Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kale Chips

I just saw something really exciting on Facebook posted by Food, Inc. It's a new documentary being narrated by Katie Couric called Fed Up. It's an expose on the truth about sugar and America's obesity problem. It's opening May 9th and from the help of several big names, including former President Bill Clinton, they're going to build the argument that "the obesity crisis was brought on by greedy junk food companies, permissive federal legislation and subsidies, and a government that tells us the systemic weight gain is all our fault." Ahhh! I can't wait. I really hope this is an eye opener for many people, especially parents. Kids have no idea what they're being given and the havoc it can wreak on their bodies. When doctors and scientists can find similarities between sugar and cocaine in the brain, I mean, come on! Dare I say it's like ignorant child abuse. Well, it's time to get educated. May 9th. Be there!

In other news, I'm currently in the middle of my sugar detox. Today is Day 10. Yup. Right smack in the middle. I still want sweet things. But in truth, I know how short lived my satisfaction would be, so instead, I make things like delicious kale chips. Then I'm satiated and don't feel like a big sack of poo afterwards! Enjoy these kale chips. They are a great snack item for anyone needing something quick, or can even be served as a side item with a meal. And they don't make you feel like a big sack of poo...which is important. ;)

Kale Chips

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
Total Time: ~15 minutes

Special Tools:
Foil lined baking tray

4 cups of chopped kale (I like Trader Joe's Organic Tuscan Kale)
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp of ghee, melted
sprinkle of salt, garlic, and paprika (or your favorite seasonings)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Spread the kale out onto the foil.
3. Pour the oil and ghee onto the leaves and massage the oil and ghee over each leaf. *Don't skip this, it really makes a difference.
4. Sprinkle some salt, garlic, and paprika over the leaves.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the leaves are almost all crispy. 
6. Pour into a bowl or eat them right off the tray (that's what I did).

Monday, April 14, 2014

Layered Chicken Nachos

In my days of not caring what I ate, one of my favorite things to order when I was with a group of people was chicken nachos from Miller's Ale House. We would order one for the table and share it easily among 6-8 people. If I went with a small group, say 4 or less, I wouldn't order it because I knew it was too much food. Then I would be bummed out because I didn't have it. Ah, if only I knew then what I know now about my horrible food choices. Isn't that what everyone says?

With my discovery of Trader Joe's Roasted Plantain Chips, however, now I can have this awesome snack whenever I want (in moderation, of course!), and customize it to include all my favorite toppings. This is also a perfect snack ideas for gatherings. I served it up as an appetizer last weekend to hold our friends over until dinner a couple hours later. This recipe has two cooking stages: the chicken in the crockpot and then a few minutes under the broiler. However, if you bought a precooked rotisserie chicken and shred the chicken yourself, that would omit the first 6-7 hours. I think the crockpot is better though, because I was able to give my chicken a Southwest flavor, which is what the Ale House chicken tastes like to me. 

Layered Chicken Nachos

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours + 5 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours + 20 minutes
Serves: 6

Special Tools:
Slow cooker
Baking trays
Parchment paper
Medium saute pan

3 chicken breasts
1 can organic no salt added diced tomatoes
1 tbsp of chili powder
1 tbsp of paprika
1 tbsp of cumin
1 tsp of kosher salt
1 tsp of garlic powder
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 and 1/2 cups of chicken broth or water
1 tbsp ghee
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1/2 large green pepper, diced
6 cups of plantain chips (about one and a half bags)
1 and 1/2 cup of shredded goat milk gouda cheese
1/2 can of sliced black olives
1 ripe avocado, sliced
Trader Joe's Double Roasted Salsa
1 handful of chopped cilantro 

1. Place the first 9 ingredients into a slow cooker and let it cook on low for about 6 hours. 
2. Remove the lid and shred the chicken with two forks. If the liquid absorbs immediately into the chicken, add a little more. You want the chicken moist, but not swimming in liquid. Otherwise the chips will get soggy. Turn the slow cooker to your keep warm setting, if there is one. 
3. Place your sauté pan over medium high heat for a minute and then add the ghee and allow it to melt.
4. Add your chopped onion and bell pepper and sauté until they are soft, about 6-8 minutes. 
5. Turn your oven to a Low Broil.
6. Lay a piece of parchment paper down on a baking tray. 
7. Spread 2 cups of chips (about 1/2 of a bag) onto the parchment paper. 
8. Spread about 1/3 of the shredded chicken and tomatoes over the top. 
9. Then add about 1/3 of the onion and peppers on top.
10. Sprinkle that with 1/2 cup of cheese.
11. Broil for about 4-5 minutes, or until the edges of the plantain chips begin to brown and the cheese is melted. *Watch carefully and do NOT leave the kitchen as broiling is the easiest and quickest way to burn your food!
12. Remove from the oven and onto a large plate or tray. 
13. Top with black olives, avocado, salsa, and cilantro. 
14. Repeat steps 6-13 two more times to use up all the ingredients. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Brussels Sprout Chips

