The first week is easy and filled with enthusiasm. Then reality hits you as you realize the old stand-bys of spaghetti or tostadas are no longer available to you. You have to make a whole new list of "go-to" recipes. And that is a daunting task. This is a journey I have just started. I am keeping my food journal here so that when you are in a rut or are starting to panic you can look here for ideas and perhaps even inspiration.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ricotta-Lemon Cheesecake with Fresh Cherry Sauce

My second installment for cheesecake! Actually it's still the same recipe as the birthday cake but this time I added a fresh cherry sauce. It's June and it's my husband's birthday - cherries are in season and I wanted to mix it up. So, I added the optional sauce, which was phenomenal! I found that with reducing the sugar content the cake can taste a little dry and this sauce certainly made up that. Enjoy!

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups ground almonds or walnuts
1/3 cup melted butter
2-3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together all ingredients until well combined. Press into the bottom of a 12-inch spring form pan that has been tightly wrapped around the base with aluminum foil.
Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before adding filling.

For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar (less if you can handle it - I only put in 1/2 cup)
5 large eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
3/4 pound ricotta cheese

In a mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on low speed until well incorporated, smooth and light, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add lemon zest and continue to mix, remembering to scrape down the sides as necessary. Slowly add the ricotta cheese to the batter and mix until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared crust and bake in the middle of the oven until it starts to set, about 45 minutes. Lower the oven temperate to 325 and cook for another 20-25 minutes. The top should be a nice golden brown and it should have risen above the edges of the pan by this point. There should be no "jiggling." Remove from the oven, use a thin sharp knife and run the blade around the inside of the cake to loosen the sides. Loosen the outer ring (but don't remove!) and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack. When completely cooled to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 6 hours or overnight.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature before serving.




For the sauce:
2 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon warm water


In a medium saucepan combine cherries, honey and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and let simmer a few minutes before removing from heat. Don't let it simmer too long or it will release too much liquid. While your cherries are heating in a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over the warm water and let dissolve, then add to the cherry mixture. Transfer to a bowl or container with a lid and put in the refrigerator for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Once it starts to "set" you can cover the top of your cheesecake with the cherry sauce or drizzle over individual slices as you serve it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Life happens to the best of us.

I realize that I have been MIA for almost 2 months (where the heck does the time go?!?).
Never fear though - I have not fallen off the wagon and been hit by a bread truck.
What can I say? Life happens. Kids happen. Easter happens. Family happens. Do I need to go on? I'm sure you've all been there. And, if you haven't you will be someday because: life happens...

My goals for this site have changed a little though. For one thing I don't plan on adding anymore food journals for now. I figure that a 6 week guide should be enough for anyone wanting to look through it. And, I was getting a little self-conscience about everyone reading what I was eating everyday! Especially when it was the same thing over and over. Life can also be boring while it happens.

So: my new goals are to post a few recipes a week as well as any eating insights I come across. Hopefully it will still be helpful. Comments and questions are always welcome! Love to all you fellow budding paleo people as well as those of you who just dabble in it.



Roasted Carrots

Ok - I have a dirty little secret: I love burnt vegetables.
I know it sounds weird, but there is just something about the added flavor a little char can add to an otherwise boring, healthy food. I'm talking carrots, asparagus, brussels sprouts and even lettuce - yes lettuce! But that is a different post. For this post I am taking on the lowly carrot. Not one of my favorites. Normally consigned to the veggie tray at a party or the thing I tell my kids they can eat if they are really "that" hungry - in baby form, of course. And while I do like them dipped in humus (another go figure) still not something in my "go to" book of recipes. But, carrots are CHEAP! So I thought it couldn't hurt. For this recipe I even spring for the organic bunch that still has the green tops! I know, I know - not cheap anymore... except they still only cost me about $1.50 for the bunch, plus a little of the green left on and roasted is nice too, plus the smaller they are the more tender they are and the less time they take to cook.
I saw this recipe originally on pinterest and can't quite remember how it went. It was something like what is below, but as you can see I sort of throw it all together differently every time. And every time I have been happy with the result.

