Why dentists hate paleo

I went to the dentist today for my semi-annual checkup.  Both the hygienist and the doctor commented on the perfection of my teeth.  They said that if everyone had teeth like me, they would go out of business.  To quote my dentist, “Thank goodness for Mountain Dew!”  I have to say, I do not historically have great teeth.  All of my molars are filled in, and my front teeth are a little chipped and crooked (thanks to sucking my thumb until my Grandpa got me to stop by promising to pay to get my ear’s pierced if I quit).  However, since going paleo, my teeth have gotten way better – whiter and no cavities.  I brush twice a day with a mixture of 1/2 baking soda and 1/2 coconut oil – yet another unexpected benefit of going paleo.  Here is another one.  It’s an article about 4 foods that age you before your time.  Any guesses??  Wheat, corn-based foods, sugar & starchy foods, vegetable oils.  Yet another reason to be paleo – you look younger.

But, you know what, sometimes you just miss the nice, bready texture of, well, bread.  I haven’t tried to make any true paleo bread.  I’ve eaten gluten-free bread, but it’s usually laced with potatoes and odd sugars and oils, and I never feel good after eating it.  But I ran across a recipe for Grain-free Apple Cinnamon Pancakes that, while making passable pancakes, makes excellent bread-like snacks.  Here is the recipe.  I’m not sure what I did wrong while making these, but they didn’t look like real pancakes like they do in the pic in the recipe.  However, they were tasty with some butter, eggs, and maple syrup.  We didn’t eat the full batch, so the next day I ate some of the leftovers with chicken & veggie soup.  It was deeeelicious!  It was like eating a corn muffin with soup – good texture and flavor, even unheated.  This recipe is definitely a keeper.

And that’s it for new recipes of a late. For the past couple of weeks I’ve just been picking up whatever strikes my fancy at the Farmer’s Market, so we’ve been making a lot of ad-hoc meals.  This week I got eggplant, purple peppers, zucchini, heirloom kale, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, and grape tomatoes.  So far we’ve made broiled zucchini with salmon, hamburgers with sauteed broccoli and garlic, and brats with fresh cauliflower.  Tonight we cooked up some ground beef and buffalo with chopped jalapeno and topped it with sauteed cauliflower, zucchini, and kale.  We doused it all with chili garlic sauce.  And avocado slices.  It was delicious; although, I think my mouth and nose will never stop stinging from the damn jalapeno.  Everything I touch is on fire.

Hope you are having a great evening and staying cool.  Adios!

The $18 Chicken that Blew our Minds

I hit up the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and procured me an $18 free-range, antibiotic-free, local, butchered 4 lb chicken.  I have a go-to recipe that I always use to roast a chicken.  It involves lemons, garlic, thyme, olive oil, etc.  Well, much to my dismay, I could not locate the recipe.  Whilst looking for it I discovered this recipe that I printed out a while back:  Perfect Roasted Chicken.

I was a little wary of the recipe, as it calls for cooking the chicken at 500 degrees, which is WAY higher than I usually cook chicken.  However, as I told my friend who walked into the smoky kitchen mid-bake, “Mark Sisson has never led me astray on a recipe yet.”  And he didn’t this time either.  The chicken was AMAZING.  The skin was salty and crispy.  The flesh was juicy and flavorful.  It looked beautiful.

I followed the recipe to the T, as is my m.o.  I rubbed it down with salt, pepper, oregano, and basil and stuffed sage between the skin and flesh.  I left it uncovered in the fridge overnight for about 24 hours.  It was a 4 lb bird, so I cooked it for 40 minutes exactly.  It was 170 by the thighs and about 200 elsewhere, but it still didn’t taste dry.  I never know what to do with the innards, so I froze them (and I froze the carcass too when done) to make bone broth with down the road.

We had the chicken with sauteed heirloom kale and baked sweet potatoes.  It was an excellently delicious supper that will hopefully counteract my late afternoon binge on mini candy bars.  Why oh why do people think it’s OK to leave bags of candy on my desk??  They think that because I am slender that candy doesn’t tempt me, but they could not be more wrong. The reason I do not weigh 200 lbs is because I KNOW I have issues with self control, so I don’t buy or store things that are delicious and bad for me within arm’s reach.  After snarfing a dark chocolate Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, Snickers, regular Milky Way, and I believe a Twix (I had to try one of everything), I moved the candy to a cubicle 15 feet away.  Damn delicious candy.

