Ribs and Cauliflower Dirty ‘Rice’

This turned out so much better than I thought it would. I was making ribs for dinner and the only thing I could think of to go with it was rice. I didn’t want real rice, so I decided to make dirty rice. River asked me why we were having stinky rice, and I told her because it was delicious. She ate it all.

To make this magnificent meal, you will need:

  • ribs
  • half of a lemon
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • olive or coconut oil
  • raw beef fat, or any any fat you like
  • half a jar of green olives, chopped
  • 1 TBLS chili powder
  • garlic
  • 3 green onions
  • 4-5 TBLS salsa (I like the HERDEZ brand because it’s got the fewest ingredients, but you can use your favourite salsa.)
  • salt
  • pepper

Put the ribs, lemon, 1 quartered yellow onion, salt, and pepper in a big soup pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and keep it simmering for a couple of hours on low-medium heat. I put it in at 3:30pm, and cooked it until 5:30pm. The lemon will help tenderize the meat so it will be falling off the bones.

You will need about 45 minutes to get the dirty ‘rice’ ready, so prepare accordingly. Chop the cauliflower very small, or better yet, do what I did and use your food processor to shred it into rice-sized pieces. Chop the other onion and the mushrooms up into very small pieces and saute in a large skillet. I used my cast iron, and I had just enough room. You could probably also use a medium sauce pan as well. Either way, saute in the olive or coconut oil until the onions are almost caramelized.

When they are almost caramelized, add the cauliflower. DO NOT ADD SALT, yet. It will draw the moisture out of the cauliflower and then it will get mucky. You want to make sure that the cauliflower browns and has a chance to caramelize a bit. Stir once in a while for 10 minutes. Add 1-2 TBLS of fat of your choice. I used raw beef fat that I have in the freezer for tallow.

Add the chili powder and stir it in until the ‘rice’ looks dirty. Let it cook for a few minutes to take on the flavour. Add the garlic, olives, and green onions.  Stir well. Preheat the oven broiler.

Take the ribs out of the soup pot and place them on a cooky sheet. I put some store bought BBQ sauce on my family’s ribs, but I left mine without any. You could probably make your own sauce, even a paleo version, but I didn’t have the time or the inclination. Put them in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until the BBQ sauce is bubbling and starting to blacken. (Don’t burn it! You want it to just start crackling before you take them out.)

The last two ingredients that you’ll add to the dirty ‘rice’ should be the 4 TBLS salsa and the spinach. If you add the salsa too soon, before the cauliflower browns up, it will just get mushy. Normally, I would just throw the whole jar of salsa in, but again, you don’t want too much moisture or it will wreck the cauliflower. Stir it in well with the spinach. When the spinach is wilted, but not too soggy, the dirty ‘rice’ is ready.

This was so delicious, especially since it was cauliflower, which I detest. Serve alongside the ribs and this is the meal of champions! This meal is a little time consuming, but so worth it. For busy people, it would probably be best to make this on the weekend. Also, for the record, that looks like a lot of ribs, but there was more fat on that piece than meat. It was still marvelous, though. Perhaps the only thing that could have made these better would have been if I used the BBQ. Alas, we are out of fuel. Woe is me.

Advertisements

Paleo Challenge Day 5

For the last couple of mornings, my blood sugars have been dropping almost too low. It usually happens after breakfast, around mid-morning.

When I first wake up, I usually do a blood test, then, no matter what it is (unless it’s really low, I’d say 4 or lower) I give myself 6 units of novorapid insulin. I need to have a bit of insulin in my system and this has been my routine for years. I’m now on day 6 of the Paleo Challenge and I’ve already reduced my long acting insulin (levemir) by 2 units. I went from 18 to 17 for a few days, and last night I reduced it to 16 units.

I’m not really working out so much as staying active. I spent the day at the park yesterday afternoon flying kites with the kids. I’m going swimming again this morning with Rowan. Instead of being sedentary, I’m trying to keep moving. I’m already sleeping better, my blood sugars are improving. Paleo is really working for me. I did have some dairy this weekend, but this is the start of a new week, and I’m back to being dairy-free for the challenge.

I just did a blood test and it was 4.8. This is fantastic. I’ve never had such pristine blood sugars so consistently since I started paleo. Not only do I love this challenge, I love the way I feel.

Without further ado, I’m off to swim with my son!

