July 2012 archive

Spaghetti Squash with Zesty Avocado Cream Sauce

I learned a valuable lesson this summer–when you live alone, you can no longer justify buying produce at Sam’s or Costco.  I’m pretty sure you can’t justify it with two people, either, but feeding Ross is like feeding three people…so sack of onions?  Awesome!  Case-o-organic-spinach?  Perfect!  Pallet of grapefruits?  ZOMG!!

But when it’s just me all by my lonesome, shopping for bulk quantities has fed my compost pile more than me.  Which makes me feel exceedingly guilty.  I lay in bed at night weeping over the loss of half a box of tomatoes.  I wish I was kidding.  So, what this means is that I’ve been eating some pretty weird combinations of food in order to mitigate food waste.  Ask Ross, I’m awesome at food-saving.  Like my Overnight Apple Breakfast Cobbler?  Those apples were so grateful.

And this recipe…it’s been a challenge planning some Vegan meals that actually have enough substance to be a stand-alone meal, but thankfully I had a sack of avocados that I REALLY needed to use.  I could chow down on avocados all day–and they’ve got a ton of good fat to do all kinds of fun and wonderful things for your body.  And mixed up with some spaghetti squash?  I was a little skeptical at first but it was delicious…I’m absolutely going to make it again.  But I’d be lying if I said I won’t be tempted to throw some grilled chicken and bacon on top….wait, what?

INGREDIENTS

1 Large Spaghetti Squash, cooked

2 Large Avocados

1 Lime, Juiced

3 Garlic Cloves

1/4 c Fresh Cilantro

1/4 c Coconut Milk

INSTRUCTIONS

Place all ingredients in a food processor or powerful blender.  Pulse until well combined–decide for yourself how smooth you want it but like my guacamole, I prefered mine a little chunkier!

Scoop spaghetti squash (can be hot or cold) into a large serving dish.  Pour cream sauce over top and toss until well coated.

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The TGIPaleo-Vegan Series!

Did I hit my head or something?? Entirely possible.

I’m not sure why it is that we Paleo folks and the Vegans seem to be at war with one another. Well, I’m sure it has something to do with diametrically opposed food philosophies…but still, I’m not sure where the general sense of disdain comes from. Personally, I have no issue with the Vegans. I mean, sure, I think their diet is a little off kilter–such low fat intake and reliance on foods that punch holes in our gut (i.e. grains and legumes) doesn’t really do it for me. What’s more, I happen to think the science behind the whole thing is a little fuzzy. And the China Study is not peer-reviewed. Just BTW. And can we get one goddamned thing straight? Paleo is not Adkins. Moving on…

So where did this little endeavor come from? Am I high or what??

My husband went to high school and is still good friends with a successful Vegan cookbook author. Needless to say, we tend to engage in a little ideological debate from time to time, and lately it’s gotten me thinking about the issues between the two lifestyles more and more. Veganism has been around since the 19th century but as Paleo has become more popular in recent years the tension has grown. While they are in so many ways polar opposites, what Paleo and Veganism DO have in common is the core belief that the typical American diet is f*cked up. We both advocate the consumption of whole foods (although I do have an issue with may Vegans’ reliance on artificial and processed products like tofu, fake cheese, egg replacers, and vegetable oils). We are both looking to find the healthiest diet possible in an attempt to mitigate and eliminate the diseases of modern civilization. But naturally, we both want to be right.

I’m not here to convert anyone. Quite the opposite, in fact. What I’ve done is created a peace offering to the Vegan community–a week full of recipes that are Paleo, Vegan, and have enough nutritional value from all macronutrient groups to make a good meal (I was really tempted to do a week full of salads and sweet potato fries, not gonna lie). I sleep like a baby at night with my Paleo Teddy Bear, and I’m sure many Vegans are the same…albeit with a big, cuddly head of lettuce or something. I understand that beyond all the science-y stuff, too, people choose not to consume animal products for a variety of reasons from allergies to religious beliefs to genuine ethical reservations. That’s fine.

Admittedly my ingredient list is limited…Paleo and Veganism have very little overlap but I honestly believe it can be done! Just as with all of my recipes, everything will be gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, and legume-free. I won’t use white potatoes or rice. I won’t use any cane sugar, agave nectar, corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners like stevia or Splenda. I will not use guar gum, xanthan gum, or soy lecithin to include products or pantry items containing any of the aforementioned items or their derivatives. Obviously, I will not be using meat, eggs, dairy, honey, or any product derived from animals. But I sure as hell won’t be using Vegan Cheez. But there will be dessert at the end!!

Wish me luck, and get ready to OD on coconut and avocados!

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Sweet Potato Muffins

“Wait a minute, you dummy…you already have a recipe for Sweet Potato Muffins!”

That’s my impression of all of you, right now.  Because it’s true.  I’ve trodden (tread? treadded?) this road before.  But I also stopped eating roasted nuts and baking with nut products.  Remember?!

**OH!  OH!  I have a Twitter page now!**

Sorry…anyhoo…I’m traveling on business, so clearly I had to bake a bunch of stuff before I go.  Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to freak out all the TSA people like I normally do with my sack of muffins, protein bars, Paleo Kits, hard-boiled eggs, pre-made salads…yeah.  And then I’d never get to be the one who hides away in her hotel room during lunch breaks because all the conference people are providing are Subway party subs.  Whatever.  Pretty sure if I sh*t my pants in the middle of one of these talks I’d be even less unpopular.