1 bunch small carrots, olive oil, lemon or lime juice, chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper, scallions

Preheat your oven to 425 (or your grill - directions for that at the bottom).
Trim all but about 1 inch off the tops of your carrots. then wash by gently scrubbing with a potato brush. A lot of the vitamins are in the top layer of the carrot - so don't peel them!
Put all remaining ingredients (to taste), except scallions, in a large plastic bag. Add the carrots and toss to coat, let sit for about 5 minutes.
Pull out carrots and put on a foil lined cookie sheet and put in the oven. Pour the remaining marinade in a small bowl. Every 5-10 minutes (as often as you remember) turn your carrots and baste with the marinade. Roasting them will take anywhere from 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your carrots. They are done with they are soft and have taken on a golden brown hue. To serve you can drizzle with more marinade if you choose and sprinkle with the scallions.

On the grill: basically they same idea, but you'll want to keep a good eye on them. *I have yet to not actually burn one side - but they were still good. You will still want them on foil or in a grill pan. Cook them alongside whatever else you are cooking and baste every few minutes to keep them from drying out.
Good luck!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Greek - Style Chicken

Bored with grilled chicken? Try topping with with something fabulous!
Stop the monotony and add a few extra vegetables to your dinner.
This recipe came into existence by not having 1 critical ingredients to 5 different recipes. So, I threw out the cookbook and threw a lot of things in a pan. The result: yumminess! My husband doesn't really care for onions but cleaned his plate.

Serves 4
4 grilled chicken breasts to top
1 red onion, diced
2 strips bacon, cut into small strips
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
handful of kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (a good way to sneak in a tablespoon of this fabulous oil)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet. Add bacon and red onion - saute until onion is soft and bacon is starting to crisp. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and kalamata olives and cook until just warmed through, about 2 minutes. Top your already cooked chicken and enjoy.

Chipotle Cream Sauce


This is a great sauce for either fish or chicken tacos. 
*Tip: since you will only use a small portion of the can of peppers you will have to purchase you can freeze the remainder in individual portions for use later.

o    1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
o    1-2 Tablespoons Lime Juice (enough to thin the yogurt to a nice, creamy consistency)
o    2 teaspoons chipotle pepper, in adobo sauce 

Finely mince the chipotle pepper and mix all indregients, adjusting measurements to taste.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Week 6 Food Journal

My birthday was this week. A week fraught with food issues! Cake and eating out. Luckily for me I never really liked cake - in my family it was all about pie. But, alas, neither pie nor cake is a viable option anymore. I honestly didn't really care one way or another, but it is important to my kids to have a "birthday party." So, to appease the 3 and 5 year olds we set out in search of a good, semi-healthy choice. We came up with cheesecake - what turned out to be a great alternative. And, in the end my husband came through and also surprised me with a giant pink kettlebell. It's a competition bell, so no matter the weight they are all the same size. This one is a 10kg, and that's a 12kg next to it. Let me tell you: the fact that I was actually excited to get this and not mad says a LOT about how much I've changed... But: I'm also firm in places that weren't a few weeks ago, so what can I say? It works.
Monday:
  • 1/4 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/4 cup trail mix
  • Guacamole and bacon sandwiches, handful of grape tomatoes and almonds
  • Grilled chicken with guacamole and grape tomatoes
    • FireWOD #1: firebreather; for time: 100 clean/press, 8kg and 100 squats; Time: 10:57. Plank: 48 seconds
Tuesday
Wednesday
  • 1/4 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/4 cup trail mix
  • sardines and avocado
  • almonds
  • Pot roast (from frozen leftovers)
    • FireWOD #3: firebreather; 8RFT: 20 12kg 1H swings and 8 forward lunges: Time: 10:06. Plank x 3: 1:23, 2:00, 0:53
Thursday
  • 2 fried eggs
  • Chickpeas and tomatoes tossed with lemon juice, EVOO and Parmesan cheese
  • Greek style chicken and green beans (recipe to come)
Friday
  • 1/2 cup trail mix with coconut milk
  • almonds
  • deli roast beef "rolled" with lettuce
  • 1/2 cup trail mix with coconut milk
  • Out for birthday dinner: chicken vesuvio, chicken with peas, onions and potatoes, red wine and calamari
  • Birthday Cake
Saturday
  • 1/4 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/4 cup trail mix
  • leftover chicken vesuvio
  • Orange chicken stir-fry
    • FireWOD #5: smoke eater; 5RFT; 8 & 10kg; 5 thrusters/hand, 10 squat thrusts, 15 swings: Time: 15:10. Plank x 3: 1:19, 0:26, 1:10
Sunday
  • 1/2 cup trail mix with coconut milk
  • deli roast beef "rolled" with lettuce
  • party: deli meat and cheese from sub sandwich, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber and peppers
  • Fish tacos with yogurt-chipotle cream sauce (recipe to come)