Chicken Stock

I’ve been trying to make a good stock for years, and I can never quite seem to manage it. There’s always something missing. It’s never quite rich enough.

Last night I made chicken stock from the remains of the chicken dinner I roasted for dinner and it’s the richest, most flavourful broth I’ve ever had.  You can make this broth with any vegetables you have in your fridge, and this is especially good for veggies that are starting to go bad. You could toss mushrooms, spinach (or any leafy green), tomatoes, or cabbage. Whatever you end up putting in your stock is going to lend it your own unique flavour.

I’ve got to admit, making stock from a chicken that’s been roasted lends the stock a much richer flavour. I usually use an uncooked chicken to make stock. Well, now I know better.

To make the most delicious stock in the world, you’ll need:

  • chicken carcass (preferably from a chicken that has previously been roasted)
  • 2 carrots, unpeeled, roughly chopped
  • 3 onions, quartered, skins on
  • 1 stalk of celery (I don’t like celery, but it has a really nice flavour in soups if you don’t put too much)
  • half a lemon, peel on
  • 1 bushel of fresh parsley
  • lots of poultry seasoning, to taste
  • 1 bulb of garlic, unpeeled
  • lots of salt, to taste
  • lots of pepper (1 tsp, at least)

Put everything in a big soup pot and cover it with water. Turn it on high so it comes to a boil, uncovered, then turn it down to medium low and simmer for a couple of hours. The stock will reduce, adding to the flavour. Taste it at intervals to see if there’s anything you want to add (more salt?) and continue to simmer.

When my stock had the flavour I wanted, I strained it into my cock pot to keep warm over night. I also picked off whatever little remnants of chicken that were left on the carcass and added that to the stock.

This was the perfect breakfast, too. We all woke up and served up some broth, along with a boiled egg or two and some jerky. Simple, delicious. I hope you’ll make it and enjoy it too!

 

Blood Sugars

I’m on day 2 of the Paleo challenge, and so far, my blood sugars are cruising pretty low. Which is great. Hyperglycemia, (high blood sugars) can cause all sorts of terrible things to happen in the body of a diabetic, including, Wiki said; “kidney damage, neurological damage, cardiovascular damage, damage to the retina, or damage to feet and legs. Diabetic neuropathy may be a result of long-term hyperglycemia.”

That’s some pretty scary stuff. There was a point a few months ago when I was having 20’s pretty frequently. For those of you unfamiliar with the lingo, blood sugars means the amount of sugar in your blood. I like to keep my blood sugars between 5/mmol and 9/mmol. 20 is  way too high, 3.9 is pretty low, but it should be monitored to make sure it doesn’t drop any lower.  Anything lower than a 3.1 is too low and should dealt with immediately. That’s how it works for me, anyway.

Having been much more active in the last few days than I have been, I’ve noticed that my blood sugars have been on the lower side of normal. Today, after lunch, it dropped to 2.8 so I had myself a banana. I’ve been avoiding sugary fruits because I’m trying to lose weight, but when the blood sugars drop, I need sugar, ASAP. I’d much rather eat a banana than white refined sugar.

I read a really interesting article by Robb Wolf that discusses type 1 diabetics and crossfit workouts. As a diabetic, it’s better for me to focus on strength training than high intensity cardio because during a high intensity workout, the liver releases a lot of glucose, which messes with my blood sugars. When they get too high, I would does myself with some insulin, but later on my blood sugars would drop too low because of the excess insulin and because the workout brings the sugars down for hours afterwords.

Looks like walking is my new best friend for cardio. Along with weight lifting.

Also, Robb Wolf wrote this but I definitely think they are good rules to live by to help my diabetes:

1-Eat a ketogenic diet. Use the Zone calculator to find your block numbers, then use 42 ways to skin the Zone to bring your carbs to below 50g/day for men, 30g for most women. Adjust fat upwards appropriately for calorie maintenance and when you need to up calories overall for maintenance. I’d add the additional caveat to make this a gluten/dairy free paleo diet. We have seen instance of people REVERSING Type 1 diabetes with a paleo diet because they put their autoimmunity in remission.

2-SLEEP. Screw up your sleep and you are killing your insulin sensitivity. This goes for everyone but especially for the Type 1 diabetic who will battle to keep blood sugar levels normal/low.

3-Chill out. Stress messes with insulin sensitivity AND it releases sugar from the liver. Don’t do it.

