21 Day Sugar Detox, Day 10: I’m still in my pajamas.

And it’s AMAZING.

If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve had an insane week or two. If you know me personally, well, you know how that goes. I’m not a type A person.

I was supposed to continue on with the craziness this week, no end in sight until Saturday, but a catering job got cancelled. Since I am in need of some time off, as well as some time to catch up on paperwork, this is a good thing.

Simon had the day off too, since he’s a contractor, and his current project is outside.

This is what outside looks like.

This is what outside looks like.

So I woke up to the smell of bacon, which is always a good thing. Coffee made, bacon in the oven. Looking pretty good so far!

spinach onion & feta omelet with bacon

spinach onion & feta omelet with bacon

I LOVE when someone makes breakfast for me. Or any meal, really. It’s downright luxurious.

We had big plans to go to a matinee and take advantage of both of us having a weekday off, but somehow staying in pajamas trumped that idea. We discussed what kinds of snacks we could bring: peanut M&Ms! almonds! Kale chips! Popcorn! Kombucha! Bubbly water! Meh. Even though popcorn isn’t paleo, when not on a sugar detox we usually bring some that we made in the air popper and tossed with some grassfed butter and sea salt. I smuggle it in my big purse, and they can kiss my a$$ if they don’t like it.

It was a wonderful lazy yet productive morning / afternoon that involved planning a holiday paleo party with a friend, answering emails, buying a new camera(!), writing proposals and discussing the next steps for Zenbelly Kitchen. It’s taking longer than I had hoped to get this business open, and I’m getting antsy. Commence high gear mode.

I took advantage of the massive amount of veggies in the fridge and made myself a salad for lunch with some Wild Planet Sardines. I made a quick creamy parsley dressing by throwing some mayo, lemon juice and parsley in the blender.



Suddenly, it was dinner time. The only thing we had left from our Fallon Hills order was a pork tenderloin, and I just wasn’t feelin’ it. Plus, we had zero vegetables left. So Simon was a sport (remember: I’m still in my jammers) and ran to the best little market in San Francisco, Noriega Produce. They’re too busy cramming everything one could possibly want into a teeny store to have time for a website. He returned with some grass fed beef, butter lettuce, tomatoes & avocados. BOOM. Burger time.

I've been a bit cheese obsessed...

I’ve been a bit cheese obsessed…

I know what you’re thinking: “How in the WORLD do you plan to pick that thing up?!”



Normally, there isn’t much to blog about after dinner. Not much dessert to be had. But tonight, to celebrate day 10 (that’s not entirely true, it just sort of happened) I made vanilla bean tahini truffles from Practical Paleo. Sans maple syrup, of course. I’m pretty excited to have something to snack on while catching up on Dexter and Homeland.

My blog is moving tomorrow! I don’t really understand it, honestly, but it’s happening, and will be down from about 9pm PST tonight until at least the same time tomorrow. So there a chance I won’t post tomorrow, but don’t worry, I’m not hiding somewhere eating candy bars.

Next time I “see” you, we’ll be past the half way point! This isn’t so bad, right?


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21 Day Sugar Detox, Day 9: If I have to smell brownies one more time…

I’m pretty sure that making brownies and not being able to eat a single tiny piece of them is an actual, real form of torture.

I made some yesterday for a drop-off catering gig that I was booked for today, and let me tell you: TORTURE. When I got to the house and opened the container that they were in, I almost fell over.

One thing’s for certain: they are on the list of things to make in approximately two weeks from now. I’ll even post the recipe.


I had another less than ideal eating day, where I enjoyed my coffee and wasn’t hungry for a while and then BAM! Hangry. I had plans for something that looked like this:

Who needs bread?

Who needs bread?

But someone ate all of the salmon that was in the pantry. I was officially derailed. So I ripped the last of the chicken off of the roast chicken and had a few roast beef and cheddar roll-ups like I did the other night. But this time, deluxed with dijon mustard. Oh. Boy.

After dropping off the food for ladies poker night I was officially in need of dinner. Pork chops were the option given the amount of time I was willing to spend cooking.

