Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Eats: 9/17/12

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The best way to beat the Monday blahs is with bacon.

Am I right or am I right?

To kick off the week for my whole family, I baked bacon on my griddle in the toaster oven, scrambled eggs, and fried tomatoes in bacon drippings.

I love raw tomatoes, but you amplify the umami if you sear ‘em in bacon grease — and I’m all about simple ways to boost flavor.

While Henry took the boys to school, I had a few minutes to spare, so I puréed a few baked yams that I’d stored in the fridge.

Then, I zoomed off to CrossFit Palo Alto for the women’s class. Although I had committed to attending two times a week — even if it meant working out after a night shift — it’d actually been ten days since I last got my WOD on. Argh. I promise to do better next week.

When I returned from class, I whipped up some batter to make Ashley Tudor’s sweet potato bars (her recipe is available in Sweet Potato Power)…

…and popped the baking dish into the oven.

While the bars were baking, I used my spice grinder to blitz a batch of Magic Mushroom Powder (recipe available in the Spice It Up premium pack for my iPad app).

Mushroom cloud!

And, yes, I’m not just the developer of the Nom Nom Paleo iPad app, I’m also a client.

(It saddens me that the majority of my readers are waaaay too young to catch my Sy Sperling reference. I’m such an old lady.)

Lunch was an afterthought. I ended up just pulling some leftovers out of the fridge. At first, I tried to make it nice and photogenic…

…but then just ended up piling random items onto the plate. Here’s a picture of the true smorgasbord I ate. You might spot a couple of sliders, sautéed red cabbage, homemade pineapple salsa, and tomatoes in the mix.

After lunch, I took the dish of sweet potato bars out of the oven and placed it on a rack to cool.

Rather than standing there and twiddling my thumbs, I decided to make a second batch of Magic Mushroom Powder, but this time, with dried shiitake mushrooms, dried ginger, onion, and garlic. Variety is the spice of life, right?

It’d been a while since I made Magic Mushroom Powder and I’d forgotten how simple and quick it is. 

Once I was done cleaning up mushroom dust on the kitchen counter, I picked up the Double-Os at school. Both of them were excited to snack on the sweet potato bars; it’s their favorite grain-free treat.

We spent the rest of the afternoon gawking at the plastic-looking “spooky” animatronics at our neighborhood Spirit Halloween Store (again). I understand their fascination with Weird Al and Psy, but their obsession with this store baffles me.

When we returned home from visiting the werewolves, zombies, and skeletons, it was time to make dinner. The pound of Siren SirenSA sand dabs in my fridge looked like they could use some of my newly-concocted shiitake spice powder.

And just like that, they were ready for the skillet (and some hot coconut oil).

The Double-Os don’t like bony fish (and I didn’t have enough for them anyway), so for the boys, I seasoned flap steaks with regular Magic Mushroom Powder…

…and gave them a quick turn in a coconut oil coated skillet, too.

The kids split a small steak, and I stuck the rest in the fridge. Emergency protein, at the ready.

To accompany the fish and steak, I roasted a tray of broccoli seasoned with Magic Mushroom Powder and finished it with a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.

Dinner!

In the immortal words of Eric the Actor: Goodbye…for now.

Paleo Eats: 9/14/12

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We all woke up late and I was whirling around the kitchen, Tasmanian-devil-style, fixing breakfast and lunches for the Double-Os. For the boys’ first meal of the day, I made omelets filled with leftover sautéed mushrooms using my new cast iron griddle. (I first encountered one of these when I almost set Diana’s Colonial-era farmhouse on fire, and have wanted one ever since.)

As expected, Big-O wolfed down his omelet while my younger son turned up his nose and picked around the filling. If I hadn’t witnessed Lil-O being yanked out of me, I wouldn’t believe he’s my son.

Once the dust had settled and the boys were safely deposited at school, I was finally able to make myself a simple plate of scrambled eggs and fresh heirloom tomatoes. 

Later in the morning, I drove up to San Francisco to meet Henry and a friend at Il Cane Rosso in the Ferry Building — the city’s ultimate high-end food court — for lunch. I love that Il Cane Rosso offers simple preparations of pastured meats and organic vegetables — and I love being able to sit and eat while people-watching. It’s fun spying out-of-towners geeking out (and/or scratching their heads) at the orgy of gourmet food surrounding them.

