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!

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!

It’s Novembeeeeer

Wow.  It’s been like 3 weeks since I’ve posted.  It’s been a busy time.  I went to Florida and Des Moines for work, then I went to NYC for play (visit the bros), and now I’m finally back home for a few solid weeks.  I have another trip to Des Moines in early December (Business Analyst Boot Camp) and then no more trips on the horizon.  Which makes me both happy and sad.  I’ve found that I’m rarely ever in exactly one mood or feel one way about anything.  I’m happy tinged with sadness or looking forward to an event and looking forward to it being over, so I can be at  home in bed.  You get the idea.  Anyway, I digress.

Due to the traveling and getting used to the new season/lack of light, I’ve gained about 3-5 lbs over the past few weeks.  I’ve been eating out more, drinking more delicious beer, and not exercising as much.  It’s a dangerous combination.  I’m pretty sure that if I reign in the cheats (alcohol, chocolate, donuts at work, etc.), I’ll normalize pretty quickly.  At least, I’m hoping so.  This will be my first winter fully paleo.  In reading the paleo blogs and posts, I was looking forward to pure bliss over these short days – no winter blues for Hlo this year! HA!  The winter blues have hit me harder than I ever remember.  I blame it on a confluence of events.  1.  I was outside A LOT this summer – more than any other year.  My body got used to copious amounts of sunshine, and when that sunshine went away, so did my good spirits.  2.  For a variety of reasons, it’s been a stressful month, which  is hard on the disposition 3.  I’ve not been following the paleo diet strictly.  I’ve been eating more dairy than usual and drinking more beer (gluten!) than usual.  That exacerbates my allergies and throws me out of whack.

But now that I’ve identified what I think to be the culprits, I can go about fixing them.  Right now I am sitting in front of my Light Therapy light, which really does seem to help.  I just planned out a week’s worth of 100% paleo meals, and today we biked and raked, so I got some vitamin D and some exercise.  We’ll see what a difference this makes.

I haven’t been all bad, though.  I have made a couple of tasty recipes lately.

I made Garlic Pulled Pork again.  This time I put the garlic rub on the meat the night before and then stuck the roast in the Nesco Roaster on about 200 for about 5 hours.  I also didn’t put the fresh garlic INTO the meat.  It turned out FANTASTIC.  We ate it last night with cauliflower and spinach sauteed in coconut oil.  We also ate some for breakfast.  I sauteed it with coconut oil, fried some eggs, and covered it all with avocado.  Amazing.

I also made 5 Ingredient Breakfast Stuffed Acorn Squash.  This turned out good, but next time I would NOT crack the egg in the squash and bake it in the oven.  I left it in the oven FOREVER, and the egg still did not bake.  I had to scoop the mess out and fry it on the stove top.  I don’t think it’s necessary to stuff everything back into the acorn squash skin and bake it, unless you are into presentation, which I’m not.  I just am into tasty food.  This was tasty, but next time I’ll make it the easy way.

I also made Cream Chicken Casserole.  As you can see, I’m a big fan of paleomg.com!  She has great recipes.  This recipe made a TON of food.  We ate it for supper, breakfast, lunch, supper, and still had some leftover. Tim even liked it, even though the base is made from coconut milk.  I did notice that my stomach was a little upset after eating it – maybe due to the coconut milk and hot spices?  Tim noticed it as well, so the next time we ate it, he had toast with it.  That seemed to help.

And that’s it for tasty recipes as of late.  I’m attempting to cook a duck tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

Um…5 Day Sugar Detox?

So, I’m off the no sugar wagon.  The 77 degree sunny day on Saturday was just too much for me.  I was forced by the utter delightfulness of the day to have a couple of hard ciders with my hubby and friend Michael.  That was the beginning of the end.  I also ate corn chips with our Macho Nachos.  And I ate 2 bites of Tim’s Half Baked Ben & Jerrys.  Whoever thought of putting brownie chunks and cookie dough together in ice cream was a genius.

