Primal Parsley Pesto (Nut-free)

Primal Parsley Pesto (Nut-free)

Well, I’m back after some extra time away. As some of you know from my posts on Facebook, a lot has happened in the past few weeks, including my mom coming to visit, a lot of work and having to put our sweet Siamese kitty, Mila down (which I had to do when Jesse was out of town). So, I’ve had my ups and downs recently, and definitely some good and bad. I’m grateful for all the wonderful new memories my mom and I made during her stay, and all the support and love I received during the hard time with Mila. Thankfully, we still have our other kitty, Dutch too. Anyway, just wanted all of you to know where I’ve been.

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Meanwhile, I’ve had a humongous bag of flat leaf parsley in my fridge since last week and even though I’ve been using it regularly, I just haven’t been able to use enough of it. I hate wasting fresh herbs and produce, so decided to preserve some by making a batch of pesto. Since I can tolerate certain dairy, including small amounts of highly fermented cheeses, I decided to make this a dairy-based pesto with some good quality raw Parmesan. I love the saltiness and creaminess it adds, and the texture too. If you don’t tolerate Parmesan, just omit it and start with a smaller amount of oil, adding more as needed. I’ve made pesto before with no nuts or dairy and it still turned out wonderful. Feel free to also use extra virgin olive oil if you don’t have any avocado oil on hand.

This pesto pairs well with so many different foods, including eggs, chicken, zucchini noodles, greens, tomatoes, fish, Italian sausage, etc. Use as you like!

Ingredients:

  • 1 generous cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raw Parmesan cheese
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend. Scrape down the sides and taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Blend again. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Primal Parsley Pesto (Nut-free)

Zesty Ginger Meatballs

Zesty ginger meatballs

Last week was such a whirlwind and it’s hard to believe it’s over. My mom came and stayed with me from Michigan while Jesse went for a visit back home (I actually dropped him off and picked her up at the same time last Monday night). I was working still while she was here, but we were able to do a lot with my flexible schedule. We had lots of good eating, laughs, conversations and sights. It was loads of fun and we made lots of good memories. To be honest, it was weird coming home from work yesterday and not seeing her. I got so used to that and it was definitely nice. Luckily, I’ll be home for my cousin’s wedding in less than two months and Jesse will be with me for that too, so I’ll get to see my mom and other family soon. He’s still in Michigan until this Friday, so it’s just me and the kitties at home this week.

Meanwhile, I got to relax and enjoy some quiet time after work yesterday, and prepped for a super busy week I have ahead. Part of that included making these scrumptious meatballs with some goodies I had left in the fridge. The meatballs turned out incredible and are so fresh tasting. The fresh ginger is key and I don’t recommend going the powdered route for this recipe. Don’t skimp on it either. If you like things spicier, leave some of the jalapeño seeds in or add a dash of cayenne for added heat.

Zesty ginger meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 inch piece ginger, grated
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together by hand in a large mixing bowl. Form into heaping tablespoon-sized balls (or size of choice) and place on a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  2. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Once done, serve as desired. I recommend serving with fresh salsa, avocado and sautéed greens.

Salted Almond Bites

Salted almond bites

This recipe has been long in coming, and I am finally sharing it. I used to make these for Cultured Caveman here in Portland and they would then sell them at their food cart. I started making them a couple months after they opened their first food cart back in 2012. I always usually had two flavors — this one and a rotating one. The salted almond was always a big hit and also my favorite, which is why it always remained a staple flavor. As Cultured Caveman grew and opened more carts (and now a restaurant!), they took over making these for me instead. My schedule got a bit more hectic and it became easier on both sides for them to take over, so I handed over the reigns this past November. It is still my original recipe though and you can still find them at the carts. Bill and Hayley of Primal Palate even tried them during their visit to Portland and liked them (and posted about it on Facebook!). That made me happy and was so cool to see!

Meanwhile, these are super easy to make, as long as you have a good food processor (I use this one). They’re great for traveling, kiddos or as a little sweet treat for yourself. They are not a staple by any means, but something to be enjoyed on occasion or shared with others.

Feel free to make the bites whatever size you desire. If you’re pressed for time or just prefer it, you can pat the mixture down into a small pan and then cut into squares. Either way, make sure to store these puppies in the refrigerator.

