Cranberry Coconut Smoothie

Cranberry Coconut Smoothie| Paleo + Life

My husband has been out of town for several days, which has made me responsible for all of the children, all of the time. He is a pretty good wrangler of kiddos when he is here, and I am missing his help. More than once, I’ve delayed breakfast because I didn’t have time to make myself something and get the kids out of the door on time.

This is where smoothies come in. While they might not be the ideal breakfast, for me, they come pretty close. Some days, when I wake up, I just cannot even stand the idea of chewing. Does that happen to other people? It seems weird when I say it out loud. This was especially true when I was pregnant and dealing with morning sickness — some days, the idea of eating made me gag.

Instead of forcing something down, I’d make a smoothie. Something simple, quick and delicious is exactly what I needed, and made it easier to get through the rest of my day. Adding greens, which I’ve recently begun to do, makes them even better.

Because it’s nearly Thanksgiving, fresh cranberries are readily available. My husband and oldest boy both snack on them like candy, but the ladies of the house are not convinced that these tart little treasures are worth eating. Because cranberries are so good for you — helpful in fighting infections as well as post-meal blood sugar spikes — it is worthwhile to get some into your diet on days other than Thanksgiving. 

Cranberry Coconut Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk of your choice (I like coconut milk)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup protein powder (I prefer NOW Foods Eggwhite Protein, 1.2 Pound)
  • 1/2 banana, preferably frozen
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (optional: divide and reserve for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed spinach (optional: divide and reserve for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine milk, coconut oil and protein powder in a high-speed blender. Blend on high for 10-15 seconds, or until combined.
  2. Add banana, berries, spinach and honey; blend again for 15-30 seconds, or until mixture is completely blended and smooth. If desired, garnish with a sprinkle of unsweetened, shredded coconut, a few berries, and a spinach leaf.
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Taking Care

Normally I would have something zippy planned today, but my heart is heavy and my zip is rather zapped. A family member has been sick for a very long time, and is now in his last illness. We have known for some time that the end would come sooner than later, so it is not a surprise, but it is still a huge hurt. I dearly wish I could make it better.

Since I can’t actually improve things, instead, today I want to focus on taking care of yourself.
I know that, as a wife, mom and daughter, it is very easy for me to put myself last. Everyone else needs so much! But if you keep putting yourself last and not filling your own cup, eventually you have no more left to give. I keep having to learn this lesson over and over and over again,  especially when grieving. I like to think I am getting better at remembering this, but in the moment, a refresher always feels good.

Here’s my quick list of the best advice I found on taking care of yourself:

If you’ve found any other great self-care tips, please share in the comments. The more, the better, I say.

The Paleo View Book Tour

Oy vey – it is late in the day and we are all exhausted, but I have to share a quick post about tonight. I dragged my kids to the mall (tough life, I know) to see Sarah, The Paleo Mom, and Stacy of Paleo Parents on their “The Paleo View” book tour.

The Authors | Paleo + Life

Stacy Toth and Sarah Ballantyne of The Paleo View. Bonus author featured: that’s Mickey Trescott, author of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook*, standing by the wall!

Sadly, this is the best I could do for a photo between chasing the toddler and answering the grade schooler’s questions about why we were there doing “boring adult stuff.” I didn’t even get a chance to have my picture taken with the ladies, since I had to bribe placate the little girl with waaay more screen time than she normally gets so that I could listen. The teens were content to wander around the mall, in the time-honored tradition of teenagers staring at the other teenagers who were also wandering aimlessly around the mall.

On the other hand, I did manage to secure this bit of awesomeness:

Exo Bar| Paleo + Life

…which I literally caught in one hand while squatting and holding my nursing toddler with the other. Whatever athletic feats may  be accomplished in the future will pale in significance next to this one. The mic has been dropped.

But I digress. Back to the book signing.

Both Stacy and Sarah talked about their paleo journeys, and how they have both lost tremendous amounts of weight, and how — more importantly — they have also gained health along the way. I was particularly inspired by Sarah’s comment about finally figuring out that “thin” and “healthy” are two separate things. That really resonated with me; I used to conflate those two things as well.