Most dishes at Il Cane Rosso are less than Paleo, but you can ask ‘em to hold the bread on the sandwiches and the server will happily oblige.

I ordered the Dirty Girl Farm Romaine BLT salad and added roast chicken and avocado to up the protein and fat quotient. (A little bacon can go a long way, but it’s not enough to satisfy this hungry girl.)

Henry got the special of the day: Marin Sun Farms beef stew with herb salad.

The special was supposed to come with a hunk of garlic bread, but he asked to sub it out for Il Cane Rosso’s sweet ‘n sour housemade pickles.

Once lunch was over, we zoomed through the Ferry Building on a mission to buy a big pork shoulder roast for Slow Cooker Kalua Pig. I struck out at Prather Ranch (d’oh!) and ended purchasing it from the friendly butchers at Golden Gate Meats.

If I’d had my way, I would’ve spent all afternoon meandering through the different specialty shops, but I had to pick up the Double-Os from school. It’s true — children ruin everything. (If I have to tell you I’m kidding, you must be new here. Welcome, and please be sure to try my recipe for Virgin Boy Eggs.)

By the time the sun started drooping from its perch in the sky, I, too, was slumping over with exhaustion. I would’ve marched everyone out to a restaurant if my aversion of Friday night crowds didn’t override my laziness.

What’s a tired mommy to do?

EMERGENCY PROTEIN, baby — in the form of sliders and veggies sautéed in the burger drippings.

I grabbed two pounds of ground beef from the defrost bowl in my fridge…

…seasoned the meat with Penzeys Greek Seasoning and kosher salt…

…formed them into patties…

…and fried them in melted coconut oil.

Two pounds of meat yield more sliders than we can eat in a meal, but this way, I’ll have lots of extra emergency protein available in the fridge. Besides, if I’m gonna get my skillet dirty, I’m gonna make it worth my while.

While the burgers were cooking on the stove, I sliced up half an onion…

…and chopped up a small purple cabbage.

I always sharpen my knife with my cheap-o (but effective) Accu-Sharp so I can slice and dice like a nimble kitchen ninja. Remember: your veggies will cook faster if they’re smaller. I’m all about the shortcuts.

Once the burgers were crunchy on the outside and pink on the inside…

…I transferred them to a platter…

…and dumped in the onions…

… and cabbage (with a dash of apple cider vinegar).

Here’s my dinner plate:

Later, skater.

Paleo Eats: 9/9/12

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Halfway through my workweek, I’m steadily chugging along like the Little Engine That Could. My last night shift’ll be done before I know it, right?

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

My mid-week, mid-shift meal at the hospital consisted of cold leftovers: sous vide sirloin roast, heirloom tomato salad, and roasted broccoli. 

Raise your hand if you don’t think this meal looks sufficiently filling.

Yeah — you and me both.

My stomach was grumbling something fierce when I got home in the morning, so I strong-armed my boys into motoring over to Bumble with me for breakfast.

Bumble’s a cozy farm-to-table restaurant in neighboring Los Altos, and it happens to be incredibly kid-friendly — parents can chow on organic fare with their kids or dump ‘em off in the supervised playroom for a set fee. We opted to eat with our kids because, well, no one was staffing the playroom at 8 am. 

Plus, we were armed with iPads in case the boys got antsy.

I’ll admit it: I lean heavily on these techno-babysitters when dining out with my kids. Hats off to breeders who don’t own mobile devices; unlike us, they must be great parents.

The four of us split three orders of the Farmer’s Breakfast platter. Each dish came with two eggs, two strips of bacon, and a breakfast sausage patty. In lieu of the toast and potatoes, we got big bowls of strawberries.

It was a satisfying meal, but to be honest, after enjoying a week of bona fide farmer’s breakfasts at Diana’s farm last month, nothing else stacks up.

At 9, the place started filling up with bright-eyed and bushy-tailed families, so we hit the road. Unlike everyone else, my day was winding down, and I was desperate for some shuteye. 

Seven hours later, I was rested and ready to tackle an ambitious kitchen goal: to prepare two nights’ dinners in less than an hour. I figured a little extra effort tonight would reap rewards tomorrow. I know how much I hate cooking by the end of my work week, so I wanted to get it over with.

