Monday, January 31, 2011

Paleo Carne Asada

While not as tender as skirt steak, this Paleo version of Carne Asada is a suitable substitude with less fat.

1 jalapeno pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds flank steak, pounded thin with meat tenderizing tool

Combine pepper, cumin, cilantro, lime juice and oil in a small container.
Put steak in large flat dish and pour mixture evenly over top
Marinate for at least two hours (we marinated overnight)
Preheat ovin to broil or ignite grill
Boril or grill for 10 min, turning at halfway point
Remove from heat and tent with foil for 5 minutes

The Paleo Diet Cookbook: More than 150 recipes for Paleo Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Beverages

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Food Trends for the New Year

Pretty excited to read this food trends article (I was doing some research at work and came across this). We made the top of the list!

January 10, 2011
Food trends for the new year, from coconut water to bacon

By Allen Pierleoni

Gluten-free: "Expect to see more corn- and rice-based bread, cereal and pasta options, as well as other foods with 'gluten-free' on their labels."

Ethnic street food: Street food-inspired dishes such as kebabs, taquitos and tempura top the National Restaurant Association's 'What's Hot in 2011' chefs' survey for upcoming appetizer trends."

Thai iced tea: "The orange-colored beverage made with sweetened condensed milk is expected on more menus."

Tapas: "Look for a surge in tapas, small-plate meals and half-portions, predicts the National Restaurant Association's annual survey."

Artisan cheeses and bacon: "Look for (high-end) house-made bacon and handcrafted cheeses to start appearing in stores."

Seeds: "From flaxseed to chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, these morsels of monounsaturated fats are going to take a more prominent place on restaurant menus and supermarket shelves."

Grab-and-go snacks: "A growing number of fast-food chains, coffee shops and convenience stores are making over their grab-and-go selections."

Heirloom foods: "Heirloom crops refer to foods that were found in our early history of eating, and they're making a big comeback. Look for heirloom varieties of grains such as red rice, black rice, kamut and spelt in supermarkets."

Coconut water: "It's the health drink of the moment -- the liquid inside immature coconuts."

Hyper-local foods: "Thanks in part to Michelle Obama's White House vegetable garden, growing your own food is suddenly 'in' and going hyper-local is all the rage. This year, people will want to know where their meals are coming from, down to the very farm."

Macarons: "Not to be confused with macaroons (a small coconut-based cookie), macarons (a meringue sandwich cookie) have already been tapped as the heir apparent to the designer cupcake craze."

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

While this wasn't our book club book, I'd highly recommend reading "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett.  The story takes place in post-Civil War Jackson, Mississippi.  I loved the character development and that the story is told from the viewpoint of multiple heroines, both white and black.  It's discouraging to think that such segregation occured just a few short years ago, but encouraging to think that the future can only get better.

The author brings to life the love between white and black women who live side by side but never truly know each other. 

The Help

Paleo Turkey Burgers

These turkey burgers are full of flavor and a great dinner or reheated as lunch the next day.  If you've already been keeping gluten-free, you won't really miss the bun.

2 lbs lean ground turkey breast
1 egg
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small challot, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grownd black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 medium beefsteak tomato, sliced
1/2 small red onion, sliced into four 1/4-inch slices
1 small head butter lettuce

Preheat oven to broil or ignite grill
Combine turkey, egg, oil, challot and garlic with your hands
Shape into siz patties
Season with pepper and oregano
Broil patties for five minutes on each side
Serve topped with tomato and onion atop lettuce

The Paleo Diet Cookbook: More than 150 recipes for Paleo Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Beverages

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Easy Cinnamon Applesauce

Homemade apple sauce is delicious and fresh. Plus, you know it's much healther than the pre-packed versions that sit on the grocery shelves for months.  This is a super-easy recipe.

2 Cinnamon Sticks
4 Large Golden Delicious Apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Fill 4-quart stockpot with 1 inch of water and insert a steamer basket.
2) Place cinnamon sticks in basket and bring water to boil.
3) Add apples and cook for 20 min until soft.
4) Cool for 5 min and place in food processer. Puree until smooth.
5) Stir in vanilla and chill for 30 min before serving.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Defloured, gluten-free bakery

Thanks to Christina Kline for sharing this bakery!

