Monday, September 30, 2013

Creamy Sweet Dumpling Squash & Pear Soup

 A Cooler Taste of Fall!

I just recently moved to the South. As a lifelong Hoosier, all of my Autumns have been spent enjoying cool weather, wool sweaters, hot spiced cider, bonfires, and warm bowls of chili. But, as I have quickly learned, Fall in the south is a little warmer. I've still been enjoying some of my favorite warm Fall dishes, but I wanted to come up with something a little cooler for those warmer South Carolina Fall days. 

That desire resulted in this recipe for a sweet & spicy chilled soup using some classic fall fruits, veggies, & seasonings and topped with a little bacon, of course! This soup has a lot of potential to be a versatile part of your kitchen this fall! Drizzle over your favorite Paleo sweet bread or add a few tablespoons of chia seeds and let it set overnight in the fridge for a delicious breakfast pudding or even add some tapioca starch and honey to make a creamy frosting!

Creamy Sweet Dumpling Squash & Pear Soup


1 sweet dumpling squash peeled & chopped
3 Bosc pears peeled & chopped
1 can full fat coconut milk
2-3 cans of water (depending on how thick you want the soup to be)
2 vanilla bean pods or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves

*Note: You can use cinnamon sticks, however put them in a tea bag. I learned this the hard way.


In a medium-large pot pour in milk, water, spices and vanilla. Mix well. Add chopped squash and pears. Heat covered over medium-low until simmering. Let simmer for 45 min, or longer (the longer it simmers the more vanilla flavor it will have). After it is done, if using cinnamon sticks, remove them from the pot. You can also remove the vanilla bean pods if you wish, but I did not. Pour mixture into a blender and puree--do not use a food processor, as it will splatter too much. I learned this the hard way. Have you noticed I have to say that a lot? Place in container and set in the fridge to chill. Soup will thicken as it chills.

Sweet Bacon & Pine Nut Topping


4 pieces of bacon
handful of pine nuts
1 tsp melted ghee (I prefer OMGhee's brand)
tsp coconut sugar


Crispy fry bacon. Toast pine nuts. You can do this on the stove top in a sauce pan over med-low heat or in a 375* oven until they reach a golden color (just a few minutes--keep an eye on them). Crumble bacon into a plastic zip bag, add pine nuts. Drizzle bacon and nuts with melted ghee. Close the bag and shake until everything is coated with ghee. Sprinkle in coconut sugar, close the bag and shake until everything is coated with sugar.

*Note: Coating the bacon and pine nuts with coconut sugar is optional.

Once the soup has chilled, stir it well, pour into 4 bowls, sprinkle with topping and ENJOY!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Crock Pot Beef Heart with Cauli Mash and Paleo Gravy

Offal for the win!!

There are some meals that just say "comfort" to me, and a delicious roast served with some mashed potatoes is definitely one of those meals! Roast is obviously Paleo, and definitely enjoyed in this house on a regular basis, but you can pack an even bigger super-food punch if you occasionally trade out that roast for a beef heart!

We've all read how offal (organ meat) should be a regular part of our diets (for more info read this post by The Paleo Mom). You need only read a few articles to know they're loaded with nutrients--more densely than regular muscle meat. Unfortunately, not everyone is crazy about offal. The first thing that comes to mind is liver. Liver is the most nutrient dense offal; however there are others that will still provide you much of the benefits of liver without the unique taste and texture. 

Beef heart is a great place to start with offal. Because it is also a muscle, beef heart has a mild roast-like flavor and texture. And, like other organ meats, it is more inexpensive than a traditional roast. Per pound, grass fed beef heart is cheaper than grain fed roast beef! Score one for Paleo on a budget!

This is an easy crock pot/slow cooker recipe for cooking beef heart. If you don't have a slow-cooker, I recommend checking out Kathryn at Primal Bliss Nutrition's recipe for oven-roasted beef heart. This was the recipe I followed the first time I made beef heart because I had no slow-cooker, and it was delicious! 

This is a recipe you can throw into the slow-cooker in the morning, and when you get home your house will smell delicious and dinner will be ready!

Crock Pot Beef Heart

1 grass fed beef heart (you may need to ask the butcher for one, as they are often kept in the back freezer)
3 onions peeled & cut in half
6 carrots cut in half (you can peel if you want, however I don't bother)
6-8 whole garlic cloves
1 cup of red wine (bone broth or water will work as well if you are doing a Whole 30 or wish to not use wine)
Salt & Pepper

*Note: I kept the seasonings simple as we were having gravy. When we aren't having gravy, I also add a couple of teaspoons of fresh chopped rosemary, thyme & parsley.

