Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Is There an Elephant in the Paleo Room? Desserts, treats, and snacks

For those of you who subscribe to our companion FaceBook page, I posted a vent the other day in which I voiced my frustration over the amount of Paleo-ified desserts being shown on other Paleo/Primal/Clean-eating lifestyle blogs.  I thought I'd go a little more in-depth with my thought here, and I hope you will bare with me.

Now, I love pretty pictures as much as the next person. And as my belly will attest, I love sweets. I am of the mind, and most Paleo* Food bloggers probably are too, that if you are going to eat sweets, swap them out for clean-food sweets, ie: getting rid of white flour in favor of coconut or almond flour, etc. Use unsweetened chocolate and honey, or maple syrup, or dates pulverized into a paste.

I get it. I even choose to practice that philosophy of making cleaner, high GI treats for myself when I need a "sugar" fix. I'm not perfect at it, but I try. I make the effort.

But it's the sheer volume of posts and pictures of scrumptious looking treats that's killing me!

I can't be alone in this. If you subscribe to as many Paleo food blogger's FB pages as I do, your news feed is loaded with Paleo Donuts, Paleo Muffins, Paleo Sweets galore!

Why do they do this to me???? Is it because the sweet stuff draws people into their blog, generating ad revenue and spiking their pageviews?  Is this just sour grapes on my part?

I don't think so. I go looking for specific recipes a lot of the time, usually for meal idea, and I can look at a recipe index of most Clean Eating food blogs, and the dessert and snack links are usually longer than the actual meal ideas.

Am I the only one bitching about this?

*When I say "Paleo," I am referring to most clean-eating food blogs out there. Paleo is my personal catch-all phrase for Primal, Gluten-Free, Clean-Eating, yadda yadda.  Not everyone is the same flavor, and I'm not debating Paleo over Primal over Whatever the flavor of the month is.  I look at it all for ideas.

For someone cleaning up their food intake for health reasons, who is going to benefit from Almond flour cookies? Well, most likely anyone who doesn't have a sensitivity to almonds, but still. 

It's these circular arguments that go around and around in my brain. YES, it's better for you than a white flour cookies.  But what's the lesson here? I can eat the almond flour cookies and be satisfied? Or, can I eat almond flour cookies all the time, and lose weight, heal my gut, put my diabetes into remission, clear my skin, and feel badly for the poor saps out there who can't get off the processed goods?

Who out there is promoting their Veggie and Lean Protein laden meals over Paleo Cheesecake?

Or are you just providing what the masses are asking for?

I just peeked at my Recipe Index Page, to make sure I wasn't talking out of my ass here.  We have 4 dessert and snack recipes, 9 main dish recipes, 3 side dishes, 6 soups & stews recipes, and 4 breakfast recipes. Does this make this blog as bad as the rest? It's smaller, sure, but I think that the balance is good.

I checked another blog that is much larger than mine. 6 PAGES of dessert ideas. 3 PAGES of breakfast recipes, and an average of 6 pages each of main dish recipes, broken down by source: Beef, Chicken, Fish,

ok, maybe it's just me. Maybe I shouldn't be complaining about this.

I just want to see more meat and veggie-laden recipes getting the same attention that the cookies, popsicles, and muffins do.  Is that so difficult?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Joie: Can we talk Beets??

This is a post that Joie start way back in the youngling days of our blog.  For some reason, it never got published.  Well, I'm doing it now.  So there. :)

Can we talk about beets?

Yes, I know the sugar content is high... but what about all the NOMMY stuff sprouting from the top??

I had bought a small bunch (4 bulbs) of fresh beets.  Unfortunately, they stayed in my fridge too long before I could get to them.   I ended up cutting the tops off and trashing them.   The actual beets came out great.This is what I did:

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.  Peel.  Cut.  Put in pan.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Salt n pepper.  I had some balsamic raspberry dressing.... I drizzled that on as well.
Bake.   350 degrees.  For a long time.   Add water to keep from scorching and add steam to the oven.  Keep poking till soft.

TODAY, I cleaned up the 2 full bunches of new beets.   Bulbs are in the oven.  Greens have been triple rinsed.  (buggers are FULL of sand)
I cut the bright red stalks off at the base of the leaves.  Tore into smaller pieces, and they are now awaiting a nice saute for later.

So, how do you prepare your beets?

"Image courtesy of"

Friday, September 6, 2013

Recipe: Taco Meat

Hello again, my clean-eating, crunchy lifestyle lovin' food peeps!

In my last post, I talked about prepping to make clean eating easier during your work week. Did you try it? How did it go? I'm betting that it was a relief not having to scramble or even think when you are running around getting everyone ready for the day.


I promised this recipe, didn't I?  It's because I love really.

Way back in the day, when I was a baby cook, coming off the Lawry's packaged taco meat seasonings mix
 (remember that stuff???  Have you looked at the SODIUM content in those things?!?!?!), I learned from my mom that she used Pace Picante Sauce as the main flavoring in her taco meat, and IT. WAS. GENIUS. I did it that way for years.  Just brown up some ground beef, throw a jar of Medium Chunky Picante sauce, cook it down a little and call it done.

And one could still do that, if one was pressed for time, couldn't one? I should really stop talking in the "one" person, shouldn't I?

