Thursday, August 30, 2012

Oven-baked Crunchy Okra

I have a confession. I am sharing it because I think it will help me and possible someone else who might be going through the same thing. If you read the "About B" section, you might remember that I've had some pretty major issues with food and body image. I don't really blog much about it because who wants to read a post from Debbie Downer waa waa waaaa. However, I need a little therapy session and you will be my shrink. For the last several weeks my "issues" have reared their ugly little head and I have been struggling with not allowing the pattern that I set many years ago to spin out of control yet again. Since going Paleo, I have gotten worlds better and I am eternally grateful for that! BUT that doesn't mean that it's something that I won't have to deal with for the rest of my life, I'm now realizing. I think I have realized from the start, that I just put blinders on and avoided that little fact. I do that by the way; it's genetic. I can lie to myself about something and keep avoiding it until it goes away. That's the problem though an...oh God I can't believe I'm going to say it...an...deep breath...eating...disorder doesn't just go away, I have to deal with it. So I teared up typing out those words, I am a major crybaby so that's not really a big shock.

You see, it all started because I have been very busy and overwhelmed with trying to find the balance in my new... much happier... life. I basically have two jobs now and I am trying to go somewhere with my food/paleo/nutrition thing and I think I started feeling like I didn't have control, I am also a major bossy pants and control freak (just ask Casey or anyone else who knows me). Then I went shopping to get my mind off things and relax and it happened gasp I went up a pant size! Now before you get all "omg I quit Paleo because I don't want to gain weight!" "I knew it was all a plot to make me fat and give me a heart attack" calm down seriously, you need to know before CrossFit and Paleo I looked like a tomato on toothpicks. My legs were stupid skinny. They needed to gain mass so I looked like I could support my upper body. I LOVE LOVE LOVE having bigger legs and an actual butt so much I ask everyone "How does my butt look?" Or saying, "My butt is SO big HUH?!?"  I know that I went up a pant size because of my awesome huge butt (it's not THAT huge) and legs, but in the past the number on the tag or on the scale out-weighed everything else--no pun intended. I could go from feeling like a house, get on the scale and weight 5lbs less than I thought and the world was right again OR I could feel "skinny" and try on clothes and feel like a huge failure, it had that much power over me.

So my past was triggered and it all came rushing back to me. I have been withdrawn because I thought someone might sniff me out and that was a scary thought, I also felt like a huge hypocrite. Now I had not done anything in the way I used to, i.e. binge, punish, completely obsess, but my mind was going to that place and that made me feel like I had no right to preach the Paleo lifestyle to others.  So I sucked it up and confessed my sins to my friend Sabrina because I knew I needed to vocalize it, which is something that I would and had never ever ever done before. That was a big break-though for me. I was strong enough to say it out loud before it could have a chance to spin out of control. Not this time! That night I told Casey and I have felt better ever since.

Two years ago, I would have never thought I would be in the place I am today, that's my message I guess. It is possible to overcome these obstacles and with Paleo I really don't think I would be doing it. I'm a fighter--more of a lover, but in this case I'm a fighter. I'm going to keep fighting this... probably forever but I know I can do it! I'm a work-in-progress, and we all are. None of us will ever "B" perfect and that's OK. Let's face it, if each and every one of us was perfect, life would be sooooo boring and we would never have epic stories of awesome fails to tell! Fight the good fight!


Oh yeah here's some major noms for you to try.


Oven-Baked Crunchy Okra
 
1 bag frozen okra
2 handfuls walnuts
4-5 Tbs. flaxseed meal
2 eggs
1 Tbs. curry powder
liberal amount of sea salt and cracked pepper





 
Preheat oven to 375. Using a food processor, grind walnuts to a fine flour... be careful not to process too long or you'll have walnut butter. Get out a medium size mixing bowl and dump in the walnut flour, flax meal, curry and salt and pepper. mix it around with your hands and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk two eggs until yolks are busted and mixed with the whites. Dip each piece of okra in the egg and then coat it in the flour mixture and place on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 mins or until crusted has browned. And don't feel guilty about feeding your body!

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Monday, August 27, 2012

"The Babies"

So I realize that I have been neglecting the "Paisley's Bites and Dapper's Gripes" section of my blog. I am a terrible mama dog. I am going to make an effort to be better, after all my little rats deserve some face-time and maybe they will become an interweb sensation and start pulling their weight around here financially. They aren't total freeloaders though, they clean up any "veggible," (that's dog speak but you will get to know them and be able to understand their complex language soon enough) that hits the floor or that jumps off one of our plates.