Place cut onions, carrots and whole garlic cloves in the bottom of the slow-cooker. Place beef heart on top of veggies. Some recipes tell you to trim the heart; however, I skip this. I find it's more work than it's worth, and I like keeping that fat on the heart for flavor. You can always cut around any difficult to chew portions after it's cooked. Pour wine or liquid of choice over the meat. Season with salt & pepper (and any other herbs you may be using). Place lid on slow-cooker, and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove heart from slow cooker and allow to set for 5-10 minutes. Slice into 1 inch pieces. 

Basic Cauli Mash

*Note: There are a million recipes online for this, this is the way I have always made it.

1-2 heads of cauliflower chopped
3 Tbs ghee (I prefer Omghee's brand available online)
1/8-1/4 cup of coconut/almond milk(or grass fed milk/cream if you eat dairy
Salt & pepper to taste

Steam your cauliflower. I have always placed it in a microwave safe covered dish to steam it; however, if you don't wish to use a microwave you can cook it in a covered pot on the stove top. It is important that however you cook your cauliflower, DO NOT ADD WATER! Cauliflower has a lot of water on it's own so more water is not necessary, and is often the culprit for runny cauli mash. After you've cooked the cauliflower, strain off any excess water & put it in the food processor. Add ghee, salt & pepper. Turn the processor on low or high (low will take a little longer). Slowly add milk  until you get the consistency you want. 

Paleo Gravy (serving for 2)

*Note: Gravy adds carbs, so if you are watching those, you can always skip the gravy. Meat will be moist on it's own, but you can always do like me and slather everything with OMGhee! 

1/2 cup almond milk or grass fed milk/cream if you eat dairy (you can use coconut milk, however the flavor palette is not as neutral)
1/2 cup of juices from cooked beef heart
1 tsp tapioca starch or arrowroot powder
Salt & pepper to taste

In a saucepan, mix tapioca starch with cold milk (do not mix starch with hot liquid as it will clump). Turn heat to med-low. Add beef heart juice and salt & pepper. Stir gravy constantly while heating as to avoid clumping. Cook until gravy reaches desired thickness and remove from heat. Keep in mind, gravy will thicken a bit as it cools.

Plate & enjoy!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Crispy Skin Roasted Duck with Spiced Cherry-Citrus Compote

Look out chicken, there's a new bird in town! 

I absolutely love roasted duck. It is by far my favorite poultry. It is rich, fatty, and loaded with flavor. Some of you might think it's nuts, but no bird has skin like a duck; and when it's perfectly crisped, there is no greater culinary pleasure--in my humble opinion. And, as a sweet bonus, a duck yields quite a bit of duck fat which is one of my favorite cooking fats--hello duck fat veggies!!!

When thinking of roast duck, most people think of Duck a l'Orange. I personally don't like orange; however, duck being such a rich meat, it is best when served with something to cut through that richness. Up until this recipe, I was eating duck simply herbed and roasted--which was delicious, but rich. That's when the idea for the Spiced Cherry-Citrus Compote was born (compote is just a fancy word for fruit cooked in syrup--of course, no syrup for us Paleolithic eaters).

This main dish has a very "Holiday-ish" feel to it (yeah, I just made that word up), so for those of you culinary rebels out there, it would be a great alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce, or Christmas ham!

This dish is a favorite in our home, and I'm sure it will be for your's as well!

Crispy Skinned Roast Duck

*Note: I have kept the seasonings very simple for this dish so as not to clash with the compote, however, duck is delicious with several types of herbs. Get creative!


1 4-5lb Duck
Salt & Pepper


Preheat the oven to 275*F. Remove all gizzards from the duck and save (duck gizzards are delicious cooked up with some onions). Drain excess juices from the duck and rinse. Place duck breast side up on a rack inside of a deep roasting pan (you need to elevate the duck so the fat drips to the bottom and is easier to drain for saving). Score the skin of the duck with a knife. This is just slicing into the skin a bit which allows the fat to be released. Then lightly salt and pepper the duck. Some recipes will tell you to cut off the excess fatty skin at the neck--NO WAY! That's my favorite part! Also, you do not need to add any fat or oil to the duck as it is fatty enough.