Besides, tomorrow night’s protein — Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs — can be prepped in a flash. 

I started by seasoning and broiling a big pile of short ribs that I grabbed from my defrost bowl in the fridge.

 

While the meaty bones were browning in the oven, I roughly chopped up the ingredients to make the braising liquid.

I didn’t have enough scallions on hand, so I substituted a couple of small red onions. 

Improvisation is key in the kitchen. Don’t let one missing ingredient be the excuse for landing face-first in a box of greasy Chinese take out.

The next ingredient? Sweet pears. The ones I received in the mail last week were finally ripe, so I peeled one…

…and scooped out the seeds with a melon baller.

Quick tip: A pear’s ripe when the flesh at the stem is tender. Per my pal Brittany, a.k.a. The Pear Lady, don’t wait until the rest of the pear is soft to the touch. If you do, the fruit’ll be overripe and mushy. (I always hated the mealy, squishy texture of pears, but it turns out I was just waiting too long for them to ripen. I guess I’m not a pear-hater after all!)

I added the rest of the ingredients to my blender…

…and liquefied everything.

I tucked the short ribs in a single layer in the slow cooker…

…and poured on the chunky sauce…

…and homemade bone broth.

I set the slow cooker on low for 11 hours, and tomorrow’s dinner prep was done.

But what about tonight’s supper? It was getting late, so I needed something that would take no more than 15 minutes to make.

After rummaging through my fridge, I pulled out some black cod fillets from Siren SeaSA and seasoned them with salt and pepper…

…before sautéing them in brown butter.

As the fish sputtered in the skillet, I assembled a tangy anchovy and caper sauce. The recipe was adapted from one I found in the newest cookbook in my collection, Leon: Naturally Fast Food.

I changed up some of the ingredients, but stuck with the main components: anchovies…

…capers…

…Italian parsley…

…lemon juice…

..and olive oil.

The authors call this a “Miracle Sauce” and I have to concur.

The fish and sauce were finished at the same time.

I chopped up a few plump, juicy tomatoes…

….and drizzled the sauce on everything.

I know I can, I know I can, I know I can…

Paleo Eats: 9/6/12

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Armed with a steaming mug of java and an insulated cooler stuffed with leftovers, I was ready to sling drugs all night long. Hunkered in the hospital pharmacy, I snacked on two hard-boiled eggs and a big square of dark chocolate, and at three in the morning, I popped open my box of leftover sous vide wild king salmon and sauerkraut. Lunchtime!

In the blink of an eye, the sun shot up over the horizon — the signal it was time to vamoose. Upon arriving home, my hubs reported that when Lil-O had been searching for me all over the house. After having me around for five weeks, I guess my little guy had forgotten that I actually work. And frankly, it’d kind of slipped my mind, too.

Still, I knew that my return to work meant I’d have limited time to prep dinner in the evening. So even though I wanted nothing more than to fall face-first into my pillow, I quickly threw together the marinade for Damn Fine Chicken — albeit a shortcut version using Penzeys Spices’ Sunny Paris Seasoning instead of fresh onions and herbs.

Next, I trimmed away the extra flaps of skin from some fresh chicken thighs with a pair of kitchen shears

…smooshed the chicken into the marinade…

…and stored the poultry parts in the fridge.

The rest of the morning was a haze. I’m pretty sure I shuttled Big-O to school and accompanied the little guy to gymnastics class before I collapsed into bed.

In the late afternoon, I crawled out of my blanket cave and was rewarded for my efforts with a couple of cool gifts on my doorstep. The fine folks at USA Pears (hi Cristie and Brittany!) sent me a box of Star Crimson pears…

…and Daren of Itsumo Ahi Tuna Jerky sent me a couple of samples of their new cooked tuna pouches packed in coconut oil.

Despite the overwhelming temptation to tear into both packages, I knew I had to get our supper on the table.

Sigh.

First, I arranged the marinated chicken on a wire-rack-topped tray and shoved it in the oven.

Then, I chopped up some assorted alliums….

…and trimmed a head of cauliflower for a new pressure cooker variation on my mashed faux-tatoes recipe.

I sautéed the onions and garlic in butter before adding the florets, a splash of homemade bone broth, salt, and pepper.