Best Chicken Marinade Ever

My mom was kind enough to pick up some organic frozen chicken breasts for us from Costco.  I had them defrosted in the fridge when I serendipitously ran across a Honey Mustard Chicken recipe in my RSS feed.  Tuesday night I mixed up the marinade and poured it over sliced up chicken breasts resting in a Pyrex dish.  I lacked ginger, and for the mustard I used the local favorite, Boetjes.  The chicken stewed in the marinade for about 24 hours, and we cooked it up last night.  The recipe instructs you to move the chicken into a fresh Pyrex dish, but I don’t understand why!  I just left in the original dish, and popped the works into a 400 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.  The chicken turned out SUPER delicious – very moist and flavorful.  We ate it with a green salad, chopped cauliflower and green pepper and kalamata olives.  This recipe is definitely a keeper – very simple, yet very delicious.  Oh!  And I totally ignored Instruction #3 (where you boil down the juices and leftover marinade), and the chicken was still very moist and tasty.

Also – here is an update on the Ginger and Lemongrass Meatballs recipe.  When I made the meatballs, I ran out of room on my pan.  I didn’t want to have to bake two trays of meatballs, so I put the leftover mixture in a pan and cooked it up like the ground meat it was.  Tim had the brilliant idea to use this mixture in a rice stirfry.  He made some tasty nice and dry basmati rice, sauteed it with olive oil, added the cooked meatball mixture and a healthy dollop of Thai chili paste.  I don’t typically eat rice, but I had to try a bite of this because it looked and smelled so tasty.  It could possibly be the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten.  Thai chili paste is amazing.

It’s 5:59, and I have to head out for a run.  I’ve been trapped in a basement (ahem, “garden level”) conference room all week working on a project, and unless I exercise in the morning, I start to lose it about 2PM.

I hope you have a fantastic Thursday!

Fancy sounding food that sucks

I tried two new recipes this week – much to the dismay of my pocketbook.  Trying new recipes can be an expensive gamble, especially when you are talking about high quality, healthfully-raised meat.

Hot & Spicy Pulled Pork – Tim and I were not fans of this recipe.  The recipe instructions say you can put it together “in a snap,” but cutting up all of the tomatillos, tomatoes, peppers, etc. took quite a while.  The end result was bland – not spicy at all.  Perhaps it’s because I used a poblano pepper instead of a serrano pepper.  While the sauce tasted good, the pork did not have much flavor.    In fact, we didn’t even end up eating it all.  I ended up tossing probably about 1/2 of the sauce/stew too.  It didn’t taste BAD; we just weren’t that into it.  I’ve written about this before (and should have remembered this before trying the recipe), but a lot of roasts with tomatoes, onion, and garlic end up tasting the same to me, and I don’t like that taste.  Oh well – nothing ventured, nothing gained, right??  As always, I appreciate the fact that people post their recipes for free on the internet though!

Ginger & Lemongrass Meatballs with Braised Scallions – Tim and I LOVED this one.  Lamb is just a really delicious, flavorful meat, and this recipe makes it even more delicious by mixing it with pork, garlic, ginger, basil and cilantro.  As indicated in the title of the recipe, you are supposed to add lemongrass, but I could not find it anywhere, so I subbed lemon zest for it.  The meatballs were still very tasty!  Tim’s going to make some basmati rice and eat it with the leftovers.  The fancy-sounding Braised Scallions, on the other hand SUCKED!!  I used green onions from the Farmers Market, and they were basically unedible – super tough and difficult to eat.  We ate the centers out of about 2 of them, and then tossed the lot.  I don’t know what I did wrong!  Mark made them sound so delicious in the introduction to his recipe.