There was a good long Q&A, during which both ladies really emphasized the importance of sleep and stress reduction in our quest for better health as well as weight loss. They also talked about going paleo with kids — a big part of why Stacy and her husband Matt chose to write Real Life Paleo* (you can see my review here), and how the 80/20 rule works for them.

Finally, I bought myself a copy of The Paleo Approach*. It was full price, which was a bit of an ouch — but I wanted to support the store hosting the event, and get my book signed. (I have read the book already; my review of it is here.). I even got to skip ahead in line, since I had the tot with me — so kind of them, considering we were out quite a bit past the little one’s bed time. I even got a hug from Sarah, which made my night complete.

In short, it was a lovely evening and I’m so glad I was able to attend. I highly recommend taking the time if they are ever in your neck of the woods. Both Stacy and Sarah were so warm and genuine, it was a real pleasure to see them in person.

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Book Report: Real-Life Paleo

Note to my readers: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. As always, all opinions are my own.

Matt McCarry and Stacy Toth are the dynamic duo behind Paleo Parents, and prolific authors of paleo cookbooks, including one on eating nose-to-tail (Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes that Respect the Whole Hog)* and one for kids (Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids)*. Their newest offering is Real Life Paleo: 175 Gluten-Free Recipes, Meal Ideas, and an Easy 3-Phased Approach to Lose Weight & Gain Health*, which suggests a slower, three-phased approach to taking on a paleo diet.

Quick Banana-Chocolate Souffle Cake from Real Life Paleo | Paleo + Life

Quick Banana-Chocolate Souffle Cake, p. 146

In brief: this book is a gold mine. While I am a “jump in with both feet” kind of person, not everyone can handle that approach, and it is so easy to get overwhelmed. Stacy and Matt’s very encouraging tone gently leads the reader by the hand, always explaining why certain foods are encouraged or discouraged, letting them get more comfortable with the idea of paleo eating while offering tasty, kid-friendly recipes. It is written in a very conversational, friendly tone: I had to wrestle it away from my oldest in order to read it for this review!

In Phase 1: Swap, you swap out the worst foods in the diet. This means going gluten-free, as well as taking out refined and processed foods, changing dairy products and meat (full fat, organic and grass-fed are king here), and eating more veggies. The book has a useful tear-out grocery shopping guide that you can use in the store to remind you of products to look for while shopping, and tips for going out to eat. (As the primary cook in our house, this may be my favorite part of the book.)

In Phase 2: Remove, you focus on removing other grains, dropping dairy, legumes, and processed oils. (In this phase, you ‘go paleo.’) Matt and Stacy share more shopping tips here, and share suggestions from their family’s transition, as well as lists of paleo kitchen staples and suggestions for family activities (some food related, some not).

If Phase 2 is Paleo 101, then Phase 3: Heal is the next course in the sequence. In this phase, organ meats, bone broth, fermented foods and more are added to the diet. These are considered paleo super foods, in that aren’t just good for you, but can actively help heal your digestive system. This phase also emphasizes lifestyle aspects of paleo, since they can be just as healing as the foods you’re eating.

Green Onion and Bacon Mac 'n' Cheese from Real Life Paleo | Paleo + Life

Green Onion and Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese, p. 238

There is much more to the book: suggested menus, meal plans, and spice blends, as well as close to 200 recipes. Speaking of those: all of the recipes are categorized by phase, and all are indexed to help those who need to avoid specific allergens. There are lots of recipes for staples like coconut milk, and many good ideas for less-sweet alternatives to both breakfasts and desserts. Thus far, my favorite new-to-me recipe is the Green Onion and Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese (one of many squash recipes) — the husband went for seconds and thirds, and the meat loving oldest boy was barely done with his dinner portion when he asked to have some for breakfast. That dish is definitely going in the permanent rotation, though it may be a while, as my must-try list is about a mile long. The book strikes a good balance between safe, simple flavors kids will like, and a few adventurous ones that stretch the palate a bit (both the homemade beef energy bars and the mussels are on my list).