Once the pot got up to high pressure, the cauliflower softened in just 7 minutes. Speedy!

Meanwhile, I flipped the chicken…

…and stir-fried a pan of chard leaves and beet greens with some minced garlic.

As soon as the chicken was finished roasting…

…I pulled out my stick blender

…and puréed the cauliflower mash with a big pat of grass fed butter.

This was one of the rare dinners that got a rave review from Lil-O. "I LOVE CHICKEN! I LOVE CHICKEN!" he chanted with his mouth full.

By the way, did you hear that Melissa Joulwan, Holly Woodcock, and I are combining forces for a special Paleo seminar in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado at the end of the month? Tickets are $50 each ($80 for two). And for an additional ten bucks, the chef at the YMCA of the Rockies will offer you a buffet of recipes from Mel’s insanely terrific cookbook, Well Fed, including Chocolate Chili, Cinnamon Beef Stew, Rogan Josh, Shepherd’s Pie, The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat, raw veggies with Moroccan Dippin Sauce, and fresh berries for dessert. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy Mel’s cooking, and believe me: Her recipes are mind-bogglingly good.

I’ll be doing a presentation (and some cooking!) at the event, and l may even bring with me some super-rare, sold-out Nom Nom Paleo socks from my secret stash. Details and registration information are over here.

Who’s coming to hang out with us?

Paleo Eats: 9/4/12

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After hustling Big-O off to school, I sat down to a simple breakfast of hard-boiled eggs dusted with Volcano Grind and leftover collards and carrots. Emergency protein and leftovers — there’s no better start to the day.

Throughout the morning, a parade of repairmen filed through our house to fix various busted appliances. The timing was perfect: with just one day left before the start of my workweek, everything that needed tweaking got tweaked. Ain’t nobody gonna disturb my beauty sleep this week.

I wasn’t in the mood to make anything fancy for lunch, so I just ate a pile of roast beef and chased it down with some sauerkraut. 

After we picked up Big-O from school, the kids and I drove down to the local Spirit Halloween store. Yes, October 31 is still two months away, but thanks to my kids’ year-round obsession with the gory animatronics on display in these pop-up stores, they’ve already been pestering us for weeks to take them shopping for ghoulish gear. I refused to bring home any zombie baby props, but agreed to purchase a couple of costumes before the seasonal inventory gets depleted.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that their outfits don’t get completely thrashed before the end of next month. If that happens, we’ll just have to pencil some facial hair on Lil-O so he can go trick-or-treating as Tony Stark on Skid Row.

When we returned home in the evening, I divided the fresh wild King salmon filet that I picked up from Siren SeaSA into three portions…

…seasoned them simply with salt and pepper…

…pouched ‘em…

…and dunked them in the SousVide Supreme.

Because I’m a wannabe overachiever (hey, I have a High Expectations Asian Father, you guys), I even started preparing tomorrow night’s dinner while I waited for the salmon to finish cooking. I seasoned three meaty beef shanks with salt and pepper…

…and seared them in coconut oil.

Next, I sautéed sliced onions, tomato paste, and garlic cloves in my pressure cooker…

…before returning the shanks to the pot…

…and adding Rao’s marinara sauce, homemade bone broth, and fresh tomatoes.

I brought everything to high pressure in the pressure cooker and cooked the stew for 45 minutes. Once tomorrow’s supper was ready and in the fridge, I turned my attention back to the salmon.

After fishing the salmon pouches out of the water bath, I dunked one of them in ice water and refrigerated it for a future meal this week…

…and flaked apart the other two filets with my fingers.

Our dinner: Fend-For-Yourself Salmon Hand-Rolls.

I sliced a red bell pepper…

…julienned carrots with my favorite peeler

…and mashed up an avocado.

We took turns rolling our preferred fillings in half-sheets of nori…

…before stuffing the rolls in our faces.

Aren’t the best dinners the ones other people make for themselves?

Paleo Eats: 9/3/12

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My extended vacation’s ending on Wednesday night, so I need to get back into the swing of everything — including photographing and documenting what I’ve been cooking and eating. 

