Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup (Paleo, AIP, 21DSD)

This week has finally slowed down for me after many hours of work and baking! I had a great tasting at Crossfit Wingman in Agawam, MA last night during their Friday Night Lights 15.5 throwdown. If you live in western mass you should really check out their gym, they did a great job setting it up and have a whole PRx pro shop with lots of cool stuff to boot! Thanks again, CF Wingman for having me!

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Speaking of tastings… next Saturday I will be setting up at my home gym, Crossfit Iron Will in Ludlow, MA from 11-1. If your in the area and want to try out some delicious paleo treats feel free to stop by!


Now, isn’t it supposed to be spring? It sure didn’t feel like it today with the snow showers! Got to love new england. Anyways, what better dish to have to warm you up than chicken noodle soup? This is one of my favorite dishes, any time of the year!

There are a few steps to this recipe, including cooking a whole chicken. You don’t have to use a whole chicken to make amazing chicken noodle soup but if your like me and your life runs a lot smoother with lots of leftovers, I suggest going for the biggest chicken you can find! Also, using the whole chicken ensures that you get a rich, fatty, delicious broth.. highly recommended.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, organic free range is best!
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 TB. thyme
  • 1 TB. parsley
  • 1 TB. oregano
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 2 cups steamed broccoli

Instructions:

-Combine thyme, parsley, oregano, turmeric, salt and pepper in a small bowl

-Rub herb mixture all over the chicken then place the chicken in the crockpot

-Pour any remaining herb mixture into the crockpot

-Add chopped carrots and water to the crockpot and cook on low for 6-7 hours

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-When the chicken has an hour left, preheat the oven to 400 degrees

-Halve the spaghetti squash, remove the guts and seeds and place it face down on a baking sheet

-Bake spaghetti squash for 45-60 minutes or until the squash can easily be pulled off the skin

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-When the chicken is done cooking scoop out the carrots and start pulling the chicken

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-Once all the meat and carrots are removed strain the broth into a large pot

-Add the pulled chicken, carrots, steamed broccoli and spaghetti squash to the pot and heat until lightly boiling (if they are not hot enough already!)

-Scoop and serve!

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Red Velvet Hash (Paleo, AIP, 21DSD)

So the other day I was in the process of prepping dinner (while also about to bake some cookies) when my stove decided to “die”. For once in my life I stayed calm, tried to assess the problem and quickly came up with a backup plan for how I was going to continue to cook without a stovetop or oven. Luckily most of the snow had melted around our grill a few days before this mishap, and, what more caveman-like way to cook dinner than on the open flame of a grill! (well, of course a hand-started fire would be more caveman-like, but thats besides the point!) So, I got to work cooking this amazing hash on the grill and I have to say it was a lot nicer to get some fresh-air while cooking for once! Obviously this can be made in skillet on the stove, but if you would like to be a little more adventurous, try it on the grill!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 large red beets
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 6-8 slices bacon
  • 2 TB. dill
  • 1 TB. tarragon
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 TB. coconut oil (if needed)

Instructions:

-Shred sweet potatoes and beets into a large mixing bowl using a mandolin with a grating attachment or a large box grater

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-Chop the onion into thin slices and add it to the shredded beets and sweets

-Then toss in the dill, tarragon, salt and pepper and mix until thoroughly combined

-Heat grill to medium-high (mine was about 400 degrees)

-Place bacon in strips into a cast iron skillet and throw it on the heated grill for about 5 mintutes, then flip the bacon. Cook until the bacon is starting to crisp

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-Remove the bacon from the skillet and cut it into 1/4 inch pieces

-Add the hash to the bacon fat and cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are soft

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-Add the bacon bits back into the hash, toss and serve!

-Enjoy hash as a side dish or with some over easy eggs (if you are not doing AIP)!

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Dee Dee’s infamous Pumpkin Bread (Paleo)

Switching over to the paleo lifestyle from the Standard American Diet can be overwhelming and challenging in many ways. It starts with replacing the classic boxed breakfast (cereal, oatmeal, etc), then removing the bread from your sandwich for lunch, and no pasta for dinner! It all seems ludicrous when you first approach it. After slowly switching over to real foods, the shock goes away and you realize that life DOES go on without processed foods, you suddenly stop craving them and actually start to find all that junk pretty unappetizing. There are, however, some things that you find you just can’t seem to stop missing. For me, one of those things was my grandmother, Dee Dee’s pumpkin bread. We would have it every year for thanksgiving and she would even make us each our own loaf to be cherished and consumed for as long as it would last.

