Paleo Eats: 12/27/11 

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I’m heaving big sighs as I type this post because I resume my graveyard shifts tomorrow night. I know I need to quit my whining since I had three weeks off, but I’m still sad that I’ll be sleeping during the day while the boys are on vacation.

Today, I crammed in lots of good eats and playtime because I didn’t want to waste my last day of PTO. For brunch, our family stopped by Café Borrone in Menlo Park and I ate a scramble with Swiss chard, green onions, and bacon.

Then, we wandered into Kepler’s Books where the kids pored over Tintin comic books and I browsed the cookbook section. I can never have enough cookbooks. It’s a sickness, I know.

I was dead set on making some Vietnamese beef phở broth today, so we stopped by Penzeys to stock up on my missing spices.

I’m a huge fan of this spice emporium, as is Big-O.

In the afternoon, I took my old pressure cooker out of the appliance graveyard in the garage to make a pot of Vietnamese phở beef broth. I’d put it away two years ago when I stopped making my weekly pot ‘o beans. Recently, my sister told me about her quick and easy technique of making beef broth using her pressure cooker and beef cross shanks. Intrigued, I made a few batches of broth this week and the results were fantastic. The soup is super flavorful and the meat on the shanks is moist and tender. Did I mention that it takes less than an hour? Amazing.

For today’s soup, I toasted the spices…

…seared the shanks…

…and tossed the rest of the ingredients into the pressure cooker.

In about an hour, I had a pot filled with rich stock and hearty, fork-tender meat. After I strained the broth and reserved the beef, I stored both containers in the fridge for tomorrow’s lunch.

What did I eat between brunch and dinner? Uh…mac nuts, dark chocolate, and some coconut cream. I saw you rolling your eyes…

For dinner, I baked an oldie but goodie: Super Porktastic Meatloaf.

Gotta catch some zzz’s at night for the last time this week!

Paleo Eats: 12/12/11

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The Final Jeopardy answer is…COOKING, COOKING, COOKING. 

Alex, the question is: “How is M spending the first half of her vacation?” 

Yes, I realize it’s getting a little tedious, but until we leave for Cabo on Sunday, I’ll probably be running around our kitchen, making an awfully big mess, and cursing that there ain’t enough sunlight this time of year for me to photograph my food. Yep — I’m still plugging away on my little project. By the way, I appreciate all the enthusiasm for a Nom Nom Paleo cookbook…but who said I was writing one? I’m actually developing a Nom Nom Paleo video game where you shoot pork roasts at vegans. Wocka wocka wocka.

Enough joking around, here’s a look at what I ate and cooked today:

For breakfast, I crisped up some leftover Kalua pig in my mini cast iron skillet and cracked in a couple of eggs to bind the swine together.

I topped the eggs and pork with some leftover guacamole and mango salsa. I love pan-frying leftover Kalua pig because it gets crispity-crunchity like carnitas.

After I came home from the women’s class at CrossFit Palo Alto, I chowed on a nuked yam as my post-workout snack. Boring, I know.

For lunch, I ate some spicy tuna cakes…

…topped with a tangy, bacony dressing made with avocado and basil.

After lunch, I cooked another boatload of food. I threw together a BLTC (bacon, lettuce, tomato, and crab) salad…

…seared a sous vide rib eye steak seasoned with Tabil

…and slow-roasted a rack of lamb seasoned with Dukka.

At dinnertime, we had our standing Monday dinner/playdate with Dr. HA and her two kids. I’d been sampling food all afternoon so I wasn’t terribly famished at dinner. That didn’t stop me from eating, though.

For dinner, I sauteed three bunches of organic beech mushrooms….

…in bacon grease with sliced garlic, coconut aminos, and fish sauce.

For the main dish, I tossed some fresh Dungeness crab meat (Thank you, Siren SeaSA!) with the green dressing I made earlier and tucked the salad inside a Pure Wrap.

That’s a wrap. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Paleo Eats: 12/9/11

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Today was chock-full of cooking, cooking, cooking.

Remember how I mentioned that Fitbomb and I are working on a nifty side project? Well, our recipe development went into overdrive because my chef sister is staying with us this weekend. Seriously, she has mad cooking skillz and I bow down to her awesomeness. All yesterday and today, I was bouncing ideas off of my sis and she was volleying back with some kickass dishes and tips. 

Before we went balls to the walls in the kitchen, I fueled myself with a small bowl of Paleo trail mix in coconut milk.

I also rolled up some leftover Kalua Pig and baby lettuces in a Pure Wrap and crammed it in my pie hole. 

I seasoned a couple of grass fed rib eye steaks with porcini finishing salt and freshly ground pepper. I tossed one in the SousVide Supreme and set the other one aside to slow roast in the oven.

While I was out running errands in the morning, Fitbomb baked a Paleo quick bread that had a crunchy crust and a delicate and moist interior.

