Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Irish Stew Crock Pot Styley!




This is a delicious dinner that I guarantee everyone will enjoy, Paleo or not!

Traditionally Irish stew includes potatoes but I left out this and had mine with mashed sweet potato instead.
It can be cooked in the stew either in chunks if desired.

This type of meal benefits from cooking for as long as possible to allow the meat to tenderise. This means you can use cheaper cuts of meat or even lamb chops and still get the same great result. I only had time to cook for 2hrs yesterday but it was till fine. You can also cook on the stove if you do not have a crockpot, but stir frequently. Please note: I am referring to what some may call a "dutch oven" rather than the crockpot many use. Likewise you can use a crockpot either - we just do things different here and I prefer the taste!

Ingredients
Feeds 2

300g lamb chopped into bite size pieces
3 x cloves garlic sliced
1 x medium onion chopped
3 x carrots sliced
Pepper
1 tbs Mixed dried herbs - Rosemary, basil, marjoram, thyme
1 tbs Dried Parsley
1 x litre chicken stock
2 x tbs olive oil

Preheat oven to 180C (reduce heat to about 140C if you are cooking slowly for more than 2hrs, you may need to add more stock intermittently)
Heat your crockpot on the stove and add 1tbs of the olive oil.
Add onions and garlic and cook until they start to colour, remove from pan and set aside.
Add remaining oil to pan and add the lamb. Brown well as this will help to add to colour of sauce.
Return onions and garlic to the pan and add the herbs and peppers.
Add hot stock and bring to the boil.
Add carrots, cover with lid and place in the oven.

Serve in bowls with mashed cauliflower or sweet potato.

Yummy and great for the incoming Autumn evenings.

If you have leftover stock keep it and drink it as a nourishing drink!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Non Dairy Sources of Calcium



People often ask me "Do you not worry about your calcium intake now that you do not eat dairy"?

Unfortunately people have been taught to automatically think of milk and dairy as the main source of calcium, to the detriment of other great sources.

Why do we need calcium?


All growing, active bodies use large amounts of calcium and if this calcium is not replenished through your diet, the body begins to take it from your bones causing brittle bones over time. Calcium is an important part of a healthy diet. It plays an essential role in bone density, muscle contraction, nerve function, blood pressure stability and healing.

Bones tend to be fully formed by the age of 17 and continue to strengthen up to the mid thirties. After this bones can begin to loose density if exercise, calcium and Vitamin D intakes are not considered.

According to http://www.irishosteoporosis.ie current guidelines recommend approximately 800mg of calcium per day for men, women and children, with teenagers and pregnant and nursing women benefiting from 1200mg per day . But if you are following a Paleo or Lactose free lifestyle where should you be looking for your calcium sources?

The following table shows the Calcium content in a number of foods, including some dairy products for comparison purposes:

Food                            Portion Size         Calcium Content (mg)
Whole milk                    190ml                   224*
Semi-skimmed milk        190ml                   231
Skimmed milk                 190ml                  235
Large orange                       1                      58
Dried apricot                    100g                   92
Brazil nuts                        100g                   170
Whitebait (fried)                 56g                   482
Salmon (tinned)                  56g                    52
Spinach                              0.5 cup              99
Almonds                            0.25 cup             93
Kale                                    0.5 cup            205*
Sesame Seeds                   1tbs                     51

*As you can see above, it is actually very plausible to gain full recommended daily allowance from non dairy sources. In fact, when you compare calcium content per serving size in milk and kale, kale actually contains the most.


The battle against brittle bones and inadequate calcium absorption does not begin and end with simply consuming calcium rich foods (or perceived calcium rich foods). A Yale study, which analysed 34 studies from 16 countries, found that the countries who consumed the most calcium rich foods actually had the highest number of cases of osteoporosis (source selectstores.ie). In contrast, in South Africa, where calcium intake is the lowest, osteoporosis is less prevalent. This highlights the point that other factors affect calcium absorption including excessive sugar intake or sedentary lifestyles.

The amount actually absorbed by the body from food varies greatly. For example, when one cup of milk is consumed, approximately 30% of the calcium is absorbed. Compare that to kale where up to 70% can be absorbed.

Eating a variety of non dairy foods is important. Consider adding kale to stews and casseroles, dipping your veggies in almond butter for snacking  and adding almonds and broccoli to salads to increase calcium intake without the need for as much as a drop of milk!









