Vegetable Soup

Paleo Vegetable Soup

This recipe is quick and easy. You can also modify it by adding meat if you’d like to make it a one-pot-meal. It was really cold and rainy yesterday so I threw this together and served it with some oven baked chicken breast.

You will need:
-About 3 cups of tomato sauce (I used Pomi strained tomatoes)
-2 cups of vegetable, chicken, or beef broth (I would base my broth selection on my meat)
-Lots of veggies–I used a zucchini (sliced), bell pepper (diced), a quarter of an onion (diced), a tomato (diced), red chard (julienned), a small broccoli crown (just the florets)
-Fat of choice (to sauté veggies)
-Seasonings to taste: Italian seasonings, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper

In a large saucepan, or small pot, heat your fat of choice before adding vegetables (minus the tomatoes, we’ll add them later).

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Begin to add seasonings before adding tomato sauce and broth.

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Add tomato sauce, broth, and your diced tomatoes.

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Allow soup to simmer. Check seasonings before serving.

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I might be biased, but this is better than anything you’ll find in a can.

Variations
-For your vegetarian/vegan friends: serve as is (use vegetable broth); add beans to make a minestrone.
-For your carnivore friends: add beef, Italian sausage, or chicken basil sausage; for the beef, add with the veggies and allow to cook through before you add broth and tomato sauce (so you can check for seasonings); for the sausages, cook the whole sausage thoroughly, slice, then add to the soup before serving.

Enjoy!

Paleo To-Go

No recipe tonight. When I started following a paleo diet, I was so concerned about how I would manage eating this way while at school, commuting to and from school, or with my busy schedule. It is so easy to let a busy schedule get in the way of your exercise schedule or your diet.

My average week looks like this:

Monday- No school, but I read or research from 7am-4pm then go to RC Crossfit, come home, shower, make dinner, eat/clean/do dishes, go to bed between 9-10 pm.

Tuesday: Wake up at 5:30 am to get to the train station before the 6:50am train takes off. I prefer to be early for all my obligations! I hate being rushed. I like to get to my classroom by 8:30am so I can set up everything leisurely, work out any IT mishaps, and just feel generally composed before class begins at 9:30. Class ends at 10:50, I have a short break to eat lunch or a snack, followed by my office hours. From 2pm-5pm I have class, then I go to LA Union Station. On a good day I can make the 5:32 train. On all other days, I’ll be on the 6:05 train before making it home between 7:30pm and 8pm. If I’m hungry I’ll eat dinner, if not, I go straight to bed.

Wednesday: I wake up at 5:15am so I can be at RC Crossfit before 6am. I do my workout, come home, eat, shower, pack my lunch, read or rest, then go to the train station to take the 10:21 train. Once I get to LA, I read or eat my lunch before my class starts at 2pm. Like on Tuesdays, I have class until 5pm then get home around 8pm. Generally, I’m exhausted and go straight to bed.

I love Thursdays! They’re my short days. I get up at 5:30, like on Tuesdays, then just teach my class. I’m always home by 2pm or 3pm. I read, then go to RC Crossfit, come home, shower, make dinner, eat/clean/do dishes/pack Friday’s lunch, then go to bed.

Friday: I get to sleep in until 6am!! I drive on Fridays. I leave at 7am (at the latest), then read/prep until I have to teach my 10am class. I have a break from 11-1pm so I can eat or read, then I teach from 1pm-2pm. I run to my car and try to get out of LA as quickly as possible! I generally get back in time to go straight to the 4:30pm class at RC Crossfit. Then I go home, shower, cook/clean/dishes, etc.

This actually isn’t that extensive. I do study, plan lessons, and spend time with my boyfriend within the work week. I also, however, try to stay on top of my schedule. When I’m making my dinner, I’m prepping the next day’s meals.

Some essentials for surviving paleo on a busy schedule:
-A schedule! Sounds crazy, but you need to schedule everything and follow it! I had to write my crossfit time into my schedule as time when I will not make other obligations. I’ve gotten better at not having to take 2-3 weeks off crossfit because of some paper or project. Every now and then I may have to take a day off (particularly the day before a paper or grades are due), but I’m no longer having to take 2-3 week long absences.

-Paleo snack essentials: Monday-Friday my lunches, or other on-the-go meals, are not that exciting. However, my food is my fuel. As long as I am satisfied or not hungry, I function well, don’t feel weighed down by bad food, and don’t care too much that I’m eating the same thing I had the night before.

Tuesday’s and Fridays I generally eat leftovers that I reheat, or salads since they’re easy to put together. Since I have longer breaks those two days, I generally eat actual meals. On Wednesdays, since I’m commuting and have class, I just generally pack snack foods to munch on when I feel hungry. Thursdays, I either eat snack foods (like Wednesdays), or I buy a paleo lunch somewhere.

