Archive of ‘Vegetables’ category

Rutabaga Fries

I really wish the “Food and Drink” section of Pinterest wasn’t full of outlandishly decadent desserts all the friggin time.  It’s killing me.  We’ve got a wedding in Miami next weekend–during which I will be wearing skimpy summertime clothes…and a swimsuit–and it’s fracking killing me.  I’m surprisingly fine without fruit–I’m even good without the green apple and pumpkin ration.  But someone PLEASE GOD IN HEAVEN GIVE ME A TRAY OF PEANUT BUTTER S’MORES BARS.  Or I might kill someone.

On a mildly related note, does it piss anyone else off as much as me the number of things labeled as “healthy”?  Like “ZOMG HEALTHY BREAKFAST IDEA!!!!” under a pic of some sugar and starch laden bastardization of a brownie?  Just because it has oatmeal and peanut butter in it does not make something “healthy.”  “Low fat” is not healthy.  And for the love of God, stop calling sh*t “low calorie”…especially desserts…if it’s a damn dessert it’s going to be bad for you, end of story.  Unless it’s fruit.  But fruit is not a dessert.  Accept your damn cheat meal and move on with your life.  And if you have a board chock full of outlandish desserts, that’s fine, but goddamnit do NOT tell me you ALSO have a “Fitness Inspiration” board full of half naked women with little mantras like, “Never give up!  You will have your dream body one day!” or “To hear the words, ‘Have you lost weight?'” or “Butt-kicking fat loss system!!”  OMG, people.  Are you for real?

Camilla’s Pet Pinterest Peeves.  OK, I’m done.

So I’m actually going to dedicate part of this post to m rutabaga fries.  So good.  I got a bunch of rutabagas by accident the other day–I was looking for turnips and somehow ended up with these.  I’m so smart.  The cashier so kindly offered to let me bring them back but I hate making a scene.  OK, that’s not true.  BUT I took them home and figured, when in doubt, slather them in fat and toss ‘em in the oven.

INGREDIENTS

2 Large Rutabagas

1/4 c Oil or Fat (I used rendered duck fat from earlier in the week)

Coarse Sea Salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Wash and dry your rutabagas and trim any roots.  Cut into fries, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.

Toss the fries in a bowl with fat and salt to taste.  Arrange on baking sheets, no more than 1/2 inch apart.  Bake for 20-25 minutes (depending on how crispy you like them), flipping halfway through.

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Paleo Protein Bars

I will never be Crossfit Games caliber.  It’s just the cold, hard truth.  BUT that does NOT mean I’m still not an overly combetitive individual trying every day to get better.  I want to be stronger, I want to be faster, and of course I want to look better (I’m a very superficial person).

In an attempt to take my training a little more seriously I’m honing in on diet (and recovery!) like I never have before–I’ll be continuing to play with principles of the 21DSD and perhaps a summertime Whole30 is on the agenda as well.  I’m enough of a purist that I’m avoiding the protein powders and supplements (I only take Vitamin D and liquid fish oil) and trying to worry less about partitioning nutrients at certain times of day than about the overall quality of my diet.  That being said, a search for the perfect post-workout shot of protein and carbs is a high priority at the moment, especially since it’s a tough nut to crack when you’re looking for whole food items that will keep for a few hours in the car or at the office.  A popular option for a lot of folks in my shoes are nut and nut butter-based snacks, but I’m also wary of consuming too many nuts and nut products because of the high omega-6 content.  Besides, relatively speaking, the protein content of nuts isn’t that high and they have a little too much fat for a PWO fuel.  Everybody is different, but if I get too much fat PWO I feel like I’m going to puke, especially after a tough metcon.  These last few weeks I’ve been doing a hard-boiled eggs and coconut water, which I think is working pretty well but got old after like, a day and a half.

So, this weekend, I started playing around with some good PWO fuel options that I could bake into something portable.  These aren’t anything fancy but they give you a nice hit of protein and starchy carbs (with cinnamon to help with insulin sensitivity!) and can be tossed in a ziploc baggie or tupperware for easy access.

