Reader Appreciation Giveaway: Instant Pot & Nom Nom Paleo Action Figure!

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Man, I’m a pretty lucky gal. This week brought two wonderful surprises (and a not-so wonderful one, too).

I was on nightshift duty at the hospital last week, so I was passed out in bed when a heavy package from Paleo Magazine arrived at our house. It wasn’t until my week of zombie drug dealing was over that I opened up the box—and happily discovered that we won the four categories for which we were nominated in Paleo Magazine’s Best of 2013 Reader’s Choice Awards!

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We won for:

  • Best Food Centered Food Blog!

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Then, on Friday afternoon, another surprise: I got a text message from Diane Sanfilippo alerting me that our cookbook had managed to sneak onto the New York Times Best Sellers list in the Dining category!

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Whoa. I was (pleasantly!) stunned. Our book had been out of stock at Amazon and/or Barnes & Noble for chunks of January, so I’d dismissed our chances of making any of the bestseller lists. I was on Cloud Nine—and then thirty minutes later, the main sewage line to our house backed up.

Ugh. Nothing like a little scat to keep my ego in check.

In all seriousness: I know I don’t say it nearly often enough, but THANK YOU. I’m sending out a big virtual hug to all my blog readers and to every person who shelled out his or her hard-earned moolah for our iPad app or cookbook. Thank you for cooking along with us—you make it all worthwhile.

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I read each and every comment, tweet, and email that comes our way. But because it’s just Henry and me working behind the scenes at Nom Nom Paleo—and only after the kids go to bed at 8 p.m.—we can’t always reply to all of your messages or write a proper thank you note.

So as a small token of our gratitude, we’re giving away an brand-spanking-new Instant Pot IP-DUO60—as well as a bunch of my limited edition vinyl action figures! Yep, one winner will receive an Instant Pot and five others will win a Mini-Michelle action figure!

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Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition

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Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Before launching into this week’s links—which are all about Super Bowl party planning tips!—I want to take a second to wish everyone a Happy Lunar New Year. (And if you have no clue what I’m talking about, I’m sorry; I’m guessing you missed out on a lot of red envelopes growing up!)

Now—who’s ready for some football?

Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Not me, that’s for sure.

Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE the Super Bowl. I just happen to like the stuff that happens in-between the action on the field, namely the commercials and halftime show. Each year, I giddily anticipate the potentially-scandalous, FCC-angering, lip-synched halftime show, and I’m already excited about critiquing the bazillion-dollar commercials for processed food and insurance. I wonder if any of this year’s commercials will top my all-time favorite

I‘ve hosted tons of Super Bowl parties in my time, but while others in the house are on the edge of their seats for every play, I’m usually clueless as to which two teams are actually vying for the Lombardi Trophy. This year’s different, though; I actually know that the Seahawks are playing the Broncos because my book signings in Seattle coincided with the NFC championship game between the ’Hawks and my hometown Niners. I even know who Richard Sherman is. Kind of.

Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Confession: I might’ve told folks in Seattle that if they came to my Book Larder signing, their home team would win.

I’m pretty sure my father-in-law will never forgive me.

(By the way, if you missed my January tour, there a bunch of signed copies available on-line and in-store at Book Larder. Go grab ’em!)

Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Anyway, enough jawing about football. Let’s talk instead about hosting a Super Bowl party!

Don’t freak out if you’re not feeling prepared. If you’re a calm and gracious host, your party will go swimmingly. The best way to ensure an even keel—besides downing pharmaceuticals or adult beverages—is to prep almost all of your food ahead of time. Right before your pals arrive, lay out a buffet of finger foods and a do-it-yourself taco bar, and you’ll be all set. People like to get up and yell at the TV, so foods that you can gobble up in a flash are the way to go if you don’t want a big mess on your floor. I don’t know about you, but if I need to mop up after sloppy guests, I tend to hulk out. (I will not tolerate missing any wardrobe malfunctions, people.)

Wanna see what you can put together for your buffet bites/taco bar bonanza?

Super Bowl Party Two-Bite Delights :

Dolled-Up Hard Boiled Eggs!

Deviled eggs are almost always a crowd-pleaser. Our new cookbook has a dead-simple, deceptively elegant variation called Lazy Devils. You start with a batch of perfect hard-boiled eggs

Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and cut ’em in half…

Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…slather on flavored mayo, and add on your favorite toppings. You can’t go wrong.

Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

( Oh, and I won’t tell anyone if you start with pre-boiled, pre-peeled eggs from Trader Joe’s.)

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Forky Friday: 1/24/14

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Forky Friday: 1/24/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ready or not, here I come—with my favorite links of the week!

In The Kitchen

When I first started eating according to a Paleo template, the biggest challenge wasn’t removing ”heart-healthy” whole grains or beans from my diet—it was the prospect of having to cook ALL THE TIME. I didn’t want to spend my entire life in front of the stove—especially when I could be catching up with The Real Housewives on TV.

Forky Friday: 1/24/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But now, having logged thousands of hours in the kitchen, I no longer feel like pulling out my hair in clumps when faced with dinner prep. Of course, it also helps that I’ve continued to learn and employ time- (and sanity-) saving tips and tricks that streamline the cooking process.

Case in point: I love this post in The Kitchn about 18 Daily Habits that Make Life in the Kitchen Better.

Forky Friday: 1/24/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

And thanks to this HuffPo article, I’ve eliminated a number of bad kitchen habits, too.

My favorite new shortcut in the kitchen? I’ve been keeping a large stainless steel bowl filled with warm, soapy water in the sink so I can chuck dirty utensils and dishes into it as I cook. Presto! Washing dishes just got a lot easier!

Forky Friday: 1/24/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I just need to keep reminding myself not to toss any knives into the suds. (Because “Surprise! You just lost a finger!” ain’t my idea of a good time.)

Still Whole30in’ On?

For all of you who soldiered through the KILL ALL THE THINGS phase of the Whole30 (like my super-awesome sister Fiona!), welcome to the home stretch!

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Cracklin’ Chicken

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Cracklin' Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The past couple of months have been absolutely bananas. Between working my zombie drug dealer shifts at the hospital, zipping through Asia, throwing a book release party, and pin-balling my way around Southern California, Texas, and the Pacific Northwest to meet readers on my book tour, I haven’t spent much time at home with my family, let alone cook for them. So you can imagine my delight when Henry and the Os finally joined me in Portland and Seattle for the last few days of my book tour—and I was even happier to return home on Monday.

After dragging our luggage into our entryway, I headed straight for my kitchen. I was dead tired, but it had been a while since I whipped up a home-cooked meal. I was itching to fire up the stove, despite having next-to-nothing in the fridge. So what’s a lazy (but hungry) mommy to do? Why, fry up a batch of Cracklin’ Chicken (a.k.a. Lil-O’s favorite crispy chicken thighs), of course!

Cracklin' Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Longtime readers of this blog (and owners of my new cookbook!) know that my younger son is a picky and headstrong little guy who wasn’t exactly keen on this whole Paleo thing. At the age of three, he almost ran away from home when the whole-grain mac & cheese disappeared from our cupboard.

The transition wasn’t smooth, but with persistence and patience, we got our whole family eating the same dishes at mealtimes. Obviously, compromise is a necessity, and I do my best to make dishes we all can agree on. When I ask the kids for suggestions, Lil-O always asks for Cracklin’ Chicken. (That is, when he’s not throwing out made-up names for imaginary dishes like “Big Buddy with a Ham Chuddy” or “Chewy Butt Stew.”)

Cracklin' Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Cracklin’ Chicken’s one of my favorite dishes, too. These crispy-on-the-outside, tender-and-juicy-on-the-inside boneless chicken thighs are quick and easy to prepare, and taste fantastic with whatever seasoning I have on hand—even if it’s just salt and pepper. And for those of you who care, this recipe’s Whole30- and 21DSD-friendly to boot!

Cracklin' Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Some key tips for this recipe:

  • Buy bone-in, skin-on thighs—they’re inexpensive. Plus, the bones are easy to remove, and the crispy skin is what makes this dish. I vastly prefer thighs over breasts for this recipe—to me, breasts tend to dry out and end up more bland.
  • Use a pair of sharp kitchen shears to remove the bones. (Reserve the bones in the freezer for your next batch of bone broth!)
  • Dry the chicken thighs well, and season both sides of the thigh with salt, but ONLY the meat side gets additional seasoning and/or pepper. If you put other seasonings on the skin, it’ll run the risk of burning. Then, everyone will be sad. Tears are not tasty.