Bite of salted almond

Ingredients:

  • 12-14 large medjool dates (get the ones with pits)
  • 1 cup sliced raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond butter (this brand is my favorite)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Remove pits from dates and place dates in the food processor. Process/blend about 30 seconds or until dates are chopped up and starting to clump together.
  2. Then, add the remaining ingredients. Process again until everything is mixed through. You may need to scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl and then blend again.
  3. Chill processed mixture in the fridge for 5-10 minutes. Then remove and roll into desired sized bites. I made mine a generous 1/2 Tbsp size. Again, you can pat into a pan and slice into squares too. Quantity will vary deepening on size and shape. Store in the refrigerator.

 

What I’m Loving Lately

Hi everyone, I’m still here! I know it doesn’t always seem like it sometimes since I post sporadically now, but I’m around and still care about my blog and all of you. As most of you know, I post when I can and when I have something I deem share worthy.

Meanwhile, I’ve been really enjoying my summer so far — crazy hot temps and all! Luckily, it’s supposed to start coming back to normal summer temps now. Anyway, you really can’t beat summer in Portland though. It’s kind of the best. My mom is coming to visit me in less than two weeks and will stay with me while Jesse goes home to Michigan for a visit. I’ll be going back home at the end of September for my cousin’s wedding and didn’t want to go back twice in a such a short period of time. Jesse did and had the funds to do so though, but I’ll be here working and hanging out with my mom. I’m totally good with that and am happy to stay here!

Anyway, with summer in full swing, I thought I’d share some things I appreciate and am loving lately. Here goes:

  1. Fresh-picked blueberries: Jesse and I did our annual blueberry pick this past weekend. You may recall my blueberry picking post from 2013 and 2012. Anyway, we picked a whopping 21 pounds in the mid-day heat. They are the best blueberries and so plump! We kept a big bowl in the fridge and froze the rest. Sadly, we did not make it to Besaws for breakfast this year before our annual pick. I did miss that part.Jesse picking blueberriesBeautiful blueberries
  2. Walks around my neighborhood: I walk all year round, but it’s wonderful not having to bundle or cover up in the summertime. I get a good dose of vitamin-D and take in both new and familiar surroundings. I love exploring and walking with no destination and finding the unordinary in the ordinary. Sometimes, I challenge myself to find 10-20 things I haven’t noticed before. The other day, I found this and thought it was a gem of a find and totally Portland appropriate.Random find in my neighborhood
  3. Kombucha “cocktails”: squeeze of fresh lemon, kombucha (I like this with GT’s Gingerade or Trilogy), ice and splash of sparkling water for extra fizz. If you wanted to make it an adult beverage, you could add a little vodka, which mixes pretty darn well with kombucha.Kombucha "cocktail"
  4. Ham lettuce wraps: fresh green leaf or romaine lettuce, New Seasons fresh sliced honey ham (good quality and no junk), yellow mustard, cucumber and thin slices of grass-fed cheddar cheese. Sometimes avocado too. This has been my favorite lunch lately. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture to share, but I think you all get the idea, right?
  5. Jasmine Primal Pit Paste: this new Jacked-Up Jasmine scent reminds me of my late grandma. She often wore floral scents and I can’t help but think of her when I use this. It’s an added bonus to a product I already love. The smell is fresh, feminine and lovely. It works pretty well too, at least the strong does.

Jacked-Up Jasmine Primal Pit Paste

 

Poop Like a Pro: Step and Go™ Product Review

Photo Credit: Step and Go

Photo Credit: Step and Go

First off, I was really excited when someone from Step and Go™contacted me to test their product. I had been wanting to try a toilet squatting stool for a while now, so jumped on the opportunity when it was presented. I actually had to laugh at the subject line of the email – “Poop like a paleo.” It definitely caught my attention! 

Please know, the thoughts expressed in this post are my own and even though I received a free Step and Go™ to test out, I was not compensated in any way to write this review.

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Meanwhile, there’s been a lot of talk floating around lately about proper elimination and bathroom posture. Squatting to poop is nothing new, but our modern day toilets don’t allow us to squat when going to the bathroom. If you visit other countries though, particularly in Asia, you can walk into a bathroom and still find a hole in the floor in which to poop. Traditionally, it’s the way we’ve always pooped and anatomically, it makes a lot more sense. If you ask me, it’s more comfortable too.

So, what’s the deal with squatting and why is it a more natural pooping position?

