Bacon, Beet and Fruit Salad – AIP/Paleo

I have been eating a lot of salads lately because I have been getting so many wonderful greens from the CSA that I am a member of.

The last week’s haul included arugula, lettuce, and some baby mustard greens, along with some beets (both red and yellow).  There was a ton of other stuff as well – potatoes, kohlrabi, kale and rhubarb.  I also bought some fruit – blueberries and some sugar plums.

I thought I would share with you a salad that I made using some of the greens, the beets and some of the fruit.

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This is a hearty salad that is packed with summery flavour – perfect for a light lunch.

Bacon, Beet And Fruit Salad

serves 2

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  • 2 medium beets – peeled and diced (I used one red beet and one yellow beet in this salad)
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 4 cups salad greens – torn (I used some of the arugula, mustard greens and lettuce)
  • 1 green apple – cored and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 avocado  – peeled and diced
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • pinch of pink Himalayan salt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Place the diced beets in a single layer in a small baking dish and place the bacon over the top.

Place the baking dish in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.

Toss the beets to coat them in the bacon fat that will have rendered out of the bacon.  Spread the contents out into a single layer.  Replace the dish in the oven and roast for another 15 minutes until the beets are tender and slightly browned and the bacon is crispy.

Allow the beets and bacon to cool, chopping the bacon into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, tear the salad greens into bite-size pieces and place in a salad bowl.

Toss the apple with the lemon-juice to prevent browning and add to the bowl along with the avocado, beets, bacon and blueberries

In a small bowl whisk together the white wine vinegar, salt and olive oil.   Pour over the salad and toss everything well.

Arrange the salad on 2 serving plates and serve at once.

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This would make a good packed lunch or picnic dish if you took the dressing separately in a small jar and tossed it just before serving.

Shared at:  Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable

Bacon Braised Chard

This is the side dish that I served along side the beef-heart steaks.

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Chard is one of my favourite vegetables.  I love the flavour, but even more, I love how nutritious it is.

It a good source of Thiamin, Folate, Phosphorus and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese (1).

I love to add bacon when I am cooking greens – not only does the bacon provide more flavour, it also provides some healthy fats that help you absorb the fat-soluble nutrients.

Bacon Braised Chard

serves 2

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Trim the chard, cutting the stems into small bite-sized pieces and coarsely chopping the green leaves.

Put the bacon in a large, heavy skillet and cook until crispy and the fat has run out of it.

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Add the chard stems to the skillet and toss for 5 minutes until the stems are starting to soften.

Add the broth to the skillet and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

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Now add the green chard leaves.  Toss until most of the liquid has evaporated and the leaves have wilted.

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Taste and season with salt if necessary.

Depending on how salty your bacon is, you might not need much extra salt.

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Serve at once.

Two Appetizer Recipes – AIP/Paleo

I went to a potluck last night…

Normally, I hate potlucks with a passion – usually there is very little that I can eat, and there is also always the risk that the few things that I can eat have been cross-contaminated simply by people not realizing that dropping crumbs or grated cheese or whatever all over other dishes (or even worse, using the spoon from one dish to serve themselves from another) means that there will be people who either cannot eat the food, or who may react badly.

For this particular potluck, I decided that I was going to make 2 dishes that I could eat – both appetizers…

And I made sure that they were placed right at the back of the table where there would be no accidental cross contamination from other foods – in fact, the only other foods around my dishes were some salad and some cut-up fruit

Both of these dishes make wonderful appetizers, but are also great to pack in lunch-boxes (ensure that they contents are kept cold), or for snacks…  and of course they are wonderful to bring to a potluck.

I really could have made more than I did – both went very fast…  my dishes were the only ones  that were empty at the end of the night!

Both of these recipes are 100% AIP as long as the bacon that is used is also AIP (be careful – some cures use “spices” that could contain nightshades).  If possible, try to use bacon that comes from pastured pork, and I like to avoid the ones that contain added (chemical) nitrates as I prefer more natural cures that contain salt, sugar and celery juice (which does contain nitrates, but in a more natural form).  I prefer to use thin-cut bacon for these recipes as it does not take so long to crisp up.

The first recipe I made was Bacon Wrapped Prunes, that I stuffed with a home-made chicken liver pate.