Birthday Cake

Obviously the "cake" has inherent problems when it comes to eating Paleo. But, this week was my birthday and while I didn't really care about having a cake - my kids did! So, being a good man, my husband set out on a quest to find something that we wouldn't feel too guilty eating. He landed on cheesecake. Perfect! Once you substitute out nuts for crust all that is left is the sugar. And, since we haven't eaten anything sugary in a long time it is also easy to cut way back on that too. If you want to you could use coconut sugar in place of the granulated sugar - but as far as your body is concerned sugar is sugar, so why bother? Plus, if 80% is the goal, then I think a little sugar on your birthday is an ok splurge.

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups ground almonds or walnuts
1/3 cup melted butter
2-3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together all ingredients until well combined. Press into the bottom of a 12-inch spring form pan that has been tightly wrapped around the base with aluminum foil.
Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before adding filling.

For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar (less if you can handle it - I only put in 1/2 cup)
5 large eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
3/4 pound ricotta cheese

In a mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on low speed until well incorporated, smooth and light, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add lemon zest and continue to mix, remembering to scrape down the sides as necessary. Slowly add the ricotta cheese to the batter and mix until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared crust and bake in the middle of the oven until it starts to set, about 45 minutes. Lower the oven temperate to 325 and cook for another 20-25 minutes. The top should be a nice golden brown and it should have risen above the edges of the pan by this point. There should be no "jiggling." Remove from the oven, use a thin sharp knife and run the blade around the inside of the cake to loosen the sides. Loosen the outer ring (but don't remove!) and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack. When completely cooled to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 6 hours or overnight.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature before serving.
Serve with fresh berries or dark chocolate if desired.

Orange Chicken Stir-fry


 Servings: 4        Prep Time: 35min          Total Time: 45min

o    1 1/2 Tablespoons potato starch
o    2 cups orange juice
o    1/3 cup soy sauce
o  1/3 cup rice vinegar
o    4 garlic cloves, minced
o    1 to 2 teaspoons red-pepper flakes (optional - only if you want spicy chicken)
o    Coarse salt
o    1 tablespoon coconut oil
o    3 skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch strips
o    1 head broccoli, cut into florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced
o    1 pound carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

Place potato starch in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in orange juice until smooth. Whisk in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and red-pepper flakes if desired; Set aside.
In a 5-quart nonstick pot, heat oil over medium-high. Working in batches, cook chicken on one side until slightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes; transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add broccoli, carrots, and ½ cup water to pot. Cook, partially covered, until water has evaporated and broccoli is bright green, 3 minutes. Add reserved chicken and liquid mixture (potato starch has a tendency to separate, so stir before adding); bring to a boil. Cook until chicken is opaque throughout and sauce has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
*You can serve this over rice to those family and friends who has still think they need a grain with their meal.
To Freeze: Without rice, allow to cool completely. Freeze in 1 ½ cup servings in airtight containers.
To Cook from Frozen: Remove from container and place in a medium saucepan with ¼ - ½ cups of water per serving. Cover and heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 10-12 minutes. 

Roasted Salmon with Brussels Sprouts


Servings: 4        Prep Time: 10min          Total Time: 35min

o   1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
ΓΌ  OR: 8 medium leeks (3 pounds) whites and light green parts only, quartered lengthwise and halved
o   4 skinless salmon filets (about 1 ½ pounds)
o   2 tablespoons olive oil
o   Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450. On a rimmed baking sheet toss brussels sprouts or leeks with olive oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread in a single layer. Roast, tossing occasionally, until browned, 10 to 15 minutes.

