(f)riday food find

1 02 2013

Any ingredient list that ends with the words “and Lots of Love” probably has merit in my book! This is the ingredient list for RawOne Rosemary-Sundried Tomato Flax Crackers:  “Organic Golden Flaxseeds, Organic Coconut Aminos, Organic Lemon Juice, Organic Garlic, Organic Parsley, Organic Rosemary, Organic Sundried Tomatoes …and Lots of Love.”  See – it got you too!


There are times I really miss something crunchy – you know like a good cracker or chip. Especially when there is something really good to top it with.  I have found a great vehicle with these crackers. They are not overly flavored and let the flavor of the topping(s) shine.  The only downside is that they are quite fragile.  My favorite go to lunch on the fly is a few of these crackers with a yummy local goat cheese and a really good traditional salami.

I have not found these crackers locally, so I order from Amazon (Amazon Prime is a blessing and a curse) and have been very pleased that they arrive mostly intact!  There are other flavors – one called RawRito! –  though I tend to stick with my favorite.

Look for your favorite paleo/primal dip recipe and break out the crackers along with the veggies.  You’ll quickly forget those other crackers and chips and be completely satisfied.


(f)riday food find

25 01 2013

One down side to eating primal is that it’s challenging to find portable snacks/meals that don’t require refrigeration, so I’m always on the lookout for something I can stash in my desk, car, or backpack for those times that I’m famished with nothing primal in sight.

I spied this bag at Earth Fare last week.  The logo for this “trail pack” caught my eye first – The New Primal – and then I saw the subtitle: For the Modern Hunter Gatherer and knew this was something I would likely want.


A quick perusal of the front and back and I was sold.  The cost for this package was $5.99


This concoction is handcrafted in Charleston, a mere 90 minutes from home, where both my daughters live and one of my favorite cities!

I came home and read their story before I ripped open the bag and chowed down on the most delicious jerky I’ve ever eaten!  The tender, moist, perfectly spiced jerky was paired with succulent cranberries and a few almonds and cashews.  If you expect/want the stuff that bites like rawhide with cranberries that are dried and shriveled, you won’t like this at all! They have several jerky/fruit combos as well as just jerky.

It seems that they are adding retail outlets daily.  Check out their facebook page and twitter to keep up with new retail outlets as well as tastings going on.  If you can’t find them near you, order online here.  You won’t be sorry!

*Tamari sauce is soy-based, but the one used in this jerky is gluten-free and the fermentation process removes most of the anti-nutrients found in soy.

(f)ood – Paleo Pen Pal part IV

22 01 2013

This first month of Paleo Pen Pals has been so much fun!  I think next month I’ll stick to doing one recipe, but with an ingredient as great as Benton’s Country Smoked Bacon, I just couldn’t resist.

My last recipe for the month is indulgent and not a treat you’d have every day.  But it sure is good!

I don’t have a name for this, so we’ll go with


Chocolate Bacon Bliss Bites

3 slices country smoked bacon cut into small pieces

1 bar Theo 85% dark chocolate (I particularly like Theo because their products are organic, fair trade, and soy free)

1 T fennel seed

1/8 cup goji berries

1/4 cup pecans

sea salt


This recipe is EXTREMELY flexible as long as you include the chocolate and bacon, you can add in goodies of your choosing.  I particularly like the combination of chocolate and fennel and thought the bacon would play well off those two.  The pecans and goji berries were an afterthought, but a good one!

Toast the fennel seed in one pan while toasting the pecans in another.


While both cool, cook the bacon until just crispy.  Remove from the pan and drain.


Put a small amount of bacon, pecans, goji berries, and fennel seed in  small chocolate molds.  (If I didn’t have a mold, I’d just make little mounds on parchment paper.)


Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.  Pour a small amount in each mold or over each mound.  Let cool just a bit and sprinkle with a touch of sea salt.


You can put these in the fridge to set, but they will also set just fine with time on the counter.


Try to eat just one!

Now for the saddest part of this post…


Yes, that is an empty Benton’s Country Smoked Bacon package.  What a wonderfully versatile ingredient.  Thanks again Liz – it was a blast!

(f)ood – Paleo Pen Pal part III

21 01 2013

Want to know about Paleo Pen Pals?  Check out my posts here and here.  For this third recipe, I wanted to try to recreate a wonderful recipe from a tiny little Italian restaurant in Clermont-Ferrand, France.  When we lived in France, we loved the Pasta Carbonara there.  It took forever to get to the table, but was always worth the wait.