At lunchtime, I couldn’t resist chowing on a warm and crusty slice of bread along with baby carrots and my brother-in-law’s smoked turkey.

In the afternoon, we distracted the boys with Legos and books…

…so we could get some serious cooking done.

Wanna see what we made?

We fried some lardons, collected the liquid gold, blended up a batch of bacon aioli…

…hard-boiled a dozen eggs…

…assembled bacony deviled eggs…

…baked a batch of bacony kale chips

roasted a few bell peppers

…and threw together a tangy, balsamic-marinated roasted pepper salad.

I also slow roasted the porcini-rubbed grass fed rib eye from U.S. Wellness Meats… 

…and broiled and torched it to give it a charred exterior.

Since we sampled food all afternoon — er, in mass quantities — we weren’t hungry in the slightest at dinner time. 

Paleo Eats: 12/2/11

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My night shift was busy again so I was glad I packed healthy eats: leftover Asian cauliflower fried rice, dark chocolate (yes, this is healthy), and some sliced Braunschweiger and bell peppers.

When I got home in the morning, I found Fitbomb experimenting in the kitchen. He baked everyone ham and egg cups…

…and I topped mine with a tangy lime-Tabasco sauce (which he also concocted). What’s not to love about this guy?

Afterwards, I tested a new technique for slow-roasting cowboy chops that I learned from Ryan Farr's Whole Beast Butchery. I took out the steak I salted last night…

…seasoned it with Tabil, and slow-roasted it in the oven at 250 F until the internal temperature reached 132 F. I finished off the steak under the broiler…

…let it rest for 10 minutes…

…and sliced it up.

Perfection. Ryan Farr is totally the master of all things meat. I normally like to sous vide my chops but this technique yields awesome results — and you only have to invest in a cheap thermometer.

(If you’re wondering, I stored the steak in the fridge as emergency protein ‘cause I can’t polish off a 3-pound steak by myself.)

When I finally woke up in the evening, I sauteed a bag ‘o spinach with chopped garlic and ghee..

…and reheated some Thai chicken curry.

Here’s my dinner bowl:

After dinner, I chugged an espresso and headed to work. 

Hey! Who’s going to the PaleoFX12 Symposium in Austin in March? It sounds awesome…

Paleo Eats: 12/1/11

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Man, it’s December already? No wonder it’s been crazy at work. My 10-hour shift at the hospital whizzed by and all I ate during it was an ounce of dark chocolate and a grass fed PaleoKit.

When I came home, I gobbled up a couple of double curry wraps: Madras chicken salad rolled up in curry flavored Pure Wraps. I gotta say I’m full of glee that sandwiches are back in my life.

After I woke up in the evening, I made a simplified version of my green slider burgers

…and roasted Brussels sprouts with a splash of Red Boat fish sauce and balsamic vinegar.

Here’s my dinner plate:

After dinner, I seasoned a dino chop from 4505 Meats liberally with kosher salt…

…and stuck it in the fridge before leaving for work. I’m gonna slow-roast it in the oven tomorrow per the instructions in Ryan Farr’s epic meat tome, Whole Beast Butchery.

Only six more nights to get through before I have three weeks of PTO. Yes, again. It’s a Chrismukkah gift to myself.

Paleo Eats: 11/30/11

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My week off was over in a blink of an eye. Before I knew it, I was scrambling around all morning running errands since I was starting work in the evening. 

Le sigh.

In between piles of laundry and shuttling the kids back and forth from school, I chowed on a couple of U.S. Wellness Meats beef sticks (healthy and tasty Slim Jims), two cups of leftover chawanmushi, a mess of macadamia nuts (I’ve simply got no self control), and a dollop of coconut butter.

I also threw together a super-fast Thai yellow curry chicken stew…

…that I stored in the fridge to eat later this week.

After a quick catnap in the afternoon, I woke up in the evening and sauteed some chanterelle mushrooms in butter and seasoned them with coconut aminos and Red Boat fish sauce….

…roasted broccoli and romanesco coated in coconut oil…

…and reheated some stir-fried kelp noodles in the microwave. I added some sliced egg omelet to up the protein-level but — as my super observant hubby pointed out to me — the dish was already swimming in meat.

Here’s my jumble of meat and veggies:

After dinner, I practiced some cleans in the garage and did the assigned WOD at CrossFit Palo Alto. Then, I packed my crap for work and jetted off in the night.

Paleo Eats: 11/29/11

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My morning started waaaay earlier than I would’ve liked when I was woken up by Lil-O’s cries at 3:30 a.m. When I ran to the boys’ room, I discovered that there was a barf explosion in his bed. I’m being a tad dramatic, but I did have to do a load of laundry before heading back to sleep.

When I finally straggled out of bed again, I was too wiped to head to the women’s class at CrossFit Palo Alto. Instead, I hung out with Lil-O all morning and afternoon — but he seemed suspiciously energetic for a kid that got sick in the middle of the night.

Since we were stuck at home, I enlisted his help in the kitchen. It’s not child labor if you don’t pay them, right?

