Back from the land of travelling!

What a long, strange trip it’s been.  My husband is in the military, and they moved us across the country a year ago.  Then this spring they decided that he couldn’t retire next year without a trip overseas, so he received deployment orders for this fall.  Our tenant moved out of our house, and rather than finding tenants that would take a 10 month lease, we decided to move ourselves back into our house here in the midwest.  We have never really moved ourselves across the street, much less across country with three kids.  We used one of those Pods, which worked out very well.  The work to pack and load it was hard, but not having to drive our belongings across country in a rickety truck was worth it.

So here we are, back in our house with my sweet little non-gourmet kitchen.  I missed it so as the larger kitchen was more difficult to cook and clean in, believe it or not!  I am so much more efficient in a smaller kitchen.  I am glad we rented the larger home, instead of dreaming, saving, and buying one – to find out that it isn’t for us.  I am happy to have the Dorothy Lane market around the corner from the house, and there is a new kid in town – Earth Fare, which is kind of a cross between a health food store and a supermarket.  I haven’t had a chance to explore the farmer’s markets yet as we have been gearing up for the start of school and activities, but I hope to very soon!

I have had some time to do some reading this summer.  I purchased It Starts With Food – it is a great book for explaining why and how the Whole 30 concept of living makes you healthier, and provides a framework for making food choices even when you are not participating in a Whole 30 challenge.  My night reading is An Everlasting Meal.  It’s not a paleo book, and it isn’t really a cookbook, but more of a guideline for managing groceries/cooking/leftovers in the context of reducing waste – not just wasted food but wasted effort as well.  I am enjoying it immensely!

We did a pretty good job of keeping our food choices mostly healthy during the last month.  In the absence of abundant choice, we would default to a Subway restaurant for a salad topped with lunch meat or tuna salad.  We were able to spend two nights with my parents in New Mexico, and they fed us very well with some delicious steaks and hamburgers purchased from Whole Foods there.  My husband also downloaded an app for his iPhone which listed restaurants at various exits, so we stopped at Moe’s one day for lunch and had a lovely taco salad (and chips!  They are still my kryptonite!).  I was able to get my home kitchen up and running our first morning here for brunch – it’s that quick and easy when you only move half your stuff!  I also cooked a few dinners – pulled pork and primal moussaka – for the family to enjoy during our week together.

So now I have to settle into our new normal.  We no longer receive the beautiful crate of organic produce every week for me to plan our meals around.  I have heard of local CSAs around here but my guess is that the growing season will slow down so I don’t know if it is worth it to sign up at this point.  This means that I have to actually plan and shop for our meals, which will be a shift from my focus for the last year.  I hope to journal these experiences on this blog, as well as try new recipes!  Until then, thank you for sticking around.

Break…

Please excuse the silence for a short while.  We will be moving our family across country over the next couple of weeks, and my kitchen (and brain) are mostly found in boxes.

I look forward to resuming this adventure when we are back in our home.

Thanks!

 

Not a recipe, but an idea

I love hamburgers in the summertime.  I usually buy a loose grind, and gently shape it into a patty and lovingly grill it to medium; it’s thick and juicy and very tender.  Not this summer, though, since I don’t have access to the beautiful meat counter at the Dorothy Lane Market.  So I am making do with pre-made grassfed beef patties from Trader Joe’s for the time being.  As for how to eat the burgers, I’m a fork-and-knife kind of girl – sure I’ll use a lettuce wrap for an In-N-Out burger on the go, but I feel like a slob while eating it; I’ll also use a leaf of romaine for a BLT, but I only eat those for lunch and nobody is watching me be a slob there either.  But burgers are dinner food, and the whole family is sitting around the table, so I don’t want to be uncouth in my consumption of one of summer’s best foods.  The question is: how best to make use of the condiments when eating a burger like a steak?  I think I have the answer!  Tonight I chopped a red onion, a tomato, and 2 Bubbie’s pickles into a 1/4 inch dice and mixed it together in a small bowl.  Tonight’s burgers were the green chile and cheese variety, so once the burger was on my plate, I used the liquid-like condiments first – ketchup, mustard, mayo – then liberally sprinkled the relish on top of the burger.  It was awesome!