4-Ttrain Smart. I mentioned some examples above. Lift heavy, then sit on your ass. Repeat. Intensity (in the puke on your shoes sense) is what drives hepatic glucose release. Take a walk for some “cardio”. Be content with being able to lift a house and have 5% bodyfat, but a shitty Fran time.

5-Train Dumb, but map it. Most of you are CrossFiters and thus, will ignore the most important part of this (number 4) because you will DIE if you do not see God during a WOD. Fine, I’m not going to argue with you on the topic, it’s your life, but at least use your head. Start the intensity low (this may mean stepping back a little…you can do it) and mapping your blood glucose response after various WOD’s. How much does Fran elevate your numbers? Helen? Filthy Fifty? You need to build an inventory of what WOD’s do what to you. Then…hope for the best, because every time you do a WOD like this things are different. And you may have a dramatically different response than you might have guessed…hence, recommendation number 4.

Alright, so I have my plan. Eat paleo. Reduce carbs. Focus on strength training. Sleep more. Do different workouts and watch how they affect my blood sugars.

One more thing, I’m pretty excited about the lows only because it means I might start reducing my long acting insulin! Less insulin means less weight! (Please know that I have an appointment to see my family doctor soon and that I’m doing everything real slow, nice and easy so I don’t end up wrecking my body.)

Paleo Breakfast Ideas

I often discover after the fact that my husband has stopped eating breakfast altogether on most days. He told me that for 25 years, every morning, he had a bowl of cereal and toast with peanut butter. Paleo nightmare much? Now he feels like he doesn’t know what to make himself, and he doesn’t give himself a lot of time to cook anything. Not to mention, he gets tired of eggs in the morning.

I’ve decided to come up with some muffin-type things that I can make him that he can grab and go. It will also be good for the girls to give them a bit of a switch from omelettes and scrambled eggs. Even though these muffins contain eggs, at least it gives them some fat and little bit of carbs as well from the coconut flour.

I’m also making home made jerky today, which I hope will go well with the breakfast muffins.

Here are some other breakfast ideas:

  • Bake salmon or tilapia the night before, and in the morning you can mix it with avocado and salsa and some hot sauce to spice up your morning. You could also crumble it onto a morning salad, or reheat it as is and serve with wilted spinach. Even better, wrap in a big collard leaf with some avocado, shredded carrots, cucumbers, and a bit of mayo for a yummy breakfast wrap. You could even make this the night before and wrap it in parchment so you could just grab it and go. The best part is, no bread to get soggy!
  • Any form of leftover meat could be shredded and mixed with some mayo or avocado (or both!) and some chopped veggies to make a ‘chicken’ salad or a ‘pork’ salad. This could also be made the night before for a grab-n-go breakfast.
  • Make 2 batches of egg cupcakes, and store in the fridge for the next couple of days.
  • Hard boil a couple of eggs, pre-cook some bacon and chop up some veggie sticks. It’ll be a cold breakfast, but at least your tummy will be full.
  • Cold or hot dinner leftovers.

The key is to be prepared. If you’re like my husband and you wake up with just enough time to get ready for work but not much else, then prepare a breakfast the night before. It’s easy to assemble something when you’re getting dinner ready the night before. You just have to get out of the mindset of ‘cereal or toast for breakfast’.

Paleo Cornbread Muffins

  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup rendered bacon fat (lard) combined
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

The recipe I followed said to preheat oven to 200. I found that didn’t cook them enough and I ended up turning the oven up to 300. Therefor, preheat your oven to 300. Whisk together the coconut flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in the melted oil. I just left mine in the preheated oven until it was completely melted.  Add the coconut flour mixture to the egg/oil mixture and stir to combine. I used my food processor to blend it until if formed a dough mixture. Divide the batter into a bacon-greased muffin tin. I was only able to make 11. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden browned. Take out of oven and let cool. They taste delicious and the recipe said you could use these for stuffing, which I think is an amazing idea, and will definitely have to try soon! Enjoy!

 

Jerky

  • 2 flank steaks (or any cut of really lean meat) cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup of wheat-free tamari or coconut aminos (I haven’t been able to find coconut aminos anywhere, but if you have some, I would use that over the wheat-free tamari.)
  • pepper

Put the meat in glass container and let marinade in the wheat-free tamari and sprinkle liberally with pepper. Marinade for as little as 1 hour and up to 24 hours. The longer you let it sit, the stronger the flavour will be. Personally, I really like the flavour of the meat so I don’t like too much flavour. I marinaded it for an hour and then put it in my dehydrator. I’ll leave it in there for the afternoon, and I’ll be checking on it every so often to make sure it’s drying well.