What do I mean by paleo munchies/snack foods?
-Fresh berries (blueberries and strawberries are my favorites)
-Hard boiled eggs (2-3 depending on how long my day is; I cook a fresh batch every other night)
-Celery sticks and almond butter
-Carrot sticks and avocado or guacamole
-Leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken (I don’t mind eating it cold)
-Dried coconut
-Lots of water!! Stay hydrated.

Now, I’m not a nutritionist or paleo expert, but eating this stuff keeps me well within the paleo parameters, while keeping me thoroughly satisfied.

How do you do paleo in your busy schedule?

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Paleo Fried “Rice”

I was making this before I even turned paleo. For some reason, in the months before my transition, I had essentially given up all pasta and rice–opting for zucchini and cauliflower instead. This is one of the first paleo recipes I’ve ever made and it’s really, really, reeeeeaaallllyyyyy good. Trust me. I’m almost a doctor… Not really… Nor in the medical sense. Oh well.

This is a great recipe to use any leftover chicken that you may have lying around in your fridge. This is also a great way to use up some veggies you don’t know what to do with, or that are about to go bad. You can add just about any veggie you want to this and it will work. Consider mine guidelines, use your imagination. Add or swap veggies according to your taste.

 

Paleo Fried “Rice” (makes about 4-6 servings)

  • 1 Cauliflower, floretted (for direction on how to floret your cauliflower, please see my cauliflower mash post and just follow the first couple directions. Link is here)
  • A couple cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • About 4-6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 whole baby bok choy, sliced
  • About 1/4 c. frozen broccoli florets
  • A few stems of green onion, chopped
  • Some fresh ginger, peeled
  • Leftover Chicken, or rotisserie chicken (about 1-2 cups)
  • 2 eggs, scrambled and set aside
  • About 1 Tbsp of your fat of choice
  • Seasonings to taste: Coconut Aminos or Gluten-Free Dark Tamari Soy Sauce (Not technically paleo, but it is gluten-free, and I’m personally ok with using a few Tablespoons here and there), ground ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, chile powder, pepper
  • Cilantro, chopped

I got tired just typing that.

Ok, step one: Clean, trim, wash and floret your cauliflower. Place it in a veggie steamer and let it cook while you prep the other ingredients. *Note: Don’t overcook. Once a fork can go through it, it’s done. Take it off the heat.

Wash and prep your veggies. I often chop, dice, mince, then throw everything in one giant mixing bowl.

In a large pan, heat your fat of choice and add your veggies. You may choose to add some of your dry seasonings.

At this point, your cauliflower is probably thoroughly done. Transfer it to a mixing bowl (I used the one that just had all the freshly chopped veggies in it). Grab a potato masher and use it to break your cauliflower florets into rice-like pieces. You can also use a food processor for this. Just don’t accidentally turn it into a mash.

When you’re done, it should look like rice (kinda)!

As your veggies continue to saute, add some of your coconut aminos or [gluten-free] soy sauce. Allow it to reduce slightly.

Add your cauliflower “rice” to the pan and stir.

Check for seasonings. Add more as necessary. At this point, you can add your chicken and scrambled eggs.

Mix again, make sure all your ingredients are heated through. I like to top mine with fresh cilantro, though you can even fold some into the batch just before serving.

 

Enjoy!! Dinner’s done! Oh, and leftovers are great, too!

 

Also, expect some practical posts in the next week–like how to pack a paleo lunch, planning, prepping, etc.

 

Baked “Fried” Chicken and Garlic Cauliflower Mash

Poor cauliflower. Its cousin broccoli gets all the attention. Initially, I was not a fan of cauliflower masquerading as mashed potatoes. It just wasn’t right. The first time I made this recipe, they didn’t come out well. I didn’t like the taste, I didn’t like the texture, I didn’t like much about them. I decided to give them a shot again, and can happily report that these came out way better this time.

I’ll break this recipe into two parts: the baked chicken, and the cauliflower mash. I trimmed and put my cauliflower to boil before I got my chicken going and everything came out at almost the same time (granted my cauliflower was finished first, but it was no sweat reheating it slightly). Just budget your time. If you’re cooking more chicken than I was cooking (just two breasts), you may want to get your chicken baking before.

Baked “Fried” Chicken (Makes 2 chicken breasts)

  • 2 Chicken Breasts (or thighs, your pick)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • About 4-5 Tbsp. of Coconut Flour
  • Seasonings: Italian Seasoning, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Salt, Pepper, Poultry Seasoning
  • Olive OIl

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place your beaten egg(s) in a shallow bowl or pan. In another shallow bowl or pan, mix your coconut four and seasonings (add lots, I accidentally poured my Italian seasoning from the wrong opening, thought it was too much, but when I mixed it, it looked perfect). You should be able to see your herbs and seasonings in your flour.

