Posts Tagged ‘low-carb’
I am on the hunt to expand my Paleo breakfast ideas past fried eggs. I love eggs, but sometimes you just gotta change things up. I am still experimenting with this idea, but I was pretty surprised by the way these turned out so I thought I would share the test recipe with you. While browsing Amazon the other day, I came across pumpkin powder. Pumpkin powder is dehydrated pumpkin that is ground into a fine powder and can be used in place of flour. I was rather intrigued and decided to experiment with making my own.
Unfortunately, my local grocery store was totally out of pumpkins, so I picked up a butternut squash instead. Close enough! I wanted to experiment with making tortillas. Traditional corn tortillas are made from corn, water, and lime. Flour tortillas are made from flour, salt, water, and lard. Therefore, it stands to reason that you could make tortillas from any flour, right?
The result was pretty awesome even though my tortilla recipe still needs a bit of work. I think I made this first batch too thick because they split apart when I picked them up and didn’t hold together like a traditional tortilla. However, they tasted great so I just ate my breakfast with a knife and fork, tostada-style. I might try adding a binder (flax seed, perhaps?) to the next batch and see if that helps. I’ll keep you posted!
Butternut squash toastadas!
To Make Butternut Squash Flour
Peel, seed, and cube the squash and spread it onto a dehydrator. You want small, evenly sized cubes. The pieces took FOREVER to dehydrate. I had them in there for close to 24 hours. Next time, I am going to shred the squash and see if that helps speed up the process!
When they are fully dehydrated, add to a blender and grind into a powder. This also took a bit of time because I have a pretty cheap blender. I imagine a VitaMix could do the trick in a few seconds! I am going to move the VitaMix to the top of my Christmas Wish List.
Butternut Squash Tortillas (Test Recipe)
In a bowl, combine 1/3 cup butternut squash flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Add warm water by the tablespoon and mix until you get a doughy consistency. For me, 3 tablespoons was too little, but 4 tablespoons was too much. I had to play with this and add a little bit more flour to form a dough. Like I said… I am still experimenting!
Divide dough into 2 balls. Place dough between 2 pieces of waxed paper and press with a tortilla press. If you do not have a tortilla press, you can roll these out by hand. Toast the tortillas in a skillet, about 4 minutes on each side.
Butternut Squash Toastadas
Assemble the toastadas by placing two tortillas on a plate. Top with your favorite toppings.
In the photo above: 2 butternut squash tortillas, shredded chicken, tomatillo salsa, pickled carrots, and pumpkin seeds.
Other Paleo topping ideas: Shredded pork, ground beef, eggs, lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo, olives, cilantro, fresh lime, onions, peppers, and thinly sliced radish.
Have you ever used squash flour?
So many recipes in the Paleosphere call for ghee. What’s ghee? Ghee is another name for clarified butter! What’s clarified butter? The stuff that you dip your fingers into at a seafood restaurant… or lobster tail if you are trying to exhibit table manners. Seriously, how tasty is clarified butter? So tasty!
Wait? Butter is Paleo? No. Butter is not Paleo-friendly because it comes from cream, which contains casein and lactose, but when you make ghee, you remove the milk proteins and are left with a delicious nutty fat that is perfect for roasting, sautéing, searing, stir-frying, or melting and drizzling over your favorite veggie.
ANYWAY… it turns out that ghee is incredibly easy (and quick!) to make. I made this really early in the morning because I am a freak and like to wake up before the sun. True story. Then, I used it to make steak and eggs and baked apples. I even thought about putting some of it in my coffee and making Paleo butter coffee, but I thought that might be going a little overboard for one morning. Maybe I will try that next week.
Ingredients and Supplies:
- 1 pound butter
- Glass jar for storing the ghee – I used a pint Mason jar
- Wooden spoon/Solid spoon to skim the foam
1. Over a low heat, melt the butter in your pot.
Use a low heat so your butter does not burn.
2. Try to avoid stirring your butter as it is melting because you want to milk solids to foam up and separate from the fats. When it starts to look like the picture below, use a wooden or solid spoon to skim the foam off the top.
Not stirring is so hard
You might have to do this a few times to get all of the milk proteins out.
