Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Eats: 2/25/13

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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 Eats: 2/6/13

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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 Eats: 2/5/13

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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 Eats: 12/27/12

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After a three-week hiatus from my graveyard shifts, it’s finally time for another episode of What This Zombie Drug Dealer Eats At Work

For my first night back at the hospital, I tossed together a Crab Louie salad — a.k.a., the King of Salads! — filled with greens, cherry tomatoes, blanched asparagus, fresh Dungeness crab, hard boiled eggs, and homemade rémoulade sauce.

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Oh, and I had a few squares of dark chocolate, too. I can definitely get through a nightshift without cacao, but why suffer needlessly? 

After a 10-hour shift of slinging drugs, I returned home to hang with the boys and cook. First, I roasted a tray of Brussels sprouts and whisked together a quick Dijon and balsamic vinaigrette.

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Next, I mixed a garlicky marinade for Peruvian Roast Chicken…

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…and massaged it on a butterflied chicken.

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By the time I was finished slathering the chicken (under and over the skin), the roasted mini cabbages were ready to be tossed with the vinaigrette.

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I stuck both the chicken and Brussels sprouts in the fridge, kissed the boys goodnight, and hit the sack.

When I woke up in the evening, Henry had already roasted the chicken …

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…so all I had to do was round out the dinner with some vegetable side dishes.

While the oven was still hot, I roasted a tray of carrots with garlic and sage…

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…and topped the marinated Brussels sprouts with a couple of sieved hard-boiled eggs…

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…and crumbled Porkitos.

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By the time the carrots were finished cooking…

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…I was ready to tear into the chicken with my bare hands.

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In fact, my hands were so greasy I couldn’t take a picture of my completed dinner plate. Sorry, Charlie.


Okay, change of topic: Who here is doing a Whole30® starting January 1st? I’ve done two of these monthlong nutritional re-sets over the past couple of Januaries — you can read my day-by-day summaries here and here — and I’ve always felt incredible afterwards. That’s why — other than some dark chocolate and grass fed, full fat dairy — I pretty much eat this way all the time. Do a Whole30, and you’ll not only be a more mindful eater, but you’ll have a much better and saner relationship with food.

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This January, with the blessing of Whole9, I’ll be your cruise director, offering daily posts here on Nom Nom Paleo in support of those of you who are embarking on 30 days of clean eats — so get on board and stay tuned!

Paleo Eats: 12/23/12

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The San Francisco Bay Area was hit by two separate rainstorms this weekend, so we elected to hunker down indoors to stay cozy and dry.

For breakfast, I made scrambled eggs…

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….bacon…

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….and lobbed everyone a satsuma. I’m not kidding about launching tangerines at everyone’s heads — I’m training my kids to have ninja-like reflexes. Soon, they’ll be deflecting throwing stars.

After doing the dishes, I puttered around the kitchen, bottling up homemade kombucha, while the Double-Os performed their favorite Weird Al songs in the living room. After a few weeks of experimentation, we’ve landed on our favorite flavors: apple (Big-O), cherry (me), and Fuyu persimmon (Henry). When the kombucha in the continuous brewer achieves the perfect level of tanginess, I bottle the ‘booch with a few slices of fresh or frozen fruit.

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Then, I let the bottles condition in our cooler for two days before I stick them in the fridge. I’m still new to home brewing and flavoring, so I constantly find myself referring to my two favorite online resources: Kombucha Kamp and Food Renegade. My next kombucha-related project: Setting up a SCOBY hotel so I can share the yeasty, bacterial love with others.

Lunch was a simple affair: Paleo coleslaw and slider burgers. 

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After lunch, I grabbed a bag of apples from the fridge to make a batch of crunchy, cinnamon-dusted apple chips. I love my mother-in-law’s recipe for these treats — I’m kind of addicted to them — and I’ve been dying to make my own ever since my oven got fixed.

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Mission accomplished!

