Monday, 26 August 2013

paleo meals

The paleo/primal/caveman diet. Basically eating whole unprocessed foods like our great great great ancestors might have before the agricultural revolution. This means getting enthusiastic about meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit. On the flipside it is a big hell no to all processed/junk foods, ideally all dairy, sugar,all beans/legumes, and the big one (for me at least) NO GRAINS. Now I am a little skeptical about following strict "label" diets, but after years of tweaking my diet to manage the crohn, a  generous small bowel resection that posed new digestive challenges and nagging joint inflammation- this "paleo" diet just happens to be exactly where I've wound up.  These foods make me feel strongest, keep my bowel movements healthy and slow (shortgut problems!) and maybe Im just imagining it but Im feeling beastly strong.... 
So in short, paleo is PLANTS (so many! lots of greens! lots of berries!) PROTEIN (animal)  FAT (nuts, olives/oil, coconut oil, avocado, nut butters, say it with me NUT BUTTER)
So , some meaty plant heavy meals as of late:

bacon salad
Big deluxe dinner salads! This was backyard lettuces, sunflower sprouts, rainbow cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, and happy pig bacon!

you cant tell but theres a massive pile of broccoli in there!
White fish filet cooked in gluten free tamari and coconut oil with stir fried veggies- broccoli, kale, onion, snow peas, green onion, ginger. Finished with  a squirt of lemon. So so yummy and satisfying and feels much better to load up on broccoli than rice!

my fave, butter lettuce wraps
Salmon salad in butterleaf wraps!  I mixed all kinds of goodies into the salmon- pickles, radish, tomatoe, sprouts, mustard... 

So theres alot of info out there about paleo as a great weight loss/ muscle building athlete diet which is cool but not the draw for me. There is also some pretty cool research and stories out there about the paleo diet slowing/stopping/reversing autoimmune diseases (oh hey thats me!). I'll keep fighting the fight so long as its delicious ;)

Friday, 16 August 2013

summer dinners

I've been feeling pretty *on* when it comes to nailing down exactly what Im craving/what my body wants since Ive given up the grains. I think all the rice flour products were messing with my hormones or something, I feel way less emotional about food and more grounded. Aaaahhh what a nice feeling. 
Tonights dinner was the bomb! Yesterday I randomly realized I had all the stuff to make this mint-pea soup from Jamie Olivers food revolution so I took my maiden voyage into pea soup! It started the way all good soups start, sauteeing some chopped carrots, onions, celery and garlic in a little olive oil and salt. Once softened I added my last bit of homemade chicken stock and brought it up to a boil (then went to my garden to pick a bunch of mint). Added a generous cup or two of frozen peas which took only moments to soften up then blend it all up with the mint. Once blended I realized I had a golden opportunity to blend some deep greens (one of my favorite things to do, naturally) so I went back to the garden for some kale and blended it in for a good dose of greens in my dinner. Yesterday I ate it with a dollop of goat cheese and some fried garden zucchini but tonights leftover re-appropration was so. damn. good. Jamie suggests eating it with fries to dip in the soup so I went ahead and prepared some home-fries (new potatoes quarterted, steamed then pan fried with garden herbs). I also brought home the bacon, literally. I have a great hookup for the best bacon, from happy well cared for pigs owned by friends of mine, so I indulge here and there. Chopped and fried a couple pieces of bacon to sprinkle in my soup. mmm mmmm. I highly recommend trying this! 

A simple fritatta with a base of sweet potatoes, loaded with arugula and topped with a bit of fresh tomato, served with a huge blob of homemade dairy free walnut pesto. Yum yum.

This one, also good. Loosely inspired by the nicoise salad. Baby lettuce (from my garden!), steamed new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, olives,  roasted chicken thigh, pesto and cashew cheese. Daaaaaang. 

Really loving being able to eat out of my backyard! My roomates and I all did a little project back there so we have a pretty fun eclectic little ramshackle garden space- loaded with zucchini, lettuces, kale, lots of herbs, arugula, strawberries (ok so Ive only gotten a handful of berries but its always a fun surprise to find a little red jewel and eat it right off the plant!), carrots, beets, beans and- a sunflower!!! Im really proud of my sunflower :) And lilies. Im really excited to harvest my carrots and beets and apples from our tree so I can make juice entirely from the yard. 

Coming soon, chicken stock via skype ;)

Sunday, 11 August 2013

more stops on the grain-free train

Ok so there might be something to this grain free/paleo thing. Ive been intentionally choosing to avoid them for a few weeks now and its hard to put my finger on but I feel different. I feel solid and calm, and  its even taken the edge off my sorry joints (excited to see if that gets better the longer I stick to it). I finished my last little bundle of rice soba noodles after days and days of sticking to it and felt a notable unfriendly change in my digestive process. Ha, suspicions confirmed! 
my version of the cauliflower pizza
So my most recent experiment in creating grain free versions of my favorite meals- cauliflower pizza! This shit is all over the internet and there are a few different methods and tweaks to all of them, but I distilled it to the basic elements and got one fine veggie pie! 

I dont measure so these are my eyeball guesstimates, and also, I cook for one single little bunny so I err on the small side of everything

-1 small head cauliflower- proccessed into small rice-sized bits used a grater or food processor- then cooked at med heat in fry pan with a bit of olive oil till soft and slightly translucent (3-5 min, dont let it get brown/crispy) 
-very important step- you need to get some of the liquid out of the cauliflower- you can press it in a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth  or nut milk bag or paper towel (I used a strainer) you may not feel like you are getting much liquid out but it makes a big difference in the final dough!

-in a mixing bowl beat together 1 egg and about 1/2 cup mozza (I used the goat variety)  (for a larger pie use 2-3 eggs and 1 cup or more mozza) add any fresh or dried herbs you like and a teaspoon or so of olive oil

- add cauliflower to egg/cheese/herb mix and combine to form your dough

-spread dough out evenly on parchment and bake @ 350 for 15-20 mins till slightly brown/bubbly, add toppings and bake another 5-15 min (I just used pesto, a few tender backyard greens and olives so I just put it in for another 5 min as I just wanted it a little wilty) - have fun with toppings- always a good idea to sautee things like peppers, mushrooms, onions ect before adding to pizza!

And another favorite, broccoli noodle stir fry! made with all zuchinni noodles! I add my noodles to the stir fry to cook as my guts dont deal well with raw zuchinni. This lovely little summer sunday dinner was shitake mushroom, broccoli, red onion and yellow zuchinni noodles in a garlic-ginger-miso-almond sauce.