Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Heart Stew

Yesterday my mom and I visited one of Toronto's finest (in my opinion) farmer's markets at Evergreen Brick Works.  The market is open year round and garners many regular visitors visiting vendors offering crafts, organic/sustainable and local meat and produce, baked goods and specialty items.  The fall harvest is plentiful this year and I've fallen in love all over again with root vegetables.  I picked up some amazing squash, sweet potatoes, mixed greens, and a truly stunning selection of mixed roasting veg: beets, onions, potatoes, turnip, baby fennel and purple, orange, white and red carrots.

A number of vendors supplied beef, pork, lamb chicken, venison, elk, fish and seafood.  I decided this week I would try something different and on a whim picked up a beef heart (just under $9).

2.72 lb heart
I'd never tasted beef heart and I didn't know the first thing about preparation or cooking.  When I got home, I perused a few recipes on the internet and found that braising and grilling are the best options.  Since I don't own a grill, I decided to make a stew, perfect for the recent and noticeable drop in temperature these days.  First stop was the liquor store, because you can't make a decent stew without a nice red wine.  It's also a way for me to enjoy the taste of alcohol since these days I'm a total lightweight and have zero tolerance.

Prepping the vegetables
Oven preheated to 325 F

Root veggies were prepped first:

6-8 small - medium carrots chopped
2 medium onions chopped
2 medium potatoes* cubed
3 gloves of garlic, chopped

*Potatoes can be substituted for sweet potatoes or squash.  Potatoes aren't generally "paleo" but I still eat them once in awhile without any issues.

After all the veggies were chopped, we unveiled the mighty heart.  I wasn't sure what to expect but was actually pleasantly surprised at how pretty it was.  Yes, it was pretty.  The surface was smooth and firm and the flesh was very dense; similar to the firmness you would find in raw tuna.  I expected a lot more fat as videos I had viewed how to prepare had ample amounts that needed trimming, so I was pleasantly surprised I didn't have as much work to do.

So pretty!
I removed the small amount of fat from the surface (saved it for some rendering later), opened it up and cut out the small tendons from inside.  The heart was cubed and then dredged in almond flour for searing.

I placed a dutch oven on the stove top on medium heat and added a couple of tablespoons of bacon fat.  The heart cubes were seared on all sides and set aside.  Once all the heart was seared, veggies were tossed in to the dutch oven and stirred.  Beef heart was added back in along with:
Heart Stew: a new winter staple

1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 handful of sun dried tomatoes
1 cup or so* of chicken stock (did not have beef stock, but still worked really well)
1/2 cup* of red wine (your favourite brand)

*These were unmeasured amounts of liquids, but approximately the measurement I was aiming for. I don't normally cook in specific measurements, one reason I find it so difficult to translate my recipes sometimes.

With everything together, I threw it in the oven for 1.5 hours.  After 1 hour I turned the temperature down to 275F.

Garnish with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and enjoy!

The smell of stew permeated the apartment and the results were incredible, both Robert and I really enjoyed it.  The texture is difficult to describe, but has the slight creaminess you would find in beef liver without the strong organ meat taste.  Big beefy flavour!  I will definitely be buying this again; it's incredibly delicious and great if you're on a budget.  If you've been thinking of giving this hard working muscle a try, I highly recommend it!

~photos courtesy of Robert~

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back to School and a Recipe!

The leaves haven't started turning yet, but there is a definite chill in the air and the pumpkins are making their appearance at the markets.  Fall is commencing and one long lost fall memory has made it's return in my life...back to school!  I got through my first week of school with only a few hitches.  I stressed myself out a little, lost my appetite and went through a nasty 18 hour migraine.  Not a great start, but going through this week made me realize I need to adjust my work schedule. It may be just the first week and I know it's an adjustment, but the window I've given myself for study is very small.  I require 2.5 hours per night of study time, minimum. There's a lot of content to cover and I already have a test next week :)

However, I am loving classes.  The teachers are compelling, students are engaging and aside from the crazy schedule, it's been a great week and I look forward to learning more.

I've spent about 9 hour studying this weekend, so I thought I'd stop by here to give you an update and a recipe.  Robert and I did a cleaning through the fridge/freezer and pantry this weekend and I found a can of organic pureed pumpkin (not expired).  Feeling inspired with the upcoming fall season, I decided to make a batch of simple pumpkin muffins.

Pumpkin Muffins  *recipe adapted from Caveman Food

Preheat oven to 350.

1 1/2 cups almond flour
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin (I used canned, but fresh would also be awesome)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
3 Tbsp maple syrup (My husband's uncle makes his own.  It's incredible!)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp each of nutmeg, cardamom, ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

Shredded coconut as a garnish
  • Combine dry ingredients first and then add the wet.  Mixes fine with a fork, electric mixer not required
  • Spoon batter into 12 paper muffin cups and garnish with shredded coconut (unsweetened) 
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean
  • Enjoy!
These came out really super moist and I enjoyed mine with some butter (so good). 

*Non-Paleo husband approved!*

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Big Sigh of Relief

Yesterday was my last day of work and I can't even begin to describe how good I feel now that the biggest stressor in my life is done.  I had the biggest smile on my face leaving the office yesterday, I could hardly contain myself.  The weight had been lifted and the large dark cloud that had plagued me for years was now gone.  I'm still smiling as I type this.  It feels really good.

Of course, leaving is bittersweet.  I worked with some wonderful people and I'm going to miss the daily laughs.  I'll still be working in the same building, so I'm happy I'll still get to see them around.  I start training for a new part-time position next week and school is set to start on September 12th.  There will be some long days ahead with full time school and part time work, but I'm really excited for something new.

Since my last post in mid July, I've been finding ways to deal with my stress levels for my last few weeks of work.  I started supplementing with Natural Calm, a  magnesium supplement before I went to bed a few times per week.  I found this helped me to wind down a bit before bed, sometimes even making me feel slightly sedated.  I tried my best to avoid internet use before bed time, but this proved to be quite difficult (so many great blogs, articles and tweets to read).  This week in particular, I've notice I've been sleeping particularly soundly.  It's noted that I wake up in the same position that I fell asleep in.  Out like a light!

I've also been practicing an emotional release technique call The Sedona Method. I came across it as a recommendation for stress relief in, Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora T. Gedgaudas (a really incredible read, highly recommended).  The Sedona Method involves letting go of an unwanted negative feeling by asking yourself three questions:

A) Could you let it go?
B) Would you?
C) When?

