Taking baby steps forward


Entering into the world of primal eating can seem daunting. There is a whole spectrum of lifestyle changes available towards a complete transformation, enough to paralyze anyone much like looking up at Mt. Everest.

But, all I ask is that you take a step. That’s it, one small step. It may be choosing raw nuts over chips for your next snack or eating one less roll at dinner.

With each success, you gain strength and confidence in yourself. The next time you come to a decision, you can think back and realize that you made a good choice last time and survived (or even secretly high-fived yourself). Want to feel that pride again? Choose to leave that pastry behind at the Starbucks drive-thru.

Don’t look at the whole picture, rather find small ways in your everyday life to make easy swaps and gain some momentum. Then work towards something more difficult once you know you can do it. For me that was eliminating pop and taking Splenda out of my morning coffee. I didn’t always look for gluten-free shampoo and lip gloss, that was a first for me TODAY! But, it was the next step and I was ready to take it.

What will be your step today? Let me know!


Greatest Short Ribs


I love short ribs, but often cannot be bothered to do the prep. The payoff, however is soooo worth it, though. This time we threw a curveball and went for bison short ribs. They are grass-fed, and gorgeous!

We followed this awesome recipe, simply cutting it in half to meet our needs. http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/dutch-oven-recipes/?slide=11
It is important to follow the steps to a t to develop the complex flavors that make your mouth water. The added benefit is that after 30 minutes of prep, your oven and Dutch oven do the rest!IMG_2742.JPG

I needed a side and had a head of cauliflower. This urban myth known as cauliflower rice has whispered in my ear for about 6 months. The amazing sauce this pot was producing begged for a starchy goodness to soak it all up. So, I jumped in! Following my typical cauliflower prep of food processing the veg into a rice/could cous like consistency. I then dumped it all in a pan and tossed it in the oven with the meat at 350 for 45 minutes. After walking the dog for 15 minutes, it was looking a wee dry, so I added 4 tbsp of butter cut throughout and covered with foil. When it all came out, I stirred the butter and added salt and pepper. A quick stir and then I created a delicate pallet for the ribs and sauce.

You must try this as your next special meal, or just this coming Sunday. My kids have already asked when I’m making it again…


Sunday dinner 8.24.14


Who doesn’t love a good burger? While it may be difficult to imagine one without a bun, I’ve found that I’m way more creative with toppings when I can’t just ‘put a lid on it (aka bun).’ My burgers have no room for a bad hair day, but I love the challenge!

My latest accessory attempt was a mushroom sauce. Why, because the hubs found a recipe that sounded delicious from http://www.marksdailyapple.com and I wanted to test my abilities. Another beautiful side effect of eating real food was the need and love of developing some serious cooking skills. But alas, back to me slicing mushrooms and being thankful that we had a wee bit of beef bone broth from our mugful the night before (get that collagen in the tasty way, ladies)!

So, the burger twist tonight was that we used bison from the farmer’s market. Bison is super lean and dried out quickly, so I’ve found that adding an egg for additional fat really keeps it moist. But in this day, woot woot, I cracked open my first double yolk!IMG_2634.JPG
I then added in the meat, 1/4 c brown rice flour, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp onion powder and 1/2 tbsp turmeric. I’m not a fan of using my hands, so made my silicone spatula do the heavy lifting.




I sear each side on the grill pan and then throw in a 350 degree oven for about 10 mins.

In the meantime, I have peeled and sliced a butternut squash and red onion.



I place each on a separate foil-lined baking sheet. I drizzle the squash with coconut oil and the onion with olive oil. Salt and pepper are sprinkled on each. They all go in the hot box as well.

Then, I turned my attention to the shrooms! A simple slice and thrown in a pan with 2 tbsp of grass-fed Kalona butter and we were in business! I let it sauté for several minutes before adding 1/4 c beef broth and 1/4 c heavy cream. I let it reduce (this was quick!) until syrupy. Then made my burgers by layering on the onion and then the mushroom sauce and adding the squash chips on the side. Heavenly!




Back to School Lunches


Today is the first day back in school. Many moms I chat with all dread the making of school lunches. I think we can all agree that what you pack is often (not always) more nutritious than what is offered in the cafeteria.

I am here to help! We have created a simple framework from which we make our lunches. Not to take away from variety, but it helps in deciding, planning and knowing how much food your kid needs. This framework has been liberating since it gives you a base to build upon. Even better, I have created a menu in this framework for my kids to have power over their meals…

We put in one protein. Our favorites are hard boiled eggs, Applegate organic salami or Applegate pepperoni . There’s always the possibility of leftovers too. Sometimes we’ll throw in homemade beef jerky or a Tanka bar. We then put in two sides (made easier by this handy lunch kit).


