Sunday, April 10, 2016

New Home for my Blog

I am moving my blog from Blogger to Wordpress so you will need to use a new url for future posts.  So far I have been unable to move all my posts that I had here on Blogger so I will provide a link back to here from my new home.  Hope you will continue to follow my blog.  My new address is .

Friday, March 25, 2016

Our Reverse Sear Experiment

My sweet husband knows how much I love to experiment and "play" with food.  He discovered some YouTube videos that talked about a process called Reverse Sear. With this process you use low heat to cook your meat and then finish it off with a sear instead of the other way around.  Of course I got excited about it as soon as he shared it with me.  Off we went to our local meat market to buy a steak.  I found a boneless ribeye with about a one inch thickness.  We brought it home and I prepared a small sheet pan with foil and a wire rack.  I then rubbed the steak with a little avocado oil and sprinkled it with Butt Rub.

This also gave me a chance to try out my new iGrill thermometer (it worked great, by the way).

I set the oven to 250℉, inserted the probe into the center of the steak, and set the end temperature on the Thermometer to 130℉ (we like our steak medium rare).  Once the target temperature was reached I removed the pan from the oven and let the meat rest for 10 minutes.  At this point, the steak looked a bit anemic but our final step was to sear.

I put a small amount of coconut oil into a large cast iron skillet and heated it until it was piping hot.  I added the steak and seared each side until it released from the pan.  Since it had already rested, I served it immediately.

It turned out both beautiful and delicious!  Notice that the center is evenly cooked with a uniform color from top to bottom.  The original method usually produces layers from brown to red and back again. Also, there was no loss of juices like you would typically see.

In addition to our fantastic steak, a friend had given me some asparagus from her garden.  Actually I need to call her my BFF because I LOVE asparagus (Thanks, Don Ann)!  I sautéed them in the same iron skillet before cooking the steaks.   Add a sweet potato and you have a colorful plate.

Now, stop everything!!! Run to the store and get a nice piece of grass-fed meat to try this on.  You won't be sorry!

Happy Eating!

Chef Nana

Thursday, March 10, 2016

My Sweet Tooth

I've had a very unPaleo wish for sweets lately so it was a great opportunity to try some recipes from a new book I recently purchased, Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind, by Vanessa Barajas.

Brownies are the preferred guilty pleasure at our house and I am constantly searching for the perfect brownie.  This book has one of the best brownie recipes ever!  I knew it was a winner when my adult son came for a visit and attacked the brownies with gusto and declared that they reminded him of the ones I used to make when he was a kid.  The kicker was that he never even guessed that they were Paleo, but "Shhh", don't tell him.  Anyway, Vanessa named them Better than Box Brownies and they are found on page 110 of her book.  The recipe isn't on her website, but that alone is worth the price of the book.

Since we were still on a chocolate binge, my next project involved trying her Flourless Double Chocolate Chip Cookies from page 298.  My first effort was an epic fail that resulted in very heavy cookies.  We actually threw them away.  I still felt like they had potential so I sent an e-mail to Vanessa and asked her for suggestions.  She was unbelievably responsive and offered some suggestions that I took to heart on my second attempt.  This time they turned out very chocolatey, dense and delicious.  I was so impressed with how user-friendly she was.  The problem was with the chef and choice of chocolate and not the recipe.  This one is also not on her website but I would definitely encourage you to buy her book.  She has a number of recipes on the web and has a nice index of recipes.  After I work my way through her book, I'll have to try them.  I'm sure they'll be equally tasty.

I was still on a mission to get a different Paleo chocolate cookie experience so I decided to work on creating what I was looking for.  This, of course, required much recipe testing and trial and error so sadly (lol) we had to taste a lot of cookies.  I'm going to share what I finally came up with and hope you enjoy it too.

Happy Eating!!!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Oh What a Beautiful Morning!!!

Once again I've been "off the grid" for a while.  I've completed 30+ days of my Whole 30 and will continue to eat mostly W30 compliant. I plan to occasionally allow some non-compliant, but Paleo, foods for the sake of staying with this long term.  We typically take one or two extended trips to Europe each year and one of my biggest challenges is enjoying all the food experience without going totally away from the things that I know make me feel my best.  While I've been incommunicado,  I've been saving material for this and future posts.

Paleo/W30 Facebook groups often include questions regarding what to eat for breakfast.  I happen to love eggs (particularly the beautiful farm eggs I've been buying from a local man), but many people don't share my feelings about eggs.

I love the varying colors of the farm eggs and the beautiful orange yolks.

This post is intended to give you some ideas about what a Paleo/W30 breakfast can be.  Looking back through my pictures, it is hard to find one of my breakfasts without eggs but I frequently just eat whatever leftovers I have.  As long as it includes enough protein I don't add eggs.  Here are a few I've eaten recently.

Egg roll in a bowl
Sautéd Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes with Curry Sauce (from
another dish) and two steamed eggs

Leftover Beef Stew

Sauerkraut, Tomatoes, Roast Beef
Eating Paleo breakfasts is simply a matter of changing your preconceived ideas about what breakfast food is.  Use your imagination.  The sky is the limit.  Anything goes.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Soup Time

With the weather getting cooler, one of my favorite food times of the year is arriving, too.  I love to make soups!  They are forgiving, comforting, filling and fun to put together.  The hubs and I went to a wonderful restaurant, Bonnell's Fine Texas Cuisine, in Fort Worth last Saturday and enjoyed a spicy tomato soup.  I decided to make a similar one that would also be Paleo.

I did a little research and found two that sounded like they could be what I was looking for with a little bit of adapting...this one from Nom Nom Paleo and another from Everyday Paleo.  I'll make it a little spicier next time (we are Texans after all) but I was pretty pleased with the results.  I'm hoping you might enjoy it, too, so here's the recipe.