But first, an appetizer made with random catering overflow:

Smoked Salmon | Chive Creme Fraîche | Grain-Free Crackers

Smoked Salmon | Chive Creme Fraîche | Grain-Free Crackers

Okay, back to the challenge of dinner: I’m a total pork chops and applesauce kind of girl. It doesn’t really have to be applesauce, but I love some kind of fruit with pork. It’s my go-to, almost all the time. In the summertime, I make a stone fruit slaw out of peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots that is de-licious.

Speaking of fruit, raise your hand if you’ve explained this detox to someone, and when you get to the part about no fruit, they say “But fruit is healthy!”, as if we’re all going to have some kind of fruit deficiency when this thing is over. I hope we can bounce back from that!

So I seared them in some bacon fat and added the tomato sauce that didn’t fit in the chafing dish with the meatballs I prepared for ladies poker night. Threw ’em in the oven and let them finish in there. Lovely with a bit of sautéed romanesco with a touch of Parmesan cheese.

Not the most beautiful dinner, but tasty nonetheless.

Not the most beautiful dinner, but tasty nonetheless.

And that’s day 9! Good news: I got the rest of the week off. Which means I’ll have time to move my blog so it can be better functioning, and maybe even fold some laundry. Also: post some recipes I’ve been dying to post but haven’t had time. Maybe even take pictures of them while there is still daylight! Maybe.

Speaking of which, I posted this one for Moroccan Braised Lamb earlier today. Check it out! Even though it cooks for hours, the active time is mere minutes.

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Moroccan Braised Leg of Lamb

Ever since I made boneless leg of lamb like this, I haven’t looked back. It’s that good. I make some variations, of course (like not using extra virgin olive oil to sauté, for example), but it’s a keeper.

I’m pretty sure that every leg of lamb I’ve had in the past 3 years has gotten the above treatment.

Last week, there were two good reasons for not making it Mario’s way; 1. I was already way overloaded with work, and this recipe involves a bit of prep, and 2. Oranges & red wine are not on the ideal list for the 21 Day Sugar Detox.

This lamb took so little effort that I actually came across it in the fridge two days later and was a bit surprised. “I made lamb! Huh. I vaguely remember that.”

The level of my hunger is inversely related to the quality of the picture.

The quality of my food photography is inversely related to my degree of hunger.

Moroccan Braised Lamb

one boneless leg of lamb, about 3-4 pounds
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Moroccan spice (recipe below)
4 whole cloves (optional, but good if you have them)
4 whole cardamom pods (optional, but good if you have them)
1 T duck fat (or ghee, coconut oil, or your favorite fat)
2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons butter or ghee (optional, but gives a nice richness to the sauce)

  • Make a paste with the crushed garlic and the rub. If it’s a bit dry, add a drop of water to make it the consistency of a paste.
  • Rub the lamb all over with the paste, and let it sit for an hour, allowing it to come to room temperature. (this is an ideal situation, if you have time)
  • In a cast iron dutch oven over medium-high heat, sear the lamb in the duck fat for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
  • Add the chicken stock and whole cloves and cardamom, and allow it to come to a simmer. Turn the heat to low, and cover.
  • Let the lamb braise for about 3 hours, turning half way through.
  • Once it feels tender (stick it with a knife, if will pierce it without too much effort), remove the lamb and turn the heat up to high.
  • Reduce the liquid until roughly one cup remains.
  • Meanwhile, slice the lamb into 1/2 inch thick slices and set on a serving platter, covering loosely with foil to keep warm.
  • Stir in the butter or ghee to the sauce, and stir to combine.
  • Pour the sauce over the lamb and serve.Keep in mind that I went the simplest route possible with this dish. If I had more time and energy, I might have made some additions:
  • Once the lamb is seared, remove it from the pan and add one whole sliced onion, sauté until it’s golden, and then add 1 cup jarred tomatoes, and maybe even a few tablespoons of golden raisins (if not doing the sugar detox)
  • Then add the chicken broth, lamb, and continue the recipe if directed.

Moroccan Spice Rub

2 T paprika
2 t each:
coconut palm sugar (optional)
sea salt
1/2 t each:
black pepper
1/4 t each:

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in a glass jar.

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21 Day Sugar Detox, Days 7 & 8: One week down! Or as Simon says, half way there

We had this conversation today.

Simon: What day are we on?
Me: 8.
Simon: So we’re just about half way done!
Me: Ummmm. Actually, it’s more like a third of the way done?

In Simon’s mind, 8 is almost 10, and 10 is just about half of 21.

