So, I started this whole "clean eating" thing back in February 2011, after being really intrigued about a plan called the Whole30 . I decided to give it a go, but quickly realized that I needed to make it more adaptable to the way that our family eats and lives. I like my glass of wine at night. I don't think a piece of gum is going to sabotage me. I think that a DQ Blizzard is a good thing every once in a while. If my friend makes the most awesome jalapeno poppers you've ever had, you know I'm going to have one. But I also know that I feel pretty darn good when I'm eating quality proteins, fats, veggies, fruits and nuts, while leaving out dairy, grains, legumes (including soy and peanuts) and the big one, sugar, at least most of the time.
Here are some of the ways to do just that....

Friday, September 23, 2011

Best Slow Cooker Pork. Ever.

This is a recipe that was going around Pinterest lately.  No, it's not a "clean" recipe, but it was so, so good and I thought I'd post it here.  I served mine with chili roasted sweet potatoes and steamed kale.  I don't know who to credit it to, but it's not my own creation (most of the other recipes here are).  I recommend doubling the recipe so that there are plenty of leftovers.
So, here's the recipe for Balsamic Brown Sugar Pulled Pork.

  • 1 (2-pound) boneless pork loin
  • 1 teaspoon ground dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  1. Mix together sage, salt, pepper, and garlic.
  2. Rub the mixture over the pork. Add it to the slow cooker and pour 1/2 cup water in the bottom of the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  3. One hour before the pork is cooked, put the brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic, water, and soy sauce in a sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a bubble over medium heat. It will get thick.
  4. Pour half of the glaze over the pork. Reserve the rest to serve alongside.
  5. Cook the pork for another hour.
  6. Shred the pork with a fork. It will fall apart, it is so tender.
  7. Serve with the remaining glaze.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli

I've been wanting to roast shrimp for a while--it's not a technique that I've used before.  Here is my attempt--it was well worth shelling all of those shrimp for!

1lb Broccoli florets
garlic and onion powder

2lbs fresh shrimp, peeled, but with tails left on
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat oven to 425.  Toss broccoli with EVOO, S+P, garlic and onion powders.  Place in large roasting pan in a single layer.  Roast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss shrimp with EVOO, S+P, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, oregano, and garlic.  Let marinate while broccoli cooks (can be done ahead of time for more flavor).

Add shrimp to broccoli and roast for an additional 10 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through.  I served mine with roasted acorn squash.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chicken with Field Peas and Portabella Mushrooms

To me, this is the ultimate in comfort food--I love a big bowl of food.  The Farmer's Market had shelled field peas this week and I didn't really know how to use them, but this is what I came up with and it was delish.

2 chicken breast, seasoned and baked, then diced (they had these new organic, humanely raised, frozen chicken breast at Kroger the other day--pop 'em in a 325 oven for 45 minutes and they're perfectly done).

2 cups fresh shelled field peas (maybe it's just a Southern thing, but regular peas would work well too)
1 portabella mushroom, cut in half and then cut into strips
1 small onion, sliced
4 strips bacon (I used pre-cooked, and then diced them)

Heat EVOO over medium heat in a skillet.  Add onion, bacon and mushrooms and saute, stirring often.  Add field peas when onion wilts, and season with S&P.  Stir well and cover, stirring often for about 10 minutes.  Divide between 2-4 bowls, depending on hungry you all are and top with chicken.  If you're eating pasta, you could add a bit as well, with a little parmesan cheese.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Shrimp Primavera

This is one of those gotta-use-up-ingredients meals, in that you could customize it to whatever you have on hand.

1 spaghetti squash, baked and spaghetti-ized.
1 onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, cut into matchstick pieces
1 lb asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces (I had frozen asparagus that had to be used, so I defrosted it first)
1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp ( again, I had frozen that I ran under water for a few minutes)
garlic and onion powders
hot pepper flakes
a couple of leaves of fresh basil, chopped

Seed and shred cooked squash and set aside.  Saute onion, bell pepper, asparagus and shrimp in olive oil.  Season with S&P, garlic and onion powders and hot pepper flakes to your liking.  Add squash and basil and toss to coat.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fajita Burgers with Chili Cumin Fries

This was really good!  I served the burgers topped with guacamole over the fajita vegetables, with a side of "fries".

1 lb ground beef (preferably natural and organic)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder

Mix all ingredients gently and form into 4 patties, making a "dent" in the middle (keeps them from shrinking up).  Grill on a preheated grill (about 350-400 degrees) for about 4 minutes per side (just let them cook--don't squeeze 'em!). Let rest for about 5 minutes.

