Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bibimbap style Skirt Steak w.Sauteed Veggies - Paleo Friendly

Have you tried skirt steak? It is DELICIOUS and it's one of the more affordable cuts of the cow. There is an inside skirt and an outside skirt. Both are very tasty when marinated, cooked over dry heat (grilled or pan seared) and cut thinly on the bias. Have you had beef fajitas? Well then you've probably had the skirt, since that is one of the most popular uses for the skirt cut.

I used a nice grass-fed outside skirt steak to marinate with the flavors of the popular Korean dish, Bibimbap. Bibimbap means "mixed meal" and usually consists of a protein, most typically beef, a fried egg, and mixed veggies, all served over rice. I used the skirt steak as my protein and held the rice to make it Paleo friendly. My veggies consisted of zucchini, jalapenos, spinach and carrots simply because those are the veggies I had on hand.

2 TBS Fish Sauce (I use Red Boat brand. It's worth seeking out because it's pure tasting and has 2 ingredients, anchovies and sea salt)
2 TBS Coconut Vinegar or Rice vinegar
1 TBS Sweetener of choice - I used Coconut Nectar. Try using Agave or Honey.
2 tsp Sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced

1. Mix all ingredients together and place in a bag w.your skirt steak. Marinate overnight or for as long as you can. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
2. Cook your skirt steak on a grill pan, indoors, over high heat, flipping once. Timing depends on how big your steak is; a one pound skirt will take about 3-4 min per side for rare to medium rare. Grass-fed beef will cook quicker than grain-fed beef. Allow the steak to rest while you prepare your veggies, then cut on the bias into thin strips.

3-4 cups baby spinach
2 medium zucchini, halved and sliced 1/4 inch
2 jalapenos, seeds removed and sliced thin or julienned
2 medium carrots, halved and sliced 1/4 inch
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBS fish sauce
1 TBS coconut vinegar or rice vinegar
1 tsp coconut nectar or sweetener of choice

1. Saute the garlic until fragrant in your fat of choice, over a medium heat. I used coconut oil.
2. Add the jalapenos, zucchini and carrots and saute for 5 minutes until the veggies soften.
3. Add in the spinach and wilt, then add in fish sauce, vinegar and sweetener.
4. Cook until flavors combine for 2 more minutes.
Serve the sliced steak w.veggies. If you're feeling it, add a fried egg to the top. If you're a non-Paleo eater, serve this over rice (hopefully brown) :)....
Enjoy the flavors of this dish. They are bold and bright and downright delicious!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dried Fruit and Nut Treats

I found this recipe from Whole Living magazine and decided to try it out. It is a simple recipe, with only a few ingredients: dried fruit, mixed nuts and or seeds, cinnamon and sea salt. With a recipe like this, since it has so few ingredients, it's important to use the highest quality ingredients you can.
For dried fruit I used dried blueberries and dried cranberries, both sweetened with apple juice concentrate, from Steve's Original and organic Thompson raisins.
For nuts/seeds, I used raw almonds, raw cashews, raw pumpkin seeds, raw pistachios and raw sesame seeds.
The recipe comes together very quickly.
1. Add 2 cups mixed, dried fruit to food processor and process until it forms a paste.
2. Next, process 2 cups mixed nuts and seeds (all mentioned above excluding the sesame seeds), until finely chopped. Add to the processed fruit.

3. Mix together with a dash of cinnamon and sea salt until combined.

4. Form into 1 inch balls.
5. Roll the balls in sesame seeds.

What a treat! So delicious. The best thing is that the flavor profile will change based on your combo of dried fruits and nuts. It's hard to not eat one after the other. Store them in a air tight container.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

30 Day Paleo Recap, RKC Training update and an easy recipe for Clams!

So, my I completed Day 30 of Robb Wolf's 30 Day Total Transformation on Feb 6th. To tell you honestly Day 30 came and went and I didn't look back.
Overall, my experience during the 30 days was extremely positive.
I began sleeping better.
Food began to taste real again.
I felt strong in my training sessions.
I felt lighter in my own body and my jeans started to fit easier.
I fell in love with eggs again.
I had minimal sugar cravings.
I barely missed bread.
I learned about the benefits of eating meat from pastured animals.
I was reminded just how delicious a sweet potato is, freshly baked, pulled straight from the oven.
I also learned that sardines can make a pretty filling meal.

And the list goes on. So many positives.
Very few negatives.
The negatives for me are timing and cost - it takes time to prep and cook food and it costs more for pastured meats, wild fish and organic nuts/seeds, veggies and fruits.
Will the negatives keep me from this lifestyle? No.

I am a member of 3 CSAs which provide me with meats, eggs, and in season, fruits and vegges. The farms are not certified organic, but practice Integrated Pest Management. For me, paying extra for the highest quality food is worth it.
At this time of change for me, segueing out of the client's kitchen and into a more fitness based career, I have the time to prep the food to eat. It's become exciting to prepare food again in my kitchen and I'm loving it.
So, I'll keep it going. And when I want to try something out that's not Paleo, I will. No biggie. I'm sold on this way of eating and I can't see not keeping it up. I can't see myself ever going back to a carb based diet, I just can't....

