Last week I recapped the best recipes from the first week of Quantum CrossFit‘s GET REAL nutrition challenge.  Once again, I am so impressed by everyone’s skillz in the kitchen!  People have been scouring the internet and Paleo cookbooks and posting their amazing creations.  In addition, they’ve been channeling their inner Julia Child to come up with some Haute-Ass original recipes.  Without further ado, here is the rundown of the ‘originals’  from this week (in no particular order):

Marina’s “Spaghetti” & Meat Sauce

Ok this was from Friday night and was relatively mundane but so delicious I have to post it. Basically meat sauce with zucchini spaghetti, idea I shamelessly appropriated from Jason and am keeping.

–      1 half pound natural bacon
–      1 onion
–      3 cloves of garlic
–      2 cups cremini mushrooms
–      2 lbs lean beef
–      
1/2 can crushed tomatoes
–      chili powder
–      
cumin
–      salt/pepper to taste
–      about 5 grated zuccchini for noodle simulation

Directions:
Basically I just sauteed bacon, onions, garlic and mushrooms, added the beef and spices until cooked through, followed by tomatoes. Picture is sans zucchini. I was going to pour the sauce on top of the noodles but then decided that was too much work (I know, that lazy) and mixed it all together into one big pot of delicious.

Only took 15 minutes to put together, so will definitely be making it into the staple category.

 Jodi’s Awesome Quiche

Mmmmm (with warnings that I never measure when cooking)

Ingredients:
Crust:
About a cup of almond flour
Egg white

Quiche:
Dozen eggs
1 cup almond milk (approx)
coconut oil
12-15 sliced mushrooms
1-2 cups of spinach (cooked and chopped)
4-6 chopped shallots
salt and pepper

Directions:

Mix together almond flour and egg white so that the almond flour is damp but not overly wet and spread over the bottom of baking dish (I used a 9 X 13 pyrex dish). Bake in oven for 8-12 minutes at 375 until crust hardens.

For the filling, I started by cooking the shallots and mushrooms together in coconut oil and then steamed the spinach and chopped it up into small pieces seasoning with salt and pepper while cooking.

Beat the eggs together and add the almond milk. Add a few spoonfuls of the veggies and mix together. I added them slowly and missed because i didn’t let them cool and didn’t want the eggs to cook before it hit the oven, but if you let the veggies cool I don’t think it would be a problem. Not sure how much of a problem it would have been anyway but the baker in me always says if you are adding hot things to egg, do it slowly.

Once everything is added together to the mixture, pour it on top of the crust and bake in oven at 375 for 40 – 45 minutes until firm.

I finished by dividing into portions and wrapped them in saran in individual servings. Cooking for one means I left a few servings out and froze the extras individually ready to be taken out as needed!

Enjoy!

Anne’s Fav Breakfast – Ham Hock & Collard Greens
“The secret recipe for getting HUGE” 

My favourite breakfast.

Slow cook one smoked ham hock from pastured pork in broth, with a chopped onion and garlic, some Frank’s Hot sauce for a few hours. Add two bunches of chopped collards for another few hours. Remove meat from bone and if you like serve with eggs.

Jason’s Shrimp Volcano

My Gameday Submission…

Ingredients:
–      1.5lb bag of shrimp
–      
1/2 head of chopped rainbow chard
–      1 chopped onion
–      1 chopped red pepper
–      
lots of fresh chopped garlic
–      2 tsp curry powder
–      1 can coconut milk
–      parsley or cilantro

Directions:
Made this in maybe 20mins…toss it all together and used some spare pureed cauliflower from last night to put it in the center of.

Just finished watching a flick that was based in Hawaii (The Descendents), made me think of volcanoes I guess when I fired this together.

James’ Chinese Siu Yuk (Roasted Pork)

The best part of this is the crispy skin (crackling). That is what you are striving for when you’re cooking a slab of pork belly for Siu Yuk.