Well, for one, squatting allows for “a more complete and healthier elimination,” as stated on the Step and Go™ website. A squatting position opens the colon completely, whereas sitting causes it to break or kink. Forcing the rectum into a kinked position causes the need to strain, which can then lead to other problems such as hemorrhoids, constipation, fecal stagnation (major cause of colon disease), bowel herniation, etc. The website also states that most colon cancers develop in areas which can’t be fully emptied in the sitting position. Notice the difference between the two images below. The first shows the anorectal angle in the sitting position and the second shows it in the squatting position. Notice the kink in the first and the straighter line in the second. See how fecal matter could get stuck in that kink in the sitting position? Pretty gross and no wonder it causes problems!

kinked

Photo credit: Step and Go

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Photo credit: Step and Go

So, how does the Step and Go work?

In a nutshell, it acts as a little step stool for your feet, so you can find your squat. It is designed for use with the modern day toilet and fits right at the base of the toilet bowl. When you need it, just slide it out and place your feet on top to find your squatting position. While going, you can comfortably rest your arms or hands on your knees. When finished, slide it back along the base of the toilet for easy storage.

My Experience

Jesse and I have both been using the Step and Go™ for about two weeks now and based on our positive experience, prefer to always use it for elimination from now on. Before even trying the product, I knew I was going to be a fan and notice a difference because the whole concept made sense to me. Even after trying it just once, I already felt a greater appreciation for it. I didn’t really have any trouble going before trying the Step and Go™ (I did before paleo though), but using it seems to make everything that much more easeful and natural. Without getting too explicit, I’ll just say that I’m left feeling much cleaner and emptier when the duty is done. It’s comfortable, simple and works well.

I highly recommend getting a Step and Go™ for your own bathroom(s) at home, so you can start pooping better and improving your elimination health. It’s easy to use, affordable and appropriate for everyone, even kids. Lucky for you, the folks at Step and Go™ created a promo code just for Paleo in PDX readers! Enter the code PDX10 at checkout for 10 percent off your entire purchase! The code is good now through October 1, 2014. Go to the Step and Go™ website to get yours ASAP!

For those of you that currently use the Step and Go™ or a similar product, what do you think? Have you noticed a difference? Also, if you purchase a Step and Go™ report back and let me know what you think!

Summer Broccoli Slaw Salad

Summer Broccoli Slaw Salad

Well, summer is officially here! Jesse and I enjoyed the summer solstice by taking a nice stroll up to the Mississippi area and finding an outdoor patio to enjoy a couple happy hour cocktails. Once we walked back home, it was time to start dinner. I didn’t want to fuss with much and already decided prior we would have chicken breast and garlic scapes, but wanted a refreshing side salad to go with it. Luckily, I almost always have a bag of broccoli slaw in my fridge. Seriously, I love this stuff and its versatility. It works well for hot dishes or cold, and is one of my favorites in a veggie and meat sauté.

Normally, I think salads like this taste better the next day, but Jesse and I both liked it better the day I made it, after letting it marinate for about 20 minutes. It still tasted good the next day, but was a bit more mustardy tasting from the Dijon. It was more subtle on the day I made it and I guess we both liked it better that way.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of granulated garlic
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz bag broccoli slaw
  • 1/2 large or 1 small avocado, sliced
  • 2-3 chopped green onions, optional

Summer Broccoli Slaw Salad close-up

Directions:

  1. Pour the broccoli slaw in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate small mixing bowl or dressing shaker, combine all the remaining ingredients, except the avocado and green onion. Mix well with a whisk or shake well if using a dressing shaker. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  3. Pour dressing over the broccoli slaw and stir well. Add the avocado slices and chopped green onions, if using. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator 15-20 minutes. Serve with something grilled!

Yields: 4-5 side dish servings

Hawaiian Honeymoon

I realized I never shared any photos from my recent honeymoon in Kauai and Oahu on here, so I thought I’d share some highlights.  I had a recipe in store for today, but ended up not being completely satisfied with it, so decided to scrap it for now.

Meanwhile, here are some memories from our trip. Enjoy and happy Friday! Oh, and our 1-year wedding anniversary is this Sunday, June 8th. Hard to believe a year has passed already!

Polihale Beach in Kauai. This beach is on the west side of the island, down a 5-mile bumpy, dirt road. It was super rough, but well worth it.

Polihale Stae Park in Kauai. This is a remote wild beach on the west side of the island. The trek to get there is down a 5-mile bumpy, dirt road. It was super rough, but well worth it.

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Gearing for a 90-minute sunset catamaran ride, the last night of our honeymoon. Honolulu, Waikiki Beach.

Hanelai Bay

Hanelai Bay, Kauai.

My tasty breakfast one morning at the Common Ground Cafe on the North Shore of Kauai.

My tasty breakfast one morning at the Common Ground Cafe on the North Shore of Kauai.

