swine and dessert at Lick Ice Cream. (No, it wasn’t perfectly Paleo, but neither am I.)

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Ready to accelerate to 88 miles an hour?

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#eating out #dining out #Austin #restaurants
Eating Out: Elizabeth Street Cafe (Austin, TX)

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Despite the full slate of speakers, discussion panels, and cooking demos at PaleoFX, I attended only a few Saturday morning presentations before heading back to our bungalow in Austin to hang with my family. It was hard to sit still when I knew my boys were having fun without me.

Diana and Cathy joined us, and we all took a stroll down to Elizabeth Street Cafe for lunch. 

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You wouldn’t know it from its name, but Elizabeth Street Cafe serves up tasty Vietnamese fare. As I’ve mentioned before, I love Vietnamese food; the dishes always have the perfect balance of savory, sweet, tang, and crunch. Blending Chinese and French influences, the cuisine of Vietnam is pure alchemy, combining flavors, textures, and temperatures to create unique, surprising dishes that really pop.

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I’ve had my fair share of terrific Vietnamese grub, but as soon as we sat down, I knew this place was gonna be good. Why? Because there were bottles of homemade sriracha AND Red Boat Fish Sauce on every table. And you know how much I love both.

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Read on to see our chow!

**Spoiler alert: Continuing with the Paleo People Gone Wild theme, we ate some non-Paleo foods (Rice noodles! Rice wrappers! Sugar!), so skip this post if you don’t want your eyes to explode and melt off your face.**

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#eating out #dining out #Austin #restaurants
PaleoFX 2013: Day 2 Recap & Speakers' Dinner

So let’s pick up where we left off: Day 2 of PaleoFX.

Last Friday morning in Austin, we all popped up bright and early despite being “on vacation.” Before Cathy, Diana, and I left the house, we downed a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausage and bid adieu to the boys — who were still lounging around in their jammies. I’ll admit it: I was a wee bit nervous about my two cooking demos, but Diana and I had made a pact that we’d accompany each other onstage during our respective demos. Sidekicks!

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We were kinda like Cagney and Lacey. Laverne and Shirley. Kate and Allie. Ann and Nancy Wilson. Salt-n-Pepa (pre-Spinderella). (Sorry for the 80s flashback. My teenage years were formative, as you can see.)

Because my cooking demo was the first one scheduled, we hurried to the green room to check with the volunteers to see if there was anything else they needed from us. There, Diana and I were greeted by Brittanie Duncan, the head of the PaleoFX Food and Beverage Team. When she assured us that everything was all set, we shifted our focus to the FREE FOOD.

The green room was filled with yummy and nourishing swag like Primal Pacs

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Sea Snax

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SeaBear Wild Salmon packets

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Taza chocolate, Chameleon Cold Brewed Coffee, and steaming carafes of bone broth.

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#PaleoFX 2013 #paleo #primal
Forky Friday: 4/5/13

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It’s Forky Friday again, which means I’ve compiled a bunch of this week’s tastiest links for your reading pleasure.

What’s on tap, you ask? A couple of great recaps of PaleoFX, myth-busting articles from two of the top Paleo experts, a review of the best-rated Dutch ovens on the market, a cool new Kickstarter project, and some rib-sticking recipes!  

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#Forky Friday #paleo #primal #links
Deep in the Heart of Texas: Days 1 & 2

Guess what we did for spring break! Nope, we didn’t pile into an RV bound for a booze-soaked Florida beach to shed our inhibitions, clothing, and sobriety. Instead, we hightailed it to Austin so that I could attend (and do a couple of cooking demos at) PaleoFX — and where Henry and the kids could roam around town doing whatever it is that boys do.

On Wednesday, after hurriedly chucking some clothes and toiletries into our luggage and hustling our children out the door, we caught a flight for Austin.

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#Austin #PaleoFX #The Salt Lick #dining out #eating out #Paleo #primal #24 Diner
Failed April Fool's

When I greeted my eight-year-old this morning, Big-O grimly announced that he’d vomited in his bed. “AAAAGH!” I screamed. “This is a rental house, and we’re leaving today!”

He smiled. “April Fool’s!”

I cracked up. I love that my kids have inherited my love of pranks and tricks.

Unlike my son, I’d neglected to plan an April Fool’s prank today. But as I made breakfast in our rental house in Austin, I realized that the previous occupants had left a bunch of exquisitely un-Paleo items in the pantry, including peanut butter, generic cola…

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…and a humongous tub of sugar.