It sounds kind of hokey and "new age" but I must admit, after a few weeks of practice, I noticed an incredible difference on my general outlook.  I'll give you an example.  I had a co-worker that really bothered me in a mostly indirect way.  We hardly spoke, but to hear the voice of this person speak nonsense really put me on edge.  It angered me so much that when I heard them, I would mutter obscenities to myself while I worked.  That's neither healthy or sane.  When I started The Sedona Method, I used this negative experience/reaction I had as one of my first "releases".  After a few cycles through the questions to myself, I realized that this person really didn't bother me after all and I was holding on to some negative feelings that I had created myself.  It was just a feeling.  The next time I heard this person's voice, it no longer bothered me.  I felt calm and peaceful.  I had actually let go of something that plagued me for years and it was so simple.

I've been regularly practicing and I would recommend this to anyone.  It really is a life changing program.

My period finally stopped after week 10, exactly 1 week after my last blog post.  Although I've been dealing with menstrual irregularities since my teens, that was certainly a record.  Once it stopped I got a referral from my family doctor for an ultrasound. Turns out, my not so  friendly cyst is back, a little bigger and just hanging out on my right ovary.  Good times :)  Two weeks after it stopped I had a "regular" period lasting 5 days.  I'm hoping that I can get back on track now with a regular cycle.  *fingers crossed*

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Menstrual Nightmares

**If you are uncomfortable with reading about women's menstrual cycles, then I suggest you skip this post.  I always find topics of personal health accounts opens up great discussion that can be very helpful to other readers.**

Four days in I had to abandon my sleep experiment due to some health issues. When I started the experiment, I had already been spotting for 6 weeks.  I was only slightly concerned as this had happened in the past but it wasn't until a couple of nights into my sleep experiment, I started bleeding abnormally heavy.  I decided to see someone. (I know, most people would have seen someone about a problem like that sooner, but sometimes you just think it will go away).

I visited my Naturopath first who suggested that stress could be the culprit.  I won't lie, I am stressed, but when she asked me if I was stressed or had difficulty sleeping, I initially said no.  She pressed on with questions to think about specifics in my life.  My number one stressor is my job.  I've been working the same job for the last 4 plus years and I've never really liked it.  I spend most of my days at work "ticked off" and the little nuances of the job that other people seem to handle without grudge effect me immensely.  Sometimes I feel like there is something really wrong with me, but I'm not entirely alone.  There are a few other people who have the same angry disposition, so something about this job is triggering negative emotions in people.  It's funny, I left my last job of 6 years due to burnout only to get a new job that ended up also burning me out.  I seem to have a failure to cope.  I also think I care too much.  She suggested we deal with the stress, and get some blood work done to rule out other medical possibilities.

I visited my family doctor to have blood tests done and discussed with him my options from his end of the medical spectrum.  Expensive drugs and birth control.  I laughed and said no thank you.  To give my family doctor some credit, he is very open to me seeking the help of my Naturopath.  10 vials of blood later and I realised that I had to take serious action to reduce the stress in my life.

It's disheartening when you think you've been doing everything right with eating and exercising regularly only to find that something like stress can null your efforts.

When I started a primal/paleo lifestyle in April 2010, one of the changes I noticed was my period appeared once per month.  I was very excited and posted about it back in November last year.  It continued regularly until April this year when my husband and I departed for our Japan trip.  I was supposed to get my period a few days into our trip, but it never came.  I didn't really sweat about it at the time, but this could have been when the stress started.  

Since my return from Japan, I've had difficulty getting my health back in order.  It took me two weeks to get back into my paleo eating.  I've had my period since May 19th and we're pressing onto week nine now.  Some days are light spotting while others are oddly heavy with clotting.  Clearly this is a point of stress as well.

I'm trying to take it in stride and I've been doing some reading on the topic.  The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf has a great chapter on stress, cortisol and it's effects on the body.  I identified with everything in that chapter so I'm using this as a starting point to getting my zen back in order.  I also have an end date to my job as I'll be heading back to school in September.  Having that countdown to my last day should also ease my days at work.  If things go south while sitting at my desk, I can look up at the calendar, smile and say "I'm out of here September 2nd".

As I attempt to remedy my situation, it may be a little quiet on the blog front.  Thank you for reading and I'll post an update as soon as this menstrual nightmare stops.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Quest For The Perfect Sleep

I came across this post from Modern Paleo and it got me thinking about my own sleep patterns.  I know a lot of people discuss what amazing sleeps they have while eating paleo.  I have had moments of perfect sleep as well, but I don't seem to have the consistency of it night after night.

Getting to bed by 10 pm is ideal for us.  Our circadian rhythm dictates a healing process and between the hours of 10pm to 2am our bodies engage in physical repair. During the hours of 2 am to 6 am our bodies engage in mental repair.

I work from 12 pm to 8 pm during the week and I'm usually home just before 9 pm.  I spend an hour with my husband before he leaves for work at 10 pm (he works nights) and then I take the rest of what's left of my evening to unwind, catch up on blogs and entertain my needy cats.  I start to get sleepy around 11:30 pm.  At this point I'm already well into my "repair window" and this may have a lot to do with my ability to deal with stress and get the restful sleep I need.  I am clearly in disrepair.

My sleep is slightly interrupted throughout the night.  I awake briefly when changing positions and sometimes I hear my husband come home in the wee hours of the morning,  Other times I won't hear a thing.  The other day my colleagues were talking about a wicked thunderstorm that happened.  It seem to wake everyone up but I didn't hear a thing and slept right through it.

I thought about the best sleep I've ever had and it happened back in April when my husband and I spent three weeks in Japan.  We stayed with a good friend of mine and her mother and were offered the guest room with 2 large futons side by side.  The futons appeared to be thick and soft but when I went to bed that first night, I could feel the hardness of the floor beneath me.  I thought I would wake up with back and neck pain, but quite the opposite.  I slept right through the night without interruption and I woke up feeling really refreshed.  I was so excited to go to bed everynight; it was the best sleep of my life!  Even with all the abuse I went through with poor eating, intestinal upset and walking a million miles a day, the one consistant positive was my sleep.

We were so physically exhausted everyday that it was easy for us to crash as soon as we got back to our futons and most days we were in bed by 10 pm.  My husband experienced the same great sleep and he suffers from terrible neck kinks and back and shoulder issues.  I was up by 7 am most mornings, muscles so sore from the day before I had new born deer legs, but I still felt refreshed from an amazing sleep.

