Quick White Fish and Vegetable Stir Fry

It's Wednesday night. I just got back from the box and a killer WOD. I'm tired. And hungry. And I have yet to go food shopping... Never fear! With a nicely stocked kitchen, dinner is always near.

I have a horrible track record of forgetting to take food out of my freezer for that night's dinner. Fortunately, a lot of the food in my freezer is seafood that thaws very quickly in a bowl of room temperature water for about 20 minutes. I also always keep a few cans of veggies or bags of frozen veggies when I haven't had time to go produce shopping yet. Along with some oil and spices, a satisfactory home cooked meal is always just minutes away!

Quick White Fish and Vegetable Stir Fry

The Food
- A filet of freshwater white fish, fresh or thawed (shrimp, trout or flounder would also work well for this)
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 can or bag of veggies, your choice (if canned, drain and rinse. If frozen, cook about 3/4 of the time suggested)
- Coconut Oil
- Salt (or salt mix)
- Pepper

The Prep
Season the filet with salt and pepper to your taste

The Method
Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat
Add the garlic, let lightly brown and get fragrant
Add the filet, cook for about 2 minutes until it starts to cook around the sides about a half inch
Flip the filet and add the veggies
Stir the veggies and filet around the pan, breaking up the filet and incorporating everything together
Once the fish is fully cooked (about 2 more minutes) and the veggies are heated through, remove from pan

Enjoy :)

This dish can be scaled however you'd like- about a 4-6oz filet per person and 1/2-2/3 can or bag of veggies per person.
Additionally, canned fish would work well in this dish if you do not have any in your freezer. Simply adjust for the fact that you are simply heating the canned fish, not cooking it.


Food Allergy Buddy™ Card Supports a Whole Foods Diet

First I should say that I hate using the word diet. The majority of the American race incorrectly defines the word diet as a strict limitation to either amounts or types of foods to take place or a specific period of time with the intentions of weight loss and/or improved health. After their "diet" is complete they will go back to the way they were eating prior to the change. This definition is much more correctly defined as dieting (still a cr@ppy word).

My Issues with the above...
Strict limitations- Only limitation should be to stick to whole, natural foods.
Specific period of time- Your entire life. Period.
Intentions of weight loss and/or improved health- A whole, natural diet and lifestyle will provide you with a healthy weight and body.
They go back to the way they were eating prior- Well, duh, that's what got you in trouble in the first place!

As defined by the all telling source of Wikipedia, "In nutritiondiet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism." This is how all American's should define the term. A diet should not be though of as restrictive and short term, it should be thought of as the summation of the foods you eat to provide you with the correct nourishment to lead a healthy life.

That being said, eating a diet of whole foods does just that. The only things it restricts are foods that are not, well, food. Stick to what was recently alive and will perish quickly, is in whole form as found in nature, and our earliest ancestors had access to (because those are the foods our bodies will digest best since they have been exposed to them the longest). Granted, our ancestors may not have prepared the foods the same way we do, but point being is that we are eating what they ate. What our bodies known. When you start to introduce things our bodies are not familiar with, problems arise.

Modern agriculture and cultivation of grains and legumes occured around 10,000 years ago. Quite a bit of time, yes, which is probably why most people can survive (not thrive) on them. We certainly have acquired some sort of tolerance for them. However, when you look at the common severe allergies people suffer from today, they are largely based upon grain products: corn, wheat, soy, oats... 

Want proof?
Food Allergy Buddy™ allows you to choose which food allergies you have to be printed on a card you can bring to school, restaurants, where ever needed so who ever is preparing foods can avoid what you are allergic to (which would be a non-issue for places that feature a whole foods menu). 50% of these choices are from cereal grains. If you add in the dairy, peanuts, and potatoes, over 60% of these choices would not have been consumed by our earliest ancestors. 