But really, I like to celebrate the fact that we’re one week down, two to go. ‘Cause if we say we’re half way there NOW, when we’re actually half way there if won’t feel like an accomplishment, because we were already there.

Can you tell I’m sleep deprived?

Day 7

I’m not sure I can pull off a play by play for yesterday, because it feels like a really long time ago.

Here are some highlights:

Kickin' it old school

Kickin’ it old school

We woke up to a power outage, due to a snapped power line a block from our house. Luckily, were were able to brew coffee with that old fashioned cone you see there, using the coffee that was ground the night before. PHEW. We even have a stove top frother, so Simon didn’t have a meltdown due to a lack of frothy half and half in his coffee. I’m half kidding.

For breakfast, Simon made bacon and eggs, and I just ate a plate of bacon.

I don’t really remember much after that, there’s a vague memory of shoveling salmon salad into my mouth before running out the door to the wedding I was catering. Naturally, I found myself starving on the way to the gig. I tend to not get hungry when I’m cooking, and then once I’m done, it hits me. This is not a good thing in my normal life, but during a detox when my food options are even more limited, it’s downright scary. My server (best ever, my absolute favorite, love him) who I was carpooling with spotted a Safeway, which seemed like the only thing around, aside from a few coffee shops. Any time I’ve been in a Safeway, I’ve marveled at 2 things:

1. The lack of actual food in them.
2. The general unhealthy appearance of so many of the people shopping there.

But I’m desperate, and figure that worst case scenario, there will be almonds or something.



I am overjoyed and feel like a sugar detox ninja. Sure, the cheese is totally unnecessary, but made my dinner a bit more luxurious. That’s right, I just referred to my dinner of meat and cheese roll ups as luxurious.

The wedding I catered last night was for the sweetest couple ever. It was in their home, and was attended by just a few members of their family and close friends. It was one of those events that reminded me how much I love my job. It didn’t feel like work, it felt like I was one of the few lucky people who got to be a part of their beautiful celebration. The ceremony was on their back deck, and I was glad I couldn’t hear what they were saying, because I would have totally cried. And it might be weird to cry at a wedding when you don’t really know the people. For the reception, they had stationary and passed hors d’oeuvres, and a gluten-free chocolate cake from The Gluten-Free Bread Factory*. Which, by the way, everyone raved about, and could not believe that it was gluten-free. Cutting that sucker and not stealing a nibble was not an easy feat. But I persevered.

Their Crudités platter, dips added later

Their Crudités platter, dips added later

Day 8

Today started off with the alarm going off way before I was ready to wake up. It was pretty much like this: brush teeth-coffee-mascara-clothes-throw things in car-coffee.

I had a lovely morning making omelets, as I always do. It’s a pretty sweet gig, because who doesn’t love to come to work on a Monday and order an organic omelet made with whatever they want? Well, I’m the one making those omelets, so I see a lot of happy people. I’ve even heard the words “I LOVE Mondays!”

You’ll notice there was no breakfast in the madness that ensued this morning, so after the omelet bar, I made myself this:

Sunny eggs over bacon, spinach & tomatoes

Sunny eggs over bacon, spinach & tomatoes


The afternoon consisted of some snacking on leftover lamb from the other night and a much needed cup of earl grey tea.

Come dinner time, I was obviously very happy to find some steaks in the fridge from Fallon Hills Ranch. I get my eggs and ham for the omelet bar from them, as well as our meat for the week. The farmers market got canceled an hour after it opened yesterday due to the weather, so they came to my house to deliver my order. How much do I love them? SO MUCH. I even got to shop for our meat for the week right outside my house.

So for dinner, I just salted and peppered these beauties, cooked ’em in some bacon fat in a cast iron skillet, and sautéed some mushrooms to go on top. I also made some kale with balsamic and pine nuts. It was good, but needs another run before I post the recipe.

Yes please.

Yes please.

So that’s it, fellow sugar detoxers! We are one third done, and well on our way to busting those nasty sugar and carb cravings. How are you feeling? Are you craving some old favorites? What are you eating instead?


* official website is under construction

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21 Day Sugar Detox, Day 6: It’s my job to cheat.

Here’s the thing:

I will never really be able to do a detox like this without cheating a little. Not because I want to, but because my job is to cook food, and not for people on a sugar detox. I don’t cook from recipes; I taste and adjust. This is one of the two reasons that my catering company is 100% gluten-free. The other is that there is a definite need for it.