Because of the dreary weather, I was determined to make a hearty, comforting dinner — but not one that would take all afternoon. As a result, I broke out my pressure cookers (yes, plural) to make short ribs and mashed fauxtatoes. For an additional vegetable side dish, I roasted a tray of broccoli in the oven.

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Yep, it totally hit the spot — though using two pressure cookers mean more pots to clean.

As Christmas approaches, I’m feeling bummed out. Not because I have a ton of last-minute preparations — that’s a given — but because my vacation ends on the 26th. The day after Christmas also happens to be Lil-O’s birthday, and even though I’m not heading off to my shift at the hospital until after he goes to bed, it still bites. Plus, I’m now scheduled to work the nightshift for the next seven Christmases, as well as Lil-O’s next seven birthdays. Assuming I stay employed, I won’t have those days off again until both of my little boys are teenagers. I guess I’ll just have to make sure I savor every minute of family time before I start work on Wednesday night.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Paleo Eats: 12/11/12

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I was felled by Big-O’s virus late yesterday afternoon. Stricken with aches, chills, and a high fever, I buried myself underneath blankets on the couch ‘til my hubby got home from work. Before Henry even had a chance to doff his jacket, I made sure he heard me whining about how I wished somebody could make me a pot of pressure cooker bone broth. Yeah, my passive-aggressiveness sickens me, too.

But don’t feel too sorry for the guy. I recently filled our freezer with ready-to-go bags of soup bones, so the task of making bone broth was pretty simple. Each gallon-sized bag is filled with a motley assortment of bones and chicken feet that can be dumped straight into my 6-quart pressure cooker along with an onion, carrots, water, fish sauce, and a splash of apple cider vinegar. Besides, Henry knows where to find the recipe.

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As soon as the soup was ready, we all swigged giant mugs of it. I nibbled on a Thai omelet that my hubby made for me, and then stumbled off to bed while the boys had dinner.

I conked out for almost 12 hours, and when I woke up, my fever had dissapated and most of my aches were gone. Hallelujah!

Big-O was celebrating his birthday at school today, so I pulled on my apron to bake up some grain-free chocolate chip cookies for his class.

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While the cookies were baking and cooling, I ate a scrambled egg for breakfast and downed another mug of bone broth. Okay, fine: I also ate a cookie. Or three.

But by lunchtime, I was getting tired and achy again. Cooking was the last thing I wanted to do. Luckily, with a well-stocked pantry and freezer, I was able to pull a quick lunch together in about five minutes: a can of ventresca and mixed frozen vegetables that I reheated and tossed with grass fed butter and Magic Mushroom Powder.

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Vital Choice’s Ventresca (albacore tuna belly cooked in organic extra virgin olive oil) is the BEST tasting canned tuna I’ve ever eaten. I just pop off the lid and dig in.

I knew I’d be even achier by dinnertime, so I knew I’d better start my dinner prep early. I quickly seasoned a pork sirloin roast and a pork chop with Tabil and salt, and dunked ‘em in the SousVide Supreme (following my usual guidelines for these cuts: 138°F for 6 to 8 hours).

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I was right. By the time the sun set, my eyeballs were burning and sore, and my neck was stiffening up again. Argh. I knew it was a matter of time before my body would quit on me, so I quickly roasted some broccoli in the oven…

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…sautéed shiitake mushrooms with shallots and bone broth…

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…and seared off the sirloin roast in melted ghee.

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Here’s my dinner plate:

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Time to hit the sack.

What do you guys eat when you’re feeling under the weather? (I’m partial to bone broth, soft scrambled eggs, and chocolate — but not necessarily in that order.)

Paleo Eats: 12/7/12

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I was positively giddy about the start of my three week vacation…until it occurred to me that I’ll be a full-time, stay-at-home mom for the rest of the month. I love hanging with my boys, but I’m certainly busier when I’m on mommy duty than when I’m dealing drugs in the dead of night. On the other hand, I’m thankful that for the next three weeks, I’ll be able to go to bed at night. Simple pleasures, right?