Another thing I have been liking lately – Bubbie’s anything!  I liked their sauerkraut and pickles – there is no vinegar added and yet the result is as good as any other product I have tried, without all the additives and preservatives!  They are usually found in the refrigerated deli section of your supermarket.  Now to thaw those Applegate hot dogs…we need to clean out the freezer before we move in a couple of weeks!

Homemade Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

My husband keeps buying “No Sugar Added” and “Low-Carb” ice cream full of fake sugar and “natural flavors” as a treat, while my ice cream maker gathers dust on a shelf.  I decided to make some homemade ice cream, without all the weird chemicals and additives, as a father’s day treat.  We got some (Rainier, I think) cherries in our produce basket last week and I saved a few to use, along with some 70% chocolate chunks, to make a knock-off of my favorite ice cream in my college days, Cherry Garcia.  Since this isn’t baking, the amounts of each ingredient I used are approximate.  If you want to make this recipe more paleo-friendly, substitute coconut milk for the heavy cream.

4 egg yolks

1/4 c organic cane sugar

3 c organic heavy cream

1 t vanilla extract

pinch salt

1/2 c chopped pitted cherries

1/2 c chocolate chips/chunks

  • Whip egg yolks and sugar until sugar dissolves.  Continue to whisk in a bowl over a pot of boiling water (make sure the bowl is larger than the pot, so it sits about halfway down into the pot) until the egg yolks thicken.
  • Add cream, salt, and vanilla.  Mix until blended.  Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
  • Prepare ice cream maker for use.  Add heavy cream mixture and churn until it becomes a soft-serve consistency.  Add cherries and chocolate and continue to mix until well blended.
  • Place in a container and freeze.  Enjoy!

 

Cavebabies Eat!

As many people convert their dietary habits to a more natural, ancestral model, there is a quandary as to whether or not they should also change the habits while pregnant or with their babies and small children.  When I was newly pregnant in the summer of 2010, I scoured the internet for information and real experiences of people who had eaten primal/paleo while pregnant and nursing and found a few.  However, my body craved rice and potatoes, so I went with the cravings on occasion (a couple of times a week). 

Now there are a lot more online journals and resources for those looking to feed their families in a healthy, nutritious way.  The other day I came across a blog, The Paleo Mom, and she had a great post on how to feed a baby paleo-style.  While it is not exactly how we have fed our own Cavebaby – we tend not do do purees unless that is what the rest of us are eating — like pureed turnips with steak or whatnot — but I have found that if the food has some texture he seems to enjoy it more. 

The Paleo Parents are also raising three active boys paleo-style.  They have a gluten-free kids’ cookbook coming out in March, so your kids can partake in the occasional sweet treat! 

For pregnancy, Chris Kresser has developed The Healthy Baby Code.  It came along about 9 months too late for me, but if you are considering pregnancy and paleo, it could be a good resource.

As for our little paleo-fed baby, here is the typical lineup of how we feed him:

Breakfast: 1 scrambled egg, 1 piece fruit, 1/4 avocado, 2oz coconut milk

Snack: nursing session

Lunch: Pureed food pouch, fruit (I like Ella’s brand)

Snack: nursing session

Dinner: Leftover meat, starch (squash, potato, etc.), vegetable or fruit

Bedtime snack: Homemade applesauce with yogurt or coconut milk, final nursing session

This has been our routine since October, and it seems to be working well.  He has tried a wide variety of food and so far has refused nothing, including the slightly spicy Chocolate Chili I made this week.  I don’t know if he will always be this easy to please in the food department, but I appreciate that we are off to a good start!

 

What the heck do I do with this?

It’s a question I ask myself every week.  We get a huge basket of beautiful, organic produce, half of which I am not sure what to do with.  So I start looking around the internet to find interesting recipes that I might have the ingredients already in my pantry to execute. 

My husband and I morphed from Atkins fans to primal afficionados after reading Mark Sisson’s book Primal Blueprint in April 2010.  Since then we have developed great health and eating habits, and are happy to share our success with friends and family seeking the same thing for themselves.  I fear my frequent postings on facebook are starting to annoy folks, so I decided to set up a blog where people can come and find out what we have been up to, rather than have it blaring across their newsfeed (if they haven’t found the “hide” button!).