Fajita Veggies:
1 portobello mushroom, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
olive oil
garlic and onion powders
juice of 1/2 lime

Saute veggies in olive oil over medium heat and season with S&P, garlic and onion powders and the lime juice.  Cook until tender but not mushy.

1 ripe avocado, roughly mashed
juice of 1/2 lime
onion powder to taste
chopped cilantro or red onion if you have it on hand (I didn't)

Mix together.

Cumin Chili Fries:
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into "sticks"
olive oil
Cumin powder (about 1/2 to 1 tsp)
Chili powder (about 1/2 to 1 tsp)

Toss ingredients in large bowl and place on a cookie sheet in a single layer.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Toss and bake for another 15 minutes for a total of about 30 minutes or until done to your liking.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Salmon and Broccoli Slaw Salad

I had some leftover roasted salmon from dinner last night and wanted a change from my usual leafy salad.

1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS lime juice
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
S&P to taste
2 cups broccoli slaw
roasted salmon, hot or cold, depending on when you cook it up (to roast, place in shallow pan, season with lemon juice and salt and pepper and roast at 350 for 30 minutes)
1/2 avocado, diced

Whisk olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and salt and pepper in a bowl.  Add slaw and mix well.  Top with salmon and avocado.  Serves 1 main dish or 2 side dishes.

I would imagine that this would be really good with leftover shredded chicken as well.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Basil Chicken Saute

The kids wanted spaghetti and meatballs and I had a spaghetti squash on hand, so I said sure (they had traditional marinara and meatballs).

1TBS olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic cloved, minced
1 lb ground chicken
S&P to taste
1 TBS tomato paste
2 TBS chopped basil
1 cup sliced mushrooms

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until tender.  Add chicken and cook through.  Season with S&P and add tomato paste and chopped basil.  Stir well.  Add mushrooms and cook until tender.  I served it over spaghetti squash.

Monday, June 13, 2011

So uninspired these days...

Well, while I haven't been eating lots of crap lately, I've definitely been a little loose in terms of what I have been putting into my body.  One of my issues is that I'm currently just cooking for myself and my girls (hubby is out of town), so I haven't had as much of a desire to cook a real meal that the girls will just turn their noses up at.  Most of the time I end up making a really simple protein (baked chicken, fish, shrimp) and veggies for myself and give the girls the same protein along with a kid friendly veggie (although these days, not many are in my house--grrr!) and a grain or pasta of some sort.  Sorry I haven't had many recipes to share.  This is an example of what I've been eating a lot of--while delicious, not exactly awe-inspiring.

Big Ass Salad

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What's in the Fridge One Dish Chicken

Last night I couldn't decide what to make with the chicken breasts that I had bought.  I had a bunch of veggies, but wasn't in the mood for a stir-fry (and I knew my kids wouldn't eat that anyway), so this is what we had.  You could do this with a variety of vegetables and seasonings...whatever's in your fridge!

3 or 4 chicken breasts, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
2 handfuls baby carrots
1 bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 zucchinis, cut into 1 inch chunks
olive oil
garlic and onion powders

Preheat oven to 350 and toss all ingredients into a large roasting pan.  Toss to coat.  Roast for 15 minutes, stir and roast for 15 min more.  Take pan out and carefully pour out juices.  Turn up the oven to 400 and roast for 5-10 minutes more, so that it gets more "roasty".

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Very Rosy Dinner

We went to the farmer's market this morning and got some lovely beets and then the store had some pretty decent sockeye salmon.  Here's what I came up with.

Roasted Beets with Sauteed Beet Greens

1 bunch beets, with greens
1 small onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Wash beets and greens well.  Cut greens off and reserve.  Cut beets into quarters (or smaller if large--you want about 1 inch pieces) and toss with olive oil and S&P.  Roast at 350 for 45-60 minutes or until tender.  Meanwhile, when beets are almost done, heat some olive oil in a pan.  Add onions and garlic and saute until just done.  Add beet greens (tough stems discarded and cut into 1 inch pieces) and saute until just tender.  Add roasted beets and toss.  Season with more salt and pepper if needed.

I served mine with Roasted Lemon Dill Sockeye Salmon.   So good.

1 large Sockeye Salmon fillet (it might have a few bones in it, so be careful, especially if feeding to young children)
Olive oil
Dill weed (I used dried)
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Place salmon fillet in a large baking dish.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with S&P, dill weed, and squeeze lemon over it. About 15 minutes into the beets roasting (at 350), add salmon, so that it cooks for a total of 30 minutes.

And yes, I served mine with some fresh corn (not Paleo), but it was worth it!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Aunt Stacey's Sweet Potato Chips

My sister-in-law made these for us on her last visit and I'm addicted!  This serves 2 as a side dish.

