Today’s Packed Lunch (11/27/13)

I haven’t posted a packed lunch update for a while…  This is not because I have not been making the healthy packed lunches, it is more because I have been stupidly busy.   No time!

Today I am starting work a little bit later, so I have a few minutes to write a post and add a picture.

So this is what I packed for all of us (except A, who has the day off school today).

lunch10-27-13

Clockwise from the top left-hand corner:

  • The little-dipper filled with some homemade tomato sauce with a chocolate energy-bar below
  • Cherry tomatoes and a mini-cuke cut into 4
  • red-leaf lettuce with 5 mini meatballs on top (I added a cocktail stick to spear the meatballs on so that they can be dipped in the tomato sauce without getting your hands messy)
  • baby carrots and some mandarin orange segments

I also added a reusable water-bottle filled with water.

Stirfried Pork

We eat a lot of pork, that is something that I am not apologetic about because we have found a really good source of affordably priced pastured pork, which we buy from Spraggs Meat Shops.

My favorite way to cook pork is to use it in Asian inspired dishes.  Not only is it quick and easy (so perfect after a long day at work), but it always tastes fantastic…

There is something about stirfrying pork with the Asian spices and aromatics that makes it taste wonderful.

So, dinner tonight was a pork stirfry, topped wtih some scrambled egg (it was supposed to be shredded omelet but I messed up!) and steamed bok-choi

Because of the eggs in this recipe, it is a stage 2 reintroduction.

When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommened this guide

Stirfried Pork

serves 6

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  • 1lb boneless pork – cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 2 tbsp lard (or fat of choice)
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 1″ piece of ginger – peeled and grated
  • 1 carrot – peeled and julinned
  • 1 stalk celery – peeled and julienned
  • 2 cups purple cabbage – shredded
  • 1 cup thinly sliced bamboo shoots (I used canned ones, in nothing but salted water)
  • 2 tbsp paleo hoisin sauce
  • ½ cup bone broth
  • 4 eggs –  beaten
  • 4 green onions – sliced
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

Mix the ACV, sesame oil and coconut aminos together in a bowl and add the sliced pork.  Stash the bowl in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Heat 1 tbsp lard in a heavy pan.  Season the eggs with salt and pepper and mix in the green onions.  Scramble the eggs in the lard and keep warm. (you could also make this as a thin green-onion studded omelet and shred it finely if you are better at making omelets than I am!).

Melt the remaining tbsp of lard in a wok and add the garlic and ginger.  Stirfry for a minute or two but do not allow the garlic to burn (burned garlic tastes horrid!).

Add the pork and cook until browned – about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients (carrots, celery, cabbage, bamboo shoots, Hoisin sauce and bone broth) and stirfry for 5-10 minutes until everything is cooked.

Serve at once topped with the scrambled egg.

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I served this with steamed bok-choi that I dressed with a tablespoon of sesame oil and a teaspoon of coconut aminos but you could also serve it with cauliflower rice – or even REAL rice if you chose to…

Beet-loaf (Meatloaf)

I came up with this recipe when I was trying to make some beet and rosemary burgers that I found at this site….

Unfortunately, as I was making them, it became very clear that there was no way that the mixture  had would work as a burger…  I suspect it was too little meat and too much beet.  It just kept falling apart.

Thinking on my feet, I decided to turn it into a meatloaf (because I often add veggies to meatloaf to add extra moisture and nutrition) and what else could I call it but a Beet-loaf….

Let me tell you, this was absolutely wonderful!  The beets added a slightly sweet earthy quality to the grass-fed ground beef.  They also kept it deliciously moist.  It is also a good way to get extra veggies in your diet – perfect if you are feeding a picky eater…  just don’t tell them that there are beets in there!  Having said that, my kids LOVE beets, so were thrilled to know that this was called a “beet-loaf”…

This was served with a celeriac mash, gravy (leftover from Thanksgiving and frozen) and steamed broccoli.

There were no leftovers!

Beet-loaf

served 6

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  • 2lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 3 large beets – grated
  • 1 onion – finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary – removed from the stalk and chopped
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano – chopped

Basically you are going to dump everything into a large bowl and mix it all together.  Get it nice and evenly mixed and then pack it into a loaf-tin (I use silicone ones)

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Bake in a 190°C/350°F oven for around 45 minutes until it is cooked.

