Packed Lunch (01/30/14)

This is what I sent with Hubby and the Kids for lunch today (I don’t work Thursdays, so I am having leftovers for my lunch)

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Clockwise from the top right-hand section:

  • Veggie chips in a silicone muffin cup (sweetpotatoes, zucchini, eggplant) and 3 bacon wrapped dates
  • celery and cucumber sticks
  • Creamy spinach dip
  • baby carrots and a radish.

They also took some fruit which was packed separately (a choice of banana, apple or a clementine)

They also took their reusable water-bottles filled with water.

Chicken Liver Pate

I love eating liver, which is a good thing because it is so good for you.  And not only that, it is cheap to buy.  If you are struggling to make ends meet while eating paleo, definitely consider adding more organ meats to your diet.  Liver, and especially chicken livers are really economical.  I do recommend that you use pastured and/or organically reared chicken liver when possible.

Some people express concern about the possiblity of toxins in liver, and think that it is not a good idea to eat it because it is a detox organ.  While this is true that the liver does remove toxins from the body, it simply breaks them down so that they can be excreted by other organs.  The liver does not store any of these toxins and in a healthy animal is perfectly safe to eat.

Liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can buy.   It is a good source of Thiamin, Zinc, Copper and Manganese, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Phosphorus and Selenium.  While liver is high in cholesterol, it has been shown that dietary cholesterol has very little bearing on blood cholesterol (1, 2, 3), and not only that, you actually NEED cholesterol to make a lot of the steroid hormones that your body relies on.  Your brain also relies on cholesterol to function  There have been studies that have shown that cholesterol is vital for memory.  And if you don’t eat enough of it your body will simply make more.

One of my favourite ways to eat liver, especially in the case of chicken livers, is to make a pate.

Smooth, creamy and rich, this barely tastes like liver.  And making it into a pate, paste or spread removes most of the “ick” factor that people have when faced with a hunk of liver.  Instead of that hunk of what is obviously an internal organ, you have this rich, creamy spread.  This is a good way to get kids to eat liver…  my girls love dipping veggies in the creamy meatiness.

I know what you are thinking though….  Pate should be served on toast.  And toast is not Paleo or AIP-friendly.

If you ate bread (even paleo bread), you could make toast and spread a generous amount of this pate onto it.  But seriously, it is just as good with celery sticks, baby carrots and cucumber slices.

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I will often spread it into the hollow center of a celery stick and make a savory version of “ants on a log”.  YUM!

This makes a great appetizer or snack, but it could also be a quick lunch.  And I have been known to eat it for breakfast as well!  In this snack that I prepared for B, the radish slices take the place of crackers.

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And if you don’t have chicken livers, you could use any other liver you can get your hands on.  Calves liver makes a delicious pate, but even beef or pigs liver would work.  The flavour would not be so delicate, but it would be very nutritious, and would still taste good.

Chicken Liver Pate

CLP3

  • 1½lb chicken livers (or any other liver you care to use), trimmed
  • 1 shallot – chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ⅓ cup bone broth
  • Sea salt to taste
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 3 tbsp coconut cream (the thick layer from the top of a can of coconut milk)
  • ½ cup of good quality cooking fat (you can use anything that works with your diet – lard, tallow, coconut oil, bacon drippings, even ghee or butter as long as you are not sensitive to it)

Melt 2 tbsp of the cooking fat in a skillet and add the shallot and garlic.  Cook over a low heat until softened.  Add the sage, rosemary, thyme and bayleaf and continue cooking for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile trim your liver and if large pieces, cut into chunks.

Add the liver to the pan and cook, stirring until it is browned on the outside but still pink in the middle.  Add the bone broth and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove the bay leaf.

Transfer the contents of the skillet to a food processor or blender.  Add the coconut milk and remaining ingredients, including the leftover cooking fat.

Pulse until everything is smooth, creamy and evenly blended.

Pour into a serving dish and refrigerate until cold.

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To serve, scoop out the amount required, and serve.

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If you want to be able to turn the finished pate out and slice it, you will need to line a loaf tin with parchment paper before pouring in the pate.

This will keep for at least a week in the fridge.

Ground Beef Hash

This is a quick, healthy and economical meal. It is pretty tasty as well.

And all the ingredients are AIP-friendly, and suitable for the elimination stage as long as you don’t serve it with ketchup (Ketchup would be a stage 4 reintroduction because it contains tomatoes).

We eat this a lot for dinner, and there are usually some leftovers which are great for breakfast. Having said that, this would make a great breakfast all by itself.

I pulse the mushrooms in the food processor for this. It means that they are very finely chopped and are hidden by the ground beef so that J (the mushroom hater) can’t find them. They still provide the same amount of nutrition and also add to the flavour.