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If you choose to buy a pate instead of making your own, read the ingredients carefully to be sure that it does not contain any non-AIP ingredients, or those that you do not tolerate well.  Most bought pate’s will contain dairy and non-AIP spices.  Of course if you are not AIP, or you tolerate the ingredients well, then that is not a problem…

The prunes, as I discovered made for a VERY rich mouthful when combined with the pate and the bacon…  one or two are enough for most people.  But they are so delicious with the salty bacon combining with the sweetness of the prunes and the rich creaminess of the pate.

Pate Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Prunes

Makes 20-25 individual “bites”

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  • 6 TBSP Chicken Liver Pate – preferably homemade
  • 375g (aprox. 13oz) pack of bacon (preferably made from pastured pork)
  • 20-30 prunes
  • wooden cocktail sticks

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).  Line a shallow-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (this makes for an easier clean-up).

Cut each strip of bacon into 3, crosswise across the strip, and lie them out on a cutting board.

Take your prunes, and stuff each one with ¼tsp chicken liver pate.  This can get messy fast!  Just try to keep your hands as clean as you can.

Lie the stuffed prunes at one end of each strip of bacon, then roll the bacon around the stuffed prunes, securing the end with a cocktail stick.

Lie the prunes on the prepared baking sheet with the free end at the bottom (it helps to stop them unrolling while they cook.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until the bacon is crispy, turning at the 15 minute mark.

Remove to a wire rack to allow any fat to drain off.

These are good served hot or cold…  I served them cold at the pot-luck.

The second appetizer that I made was Bacon Wrapped Shrimp.

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These are really easy to make, and taste delicious.  They were the first thing to disappear at the potluck!

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Makes 25-30 individual “bites”

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  • 349g (aprox 12oz) bag of peeled (tail on) raw shrimp (thawed if frozen).  I used 31-40 count shrimp
  • 375g (aprox 13oz) pack bacon (preferably from pastured pork)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).  Line a shallow-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (this makes for an easier cleanup).

Cut each slice of bacon into half lengthwise, and then half again crosswise to give 4 long thin strips of bacon.

Take a piece of bacon, and starting at the head-end, wrap it around the shrimp, ending at the tail.

Place the wrapped shrimp, end-side down, on the prepared baking sheet.

Repeat for the rest of the shrimp and the bacon.

Bake the shrimp for 10 minutes in the oven.  Remove and drain off any liquid that has accumulated.

Turn the oven to broil (grill if you are in the UK), and cook the shrimp to crisp the bacon on both sides (this took around 5 minutes per side).

Place the crisped shrimp on a wire rack to drain off any extra fat.

Serve hot or cold (I served these cold at the pot-luck).

Make lots!  They go fast….  But in the unlikely event that there are leftovers, store them in the fridge to eat as snacks.

Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #65

Shared at Simply Natural Saturdays

Shared at Awesome Life Friday

Shared at What to do Weekends

Paleo Breakfast Sandwich

Back in the days before I was Paleo, I used to love a Tim Hortons Breakfast sandwich.  I usually got the sausage biscuit one with no cheese.

But these are not paleo – they contain gluten that I react to and dairy that I am allergic to.

I do find that I miss them though – and sometimes you want a portable hand-held breakfast.

I came up with this breakfast sandwich the other day, it is paleo, but not AIP as it contains eggs.  This recipe is both gluten and dairy-free as well.

It is essentially a fried egg and bacon sandwiched between 2 gluten-free pancakes.

And it was very, very tasty!

This recipe makes 6 sandwiches.  If you do not need this amount, you could just make up the 12 pancakes and freeze the extra ones to eat on another day.

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

Paleo Breakfast Sandwiches

makes 6 sandwiches

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For the pancakes (makes 12):

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 ripe banana – mashed
  • ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ tbsp coconut flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • pinch of sea salt
  • coconut oil or bacon fat to cook

For the breakfast sandwiches:

The first thing you need to do is to make the pancakes.

Mix the eggs, coconut milk, banana and apple cider vinegar, and beat well until smooth.  Add the coconut flour, baking soda and salt and beat well.