Season salmon with salt and pepper. Toss vegetables and push to side of baking sheet, place salmon in center. Roast until salmon is opaque throughout and sprouts are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Paleo Trail Mix

I love this mix. I am a cereal girl at heart and this is a great substitute. I eat about 3/4 cup with coconut milk or 1/3 cup mixed with about 1/4-1/3 cup plain, greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons of almond butter. It also makes a great snack.

I buy all the ingredients from either the bulk foods section of my local mega-mart or the local health foods store, guestimate the quantities and dump them in a huge bowl to mix. So yummy, you won't regret giving this a try!

16 oz roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
16 oz raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
8 oz roasted, unsalted almond slivers
6 oz dried pineapple, diced
5 oz dried flaked coconut (I can never find this though and just use shredded), toasted if you have time. And, of course, unsweetened

*Recipe borrowed from Nom Nom Paleo


Monday, February 6, 2012

Why Coconut Oil?

So what is the deal with coconut oil? My cousin posted a great article here that I recommend you all read. And this is another great source for information.
Coconut oil seems to be one of the world's best kept secrets! It is thought to help in both weight loss and weight maintenance, lowering cholesterol, risk of heart disease, prevention of routine illnesses as it has antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties, it increases metabolism and promotes a healthy thyroid. Not to mention it can also help rejuvenate your skin and help prevent wrinkles!
However: the key is to make sure you maintain a constant level of coconut oil in your body at all times. For the average person age 23-50 you should try to intake about 1.5 tablespoons a day (up to 3 T if you are ill). I put about 1/2 a tablespoon in my coffee in the morning. It takes a little getting used to, but I don't need as much chapstick throughout the day anymore either! I also cook with it and use it as a hand moisturizer at least once a day.
The only other thing I can add is: last week my entire family was hit with a terrible cold and cough... everyone but me that is.

Week 5 Food Journal

I finally feel like I'm getting in the groove of things. I no longer crave crackers and chips. The thought of bread is actually unappealing! The questions from people are changing from "you're doing what?!? When do you get to start adding things back? You DON"T?!?!?!?" To: "really? how does this work? what do you eat?" the last with sincerity and not incredulous disbelief. I went to a super bowl party and my considerate sister made Paleo Poppers with me and Andy in mind. And, it was fairly easy to navigate the buffet table - I did not feel guilty overloading my corn chips with a lot of guacamole to help compensate for the chip! I'm not quite to the point where I will eat it off a spoon (in public) but I'm getting there. Every week is still a battle, and some days are hard. But, they are getting easier.

Monday

Tuesday

  • Coconut flour pancakes
  • Sardines and 1/2 avocado
  • Grilled steak and zuchinni
    • FireWOD #2: Death by: 1 forward lunge each leg, 3 2H swings; add 1 rep every minute until reps exceed 1 minute. 2 rounds. Round 1: 6 sets. Round 2: 6 sets
Wednesday
  • 1/2 cup trail mix with coconut milk
  • Steak and spinach salad
  • Cashews
  • Grilled Chicken with zuchinni and peppers
    • Rest Day
Thursday
Friday
  • 1/2 cup plain, greek yogurt, 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/4 cup trail mix, honey to taste
  • Sardines and avocado
  • 1 apple
  • Cauliflower pizza crust take 2 (with olive oil, spinach, pepperoni and mozzarella)
    • FireWod #5;  8kg: 50 1H, 50 2H; 12kg: 80 1H, 120 2H
Saturday
Sunday

Natalie's Paleo Poppers

A Paleo take on the jalapeno popper. For this recipe instead of stuffing the pepper with cream cheese we used chorizo instead. (pictures to come!) There are 2 ways to prepare these, choose the one that works best for you.
 Makes 1 dozen poppers:
12 jalapeno peppers, of consistent size for even cooking
1/4 pound chorizo (uncooked)
6 slices thick bacon
12-24 toothpicks

Prepping the peppers:
Option #1
First slice off the top of your jalapeno. Using a parring knife remove the ribs and seeds by inserting the knife and working in a circle around the inside. Shake to remove ribs and seeds.
Put the chorizo in a quart size plastic bag. You will want the heavy gauge plastic for this or the seams will break. Snip the tip from one corner and squeeze into the cavity of you pepper, like a pastry bag.