Sunday, 28 August 2011

Crock Pot Chicken





This was absolutely beautiful. You would never think a simple cooking vessel could make such a difference to the taste of a dish. I cannot wait to experiment with other types of meats and cuts.

1 x whole chicken
2 tbs Italian Herbs
Juice of 1 x lemon
3/4 pint of chicken stock
4 x cloves garlic chopped
1 x medium onion chopped
Salt/pepper
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 180C
Heat oil in crockpot on hob and add onion and garlic.
Fry until translucent
Remove from hob and add the whole chicken and remaining ingredients.
Place in oven and cook for 1hr 45 - 2hrs (depending on size of chicken)
Rest for 10 mins before serving.

You can either shred the chicken and return to stock or slice meat and make gravy from stock to serve.

The chicken will be really moist and tender. Yummy!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Pan Fried Seabass Served with Tomato-y Courgettes






Serves 2

2 x Seabass fillets
1 x tbs dill
Sea salt & pepper
Olive Oil
Butter

Tomato Courgettes
1 tbs coconut oil
1/2 Courgette sliced
2 x cloves garlic
1 x onion chopped finely
1 x tin plum tomato
1tbs parsley
1 x tbs oregano
1 1/2 tsp of sugar (otherwise tomato will be too tart)

Heat the coconut oil in a pan.
Add the garlic and onion to the pan and fry until slightly translucent.
Add courgettes and fry for 2-3 minutes until beginning to soften.
Add tinned tomatoes and bring to simmer.
Add herbs and sugar.
Cook for 8 - 10 minutes until sauce is thick and tasty!

In the meantime heat the olive oil in a pan and add a knob of butter.
Add the seabass and fry until cooked through.

I served this on a bed of mashed sweet potato with guacamole and broccoli.




Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Lamb & Onion Burgers with Warm Beetroot Salad

Phew, I finally got back to my running after about 6 weeks break. I have been running about 2 years now but I was tired of running for miles and miles and seeing zero results. So I decided to change up my diet and hence embarked on Paleo! But I do want to do a little running on conjunction with other Paleo friendly exercise.

Anyway, today's dinner was Homemade Lamb Burgers (also a Pre-Paleo favourite in our house, so everyone was happy!)

The beetroot salad was a bit of an experiment as I had precooked beetroot in the fridge and wanted to use them. In hindsight it could have done with a little acidity. But it was adaptable for again.

Lamb Burgers 

500g Minced Lamb
1 x small onion chopped finely
Sea salt
Pepper
Parsley
1 x egg

Mix all the ingredients together until well mixed. Form into burgers with hands and place on a baking sheet.
Cook at 190C for 25 - 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Beetroot Salad 


200g cooked beetroot chopped
2 x spring onions
1 tbs fresh mint
1 tbs parsley
Sea Salt
Pepper
4 x slices of cooked bacon
2 x tbs Olive oil
1 x carrot grated.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well, season to taste.
Place in oven for last 5-8 minutes just to warm through and marinate the ingredients.
Add a squeeze of lemon or 1tbs of red wine vinegar for added kick.

Serve together with sweet potato or any other veggies.




Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Hazelnut "Breaded" Chicken Kiev

This was yummy and even my son enjoyed it! It had lovely flavours in the sauce and the crunchy nut coating went really well with the avocado I had with it.

Serves 2

2 x chicken fillets

Hazelnut crust
40g hazelnuts ground
Pepper
Parsley
1 x Free range egg beaten
Olive Oil

Garlic Butter
15g Kerrygold Butter
4 x garlic cloves minced
1/2 tbs of parsley
Sea Salt
Pepper

Make sure the butter is at room temperature. Blend ingredients together well.

Take chicken a make a slit in the side of it to create a pocket. Add a spoonful of garlic butter and close pocket.

Coat the chicken fillet in the beaten egg mixture and cover in the hazelnut mixture.

Place in a cooking dish and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake at 200C for approx 25 minutes until cooked fully.

I served with avocado slices, roasted sweet potato and vegetables.



Monday, 22 August 2011

Making Paleo "Easy"





Say No to Carbs

Whenever I mention my new lifestyle I am always met with blank stares and "Oh I couldn't survive without bread" or "I couldn't live without pasta". I thought this too - I thought I could never forgo my buttery toast and sandwiches. But I am doing it. And what is more I am finding it easy to do it!! 

Easy Peasy 
But changing to the Paleo lifestyle is actually quite easy if you are living a relatively healthy lifestyle anyway. I always enjoyed fruit and vegetables and preferred savoury foods to sweets so changing to a Paleo lifestyle was more about tweaking what was already the norm for me. If you are currently living a less than ideal lifestyle with fast food a big factor, taking little steps is the key to living a healthier way of life. 