The Real Life Paleo approach is a really sustainable way to get folks eating healthier, one meal at a time. I wish I had had this book when we started our paleo journey: I dare say my kids would have been far happier if we had gone paleo this way. Still, I’m glad to have it now. This book has earned a place on my bookshelf for everyday inspiration.

Healthiest Ice Cream Ever from Real-Life Paleo | Paleo + Life

Healthiest Ice Cream Ever, p. 384

Healthiest Ice Cream Ever

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 1-1/2 kosher or sea salt
  • 1 (13-1/3 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk or 1-3/4 cups homemade
  • 2 large pastured egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Slightly Sweet & Salty Snack Mix, for garnish*

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Remove the ends of the squash, slice it in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Then peel and cube the squash. Spread out the squash cubes in a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Let cool completely.
  3. Place 2 packed cups of the cooked squash and the remaining ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and puree until smooth.
  4. Put the mixture in an ice cream maker and churn, following the manufacturer's directions, until stiffened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Freeze in an airtight container for at least 30 minutes before serving. If frozen for more than four hours, let rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving. (Natural ice creams don't contain chemical softeners, so they set hard like ice and require time to soften.)
  6. Scoop into bowls and top with the Slightly Sweet & Salty Snack Mix.
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Note: if you can’t find butternut squash, any winter squash will do. Most grocery stores sell prepackaged peeled and cubed butternut squash to make this recipe even easier, but we’ve heard that pumpkin is a fan favorite.

Don’t have an ice cream maker? Never fear. After cooking and cooling the squash, place it in the freezer to harden for a few hours. Then, once partially frozen, add the squash and remaining ingredients to a high-speed blender and puree — you’ll have instant soft-serve.


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Paleo No-Grain Granola

Paleo Grain-Free Granola | Paleo + LifeWe were so lucky to have a rain-free day this weekend. A little rain doesn’t stop us, of course — we Oregonians are practically waterproof — but it was lovely to have a break from the drizzle.
Getting out and about in the autumn weather makes me wistful for the early days of our marriage. At the time, my husband and I lived in Minneapolis. As footloose newlyweds, we had rather more free time, and would occasionally pack some snacks and spend an afternoon just biking and exploring the Twin Cities.

While we aren’t quite so fancy free anymore, I still love snack food. At the beginning of my paleo journey, I had just gotten into making homemade granola, and I thought I had really hit my stride. While going paleo has had many more benefits than drawbacks, losing that crunchy, chewy treat was a disappointment.

Ironically, I know there are tons of paleo granola recipes out there — I own several cookbooks that include them — yet none of them felt quite right to me. I guess I just needed to figure this one out for myself. I was encouraged by a trip to the store for school snacks (the littlest girl takes lunch to school). While shopping, I found some grain free granola*. I tried one and thought it was really good, but I knew I wouldn’t want to spend that much every time. So into the kitchen I went.

Paleo Grain-Free Granola | Paleo + Life

This combination is delicious, and is definitely a money saver. Sprinkle some on yogurt, if you dig that kind of thing. Or have it with whatever milk you prefer. Homemade granola also has the advantage of making your house smell phenomenal. If you have kids, double the batch. Trust me on this.

Best of all is how adaptable granola is. Change the spice, or the types of nuts and seeds, or the fruit as you see fit. In this cool season, I’m loving this combination of cocoa with apples, raisins and allspice, but I’m envisioning cranberries, clove and dried orange, or golden raisins, cinnamon and candied ginger when it gets colder… whatever floats your boat. Or pedals your bike, as the case may be.

Paleo No-Grain Granola

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup dried apples, chopped (about 4 rings)
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, coconut, allspice, cocoa powder and coconut sugar in a large bowl. Stir thoroughly to combine. Continue stirring, pouring in the melted coconut oil as you do so.
  3. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper; pour the granola onto the sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove granola from the oven, stir thoroughly, and replace baking sheet in the oven. Bake for another 3-5 minutes (watch it closely; granola can get very toasted very quickly). Remove from oven.
  4. Pour the granola back into the bowl. While still warm, add the chopped dried apples and raisins; stir thoroughly. Allow granola to cool before serving.
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Top 10 Paleo Foods (Part II)

Viva le weekend! I’m glad it is here. I’ve got big plans to be very productive: a clothes purge with the hubs, playing with the sous vide and testing some cookbook recipes for reviews. And of course, the usual feeding/clothing/cleaning/general wrangling of the children that ensues every weekend. We will see how much gets done, but I am hopeful that we will make some progress.