Defloured Bakery
Currently no 'walk-in' bakery, but are carried at Swim Cafe and Lulu's Dim Sum

1357 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
T 312.492.8600
Lulu's Dim Sum
804 Davis

Evanston, IL 60201
Open Monday-Saturday 11:30-9:30
Sunday 11:30-9:00
847 869-4343

Logan Square Kitchen Valentine’s Pastry Market: February 12th-13th, 2010: defloured will be at the Logan Square Kitchen Valentine’s Market from 10am–3pm on Sunday, February 13th selling our assorted holiday treats! Come say hello with your mouth full sampling our goodies and buy your somebody special something special… or just for yourself (wink!).

Cauliflower Rice

Rice from cauliflower? No way! That's what we thought at least...

But this really looks like rice and has very little taste. It's great to serve with curries and stews like the Moroccan Chicken. Plus, it's super easy!

1 head of cauliflower

Cut cauliflower into florets. 
Steam for 5 minutes.
Run florets through a food processor using the grating blade, or manually grate.
Serve with your favorite curry or stew.

The Primal Blueprint Cookbook: Primal, Low Carb, Paleo, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free

Creamy Coconut Curry with Chicken

We made the coconut curry from the Paleo Diet Cookbook but added some chicken for additional protein.  You can serve this with cauliflour rice or spaghetti squash if you're on the paleo diet, or over brown rice.

Garam masala spice was actually quite easy to find in the spice section. McCormick makes a premium version.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1-in piece fresh ginger root
1teaspoon salt-free garam masala spice blend
8 oz fresh, whole coconut milk
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast

Heat oil in a skillet over medium flame.
Add onion and tomato, cook for 5 minutes.
Stir in ginger and garlic. Continue cooking for 1 minute.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1- minutes while stirring occasionally.
Add garam masala and continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool for 10 min.
While the mixture is cooking, pound chicken breasts flat with a meat tenderizer.
Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes.
Pour into blender and puree until smooth.
Pour mixture into sauce pan and add coconut milk.
Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Modified from
The Paleo Diet Cookbook: More than 150 recipes for Paleo Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Beverages

Moroccan Chicken

This Moroccan stew is full of flavors and feels light yet fills you up. The long list of ingredients may put you off, but it's worth searching through your cupboard or picking up a few extra spices to make this dish.  Luckily, we had all of the spices on hand!  Ernie said this was the best thing we've made to date.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1 lemon thinly sliced
1 lemon juiced
2 cups water

Combine spices in a small bowl and mix, set aside
Pound chicken breasts flat with meat tenderizing tool. Cut into 1" cubes.
Saute onion, garlic and ginger in oil until soft and slightly browned
Add spices and saute a minute more
Add tomatoes, water, cilantro and sliced lemon. Simmer with a lid for 20 minutes.
Add chicken, simmer with a lid for 10 more minutes until chicken is cooked throughout
Serve over cauliflower rice

Recipe modified from
The Primal Blueprint Cookbook: Primal, Low Carb, Paleo, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free
You have to use your own judgement when using this book on the Paleo diet. Many recipes call for butter, chocolate, and other milk products. It also includes legumes like green beans which are not included in the Paleo list of acceptable foods.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bison Stuffed Bell Peppers

This is an alternate version of stuffed peppers sans bread crumbs, ketchup and cheese.  I know, it don't sound as exciting without all those extras. You won't be dissappointed with these extremely juicy stuffed peppers.

Prep: 10-15 min
Cook: 1 hour

4 Bell Peppers
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground bison
1 omega 3 egg
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Garlic Powder to taste (we added 1/4 tsp)
Cayenne pepper to taste (we added 1/4 tsp)

Preheat oven to 350
Cut tops from peppers and remove seeds
Rub outer surface of each pepper with oil
Place peppers, cut sides up, in an oiled baking dish
Combine bison and egg and use your hands to mix well.
Add scallion and mix again.
Sprinkle with garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
Stuff peppers with meat mixture
Cover with aluminum and bake for one hour
Remove from oven and cool for five minutes before serving

Serves 4.