It doesn't have to be daunting - instead of eating toast for breakfast, have an omelette with a side of avocado.
Sometimes I fast through breakfast as I dont feel I need it to be honest, but this is just a personal preference.

Lunch can be thrown together very easily in the morning - I usually put a chicken or salmon fillet into the oven with dinner and have it ready for the next day in minutes. Its about being organised and realistic. Throw in some salad, avocado, nuts and an apple into your lunch box and you have more than enough to keep you full for the day. 



Keep it clean
Dinner is actually the least challenging for me. I find it relatively easy to adapt meals to Paleo and avoiding processed food at all costs really help too. Just eat good healthy "clean" foods for dinner and it becomes less of a mystery. One of my favourite treats is sirloin steak with onion, mushrooms and red wine reduction with a side of sweet potatoes. Or an easy dinner is Paleo Bol with courgette "pasta". 

For me, the most challenging time is when eating out or in other people's house. Sometimes you cannot be 100% Paleo (or you might not be reinvited!) and it is usually these times I allow myself to sway a little. Accepting a small potato at dinner or eating someone's apple pie so as not to offend will not be the end of the world - just make sure it is the exception rather than the rule. 


Eggs are your friend

Eggs are a great food stuff - and can be adapted for any meal time to create a nutritious meal in minutes. 
Try and look for Omega 3 eggs or free range eggs - healthy hens mean healthy eggs! 



Resources

There are so many resources out there for you to use in your research, personally I love 

I also read Loren Cordain's "The Paleo Diet " and found it good. (Though a little strict) 

And lastly
Dont make things complicated, and do not concentrate on what you cant have - more on what you CAN EAT! 

The results will speak for themselves. Try it and you too will see the difference!! 


Salmon Parcels with Cauliflower Mash,

I actually cannot believe I already have over 100 facebook fans already! The Paleo Community is brill! It has made me even more determined to be a better Paleo...er....ist??!

Had a bit of an indulgent weekend again (drink wise) so I have to stay in and be more settled the next few weeks. Its great not to feel bloated after a weekend of socialising. I even discouraged my fiance from going to the chippy after the pub. There's determination for you! And hangover breakfast was leftover Paleo pizza - yum but without the guilt!

I did have a little cheat yesterday in my Mum's house for dinner. I had a small amount of potatoes with dinner and apple pie. Oops. Must do better.

Anyway, here is my Salmon receipe - a firm favourite in our house from pre-Paleo days which didnt require much adaptation - so that is good news!

Ingredients per person

For Salmon:
1 x Salmon Fillet
Splash of white wine (and a slug for the chef!)
1/2 teaspoon of dried dill
1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley
1/2 spring onion
Knob of butter
1 x slice lemon
Pepper and sea salt

Create a "parcel" out of foil and place the salmon fillet in.
Add wine, onion, dill, parsley, butter, salt, pepper, and lemon in with the salmon and seal up the parcel to allow steaming. The wine and butter create a sauce which is lovely with the mash. It also stays unbelievably moist and juicy.

Place in an oven at 200C for about 15- 20 minutes or until fish is cooked through.

Mashed Cauliflower
1/2 head of cauliflower
1 tsp of garlic powder
Sea salt & pepper
Knob of butter

Steam the cauliflower for approx 10 -12 minutes until tender
Mash in a bowl with a potato masher and add butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mix well.

Serve alongside the salmon with steamed, buttered broccoli and carrot sticks.


Enjoy :)




Saturday, 20 August 2011

Paleo Pizza

Who said Paleo wasnt fun??1

Pizza Base

2 x cups of almond flour (ground almonds)
3 x tbs olive oil
2 x Omega 3 enriched eggs
1tbs Oregano

Mix all ingredients together to make a thick dough. Press onto a greased baking tray as thinly as possible.
Bake DRY for 20 minutes at 170C

Topping

While the base bakes, get your toppings ready. I used:

Mushrooms, bacon, ham, pepperoni, chopped tomatoes, parsley and 10g Lactose Free cheese.

Take base out of oven and top with tomato sauce. I used a shop bought passata. You could even use your favourite pasta sauce. Top with remaining ingredients and put put back into the oven for 20 minutes until toppings are cooked!

Yummy!






Friday, 19 August 2011

Happy Friday - Paleo Lasagne!