This morning, I whipped up breakfast for the boys (scrambled eggs, mini chicken apple sausages, sliced apple, and raw whole milk) and packed their school lunches before my hubby shuttled them off to school. Once the house was empty, it was breakfast time for me: I pan-fried a few leftover slices of smoky 4505 Meats ham steak and cooked up a package of mixed frozen veggies for my own breakfast.

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I downed it all in a flash — chewing is so overrated — and with some time to kill, I decided to make some mocha popsicles with freshly brewed espresso (using the awesome Bialetti Moka Express that our friend Shiraaz got for us)…

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…coconut milk, cocoa powder, and some other secret stuff.

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Yes, I’m aware that it’s December, but just ‘cause it’s cold outside doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a frozen treat, people. (Besides, we live in California. It’s not exactly arctic here.)

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Once the popsicles were in the freezer, I zoomed over to CrossFit Palo Alto and spent an hour practicing push presses, deadlifts, and double unders with the gals in the women’s class. One thing that the workout made clear: I can’t afford to stop working on my double unders. Back when I was regularly practicing in my garage, I was starting to string ‘em together, but now? Not so much.

Afterwards, I stopped by my new favorite local grocery store, Miki’s Farm Fresh Market, to pick up goodies for Big-O’s birthday party. (My boy was ripped out of my uterus eight years ago! Hooray!) If you live on the San Francisco Peninsula or South Bay, you need to check out this store. The grass fed/organic/pastured meat and produce selection is unparalleled on this side of the Bay — and the butcher sells grass fed beef liver. Chicken feet, too. I love this place.

When I came home, I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon playing around with the beta version of the new update for the Nom Nom Paleo app

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Henry and I have been working with our developer on some upgrades: We tweaked the look, added over a dozen recipes, and implemented a pretty major change that we think will make most folks very happy. (All these features and new recipes will be free for everyone who’s already downloaded the app.) Once testing’s done, we’ll submit it to Apple for approval. Fingers crossed!

For lunch, I took a tiny break from my QA duties to make a simple frittata with stir fried baby kale.

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Stacy & Matt generously gifted us with a sampler of artisanal Olio olive oils and flavored balsamic vinegars, and I’ve been drizzling ‘em on EVERYTHING. Even my eggy lunch entrée didn’t escape a fruity ribbon of olive oil.

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My favorite vinegar flavor? The chocolate balsamic. Big surprise, huh? 

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At 2 o’clock, I picked up the kiddos from school and we spent the rest of the afternoon struggling to set up a huge tent in the living room for Big-O’s slumber party. Having kids sleep in a tent in the house is very Party of Five. Or maybe The Sixth Sense, only with less barfing and screaming.

By 5 o’clock, the tent was still not set up, and I had no clue what to make for dinner. I would’ve totally spazzed out if it weren’t for two things: (1) my hubby got home from work and took over the tent duties, and (2) I remembered that I have PaleoChef marinades in the pantry. (By the way, this ain’t some sort of paid product placement for PaleoChef — I purchased a sampler pack last month to try them out on desperation dinner nights like tonight.)

We have a bunch of different marinades, and after surveying the boys, we popped open the bottle of Tomato Balsamic to flavor a bunch of salted chicken legs.

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I let the legs marinate for about an hour — just enough time to wash up the boys and give myself a hose down.

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Our wall oven is finally back in working order (thank you, Aloha Appliance Repair!), so I put it through it’s paces by roasting both the chicken…

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…and broccoli at the same time using the convection mode.

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When the broccoli finished roasting in the oven, I removed the tray from the oven and tossed the florets with some leftover roasted butternut squash and balsamic vinegar.

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The chicken was ready ten minutes later — and not a moment too soon, ‘cause we were all salivating from the tempting aromas wafting from the oven.

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Here’s my dinner plate:

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What’s the verdict on the marinade? Thumbs up from the whole family. Even picky Lil-O.