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March 2013

15 posts

Forky Friday: 3/29/13

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I’m typing this post in Austin this cloudy morning as I get ready for Day 2 of PaleoFX. I’ve got two cooking demos lined up this morning, during which I’ll show folks how to make my Sriracha

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…and Chilled Summer Berry Soup with Whipped Coconut Cream.

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I’m crossing my fingers that there’ll be no blender mishap (ouch!) and I won’t come across like a blithering idiot. It happens sometimes.

For you folks at home, I’ve still culled the interwebs for some of my favorite recent stories: the Top 10 Most Overrated Health Foods, a profile on one of my favorite Paleo chefs, and recipes for asparagus, salade niçoise, & the best-ever bone-in ribeye! I may even have a couple of exciting book previews for you to eyeball…

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#forkyfriday
Paleo Eats: 3/25/13

Hello, folks!

This post’ll be a quickie instead of a longie ‘cause I’m pooped after finishing another week of night shifts. I’m off a day early, but six consecutive 10-hour graveyard shifts in a row is still no walk in the park.

On Monday morning, I was ready to face-plant into bed as soon as I got home. Instead, I walked Big-O to school and pressure cooked a pot of spicy collard greens…

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…onions…

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…and bacon.

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#paleo #primal
Paleo Chawanmushi (Savory Egg Custard)

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Poke a spoon through the delicate, quivering surface of these savory Japanese steamed egg custards, and you’ll find a treasure trove of ingredients inside: diced seafood, poultry, and veggies. With just a few adjustments, I’ve come up with a flavor-packed Paleo version of chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し) that you can steam on the stove, bake in a water bath, or pop into a sous vide cooker.

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27 notes
#recipe #eggs #Japanese #Paleo
Forky Friday: 3/22/13

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Everyone ready for another edition of Forky Friday? This week, I’m sharing lots of tasty morsels from across the interwebs, including how to perfect your Paleo elevator pitch, first foods for your cavebaby, a selection of sweet and savory treats, and much more!

But first, let’s climb into my souped up DeLorean and travel back in time to Wednesday, when I spent the morning with the fine folks at Cook Taste Eat

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#Forky Friday
Paleo Eats: 3/18/13

Yay! Henry’s back from Asia, which means he’s back in his usual spot next to me on the couch, editing photos for this blog post as I type it out. With my resident photographer/editor at home recovering from jet lag and making up for lost time with the kiddos…

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… I was finally able to free up some time to tinker in the kitchen again.

My first recipe of the day was actually an old one: I rejiggered a blast from the past, Cinnamon and Coconut Pancakes.

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#paleo #primal #paleo eats
From Agra to Hong Kong

You may have noticed that the frequency of my posts has slowed this month. The explanation? Henry’s still traveling in Asia, which means I’ve been up to my eyeballs in mom-related duties (on top of holding down a full-time job at the hospital). To make it up to me, Henry’s been tasked with writing another postcard-slash-blog post for me. And here it is!

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We left off last time in New Delhi, but I’ve been doing a bit of hoofing around since then. 

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7 notes
#travel #hong kong
Forky Friday: 3/15/13

 

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TGIFF! Man, am I glad it’s Friday. Henry’s been in Asia all this month (yes, he’s still there) and I’m one tired mother. This weekend, I’m looking forward to chilling with the Double Os and welcoming their poppa back to the States on Sunday. But until then, how about some tasty links to chew on?

In this week’s edition of Forky Friday, I’ve got an inspiring video featuring one of my favorite athletes, the Paleo dining event in Portland, tips for getting your kids on the Paleo bandwagon, lots of delicious recipes, and much more!

Wanna see what’s caught my eye around the web this week?

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9 notes
#Forky Friday
Paleo Plan's Simple Coconut Milk Yogurt

Why look! Another guest blogger! This time it’s Neely Quinn, the pint-sized dynamo who runs The Paleo Plan!

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Mel, Holly, and I  met Neely last fall when she attended our Do It Better! Paleo Seminar in Estes Park, Colorado. Not too long ago, she reached out to me and volunteered to guest post about making a super-simple two-ingredient dairy-free yogurt in the oven. That’s right: TWO INGREDIENTS. The technique was so novel and easy that I had to take her up on her offer. Teach us, Neely!