In the meanwhile, I’m excited to share the second part of my top 10 paleo kitchen staples with y’all. (If you missed the first post, it is here.)

(Once again, note: these posts will have a lot of affiliate links; it is sometimes hard to find these things in your local stores. Affiliate links just mean I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Someday, these commissions may help to pay my blog hosting fees.)

6. Fish sauce

My husband, who studies Latin and ancient Rome for fun, loves to share interesting factoids about his obsession hobby. One of these delightful nuggets of information was that in ancient Rome, a condiment called garum was extremely popular. Red Boat Fish Sauce is essentially the modern version of garum, and adds a deep boost of flavor to your food. I use it in stir fries, of course, but also in non-Asian dishes that are better with a bit of depth, like eggs poached in tomato sauce or chili. It does not add a fishy taste — just oomph.

This brand is especially awesome because it has only two ingredients: fish and salt. Many other fish sauces contain sugar or gums.

7. Coconut aminos

This is the paleo answer to soy sauce, since soy is a no-go on a paleo diet. It is not quite as salty as soy sauce, so you might want to add sea salt to your dish as well, but coconut aminos are good for many of the same uses: Thai-inspired curries, stir fries, and other dishes that need a boost of umami.

8. Kombucha

The first time I tried kombucha (fermented tea), I could not figure out who in the world would drink it — I thought it tasted like a glass of sweetened vinegar.
Yet somehow, I went back for more, and now I am a huge fan. I can’t imagine not drinking it most days. That same tangy quality is why I appreciate it now. It’s great for those times when you want something to drink, but are not interested in water or regular tea. Both teenagers dig it, and even the little ones enjoy a sip or two as well. I like that they’re getting a little boost of probiotics.

I don’t cook with kombucha, though I have used it as the liquid in a smoothie.
If you are sensitive to alcohol, note that some brands of kombucha retain more alcohol than others. Try several to find what you like.

9. Red palm oil

Red palm oil is another great fat for cooking. It is carrot-colored and, indeed, it has a slight carroty flavor; it is full of beta-carotene. If you are making a dish where coconut oil would be too sweet, red palm is an excellent substitute (my little girl hates when I scramble her eggs in coconut oil, but gobbles them up when I use red palm oil). In addition to good taste, red palm oil is good for your heart, kidneys, and may even fight breast cancer.

Two notes: first, make sure you find ethically sourced oil; rainforests and animal habitats are endangered if it is not. The packaging should tell you where the oil comes from. Secondly, red palm oil can stain your dishes if not washed promptly. You can use this quality to good effect when cooking a paler ground meat like turkey or chicken, which can look unappetizing; red palm oil adds a bit of color.

10. Tapioca flour 

One of the things people miss about regular baking is the slightly stretchy chewiness of bread. Tapioca flour gives paleo breads some of that quality. It’s not an exact match, but it does help simulate that familiar texture. It’s also good in its own right: Brazilian cheese bread — pao de quejo – would not be the same without it (the kitchn has a good recipe here).

So that’s my top 10 list of particularly paleo foods that I have come to know and love since beginning to eat this way. What about you all? Drop a line in the comments if there’s anything you’d add to the list.

 

Grilled Eggplant

Grilled Eggplant | Paleo + LifeBecause we have a very busy family, I have a deep and abiding passion for speedy side dishes. Those days when we’re caught in traffic, or need to hustle off somewhere after dinner, demand fast dishes. They get bonus points if they look and taste much more impressive than the twenty minutes I usually have to put them together. Happily, grilled eggplant meets those requirements.