I'll try a little experiment for the next couple of weeks with sleeping on the floor.  I understand the importance of getting to bed by 10 pm and even if that doesn't leave me much of an evening, I'm at a point where I seriously need to address my issues with stress.  I'll attempt to recreate my futon experience tonight and report back in a few weeks.

Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Farmer's Markets & Sunshine Breaks

It's been quite warm here in Toronto and for the first time in my life I'm enjoying it.  I've always been a winter person.  I love the snow, especially big heavy winter storms where you have to lift your knees really high just to take your next step.  People curse, but I love it.  There's something about it, slowing everyone down, makes me appreciate life a little more, if that makes sense at all.

I've never much liked the summer heat or the sun for that matter but lately I've found an unusual appreciation for it.  I take sunshine breaks everyday (weather pending) while at work.  I sit in a grassy park in downtown Toronto, take my shoes off and feel the warmth on my skin and the coolness of the grass.  I love my sunshine breaks.  We'll see how much my appreciation lasts as the high humidity rolls in for July and August.  We don't have air conditioning at home, nor do we plan on getting it.  I feel battling the heat makes us stronger but it can make some nights a little difficult for sleeping.  Cool showers and a fan usually do the trick :)

The farmer's markets are in full force here and I look forward to taking my lunch scoping them out in the city.  I love looking at fresh produce, asking the farmer's questions and relishing in my head all the creations I could make with all the food.  It looks like it's going to be a good season.

My delicious breakfast this morning from some fresh market goods:

Three eggs lightly scrambled in coconut oil, garnished with dill.  Red leaf lettuce and fresh raspberries with a simple extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.  So delicious.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Twitter: @PrimalKat

Just a quick little post to say that I now have a Twitter account.  You can follow me @PrimalKat and I hope to follow you too! :)

I have a few drafts on the go so looking forward to posting some more soon.  Hope everyone is keeping well!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Why are Japanese scientists creating meat alternatives and from all things, human excrement?

After all that we know about GMO's, they get the green light from Obama.

Monsanto takes a bit more heat on the topic of birth defects.

Man fined $5,000 for growing too many vegetables?  (video)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Alcohol Tolerance

Friday night was a fun night.  An old work friend dropped in for a visit from Vancouver and a few colleagues and I went out to meet him for drinks.  It was a night of greasy bar food, alcohol and my first karaoke experience.

I had one cranberry vodka and a shot of jaggermeister early that night followed by the wings.  I enjoyed my mild buzz and the rest of the night was glasses of ice water and some awesome karaoke.  I know, not very primal/paleo, but sometimes it's nice to cut loose and just relax with friends. 

This was my second drink of alcohol this year and I've decided that it's going to be my last.  My first experience was a few months ago.  My husband and I celebrated our five year anniversary in February and I purchased a nice bottle of white wine to go with our dinner.  I had two champagne flutes (I actually don't own wine glasses) of wine and my husband polished off the rest of the bottle.  A few hours later I spent several hours with violent shakes and vomiting.  I got very little sleep and spent the next day dry heaving and completely ill.  I was very embarrassed of my reaction and my husband thought that it may have been something I had eaten earlier that day.  Being such a small amount of alcohol, we weren't sure that it could have made me so violently ill.  I felt better after 24 hours and went on with my life.  (My husband was fine, by the way, after drinking the rest of the bottle).

Back to Friday night.  One vodka cranberry and a shot of jagger followed by water the rest of the night.  I felt fine by the time we got to the karaoke bar and got home safe and feeling well a few hours later.  My husband was still up when I got home and we chatted for a bit.  I drank more water and had a cup of peppermint tea, watched a tv show and then went to bed.  There were no "spins" or nausea when I lied down, so I felt that everything was pretty good.  A few hours later I woke up with terrible nausea.  My body felt like it wanted to reject every organ inside of me and I spent the next hour or so trying to find a position that didn't make me feel like throwing up.  That position was curled up on the cool bathroom floor, my two cats hanging around me to keep me company. 

I realized that night that I had a zero alcohol tolerance.  I wasn't drunk, at least not by the typical symptoms that I've had in the past.  I didn't understand how I could feel fine for hours, successfully go to bed feeling well and then wake up with painful nausea.  I thought about some of the things I consumed that night besides the alcohol.  There were the greasy wings and a couple of nachos, but I've indulged in these things on other occasions when in social situations and never had a reaction like this. 

The next day I googled "paleo and alcohol tolerance" and read other people's accounts of similar experiences, but there are also others that say they gained a higher tolerance for alcohol.  It's mixed bag of info, but I seem to be in the company of majority.

I can honestly say I won't miss alcohol.  Sure, I have a favourite beer (Früli) and there are some pretty tasty cocktails out there.  I can count the number of times I consume alcohol in a year on one hand.   My chances with small amounts of alcohol are sending me into terrible sleepless fits of pain and nausea now and that's not how I want to experience life.  It's just not worth it anymore.

Has anyone else noticed their tolerance for alcohol diminish?  Do you limit yourself to social drinks or still enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or have you completely cut it out?  Let me know in the comments :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Smoked Mackerel Salad

After visiting two grocery stores tonight and failing on finding some decent fresh fish, I settled on some smoked mackerel.  Out of the eight items I had on my list to pick up, I found success with three.  It's just been one of those weeks and it's only Tuesday.

Tonight's dinner was salad with red leaf lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers from a local farmer's market, smoked mackerel and an EVOO, balsamic vinegar and fresh garlic homemade dressing.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bacon Sautee

Non-paleo husband approved!
Bacon has been getting a bit of a bad rap lately in the paleo community.  Sure, it's not a health food, but it's damn delicious!  It adds incredible flavour to all types of cooking, it comes from one of the tastiest beasts that adorns us with pork chops, lard and rump roasts, and it has an incredible fat to flesh ratio that satisfies our salty fatty cravings.

The butcher I get my bacon from uses minimal nitrates in preparation, but I've also found another high end grocery close by that sells nitrate free.  It really all depends on how thrifty I'm feeling at the time of purchase.  It's also very difficult to find bacon that is sourced from pasture raised pigs, not factory farm raised.  Eating completely orthodox paleo can be very expensive and sometimes you have to pinch some pennies to save a little cash.