My family has been hugely supportive of my lifestyle choices and have even taken the time to learn more about getting healthy through eating real foods. Each year they seem to switch out more junk for more real foods, primarily eat gluten free, and welcome my eating habits with open arms. Although thanksgiving is still a ways away- I cannot wait to bring my paleo form of Dee Dee’s pumpkin bread to the table and see how it holds up to “the real thing”. I have a feeling everyone will be pleasantly surprised by how amazing it came out!

Without further ado, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 2/3 cups palm sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin
  • 1 2/3 cups coconut flour
  • 1 2/3 cups tapioca flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cups shortening
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 2 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup raisins, soaked for 10min in warm water
  • Coconut oil, for greasing

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-In a large mixing bowl cream together the shortening and coconut sugar

-Add the eggs, pumpkin and water to the mixture and whisk to combine

-Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well

-Stir in the nuts and raisins

-Grease a large loaf pan with coconut oil and add the bread mixture to the pan

-Bake for 1 hour or until the bread passes the toothpick test

-This bread is great heated up and slathered with some grassfed ghee, YUM!

Enjoy!

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Healing Bone Broth Latte (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

This week I feel like I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Thankfully I wrote myself a handy list of all the things I need to accomplish and exactly when they need to be done by, or else I would be a mess! Today was another one of my days off- it sure seems like I have a lot of those seeing as I usually write a blog post when I get a day off! And by day off I mean: I baked most of the day. For those of you that haven’t read my background information, I started a paleo baked goods business (Primal Treats and Eats) and although it’s more of a hobby than a business it tends to occupy much of my spare time, and I’m okay with that! Between all the hustle and bustle today I got to get some workout therapy at CFIW. I did a fun WOD today that was 10 RTF of 3 squat cleans at 100# and 9 ring dips. I planned on going heavier with the squat cleans but had to remind myself that slowly getting back into lifting is a much smarter approach if I want to stay healthy and keep my shoulder happy. I often find that whenever I get myself into a situation where I feel overwhelmed or unsure of things, out of the blue I will stumble upon something that reinstates my purpose and keeps me on track.

Although I am not where I think I could be in terms of my overall fitness and strength, I have learned a lot about myself and my body this past year. I got this gem of a photo sent to me today by my lovely friend Maura who has been snapping awesome pictures of everyone throughout the opens workouts and inspiring us with her spirit and endless support. After sending it she said “You are motivation!” and I couldn’t have been more flattered. On top of that the quote really resonates with me as I have been fighting an uphill battle with trying to reverse my autoimmune diseases. There were quite a few times where I had to remind myself that staying on track with the hundreds of dietary restrictions and saying no to eating foods made by anyone but myself was the only option.

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After my baking marathon today I got to clear my head with a crisp, windy hike up Mount Tom with my friend Josh. Its amazing what some fresh air can do for you! I am looking forward to spring when I can include some sort of outdoor activity into my daily routine again.

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If your wondering how the heck you can make bone broth into a deliciously creamy and healthy latte, keep reading. 🙂

Most of you know that I drink bone broth every day, up to 3 times a day. It’s a staple in my life and I don’t enjoy living without it! I have made many variations of broth, some with root veggies, some with onions, others just garlic, there is much room to experiment and find what you personally like the best. I have to say that the recipe that I posted is pretty plain, and my personal favorite because you can “dress it up” and make some fantastic cocktails out of it.

Who would have ever thought to use the word cocktail when it comes to bone broth… but seriously, try the recipe below and you will see what I’m talking about!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

-Heat bone broth in a small pot on the stove

-Place coconut oil and coconut milk in a large coffee mug

-Add bone broth to the coffee mug and allow the coconut oil to melt

-Then add baking soda, cinnamon and ginger and blend using a frother (or blender)

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-Enjoy your “bulletproof” broth latte!

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*Why baking soda,? check out this article!

PBLT Burgers (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

This week is panning out to be a long one! It’s only tuesday and I’m feeling a little run-down already, luckily I have the day off tomorrow and hope to get some relaxing in between baking, errands, vet visits and the gym. I’ve started to work my way slowly back into lifting and doing some controlled WOD’s on a more regular basis and it seems to be going well! My back is completely healed now and my shoulder hasn’t been getting the shooting-intense pain that it was before, just resting annoying dull pain… I know that doesn’t sound good either but it’s what I’ve been dealing with on and off for over a year now. Between chiropractic, electric stim, low level laser therapy, massage and now also acupuncture, its GOT to get better! Please??

