Author Archives: Steph

How To Brine a Turkey or Chicken

How To Brine a Turkey or Chicken | stupideasypaleo.com

How to brine a turkey or chicken? I’m covering this simple method in today’s post and giving you my favorite go-to brine ingredients for succulent poultry every time.

I first started brining my chicken back when I got my hands on Mel Joulwan’s ahhhhmazing book Well Fed. Since then, I’ve created lots of different brines, mostly for lean chicken (think white meat) and pork. Letting the meat soak in brine, a salted water sometimes infused with herbs and spices, is sort of like a marinade.

How To Brine a Turkey or Chicken | stupideasypaleo.com

Instead of just imparting flavor though, the brine keeps the meat moist and juicy which is always a challenge with leaner cuts. How does it work? Basically the salt causes the muscle protein to soften and get less tough when cooked. More moisture is retained during the cooking process.

If a little brining time is good, more must be better…right? Actually no. Oversoaking the meat will eventually cause moisture to be drawn out of the meat. The following method works for any lean meat—chicken, turkey, and shellfish like shrimp are great—and you can scale up or down depending on the quantity of protein you’re dealing with.

How To Brine a Turkey or Chicken

  1. Prepare a container to hold the poultry. A stock pot will hold a smaller turkey while a very large bird will have to go in a clean, new bucket or other container lined with food-safe plastic.
  2. Remove any giblets and pat the bird dry with paper towel.
  3. Add the salt and spices to the container, then the appropriate amount of water. Stir well to dissolve the salt. (Recipe is below.)
  4. Carefully add the turkey or chicken to the brine. Place the container in the refrigerator for the correct amount of time. You can’t leave this on the counter.
  5. When the brining process is complete, remove the poultry and rinse off the excess salt and spices. Discard the brine. Pat the poultry dry with paper towels, then proceed with your preferred cooking method.

How To Brine a Turkey or Chicken | stupideasypaleo.com

Basic Brine Recipe for Turkey (for a 10-pound bird)

Follow the directions above, allowing the turkey to brine for about 10 to 12 hours. Tip: Mix your brine ingredients (except the water) in a Mason jar ahead of time and store for when you’re busy. Mark on the lid how much you’ve made…enough for a 5-pound or 10-pound bird, for example.

*For a 5-pound whole chicken, halve the quantities. Brine for 5 hours.

**For a 20-pound turkey, double the quantities. Brine for about 24 hours.

Have a question? Leave it in the comments below, and I’ll get back to you!

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How To Brine a Turkey or Chicken | stupideasypaleo.com

Learn Olympic Weightlifting with Diane Fu

Learn Olympic Weightlifting—Diane Fu | stupideasypaleo.com

This week only!

Strength training and building muscle mass is so important for all of us, not just high-level athletes, but what if you don’t have your own personal coach? Meet me at the bar(bell) because I have the perfect thing to help you get started with weightlifting.

Weight training has done incredible things for me: I’ve gotten stronger and leaner, improved my balance and coordination, and—most surprisingly—become so much more confident. Today, I’m introducing you to my friend Diane Fu.

I met Diane a few years ago at the CrossFit Mobility seminar, and it was clear that she was not only an incredibly amazing athlete, she’s also fantastic coach. Diane posts so many helpful tips regularly on her Instagram page, and she teamed up with Cody to create this video-based training program.

Diane’s one of the best Olympic-style weightlifting coaches in the country and this week, I’m sharing this awesome program that she put together. Click here for a free preview!

This bundle is a 4-phase video-based training program to teach you the foundations of Olympic style lifting and ramp you up to lift fast and strong. Whether you are a CrossFitter looking to polish up your form or an Olympic weightlifting enthusiast, this plan will take the unknown out of your training and give you all that you need to add strength, speed, coordination, and flexibility to your lifts and to your performance.

The folks at Cody are offering you a super sweet deal—36% off!—this week only! Now you can get coaching from one of the best out there. Click here to learn more!

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Learn Olympic Weightlifting—Diane Fu | stupideasypaleo.com Have a question about weightlifting or strength training? Leave it in the comments below!