Ground Beef Hash
Serves 6-8

BH1

2lb ground beef (preferably grass-fed)
2 tbsp coconut oil (you could also use bacon fat, tallow or lard)
1 onion – chopped
2 sticks celery – chopped
8 oz mushrooms – finely chopped
1 large sweet potato – diced
5 cloves of garlic – crushed
1 cup bone broth
Sea salt to taste
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried thyme
1tbsp coconut aminos
1tbsp balsamic vinegar
1-2tbsp coconut flour
2 cups greens – chopped (kale, chard, spinach etc.)

Chop the onion, and celery finely. Pulse the mushrooms in the food processor until very finely chopped. Dice the sweet potato and crush the garlic.

Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet and add the onions. Sauté them until lightly caramelized. Add the mushrooms, celery and sweet potato and cook for 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and toss until browned.

Now add the herbs, sea salt, broth, coconut aminos and balsamic vinegar. Toss it all we’ll and allow to cook for 10 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add the coconut flour and greens and cook for 5 minutes until the greens are wilted.

Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary and serve at once.

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We like to serve this with Paleo ketchup (this is a stage 4 reintroduction, I just don’t have the ketchup and everyone else does). As you can see, J likes hash with her ketchup…..

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Shared at the Paleo AIP Recipe Roundup #21

Packed Lunch 01/27/14

This is the packed lunch that I made for Hubby and the girls:

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Clockwise from the top let hand corner I packed:

They also took fruit (a choice of mandarins, apples and banana) and a reusable water-bottle full of water.

I can’t eat the energy bars (contain nuts, nut butter and seeds) or taco muffins (contains nightshade spices), so I took leftover soup, fruit and veggies for my lunch.

Beef Taco Muffins

These are a popular lunch box filler in our house.  They would also be great for a picnic or a snack.  And I guess you could also eat them for a lighter evening meal with a salad as well.  They are good both cold and hot right out of the oven.

My family all love spicy food, so these are a little spicy.  I am sad that I cannot eat them (chilli is a nightshade and is banned on the AIP), but then again, I also cannot eat eggs either…  If you don’t eat chilli or don’t like spice, you can easily leave it out or reduce the amount to your taste.

You cannot leave out the eggs however.

Nightshade spices such as chilli are an AIP stage 4 reintroduction.  Eggs are a stage 2 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Beef Taco Muffins

makes around 18 small muffins

BTM1

  • 1lb ground beef (preferably grass-fed)
  • 1 tbsp fat of choice (I used coconut oil)
  • ½ onion – pulsed until finely chopped in the food processor
  • 8 mushrooms – pulsed until finely chopped in the food processor
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp sea salt salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 8 eggs – beaten
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 1 cup grated cheese (optional)

First of all you need to make your taco meat.  Place the ground beef in a skillet and brown, stirring it often.

Remove and allow any excess fat to drain.  Melt the coconut oil in the skillet, and add the onion and mushrooms.  Cook gently for 5 minutes or so until the onion is softened.  Return the ground beef to the skillet and add all the spices, herbs and other seasonings.  Toss well for 5 minutes until everything is well mixed and heated through.

Turn the ground meat into a large bowl.

Now you need to wilt the spinach (I use the same skillet and just toss it with the water that clings to the leaves after washing it).  Once it is wilted, chop the spinach finely and add to the bowl along with the beef.

Add the eggs, coconut flour and almond flour and mix everything well.

Pour the batter into muffin cups (I like silicone ones), filling each one ¾ full.  Don’t overfill them or the mixture will run everywhere making a mess on the base of your oven!

Top each muffin with a little grated cheese if using (this is not a paleo option, it is more primal, but it does taste good).

Bake in a preheated 190°C/375°F oven for 20-30 minutes until set and the tops are browned.

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Cool on a wire rack and store in the fridge.

Paleo Homemade Spicy Ketchup

Hubby and the girls all love ketchup.  They will slather it on almost anything.  (sadly I can’t eat it as it contains nightshades – tomatoes and spices, that are not part of the AIP protocol.

I still make ketchup for those who can eat it though.  They eat it for breakfast, as part of a packed lunch (to dip sausage or chicken nuggets etc), and it goes well with most evening recipes as well.  We go through quite a lot of this stuff!

This is my most common “go-to” ketchup recipe.

It has a good tomatoey flavour, but a spiciness that hubby and the girls love.  And the best bit is that there is no sugar at all.

This is an AIP stage 4 reintroduction recipe.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Homemade Spicy Ketchup (Paleo)

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  • 2 x 156ml (5.5 fl oz) cans of 100% tomato paste
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅔ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • pinch of allspice
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

This is a very simple recipe.  You just put all the ingredients in a pan together and whisk until it comes to the boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes until thick.