Place the duck in the oven uncovered. You will cook the duck for a total of 4hrs-4hrs 15min, depending on the size of the bird. You will need to flip the bird every hour, ending breast side up for the final 15 minutes of cooking (that's a total of 4 flips). My oven cooks things quickly, so I do my final flip at 3hrs & 45min and cook breast side up for the final 15, making a total of 4hrs. If you are nervous about under/over cooking, you can always use a meat thermometer. For whole birds, check the meat where the thigh meets the leg, as this is the last portion of the bird to cook. The bird should be at 160* when you remove it from the oven, as it will continue to cook up to 165* outside of the oven. When the duck is done, remove from the oven and let it set for 15 minutes uncovered before carving so it will retain the juices. Skin should be crispy--and irresistible--and the bottom of the pan should be full of fat!

Once the bird has rested, remove it from the pan. This makes pouring out the fat easier. Pour fat through a strainer into a container (I usually just use a coffee mug or tumbler glass). Store fat in the refrigerator. Duck fat is great for veggies, and for roasting/baking chicken.

Spiced Cherry-Citrus Compote


Approximately 2 cups of pitted cherries (I use frozen as they are more convenient, just thaw them out first for quicker cooking)
2 Tbs ghee (I prefer Omghee's brand available online)
Zest of 1 grapefruit
Juice of 1 grapefruit
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves

*Note: You can add a little raw honey if you wish, but I find it is unnecessary and compote will remain Whole 30 without it.

Put all ingredients into a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Mix them well, and allow to cook slowly until cherries break down, stirring frequently. You can speed up this process by turning up the heat a bit and smashing the cherries as they cook; however, you must watch it closely so as not to burn it. I recommend starting the sauce at the last hour the duck is cooking. This allows plenty of time to for the cherries to break down at the lower heat. Once the compote has thickened and the cherries have broken down, remove the pan from the heat.


I love serving this dish with cauliflower mash and a side of Kale, or green beans if you include those as part of your diet. You can place the compote in a small dish on the side, or if you're like me, you can drown your poor duck in it.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Classic Chili With Cilantro Lime Cauli Rice

"Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it..." 

~George Eliot


When a chill fills the air, warmth and spice fill the kitchen! Chili is an all time favorite cool weather meal, and this classic chili recipe will warm not only your body, but your soul! This makes a large pot, great for meal prep or football parties.

This recipe will yield a thicker chili, but if you wish to have a more soup-like consistency, simply add some water until you are satisfied and adjust the spices as necessary. Here I've served it over some cilantro lime cauli rice, but it's just as delicious all on it's own! This recipe is spicy. If you wish to make a milder chili, simply cut out the jalepenos and go easier on the spices.

Be sure and check those labels on your canned items--sugar & soy are sneaky little devils!


2lbs grass fed ground beef/bison
1 large + 1 small jar tomato purée
2 cans diced tomatoes (I love the fire roasted)
1 large onion chopped
2 bell peppers (color of choice, I use one red & one green)
2 jalapeños chopped (optional)
4 cloves crushed garlic
4 level Tbs chili powder
4 level Tbs ground cumin
4 Tbs fresh chopped cilantro (2 Tbs dried)
1 Tbs sea salt (more if you desire)

In a large pot brown meat in a little EVOO. Add peppers & onions to cook down a bit. Add garlic, tomatoes & purée. Add chili powder, cumin, cilantro & salt.

Cilantro Lime Cauli Rice:

*Note: There are many recipes for this online. This is how I have always made mine. 

1 head cauliflower

Hearty handful fresh cilantro
Juice 2 small limes

Chop cauliflower & put into food processor w/ cilantro, lime juice & some salt. Pulse until cauli is the texture of rice. Heat a pan w/ EVOO over med heat. Toss cauli in pan until warmed through & softened. This recipe yields approximately 2-3 servings of rice depending on the size of the cauliflower head.

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Story

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." 

~Maya Angelou

They say everyone has a story. This is mine. You may find it interesting, it may bore you to tears, but it’s mine, and if it can help even one person, I need to tell it. It’s not easy for me to expose myself like this. I am not a transparent person. Some may call me emotionally closed off, which I suppose is true. However, I feel like the story needs telling.