Pasta Carbonara Primal Style

4 thick slices country smoked bacon

2 large zucchini

1 small onion finely diced

2 cloves garlic minced

2 pastured egg yolks beaten

1/4 cup pine nuts

salt and pepper to taste


Cut bacon strips into matchstick sized lardons.  Saute in skillet until crispy.  Toast the pine nuts in another skillet.  Watch them carefully as they go from brown to black very quickly!  Remove the pine nuts from the pan and allow to cool.  Give them a quick whir in the food processor.  Not too long or you will end up with pine nut meal.


While the bacon is cooking, use a julienne peeler to make “noodles” from the zucchini.  If you do not have a julienne peeler, use a regular peeler.  You will get slightly wider ribbons which will still work great!  Lightly salt the zucchini to draw out the moisture.


After removing the bacon to drain, add the onion and garlic to the same pan.  If there is a lot of fat, remove a bit until there is about 2 T left in the skillet.  Saute the onion and garlic until it begins to brown.  Remove from the pan.

Squeeze the residual moisture from the zucchini and add to skillet.  Turn the heat up to high to flash saute the zucchini.  You do not want to cook until mushy, just get it hot and maybe a little crispy quickly.


Remove the zucchini from the pan and immediately into a larger bowl.  Quickly drizzle the egg yolks over the zucchini while stirring the zucchini in the bowl.  Tricky process, I learned, to do this well!  The purpose is to allow the egg yolks to coat the strands of zucchini with their creamy goodness without becoming scrambled eggs.  I’d give myself a 5 out of 10 on this step!

Once the egg yolks have been incorporated, top with bacon, onions and garlic, and then the pine nuts.


It sure wasn’t pretty, but the taste was really, really good.

If you eat/tolerate cheese, by all means use a good quality parmesan or pecorino romano.  I wanted to keep this strictly paleo, so I used pine nuts to try to replicate the deep, nutty taste of the cheese.  It was a great substitute, but the cheese would definitely add to this dish.

I also think I’d try the separated strands of spaghetti squash next time.  They don’t seem to have as much moisture as “zoodles” do.  Maybe I’d have better luck with that egg step!  If you do use zucchini, add at least one more.  Squeezing out the moisture in the zucchini and sauteing it significantly reduced the volume of zoodles.

Overall, I’d say this is a keeper recipe that I will continue to tweak each time I give it a go.  Thanks again Liz, for the bacon.  I will be sad to see it go!

(f)ood – Paleo Pen Pal part II

21 01 2013

You remember the wonderful mystery ingredient from my paleo pen pal, Liz.  If not you can read about it here.  Hoping to make this ingredient stretch as far as possible, I’m using some of it in 4 different recipes.  I found this recipe on the epicurious site and have adapted it.  Here is my version:

Eggs with Cream, Chard, and Country Bacon

4 thick slices country smoked bacon cut into lardons

3/4 cup coconut milk – just the thick milk that rises to the top (reserve 4 T for final assembly) (try to get a tetra pak or BPA free can though that can be difficult to find!)

1/2 small onion finely diced

1 clove garlic minced

1 bunch Swiss chard washed and cut into ribbons (or use your green of choice)

4 large pastured eggs

1 T pastured, organic ghee (I use this brand)

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350°F

Cook bacon until crispy and remove from pan.  Combine the bacon and coconut milk in another pan and simmer over medium-low heat.  Add onions to the bacon fat and saute until soft. Add garlic and chard along with a pinch of salt (more or less depending on the saltiness of the bacon) and pepper and cook until chard is wilted and somewhat dry.


Divide chard, then bacon and cream, among 4 ramekins. Crack eggs into ramekins and season lightly with salt and pepper. Spoon 1 tablespoon cream over each egg. Dot each egg with the divided ghee.


Put ramekins on a baking pan and bake, rotating pan halfway through baking, until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, 15 to 20 minutes, removing from oven as cooked.


I am so pleased with the result.  The smokiness of the bacon permeates, but does not overpower the other ingredients.   A perfect portion of deliciousness!  *You will not taste coconut from the coconut milk.  Simmering the bacon in the coconut milk made sure that the milk could offer its creamy goodness without imparting a coconut flavor.


I chose to use 1 cup glass Pyrex ramekins for my baking vessels because I have lids for them and it made storage in the fridge so easy!