2 sweet potatoes, cut into thin half moons (cut sweet potato lengthwise in half and then cut into half moons).
1 TBS olive oil
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 425.  Place cut sweet potatoes on cookie sheet and toss with olive oil--make sure that they're well spread out.  Season with S&P.  Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.  Sprinkle with more salt and pepper if desired.  Best served hot!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Quick Shrimp Curry

I had these ingredients on hand, so this is what I came up with for dinner tonight.  Quite yummy!

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (mine were pre-cooked)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, sliced
5.5 oz can coconut milk
1 TBS Green curry paste

Saute pepper and onion in a small bit of olive oil until just beginning to brown.  Add shrimp, season with S&P and cook until pink.  Add coconut milk and curry paste and stir well.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

I served mine with Roasted Curried Cauliflower.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

My mom made this the other night and told me about it, so I decided to give it a go--delicious!  I think the original recipe comes from, but I'm not sure her recipe is her own or not.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower Recipe

1 large cauliflower 

Curry powder

Olive oil

Kosher or sea salt

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Break cauliflower into medium-small florets and place into large bowl or baking pan. Be sure the pieces are as evenly sized as possible, or they will cook unevenly. The smaller you make the pieces, the quicker they will cook and the more caramelized they will become, which I consider a good thing.
Drizzle cauliflower pieces generously with olive oil and season well with salt and curry powder. Distribute evenly in a single layer at the bottom of a baking pan. If necessary, use a second baking pan to be sure the pieces aren’t too crowded.
Cover the pans with foil and place into the oven. Roast, covered for 10-15 minutes. The cauliflower should be slightly soft and start looking translucent. If not replace foil and cook another 5 minutes.
When the cauliflower has finished steaming, remove the foil and toss with tongs. Continue to roast, stirring every 8-10 minutes until the tips of the cauliflower begin to brown and become crisp as pictured. Approximately 30-35 minutes.  

***Mine only took about 20 minutes***

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hide the Veggies Meatballs

I am hoping to get my girls to eat the clean stuff that I make--other than broccoli, green beans and carrots, veggies are hard to get into them (well, at least my older one).  Let the great disguise begin!

1 lb organic ground beef
1/2 zucchini, shredded in food processor
1/2 shallot, shredded in food processor
1 baked (super soft) sweet potato, mashed
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper

Combine ingredients and shape into balls.  Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until cooked through.  I served mine over spaghetti squash and marinara.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fish Tacos

This is almost a non-recipe recipe in that it's pretty simple and that you just sort of use what you have on hand.  I happened to have Swai fillets, but you could use whatever kind of fish that you like.

4 fish fillets (defrosted, if using from frozen)
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
cumin powder
chili powder
garlic powder
onion powder
1/4 cup or so of coconut flour (you can make your own by grinding coconut flakes in a food processor)
Romaine leaves, washed and dried
Guacamole, tomato and onion salsa, fresh cilantro, etc.

Pat fillets dry with paper towels and season both sides with S&P, cumin, chili, garlic and onion powders.  Dip in coconut flour.  Place fillets on baking sheet sprayed with olive oil and bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes, depending on fish.

Place each fillet on a Romaine leave and top with desired condiments.  I served mine with roasted butternut squash, but will experiment with Spanish cauli-rice next time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chili, Paleo-fied

I make a really great "regular" (award-winning!) chili, but it calls for lots of beans and corn.  I looked around online for some paleo chili recipes, but none really spoke to me, so I did this instead.

1 steak, cubed
2 lbs ground beef
1 large onion
1 large green bell pepper
2 cans diced tomatoes and chilis (check your labels!)
1 7 oz can salsa verde
olive oil
sea salt
garlic and onion powders
1 TBS cumin
2 TBS chili powder

Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat.  When hot, add steak, season with s&p and garlic and onion powders and brown (in batches).  Remove steak and set aside.  Add onion, ground beef and bell pepper.  Season with s&p, garlic and onion powder and cumin and chili powder.  When browned add tomatoes and salsa verde.  Add browned steak.  Simmer!

I served mine over baked cubed butternut squash with avocado and cilantro.  Next time I'm going to add some chopped mushrooms to give it a little more texture.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Summer Strawberry Pie

My daughter and I picked 7lbs of fresh strawberries today, so I needed something to make with them.  Okay, so while this might not satisfy your sweet tooth if you've been indulging in lots of sugary treats, it's pretty good if you haven't had any of the "real stuff" for a bit. :-)  I researched online for a recipe that spoke to me, but didn't find one that seemed to do what I wanted it to do, so I came up with my own, albeit inspired by several others.
If you're not too concerned about natural sweeteners, such as honey or agave syrup, the crust and filling could benefit from a TBS or so in each.