Ingredients:
3-4 lb Pork Belly (I order from Healthy Butcher)
2 tablespoons fermented red bean curd/tofu (optional since it is not strictly Paleo)
(You can get this from T&T or most Chinese/asian specialty stores)
1 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp white (or black) pepper
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
A little bit of butter or coconut oil
coarse kosher salt for sprinkling

Day Before:
1. Prepare marinade by mixing (be a curd, five spice powder, salt, honey, pepper, garlic together)
2. Boil enough water for pouring over pork belly (I use a tea kettle’s worth)
3. Put belly skin side up on a cooling rack in the sink
4. Pour boiling water slowly on top of the skin to blanch
5. Dry skin with a paper towel
6. Stab the skin all over with a sharp knife – You need lots and lots of holes … (take out your frustrations)
– Try not to stab all the way through the fat layer to the meat
7. Flip pork belly so that meat side is up
8. Every 1-2 cm’s, slide half a cm deep gashes with a sharp knife
9. Rub marinade generously into meat side
10. Flip back onto an oven tray skin side up. Wipe up any moisture or marinade that is left on skin surface. You want it to be completely dry.
11. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

Day of:

1. Preheat oven to 410 C
2. Prepare a roasting tray with a rack raised 2-3 centres. I use four small metal ingredient cups placed under the rack.
3. Oil the surface of the skin lightly with butter or coconut oil keep it from sticking to the rack
4. Place belly skin side down onto rack
5. Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes
6. Take the roast out and flip the belly to be skin side up.
7. Stab some more holes with a sharp knife.
8. Sprinkle some coarse kosher salt on top and place back in oven for 15 minutes.
9. After 15 minutes, raise temp of oven to 430 C.
10. After 15 minutes, turn your broiler on to high.
11. Watch for the skin to crackle/crisp up to a golden colour….it is ok for it to burn a bit.
– Keep an eye on this … it can happen very quickly (within a few minutes)
12. Once you are satisfied with the crackle(ness) … take out
13. Using a butter knife, you can carefully scrape off the burnt areas.
14. Let cool a bit and then cut up into small rectangular bite sized pieces.

Mary Anne’s “cure for the common cold” – Sausage & Kale Soup

Stupid cold just doesn’t want to go away so here’s what’s for dinner: a hearty sausage and kale soup.

– remove casings and brown sausage (I used the garlic farmers sausage but I like it best with a spicy Italian) then throw in onions and garlic until translucent
– throw in a can of whole tomatoes and juice, mash them up a bit. Add broth (I used chicken)
– bring to a boil then simmer for a bit, stirring in chopped kale at the end

Quick, easy and delicious! I love tomato based soups.

Christine’s Gazpacho

I teach an all boys class. 
I am tired a lot (all) of the time and like to have as many ‘sides’ ready to go as possible. There are different ways of making your own tomato juice but I used a bottle.

Ingredients:
-1 cucumber halved and seeded but not peeled ( i have used both field and english versions)
-2 red bell peppers cored and seeded
-4 plum tomatoes
-1 red onion (small)
-garlic (i use 2 small-med or one giant clove)
-3 cups tomato juice
-1/4 cup white wine vinegar
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
-1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:
Roughly chop the cuke, bell pepper, tomatoes, and red onion into 1 inch cubes. Put each veg separately into a food processor with steel blade and pulse until coarsely chopped. Do NOT overprocess!
  After each veg processed combine them in a large bowl, add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and CHILL (the mixture) before serving. The longer is sits, the more the flavah develops!

Sam’s Bad Ass Bacon & The Most Beautiful Breakfast Bowl Ever

This is less of a recipe and just more of a cooking technique. I love oven roasting my bacon. No spattered cook top and it turns out perfectly every time.