Nana's Cream of Tomato Soup

  • 28 ounce can of Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted diced tomatoes 
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T. fresh minced thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 roasted jalapeño pepper, peeled, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 8.5 ounce Aroy-D coconut milk
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Sauté the onion in the melted coconut oil over medium heat until softened.

Add the minced garlic, thyme and jalapeño and stir for 30 seconds until it is fragrant.

Dump the whole can of tomatoes, juice and all, into a high speed blender (such as a Vitamix) and blend on high until it is smooth. Pour half of the pureed tomatoes into a medium saucepan and add the softened aromatics to the remaining tomato puree in the Vitamix.

Next, blend the tomato puree and aromatics on high until the mixture is smooth, and then pour the contents of the blender into the saucepan, followed by the chicken broth and coconut milk. Turn the heat up to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil, and then, lower the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

This could form the basis for so many other soup ideas.  You'll probably see more along this line later.  In the meantime enjoy this soup on the cold winter nights that are ahead of us.

Until the next time...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Whole 30, Week 1

I can't believe it's been almost three years since my last post.  A lot has happened in my life since then.  My husband retired, we sold a house, moved and then had a full year of high stress family events (our grandson was hit by a car, I lost my sister, my BIL had a serious accident in another state, etc.) to deal with.  All is good now, but I will not go back to my baking with the Tuesdays with Dorie group.  I really enjoyed it at the time but have since embarked on a Paleo lifestyle for numerous health reasons.  I started this journey about a year ago but have not been as faithful to it as I need to be in order to get the healthy results I'm looking for.  That being said, I have recommitted to Paleo as of March 1st and am planning to continue my little blog with a new direction.

On Sunday, March 1st, I started doing a new 30 days of extremely clean eating.  I am following Whole30 which is based on the book It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.  The point is to get you out of some unhealthy habits.  The re-introduction of foods at the end is designed to help you identify any foods that might be causing problems for you.  There are many things you cannot have during the 30 days but there are so many amazing foods that you CAN have.  I am planning to post during my Whole30 and after regarding some of the delicious things that are possible on Whole30/Paleo, links to some other Paleo bloggers, recipe books, observations, and on occasion, a few family things.

My bookshelf has grown and I'm keeping my Paleo books right in the kitchen where they will be handy.

I follow several Facebook and Instagram Paleo links and I kept reading about the Instant Pot so I decided to order one and learn how to use it.  I've never used a pressure cooker and, quite frankly, I was pretty intimidated to try. It came yesterday and, after using it, I feel like it is easy and safe. We are having some unusually late wintry weather for Texas and woke up this morning to this:


So last night was a great night for soup and a great night to try out my new Instant Pot. 

One of the Paleo recipe gurus that I follow is Danielle Walker, author of Against all Grain and Meals Made Simple. On her blog she has a delicious recipe for Pressure Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup.  I made a few changes as I almost always will and I neglected to take a picture of my soup this time, but that just means you should mosey on over to her posting and take a peek. I promise I'll do better in the future though.  This soup is really tasty and flexible to your choice of vegetables.  I made the following changes:
  • I replaced the sweet potatoes with three parsnips,
  • added a package of frozen green beans and about a half cup of Hatch chilis from my freezer,
  • used 28 ounces of tomatoes, and
  • 4 cups of turkey stock (because that is what I had and because of the increased fluid from the tomatoes)
It made a great soup with plenty left for freezing for a rainy (or snowy) day.  It was just a bit mild for our Texas tastes so I will add a little more zip to it next time.

I'm glad to be back in the blogging world and looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

TWD - Hungarian Shortbread

A beautiful treat perfect for a Spring afternoon with a cup of tea.
I've been really busy in the kitchen lately developing a chicken salad recipe to use for a special young woman's wedding shower and making homemade ice cream with all the toppings for an extended family gathering, both of which you can read about later, so Tuesday surprised me again.

Take a deep breath!  Relax.  You can do it.  And I did...

As we continue our Tuesdays with Dorie adventure our project for today is Hungarian Shortbread found on page 327 of the book or on the blogs of our hostesses Lynette of 1smallkitchen and Cher of The not so exciting adventures of a dabbler….  This was a relatively easy recipe and it was made even easier because my procrastination allowed me to benefit from the tips of the early starters (I'll share those in a bit later).

This recipe had two parts, both of which could be made the day before (or earlier) if desired.  The first part was the rhubarb filling.  I was pretty excited about this because I haven't had much experience with rhubarb.
You simply cut it up...
add sugar, water and a vanilla bean

and simmer until it all "melts".  Remove the vanilla bean and you have your rhubarb jam.

The second part is a shortbread dough.  It is put together in the typical way

with the standard ingredients,

divided into two parts,

and shaped into logs and put in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

The special "tricks" that I learned by waiting until a lot of the others in the group had already tried the recipe kick in at the next step.

Line the pan with parchment
(I only made a half recipe)
Use a food processor to grate the dough
(grating the dough was a new technique
to me)

Add the grated dough to the pan.
Push into the corners and lightly pat
into place.  Pre-bake the bottom layer for
about 10 minutes so it won't be soggy.
Spread the pretty red rhubarb jam onto
the bottom layer then add the second half
of the shortbread spreading as before.  Bake
for about 30 minutes more.
Dust heavily with powdered sugar.
Let cool and you are ready to enjoy.

Remove your lightly browned dessert.

This was an interesting and delicious recipe.  I've made shortbread before but never like this.  It will certainly be one that I will repeat with possible variations in the filling.  The leftover rhubarb jam that I made is delicious on toast.  Hope you enjoyed my experience enough to get out the utensils and get busy baking!!!