Tonight's dinner featured a lovely array of organic vegetables (red pepper, asparagus, crimini mushrooms, snow peas, garlic and lemon juice) and our lovely friend bacon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Beets, Bacon and Beef

Tonight was leftover beet, bacon and spinach salad, adapted from the recipe Beets, Greens, 'n' Bacon from Everyday Paleo's new book.  The original recipe called for beet greens, but the beets I purchased were free of their tops, so I improvised with fresh spinach.  The salad was served with leftover ribeye steak and I added a few more pieces of bacon for good measure.

Robert doesn't like beets at all, but he was a good sport and tried it anyway.  He still doesn't care for them :)

Aaaaah bacon, what can't you do for a meal?

Mmmmm bacon!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


This is the most incredible post I've read in awhile.  Hawaiian libertarian gives us a deep insight into raising a paleo baby from inception.  Beautifully detailed, I hope he continues to write about the amazing development of his child.

Anyone care for some Wood Pulp?  Just another reason to eat real.

Two Sunday's ago I spent 5 lovely hours simmering stock only to strain it right down the sink.  I blamed brain fog left over from my vacation indulgences.  A few days later I came across this informative pdf from the Western Price Foundation on the lovely merits of homemade stock, recipes included.

Craving ice cream?  Growing Up Paleo has an awesome looking recipe for Coconut Milk Chocolate Ice Cream!  If I owned an ice cream maker, I'd be in heaven.

I picked up the new book Everyday Paleo, by Sarah Fragoso last week and have read it cover to cover (I could read recipes all day).  I can't wait to try all the good eats and I can vouch for at least one; the Marvellous Meatballs are amazing!

Robb Wolf injects a humorous foreward and Sarah's acknowledgments actually made me a little misty eyed.  She beautifully describes her personal accounts with health issues, eating a standard american diet and how the paleo lifestyle has made her and her family the energetic powerhouses they are today.  I love that she shares her raw experiences; it lets us all know that what she is sharing is attainable.
Thanks to her Fitness section, I have started getting back into exercise.  I know that I'm probably stronger than a beginner but it's been awhile since I regularly exercised.  I'm starting with day one to ease my body into basic movements.  Her exercises are well described for anyone new to fitness.
The book is also equipped with detailed shopping lists for your fridge and pantry, helpful for those ready to clear out grain and sugar loaded fillers and stock with fresh meat, produce and spices!

Overall, this is a perfect introduction to the Paleo lifestyle and I will be recommending this book to friends and family.

On a side note, I now want more tattoos :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Paleo Impossible?

Let me start off by saying that my vacation in Japan was an amazing experience.  My husband and I had an incredible time traveling around Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Hiroshima, Iwakuni, Okayama & Kurashiki, to name a few.  We stayed with my friend Yumiko and her mom who played wonderful host to us during our just shy of three week stay.  So much powerful history and beautiful sites and landscapes.  I will have memories that will last a lifetime and it was a truly eye opening experience.  If you 'd like to see photos from our trip, you can visit my Flickr account.

What I had difficulty with during my time in Japan was maintaining a paleo lifestyle.  I was determined that I would stick to eating my protein and vegetables and figured I could get a good bit of fat from eating fish and other forms of protein.  I packed a few snacks for the 19 hour travel time:

Beef Jerky
Macadamia Nuts
Dried Blueberries
Dried Coconut
Emergency Larabar

The flight was fine and I ended up fasting most of the trip while attempting to get some shut eye which is close to impossible for me in a seated position.

We reached Osaka in the future and we made our way to Yumiko's where her mom prepared an incredible and delicately prepared feast.  Yumiko had prepared her mom for my "odd way of eating", so it was known that I did not eat grains or sugar.  But something I wasn't aware of about Japanese cuisine is they love to sweeten everything with sugar, and I mean everything.  Most meat dishes were prepared with a sweet sauce, so when you thought you were getting something savory, it was actually pretty sweet.  They consume a lot of wheat, soy and of course rice.  This is the staple of every household and I learned very quickly that it would be difficult for me to maintain a paleo style of eating for the next three weeks.

Paleo breakfast courtesy of Yumiko's mom :
My first couple of days I tried to eat paleo, ordering foods in restaurants with Yumiko's help.  Her mom prepared me a paleo breakfast every morning; one egg either soft boiled or fried, bacon or sausage, salad and soup (soup is traditionally served with every breakfast and it is something that I could get used to . . sooo goood!).  While out and about touring, I ate pork skewers with salt, sweet potato, smoked mackerel, occasional salads and the like.  The food was tasty and I thought I could do this the whole trip.  But then I noticed that my energy levels depleted quickly, I had headaches, dizziness and nausea and moments of feeling faint.  We were doing a minimum of 9 hours per day of walking, visiting temples, shrines and partaking in hanami (cherry blossom viewing).  I wasn't getting enough food energy to supply me for the intense physical exertion and I had to make a choice.  Japanese food in general is very low fat and most of their fat sources for cooking are vegetable or soy oils.  Fish is a great source, but this can get expensive quickly and we were on a bit of a budget.  I also can't eat fish too often as it turns me off if I eat it too many days in a row.

I started eating rice to bulk up my meals, and purchased rice balls from the 7-11 (their 7-11's are amazing) to take with me for emergency hunger pangs on our long hikes.  This helped with my energy but almost immediately I felt bloated and cramped with some minor headaches.  I powered through it because this was a once in a lifetime experience for me and nothing was going to ruin it.  There are also many occasions where politeness trumps.  No one wants to insult their host, so sometimes we sacrifice to show our appreciation.

It would have been fine if all I ate was rice, but something happened after a week.  I started craving carbs regularly.  I haven't had a carb craving in over a year, and my experiences reminded me all over again how addicting grains and sugar could be.  I started a "to hell with it" and "I'm on vacation, I'll get back on track when I get home" attitude and ate pretty much to my hearts content.  Donuts, bread, rice, tempura, udon, sushi, ice cream, Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki and other local fair.  My taste buds enjoyed themselves immensely and I had some pretty good eats (best sushi EVER).  The rest of the vacation I experienced days of constipation, intestinal cramping and bloating, headaches, lethargy and irritablilty, all the reasons I started paleo in the first place.