We worked on two recipes in the morning. For the first one,  I grabbed a fuyu persimmon…

…washed and sliced some baby dino kale…

…prepared a citrus vinaigrette…

…and assembled a winter kale and persimmon salad. 

Kale holds up really well as a salad green plus it’s healthy and yummy to boot. Win, win, win!

For my second dish, I reworked my recipe for stir-fried kelp noodles and Lil-O assisted by throwing the different components into the pan.

By lunchtime, I was all cooked out so I reheated a bowl of leftover curried cream of broccoli soup and topped it with sous vide beef cheeks.

Beef cheeks cooked in the water oven may be my new FAVORITE emergency protein. 

At dinnertime, I roasted a tray of kabocha squash

…and assembled a Madras turkey salad with apples and toasted almonds.

I recently bought a bunch of Pure WrapsWhole30-approved tortillas made out of coconut — after reading the ringing endorsement on the Whole9 site. I do miss wraps, rolls, and sandwiches so I was eager to try them out tonight.

I wrapped some curried turkey salad and baby spinach in a sheet…

…rolled it up, and tucked in.

I really do like these wraps a lot. Like Melissa and Dallas report, the texture is similar to a thicker rice wrapper and its got a mildly sweet taste. I do lots of impulsive, late-night, internet shopping but this is one purchase I don’t regret in the slightest.

Paleo Eats: 11/27/11

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We ventured out of the house today, met some friends at the farmers’ market, cooked up a storm, and invited more friends for dinner. You can tell we’re trying to keep busy, huh?

In the morning, I made an simple frittata with leftover 4505 Meats merguez sausage and frozen broccoli…

…which I split for breakfast with Fitbomb.

Afterwards, I formed the chilled dark chocolate and coconut milk ganache from yesterday…

…into decadent truffles. 

After sampling a few of the truffles, we zoomed over to the farmers’ market where the Double-O’s enjoyed some music al fresco with their adorable buddy, M.

While the kids were transfixed by the music, I managed to haul back five big bags of produce. 

At lunchtime, we stopped by The Counter where I ate another burger in a bowl.

We were having some more friends over for dinner so I started cooking as soon as we got home. 

I butterflied a pastured chicken from Full of Life Farm and stuck it in the oven…

…blitzed a cauliflower…

…to make Asian cauliflower fried rice

…and reheated curried cream of broccoli soup which I topped with sous vide beef cheeks.

By the time I was finished with the soup and “rice,” the chicken was ready to be devoured.

That’s all folks. Good night!

Paleo Eats: 11/26/11

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Today, we pressed the play button and tried to resume our normal routine. The kids had a play date with their friends and I spent the majority of the day tinkering in the kitchen.

For brunch, I sautéed 4505 Meats merguez sausage (out of the casing) with onions… 

…and ate it with leftover braised cabbage

In the afternoon, I cooked up a storm. I think I just wanted to keep my mind and hands busy.

I made a batch of macadamia nut oil mayonnaise… 

…a dark chocolate and coconut milk ganache… 

…which I’ll form into truffles if the ganache sets up properly…

…and curried cream of broccoli soup

Plus, I’ve got a seasoned grass fed beef cheek soaking in the SousVide Supreme that I’ll fish out tomorrow afternoon.

At dinnertime, I sliced up the leftover 4505 Meats Turducken Junior and pan-fried them in duck fat. 

We gobbled it up (heh!) with the rest of the braised cabbage and a bowl of soup.

Goodbye for now!

Paleo Eats: 11/18/11

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Like the previous night, there was no room at the inn again but luckily my shift at the hospital wasn’t too crazy. While I was on the clock, I ate a package of spicy grass fed jerky chews, a merguez sausage over a bed of frozen spinach, and leftover lemongrass and coconut chicken thighs with braised cabbage and yam puree.

When I returned home, I was greeted by my smiley boys and the comforting smell of simmering bone broth

I strained the broth and ladled a steaming mug for Big-O to sip before school…

…stored the rest in the fridge, and cleaned out the slow cooker so I could throw in the ingredients for beef and tomato stew.

**Nom Nom Paleo Tip of the Day: Choose brisket or boneless short ribs for stews and braises. The meat will be meltingly tender as long as you cook it low and slow.**

After I’d tidied up in the kitchen and programmed the slow cooker, I went to bed and snuggled under the covers. Going to sleep during the day is so much easier during the colder months, BUT getting up in the evening is a Herculean task. Seriously.

When I finally dragged myself out of the warm cocoon of blankets, I went to the kitchen to make dinner. Although the slow cooker beef stew was done, I packed it away for a future dinner next week. I’m gonna be thanking myself for this later.

For tonight’s supper, I baked a simple Paleo frittata with leftover antelope emergency protein, chard, and onions….

…and topped each slice with a big dollop of guacamole.

Then, I drove my reluctant ass to work. Ugh. Do I really have five more nights to go?