The Rats

Paisley and Dapper are 100% Paleo, and although it does cost more than the crap than the label dog food, we save A TON on vet bills and our pups are healthy and happy! Paisley's allergies have gone away and she no longer takes meds to treat them. Dapper doesn't have any health problems because he started Paleo the day we brought him home... SHHHH they don't know they are adopted. While not 100% unavoidable, fleas are not a big issue. That's just one of the perks of having a Paleo pet!


I always find Paleo-friendly dog treats at Marshall's, of all places; these are some of the latest I've found... for a fraction of the cost of most major pet food stores.








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Saturday, August 25, 2012

BLT Kebobs

I threw a bridal shower last week and when deciding what food to serve I thought, "What better for a bridal shower than bacon," am I right? I love a good BLT, I mean I LOVE A GOOD BLT! Who doesn't?! If you say you don't then shame on you. This treat would be perfect for school lunches for all you Paleo parents out there, which I am not, but I do pack plenty of lunches for ourselves. I made a version of aioli for this recipe... It was very tasty but the consistency was a bit off. After chilling it an hour or so, it had much more workable texture. The flavor was a great compliment with the B the L and the T. There was one other problem... it is really hard to NOT eat all the bacon while you are trying to make the skewers. Fight through it; It will be worth the wait, I promise.


BLT Kebobs
1 lb. uncured nitrate free bacon
1-2 small tomatoes
a couple handfuls of spring greens
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup olive oil, not virgin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
tooth picks or skewers

Aioli
Using a mixer, beat the egg yolks. Then VERY SLOWLY drizzle in the olive oil, this step should take a few minutes. After all the oil is added and mixed with the yolks, whisk in all other ingredients until everything is thoroughly blended together. Pour in a jar and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Cut bacon in half and piece-by-piece lay flat in the skillet and cook until done. You do not want it to be to crispy, it needs to be pliable. After the bacon is done, place on a covered plate and let cool.

Dice tomatoes into small thin pieces, you want them to be slightly smaller than the bacon strips. Take your lettuce, aioli, toothpicks/skewers and a serving platter. Take a leaf or two of the lettuce and dip into the aioli, saturating it, then place the lettuce on a slice of bacon, top with tomato and fold the "sandwich" in half or you can roll it up. Either way works great. Stab it with a toothpick and place it on the serving platter. Continue until all the bacon is rolled up...or until you eat all the bacon whichever comes first.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Peppercorn Chops

For dinner at a restaurant one night, Casey ordered a peppercorn-crusted steak that I have been trying to recreate ever since. A few attempts didn't pan out... food blogger humor there... Anyway, I gave up on the steak and used pork chops instead and it turned out much better. I'm a wimp so it was a little too spicy for me but the coarse black peppercorns were right up his alley.


Peppercorn Chops
2-3 lbs. bone in pork chops
6 Tbs. peppercorn
4Tbs. parsley (chopped)
4 Tbs. rosemary
salt to taste
1 egg beaten

Preheat oven to 350. Add peppercorn to a plastic baggie, seal and break them up into smaller pieces. Use a medium size bowl and mix the crushed-up pepper, parsley, and rosemary together. Next, beat the egg in a small bowl. Grease a baking sheet and set aside for the chops. Dip each pork chop into the egg and then dip both sides into the pepper & herb mixture and place on the baking sheet. Pop in the oven for 20-30 mins.

*I used a meat tenderizer to beat up my peppercorn...use this time to get out all your frustrations.
**I greased my baking sheet with coconut oil.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Paleo Crème Brûlée

My Birthday is Sunday, so I wanted to make myself a little treat (or if anyone wants to make it for me, hehe kidding!) My girls at work made me Paleo apple cinnamon cupcakes that were awesome. What is even more awesome is that none of them do Paleo (yet) and it was really sweet for them to go through the trouble to try their hand at a Paleo baked goods--they are by far the hardest thing to make Paleo, and they tasted like a pro made them! So many thanks to my amazing girls for that awesome unexpected sweet gift!  But back to business...

Crème...
Brûlée...


Sogoodsogoodohsogood! I wracked my brain trying to figure this one out and I'm pretty proud of my first attempt, but I am going to try it again and again, you know for research purposes... I mean let's get real here, creme brulee is sugar, heavy cream, sugar, a little egg and vanilla and crystallized sugar on top. As for the torching of the sugar topping, I considered including cheating on this one a little bit because of the occasion, but I remained vigilant.

Sugar is out of the question.
Honey would melt.
Maple syrup is too... mapely flavored and would ruin the taste.
Stevia is WAY too sweet to cover the top of the brulee with.