Melt a little coconut oil or bacon fat in a large skillet.  Add 1 tbsp portions of the batter to the skillet (you can cook several at once – I usually cook 4 at a time).  Cook over a medium high heat until small bubbles start to form on the top of the pancake.  This will take around 1½ –  2 minutes.  Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the other side – ½ – 1 minutes.

Remove the pancakes from the skillet and keep them warm while cooking the remaining batter.

Once all your pancakes are cooked, add the bacon to the skillet and cook until crisp.

Remove the bacon, reserving as much fat as possible.  Keep the bacon warm while you cook your eggs in the bacon fat.  Cook them to the stage you like – I like my eggs with runny yolks (over-easy), but if you like them cooked hard, cook them that way.

To assemble the breakfast sandwich you place a pancake on a serving plate.  Top with a little paleo ketchup if using.  I added this for Hubby and the kids sandwiches, but not for mine.

Cut each rasher of bacon in half and place 4 halves on top of each sandwich.

Now place the fried egg on top and add the second pancake to make a sandwich.

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Eat at once, trying to not get egg-yolk all down your front.

Bacon, Avocado and Mushrooms

This was a very simple breakfast that I knocked up for myself for breakfast the other day.

Just bacon, mushrooms cooked in the bacon fat (I admit, there is more than a little Hobbit in me – I LOVE mushrooms!) and some avocado on the side.

Yummy and it kept me full until lunch.

Bacon Avocado and Mushroom Breakfast

serves 1

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  • 2 slices of bacon cut in half (to make 4 slightly smaller slices) – for preference choose nitrate-free, sugar-free bacon from pastured pork.  If this is not available, do the best you can
  • 4 mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, skin-removed and sliced

This is too simple to be a real recipe.

Just cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp.  Remove and add the mushrooms.  Cook until tender (no more than a few minutes).

Serve the crisp bacon with the mushrooms and the sliced avocado.

NOM….

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

Cauliflower, Spinach and Bacon Soup

This is a lovely soup.

The cauliflower gives it a mild creamyness, the spinach packs a nutritional punch and the bacon…  well lets face it, everything is better with a little bacon!

This made for a very welcome lunch on a cold, snowy Sunday…

Cauliflower Spinach and Bacon Soup

serves 6

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  • 6 rashers of bacon – chopped
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 1 small head of cauliflower – broken into florets
  • 3 cups ham bone broth (you could also use any other bone broth that you happen to have on hand)
  • 1 can (400ml) of coconut milk (read the labels to ensure that it does not contain guar gum or carageenan.  You want to use coconut milk that is just water and coconut if possible)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (omit the pepper if strict AIP)
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach – washed.
  • 1 bunch green onions – trimmed and chopped

Place the bacon in a large, heavy pan and cook it over a medium heat until crispy.  You do not want the heat too high as you want to render out as much of the bacon fat as you can.  Remove the bacon, leaving as much fat as possible behind and set it aside.

Add the onion and garlic to the bacon fat and cook it gently over a low heat until the onion is soft and translucent.  This will take about 5 minutes.

Now add the cauliflower and the bone broth and bring it to the boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for aprox. 20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.

Add the coconut milk and spinach and cook for a few moments to wilt the spinach leaves.

Puree with a stick-blender and season to taste with cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Stir in the green onions to give the soup a little texture.

Reheat gently but do not allow it to boil.

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Serve the soup in large bowls topped with the crispy bacon “croutons”

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Slow-cooked Pork Shoulder (AKA Porky Goodness)

I made a slow-cooked pork shoulder joint for dinner…  I use my slow cooker a LOT, especially on the days that I work as it makes dinner preparation so much easier.  It also means that dinner can be left cooking while everyone is out of the house.

This is one of our favourites as it  comes out of the slow cooker tasting rich and delicious.  It uses some of the wonderful pastured pork that we buy from Spragg’s Meat Shop.

Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder

serves 6

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  • 2lb boned and rolled pork shoulder joint
  • 1 large onion – sliced
  • 1 apple – cored and sliced (I chose to leave the skin on)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup bone broth
  • salt to taste
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp dried rosemary
  • ¼ tsp dried sage
  • a drizzle of melted lard

Take all the dried herbs and salt and mix together.  Rub into all sides of the pork.