Just keep skimming, just keep skimming…
3. When it starts to look like the photo above, let it boil for 10-12 minutes. The milk solids may start to brown and float to the side. That’s ok! You want that. That is giving the ghee a deep nutty flavor.
4. When it the bubbling slows and the browned milk solids start to fall to the bottom of the pan, your ghee is ready to be strained.
Strain any browned bits out.
5. If you are using a mason jar, place 3 layers of cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar and loosely screw on the lid. You want to make sure that the cheesecloth has a little give to it. Notice in the photo above the gap between the cloth and the rim of the lid. Strain any browned bits or foam out.
This will be HOT. Do not grab it right away!
6. Discard the cheesecloth. BE CAREFUL! The rim, jar, and ghee will be hot! Let it cool for a bit before you start to handle it.
When it cools, it will solidify and turn a nice silky color. You can just scoop out however much you need and start cooking. Since the milk proteins have been removed, you do not need to refrigerate your ghee; however, I do to be on the safe side.
Now, stop reading and go make some ghee!
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you have undoubtedly heard me rave about the Foodie Penpals program I participate in each month. Well, I found a Paleo version hosted by Tarah over at What I Gather and Brittanie over at Three Diets One Dinner. How perfect! Paleo Penpals is very similar to Foodie Penpals. Each month you are paired with another participant and you exchange Paleo-friendly items with them. Then, you create a recipe using the items you received from your pen pal. Tarah and Brittanie will put together a roundup post with all of the recipes that were submitted and post it on their blogs at the end of each month. I thought this would be a really great way to expand my Paleo pantry and get some inspiration for new recipes.
This month I was paired with Amanda from Kentucky. She sent me two different spice mixes; one was her own “super secret” pork rub and the other was a spice mix called za’atar. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix that is a mixture of dried herbs, sesame seeds, and sumac and it used on pretty much everything in the Middle East. It can be used to season root veggies or you can add it to olive oil to make a dip for bread. Some people eat it straight from the jar.
Sumac has a slight citrus taste so my original thought was to make za’atar spiked marinara sauce; however, after adding nearly three tablespoons of it to the pot and finding it didn’t have the punch I was looking for, I gave up that idea. I’ve seen pictures of carrot “fries” floating around various Paleo blogs and decided to give that a try. Success!
Carrot fries are awesome! They have a consistency that is similar to sweet potato fries. The sweetness of the carrots and coconut oil pairs nicely with the tartness of the sumac. You can purchase za’atar online or you can make your own from scratch. If you can’t get your hands on any, you can substitute the za’atar in the recipe below for your favorite all-purpose spice blend or season with plain old salt and pepper.
By the way, have I showed you my method for melting coconut oil?
We don’t own a microwave so I had to get creative!
Yup. That’s my bathroom. That’s my hairdryer. Laugh all you want, but it works like a charm!
*NOTE: This recipe makes a single serving of carrot “fries.”
- 2 carrots, peeled and quartered
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted
- 1 1/2 teaspoon za’atar
- Heat oven to 425˚.
- Peel and chop carrots into quarters. You want them to be roughly the same size and thickness.
- In a bowl, toss carrots in melted coconut oil for a few minutes to make sure they are well coated.
- Add za’atar to the bowl and toss the carrots for another few minutes making sure to distribute the spice evenly.
- Spread the carrots onto a baking sheet lined with foil and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes. Watch these as they have a tendency to burn quickly! It may take a few more minutes or a few less depending on how thick you cut your “fries.”
- Remove from the oven and let sit on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before serving.
This weekend I experimented a little in the kitchen by attempting to make Prosciutto Egg Cups for breakfast. Rather than following a tried and true recipe for the first go-round and tweaking to my liking, I tried to make up the recipe from the start. The result didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped. Prosciutto Egg Cups are supposed to look like this:
Or, like this:
But, my version looked more like egg muffins. Whoops!
They were still pretty yummy and I think the main problem was that I scrambled the eggs first rather than dropping the whole egg into the Prosciutto. That’s what happens when you don’t follow a recipe.
