Packed Lunch 19/12/13

I have not done a packed lunch post in a while despite making paleo style packed lunches every weekday…  today, I have decided to do one though as this is likely to be one of the last lunches I need to make this year.

The kids all had a half-day, I am not working, so the reality was that I only made the one lunch for Hubby (the kids and I ate the same chicken strips and sate sauce for our lunch at home though).  Today is also the last day the kids are at school this year, and while I am working, I am going out for lunch tomorrow.  And Hubby does not need a lunch either for much the same reason.

Anyway, this is what I packed in Hubby’s lunchbox:

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Clockwise from the top left hand corner I packed him:

  • Sate sauce in the little dipper and some fresh pineapple chunks in a reusable silicone cupcake liner
  • baby carrots and black olives
  • 3 chicken fingers on a bed of green-leaf lettuce
  • a homemade energy bar and some walnuts

He also took his reusable waterbottle, and will be making coffee or tea at work.  And of course he has his fat-bombs if he needs and extra snack.

 

Paleo Chicken Fingers

This recipe makes a great lunch, is good as an appetizer and could even be used as a dinner recipe.  They also make a great snack.   And kids LOVE them!

I served these for lunch today…  along with a side of my Thai style almond sate sauce for dipping.

Paleo Chicken Fingers

serves 6

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  • 1½lb (680g) chicken tenders or chicken breast cut into strips
  • 1½ cups almond flour
  • 1½ cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 eggs – beaten
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • coconut oil to fry

If using chicken breasts, cut them into strips.  Season the chicken well with salt and freshly ground blackpepper, paprika, onion and garlic powder.

Whisk the egg in a small bowl.  In a separate bowl mix the almond and coconut flour together.

Take each piece of seasoned chicken and dip it in the egg mix using one hand.  Remove from the egg and place in the bowl of almond and coconut flour.  Using your other hand coat the chicken in the “breading” mix.  Lay the coated chicken on a baking sheet or plate.

Repeat the above with the remaining chicken strips…

By keeping one hand for the egg (wet) and one hand for the dry (flour mixture) you can ensure that you don’t end up in a sticky mess.

Once all the chicken is “breaded”, melt a small amount of coconut oil in a heavy based pan over a medium-high heat.  Add the chicken strips.

Fry the chicken in the coconut oil for 3 minutes each side until the “breading” is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.

You may need to cook these in batches to avoid overcrowding your pan.  For me, it took 3 separate batches to cook all of these.  Keep the first ones you cook warm while cooking the remainder.

Serve with a dipping sauce – I recommend either Paleo Ketchup or my Sate dipping sauce.

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These can be served at once (hot), or they can be chilled in the fridge and served cold for a packed lunch.

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Chocolate Fat Bombs

Hubby is really struggling at the moment…  he feels constantly hungry, constant carb cravings, and it is not helping him with his weight loss or trying to avoid gluten (because he ends up eating chocolate bars from the vending machine at work).

So I decided to try upping his fat content, and as a result made the following fat bombs for him to eat in lieu of those carb and sugar laden chocolate bars.

These are full of good fats – and hopefully will help curb those cravings.

Chocolate and almonds are an AIP stage 2 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Chocolate Fat Bombs

makes 24 individual bars

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  • 2 cups unsweetened dried coconut
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup raw honey (ours comes from Buzz Honey)
  • ¼ cup cocoa (unsweetened)
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

The first thing you need to do is to put the coconut into your food processor.  You are going to leave this running until you get some coconut butter…  depending on how powerful your machine is, it could take anything from a few minutes up to about 10 minutes.  Just leave it running until it starts to clump together and the flakes are starting to break down and resemble nutbutter.

Now add the almond butter, coconut oil, butter, honey and cocoa.  Blend until evenly mixed.

Add the slivered almonds, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla and pulse until evenly mixed.  You don’t want to totally break up the almonds – they are there to provide texture to the finished bar.

Scrape into a loaf tin (I used a silicone one for ease of turning out, if you have a metal one you may need to line it with cling-wrap to be able to get the finished bars out of the tin).

Place in the freezer until frozen solid and then turn out and cut into bars.

I cut the loaf into 12 evenly sized bars and then cut each bar in half again to make 24 small chocolate bars.

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Wrap each bar in cling-wrap and store in the fridge until needed.  They will go squishy if unrefrigerated.

I don’t normally work out the nutritional profile of my recipes, but in this case I was interested in the macro-nutrient profile (specifically, I wanted to know how much fat and protein was in there) so I ran this through the recipe calculator on spark people.