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Cut into large chunks and serve with mash, gravy and a green veg of your choice…

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Comfort food at it’s best….

Shared at: Fat Tuesday, Paleo AIP Recipe Round Table #69, Gluten Free Fridays

Creamy Spinach Dip

This wonderful dip is 100% paleo despite the creaminess.  It is also dairy and gluten-free, raw and vegan to boot.  And it tastes incredibly delicious!

This is what I served the other day in the packed lunches…  I love serving dips in the kids lunches because research has shown that it is a good way of getting your kids to eat more veggies…  all I can say is that having seen what they bring back from school, it WORKS!  They will eat far more veggies (and everything else too) on the days I serve a dip…

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And with this dip, not only are they dipping and eating the veggies, there are veggies IN the dip as well….

It is great in packed lunches because it will not spoil if kept at room temperature for a few hours (the only issue is the presence of the nuts as some schools ban them), but it would also make a great appetizer or snack…  heck, I suspect it would be fab piled on top of a burger as well!

This recipe contains nuts and tahini, both of which are AIP stage 2 reintroductions.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Creamy Spinach Dip

serves 6-8

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  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup blanched almonds
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 green onions – chopped
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

Put the cashews and almonds in a bowl and cover with cold water.  Leave to soak for several hours.  This not only deactivates some of the anti-nutrients in the nuts, but it also is what makes the dip creamy… the nuts will absorb the water and plump up.  Don’t stint on the soaking time!  Having said that, you don’t want to go mad – you don’t want those nuts starting to sprout or go bad on you…  3-4 hours is plenty.

Drain the nuts and put in a food processor.  Dump in all the rest of the ingredients and process until thick and creamy.  If it is too thick, add a little water (you could reserve some of the nut-soaking water for this).

Transfer to a serving dish and chill until needed.

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This is great served with all kinds of veggies, veggie chips or homemade crackers.

Lunch (11/21/13)

This is what I made for packed lunches today:

lunch11-20-13

Clockwise from the top left-hand corner:

  • a honey cake with some pecans below
  • a baby cuke cut into 4
  • green leaf lettuce with some salami
  • a chunk of brie, cherry tomatoes and some daikon radish
  • extra-dark (95% cocoa solid) chocolate

I also sent them with some red grapes (packed separately) and a reusable water-bottle filled with water.Because of the brie cheese, this lunchbox is primal rather than paleo.  But it is still very healthy and full of good foods….

Only the kids took this – I am not working today and Hubby has a training course to do (some health and safety thing in case he needs to go and work up in the oil-fields) and does not need to take a lunch.

Packed Lunch (11/19/13)

Today’s packed lunch that I made for the girls…

lunch11-19-13

Clockwise from the top left-hand corner:

I also sent them with an apple and reusable water-bottle of water that was packed separately.

 

 

Chocolate Chia Pudding

What to do when you are craving chocolate at 11pm at night but have no chocolate in the house?  You make yourself a chocolate pudding!

Simple, easy, tasty and good for you, this pudding is satisfying and full of healthy fats.  And it is chocolate!  What is there not to love about it?

I not only devoured a bowl of this as a late-night snack, but it also made a lunch-box filler for the 4 girls for lunch the next day…

Seeds, including chia seeds, and chocolate are both AIP stage 2 reintroductions.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Chocolate Chia Pudding

makes 1 large snack and 4 lunchbox fillers

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  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 5 dates
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

This recipe is so simple that it is almost embarrassing to call it a recipe.  All you do is throw everything in your food-processor or blender and process it until it is smooth and creamy.

Pour into a bowl and allow it to thicken – this will take about 30 minutes.

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If wanting to send it as a lunch box snack, you can pour it into small pots or use reusable silicone icepop containers like I did….

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These containers are slightly too long to fit into our Planet Boxes, hence the end being folded over and secured with a rubber band… but hey, it works!  by the next day’s lunchtime, the pudding had set to a very satisfying mousse-like consistency and was easy to squeeze out of the container.

Spicy BBQ Sauce

I love BBQ sauce with pork…  actually, I love BBQ sauce with all meats!  This is the sauce that I made to go with some pork ribs that I cooked last night for dinner.

