Posts tagged ‘Paleo’

Life comes together with Roasted Squash

It’s been too long since I posted! Life has been busy, and for a while, I lost a bit of my cooking passion. This summer and early fall I’ve been working hard to get my health on track and cleaning up my diet is a big part of that. I’ve learned a lot about my own body and how it reacts to different foods, and how I can nourish not only my body but my mind and soul through cooking.

Right now, the best things for me seems to be beans and fall vegetables. I adapted this recipe from a salad that I pinned a while back. Raw roughage has been a challenge for me, so I made this into a tasty sauté.

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Butternut squash is a fall gem! I can’t stop roasting things right now.

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Fresh organic kale came in my Brewers Organics box this week – perfect timing.

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It seems decadent – even though it’s full of great, healthy stuff!

Butternut Squash Sauté – 4 servings

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cubed
3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1 sm. sweet onion, chopped
1 can black beans
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh kale, chopped
2 tbsp. spicy mustard
2 tbsp. honey
4 tbsp. goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cubed squash on a baking dish; drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 40 minutes, tossing after 20.

In a large sauté pan or wok, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion and garlic about 4 minutes or until soft. Add beans and kale and sauté until kale is wilted. Add roasted squash, mustard and honey; mix well and remove from heat.

Garnish with a sprinkle of goat cheese and eat warm.

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Spicy Beef Stew

It’s a cooking Sunday and my house smells like fall. This recipe was adapted from a book called 40 Top Paleo Recipes by Jenny Allan. I did not see the kick of spice coming, but it’s a really nice warmer-upper.

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This is beef stew with a kick, and tons of great veggies to fill you up. Don’t be scared of the long list of ingredients – it’s really quite simple once you start chopping vegetables.

2 tbsp. butter
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 lb. beef stew meat
1 lg. parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped (or shredded, which is my preference)
1 leek, chopped
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 c. Coconut milk
4 c. Beef broth (I made my own; if you buy, try to get a lower sodium gluten free version)
1 bunch of parsley, chopped

In your Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium- high heat. Add onion, garlic and beef and sauté until meat is no longer pink. Add all vegetables and sauté another 2 minutes. Add spices and mix to distribute evenly. Add coconut milk and beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover; let simmer about 30 minutes. Add parsley and let cook another 5-10 minutes.

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What a great Packer game day treat! Enjoy!

Salmon Cake Benedict

Oh how I love Sunday mornings, especially in the fall! Happy first day of fall everyone – I hope you’ll cook something comforting and delicious today. I wanted to share my breakfast – it was sort of a clean out the fridge endeavor, but I’m very pleased. Earlier this week I made a batch of Paleo salmon cakes from Practical Paleo which I ate as salads on top of arugula with walnuts. Today, I used the last of the cakes to make a variation of my favorite breakfast: eggs Benedict.

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As a side note, I’d like to give my opinion on the Paleo fad. Many of you probably think this is just another diet, blah, blah, blah. I have found it to be very useful and not too difficult to cook within the parameters. In the last four or so weeks, I’ve lost five pounds without any other change than this. I can physically tell that my body is not happy when I eat foods that aren’t meant for me, like popcorn, bread and cream sauces. And yes, I’m still testing the limits and I suffer the consequences each time. What I’d like to get across is that for the first time in a long time, I feel in tune with my body’s needs, using food as a tool for health and productivity rather than something to fill a void. End side note.

Paleo Salmon Cakes
1 lg. can salmon (12 oz.), drained
2 eggs
3 green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. gluten free mustard
2 tbsp. coconut flour
1 tbsp. coconut oil

Mix all ingredients except for flour and oil in a mixing bowl. Gradually add flour until it reaches a cake like consistency. Heat a pan over medium high heat and melt coconut oil. Make salmon cake patties with hands, place in hot pan and cook until browned on each side.

To make my yummy salmon cake Benedict, just place your cooked cakes on a plate, put a bit of arugula on top of each, place a poached egg on top of each and drizzle with balsamic. 18 year aged balsamic from Oro di Oliva makes all the difference, I can vouch for that.

Enjoy!

Is it Thanksgiving yet? Stuffing meatballs with cranberry sauce

I’m in the mood for fall. I love these cool nights, and wearing sweatshirts and boots; my season is upon us, and my taste buds are leaning in the direction of savory, warm meals.

Tonight I tried another new recipe from Practical Paleo and loved it.

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These meatballs have a great taste, and the cranberries give them a little punch. I added a side of cauli-rice (shredded cauliflower sautéed in coconut oil with salt, pepper and Penzey’s Mural of Flavor spice blend) and had a great fall meal.

Meatballs:
2 lb ground pork sausage
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 small sweet onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
Handful of baby carrots, chopped
1/4 c. Pecans, chopped

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Heat oil over medium high heat in an oven-safe sauté pan. Add onion, celery and carrots; sauté until soft. Add pecans and remove from heat. Let cool until you can handle. Place pork and vegetables in a bowl and combine with hands. Make about 24 meatballs. Place back in your oven safe pan and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Cranberries:
1 lb cranberries
1 orange
4 tbsp. honey

Place cranberries in a pot over medium heat with the zest and juice of your orange. Cook until most of the berries have popped and consistency is like jelly. Add honey. Let cool slightly and serve with your meatballs.

90 degrees and fall is around the corner – Squash enters the lineup

Today’s post brought to you by comfort food eaters anonymous and the Practical Paleo cookbook. Spaghetti squash bolognese has never been at the top of my list, but I wanted to try something different that was gluten free/Paleo. I shocked even myself – this recipe is amazing! As usual, I tweaked it a little bit from the cookbook. It made me feel like fall, and was delicious enough for me to put it into my regular cooking rotation.

Here we go:

Preheat oven to 365 degrees. Cut a squash in half (this recipe called for spaghetti squash, but I used butternut instead) and place it cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes.

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Remove from oven and let cool a little bit before cutting.

2 tbsp. butter
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 lb. ground beef (of course mine was grass fed and organic from my cousins farm in Westby, WI)
8 slices bacon (I used Neuske’s)
1 c. Coconut milk
1/2 c. Dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
6 oz. tomato paste

Melt your butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chopped carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper; sauté for a couple of minutes until onion becomes transparent. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add beef and bacon; sauté until meat is cooked and no longer pink. Add milk, wine and tomato paste; stir until combined, reduce heat and sauté for about 5 more minutes.

At this point I cubed my squash (you could use a fork to make spaghetti squash) and spooned the meat mixture over the top.

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I was so happily surprised when I tasted this. Simple ingredients made an awesome flavor, perfect for the kick off of fall. If only I wasn’t sweating while I ate it.

Cabbage Salad Lunchbox

Oh my, what a grand Labor Day weekend it was! Spent time outdoors with friends, got to be part of a beautiful wedding (congrats Greg & Anna!), gave a room in my home a facelift, and had a nice time cooking for the week today.

I’m not sure you all want or need to see another version of my crustless breakfast quiche, so I’ll just give it a quick comment – this week I added Canadian bacon and Mural of Flavor spice blend from Penzey’s. It’s another “Wow” breakfast that I can’t wait to eat all week!

But let’s get to the good stuff – this weeks lunchbox is colorful and delish! (And Paleo – I cheated this weekend and my body did not like me – back off the bread, corn chips and beer for a while).

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Cabbage salad:
2 bags shredded red cabbage
1 bag broccoli slaw
1 mango, chopped
4 limes, juiced
4 tbsp. macadamia nut oil
2 tbsp. honey
Salt & pepper to taste
Macadamia nuts to garnish, chopped

Mix cabbage, broccoli and mango in a large bowl. Mix lime juice, oil, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Top with chopped nuts.

The rest of my Lunchbox was simple – mustard chicken thighs (baste thighs with a blend of coconut oil, mustard, salt and pepper, bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes) and cauliflower-rice (shred a head of cauliflower using the food processor, sauté in 2 tbsp. butter, herbs de Provance, salt and pepper for about 5 minutes).

Looking forward to this healthy treat for the next few days – my poor abused body needs it!

An Unexpected Pleasure: North Avenue Grill

I was up early this morning, eager to put the first coat of paint on a room that I’m reinventing, and by 9:00 I had three hours of work in already! I decided to cruise over to North Ave. to find some breakfast, intending to grab a meatball at Tall Guy – unfortunately, they were out of the office handling a big catering event. So being a little bit lazy, I chose to go right next door to North Avenue Grill.

I’d never been in before, but I’ve seen people sitting on the sidewalk all summer, and I was excited to find a diner-style counter when I walked in, where I could grab a stool and enjoy my solo breKfast without feeling like I was hogging a table. Speaking of hogs – the street was lined with Harley’s – what a cool day to live in Milwaukee! Glad to host some of those riders in my neighborhood! The rest of the restaurant was cozy booths and quite a bit of outdoor seating – very comfortable and relaxed.

Soon after I sat down, I stuck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to me. I learned that Leslie and Armando have lived in Tosa for 31 years, and enjoy checking out local restaurants. They’ve been to North Avenue Grill a couple of times, and Leslie’s over easy eggs have been prepared perfectly each time. Armando had a skillet that looked amazing – chorizo, black beans, salsa, avocado, cheese – it made my mouth water while I was waiting for my order. Leslie did agree with me that the one thing missing was a Bloody Mary. Our server checked and confirmed that they don’t serve bloodys…yet. Promising…

The menu was large with a great selection of breakfast foods and sandwiches, burgers, etc. Since I’m trying to stick to my Paleo plan, I was a little nervous about finding something appropriate. I needn’t have worried. I ordered a veggie omelette with no cheese (who needs cheese when you have onions, peppers, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms and avocado?) which comes with fried American potatoes and toast. It was no problem to substitute fruit for my toast, and I was happy with pineapple, grapes, strawberries and melon.

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I knew I was cheating a little bit with everything being cooked in an unknown oil, but I was still proud of my order. I sampled the potatoes but didn’t finish them – wow – a perfect fried crust on soft potatoes. The omelette was great – the avocado helped me give up the cheese because it was smooth and creamy. Thumbs up on my meal.

I won’t stop there with the compliments. They serve Valentine coffee – my favorite local roaster. The staff were friendly, keeping my coffee and water full despite the fast pace they were moving at. The cooks looked like they were in a carefully choreographed ballet – never stepping on each others toes or acting cross with one another despite the tiny grill space (this is important to me – I don’t want the staff yelling at each other or complaining while making my food – bad juju). When I perused the beer list, local brews prevailed and there was a nice selection of wines on a chalkboard waiting for me to sample.

This breakfast was a happy coincidence, and I can assure you, I’ll be back. Maybe even tomorrow.

Check out North Avenue Grill online at http://www.northavenuegrill.com. They do carry out, too!

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