For those of you who don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven. Pat the meat dry with some paper towel then place the meat slices on the oven racks. The meat pieces shouldn’t be touching each other. Dry in the oven for about 5-7 hours, until meat takes on a brown color and a hard, dry appearance and texture.

 

Tuna Bacon Salad

Never underestimate the effect of exercise on sleep. Yesterday Rowan and I walked to the mall to get him a new pair of spring boots. Driving there takes less than a minute, but he likes to walk and I need exercise so everyone wins. It took us almost half an hour to walk, which was fine because Rowan likes to explore as we walk.

On the way home it took us less time, which was also fine. He was a hungry boy and needed lunch. Anyway, he had a really good nap, and by the time he woke up, the girls were home from school.

After that amazing frittata, I decided to visit a friend of mine to lend her my copy of The Paleo Solution. She has some hormone imbalances and I think she would really benefit from going paleo. Her doctor had also mentioned it to her, which is always a good sign! Anyway, I took the dog and the 3 kids and off we went on an almost hour-long walk to my friend’s house. I must admit, it wouldn’t have taken as long, but herding kids is hard work. Anyway, all that to say that the kids slept in later than usual this morning, and I was comatose until this morning. I didn’t even move, and my side is numb because of it. But I feel good. I’ve used my muscles, and I can feel that I’ve used them.

I feel I need a good whack of protein this morning, and I’m getting tired of eggs, so I made myself some tuna salad. I had a little leftover from making the girls’ lunch, so I just added to it.

  • 1 can of tuna (in only water, no broth or soy garbage), drained
  • half an avocado
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1-2 TBLS mayo (home made is best, but today I used hellman’s)
  • half an english cucumber, cut however you like to stuff it in your face
  • a couple of strips of pasture-raised bacon
  • 1/4 red or orange pepper (optional)
  • pepper

Start the bacon in the pan. While it’s cooking, mash the avocado and the mayo together in a bowl. Add the tuna and mix well. Add the slices of green onion, pepper, cucumber, and the peppers if you aren’t omitting those from your diet. Mix everything well. When the bacon is cooked, chop it up and add it to the bowl. Again, mix everything well. Bon Appetit!

This would go very well in any kind of collard or lettuce wrap, but I ate it straight out of the bowl.

P.S. I’m sorry about the quality of these pictures, I’ve been taking them with my iPhone. I think I’m going to bust out my big camera and start taking some ‘real’ pictures.

Breakfast Sausage Frittata

I’ve been yearning to use my cast iron skillet in the oven for some kind of fun recipe. I kept thinking I would find a paleo crumble or some such. I finally have it! Frittata! Also, I love breakfast for dinner. You really can’t go wrong with eggs.

As I write this, I realize I had eggs for breakfast. Oh well. To make this delectable dish you will need:

  • 10 eggs
  • 1 package of super awesome pastured breakfast sausages (obviously I got mine from Peasant’s Craft Farms, and these little piggy delights taste like a party in your mouth!)
  • 2 yellow onions
  • half a package of presliced mushrooms, chopped
  • a cast iron skillet! (or a skillet that can be put in the oven READ: no plastic handles!)

Toss the sausages into the heated skillet and cook them up for a bit. Take a knife and chop them up in the skillet. Add the chopped onions and mushrooms and let them cook until the onions start to caramelize. My kids always tell me they hate onions, but honestly, when you caramelize them and call them ‘sugar onions’, they’ll gobble them right down.

 

Turn the oven on to broil. Turn up the heat to medium high on the sausages and while it’s getting nice and hot, mix the eggs in a bowl with lots of pepper. When the skillet is sizzling hot, add the eggs, then turn the heat down to low and cook for 5 minutes.

Now, for my favourite part. Put the skillet in the oven! Cook it for another 5 minutes, until the eggs are cooked through and there’s a little brown on top. Remember how I feel about the snot-like consistency of uncooked eggs. Make sure they are cooked, but not overcooked. I also have a thing against overcooked eggs. Yuck.

Anyway, when it’s finished, make sure you are careful taking it out of the oven! Let it cool for a few minutes (if you can wait that long) and then serve it up!