I made two, ate one, and stuck the other in the fridge to see if it would hold up overnight. It did, which is exciting because now I feel like I can make a few of these on Sunday afternoon and have breakfast taken care of for the first few days of the week! If you are going to use this as a grab-and-go breakfast item, I’d recommend heating it up. Cold eggs aren’t very tasty. In fact, they are pretty gross.
Prosciutto, Asparagus, Egg “Muffins”
- 2 stalks of asparagus, roughly chopped
- 2 baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2 eggs
- 4-6 slices of Prosciutto
- Preheat oven to 375˚.
- Roughly chop asparagus and mushrooms and set aside.
- Line 2 ramekins (you could also use a muffin tin) with Prosciutto slices until the bottom and sides are completely covered.
- Add the asparagus and mushrooms to the ramekins.
- In a small bowl, whisk eggs. Add eggs to ramekins.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. (I did mine for 27 minutes because they were still a little runny looking at 25 minutes).
- When finished cooking, let stand for a few minutes. Slide a knife around the edge of the ramekins to loosen the “muffin.” Serve warm.
Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean is hosting a Pin It Party today! She is also one of the founders of the Foodie Pen Pal program that I have been participating in each month. Her blog is great! You should check it out. By the way, are you following me on Pinterest?
Below are some of my favorite posts over the last year. After you are done pinning these awesome recipes, you should head on over to the Pin It Party and check out some other awesome bloggers!
1. Mason Jar Salads
Preparing my salads on Sunday evening for the entire week has been one of the biggest stress relievers of my life. It is so nice being able to wake up in the morning, open my fridge, grab one of these jars and head out the door. The lettuce stays crisp all week too!
2. Waldorf-Inspired Tuna Salad
Remember when I made mayonnaise from scratch? This is one of my favorite ways to use it! My husband routinely asks me to make this which has to account for something since he likes practically nothing!
Homemade Mayo, ftw!
3. Mediterranean Zucchini Cups
These have become a staple appetizer at parties around my house. People RAVE over them and always ask for the recipe. They are so simple and healthy. They are a great in the summer, but are an even better on a gloomy winter day. One bite of these and you feel like you are enjoying lunch on an island in the sun!
Under 300 Calories!
4. Wonton Pizza Pockets
I am trying, trying, trying to eliminate processed foods from my husband’s diet. He is quite stubborn and refuses to give up his frozen pizzas and his Totino’s Pizza Rolls. Based on the way he gobbled these down, I am pretty sure he liked these more than Totino’s (even though he won’t admit it ).
5. Lemon & Rosemary Roasted Chicken
Ummmm…. YUM! That is all I have to say about this recipe! Make it tonight and make it often!
I’ve been intrigued by juicing ever since watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix a few months ago. The film follows a man who was 100 pounds overweight with all kinds of autoimmune disorders. He starts juicing in an attempt to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle. It was an interesting film and inspired me to start using the juicer that was collecting dust in my basement.
One of the main motivations to start juicing was the fact that I had to wake up at 5:30 a.m. in order to be at school by 7:30. It was hard for me to eat a full breakfast that early; nothing sounds appetizing when you are still half asleep! But, since I didn’t want to leave the house on an empty stomach, I decided to give juicing a try.
The results were amazing! I had a ton of energy and didn’t experience the harsh crash in the afternoons that I usually get with coffee.This is one of my favorite juice recipes. I stuck to this one almost religiously because it wasn’t overly sweet. The lemon gave it a nice tartness and the parsley added a refreshing finish.
No mid-afternoon crash!
Green Juice Boost (of Energy!)
*This recipe requires a juicer.
Green Juice Boost (of energy)
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1 small apple
- 1 lemon
- 1 small handful of parsley (about 1/4 cup)
- 3 stalks kale
- 2 handfuls of spinach (about 3 cups)
- Roughly chop apple and peel lemon.
- Run all ingredients through a juicer.
- Enjoy immediately!
Do you ever have a really great culinary idea that you are sure no one else has thought of? So, you Google it only find that thousands of people, including one of your favorite bloggers, has already thought of it?! That happened to me with this recipe. Sigh.
Alas, this recipe is super tasty and is quickly becoming a weekly staple in our house. I thought of it when I was trying to think of ways to use the homemade mayo I whipped up a few weeks ago. I was trying to think of something more exciting than deviled eggs when it hit me. A Waldorf salad!