Thanksgiving Leftovers Ideas

Thanksgiving Leftovers Ideas | stupideasypaleo.com

Thanksgiving leftovers: Love them or hate them, they seem to be an inevitability…unless your guests are much hungrier than you planned on!

You’ve gathered with family. Eaten enough to warrant loosening your zipper (or maybe you just wore sweatpants…you smarty, you). Watched plenty of football. But now you’re stuck with a fridge full of half-eatens. Here are a few ideas to inspire you to whip yesterday’s dinner into today’s goodies.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Idea #1: Use the turkey carcass / bones to make bone broth.

Bone broth—or stock as it’s sometimes called—is a really great way to use up your leftover turkey bits. Not only does it taste great, it’s also rich in gelatin / collagen which is great for gut health and maintaining your skin, joints and hair. Rad, right?

Now, to make a good-sized batch of bone broth, you’ll probably need more than one turkey carcass, but the leftover bird will get you most of the way to a full pot of stock. To ensure you have enough cartilaginous bones to get really jiggly broth, consider adding in extra chicken backs, feet or even beef knuckle bones.

For a fantastic tutorial on making your own perfect bone broth, click on this guest post from the broth guy Ryan at Bare Bones Broth.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Idea #2: Make a leftovers mashup.

Last year, I made a Paleo Thanksgiving Leftovers “Sandwich” with cranberry sauce, turkey, shaved Brussels sprouts and sweet potato “pancakes” as the “bread.” Needless to say, the idea (which I borrowed from Food52 and made Paleo) was a hit, even making it to BuzzFeed. Guess that means folks liked it!

Thanksgiving Leftovers Ideas | stupideasypaleo.com

Use this idea as a jumping off point for your own reinvention or click here to get the individual recipes for the Paleo Thanksgiving Leftovers “Sandwich” as I posted them last year.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Idea #3: Make a curry.

Probably the hardest part of Thanksgiving leftovers to deal with is the turkey: Unless you drown it in gravy, it just gets so dry. One of my solutions: Make a curry with it.

My recipe for Leftover Turkey Yellow Curry gives you the best of both worlds, combining the win of using up leftovers with the seemingly impossible feat of bringing dry turkey back to life. This mild yellow curry is great served over some cauliflower rice and really changes up the flavors from everyday to exotic.

I’m sure you have your favorite way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers, so be sure to share it in the comments below!

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Thanksgiving Leftovers Ideas | stupideasypaleo.com

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Cooking School

Steph’s note: This is the second installment in my recap of the Thai Culinary Adventure I took with Paleo Nick and 18 other fantastic friends. Read Part 1 here and Nick’s recap of our trip here.

When I last left you, our train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai was lumbering through the darkness of the Thai countryside. Daylight broke, and we were greeted with the sight of trees in every conceivable shade of green…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Cat checking out the local sights as we stop to hook up another engine…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Curious little dog…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Jesse without his face behind the camera for once…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Nick reciting his Thai numbers to this guy…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Another couple hours, and we arrived in Chiang Mai (about 48 hours after starting out on our trip). In case you’re wondering if the train option is right for you, here’s my honest opinion: If you don’t mind being mildly uncomfortable for 14 hours, the lack of fancy toilets, the potential for bugs, or want to save some money…go for it. If you want to get to Chiang Mai as fast as possible or want only the best accommodations, take a flight instead.

Welcome to Chiang Mai…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

We lugged our bags out of the train, stuffed ourselves into two vans and drove to our home for the next week, the Eco Resort just east of the Menam Ping river. It’s walking distance to the old city square and the markets. I definitely recommend it! We settled in and took advantage of the free day to get some food and amble around.

Eco Resort loves you…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Famished, some of us opted for lunch as soon as possible which turned out to be directly across the street from Eco Resort at a tiny, family-run restaurant called Inpoo Food Shop. We tucked into perfectly spiced red curry, silky Pad Thai, and other favorites while we recounted the long journey from Bangkok.

I heart this soda water…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

A soft-spoken Thai woman and her husband, Som and Payute, run the eatery and cook outside on three small propane stoves. They’re truly lovely with warm smiles and big hearts. We ate there several times over our trip, and Nick even arranged a special event there. (More on that in future installments.)