Zip-lining fun at the Princeville Ranch. It was a blast!

Zip-lining fun at the Princeville Ranch. It was a blast!

Jesse climbing on the rocks at Ha'ena State Park. This was mere hours before he lost his wedding ring in the ocean at Tunnels Beach. Darn frog paws pulling it off.

Jesse climbing on the rocks at Ha’ena State Park. This was mere hours before he lost his wedding ring in the ocean at Tunnels Beach. Darn frog paws pulling it off.

A really happy lady with her Mai Tai at Tahiti Nui in Hanelai.

A really happy lady with her Mai Tai at Tahiti Nui in Hanelai.

Our amazing view of Hanelai Bay during the most epic (and spendy) brunch ever at the St. Regis Princeville Resort.

Our amazing view of Hanelai Bay during the most epic (and spendy) brunch ever at the St. Regis Princeville Resort. It was worth every penny.

Jesse on our sunset catamaran ride in Honolulu.

Jesse on our sunset catamaran ride in Honolulu.

Jesse in front of a dry cave. It was neat walking around inside. This was right across from Ha'ena State Park.

Jesse in front of a wet cave. Absolutely no swimming in there though because of some nasty bacteria.

A close-up of the wet cave.

Closer up of the wet cave.

Jesse eating a homemade acai bowl (minus the granola) at the Hanelai farmer's market.

Jesse eating a homemade acai bowl (minus the granola) at the Hanelai farmer’s market. Still had his wedding ring here too. It was 2 days later that it left us.

Ha'ena State Park/Tunnels Beach area, where Jesse lost his wedding ring.

Ha’ena State Park/Tunnels Beach area (far end), where Jesse lost his wedding ring.

My lunch after zip-lining at the Common Ground Cafe. Grass-fed beef burger with bacon and raw cheddar (yes, I do okay sometimes with highly fermented cheeses), organic veggie salad and a legit homemade avocado dressing. This place had great food and super good quality too.

My lunch after zip-lining at the Common Ground Cafe. Bun-less grass-fed beef burger with bacon and raw cheddar (yes, I do okay with small amounts of highly fermented cheeses), organic veggie salad and a legit homemade avocado dressing. This place had great food and super good quality too.

Poipu Beach at the South end of Kauai. We beached it this day with two friends who were also visiting the island. Afterward, we went for Mai Tai's. Great snorkeling here -- saw lots of cool fish!

Poipu Beach at the South end of Kauai. We beached it this day with two friends who were also visiting the island. Afterward, we went for happy hour Mai Tai’s. Great snorkeling here — saw lots of cool fish!

Dinner at Rum Fire after our catamaran ride on our very last night. Honolulu.

Dinner at Rum Fire after our catamaran ride on our very last night.

It was a windy ride!

It was a windy ride!

St. Regis Princeville Resort.

St. Regis Princeville Resort, waiting for our car to arrive after brunch.

Apple bananas. These are so good!

Apple bananas. These are so good!

I treated myself to this ring from the Hanelai Farmer's Market. The woman who made these used to live in Oregon and now resides in Kauai, making jewelry. She had such cool stuff!

I treated myself to this ring from the Hanelai Farmer’s Market. The woman who made these used to live in Oregon and now resides in Kauai, making jewelry. She had such cool stuff! Here, I’m admiring it at Polihale State Park.

Hot ride.

Hot ride. I couldn’t resist taking a picture. No, this was not the car we drove around in!

An epic sunset overlooking Hanelai Bay. We pulled over on the side of the road to snap a picture. The photo doesn't do it justice.

An epic sunset overlooking Hanelai Bay. We pulled over on the side of the road to snap a picture. The photo doesn’t do it justice.

Fruit stands are all over Kauai and a must to stop at!

Fruit stands are all over Kauai and a must to stop at!

It was Mai Tai o'clock a lot.

It was Mai Tai o’clock a lot.

Fresh Hawaiian pedicure in Honolulu.

Fresh Hawaiian pedicure in Honolulu.

An amazing view during a morning walk, our first day in Kauai.

An amazing view during a morning walk, our first day in Kauai.

Sitting on the terrace at the St. Regis, enjoying our fancy brunch. Seriously, most amazing brunch ever. There was everything and it was all homemade! They even cooked the eggs in clarified butter!

Sitting on the terrace at the St. Regis, enjoying our fancy brunch. Seriously, most amazing brunch ever. There was everything and it was all homemade! They even cooked the eggs in clarified butter!

One of the 9 zip-lines we went down. So fun!

One of the 9 zip-lines we went down. So fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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