Ready for my fool-proof method for a crowd-pleasing, kid-approved chicken dinner?

Cracklin' Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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…But Cavemen Didn’t Use Photo Booths!

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In seven days, I’ve hopped from book tour stops in San Francisco to San Diego, and Los Angeles to Houston—and for the next two days, I’m in Dallas. I’ve absolutely loved meeting everyone on the road (more pics of my events will be coming soon!), but I miss Henry and the boys terribly. It’s hard to believe it was just a week ago that a packed house of friends, family, and readers came to celebrate our book release in San Francisco (and stuffed themselves into a photo booth to commemorate the occasion):

(Can’t see the video above? Watch it on YouTube here. Also, our friend George put together a sweet video of the party, too—check it out!)

Is it weird that my tour’s not even half over yet, and I’m already nostalgic?

January Jumpstart: Week Two

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Okay, gang—we’re entering the second week of our January jumpstart. You still with me? Good!

January Jumpstart: Week Two by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Before we dive in, I’ve got a special treat for those of you who’ve embarked on a Whole30 this month: due to popular demand, I’ve created a free downloadable list of all the Whole30-friendly recipes in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans. Click here to get it!

Spoiler alert: Over 100 of the recipes in my book are Whole30-compliant! As the review of our book on the Whole30 site points out:

A few of the sauces and dressings call for honey or some other form of added sugar, but she does her best to give you a Whole30-compliant substitute, like using a pitted date instead of honey in her sriracha. Which means the entire cookbook, right up to Page 249, is almost completely Whole30-friendly.

Haven’t gotten your hands on a copy of my book yet? No worries—here’s another nomtastic batch of recipes to try as you tackle the New Year and punch it in the face!

Easy Paleo Frittata

I love eating leftovers for breakfast, but I know that for many folks, it’s absolutely unthinkable to start the day with something that resembles dinner food. The solution? Throw your leftover meat into a sunny, eggy frittata

January Jumpstart: Week Two by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Garbage Stir Fry with Curried Cabbage

This is a fantastic way to quickly and easily transform that package of ground meat in your fridge into a fragrant and hearty weeknight meal. And don’t be put off by the name—after all, one person’s garbage is another person’s stir-fry, right?

January Jumpstart: Week Two by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Tonnato Sauce

Going Paleo doesn’t mean getting stuck with bland, boring foods. Instead, give your taste buds a big bear hug by making sure you’ve got plenty of delicious sauces and flavor-boosters on hand, like this classic, umami-packed Italian sauce.

January Jumpstart: Week Two by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Food for Humans Book Tour: Bay Area Launch

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Food for Humans Book Tour: Bay Area Launch by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Wondering why I’ve been absent from this little corner of the Internet these past few days? It’s ‘cause this weekend marked the kick-off of my January book tour to promote Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans—and I’ve been way too freaked out to be productive.

That’s not to say I haven’t had a blast.

First up was a rollicking gig with my buddies Melissa Joulwan and Diana Rodgers on Thursday night at CrossFit Palo Alto, where we answered questions from a packed house…

Food for Humans Book Tour: Bay Area Launch by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…signed copies of our books, and got an opportunity to crack wise with many of you.

Food for Humans Book Tour: Bay Area Launch by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Then, bright and early yesterday, with the invaluable assistance of Diana and our superstar pal Julie Mayfield, we hand-packed a couple hundred swag bags and headed for the city. With less than two hours before guests were set to arrive at The Box SF, we scurried around the venue to get it ready for our official book launch party.

But to be honest, the space needed almost no sprucing up at all. It’s simple and gorgeous, and our only real additions were a couple of tablecloths and banners, a place for the lovely folks from Books Inc. to sell copies of our cookbook…

Food for Humans Book Tour: Bay Area Launch by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…a special Nom Nom Coffee Bar (courtesy of Four Barrel Coffee and Highwire Coffee)…

Food for Humans Book Tour: Bay Area Launch by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…a kombucha stand (serving up amazingly delicious booch on tap!) by Revive Drinks… 

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…and a photo booth by Photo-matica (sponsored by, well, me and Henry!) that would crank out endless shots of our guests.

