Kale for Breakfast

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This morning I woke up feeling pretty rough. The antibiotics are doing a great job kicking some staph aureus butt, but they’re kicking my tail in the process as well. In my pre-Paleo life I would have made myself a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and whey protein powder. I have to admit that I still miss this breakfast, as much as I like eggs. I thought the rest of the family had eaten, since I had covered my head with a pillow at 5 and managed to sleep until 7:15. Even a frittata sounded like too much work, so I rummaged through the fridge and came up with this:

Kale and Egg Breakfast
(serves one)

1 small bunch kale, stems removed, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T bacon fat or olive oil
(or if you have leftover kale, about a cup of cooked kale)
2 eggs
1/2 small tomato, diced
1/4 avocado, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

If you need to cook the kale, heat the fat/oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Sauté the garlic for 1-2 min until golden. Add the kale, one handful at a time, and sauté until all the kale is coated with fat/oil. Cover and steam until tender, about 10 min.

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Preheat the oven to 350. I used the toaster oven for this. If you have leftover kale, place it in a small casserole dish. If you are cooking the kale in the morning, you can leave the kale in the skillet for the following steps and cook everything on the stovetop in the skillet with the lid on (in which case, sorry, turn the oven off). Add the diced tomato. Make 2 wells in the kale and crack the eggs into the wells. Cover and bake (cook) for 10 min.

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Transfer to a plate and top with diced avocado, add salt and pepper to taste. This would also taste fantastic with crumbled bacon on top. If I weren’t doing Whole30 I would have also added shredded cheese.

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At first I thought this tasted just okay, probably because there was no bacon in it. Then I realized that if I mashed up the eggs and avocado and mixed that all up so it coated the kale, that it was very delicious!

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I know it doesn’t look as appetizing like this, but just trust me on this one!

While this was baking Tom came in and asked what I was making, and I learned that he and Dora hadn’t eaten yet. So much for that Mommy of the Year award. Tom called up to Dora and asked if she wanted him to fix her a scrambled egg. Dora replied, “you know how to make that?” Tom gets no credit. Dora is usually the one who fixes scrambled eggs on Sunday morning if I’m not feeling well, while Tom fries the bacon. Tom actually fixed a fantastic dinner last night, but I haven’t been able to convince him to write a guest blog. Maybe some reader requests would help?

Mango Avocado Kale Salad

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This is another recipe I found on Pinterest, and I was drawn to it because of its visual appeal. It already feels like summer here in Alabama, and I’m in the mood to eat salads and fruit. Champagne mangoes (also called honey or yellow mangoes) have been a favorite fruit of mine for many years. They are in season now, so grab some while you can get them. Kale is a recent welcome addition to my family’s diet. Neither Tom nor I grew up eating kale, but recently I’ve been including it more often, steamed with some olive oil, as kale chips, or even for breakfast!

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Massaged Kale Salad with Mango and Avocado from Healthy Food for Living
Ingredients (4 servings):
1 bunch lacinato (dinosaur) kale, leaves torn from the stalks and thinly sliced (I used regular kale)
1/4 cup Lime Olive Oil, such as Boston Olive Oil Company Whole Fruit Persian Lime (alternately, you can use 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice – this is what I did)
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tsp agave nectar or honey
2 ripe champagne mangos, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 ripe but firm avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/4 cup toasted unsweetened flaked coconut

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Toast the almonds and coconut in the oven or in a dry skillet on the stove top, taking care not to burn them (more than once). In a large bowl, toss the sliced kale leaves with a small drizzle of the olive oil and a bit of Kosher salt; massage with your hands until the kale softens and wilts, about 2-3 minutes. Since Dora is our resident massage therapist, I recruited her for this job.

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In a small bowl or jar combine the remaining olive oil, honey, and salt & pepper to taste. Whisk or shake until well-combined. This takes some doing if your honey is thick like mine was.

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Toss the massaged kale with the dressing and add in the diced mango and avocado.

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Serve at room temperature topped with the toasted sliced almonds and flaked coconut. I added 1/2 can of salmon to each portion when we had leftovers for lunch. Mom and I really liked this salad and ate it for several meals. It kept very well for 3 days. The combination of sweet and bitter flavors and the combination of textures were delightful. The rest of the family decided they didn’t like raw kale. Their loss!

Paleo Shepherd’s Pie, Take Three

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The third time’s a charm on Shepherd’s Pie. I looked over several Paleo and low-carb shepherd’s pie recipes to come up with this. I originally tried a Shepherd’s pie recipe from The Primal Blueprint Reader Created Cookbook. It was very good, but Jewel doesn’t like green beans or green peas. So then I tried Robb Wolf’s recipe, sort-of, but I had trouble following directions, and while the bones look really cool sticking out of the dish, I found bone marrow slimy and disgusting, and I didn’t like transferring the ingredients to another dish. So I tried to combine the best aspects of these recipes and add my own food knowledge to develop this recipe. A chef’s secret for fabulous mashed potatoes is to use chicken fat, garlic and plenty of butter. Since the topping for traditional Shepherd’s pie calls for potatoes, I wanted my cauliflower topping to be more reminiscent of mashed potatoes. Browning the meat separately gave the dish a fuller flavor. I can’t take credit for that one – it was Mom’s idea.

Paleo Shepherd’s Pie
Ingredients:
Topping:
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
5-6 cloves garlic, peeled
Butter and/or chicken fat, about 2T total
Sea salt to taste
Filling:
4 slices bacon
2T bacon fat (if using leftover bacon)
1 small onion, minced
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
2 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
10oz pkg butternut squash
3/4C beef stock (pot roast stock, or other flavorful homemade stock)
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 T fresh rosemary
1T fresh oregano
Salt and pepper

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Preheat oven to 425. Place chicken fat and/or butter on a roasting and place in the oven while it is preheating. I had a combination of these fats leftover from the drippings from roasting a chicken. When the fat is melted, place the cauliflower florets on the roasting pan and toss to coat in fat.

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Roast cauliflower on 425 until done, turning frequently, about 35 min. Set aside. Turn oven down to 350.

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If you don’t have leftover bacon from breakfast, fry some up now. Remove bacon from pan to drain but leave bacon grease in pan. Otherwise start with 2T bacon fat, heat dutch oven over medium-low, and add onions to hot fat. Sauté until golden.

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Add ground beef. Sauté until meat is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The onions will absorb into the meat an pass undetected. I mention that just in case this is an issue in anyone else’s family.

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Remove meat with a slotted spoon.

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Sauté vegetables in Dutch oven until tender, about 10 minutes.

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I like the Stahlbush brand of frozen fruits and vegetables. However if butternut squash is in season you could certainly use fresh.

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Add the meat back into the pan.

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Pour stock into pan and stir until it is mostly absorbed.

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Purée cauliflower and garlic in food processor.

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Spread cauliflower evenly over the top of the filling.

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Bake for 20 minutes.

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I served this with steamed kale. This is the most flavorful way I have found to make a Paleo-friendly Shepherd’s pie. Cooking the meat and the vegetables separately allows the meat to retain more texture and flavor. A hearty stock makes a difference here as well. I preferred the roasted cauliflower hands down to the bitterness of steamed cauliflower. This recipe is a great way to stretch a pound of meat to feed 8 people instead of 4 for those on a budget. You can substitute other vegetables that are in season or that your family likes for the ones that I chose in the filling.