Luckily for me — but very unfortunately for her — my friend Cat Caruso has so many food sensitivities that she has to be creative in the kitchen.

Cat’s culinary accomplishments range from the most perfect coconut macaroons ever created, to a tender delectable crock-pot lamb roast, to coconut milk ice cream, and last but not least…coconut milk yogurt.

Obviously, her food sensitivities don’t extend to coconut.

Why had I not thought of coconut milk yogurt before!? Sometimes when she tells me what she’s just whimsically whipped up, I feel really stupid for not having done it before myself.

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Not only is coconut milk yogurt a fantastic idea, it’s really delicious. It’s tangy, creamy, and satisfying like yogurt should be. One thing to note is there’s pretty much no protein in it, so you’ll have to get your grams somewhere else.

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74 notes
#recipe #Paleo Plan
Giveaway Time! SousVide Supreme Demi Package!

I don’t say this often enough, but I appreciate you. A lot.

This blog wouldn’t be possible without your support, so to express my gratitude, I’ve arranged for another super-duper giveaway. 

Thanks to the fine folks at SousVide Supreme, one of you will win a SousVide Supreme™ Demi Prize Package valued at $497.94! You can even choose your favorite color (provided your favorite color is black, white, or red)!

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Sure beats a bouquet of flowers, dontcha think?

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#giveaway #SousVide Supreme
Hey! I Won!

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I’m downright giddy ‘cause I just learned that my Mexican Chocolate Pots de Crème recipe won Cook Taste Eat's Food Blogger to Media Star contest! That means I'm going to get to cook with Chef Michael Mina!

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I’ve been a fangirl of Chef Mina’s food for almost twenty years. Back in the early 90s — when Cheers was “Must See TV” and Kurt Cobain was still alive — Henry and I were starving students working our way through college. But even at a young age, we had our priorities straight: We routinely blew our earnings (and our student loan checks) on lavish dinners at hoity-toity San Francisco restaurants.

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32 notes
#Michael Mina #Cook Taste Eat
Forky Friday: 3/8/13

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Today’s edition of Forky Friday is packed with bite-sized morsels, including good stuff about strength training, tips for shift work zombies, a feature on why red meat’s marvelous, a bunch of cool recipes, and a rundown of some new Paleo cookbooks!

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#forky friday #shift work #paleo #primal #cookbooks #linklove
A Message from India

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Once upon a time, our passports were stamped with regularity. Henry and I wandered the street markets of Camden Town, soaked in hot springs in a ryokan in Hakone, drove across Tuscany along fields of sunflowers, bought pirated DVDs in Shanghai. But since becoming parents, we’ve only left the country twice — for visits to Canada and Mexico. The travel bug hasn’t left us, as evidenced by our (increasingly) frequent trips around the U.S., but since the birth of our kids, we haven’t done much trekking overseas. (Hawaii doesn’t count.)

But recently, Henry took on global responsibilities at work. To kick off his new role, he dusted off his passport, packed his bags, and jetted off for a few weeks to visit a couple of his company’s offices. Here – in his words – is what he’s been doing when he’s not in conference rooms.  And, yes, I’d much rather be exploring Delhi with my soulmate and kiddos than editing this post at home in my dorky amber googles.

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My best friend from high school shot me an email last night: “I flew into Tokyo for a meeting – any chance you’re here?”

“No – I’m in New Delhi this week,” I responded. “Then I’m off to Hong Kong.” I thought for a moment, and added: “It’s kind of ridiculous that we’re having this conversation.”

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It’s been years since my last visit to Asia, and I’d never spent time in India before. So as much as I knew I’d miss Michelle and the boys, I was eager to get on the ground and explore Delhi – a vibrant city teeming with over 20 million people, where thousand-year-old cultural landmarks and sleek, modern mega-malls coexist.

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#travel #india #new delhi #indian food
Paleo Eats: 3/4/13

As I type this post, my eyes are shielded with amber goggles, my kids are snug as bugs in rugs, our living room couch is buried under an avalanche of unfolded (but clean!) laundry, and my dear hubby is 7,719 miles away in Delhi, India. I want to just throw my Ostrich Pillow over my head and pass out.

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I’m pooped. I’ve been a single parent since Friday morning, and to prepare for my workweek, I’ve been cooking like a maniac for the past two days.

