What’s In My Pantry

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Here are some staples we keep on hand at Chez Nom Nom Paleo:

Coconut Oil: We normally stock up at Whole Paycheck when coconut oil goes on sale.  I used to avoid it like the plague since I was taught that saturated fats = heart attack (yes, I have a nutrition and food science degree from the mid 90’s).  Now, I use this stuff all the time time for stir-frying or high temperature cooking.

Here’s our coconut spray oil, also purchased at Whole Paycheck.  Fitbomb uses it for everything.  I prefer to scoop some coconut oil from the jar.

Our go-to brand of extra virgin olive oil for everyday cooking is the one in the biggest bottle from Trader Joe’s. It’s economical, tasty, and I love the pour spout that comes with it. Call me crazy, but I don’t like sticking my thumb on the bottle opening (á la Jamie Oliver) when I’m drizzling olive oil on stuff.

I use Conzorzio Roasted Garlic Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil to drizzle on foods post cooking, or on foods I’m not cooking at a super high temp.  The flavor is pretty strong so I don’t put it on things that it’s likely to overpower. Get it at Costco before they decide to take it off the shelves. I just wish these bottles came with spigots!

Since the Paleo gods frown on dairy, we don’t use butter as much as we used to. When we do, we use Kerrygold unsalted butter because it comes from grassfed cows. Plus, you can find it reasonably priced at Trader Joe’s.

When I need a high-smoke-point fat and coconut oil has too distinctive a flavor for my dish, I’ll use ghee.  I’m too lazy to make my own from Kerrygold, so I just buy Purity Farms Organic Ghee. Per their website, it’s made from grassfed, pasture raised cow milk.  This product is carried at Whole Paycheck and other fancy grocery stores.

Okay, vinegar isn’t technically Paleo because it may have some gluten in it but I really like balsamic vinegar and keep a few bottles in my pantry at all times. My favorite cheap balsamic vinegar is Trader Joe’s Gold Quality Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. I use this stuff all the time to marinate my roasted veggies. See how the label has rubbed off?

Having a fancy, aged, thick balsamic vinegar in the pantry is a must. I just buy whichever one is on sale at Whole Paycheck or at a nicer grocery store. I drizzle the nice stuff to finish my dishes.  A little bit goes a long way. This is the higher-end bottle that’s currently sitting in our pantry:

Since I’ve cut out soy and oyster sauce, we have some San-J Organic Tamari in the pantry when I make Asian food (which is rare).  I don’t use this too often, though, because it’s still made with soy.

The Worchestershire sauce we have in the fridge is The Wizard’s™ Organic Worcestershire Sauce.   This is the stuff Fitbomb uses in his jerky recipe.

Last but not least, is one of my favorite pantry items: Rao’s Marinara Sauce! Honestly, this canned sauce is better than most Italian grandmothers’. Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s worth every penny. Anytime I see it on sale, I stock up. Buy it and put it on everything.

Does Paleo = Low-Carb?

Anonymous

Here’s what the smarties at Whole9 tell people in their “Whole9 Nutrition Elevator Pitch:”

I eat “real” food – fresh, natural food like meat, vegetables and fruit.  I choose foods that are nutrient dense, with lots of naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, over foods that have more calories but less nutrition.  And food quality is important – I’m careful about where my meat comes from, and buy produce locally and organically as often as possible.

It’s not a low calorie “diet” – I eat as much as I need to maintain strength, energy and a healthy weight.  In fact, my diet is probably much higher in fat than you’d imagine.  Fat isn’t the enemy – it’s a great energy source when it comes from high quality foods like avocado, coconut and nuts. And I’m not trying to do a “low carb” thing, but since I’m eating vegetables and fruits instead of bread, cereal and pasta, it just happens to work out that way.

Eating like this is good for maintaining a healthy metabolism, and reducing inflammation within the body.  It’s been doing great things for my energy levels, body composition and performance in the gym.  It also helps to minimize my risk for a whole host of lifestyle diseases and conditions, like diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

For the most part, I try to follow these guidelines but I do regularly eat cheese, yogurt, and dark chocolate.  Plus, if I’m at a fancy schmancy place where there’s a chef’s tasting menu I eat whatever they put in front of me.

Confession: I Am A Costco Addict

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I feel very confessional today. 

I love Costco.  Maybe even a little more than I love my family.  Did I type that out loud?  Seriously, I go to Costco at least once a week and always come home with all sorts of awesome things — and not just stuff that come in 400-pack boxes. 

Here are some things I picked up yesterday:

 

Gluten-free, free-range, super easy-peasy, and pretty tasty.  I threw one pack in the freezer and will use the other pack throughout the week.  I packed a few meatballs with some leftover braised cabbage and brought it to work.

  

 Ito-en makes my favorite bottled Japanese tea and I love having these bags around to make green tea on the fly.

I eat tons of guacamole so I’m happy this comes in a three pack. 

 

Our Costco stocks some top-shelf cookbooks along with the crap.  I spied signed copies of Michael Chiarello’s new Bottega cookbook but it was next to Sandra Lee’s latest cookbook.  I guess you have to take the good with the shitty.  Come holiday season, they bring out the really fancy cookbooks like Alinea, The French Laundry Cookbook, etc.  I hope they stock Modernist Cuisine when it comes out…

Other products I regularly pick up at Costco:

  • Grimaud Farms duck confit
  • Large bag of Haas avocados (on the Clean Fifteen so I’m okay with them being conventionally grown)
  • Large bag of bell peppers (yes, I know it’s on the Dirty Dozen list but sometimes I can’t help myself – especially when I want to roast off a bunch of them)
  • Amylu Sweet Carmelized Onion Chicken Burgers
  • Rosie Fully Cooked Organic Free Range Chicken Strips

*UPDATE 7/11: I don’t buy the chicken meatballs, chicken burgers, or free range chicken strips anymore because there’s sugar and/or bad oils in ‘em.

    Plus, you can return almost anything (save some electronics) at anytime with no box or receipt — even years later.  I’m sold.