Food for Humans Book Tour: Bay Area Launch by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Plus, with a menu of delectable brunch bites by Zenbelly’s Simone Shifnadel… 

Food for Humans Book Tour: Bay Area Launch by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…I knew the food situation was in good hands.

Food for Humans Book Tour: Bay Area Launch by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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January Jumpstart: Week One

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January Jumpstart: Week One by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Who’s ready for a fresh start to the year?

To inspire you to kick off 2014 with some deliciously healthy eats, over the course of January, I’m going to lay out four weeks’ worth of lip-smacking, nourishing grub. And don’t worry if you’re on the straight-and-narrow this month—I chose recipes of mine that should fit into any Paleo template, whether you’re on a short-term dietary reset like the Whole30 or 21 Day Sugar Detox, or you’ve settled into an everyday real-food approach.

Before we get started, I should point out that this isn’t meant to be a meal plan. In these posts, I won’t be telling you what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and you certainly shouldn’t feel compelled to make every single thing listed (though you certainly can, if you feel like it!). Instead, I hope that some or all of these recipes will strike your fancy, and spark ideas about other dishes you can make this month and beyond. My goal is simple: to inspire you to cook and eat Paleo without sacrificing flavor or fun.

So with that out of the way, here are my picks for Week One:

Shrimp-Stuffed Mushrooms

This simple Asian-inspired appetizer is a crowd-pleaser that never disappoints—even when the “crowd” consists of just me and my boys.

January Jumpstart: Week One by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ghee

As you go through January—heck, as you go through life—you’ll find that you need ghee, and plenty of it. Trust me on this.

January Jumpstart: Week One by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Paleo Mayonnaise

You’ll need mayo, too. And making it with an immersion blender is even easier, so what are you waiting for?

January Jumpstart: Week One by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Sriracha

And since we’re on the topic of flavor-boosters, why not make yourself a batch of homemade sriracha—the kind that isn’t loaded with unpronounceable preservatives? Sriracha is, after all, a delicious blessing flavored with the incandescent glow of a thousand dying suns.

January Jumpstart: Week One by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Doro Wat

Need to warm yourself from the inside-out? This wonderfully spicy Ethiopian chicken stew should do the trick.

January Jumpstart: Week One by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Roasted Chestnuts

On finger-numbing winter evenings, there is nothing better in this world than a bag of freshly-roasted chestnuts. I repeat: nothing.

January Jumpstart: Week One by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com 

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Nom Nom Paleo’s Top 15 Posts of 2013

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Nom Nom Paleo's Top 15 Posts of 2013 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As the year draws to a close, let’s step into our time machine and revisit my top posts of 2013. I dug through our site metrics, and learned that of the roughly 200 (non-cookbook-related!) posts I published on Nom Nom Paleo over the past 12 months, these 15 were the most popular, as judged by traffic, notes, comments, and dissemination on social media:

15. Orange Sriracha Chicken (October 27)

I don’t know if it’s the sweet, citrusy notes in the sauce or the spicy sriracha kick—or if readers were just freaked out that the Huy Fong Sriracha plant in southern California was seemingly under constant threat of shutdown—but my recipe for Orange Sriracha Chicken was a fan favorite. (It’s one of mine, too.)

Orange Sriracha Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

14. Forky Friday: Thanksgiving Smorgasbord (November 22)

Every November, we’re faced with a conundrum: How do we prepare a Turkey Day feast for a house full of Paleo eaters? This year, I posted a series of Thanksgiving recipes, ranging from Spatchcocked Turkey and Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw to Cran-Cherry Sauce and Umami Gravy. And in advance of the big dinner, I posted a rundown of all the recipes—and added a bunch more, too. Wanna see?

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13. Kelly Brozyna’s Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust (September 30)

I adore Kelly and her family. And when I received an advance review copy of her latest book, The Paleo Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook, I couldn’t wait to get cooking. Everything looked incredible, but Kelly’s Chocolate Pie recipe jumped off the page at me. See what I mean?

Kelly Brozyna's Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

12. Round-up: Another Week of Paleo Lunches (August 23)

For the second year in a row, I partnered with Jackie Linder of Lunchbots—the best and most stylish stainless steel lunch containers in the known universe!—to present a week’s worth of Paleo-friendly packed lunch ideas. We had a great time putting these lunches together, and happily, it looks like you guys enjoyed reading about them, too!

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