It all started innocuously enough. It’s cold and flu season, but I can’t afford to get sick while Henry’s on the opposite side of the planet, so I made a big pot of steaming-hot pressure cooker bone broth

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…and a new batch of fizzy kombucha to help me ward off any nasty bugs.

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My kombucha exploits have gone largely unmentioned on my blog, but I’ve been diligently making sweet tea and refilling my continous brewer at least once a week. Before the second ferment of each batch, Big-O and I like to add frozen cherries, peaches, or sliced apples to flavor our ‘buch. I’m enjoying my transformation into a hippie-dippy mom, slathering coconut oil as body lotion, buying natural deodorant, applying fermented cod liver oil balm on my face, gifting our friends with jars of SCOBY babies. Mark my words: Soon, I’ll be wearing patchouli oil and tie-dyed parachute pants.

Next up: Solid foods.

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#paleo #primal #gluten-free
Smashed Steak Skewers with Cherry Barbecue Sauce (Inspired by The Croods)

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I’ve always been a film buff. Aside from the obituaries, my favorite part of the local paper was the movie section; starting in elementary school, I’d pore over the weekend reviews to decide which flicks were worth dragging my family to see. Ever the weirdo, I vetoed my older sister’s request to see Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal and cajoled my parents into taking us to see Tootsie instead. Sure, in December of 1982, the cross-dressing jokes flew right over my eight-year-old head, but who cares? The movie got two thumbs up from Siskel & Ebert, people.

Ironically, I watch fewer grown-up flicks now than I did when I was in second grade. These days, when Henry and I venture to the cineplex, it’s usually with the boys in tow, so we stick to family-friendly fare. And recently, as we settled into our seats to watch another kiddie flick, this trailer caught my eye:

Yowza — an animated film about a prehistoric cave-dwelling clan! “Think they eat Paleo?” I whispered excitedly. The Double-Os nodded. “I think they do CrossFit, too,” my five-year-old solemnly added.

I made a mental note: We were going to catch The Croods as soon as it hit theaters.

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So when I was contacted by the movie studio a few weeks ago and asked to develop a recipe inspired by The Croods, it wasn’t hard for me to say yes. DreamWorks Animation requested something family-friendly, so I rolled up my sleeves and got to work creating a dish that’s simple, tasty, Paleo, and kid-approved: Smashed Steak Skewers with Cherry Barbecue Sauce.

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Speared hunks of beef, flattened with a heavy object and grilled over an open fire. Sounds like caveman family fare to me, don’t you think?

Trust me: If Lil-O — the pickiest eater in our house — liked ‘em, your kids’ll gobble them up, too!

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Wanna see the simple step-by-step instructions? They’re so easy even a caveman could do it!

Here’s what to hunt and gather to make 16 skewers:

For the Cherry Barbecue Sauce (Makes 1⅔ cup of sauce):

  • 2 teaspoons ghee or fat of choice
  • ½ cup minced shallot
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (1-inch) ginger root, peeled and finely grated (I use a Microplane)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos (or wheat-free tamari)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • 10 ounces frozen cherries, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the Smashed Steak Skewers:

  • 1½-pound flank steak
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons melted ghee
  • ¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced (optional)

Here’s the step-by-step instructions:

The cherry barbecue sauce is a cinch to make and can be prepared ahead of time.

First, melt the ghee over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and sauté until translucent (around 5 minutes).

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Stir in the garlic, ginger and tomato paste…

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…and sauté for 30 second until fragrant.

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Add the coconut aminos, vinegar, juice…

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…and cherries…

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…and bring to a boil.

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Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the cherry mixture is thickened.

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While the sauce is simmering, stir occasionally and smush the cherries against the side of the pot.

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Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the sauce to a bowl or measuring cup and set aside.

A half hour before you want to grill your skewers, soak 16 bamboo skewers in water.

Grab your slab of flank steak and cut it into 16 pieces.

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First, cut the steak in half lengthwise (along the grain).

Next, slice the steak in half across the grain, then in fourths…

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…and finally in eighths.

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Carefully stab each slice of meat through the center with a soaked skewer.

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Now comes the fun part: Grab a hefty meat pounder or small cast iron skillet, and smash each steak skewer until it’s about ½ inch thick.

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GRRR! (THWACK!)

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I’m sure The Croods would’ve used sticks and stones, but I prefer to keep my kitchen rock-free.

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Season the beef with salt and pepper…

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…and brush both sides with melted ghee.