Like clockwork, day four of my sugar detox and the headache and moodiness have arrived. Its around lunchtime, so I should definitely stop and eat something. I feel the angry sugar withdraw monster trying to rear its ugly head. Someone told me yesterday that it's my body reacting to the "healing crisis" my body goes through by expelling toxins into different systems of my body. I guess that makes me feel a little bit better about it, but days like today really just sssuuuuuuucccckkk! Knowing it's my fault makes me even more frustrated. Why does sugar have to taste SO GOOD?! Enough complaining, suck it up, right? I'll be all the better for it down the road.

Moving on to these delicious little gems. Cooking dinner in the kitchen is something I really enjoy doing, but I find myself snacking while I cook, which is probably a poor decision on my part. The Roasted Plantain Chips from Trader Joe's are my weakness. They are part of what sparked my decision to detox again...those and the large bag of Brookside's Dark Chocolate Acai with Blueberry I crushed up in Chicago last month. It was heinous ..and glorious. Anyway, I have made all kinds of chips, plantain, sweet potato, kale, etc. and these are probably the easiest to make. They aren't all completely crispy, which I happen to like. The combination of the fat, salt, little bit of garlic and paprika...delish! Plus it gives me a reason to reuse the normally discarded leaves that fall off these baby cabbages anyway, and satisfy my need to snack without leaving me feeling guilty.

Note: If you are making brussels sprouts but aren't ready to use the leaves for making chips right away, you can store them in a resealable plastic bag for several days.

Brussels Sprout Chips

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7-9 minutes
Total Time: about 12-14 minutes

Special Tools:
Foil lined baking sheet

2 cups of brussels sprouts leaves
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp of melted ghee
1/2 tsp of kosher salt
1/4 tsp of paprika
1/4 tsp of garlic powder

1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Lay your b. sprout leaves out on the foil lined baking sheet. Note: Discard any that are yellow or wilted.
3. Pour the oil and ghee all around. Rub each leaf to coat well.
4. Mix your seasonings in a small bowl and then sprinkle them over the leaves. 
5. Bake in the oven for 7-9 minutes or until most of the leaves are brown and crispy. 
6. Pour into a bowl and enjoy while cooking (or whenever you feel like snacking!)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pan Seared Alaskan Cod and Sea Scallops with Kale and Carrots

Why does flying have to be so expensive?! I mean really, $500 to fly less than 1000 miles? I truly do not understand this. Being away from my family for so long stinks and airlines are not making it any easier to close the gap. Now if I drove to Jacksonville first, then the price drops by almost $150, but now I have the inconvenience of driving two and half hours, leaving my car unattended at an airport for a week, paying that fee, and then paying the cost of gas there and back. For that, I just pay the extra and fly out of my hometown. Alas, I continue my search, hoping that I can find something reasonable and won't make my stomach churn at the price. Any pilots out there want to log some hours and fly me up? 

Let's move on to something that doesn't totally bum me out; dinner last night! I have to hand it to Trader Joe's, they really have some amazing products. This entire meal was concocted using items bought from their store. Whoever said they can't taste the difference between wild seafood and farm raised are crazy! Same with organic products. Trader Joe's has some of the best kale I've ever eaten. And it's only $0.30 more than the regular bags! 

