Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Before I went paleo, one of my favorite meals was this minestrone. I've missed it, and so I set out to create a real food version that was equally as satisfying. So good, I wish I had more than one stomach, so I could keep eating the awesomeness. Tonight for dinner, I finally did it. A soup so brothy and salty, so tomato-y and creamy, so frikken yummy, that I just had to share. Bare in mind, this recipe makes enough to feed an entire army. Or one person for a week. And, it's good enough, you wouldn't get sick of it, either. Enjoy!

But first, some notes about broth. Home made broth is super easy to make. Tonight, as we were savoring our sumptuous soup, (which, by the way, my kids ate without complaining,) I said to Jeremy, "Can you believe we used to unwittingly throw the stuff away?!" Back in our non-real-food days, we would make a roast, or chicken, or turkey, or ham, in the slow cooker. We'd eat the meat. Then, we'd take those lovely fats and juices that were left in the pot, and -- don't freak out-- we would throw. them. away.

I know! Don't worry. Now I know better. The broth I used tonight came from a rump roast we cooked Sunday, mixed up with a bit of water and salt. Perfect! Ideally, you'd use bones in your broth, and not too much skin or fat. Bones, because the marrow in them is all full of yummy nutritious stuff. Yummy+nutritious=bonus! Not skins or fats, because the broth will come out greasy. Especially with chicken. If you should ever find yourself with a greasy broth (it will feel too thick and icky in your mouth, instead of salty and pleasantly buttery), don't fret! Easily remedied by refrigerating it over night, and skimming the layer of grease off the top in the morning. Now that we know not to ever, never ever, throw away the wonderfully juicy juices left behind from a slow-cooked meat, let's get to the soup!

Tiff's no-fuss-eat-til-you-die Minestrone:
prep time: 20-30 mins, depending on how fast you chop
cooking time: at least one hour
yield: a boat load

You will need: 

1 large yellow onion, diced
1 package polish kielbasa, diced
1 large chicken breast, diced
3 cups beef broth.
2 large cans diced tomatoes
5-6 potatoes, any type
3-4 carrots, or more to taste
1 large head broccoli
2 yellow straight-neck squash, sliced
2 teaspoons dry dill, oregano, basil (or more, to taste)
3 cloves garlic, minced, added at onion/meat stage -or- 1 heaping teaspoon garlic powder, added at broth stage.
salt and pepper to taste
optional: one head finely chopped green cabbage, but this will alter the flavor, and I prefer it without.

Plus: one huge honkin soup pot to put it all in

Place onion, garlic, sausage, and chicken in pot on medium high heat. brown meat, cook until onions are clear. Add beef broth, tomatoes with juice, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, squash, and seasonings to pot. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Proceed to eat, until your gut aches. Careful! It will be hot.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Paleo: Everything I have gleaned, from my new way of living.

Disclaimer: This is meant to be a compilation of informational sites, recipes, and tips and tricks I have learned. I don't hold myself to a standard of perfection with this, or anything else. So, please take it all at face value, and let me know if you have any questions :) Also, apologies for all of the reading. It's a ton of info, but the absolute best I have come across during my nearly two years of eating this way.


If you are serious about changing to this lifestyle, this blog post is a great place to start. It is all of the "why's" and "why-not's". Lots of reading, here. Worth the time investment. I also love the book "Practical Paleo," by Dianne SanFillipo, for explanations of the health benefits of this life style.

http://whole9life.comGood information, but lots of up-selling. It will be tempting to start buying everything. All the recipe books! Resist this temptation. For the most part, you can find all of the recipes/ideas/information that you need, online. FOR FREE! I would recommend buying paleo books only for specialized information. This is one of my absolute favorites, for recipes. But, she also gives a ton of information on AIP (autoimmune protocol). So, for any women suffering from PCOS: read her info. Good stuff. This protocol covers the full range of AI diseases, from Celiac to arthritis. for a little daily humor.

What we eat:
I get asked a lot, "What can you eat, without grains?!" Well, lots, actually. Our meals are so flavorful and wonderful, because we don't have to restrict fats or salt (two of the most flavorful things on the planet!) or calories. If this confuses you, read the first blog post I linked to.

Breakfast: eggs and bacon with a green smoothie, a breakfast smoothie like my favorite one listed below, an apple with nut-butter, paleo crepes, pancakes, breakfast skillet, sausage and eggs, and our most common go-to: plain full fat greek yogurt with sliced banana, a handful of nuts, a handful of unsweetened coconut flakes, and occasionally, some dark chocolate chips.

