Paleo Pork Ribs

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My whole family likes ribs, but the recipe I used to use contains a fair amount of brown sugar. Of course there are plenty of recipes that call for prepared barbecue sauce, but I have never liked sweet barbecue sauce. I like the ribs you can get in the South that have a dry rub on them, and if I put any sauce on them it will be the vinegar barbecue sauce. However the rest of the family aren’t as keen on vinegar as I am, so I had to come up with a compromise. Ribs should be falling off the bone tender, and they are meant to be eaten with your hands. I have this thing about sticky hands, but there’s no other practical way to eat ribs. In order to get tender ribs, they must be cooked very slowly. This is a recipe to reserve for a weekend or a day off when you can set aside about 4 hours for these to cook (mostly unattended). I was suspicious of a ribs recipe developed by a Canadian city girl, but I would not dispute Cosmopolitan Primal Girl’s claim that these are the Best Paleo Ribs Ever.

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Ingredients (serves 4-6)
– 2 racks of ribs
– 2 tablespoons coarse salt
– 1 tablespoon cumin
– 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
– 1 tablespoon dried oregano
– 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
– 8 whole cloves garlic, smashed
– 4 chipotle peppers – we used canned
– 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
– 2 cups of FRESH squeezed orange juice
– ~1-2 cups of beef broth

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Preheat the oven to 200. Yes, two hundred. Mix spices in a small bowl.

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Rub the spices over the ribs and place in roasting pans.

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Squeeze enough juice oranges to yield 2 cups of juice. The number of oranges you will need will depend on the size and juiciness of your oranges. I was lucky enough to find Moro Oranges, which in my opinion make the best juice, very full-flavored and moderately sweet. Moro oranges are a type of blood orange. The legend is that Saint Frances of Assisi, who had the stigmata, was picking oranges, and the blood from the stigmata in his hands turned the oranges red.
Mix the juice with the garlic, chipotles and tomatoes.

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Pour the sauce over the ribs.

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Add enough beef broth to cover the ribs. Cover the pans with foil and bake for 3-4 hours until the ribs are tender. Preheat the grill.

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Tell your spouse to grill the ribs at medium-high heat for ~5 min per side. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and cook down while the ribs are grilling.

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We served the ribs with roasted asparagus, kale and marinated beet salad with feta and walnuts.

Ice Cream Pie (non-paleo)

In town for a limited time only, blog by Mom, aka Granny:

Our family started making this version of ice cream pie from a recipe in Cooking Light. The sugar cone crust adds a crunch and summertime remembrance of outings for ice cream cones. We have done many variations of this theme. I, like my daughter do not like to throw food away and will try to find ways to create something that my family or friends would enjoy. Buying too many containers of ice cream when Publix Premium is so inexpensive will find its way into a dessert. I do like nutty ice creams, and they work well, but Dora has a thing about textures. This is one of our Alabama family’s favorite combos since the granddaughters have liked mocha flavors since birth. When the Wisconsin family joins us, we change the coffee to vanilla. I usually use store bought caramel sauce and make the fudge sauce. Adding chocolate coffee beans for decoration is another option.

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Ice Cream Pie:
Crust:
1 pkg. sugar cones, crushed
2 T. softened butter
2 T. honey

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Simply mix together and press in a 9 inch pie plate. (Or whatever pan works for your family)

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Freeze crust while you soften the coffee ice cream. Then gently spoon on crust.

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After half an hour (or when you remember) top with caramel sauce. Too much will make it hard to serve.

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Give that an hour or so to set. Then repeat with softened chocolate ice cream. Have a cup of coffee and check the beautiful flowers and garden,

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then top with room temperature hot fudge sauce. Decorate if desired.

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Having hot fudge sauce (ganache) on hand has become a standard for me. Having a husband who would have dessert for 3 meals a day has created the need for instant desserts. It is as simple to make as running to the store for a jar of sauce and so much more satisfying. We love dark chocolate, however, when you want a more milky chocolate flavor, simple change the proportions to twice as much cream as chocolate. I guarantee it will turn out just as easily. The great thing about the fudge sauce is it will keep in your refrigerator for weeks (if you can keep from eating it by the spoons full). I serve hot fudge sundaes as a quick and easy dessert. They are great topped with salted pecans, again the ones at Trader Joe’s are particularly good.

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For this recipe, I used 3/4 cup of heavy cream and 3/4 cups dark chocolate chips. Place in a heavy sauce pan or double boiler, and heat on medium low heat until the chocolate starts to melt. Then stir frequently and watch the creamy texture develop. That is the part Jewel and Dora like…a little magic in cooking. Or, you can use a package of chips (or other chocolate) and 2 cups of cream. I have used Trader Joe’s bittersweet chocolate, for those of you who have TJ’s available.