Option #2
Slice the top off you pepper and then cut a slit the length of the pepper to expose the inside. Using a parring knife remove the ribs and seeds. Using your fingers fill the cavity with chorizo and then close to seal it in.

Once your peppers are stuffed take 1/2 a slice of bacon and wrap around the pepper. Because you are using chorizo and not cheese you do not need to worry covering the exposed top. Secure the bacon in place with toothpicks.
These will keep up to 2 days in an air tight container in the fridge.

Heat your grill over low heat. This is important: If your grill is too hot the bacon will burn before the chorizo and the pepper have had enough time to properly cook. Place poppers on the grill and cook for 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally. Chorizo should reach a temp of 145 and the bacon should be crispy. Keep an eye on them to make sure your bacon isn't burning. If you have a "popper rack" you can also sprinkle with a little shredded cheese if you wish.

Garlic-Roasted Asparagus


o 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
o    2 tablespoons olive oil
o    4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
o    Coarse salt and ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss asparagus with oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and browned in spots, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature

To make ahead: Cool asparagus completely; cover and refrigerate up to one day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

An interesting alternative to traditional pizza this recipe takes a little more work than calling your favorite pizza place - but isn't really any harder than making your own from scratch with flour would be. It's just different.
In the end the texture holds up as more of a foccacia than "pizza" with a sponge-like texture thanks to the egg and cheese, and loses most of the "cauliflower" taste. You can pick it up and eat it with your hands, but I found it easier to eat with a fork. I saw this recipe online and have "tweeked" it a little. You can see the original recipe here. I am still experimenting a little, trying to get a crispier "crust." When I figure it out I will update the post.
The ingredients:
1 cup "riced" cauliflower (see below)
1 cup shredded mozzarella, plus more for toppings
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 clove of garlic, finely minced or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
coconut oil

Make ahead: "riced"cauliflower.
With a head of cauliflower, remove the leaves and stems. Break florets into about 1 inch pieces chop in a food processor until the consistency of couscous. You will want to work in small batches or you will find chunks of cauliflower in the the mix. Don't over process though or it will turn to paste. Put in a microwave safe bowl and cook, uncovered, for 8 minutes. There is enough water in the cauliflower itself to eliminate the need to add more water. This will make about 3 cups and can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For the crust:
Mix together 1 cup cauliflower, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 1 egg and seasonings. (Seasonings can be adjusted to your taste: I found the raw garlic and oregano suggested to be over powering, so adjust to your personal taste.) Once this is thoroughly mixed it will make a thick batter, transfer to a pizza stone (See note below). Using a spatula or spoon work in circles to spread out mixture into a circle that is about 1/4 inch thick. This will make either 1 9" crust or 2 4.5" pizzas. Give your crust a slight lip at the edge and then tuck under the edge. This will help keep the edge from spreading too much and burning during baking. Using a pastry brush apply a light coating of coconut oil to the top to aid in browning. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes or until a golden brown.

Once your crust is done remove from the oven and top with your choice of toppings. Try pesto, grilled chicken, spinach and cheese; Olive oil, pepperoni, spinach and cheese; whatever you like! Toppings will need to be pre-cooked (if needed) because they are only in the oven for a few minutes.
Once your pizza has been dressed pop it back in the oven under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. When the cheese is bubbly and brown it is ready to eat.

*Note: What is the best thing to cook this crust on? This is where I am still experimenting: the first time I made it on a cookie sheet with aluminum foil that was greased with coconut oil. Complete disaster! It stuck terribly and was soggy (although the taste was still good enough to make we want to try again). The second time (shown above) I used a pizza stone for better heat conduction that I covered with parchment paper and again greased with coconut oil. This was a much better outcome but it was still a little greasy. Next time I am going to try it right on the pizza stone, still with a small amount of coconut oil.

"The Riann" Protein Shake

To your favorite protein powder add:
Almond milk (instead of water), 1 T almond butter, 1 T cocoa powder, 2 T plain yogurt and ice. Blend and enjoy.