On another note, I just joined Google+. I’m kind of hesitant to add yet another social media channel to my plate. (I’m barely keeping up with Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as it is.) But the thing is, I really dig what Google+ has to offer. What do you think? Am I wasting my time with Google+? And why aren’t my small children offering to be my social media interns?

Paleo Eats: 12/3/12

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Well, hello there!

I’m halfway through my week of graveyard shifts at the hospital, and I’m one tired mother. Doling out pills in the dark of night kept me busy, so I didn’t have a chance to eat much — just a can of Ventresca albacore tuna belly in olive oil, a package of SeaSnax, a steaming-hot Thermos of bone broth, and a few squares of dark chocolate

On my way home from work, I stopped at the post office to send off a mess o’ Nom Nom Paleo socks. I hate to say it, but I’m glad I’ll soon be out of stock. The post office makes me angry.

At home, the lingering smell of the boys’ breakfast made my stomach rumble, so I grabbed a couple of eggs and fried myself a Thai omelet.

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This is a recipe I’ve been tinkering with for months. For today’s version, I whisked in a tablespoon of tapioca flour to see if I could achieve puffier, crispier edges.

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Success!

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For the pièce de résistance, I squeezed on a squiggle of homemade sriracha before eating it up.

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After my belly was full, I checked on the batch of kombucha that’s been a-brewin’ in our continuous brewer. I really shouldn’t have pulled back the lid. Let’s be honest: It looks pretty gnarly in there.

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But hey — what do you expect when you’re cultivating a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast? A week had passed since I plopped the scobys in the sweet tea pool, and it was time for me to check if it had magically transformed into tangy kombucha.

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I took a sip and…it tasted just like kombucha! [Insert celebratory fist pump here.]

My first batch o’ booch was slightly fizzy, pleasingly tart, and had just the right nose. But to be sure, I dipped in a pH testing strip, and confirmed it was indeed beween 2 and 3 — perfect! Hooray!

To toast my success, I poured myself a glass on the rocks and flavored it with dried hibiscus flowers.

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I’m a fan of the no-frills essence of this kombucha, but Big-O and I are planning to experiment with the flavors of a second ferment later this week.

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As I skipped off to bed with a smug grin on my face, I raised my arms in triumph. “I MADE KOMBUCHA! I AM AWESOME!” I shouted.

Lil-O rolled his eyes. “Actually, mommy, you’re not THAT awesome.” 

My four-year-old is an ego-deflation ninja.

In the evening, I dragged myself out of bed to make dinner. I scrounged around in the fridge and found a few Brussels sprouts…

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 …which I broke down into chips…

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…and baked in the toaster oven. (Check out the recipe here.)

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I reheated a smoky ham steak from 4505 Meats in the SousVide Supreme

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…while I worked on a kelp noodle stir fry with bok choy…

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…caramelized onions…

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…shiitake mushrooms…

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…bone broth, and seasoning.

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When the noodles were soft (kelp noodles are gross when they’re crunchy)…

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…I seared off the ham with my trusty blowtorch

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…and sliced it up.

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And, that my friends, was my meal before heading to work for the night.

Now, let’s circle back to the kombucha. I’m dying to hear everyone’s favorite flavorings and combinations. I’ve gotten personal tips from my cousin Daphne and read the posts on Balanced Bites, Kombucha Kamp, Cultures for Health, and Food Renegade. But I’m a greedy booch brewer and want more ideas.

Help a sistah out. If you’ve got booch flavoring tips, leave ‘em in the comments!

Paleo Eats: 11/5/12

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I’m more than halfway through my week of night shifts, and the work’s been steady — not too crazy and not too slow. It’s been juuust right. Sipping bone broth during my 10-hour shift staved off the hunger pangs, so my leftovers stayed in my lunchbox all night.

But when I walked through the front door and smelled the boys’ breakfast of eggs and sausages sizzling on the stove, I was suddenly famished. That Henry is a good daddy…

…AND a great husband ‘cause he made me a plate, no questions asked.

