Sunday, February 26, 2012

Flank Steak Marinade

This is my favorite marinade. My Mom is famous for this marinade, it is often requested for that special dinner. So I decided to Paleo-fy the recipe.
Asian Marinade for Flank Steak
Flank steak (average size, thawed)
12oz Tamari sauce (like soy sauce, but gluten-free, seriously it tastes the same as soy sauce to me)
1/4 c Honey
2 Tbsp Sesame seeds
1 tsp Sesame Oil

(In the above picture I did not warm the tamari and incorporate the honey so I am recommending that for the recipe below.)
Gently warm the tamari and honey on the stove top in a pan. Just enough to melt the honey. Do not boil or over heat. Cool. Score the steak in a crisscross fashion to help the marinade penetrate and out in a 13x9 baking pan.  Pour the mixture over the steak. Sprinkle Sesame seeds and sesame oil on steak. Let marinate for 2-4 hours. Then cook on the grill for best results. On medium heat for about 7-10 minutes on each side depending on thickness. The ends are generally well done and the center cuts are medium rare. Don't over cook it. Important: Cut the meat across the grain so that the pieces are about an 1/4 inch think and 6-8inches long. Everyone loved it. This is a wonderful thing to serve guests.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Homemade Chicken Broth

Homemade anything always feels more nourishing to me. I love the smell of a homemade broth. It's super simple. Most of us work during the week. Using a crock pot for this nutritious recipe is the best way to go. That way you can easily cook your broth for 24- 48 hours or more. A nice long slow cook yields the best broth. 
You will need :
1 whole Organic Chicken
Crock pot
One and half gallon Water
additional options: it's great to use scraps of onions, celery, carrots. You can freeze these as they are used for other recipes then pull out when you are ready to make broth ( I got this tip from my Naturopath, Elinor Jordan ND.) I often just use just the chicken bones and scraps. It makes a great broth all on it's own.

Cook the Chicken: Be sure to take out the giblets and such from the body cavity of the raw chicken. Rinse the chicken in the sink. Place in the pan sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the Organic Chicken in your oven at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hrs or until the meat falls from the bone. Set aside to cool and remove meat or serve to your family reserving the bones for broth. 

Make the Broth: Put bones of one whole chicken into the crock pot and cover with 1 1/2 gallon of water. Be sure to cover the whole carcass chicken with water. I like to set the crock pot on high until I go to bed then down to low for over night. In the morning I check it again to see if too much water has evaporated. Generally I do not add more water. About a half gallon of water will evaporate over the 24+ hour cook.  This is one reason I love using the crock pot. It's safe to leave it for overnight or for the day while I am at work. The crock pot can be working on extracting all that goodness while I am going about my day.

Finished Broth: Once you have cooked your broth to your liking then turn off crock pot. I usually turn it off when I get home from work and before I have started cooking dinner. Then it can cool for an hour or two and not scold me while I am handling it. Do not let the broth cool too much. The fat should still be liquid.Use a skimmer (see picture) or cheese cloth to filter out all the debris (bones, skin etc.) I find it easiest to filter into a separate bowl. My skimmer sits on the edge of the bowl so I have two hands to work with. It may seems over the top to dirty another dish but you just spend two days making this super healthy food for your family, don't chance loosing any of it by spilling it trying to decant it into a jar. the decant with a measuring cup or other tool with about for pouring

Storing your broth:
Your broth will last for about 5-6 days in the fridge. Or you can freeze it for future use. I like to reuse an Organic Apple juice glass jar to store my broth for a few days. Notice that the broth is opaque and not clear, also there is a layer of fat at the top. That fat is healing to the intestines, joints, and other organs. Anyone who has read Rob Wolff's The Paleo Solution knows how important fats are to our health. This is a healthy source of fat and other nutrients that are removed from a store bought broth.  Enjoy! You can add chicken from original chicken to the broth to make a healthy healing chicken soup. Check back for my Chicken Soup Recipe!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Start Planning your Garden

Int the Pacific Northwest It's time to begin planning your garden. Growing your own food is rewarding and relatively easy. That is if you like playing outside in the dirt!
I filled my garden bed with brown leaves that will compost down and augment the soil. I will order seeds from an organic seed company. We will start seeds inside in the next couple of weeks. Right now in Olympia we can plant many varieties of peas including Sweet Pea (flowers.)
We will plant:
Romaine Lettuce
Carrots, purple and orange
Peas, snap

We are already growing:

Send me pictures of your garden!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Falling off the Wagon.

On Sunday we had a fabulous Baby Shower for a friend at my house. Everyone ooo'd and aww'd over the new pregnant Mama. Fun was had by all. I was in charge of food and there was not a Paleo menu . But I thought, I can make it work for me, too. So I served Salmon, Fried Rice, Salad, Raw Veggies with Hummus, and crackers with Spinach dip.