I almost never do macronutrient breakdowns, but in the interest of fitness and the meticulous science that is the PWO fuel debate, I went all the way over to FatSecret and did the legwork for you:

Per bar (based on recipe yielding 12 bars): 101 Calories, 4 g Fat, 22.3 g Carbohydrate, and 6.1 g Protein

INGREDIENTS

(makes 12 bars)

2 Large Yams, shredded

6 Eggs, beaten

2 T Coconut Flour

2 t Cinnamon

1 t Vanilla

1 t Salt

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large bowl, combine the yams with the eggs, coconut flour, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.  Press the mixture down into a greased 4.8 QT (15x10x2) baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is browned and there are no liquid bubbles.  Cool completely before cutting into bars.

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Sweet Potato Hummus

This weekend has been unbelievably lonely.  And not only is work going to suck extra hard after a long weekend but the Hubs left yesterday morning to spend the summer in Boston.  Yeah, I cried like a baaaaaaaby.  And ate a LOTTTTTTT of bacon brownies.  If you haven’t made these yet I’m really, really upset with you.

So I’m starting a 21 Day Sugar Detox this week.  I know, I know…after my little fiasco with my New Years Whole30, I’m skeptical, too.  Cut me some slack, OK??  There’s a lot to be said for cutting the crap and resetting your system from time to time, especially if your husband is out of town all summer and you’ve got no one to cook for but yourself.  Except I guess that means I need to kill the rest of this hummus, like, today…

There have been a few variations of this stuff floating around on Pinterest lately–God, I love Pinterest–but they’re all raw and vegan and full of weird sh*t like liquid smoke and stevia and don’t let you bake the sweet potatoes.  I don’t do raw potatoes.  You might as well eat sand.  Nosirrrreeeee, Bob….not gonna happen.

Ingredients

1 Large Sweet Potato

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/4 c Tahini

2 Cloves Garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Bake and peel your sweet potato.  You want this sucker to be SOFT–I baked mine in foil at 425 for 90 minutes.  Once it’s done baking, allow to cool slightly and the skin should slide right off.

Toss in a food processor with the remaining ingredients.  Pulse until very smooth.

Serve with veggies, on salad, with these chips, or just spoon into your face.

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Ginger-Lemon Sweet Potato Salad

Soooooo yay for long weekends!  Long weekends mean I actually get to sleep.  And socialize.  I’m such a hermit…that’s what you get when you work 14 hour days.  Except that my hours here are SO much better than in Texas and I live 10 minutes from work instead of 60.  So I guess I’m just a loser.  OH!  Double yay for Ross being home for a few days before heading up to Boston for the summer…no big plans but there will definitely be good food and outdoors time for all.

To kick off the official beginning of summer I wanted to offer up some picnic food.  Seriously, my neighborhood smells like barbeque and charcoal and smoke.  It’s driving me crazy it’s so good.  But I really don’t need to talk about burgers and brats and steaks because everyone does those and cooking out is like, the single most Paleo-friendly social event ever.  But sides…what to do about the sides…I’ve literally been to outdoor parties where all I could eat was meat.  And maybe some crudités.  Which is fine but sometimes you need a little color on your plate so I’ve been working on some good picnic food this week, whether you need something to bring to a potluck or just to have on hand for a summery meal.

I threw together a big batch of this potato salad earlier this week to have as a convenient side and found that it packs up nicely to bring out for a picnic or cookout.  Besides being visually appealing—summer colors!—it’s a fresh and light tasting staple for any Paleo picnic plate.

Ingredients

5 Large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/4 c Olive Oil

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

Juice of 3 Lemons

1 t Salt

1 t Fresh Ginger

1/4 t Chinese Five Spice

1 T Coconut Aminos

Chopped Fresh Parsley

1/3 c Pine Nuts

Instructions

Place the cubed sweet potatoes in a pot of cold water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly and simmer for 10 minutes until potatoes are tender but not mushy.  Drain and cool.

Meanwhile, combine oil, lemon juice, seasonings and coconut aminos in a bowl and whisk until combined.  Pour over cooled potatoes and stir to combine.  Garnish with fresh parsley and pine nuts.