Pie Crust

1.5 cups almond flour (almonds ground in the food processor until they resemble a coarse flour)
1/2 cup ground coconut flakes
1/4 tsp sea salt
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut oil

Mix well and press into a pie tin.


1 ripe banana, mashed well
3/4 cup (5.5 oz can) coconut milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup mashed strawberries

1/2 pint or so of fresh strawberries

Place filling in prepared pie crust.  Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until set.  Cool completely in fridge.

Slice fresh strawberries and starting from the outside crust, arrange in a spiral shape overlapping all the way into the middle.  Refrigerate.  Enjoy!

Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

This is one of those meals that the whole family will eat without complaint--my favorite kind!

1 Roaster Chicken (about 4lbs or so)
1 lb parsnips, peeled
1 lb carrots, peeled
1 lb (I think--about 6 stalks) celery
1 large onion
6 garlic cloves
garlic and onion powders
dried parsley
1 whole lemon
Fresh Rosemary Sprigs

Cut parsnips, carrots, and celery into even chunks (about 2 inches long).  Cut onion into 1 inch chunks.  Peel garlic cloves.  Place veggies in roasting pan and toss with EVOO, S&P, and garlic and onion powders.  Rinse and dry chicken (make sure to get giblet bag out!) and place in middle of veggies, breast side up.  Rub skin with EVOO and season inside and out with a mixture of S&P and parsley--try to get some under the skin too.  Prick lemon with a fork and place inside bird along with the rosemary.  Bake at 400 in the lower third of the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (stirring veggies every so often), until temp reaches 165.  Let rest 10 minutes before carving.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pan Roasted Cod with Walnut Pesto

I don't think that I've ever cooked with Cod before, but in an effort to come up with more recipes that don't use beef or poultry, I wanted to give it a go.  They had some nice wild caught frozen Cod loins at Sams the other day, so I bought a pack and this is what I came up with.  It was delicious!

Pan Roasted Cod

4 Cod loin fillets (defrosted, if using frozen)
juice of 1/2 lemon

Season fish with EVOO and S&P.  Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot and add a TBS or so of EVOO.  Turn heat down to medium and cook for 4 minutes without messing with them.  Carefully turn over and sprinkle with lemon juice. Serve over arugula dressed with EVOO, lemon juice and S&P.  Top with pesto.

Walnut Pesto

1 cup walnut halves
1/2 cup EVOO
1.5 tsp sea salt
6 garlic cloves
juice of 1 lemon
3 oz fresh basil leaves (maybe 2 cups?)

Combine walnut halves, EVOO, salt and garlic in food processor and process until smooth.  Add lemon juice and basil and process again until smooth.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Clean(er) Ribs

Although I've been avoiding pork lately, there are sometimes when a girl just needs some ribs.  We make a pretty awesome non-Paleo version, but it uses a lot of brown sugar and soy sauce.  I found a Paleo BBQ sauce recipe online and decided to combine techniques.  Now, if I can only figure out a substitute for the Jiffy corn pudding that we used to serve with it....

Davis Ribs

1 slab ribs
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Chili Powder

Preheat oven to 350.  Generous season both sides of ribs with seasonings.  Wrap in heavy duty tin foil and place on baking sheet and bake for 1.5 hours  When finished, baste with BBQ sauce (recipe follows) and marinate for at least an hour.  Grill at a low heat (250-300 degrees) for 10 minutes per side.

Son of a Grok BBQ Sauce (from

6oz can tomato paste (preferably organic)
1 to 1.5 cups of beef stock
3 Cloves Garlic
1 onion
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons chili powder

 Dice your onions and garlic as fine as possible. You want your BBQ sauce a little chunky but the more fine you dice these, the better the flavor will spread through the entire sauce.
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Whether you use 1 cup or 1.5 cups of beef stock will depend on how thick you want your sauce. Bring sauce to heat on stove with a low setting.
Cover and simmer. Stir frequently 
Extra can be stored in refrigerator.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Turkey Piccatta with Mushrooms

I wanted to take a break from chicken, so we decided to try some turkey cutlets.  I had some lemons, capers and mushrooms on hand, so this is what we came up with.  It has a small amount of white wine, so technically it's not "clean", but you could probably substitute or leave it out.

Turkey Piccatta 

juice of 1 lemon
2 TBS capers with their juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup EVOO
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp sea salt
a few grinds of black pepper
2 lbs turkey cutlets (we wanted leftovers, but the same amount of marinade would probably work for 1lb)

Mix first 7 ingredients well and put into a large sealable dish.  Add turkey cutlets and toss well to coat.  I let mine marinate overnight, but I'm sure whatever time you have will be good.  Grill over medium low heat until cooked--I think Jason said about 3-4 minutes a side would be about right (ours were overcooked a little, as it was the first time we were grilling turkey).  Serve over spaghetti squash with this mushroom sauce.