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Or, you can use a package of chips (or other chocolate) and 2 cups of cream. I have used Trader Joe’s bittersweet chocolate, for those of you who have TJ’s available.
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Make the pie several hours before serving, so cutting the slices are a piece of cake. Couldn’t resist the ‘humor’.

Fancy Restaurant Style Creamed Spinach

The girls are out of school for Spring Break, so Mom not only watched them today, she shopped at Costco for me and made dinner! Yes, I know how lucky I am! Our meal tonight was lamb chops (much cheaper at Costco than anywhere else), creamed spinach and steamed broccoli. Dessert was ice cream pie (non-Paleo). Since Mom did all the work, I told her that she had to write the blog as well.

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Of course recipes should only be used as guidelines. If your family has certain preferences, adapt the recipe to their liking.

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This spinach was really big for babies. Their mothers must have had diabetes.
It’s easier and faster to steam the spinach in the microwave than to cook it in the skillet. This omits the need to “stir constantly”.

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Our interpretation of a quarter cup. Use fresh Parmesan rather than the Parmesan in the shaker bottle.

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This is how much one pound of spinach cooks down. The easiest way to squeeze out the liquid is to use paper towels.

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Jen froze minced onions in 2T mounds for use in recipes.

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Melt butter in a skillet.

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Once butter is melted add the onion. (We had to thaw the onion as well). Then add the garlic. Turn off the heat and let the onion and garlic sit for 20-30 min. Pour yourself a glass of wine.

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When you finish your wine, turn the burner back on and add spinach and cream. When warmed through, add cream cheese. We used 2-1/2 oz because that is what we had.

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Stir until cream cheese melts.

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Season with 1/8 tsp nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. It doesn’t take much.

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Add Parmesan cheese and let melt.

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You can also prepare this dish ahead of time and reheat it in the oven.

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The first bottle of wine didn’t go with the lamb chops so we opened up another bottle.

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Dora was very excited that we were having lamb chops.

Flower Power Eggs and Almond Flour Biscuits

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I wanted to cook my family something special on Sunday morning, since I had cooked our usual Sunday breakfast, bacon and eggs, on Saturday. Earth Fare had organic bell peppers last week, so I bought some to make colorful Flower Power Eggs. We had leftover bacon, but I thought I needed something else to serve with it. Since I’m finished with my Whole30, I decided to make the Almond Flour Biscuits from Elana’s Pantry.

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Biscuits – from Elana’s Pantry
2 ½ cups blanched almond flour, plus about 1 cup for dusting the dough (thanks Karen!)
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup earth balance natural buttery spread (soy free)
2 eggs
1 tablespoon agave nectar

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In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, salt and baking soda

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In a large bowl or stand mixer, blend together butter y spread, eggs and agave.

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Beat until well-combined.

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Stir the dry ingredients into the wet

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until a nice dough forms.

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Roll out dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper to 1 ½ inches thick
Dust dough with extra almond flour if it is sticky and/or misbehaving

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Cut the dough into biscuits using a mason jar with a 3-inch wide mouth (or use a biscuit cutter…)

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Using a spatula, transfer biscuits

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to a parchment lined baking sheet. (I used the top parchment paper from rolling out the dough)

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Bake at 350° for 15 minutes, until biscuits are browned on the bottom edges

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Serve with gravy, jelly or whatever else your heart desires. My family especially like them with jelly.
Makes about 10 biscuits

Flower Power Eggs from Donna at Apron Strings
Ingredients:
4 eggs
2 bell peppers, preferably different colors
Cooking oil or fat of choice (I used olive oil)
Salt and pepper to taste

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Heat a large skillet over med-low heat and add oil/fat of choice. Slice the middle of each pepper into 1/2″ rings.

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Klutzy egg breaker trick – crack the eggs into little bowls first.

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Place the pepper rings in the skillet.

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Add eggs to the inside of the peppers. I eventually caught on that I should hold down the pepper ring while I poured in the egg.

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Cover the pan (I used that other piece of parchment paper) and fry until eggs are just cooked through. I had the smallest but deepest pepper ring, so I had to make mine over-easy to get the egg to finish cooking.

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Tom’s plate is only half smiling because he didn’t like the pepper. Jewel didn’t like it either, but they both still ate their eggs. Dora said the egg tasted too much like a pepper and wouldn’t eat it. She only ate about half her biscuit and piece of bacon, so the rest of us descended like vultures on the remains of her meal. This morning Jewel and I had open-faced egg McBiscuits that were great, but I forgot to take pics.

Finished a Whole30!

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Well I’m glad that’s over. I saw no miraculous transformation from Whole30, and it didn’t change my life except for making more annoyed than usual. Of course, I was already eating a Primal diet, and I was not trying to lose weight. My back is doing somewhat better, although today I’m having a lot of pain. I don’t think my back pain is related to diet, but I’ll reevaluate after I see how I do next week. This was probably not the best time for me to do a Whole30. I have no plans to do another Whole30, but I would consider doing one again to get myself back on track after the holidays or after vacation. I’ll list some of my observations, in the order in which they came into my head. I posted my preliminary findings at the halfway point in this rant.