Here is how I do it:

Lay bacon on a foil lined baking sheet. Place in a cold oven and set to bake at 400 degrees. Set a timer for 16 minutes. At 16 mins. Take out and flip. Bake for another 2 mins then check on it. Cook another minute or two depending on how crispy you like it. Keep in mind it will also crisp up a bit more when placed on paper towel for a bit. It’s important to use a timer as you will get it right every time and it leaves you free to prep other food without forgetting what’s in the oven. One last note, if you usually have thin sliced bacon you may want to reduce the initial time to 14 or 15 mins until you see how it cooks.

Breakfast salad: baby spinach, cucumber, avocado, tomatoes, chopped hard boiled eggs, blueberries and raw pepitas.

Stay tuned for more GET REAL recipes next week!!

Having eggs for breakfast can get really redundant….like hearing the Situation say ‘we’ve got a situation.’  Or watching recent seasons of America’s Next Top Model.   I needed something different!  I’ll often have my jerk steak (I would link to this, but for some irritating reason the link function on WordPress is not working for me….grrrrr….check my recipe index as this one is a winner), leftover dinner or some roasted chicken, but they don’t taste like breakfast.  I wanted to come up with something that actually tastes like breakfast.  I give you, the Turkey-Blueberry Patty.  I know, it sounds like a weird combo….but it is delicious and it is my new favourite breakfast.  Here you go:

Ingredients (makes 8 patties)
– 1 lb ground turkey (or chicken)
– 1/2 pack of blueberries (about 3/4 Cup)
– 3 Sage leaves – finely chopped
– 3 Thyme sprigs – leaves finely chopped
–  2 shallots (or 1/4 onion) – finely chopped
– 1 tsp minced garlic
– 1 egg yolk
– 1 Tbsp of butter

Directions:

  1. In a bowl combine all the ingredients except the butter.  Mix together well with your hands and form 8 patties.
  2. In a non-stick skillet, heat butter.  When it gets HOT, add the patties to the pan.
  3. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side.  They are done when you press down on the middle and it feels firm.
  4. Enjoy!

I had to ambush Fully Primal Husband to get him to try these as he is still stuck on the egg-train and I’ve been hogging these all to myself.  He gave the following testimonial, “mmmm, good.  What should I say?  Gobbelicious? Sweet and Savoury? Ya, these are good.” He provides better testimonials when not under duress.

This is a super easy rub that spices up your boring steak.  I grilled up a big piece and ate it for breakfast all week…so yummy!  You end up with a sweet taste, but there is no sugar as per a typical jerk rub.

Ingredients (makes about 10 strips):
– 1 Lb flank steak
-½ Tbsp of: onion powder, garlic powder, allspice, coriander.
-1 Tbsp thyme
-1 tsp of: nutmeg, cinnamon, chili powder, cayenne pepper 
-3 Tbsp fresh lime juice 
-1 Tbsp olive oil 
-1 Tbsp tamari (wheat-free soy) 
-fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except steak in a bowl and mix thoroughly 
  2. Rub onto flank steak and marinate in a sealed bag in the fridge for a few hours or overnight 
  3. Bring flank steak out of the fridge for 30  minutes before grilling 
  4. Grill on high heat for 2-3 min per side (depending on thickness and how rare you want it.  Recommended: Medium-Rare) 
  5. Remove from grill – Tent the meat under foil and let it rest for 5 minutes 
  6. Slice into thin pieces (slice against the grain of the meat) and serve.

I often return to my own site to reference recipes and I found it annoying to have to scroll through posts or search out a specific post.  I figured it was time to have a Recipe Index page where I have links to every recipe I’ve posted.  When I get a chance, I’ll post some pictures to this page and maybe even Semi-Primal Husband’s testimonials.  For now, you can access the page and have a go-to-spot for Paleo deliciousness.

My brother and his girlfriend stayed at my house last night and I wanted to make a paleo breakfast for them.  This breakfast is easy to make and it lasts for about 3-4 days in the fridge so you can have it for breakfast for a few days in a row.  I also like it because it’s portable and I tend to eat breakfast in the car when I’m going to work – I love to multi-task.  You can either make this with or without the crust.  This is the first time I’ve made this with the crust and it turned out well.

