Aug 292014
 

Paleo Cooking Oils

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Paleo approach to nutrition.  I’m no expert, so I try to point people towards helpful resources, and encourage them to do their own research and make their own judgments about what is healthy for them.  For those of you that are interested, here’s my response to the question of which oils and fats to use for Paleo cooking:

For me, one of the challenges of transitioning to the Paleo style of cooking was getting a handle on which oils and fats to use.  Before “going Paleo,” so to speak, we cooked mainly with olive oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil, and occasionally with butter and vegetable oil (a.k.a. soybean oil).  With the exception of butter, these are the oils generally promoted in our culture as being the healthiest to cook with, as they are the lowest in saturated fats and high in unsaturated (mostly polyunsaturated) fats.  However, for over 100 years scientists have questioned the soundness of the assumption that people should minimize their consumption of saturated fats, with a recent study showing no link between saturated fats and heart disease.  In addition, saturated animal fats are uniquely beneficial in that they contain a range of easily absorbed vitamins and other nutrients that are an important part of a nutrient dense diet.  This book goes into more detail about that. Finally, many unrefined plant-based oils that are often recommended for cooking, such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil, have relatively low smoke points that make it difficult to effectively cook with them without exceeding the recommended temperature.  Although there’s no one person who is the “authority” on Paleo cooking, I’ve noticed that proponents generally use a three-factor analysis to determine whether a fat or oil is appropriate for cooking:

  1. How processed the fat or oil is
  2. Any health benefits or harms from eating the fat/oil.
  3. Any harm from heating the oil or fat (versus using it unheated).

So, under that approach which fats and oils are typically recommended for cooking?  The 30 second answer is:

We use all of the Paleo/Primal fats listed above for cooking, although we’ll temporarily eliminate butter and ghee when we do an “elimination diet” down the road to check for food intolerances.  There are books and blog articles that go into the details of applying a Paleo analysis to cooking oils and fats- check them out if you’re in the mood to get sciency, or if you’re feeling skeptical and want to know what those crazy caveman dieters are up to.  Or, if you don’t want to do any reading and just want to take their word for it, check out this handy dandy chart of safe cooking oils.  I refer to it often and it’s been really helpful.

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Aug 262014
 


Salads To Go by Arnel Ricafranca is free right now on Amazon.  I haven’t read it yet, but it’s rated 4.5 stars with over 400 reviews, so there’s got to be a few good tips in there. It’s an Amazon Kindle ebook, but even if you don’t own a Kindle you can still enjoy it by downloading it to your computer (PC or Mac), Android, iPhone, or iPad. The instructions for doing so are included under the “Buy Now With 1 Click” button.

PLEASE BE AWARE that the price could change at any time, so always check the price before clicking Buy Now.

Hurry, these promotions don’t last long.  Let me know what you thought of this book!

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Aug 082014
 

beets with garlic walnut sauceI was purging recipes out of my recipe binder when I came across a slip of yellowed newspaper- it was Mark Bittman’s recipe for beets with garlic walnut sauce.  (Mark Bittman is the brilliance behind How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, as well as a New York Times Columnist.)  Two days later a gorgeous bunch of dark red beets showed up in my farm box, so clearly making Bittman’s recipe was meant to be.  However, the recipe needed to be “paleofied” so that it would work with our dietary framework.

The most significant issue, which comes up consistently when working with non-Paleo recipes, is that olive oil is not recommended for cooking (for eating, yes- liberally- but heating, no- see this helpful chart of Paleo cooking oils).  My work-around for this recipe was to use roasted garlic instead of garlic sautéed in olive oil, and I dry-toasted the walnuts instead of toasting them in oil.  I keep roasted garlic cloves in the freezer for just this kind of situation- if you don’t have roasted garlic on hand (and you don’t have an extra hour to roast garlic in the oven), try this technique for roasting garlic in the microwave in about 5-8 minutes (you can omit the oil).

Another change I made was one of convenience: rather than use fresh orange juice, which meant driving to the grocery store, I used a small amount of frozen orange juice concentrate (additive-free, of course).  I think this actually works better for the recipe, because it adds less liquid, which helps the sauce cling to the beets.

Finally, I couldn’t help but double the proportion of sauce to beets, because I’m a saucy kind of person.

The result was an unqualified success, and received an especially enthusiastic thumbs-up from my 7-year-old.  Beets can often have an aftertaste of… dirt, but in this recipe the richness of the garlic and walnut mellows out the beets’ earthy flavor and highlights its natural sweetness. This recipe will definitely be a part of our regular rotation from now on.