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Jewel with onion ring bracelets

1. I am noticing the natural sweet flavors of food more now, so I do think that Whole30 has re-sensitized my palate to sweets.

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Jewel - silly fighting stance

2. I had to fight NOT to lose weight on this program, even though I’ve not been exercising or tracking my calories. I’ve been able to get my weight back up to 119, which is about what it was before I started, but that is only through stuffing myself.

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Cider-braised bratwurst contaminated by an onion - see https://greenhsv.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/primal-celebration-dinner/

3. I’ve gotten used to drinking my coffee black again, so I plan to continue doing this.
4. My cravings for non-Paleo food have been much worse on Whole30. I am very content eating a Primal diet and only rarely get cravings for grain-based foods. I found Whole30 too restrictive. Primal allows me dairy, wine and naturally sweetened desserts in moderation, and for me these aren’t “gateway drugs” to grains and white sugar. I plan to indulge in a beer tonight and have Bandito some time in the near future. I miss the taste of beer much more than the alcohol.

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Lacinato Kale

5. I’m still hungry every 2-3 hours. I guess that’s just my metabolism. I think that having to eat frequent snacks made Whole30 more difficult for me.

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Sauteing the onions and peppers for Cider-Braised Brats - see https://greenhsv.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/primal-celebration-dinner/

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some cooking to do! Mom is coming back into town this afternoon, and we are going to celebrate!

Sweet Potato Puffs

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I have begun to eat sweet potatoes for breakfast about as often as I eat them with dinner. I could live pretty happily on sweet potatoes, eggs, bacon and almond butter. Tom and Jewel are also big sweet potato fans. I am learning to buy an excessive number of sweet potatoes because they always are in demand here. It’s gotten to the point where I feel like Alice from The Brady Bunch when I go grocery shopping. I’m usually buying at least 4 kinds of meat, and the guys at the meat counter know my usual order. I was glad that one of Dora’s friends went shopping with us one day, because the more kids they think I have the more normal my shopping habits would seem. So anyway, I don’t remember how I came across the recipe for sweet potato puffs, but I made them earlier this month and Tom and Jewel gave them good reviews. That morning I told Tom that breakfast was in the warming oven as I was taking Jewel to school and he was just coming in from his run. That evening I asked him how he liked the sweet potato puffs. He replied, “I loved them! I would have eaten them all but I thought you might get mad!” So I made another batch today when I had time to take pictures.

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Sweet Potato Puffs
Ingredients:
2 very soft baked sweet potatoes
4 eggs
1/4C minced pecans
Coconut oil for frying
(makes 4 servings)

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Heat oil in a large skillet over med-low heat. Peel and mash sweet potatoes.

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Add eggs and lightly beat.

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Add pecans.

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And mix well.

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Add by large spoonfuls to skillet and fry like pancakes. These will be softer than pancakes and can be difficult to flip.

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I served these with sausage for extra protein. They taste great plain, but Tom and Jewel say they are even better topped with maple syrup! Also the author of this recipe mentioned that you could make these without the pecans for a smooth texture. I really felt that the pecans added an important flavor to the dish, so I wouldn’t recommend omitting them. So there you go – another hot breakfast that you have ready before 7:00!

Coconut Flour Breakfast Bake

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As much as I try to buy just as much food as our family needs, there are some areas where I tend to overestimate. For example, I tend to think my family will eat more bananas than they actually do. Bananas have such a short window for ideal eating, so that doesn’t help me out. I try to buy bananas that will be perfect over the weekend. Last week I ended up with two overripe bananas that I would have baked into a banana bread before going Paleo. Since I’m doing Whole30 banana chocolate chip scramble was out. I remembered seeing a recipe on Pinterest that contained a ripe banana, but I didn’t think it would be Whole30 legal. To my delight it was, if only due to a technicality of its name. I liked it so much last week that I intentionally bought extra bananas this week!

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Coconut Flour Breakfast Bake
Ingredients(For 3 small servings):
4 Tablespoons coconut flour
5 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3T nut butter of choice
1 tsp unsweetened shredded coconut

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Mash banana with a fork.

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Add eggs and beat lightly.

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Add coconut flour, salt, vanilla extract and lemon zest.

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Pour into 3 lightly greased ramekins.

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I think I cooked 2 ramekins for 3 minutes, but I’m not sure.

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Top each ramekin with 1T nut butter and a sprinkling of coconut. Tom, Jewel and I really like these, but I’m not sure how to describe the taste. It is something like a very light banana bread. But of course it’s not a bread, a muffin or a cake; hence, I can eat it on Whole30. (shut up) It tastes mildly sweet with no added sweeteners. This is a great breakfast option when you are just tired of eggs, bacon and sausage.