Wednesday, April 16, 2014

PALEO RYE WHISKEY TRUFFLES



I love rye whiskey. It's been a new thing of mine in the last year. Don't even get me started on whether its paleo. If you were a caveman, constantly fighting for your survival, and these beautiful boozy nuggets show up in your dwelling, would you turn them down? No. You would have yourself a chocolate happy hour. So shut up and enjoy this. 




Rye Whiskey Truffles
makes 1 dozen
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup rye whiskey or bourbon
1 cup dark (85%+) chocolate chips or chunks
1 teaspoon coffee grounds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting 


Heat the dates and whiskey in a saucepan over medium heat. As the dates soften, mash them with a whisk. Whisk as best you can until you get a smooth(ish) paste. Add chocolate, coffee and salt and turn the heat to low. Whisk until the chocolate melts, adding more whiskey as needed. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Move the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours. With a greased 1/2 ounce ice cream scoop, divide into truffles. Roll each into a ball and toss with cocoa powder. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate. 

The mixture doesn't have to be 100% smooth. It'll be dusted in cocoa, so you won't notice imperfections!

If you prefer whiskey, bourbon, rum or another spirit, you can certainly exchange it for the rye. 

These are some tasty treats!

Try rolling the truffles in toasted coconut, crushed pecans or pistachios instead of cocoa powder!
Guilty Pleasure song of the day: "In Da Club" 

Monday, April 14, 2014

HEALING BONE BROTH


It seems that I over did it at PaleoF(x). The box jump leg wound I mentioned a few days ago became badly infected over the weekend. Two late nights and three long days of learning, eating and running around the greatest Paleo Symposium of the year left me exhausted. By Sunday night I was out of it. Then this morning, after starting an antibiotic for my leg, I fainted. I don't remember seeing my son this morning, what I had for breakfast or even how I drove from the doctor to my meeting. By the time I got there, I felt literally upside down. I got totally overheated, started shaking and fell. Since then I've been weak and confused, resting on my big living room couch. Needless to say, I need to take it easy. Tonight, I need something healing. Fortunately for me, I cooked up a HUMONGOUS batch of nutrient-dense bone broth last week and have it at the ready for bad days like this one.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: make friends with your farmers. Jeff and Tammy Parnell of Southern Traditions in Austin are my new BFFs. They gave me a big bag of grass-fed beed bones and shared this recipe for their ever-popular super bone broth. I am so excited to be able to share it with you, too! 

They were at PaleoF(x) this year, offering their Paleo Packages as a CSA on their high-quality meat. Please check them out and tell them I sent you! I am so excited to sign up for my first package with them. I'm also in the market for a produce CSA. I'm so geeked out on real food after spending time with the passionate paleo community this weekend. Anyway, if you are in the Austin area, check them out at the SFC Farmers Markets around town, where they sell responsibly sourced meats and Tammy's famous bone broth.




Health Boosting Bone Broth
makes a shit-ton

5 pounds Grass Fed Beef Bones
2 gallons filtered water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
4 carrots (organic), roughly chopped
4 stalks celery (organic), roughly chopped
1 large onion (organic), roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic (organic), peeled and smashed
2 Tablespoons sea salt
2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley

Preheat your oven to 350º. Spread bones evenly on a foil-lined sheet pan. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the bones from the oven and add them to a large stockpot. Add water and apple cider vinegar and let rest for 30 more minutes. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a rapid boil. Let boil for 15 minutes, then skim the frothy form from the top (these are the impurities, though grass-fed meats have less than conventional meats). Cover and reduce to a simmer. 

For the first couple of hours, check it every 20 or so minutes and continue to skim. After that, leave on very low heat and continue, slow simmer for, at least, 15 hours up to 24 hours. The longer it simmers, the more nutrients are released into the broth.

Remove bones and veggies and let your the liquid cool down. When cooled to room temperature, move to the refrigerator. The fat will rise to the top and congeal. Once it has hardened, remove it. You may either discard this or render the fat to cook with. You should have what looks like beef jello under this layer of fat.

Drink 8 ounces of this a day for some super heath boosts!  Enjoy!

Roast the bones for 30 minutes to really bring out the most flavor. 

What are the health benefits of bone broth? According to Whole 9 Life:

Bone broth is a source of minerals, like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium,  and potassium, in forms that your body can easily absorb. It’s also rich in glycine and proline, amino acids not found in significant amounts in muscle meat (the vast majority of the meat we consume). It also contains chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, the compounds sold as supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain. Finally, “soup bones” include collagen, a protein found in connective tissue of vertebrate animals, which is abundant in bone, marrow, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.  (The breakdown of collagen in bone broths is what produces gelatin.)