Dip your chicken breasts into the egg, then into the coconut flour. Flip over. Make sure your whole breasts are coated.

Pour a little olive oil into your baking dish. Add your chicken to the oiled baking dish and flip so there is a little oil on both sides.

Bake for about 20-30 minutes (make sure it’s thoroughly cooked). Flip breasts over halfway through.

Cauliflower Mash

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower
  • 1 cup of Vegetable or Chicken Broth
  • About 2 cloves of garlic
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper

Clean up your cauliflower and get all the little leaves off. Floret your cauliflower and wash (I find it easier to wash once it’s been floret-ed).*To floret, hold cauliflower upside down and cut into it with a pairing knife.

In a medium saucepan, combine your floret-ed cauliflower, the cup of broth and the garlic cloves. Cover and place over medium heat. Allow to simmer long enough for the cauliflower to soften. Mix the cauliflower around about 5-10 minutes into the cooking process.

After the cauliflower has thoroughly softened, transfer some of the the cauliflower, garlic cloves and most of the broth into a blender.

Blend a little at a time, slowly adding more as necessary (you may not need to use all your broth). Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Enjoy! Dinner’s Done!

Grilled Dry Rub Chicken

I know, another chicken recipe… Sigh. I’ve been so busy with school and my new research project. Coupled with the fact that  it’s almost pay day (I only get paid once a month), I have not yet made it to the grocery store (I also find that I am more creative right after pay day. There must be some correlation). Fear not, however, this recipe is part of an upcoming salad recipe that I think you’ll love. Anyway, the joy of this particular recipe is that you can make it on a budget. You should have the seasonings on hand and you can use thawed, previously frozen chicken.

If you wanted to do this another way, you could even cover a whole chicken in the rub, then throw it in the slow cooker (no liquid is necessary).

Grilled Dry Rub Chicken

  • Chicken Breast, or Another Cut, or another type of meat (I used about .75 lb)
  • Seasonings to taste: Chile powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon pepper

In a large bowl, generously season your meat (I listed the seasonings in the order of quantity, from greatest to least). Flip over your meat and season the other side. Allow to sit in the dry rub for at least half an hour before grilling.

Grill until thoroughly cooked. I wrapped mine in lettuce and topped with avocado (though not pictured. I was starving. Also, I’m finding that meat in lettuce is my go-to meal).

 

Enjoy! Keep posted. I promise I’ll have more exciting recipes by next week. I’m thinking orange chicken, fried rice, and maybe even beef broccoli.

 

Paleo Breakfast Porridge

I used to love cream of wheat. There was always something very comforting about a hot bowl of cream of wheat with just a touch of honey. Now, I can’t eat cream of wheat, but there are some mornings when I want something warm and cozy. Hence, this recipe. It freezes well so you can make it and portion it out for the rest of the week. Just pull it from the freezer and place it in the fridge the night before you plan to eat it. In the morning, all you have to do is microwave it for about 30 seconds.

Enjoy!

Paleo Breakfast Porridge

  • 1 Kabocha Squash (I prefer kabocha squash for this recipe, though you can use butternut squash or something else. Butternut squash stays a little too stringy for me, and I like how the kabocha squash whips/mashes fairly smoothly).
  • Seasonings to taste: ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg (or a pumpkin pie spice blend)
  • Honey (optional)
  • Almond or coconut milk (optional)
  • Vanilla extract (optional)
  • Almond butter (optional)
  • About 1-2 cups of water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Ok, first: Cut your kabocha squash into quarters or eighths.

Now, using a spoon, or your fists (you cave-person you!), scoop out all the seeds and guts.

Once everything’s out, place your squash in a roasting pan (I layer mine with parchment paper for easy cleanup, though this is not necessary). Apply your spices liberally (you may drizzle some honey here if you wish).

Pour your 1-2 cups of water into the dish then cover with foil (so the water helps steam the squash and keeps it from getting too dry).

Bake in your oven for 1 hour.

After an hour, pull them from the oven and allow the squash to cool enough so you can handle them.

Using a spoon, scoop the flesh away from the skin and put it into a mixing bowl.

At this point you can add your almond/coconut milk and/or almond butter to the mixture (I usually use a little almond butter for some body to the mixture, the milk for some creaminess and to get out some of the lumps. Totally optional.) Also, if you want a sweeter mixture, you can add more honey or even more spices.

Mash with a potato masher.

Once you’ve achieve your desired texture and taste, serve immediately or freeze for later use!

Enjoy! Breakfast is done!

Mushroom Burgers with Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

The paleo challenge has officially ended, so now I’m staying paleo on my own free will. I did have a cheat dinner last night, but I got up today knowing it was back to paleo.

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries
-Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into French-Fry strips
-Drizzle of olive oil
-Seasonings to taste: chile powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Place your cut sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season away. Toss so all of your fries are coated with seasoning.