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Lithuanian Kraut

Fermented food is really good for you.  No one is denying it.  But let’s be honest, plain old sauerkraut can get real old, real quick.  Thanks to my Baltic heritage, though, I grew up loving the stuff because we figured out a long time ago how to make it awesome.  I mean…my Mom’s kraut has BACON in it for goodness sake.  If you can’t choke down a bottle of kombucha on a daily basis, this is a great way to get your prebiotics, probiotics, and everything in between.

This is a great side for any meal of the day…I even like it with eggs in the morning!  The apple takes some of the bite out of it and I’m convinced that even people who can’t stand the uber-vinegary flavor would like this version.  And yes, if you’re not in the mood to go crazy with the stuff, it goes great with brats…who doesn’t love brats with sauerkraut?

Ingredients

1 Jar Sauerkraut (28 oz)

2 Granny Smith Apples, chopped

6 Slices Bacon, fried crisp and diced

2 t Fennel Seed

1 t Black Pepper

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a suacepan over medium-low heat.  Allow to simmer for at least 3 hours before serving.  More time is better!  This stuff keeps incredibly well and is even good cold.

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A New Take on Paleo Pizza

I love pizza.  Oh, it’s a little ridiculous.  And yes, I still get the rando pizza cravings from time to time, but about 99.99% of the time, MEATZA hits the spot and I can go on my merry way.

This time was different.

In a house all by myself with no one to keep me company but GCB and Scandal re-runs, I was seriously Jones-ing for something sauce-y and bread-y and loaded with everything worth living for.  We had all the fixings for MEATZA since I’m made one last week, but the idea just wasn’t that appealing.  Unfortunately, MEATZA gets overwhelmed by…well…all that meat floating around on the bottom where a nice, doughy base once was.

I resisted the urge to call this a “Cauliflower Pizza Crust.”  Yes, it’s got cauliflower as a base, but I feel pretty proud of myself for departing from the cauliflower-and-mozzarella crust that has been around the blogosphere for some time.  I wanted to make a bread-like crust that a) was 100% Paleo, and b) wasn’t the almost cookie-like texture of most almond flour based crusts.

The verdict?  I played with the ingredients a bit and ended up with a thin-ish crust that was delightfully crisp around the edges and that held the weight of my toppings well enough for me to eat it all with my hands…and I use a LOT of sauce, people!  You can season it as you like since cauliflower is nice and bland and won’t mask any flavors.

Ingredients

1/2 Large Head of Cauliflower

1/4 c Flax Meal

1/4 c Almond Meal

2 Eggs + 1 Egg Yolk

1/2 t Baking Soda

1 t Italian Seasoning

1/2 t Salt

1/2 t Black Pepper

Toppings of choice

Instructions

Chop the cauliflower into florets and place in a food processor.  Pulse until you get a rice-like consistency (I did mine in batches)–if you’ve ever made cauliflower rice before, this is the same deal.

Place cauliflower “rice” in a microwave-safe bowl and nuke for 6 minutes on high, or until tender.  Allow to cool slightly.

To the cauliflower, add the flax, almond meal, eggs, and seasoning.  Mix well until you have a sticky ball of dough.  Press down onto a greased baking sheet (or Silpat!  I LOVE mine–thanks Adam & Pete!)***.  Bake crust at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until browned and crisp around the edges.

Remove crust from the oven.  Smother in toppings of your choice.  Broil for 5-8 minutes, or until your toppings have been cooked through to desired done-ness.

Enjoy!

YES…I see the irony in putting cheese on top of my pizza when I went to such lengths to make a dairy-free crust.  If you want a Paleo, not Primal, pizza, just don’t put cheese on top ;)

***Since the wedding is finally behind us, we’re finally putting our wedding gifts to good use!  Ross (and men in general) totally under-utilized the registries, so our gifts ended up being mostly kitchen stuff.  NICE kitchen stuff.  No complaints here.  So, in honor of the people we love most and their unbelievable generosity, I’m making an extra special effort to put my new appliances and gadgets to use on the blog.  Stay tuned for more!

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Roasted Garlic Guacamole Salad

Guess what?!  My car broke down…again.  But that’s not the part of today’s story you need to hear.