I knew I was in for a long chipper at CrossFit Palo Alto's 9 a.m. women's class. Now that I'm attending regularly (rather than dropping in sporadically), I make a point to pester my husband after his 5 a.m. class ‘til he divulges the day’s workout out of exasperation. The kids are now programmed to harass him, too: “Daddy! What’s the WOD today? Tell mommy so she’ll make us some breakfast! We’re staaaaarving!”

Sometimes you just have to play dirty.

Before I left the house, I ate a couple of fried eggs and leftover oven roasted tomatoes.

My vegetable CSA box has been overflowing with tomatoes lately, and the best way to keep up with the onslaught is to roast a big tray of juicy tomatoes whenever we’re just hanging out at home. These beauties can be thrown into just about any dish to level up the umami.

My post-workout meal consisted of a few bites of leftover steak and a few roasted beets. Then, as a special Labor Day treat, I grabbed my dogeared copy of Eat Like A Dinosaur and proceeded to bake a batch of Paleo Parents' Anytime Cookies for the family. (For their recipe, you'll have to get Matt and Stacy’s book!)

I love that these cookies are sweetened with just puréed apples and bananas.

Combined with a few other ingredients like almond butter…

…vanilla extract…

…and almond flour, a dough was ready in no time.

I tossed in some dried Bing cherries ‘cause almonds and cherries go together like Al and Peg Bundy.

The smell of cookies baking in the oven isn’t something we experience often at our house. The Double-Os were eager for a taste, and had their noses pressed up against the oven window the whole time.

Let’s just say we ate way too many of these cookies.

At lunchtime, I seasoned a pound of ground beef with Penzeys Greek Seasoning

…and fried up some burgers in my cast iron skillet.

While the burgers cooked, I made a pot of pressure cooker kale and carrots, and sliced up some cherry tomatoes.

Lunch was ready in just 15 minutes.

Before heading out for the afternoon, I decided to get more mileage out of my food processor before putting it away. I roasted a tray of yams and puréed them in my Cuisinart

Crazy eyes scare the food processor into working that much faster.

It’s good to have a container of roasted yam purée in the fridge; that way, we always have some quick and tasty glycogen-replenishing starch on hand when we stagger home from the gym.

Plus, you never know when you might want to bake a tray of sweet potato bars from Sweet Potato Power. My kids love those bars, and I’ve been thinking of making some as an after-school treat.

At dinnertime, I seasoned and seared a small brisket in my pressure cooker…

…and added onions, tomato paste…

…bone broth and tomatoes.

I nestled the beef in the liquid and cooked it on high pressure for 45 minutes.

With the brisket on the stove, I roasted a tray of broccoli in the oven.

When the brisket was finished, I quickly released the pressure by running the lid under cold water…

…and tossed in collards and carrots.

After an additional five minutes of cooking under high pressure, the brisket and veggies were tender, and the broccoli was ready for a splash of aged balsamic vinegar.

I ladled up the collards and carrots…

…sliced the brisket, and drizzled on the reserved cooking liquid.

The pressure cooker is quickly becoming one of my favorite kitchen toys.

Ciao for now!

Paleo Eats: 8/22/12 

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The beauty of sleeping in pitch-black bedrooms is that we all sleep very soundly at night. The only problem? We overslept again this morning, leaving ourselves just fifteen minutes to hustle Big-O off to school. (I guess a simple remedy would be to go to bed earlier, but when else am I going to have time to blog except after the kiddos hit the sack?)

Once the boys were watered and fertilized, I made myself a simple French omelet and changed into my workout clothes.

The strength skill this morning at CrossFit Palo Alto was my least favorite Olympic lift: the overhead squat. Whenever the bar’s overhead and I attempt to drop down into a squat, my core gets all loosey-goosey and I find myself unable to achieve full depth. It’s pretty pathetic. Coach Trish told me to swing a heavy kettlebell at home to strengthen my core, so now I’ve got some new homework to do in our garage gym. I’ll add it to the growing pile of skills I need to work on, including push ups, sit ups, pull ups, double unders…the list goes on and on.

Our metcon today was Air Force WOD and my butt was handed to me yet again. As usual, though, I grinned my way through class ‘cause the women’s class is just so much fun.

When I returned home (still sweaty and wobbly), I refueled with a couple of hard boiled eggs and roasted beets. 