Personally, I do not need much more evidence. But, if you insist, check out Mark's Daily Apple and his plethora of posts on the Primal Blueprint, the basic inspiration for my lifestyle transformation. Especially his Definitive Guides on the Primal Blueprint, Eating Plan, and Insulin, Blood Sugar, and Type 2 Diabetes. Another great source of information is from Robb Wolf, a former research biochemist who is a true life story of how the Paleo Diet basically saved his life. Check out his FAQs on the "Paleo Solution". From these two sites, feel free to explore the hundreds of links, as I have, to determine that Yes, a diet of whole, natural, and unprocessed foods is unarguably the best summation of the foods you eat to provide you with the correct nourishment to lead a healthy life.

Enjoy :)


Venison Ham with Onions and Sweet Potatoes, Slow Cooker Style

When you want to go all natural with your meats there is hardly a better way to do it than venison. Deer, moose, elk, and other big wild game have completely organic and natural diets and not a trace of antibiotics or hormones. Constantly on the move, these animals sport very lean mean. They are also rather large, so one harvest can feed a decent amount of appetites for quite some time.

Fortunately, I know quite a few hunters who tend to harvest a bit more than they need for their own freezers and I get to reap the benefits of their miscalculations. I was recently informed that a bit more would be coming my way soon, so in preparation I pulled some my back stock out. I came across a venison ham that just sounded like it would hit the spot!

Never having cooked a venison ham before (not like what you think of a pork ham; this is a cut from either the shoulder or the rump of the deer and cooks like a beef roast would), my first idea was to roast it in the oven low and slow for a few hours. However, my plan for the day also included baking several dozen cookies (and no, they were not paleo style, but it's a Christmas tradition! By next year they will all be, though :) and I did not think that venison aroma would bake into snickerdoodle's very well. Low and slow, though, huh..... Slow cooker! Perfect!

Venison Ham with Onions and Sweet Potatoes, Slow Cooker Style

The Food
- 1 venison ham
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Medium white cooking onion
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 can beef broth (low sodium if you can find it; if not, don't add any salt to the dish)
- Pepper
- Dried chopped onions
- Dried sliced garlic
- Red pepper flakes

The Prep
Cut onion into 1/8 wedges
Peel and slice sweet potatoes about 1/3" thick
Season meat with pepper

The Method
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and sear the meat on all sides
Add the meat to the slow cooker
Surround with onion wedges and sweet potatoes
Sprinkle pepper, dried onion, dried garlic, and red pepper flakes to taste over meat and vegetables
Add can of beef broth
Set cooker to low
After about 2 hours flip meat (if you're home)
After another 2 hours flip meat again (if you're home)
Between 5-6 hours the ham should be fully cooked; when done the meat will simply fall apart (internal temperature should be over 160°)
For ease of serving, remove vegetables with slotted spoon to a serving plate/bowl and shred meat in liquids
Either add the vegetables back to the meat and liquids or serve individually

Enjoy :)


Garlic and Paprika Shrimp Sauté

The other night my CrossFit box had a holiday party (fun WOD challenges, food, and bowling; pretty fantastic :) We all signed up to bring different goodies to the party which we wrote on the white-board at the box. Well, when I saw that Kitty was bringing shrimp rings, I started doing backflips! (in my head, haha!) I am a huge fan of shrimp. Basically, little bundles of delicious protein. Who can argue with that?! At the end of the night while packing up shop there were but a few shrimpys left. Knowing how much I love shrimp, Kitty twisted my arm really really hard and got me to take them home.

Now, I love shrimp cocktail. However, I also love warm dishes in the wintertime. And already cooked and peeled shrimp leaves the door open for plenty of ideas. I was in the mood for something garlicky and a little spicy/smoky... paprika!

Being Hungarian, I tend to add paprika to a lot of my dishes. Be careful, though, there are several different types of paprika. Paprika is made from dried red peppers and the flavor can range from mild to quite hot. Sweet paprika is the most commonly used and found in supermarkets, but you can also find hot paprika in most supermarkets and/or gourmet/specialty stores. If you like crushed red pepper you will probably like hot paprika. In the US most people use paprika as a garnish rather than in cooking (which is horribly upsetting; it has such great flavor! cook with it!). Paprika releases its flavor and red color when heated; add it to stews and soups, steam vegetables with it, or add it to oil before heating and sautéing vegetables or light-colored protein sources such as chicken, pork, white-fleshed fish, etc...