When we see weight loss transformation pictures in social media, or on commercials advertising weight loss products or gym memberships we don’t get the story. We only see the superficial changes that have taken place. We don’t hear about their struggles, their failures, their heartaches, their supporters, their discouragers, their enablers. We don’t hear about THE FIGHT. So, naturally, we feel a disconnect to these people. And while their transformations are incredible, and can give us a certain hope, they don’t help us with the inner-struggles we face. It’s easy to feel alone in our journey. That’s why I’m telling this story. I want you to connect with someone who has been where you are, and who has overcome the struggles to become who she wanted to be.

I used to say that I’ve always been “chubby,” but that’s not entirely true. My struggle with my appearance started at around 13, like it does with every girl, but it was not because I was “chubby.” I only THOUGHT I was chubby. I look back at pictures and realize that I actually had a rockin’ body at 13 & 14--it was just very mature, unlike all of my girlfriends. THAT was the issue. COMPARISON. Never mind that I had a body most 25 year old women would have envied, I didn’t have a body like other girls my age and I let that ruin my self-esteem. 

So it began. A constant struggle with my appearance. Being trim was never going to be easy for me--it’s in my genetics. I was destined to have to always work hard to look a certain way. Curves were inevitable and slow metabolism was cursed upon me at birth. To top it all off, I LOVE food. I always have, and I’ve never known when to stop. Combine those things, and you can guess what happened. I eventually got “chubby.” 

I was confident is so many ways, but when it came to how I looked, I hated myself. In our modern culture we are inundated with images of thin, fit women--even as a teenager, the teen magazines had unhealthily thin models--and as a result, this was the ideal of beauty I naturally developed, and I knew that I was never going to meet those standards. According to their ideals, I wasn’t “beautiful.”

I graduated high school, and my opinions of how I looked became even worse. I was dating my husband, and I had convinced myself that he didn’t like the way I looked. I was convinced that I was never going to be successful because of how I looked. I felt dowdy compared to all of the other college girls. I wanted to change, but I didn’t know how. I hated myself for eating so much, so I stopped eating so much. I had a slow progression towards eating disorder. I went from one extreme--food addiction--to another. I was disgusted by the thought of putting food in my mouth. I dropped to only eating about 500-1000 calories a day. Then I started purging. At first I would only purge after a binge, then I started purging every time I ate. I hated purging, but I saw it as my punishment for eating. I took dangerous (now illegal) diet pills--often more than the recommended dose. And I would do 1-2hrs of intense cardio 6 days a week.

I lost weight. Not surprising. Didn’t people think something was wrong? No. Not everyone who has an eating disorder looks like a skeleton--I looked fantastic. People would ask what I was doing, and I’d always answer “diet and exercise.” I was very successful at hiding my destructive behavior. As much as I hated myself for being overweight, I hated myself even more for the eating disorder. It made me miserable. I didn’t feel good--physically or emotionally. I would spend so much time in front of the mirror analyzing every part of my face & body, hating most of what I saw. It’s funny how hating your looks so much is really just another form of vanity--obsessing over yourself.

The emotions and struggles that accompany an eating disorder are hard to describe. It’s a feeling of power and self-control, all while feeling hopeless and out of control. You are never at peace with yourself. One moment you think to yourself, “I am never doing this again because I feel awful,” and then you need to do it again to feel better. It’s a horrible cycle.  The irony of it all is that your intention is to lose weight, yet when you do you never realize it because the image you see in the mirror is so skewed from reality. 

My husband and I got married, and I slowly let go of the eating disorder on my own. I did have relapses of binging and purging and severe calorie restriction, but I eventually I went back to the other extreme of food addiction. My last two years of college were stressful and I dealt with it by eating. I slowly put weight back on. I graduated college, and we decided to start a family.Enter pregnancy. 

I did not handle pregnancy well. I used it as an excuse to eat, and eat, and eat. I gained an absurd amount of weight. I had my first son, and managed to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but again I did it the wrong way. About 500 extremely low carb calories a day and a lot of cardio. I was starving myself. 

We decided to have another baby after only 8 months, and after all of that restriction I went crazy with food, using pregnancy as an excuse. My overeating and pregnancy weight gain greatly affected both of my pregnancies. I had preeclampsia with my first, and gestational diabetes with my second. I had no idea how to care for & treat my body. I was either destroying it by not eating enough, or destroying it by eating too much. You can’t properly care for something you hate. That was the root of my problem. I was destroying my body because I hated my body.