As they baked, I kept thinking and just decided to go torch-less. Nevermind my torch was out of gas. In the end, as I said in the beginning: It worked out! The loss is that you don't get that epic sugary crunch I didn't miss it... at all. I did the best I could and I really think it tastes a lot like the real deal. Until I tweak this further, I am calling this a big success!

It's alive! It's ALIIIIVE!

Paleo Crème Brûlée (Torchless)
3 cups canned coconut milk
2 tsp. creamed coconut
1 whole vanilla bean
8 egg yolks
1/4 cup honey
cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325. Heat a sauce pan on low heat and add coconut milk and whisk in creamed coconut and allow to simmer, not boil.  Next, add the caviar from the vanilla bean, lay the bean flat on a cutting board and with a knife (I used a paring knife) make a staight cut all the way down the bean so it is split open. Almost like you are butterfly-ing it. Next, scoop out all the caviar (black stuff) and add it to the saucepan. While the milk and vanilla are simmering, add 8 egg yolks to a mixer or put in a large mixing bowl and beat/whisk, once the yolks have turned to a pale yellow add honey and mix until combined.

VERY slowly add in a little bit of the hot milk and continue to add very slowly until all the milk has been added.  Place 4 large ramekins (or 6-8 small ramekins) in a baking dish or a baking sheet that has a lip, and pour in the mixture. Place in an oven and pour water into the baking dish, about halfway up the side of the ramekins. If you look closely at the picture, you can see the water line on my dish and bake for 30-35 mins, removing just as they begin to brown. The brulee will still be a bit "liquidy" that's okay. Dust the top with cinnamon and place in the refrigerator for about 3 hours, until they set. I hope you are hungry because you won't be able to stop!

*if you don't have ramekins you can use oven-safe coffee mugs, just don't over fill because the inside will not set properly.
**I didn't strain like you are suppose to, because I don't have a mesh strainer... plus I didnt want to.


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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Crispy "Spussel Brouts"

Until recently, I have never been willing to try brussel sprouts... and now I LOVE them! My main reason for loathing them was that I had never had them prepared in a way that would make them taste good, much less edible, to me. I had only been exposed to the canned (Ew!) variety that had been microwaved in the disgusting juices that they canned the veggies with. That sounds repulsive! I love veggies, and I am willing to try most things, so while on a recent girls' lake trip I said "I will try a spussel brout!" Yep, that's what I called it. I came home with a new favorite food, and we have been eating them like crazy ever since. Casey, also a sprout hater, was shocked how much he liked them. Next formerly-repulsive vegetable on list: Beets. Yuck.

How 'sprout 'em?

Crispy "Spussel Brouts"
1 lb. brussel sprouts
3 Tbs. olive oil
3-4 Tbs. flax seed meal
2 Tbs. oregano
1 Tbs. rosemary
1 Tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Cut sprouts in half and put in a gallon size zip lock baggie. Mix all other ingredients together and pour in with the sprouts. Seal the bag and shake vigorously until the sprouts are covered in the mixture. Place in a baking dish and bake for 40-45 mins. Dust with salt and pepper and serve.

*I did not cut the sprouts in the picture in half...They were not soft enough so make sure to cut yours.

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Italian Burgers w/Tomato Basil Sauce

I was really in the mood for some hearty Italian food but I didn't want a spaghetti or "pasta" dish. This was a total experiment, but then again, so is almost every meal I make. This one worked out.

This burger has mushrooms in it, which I hate. Ok, that's not completely fair to shrooms, I hate the texture of the fungus, not the actual fungus itself. I have been sneaking them into my food, trying to eat a few here and there to try and get myself used to the texture. I think it's working! A year ago when I would try and eat them I could not physically make my jaws chew them and now I am able to eat a whole burger without picking them out. Going Paleo has made me more open-minded and willing to try things that I would have NEVER even considered trying before! Am I the only one who feels like this? I already know the answer to that.

Italian Burgers
1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 finely chopped mushrooms
1/8 cup chopped purple onion
1-2 tsp. Herbs de Provence
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste

Tomato Basil Sauce
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
4-6 oz. Basil chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. Herbs de Provence

Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl, mix sausage and ground meat then add in mushrooms, onion, Herbs de Provence and egg. Using your hands, mix all ingredients thoroughly and form into patties. Place patties on a baking sheet and bake about 30-40 mins.

While patties are baking, make the tomato basil sauce. In a small sauce pan heat garlic about 3-5 mins on medium heat or until garlic starts turning brown. Add tomato paste and chicken broth, stirring to combine. Once liquid is combined whisk in all other ingredient and let simmer on low heat until burgers are done.

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