So I did not set myself up for success. I missed lunch, doing last minute house cleaning and snacked on veggies as I prepared food. I did not eat any protein after my sausage breakfast. I kept saying in my head- "later I will eat something protienish." And then it happened- Damn those Ritz crackers! I tasted one and thought "oh they are as good as I remember!" Now for those of you who don't know I have been gluten-free(ish) for about three years. I have had months and months without gluten and then fall of the wagon for one reason or another. In the past it was always a horrible struggle to return to the gluten-free ways. I would have days of suffering and struggling. Talking myself out of "just one (gluten-filled) bite." Oh and the Fried Rice was gluten-free but not grain-free, obviously. In the interest of full disclosure- I had some of that too. Urgh.

BUT! With Paleo it has been so much easier to recover! I have noticed that I have been able (very happily and with great anticipation) to return to eating Paleo. It feels so right in my body. I also notice have less of  a struggle with cravings. I wonder if it's because my body is not being sent signals from other grains like rice, quinoa and such. I am clearer in my system I can feel that for sure.  Although last night I struggled in my body. My symptoms are sore muscles and stiff joints. My body get really systemically inflamed when I eat gluten. I upped my fish oils and took some Cucurmin (Turmeric) to help my body release the inflammation.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Move Review: Queen of the Sun

We should all educate ourselves on our food sources. This is a great movie because eating honey is a part of the Paleo plan. Honey is the only source of sweetener recommended when you are following a Paleo plan. It's a part of the plan that I love. It helps cut out so many processed foods because most of them are made with high fructose corn syrup and cane sugar.
Queen of the Sun is a great movie! And it really makes you think about where your honey comes from. We usually buy our honey from a local bee keeper and I am so glad we do! I didn't know that it is common practice to use insecticides in a hive. This is typical of commercial honey producers.  I thought it was kind of crazy to say that your honey was organic because you can't control where the bees go. But you can practice organic bee keeping by not adding pesticides to the hive!And of course like most organic proactices it actually makes the bees stronger ans healthier to live in an organic hive.
Did you know that in commercial honey production they feed bees high fructose corn syrup. That is just crazy! So commercial honey has high fructose corn syrup and pesticides. Those poor bees. They also ship hundreds of thousands of bees to California every year for the Almond crops. Dang. I love almonds too. I might have to do a little research on almonds as well!

Watch the movie and let me know what you think!

Monday, February 6, 2012

My favorite Nut & Fruit Mix

Almonds, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, Pistachios, Cashews,  and Dark Chocolate covered Almonds. This snack saves me! I have some in my car, at the office and at home. I have a large nut container from Costco that used to contain cashews and I fill it with whatever nut mix I am currently loving. I change it up with dried apples, apricots and plums. Almonds are the most affordable nut for me so I play heavy on the almonds. I buy them in the three pound bags from Costco. I got the dark chocolate covered Almonds from Trader Joe's. Let me know your favorite nut mix recipe!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Really living Paleo lifestyle- we had a power outage for 6 days!

We had a major snow storm in the northwest at the end of January. We got almost 24 inches of snow, which I know many folks would scoff at but around here that's a lot!  We lost power which included water for us. We have a well pump that is powered by electricity. Our cars were buried in snow and four trees fell down, on our long driveway. Thankfully, having two wood stoves is an amazing blessing. And I got to experience the amazing gift from a whole new perspective. Cooking on the wood stove, hauling water for the toilet and living with no electricity for almost a week was quite a challenging adventure. We actually had some amazing soups if I don't say so myself. Sirloin Steak Stew and good old fashion Chicken Soup. I even made a gluten free blueberry cobbler but it didn't turn out as good as I had hoped.

I did really well eating Paleo the first three days. Then on the fourth day it all kind of went to hell in a hand basket. We had been trapped by the snow and couldn't move our cars and it was seriously getting to me. So we dug out one of our cars, cut down the trees blocking the driveway and went to my Mom's house. There we enjoyed all of the spoils of modern life. Things at Gramma's house that are not at our house: cable TV, Wii, a Garden Tub ( with hot water, ahhh) and much more! So my son played Wii, we zoned out to trash TV and slept through the night without having to wake up to feed a fire to stay warm! Ahhh, it was heaven. I felt as though I got to reset myself.

Then we went back to our house for a day or two without electricity but the promise of it coming soon. And eventually it did get restored. Thank goodness. And I got back on track with Paleo. What did I eat when I was off Paleo? A peice of toast, and a tortilla. Not too bad I guess. Oh and a piece of crunchy white crusty french bread with the beef sirloin stew- that was worth it. I miss bread. But I love living Paleo.

It's not been hard to get back on track. For some reason this plan works so well for me. I met with my Naturopath last week and she made a few adjustments to my diet- more fat!! Oh poor me- more bacon, butter, avocado and whatever other saturated fat I can include. Yeah- I love this plan. It feels so nourishing.
I will try to add the recipe for the Sirloin Stew and Chicken Rice soup if anyone wants them. Just leave a message in the comments if you do.