Anyways, I made this recipe about a week ago while I was i the midst of perfecting my pork belly recipe. At Jake’s we have a “Spicy PBLT” with pork belly, lettuce and tomato. Seeing as nightshades are a group of foods that I likely will ever be able to reincorporate into my diet, I thought I would come up with my own version of a “PBLT”. So, the Pork Belly, Lettuce and Turkey Burger was born! This has got to be the best turkey burger I have ever had… I hope you enjoy it as well!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 lb. pork belly
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup jicama, peeled and shredded
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

Instructions:

-Follow my recipe below for crispy pork belly, after braising the pork belly and letting it cool in the fridge, cut into desired sized pieces, cut off the skin and pan sear the pork belly until the fat has rendered off. This should take about 15 minutes so plan accordingly!

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-In a large bowl combine the ground turkey, scallions, jicama, rosemary, turmeric and sea salt. Mix with hands to incorporate and then separate into three 1/3lb. patties.

-In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat sear the turkey patties for 5 minutes per side.

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-Place the skillet with burgers into the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes until no pink remains in the center

-Remove from oven and garnish with a large slab of pork belly, and some sautéed spinach. If your feeling up for it add a sweet potato bun or wrap in a large leaf of lettuce.

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Enjoy!

Notes: These burgers can also be cooked on the grill… mine just didn’t happen to be accessible at the time!

Crispy Pork Belly (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

If you have never tried pork belly, my friend and boss, Alex will tell you it’s “bacon’s older, wiser and more handsome brother”. It’s every bacon lover’s dream come true: bigger, yummier, juicier bacon! It’s the perfect topping for burgers and salads or in benedict’s for breakfast (as you will notice if you ever stop into Jake’s.. Pork belly is all over the menu!)

Pork belly isn’t one of those things that you can easily find at the supermarket but if you stop into your local butcher they will more often then not have some, or tell you when it will be available. This recipe has been a long time coming for me. I absolutely love pork belly and when I found out I could get some at Sutter Meats I was thrilled! I’m not going to lie I tried to make it a few different ways, taking some ideas from recipes I had seen online and pointers from the butcher on how to cook it, but I just never go the results that I wanted. At Jake’s we have perfectly cooked crispy pork belly and although it took me 3 tries, I finally got the same results! (Thank you Alex for your cooking tips!)

I will say where I went wrong was by thinking I could cook the pork belly in a short period of time (aka have it ready by the time my burgers were done cooking) and thats just not possible! This recipe requires a lot of prep and a lot of cooking time but its SO worth it. Give it a shot!

The steps:

  1. Make Pork Broth
  2. Cure Pork Belly
  3. Braise Pork Belly
  4. Sear Pork Belly

Total time needed is approximately 3 days. You can make the pork broth in the crockpot (24 hrs) while you are curing the pork belly (3 days) and on the last day allow about 6 hours to cook, cool and sear the pork belly.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. pork belly with skin
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground fennel (optional, omit for AIP)
  • 2 cups pork broth (use the same recipe as my bone broth but swap the marrow bones for pork bones)

Instructions:

-First and foremost, make sure you have pork broth and a few days to make the pork belly before you need it!

-Score the skin side of the pork belly with a sharp knife, be careful because although the skin is though, the layer of fat below it cuts very easily!

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-Combine sea salt, black pepper, coriander, cinnamon, cloves and fennel in a small bowl

-Rub herb mixture into the pork on all sides

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-Let the pork cure in the refrigerator for 3 days on a wire rack

-On day 3, rinse the pork belly, cut into desired sized chunks and place it in a stock pot (one that has a lid)

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-Cover pork belly with pork broth and place it in a 250 degree oven, covered, for 4-5 hours

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-Remove from oven and let cool in the refrigerator

-Once chilled, remove the pork belly from the braising liquid and cut the skin off of each piece

-Sear the skin and pork belly in a skillet over medium heat until the skin is crispy and most of the fat has rendered off of the pork belly

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-Save the fat to cook with!

Notes: The pieces of skin will get nice and crispy! These are called “cracklings” and I like to use them as crunchy snacks, croutons on salads, or chop them finely to use as a garnish for plates that can use a kick of flavor and a little crunch! I think they got their name because they are probably as addicting as crack… seriously, you will see!

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Pork Belly Slices

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Bonus cracklin’s and bacon fat 🙂

Homemade Horseradish (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

Today was a great day. I got to the gym early this morning to take on the Open’s workout 15.3. As usual I had an internal battle going on of whether or not I should do the RX’d version of the workout or not. The smarter side of me prevailed and I chose to go with the scaled version for several reasons. The most obvious being that my shoulder is still working its way back to 100% but is not there yet. Secondly,I don’t have muscle ups yet and attempting one for 14 minutes seemed silly to me (although I probably could have pulled one off). Finally, I really just wanted to get good a workout in! I ended up with 793 reps and a whole handful of no-rep air balls… did I mention I suck at wall balls? The thing I love about Crossfit is that there is constant room for improvement, and boy do I have a lot of improving to do!

