Monthly Archives: October 2014

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)


  • 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


  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.

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!

Delicata Squash Za’atar

Delicata Squash Za'ataar | Paleo + LifeOne of the things I did not expect from going paleo is the change in my taste buds. While I wasn’t eating a ton of packaged foods previously, switching to a largely paleo diet has made my palate more sensitive to quieter flavors, like those of delicata squash.

As the name implies, delicatas really are a more delicate sort of winter squash. The rind is not as firm and they cook much faster than harder varieties. Their flavor reminds me of a sweet potato, and I think they would be similarly delicious in a pie or quick bread.

This easy side dish is a good companion for a more flavorful dish like roast chicken or pork; I am also happy to just eat it with crackers.
If you are using it as a side, you can even roast the squash in the oven along with the chicken, though delicatas will cook much more quickly and need to be taken out of the oven first. However you do it, I highly recommend roasting the squash whole. Winter squashes are often extremely hard and slippery, and I like having all my fingers, so roasting them intact makes most sense to me. Then it’s just peel, take out the seeds and stringy bits, season, smash and eat.

Za’atar* is a spice blend common in Middle Eastern food. There are different blends, of course, but the heart of it is sesame, thyme and sumac (which gives it an earthy, citrusy tang). If you’ve ever gone to a Lebanese restaurant, there is likely to be za’atar on the table.
Dried parsley adds a bit more of that grassy, herbal flavor. It’s subtle, but worth adding. Finish it off with a swish of olive oil, and enjoy.

Delicata Squash Za’atar


  • 2 delicata squash
  • 1 tablespoon za'atar
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Olive oil for serving


  1. Roast squash in a 350 oven for 30 minutes, or until skin is slightly charred and the flesh gives when poked with a fork. Remove from oven; set aside until cool enough to handle.
  2. When cool, peel squash and cut in half. Using a spoon or small rubber spatula, scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh around them; discard.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cleaned squash, za'ataar, salt and parsley. Stir vigorously to combine.
  4. Add a swirl of olive oil and serve immediately.

* = Affiliate link.

Super Simple Paleo Salmon Salad

Super Simple Paleo Salmon Salad | Paleo + LifeToday’s post is a little different from the usual goings on here @ Paleo + Life. I’ve contributed a recipe as a guest post over at

I ‘met’ Chef Perry, one of the clever folks behind HauteMealz, virtually when I was trying to decide whether or not to attend IFBC (the food bloggers’ conference).  My search for conference reviews led me to the hilarious video review of the 2013 conference that Perry and his co-chef Chris made. I knew I had to meet these guys, because the combination of sarcasm, humor and food obsession made it obvious that they were my kind of people. Because IFBC was such a packed weekend, I only got to meet Perry in person, and that briefly, but I immediately knew I was right. We clicked right away and have been virtual pen pals ever since.

On to the recipe: Since we are still without a stove, I whipped up one of my staple lunches: Super Simple Paleo Salmon Salad. I tend to blog the recipes I think are more interesting, but most days I eat simple food like this.  This is such a favorite, I would eat it every day if I could.

I adore salmon in whatever form I can get it, and creamy, lush avocados make my world complete. Combining the two is a natural for me. Remember, if your canned salmon is water-packed, be sure to drain it well before mixing. Any good lemon garlic seasoning will do; I’m partial to one from my local spice shop. Finally, if you wanted to dress this up a bit, drizzle on a bit of your favorite oil and add a sprinkle of finishing salt.


Free-Range Paleo

Broken Range

That, my friends, is the saddest thing in the world for a food blogger: a defunct range.

Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, this happened because last night I got a wild hair in my eye and decided I should clean the oven. Conveniently, or so I thought, our range has a self-cleaning setting. So after roasting chicken and potatoes for last night’s dinner, I cranked the dial over to “clean” and let ‘er rip.

All seemed to go well, right up until the lights started flashing and the stove started beeping and would. not. stop. Nor would the oven door unlatch. We had to turn the stove off at the breaker in order to get some sleep. While our quick Internet research said that this is a pretty common problem with self-cleaning ovens — apparently they get too hot and some plastic bit or other melts — so we might need to replace a part, a few posts we found indicated that sometimes the range might just need a hard reset (e.g., turning it off at the breaker).