Dijon Mushroom Sauce

1 package mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 TBS capers with their juice
1/4 cup dry white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 TBS dijon mustard (no sugar added)
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley

Heat EVOO over medium heat and add mushrooms and garlic.  Saute for a minute or two and then add capers, wine, lemon juice, and mustard.  Cook over medium low heat until mushrooms are cooked, stirring often, and add parsley when almost done.

Spaghetti Squash

1 Spaghetti Squash
1 TBS coconut oil
Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Heat oven to 375.  Line a cookie sheet with tin foil.  Pierce a whole squash several times with a knife so that it doesn't explode.  Place on cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour.  Cut squash horizontally in half and scoop out seeds (careful, it'll be hot!).  Use a fork to separate "spaghetti" strands and place in a serving dish.  Toss with coconut oil and salt and pepper.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Peel and trim Brussels Sprouts.  Cut in half and place in roasting pan.  Toss with EVOO, S&P, and garlic and onion powders.  Roast at 450 for 20 minutes, tossing once.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Basil Burgers and Carrot "Fries"

This was our first attempt at a cleaner burger....and very delicious, although more of a fork and knife kinda meal.

Basil Burgers

1 lb ground beef
2 TBS chopped basil
onion and garlic powders

4 Portobello mushroom caps, brushed with olive oil and seasoned with S&P (we used pretty large caps and found them to be too big, so either use smaller ones, or else perhaps just one.

Mix and form into 4 patties.  Grill burgers and portobellos to your liking.  Place burger between 2 mushroom caps.  We served ours with leftover tomato and onion salsa and fresh spinach.

For the Carrot "Fries"

1lb peeled carrots.
Garlic and onion powders
1 TBS balsamic vinegar

Peel 1 lb carrots and toss with EVOO, S&P, and garlic and onion powders.  Roast in a shallow pan for 20 minutes and then drizzle balsamic vinegar over them.  Toss and roast for 3 minutes more.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ahhhh, time to get back in the groove!

So, you'd think that Costa Rica would be THE place for fresh seafood and vegetables...not so much.  Yes, they have some pretty great ceviche, but for the most part, our vacation consisted of Americanized fish tacos, weird "fajitas", and lots and lots of margaritas and Imperial beers.  We were ready to get back in the groove.  This is what we made for our first dinner home.

Foil Wrapped Salmon

1 fillet of salmon

Place fillet on large sheet of heavy duty foil and sprinkle with seasonings and wrap well with foil.  Grill for about 9 minutes per side and let rest 5 minutes.

Roasted Summer Squash

Summer squash, cut into 1 inch pieces
Olive oil
garlic and onion powders

Toss ingredients in large roasting pan and roast at 425 for about 45 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Nancy's Dish (Veggies and Mince)

My friend Nancy was the inspiration for this dish.

Makes 4 servings (can be halved, but I wanted double for leftovers).  This would be really good with spaghetti squash too.

2lbs ground beef, preferably organic, no hormones, etc.
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano

Mix thoroughly and shape into 1" balls.  Place on a broiler pan sprayed with olive oil (cover bottom pan with tin foil) and bake at 350 for 30 min.
The fat that dripped off

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced

1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1TBS chopped basil
1 TBS tomato paste

green pepper, cut into matchsticks
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups baby spinach
Ground red pepper 
Saute onions and garlic.  Add next 4 ingredients until well mixed.  Add rest of veggies and saute until done to your liking.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Put the Lime in the Coconut Salmon

I needed to do something other than my usual baked salmon.  This is what I came up with.

1 large salmon fillet (2-3lbs)
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
juice of 1 1/2 limes
zest of 1 lime
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Coconut flakes and lime wedges for serving

Combine ginger, lime juice, zest, S&P in a dish large enough for the salmon.  Place salmon in, skin side up and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.  Place salmon (reserve marinade) on a cookie sheet (I covered mine in foil sprayed with olive oil) and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Place reserved marinade in small saucepan and bring to a high simmer for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with coconut flakes and serve with lime wedges.

I served mine with Roasted Summer Squash and steamed green beans.
Cut summer squash into 1 inch pieces.  Place in roasting pan and spray with EVOO.  Sprinkle with S&P and garlic powder and give it a good shake.  Bake at 450 for 10 minutes.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Uninspired, but will get back to it soon!

This week has been one of those clean-out-the-fridge weeks.  My hubby was out of town, so I haven't been making anything post-worthy, but stick with me--I have some things planned for next week!  We're taking a vacation to Costa Rica soon, so I hope to be inspired by the food there (and I'm planning on fully indulging in non-Paleo stuff while we're there!).  If you have any recipes that you'd like to share here, I'd love to have them and I'll give all the credit to you!