It came up with the following (note this is not complete – I was not interested in all the minutae of the micronutrients for this recipe as it is a snack only)

Serving size  1 bar (1/24 of the recipe)

Calories 248

Total fat 24.4g

Saturated fat 16.7g

Polyunsaturated fat 1.5g

Monounsaturated fat 3.7g

Total Carbs 6.2g

Fiber 3.7g

Sugars 4.4g

Protein 2.8g

Don’t be put off by the high levels of saturated fats in this, there has been research that effectively debunks the myth that dietary saturated fat plays a major role in heart disease.  The main thing is that this is fairly low in the inflammatory polyunsaturated fats but still contains some of the beneficial monounsaturated fats. And the role of all these fats is to fill you up, keep you full and combat those carb/sugar cravings.

It is relatively low in carbs as well – not only is 6.2g not all that much, by the time you deduct the unavailable dietary fiber you end up with an available carb figure of  only 2.5g per serving…  a tiny amount really – hardly enough to cause an insulin spike.   And the protein content was 2.8g per serving.  Not a huge amount, but bear in mind that this is a snack designed to combat cravings, NOT a meal replacement….

Hubby says that these are really effective at helping combat his sugar cravings when he is at work.

And I have to say (having licked the spatula after scraping it out of the food processor), it tastes delicious!  Not overly sweet, with a nice chocolatey flavour and an appealing nutty texture.

I am guessing that if you wanted to make this ultra-low-carb (to fit in with something like the Atkins diet, or similar ultra-low-carb ketogenic diets), you could substitute artificial sweeteners or stevia for the honey…  for ourselves we prefer to be more natural, avoiding any artificial sweeteners and I don’t like the way stevia tastes… besides, I don’t really think 2.5g of available carbs in a snack is all that bad in the big scheme of things really…..

Pork and Coconut Curry

I have said it many times, but I LOVE curries.  And when the weather turns cold, nothing beats them for dinner.

It has been particually cold and snowy here in Calgary, so I decided that I was gong to make a curry for dinner.

A quick rummage in the freezer produced some pork shoulder that I diced up, and a further rummage in the pantry produced some coconut milk.  The coconut milk I use is the Aroy-D brand which contains nothing but coconut and water…  when buying canned coconut milk, you really do need to read the labels – many of them contain “dodgy” ingredients – things like carageenan and guar gum, both of which have been shown to irritate the lining of the intestines.

This curry is cooked in the slow-cooker, which makes it ideal to come home to after a long day at work.  But even if you are home all day, the long slow cooking tenderizes the meat wonderfully, and the spices will fill the house with the delicious smell of curry as it cooks.

This is a a spicy curry, but not overly so.  If you don’t like spice, just reduce the amount of curry powder you add, and cut the jalapeno down to ½ or leave it out entirely.  Of course if you are even more of a spice monster than I am, you could even consider adding 2 Jalapenos or even leaving the seeds in.  Or use hotter chilli peppers….

Because this contains chilli which is a nightshade, this is an AIP stage 4 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Pork and Coconut Curry

serves 6

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  • 3lb pork shoulder – diced into 1″ cubes
  • 1 400ml can of coconut milk
  • 1 156ml/5.5 fl oz can of tomato paste (read the labels and try to find one that is nothing but pure tomato.  I actually use a no-frills one for this reason)
  • 5 cloves of garlic (you can never have too much garlic – especially in the winter as it helps ward off colds and the flu!)
  • 1″ piece of fresh root ginger – peeled and chopped (again, ginger helps ward off colds and the flu.  It is also anti-inflamatory)
  • 6 tbsp curry powder
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 jalapeno chilli pepper – seeded and chopped
  • 1 small onion – chopped
  • 2 bell peppers – seeded and diced.  Use whatever colours you happen to have – mine were red.
  • 8oz mushrooms – halved or cut into quarters depending on the size
  • ½ cup of bone broth

Dice the pork into aprox 1″ cubes, trimming off any excess fat and gristle.

Mix the coconut milk, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, spices and broth to give a creamy mixture.

Place the pork, onion, peppers and mushroom in the slow-cooker and pour over the coconut milk mixture.  Mix well.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

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Serve with coconut “rice”.

I also served some of my homemade chutney and a raita for those who wanted them.

Useful links

For the ladies I was talking to last night who asked me for a bunch of links (you know who you are!)….

These are all the ones I remember saying I would post.  If I have missed any and you remember please let me know.  Also, I will add any I remember later on.

F.lux – the program/app that reduces blue light emissions from your electronics (this does not work on android phones btw…  search for an app called “Good Sleep” if you have a samsung phone… other androids you may need to search for a different app that does the same thing)

Marks Daily Apple – great paleo/primal site.  regular updates and some really informative forums

IMPG forum on facebook  – I am a member here, very useful.

100 days of real food – not paleo, but is real food…  take one of their pledges…

Food babe – if this site does not put you off eating processed food I would be very surprised!

WAPF – the site inspired by Weston A Prices’s research and the Nourishing Traditions cookbook…  real, traditional food.  Not paleo, but still good!

I am sure there are more but I cannot remember them right now…  lmk if there are any other links I should have posted and I will update the post with them.

 

HTH ladies 🙂

Taking a break

I have been taking a break from blogging for the last few days because I have a lot on at work.  I also have a bunch of studying that I need to do.

And all that combined with the Christmas concert season has meant that I have had precious little time for the things that I need to do.  So writing blog posts has had to take a bit of a back seat.

Never fear though, I have still been cooking and eating paleo, and have a bunch of recipes to post after the weekend….

Elk Osso Bucco

First of all, I apologize for not posting for a while….  life got a little crazy round here in Salixisme-land…

Being a massage therapist, I have to do a certain amount of “continuing education” (ie training courses).  Over the last weekend, this was what I was doing.

I did a fire-cupping course on both Saturday and Sunday and now I can offer cupping-massages, or even just use the cupping as part of my normal massages (it is fantastic for trigger-point release). It was a fun weekend…  nothing like playing with fire!

In addition to this, it was our wedding anniversary.  So on Saturday evening, we visited Charcut in downtown Calgary (more on that in another post).  It was a wonderful meal and I ate far too much!  And C had her first ever parade with the Roundup band on Saturday as well.  She was performing at the Santa-claus parade in Fort Mcleod.

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Yesterday I was at work, and considering all the snow that Calgary has been having over the last 2 days, it was a long day.  And on my way home, I experienced the scariest bus ride of my life!  There was so much snow and the roads had not been cleared and there were buses sliding all over the place, loads of accidents and buses getting stuck everywhere…  And the traffic was really slow due to the road-conditions, so my normal 45 minute commute took over 2 hours.  NOT FUN!  By the time I finally got home, I was bitterly cold and I was not in the mood to write a post at all.  All  wanted to do was to collapse in a hot bath with a glass of wine!

Anyhow, back to the recipe:

I love elk meat, and being a lean, wild meat, it is perfectly Paleo.  We don’t eat a lot of it, but when we get the chance to go to the Calgary Farmers Market, we always make sure to visit the Wapiti Ways stand and buy some elk (usually stew meat, liver and hearts).  The last time we were there, he pointed out some sliced elk shanks, and mentioned that they would be perfect for long, slow cooking (most elk is so lean that it needs to be cooked quickly or it becomes tough and inedible).

As soon as I saw the elk shanks, I was thinking “Osso Bucco”…  and that is what I made with this wonderful meat.

This recipe contains tomatoes which are an AIP stage 4 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Elk Osso Bucco

serves 6

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  • 6 thick slices of elk shank (mine were around 1″ thick), bone in
  • coconut oil to sautee
  • 4 rashers of bacon – chopped (we use pastured bacon that we get from Spraggs Meat Shop)
  • 2 onions – peeled and chopped
  • 4 carrots – peeled and chopped
  • 4 sticks of celery – chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 4 tomatoes – diced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bottle of dry red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro – diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley – diced
  • olive oil

First of all you need to sear the elk in a hot pan with a little coconut oil added.  Cook for 1 minute per side until golden brown.  Remove the elk and place it to one side.

Add the chopped bacon to the pan and cook over a medium heat until the fat runs and the bacon is starting to crip.  Add the onion and 2 cloves of garlic and cook over a gentle heat until the onion is translucent.  Add in the carrots and celery, and then add the thyme, bay leaf, lemon juice and pour in the entire bottle of red wine.  Add the tomatoes and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender and the wine is reduced by at least half.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Nestle the elk shanks on top of the veggies and cook, covered, over a low heat for 1½ – 2 hours until the elk is tender but not falling apart.  Turn or baste the elk every  ½ hour.

While the elk is cooking, place the cilantro, parsley and 4 cloves of garlic in a food processor along with the lemon zest and a glug of olive oil.  Pulse until coarsely chopped to make a gremolata.

Serve the elk with mashed vegetables (I used mashed rutabaga) and greens and spoon over the gravy and some of the veggies.

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Sprinkle the gremolata over and serve at once.

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Just look at that wonderful bone marrow in there!

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When I scooped it out and ate it, it was rich, creamy and delicious!  And the elk shanks themselves were perfectly cooked and very tasty.