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Fire up your backyard grill, and cook over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

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Let the meat skewers rest for 5 to 10 minutes…

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…before brushing on the cherry barbecue sauce.

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A garnish of fresh green scallions is optional, but it can instantly transform this rugged plate of skewers into a more refined dish.

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Serve immediately and watch your kiddos tear into them with sharp little incisors!

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Don’t forget to check out The Croods when it comes out on March 22nd!

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Full disclosure: As I mentioned above, this is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel, December 2013).

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#barbecue #recipe #paleo #primal #gluten-free #beef #steak
Forky Friday: 3/1/13

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Today’s edition of Forky Friday is devoted entirely to pressure cooking! As a busy working mom, I often turn to my trusty pressure cooker to get meat and veggies on the table in a flash. Some days, I’ve got multiple pressure cookers on the burners at the same time. Loyal readers know that I never sacrifice flavor for speed, but I’m delighted to report that with a pressure cooker, I get both.

Still a skeptic? I’ve got lots of links in this post that’ll (hopefully) persuade you to take the plunge. Here we go!

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#pressure cooker #pressure cooking #paleo #primal #forky friday

February 2013

19 posts

Mexican Chocolate Pots de Crème (Dairy-Free!)

When it comes to chocolate pots de crème, there’s no messing around. These dense little cups of smooth, dark chocolate don’t pretend to be delicate or airy, and you’ll never mistake them for bland-tasting instant pudding or low-fat chocolate mousse. With just one bite, you’ll taste the message loud and clear: These bittersweet pots de crème are intensely chocolatey, decadently full-fat, and proud of it.

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I rarely indulge in sweets these days, but dark chocolate is my kryptonite — so when occasion calls for it, I’ll happily whip up a batch of dairy-free chocolate pots de crème. And my favorite ways to amp up the intensity of this special treat is with a touch of cinnamon, vanilla, and ancho chile powder — a flavor combination inspired by the rich, spicy kick of traditional Mexican hot chocolate.

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This recipe is foolproof, provided you don’t rush things. Yes, I know it’s virtually impossible to exercise self-restraint when it comes to chocolate, but to ensure a silky-smooth ganache, staple these three tips to your forehead:

  • Be patient when forming the base custard,
  • Step away from the chocolate for a full five minutes while it’s melting, and
  • Stir slooowly and deliberately when combining the melted chocolate and custard.

Trust me: you’ll be rewarded for your stoic Jedi ways.

Ready to learn how to make these little pots o’ joy?

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259 notes
#paleo #primal #dessert #chocolate #recipe
Paleo Eats: 2/25/13

Sometimes, I loathe cooking. There. I said it.

Yesterday morning, after finishing my fifth night shift in a row, I arrived home feeling tired and cranky. I wanted nothing more than to plant myself on the couch and surf the web for articles about IKEA’s horsemeat meatballs. (Horsemeat is so Paleo.) The last thing I want to do after a ten-hour shift is make dinner.

But you know what? Sharing a healthy, home-cooked meal with my family is a top priority for me, so I suck it up and get crankin’ in the kitchen. In shades, no less.*

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And because I took that extra 15 minutes in the morning, dinner was a breeze to pull together in the evening. Wanna see what I did?

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#paleo #primal #nightshift #meal planning #dinner #weeknight dinner
Swiss Paleo's Homemade Italian & Chorizo Sausage

Let’s give a warm welcome to my newest guest blogger, Lisa Broccoli of Swiss Paleo!

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Not only does Lisa have the coolest surname EVAH, but she’s also a nurse and nutritional consultant who hails all the way from Switzerland! (Well, by way of Detroit and Denver.) I had the pleasure of getting to know Lisa and her husband Chris last summer in Massachusetts, when we dined together at The Sustainable Feast in the Barn. Henry and I spent hours chatting with this charming couple about their lives abroad. 

Seventeen years ago, Lisa and Chris relocated their young family from the Rockies to the Swiss Alps when Chris was offered a position in Europe. I was awestruck by their sense of adventure and willingness to dive into uncharted territory because — let’s face it — I’m a risk-averse homebody. After chatting with the Broccolis that night, Henry and I made a pact to hopscotch around the globe with the Double-Os…someday.

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Who’s ready to learn how to make fresh Italian & chorizo sausage links with Lisa?

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#recipe #paleo #primal #Swiss Paleo #guest post
Forky Friday: 2/22/13

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Welcome to another episode of Forky Friday, where I bring you some of my favorite tasty links from the interwebs. On this week’s menu: Winner, winner, chicken dinner(s)! (Plus bacon! And sweets!)