Cool and pack in a jar.

Keeps well in the fridge.

Crispy Pork Belly Revisited – AIP Friendly

A few months ago, I posted my crispy pork belly recipe, which was not paleo (due to soy sauce and miso paste being used), but it was also not AIP friendly because it also contains sesame oil (sesame is a seed and therefor not part of the AIP protocol), in addition, it also contained five spice powder, which according to Wikipedia, contains fennel seeds (Again not AIP).  And the dipping sauce I served with it is also not AIP-friendly due to the chilli and soy sauce.

I had 2 pieces of pork belly in my freezer however, and was wondering how I could make this recipe (which is delicious!) in to a form that I could eat on the paleo AIP protocol that I am following.

First of all, I knew I wanted to keep the crispiness of the skin that I achieved in the original recipe – that was fairly simple, it is achieved by scoring the skin and then pouring boiling water over it to scald it, and then allowing it to dry out over several hours in the refrigerator.

Achieving the Asian flavours without the use of the miso and soy sauce was more difficult.  I did manage to achieve it though with the aid of coconut aminos, fish sauce, ginger, garlic and a homemade five-spice blend (recipe below) that did not include any non-elimination stage spices.  I also modified the dipping sauce to not include any chilli or sesame oil.  I took my portion of the sauce and then added sriracha sauce for my chilli loving family members who are not following the AIP-protocol.

This recipe is paleo, and to the best of my knowledge it is AIP-friendly.

As in my previous recipe, give this plenty of time – start it 24 hours before you plan to eat it for the most crispy skin.  The longer it sits in the refrigerator the better result you will get.

So this is it…  the crispy pork belly revisited recipe:

Crispy Pork Belly Revisited (AIP/Paleo)

Serves6

PBRev3

  • 1.5 kg(a prox 3.3lb) pork belly (for us this was 2 very large pieces) – skin on
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger root
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 2 tbsp five-spice powder (homemade – recipe below)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (choose one with no AIP additives – mine had fish, salt and water as the only ingredients)
  • 1 tbsp sea salt

The initial instructions are not much different from the original recipe….  you take your pork belly and score the skin, taking care not to go so deep that you penetrate the fat and go down into the meat (a very sharp knife is needed for this, although I have seen recommendations to use a scalpel blade for it… never tried it, may try that next time!  It makes sense though, because pig skin is very similar to human skin – heck they test sunscreen on pigs!).  Aim for a cut every 1cm/½” but you don’t have to be too precise about it.

After scoring the skin, you need to place your pork belly on a wire rack and pour a kettle-full of boiling water all over it – this step is vital, it is what makes that wonderful crispiness that we are trying to achieve.  Place the wire rack over the sink before pouring the boiling water over – it is easier that way.

Once scalded with the boiling water you are going to stash your pork in the refrigerator still sat on the wire rack for as long as possible.  Aim for at least 2 hours, but 24 hours is not too much.  You are drying out the skin here, and that is what is going to give you that perfectly crisp crackling when you cook it.

For the last 2 hours or even more, you are going to marinade your pork.  In my previous recipe I had you rub your pork belly with a mixture of miso and soy sauce.    This time you are going to use a mix of the ginger, garlic, five-spice, honey, coconut aminos and fish sauce.
Mix all these ingredients in a shallow dish and  sit the flesh side only of you pork belly in the marinade.  Put the dish back in the refrigerator and leave it until you are ready to cook it.  The longer it marinates, the better flavour you will get in your meat.

Once the time comes to cook your pork belly, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.  Place the pork on a wire rack in a roasting tray (skin side up), scatter it with the sea salt,  and roast for 1½ – 2 hours until the meat is cooked through.

Increase the oven temperature to 220°C/425F and continue cooking until the skin is crispy.

Remove the pork from the oven and allow to rest for 15-30 minutes while you prepare what ever you are serving with your pork belly (this time I serve stirfried bok choi and a dipping sauce).

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Slice the pork into thick slices, and serve with the accompaniments and the dipping sauce below:

Dipping sauce for roast pork belly (AIP free)

PBRev2

  • 3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic – grated
  • ½ tbsp grated fresh root ginger

Mix all the ingredients together and serve with the  crispy pork belly.  For those who are not AIP, you can add sriracha sauce or diced red chilli to taste to the dipping sauce.  If you have a family that is a mixture of AIP and non-AIP, as ours is, simply take out the dipping sauce portions for the AIP people and add the chilli to the rest.

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I served the pork belly on top of a bed of stir-fried bok choi with the dipping sauce.  There were no leftovers!

Homemade AIP-Friendly Five Spice

  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground dried orange or tangerine peel

mix all the spices together and use as directed in the recipe.

Omm Nomm, Nomm…..

