Friday, August 30, 2013

Tangy Roasted Beets

I got two lovely chioggia beets (striped beets) in my produce delivery. I decided to prepare them simply, roasted and dressed with a tangy vinaigrette. They don't last long in my house, it's a favorite of ours.

First, preheat the oven to 400 Fahrenheit.  Next, trim, peel, and cube the beets.  

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Place in a covered dish or wrap them in parchment lined tin foil placed on a baking tray. Bake for one hour or until tender. A fork should fairly easily pierce the flesh but the beets should not be mushy.

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While the beets cook, make the dressing.

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One tablespoon of your favorite everyday seasoning blend
One tablespoon raw honey
Two tablespoons Dijon mustard
One ounce white wine vinegar
One ounce extra virgin olive oil

Pour all ingredients into a mason jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until emulsified.

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When the beets are cooked, pour the dressing over and stir to coat.  Do this while the beets are still hot. The hot beets will soak up all that tangy, delicious flavor. They are wonderful served warm or chilled.  Devour!

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Food Porn and More Menu Planning

Last week's planned meals were ever so good.  Here's what we ate...

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Leek, mushroom and summer squash risotto made with homemade bone broth with grilled lamb steak. That rice was so creamy and flavorful and the grilled lamb from US Wellness Meats was tender and juice and not at all gamy.  

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Cabbage Rolls with Cranberry Tomato Sauce from Practical Paleo. This was so good, better than I ever imagined. I never had stuffed cabbage before and nor have I had a sauce that combined cranberries with tomatoes. It was a revelation. Rob ate two big helping leaving much less leftover than I was hoping for!

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Sesame Orange Chicken from Against All Grain. Oh, man! The cost of the book is worth it for just this recipe alone. You know that sweet, sticky chicken that they serve at Chinese take out places? She nailed it but with so few ingredients. I did amp up the orange flavor by adding the orange zest at the very end. I served it over my cauli-cous, which I'll put up in another post.  

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As a treat, I whipped up a batch of Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Against All Grain

Donna and I went to a book signing event for this book when Danielle Walker came to Atlanta on her book release tour. This was the recipe she demonstrated at the event. She talked about how she wanted to replicate the flavor and texture of the famous Nestle Toll House Cookie. Well, she succeeded. They got Rob's seal of approval, which is high praise because Rob is fussy about his "biscuits."

I got 16 generously sized cookies from the one dozen sized batch of dough. The small amount of sweetener and lack of wheat in this recipe means they don't stimulate cravings in me. I can enjoy one or two and not worry about having to eat ALL the cookies.  Win-win!

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I'm headed out to the market today. I need a Trader Joe's stock up. It's the Labor Day holiday weekend coming up so we have some splurge meals and a bit of wine to look forward to. Here's what's on the menu...

Pate and fancy cheeses with crunchy vegetables, tangy pickled things and fruit and nuts.  I hope I can find Robiola cheese today. I saw Bobby Flay cooking with it the other day and just have to try it.

Homemade pizza. Rob has been craving pizza so I promised him we'd do it up. I got some cheap unglazed tiles at the Home Depot that turn our gas grill into a 600 degree pizza oven. I'm going to do a long soaked dough made from Organic, Sprouted Wheat Flour from the To Your Health Spouted Flour Company.  Click the link to read why sprouted flour is more nutritious and easier to digest than regular wheat flours. I actually got the sprouted einkorn wheat at my local Nature's Corner Market. If I'm going to splurge on pizza it needs to be easy on my system.

Grilled Bratwurst. I usually do them simmered in beer with sliced onions then simmer the onions and beer down to a sweet and spicy jam to smear over the sausages. But I'm trying it with hard cider this time. I'm going to make a crunchy apple and cabbage slaw as a side dish.  Hold the buns!

Grilled steak and veggies.

Butternut Squash Soup with Sausage. Brace Yourselves. Fall is Coming!

What are your plans for the long weekend, food or otherwise?

Monday, August 26, 2013

This Was a Tough One to Write

Warning~Long post and poop talk ahead.

Diving right in.  It wasn't just one thing but a perfect shit-storm that sent me into a dark place; re-injuring my hip and knee, although actually I don't think they were fully healed to begin with, not being able to walk the dog and her general behavior had me stressed out, I had to limit my work shifts due to the pain in my hip and knee, Rob being away so much for work and drinking more than socially for solace, very resistant weight gain, developing digestive issues, inability to sleep properly and living on espresso to keep me going. This culminated into a depression and anxiety spiral that I wasn't sure how to fix.  My health was deteriorating, my skin looked drab, I had no energy, the knee and hip just would not heal, and my nails were shredding.  And you know how I am about my nails!