The Paleo Diet Cookbook: More than 150 recipes for Paleo Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Beverages

Spaghetti Squash

We tried spaghetti squash for the first time last week. It's very easy to make and a pretty good substitute for traditional pasta.  The half on the top of the picture below has not been pulled apart.  The bottom half has been shredded with a fork into 'noodles.'

1 medium spaghetti squash

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees
Halve spaghetti squash lenghtwise.
Remove and discard seeds
Fill a baking dish with 1 inch of water. Place both squash halves, cut side down, into the pan.
Bake for 40-50 minutes. Squash is done with skin is easily pierced with a fork.
Remove squash from pan and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Using a fork, scrape out the strands of squash which now looks like spaghetti.

Top with your favorite sauces!

The Paleo Diet Cookbook: More than 150 recipes for Paleo Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Beverages

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2011 New Year's Resolutions

My second crack at New Year’s Resolutions as last year was my first time with formal resolutions.

1. Goal: Get Skinny

Strategy: Read up on the aggressive plan. So far… it’s going OK. I’ll update at least once a month on my progress.

Measure: Achieve goal by Wedding Date! My goal weight is 115lbs & 18% Body Fat, with a stretch goal of 105-110 lbs & 15% Body Fat.

2. Goal: Develop a Personal Financial Plan

Strategy: Identify an optimal way to save for short term, mid-term and long-term. Right now, we’re pretty good at short- and long-term. It’s that middle where we have major opportunity.

Measure: Establish Financial Plan and review progress every 6 months.

3. Goal: Create at least One New Business Plan

Strategy: Fully engage in “Social Entrepreneurship”, the Degree Enhancement Program course I’m taking at Kellogg. Apply it to writing a business model that creates both social and economic value.

Measure: One completed business plan (even with financials!) by end of 2011.

4. Goal: Get Promoted

Strategy: Keep rockin’ on at work, growing the business with new distribution and new product innovation in 2011.
Measure: Promotion hopefully Q1 of 2011.

5. Goal: Double Allie LLC Gross Revenue

Strategy: Enlist network of connections to find potential clients (brides), Attend Bridal Expo, Finish Website.

Measure: Two times the client base compared to 2010.

6. Goal: Get Married & Host the greatest party ever!

Strategy: Hopefully this is easy… the big vendors are booked. Now it’s just minding the wedding details and keeping Ernie happy by being the best fiancĂ© ever!

Measure: Married on November 5, 2011

Book Club #5

March's Book Club Book... changing the pace a bit with a memoir rather than a fictional novel.  Just ordered mine from Amazon!

A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana

Book Club #4

Love Story is February's book. It was a REALLY short read as I finished it on the elliptical machine within an hour.  Apparently, the sequal Oliver's Story

This light novel would be good for a quick lay-over, or a long wait at the doctor's office. Nothing too substantial in here and I wish for more character and relationship development. 

Love Story

Book Club #3

I apparently missed posting about January's Book which is a short-sight on my part because it was actually quite an intriguing book.

Having grown up in a Jewish community, I really only learned about WWII from a very specific point of view. We even watched Schindler's List in an 8th grade assembly, and then visited the Holocaust Museum in DC shortly after. 

This book, Those Who Save Us, is written from the point of view of a German civilian and brings to light what it was like to live as a German woman in Bavaria during this horrific time. 

You'll learn a lot, wonder even more and maybe even shed a tear reading this one.

Those Who Save Us

Thursday, January 6, 2011

5@5 Chef Daniel Bortnick on 5 Gluten Free Ingredients

Thanks to Abby A for sharing this article with me!

5@5 - Chef Daniel Bortnick

You know the mantra by now: "A New Year, a new you." It's that time of year where people toss around these so-called "resolutions" vowing to eat healthier, detach themselves from the caffeine drip, or in our case, eat more of the good stuff.