What’s on tap for the weekend?  Leftover meatballs 🙂  And a bike ride from Cordova to Fulton and back.  Having a friend over for supper and a bonfire.  And I need to go shopping.  Need to.  We need to buy a deep freezer.  And I want to swim.  I might drag Tim to one of the local pools that have tiny water slides.  I have to eat well this weekend too.  We had a milestone birthday on our team this week, which resulted in cake, donuts, alcohol, chips and bean dip, etc.  As a result yesterday I was dealing with pre-primalish mood swings and anxiety, and it’s carried over to today. I’m hoping a day of being outside, exercising, and eating good food will get me back on track.  I forgot how bad it feels to feel bad!  I really need to remember how horrible sugar makes me feel.

I hope you have a great weekend.  Get outside. Play.  Appreciate the beauty of late summer.  I’ll quit bossing you around now.

Dangerous Paleo Treats

IT’S SATURDAY – WEEEEOOOOO!!   It’s sunny and beautiful out.  I’m heading to the Farmer’s Market in a bit, going to try to hit it before it gets busy.   I love local food, but I hate crowds and slow people, both of which are rampant at the FM.  After that I need to hit the library, the grocery store, the pavement (for a run), and then we’re heading up to Monticello to see Mom and Dad and wish Mom a Happy Birthday weekend.  I asked her if she wanted me to make a treat for her birthday, and she wants, instead, for me to make her the Cowboy Breakfast Skillet!  I shall get her and Dad on the paleo bandwagon yet!!

I tried a few new recipes this week.  Here is the one we are most excited about:  Chunky Monkey Muffins.  It’s another Health-Bent recipe.  These guys are geniuses.  They just released a cookbook, Primal Cravings.  Based on the recipes on their blog, I’m sure the recipes in the book are fantastic, but I’m trying to be more careful about spending money, so I haven’t purchased it yet.  Back to the recipe – these muffins are DELICIOUS!!!  Tim loved them, and I took them into work, and my coworkers said I should open a paleo bakery.  Maybe they were just stroking my ego, but regardless, these are some tasty sons of bitches.  They had a perfect muffin consistency (not too dense), which I think is probably due to the tapioca flour.  It was also the first time I’ve used coconut sugar.  It smells like heaven.  I used pecans instead of walnuts, and I went a little heavy on the chocolate, of course.  I used about 1/2 a cup of dark chocolate chips, and then I chopped up a couple of squares from a dark chocolate bar.

So, in reference to the title of the post.  This is a DANGEROUS paleo treat.  While eating one of these muffins is way better for you than eating a muffin from, say, Panera, there is still a lot of sugar and carbs in these.  Tim and I are only 2 people.  What are two people to do with 12 muffins??  Well, I took 3 into work, and then Tim and I finished off the rest.  I should probably eat like ONE of these a week, not FOUR over the course of 2 or 3 days.  This is why I really SHOULD open a paleo bakery, so that like-minded people could go to a nicely decorated, lovely-smelling bakery, spend an exorbitant amount of money on ONE muffin and feel better about themselves than if they saved money, made their own muffins, and then ate them all.  Paleo Bakery, here I come.  What should I call it?  Hmmm….  Heather’s Home-Cooked Creations?  Hlo’s Paleos?  Suggestions??

Shoot.  I have to get booking here – I got to get ready for the FM.  So, real quick, I also made The 21 Day Sugar Detox “Fettucini” with Meat Sauce.  I think you have to buy the ebook for this recipe – it’s not posted online.  The meat sauce was tasty (thanks for making it, Tim!).  Tim and I ate it ALL in one meal, which is impressive considering it was a full pound of meat.  However, I was not a fan of the “fettucini” which consisted of sauteed zucchini “noodles.”  They just seem kind of limp and greasy.  Next time I will just cut the zucchini into chunks and put the meat sauce over it.

I also made a new recipe to accompany our Hebrew National hot dogs:  Tomato and Olive Salad.  The combination of the low rent hot dogs with fancy kalamata olives amused me.  This salad was super easy and pretty tasty, but next time I will go lighter on the lemon juice.  It made the salad VERY tart!  I ate some of the leftovers with eggs yesterday, and that was a tasty combo.

And those are my new recipes for the week.  Hope you  have a fantastic weekend, and thanks for reading!