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#linklove #paleo #primal #forky friday
Paleo Eats: 2/20/13

I just kicked off another week of zombie drug dealer shifts, so the past two days have been a blur of cooking prep and laundry. The kitchen duty I can handle, but laundry is the bane of my existence. (Insert mental picture of me with gritted teeth and bulging eyes, shaking my fist at the sky.) I’m still waiting for my robot maid to swoop in and rescue me from the avalanche of clothes that is pouring out of my dryer. Whatever happened to the future that the Jetsons promised?

Before heading off to CrossFit Palo Alto in the morning, I downed a plate of scrambled eggs and quickly threw the ingredients for phở into my trusty slow cooker. I toasted some spices…

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#paleo #primal #nom nom paleo
Giant Caveman

Hunter Pence has an open invitation to eat at our house anytime. Go Gigantes!

(Video not loading properly? Try this link.)

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#San Francisco Giants #Hunter Pence #Paleo
Zenbelly Paleo Popup

Back when we lived in San Francisco — and before we had kids — the vast majority of our meals were eaten in restaurants around town. Henry and I voraciously ate our way through the city, slimming our wallets and fattening our bellies.

These days, restaurant meals are the exception and not the rule, so when we manage to escape for a night out on the town, I try to pick places with insanely great eats — even if the food isn’t always Paleo-compliant. 

But on Saturday night, a group of us nabbed spots at Simone Shifnadel’s Zenbelly Paleo Popup at Coffee Bar in San Francisco, where we dined on super-fresh, gluten/legume/dairy-free farm-to-table fare. Score!

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I first heard of Simone and her catering company, Zenbelly, when she launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a community gluten-free kitchen. Since then, we’ve tweeted back and forth and we finally met IRL at the Weston A. Price conference last November. We instantly bonded over our mutual love of food (and sarcasm).

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So when I learned about Simone’s popup dinner, I bought tickets right away. I was amazed at her ability to pull together a Paleo Popup in just a few short weeks, transforming a Potrero Hill coffee shop into a chic, glowing hotspot for Paleo eaters to congregate over a hearty yet refined five-course feast.

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The ambience was perfect and the service was friendly and professional; if it weren’t for the big red “Coffee Bar” sign out front, no one would’ve guessed that the place is ordinarily a coffee-and-sammitch joint.

Ready for a peek at the food?

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#zenbelly #paleo #lunchbots #zest bakery #gluten-free #popup #dining out
The Domestic Man's Caldo de Langostinos (Mexican Squat Lobster Soup)

I’m excited to welcome my friend Russ Crandall to Nom Nom Paleo as a guest blogger! 

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Russ is a Paleo-friendly home chef and blogger who writes under the name The Domestic Man. After suffering a number of medical hardships, he regained his health through changes in his diet in 2010. He offers a unique culinary approach in the Paleo world: The Domestic Man is less a place for new kitchen experiments and more a site dedicated to re-popularizing traditional heritage foods that are either already healthy or easily modified to meet his dietary parameters.

Russ’s culinary chops and clean, beautiful photography are a constant source of inspiration for me. If you’re not already a huge fan of The Domestic Man, it’s time to catch up: Go bookmark his site, like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter!

So without further ado, here’s Russ with a lip-smacking recipe for Caldo de Langostinos!

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First of all, I want to take a moment and say thanks to Michelle for letting me write a guest recipe. I’m a huge fan of her site and it’s a little nerve-wracking to think that one of my dishes is going to be on her page! For today’s post I thought I would do something unique by showcasing a criminally-underused seafood that I’ve recently fallen in love with.

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#recipe #paleo #the domestic man #russ crandall #langostinos
Forky Friday: 2/15/13

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What are you doing this long weekend? Traveling to the Happiest Place on Earth? Looking to improve your pull-ups? Or just hungry for more recipes? I’ve got some fun and tasty links for you to check out in this week’s edition of Forky Friday!

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#link love #Forky Friday #paleo #primal
The Greatest Love of All

It’s Valentine’s Day!

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If you’re still in need of some Valentines to pass out to your friends and family, here’s a free downloadable sheet of pig-lovin’ cards! Just print ‘em out in color onto card stock or thick paper, and cut along the dotted lines.

Happy crafting!