Now I happen to love eggplant, which probably makes me a weirdo. I’m okay with that, though, since it means that it is generally not too expensive and there is plenty of it in stock when I’m at the store. Cooking it like this makes it useful the next day, too: when I grill it this way, eggplant makes a wonderful wrap for sandwiches (thank you, Diana Rodgers,* for that inspiration).

Cooking notes: If you’ve made a flavored oil, use that here. It adds even more oomph to the flavor. Eggplant is quite neutral, so whatever flavoring you add works wonderfully. If you don’t have herbes de Provence, try mixing equal parts parsley, thyme, rosemary, and oregano.  It’s not an exact match, but it is close enough to give you a similar flavor.

Grilled Eggplant

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or other fat of choice, divided
  • 2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1 eggplant, sliced vertically, about 1/4" thick

Instructions

  1. Lay out the slices of eggplant on a cutting board; sprinkle with salt and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, pre-heat a griddle pan over high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil to pan.
  3. In a small bowl, combine oil, herbs, salt and pepper, stirring thoroughly.
  4. Using a paper towel, gently wipe the salt and moisture from the eggplant, then coat front and back of each slice with the oil mixture.
  5. Lay the eggplant slices on the griddle at a diagonal. Sear for 2 minutes. (If crosshatching is desired, you will need to pick up the slice and replace it on the griddle at the opposite angle after the first minute of cooking.) Repeat for the second side.
  6. Remove slices from heat; serve immediately.
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Paleo Check In: October 2014

Welcome! Check ins are a monthly series of posts meant to document my progress towards better health, a stronger body, and general awesome paleo rockstar status. Find the first one here.

Food

Oh gosh. Halloween. I chose to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, and therefore didn’t buy any candy, but my kids came home with bucketfuls. So, so much candy. I never want to see a peanut butter cup again. I’m really glad I was otherwise pretty good about sticking to a nutrient-dense diet this month.

This month’s recipes:
Herb Infused Oils
Stewed Apples and Cabbage, from the Kitchen Ecosystem
Lime & Rosemary Roasted Broccoli
Cauliflower Leek Soup
Figgy Pudding, American Style
Paleo Chocolate Avocado Pudding
Super Simple Paleo Salmon Salad (guest post for Haute Mealz)
Delicata Squash Za’atar
Lengua En Mojo Criollo (Beef Tongue in Creole Marinade)

Body

I have largely met my goals for exercise this month, so am feeling very positive about that. While I don’t think I’ll ever love it, I do realize the necessity to “move it or lose it.” It’s a bonus that our walks have been really beautiful: watching the trees change color has been wonderful. I have always thought that Oregon is the prettiest place in the world, and watching our foggy, misty, verdant hills burst into glorious yellows, oranges and reds, like so many firecrackers, confirms it.

One big problem of late has been carrying my (very heavy) little one. When we pick up his sister, we take public transit for the trip and carrying him in the Ergo for two hours has been murder on my back. I’m really grateful that he is learning to walk and therefore needs less time in the carrier.

I mentioned last time that I was thinking of getting back into making water kefir to boost my probiotic consumption (and save some cash; buying those drinks adds up). I have purchased the supplies, I have not activated them yet. That’ll be a project for this month.

Mind

I have been really, really stubborn about the sleep piece lately. It was as if I set myself this goal, and immediately began to sabotage it, regularly staying up much later than I had otherwise. What in the world is that about?

I’m guessing its about feeling stressed. As the baby becomes a toddler, his sleep becomes far more restless, and he is often cranky and clingier than ever. It feels like I have less time to myself, so I push my bedtime back in order to have some time of the day where I am not responsible to someone else. I am not sure how exactly to balance that, but I will work on it.

Goals

I’m going to repeat my goals from last month — the push ups have gotten a little easier, so I am going to try for some variety by adding whole body push ups in there. Not going to pick a number, just going to see how I do.

1. Stick with the walking as I can, and with the half push ups; aim for 8 reps twice a week.
2. Meditation: 10 minutes, twice a week.
3. Make sleep a priority — get to bed before midnight every night this month.

What are your goals for the next month? Do share in the comments.

Lengua en Mojo Criollo (Beef Tongue in Creole Marinade)

Beef Tongue in Creole Marinade (Lengua en Mojo Criollo) | Paleo + Life

Note to my readers: I received a Sous Vide Supreme water oven from the manufacturer in order to develop recipes. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Happy Halloween! This is my second favorite holiday (Thanksgiving, of course, having pride of place in my food-loving heart). Still, I love to see all the neighbor kiddos in their costumes — even if this year, I suspect they will need huge umbrellas! It is a wet and messy day — the sort of day that calls for comfort food.
What does comfort food look like for you?

Though I live in Portland these days, I grew up in Chicago.
The City of Big Shoulders, as my hometown is occasionally known, is simultaneously the most diverse and most separate place I have ever been. Some neighborhoods, like Hyde Park, are complex melting pots; in other areas of town, if it weren’t for the street signs, you might think yourself in Mexico or China.

Part of my childhood was spent in Logan Square. While it has become trendy in recent years, when we lived there, it was a more working-class area, largely populated with Hispanic families. It was there that I first tasted adobo, arroz con gandules, and my beloved mojo criollo. These flavors are emblazoned on my taste buds, and imprinted on my heart: when I want food that feels like home, these are the tastes I mean.

Before we go any further, let’s just put this out there: tongue is one of those foods that freaks people out. I cannot argue with that. I mean, look at this thing:

Lengua | Paleo + Life

It’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen…

Despite its alien appearance, stay with me. If you are a meat eater, and you buy the Paleo concept, using the whole animal instinctively makes sense. Why on earth would we waste any part of something that was so hard to obtain? Even though in modern times, we are able to purchase meat from the store rather than hunting it down, the old saying “waste not, want not” is still apt.
It helps that tongue is one of the easiest odd bits to use. It’s simple to cook, is inexpensive and tastes just like other muscle meat. Cooked properly, it becomes fall-apart tender and meltingly delicious. When we have it for supper, even my youngest demands a big portion.

I usually make this in a slow cooker, but I recently acquired a water bath oven courtesy of Sous Vide Supreme. Oh, oh, oh. Y’all. I’ve mentioned my love for gadgets before, but this — this is a whole new world. The long, slow, low cooking of the sous vide method is fantastic for tougher cuts of meat like tongue. It also deeply infuses flavors into food like nothing else I’ve tried. Amazing is not too strong a word.

For the sauce, I use a blend of lemon and orange juices to approximate the taste of the sour oranges that are traditional in this dish. It is a fairly close match. Citrusy coriander boosts the flavor further, while smoked pepper, garlic and onion deepen the taste. Cooked in the sous vide, the onions and garlic also hold their shape instead of melting into the sauce as they do in the slow cooker. Quickly crisping the meat in a pan after its long bath adds a delightful texture to this dish.
Serve this on top of a massive salad, with a side of my Cinnamon Pepper Plantains. Try not to lick the plate…but I won’t tell if you do. What’s more comforting than that?

Lengua en Mojo Criollo (Beef Tongue in Creole Marinade)

Ingredients

  • 1 beef tongue, about 3-1/2 lbs.
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into rings
  • 12 cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked peppercorns, ground
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 orange, sliced into wedges

Instructions

  1. Set the temperature on sous vide to 140 degrees.
  2. Wash and rinse the tongue, patting dry with a paper towel. Place into a large sous vide bag.
  3. Add lemon and orange juices, onions, garlic, coriander, peppercorns and salt. Vacuum seal the bag, making sure to use the moist setting.
  4. Place the bag into the oven; cook at 140 degrees for 24 to 48 hours.
  5. Remove the package from the sous vide. (At this point, the dish may be chilled or cooled for several days until ready to serve.)
  6. When ready to serve, pre-heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Open the sealed bag; set the tongue aside. Pour the onion-garlic sauce into a small bowl. Set aside.
  7. Meanwhile, remove the outer covering off of the tongue, then slice the tongue horizontally just past its widest point. Slice each section of the tongue vertically into pieces roughly 1/4" thick.
  8. Sear the meat in the cast iron skillet until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  9. When ready to serve, top slices of meat with the onion garlic sauce; add a wedge of orange to each plate.
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Top 10 Paleo Foods (Part I)

Whenever I am discussing paleo with someone, I always emphasize that it’s not that different. Sure, there are some things that are left out of a paleo diet, but by and large, everyone wants to feed themselves and their families the healthiest food they can afford, right? Paleo people are no different.