So, anyway, my car broke down and I had to take it back to the shop this morning–and the shop I like just so happens to be all the way down near Ft. Hood.  To kill some time, I met Ross for lunch and decided to get a free workout in at the gym.  The gym at Ft. Hood is the part I’ll miss the most because they have a full Crossfit gym and we can take Crossfit classes for free thanks to a VERY generous donation from Greg Glassman.

OK, so even though I was super bummed to have to be on post while I’m on leave, I marched my booty into the gym and I did a Crossfit Total just for sh*ts and giggles.  I mean, it’s been a few months since my last one and it’d be nice to have a benchmark near my wedding, right?  Or something like that..?

Oh! Oh!  I can’t even stand it!  I added 61 pounds!  Maybe that doesn’t sound like much to some more elite athletes out there, but I was thrilled considering my training volume has been on the lighter side this past month thanks to Life Changes.  I’m also pumped because most of that increase was the deadlifts and squats–I was sucking a little (or a lot) on my shoulder press and only raised that one by 7 lbs.  My squat went up 27 lbs and DL was up 27 lbs.  It also put me halfway between the “intermediate” and “advanced” categories, so it’s some nice motivation to pump some iron.  Not too shabby for someone who was a full-fledged noodle this time last year.

OK, now food.

This is sort of a deconstructed guac–it’s got all the elements, except that nothing gets pureed.  I’ll say it’s because I wanted to snazz up one of my absolutely favorite things.  Totally not because the movers took my food processor.

Ingredients

1/2 c Whole Garlic Cloves

1 T Olive Oil

2 t Sea Salt

4 Slices Bacon, fried and chopped

4 Large Avocados, diced

1 c Cherry or Grape Tomatoes

1 Onion, diced

1 Jalapeno Pepper, diced

2 T Fresh Lime Juice

1/4 c Olive Oil

1 t Black pepper

1 t Chili Powder

Instructions

Combine garlic cloves, 1 T olive oil, and sea salt.  Spread out over a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  Bake for 30 minutes at 450 degrees, making sure to toss halfway through.  Allow garlic to cool.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Add the roasted garlic cloves.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to allow the flavors to marry.  Serve over chopped lettuce, with pulled baked chicken, or with eggs for a special breakfast treat ;)

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Baked Jicama Fries

I’d never even heard of a jicama until I went Paleo–mostly because a lot of people seem to like using them in a sort of mock-potato salad.  Just smother chunks of the stuff in mayo…maybe a little dijon mustard and chopped veggies…mmmmmm!

But then I heard through the blogospheric grape vine that you can make fries out of them too.  I [heart] fries…of all kinds.  Totally democratic that way ;)

Only problem was that jicama has a pretty tough texture that doesn’t always lend itself to cooking or baking.  It’s fine raw but I wanted a nice, warm, soft interior and crispy exterior.  I wanted fries, duh.  I saw a few recipes that called for frying  them, but thanks to my minimalist kitchen these days that wasn’t an option.  That, and I was feeling lazy.

Despite being lazy the jicama experiment took some patience because as it turns out, jicama fries are a much bigger pain in the ass than, say, sweet potato or eggplant fries.  Don’t worry, I’m being dramatic.  In this case “pain in the ass” = “takes longer to cook.”  I’m really, really impatient when I’m hungry.

Ingredients

(Serves 2)

1 Large Jicama

3 T Olive Oil

1 T Sea Salt

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the jicama into fry-sized strips.  Make sure they are only about 1/2″ on each side (if they’re too thick they won’t cook through).  Blot with a paper towel to remove excess moisture and place into a large mixing bowl with the oil and salt.  Mix well and arrange on the cookie sheet with at least 1/2″ between fries.  Use another sheet if you run out of space.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until browned slightly on the outside and soft on the inside.  Serve with LOTS of Cave Ketchup.

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Spicy Stuffed Poblanos

This was the FIRST meal Ross and I shared in the new house :)

I don’t know what’s been up with me lately, but I’ve been craving super-spicy food like a mo’fo’…no, I’m not pregnant…and I never eat super duper spicy food.  So, naturally, these have a nice kick-in-the-pants.  And then I doused them in hot salsa.  You can definitely make them more or less spicy by adjusting the number of jalepeno you put into the filling, though.