I now found myself the mother of a newborn and a 16 month old. How I looked was of little concern, until I would catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I hated the way I looked. I knew I didn’t want to go back to the eating disorder. As much as I hated being overweight, having kids made me not want to return to that destructive behavior. So I tried every kind of weight loss program out there, but I felt like nothing worked. Perhaps it’s because I gave up too soon, but all of the low fat calorie counting and long cardio sessions left me feeling miserable. So I would do it for a couple of months, lose about 10 lbs, and stop. 

Fall 2011 was my turning point. I had an “ah-ha” moment. I turned 29 earlier that summer and I decided I didn’t want to enter my 30’s feeling and looking the way I did. I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to feel good for the first time in my life. I was a mother now. I had two little boys who relied on me for everything. Two little boys who needed their mom to be healthy. Two little boys who were watching and mimicking everything I did. What behavior did I want them to imitate? 

I decided that, whether I lost any weight or not, I wanted to feel NORMAL. It wasn’t even about being thin anymore, although I was hopeful--I just wanted to feel heathy both physically and emotionally. 

I knew I had to get rid of any junk--anything man-made. I was always an advocate of organic foods and grass fed meats from humane farming practices, so I fully committed to that. I figured I couldn’t go wrong eating meat, vegetables, and fruits. I wasn’t going to restrict what kind or how much. I decided I was just going to practice portion control and drop the crazy calorie counters. I wasn’t going to weigh out foods--I wasn’t going to obsess anymore. I was just going to eat real, healthy foods.

I had NO IDEA that something called “Paleo” even existed. It wasn’t until I started doing research into fitness & health that I realized I was eating a Paleo diet. But it was working! After only 3 weeks, my energy soared. I felt like a new person. I was losing weight, I felt satisfied, and I was happy. I did more research and read more articles about Paleo, and seeing the science behind it convinced me even more that this was the RIGHT way to eat. 

The weight fell off, but that’s not what is most important about this story, I was becoming a new person! I started lifting weights and setting goals beyond just pounds lost. I began loving my body--not because I was losing weight but because I FELT incredible. This lifestyle truly helped me overcome the eating disorders. I really focused on intuitive eating--eating to live, not living to eat. I learned I didn’t have to obsess over calories or take diet pills or purge my food to lose weight. I just had to feed my body the right things. 

As of today, I’ve lost a total of 60lbs and dropped 5 jeans sizes--the RIGHT way. I still have goals in front of me, and I’m striving towards those everyday. I know that I will reach them with persistence and consistency. 

Do I still struggle? Absolutely. I can clearly remember my last binge--it was purely emotionally driven, and the moment I was done I had to fight an overwhelming desire to purge. I still have moments when I look in the mirror and point out everything I dislike about myself, but those moments are happening less and less. Am I the thinnest I’ve ever been? No. But I’m ok with that. I’m learning to love my body, even with all of its flaws. I may never wear a bikini. I will probably never have the body of a Crossfit competitor--but my body is amazing! It carried two babies for 9 months and brought them into this world. It can squat 195lbs and dead lift 205lbs. It can hike 4 miles to the top of a mountain, and climb back down again without a struggle. My body can do things I never thought it could. I’ve learned to appreciate my body for what it can accomplish--not how it looks. 

Most importantly, I’ve learned to stop comparing myself to other women. I’ve learned to ignore the unrealistic ideals of beauty perpetuated by media and Hollywood. Sometimes when I watch commercials or walk past a Victoria’s Secret ad, I still feel like that 13-year-old girl who hated herself because she didn’t look like the other girls. But I have to remind myself that just because I don’t look like her doesn’t mean I’m not beautiful. That’s why you won’t see me post images of other women’s bodies for fitness inspiration. Not because they aren’t amazing, but because we need to focus on being the best version of ourselves possible--not the best version of someone else.

That’s why I have started this blog. That’s why I promote this lifestyle through Instagram and Facebook. I hope to inspire people. To give people hope. To encourage you. I shared this story with you because I want you to know you are not alone and you can overcome whatever struggles you are facing. If you need help, get it. You absolutely can change your situation. My little “motto” is : Stay hungry. Stay healthy. Eat clean. Train Dirty. Now that you know my story, it makes sense. Don’t starve yourself. Don’t damage your body. Fuel it properly. Push it to it’s limits of strength, and find beauty and confidence in all that you can accomplish! 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bacon Almond Butter Cups

Bacon Almond Butter Cups (makes 6 full sized muffin cups)

One of my favorite treats is this delightful blend of sweet and salty! Bacon, almond butter, AND chocolate??? Yes, please! This recipe DOES NOT call for any pre-packaged chocolate chips, and is only sweetened with raw honey!!