Why did I fall of the wagon, you ask?  Well, honestly it’s due to lack of self control.  But the excuses I tell myself are that 1) I don’t want to lose any more weight.  My teeth already look too big for my head.  I read you can lose 1-10 lbs in the 21 days.  2) It’s TOO HARD!  When we went out to eat, I had to hyper analyze everything.  It was just not fun.  3) I was planning on starting Crossfit this week, and I was concerned about my energy levels on no sugar.  But I reneged on that as well. I only slept about 4 hours last night, and I just didn’t have the energy to not only work out tonight, but to go to a new place by myself with no inkling of what to expect.  That takes a lot of emotional strength on my part, and I just didn’t have it tonight.  But now that I’ve missed this week, I can’t start up again until mid-November, due to trips and junk.  Oh well.  I think the weather will stay good enough over the next 2 months for me to exercise outside, and I can keep doing my body-weight exercises here at home.

So those are my excuses.  I did actually reap some benefits, however.  I’ve kicked my dark chocolate chip evening snack habit!  You have to celebrate the small wins, you know.

I also am lagging in posting my weekly recipes!  Here are the ones I’ve made over the past week or so.

Easy Crockpot Breakfast Pie: I baked this in our Nesco Roaster, and it turned out really tasty!!  I had the heat too high at first, so the edges got scorched, but I was able to salvage most of the insides, and it turned out quite good.  It tasted like a creamy quiche, which was odd since there was no cream or cheese in it.  We ate this for supper and then for breakfast for a couple of days.

Shakshuka (Eggs Poached in Spicy Tomato Sauce):  This recipe was also super tasty.  I made it with a mix of fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes.   I used serrano peppers from the Farmers Market instead of jalapeno peppers.  They weren’t too too spicy, but when I chopped them up, they aerated the whole kitchen with their spiciness!  Tim and I almost couldn’t breathe!  We ate the leftovers with leftover pork chops.  Muy delicioso.

Garlic Pulled Pork:  I made this on Sunday, and it was super easy and super tasty.  The only thing I would change is I would not put fresh garlic into the meat.  The garlic rub is enough.  Stuffing garlic cloves into the meat just gives certain bites ultra intense garlic flavor.

Moroccan Burgers and Moraccan Beet Salad:  I was going to make this for supper Saturday night for my parents, but Tim dissuaded me.  He eyed the 2 teaspoons of cumin called for in the recipe and was wary.  He thinks cumin smells like feet.  We also noted the inclusion of 2 T of cilantro.   My dad dislikes cilantro, of all things.  He’ll eat almost anything else.  Just no cilantro.  So we made Macho Nachos instead, and they were delicious.  I made these burgers and the beet salad on Sunday night instead.  I used 1 lb of ground pork and 1 lb of ground beef.  At first, the burgers seemed a little bland, but when I ate the leftovers, I thought they were really flavorful.  Tim prefers just a regular hamburger, and I have to say, I think I do too.  Plus, these burgers are VERY, um, aromatic?  When I ate one for lunch at work, my coworker was like, “OMG.  What are you eating??”  And it wasn’t said in a good way.

We ate the beet salad tonight.  Tim liked it, but I thought it was just ok.  I have a running rivalry with beets.  They never turn out well for me.  I had to simmer these beets to cook them, and I didn’t watch the pot closely enough.  When I did chance to look at it, it had squirted blood red beet juice all over our white stove and light grey walls.  Stupid beets.  I guess I just really don’t like the flavor of beets.  I’m probably going to toss this recipe.

So there.  I’ve caught you up.  It’s now Tuesday night at 7:52PM, and I’m ready to go to bed.  Between the sleepless night last night and the shorter days, Hlo is tired and grumpy and depressed.  But tomorrow will be a better day!!  Sunny and 77.  Really can’t beat that.  Timmy Tee and I are running together after work, so that will give me something to look forward to.

Good night!

Another week of Paleo meals

We didn’t do quite as well on our week of meal planning this week.  On Sunday we neglected to go to the store, which got us off kilter for the whole week.  We learned our lesson this week, however, and went to both HyVee AND Target on Sunday, despite shopping the whole day in Iowa City and Tanger.  We really didn’t feel like going out again once we got home, but I knew if we didn’t we would regret it!