A traditional Waldorf salad is made with chicken, apples, and walnuts and served over lettuce. I didn’t have any chicken on hand so I decided to try it with tuna and the result was nothing short of fantastic. I decided to add grapes because I like them and have seen some variations on this recipe include them. I also didn’t have enough walnuts on hand so I added some pecans to make sure the crunch factor was up to par.
The apples and grapes in this salad make it very refreshing on a hot day; it would make a wonderful picnic dish if not for the mayonnaise. You can’t win ‘em all!
Waldorf-Inspired Tuna Salad
Homemade Mayo, ftw!
- 2 cans tuna
- 1 medium apple, diced
- 1 cup grapes, sliced in half
- 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, diced – I used the celery to eat this tuna salad. If you are using it as a sandwich filling, you may want to up the celery to 3/4 of a cup
- 2-3 tablespoons homemade mayo
- In a bowl, add the apple, celery, grapes, pecans, and walnuts and toss to combine.
- Drain tuna and crumble into the bowl. Toss to combine.
- Add mayo and mix thoroughly.
- Serve using celery sticks as scoops.
Making homemade broth is incredibly simple and seems to really impress people. It is also inexpensive, totally customizable, and so much better tasting than any canned broth or bullion cube on the market. I make homemade vegetable broth approximately once a month. I keep a gallon sized freezer bag in my freezer and throw any vegetable trimmings and ends from my food prep into it.
Store vegetable trimmings in a freezer bag to make homemade vegetable broth
When the bag gets full, I dump it out into a large pot of water and 4-5 hours later have a rich, dark amber broth that is perfect to use as a soup base. You can refrigerate the broth if you are using it that week or freeze it for later use. I like to freeze my broth in ice cube trays and use them to cool down hot soup. I use this method for cooling down my hot coffee.
Ice Cube Tray Measurements
2 cubes = 1/4 cup
4 cubes = 1/2 cup
6 cubes = 3/4 cup
8 cubes = 1 cup
Don’t discard gems like this!
This is also a great way to use up any vegetables you won’t be able to eat before they spoil. The smell that will seep throughout your house is amazing as this broth is simmering. The hardest part about making broth is waiting
Ingredients that can be used:
- Carrots (shavings, tops, trimmings)
- Parsnips (shavings, tops, trimmings)
- Radishes (trimmings)
- Celery (leaves, base, trimmings)
- Onion/Shallots (all types! skins and trimmings)
- Garlic (skins and trimmings)
- Mushrooms (whole or scraps)
- Fennel (trimmings, base, tops, scraps)
- Leeks (base, tops, trimmings)
- Turnips – I always toss a whole one into any batch of stock
- Any vegetable you have on hand!
- Herbs (rosemary, oregano, parsley, whatever you like!)
Freeze odds and ends for later
The great thing about this method is that your broth will change flavor depending on the scraps you collected in the bag. Generally, I make sure to add a few garlic cloves, an extra onion that is chopped into quarters, and a turnip. I find the turnip gives the broth a nice earthy undertone that is otherwise missing.
Homemade Vegetable Broth
Simmer for ~4 hours
- 1 turnip, quartered
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3-4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 bag of vegetable trimmings*
- Water – The amount of water you start with will depend on the size of your pot. Generally speaking, you want the water to reduce to about 1/3 of the original amount. The more it reduces, the more concentrated your broth will be.
- Salt and pepper**
*NOTE: If you do not collect trimmings and want to make broth from scratch just use whole ingredients from the list above.
**Generally, I don’t add salt or pepper to my broth. I usually wait until I am cooking with it to add salt, pepper, herbs, etc. However, you should experiment and season according to your taste!
- Place all items in a pot and fill with water. Leave about 1 inch from the top of the pot.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for ~4 hours. Times will vary depending on the size of your pot so be sure to check periodically the first time you do this.
- When the water has reduced to about 1/3 of the amount, remove from heat and strain.
- Let the veggies cool and then squeeze them over the broth to make sure you get all the flavor you can out of them.
- Strain again to remove any big chunks of vegetables.