Lemon Chicken Salad Wrap

This is a great salad to make with leftover grilled chicken from the night before...



o    5 tablespoons mayonnaise
o    2 tablespoons shallots or 2 scallions, minced
o    1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
o    Zest and juice of ½ a lemon
o    ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
o    5 cups shredded or diced chicken (or turkey)
o    ½ cup fresh tarragon leaves, chopped or 1 cap full dried tarragon
Wisk together mayonnaise, shallot, mustard, lemon zest and juice, pepper and salt to taste in the bottom of a large bowl. Add chicken and toss until chicken is evenly coated. Mix in tarragon. Serve in endive or as a sandwich filling.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Paleo Diet Flow Chart :D

Picture courtesy of: International Paleo Movement Group

Dark Chocolate Truffles

An extravagant, yet easy treat!
While there is sugar in chocolate the darker the chocolate, the less sugar - so let yourself splurge every once in a while with something like this. After all, if you're going to cheat - make it worth it!



The ingredients:  8 oz dark chocolate (72%-76% is good, any higher and they crumble!), 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, cocoa powder or unsweetened coconut (or both)
Combine the chocolate, cream and vanilla in a mixing bowl. I used the bowl from my kitchen aid. Place that over a pot of boiling water and melt.
 Mix to combine. Once it has melted completely, remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Then whisk for 10 minutes. (This is where the kitchen aid comes in handy)

Before                                                                               After

Transfer the chocolate mixture to a smaller bowl compacting as much as possible. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Then, using a mini-muffin scoop make balls of approx 1 inch in size. Roll between your hands to make as smooth a ball as possible. Then roll in either cocoa powder or toasted coconut. (The coconut will need to be "pressed" into the truffle to make it stick). Eat or freeze for up to 3 months.  


To toast coconut: put raw coconut in the bottom of a clean pan and heat over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring and keeping an eye on it. It will be a nice golden color once it's done.


Week 4 Food Journal

*This week I really struggled with some gastric re-flux issues and spent a lot of "food-time" trying to find the right balance between losing weight, exercising and eating enough. Andy insists that I will lose weight just with food choice and not "counting calories," but it's so ingrained with weight loss it's hard to let go... My focus has been on finding new snack choices and eating more for breakfast.


*I also found and bought some hydroponic lettuce this week - there are a lot of "tacos" and wraps in the menu. It's a great lettuce for this because it has nice big leaves and a lot of tensile strength, so it takes a lot to rip it. And, there is a lot in a head of lettuce so it goes a long way.


Monday

  • 2 eggs
  • Protein shake
  • Broccoli, tuna and tomato salad
  • Cucumber spears with yogurt and dill sauce
  • Grilled chicken "tacos" with guacamole
    • FireWOD #2,15 minute AMRAP: 8kg; 6 press, 6 halo, 15 swings. 7 rounds completed. Plus 250 12kg swings
Tuesday
  • 2 eggs
  • Protein shake with 1/4c yogurt and coconut milk
  • Tuna and cucumber mixed with yogurt and dill, in a lettuce wrap
  • BLATs with Grilled Chicken
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
    • FireWOD#1: 400 8kg swings, 140 12kg swings
Wednesday
  • 1/2 batch of coconut flour pancakes and 2 eggs
  • protein shake
  • Sardines and an avocado
  • Grilled pork loin and yellow squash
    • FireWOD #3; 12 min AMRAP, 8kg: 10 squats, 10 figure 8, 12 cleans. Total of 5 rounds. plus 500 8kg swings.
Thursday
  • 2 eggs, 1 slice of bacon, 1/4 cup of cheese
  • 3 hard boiled eggs (yolks mixed with small amount of mayo and mustard)
  • Paleo trail mix with coconut milk
    • Hooray! this is awesome and makes a great cereal!!!
  • Grilled pork loin marinaded in apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
  • Brussels sprouts chips
    • WOD: Rest day
Friday
  • 1 cup trail mix with coconut milk
  • Protein shake
  • Sardines with an avocado (salt, pepper and lime juice)
  • Slow cooker pot roast with vegetables
    • FireWOD #4, 15 minutes starting each round on the minute; 8kg: 3 bent over rows, 2 squats, 3 halo. Plus 250 12kg swings
Saturday
  • 2 eggs, 1 slice of bacon, 1 tablespoon of cheese
  • leftover pot roast
  • 1/2 cup trail mix
  • grilled chicken with black beans and tomato
  • 2 chocolate truffles
    • FireWOD #5: 400 8kg swings, 100 12kg swings
Sunday
  • 1 cup trail mix with coconut milk
  • Tortilla soup at Arriba's
  • Slow cooker pork "stew"
  • 4 oz dark chocolate
  • 2 glasses of red wine
    • WOD: 7 rounds of 7 each, alternating 8kg and 12kg; clean/press, figure 8, row, squats. 150 12kg swings