I spent the rest of the morning running errands and making sure the fridge is well-stocked for Henry and the kids while I’m out of town. I’m excited about my solo trip to Portlandia, but I’m going to miss my boys so much. Cramming the icebox with meat and veggies made me feel a little less guilty for leaving.

For my mid-day meal, I sautéed chard, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes in butter and ate the veggies with sliced prosciutto. Nothing fancy, but my slapdash meal hit the spot.

Later in the afternoon, I picked up the Double-Os from school and conscripted the older one into helping me make the Best Ever Chicken Wings from Sarah Fragoso’s new cookbook, Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook.

Since I had a bunch of bone-in, skin-on thighs on hand, I subbed them for the wings. Plus, they’re meatier.

The recipe was super easy and the balance of sweet and savory was perfect.

Plus, the skin crisps up beautifully.

As the bird parts roasted in the oven, I made a pot of my favorite Pressure Cooked Kale and Carrots as a fast side dish.

Ta da!

Crap. I still haven’t started packing for my trip. Goodbye for now!

Paleo Eats: 8/21/12 

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Before I recount what I ate, I want to wish my parents a happy anniversary! Those two lovebirds have been together for 43(!) years and they’re still going strong. Love you, mom and dad! Okay — enough mushiness. Back to the eats…

The morning got off to a late start. Big-O’s supposed to be in school by 8:15, but we didn’t roll out of bed until 7:40. Ugh.

After staggering into the kitchen, I quickly packed him a lunch and fried up eggs, bacon, and cherry tomatoes for everyone’s breakfast.

Raw cherry tomatoes are fine, but they taste even better when you toss ‘em in hot bacon grease ‘til the skins become delicate and the insides are juicy and molten.

After my hubby sprinted to school with Big-O, I hung out with my little guy as we waited for his preschool buddy, E, to arrive for a mid-morning playdate. 

As soon as E arrived, the boys took off for the backyard and I was free to break out my advance copy of Sarah Fragoso’s Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook: Real Food For Real Life.

Like her previous book, Everyday Paleo, this one has lots of helpful tips on how to feed your family when you’re super busy and how to make the most of your family time together.

I swear, I can’t help but be inspired by Sarah — super mom, super fit, and so dedicated to her family.

At lunchtime, I plated baby carrots, strawberries, and mini chicken apple sausages for the little guys. For myself, I reheated leftovers from last Saturday’s dinner party: cabbage rolls stuffed with braised beef shanks and roasted vegetables.

On the day of the party, I had planned on making only chard-wrapped braised beef shank and cauliflower “rice” packets, but I ran out of chard and “rice.” Luckily, I always have a head of cabbage in the fridge, so I was able to bundle up the remaining meat.

Although having quiet time to peruse my cookbooks is a treat in and of itself, I also received a surprise package from TX Bar Organics in the afternoon: Paleo jerky sample packs and lots ‘o grass fed beef. Thanks, guys!

I barely had time to throw it all in the freezer before we had to rush off to Big-O’s wushu class. When we returned home in the evening, it was too late to try out one of Sarah’s recipes. (Besides, I need to stock up on some of the required ingredients for her Brother Mike BBQ Sauce and Best Ever Chicken Wings.)

Instead, I whipped up a batch of Big-O burgers filled with bacon and sautéed mushrooms (the recipe is in my iPad app)…

…and stir-fried zucchini and cherry tomatoes in the fat left in the skillet.

Here’s my dinner plate:

I’ve been so wrapped up in cooking and back-to-school activities that I haven’t had a chance to properly plan out my trip to Portland to attend the International Food Bloggers Conference. Sadly, I won’t have much time to explore the city, but I’m definitely carving out some time to visit the Cultured Caveman Cart and sample the gluten-free goodies at Crave Bake Shop.

My free time in Portland’ll be pretty much nonexistent, but tell me: Are there other places in Portland that I must visit (and would be worth me skipping part of the conference)? Leave me your suggestions in the comments, por favor!

Paleo Eats: 8/20/12 

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I is back!

Most people mourn the end of summer vacation, but I was high-fiving other parents after Henry and I dropped the Double-Os off at school. It’s not exactly a prison break, but those few hours of freedom each weekday during the school year keep me sane.