Perfectly portioned and easy to grab for a quick breakfast, brunch or lunch!  I warmed mine in the microwave (I know…gasp!) for 1 minute on 50% power because I did not want the yolk to continue to cook, and it was perfect.

I can see putting this recipe in my Saturday cooking for the week rotation!  Thanks again to Liz for the yummy inspiration!

Side note – yes that is my empty cast iron skillet you see in the oven. What you may not have seen were my other two skillets on the bottom rack.  A quick clean and swipe with coconut oil and my skillets go in the oven often when I’m baking other things to keep them perfectly seasoned and non-stick!

(f)amily – rusty’s got his grillz on

20 01 2013

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the real Rodney likes to build grills.  But not just any grills.  He builds smokers out of discarded tanks. Here are a few examples: (and yes, we name everything!)

Grill Zilla


Pigcasso – for our son who is a graphic designer

22Oct2012 039

Dr Pig – for our son-in-law who is in med school

22Oct2012 037

Pigtucky – for our son-in-law’s Dad who hails from Kentucky


Pig Zero – for his brother who works for Coca Cola

22Oct2012 011

Major Pig – for my Dad who is a retired Marine


And then THIS rolled into the yard.

Rusty 1

Sigh… I felt like all we needed were a few cars up on blocks in the yard and we’d be set!  This piece of work was quickly dubbed “Rusty”.  My engineer by day, tinkerer by night Rodney had a vision, but all I saw was another piece of junk in the yard!


Slowly Rusty began to be transformed



This the final product!



See, I told you – Rusty’s got his grillz on!  When I told Rodney that,  I thought he’d find it as funny as I did – you know grill as in the kind you cook on and grillz as in the bling worn in the mouth.  Maybe I’ve been in a middle school too long, but shoot, this grill got grillz!  Rodney just grins like I’m nuts, but I know he secretly wishes he’d come up with it! 🙂

I felt like Rusty should pay homage to his past, so I suggested his tag be framed in rusted metal.  We’d never want this blinged out star to forget his humble beginnings!



Oh, and what does Rodney do with Grill Zilla – the one he’s kept for himself?




(f)itness – yoga and the other Rodney

20 01 2013

Running has been my excercise of choice for the last few years.  Some of the reasons I’ve grown to love it are:

  • I can run with my friend and catch up on the day
  • It’s something I never thought I could do
  • It’s invigorating to go a long distance
  • It’s outside and I love being outside
  • It’s easy; as in it doesn’t require a lot of equipment

In September of 2011, I started having pain and inflammation over the area where I had screws and plates in my left ankle.  On November 5, 2011 I ran the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon and finished with a PR.  On November 11, 2011, I had surgery to remove the screws and plates I’d had for the last 11 years.  I was back on crutches for a couple of weeks and in a boot for six.  Toward the end of January 2012, I was running again!  All was well until April, 2012 when I started having a nagging pain in my right achilles.  Here we are in January 2013 and I still have that nagging pain along with a nice knot over my achilles.  I’m hoping to still run the Tybee Half Marathon in 2 weeks.  It will NOT be a PR.  My goal is to finish…sigh.  Side note – I do have an appointment to have some Active Release Therapy done in February, so I’m hopeful that will help.

The quandary I’ve found myself in is that I cannot run nearly as much as I’d like nor as much as my body needs for exercise.  I’ve rested my achilles during the week and run long on the weekends.  I’ve needed something else to keep active during the week.  Here is where the other Rodney comes in.

I’ve been learning to do yoga in my basement rec room with Rodney Yee.  He has a great beginning yoga dvd and seems to be very patient.  He probably wouldn’t be so patient if he were with me in person, but he seems quite happy with my poses when he says “good”,  although he does have to keep reminding me to have “soft eyes”.  I’ve actually learned a lot including:

  • I’m not very flexible
  • I don’t bend well
  • My hamstrings are very tight
  • Gazing over my index finger in warrior II while breathing through my broad chest and rooted through my back heel while having soft eyes is not as easy as it looks.  Blasted soft eyes!
  • I like the way I feel after 20 minutes of twisting, bending, and contorting
  • Learning to relax at the end of a workout is challenging and refreshing

So, I think I’ll keep up my morning and evening meetings with Rodney on the dvd.  My next challenge is the hour long power yoga.  I’m sure I’ll have a new list of things I’ve learned after that!

Meanwhile, the most important Rodney keeps building his grills and declining my offer to meet the other Rodney in the house.