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#valentine's #paleo #pork #nom nom paleo #piggy
Paleo Eats: 2/11/13 (& My First Vine Videos)

Warning: Playing the sound on this video may cause you to drool uncontrollably.

(If you can’t see the video, click on this link.)

Follow the jump to see how I finished making the pork belly!

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#pork belly #paleo #primal #vine
Paleo Eats: 2/10/13

Happy Chinese New Year!

(Incidentally, if you’re perusing my site for Asian-inspired Paleo recipes to help ring in the Year of the Snake, please don’t attempt to make Tong Zi Dan. That particular dish brings you good luck only on April 1st.)

I’m in the middle of a week of graveyard shifts at the hospital, but when I got home in the morning, the boys greeted me with a cheery chorus of “Gung hay fat choy!” (Then, they held out their hands for their red envelopes. Even at this early age, they know not to turn down free money.)

By tradition, we’re supposed to eschew meat on the first day of the lunar calendar, but that ain’t happening in our house – especially given that we’ve got a big pork belly in the defrost bowl waiting to get transformed into crispy porcine goodness.

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#lego #primal #paleo
PSA: I Love L'Amourette 91% Cacao Extra Smooth Chocolat Noir

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of dark, dark, dark chocolate. (Back off, Paleo Police. Chocolate’s one of my only indulgences; it puts some spring in this old zombie’s step.) There are a couple of unsweetened 100% cacao bars I enjoy (like the Domori Il 100%), but my favorite bars have just a smidge of sugar to balance out the bitterness. Sadly, I’ve been disappointed by most of the 90+% cacao bars on the market. Most bars contain soy lecithin or taste too harsh or have an unpleasantly chalky texture. Or they’re too dang pricey. 

But then kismet struck.

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#chocolate #L'Amourette #Valentine's day
Forky Friday: 2/8/13

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Starting today, I’m gonna post a weekly roundup of some forktastic links around the interwebs. Most of ‘em will be food-related and Paleo-friendly, but all will be click-worthy.

This week, I highlight Chinese New Year-inspired dishes, Valentine’s Day treats, and a Paleo/gluten-free pop-up dinner(!) in San Francisco.

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39 notes
#linklove #Paleo #Forky Friday
Paleo Eats: 2/6/13

Lil-O was felled with a “hot” throat this morning, so he got to play hooky from preschool. While I made breakfast, my little one curled up on the couch with his beloved stuffed cat to watch cartoons.

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Nursing a sick kiddo meant I had to skip my class at CrossFit Palo Alto. I’ve totally become an intermittent CrossFitter these days, and when I joke with my gym buddies that I’ll see them next month, I’m only kidding on the square. Sad.

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#paleo #primal #breakfast #lunch #dinner #meal planning
Paleo Eats: 2/5/13

After a whirlwind trip to NYC last weekend, it was especially nice to wake up in my own bed. I heard the Double-Os stampede down the hallway precisely at 7 in the morning, but I had no trouble popping up; it was, after all, already 10 a.m. on the East Coast. Unfortunately, Henry wasn’t feeling as chipper: he woke up with a sore throat and fever.

Uh, oh.

As my hubby tried to grab a few more winks before dragging himself off to work (to infect his entire office, I’m sure), I made breakfast for the boys: scrambled eggs, sliced apple, and raw milk.

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After dropping Big-O off at school, I filled my pressure cooker with knuckle bones, chicken feet, beef stew meat, and veggies to make a meaty bone broth for my ailing husband.

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#paleo #primal #breakfast #lunch #dinner
A Quick Trip to NYC

My little cousin Jennifer has a bun in the oven! (Don’t worry: she’s now a bit older than she was in the photo below.)

When she asked if I’d attend her baby shower, the answer was obvious; after all, Jennifer’s always been more like a sister to me than a cousin. Along with my big sister Fiona, we were basically raised by our grandparents while our parents were at work. 

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Poor Jennifer. Because she was an only child starved for companionship, it was easy to cajole her into playing servant to my queen or shoe salesperson to my snobby shopper. I spent a large chunk of my formative years bossing Jennifer around. I’ve been trying to make it up to her ever since.

I couldn’t miss Jennifer’s baby shower. So bright and early on Friday morning, I kissed the kids and hubby goodbye, hopped on a plane, and flew to the opposite coast to help celebrate the little one’s impending arrival. 

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#New York City #dining out #eating out #airplane food