Sweet Potato Casserole

I needed a "dessert", so I came up with this...believe me, if you're not eating sugar, this tastes pretty darn good!

6 sweet potatoes (I like to make up a bunch at a time--I find that they keep for a good 5 days in the fridge)
1 TBS coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
S&P to taste
3/4 cup (more or less) Flaked unsweetened dried coconut (I find mine at the Fresh Market)
1/2 cup (more or less) Chopped walnuts

Bake the sweet potatoes at 400 for about an hour until nice and soft (I usually do it on a foil lined cookie sheet so that there's less mess).  Once you can handle them, peel them and mash them up, along with the coconut oil, cinnamon, and S&P.  Spread mixture into a casserole dish and sprinkle with the coconut and walnuts.  If you really want to get crazy, you can put that in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes or until the coconut starts to get a little golden.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Don't Knock It 'Til You've Tried It Breakfast

Okay, so I know that this sounds pretty gross, but it's actually really good, especially after a good workout--it has carbs, healthy fats, and protein all in one.

1 baked sweet potato, warmed (I usually pull one from my pre-cooked batch and just split it in half and heat for 1 minute in the microwave)
1 (2 if you're really hungry!) hardboiled egg, chopped
1/4 avocado, diced
S&P to taste.

Place sweet potato on plate (or bowl).  Add egg and avocado.  Season.  That's it!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Beef Carnitas

*Adapted from my Mom, who got it from "Perfect One Dish Dinners" (not sure of the author).

3 lbs boneless chuck roast
3 TBS olive oil, divided
1 TBS plus 1 tsp ground cumin, divided
Sea Salt and ground black pepper
1 4.5oz can chopped green chilis (could probably use the real thing...maybe 1 or 2)
1/8 cup chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
3 large onions, cut into 12 wedges
3 large green bell peppers, cut into 12 wedges
fresh cilantro
fresh lime wedges

Adjust oven racks to lowest and middle positions and preheat to 450.  Place dutch oven (I used my cast iron one that has a lid) over low heat.

Meanwhile, place roast into large bowl and coat with 1 TBS olive oil and season with 1 TBS ground cumin, plus plenty of salt and pepper.  Mix chilis, chili powder, remaining cumin and oregano in a small bowl.
A few minutes before searing, increase heat to a medium high heat until nice and hot.  Add roasts and sear, turning once until it has a nice brown crust, about 8 minutes total.  Transfer roast to a place and add garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds.  Add chili mixture and cook, stirring, about another 30 seconds.  Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  Return roast and any juices on plate to pan.  Cover dutch oven with lid (or with a couple of sheets of heavy duty tin foil until well sealed.
Place on middle rack of oven and cook for a total of 1 hour 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, about 30 minutes before roasts are done, toss peppers and onions with remaining 2 TBS olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Place in a roasting pan and place on bottom rack of oven and cook about 20 minutes or until crisp tender.
Remove everything from oven and shred meat.
Serve with peppers, onions, fresh cilantro and lime wedges.  We also served mango/avocado salsa with it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pretty Awesome Stuffed Peppers with Guacamole

My sister in law makes an awesome stuffed pepper recipe (passed down from my mother in law) and I miss them!  This is what I came up with, minus the cheese, rice and black beans of course.  And they were delicious!

Stuffed Peppers

4 bell peppers

1 lb ground beef (the best quality you can find, but it doesn't matter about the fat content)
Garlic and onion powders
1 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, diced
1 cup mushrooms (I used a 4 oz can of organic mushrooms because that's what I had on hand, but fresh would be ideal)
1 mashed sweet potato (to bind everything together a bit better)
1 cup chunky salsa (sugar free)
2 cups "riced" cauliflower (chop cauliflower florets in the food processor until rice-like)

Cut tops off of bell peppers and de-seed (I chop up the tops and put them in a baggie and freeze it for another recipe).  Place them in about 1 inch of water in a pot and cover.  Bring to a boil and steam for about 5 minutes.  Remove to a casserole dish.

Meanwhile, brown ground beef in a medium saucepan.  Season with S&P, garlic and onion powders and add onion and celery.  Saute until soft.  Add rest of ingredients until well combined.

Place filling in prepared peppers (at this point, you can refrigerate them until you're ready to eat 'em).  Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.  Top with guacamole.

2 ripe avocados, mashed
1/2 lemon
garlic and onion powder

Combine until seasoned to your taste.

My brain hurts!

Okay, so I've gotten a lot of good questions from friends about how I'm defining "clean" and honestly, it's sort of putting me into a tailspin.  I think eliminating grains, legumes, dairy and sugar has been implementable in me examining what and how I eat and beneficial in "rebooting" my system, but I'm having a hard time coming up with a reason why to leave them out indefinitely.  I've really enjoyed experimenting with different ways to cook things, new ways to eat vegetables, and last but not least, what it's done for my body. But I think that there's a place for whole grains, beans, and some dairy and natural sweeteners in my daily life (and of course, room for some pure sugar with treat meals).  I think that I'm going to continue eating Paleo for the next few weeks before our big Costa Rica (read: lots of time in swimsuits) vacation.  Once we get back, I'm going to look into reintroducing some stuff back into our daily diet....think of how many more recipes I can do!

I was re-reading some of the blogs on the Paleo sites and I have to say, a lot of them are really annoying!  I hope I'm not coming off as preachy as they are.  I just wanted to share some recipes!

Curried Tilapia

There used to be a recipe on the back of the bag of Tilapia that I use that I was able to make "clean".  Of course, I threw the last bag away without writing it down....I think this is close, if not better.  You can make it in the morning and let it marinate, so that way all you have to do at dinner is throw it in a pan.

4 Tilapia fillets

1/2 shallot
2 cloves garlic
1 cup canned coconut milk (full fat)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground corriander
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

In a blender (I love my handheld one!), blend the shallot and next 8 ingredients until smooth.  Pour over tilapia fillets and marinate (if you have the time...if not, cook right then and there).  Heat large skillet over medium heat and cook tilapia (and marinade), covered, for about 10 minutes.  Flip fillets and cook another 10 minutes, covered.

I served it with stir-fried broccoli and roasted sweet potatoes.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Okay, but why?

I think people get confused about why we're choosing to eat this way...and to tell you the truth, I don't have a great answer to give.  Over the last year I've been trying to educate myself a little bit more about where our food comes from and how things like feed lots are so horrific, not only to the animals that they produce, but to the environment as well.  I'm by no means an "activist" fact, I could probably do a lot more than I do to ensure that the next generation doesn't get screwed by what we're doing now.  It's just once you learn more about how stuff actually gets to your table, it's sort of hard to forget it.  We've sort of dabbled in vegetarianism and liked it (and I know, this is like the total opposite of that!).  We've never really kept soda or potato chips on hand.  We don't eat fast food a lot. We don't have any health problems, thank goodness.  So why go so drastic?

At first, it was to lose the couple of pounds I had put on over the holidays and just couldn't get off, regardless of the fact that I was working out probably 6 days a week (and not wimpy workouts either!).  I was looking into CrossFit and came across the Whole30 website, which is basically just a ramped up version of the Paleo diet.  Supposedly, by cutting out all grains, legumes (including soy and peanuts), dairy, sugar, and alcohol, I would "change my life in 30 days".  This left meat, chicken, seafood, vegetables, healthy fats, fruits and nuts. There's a whole bunch of science behind it, but I'll let you research that.  What spoke to me was that it was all about getting back to real, unprocessed food.  I thought I'd give it a go.

Here are some links to some of that research I'll let you go do. :-)


The Paleo Diet

The Primal Blueprint

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cleaned Up Crockpot Thai Chicken

So, this is one of my favorite Crockpot recipes ever, and I wanted to try to "clean" it up a little.  Since I'm not eating any peanuts at the moment, Sunbutter (made from sunflower seeds) was a great substitute for peanut butter.  Just try to find one that doesn't have any added sugar (same for the salsa).

2 1/2 lbs chicken (I used boneless, skinless thighs, but breasts work well too, just cut them in half)
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (I keep a nugget of it in the freezer and just peel and grate as needed)
Juice of 2 limes (about 4 TBS)
16 oz jar chunky salsa (no added sugar, corn or beans)
1/2 cup Sunbutter (I think you could probably also use almond butter)

Spray crockpot with Pam and place chicken in it.  Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over chicken and stir well.  Cook on low 6-8 hours.  Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and chopped almonds if desired.  I served it with cauliflower "rice" and stir-fried garlic green beans.

"Rice".... cauliflower rice, that is.

This "recipe" is floating around everywhere on the web, so there's no one to give real credit to--I certainly didn't come up with is...heard of it a while back, but didn't come up with it.

1 head of cauliflower

Grate, chop, or use a food processor to "rice" cauliflower.  Put in bowl, cover and microwave for 3 minutes.

This is definitely not a direct substitute for the real thing, but was actually better than I thought it would be.  Maybe next time I'll experiment with bigger "grains" of cauliflower.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So, do the kids do it too?