Pan Seared Alaskan Cod and Sea Scallops with Kale and Carrots

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2

Special Tools:
2 medium or large saute pans

4 strips of bacon, chopped
2 wild Alaskan cod filets, about 6 ounces each
1/2 lb of sea scallops (that was 6 large scallops for me)
5 oz of organic kale (I used half of this bag
2 large carrots, cut into 3-4 sections and then quartered
1 clove of garlic, diced
1/4 cup of thinly sliced and diced red onion.
1/4 cup of chicken broth
1/4 cup of white cooking wine
1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
2-3 tbsp of ghee, divided
salt and pepper
1 tsp of dried parsley flakes

1. Place 1 saute pan over medium-high heat and add the chopped bacon. Allow it to crisp up, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and allow grease to drain on a paper towel. 
2. Transfer about 2-3 tbsp of rendered bacon fat from the sauté pan to the other sauté pan. 
3. Add 1 tbsp of ghee to the first sauté pan and allow it to melt. Then add the carrots and sauté for 5-7 minutes until the carrots start to brown slightly. Add your garlic and onion and allow to cook until the onions are beginning to become translucent, about 2 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, rinse your fish and scallops in cold water and pat dry them. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper on one side. Add the parsley to the fish. 
5. Add your kale to the pan with the carrots and sauté over medium high heat for about 2 minutes, turning constantly to coat each piece with the ghee and bacon fat. 
6. Add the chicken broth, wine, apple cider vinegar, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to the kale and mix well. Cover and simmer for about 3-4 minutes, allowing the juices to evaporate. Then remove from heat and set aside. 
7. In the second sauté pan, heat the transferred bacon fat and 1 tbsp of ghee on medium-high. When hot, add the cod and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Set aside on a plate. If there is a lot of fat and ghee left in the pan, then don't worry about adding anymore. If not, add up to 1 tbsp. 
8. Turn the heat up a little more and wait about 15-20 seconds for the ghee to begin to brown. 
9. Add the scallops, seasoned side down, and sear for 3 minutes on each side or until they have a golden brown crust on both sides. 
10. Place the kale and carrots down on a plate, lay the fish and scallops on top, and then sprinkle with the chopped crispy bacon. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I did it! I finally found a way to cook brussels sprouts and not have my husband turn his nose up at them. I don't know what's wrong with him, I LOVE brussels sprouts and I can eat them prepared just about any way possible. My two favorite ways to date have been at two restaurants, The Front Porch here in Tallahassee, and Flip Burger in Atlanta. Sadly, the Front Porch doesn't have their sautéed maple bacon b. sprouts on the menu all the time, so if that's what you're after, then check the menu before you go! Worth the wait though, I promise. Anyway, back to the way I am preparing them these days so the hubs will eat one of the world's healthiest foods! I've found that if I send them through the food processor using the slicing blade, they come out in a combination of cute slivers and shredded-like slaw. Then I just mix them in a bowl with some ghee, olive oil, and spices, bake for about 15-20 minutes then voila! He loves them! I guess the thin stringy texture has a less bitter taste than biting into a half of one. 

Note: As you prepare the brussels sprouts to go into the food processor, you'll lose some of the outer leaves. Don't fret! Save them for making brussels sprout chips! I have kept mine in a plastic resealable bag for up to two weeks before using them and they were still crisp and delicious.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25-30 minutes

Special Tools:
Food processor
Large mixing bowl
Foil lined baking tray

1 lb of brussels sprouts
3 tbsp of melted ghee
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp of coconut aminos
1/2 tsp of kosher salt
1/2 tsp of fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp of paprika
1/2 tsp of ground ginger
1/2 tsp of garlic powder

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
2. Cut the bottoms of the brussels sprouts off and discard. *Save the leaves that come off to make chips later!
3. Stack 3 or 4 sprouts on top of each other in your food processor feeder tube and turn the processor on. This ensures you get slices and not just all tiny shredded pieces. Repeat until all the b. sprouts have been sliced. 
4. Whisk together all of the remaining ingredients into a large bowl. 
5. Dumb the b. sprouts into the bowl and toss to combine and then spread them out on a foil lined tray. 
6. Place in the oven. Take them out every 5 minutes for 20 minutes and move them around to make sure it all cooks evenly. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Meaty Stuffed Peppers

Yesterday began my second 21 day sugar detox. Overall, I'd call the day a success. I only got bummed out about not having something sweet once (OK, maybe twice) when I came home and found that my husband had brought home FOUR double-layer chocolate chip cookie brownies from work! Why?! (He said "They were free! Who turns down free brownies?!") It's like cruel and unusual punishment. I ignored them until I needed something in their general direction, saw them, and pouted again. But thankfully, my scary sugar withdraw hasn't kicked in yet, so I was able to walk away. He better eat those things before day 5. I know what's coming. Perhaps I should remind him about the angry sugar monster that is slowly starting to awaken. 