Ingredients – serves 8
Crust
– 1 Cup almond flour (ground almonds)
– 1/4 Cup olive oil
– 1/4 tsp baking soda
– 1/4 tsp sea salt
Filling 
– 16 eggs
– 6 shalots – chopped
– 3-4 Cups mushrooms – sliced
– 2 Tbsp fresh chives – chopped
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– Optional: 2 Tbsp goat cheese

Directions
1.  Pre-heat oven to 375
2.  In a small bowl mix together the crust ingredients
3.  Spread the crust in a thin layer over the bottom of the baking dish (I used 2 small baking dishes) and bake in the oven for 10 minutes – until crust is brown and hardened.  Remove and set aside.
4.  While crust is baking, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and add the shalots
5.  Once shalots have softened, add mushrooms and cook through
6.  Add chives for the last 2 minutes of cooking the mushrooms.  Set aside.
7.  In a bowl, whisk together eggs
8.  Pour the mushrooms/shalots into the bowl with the eggs and stir together.  
9.  Pour the egg mixture into the baking dish.  If you’re using goat cheese, sprinkle it over the top of the eggs and it will blend in during baking.
10.  Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes – or until the eggs are cooked (stick a fork in and if it comes out fairly dry, it’s finished). 

Crust before baking

Mushrooms and Shallots

Mushrooms and Shallots

Before Baking

After Baking

My Non-Primal Brother provided the following testimonial: “Wow Summer, this Quiche is really good.”  

When I first started eating Paleo I had to begin with baby steps – making small adjustments over a long period of time.  I think it’s really difficult to go cold turkey and completely drop all grains and starches if you’re not accustomed to it.  I believe you’re more likely to succeed by making 1-2 changes at a time and maintaining that for a few weeks, then adding in a new change until you’re 100% where you want to be.  

For me, breakfast was the hardest and last thing to change.  I was addicted to my instant oatmeal, egg white on whole wheat english muffin or the Pom Bran Muffin from Starbucks (7g of protein – i thought that was awesome and ignored the 4,00og of bad carbs).  Dr Oz would still commend me on these choices, however we know that this is not the best option as these are filled with Gluten.  We are infiltrated with messages that whole grains and fiber in the morning is the best way to start our day, so I kept thinking, what else am i supposed to eat??  I had fears that if i dropped the grains i would be starving 1 hour later.  It took me a long time to finally make the breakfast change.   Now I don’t start feeling hungry until 3-4 hours after my breakfast….just in time for lunch.

Breaking habits is not easy – I read recently that ‘situational cues bring out habits that are deeply embedded’.  This makes so much sense.  If you always get up and grab for that instant oatmeal it’s going to take a bit of discipline to make that switch to a Paleo meal and change the habit.   

I’ve got better breakfast options that I’ll start to post.  But for today, I wanted to give a really simple solution for people who don’t have alot of time and perhaps haven’t hit the grocery store in a few days.  Scrambled Eggs with Frozen Spinach and Mushrooms.  Not fancy, but it’s got the right components and nutrients to keep you feeling full, give you the energy to tackle the daunting task of doing your Christmas Cards (ugh!) and feeling damn good about your choices. 

I always prefer fresh local/organic vegetables  – but  we know this is not always possible.  I do my grocery shopping on Sunday, so by the time Saturday rolls around i’m usually running low on fresh veggies.  Having frozen vegetables on hand is great for these occasions.  I buy the Organic frozen veggies, but you could use any variety.  Pop a big chunk in the microwave for 3 minutes and voila, you have a super healthy side dish to your eggs.  For the eggs, you can scramble them in a pan or if you’re short on clean dishes and time, you can do these in the microwave too – Scramble them in a dish, pop in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, then re-scramble and microwave for another 1-2 minutes.  Add a small handful of almonds as a side and you’re good to go.  If the spinach is not appetizing, trying mixing it with 1-2 tsps of goat cheese – I guarantee that you will like it now.