Unfortunately, that door proved just as stuck in the morning and the beeping has continued. We have ordered a part that we think will fix it; otherwise we may be investing in a new range sooner rather than later. (Frankly, I’m torn: my inner cheapskate would be happy to fix it; my inner cook is dreaming of switching from electric to gas. I grew up using a gas stove and much prefer it.)

In the meanwhile, how are we staying Paleo? Salads, of course, are the easiest things; this breakdown is giving me a chance to compose very pretty plates, and cold roast chicken is still darned tasty.

We still have the microwave, so can re-heat some things like the leftover roasted potatoes — and can even use it to cook sweet potatoes or a smaller squash. I’ve also got the water oven, thanks to Sous Vide Supreme, and can make hard boiled eggs, among other things, in that. The slow cooker is still available as well, so my favorite crockpot soups/meats are manageable, too.

Finally, we have some things in cans that we can eat straight out of the tin: canned olives, salmon, and the like are great additions to cold salads. Between these things, plus fruit that we can eat out of hand, and the occasional smoothie/parfait, we might not even miss the stove that much.

If you can think of anything else to help manage a range-free lifestyle, do drop a line in the comments.

Paleo Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Paleo Chocolate Avocado Pudding | Paleo + Life

I swear, this is blog is not becoming Paleo Desserts with Cher. I just happened to have some super ripe avocados that I needed to use, which brought the following to mind.

About ten years ago, I worked for a major grocery store chain. (Considering my obsession with food, I’m sure this surprises exactly no one.) As the community relations staffer, one of my responsibilities was scheduling our store’s classroom with interesting cooking classes.
At that time, the raw food movement was newly popular, and I met a lovely raw vegan chef who occasionally taught in our classroom.

One day, I poked my head into a class Jenny was teaching, and she offered me a sample of a delicious chocolate pudding. It was delicious, of course, but I absolutely did not believe her when she told me it was made with avocados. I thought it was brilliant. The whole raw foods lifestyle seemed so complicated, however, and since I knew I wasn’t committed to it, I eventually forgot all about it.

Fast-forward ten or so years: While I was at IFBC (the food bloggers conference), one of the samples I tried at the big Saturday night wing ding was a simple dessert featuring bananas and cocoa powder. When I sampled it, I knew it was something my kids would love, but without any fat, it would just zip right through your body. One of the first things I learned about cooking is that fat equals flavor — and fullness. (Nothing starches my linen** more than the kids coming back after dinner, complaining that they are still hungry.) So I wanted to figure out how to adapt this dessert, when from the depths of my memory, that long-ago taste of chocolate avocado pudding emerged. Immediately, I knew I’d found my answer.

The problem? Only one of the four kids actually likes avocado. So I knew I’d have to be a little devious about it. I whipped up a batch and let the oldest boy sample it. He adored it. I then fed it to the kids, without mentioning the contents, since Youngest Girl is especially particular and would have refused to try it point-blank.

The verdict was unanimous: Everyone ate it, happily, without so much as a complaint. I actually texted my husband during dessert, despite the fact that he was less than ten feet away:

Husband: Huh.

(One of us may be more excited about this than the other.)

Now that I’ve perfected the recipe, will I tell the kids what’s in it? Eventually. Right now I’m just going to enjoy knowing that my kid is chowing down on a dessert I absolutely adore, sucking in healthy fats and tons of vitamins in the process. Score one for Mama.

Note that this is not super-duper sweet; I wanted the flavors to come through as cleanly as possible. If you prefer a sweeter taste, another two tablespoons of maple syrup will not hurt one bit. While the nutmeg is optional, I find the earthy, peppery flavor emphasizes the creaminess of the chocolate and avocado. The addition of berries and pumpkin seeds are just the icing on the … wait, maybe this is getting to be Paleo Desserts with Cher. Considering how delicious this is, I don’t think I will mind one bit.