Lunch:  Salad (the possible combinations of meats, cheeses, and veggies are limitless! see recipes section for dressings), lettuce wraps (like a sandwich, minus the bread, wrapped in lettuce instead.), chicken fingers (recipe below), stir-fry, canned chicken or tuna salad, egg salad, cheese and crackers (most paleo blogs have cracker recipes), left overs.

Dinner:  Roasted chicken and veggies, stir-fry, Salisbury steak and potatoes and salad, fish and squash, steak and sweet potato fries, green bean casserole, pizza, taco(s)alad, pulled pork, soup, pot pie, potato bar, burgers lettuce wrapped with sweet potato fries, breakfast, par-boiled wings with various sauces and veggies dipped in ranch, pork tenderloin with peas or green beans, grilled shish-kabobs, Minestrone, ribs in the slow cooker, the list goes on and one. These are some of our favorites :)

Desserts: See recipes section, below


So, I don't want to *feel* like I'm eating healthy food, or like I have to learn to enjoy what I am eating in order to be healthy. That's lame. The dessert recipes I post here are the real deal. They feel like an honest-to-goodness splurge. The good news is: you can eat almost anything you eat now, with a few minor substitutions. The only thing I have not found a suitable replacement for is pasta. (Word of caution: treats are treats, and are extra calories that are not nutrient dense. Whether they are made of healthy things, or not, if you eat too many, your waistline will show it! Eat sparingly.) I should also probably mention that a good blender or food processor will be necessary for some of these recipes. Seriously. I have loved everything I have made, from her recipe blog. My favorites are: The pancakesThe chicken fingersthe almond butter cookies. This cookie recipe is actually my favorite of all time, including non-paleo cookies. Her recipes are often kid-friendly. Like these crepes with home made nutella. Is another of my general favorites. Try her tortillas. All of her Asian inspired recipes are legit. Also, try the banana bread ("Wait, does that recipe say it's 'sweetener free?!" Yes, and it's still legit. My picky kids even eat it!), macaroons (again, legit), and the instant dairy-free ice cream (our favorite is frozen bananas - just like eating an awesome frozen pina colada!).

My kids' favorite paleo meal: paleo lasagne.

My favorite smoothie: 1 can full fat coconut milk, 2 bananas, 1 large handful of almonds or sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup pure cocoa, 1 cup ice cubes. Blend until smooth.

Favorite paleo dessert: cookie dough brownies (note: coconut butter can be made by placing unsweetened coconut flakes in a blender and blending smooth. 2 cups coconut flakes=1 cup coconut butter. Buy the flakes in the bulk section at Winco for cheap!)

Salad dressings are easier to make than you might think. One of my faves not listed on that link is blue cheese dressing: equal parts mayo and plain greek yogurt, stir in your prefferred amount of blue cheese. BOOM! Done.

Mayonnaise in a blender: Easier than it sounds. In my vitamix, I add 3 eggs, 1 tsp liquid mustard, juice from 1/2 lemon, and about 1 Tbsp salt. Bring blender up to high. While blender is running, pour 1 1/2 cups oil of choice in through the top, gradually over about 30 seconds. Done. So easy, huh?! If your blender is not an immersion blender, you need to drizzle the oil in a little bit at a time, very slowly. It takes longer, but is do-able. I use olive oil, but many who don't love the taste of this use avocado oil (buy it at Costco!). Melted coconut oil will not work!

Coconut milk:

I have yet to try this, but just bought this recipe, which is supposed to be the perfect Paleo base-dough for rolls, pizza crust, crackers, tortillas, etc... The paleo blogs all give it rave reviews. Tapioca starch can be purchased in the bulk section at Winco for around $1.30/lb.


Incidentally, I already wrote an article for a friend's blog, on this subject. Happy reading! :) Find it by clicking here.

Other than what I have written in that article, you can find a recipe for nearly anything by simply googling the word "paleo" with the name of whatever you want to make.

Don't be suckered into people trying to sell you crap, calling it "paleo". Rule to live by: If it is pre-packaged at all, or has crap in it you don't recognize, or costs a boat load of money, it ain't paleo!

Let me know if you have any questions. I may add to this in the comments section, if I think of anything I forgot! :) Peace, Love, and Happy eating! -Tiffany