Shared on the Paleo AIP RecipeRoundtable #12

Shared at Waste Not Want Not Wednesday #72

Shared at Real Food Wednesday 5/14/14

Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk

This is an easy way to cook a whole chicken that leaves the meat moist, with a subtle flavour of garlic, lemon and coconut.
This meal was cooked by A as I was working late and did not get home until 7:30pm.

Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk
Serves 4-6

CBC1

1 whole chicken
Sea salt to taste
Coconut oil to cook
2 lemons – zest and juice
4oz mushrooms – thinly sliced
1 head of garlic divided in to cloves, peeled but left whole
2 cups coconut milk
1 cinnamon stick
1 bunch green onions – chopped
1 handful of fresh parsley – chopped

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.
Dry the chicken sand season well with salt.
Heat a heavy oven-proof pot on the stove over a medium high heat and. Melt some of the coconut oil in it. Brown the chicken all over, turning with tongs.
Add the lemon zest, mushrooms, garlic, cinnamon stick and coconut milk to the pot.
Cover and bake the chicken in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, removing the lid for the last 30 minutes to allow the top to brown.
Remove the chicken flesh from the bones using tongs and add the chunks of flesh to the sauce e in the pot. Shred or chop any very large pieces. Add the lemon juice, green onions and parsley and gently heat it through.

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Serve over a bed of cauliflower rice.

Shared on the Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #12

Shared at Allergy Free Wednesdays

Shared at Clever Chicks Blog Hop #84

Shared at Gluten Free Friday #88

Chicken Bacon and Mushroom Alfredo With Spaghetti Squash

I mentioned in this post that I am fond of serving food inside a halved spaghetti squash because it saves me the need to actually shred the squash myself.

The shape of the squash makes a perfect bowl for serving, and as long as it is a smaller sized squash, it also makes a perfect single serving.  The person eating the squash can shred it as they go and mix it with the sauce.

This is what I served for Hubby and myself last night as a late night dinner (Hubby had been to a Dungeons and Dragons game that didn’t finish until after 9pm, and it was almost 10pm by the time he had got home.)

This meal is AIP friendly, quick, tasty and uses leftover cooked chicken breasts perfectly.

Chicken Bacon and Mushroom Alfredo with Spaghetti Squash

serves 2

CBA3

  • 1 small spaghetti squash – cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 4 rashers bacon – chopped
  • ½ small onion – finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 8oz mushrooms – sliced
  • 8oz cooked chicken breast – diced
  • 1 packed cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup coconut milk (use the thicker stuff from the top of the can)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley – chopped
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.

Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds and guts (save the seeds to roast as I mentioned in this post).  Place the squash on a baking tray and roast in the oven until tender.  This will take around an hour.  If you are in a hurry, you could cook the squash in the microwave.

Place the chopped bacon in a skillet over a medium heat and cook until crispy.  Remove the bacon, leaving most of the fat in the pan and set it aside.

Add the onions to the bacon fat and cook for around 5 minutes until translucent and starting to soften.   Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes until the mushrooms are looking almost cooked.

Add the chicken breast and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted.  Now add the coconut milk and herbs and season with salt.

Toss everything around until it is all hot, and serve inside the halved spaghetti squash, topped with the reserved cooked bacon.

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Doesn’t that look yummy?

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It is also surprisingly filling.  I could only eat half of my portion before I felt stuffed so I stashed it in the fridge for lunch today.

Shared at Paleo AIP Roundtable #11

Shared at Gluten Free Wednesday 4-16-14

Shared at Full Plate Thursday 4-24-14

Shared at Gluten Free Friday #89

Leftover Roast Beef with Chimichurri Sauce

We had roast beef on Sunday for dinner, so I had some leftover roast beef to use for dinner on Monday.

I had cooked it so that it was beautifully rare, so I did not want to heat it up and overcook it.  But I always think that cold roast beef needs some kind of sauce to go with it.  Due to me being on the AIP protocol, I cannot eat mustard as it is a seed, which is not AIP friendly.

So I came up with this beautiful, green sauce that complemented the beef beautifully.  Don’t save this sauce to just serve with roast beef however.  It would complement fish, shrimp or even chicken perfectly as well.

Chimichurri Sauce

serves 6-8

bchimi3

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup parsley – stems removed
  • 1 cup cilantro – de-stemmed
  • 6 gloves of garlic – peeled
  • ½ small onion
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • sea salt to taste

All you do to make this incredibly tasty and simple sauce is to throw all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse it until it is finely chopped.

Chill in the fridge until required and serve over sliced meat, chicken or fish.

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We served the cold beef and chimichurri sauce with rutabaga mash and sauteed kale and it was delicious.

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Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #25

Shared at Pennywise Platter