For those traveling down the healthier route, many are opting to cut back on or even eliminate gluten - the group of natural proteins found in all forms of wheat and wheat flour - from their diet.

Whether you're one of the 1 in 133 Americans that is affected by a gluten intolerance, or just deciding to have a go at gluten-free, Chef Daniel Bortnick of Firefly restaurant has got the goods - and they're flourless.

Gluten-Free Ingredients to Cook With in the New Year: Daniel Bortnick

1. Vegetables

"You can’t beat the range of flavors and textures that you can get simply from using a variety of vegetables and cooking techniques. For optimal flavor, I only use what’s in season and love nutrient-rich options like arugula and spinach for salads, squash and pumpkin for soups and pastas, and carrots and beans for healthier sides."

2. Quinoa

"One of the healthiest 'grains,' quinoa is delicious and can be used in many different ways. Quinoa cooks up as simple as rice and has a texture similar to couscous. At the moment, we serve green onion and fennel quinoa with pan-roasted fish at the restaurant. It can be added to salads for more texture and flavor, and quinoa flour is a great gluten-free substitute for baked goods."

3. Beans

"A great way to replace the starchy component of a meal with a healthy alternative. Not only are they gluten-free, but they are a great vegetarian source for protein. I love them in salads and soups (read: chili) and enjoy using your non-garden variety types like scarlet runner beans, French beans and pole varieties."

4. Eggs

"Eggs can be used to give stability, thicken and also set up baked goods like flourless chocolate cake. They are a really versatile ingredient: great for breakfast, lunch and dinner, starters, mains and desserts. The deviled eggs at Firefly are one of our most popular dishes - we spice them up with smoked paprika, caper powder and garlic chips. Who said gluten-free dishes can’t have great flavor?"

5. Nuts and seeds

"A healthy and crunchy substitution in place of croutons and breadcrumbs. Also great in salads, soups, and baked goods (with quinoa flour of course). A few of my go-to favorites include smoked almonds, pistachios, and sesame and pumpkin seeds, which are also great for making brittles for gluten-free desserts."

Original article at:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Review of 2010 Goals

This blog is a year old! How fun!

Let us review the outcome on my 2010 Goals.  In summary, I achieved 4 of 6 goals.  Not great, but not too shabby.

1. Goal: Get a new Job.  ACHIEVED! I originally didn't share this back in Jan 2010 because I wasn't sure if anyone at my former place of employment would read my blog. The goal was to get a new job by July 2010 and  I started in my new job on July 7, 2010.  I might also add that I achieved this with flying colors - I had several offers in hand and got to walk away from the old place with nothing but a tough life experience and several very close friends (whom I wouldn't trade in for the world).

2. Goal: Save Money. ACHIEVED!  While I didn't make more meals at home, or travel less, I did save my bonuses and tax return which helped me achieve my goal of 10% of income, (I actually saved 21% of my gross income and 31% of my take-home income).  Much of the savings will be spent on our upcoming wedding.

3. Goal: Get SkinnyFAIL! If you read my depressing post, you will see that I sorely failed at this one.  In fact, I entered into 2010 at 122.8lbs... with the goal to maintain a goal weight of 118 by April 1st.  I did get down to 118 by March, but I didn't maintain it at all and went on a steady incline due to the major stress of switching jobs.  I rang in 2011 at 123.4lbs and probably with more body fat than before. A new weight goal will definitely appear in 2011's goals.

4. Goal: Live Gluten Free. ACHIEVED!  I have several new gluten-free recipe books which we're working our way through. I just purchased some new Paleo diet books that I'll share recipes that we enjoyed!

5. Goal: Act and Model more. FAIL!  Due to the new job, and the excess weight, I did not even try to get more gigs.  I'm kind of done with this anyway.... but everytime I run into a former acting classmate, they always encourage me to get back into it. 

6. Goal: Graduate Business School. ACHIEVED! An official 2010 Graduate of the Kellogg School of Management!  I just signed up for another class today.

Check back for my 2011 goals...