Place in a single layer on a cookie/baking sheet.

Bake until they reach desired crispiness (baking time depends on batch size, so just keep an eye on them). Don’t overcrowd your baking sheet.

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While the fries were baking, I just seasoned some plain, grassfed beef burgers and portobello mushrooms with a mix of similar seasonings. Grill.

Slice or prepare additional veggies of your choice: lettuce, avocado, tomato, onions (you could even grill the onions!), Anaheim or Poblano chiles, etc. Use your imagination.

Get your grilled portobello burger, top with your beef patty, or patties, and then layer on your veggies. You will need a fork and knife for this burger.

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Paleo Coconut Cupcakes (Possibly my best invention EVER!)

These could, quite possibly, be my best invention ever.

Seriously.

My blueberry chai bread is crap compared to these.

This can fix a sweet tooth without getting off your paleo horse. Enjoy!

P.S. I actually measured today!!!!! You’re welcome!

Paleo Coconut Cupcakes (makes 2 dozen)

  • 2 Nasty Bananas, mashed (Nasty like they’ve been sitting in your fruit bowl a little too long)
  • 3 Cups of Almond Meal
  • 1 Can of Coconut Milk
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Baking Powder (or 4 tsps)
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp. Almond Extract
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1.5 cups of Dried, Unsweetened Coconut Flakes or Dried, Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • .5 cup of Agave Nectar

Frosting

  • ! can of Coconut Milk, Chilled (All you need is the hardened cream + 1 Tbsp of the water or so)
  • 1-2 Tbsp Agave Nectar (depending on your preference)
  • 1 tsp. of Vanilla, Coconut or Almond Extract (pick your poison)

For the Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin with adorable little liners.

In one bowl, mix your nasty bananas, coconut milk, almond extract, vanilla extract, eggs, dried coconut and agave. In another bowl, mix all of your dry ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet using an electric mixer.

Put the batter into your muffin liners (fill almost to the top).

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool.

For the Frosting

In a bowl, mix your hardened coconut cream (plus a little of the water), agave nectar and your extract of choice using an electric mixer. Allow it to come to a whipped cream-ish consistency.

If you were impatient (like me) and your cream didn’t harden, mix it per the recipe, then throw it back in the fridge.

Top your cupcakes with the frosting. Top with dried coconut or fresh berries if you choose!

 

Seriously, though. These were effing delish.

 

Update, and a Look into the future!!!

I know it’s been a few days. I’ve been busy with school, but expect a post (this afternoon or tomorrow) for paleo cupcakes!!!

I’m already excited. I’ve been dying to make these, but wanted to wait until the final weigh-in for our paleo challenge.

Final weigh-in results? Lost 16 lbs and my body fat went down by about 2%. I also took off 1:43 from our pre-paleo challenge assessment wod. I feel lighter, more energized and just generally healthier.

So I’m going to tease you guys and make you wait for the recipe, but I promise they’ll be delicious.

See…???

 

Get a head start on the recipe. Put a can of coconut milk on the fridge!!

 

 

Paleo Zucchini Lasagna

I’m eating as I write this. It’s really good. The zucchini shows its versatility in this dish. If we can use it for spaghetti, why not lasagna? To achieve the uniform, lasagna-like ribbons, I cut the zucchini with a cheese slicer, not unlike this one. Since the meat gets cooked in the sauce, there is technically no need to bake this. I just baked it to soften up the zucchini a tiny bit. This is soooo delicious and you don’t need a lot to get satisfied. I love how real food fills you up and keeps you full!!!!! Hope you enjoy!

 

Paleo Zucchini Lasagna (makes one roughly 8″x8″ lasagna)

  • About .5 lbs of ground meat (I used a super lean ground beef and did not need to use additional fat. If you choose to use ground turkey, you may need to add some fat)
  • 1 package of sliced mushrooms (I was a little lazy today)
  • Celery, diced (I used about 1-2 sticks from the stalk)
  • Half a bell pepper, diced
  • About half a carrot, julienned
  • About 1 big handful of fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 medium-large zucchinis, sliced into lasagna-like strips and patted dry
  • 1 package of diced/chopped tomatoes (I used Pomi chopped tomatoes-26.56 oz available at Sprouts)
  • Fresh basil (I just tore it)
  • Seasonings to taste: Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasonings, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a large pan. Add your meat with some seasonings (season as you go!). Add your veggies, saute and season.

Add your diced tomatoes with the liquid. Add basil and allow to simmer. The sauce will reduce. Get as much water/liquid cooked out as possible. Check for seasonings.

While that’s simmering, begin to layer your sliced zucchini in your dish.

Begin to ladle your meat and veggie mixture onto your noodles. Layer, ladle, repeat as necessary.

 

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Enjoy!!