Returning home from such an incredible trip, I set out to get back on track immediately, but there was one problem.  In the three weeks, I had become completely addicted to carbs again.  I craved everything.  My first week back I had terrible jet lag which allowed a head cold to take hold of me (I blame little sleep and poor immunity from poor eating habits).  My husband and I were too tired to cook or go grocery shopping to restock the fridge, so we ate take out for a week.  I even sunk as low as McDonald's . . . twice.  I craved buttered toast constantly and ate pasta.  I don't even really like pasta, but my resurrected addiction had consumed any reasoning and will to cease.  I hadn't put on any weight during vacation due to my 10 fold increase in physical activity.  But being home and laying on the couch eating junk food, I had put on 4 lbs in 1 week.  I felt like a zombie and I hit rock bottom on Sunday.  That's when I decided enough was enough.

Monday was my first day of paleo again and it felt good.  I've succeeded with today as well and I feel I can get back on track quickly.  I still fight the cravings but I don't plan to give in to them as easily as last week.

We all fall off the horse once in a while and in a way, my experiencing was a bit of an awakening.  I'd forgotten what a drug like effect grains and sugar have on us and how it's so simple to become "comfortable" with the many symptoms that ensue with consumption.  It's also very easy, as I experienced in a short period of time, to be consumed with the craving again.  So many people I know complain of bloating, cramping, headaches and such and assume that these are normal functions of the body.  There's always a quick fix at the drug store.  I'm happy to be back on my permanent fix of paleo and can only hope to never experience any of these symptoms again.  It's good to be back, in more ways than one.

I don't want to give the impression that paleo is impossible in Japan.  If I were living there, I would have complete control over what I purchased and cooked.  Actually, the selection of protein at the grocery store was astounding and I've never seen so many different types of radish.  The issue is relying on food from restaurants and train stations and of course there are language barriers with menus and wait staff.  It's difficult to communicate and most people don't understand your reasons for being particular.

Have you had any difficulties with travelling while maintaining a paleo lifestyle?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Why am I not surprised?!  Monsanto doesn't eat their own product.

Dr. Kurt G Harris discusses Paleo 2.0.  A really good read, I thoroughly enjoyed this post as I do most of his posts.

Primal Body Primal Minds Nora Gedgaudas looks at the Top 10 Nutritional Mistakes

If you haven't installed F.lux on your computer yet, may I recommend you do so.  I've been using it for a month now, my eyes are less strained and I get to sleep quicker at night.  "F.lux makes the colour of your display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day."

The Wilderness Childe shows us how to make our own Spice Blends.

Eggs are probably my favourite food, so versatile and incredibly delicious.  Everyday Paleo has me really excited to try these Baked Eggs!

Imagine a World of Bacon!

*A Side Note*:  As of Monday, April 4th my husband and I will be in Japan for 3 weeks, so there won't be any posts during this time.  I am so thankful for those of you who drop by every now and wish you lots of good eats and good health while I'm gone.

All the best and I'll be back around the end of April :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Must Watch and Some News!

Just a quick post tonight for those interested.  If you have some time, please take (a little over) two hours to view the following video.  It's lengthy, but the information is incredible and really enjoyable to watch.

Sponsored by the Weston A Price Foundation, a panel of nutritional experts discuss the many flaws of the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines and misuse of science to promote these guidelines.

For those of you new to Paleo and are unfamiliar with the work of Weston A Price, you can visit the Weston A Price Foundation

On a side note, I'm thrilled to announce that I received my acceptance letter from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and will be starting school this September.  It's kind of scary going back to school after graduating College 10 years ago, but I'm definitely ready for a change and the challenge.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Recipe: Spicy Shrimp

It's been a little while since I posted a recipe so I planned with my husband tonight to make my Spicy Shrimp.  This recipe is from my mother and I've adapted it over the years adding even more spices to make the flavour all my own.  It seems like a lot of ingredients and most of your time will be spent measuring out the spices, but the cooking time is really quick.

Make sure you get everything together before hand.

Spicy Shrimp
spinach, mushrooms and butter

26-30 Black Tiger Shrimp, peeled and tails removed
2 generous handfuls of baby spinach
2 portobello mushrooms, cubed
1/4 cup butter plus 2 tbsp
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp dried ginger
1 tsp curry powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of water, white wine or stock of your choice

melted butter & garlic
On medium heat, melt the 1/4 cup of butter and add the garlic.  Saute mushrooms and spinach and set aside on a plate.

Add the extra 2 tbsp of butter to the pan with all of the spices and 1/4 cup liquid (I used water for this recipe).  Turn temperature to medium high heat and add shrimp.

Saute shrimp until opaque in the centre.  Reduce heat to minimum.

sauteed mushrooms & spinach
Add the mushrooms and spinach back to the shrimp and mix together.  As most of the spinach wilted with the first saute, I threw in another handful of spinach in and stirred through.  I like some larger leaves in the final dish.

shrimp gettin' some love

Adding the veg back in

Snow peas work really well in this dish as well as asparagus and cherry tomatoes.  Try out your own combination of spices . If it's too spicy, reduce the cayenne and black pepper or omit the red pepper flakes.  For a different take, remove the curry, turmeric and cumin.  The possibilities are endless :)

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I thought I'd start a new feature I'll refer to as LINKtastics.  A sort of link dump of interesting articles and blog entries I've happened across.

I really like this article from the New York Times and it reminds me a lot of what my mother taught my sister and I growing up.  My mother relayed that we should be just as thankful to the plants we kill and eat as much as the animals we dine on.

Mark Sisson got me thinking about buying some crickets for my cats to hunt.  Although I consider them really happy kitties, I think a hunt would do them good!  He also asks us to look at our own personal crickets; what makes you feel like the wild animal that you are?  My personal crickets are my need to be surrounded by trees every chance I can.  I feel incredibly alive around trees and have since I was a kid.  Wooded areas are awesome and I always feel a sense of calm.  Also eating lots of meat and animal fat has always been a passion of mine, even when it was faux pas.

Earlier this month, Gary Taubes visited Dr. Oz to discuss Gary's new book Why We Get Fat.  I don't have TV, but managed to catch it Dr. Oz's website.  Needless to say, it was painful to watch, but Gary kept his ground (good man!).  Gary discusses on his blog his experience on the show and goes into more detail about the points he made.

Free Thinking Cavewoman asks us to think about our Primal attractions in regards to personal upkeep.  To shave or not to shave?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thank you

My apologies for the lack of posts recently.  Some of you may already know that my husband and I have had a trip booked to Japan for sometime and we've been very excited.  We're booked to leave April 4th and return on the 21st.  With recent events with the earthquake, tsunami and radioactive leakage, we've been keeping a close eye on the events and this has occupied much of our time.  We've cancelled our hotel in Tokyo and plan to just visit the Central and Western parts of the country.  Friends currently there have advised that things are fine in these parts.


I want to thank those of you who follow my blog.  I've been very excited over the response these past several weeks, thanks in part to Everyday Paleo for placing me on their blog roll. I am so happy that you guys are swinging by to read my recipes and paleo/primal experiences.  I really appreciate it so incredibly much.  Your interest even inspired me to design a new page header. That well marbled steak is a tribute to our paleo lifestyle.  Look at all that grass fed animal fat!  YUM!

I'll do my best to write a post or two before I go.  If you're interested in the more personal and artsy side of my life, I posted about my Japan trip intentions on my other blog.

Thanks again and please stand by.

Much Love,


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hulk Smash

I need my vacation now more than ever.  In three and a half weeks, Robert and I will be leaving for our long awaited departure to Japan.  Our Itinerary is 95% complete with the exception of booking the hotels for our 4 night stay in Tokyo and 1 night stay in Hiroshima.

I'm very tired and overwhelmed between work, my application to school and planning this vacation.  Robert pointed out to me the other night that I've been doing an occasional Jekyll & Hyde dance for the past few weeks.  One minute I'm fine, content and cheery and the next minute I'm ready to smash heads.  This is how I know I'm a wee bit burnt out. . . or just plain crazy.  I know what you're thinking . . "she's hormonal" and "it must be that time of the month".  It's really not, but now you're probably thinking "denial is a common sign of crazy hormonal rages".  Really, I'm not.

I've been looking at ways to deal with my recent stress.  Before paleo, I would just eat to my hearts content.  Sweets and breads always hit the spot and made me feel good for the moment, but then I'd end up feeling like crap with headaches and general blah.  I don't have cravings for those things anymore (thank goodness) but I still need ways to cope with my stress.

I've tried meditating and breathing which works for a bit but then I start thinking about all the things I still have to accomplish.  My mind wanders quickly and during times like this I find it more frustrating to focus on my breath then just deal with my tasks.  But, I like the idea of meditation and will continue to practice.  I understand it takes time to get into a groove.

I listen to classical music, which helps a lot as well as laying on the couch and watching a feel good movie or listening to my 'go to' paleo podcasts.  And I suppose writing this blog post is even a bit therapeutic at the moment.  Now that I think about it, I'm actually starting to feel a little better and I think I'll cut this short and relax.

Thank you for listening :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Breakfast Hors D'oeuvre

It didn't dawn on me until I had one left on my plate that I should post these.  Homemade egg salad on top of lovely crisp bacon.  They were really really good and I was really happy with my very first batch of homemade mayonnaise (recipe to follow in the near future).  I usually like to test recipes out a few times before I post them, just in case they require any tweaking.

This however, I just threw together this morning and decided last minute that I needed to share it with you. 


What you'll need:

2 Hard Boiled Eggs*
1 heaping Tbsp of Homemade Mayo
1 Green Onion, chopped
2 strips of Bacon, cut in half

*I usually have hard boiled eggs on hand in the fridge for impromptu snacking and salad editions.
  • Cook bacon strips on medium heat until crisp and set aside on a paper towel.
  • In a bowl, smash your eggs and add the mayo and chopped green onion.  Stir with love.
  • Add a tablespoon of Egg Salad to the bacon and garnish with some fresh ground pepper.
  • Enjoy!
Happily Serves 1

You can, of course, cook more bacon and boil more eggs to serve more people.  A sprig of fresh dill would also compliment this nicely.

The other side of Mmmmm

Sunday, February 27, 2011

How much sugar do you drink?

Just noticed this one floating around the interwebs.  What an incredible commercial!  Except for it's suggestion of choosing fat free milk as an alternative, this commercial has an incredbile message.

We're on the right track

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Treat Named Coffee

My initial reason for giving up coffee this year was because of the elimination of dairy in my diet.  I enjoyed a coffee a few times per week and over a few months towards the end of 2010, managed to ween the sugar out and drink my coffee "white" with a good helping of heavy cream (roughly 5 - 7 tbsp per cup).

Unfortunately, dairy is not my friend with the exception of butter.  I haven't been able to drink a glass of milk in years without the agonizing cramping of my guts.  All types of cheeses have a slightly less severe effect, but still noticeably uncomfortable.  I consumed plain yogurt for a number of years, but decided to also give it up this year as part of my dairy elimination.  I love yogurt, but admittedly I don't miss it.  I have pondered making my own ghee which would eliminate any milk proteins, lactose and casein usually responsible for intestinal mishaps, but butter is a loyal friend, and it doesn't result in ill effects (yet).

I thought gone would be the days I could enjoy a creamy cup of coffee what with the 2011 elimination, but then I discovered Coconut Milk.

4 heaping Tbsps of coconut milk in a cup of coffee and my caffeinated indulgence has returned!   I now experience life with 0% bloating, which you can imagine is an incredible feeling.  Digestive life just keeps getting better! 

Let's just hope that butter hangs in there for me.

Monday, February 14, 2011


A big warm THANK YOU to Paleo Talk for the shout out today!  It made my day and I really appreciate it!  :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Some Recommended Listening

These are a few of the paleo podcasts I've been listening to lately.  Informative and highly entertaining, every week these folks ride with me on the subway and walk with me on my lunch breaks.

Paleo Talk - Sarah Fragoso of Everyday Paleo and Chrissy Gower of Growing Up Paleo are absolutely adorable to listen to.  This podcast discusses much of the paleo diet and recipes in relation to family and raising children.  Both ladies are experienced in bringing up children following paleo principles and answer questions on topics such as breast feeding and pregnancy, stubborn teenagers and how to ease family members into joining/accepting a paleo lifestyle (to name a few).  Their producer Dain Sandoval is also hilarious.

Primal Body Primal Mind  - a lot of great information on paleo eating and indepth descriptions of our diet in relation to biological functions.  Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body - Primal Mind, has over 25 years of experience in diet and nutrition.  A Certified Nutritional Therapist and Clinical Neurofeedback Specialist, many of her topics on her radio program tie in her work to Neurofeedback and the importance of brain function and intestinal health.  Highly recommended! 

Robb Wolf - "six listeners can't be wrong"  This makes me laugh everytime I hear it.  Robb Wolf is a smart guy.  Former research biochemist and author of The Paleo Solution, he shares the podcast airspace with Andy Deas.  Both are very sarcastic and this is probably the main reason I listen.  I love sarcasm.  Robb answers a large variety of questions relating to the Paleo diet, Crossfit and general human biology.  Robb also features prominent experts in the paleo world to discuss and help answer listeners questions.  He has a cat named Keystone.

Latest in Paleo - previously entitled This Week in Paleo, Angelo Coppola's podcast strives to keep us informed on the latest paleo news.  I've just recently come across this one and added to my list of must listens.  Angelo also highlights a paleo blogger each week to help spread the word.  He's also a Vibram Five Fingers enthusiast :)  Highly entertaining and well produced, he's got a great voice for podcasting.

All of these podcasts can be found on iTunes.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Primal Ketchup

Quite a busy weekend and it's not even over. Many of our regular chores were accomplished like cleaning, shopping and a kitty litter overhaul. I fought with a laundry machine today which decided to quit part way and leave our clothes in a lake of dirty water. I had to haul the soaked mass upstairs and wash it in the tub (I wasn't going to waste another $2 to wash it again). To make matters worse, it was a load of towels and some sweatpants which equals frickin' heavy when wet. I filled the tub with warm water and soap and did a grape stomp for a bit. It made me think of this and I smiled.

I overcooked a beautiful Tri Tip Roast on Friday night and I'm debating over some ideas of how I can consume it so it's not wasted in the garbage. We prefer our beef medium rare (and sometimes even on the rarer side). This "thing" I pulled out of the oven resembles more of a grey brown. It's tough, lifeless and probably because it's a fairly lean cut, dry as dust. I haven't tried it yet, I just occasionally take it out of the fridge and peer at it through the glass container like some specimen in a jar. This might be a case where I bring out the homemade ketchup and drown the poor bugger.

Homemade ketchup you ask? Yes, I've mastered it!. The recipe is slightly tweaked from The Primal Blueprint Cookbook and it is AMAZING!

Primal Ketchup


1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup (optional)
1/2 small cooking onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp ground allspice (I don't actually own allspice, so I combine cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves as a substitute)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp black pepper

You can mince the onion and garlic together first in a food processor and then add the rest of the ingredients.
Whiz until smooth. You can add a bit more water if the paste is too thick. Store in a mason jar in the refridgerator. Makes roughly 1.5 cups.

This isn't as sweet as commercial ketchup (we don't need a heavy insulin spike) and there is more of a vinegar bite, which is lovely in my opinion. I added more onion than the original recipe calls for because onion is awesome. Actually, I couldn't be bothered to measure 3 Tbsp of minced onion, so I just cut one in half and threw it in the food processor. Close enough and makes a super awesome punch of onion!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Roasted Sweet Potato

I used to make these regularly back in the day.  I'd dress them in olive oil with the seasonings varying each time.  They were an incredible meal accompaniment but since going paleo, I don't indulge in as many starchy foods. I've also stopped cooking with Olive Oil and save it for raw consumption in salads and such.

Enter Bacon Fat

I massaged these puppies with a couple of tablespoons of bacon fat and the flavour was to die for.  Little sweet bacon morsels.  Delish!

Roasted Sweet Potato:

Preheat oven to 400 F
2 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp Dried Rosemary
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tbsp Bacon Fat
Pinches of Sea Salt to taste

Line baking pan with foil and spread out chopped sweet potato.  Sprinkle spices over sweet potato.  You can either throw bacon fat on top or just place it in your hand cause it's going to get messy.  Lovingly massage the bacon fat, coating each morsel until evenly greased.  Throw in the oven for 20 minutes or until tender. 

2 Tbsp Bacon Fat, 1 Tsp Dried Rosemary, 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder

Add ingredients to chopped sweet potato and massage.
Try not to eat the whole pan

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Thinking back to the beginning and how far I've come . . .

I first came across a Primal/Paleo lifestyle during my somewhat successful attempt at P90X.  I was 2 months in to the regiment and was seeing pretty good results in my strength. My ability to do push ups (not on my knees) increased considerably, my energy was decent and I was sleeping really well.

My diet at the time was fairly simple. I ate meat regularly and started purchasing from our local butcher. I had salads and plenty of vegetables and I was big on fruit smoothies (with oatmeal and honey) and Starbuck's Lattes. I avoided bread, except on the rare occasions I came across an authentic french croissant or sourdough and I occasionally accompanied my meals with brown basmati rice.  Desserts were far and few and would save most of my uber sugary indulgences for birthdays and holidays.  My friends and family considered me really healthy, but I didn't feel that way.

I've always had a passion for food, health and nutrition and felt that my balance with both good and refined foods was a healthy one.

I frequented the site Fitbomb where a thirty-something chronicled his accounts with P90X.  I used it as a reference; his descriptions of all of the workouts (in all their grueling intensity) was both amusing and a foresight to my next day of pain.  Fitbomb is an incredible site with multi daily postings related to fitness, paleo and current health related issues via linked videos and articles.  The guy is hilarious and a real treat to follow everyday.  His wife, who is mentioned as "M", has her own recipe blog nom nom paleo.  I recommend checking both of them out if you haven't already.

So anyway, it was through Fitbomb that I came across the soon to be released The Primal Blueprint.  I visited the website and I absorbed all the information I could.  The testimonies of results were touching and incredible and I loved the wonderful support and sense of community that the forum provided.  The lifestyle clicked with me instantly and made sense, since I had had similar health benefits with my struggles with a strict Candida Albicans diet a few years earlier.

Since April 2010, I have eased into a Paleo lifestyle.  I purchased my Vibrams and sprinted once per week around the neighbourhood.  I purchased grass-fed beef and bought eggs from pastured chickens.  Their dark yolks are incredible!  I also ate a lot of bacon :)

2011 marked the removal of dairy, mostly in the form of copious amounts of heavy cream I'd been using to top off all the coffee I'd been consuming.  I have also removed caffeine from my diet and enjoy herbal teas more regularly.  Butter is still used for cooking and for drenching my veggies in (I will not give up my butter).  Removing the heavy cream resulted in a bit more weight loss, which was unexpected but not a terrible thing.  I hadn't been aware of the slight bloating at the time I was consuming it, but since removing it, my guts are much happier.

