Monthly Archives: January 2013

low carb paleo

I’m trying a new approach to eating well. Remember the super power diet? With super foods. Only better. No sugar, no starch. Lots of greens. Moderate protein.

This past week I felt well-nourished and satisfied. No cravings. Lots of energy. I averaged about 60 grams of carbohydrates (30 net of fibre), mostly from vegetables. I am following a recommendation for diabetics to control their blood sugar by reducing their carbohydrates. This is helping my waist-line. Stay tuned. It might just be that I’ve discovered Paleo nirvana.



Super Easy Strawberry Almond Milk Chia Smoothie

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I soaked some almonds last night to make almond milk this morning. However, I needed to take my son to his archery lesson this morning and didn’t get up early enough (story of my life). I decided to use some of the almonds in a smoothie. Smoothies are my favorite quick breakfast. The chia seeds provide fiber, which makes the smoothie filling. I use whole strawberries without removing the tops. In place of strawberries, substitute any ripe fruit. Raspberries have even more fiber.

Almonds blend more easily if they are soaked in water overnight. An alternative to soaking is to blanch the almonds in a pan containing a 1/2 inch of boiling water for 30 seconds, then drain. (You can pop off the skins for a smoother texture but less fibre). If you have easy access to unsweetened almond milk, you can substitute it for the water and almonds. I have not been able to find unsweetened almond milk in stores here (Holland). So I make my own sometimes. When I get up early enough.

Be sure to check the carb content of your protein powder. Most of them are packed with sugar to make them palatable. But many low-carb powders have artificial sweeteners – not a great alternative. If you are being “pure,” substitute 1/4 cup egg whites for the protein powder. (The problem with egg whites is that too much will make the smoothie bitter).

This recipe makes a great grab-n-go meal that provides fiber, protein, healthy fats, and fresh fruit for long-lasting satisfaction.


1 tablespoon chia seed
1 serving [unsweetened] vanilla whey protein powder (I like Jay Robb brand)
1 cup whole strawberries
10 almonds
1 cup cold water


In a blender, blend the almonds and water 2-3 minutes on high speed, until smooth. Then add the strawberries and blend again. Add the protein powder last and blend briefly. Protein powder tends to make smoothies very foamy, which I don’t like that much. But I think it’s better to have protein with the carbs.

For a thicker smoothie, use less water or double the almonds (1/4 c).

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving

Calories 285

Total Fat 11.01g
Saturated Fat 0.988g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.689g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.921g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 156mg
Potassium 697mg
Total Carbohydrate 19.43g
Dietary Fiber 9.3g
Sugars 7.29g
Protein 31.51g


velvet chili

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I made this chili for the second time tonight. The first time, I thoughtlessly naively used smoked chipotle chili powder instead of milder, Ancho chili powder. And almost killed my family on Christmas Eve. WIth their permission, I tried again. Without any chipotles. They declared this chili “best ever.” (edited to explain the reference to velvet. That’s the texture of this chili – absolutely velvety. I’ve never had chili so soft and delicious). If you want more heat, add more green chili or try some smoked chipotle chili powder, just not a 1/4 cup.


I’ve written this for my cast iron Dutch oven by Lodge. You could use a slow-cooker too.

Use beef that is no leaner than 85 percent. Otherwise, the texture will become dry.
2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
3 medium onions, minced
6 medium garlic cloves, pressed or minced(about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup Ancho chili powder
a big pinch of green chili powder
1/4 cup tomato paste (2 small cans)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 200 gram cans diced tomatoes
2 200 gram cans tomato puree
3 tablespoons coconut aminos
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 kilogram 85 percent lean ground grass-fed beef

Ground black pepper
2 limes, cut into wedges

1. Heat the oil in a fry-pan or a Dutch oven. Add onions, garlic, chili powder, tomato paste, cumin, pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook about 10 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juice, scraping up any browned pieces.


2. (If you are using a slow-cooker, Transfer the mixture into the slow cooker.) Add tomato puree, coconut aminos, oregano and pepper. Stir really well. This is your last chance! Add the raw ground beef to the pot and stir it gently. Cover and cook. Regular oven: 125 C for 5 to 6 hours. Slow cooker, either on low or high, 8 to 9 hours on low or 5 to 6 hours on high.

3. Let the chili settle for 5 minutes, then gently tilt the Dutch Oven or slow cooker. Skim off the fat with a large spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with the lime wedges.

We also enjoyed avocado, lettuce, and tomatoes with this.

are these leftovers still good?

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If you are doing a Whole30 Paleo Challenge, you are probably trying to make extra portions to save time later. You know the idea – cook once, eat twice. I try to double recipes, but often this means my teens eat larger portions. When I do have leftovers, I use these handy little labels to see at a glance how long something has been in the fridge. Since the days of the week are printed and color-coded, you can tell at a glance when the food was prepared.

Granted mine are in Dutch, but I am sure you can find some in your own language. I found them at a restaurant supply shop. They were a little pricey, but they are really easy to use. They are easier than writing out a label.


Mushroom Leek Soup

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I have a homely one-quart slow cooker. No frills, just a plug. I bought it two jobs ago in the hopes of making lunch at work. My colleagues did not think this was a good idea. It sat in the basement for the last five six years because it runs on US current. I have a fancy one too. It has a chip-based timer and multiple heat settings. I can never use that one here in Europe because even a power converter won’t fix the frequency. So that one is still in the basement. But I digress. As I mentioned before I am trying to eat breakfast more regularly, and without eggs on my menu (at the moment anyway), I have been stumped for ideas. I like soup, so that’s what I have been making.

It was delightful on New Year’s Day to wake to the fragrance of fresh mushroom soup. This recipe fills my little slow cooker. You can also use a pressure cooker (less than 10 minutes high pressure, quick release).

2 leeks, sliced thin (use only the white bases)
2 – 3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 T coconut aminos
one piece beef bone marrow (I have a package of bones in the freezer)
beef bouillon or bone broth (less that 1 quart/1 litre)

one sheet gelatin


Put everything except the gelatin in the slow cooker. I put the bone marrow on the bottom of the pot first. Add enough bouillon/broth to cover the vegetables. Plug in. Cook overnight. Come back in the morning. Remove the bone. Stir in the gelatin sheet. Use a hand-held wand blender to blend everything into a smooth soup. Or you can use a food processor or blender, in batches.

I enjoyed this with some sliced ham and spinach (briefly cooked in some water until wilted).


I thought I’d have enough for leftovers, but my husband finished the rest.

Salmon salad

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pink salmon, 2 cans (200g each), drained
caper, 1 tablespoon
cayenne pepper pinch
Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon
mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons
pepper, 1/4 teaspoon
salt, 1/2 teaspoon
fresh dill, 1 tablespoon (or 1 teaspoon dried)
lemon juice, 1 tablespoon
scallion, 1, sliced thin
small shallot, 1, sliced thin
parsley, 1 tablespoon

mix it up! Serve on a bed of lettuce with other raw vegetables.