Two moms. Five daughters. Opposite ends of the globe.

Two moms. Five daughters. A friendship that spans opposite ends of the globe.

We have been best friends for ages with a shared love for good food. A desire of good health for ourselves and our families have lead us to exploring the paleo lifestyle together. Enjoy our adventure!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Veggie Pork Soup

Nothing warms me up in winter like a delicious soup. And with busy evenings full of cross country skiing, girl scouts, and swimming nothing beats walking in the door and having a hot meal ready to eat. My idea for this soup came from a recipe I saw for sage pork chops. The seasonings go well with the ground pork and vegetables and taste even better the next day. Make extra for packed lunches; my girls ate it all week!

Serves 4

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 cup cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup roasted winter squash or sweet potato, cubed
  • 4-6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Fry ground pork until cooked through.
  3. Add the meat and all remaining ingredients to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Serve hot.

Monday, November 19, 2012

French Dijon Chicken and Green Beans

Since learning of the paleo lifestyle, I have been a fan of Melissa Joulwan at I am an even bigger fan since getting my hands on her cookbook, Well Fed. She presents two ideas in her book that have been just as valuable to me as the recipes themselves. First, she talks about a weekly cookup: spending time every weekend preparing food for the week. This has become a Sunday morning ritual in my house. Each of us picks out a dinner recipe to make through the week, set a timer, and spend the next hour laughing and having fun in the kitchen. The girls are responsible for cutting veggies for packed lunches and the dinner recipes we selected while I roast and fry up meats and prep some of the more complicated items. Her second concept is then using these prepped meats and vegetables to create super quick meals by simply heating and adding seasoning or a sauce.

I'd love to take credit for this creamy delicious dish, but Melissa's "Hot Plate" ideas inspired my 10-year old Sunshine to create this recipe all on her own.

Serves 3

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 3 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cups fresh green beans, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup baby tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup spicy dijon mustard (check ingredients to ensure it's paleo-friendly)
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir chicken into the hot oil. If chicken is pre-cooked, continue to the next step. Otherwise, stir fry chicken until cooked through.
  3. Add green beans, carrots, and tomatoes. Fry 3-5 minutes. 
  4. While veggies are cooking, mix remaining ingredients together to make a sauce.
  5. Pour sauce over chicken and veggies. Mix well.
  6. Cook until vegetables reach a desired softness. (We prefer them still crunchy!)
  7. Serve immediately.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Baked Smoothie

I recently followed an interesting online conversation regarding the tagging of recipes as Whole30. In many cases, recipes that contain non-compliant ingredients were incorrectly tagged as Whole30. Duh... they shouldn't be. However, the more controversial recipes were those than contained all compliant ingredients but did not necessarily meet the intent of the Whole30 program.

This is where my interest in the conversation suddenly increased.

When my daughters and I complete a Whole30, our intent is to spend 30 days ridding our bodies of toxins and eating the best we can by eliminating all the "illegal" foods prohibited during this program. My kids are 9 and 10. The promise of better health is not quite good enough motivation for them to want to eat this way. So my challenge, as mom and head chef of our household, is to entice them so that they want to adhere. Show them that I can take some of their old favorite dishes and turn them into Whole30 compliant dishes and usually, make them taste even better than before. I'm not talking paleo-ized mac-n-cheese and fried chicken. But do I look at recipes I've been making for years and seriously consider how I can improve them in a way that makes them healthy to eat? Heck yeah! And I don't feel I'm straying from the spirit of Whole30 by doing so.

So I apologize if I'm one of "them"... one of the people who has been tagging recipes as Whole30 that don't meet the intent of the program. I thought I've always made good judgement of what is or isn't. But maybe my perception of the program differs from what it is meant to be. I'm sorry and I will try to be more conservative in the future.

Like now... (tempted as I am, I will forego the Whole30 tag)

My daughter came home from school one day last week and proudly relayed to me how she turned down cupcakes being passed out for a friend's birthday. This is my sweet-tooth kid and I know the willpower it took for her to say no. A LOT. And so when she ended that story by asking if we could make a treat over the weekend, I gladly agreed.