Happy Friday! I love Fridays - glass of wine and relaxing without work in the morning. Bliss...

So this was a bit of an experiment. I tried to make bechamel sauce from coconut milk - FAIL! It didnt work at all... so I threw it out.

Anyway here is how I made the rest.



Paleo Lasange

1lb minced beef
2 x cloves garlic sliced
4 x slices of bacon cubed
3 x button mushrooms sliced
1 x large aubergine sliced lengthwise
1 x onion chopped
50 g Lactose Free Cheese
1 tin of tomatoes
1tbs oregano
1 tbs parsley
Black pepper
1 tbs coconut oil

Heat the oil and fry the bacon, onions and garlic until soft
Add the mushrooms and fry for 3 minutes
Remove from pan and set aside
Fry beef in pan until brown
Add vegetables back with the meat and add tomatoes and herbs. Fry for 5 minutes
Layer the sliced aubergine in bottom of a lasagne dish and top with meat mixture.
Alternate until mixture is used up.

Pop into oven at 200C for approx 30 minutes until aubergine is tender.
Allow to sit for 10 mins before serving
Serve with salad and sweet potato chips and a large glass of Pinot Grigio (optional!)




Thursday, 18 August 2011

Curried Cauliflower

I haven't really been experimenting much this week but I had some leftover cauliflower and no mayo to make salad, so I decided to try something different.

1 x courgette sliced
1/2 head of cauliflower
1 onion
1 clove garlic
Curry Powder
1 tbs Coconut Oil

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes
Add the courgette and fry for about 5 minutes until all the vegetables are softening.
In the meantime steam your cauliflower florets for 10 minutes or until tender.
Add to the pan with other vegetables.
Add 1 to 2 tbs of curry powder depending on how spicy you want it.
Stir well and fry for about 2 minutes

Serve.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Paleo "Potato Salad"

This potato-less salad is yummy. There are many variations of this and you add anything you like but this time I have added bacon. Its a great addition to any salad or sometimes I add it to dinner when my other half has potatoes.

5 florets of cauliflower
4 pieces of fried bacon
Mayonnaise
Pepper
Parsley

Steam the cauliflower for 10 minutes or until tender
Run under cold water to stop the cooking process and to cool down
Break the cauliflower into small pieces into a bowl
Add the rest of ingredients and mix until all incorporated.

enjoy!!



Chicken Hotpot

So, after a fairly hectic and sometimes un-Paleo weekend, I have crash landed into Monday again!

It is a horrible damp evening here so comfort food is definitely the order of the day for dinner!

This recipe is actually one of my M.I.Ls and didnt need much tweaking so its going to be a firm resident on our menu from now on!

Serves 3
3 x chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
1 x medium onion chopped
2 x garlic cloves chopped finely
4 x pieces of bacon sliced
3 x carrots peeled and sliced
1 x parsnip peeled and sliced
2 x sweet potato sliced finely
1 x litre of chicken stock
1 tbs coconut oil

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the bacon, remove from the pan
Add chicken and cook in coconut and bacon oil in batches until browned, remove from pan and set aside with bacon
Add onion and garlic to pan and cook for 2 -3 minutes
Return bacon and chicken to pan and add chicken stock.
Add carrots and parsnips and bring to the boil. Reduce to simmer for 15 mins.
Add sliced sweet potato to the top of the pot for last 10 minutes.
Cook until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender.








Saturday, 13 August 2011

Vegetable Surprise Omelette

Saturdays are generally shopping day in our house, so there is usually very little left in the fridge for breakfast! So this mornings omelette surprise involved using up all the leftover vegetables - throw in a few eggs and voila! Paleo friendly breakfast!

Mine consisted of yellow peppers, red onion, a mushroom and leftover courgette.

Fried off in coconut oil until soft and I added 3 eggs and cooked until cooked through.
I flipped mine but you can also grill the top if you find that easier.

On the side I had half an avocado and 1 piece of bacon (thats all there was left!!)

Yummy and packed full of protein and good fats.
I need all the fat I can get today I have housework to catch up on and a girls night out planned tonight so soakage is very much needed!

Lunch will be leftover Butter Chicken from last night.

Lets hope there are Paleo friendly drinks and snacks tonight and my friends are non judgemental about my new lifestyle!!

Chat soon
xx




Friday, 12 August 2011

Butter Chicken

I was dying to have some kind of curry for a change from the usual.