Digging some edamame, salmon and yes, mac n cheese
In short, no.  I don't want to take away any food group from their little growing bodies.  Sure, there are some things that they'll eat right along with us (salmon is a huge favorite in our house), but I still rely on chicken nuggets and frozen meatballs too.  I've actually contemplated how messed up this is--here I am trying to fuel my body with the highest quality food that I can while I allow all sorts of unpronounceable preservative laden things to go into theirs.  In an ideal world I'd make my own chicken tenders for them and serve that up alongside some quinoa and fresh organic broccoli, but the fact is when we're rushing to get out of the house for ballet or soccer practice, nuking up some chicken nuggets and microwaving a steam bag of veggies is about all I have left in me at the end of the day.  Sure, I try to make sure that their mac n cheese is the "whole grain" version, but I know I'm just fooling myself as I pour in the little florescent orange "cheese" packet.  However, for the most part, I know that they are well fed.  I love that my 2 year old's favorite snack is blueberries and that my (almost) 6 year old is becoming interested in the fact that "regular milk is healthier for you because chocolate milk has sugar in it" (her words).  We do fast food maybe once or twice a month.  We don't drink soda.  We keep a steady supply of string cheese, almonds and grapes on hand for snacks.  But sometimes a kid (and a Mama) just needs a Dunkin' Donut (preferably creme filled and chocolate frosted) and I'm okay with that.
A special Sunday morning Dunkin' Donut

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

This is as close to pasta as you can get without the grains!

Spaghetti Squash
Poke a couple holes in it with a knife, put it in a pan and bake it at 375 for one hour.  When it's done, cut off the stem part, and then cut it in half, lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and then separate the "spaghetti" with a fork.  You could always just stop here and add a little coconut oil and S&P, and I'm sure that would be delicious too.

1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1lb ground chicken (you could use beef, turkey, or go without)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1TBS double concentrate tomato paste (or by that reasoning 2TBS regular tomato paste)
small handful of sun-dried tomatoes
2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes (sugar free)
red pepper flakes

Saute onion and garlic in EVOO.  Add ground meat and season.  When cooked through stir in tomato paste and then add diced tomatoes.  Check seasoning and add red pepper flakes and more S&P if needed.  Let simmer for a few minutes...20, 30...whatever time you have on hand.

Serve over spaghetti squash.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How I plan my Menus

I find it helps if I know exactly what we're eating for at least all of our dinners a week out. That way, I can go to the grocery store (hopefully) only once that week. We've been doing our big shop on Sundays, first at Sam's to get produce (no, it's not necessarily organic, but it's still the best produce that I've found around here), and then usually to Kroger to get the rest of the stuff. I still haven't found a great place to get quality meats, but it's something I'm working on, especially as I become more aware of how it's manufactured and the butterfly effect that has on all of us.
I usually use this as my menu template (under the part that says "shopping" I usually write my prep list:

I try to plan things around when I know we have activities--for instance, since I know that my daughter has soccer on Thursday nights, I try to have a crockpot dish that night.

I also do my best to prepare enough of whatever protein that we're having that night so that my husband can take some to work for lunch the next day.

Sunday nights tend to be when I chop up all of the veggies for snacks, bake up the sweet potatoes for a quick grab and go carb, roast veggies, make up a batch of salad dressing for the week, and hardboil a bunch of eggs.Above is a picture of my husband's "food kit" for the first few days of the work week (minus the sweet potatoes and grilled chicken for his salads).

Coconut Curry Shrimp and Spinach with Roasted Broccoli

2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 bag fresh spinach, chopped (original recipe called for 2 cups--I think this is more like 4)
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped (my addition)
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (my addition)
2TBS coconut oil
2TBS tomato paste
2 tsp curry powder
1 C full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken stock (could probably do without)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat coconut oil in a large skillet and add onion, garlic and ginger and saute until soft. Season with S&P and add curry powder and cook for an additional minute. Place half of mixture (original recipe says all of it) in blender and add tomato paste, chicken stock and coconut milk and puree until smooth. Pour mixture back into skillet and bring to a simmer. Add shrimp and cook for a few minutes until they start to turn pink. Add spinach and cook until just tender.

For the roasted broccoli, I just toss broccoli with a TBS or so of olive oil, S&P, garlic powder, and onion powder. Place on a baking sheet and roast at 450 for 10 minutes. Works as a good snack too!

Grilled Ribeyes with Cherry Tomato Relish

We had this last night and the Cherry Tomato Relish was the cherry on top, so to speak. We served it with sauteed spinach and roasted butternut squash. Delish!

Prepare and grill steaks to your liking.

For the relish:
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 red onion, sliced
Gently toss ingredients and place on a cookie sheet. Roast at 425 for 25 minutes, or until starting to brown, turning every 10 minutes. Good either hot or cold.
Top steak with relish.