Bittman’s Beets with Garlic Walnut Sauce, Paleofied

What You Need:

  • 1 lb red beets, stem and rootling removed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, roasted and peeled
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 tsp frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped

What to Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash beets and place them, still wet, in a single layer in a baking dish.  Cover dish tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour.  Use a fork to check if beets are cooked through (they should be firm when the fork is inserted, but not so hard that you have to use force).  If they need more time, continue baking in 15 minute increments.  When cooked, remove from oven and let cool.
  3. Toast walnuts in a dry skillet over low heat (5-7 minutes, with occasional stirring).  When the walnuts are golden-brown, remove them from the pan.
  4. Add olive oil, roasted garlic, walnuts, orange juice concentrate and salt to a food processor.  Blend until they form a grainy paste the consistency of whole grain mustard.
  5. Peel the beets by slipping the skins off with your hands.  Dice them, and toss gently with the sauce until coated.
  6. Top with the fresh parsley and serve.
Bittman's Beets with Garlic Walnut Sauce, Paleofied
Servings
4servings
Servings
4servings
Bittman's Beets with Garlic Walnut Sauce, Paleofied
Servings
4servings
Servings
4servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb red beets stem and rootling removed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic roasted and peeled
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 tsp frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves chopped
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash beets and place them, still wet, in a single layer in a baking dish. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour. Use a fork to check if beets are cooked through (they should be firm when the fork is inserted, but not so hard that you have to use force). If they need more time, continue baking in 15 minute increments. When cooked, remove from oven and let cool.
  3. Toast walnuts in a dry skillet over low heat (5-7 minutes, with occasional stirring). When the walnuts are golden-brown, remove them from the pan.
  4. Add olive oil, roasted garlic, walnuts, orange juice concentrate and salt to a food processor. Blend until they form a grainy paste the consistency of whole grain mustard.
  5. Peel the beets by sliding the skin off with your hands. Dice them, and toss gently with the sauce until coated.
  6. Top with the fresh parsley and serve.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from this recipe by Mark Bittman.

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Aug 062014
 


Frugal Simplicity: 99 Ways to Declutter, Save Money & Simplify Your Life by Sally Thomas is free right now on Amazon.  It’s an Amazon Kindle ebook, but even if you don’t own a Kindle you can still enjoy it by downloading it to your computer (PC or Mac), iPhone, or iPad. The instructions for doing so are included under the “Buy Now With 1 Click” button.

PLEASE BE AWARE that the price could change at any time, so always check the price before clicking Buy Now.

Hurry, these promotions don’t last long.  Let me know what you thought of this book!

This post contains affiliate links from which I might receive a commission.  

Aug 032014
 

Chicken Tortilla-less Soup from Paleo Comfort Foods

Paleo Weekly Meal Plan- August Week 1

Dinners

Dinner sides are mix-and-match as usual, and include roasted root vegetablessautéed spinach, sautéed chard, oven-roasted cauliflower rice  by Melissa Joulwan, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted winter squash, steamed or roasted potatoes, Michelle Tam’s braised red cabbage, sauerkraut, and fresh salads.

Lunches

As usual, lunches this week are the leftovers from the dinners, plus fresh fruit like melons, peaches, strawberries and blueberries from the farmer’s market.

Breakfasts

Paleo Chunky Monkey MuffinBreakfasts include Berry SmoothiesBanana Walnut Smoothies, PaleoParents’ Chunky Monkey MuffinsBanana Faux-tmeal, and sweet potatoes sautéed with apples.  Plus protein on the side- usually sausage, bacon, sardines, or kipper snacks, and usually extra fresh fruit, too.

Have you tried weekly meal planning yet?

This post is linked up at Musings of a HousewifeSassy Moms In the City, and I’m an Organizing Junkie. This post contains affiliate links from which I might receive a commission.  

Jul 252014
 
Image courtesy of Be More With Less

Image courtesy of Be More With Less

If you’re interested in working from home, Kiplinger put together a list of “10 Great Work-at-Home Jobs” that is worth a look.  They list potential employers for each job and vetted them to make sure none of them were scams.

Traveling this summer?  Needing some inspiration on how to pack light?  Check out this short video by the Minimalists, in which they reveal how little they packed for their 10-month road trip.  I am picturing them standing in their underwear at the laundry mat while they wash their one pair of pants.  I love that one of them (the one with the cool hair) actually found room for a blow dryer in his tiny little suitcase.

Not traveling? Staying home and wishing your house was less cluttered?  Check out 10 Uncluttering Tasks You Can Do In 5 Minutes Or Less from The Unclutterer.  Or visit Be More With Less for inspiration on minimalist living.

And on a financial note, this article by Get Rich Slowly goes through the benefits of buying a car within your budget instead of taking out a car loan or leasing a car.  I would just add that whether you pay cash or take out a loan, it’s important to factor the car’s depreciation into your budget when deciding what car you can afford.