Apparently, this stuff is really beneficial for you in all kinds of ways. 

This is 16 hours in! I let mine simmer for 30 hours total. 
Remove the solid layer of fat after refrigerating a couple of hours
Save the removed fat in a separate container. This is a great to cook with! 
What can you do with bone broth? I use it for sauces, soups and crock pot meals. Tomorrow night, when I'm feeling better, I'll be making Pho, by simmering the broth with cinnamon sticks before using it to cook thinly-sliced ribeye garnished with sprouts, green onion, cilantro, mushrooms, thai chiles and ginger. Sounds good eh? I am excited!

This stuff gets really jiggly in the fridge. It's like you can see its nutrient density. I'm so geeked out on paleo right now. 
Feel good song of the day:  Anything by Phoebe Hunt. That's not a song. I literally mean anything. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

PALEO IN AUSTIN: 24 DINER

Category: clean comfort food

600 N. Lamar Blvd. Austin, Texas 78703
Hours: Open 24 hours daily except Wednesday 1am-6am


24 Diner is the only place in Austin where you can eat a paleo meal at any time during the day. One of the most important things to me, when reviewing a restaurant, is consistency of the fare. 24 Diner always delivers. I have never been disappointed in a meal there. They also happen to have the best pork belly in the city. 


Staying true to their aspiration of being the "finer diner," 24 really caters to special diets of all kinds. Hyper-aware of gluten sensitivities, they offer a special gluten-free menu. This menu features bunless burgers, salads, seasonal entrees and breakfast options for anyone. All of their offerings are carefully sourced, and they proudly display their farm-to-table program on the boards behind their well-stocked bar. I just think there is something especially romantic about knowing which local farms your produce came from.


A beautiful signature seasonal souffléd fritatta comes topped with local arugula. 

The gorgeous mixed green salad with deep fried pork belly (the best in Austin)

Their fresh chicken salad with apricots and ginger. Side of fruit was a welcomed substitute for wheat toast. 
Feel good song of the day: Renegade by Styx

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

THE PALEO SUPERBOWL, PALEOFX 2014

I know you have heard about Paleo FXI posted all about it last year, when I had the honor of emceeing 24 cooking demos with all the superstars of the Paleo Food Blogging world. 

 If you don't know, 
"PaleoFX is a collaborative symposium energized by professionals dedicated to turning the esoteric theory of primal health and fitness into actual real world practice.  Currently hosted each spring in Austin, TX, PaleoFX is a powerful three-day community of cutting-edge trainers, gym owners, health care professionals, bloggers, and scientists who work in a wide variety of fields, but who all focus on translating primal ideas into everyday, sustainable, effective realities."

This year I've been asked back to host my own demo, during which I'll be making my Paleo Chicken Fried Steak. If you are in the planning to attend the event, definitely come check it out and say hi! 


This was my kitchen last year, prepping for the 24 demos I hosted. It was madness. I'm so blessed to have passed the torch this year! 




Last year was so fun! I had a wonderful time meeting all the bloggers and Paleo superstars backstage at PaleoFX.

George Bryant (Civilized Caveman) and Julie Bauer (PaleOMG.com)



My kid-friendly demo last year
If you can't make it to the event, you can still get in on the action. Check out all the information you need to know about the PaleoFX Live stream below! 




There is a reason that Paleo f(x)™ has doubled in size each year.