Place the sliced apple and onion in the bottom of the slow-cooker, put the bayleaves on top and pour over the bone broth.  Now sit the seasoned pork on top of the bed of vegetables.  Dribble over a small amount of melted lard, put on the lid and cook on low for 8 hours (or on high for 4 hours).

When ready, remove the pork and leave to rest.  Remove and discard the 2 bay-leaves and blend the apple and onion with the cooking juices in the pot to make a gravy.

Serve the pork cut into thick slices with the gravy poured over.

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I also served this with Mofongo (Plantain mash), brussels sprouts stir-fried with bacon and sliced fresh tomatoes (the tomatoes are not suitable for the elimination stage of AIP – they are a stage 4 reintroduction).

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And the name porky goodness?  it is because 3 out of the 4 components of this dish contain pork in one form or another….

Warm Dandelion Greens Salad with Poached Eggs

We eat a lot of eggs for breakfast – usually with each one of us having 2-3 eggs every single day.

Usually, we eat these as some kind of scramble, but that gets boring pretty fast.  So the other day I decided to do something different for Hubby and myself.

Rummaging in the fridge produced bacon, some dandelion greens and the ever-present eggs.

Once I had those ingredients on the chopping board, it was pretty obvious what I was going to make.

This recipe is a stage 2 reintroduction if you include the eggs.  To make this 100% AIP, elimination stage friendly, you would have to just make the bacon and dandelion greens salad.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Warm Dandelion Greens Salad with Poached Eggs

Serves 2

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4 rashers of bacon (our bacon comes from the half-pig that we buy from Sprags Meat Shop)

1 large bunch of dandelion greens

a splash of balsamic vinegar

4 eggs (omit the poached eggs if 100% AIP)

boiling salted water to poach the eggs

A splash of apple cider vinegar

Chop the bacon and cook it in a heavy based skillet until the bacon is crisp and the fat has run out of it.

While this is cooking, you want to chop your dandelion greens and place them in a large bowl.

Next, bring the pan of salted water to the boil.  Turn it down to a bare simmer, add the apple cider vinegar and then crack in your eggs.  You are going to cook them at the barest simmer for 3-4 minutes until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.

Once the bacon is crisp, remove it from the pan and add to the dandelion greens.

Now pour the balsamic vinegar into the bacon fat and swirl it well to mix and form a warm salad dressing.  Pour this over the greens and toss well to coat in the balsamic and fat mixture.

Divide the salad between 2 serving plates and top each with 2 poached eggs and serve at once.

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Delicious!

Aside from being a very tasty breakfast, this would also make a good light lunch or dinner.

Shared at:  Full Plate Thursday

Elk Liver

This stuff does not look pretty but it really does taste awesome…  and it is one of the most nutritionally dense meals you could eat.  elkliver3

We tend to eat elk liver at least once a week.  We buy it from Wapiti Ways at the Calgary Farmers Market, and sometimes we even get a discount for recommending it to other people…  there was one couple the other week dithering about whether to buy it and we told them how wonderful it was and they bought it. And when we came to pay for our purchase (elk liver and elk heart), we got a very healthy discount…  Thank you Wapiti Ways! 🙂

Most of the time I cook elk liver very simply – it does not need long cooking…  3 minutes per side if that, and quite often  I will cook it for a lot less…  this is something that you WANT to eat rare…  overcook it and it turns to leather.

This is also one of the more economical meals that I cook..  while it doesn’t seem like enough, one packet of liver is so nutritionally dense that it will feed all 6 of us. Especially when it is paired with some greens…

It does not look all that promising but will taste fantastic once cooked.

It does not look all that promising but will taste fantastic once cooked.

So how do you cook this wonderous stuff?

I would recommend as simply as you can…

Season with salt, maybe a bit of garlic or herbs if you are in the mood and simply panfry for no more than 2 minutes per side (they guy at Wapiti Ways told us 3 minutes per side but it needs less than that…  we like it bloody as hell!)

Then serve with whatever takes your fancy…  in the pic above we briefly stir-fried some ruby chard and divided  that between 6 plates.  Then we sat a piece of cooked elk liver on top and finally topped it with caramelized onions cooked with pastured bacon….

An awesome meal!