**Yes, I just made that up. Y’all know what I mean.

Paleo Chocolate Avocado Pudding


  • Two Reed avocados (or 5-6 Hass avocados)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Berries
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds


  1. Combine all ingredients in food processor or high-speed blender. Process until thoroughly combined (in food processor, this takes 1-2 minutes. With high speed blender, this will be faster). Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. To serve: top with berries,and sprinkle on a few pumpkin seeds and ground nutmeg.

Paleo Babies

Weezy 1

Going paleo with the baby has been the easiest transition of them all. While the teens are doing what teenagers do, and the littlest girl has been quite a challenge, my tiny boy has never known anything else, so the transition has been rather straightforward.

Of course, the standard advice is to wait until babies are six months old before they begin solids. I was prepared for this, and at dinner time would give him spoons and bowls to play with. However, the little mister started to show interest in food around four and a half months. And by “show interest,” I mean that he literally snatched food from my hands and stuffed it into his own mouth. I figured that was a sign.
His pediatrician was fine with it, so we slowly introduced solids.

Primarily, I made extremely fine purées for him of steamed vegetables, carefully blended in the Vitamix. We also chose to offer him a very watered down gluten-free rice cereal. Our younger daughter had also had that as a first food, and we felt it would be acceptable. We always served it mixed with breastmilk, to make sure the babe was getting actually some nutrition from it as well as just allowing him to enjoy the process and the new experience of eating.

As he got older, we’ve progressed to chunkier foods, such as my homemade applesauce or cauliflower leek soup. Since the boy got teeth around six months, we have also let him have lots of soft foods like peaches, nectarines, all sorts of berries, tomatoes and whatever else he seems to like. He enjoys scrambled eggs most of all, though he is partial to beef heart, roasted chicken, and pulled pork as well. Feeding him has been rather simple. Nowadays, he has gotten more particular — avocado is off the menu, though he loved it six months ago — and I suspect we are headed toward a picky phase. For the moment, I am counting myself blessed that he is almost always willing to try new foods, and that he seems to like most of them. Squeezing in so many nutritious foods now will stave off the worst of my worries if we get to the point where all he will eat is nut butter and chicken nuggets. (We are also still nursing, so that eases my mind as well. WHO recommends nursing up to age two and beyond; we are big fans of it around here.)

What about you? If you are bringing up a Paleo baby, what are your best tips and tricks for feeding them? Drop a note in the  comments.



Figgy Pudding, American Style

American-Style Figgy Pudding | Paleo + Life

This past weekend, the family and I participated in a harvest with the Portland Fruit Tree Project (PFTP). For those who are unfamiliar with this wonderful organization, it’s mission is simple. Because of our temperate climate, Portland is full of fruit trees — but sometimes the homeowners cannot use the fruit they grown. Rather than letting it go to waste, PFTP gathers a group of volunteers who harvest the fruit. Most of it goes to homeless shelters, but the volunteers also are allowed to take some fruit home. The homeowners don’t have a big mess on their hands, the shelters get extra food, and the volunteers get community service time as well as free fruit: it’s a win for everyone involved.

On our harvest date, it turned out to be just our family and some folks from PFTP for the three hour session. Between us, however, we picked 226 pounds of grapes and figs. We took home about two pounds of figs, and 24 pounds of concord grapes. I was thinking I’d make grape jelly, but at the rate my kids eat them, they won’t last long enough for me to do that. I don’t mind, though: fistfuls of concords are so much better than a lot of things they could be eating.

This recipe, however, is all about the figs.

American-Style Figgy Pudding | Paleo + Life


The figs we harvested were incredibly ripe — like fall apart as you took them off the trees ripe — so I needed to use them in something where shape didn’t matter (i.e., not a salad or a cheese plate). I decided to cook them down into a concentrated American style pudding (as opposed to British puddings, which are something like fruitcake).
Then I started thinking about American Thanksgiving, since it’s only a month away (I know, I’m a touch early, but it’s my second-favorite holiday of the year and I am a little obsessed). Since this is our first paleo Thanksgiving, I wanted experiment with a simple fruit-based dessert. I added chocolate for depth, a little honey for sweetness, and a bit of cinnamon and vanilla to add warmth. I thought it just sounded like these might be good.
Little did I know it would turn out to be a sexy, smoky, intensely figgy treat that made me want to lick the bowl. Nope, I’m not even a little ashamed to admit that: this stuff is good. Even my fig-hating teenager loved it.

Top it with quickly candied nuts (I used pecans, but walnuts would be incredible, too) and brightly-flavored dried cranberries for a bit of contrast and zing. While I made it with the holidays in mind, it’s too good and too easy to save just for that day: this pudding is definitely going into the regular rotation.

Figgy Pudding, American Style


  • 4 cups figs, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Candied Nuts
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries


  1. Combine figs, cocoa, honey, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until figs are mostly disintegrated.
  2. Remove pan from heat and blend the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth.
  3. Return to heat; cook for another 20 minutes, or until volume is reduced by half. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Candied Nuts
  5. Combine all ingredients in a small skillet. Over medium heat, stirring constantly, toast nuts until fragrant, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat; allow to cool.
  6. To serve, layer pudding, nuts and cranberries in a dessert dish.

The B Word

Buckwheat Coconut Pancakes | Paleo + Life

Buckwheat Coconut Pancakes, adapted from Chris Kresser and Stephan Guyanet

A couple of nights ago, my oldest opened the door to our neighbor T.
She’s a nice lady, and has been incredibly welcoming to us since we showed up in the neighborhood, with our motley crew of rowdy kids, just-shy-of-feral dogs and complete ineptitude at lawn care.
(In our defense, Husband and I are apartment kids: this business of having a giant patch of grass plus a fat swath of parking strip to maintain … well, that’s a post for another time. But I digress.)

As I was saying, my oldest boy opened the door to our neighbor. Our neighbor who stopped by…with a giant bag of bagels.
Yes, a giant bag of bagels. And I don’t mean a grocery bag, either. I mean a kitchen trashcan sized bag. Of bagels. At my gluten- and grain-free door.


I could have taken a stand. I could’ve ranted and bewailed the evils of gluten and how it is making this country fat and inflamed and killing us and for god’s sake I have an entire BLOG about not eating things made with wheat flour and and and.

Except that my oldest boy had his hand around the bag before I could blink and an ear-to-ear grin nearly as big as that sack of bagels.

(I took the bag.)

Except that my youngest girl, when told that we weren’t going to keep them, moaned  “Why?” and “I miss bread” from the depths of her soul. Not in the whiny-six-going-on-teenager annoying way that has been her habit lately, but in the quiet, honest way that she talks to me when she really has something serious to say. Hearing that sadness in her voice just about shattered my heart.

(Yes, I took the bag.)

Except that my baby boy, who eats with deep joy and wild abandon, happily devoured a chunk of cheesy bagel with his breakfast.

Sigh. I took the bag, and we kept a few, and gave most of it away, and you know what? The world has not ended. We are fortunate that the kids seem to tolerate gluten well enough that being gluten-free is more of a choice than a mandate in our house. So I took it.

I was brought up to be polite, especially to my elders. So I took the darned bag, I said thank you very much (we don’t really eat that sort of thing anymore, but thank you). Then I grumpy-mumble-mumbled about it under my breath the whole next day. In the end, it was less than a week with some bagels. We are fine.

But it started me wondering why.
Why was being polite so important to me? Why couldn’t I just say “No thanks, hope someone can use them, goodnight?” Why couldn’t I resist the social conditioning? Even if I had, what about the kids? If I let them have gluten outside of the house, is it really fair to restrict it inside the house? Am I confusing them? Sending them mixed messages? What about the WASTE? Someone has to eat the perfectly good** food, dang it!

Sigh. Sometimes being a grown up is really hard.

I listen to a podcast called The Paleo View (run by The Paleo Mom and one of the Paleo Parents), and last week’s episode on self-control and challenges really resonated with me. In that episode, the hosts discuss avoiding disordered eating and elimination diets and deciding what place certain types of food have in your life. It stuck with me because I remember very clearly that as much as I looked forward to the end of the elimination diet, when it did actually end, I was terrified to go off plan. I felt as if I were set adrift with no compass, and like I could just MESS IT ALL UP at any moment. That’s not a reflection on the elimination diet, which actually had a very sound plan for re-entry, but had a lot to do with my state of mind. I felt fragile, and uncertain, and very tentative. I liked the rules. I needed the rules. What would I do without the rules??? I would just be EATING. WILLY NILLY. OMG I CAN’T HANDLE ALL THIS FREEDOM.

(It took me a while to calm down.)

That reaction is why I really appreciated The Paleo View’s take on knowing yourself, being aware of/carefully considering the role certain foods play in your life, and why you might or might not choose to eliminate them.

For us, I am happy to make pancakes, breads and crackers. I’m not against those foods in and of themselves. However, a big part of the reason we started our paleo journey is because much of the time, the kids were eating those things instead of actual, nutrient-dense food. But if the occasional paleo-fied muffin makes it easier to get actual vitamins from fresh, whole foods into my kids’ bodies, I’m gonna happily paleo-fy the heck out of those muffins.

All of this to say that next time, I’m going to answer the door myself. I will say a polite but firm “no thank you.” Then I’m going to get back to my kitchen and make my own darned bread.


** Of course, by perfectly good, I mean unspoiled, not necessarily appropriate.

Cauliflower Leek Soup

Cauliflower Leek Soup | Paleo + LifeWhen people ask how I survived graduate school while raising a family, I usually say something about my amazing husband and his incredible support, or our kids, who are (mostly) becoming ever more helpful as they grow up. These things are true, and I certainly don’t want to take credit away from my lovely family, but if I could only to point to one thing in particular?

Soup. Lots and lots of soup.

I am pretty certain that 90% of dinners during the last four years involved some sort of crockpot soup concoction and either crackers or cheese toast. Since going paleo/Primal, we have switched to various types of homemade crackers, and have also made bread with Primal Girl’s excellent magic dough recipe.

Soup is generally a simple process, especially around here on a weeknight. Four steps, and we’re done: chop, cook, mash, and eat. There is a world of technique between “chop” and “eat,” of course, and endless choices of foods to combine, but that’s the fun of it. For this one, I was thinking of potato leek soup, but wanted something was less heavy.
(While some paleo and Primal eaters can handle them, white potatoes = starch bombs as far as the hub and I are concerned, so they were out.) Instead, I grabbed some cauliflower that needed cooking and a couple of kohlrabi that I literally scrounged from the back of the fridge (seriously, they’ve been there for about a thousand years). If kohlrabi is not available where you live, substitute broccoli instead.

Even though I wanted to make the soup quickly, I also wanted a deeper flavor. To accomplish this, I sauteed the leeks and garlic gently for a good long while and used the same fast cooking in a hot oven as for my Lime & Rosemary Roasted Broccoli. Cauliflower is less dense than kohlrabi or broccoli, so takes a little less time to roast. Chuck it all in the Vitamix, and voila: soup’s on. (Ahem. That was a French joke. Soupçon? Get it. Sorry. Forget I said anything. I am a nerd.)

If you are speedy at trimming your veggies, you can easily get this soup on the table in under an hour. Then you too can get back to studying, knowing that your family has been well-fed.

Cauliflower Leek Soup


  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, divided
  • 1 lb cleaned, sliced leeks (frozen ones are fine)
  • 5 cloves garlic, slivered
  • One head cauliflower
  • 2 knobs kohlrabi (or two bunches broccoli)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups herb stock


  1. In a sauté pan over medium-low heat, warm 2 tablespoons coconut oil. When oil has warmed, add leeks garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown slightly (~30-40 minutes).
  2. Wash and trim the cauliflower. Peel and slice the kohlrabi into rough chunks. Spread kohlrabi and cauliflower on cookie sheets. Drizzle the vegetables with the remaining coconut oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in a 425° oven. Roast vegetables until starting to color and they are fork tender: about 20 minutes for cauliflower, about 30 for kohlrabi.
  3. In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine half of the leek mixture with the roasted kohrabi and 2 cups stock. Blend until desired smoothness is reached:
  4. 20-40 seconds for a chunky soup; 40-60 seconds for a smoother purée. Pour into a large bowl. Add remaining leek mixture, remaining stock and roasted cauliflower to the blender and process (cauliflower is not as dense as kohlrabi so it will purée a touch faster). Stir to combine; serve immediately.

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