It is tangy and spicy, with just the right about of heat to complement the ribs.  This recipe is a little more complicated than the previous BBQ sauce I posted, and it has a much more balanced spicy flavour.  Because dates are used to sweeten the sauce and I used coconut aminos, it is also both Paleo and Whole30 compliant.

Because none of us really like our ribs sticky, I cooked them with a dry-rub and then served the sauce on the side.

This is a stage 4 reintroduction as it contains nightshade spices and tomatoes.

Spicy BBQ Sauce

makes 3 cups

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  • ¼ cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 small onion – chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 1 small can (156ml/5.5 fl oz) tomato paste (read the labels to ensure that there are no extra ingredients.  The one I used is just pure tomato paste)
  • 1 can (796ml/28 oz) diced tomatoes. (again, read labels – you want nothing but tomatoes and tomato juice in your can)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp mustard powder
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos (if not eating paleo/doing a Whole30, you could substitute soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1″ piece fresh root ginger – peeled and chopped
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp hot chilli powder
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – chopped

Soak the dates in the boiling water for an hour to soften them.

Place all the ingredients in the food processor and puree until smooth.

Transfer the contents of the food processor to a pan and simmer gently for around an hour until the sauce is thick and the colour has darkened.

Either use right away, or transfer to a jar in the fridge.

This sauce gets better and better on being stored in the fridge.  It will keep up to 2 weeks.

Use anywhere that you would normally use a BBQ sauce

Roasted Kabocha Squash Puree

This is the side that I served with the Lamb Chops and Sauerkraut.

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Kabocha squash is a hard shelled winter squash that looks a little bit like a small green pumpkin.  I find the best place to buy these is in Asian grocery stores, but you may be lucky enough to find them at your farmers market or the regular grocery store.

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It has a mild, sweet flavour, but is not as sweet as butternut squash or pumpkin.  It also has a slightly mealy texture.  And this makes it perfect to puree and serve as a squash puree along side savory dishes as a lower carb alternative to mashed potatoes.

I like to roast my squash as it concentrates the flavour, and doesn’t make them watery as steaming or boiling can do.  This means that you do not end up with a sloppy mash/puree.

Roasted Kabocha Squash Puree

serves 6

  • 1 large kabocha squash
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • aprox ¼ cup coconut milk

The first thing you need to do is to cut your squash in half.  To do this, you will need a strong arm and a sharp knife.  Be careful that you don’t cut yourself!

I find this easiest to do if you first cut the stem end out of the squash, in just the same way as you would take the top off a pumpkin to make a lid for your lantern at Halloween.

Next, cut the squash in half and remove the seeds and “guts”

Place the 2 halves cut-side down on a rimmed baking tray and add ¼ cup of water.

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Bake in a 190°C/375°F oven for 35-40 minutes until the flesh is tender.  Then leave to stand for 10-15 minutes until the squash has cooled enough to be able to handle it.

Scoop the orange flesh out of the shell and place it in a food processor.  Add the coconut milk, coconut oil, salt and puree until smooth.  You may need to add a little more or a little less coconut milk to get the texture you want.  The exact quantity will depend on how dry your squash puree is.

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Serve at once.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

These little mouthfuls of gorgeousness are a common lunch-box filler and snack that I make for the girls.

They have a wonderful sweet/salty savoriness going on, and lets face it, everything is better with bacon!  If you are making them to send as part of a packed lunch, make sure that your school allows nuts, as these dates are stuffed with almonds.  If the school is nut-free, simply leave the almonds out.  The same is true if you do not eat almonds for any reason.  The dates will be just as good.

Aside from being a fantastic snack, these would be awesome as a nibble with drinks or an appetizer…

These are stuffed with almonds, which are an AIP stage 2 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

makes 30

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  • 30 pitted dates
  • 30 whole almonds
  • 15 rashers of bacon

These are incredibly simple to make.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.

While it is heating up, stuff one almond inside each date.  Cut each rasher of bacon in half and use it to wrap each date, securing them with a cocktail stick if necessary.

Place the wrapped dates on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the bacon is crisp.

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Serve hot or cold.  Remove the cocktail sticks before packing in a lunchbox to avoid a choking hazard.

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Shared at Gluten-Free Wednesdays 5-14-14

Shared at Allergy-Free Wednesday #117