However, there are a few things you’ll find in the paleo kitchen that are a little unusual in most American kitchens. So along with my lists of essential kitchen tools (part one’s here and part two is here), I wanted to talk a little bit about my favorite paleo foods, and why and how I use them.
(Note: These posts will have a lot of affiliate links; it is sometimes hard to find these things in your local stores. Affiliate links just mean I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Someday, these commissions may help to pay my blog hosting fees.)

1. Coconut oil

Coconut oil is so good for you: several studies show that it helps reduce abdominal fat in both men and women, it can improve your brain function, and can help heal wounds, among other things. However, all of that feels like a bonus to me — I just love the taste (and have been known to eat the occasional spoonful; I may be weird, though). I use it on my skin, on my hair — it is great for thick, dry hair —  and in my cooking.
In the kitchen, I use it for just about everything: in smoothies, mug muffins, almond flour crackers, paleo fudge, sauteing veggies — it’s my first choice cooking fat.

Depending on whether the oil you get is refined, it will have more or less coconut flavor. Our family generally enjoys the taste, especially when we are eating something Asian-inspired or a dessert, but paleo newbies may prefer the refined oil.

2. Almond flour

Almond flour is awesome. It adds an (obviously) nutty flavor that is a good stand-in for the flavor of wheat. In many ways, it can sub for wheat flour: I have used it as a substitute for bread crumbs, I’ve made crackers and biscuits with it, I’ve thickened the occasional pot of soup with it, too.  I’ve also used it to make a substitute for ricotta that I liked far more than the real thing. I try not to over-do it with the baked goods, because it is pretty dense, calorie-wise, but when I do try paleo baking, this is the first thing I reach for.

3. Gelatin


Gelatin is another one of the paleo foodstuffs that is really good for you: it is believed to help your gut heal, your nails, hair and skin grow, and improve your sleep. It also makes delicious desserts like panna cotta or gelatin gummy snacks. If you aren’t always able to make bone broth, gelatin is a great source of the same amino acids that make bone broth so healthy for you.

I use two types of Great Lakes Gelatin in my kitchen: the one in the green can is great for adding to smoothies, soups or teas. It is tasteless and dissolves really well. The gelatin in the red can is for thickening/gelling; be careful not to confuse the two.

4. Canned coconut milk

Canned coconut milk is a great substitute for the creamy mouthfeel and subtle sweetness of dairy. It is so thick and rich, it is more like whipping cream than milk. In fact, you can make a great substitute for whipped cream with it. I also use coconut milk in soups, smoothies, baked goods, custards (I usually dilute it for these uses), and of course when making Thai or Indian-style curries. Now that winter is coming, I am looking forward to attempting a paleo “White Russian” with coconut milk instead of cream.
Look for a brand that is just coconut extract and water — many brands have guar gum added to them — especially if you have a sensitive stomach.

5. Ghee

If you’ve ever made clarified butter, ghee should be pretty familiar. It is similar in preparation: butter is cooked to separate out the milk solids, and then it is cooked a bit more, which gives it a delicious, toasted flavor. Some traditional Indian cooks add spices to the ghee as well, which just adds a depth of flavor that is extraordinary.

Despite the fact that I’m lactose intolerant, I have not had any problem with ghee: getting rid of those milk solids eliminates the lactose. Your mileage may vary of course, but it is worth a try.
I use ghee anywhere I would use butter: I use it to grease muffin tins, to coat roasted veggies, on pancakes, on steaks … the possibilities are infinite. Because it is rather more expensive than butter, l usually save it to use where the flavor will really shine.

So there you have it. While Part II of this list is coming soon, drop a line in the comments if you have additions. I’d love to know what your favorite paleo foods are!

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