There is a reason that 9 out of 10 of our past attendees ranked their Paleo f(x)™ experience as 5/5 (“outstanding”) in the post-symposium survey.
There is a reason that many leading lights in the Paleo movement have returned to speak at Paleo f(x)™ for 2 or 3 years in a row.
There is a reason that we have 150 speakers, including 10 New York Times best-selling authors, physicians, scientists, bloggers, biohackers, activists, and more.
And that is because Paleo f(x)™ is quite simply the Superbowl of Paleo. It is the single largest gathering in the Paleo world, representing the thought leaders of the movement and all those who want to proactively gain great health and happiness.
This year, we’re upping the ante, and going global, with our biggest Livestream event yet. Watch both of our premiere stages Live, in HD, from anywhere, on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.
Here are some answers to common questions we get about our Livestream...
Which speakers and stages are available to Livestream?
Every single speaker and session—talk, Mastermind Panel, and Think Tank—on our Premiere Paleo Magazine and Victory Belt stages. See our schedule for the full lineup.
The Livestream includes talks by and panels with Robb WolfMark SissonChris KresserNora GedgaudasSarah FragosoDallas and Melissa HartwigDiane SanfilippoDr. Terry WahlsJohn Durant, and dozens upon dozens more.
All Livestream passes give access to both stages. At any time during the Livestream, choose which stage to watch, while it's happening (you needn’t pick in advance).
Is the Livestream really Live, or can I watch it later?
Watch it at the time given on the schedule in CST (Central Standard Time): it really is live from Austin!
How and when do I purchase and access the Livestream?
Purchase the Livestream directly from this link Choose a 3-day or 1-day pass. Purchase at any time, and as soon as you do, the video player becomes available on the purchase page.  Then, as soon as Paleo f(x)™ kicks off on Friday at 8:40am (CST), the Livestream will be playable from that purchase page.
What are some fun ways to watch the Livestream?
We recommend watching it from the comfort of a beach hammock, while sipping from a coconut.
Or... throw a Paleo party! Get your “paleo peeps” together, grab a bowl of (Kale) chips, and throw a Paleo f(x)™ Livestream party. Or, get 15 people in your CrossFit box to chip in $2 each and watch a day of Livestream.

Cheer on your favorite speakers, and discover some new favorites. Holler every time Chris Kresser references a journal article, and do a push-up everytime Nora Gedgaudas says the word “autoimmune”. This is the Paleo Superbowl, after all.
Have a significant other or family member who you’re trying to educate about the Paleo lifestyle? The Paleo f(x)™ Livestream is perfect. Sit back and relax as our hyper-articulate, authoritative speakers explain how to maximize health with a Paleo-friendly lifestyle, on topics ranging from food to sleep to stress to addiction to sustainability to happiness, and everything in between.
We will have thousands of people from all over the globe attending and watching Paleo f(x)™ this year. Don’t miss out on the Paleo Superbowl! Buy your Livestream pass today.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

PALEO IN AUSTIN: MAUDIE'S TEX MEX


Multiple Locations (See Website)
Most location hours: Sun.-Thurs. 8:00am-10:00pm; 8:00am-10:30pm


A craving for Tex-Mex always lands us at Maudie's in Austin. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner; they're kid-friendly, happy-hour-friendly and use the freshest ingredients in their consistently delicious Mexican cuisine. I have never been disappointed in Maudies. Far from greasy and heavy Tex-Mex, Maudie's serves up fresh fajitas, tacos, huevos, ensaladas y mas to a variety of Austin neighborhoods. Their menu caters to many diets: kids', vegetarians, omnivores and gluten-free diners. In my case, I have found that "eating paleo" at Maudie's is a no-brainer. 

Maudie's gladly offers a gluten free menu. Their servers are trained and knowledgable on the subject, so you can be sure you'll be taken care of when you alert them of your preferences! They make it clear on their menu that they use "ALL NATURAL ANGUBEEF, ALNATURAL CHICKENPORK AND ORGANIEGGS." While they don't guarantee grass-fed beef or pastured pork, their proteins are higher quality than most tex-mex joints. 


One of my favorite things about Maudie's is that many of their cocktails can be made paleo-friendly. The picture below is of the bar at their newest location at the Triangle. I just think it is beautiful! Their drinks are made with Texas, homegrown spirits, which I think is really cool, especially at a time when Texas is cranking out some of the best booze around. Many of their signature drinks are made with infused tequilas, which I just ask for mixed with soda and/or muddled with fruit. Otherwise, you can't go wrong with a Maudie's mojito "sin azucar" (w/o sugar, for all you yankees). 



What makes Maudie's especially paleo-friendly is their attention to gluten sensitivity. I mean, look: even the chips are quarantined in plastic so they have absolutely no gluten-exposure. All of their sauces are gluten-free. They have a totally separate GF menu, fryer and prep area to prevent contamination. 

So what did we eat? My husband ordered the Spinach and Bacon Salad without cheese or tortilla strips. It is served with their cilantro vinaigrette. It was a delightful salad-- Simple and refreshing. Not the heavy meal you might expect when going out for Tex-Mex. 


Little one and I shared the chicken fajitas for two. It comes with sautéed peppers and onions, lettuce, pico and their delicious guacamole. I just asked for no rice or beans on the side. Instead, I dunked my chicken in their chipotle sauce and salsa. Their signature salsa is my favorite of all the red salsa in Austin. It is tomato based with roasted red peppers and a hint of smokey chipotle. I eat it with a spoon when I'm there and then take some home to put on my next mornings' eggs. It's great. 