This recipe can be used a ton of ways such as an appetizer, side dish to another main meat, or main dish added to simple steamed veggies or cauliflower rice.

Garlic and Paprika Shrimp Sauté

The Food
- Shrimp (can use pre-cooked or raw)
- Coconut oil
- Minced garlic
- Paprika

The Method
Depending on the amount of shrimp, heat about one tablespoon oil per 10 shrimp in a sauté pan over medium heat
Drop in the garlic and sprinkle paprika to cover the oil (a little goes a long way)
Shake things up a bit until the garlic and paprika start to release their aroma
Add the shrimp (if using pre-cooked, heat through about 1-2 minutes per side. If using raw, cook about 3-4 minutes per side for medium sized shrimps until the shrimp has curled to a nice "C" shape)
Remove from pan (along with garlic, if desired!)

Enjoy :)


Spiced Pork Chunks

Pork, the other white meat. And oh, so tasty. It picks up flavors very well and is a nice switch up from beef and chicken. This is a simple recipe that can be adapted tons of ways to whatever you need. These chunks can be eaten in a stir-fry, added to a soup, stabbed with a toothpick for a nice appetizer, or simply as is!

Spiced Pork Chunks

The Food
- ~1lb pork sirloin
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil
- White wine

The Prep
Cut pork into chunks (or buy it already cut up, like I did :)
Mix pork, spices, and about a tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl

The Method
Heat remaining olive oil in a wok over medium-high heat
Drop in pork
Stir around so meat gets cook through on all sides
About 4 minutes into the cooking, the spices will start to "burn" on the bottom; now pour yourself a glass of wine, and then throw a big slosh into the wok to deglaze the pan
By the time the wine has mostly cooked off, the pork should be done (little to no pink when cut)

*I removed some pieces that were cooked before I took the picture

Enjoy :)

Final notes on this recipe- I highly suggest using these as an additive to a soup or stew. Otherwise, they are a tad dry. Next time I make them as a stand-alone dish I will marinate them in some oil and soy sauce along with the spices for about an hour before I cook them.

Get Green!

The color green happens to be in my top three favorite colors. And it is such a wonderful color that has so many wonderful meanings. Environmental, money (yes, we were all thinking it), and probably my favorite, greens! As in the vegetables, that is. I love love love leafy greens: spinach, kale, mesculin, cabbage, and now, collard greens! Super easy to prepare and very tasty; perfect side dish for my smoked salmon and cod (thanks, Dad!)

Steamed Collard Greens

The Food
- 1 bunch of collard greens
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- Handful of feta cheese

The Prep
Rip the leaves away from the stems of the greens
Stack the leaves and roll them jelly-roll style
Slice the leaves

The Method
Place the greens and the broth in a saucepan over medium-high heat
Cook until most of the liquid is gone and the greens are tender
Drain any remaining liquid
Serve sprinkled with the feta cheese

Enjoy :)

PS- one bunch of collard greens as a side dish will probably feed only about two people. Adjust recipe accordingly!


Eat Your Veggies! Err, Fruits. Wait, which is what? Just Eat Them!

Today I came across an interesting topic of popular debate. What is the difference between a fruit and vegetable? Well, the way I always knew it, if the seeds were located on the inside, it is a fruit. If the seeds are on the outside, it is a vegetable. Turns out, that description is pretty darn accurate. Here is why.