These muffins are pretty straightforward.  I know, I’ve been slacking lately, but I was working on a little project for this coming week.  Yay!  Actually I might lose some readership over this one but this is just what happens when you live alone all summer.  But anyway, I know I put chocolate in the original batch but I left it out this time.  Trying to keep my summer six pack, no big deal.  OMG I wish that was even a little bit true.  Seriously, though, feel free to jazz these up.  Maybe some chocolate chips…maybe some raisins.  Maybe…just maybe…you get CAH-RAZY and throw some blueberries in there.  It’s an equal opportunity ball of baked delicious.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 c Coconut Flour

6 Eggs

2 t Vanilla

1 t Salt

1 t Baking Soda

2 t Cinnamon

1/2 c Ground Flax

2 Sweet Potatoes or Yams, baked and mashed (discard skins)

1 c Raisins or Chocolate Chips (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Whisk together all the dry ingredients.  Beat the eggs and add dry mix by spoonfuls until well blended.  Add the mashed sweet potatoes.

Spoon batter into lined muffin cups.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Pork Belly Made Easy

A rich, succulent cut of pork belly is like a nice little package of everything that makes life worth living.  Nowhere else can you get such buttery, fatty goodness without having to do anything at all.  Except, well, when you eff it up.  Which is easier to do than I’d like to admit.  Dry, leathery pork belly = No Bueno.  Like, No Bueno enough to effing WRECK your week.

What can I say?  I’m, like, really sensitive, OK??

I basically made it my civic responsibility to share a couple of fool-proof options for the cooking of my Porky Ambrosia.  There’s a lot of theories about the best or worst method, but as in all things in my life, I’m sticking to what has worked consistently for me.  And the best part is that I’m giving you OPTIONS…all you have to do is season your meat, pan sear it quickly, and braise using one of two methods:

1.  Crockpot

2.  Low and slow in the oven

…And yes, I’ve used both methods and I really can’t say which I prefer.  Both are reliable.  And delicious.  Just depends on what you have available.  I generally lean on my crockpot but the oven method was born after my poor little slow cooker was indisposed, and it did not disappoint–even though I was wondering all day if having the oven on for that long would burn my house down.  Don’t worry, it didn’t.

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs Pork Belly

2 t Sea Salt

2 t Black Pepper

2 t Chili Powder

2 T Olive Oil

1 T Fish Sauce or Coconut Aminos

1/4 c Apple Cider Vinegar

2-3 c Chopped Vegetables (Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips, Etc…)

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.

Score the skin of the pork belly in alternating diagonals.  Mix the seasonings together and rub the spice mixture all over both sides of the pork belly.

Sear the meat on ALL sides in the oil for ONE MINUTE PER SIDE.  Yes, you even need to cook the thin sides–this is where tongs will come in handy.

Place the veggies in the bottom of a crock pot or lined baking dish.  Place the pork belly on top.  Pour the vinegar over the meat, then the fish sauce or coconut aminos.

If you’re using a crockpot, cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours.

If you’re using an oven, cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 170 degrees for 4-5 hours.

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Reuben Dog

This is what my loving husband gets for leaving me all alone.  Again.

It was pretty much fate that dictated that I make this sandwich.  First, Ross calls me a couple weeks ago and raves about this Reuben Hot Dog he saw at the cafeteria at work.  And I totally forgot about it.  BUT!!  Then a week ago I see Adam Gertler on The Best Thing I Ever Ate raving about his awesome Reuben Dog.  Then I promised Ross that I’d find a way to make him a Paleo Reuben Dog if he didn’t leave me (again) to go back to Boston.  Then he left.  Jerk.

Some wives whine.  Some wives cry.  THIS wife gets her revenge via Reuben Dog that she will NEVER, EVER share with her husband.  He’s jealous, and I like it that way.  Not sorry.  OK, well I whined and cried, too.  A lot.

I AM sorry about the quality of the photos.  I tried SO HARD to convey the foodgasmic deliciousness but (aside from my not having a very professional camera) there’s no good way to make a baked sweet potato covered in Reuben Dog Goodness look sexy.  Just PLEASE trust me!

INGREDIENTS

(Serves 1)

**Sandwich**

1 Sweet Potato

1 T Butter

**Fillings**

1 Large Bratwurst Sausage

1/2 c Sauerkraut, thoroughly drained

1 Thick Slice Bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 c Shredded Gruyere Cheese (optional)

** Thousand Island Dressing**

1/2 c Paleo Mayonnaise

1/4 c Paleo Ketchup

1 Large Dill Pickle, minced

INSTRUCTIONS

Bake your sweet potato in foil at 425 degrees for 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Over medium-high heat, cook your bratwurst until done.  You can also roast it in the oven with the sweet potato for the last 20-25 minutes.

Remove sweet potato from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes, then slice it open.  Spread the butter on the inside of the sweet potato.

Add the crumbled bacon.

Add the cheese (optional).

Add the bratwurst.

Add the sauerkraut.

Smother in Thousand Island.

Stuff your face.

Let your jerk of a husband with his jerk of a travelling job know what they’re missing.

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