RKC Training
For over a week, I've had pain in my shoulder, underneath the collar bone, radiating towards my arm o nthe right side. I essentially took the week of from kettlebells to rest it. It's now feeling better and I plan to start my RKC training up again. I will go lighter w.the overall weight that I'll use, and I'm going to stay away from pressing (for now). I have time on my side. I'm still waiting for RKC Philly 2012 to be announced!!

Here's a quick Paleo friendly dish that can be an app or entree....fresh steamed clams! Clams are a great source of protein (22g in 3 oz) and have a relatively low caloric load (130 cal in 3oz). They do have cholesterol in them (55g in 3oz), and are packed with iron, potassium and Vitamin A.  They are worth seeking out.

I served the clams with a mix of sauteed greens: kale, collards and cabbage with bacon and garlic. The greens complemented the clams, which were steamed with bacon, garlic and oregano.
(We got the clams from a friend who goes clamming off the coast of the South Shore, so they are extremely fresh). All you need to do to prep them is to give them a quick soak in cool water for about 10-15 minutes, then give them a good rinse and scrub to get the sand off.
The version of the recipe that I made is a classic version, but like most recipes, all you need to do is shift the flavor profile a bit and you'll have a totally new dish. One example would be to add in ginger with the garlic, some curry paste, coconut milk instead of stock, cilantro instead of oregano and lime juice and you have an amazing Thai inspired curry dish. Experiment with flavors you enjoy.

Steamed Clams
Clams- 1-2 lbs per person for app serving
5 gloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb bacon, diced
2-3 TBS fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 cup stock (For a non-Paleo take, use 1/2 cup white wine)
Pinch red pepper flakes
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Cook bacon in Dutch oven or a big enough pot that can hold the clams.
After bacon has crisped up, add in garlic to saute, lowering heat a bit so garlic won't burn.
Add in the clams, stock, oregano and cover, allowing clams to steam open, approximately 10-15min*.
Finish with fresh squeezed lemon juice.
*After cooking the clams, discard any clams that have not opened; unopened clams indicate that the clam was dead before cooking and should not be eaten.

Try these clams out - they are really buttery and salty-sweet and go great with the bacon. Mussels would also work well prepared in this way.

Coming up next on the blog, a review of Paleo Snax Almond Raisin cookies and Steve's Original jerky and Paleo Krunch bars (hint: they are INSANELY delicious)....
Till then, eat well and play hard!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

30Day Paelo update, RKC Training set back, and sneaking in some protein

Today is Day 28 of my 30Day Paleo Transformation. I think it's morphed into something bigger though. At some point along the way I actually stopped counting days. I have Days 1-30 marked off on a calendar and each night, I would cross off the day. I just looked at the calendar and I haven't crossed it off since Day 23. It's as if I realized I could follow this lifestyle, or should follow this lifestyle.....I'm wondering if this happens a lot to people during the challenge. It feels natural and I can't see myself not eating this way. I will keep the transformation going past 30 days :)

Having said that, I've had a small set back in my kettlebell training. I woke up this past Monday with pain in my right shoulder, under my collar bone, radiating towards my arm. I've taken this week essentially off from doing my program. I did a workout on Thursday morning that included swinging/pressing some bells and it didn't feel great. I will try again tomorrow and see how it goes. I'm trying to not get discouraged. Will report back on how it goes....

In the mean time, I'm trying to sneak some protein in throughout the's how...
Trail mix!
I make a killer trail mix out of the following things: raw almonds, raw cacao, unsweetened coconut, Incan berries (also called golden berries), goji berries, mulberries....and occasionally dried blueberries.
Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, folate, fiber (3g per 1/4 cup) and protein (6g per 1/4 cup); they are also have healthy fats, w. 9g monounsat, 3.5g polyunsat and 1g sat fat per 1/4 cup.

Raw cacao is packed with antioxidants (flavenols and polyphenols) magnesium and fiber (9g per 1 oz). It has 4g protein per 1 oz. It is 35% fat, w.7g sat fat per 1 oz.

Gojis are a great vegetarian source of protein, having 4g per 1 oz. They have Vitamin A and C and trace minerals including zinc and iron; they have about 3g fiber per 1 oz and 0g fat.

Incan berries or Golden berries have carotene and Vitamin A. In 1 oz, they have 3g fiber, 2g protein and og fat.

Mulberries are a good source of calcium, potassium and magnesium and have 5g fiber, 3g protein, and 1g fat in 100g.

Dried coconut offers fiber and protein (in 1 oz there is 5g fiber and 2g protein). It is high in fat, namely saturated fat.

There is no recipe. I simply mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and eat. I eyeball the amounts of each ingredient and add more if necessary.

I keep a bag in my gym bag, my car and in my purse, as a just in case. It's great to snack on when I get hungry. The raw cacao is slightly bitter and pairs great with the sweet berries. The almonds are meaty, hearty and fill me right up.
Try making some and tailor it to fit your likes.