Note: This recipe is a great base for any simple chocolate candy. I make candy bars out of this mixture & add all sorts of extras! 

3/4 cup Coconut Oil 
1/3 cup Raw Honey
6-8 Tbs Organic Cocao Powder (depending on richness of flavor you want)

Put coconut oil into a microwave safe bowl & just barely soften (approximately 15 secs in microwave)*. If you do not use a microwave, set bowl in a larger bowl of hot water and soften oil that way--keep an eye on it, you don’t want it too soft! Add raw honey & cocao powder to oil & wisk together. You should have a soft icing consistency. 

*If the coconut oil gets too melted, the honey will not blend with the oil. If it gets too melted allow it to cool to a thicker texture before adding honey

Almond Butter Bacon Filling

4-6 slices of crispy fried bacon
1/4 cup Natural Almond Butter (made with just almonds or almonds & salt)
1 tsp Raw Honey

Mix almond butter and honey. Crumble crispy bacon & mix into the butter

To Assemble:

In a silicone muffin pan (or a metal muffin tin with foil-lined cupcake liners) drop just shy of a Tbs of chocolate into the bottom of 6 muffin cups. Add a dollop of Almond Butter Filling in each cup. Top each cup with more chocolate. Place in the freezer to harden quickly. They will only need to sit in the freezer for about 15-20 min. After that, place in the refrigerator to keep. Keep in mind, as with any coconut oil-based no-bake treat, it will soften quickly once out of the refrigerator! And, don’t store it close to the refrigerator light as it puts off quite a bit of heat even when closed--I learned this the hard way!! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pulled Pork Apple Sliders with Bacon Ginger Balsamic Reduction

Pulled pork is absolutely one of my favorite Paleo meal-prep foods. A 4-5lb pastured pork shoulder/butt will yield a hearty portion of meat that our family of 4 eats for days, and pastured pork is loaded with healthy saturated fats and tons of flavor! The key to delicious pulled pork is in the rub. Since Paleo barbecue sauces can be expensive, and can be time consuming to make, using a rub adds lots of flavor with very little effort. As a stay at home homeschooling mom, convenience is KEY! These sliders are a delicious way to use your prepped meat for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Here I'm including both the directions for these sliders AND my recipe for pulled pork. I promise, this pulled pork recipe will leave you happy. The seasonings are flavorful, but neutral enough that the meat is still versatile. My husband swears it's better than anything he's every had at a barbecue restaurant--and he's been to a lot of barbecue joints!

Laura's Pulled Pork

4-5lb pastured pork shoulder/butt (depends on what your butcher likes to call it)
2 Tbs garlic powder
2 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs ground coriander
1/2 Tbs ground allspice
1/2 Tbs turmeric
1/2 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs sea salt
Dash or two of pepper

Preheat oven to 250*F. Mix all spices in a bowl (I have used only a Tbs for measuring so you only need one measuring spoon--less clean up & convenient). Place pork shoulder in a deep roasting pan. Spread dry rub over on pork, covering all sides with a thick coating. Cover with foil. Place in oven and let it cook low and slow for up to 8 hours. 5lbs usually takes a full 8. If you get two smaller cuts (i.e. 2, 2lb cuts) it will only take about 5-6 hrs. The meat should fall easily away from the bone, and the pan should be full of juices. You can also cook this in a crock-pot/slow-cooker on the low setting. Remove bone from meat. Shred meat by pulling it apart using two forks. Mix it in with the juice to allow the meat to soak up all that flavor!

Pulled Pork Apple Sliders with Bacon Ginger Balsamic Reduction (for 2 sliders)

3 slices of bacon
1/4 yellow onion sliced
1 liquid cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp ground ginger
2 granny smith apples (best apples for cooking) cored and sliced horizontally in medium thick discs
Ghee for cooking (I prefer Omghee's brand available online)
2 separate non stick pans

In one pan, over med-low heat cook up bacon to your preferred level of crispiness. When bacon is done, remove from the pan and leave the grease. Turn the heat down a bit & add the balsamic vinegar & ground ginger to the hot grease--it will splatter a bit so be careful! Mix well with a non-stick safe spatula or wooden spoon. Cook the liquid down until it has started to thicken (this is called reducing). Remove from heat. Keep in mind, the sauce will thicken a bit more once it starts to cool.