As defined by Dictionary.com
-Fruit: The ripened ovary of a flowering plant
-Vegetable: The edible part of a plant

For a more in-depth explanation...
- Fruit: The product of the plants flower. To develop seeds, a plant makes a flower. The flower is pollinated and the seeds can be developed. Reproductive science has taught us that seeds (or eggs) are contained in an ovary. Though evolution, plants developed their ovaries to be palatable once the seeds are mature. This is to help ensure that animals would eat them and help spread their seed. The palatability of fruits is made possible by a higher sugar content.
- Vegetable: A part of the growing or mature plant that is edible, not including the flower. This includes the roots, stems, and leaves. They are present the whole time the plant is growing; it is not something produced additionally as the plant matures. Depending on the area of the plant, the carb levels are different. The roots, for example, need to store and provide nutrients to the plant. Their carbs tend to be more dense and starchy. Stems are usually transporting nutrients to the rest of the plant, so their carbs are lighter and they comprise of more water. Leaves have a larger surface area and serve as the location for photosynthesis; their carbs are slightly more dense than stems and generally give the most flavor of the vegetables.

Regarding nutrition
Either way it works, fruits and vegetables should be the main (if not only) source of carbohydrates in your diet. Fruits tend to be higher in the carbohydrate sugar fructose while vegetables are higher in the carbohydrate sugar glucose. Glucose is easier for our bodies to digest because all carbohydrates must be turned into glucose (which veggies already are). Also, it is hard to eat soo many veggies that it spikes your insulin (which encourages fat storage).

I hope that wasn't too confusing! And I hope it clears up some misconceptions about fruits v. vegetables. In conclusion....... EAT YOUR VEGGIES! And some fruits :)

Enjoy :)


Never Forget Dessert!

Some might say I am blessed, for I do not have much of a sweet tooth. However, I do have quite the taste for a nice glass of red wine. Fortunately, when I am home I am very good at controlling the number of glasses poured, and there is tons of evidence telling me that one glass a day can be very beneficial to my health. Well, we don't want to be unhealthy now, do we? Not me!

This is a wine by brother and I picked up on our way to Thanksgiving at our sisters. It is an organic red from California. We picked it up on sale for $12.99 (seriously, can't beat that!).

Smooth and rich, slight linger, dry but not bitter. Beautiful aroma and flavorful taste.

Roasted Carnival Squash (And Seeds!)

I love fall. The colors, the smells, the holidays, ahh everything. And in the kitchen, it is squash time. Spaghetti is my all time favorite with acorn in close second. However, I have a new contender in play. At Wegmans the other day I just could not walk past the beautiful display of carnival squash. So I grabbed one. And I am very happy I did. A little sweeter than regular acorn (they look rather similar) and a little stringer like spaghetti, it is like a combination of wonderfullness in my tummy.

Roasted Carnival Squash (And Seeds!)

The Food
- A carnival squash (or acorn squash works perfectly this same way)
- Olive oil or melted butter
- Seasonings of your choice (I used Mrs Dash, Original for the squash, and Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt for the seeds)

The Prep
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Cut the squash into wedges (I usually go for 8, but you can go more or less depending on size and preference)
Put the seeds aside in a small bowl

The Method- Squash
Put the wedges in a glass baking dish (rectangle, round, whatever fits!)
Brush with olive oil or butter
Sprinkle with seasonings
Roast until fork tender (fork goes in easily)
*Takes about an hour for 8 wedges from a pretty big carnival squash, a little less for smaller wedges and little more for thicker wedges. Just keep checking :)

The Method- Seeds
Pour a little olive oil or melted butter in the bowl with seeds (about 2 teaspoons maybe? for a palm-full of seeds)
Sprinkle with seasonings
Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet
Roast for about 5-6 minutes
Flip, stir, move the seeds around
Roast another about 5-6 minutes (or until you start to hear some pop)

Enjoy :)


Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day

If you can't tell, I'm on a breakfast kick. I truly, honestly, whole-heartedly believe that breakfast is the absolute most important meal of the day. And there is tons of evidence to back up my belief. Granted, most of that evidence is coming from people who preach whole-grains as a healthy part of their diet. However, they are largely correct in the rest of their findings. (Now, to get the world to realize that whole grains DO NOT have to be a part of breakfast...)