Hopefully this time around won't be so bad though. I'm sure it won't. I haven't consumed that many terrible processed carbs and sugars since ending my last detox. Leading up to my decision to complete the first sugar detox, however, let's just say, "Whoa!" I will admit, I know how to enjoy the holidays! There's never a break in the last quarter of the year. October through December is brutal; our Anniversary, my birthday, his birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. I knew before the new year even started that I was going to try out the detox. If what I read was true, my whole world would be flipped upside down. Cutting out sugar entirely (well, I had three sweet potatoes and 3 green apples during the whole detox) was so eye-opening. Sugar is everywhere! Even natural sugars are something to be aware of and to monitor. 

It's been about three months since my last detox. I'm not sure how often you should do them, but quarterly seems ideal for me. I'll keep posting recipes that follow 21dsd in the event anyone else wants to give it a try. The best resource for anyone wanting to know what they can and can't have would be this Food List from Diane Sanfilippo. I follow mostly level 3, except that I allow myself to have cheese occasionally (goat's milk, if possible) and organic heavy whipping cream in my coffee. 

Meaty Stuffed Peppers

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 3

Special Tools:
Saute pan
Aluminum foil
Cutting board
Chopping knife
Shallow baking dish

3 bell peppers, tops removed and seeded (I used orange)
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
1/2 cup of sliced button mushrooms, diced
1 small tomato, diced
2 tbsp of coconut aminos
1 tsp of ginger
1/2 tbsp each of cumin, garlic, and onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded goat's milk gouda (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and while it's preheating, wrap your bell peppers in aluminum foil.
2. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until they begin to give a little (but not falling apart).
3. While the peppers are in the oven, place a large sauté pan over medium high heat and begin to brown your beef (about 5 minutes). 
4. Add your veggies, except the tomato.
5. Add your coconut aminos, ginger, seasonings, and salt and pepper and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. 
6. Add the tomatoes and cook an additional 5 minutes. 
7. Remove from the peppers from the oven and open the foil allowing the peppers to cool slightly
8. Spoon in the beef mixture into the peppers until they are essentially stuffed tightly to the top. 
9. Place the peppers in the baking dish and cook for 15 minutes. Top with cheese (optional) and cook until melted, about 5 minutes. 
10. Eat it while it's hot! I served mine with a baby green side salad topped with homemade guacamole as my dressing.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Chimichurri Sauce

You know how sometimes you'll be eating a piece of meat or fish and think I wish that I had something to jazz this up. Well, this is it. Chimichurri is something else that was introduced to me, once again, by my husband and his family. I've seen it on menus, but never thought to order it. The first time I tried it, I was a little put off by the bite that it has. But I think it's because I tasted it on a spoon. The next time was on a piece of steak and I was absolutely blown away by the party that was happening in my mouth. Now I love it with anything; steak, chicken, or fish. You'll definitely need a mint after your meal, but it's totally worth it!

Chimichurri Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Special Tools:
Food Processor

1 cup of fresh cilantro
1 cup of fresh parsley
1/4 cup of fresh oregano (or 2 tbsp of dried)
3-5 crushed garlic cloves
1/4 cup of yellow or sweet onion
2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp of sea salt
a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1. Place the garlic and onion in the processor and pulse 3-5 times to break them up a bit. 
2. Add the cilantro, parsley, oregano, sea salt, and red pepper flakes. 
3. While the motor is running, add the vinegar and then turn it off. 
4. Add the olive oil 1/4 cup at a time. You might need to use a spoon or spatula to push down the sides before you add the last 1/4 cup. 
5. Pour into a small bowl, cover, and chill for at least 20 minutes. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fully Loaded Citrus Marinaded Chicken Wraps

I love to cook, but sometimes a girl needs a quick and easy meal. Last night was one of those nights. After a super busy day at work and a jam packed 3 hours at CrossFit Tallahasee (front squats, snatch 1 rep max, and then a snatch AMRAP), I was pretty exhausted and not in the mood to spend more than a few minutes on my feet. My girl Juli from PaleOMG is great for coming up with ideas that are relatively simple; and this recipe originated from her, but I modified it slightly to fit my lazy attitude. While this seems like it takes a while, an hour is spent letting the chicken marinate (just enough time to watch an episode of something on your DVR) and then you're really only making the guacamole. 