In the other pan, add some ghee over medium heat and caramelize the onions. When onions are done, remove from pan. Add a little more ghee to the pan if necessary. Place apple slices in the pan. Allow to cook on both sides until they reach your desired doneness. I like mine a bit al dente. Remove from pan when done. Add some leftover pulled pork to the pan to reheat (or you can reheat it in a mircrowave if you use one).

You can have both pans going at once if you're comfortable with that. If not, make bacon & sauce first so your onions, apples & pork are still warm when you assemble the sliders.


Place two apple slices on a plate. Top with pulled pork. Break bacon slices in half to make 6 smaller pieces. Place three pieces on each slider on top of pork. Add some onions & top with another apple slice. Drizzle sliders with Balsamic reduction & ENJOY--with a fork!

Note: You will have sauce left over. It will keep in the refrigerator. It will harden, but you can reheat it to soften it. I love using it over different veggies!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Guilt Free Coconut Lime Mugcake

There is no honey, maple, agave, or artificial sweetener in this delightful treat! 21 Day Sugar Detox approved with noted alterations!

Tropical breezes, fresh salty ocean air, poolside drinks, and bright rays of sunshine are what this guilt free, incredibly moist, coconut lime mugcake will have you feeling with each bite. And, it's so easy to make, you'll feel like you're on vacation!

Coconut Lime Mugcake

1 banana (use a green tipped banana if on the 21 Day Sugar Detox)
1 egg
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbs full fat canned coconut milk
1.5 Tbs coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs unsweetened shredded coconut (plus more for garnish)
2 Tbs unsweetened coconut cream for topping 
(place can of full fat coconut milk in fridge for at least 4 hours, this will separate cream to top of can)

In a microwave save mug (larger is better) mash the banana very well. Add egg, coconut milk, lime zest and juice and whisk well with banana. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Microwave for 2-2:30 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from mug, as cake is very moist.

Scoop out a couple of Tbs of coconut cream for topping into a bowl and whisk slightly with a fork or small whisk for a creamy topping!

Garnish with some unsweetened shredded coconut & a lime wedge. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lamb Meatballs with Spicy Pumpkin Sauce and Cauli Rice

Lamb Meatballs with Spicy Pumpkin Sauce and Cauli Rice 

Fall has arrived! Well, almost. So, now making its yearly feature in the culinary world is PUMPKIN. I, for one, adore Fall. It is my favorite season--the smells, the colors, the chill in the air...FOOTBALL! And, I love pumpkin. If you're like me, trying to keep ourselves Paleo & Whole 30 during the fall season can be difficult. Pumpkin spiced treats are all around us, tempting and titillating our senses. What to do? Make it savory! This recipe is perfect for the cooler months of fall and winter, and has that pumpkin spiced flavor we all love.

Pumpkin Sauce

1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups (regular measuring) chicken broth/stock
3 medium garlic cloves crushed
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger 
1/4 tsp red pepper
2 tsp fresh chopped cilantro (1tsp if using dried)
1tsp sea salt
3 dashes of pepper

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan on med-low heat. Let simmer as long as possible--the longer it simmers, the more the flavors will gel together. If you wish to add more spice, feel free to do so. Everyone's preferences are different.


1lb ground lamb
1/2 yellow onion chopped
1 egg
1tsp sea salt
2 dashes of pepper
1 Tbs Ghee for browning (I prefer Omghee's brand available online)

Preheat oven to 375* F. In a bowl mix ground lamb, onions, egg, and salt and pepper. Using your hands is best because it will ensure the egg gets evenly distributed throughout the meat. This is important as it is acting as the binder. Melt ghee in a pan (preferably stainless steel) over medium heat. Roll meat mixture into firm balls and brown on all sides in the pan. Place browned meatballs on a cookie sheet (I line mine with foil for easier clean up) and place in oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until browned through. Deglaze the hot pan with chicken stock to use for cauli rice.

Cauli Rice

1 large head cauliflower chopped
salt & pepper

Place chopped cauliflower in food processor. Pulse until cauliflower reaches a rice-like consistency. Place all the "rice" in the pan you deglazed from the meatballs. Add some salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until "rice" is cooked, but not too soft.


Place a 1 cup portion of rice onto your plate. Put 3-5 meatballs over the rice & cover with the sauce. Add some fresh cilantro for garnish and ENJOY!