I also hit the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and got lots of tasty stuff – chicken wings and thighs, ground pork, beef brats, a big, fat watermelon, peppers, and zucchini.  All of it is or will be delicious.

Despite our poor planning, we did make a few good meals this week.

Sweet Potato Chili Fries – I tweaked this recipe a little because the amount of spicy seasonings for the amount of meat seemed a little crazy to me.  I used a full pound of meat, and the chili was still as spicy as hell!  It still tasted good over the sweet potato fries, but it was intense.  We had the leftovers tonight.  Tim added a 28 ounce can of tomatoes to thin it out, and it was still spicy!  I didn’t feel like going to the work of making fries, so we just baked the sweet potatoes in the roaster oven, mashed them, poured the chili over them, and then garnished it with avocado.  I ate a HUGE bowl – my excuse being all I had for lunch was a wimpy lettuce wrap from Jimmy Johns.  Plus I’m in training for this week’s 5K!  Oh, by the way, I got a PR in the mile on Sunday – 8 minutes, 29 seconds!  My legs hurt like a mother today, but it was totally worth it.

Spicy Bison and Sausage Meat Muffins – This recipe made little, tiny meat loaves in the shape of muffins.  Tim really liked them.  I thought they tasted good, but they hurt my stomach for some reason.  I’m not a fan of garlic powder; I prefer to use fresh garlic.  Also, a meal that makes 2.5 pounds of meat for us is a little much.  If I were to make this recipe again, I think I would cut it in half and use fresh garlic.

And….that’s pretty much it for the week!  I told you – we slacked off this week.  BUT!  BUT!  We have tons of tasty recipes on tap for this week – lots of chicken, actually.  I’ll circle back with you all next week and let you know how they turned out.  I bought a new mandoline from Amazon, and I’m going to make beet chips.  I can’t wait!!!!!!!!!

The Week in Review

We had our second week of trying to eat breakfast and dinner at home each night.  We did pretty well with a few exceptions.  Friday night we had some friends over for Bags and drinks, and we ended up ordering pizza.  It was delicious and immediately made my stomach hurt.  I ate the leftovers on Saturday, and they again made my stomach hurt.  Sometimes I am not so smart.  Today we were out running errands at lunchtime, so we ended up getting tasty Chipotle.

I tried a few new recipes this week that turned out pretty good.  They are as follows.

We got some delicious pork chops from Geest Farms, a local pork producer.  Tim grilled them up, and I made Mexllali Sweet Potatoes to accompany them.  The mixture of the salty pancetta, spicy adobo sauce, and sweet potatoes was super delicious.  I’ll definitely make this recipe again.

We also made Overstuffed Burgers. We didn’t have any duck fat (still haven’t tackled making duck), so we just used olive oil.  These burgers turned out quite tasty.  They almost tasted like meatloaf.

Tonight I baked a chicken from Behnke Poultry.  I cut up 2 lemons and 1/2 a head of garlic, stuffed it in the bird, rubbed the outside down with olive oil and then sprinked it with copious amounts of fresh ground pepper and kosher salt.  It turned out fantastic.  The skin was super crispy and delicious, and the meat was juicy and tender.  For a side I made Roasted and Marinated Mushrooms.   I have previously never cooked with shallots, and now I’ve used them twice in a week!  The mushrooms were easy and delicious.  Definitely will make them again.

Hopefully this week we can do a little better with eating at home.  No more pizza for me this week!  However, we are planning on hitting up River Roots Live, so I’m going to have to steel myself to resist the fair food!

Outside of eating well, exercising, and playing Bags, we also did the Xstream Cleanup on Saturday morning.  Here is a pic of Teem and me pulling a log out of the creek.  Here is a group pic.  It was a really dirty job, and I got copious amount of gross creek water (steeped in a dead possum) down my left boot.  But it was a pretty quick 3 hours, and the group we were with was full of hard workers with positive attitudes.  We cleaned a ton of junk out of  the creek.  It really made me think about my plastic usage too.  We found so many straws, plastic bags, and paper cup lids.  I’m really glad we did it.