Other things I like at Maudie's:
Fish Tacos w/o cheese or beans (I just eat the insides and skip the tortilla)
Tacos al Pastor w/o rice or beans: I love this achiote and pineapple roasted pork!
Maida's Salad with Shrimp (no cheese)
Either of the Chile Rellenos without cheese, rice or beans

And for the grand finale... the best part of the newest Maudie's at the Triangle is this:


If you have a kid, you get it. 




Feel good song of the day: Heartbeats (cover by Ellie Goulding)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

THE BEST PALEO MEATLOAF EVER



Sitting at the dining room table last night, the three of us took our first bites of dinner at the exact same moment. The next moment was in sync as well. We all dropped our forks, raised our eyebrows and just stared at each other. Then, a harmonious, "Woah!" Smiles, then we all agreed this was the best meatloaf any of us had ever tasted. Ever. No more words were said until the meatloaf was gone.



A couple of days ago, my son demanded it. Knowing that he'd compare anything I made to my mom's famous meatloaf, it was a huge task to impress him. So I brought out the big guns, bacon. I got this idea from my former boss in Lexington, Virginia. He made a bacon-wrapped meatloaf once and it was quite a spectacle. I've been wanting to make one ever since he told me about it. Anyway, every girl knows that bacon is the way to a man's heart. Even if for a 5-year-old.



This meatloaf is packed with vegetables. In fact, I think its a 50/50 split with the meat! It's sort of a one-pot meal. Meatloaf is a fantastic vessel for hiding vegetables for picky eaters. My son doesn't really have a problem eating veggies anymore, but I think I owe his transition being sneaky with things like smoothies, meatballs and meatloaf.



What makes this meatloaf so special is that it does not use tomato sauce. Nor does it use almond flour as a binder, like most paleo meatloaves. Without nightshades and nuts, this meatloaf is pretty autoimmune friendly. You could even omit the eggs if you needed to!

Skirting the nut flour means you have to get rid of some of the juices that accumulate mid-baking. The almond flour would have normally absorbed them, but that's okay. Just know that the juices are normal and you just have to pour them out before you broil the bacon.




Paleo Bacon Meatloaf
serves 4-6
3/4 pound grassfed ground beef
3/4 pound pastured ground pork
1 small zucchini, grated
1 medium carrot, grated
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon flaxmeal
1/4 cup parsley, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs
4-5 slices bacon
1 Tablespoon Worchestershire

Preheat your oven to 350º. Stir together the zucchini, carrot, onion, celery, garlic, flax meal, parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk eggs and stir into the vegetables. Using your hands, gently mix in the pork and beef. Do not overwork the meat. Spread the mixture evenly into a loaf pan. Lay 4-5 bacon slices lengthwise over the meatloaf. Use your spatula to tuck the ends down into the side of the pan. Now sprinkle the top of the bacon with the Worchestershire sauce. 

Bake at 350º for 55 minutes. Carefully remove the meatloaf from the oven. Go over to the sink or trash can and scrape out all the gross juice (about 1/2 cup) that has accumulated on top of the meatloaf. It looks like puke-- get rid of it. Now put the whole thing back into the oven and crank up the broiler. Broil the meatloaf until the bacon is crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and blot with a couple of paper towels. 


 Remove meatloaf from the pan and slice to serve. 







Feel good song of the day: Amsterdam by Imagine Dragons

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

PALEO IN AUSTIN: PICNIK

PICNIK AUSTIN
1700 South Lamar 400-B Austin, Texas 78704
Hours: M-F 7:00am-4:00pm; Sat. 9:00am-5:00pm

At the end of the day, these herbs, used in their fresh entrees, are watered with leftover coffee water! 

Google "paleo austin" and the first thing you see is me, in a bikini, sweating like a pig, holding a plate of sashimi. Skip that. Scroll to the next thing, because that is where you find a link to Picnik, Austin's first and only paleo coffee shop. 