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon


Servings: 4                              Prep Time: 10min                                  Total Time: 40min
o    1 pound brussels sprouts
o    3 slices bacon
o    Kosher salt and pepper
o    Cider vinegar
Trim stem from Brussels sprouts; shred in a food processor fitted with a slicing blade. Set aside.
In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat cook bacon until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes, transfer to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 1 tablespoon rendered fat from skillet. Add brussels sprouts and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until sprouts are tender, 20 to 25 minutes (add more water if pan becomes too dry). To serve; crumble bacon over sprouts and drizzle with cider vinegar.

Nutrition Information:
Calories: 76   Fat: 2.7g   Protein: 5.3g   Carbohydrates: 10.2g  Fiber: 4.3g

BLATs with chicken

Who doesn't love a BLT? 
For this I used hydroponic lettuce instead of bread and made more of a wrap. 
I combined a few slices of grilled chicken, bacon and guacamole 
(but, you could just use avocado and tomato instead.)
Voila! Delicious.

Guacamole

This is the best guacamole recipe in the world and one of my best kept secrets (until now). It's packed with flavor and hits on so many different taste elements: smooth and creamy with a little crunch a little heat some savory and a little sweetness. This is the dish that is requested from me for parties more often than anything else - and has turned countless people from avocado haters (wha?!?) to avocado lovers! It takes a little prep time, but is oh so worth it.


Makes: 2 ½ cups           Prep Time: 20min          Total Time: 50 min
  
   4-6 ripe Hass avocados (depending on size)
     1 garlic clove, minced
      1 teaspoon coarse salt
     2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
     2 jalapeno chiles, minced (ribs and seeds removes for less heat, if desired)
     1 red onion, minced (soak in cold water 5 minutes, drain and pat dry)
     ½ cup chopped cilantro
   3 to 4 tablespoons lime juice

Mix garlic, salt, tomatoes, jalapeno and onion. Pit, peel and dice avocado. Gently mash into vegetable mixture. Add cilantro and lime juice and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap, pushing down directly to contact guacamole in order to prevent discoloration. Place in refrigerator to rest a minimum of 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Store up to 1 day. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or crispy bacon.

Broccoli, tuna and tomato salad


Servings: 4 for side salad, 2 for main course   Prep Time: 10 min  Total Time: 10 min
Dressing:
o    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
o    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
o    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
o    Salt and pepper to taste
o    ¼ cup scallions

For Salad
o   1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
o   cans tuna, drained 
o   1 pound broccoli florets, steamed and cooled

Whisk ingredients for dressing in the bottom of a large bowl. Combine broccoli, tuna and tomatoes and toss with dressing. Serve cold.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Week 3 Food Journal