That was our week in a nutshell.  Hope you had a great week too!

Four Days In

The “no eating out” thing is going well so far, no thanks to me.  I tried to convince the Timsy Tee to go out for supper on Friday night.  It just seemed wrong to stay at home on a Friday night!  He held firm, however, good man that he is, and we had a great supper at home.

I tried a few new recipes this week.  Here is a rundown:

Roasted Eggplant Stacks – This recipe actually turned out pretty tasty!  It was the first time I have cooked with eggplant.  Next time I think I will remove the skin before cooking the slices, as they were really tough.  I ended up cutting the skins off after the slices were cooked, and that was a hot, messy job.  I also found that fresh eggplant is very spongelike.  I poured olive oil (Tim is not a big fan of coconut oil, so I used olive oil instead) over all the slices and went back to rub it in, but it was all soaked in already!  You have to pour and spread each one individually.   I also put a fried egg (fried in copious amounts of ghee) on top instead of a poached egg, and that was delicious.  I did have a lot of eggplant leftover, however.  I wasn’t sure what to do with it.  It did not look very appetizing the next day.  I’m not sure I would make this recipe again, for that reason.

Too Easy Chicken Adobo – This recipe turned out OK.  I think I overcooked the chicken a bit.  It seemed dry.  I also used chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs (because that’s what I had in stock), so I’m sure that contributed to the dryness.  At $7/lb for chicken breasts, I was a little disappointed.  That’s crazy expensive for chicken.  I went to the Farmers Market yesterday and got a whole chicken instead of the breast, and that was only $2.50/lb!  Another thing – you cook this recipe with onions, and for some reason I do not like the smell of onions cooking in a sauce.  Overall, the chicken turned out good, and we ate it all, but I don’t think I would make this again.

Sweet Potato Salad – Again, I had to modify this recipe.  I have never seen purple Okinawan potatoes here in Davenport, IA, so I used regular old sweet potatoes.  I added in all the fixings he mentioned (jalapenos, pickles and green onions instead of chives), and it turned out delicious!  I struggled with the homemade mayo though.  I swear I’ve read you can make mayo in the food processor, so I tried it.  I added everything to the processor, less the oil, and then used the oil drizzler topper to pour in the oil.  I didn’t let the egg yolk come completely to room temperature, so that may have affected it too, but the mayo just wouldn’t thicken up!  I poured the whole, ultra-liquidy mess into a container and whisked the heck out of it, but I think it was too late.  It tasted OK, however, so I added it to the potato salad, and once it was in there, you couldn’t tell there was anything wrong with it.  I used 1/2 a cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of avocado oil.  I didn’t have any dijon mustard, so I used a little Boetjes.  I have a lot of oil left over though, which is the issue with making homemade mayo – it only lasts about 3 days.  Maybe I’ll make egg salad for lunch with it today.  Anyway, this salad was delicious, and I’ll definitely make it again.

Grilled Eggs with Mexican Chorizo – To use an overused meme, NOM NOM!!  I had no idea that it is so easy to make your own chorizo!  This recipe turned out fantastic.  I have a huge bag of ancho chiles from my foray into carnitas territory, so I was all set on that front.  The chorizo turned out super tasty.  We are actually going to have the leftovers with eggs and avocado for breakfast this morning.  It was stormy, so we didn’t want to grill.  Instead, we turned on the Nesco roaster at 400 degrees, let it heat up, and then cooked the peppers/eggs/chorizo for about 13 minutes.  The peppers were perfectly cooked.  I would definitely make this again.  However, I cut the entire stem out of the peppers this time; whereas, next time I will leave it in, just cutting out the white parts of the ribs.  My eggs kept wanting to slide out the ends!

Overall, it was a good week for new recipes.  It am proud that we ate delicious food at home instead of mysterious food out.  This morning I need to make my list for next week, so we can keep up the momentum.  I hit up the Farmers Market yesterday and got a whole chicken, pork chops, 3 dozen eggs, kale, nectarines, and cherries, and we still have ground pork and beef in the freezer, so we are pretty well stocked.

Hope you had a great week too!