Anyways, while I was throwing my breakfast together this morning, it made me think of how ridiculous it is for people not to do it. I opened the fridge, took out a container of left over green beans and sweet potato fries from dinner the other night, cut them up real quick, threw 'em in a skillet over medium heat with a little oil, whipped two eggs, poured them over top the veggies, grabbed a cup of coffee, stirred the skillet a little, put away stuff in the kitchen, stirred the skillet a little, grabbed a plate, and took my food off the stove. Mmm... breakfast...


If you don't have a stove, whip up a few eggs, put 'em in a bowl in the microwave for 1 minute, walk away and do your thing, come back and eat BREAKFAST! Grab some nuts and a banana, and walk out your door.

Chow down on some yogurt, berries, and sliced almonds.

Grab a hunk of left over chicken thigh and some acorn squash (both wonderful cold).

Or check out this list (stolen from MDA) for more quickie ideas.

Whatever you do, though, please please please, DON'T SKIP BREAKFAST!

Enjoy :)

Smoked Salmon and Apple "Hash"

I just happen to be one of those super fortunate people who knows someone with a smoker. Not only does this person own a smoker, but he has an obsession with smoking salmon basically every weekend, and almost smokes more than he can eat. Yep, that's my daddy! Always buying/preparing/cooking too much food. Too bad I don't still live home, where I could reap those benefits way more often... Oh well! I will take what I can get :)

Yet again, another morning with no eggs in the fridge. What's a girl to do? Well, I am sure you figured it out by now. Smoked salmon. Mmmmm.... With what, though? And that is where this recipe I read the other day flashed across my brain. Perfect! A little adaptation, and breakfast is served!

Smoked Salmon and Apple "Hash"

The Food
- Smoked salmon (preferably home smoked- the store stuff is a bit too "soft" for this, I think)
- Medium apple, your preference
- Old Bay seasoning
- Olive oil

The Prep
Chop the apple

The Method
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium, medium high heat
Put in the salmon, skin side down (if still attached)
After a minute or so, drop in the chopped apple
Sprinkle with Old Bay
Stir around a bit
Flip the salmon
Stir some more
Pour a hot cup of coffee
Stir one last time

Enjoy :)
I suggest transferring from skillet to a plate for consumption. Just a suggestion...

I forgot to take a picture before I inhaled it! (It was muy bueno :)


Sweet Potato Lasagna

Every year for my birthday, Mom always made whatever I wanted for dinner. For the majority of years it was either Lasagna or Stuffed Shells. Two of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE Italian dishes. I love ricotta cheese and the warm-ooey-gooey goodness of the classic baked dishes. So when I stumbled across this tub of ricotta in my fridge that was going to expire in but a week, I immediately had a craving for lasagna. Well, sorta. Since my transformation to grain-free, I really have little desire for pastas. But the ooey-gooey goodness... (from the cheeses, of course). I needed to come up with a way to make a "lasagna" without lasagna noodles. Then I turned around and spotted the bowl of yams I inherited from my brother who gave them up since he doesn't have an oven. Viola!

A few notes on this recipe. First, I am glad to note that this is my first "original" recipe; it was not inspired by someone else's version of a recipe. Of this, I am proud :) Second, I used home grown yams. However, since America seems to have a lot of trouble with the whole yam v. sweet potato thing (check out MDA's fabulous article on the topic), I am calling it a "Sweet Potato" Lasagna. Regardless, it ought to work with any of these tasty tubers. Third, I used part skim ricotta and mozzarella. Because that's what was in my fridge. You should be able to use any style you'd like. Bon Appetite!

Sweet Potato Lasagna

The Food
- 2-4 sweet potatoes or yams, depending on size
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta
- 6oz mozzarella cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
Cooking spray

The Prep
Preheat the oven to 350°
Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray
Shred the mozzarella
Mandolin slice the sweet potatoes or yams
Mix the ricotta, 4oz of the shredded mozzarella (about 2/3 of it), egg, 1/2 the oregano and 1/2 the parsley; salt and pepper to taste.
Open the can of crushed tomatoes, add the rest of the oregano and parsley, and pepper to taste (unless you got a no-salt added variety, the sodium is already high enough. Do not salt.). Mix well.