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Post WOD floor bonding time


After working out and judging my teammates for most of the morning I went home to find that my latest lab results finally came in the mail. Side note: I don’t know why they mail them… calling and e-mailing seems to be a much more efficient option.. but thats just me! The overall results were that everything was good but my ANA (autoimmune disease) was unchanged. Bummer. After meeting with my doctor the other day though I don’t feel discouraged by this, he said that sometimes it takes up to a year to see the an ANA get back to negative. We will see what happens I guess, but the fact that I feel much better is the result that matters.

While I was chatting with my doctor we ended up talking about the supplements that I was taking and he asked me how I was handling the liquid fish oil (DHEA/EPA). The only answer I could come up with was a slightly disgusted and unimpressed kind of look. I have absolutely despised taking fish oil supplements since I was younger, the aftertaste seems to always get to me even though this new brand of fish oil is super high quality and not nearly as fishy as the ones i’ve had in the past. So he told me that he normally “chases” his fish oil with a pinch of homemade horseradish, which obviously masks the taste, while waking the sh*t out of your senses, and additionally helps cleanse the liver. So I thought what the heck, I will try anything once! Which lead me to make this super simple horseradish. Like many other condiments that come packed with preservatives, sugar, and other added junk, this is a super easy one to make at home where you can be assured that you are only consuming high quality ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup horseradish, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup coconut vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt

Instructions:

-Place the diced horseradish, coconut vinegar and salt in a food processor

-Process until you have reached your desired consistency or until smooth

-Thats it! Seriously, how much easier could it get?

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Now that I have tried the fish-oil-followed-by-hroseradish, I can see why it works well. I also suddenly have a craving for oysters… 🙂

Chicken Garden Burgers (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

This week has been a long one for me but overall I feel pretty good and am looking forward to having a day off tomorrow to catch up on life and relax… well, after I do the Opens WOD, that is! More talk on that tomorrow after I do the workout.

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15.2 Chest to Bars

I met up with my naturopathic doctor this week to talk about my health progress so far and to formulate a plan going forward. The good news is that I can start reincorporating things back into my diet (YAY)! The bad news is that doesn’t include coffee… yet. Not that I need coffee to function, I have actually had quite a bit of energy with no caffeine for quite some time now, but I just generally love coffee. Anyways, I am excited to be on the greener side of my healing process and hope that I can maintain my health and continue to improve. I am still waiting on my lab results to see just how far I have “reversed” my autoimmune disease but seeing as my psoriasis is FINALLY starting to go away (after YEARS and YEARS of torture!) I believe the results will be good. Fingers crossed.

Anyways, I had planned to make some turkey burgers for dinner tonight but I ended up accidentally defrosting ground chicken instead so here is my spur of the moment chicken garden burger recipe that came out quite nicely!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. ground dark meat chicken
  • 1/4 cup shredded jicama
  • 1 cup finely chopped spinach
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients

-Form into 7-8 burger patties

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-Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat

-Sear burgers for about 5 minutes per side

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-Then transfer the whole skillet to the oven and bake for 8 minutes or until no pink remains

-Enjoy!

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Notes: you can certainly grill these if you would like, but they are more delicate than beef and turkey so I would make sure to oil the grill to ensure that you don’t lose some burger when flipping them! I served them with parsnip buns. To make these I simply cut a (giant) parsnip into 1/4 inch slices and pan fried them in bacon fat until they were soft.

Bacon wrapped Japanese Sweet Potato (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

On Sunday-Funday I didn’t mention these amazing fries that we made because I figured that they deserved a post of their own! I would definitely recommend making these as an appetizer if your having company over, as they are sure to please a crowd! How can you go wrong with anything wrapped in bacon, really. Without further ado:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Japanese (or other variety) sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick fries
  • 1 pack of sugar-free bacon, cut into 4inch strips
  • 1-2 TB. coconut oil, melted
  • 1 TB. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees

-Toss cut sweet potatoes in melted coconut oil, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and cilantro

-Wrap each fry with a strip of bacon

-Place wrapped sweet potatoes on a tin-foil lined, rimmed baking sheet

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-Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how hot your oven runs

-Flip each fry and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the bacon is crispy and the potatoes are soft

-Serve with homemade sugar-free ketchup or just eat as is 🙂

Enjoy!

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