The goal for 2013 is to be so busy with paleo catering that I don’t have time for any other kind. But until that happens, I’m going to be making hummus from time to time. It could be worse, really- I’m pretty sure that this nation isn’t so unhealthy because of a few chickpeas.

So here are all of the things from the “NO” list that I tried today:

  1. one tiny meatball (with GF breadcrumbs)
  2. lemony hummus
  3. spicy roasted pepper hummus
  4. one, maybe two tiny potato latkes
  5. spiced yogurt (with honey)

I think that’s it. Unfortunately luckily, every singe bacon wrapped date stuffed with almonds came out absolutely perfect. There wasn’t a single one that begged to be eaten to be saved the embarrassment of being undone or imperfect. This has never happened in the history of me making bacon wrapped dates, and I’ve made them a gazillion times. Maybe two gazillion. Always, always, always, at least one unrolls, or the date pops out the side, or the bacon cooks funny on top and doesn’t deserve to be on a serving tray with it’s friends. Obviously, I have to eat those. This is the first time. EVER. Interesting, no?

So the sugar detox powers that be are looking out for me.

Day 6

We had pancakes for breakfast, and they weren’t a cheat. I omitted the honey from the recipe, and upped the vanilla a bit and added cinnamon. They were delicious. I’m not gonna lie, I really wanted to douse those suckers with maple syrup. But I opted for grass fed butter and cinnamon.

I didn’t really eat lunch, unless you count all of the snacking I did while sampling my cooking. It doesn’t really matter, because Simon’s lunch was too awesome to compete with anyway.

The Pancake Sandwich.

The Pancake Sandwich.

Yup. He made a sandwich with pancakes. Roast chicken, guacamole, greens & mayo

I made some boneless leg of lamb a few days ago, and completely forgot about it until today! I honestly don’t have a clue what day I made it; it was that kind of week. I do know that it was really simple to make, and came out delicious. I recorded the recipe, but obviously haven’t posted it yet… I will do so asap. I even roasted too much cauliflower earlier when I was prepping it for soup, so we had a lovely veggie dish ready to go.

Moroccan braised lamb and roasted cauliflower

Moroccan braised lamb and roasted cauliflower

I love love love when dinner is already made at the end of a long day.

I’ll be catering an event until late tomorrow night, so I probably won’t be posting anything, but will combine days 7 and 8 on Monday!

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

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21 Day Sugar Detox. Day 5: I’ll be on the couch, pretending not to want ice cream and a margarita.

You know who doesn’t say TGIF often? That’s right, me.

I’m saying it tonight, even though the weekend that lies ahead doesn’t in the least resemble an actual weekend. I have to cook all day tomorrow, and cater a small wedding on Sunday. I’m not complaining. It’s my job! And I love it. The fact is, I get tons of random days off on all sorts of days of the week. This is not a M-F 9-5 gig. Sometimes, I have a whole week off, and get to do things like catch up on paperwork, when I’m not being distracted by the likes of  Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  (<— that was sneaky, right?)

But this Friday evening I have off. From the time I delivered lunch in Marin today until tomorrow morning when I start cooking, I’m a free woman. So far, I met a friend for lunch and got a pedicure. It’s not even 7, and I can see the couch in my near future. I’m so happy I could cry.

It’s the little things.

Day 5 of the 21 Day Sugar Detox was so far the day that felt the most arrrrgh. I did a stupid thing and forgot to bring the desserts for the lunch, which means they are still in my possession. Normally, I would be excited about this, because they are delicious and gluten-free. Obviously I’m not excited to have 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies and a whole lot of lemon bars. But you know who will be? The gluten-free folks getting married on Sunday, who don’t know it yet, but are getting a little gift from me. Let’s go ahead and call this a win.

Argh. The wine at Whole Foods looked extra good. Simon couldn’t take one more egg this morning, and ran (drove) to the store to get almond butter and green apples. He’s a lifelong toast with butter and cinnamon in the morning kind of guy. It’s that or a smoothie, so he’s having a tough time with breakfast. Especially the unsweetened coffee. Argh.

So this is today, in between the argh moments:

Day 5

Simon never thought he’d be so excited to have an apple and almond butter. I made myself a scramble with peppers and onions and topped it with some leftover guacamole. Which, by the way, was still green. If you don’t know the secret, you really must check it out. I’d post a picture, but it’s blurry. It looks good on Instagram, though!

Simon ate half of a roast chicken that was in the fridge. (I’ve made sure that the fridge never runs out of roast chicken this week) It’s helped.
I met a friend for lunch in Mill Valley, and got myself the classic paleo out to eat staple of the burger no bun. And pushed those nasty raw onions aside. Blech. Oil and vinegar on the salad, ’cause you can’t trust those dressings.

Burger no bun. Blue cheese and bacon. (I'm allowing myself some dairy)

Burger no bun. Blue cheese and bacon. (I’m allowing myself some dairy)

Soup again. But this time, spicy tomato chicken soup. Kind of like tortilla soup, but without the tortillas. So it’s probably not right to call it that.  We topped it with some avocado and gave it a squeeze of lime. Perfect for a cold and rainy night. “Winter” is what they call it here in San Francisco, but I was wearing flip-flops earlier, and I still have my toes.

tortilla soup, hold the tortillas

tortilla soup, hold the tortillas

You’ll notice that there isn’t a link to the soup recipe. That’s because there isn’t one. I’ve noticed that a picture of a photo often elicits requests for the recipe, which I love, and… 90% of what I cook is completely off the cuff. When I do want to record a recipe for a blog post, I must measure what I add, write down everything I do, and take lots of mediocre pictures with my camera phone. I don’t always do that, due to time restrictions, and being too hungry. But I will do my best to get some soup recipes up soon! I make amazing soup. It’s sort of my specialty.

Well, I can hear the couch calling. I am going to go lie on it, and pretend that I’m not having some real deal sugar withdrawals. You know it’s bad when you’re craving peanut M & M’s.

Coconut muffin with butter and cinnamon it is!

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21 Day Sugar Detox. Day 4: Based on my scientific research, starting the day with chicken soup makes everything amazing.

While falling asleep last night in a state of sheer exhaustion, I remember muttering “I’m going to have chicken soup for breakfast”.

This is normal, right?

I did just that, and was happy to remember this morning that I had made such a good plan the night before. I have some genius moments when I’m barely conscious.

I feel like I’ve been whining a lot this week, so today, I’d like to share with you the many good things about this lovely stormy Thursday.

  • The rain didn’t start until I was a mere half a block from home when walking the dogs  this morning.
  • I was able to procure delicious chocolate chip cookies from The Goods Gluten-Free Treats*, and that means that I don’t have to make dessert for tomorrow’s catering job. (more importantly, I don’t have to smell cookies baking)
  • I decided to take a tiny detour to check out the storm as it was coming in on the ocean.  It was beautiful and stormy, and I was reminded that I really do need to go there more often.

pretty stormy.

  • I was able to finish work in time to actually make dinner for me and Simon, and happened to have ground beef, salsa, avocados, and romaine in the fridge. Taco Night! We made them with lettuce leaves instead of jicama, to use what we had and to make it as simple as possible. If you haven’t yet had jicama taco shells though, oh man, are you in for a treat. And once you know how to make guacamole that doesn’t turn brown, you’ll just want to throw parties all the time.
  • AND THEN! We finally bottled up our first batch of kombucha that we started two weeks ago. It needs another day or three for it’s second ferment / flavor magic to happen, and I can hardly wait to try it. I bought a kit, SCOBY and all from the lovely people at Kombucha Kamp while I was at the Weston A Price conference earlier this month. Being a total kombucha novice, I felt good about having a complete kit to start with, including very detailed instructions. It looks like our first batch came out great, and we started a new batch to keep it going.

bottlin’ the booch!

I promise I did eat between breakfast and lunch, but it was more like snacking here and there…. Some rotisserie chicken, a few bites of frittata, a few emergency almonds that I keep in my purse at all times. This list, combined with a conversation I had with my friend Johnny over at Eating For Idiots reminds me that I really do need to eat more kale and other good dark leafy greens. I tend to get lazy with the veggies! Shame on me. This weekend at the market I will stock up, I promise!

Eat More Kale!

What a great day. I hope yours was great as well.

* The Goods website is still in progress, but definitely keep them on your radar – There are some pretty fantastic cookies and such coming from their kitchen.

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