Breakfast for dinner!

Once the boys were out of the house, I set to work concocting a new Asian-inspired marinade with scallions, ginger, coconut aminos, rice vinegar (it’s Whole30-approved!), honey (gasp!), and Red Boat Fish Sauce (duh!).

I poured it over a bunch of chicken thighs…

…and stuck the chicken in the fridge before passing out in bed.

When I woke up several hours later, I grabbed the bag of thighs…

…and popped them into the oven. 

While the bird roasted, I cut up two bunches of kale…

…a few carrots, half an onion, and some garlic cloves…

…and tossed them in the pressure cooker to make a quick pot of braised greens.

As I waited for the chicken and kale to finish cooking, I pulsed a head of cauliflower in the food processor…

…and pan-fried some simple cauliflower rice.

In less than an hour after I stepped in the kitchen, dinner was ready. 

Here’s my plate:

And here’s me in all my bedheaded glory making dinner:

Obviously, I spend tons more time in the kitchen than I do in the powder room futzing about my appearance. But that’s all gonna change, people. I just ordered a mess of natural beauty products from the highly-acclaimed Primal Life Organics. Tape your jaws shut: The next time you see me, I’m going to be made up like Honey Boo Boo in full-on pageant mode, complete with Go Go Juice in hand.

Or not.

Paleo Eats: 11/2/12

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I’m back on the zombie shift at the hospital. Hooray — I can pay for more bacon and cookbooks! I guess that balances out the sky-high cortisol levels caused by sleep disruption. Sorta.

At work, I ate leftover Damn Fine Chicken and veggies, and guarded the narcotics ‘til the sun came up.

I got home just in time to kiss Big-O good-bye for school and watch Lil-O prance around the family room impersonating Weird Al. I’d managed just two hours of shut-eye before starting my shift, so I needed to get horizontal pronto.

Alas, my sleep was fitful and abbreviated — which is fairly typical after my first shift of the week. Even after twelve years of working graveyards, it takes a day or two before I get back into the groove of sleeping during the day. With less-than-adequate sleep, I wasn’t about to prepare a fancy feast. Instead, I opted for a simple, no-fuss dinner: garbage soup and burgers!

I posted a different version of garbage soup yesterday, and I meant it when I said that you truly can make it with just about anything in the fridge.  After taking a peek in the crisper, I found a head of Napa cabbage…

…and some carrots, which I cooked with shallots in the pressure cooker.

I added a handful of crunchy dried shiitake mushrooms (they soften under high pressure)…

…chopped cabbage…

…and leftover bone broth to the pot.

I locked the lid in place and cranked up the heat ‘til the contents reached high pressure. Then, after lowering the heat to a simmer, I cooked the soup at high pressure for seven minutes. And then the soup was done. Really. That’s all it takes.

I rarely plan ahead, so a pressure cooker is the perfect appliance for a busy, disorganized mom like me — especially when I’m craving rib-sticking comfort food and I’ve only got an hour to get food on the table. I’ll definitely be visiting my buddy Laura’s site, Hip Pressure Cooking, to get more tips. (Her Morrocan Lamb Tagine recipe is on my to-cook list.)

As I waited for the cooker to naturally release its pressure, I seasoned a pound of ground beef with Magic Mushroom Powder and formed them into patties.

I fried them up…

…and plated them with leftover Oven-Roasted Tomatoes.

Before I ladled soup into our bowls, I cut a fistful of dulse into each one.

I got this idea from my buddy Diana, who’s been encouraging me to get more nutrient-dense sea vegetables into our bellies. I’m going to spike all my soups and stews with dulse ‘cause it also adds a bolus of umami (due to its high glutamate content!), too.

Speaking of nutrient-dense traditional foods…who’s heading to Wise Traditions 2012 in Santa Clara next week? I’ll be there with my pals Diane, Bill, Hayley, and Liz. Come say hello if you spot us!