The Method
Lightly coat the bottom of the dish with the tomatoes
Top the tomatoes with 1/3 of sliced sweet potatoes
Spread about 1/2 of the ricotta mixture on top of the sweet potatoes
Put about 1/2 of the remaining tomatoes on top of the cheese
Repeat the layering of sweet potatoes, then ricotta, then tomatoes
Top with remaining 1/3 of sweet potatoes
Spread the reserved 2 oz mozzarella on the top.
Cover with foil.
Bake for 45 minutes
Remove foil, bake 15  more minutes or so, until there isn't a lot of bubbling tomato juices

Enjoy :)
Oh, let it cool a little. It's crazy hot right out of the oven.

And be warned- this dish SMELLS AMAZING. amazinggggggg. No lie. Even when re-heated. Seriously. Enjoy :)


Mayo-less Coleslaw

Why the name coleslaw, by the way? Well, that is why they invented the internet...


The term "coleslaw" arose in the 20th century as an Anglicisation of the Dutch term "koolsla", a shortening of "koolsalade", which means "cabbage salad".

Thank you, Wikipedia :) And now, I can get on with my recipe.

Personally, I just cannot get past the idea of mayonnaise. And again, this recipe idea isn't original. Technically speaking, I am not really sure any recipe is original. I mean, seriously, people have been creating food dishes for thousands of years. SOMEONE has come up with that idea before. Anyways, I found this recipe on MDA the other day as I was searching for something to do with the head of cabbage in my fridge, awaiting its destiny in my stomach. Personally, I couldn't think of a better way for it to get there :) 

Mayo-less Coleslaw

The Food
- 3/4 cabbage (I ate the other 1/4 wedge with carrots sprayed with some olive oil in the toaster oven for a little alongside my smoked salmon and avocado :)
- 1 1/2 carrots
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- Handful of walnuts

- Handful of craisins
- 1/3 avocado
- 3/4 cup greek yogurt

The Prep
Deface the cabbage by whatever means you so please (I used a mandolin slicer)
Shred/julianne the carrots
Crumble or chop the walnuts
Dice the avocado

The Method
Throw it all in a bowl in the above order, then stir it up! Let sit in the fridge for a few hours to merry the flavors. 

Enjoy :)

Bowl o' Toasted Nut and Fruit Warm "Cereal"

Breakfast is absolutely my favorite meal of the day. No matter what, it always makes my day. Generally, I am an omelet person, however, when there are no eggs in the fridge, substitutes are a necessity.

Way back when, I totally used to love cereal; a big bowl of milk with deliciousness inside... Then I loved oatmeal, a big bowl full of warmth and tastyness. Now, I have found a new calling in the breakfast world; a perfect combination of both without all the processed nonsense.

Okay, so this idea isn't entirely original. I read a similar recipe the other day while flipping through the 20 paleo/primal/whole foods cooking sites I peruse each day. However, I made some changes to my personal preference (and what was in my kitchen!). And by all means, I encourage you to do the same.

Bowl o' Toasted Nut and Fruit Warm "Cereal"

- Handful of your favorite nuts (I used a mix of cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and Brazil nuts)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (I would image any kind of berry would also be fantastic, or even a banana!!)

Put the pom seeds (or berries, or whatever!) in a bowl
Chop up the nuts

Toast the nuts in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant.
Pour in 1/2 cup of the milk in the skillet with the nuts, REMOVE QUICKLY!! (Don't want to burn the milk, just heat it super quick)
Pour the skillet into the bowl over the pom seeds
Pour in the rest of the milk

Enjoy :)

Photo Disclaimer: Pictures gotten off of Google Images, totally not my own. I am not good at remembering to take pictures while I am creating wonderfulness.