When I started my clean food journey, I was a little leery of this product. How many chemicals did it have? Surprisingly, the ingredient list was pretty clean. Now, I don't have a jar in my pantry, so I can't say for sure, but honestly, you could do worse.  If you are just starting out, have minimal time, or are just not into prepping EVERYTHING when you are cooking, I say try it. The Pace website doesn't have the ingredients fully listed, but this is what it does say:

Amount Per Serving (serving size) = 2 tbsp (30 mL)
Fat Calories:0
Total Fat:0g
Total Carb:3g
Dietary Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 2g
Protein: 0g

% Daily Values**
Vitamin A 2%
* The nutrition information contained in this list of Nutrition Facts is based on our current data. However, because the data may change from time to time, this information may not always be identical to the nutritional label information of products on shelf.
** % Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

So, adjust for the jar, add a pound of ground meat, be it beef, chicken, or turkey, and call it moderately clean eating.

However, I also have a full on recipe for those of you who like to know exactly what you are putting into your bodies, and it's pretty yummy.

Taco Meat
  • 1 lb ground beef, chicken, or turkey
  • 1 quart canned tomatoes (I use my own home-canned, but store bought will do fine)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1-3 bell peppers, all colors of the rainbow!
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large skillet cook the onion and bell peppers in a little drizzle of olive oil until mostly softened.
  2. Add the ground meat and your spices
  3. Cook the meat until brown, breaking up the larger chunks to get the flavor of the spices all over
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook down to desired consistency. 

Serve with with lettuce as wraps or over shredded lettuce or cabbage as a taco salad.

Holds for a week in the fridge.

Note: for those of you on the Auto-immune protocol, omitting the tomatoes and peppers will not adversely effect the taste of the taco meat. I'd also omit the chili powder, but the cumin? it would break my heart to leave that out.  Cumin powder is ground up seed from a plant in the parsley family, so I don't know if that will effect your protocol.  I'm thinking not, but I'm not an expert.

Go forth! Eat your Tacos! And then come back here and tell me about it!

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Salad Bar in Your Fridge

If you follow us on our Facebook Group Page, I make a big deal about "Prepping Sundays!" The reason for that is, with my hubby and I working during the week, if there aren’t enough “grab-n-go” types of items we will make bad food choices.  

We can’t be trusted.  At.  All.  Not. One. Bit. *shakes head*

We find that we have to have the food ready and available, so the fear of it going bad will compel us to eat it, rather than hitting a fast food drive-thru or ordering take-out on those days when we are just plain worn out after work. Nothing like a little guilt to keep us on the straight and narrow, right?

So I started taking at least one afternoon out of the weekend, and cooking, chopping, and “prepping.” I say afternoon, but depending on what's cooking for the week, I'm usually in the kitchen for most of the day. If that's intimidating to you, then I don't know what to tell you, because I certainly don't have the time to prep all my meals just before I eat them. But if you can do it that way, I totally give you big props.

I try to work up a flexible menu, but mostly I work with what I have in the house, be it freezer, fridge, or pantry, along with whatever I've been able to buy on sale or from the farmer's market. I say flexible menu because I'll prep for the makings of 2-3 dinner dishes, with leftovers for lunches, and work out something for breakfasts to use Monday through Friday.

For example, daHubster will make a gallon of yogurt for us, and I'll make sure we have berries or some other fruit to add to it for breakfasts. We do have on our diets, because we can tolerate it, and find that yogurt in the morning is a good no-thought breakfast for us.  I've also make various egg muffins or breakfast casseroles that will take us through the week.

Lunches can be trickier for us, because I don't always have leftovers from dinner the night before to carry through to the next day. I've developed a "Salad Bar" scenario that works for throwing together a quick lunch that's both healthy and satisfying.

For example. My favorite Go-To lunch is a salad topped with taco meat and jalapenos.  And I try to push a salad at dinner time a few times a week. So that would mean I prep a lot of salad makings:
  • Clean and slice up a couple of pounds of carrots
  • Clean and slice up at least a head of celery
  • Clean, dry, and shred 2-3 heads of Romaine lettuce and or spinach
  • Clean, dry, and slice up a bunch of green onions
I put them all in individual containers or baggies.  Each day, I grab a handful of each and throw into containers for daHubster and I to take to work. I also put a couple of spoonfuls of taco meat into another container to heat up at lunch time, and then throw the meat on the salad, top with pickled jalepeno slices, and use a splash of the pickle juice from the jar as "dressing".


Hey don't judge me on the pepper juice. I love that stuff.

Other options for adding to your potential salad bar (especially if you have a hard time adding food fats to your diet) are:
  • Hard-boiled eggs that have been sliced or crumbled
  • Olives
  • Sardines or anchovies
  • Olive oil
  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • really, any other veggie you like in salad
If taco salad isn't your thing, and you prefer to have a salad dressing, pre-making a vinaigrette is totally doable! If you haven't done it before, it's super easy, and will last awhile. You can totally  mix it up week to week, and change spices as the mood hits you. You just need:

Add caption
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar: your choice of red wine, apple cider, or even white in a pinch
  • a few drops of honey to reduce the acidity of the vinegar (optional)
  • Dijon mustard
  • spices of your choosing. I like garlic, onion, etc. but the sky is the limit!
  • salt
I've found a good ratio of 2/3's vinegar to 1/3 oil is a good mix. throw it all together in a glass container with a good sealing lid, and shake before you pour.  When you first mix it, I'd give it at least an hour for the flavors to meld before eating.

If there's interest, I'll post my taco meat recipe at a later date.

The key word here is prepping. Have it done, so you don't have to think about it.  Now, I have some chopping to do....