In writing about eating paleo in Austin, this is the first place that comes to anyone's mind. There is NO guesswork here. In fact, it is unbelievable refreshing to eat somewhere where they "understand you" and your paleo way of eating. Where gluten-free is a given, the only dairy offered is grassfed and full fat, proteins are grassfed, pastured and organic and there are only healthy fats available. The only sweeteners are natural, and you have options: dates, maple syrup, honey, xylitol.
Mocha Chocolatte Rocket Coffee with Collagen and Xylitol
If bulletproof or rocket coffee scares you, you aren't alone. Putting butter and MCT oil, collagen and whey in your coffee is not exactly something we are all used to. However, if you follow paleo, you've taken a leap of faith once before. Now let's do it again. I had the mocha chocolatte, which is a blended coffee with butter, MCT oil, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, vanilla. I asked for xylitol as my sweetener. First of all, holy delicious. This coffee is so good and filling. It gives you so much energy and curbs your cravings thoughout the day, too. Instead of grass-fed whey protein, I opted for the collagen to help heal my nasty shin wound. Okay, that is crazy-- my coffee is packed with such awesomeness that its helping heal my stitches. On that note, the wound is horrible. Never ever do box jumps again. Never. Trust me. 
Slim Palate, Picnik and Three Diets One Dinner! Love this picture. 
 The food and the coffee and the atmosphere are awesome at Picnik, but my favorite reason to visit is this adorable nugget pictured below. That's Naomi Seifter, leading contender for the friendliest chick you'll ever meet. As someone who appreciates welcoming people, I adore this girl. She is passionate about real food, eating to feel your best, and spreading the good word about it. She will welcome you with open arms and gladly explain everything to you. She'll give you a run-down of the paleo lifestyle, her menu and anything else you need to know. She's just awesome. Go visit her and you'll see exactly what I am talking about.
Owner Naomi Seifter giving the menu rundown to Josh Weissman of Slim Palate 
I recently went to Picnik with Josh Weissman of Slim Palate. He was in town for a cooking demo and signing for his new cookbook, The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook. Check it out!

When you visit Picnik, you can borrow a blanket to lay on while you enjoy your meal. How delightful does this look?
Picnik's website explains their mission best: "Picnik Austin is your home for paleo, primal, gluten-free, grain-free, clean, healthy, ancestral cooking and baking in Austin, TX.  We source organic and farm-to-table ingredients whenever possible, and we believe in serving the most nutrient dense foods on the planet." 
Paleo Swiss Chard-Venison and Smoked Salmon Quiche
Their menu is always changing, as they use only fresh, seasonal ingredients. Their daily quiche is rotating. They day I visited, they served a venison-swiss chard quiche and a smoked salmon quiche. I had the salmon. What surprised me is how sweet the almond crust was. Made with almond flour and olive oil, the sweetness comes from the Herbs de Provence-infused oil. The infused olive oil comes from one of my favorite local shops, Con Olio. 

Whole30 and autoimmune friendly Paleo Apple Cinnamon Cake
Mmm...the Apple Cinnamon cake was delicious. It was made with coconut flour and sweetened with dates and applesauce. Hardly a "cheat," and definitely a treat! That said, there are lots of sweet treat options: cookies, muffins, cakes-- all gluten free and paleo friendly. What I like about them is that they are also in reasonable portions. Picnik recognizes that just because a treat is paleo, doesn't mean you should eat it with reckless abandon. Treats are treats; and should be treated as such.

Picnik offers the first and only paleo breakfast tacos in Austin, made with Pinkie's homemade Paleotillas

Update: I went back for lunch the week following this original post. I met a friend and fellow food blogger, Rhianna of The Posh Foodie, who helped me take some more photos of the amazing offerings at Picnik. I had the chicken salad, which was packed with deliciousness. It was incredibly filling, as to be expected since it is all so nutrient-dense. The sweet red pepper relish topping was heavenly. As a treat, we snacked on butter brownies and almond chocolate chip cookies. The butter brownie is nothing less than sinful.


Kosmic Kombucha, Paleo Tortillas, Cookies and prepared salads in the grab-&-go case
My new friend Sarah is checking out The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook by Josh Weissman.  Notice how many pages I've marked, excited to get cooking! By the way, have you entered to win his cookbook? I'll be picking the winner Thursday, April 3. Enter here: SLIM PALATE REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY And look! There is my first draft of It's Paleo Y'all on the table, too! 

Local Kimchi and Kombucha in the case!
So, if you are from Austin and have never tried Picnik, go. Now. And if you are coming in for PaleoFX, DO NOT MISS THIS PLACE. You must start your day here. And tell Naomi that Bo Duncan sent you. Try the Mocha Chocolatte and enjoy how great it makes you feel!!



Feel good song of the day: "Joy to You Baby" - Josh Ritter

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