*To keep this 21 Day Sugar Detox approved, leave out the mango!

Fully Loaded Citrus Marinaded Chicken Wraps

Prep Time: 1 hour + 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 35 minutes
Serves: 3

Special Tools:
Foil lined rimmed baking sheet
1 medium mixing bowl

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup of orange juice
2 lemons, juiced
2 limes, juiced
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp of smoked paprika
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 strips of bacon
Mango-pineapple guacamole
Trader Joe's Double Roasted Salsa (totally Paleo!)
Butter lettuce, for the wraps

1. Place the first ten ingredients into a large gallon plastic bag or deep bowl and let marinate for about an hour. 
2. Preheat the oven to 400
3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place the bacon strips down. Cook in the oven for 10-12 minutes, depending on desired doneness.
4. Remove the bacon from the sheet and let the excess grease drain off on a paper towel or two. 
5. Place the chicken on the same tray (right in the fat) and return to the oven for 20 minutes. 
6. Make the mango-pineapple guacamole.
7. When your 20 minutes is up, turn your broiler on and allow the tops of the chicken to brown for about 3 minutes (make sure your chicken is cooked through).
8. Remove from oven, let it rest for a couple of minutes (this allows the juices to settle back in the meat).
9. Slice each breast into about 10 pieces.
10. Place a few pieces of lettuce cups on a plate, add chicken, then top with bacon, salsa, and guacamole. Devour!

Mango-Pineapple Guacamole

If I haven't convinced you yet that I love avocados, well here is yet another way to make guacamole that can be served as a dip or a garnish on tacos and lettuce wraps. Most recently, I used it on the Fully Loaded Citrus Marinaded Chicken Wraps, which turned out amazing!

Mango-Pineapple Guacamole

Prep Time: 7-10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Special Tools:
Sharp knife
Mixing bowl

1 large slightly over ripe avocado (should easily give when you press)
1/2 large mango, diced
1/4 of a pineapple, diced
1/2 lime, juiced
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt

Slice the avocado in half carefully with the knife, remove the pit and outer skin, then place in a mixing bowl.
Use a fork to smash the avocado until a chunky paste forms
Add in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. 
I like to chill mine, but you could eat it right away if you want!

Danny's Breakfast Casserole

If there is one thing that has remained true for as long as I have been able to cook for myself, it would be that waking up extra early to make sure I have time to cook my own breakfast in the morning is something I loathe! I'm sure I'm not alone in this, because there are big food companies making tons of money off people who buy easy "on the go" food items: eggo waffles, pop-tarts, cereal bars, etc. What do they all have in common? They are all loaded with sugar and processed carbohydrates that will help you feel full for a short time before you have that morning crash after your insulin spikes, because your body is trying to process the garbage you just gave it. Sugar man, it's a monster of an addiction! I know. I lived that life, day in and day out for a good majority of my life. Cereal was usually my go-to breakfast item. I could crush a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Apple Jacks, Lucky Charms, or Reece's Peanut Butter Puffs in just a few days. As I got older, I knew those things weren't exactly good for me, so I switched to try and include more "healthy" cereals, Multi-grain Cherrios, Raisin Bran, Frosted Mini Wheats, and Honey Bunches of Oats. Haha! What a joke. 

When I finally started to realize a high carb breakfast was doing more harm than good, finding ways to get a healthy breakfast became a struggle. Whenever I participated in nutritional challenges with our gym, I made it a point to wake up and make eggs for breakfast (my competitive nature wouldn't allow me to lose points for my team by skipping breakfast), but as soon as the challenge was over, extra sleep in the morning always won out. It wasn't until this past year that I started cooking breakfast casseroles for my husband and I on Sunday nights so we could just pop them in the microwave in the morning before work. 

This particular breakfast casserole I dub as "Danny's" because it's got most of his favorite ingredients. He's a fan of cheese in his casserole, so I add shredded sharp cheddar and mozzarella, but for anyone with an issue processing dairy, you could definitely leave it out. 

