21 Day Sugar Detox. Day 3: Christmas Trees Smell Amazing

I’m going to make this quick, because I am dying to lie on the couch for a whole hour, starting in 8 minutes.

Today:

Again, insane. Cook, drive, set up, drive, shop, cook, blog. A wonderful new recipe, if I do say so myself, for grain-free rosemary olive oil crackers. They’re a great snack for the next 18 days, and beyond! Check ’em out.

Honestly, today is a blur. What I do know is that I had to bake brownies and chocolate chip cookies for a catering job, and let me tell you: Smelling those things when doing a sugar detox is TORTURE. And we’re not just talking about smelling them while sitting in the other room playing video games (ahem, Simon), but MAKING them. And not licking the spoon, or eating those little bits on the cookie sheet that get a little extra toasty. And you know how when you cut brownies, they get stuck to the knife a bit? Holy. Moley. Can you just picture the beads of sweat on my forehead while I resisted cheating?

This is how I found myself with my nose literally in the Christmas tree. It smells great. And not like delicious cookies.

All that being said, I managed to eat pretty well today. Bacon and eggs for breakfast, some rotisserie chicken for lunch, chicken broth later on, and shrimp scampi over spinach for dinner, which Simon made(!) He likes to pretend he doesn’t know how to cook, but he’s totally busted.

Busted.

In general, I have a feeling that I haven’t been eating enough for the past few days, but I haven’t felt all that hungry either. I find that the fewer carbs I eat, the less hungry I am in general. The main difference I feel in my health since embracing a mostly paleo lifestyle is stable blood sugar. Carbs and grains make me hypoglycemic. Cutting out sugars and most carbs altogether makes me a superhero.

Not that I’ll never eat a grain-free chocolate chip cookie ever again. 3 days down, 18 to go! How’s everyone doing?

Posted in 21 DSD Daily Eats | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Grain-Free Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers

Once you find out how easy it is to make grain-free crackers, you’ll be hooked. These are a variation of my other favorites, my grain-free everything crackers. If you haven’t tried those, you really should, especially if you have fond memories of a good everything bagel.

These are a great way to add crunch to your paleo lifestyle. If you’re doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox along with us, they’re a perfect snack to help you get through those… oh you know… moments.

a lovely stack of crackers

rosemary cracker dough, ready to roll.

Ready to bake!

Something so satisfying about breaking them apart once they’re baked.

Grain-Free Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers

Preheat oven to 325°

2 cups almond flour
1 egg, preferably pastured
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • In a large bowl, beat the egg and the olive oil.
  • Mix in the remaining ingredients and mix well, giving it a few kneads.
  • Turn out onto a sheet of parchment paper and flatten out a bit.
  • Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and roll out to 1/8 inch thick.
  • Remove the top sheet of parchment and cut into 1 inch squares with a sharp knife.
  • Transfer (with the bottom sheet of parchment) to a sheet pan and bake for 14-20 minutes, checking occasionally.
  • The outside crackers might be done sooner than the center, in which case just remove the pan from the oven and carefully transfer the finished crackers to a plate to cool.
  • They’re done when they’re just barely golden.
  • Store in an airtight container.

These are great for just snacking, but for some simple hors d’oeuvres ideas:

  • goat cheese and tapenade
  • chicken liver pâté and a slice of cornichon
  • fig jam and aged manchego cheese
  • grilled steak, caramelized onions and dijon mustard
Posted in 21DSD, Appetizers, grain-free, Paleo, Snacks | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

21 Day Sugar Detox. Day 2. We’re going to need more butter.

Owning a catering company is like this:

  1. I’m so busy I can’t figure out a way to physically do everything I need to do, I eat cold bolognese with a spoon for dinner, and curse all those 80’s movies and The Jetsons for promising that we’d have robot assistants by now. Where. Are. They.
  2. * crickets *

Considering I’m blogging at 10pm instead of strapping on my light blocking eye mask like I should be, it’s safe to say that this week falls into the #1 category. And yes, I had cold bolognese for dinner. Actually that’s not entirely true. I had 2 bites while it was scorching hot, and got distracted, later shoveling the rest of it in my mouth while doing dishes. It’s all glamour over here, folks!

I didn’t manage to take many food pics today, but did wake up to a text from Simon asking if this was the right amount of butter to put on his coconut muffin:

It’s cut in half for greater surface area, I’ll give him that.