- Freeze in ice cube trays and store ice cubes in a large freezer bag.
How is it the end of February already?! Time seems to be flying by at warp speed lately, I can’t believe I start student teaching in 2 weeks, and I graduate in 3 months! Because I am so behind on posting, you guys are going to get a 2-for-1 post today. Three total if you count my February Foodie Penpal Reveal post. How lucky for you!
I’ve been eating Paleo since the first of the year because I am trying to build muscle mass and trim fat. I am honestly amazed at how awesome I feel! I am sleeping better, getting stronger, and fitting into clothes that were snug at Christmas. I also don’t feel the need to obsessively count calories like I did in the past, which has been so freeing. In fact, if I count calories at all, it is in the other direction to make sure I am getting enough on a daily basis. Calorie restriction DOES NOT work, but I will save that for another post.
The biggest change I have seen has been the significant difference in my overall strength. For example, when I started weight training, I was only able to do 8-10 push ups. Now, I am able to do 20 fairly easily! I am still a long way away from completing a pull up, but I am hoping to complete one by my birthday in mid-May. Stay tuned!
January Body Fat Percentage – 28.2%
Current Body Fat Percentage – 26.7%
Yay! Down 1.5% I had to adjust last month’s totals because I realized I was reading the chart incorrectly. I was in the wrong age bracket. Whoops! I am back on track though and heading forwards. My goal is to get to 17%-19% body fat.
Here is a recipe for a dish I whipped up last night. I served it alongside some roasted brussels sprouts and asparagus.
Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chicken
Time: ~30 minutes
- 4 Chicken breasts, skin on and bone in
- 1 Lemon, quartered
- 2 Cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 Sprigs of fresh Rosemary, chopped
- 1 Cup chicken broth – You may need a little more or a little less depending on the size of your pan
- Olive Oil
- Your favorite all-purpose seasoning. I use Back of the Yards from The Spice House.
- Heat oven to 375˚.
- In a cast iron (or oven safe) skillet, heat olive oil so that you will get a nice seer on your chicken breasts. While your oil is heating, liberally season your chicken breasts with your favorite all-purpose seasoning.
- Seer chicken skin side down until the skin is golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.
- Flip the chicken breasts over and sear the under side for another 4-5 minutes.
- Squeeze lemon juice over the chicken and place the quartered lemons into the skillet.
- Add the chicken broth, smashed garlic, and half of the rosemary to the skillet and place it into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear.
- Garnish with remaining rosemary and more lemon juice, if desired.
This is a pretty typical Sunday night dinner in our house. We love fajitas. I make them by sautéing garlic, onions and peppers in olive oil then adding chicken flavored with and marinated in fajita seasoning from the Spice House. Simple and quick.
From left to right: chicken fajitas, tortillas (for hubs), cheese, sour cream, guacamole, sautéed mushrooms (for me since I don’t eat the tortillas), pico de gallo, and grilled green onions.
I usually make a double batch of the chicken and peppers along with a boat load of guacamole and pico de gallo so I can have the leftovers the next few mornings with eggs. Fajita omelette? Yes, please!
I can’t convince my husband to try Paleo with me for even two weeks so that’s why the tortillas are pictured here. However, this is Paleo-friendly as long as you eat everything a la carte. You could also serve this as a salad over a bed of lettuce greens with a bit of olive oil and fresh lime juice. When you make fresh pico and guacamole, you don’t even miss things like sour cream, cheese, or tortillas. I have to admit that even though cheese isn’t technically Paleo, it is the one item that I cheat with at times.
I have found that people really struggle with slicing and dicing peppers for meals like this. I can’t even recall where I learned this technique, but it is the best way to cup up fresh peppers. It’s makes it super easy to slice them into strips or dice them into cubes and you never have any of the little seeds flying about.
How to Cut a Pepper
How to cut a pepper
Slice down the side of the pepper as close to the stem as possible.
Side view of step 1
Now that you can see the inside, slice the other sides off avoiding the seeds.
Avoid the seeds as you slice
Side view of step 2
Notice the seeds are intact around the stem
Repeat around the entire pepper
Discard the seeds
Slice into strips or dice into cubes