Danny's Breakfast Casserole

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes 
Serves: 8

Special Tools:
Food processor w/ shredder attachment
Medium saute pan
9x13 glass baking dish
1 large bowl

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 medium sweet potato, washed, peeled, and shredded
1 small green pepper, diced
1 small sweet onion, diced
3 strips of nitrate free bacon, chopped (I like Trader Joe's Uncured Applewood Smoked)
1 cup of diced ham or pancetta
12 eggs
1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1.Prep your veggies and meats by washings, chopping, dicing, and/or shredding. 
2. Preheat your oven to 375. 
3. Place the saute pan over medium heat and add the bacon. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes.
4. Add the onion, pepper, and ham or pancetta. Saute for about 7 minutes to allow the savory flavors to meld. 
5. While that's cooking, crack you eggs into a bowl and whisk. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Place the melted coconut oil in the baking dish and spread it over the bottom and up the sides. *This will be the difference of the egg sticking to the dish or not!
7. Put the shredded sweet potato down first. Pour half the eggs overtop and make sure it gets down into the bottom of the dish.
8. Spread the meat and veggies on top. Add the remaining eggs. 
9. Sprinkle on the top with cheese (if you can have dairy) and the parsley.
10. Put in the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes. The center should be set before removing it from the oven. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Paleo Sesame Pork Chow Mein

As a child, teenager, and young adult if I you asked me what my favorite cuisine was, without hesitation I would blurt out "Chinese food!" And that was the absolute truth. I could put away some house lo mein, beef with broccoli, sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, general chicken, and egg drop soup. Where I grew up there was a little Chinese restaurant that we frequented so often, the people knew our order before we could tell them. Good for us for supporting a local business, but yikes! I would venture to say my caloric intake for those meals was astronomical. And the bad oils and processed carbs. Holy heart attack! Not to mention, I would almost always have a stomach ache afterwards because I would eat until I literally couldn't anymore. Thankfully, as I started taking care of my body and making a conscious effort to be aware of what I was eating, the idea of Chinese food seemed less and less appealing. However, every now and again, I'll still get a craving for the taste of soy sauce and vegetables. I'm so happy to have found a wonderful substitute in coconut aminos, which gives me the flavor of my cravings without all the bad feelings that come afterwards. Also, just a very small amount of toasted sesame oil can really pack a flavor punch that will make your taste buds feel like you've been whisked away to the Far East. 

For this recipe, I wanted to create a dish that included lots of crunchy vegetables mixed with a nice healthy protein. I also want to note that I used a spiralizer to make ribbon noodles, rather than the typical lo mein style noodles. I did this for two reasons. First, I think the ribbon noodles hold in the liquid from the sauce better, and two, I think they're prettier! If you don't have a spiralizer, you can always use a julienne slicer, but you'll probably want to do this in advance to try and let some of the water release. You can do this by placing the noodles in a paper towel, sprinkle with a bit of sea salt to draw out the moisture, and then let it set for about 20 minutes. Then put the noodles in a dry towel and wring out the water. Either way works, one just requires a few extra steps. Or you could leave the "noodles" out entirely and the dish would still be delicious!

Paleo Sesame Pork Chow Mein

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

Special Tools:
Spiralizer (or julienne slicer)
Cutting board
Chopping knife
Wok or large saute pan with high sides

1 pound of lean pork cutlets sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1 head of broccoli, stems removed and cut into small florets
1 large carrot, thinly sliced (or shredded)
1/4 of a large sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 zucchini squashes, spiralized into ribbons with blade A. 
1 tbsp of ghee
1 tbsp of coconut aminos
1 tbsp of rice vinegar
1 tsp of sesame seeds

For the sauce:
3 tbsp of coconut aminos
2 tbsp of rice vinegar
1 and 1/2 tbsp of freshly grated ginger (or 1 tbsp of dried ground ginger)
3/4 tbsp of fish sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tbsp of toasted sesame oil
1 tsp of raw honey 
1/4 tsp of paleo sriracha 

1. Chop your veggies and make your sauce before you begin.
2. Place the wok over medium-high heat and allow the ghee to melt.
3. When the wok is hot, add the pork, coconut aminos, and rice vinegar. Move the meat around constantly to cook the meat on all sides, essentially flash frying, for about 5 minutes. 
4. Add all the veggies except the zucchini and the sauce. 
5. Continue to move the veggies around in the wok to coat with the sauce for about 10 minutes. 
6. Add the zucchini and sesame seeds and toss to combine for an additional 3-5 minutes (less if you prefer your zucchini crunchy).
7. Serve immediately and use chop sticks. It's more fun that way!