Ingredients

(Serves 2-3)

4 Poblano Peppers

2 T Olive Oil

1 lb Ground Beef

3 Garlic Cloves, minced

1/2 Onion, diced

4 Jalepeno Peppers, diced

2 c Fresh Spinach

1/4 t Salt

1/2 t Black Pepper

1/2 t Chili Powder

Instructions

Place the Poblanos on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, or until the skin blisters.  Allow to cool enough to handle, then peel off the thin outer skin.  Slice each pepper in half lengthwise and remove the seed pods.  Set aside.

Heat the olive oil over medium high eat.  Sautee the garlic and onion until soft, then add beef.  Once the beef is browned, add the jalepenos and spinach.  Cook until spinach is wilted, then remove from heat.

Fill each poblano with the meat mixture (totally OK to overflow!).  Bake the peppers for 15 more minutes at 400 degrees, or until heated through.

Serve with salsa and (organic/pastured) sour cream :)

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Better-Than-Yours Sweet Potato Fries

I’m a Fry-Master (Mistress?).  No big deal.

If you haven’t noticed, I consume a metric ass-ton of sweet potato fries daily.  They’re great to just throw on the side of whatever the hell we’re having for dinner, good after a good metcon, good with runny eggs for breakfast…even good cold (although Ross seems to disagree with me there…).

This shouldn’t come as a surprise because every friggin’ Paleo and/or Crossfit blog features sweet potato fries.  They’re not hard.  They’re not new.  They’re beautiful in their simplicity and really hard to f*ck up.  (Which is why I got creative and made Sweet Potato Tots to mix things up.  No big deal).

OK, so why the hell would I made such an outrageous claim that my Sweet Potato Fries are better than, say, everybody else’s?  Because found a way to make them even better…you know how baking sweet potatoes and yams never quite makes them like good ol’ fashioned French fries?  Like how they tend to be a little flimsy against the elements (i.e. the massive amounts of Paleo mayo and EVOO i dump on mine)?  How baking them longer just makes them dry?  Well, my friends, I found a way to make them JUST a little more crispy on the outside without sacrificing the sweet, sweet, gooey insides that make my eyes roll back in my head.

I all fairness, I have Martha Stewart to thank for some of this.  It was there that I first heard of blanching sweet potatoes to make them crisp up better, so I was like, “That sounds great!” and got right to work.  Disclaimer:  This is a lot more time and energy than normal sweet potato fries…but so, so worth it.

Ingredients

2 Large Yams or Sweet Potatoes

Water

Ice

Olive or Coconut Oil

Instructions

(I need to break this down, not to insult your intelligence, but because achieving crispity-crunchity texture and a moist inside is the result of a few un-related steps)

Step 1.  Cut your fries thin.  Not matchstick-fry thin, but less than 1/2″ wide on each side.  This matters.  If they’re too big they might cook unevenly.

Step 2.  Soak your raw fries in ice water for 30-45 minutes.  The ice water has to be COLD, so I’d even put the bowl of iced fries back in the fridge or freezer.  When you’re done chilling your taters, drain them and pat them dry with paper towels.  Do NOT try and bake wet potatoes.

Step 3.  Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.  This does NOT mean aluminum foil.  This does NOT mean wax paper.  Parchment paper.  It matters.

Step 4.  You MUST coat your fries with oil, but don’t soak them, either.  Lately I’ve been laying them out on the baking sheet and spraying them down with the Misto until they’re nice and shiny all over.  This probably goes without saying for most Paleo geeks but believe it or not, there are still some weirdos out there who insist that because oil is pure fat then it’s bad.  It’s not.  It’s your bagel that’s making you fat.  Get over it.

Step 5.  Arrange your fries on the baking sheet with lots of space between them, at least 3/4″ between fries.  This matters.  When fries are baked too close together, they steam and keep each other nice and soggy.

Step 6.  Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.  Flip them at least every 10 minutes, but the more often the better so they brown and crisp up micely on all sides.

Step 7.  If you’re still awake by the end of this whole ordeal or at least haven’t given up on me and damned me to hell for making you spend over an hour preparing Sweet Potato Fries, now is the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.  Smother with mayo (or ketchup) and enjoy!

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