1 can coconut milk
1 red onion diced
3 tbsp coconut oil
6 boneless chicken thighs or 3 x skinless breasts cut into bite sized pieces.
½ tbsp crushed garlic
4 tbsp Kerrygold Butter (clarified) 
1 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp of medium curry powder (good quality, no added preservatives) 
3 tbsp tomato paste
Melt coconut oil in a pan.
Add chicken and brown. Remove from the pan.
Add garlic and onion and cook until onion is softened.
Add any other vegetable you may like now if desired.
Return chicken to pan and add the coconut milk and tomato paste.
Bring to a simmer and cover for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Add butter and cook out for 2-3 minutes and serve! 
This was AMAZING! If you are an Indian fan I really recommend it.

I also added peppers and mushrooms at the same point as the chicken just because I had some to use up!

I served with cauliflower "rice" which can be made very easily by steaming cauliflower for 10 mins and then mashing with a potato masher to "rice" consistency.



My Amazing Takeout Salad

Since I had adopted this new eating lifestyle, one thing I have found very difficult to conquer is a finding a Paleo friendly takeout lunch that doesn't involve bread.

So today was a little victory for me when I discovered a cafe near my work does fab salads that are more exciting that the average lettuce leaves and tomatoes type thing I usually see.

Today I had a lovely smoked chicken, halumi cheese, avocado, walnut and mixed salad (including nettles!)

I was excited to have takeout lunch without the guilt!

(although the homemade bread had to be left after me, I just didn't want the temptation!)

I even took a picture!!



Beef Bolognaise with Courgette "Pasta"

Ok, so we all know how to make Bolognaise and it may not be the most adventerous of meals, but for those who may not know how to make:

Ingredients:

2 tbs coconut oil
500g minced beef
Tin of plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic minced
1 white onion chopped
1tbsp dried basil
1tbsp dried oregano
Black pepper
1/2 tsp of sugar
1 glass of red wine (optional)

1 courgette per 2 persons

Method

Heat 1tbs coconut oil in pan on medium heat.
Add onions and garlic and saute until soft
Add wine now if using and simmer until the alcohol cooks off and there is very little liquid left.
Add beef and fry until browned
Add tomatoes, sugar and herbs and bring to simmer
Reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes until sauce has reduced and thickened.
Test for seasoning.


In the meantime use a potato peeler to slice the courgette, including skin, length ways to create "pasta" ribbon. Continue until you can used the entire courgette.

In a pan heat the other tbs of coconut oil and add courgette ribbons. Fry for 2 -3 minutes.

Serve mince and courgettes immediately.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

A new lifestyle

Hi, I am a 26 year old female from Ireland.

Stats:
Height: 5"7,
Start weight : 10 stone
Current weight: 9.5 stone (I lost just under half a stone the first week!)


In July this year I decided to embark upon the Paleo Diet, a diet based on the diet and lifestyle of our ancestors.

I decided to do this blog as Paleo is as yet fairly unheard of in Ireland, but it is steadily growing Stateside.
Hopefully this blog might be a useful resource for someone in Ireland who might feel detached and unsupported from other Irish Paleos. I will be posting my progress and my recipes and photos to hopefully inspire others!

It is based around eating three types of foods:

Lean Protein - Fish, chicken, beef, lamb etc
Fresh Fruit & Vegetables - except pulses or corn (or potatoes if weight loss is priority)
Healthy fats - Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.

Foods to be avoided are:

All processed foods - eg. pizza, packet sauces, gravies
Grains - Wheat, rice, rye, spelt etc so that excludes all breads and baked goods containing wheat.
Transfats - Found in processed foods, crisp and snacks etc
Dairy - This is negotiable. Not everyone gives up dairy and some argue that if you can tolerate it to keep it in. I personally keep milk in but only for tea and some cheese (but seldom)
Sugar - all sugary foods and sugar substitutes.

What can I eat then??!

Before you freak out and think - "what can I eat then"?! Let me explain!
Its not as restrictive as you may think at first!

For argument sake let me illustrate this by providing a typical days menu for me on the Paleo Diet:

BF: Bacon, scrambled eggs and strawberries

Lunch: Salmon Salad with mayo dressing and avocados.

Dinner: Bolognaise with courgette "pasta" (surprisingly tasty!) with roasted sweet potato
Dessert: "Paleo" Fruit Crumble

Snacks: chopped veg with guacamole dip, nuts, fruit etc.

You will not be hungry! But you will feel leaner, less bloated and your skin will glow!

Try the diet for 30 days and I bet you wont go back! :)