I wrote on the menu what items were available in the kitchen this week to include. It is a desire for our family to eat locally, which also means seasonally. Therefore fruit these days means nectarines, plums, etc. in the fall, you’ll find lots of apples and applesauce.

Each kid picked out their items, placed how much they needed (this has taken lots of practice and still requires supervision) and voila! The true test will be seeing if it is empty when they get home. My 2nd grader will have done her older sibling duty if she informs my Kindergartner the penalties of not finishing…he’s a work in progress.

I should also mention how much easier it is if your fruits and veggies are prepped. As a meal planner, I make the most of my Sundays. Plucking grapes (my kids do this for me!) and cutting up carrots when you have time makes it easier to eat healthy when you do not. Good luck!

Sunday dinner 8.17.14


Sunday dinners traditionally revolve around a roast. While I don’t always follow tradition, I love the opportunity to embrace a braised dish that you get to smell all day long and enjoy the fruits of your labors at the end of a fun filled weekend. While perusing Pinterest for a change from what I already have pinned, I discovered a blog called Primal Palate that even has a free app of recipes and grocery list planning.

There I saw the name Caramelized Beef Brisket. I love brisket and caramelization, but wasn’t sure that they could be successfully combined. Challenge on! The best part was that it had 3 ingredients!!

I picked up a beautiful grass-fed brisket from Whole Foods and seasoned both sides with salt and pepper.



I then rough chopped a yellow onion for the bottom of my roasting dish (with oven set at 350) and set the meat on top.

IMG_2598.JPG place fat side up in the pan so as the fat melts, it settled into the meat keeping it moist and flavorful. After roasting, lid off for 90 minutes, it already looked and smelled delectable.

I then ladled in 2 cups of beef broth that we had ordered from uswell nessmeats.com and covered the roaster and lowered the oven temp to 325. Over the next 4 hours, I basted the meat with the jus and saw the caramelization happening before my eyes.

Realizing I needed some sides, I looked to the beets from my new CSA basket and an heirloom tomato. I peeled and chopped the beets, placed them on a foil lined baking sheet and tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. They went in the oven with the brisket for last last hour or so.


We love a good caprese salad, but lacked mozz, so substituted some local cow’s milk feta and drizzled olive oil, balsamic and basil on top. Voila!!



Meatless Monday!


I want to keep things fresh around here, and expand my kiddos palates. Not all of my dishes are successful, but we explore flavors as a family which leads to some great conversations and lots of new describing words. There may not be a more base way of connecting with your family as through food. It connects us to the past, to other cultures and to each other.

Tonight we inadvertently participated in Meatless Monday. This is a rarity as we almost always incorporate meat or seafood. We attempted a dish called Shakshuka! It sounded interesting…eggs, tomatoes, feta. I doubled the recipe as we are a 7-9 egg family and the recipe called for four. Here is the link:


I cooked my eggs a little longer, but it was still great! Also used fire roasted tomatoes when choosing canned tomatoes. Organic Valley block feta was our cheese of choice. Block over shredded cheese omits the anti-clumping fillers and you can crumble or shred yourself! This cheese had great flavor!!




End result was a host of clean plates!

4th of July real food style


The 4th of July comes with a pretty straightforward menu…grilled items, mayo-laden salads and chips. In an effort to show a small bit of appreciation for my in-laws taking the kids for the weekend, I invited them to come eat lunch!

I fretted that morning as to what to prepare as I’m such a planner. Hence I took to Pinterest to peruse my Real Food board for inspiration. I found the best salad dressing and a pretty avocado, tomato and mozzarella salad. This would serve my salad staple without mayo to keep things light and not require a nap after. For our grill items, we included our fave Applegate hotdogs and Pederson’s kielbasa20140707-214352-78232578.jpg

Placing on our grill pan (it was too hot to actually grill), it was super easy. We did the sausage 30 mins in advance and placed on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 300 degree oven to keep warm while we grilled the hot dogs.

For our salad, we threw together some spinach, cucumber, cabbage (all prepped courtesy of the Whole Foods salad bar) and added golden beets and green pepper from our fridge. But you have to try this dressing. We don’t bother with sesame or poppy seeds, but the flavor cannot be beat!

Then we cut and prepped our other salad



20140707-214753-78473238.jpgfull of fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, avocados, red onion and basil. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper! We served with some chips we found cooked in olive and avocado oils. Yum! Great as a dip or side, compliments from all!!! http://www.justaspoonfulof.com/2011/08/avocado-tomato-mozzarella-salad.html?m=1


Eating for a cookout doesn’t have to derail your healthy eating plan. We rounded out our meal with Hat Creek sauerkraut and Bubbie’s pickles! All walked away pleasantly full, but with energy to play with kids for the rest of the day! Happy Fourth!