I know enough about the medical community that I did not want to see a doctor. I'd leave the office with a prescription for anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medication and that's about it. It was time to be proactive and figure out the root causes of my issues in order to work on a solution.

I did lots of reading and found invaluable information in Diane Sanfillipo's book Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle (so much more than a cookbook) and Balanced Bites, her website and podcast. Also the Weston A. Price foundation website is a wealth of information on using nutrition to heal the body and maintain good health.

I knew that I needed to start an anti-inflammatory protocol because inflammation inhibits the body's ability to heal but it wasn't until I read this guest post by Stacey Toth that realized that not having a gallbladder was causing me problems. I had always heard that you could end up with chronic diarrhea after having gallbladder surgery and although I didn't experience that, I developed a series of digestive issues like gas, bloating and swinging from loose stools to brick-style constipation and the shredding nails and unhealthy skin was a sure sign that I wasn't absorbing nutrients.

After enrolling Tally in a training camp with Atlanta's Dog Wizard, I started the Balanced Bites 21 Day Sugar Detox at level 2. No sugar, no booze, no inflammatory grains while eating lots of high quality fat, protein and vegetables for three weeks.

I got back into corrective Chiropractic care.

I added three supplements. Gelatin was the first thing I added in addition to increasing my bone broth consumption. Gelatin is instrumental in joint health, digestive health and the health of skin and nails. I use both Great Lakes Unflavored Gelatin and it's non-gelling counterpart,Great Lakes Gelatin, Gelatin Collagen

Next I added Ox Bile, one capsule with every meal. 

Finally, I bit the financial bullet and started taking Fermented Cod Liver Oil. I had read lots of articles about it previously but was cheap and kept on taking regular fish oil instead.  I highly encourage you to read these two articles about FCLO.  

Cod Liver Oil Basics at Weston A. Price

I started to move from toxic house care items to more health friendly versions as well as changing my personal care routine to a more non-toxic approach.

After the initial three week detox, I started working within a Paleo template customized for my specific health issues. What have been my results?  I'll cover that in another post.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Menu Planning

Thanks to all of you who have so kindly welcomed me back! It feels really good to be back.

For my first official post-break post, I'm going to jump right in with my menu plans for the next week. I really enjoy menu planning, I love checking my Pinterest boards, flipping through my cookbooks and checking the fridge and freezer looking for meal ideas.

My meal planning strategy usually involves looking for meal ideas, jotting them down on my menu planner then checking to see what ingredients are on hand and what needs to be added to the shopping list. It doesn't take very long and when supper time comes, I know we'll be dining on something nutritious and delicious.

My Nature's Garden Delivered box arrived today. Among the contents were a big, beautiful leek, some mushrooms, summer squash, red beets and a savoy cabbage. I also have a freezer stocked with all sorts of meat from my two recent orders from US Wellness Meats, which carries high quality pastured meats and fats. I'll be talking about them more in another post. I also have a small amount of arborio rice in the pantry and I just finished a big batch of chicken bone broth.

So, what are we having?

Grilled lamb steak with mushroom, leek and summer squash risotto.

From Practical Paleo~ Mom's Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Tomato Cranberry Sauce.

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Sesame Orange Chicken with cauliflower "rice."

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Tandoori Grilled Chicken with a farmer's market vegetable curry.  I'll visit the farmer's market on Tuesday morning and see what is good.

One night will be leftovers for Rob because I have plans with some local friends and some friends who are coming from out of town for Dragon*Con. I'm very excited to see them! All other leftovers will serve as breakfast and/or lunch for me.

And also from Against All Grain~ Beef Burrito Bowls with guacamole and pico de gallo.

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I'm not sure what I'm doing with the beets. I'll either roast them or attempt to make a batch of beet kvass, if I'm feeling brave.  

Tonight I'm having leftovers, a turkey and chicken liver burger, grain free fried green tomatoes and sauteed Indian squash.  

I need to get back into the habit of snapping pics of my meals so I can share them here, looks like there are going to be some good ones. 

How do you plan your meals and what are you having for supper?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Look!

I'm not quite back but am in the process of getting my blog groove back on.  I've been itching to get sharing again but wanted a clean slate on which to work.  I'm not sure if this is the final design, I'll still be tinkering here and there.

Lots of changes and lots of things to share, so watch this space!