I replied that it’s almost enough butter, but this is more like it:

now that’s some butter

Looking through the pictures on my phone, I’m reminded that I did actually have lunch! Yay me. Leftover turkey soup, the one I’ve been bragging about. Seriously, Bobby Flay would get his tuchus handed to him if he challenged me to a Throw Down on this one. I will try and post a recipe, but it’s one of those things…. Almost impossible to record what happened in the kitchen that day. Measuring definitely did not, but I’ll do my best to recipe-ify it. This picture is from the other night. I did not eat it at the table with a nice cloth napkin today.

I could seriously eat this every day.

In other news: Do you like our glitter table? We did some DIY this weekend with the kids, which is way outside the norm of our usual activities. We are not crafty people. The concept of putting down something protective didn’t cross our minds, and so the table has officially been refinished. And it’s pretty damn sparkly.

For the most part, I was way too busy today to think about what I could and couldn’t eat, so it was essential that there were plenty of leftovers in the house.  I have an equally busy day tomorrow, the next day, the day after that, and the day after that. But there are a few recipes that I reeeeealy want to post, so I will try my very best to do so.

I’ll give you a hint: one of them is a variation of these crackers.

How was today for you?

Posted in 21 DSD Daily Eats | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

21 Day Sugar Detox: Day 1. I didn’t open the wine.

A few weeks ago, I attended my first Weston A Price Wise Traditions conference. I should probably write up an in depth post about it, considering the massive amount of knowledge that was shared there. But for now: The Cliff’s Notes.

  1. Eat less sugar.
  2. Eat more fat.

It’s high time that the low fat, high refined carb diet is called out for what it is: No bueno.

After hearing a version of the above from just about every brilliant speaker at the conference, I decided it was time for another sugar detox. I did the 21 Day Sugar Detox earlier this year, and it was great. I only hated life every so often, and I slept like a dog (I never got the “slept like a baby” expression- babies sleep for a few hours and wake up screaming bloody murder with poop in their pants. I never aspire to sleep like that. My dog, however, now she knows how to sleep).

We already eat pretty clean in this house, but we have some issues; namely: I want ice cream and tequila way too often, and my boyfriend puts too much sugar in his coffee and wants beer way too often.

I don’t know how it happend, but he agreed to do this thing with me. And because misery, er sugar detoxing loves company, I’ve invited you all to join us too! To try and make it more doable, I will be posting daily eats and recipes here as often as I can… Hopefully daily.

So here we go!

Day 1

Breakfast
Simon (yes, we are indeed Simon and Simone. I know.) had a leisurely morning and enjoyed some bacon and eggs. I however, had to get to my Monday omelette bar and only had time to slather grassfed butter on a coconut muffin and run out the door with my coffee in hand. But don’t feel bad, I had second breakfast later on:

a super tasty scramble: onions, peppers, bacon, jalapeños and heirloom tomatoes

Lunch
Simon reheated some leftover lamb leg steaks and cut up some bell peppers. Cut up veggies is his classic side dish. I’ll take it! I threw some olives on the plate.

Dinner
I’m excited to make a quick bolognese sauce with zucchini noodles. One of my faves.

I saute an onion in bacon fat, add in a few cloves of garlic, reach for the wine… Gah! Can I cook with wine? I think maybe, but probably not really if I’m going to be legit about this thing. I tweet Diane at Balanced Bites and she says I technically can since the alcohol cooks off, but it’s not a resounding “YES!” #chefscanthelpit, is what she really says. It’s sort of permission, but I still don’t feel great about it. So I pass on the wine. No sense opening up a bottle just to have it sitting around, staring at me for the next 3 weeks. Even if the alcohol cooks off, it still seems really sugary to me. Plus she suggests adding some balsamic instead, which is a fabulously delicious idea. Bonus: I get to add another recipe to the 21 DSD category.

And that’s it for today! I’m whooped, and hoping for the first of many dog-like slumbers.

If you’re doing a post-Thanksgiving clean eating challenge of some sort, how is it going for you?

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Quick Bolognese

A good meat sauce doesn’t need to cook all day to be delicious. This one can be made in under 30 minutes, and is a wonderful inexpensive weeknight meal.

The idea to use balsamic vinegar instead of red wine comes from Diane of Balanced Bites, who was there for me when I was having a “how can I make sauce without wine?!” crisis.

Quick Bolognese

1 onion, small dice
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 pound ground beef (grassfed if possible)
12 ounces Italian sausage, removed from casings if in links (check ingredients!)
20-24 ounces jarred tomatoes
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
pinch salt
pinch red pepper flakes, if desired
1 tablespoon bacon fat

  • In a large cast iron or stainless steel sauce pan, heat the bacon fat over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and cook, stirring every minute or so, until fragrant and softened, about 7-10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and saute one more minute.
  • Sprinkle in a pinch of salt.
  • Add the beef and sausage, and break it up with a spatula as much as possible.
  • Once the meat is browned, add the tomatoes. rosemary, red pepper flakes, and bring to a simmer.
  • Turn the heat to low and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • When it’s nearly done, add the balsamic vinegar and simmer another minute or two.