Monday

  • 2 eggs
  • leftover pulled pork over lettuce (the last of it!)
  • Steak with lime marinade and zucchini
  • Walnuts
    • WOD: 750 swings (8kg), 6 sweep/press per arm (12kg)
Tuesday
Wednesday
  • Protein shake
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, tossed salad
  • grilled steak and broccoli
    • WOD: Rest day
Thursday
Friday
  • Coconut Pancakes
  • protein shake with 1/4c yogurt
  • 1 can of sardines and 1 avocado
    • Before you judge me read this article. They were actually surprisingly tasty, but I like anchovies on my pizza too... or did back when I was allowed to eat pizza. If you are looking for a quick, easy lunch alternative give them a try before discounting them.
  • Grilled steak and green beans
    • WOD: 515 swings, 20 sweep/press per arm (8kg)
Saturday
  • Coconut pancakes
  • protein shake with 1/4 c yogurt
  • protein shake, no yogurt
  • dried apples
  • Herb-rubbed Salmon with Zucchini
  • 2 glasses of red wine and 3 dark chocolate truffles
    • WOD: 8kg; 4 rounds of 5/arm; clean/press, 8's, slams. 10 halo, 5 squats. 250 swings (12kg)
Sunday
  • Protein shake
  • Sardines and avocado
  • fish tacos with tilapia, corn tortillas and avocado
    • Rest day

Herb-rubbed Salmon with Zucchini


o   1 8 oz salmon steak or fillet, per person (recipe is for 1)
o   1 teaspoon olive oil
o   Coarse salt and pepper
o   ½ teaspoon dried oregano
o   2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
o   4 cherry tomatoes, halved
o   1 small (4 oz) zucchini, halved and sliced, ¼ inch thick
o   1 small garlic clove, minced
o   1 scallion, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425. Place salmon in a small baking dish or oven proof skillet; drizzle with ¼ teaspoon oil

Make the rub: In a small bowl mix mint, garlic, oregano, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Sprinkle half the rub mixture evenly over both sides of the salmon. Bake salmon until opaque throughout, about 10 minutes, for medium rare. 

Meanwhile, in a medium nonstick skillet heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add zucchini, and cook tossing occasionally until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in scallion, tomatoes, and remaining rub mixture. Cook just to heat through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper; serve with salmon.

Nutrition Information:
Calories: 407
Carbohydrates: 9.7g 
Protein: 47.6g
Fat:     T: 19.4g   
Fiber: 2.9g

Root Vegetable and Chorizo Casserole

The combination of egg and root vegetable gives this an almost potato-like texture once it has been baked. I have never been a fan of turnips, rutabagas or beets, but I actually like them in this dish. (Just don't tell non-turnip eaters what you are feeding them until after they tell you how good it is)

Serves 4    Prep time 15 min    Total Time: 1 hr 20 min

6 cups shredded root vegetable. Suggest turnips as main veg., rutabaga, beets, carrots, even zucchini, etc.
2 lbs chorizo or other sausage of your choice
1 onion, diced
3 eggs, beaten

In a large skillet cook chorizo until done. Put in a colander over aluminum foil to drain completely, set aside. Saute onion over medium heat until it begins to caramelize, about 8 minutes. Combine all ingredients in a large, buttered casserole dish and bake, uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Cover and continue to bake an additional 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

*This is a make-ahead meal that can sit in your fridge for up to 24 hours, until you are ready for it
*Freezes well. If baking from frozen add at least another 40 minutes covered, at the beginning. I like to split this in 2 to make 2 meals, bake one and freeze the other.
*The chorizo or sausage should add enough flavor to the dish without additional seasoning, but add if you want.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bacon Wrapped, Tahini Stuffed Chicken


First I gather the ingredients: lemon-thyme marinated chicken, tahini, bacon (2-3 slices per chicken breast)
You will want to butterfly your chicken either before or after you marinate it. This is where you will "stuff" your chicken with 1-2 tablespoons of tahini. Then fold it back closed.





Now it's time for the bacon:


Carefully wrap the bacon around the chicken, being sure the open seam is completely sealed and that most of the chicken is covered. Place on a lined, rimmed baking sheet and bake at 375 for 45 minutes, turning at least once to get the underside of bacon crispy. (Next time I think I will cook them on a rack over the pan to let the drippings fall to help the bacon crisp up better.) Cook until the internal temperature reaches 170.

The tahini adds a nice "tang" to the meal, by helping to cut the richness of the bacon.
*I served mine with roasted brussels sprouts

Bacon Bites: I made these for my kids at the same time (tahini is a little much for them!) I used chicken tenders - enough for 2-3 for each child, skewered them and wrapped them in 1/2 a piece of bacon. Threw them in the oven with the breasts and they were done in about 30 minutes. What kids doesn't want to eat something that comes on a stick?!?