I've seen many "cake in a cup" recipes and at some point realized they look suspiciously similar to our favorite PB Cup Smoothie. So here's my take on it... They're delicious and contain only Whole30 compliant ingredients.

Makes 9 muffins

  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond butter
  • 2-3 T 100% pure cocoa powder

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth.
  3. Grease cupcake pan or fill with liners.
  4. Divide batter evenly to make 9 cupcakes. Tins should be about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

French Country Curry

I think I first tasted curry in college, when my friend's French mother made us a deliciously rich and sweet and spicy gravy served over chicken and mashed potatoes. I loved the flavor from the moment it hit my tongue and soon after searched all my cookbooks (a very limited collection at the time) looking for something similar I could replicate. Finding nothing among my mostly Betty Crocker and Good Housekeeping recipes, I devised my own curry gravy of curry powder, chicken broth, cream, and honey. It was warming and comforting and tasted divine; my foray into a twenty year (and counting) love of curries. This recipe is a recent experiment inspired by that first curry fed to me by Mrs. O. and has quickly become our "new favorite" curry.


Serves 4-6

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 pound paleo-friendly smoked sausage, sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Japanese eggplant, cut in half length-wise and thickly sliced
  • 1 zucchini or yellow squash, cut in half length-wise and thickly sliced
  • 1 cup green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2-4 T Thai yellow curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 1 cup sugar-free applesauce 
  • 1-2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2-4 tsp lime juice

  1. Heat oil in a dutch oven or large pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Fry the onion until it turns golden brown and begins to carmelize.
  3. Add the chicken and sausage and fry until the chicken is done. Frying the meats together will impart a nice savory flavor on the chicken. Remove the meat and set aside, leaving any liquid in the pan.
  4. Add curry paste to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes. The paste will become fragrant and may begin popping and sizzling.
  5. Add about 1/3 can of coconut milk and mix well with the curry paste. Fry for 5-10 minutes or until an oil sheen appears and the coconut milk begins to separate.
  6. Add the vegetables and fry 5 minutes, ensuring the veggies are covered with the curry paste and coconut milk mixture.
  7. Stir the meat back into pan.
  8. Add the remaining 2/3 can of coconut milk and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
  9. Add applesauce, fish sauce, and lime juice and mix well. Reduce the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes until the veggies reach a desired consistency.
  10. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Easy Asparagus Soup

My best soups get made when I clean out my refrigerator.  And this was no exception.  I had too much asparagus, (I blame Costco!) some slightly wilty mushrooms that were on their last legs, and not a whole lot else.  That's fine, not much else needed.  Beware the blending process...always a hazard.

Easy Asparagus Soup

1 onion, chopped
2-3 T of your favorite cooking oil
1 Cup (heaping!) chopped mushrooms

1 liter of stock or broth

3 cups chopped asparagus, woody ends removed

Several cranks of good fresh ground pepper
Salt or a squeeze of lemon juice to taste

Chop onion and cook in oil in your favorite soup pot for a few minutes while you chop the mushrooms.  Toss those in and let them cook for a few minutes while you prep the asparagus.  Keep a few of the prettiest tops if you want for a garnish.

Pour in stock and bring to a simmer.  Blanch the tops if you'd like for a minute or two, then scoop them out and set aside.  Add the rest of the asparagus and pepper, and cover.  Simmer until the asparagus is tender, 15-20 minutes.

With extreme caution!!!!! Blend small batches of the soup until smooth.  Taking the center hole cover off your blender lid and covering it with a towel helps.  Or use an immersion blender.  Or let it cool some first... but never underestimate the crazy disaster that blending hot liquids can become...

Right before serving, add a pinch of salt and/or a tiny bit of lemon juice.

***My kids do like soup, but they would look at this and declare "YUCK!" without hesitation.  So I called it "Invisible Soup" and had them cover their eyes while I fed them a taste.  They loved it. I wouldn't let them see it until they declared me master chef of the universe. :o)  Enjoy!***