Bolognese with zucchini noodles

Posted in 21DSD, Beef, Paleo, pork | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pumpkin Panna Cotta

Pumpkin Panna Cotta

Suddenly, I’m obsessed with pumpkin. This is normal for the season, except I’m not usually much of a pumpkin person. I’ve never disliked it, but it certainly wasn’t the dessert I went for on the Thanksgiving table. It always seemed like a total waste of a pie to me.

And then this year happened, which must be a taste bud changing year, because there are several things that I suddenly started to love that I couldn’t stand before. Kombucha and tequila, for example. And I have been loving pumpkin. I’ve made the pumpkin cranberry muffins from Practical Paleo more times than I can count.

I couldn’t stand the thought of Thanksgiving going by without some kind of pumpkin dessert on the table. But I’m still not a fan of pumpkin pie, not enough to add it to my list of tasks this week. I considered making a pumpkin cheesecake, but a bit of research into that topic reminded me that I’m a horrible baker, and shouldn’t attempt such things with an already full plate.

Behold: The Pumpkin Panna Cotta. So simple, even horrible bakers like myself can make it. Most of the time it requires is spent chilling in the fridge; active time is less than 15 minutes. And you can pour it into any size cups you’d like. I’ll be using small tea cups (3-4 ounces) since they’ll be one of many desserts at Thanksgiving.

I used heavy cream for this recipe, wanting to keep it classic. I’m sure you could sub full fat coconut milk but I can’t attest for what it will do to the taste or texture. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out!

tiny tea cups are perfect for serving smaller portions of this rich dessert

Pumpkin Panna Cotta

makes 8 small portions, easily scaled

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 packet or 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons cold water
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
whole nutmeg and cinnamon for serving, optional.

  • In a large saucepan, whisk to combine the cream, maple syrup, pumpkin, ground spices and vanilla over medium heat. Heat until it’s hot, but not boiling.
  • Meanwhile, put the cold water in a large bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
  • Pour the hot cream mixture over the gelatin and stir well to combine.
  • Pour into ramekins, tea cups, or molds and place in the fridge to set, at least 2 hours.
  • Before serving, grate some whole nutmeg and/or cinnamon on each serving.
Posted in Dessert, primal | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Caramelized Vegetable Paleo Gravy

GRAVY. If you can’t or don’t eat gluten, you’ve probably eaten a Thanksgiving or two without it. Never again, my gluten-free and paleo friends! This one is so flavorful you’ll only need one option at the table- no need for a gluten-free and “regular” gravy. Besides, I’m willing to bet that this is the one everyone would choose anyway.

It has become abundantly clear that I do not have a fancy gravy pourer.

Caramelized Vegetable Gravy – Gluten-Free, Paleo

1 cup each diced carrots, onions and celery
4-6 cloves whole peeled garlic
1 T duck fat, ghee or fat of choice
2 t balsamic vinegar
pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons butter (or other fat of choice)
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 1/2 cups chicken or turkey stock, preferably homemade
1/4 cup white wine

preheat your oven to 425°.

  • Place chopped vegetables (onions, carrots, celery, garlic) on a baking sheet with the balsamic vinegar, sea salt, duck fat, or fat of choice. Place in the oven.
  • If the fat you’re using started off solid, remove from the oven after 5 minutes and stir.
  • Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetable are golden brown and softened. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add the stock. Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes or so.
  • Strain the gravy and add the liquid, along with 1/3-1/2 of the vegetables to a blender. (depending on desired thickness; reserve the vegetables and adjust as needed)
  • Puree until smooth. If you have a Vitamix, or other high powered blender, this should be your final step. If not, you may have to strain the gravy through a fine mesh strainer to achieve a smooth gravy.
  • Meanwhile, in another saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, ghee, or preferred fat and add the arrowroot powder. Whisk to combine and continue to heat for 3-4 minutes, whisking pretty constantly.
  • Add the gravy and bring to a simmer. It will thicken a bit.
  • Add the wine and simmer one more minute.
  • Season to taste; it may need more salt, depending on the saltiness of the stock you used.
  • Transfer to a fancy gravy pourer, and serve with your fabulous feast!
Posted in condiments & sauces, Paleo, primal | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment