Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Eats: 10/11/12

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As you may have noticed, I haven’t documented my daily eats in a couple of days ‘cause I’ve been trying to squeeze in more sleep. It’s a tough proposition; with my crazy work schedule, parenting duties, late-night blogging sessions, and an unhealthy obsession with TMZ, it hasn’t been easy getting enough shut-eye. Still, with just a little bit of effort and discipline, I’ve made some gains. On my Flip Night, I enjoyed a deep, uninterrupted, nine-hour snooze. It was so super-restorative that even before the sun was up, I bounced out of bed Thursday morning to intercept Big-O as he sleepily wandered down the hallway towards the bathroom.

As I strolled into the kitchen, it dawned on me that I still had a pork chop floating in the SousVide Supreme that I forgot to ice and put away the night before. How serendipitous: Pork chops for breakfast!

In less time than it takes for a Pop Tart to warm up in the toaster, I seared the chop in coconut oil…

…sliced it up…

…and plated it with a dollop of applesauce for the boys’ breakfast. Pork chops and appleshosh — isn’t that swhell?

And because the water oven was already on, I threw in a harissa-rubbed lambchetta that came in my 4505 Meats CSA bag.

I’ll fish it out and finish it off in 24 hours.

While I packed Big-O’s LunchBots

I made myself a simple breakfast of sunny-side-up eggs fried in butter…

…a few slices of deli roast beef, and cold leftover roasted broccoli.

After dropping Big-O at school, Lil-O and I headed to Happy Hollow where we spent the morning riding the pint-sized roller coaster and scrambling up and down the massive play structure. The fun comes with a twinge of sadness, though; soon, my youngest will be in kindergarten, and our morning jaunts will be relegated to weekends.

We didn’t get home ‘til mid-afternoon, and we were hungry. I threw together a quick Tuna and Avocado Wrap for myself (while Lil-O feasted on his favorite meal of all time: scrambled eggs and strawberries).

My emergency meal today reminded me that I need to heed Mel’s advice and have homemade mayo ready in the fridge. That way, tuna salad is only a popped can of tuna away.

In the evening, I pulled up my copy of George Bryant and Abel James's new e-book, Caveman Feast, and mixed up a batch of Apple Dijon Burgers. You know a recipe’s going to be a winner when the ingredients in the mixing bowl look good enough to eat as-is.

I formed the mixture into little sliders…

…and fried them up in bacon drippings. I topped the burger bites with sautéed mushrooms and onions — plus a few slices of crisp bacon. To accompany the sliders, I roasted a tray of broccoli, too.

I’m a big fan of dishes that combine savory, sweet, and tang, and these burgers definitely fit the bill.

This recipe, like all of George’s tasty dishes, is simple, straightforward, and packed with flavor — perfect for a quick weeknight meal.

An even bigger endorsement came from the Double-O’s, who polished off their plates in record time. I had to remind them that dinner’s not a race.

Toodles, poodles.

Paleo Eats: 9/18/12

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Fried eggs and bacon go together like Howard and Robin in the morning.

I wish I could enjoy all four of them together, but little ears are in the kitchen. Also, my head would explode from the sensory overload.

After I chaperoned Big-O to school and heard all the sniffling in his classroom, I rushed home to start a big pot of pressure cooker bone broth on the stove. I crammed my “Bubba" with cross shanks, oxtails, bones, half an onion, carrots, and dried shiitake mushrooms.

Per my standard operating procedure, I seasoned the broth with Red Boat Fish Sauce.

If you’ve never tried fish sauce before, don’t worry — it doesn’t make your broth taste fishy at all. It just imparts the stock with extra umami.

As a mid-morning snack, I dug into a bowl of Straus organic full-fat plain Greek yogurt and fresh strawberries. 

Yes, I know dairy is a controversial topic in the Paleosphere. If you want to delve deeper, check out my husband’s post or Chris Kresser’s. The bottom line for us? We’ve found that we tolerate full-fat, pastured dairy just fine, so we have no problem enjoying it on occasion.

By noon, Lil-O and I were itching to get out of the house. I proposed picnicking at the park, and he enthusiastically agreed. Before heading out to synthesize some vitamin D, I made sure we were well-provisioned. My four-year-old carried a LunchBots Quad filled with scrambled eggs, mini chicken apple sausages, grapes, and a homemade sweet potato bar from yesterday’s batch

…while I packed a medium LunchBots Clicks with leftover flap steak, sautéed cabbage, roasted broccoli, and fresh cherry tomatoes.

To work up an appetite, we spent an hour scrambling around the play structure pretending to be pirates. Sadly, we had to retreat to the car to eat lunch ‘cause we were beset by a persistent pair of dive-bombing yellowjacket wasps. Damn you, dirty bugs.

The remainder of the afternoon flew by: I helped Big-O with his homework, judged a living room version of America’s Got Talent featuring lip-syncing and dancing by the Double-Os, and shuttled the boys to the wushu studio.

By the time we got home, it was getting late — and I hadn’t given any thought to dinner. But once a quick inventory of the fridge revealed a couple of eggplants and a package of bulk Italian sausage, I knew just what to do.

I cut up the eggplants, brushed the sides with coconut oil, and seasoned them with Magic Mushroom Powder. (Sorry, gang — for now, the recipe for my spice blend is exclusive to my iPad® cookbook app!)

I stuck the tray under the broiler for a few minutes to brown both sides…

…and I drizzled the soft, spongy rounds with balsamic vinegar and a basil chiffonade. (Check out my roasted eggplant recipe here.)

For the main dish, I fried up some semi-homemade Italian sausage meatballs — emphasis on the “semi.” I just rolled the bulk sausage into little balls…

…and tossed the browned meat orbs in a pot of simmering Rao’s Marinara Sauce.

Eat your heart out, Sandra Lee.

Dagnabbit. Is my week off already over? Is it time to start another seven consecutive nights of graveyard shifts? Fine. Cue the spooky music and let the zombie apocalypse commence.

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: 9/8/12

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Whenever I’m in zombie mode, my survival kit always contains three critical items: coffee, dark chocolate, and a box of leftovers. I’m too risk-averse to gamble on hospital vending machine grub.

For my mid-shift meal, I reheated some braised beef shanks and Asian cauliflower fried rice.

After zooming home post my 10-hour shift, Big-O was the first person to greet me with a cheery smile. 

We’re both morning people (despite my crazy work schedule), and our wide-eyed perkiness baffles and annoys my husband and Lil-O — both of whom have to be dragged out of bed, squinting and blinking and cringing at the sunlight. Unfortunately, Big-O also shares my genetic predisposition towards messiness; his toy bins are exploding in a haphazard jumble — just like my kitchen drawers.

My idea of organization (if you can call it that) is “toss it in there and I’ll look for it later.” Shameful, I know. 

Sure, I could’ve spent a few hours putting my things away neatly, but my pillow beckoned.

Zzzzz.

I managed to pass out for a solid seven hours during the day before popping up to make dinner. I’d been craving spicy tuna cakes ever since I received sample packets of cooked tuna in coconut oil from my friends at Itsumo Ahi Jerky.

It’s been ages since I made a batch, so I wrestled an iPad away from one of the kids (“HEY! MOM! I’M USING THAT!”) to review the recipe in my cookbook app.

Straight out of the packet, the tuna was incredible. I had to stop myself from eating the whole pouch. 

With coconut oil already mixed in with the cooked fish, I decided to omit the ghee from the original recipe. Instead, I added a smidge of coconut flour to absorb the extra moisture.

After swiping through all the steps of the cooking process to jog my memory, I grabbed a few green onion stalks and minced them up…

…coated a muffin tin with ghee..

…and tossed the ingredients in a bowl.

I squished everything together with my hands…

…scooped the mixture into the muffin pan…

…flattened the cakes a bit…

…and popped them in the oven.

While the tuna cakes baked in the oven, I stir-fried baby kale with homemade bone broth, minced garlic, and Red Boat Fish Sauce.

This simple dinner was ready in about 30 minutes.

I even had time to make a fancy dessert. I call it “Slices of Watermelon.” You’ll never guess how I made it.

Out of curiosity, what’s your go-to quickie work night meal?