I enjoy the benefits of Intermittent Fasting a few times per week, skipping either breakfast or dinner.

I take 1 tsp of Carlson's Cod Liver Oil every night before I go to bed and 1000-3000 IU of D3 in the morning (when I remember).

I haven't used soap, shampoo or any products on my hair or skin since July 2010.  My skin is incredibly smooth/soft and I "wash" my hair once a week with an egg yolk and a rinse of apple cider vinegar.  I do shower regularly in between, but just use water.  I use coconut oil to moisturise my skin if it gets a little dry, especially in a hot dry apartment during a cold dry winter.

For the first time in a long time, I feel really good.  I'm preparing to apply to school for September and my husband and I will be booking our 3 week trip to Japan for April (Yay!).  I don't pick up my camera as often as I'd like to, but sometimes life just gets a bit busy.  I hope to pay a little more attention to this blog and my other one.  Sometimes I have so many thoughts and ideas at once, I forget to write them down.  Now I jot them down in my iPod Touch, so no more excuses :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Primal Pets

Cats are obligate (strict) carnivores, relying on nutrients from animal tissue to satisfy their nutritional needs (protein and fat).  They lack specific enzymes to properly digest carbohydrates (grains/vegetables).  Most commercial cat foods are loaded with carbs in the form of brown rice, barley, wheat and potato and corn.  Dry foods make up the bulk of carbohydrates, but several canned food brands also add these as fillers, mostly to bulk and keep the cost down.

Nami is a 2.5 year old black and white female cat.  She has had digestive issues since day one resulting in occasional episodes of both diarrhea and constipation.  She loved her dry food and had a can of wet food once per day.  She didn't particularly care for the wet food but steadily ate her dry.  Her weight was average at 11 lbs. 

Nami being ADORABLE

We took her to the vet numerous times to discuss her digestive issues only to be given a new brand of dry for her to try.  After several brands of her either not liking or not reacting well, we finally found a Hypo-Allergenic brand that she was okay with.  It cost $35 for a small bag.  Yikes!

In October 2010, we introduced kitty number 2 to the family.  His name is Mushi.  He's a healthy, hyper and a typically destructive but loveable kitten.  If you are interested, you can read about their introduction here.  My concern at the time with introducing him was that we were going to upset Nami's special Hypo-Allergenic diet.  The kitten wouldn't be able to eat her specific dry food, so I did some research to try and figure out a solution.

Mushi at 3 months

My research got me thinking.  After such incredible results modifying my diet and eliminating sugar and grains, I became concerned about some of the ingredients listed on the cans of food I purchased for Nami.  I always figured I was treating her well with only the finest "organic" brands of food featuring an animal product and some brown rice and vegetables.  Realizing that I didn't need grains to survive, I thought about what I was doing to my cats health.  It dawned on me that some of the digestive issues she was going through may have a lot to do with the brown rice and extra veggies in her diet.

I removed the dry food immediately from her diet and switched to wet food only.  After some more research, I came across a brand of cat food called Before Grain.  These are cans of 96% meat and are grain and vegetable free.  It was perfect for both cats and kittens so I didn't have to worry about separating anyone's dish.  They also provided a grain free dry food, but I considered the amount of processing it had to go through probably wasn't that good, so decided not to purchase it.

The cats loved it and Nami went through a bit of a digestive transition with the food resulting in a couple of episodes of diarrhea.  This most likely happened because of the sudden change in her diet (and also the stress of a new kitty in her territory).

It has been three months since the food has been introduced and I'm proud to say Nami has transformed.  Not only have her digestive issues completely vanished, but her fur is super soft and shiny and her eyes are so much brighter.  She lost 1 lb and she is so fit, lean and incredibly energetic (some credit should probably go to Mushi for giving her a regular run around the apartment).

Other brands that we've come across over the months are Wellness Core Grain Free and Merrick.  The Merrick brand, which also makes Before Grain, does contain some fruit and vegetable, but is free from grains. 

Of course, the ideal way to feed your cat would be to make your own.  For more information on this and switching your cats to a more "Primal" diet, please visit

Play Time

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy New Year and Coconut Brownies!

Such a busy holiday season!  I must admit I entirely forgot about my blogs.  But, Happy New Year to everyone!!  I hope you enjoyed the holidays with your family and friends :)

I started the new year immediately with a stomach flu that left me out of commission for an entire week (not the best way to start off a new year with your employer, either).  I haven't been sick like that in a long time and I'm usually very careful about handwashing and eating well to keep my immunity in check.  So, my first week of 2011 was spent dozing in and out on the couch with episodes of Desperate Housewives playing in the background.  My cats used my warm slightly feverish body as a heating pad all week, which is both morbid and cute.

My holidays were filled with non-paleo treats and I suffered tremendously.  It's all tasty at first, but the effects shortly kick in and all goes to hell in a hand basket for my guts.  I got into a pattern of just saying "oh, it's just one . . one won't kill me" and my indulgences for three weeks had me gain 5 lbs and some lovely headaches and lethargy.  Actually, that's most likely where the stomach flu stemmed from.  My craptastic culinary voyage got my immune system into a funk.  Lesson learned . . . I hope.

But, I'm all better now!  Got my eating in order as soon as I got my appetite back.  5 lbs gone (kinda thanks to the flu) and I'm in a good place.  My days are super bacon filled and I'm feeling pretty darn good.

I made some softball size Marvellous Meatballs tonight in a lovely sauce.  Recipe thanks to my most recent paleo blog discovery Everyday Paleo.  Created by Sarah Fragoso, her recipes are simple and incredibly tasty.  Definitely one of the best recent additions to my blogroll.  I wish Sarah all the best with the release of her new book and if you're interested, she recently started a podcast, Paleo Talk.

I just finished making a batch of brownies.  I occasionally like to test out recipes to bring treats for my colleagues at work. 

Coconut Brownies

7 Tbsp Coconut oil

1/2 Cup Honey

2 eggs

9 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

1/4 Cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut

1/2 Cup Almond Flour

1/4 Cup Arrowroot

1/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

Mix all ingredients and pour into a coconut oil greased 8x8 inch pan. Bake at 350 for about 20
minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

They turned out quite well and make a lovely thin cake brownie (1 cm thick).  Because of the sweetness of the dark chocolate chips, I could probably reduce the honey a bit more.  If you try them, let me know how they turn out!