With the kids getting their brains stuffed with math and whatever, I’m finally able to commit to a twice-weekly schedule at CrossFit Palo Alto, so that’s where I hung out (and slogged through “Helen”) on my first kid-free morning. I didn’t eat too much before class — just a small handful of almonds and a scrambled egg while I packed the kids’ lunches. 

Post-workout, I ate half a baked sweet potato and a few roast beef and veggie roll-ups.

When I checked my trusty defrost bowl in the fridge, I realized that a pastured chicken was almost past its prime. I decided to season it and dump it in the slow cooker to make chicken and gravy for dinner.

One of the big take-home messages from attending AHS was that I really need to add more organ meats into our diets. My two favorite speakers, Mat Lalonde and Denise Minger, both stressed that organ meats are much more nutrient dense than…well,  just about anything else. As a result, I’ve been sneaking liver into our family’s suppers this week and today was no exception. Right before I programmed the slow cooker, I plopped in a couple of lobes of chicken livers into the pot.

At lunchtime, I reheated a few leftover chard-wrapped braised beef shank and cauliflower “rice” bundles that we served at a recent dinner party…

…and ate it with some leftover roasted vegetables. Sorry, gang — there’s no recipe for the chard bundles (yet!) because I just threw them together last weekend during my camera-free blogging vacation. 

Then, it was time to go punch and kick at the wushu studio. By the time the boys and I came home from kung fu fighting, our scrawny chicken was ready to be devoured.

Only a few steps left before our meal was ready: I blitzed the onions, cooking liquid, and hepatic material to make a smooth, rich, nutrient-fortified gravy…

…and quickly sautéed two packages of Trader Joe’s Power to the Greens in butter with a few splashes of Red Boat Fish Sauce.  I plated the chicken, greens, and a handful of leftover roasted beets, and dinner was served.

The gravy went over great with the kids (Big-O, unprompted: “This is awesome gravy!”) and I’m thrilled I’ve got a big container of it stashed in the freezer.

Don’t be scared, but I’m about to go crazy with organ meats, I tell ya.

Last Day in Massachusetts & Neptune Oyster (8/12/12)

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Our last day at Clark Farm started just like the others, with an egg-ceptional breakfast! (Punny, right? RIGHT?!? Actually, I hate puns.)

I already miss my daily meal of farm-fresh eggs, kraut, and sausages.

We begrudgingly crammed our belongings into our luggage while wistfully peeking out the windows at the peaceful tableau outside.

Meanwhile, the kids conspired to hide the Double-Os. Our boys had no qualms about missing our flight home. “I’m going to stay here forever,” Lil-O insisted. And he meant it. Hence the uncooperative face in this farewell photo:

But it was time to go. With heavy hearts, we piled into the car and headed for Boston to spend our final afternoon in the big city. We arrived in the North End at noon…

…and made a beeline over to Neptune Oyster for lunch.

This tiny, unassuming raw bar and seafood restaurant was a welcome oasis in a cluster of kitschy Italian tourist traps. 

I know we should’ve slurped up a bunch of shooters, but instead, we shared a “Tuna Ribbons” salad with raw ahi, potato aioli, olives, capers, boiled egg, and green beans…

…a lobster, mozzarella, and tomato salad…

…and seared striped bass over ratatouille.

Everything was fresh and meticulously prepared. Definitely one of my favorite meals in Massachusetts.

After lunch, we acted like typical bumbling camera-toting tourists (which we are) as we meandered along the Freedom Trail

…and wandered over to Faneuil Hall

…to witness America’s NEXT! MILLION! DOLLAR! ACT! 

Every time the Double-Os spot a street performer, they mercilessly judge the act like mini Howard Sterns on America’s Got Talent. (My heart bursts with pride.) According to my boys, this fellow was entertaining, but he did not have what it takes to fill a Vegas theater with clambering fans. “It was good, but was it a million dollar act?” asked Big-O. He answered his own question with a firm “No.”

In the late afternoon, we finally arrived at Logan Airport where the boys downed some sushi for dinner before we boarded the plane.

And that, my friends, is the end of my interminable presentation of What I Did On Summer Vacation. You can wake up now.

Tomorrow, it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming of daily eats — which means it’s back to cold food for me. Have I told you how nice it’s been not to have to take photos of everything that goes in my mouth this week? But for you, I’ll dust off the camera again — at least until I get sick of blogging.