Som’s kitchen…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

That evening, we strolled the night bazaar and the following day was our visit to Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School. Chef Thanapon Punya picked us up and took our bunch to the Sam Yaek Market, where we got a lesson in Thai ingredients. Here are some of the sights from the market…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Scrubbing coconut meat before it gets shredded…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

All the rice…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Cutting rice noodles…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Fresh veggies…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Chef Thanapon quizzing us on Thai produce (we did okay)…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

More veg…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Stalls selling all manner of things…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

All the lemongrass…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Smiles from Nick and Noura…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Butchery…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Yes, that’s a fried grub. I ate two…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Cleaning fish…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

We were in Chiang Mai for the Yi Peng Lantern Festival. These are kathrong, offerings floated down the river during the festival. They’re made of banana trunks, palms, flowers, candles, incense and other decorations. We saw them all over the markets in Chiang Mai…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Fishies…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Weigh in…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

So many colors…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Cutting green papaya for Som Tam Thai (Green Papaya Salad)…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

…and cooking school…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Banana leaf cups for Khanom Kluay (Steamed Banana Cake) (gluten-free)…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Wok handles…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Prepping ingredients for Tom Kha Gai (Chicken Coconut Soup)…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Cooking Gaeng Phed Plaa (Red Curry with Fish)…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Plated red curry…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Chrisann helping make sticky rice…

 

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Phad Hed Ruam Khao Pod Orn (Mushrooms with Baby Corn)…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Prepping the banana cakes…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Cooking the soup…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Plated green papaya salad…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

The whole gang!

Thai Culinary Adventure—Chiang Mai Food & Markets | stupideasypaleo.com

Stay tuned for the next installment of our Thai Culinary Adventure!

Non-watermarked photos courtesy of Anderson York.

Questions? Leave them in the comments below!

Best Paleo Recipes of 2014: Are You Hungry?

Best Paleo Recipes of 2014 | stupideasypaleo.com

When I think back to early 2010, when I started eating Paleo, I remember how incredibly different things were. There were a handful of blogs—and it seemed even fewer books—available for inspiration. Fast forward five years and my, how it’s changed.

Now there are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of blogs aligned to Paleo or real food eating. Dozens of cookbooks offer up incredibly creative recipes. It’s totally great, but probably a bit overwhelming. How do you find the very best recipes amongst all the choice out there?

Best Paleo Recipes of 2014 | stupideasypaleo.com

My friends at Primal Palate have gathered together the Best Paleo Recipes of 2014 into one convenient resource just for you. Now you won’t have to comb through hundreds of sites to find the top, mount-watering Paleo recipes out there on the web. (To let you in on a little secret, the Best Paleo Recipes of 2014 ebook is on sale for 20% off until tomorrow—Monday, November 17 at noon! After that, the price goes up.)

Twenty-five top Paleo bloggers and authors (including me!) each contributed 6 recipes to this collaborative ebook for a total of 150 scrumptious dishes! What’s even better: Each contributor added one exclusive, never-before-seen recipe to the mix.

Best Paleo Recipes of 2014 | stupideasypaleo.com

You’ll find 150 recipes for every meal of the day that follow a Paleo template in this ebook. The photos are gorgeous and sure to inspire you to try new recipes.

Click here to see more of the great recipes in the Best Paleo Recipes of 2014 ebook!

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Best Paleo Recipes of 2014 | stupideasypaleo.com

Tuesday Night Chicken

Tuesday Night Chicken—The Frugal Paleo Cookbook | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: This recipe comes to you courtesy of my personal friend and fellow Paleo blogger / author, Ciarra Hannah of Popular Paleo. Her new cookbook, The Frugal Paleo Cookbook—all about eating delicious, flavorful Paleo food without breaking the bank—comes out on December 2, 2014!

She’s giving you a sneak peek with this tasty recipe for Tuesday Night Chicken. If you’re down for saving money while eating Paleo, you need this book. Plus, if you pre-order before December 2, you’ll get a free bonus package chock full of awesome info and coupons. Take it away Ciarra!

Truthfully this could be named after any day of the week. It’s so approachable and affordable that you won’t hesitate to make it after a long day at work or just before payday hits. This recipe highlights my favorite way to cook a rich tomato sauce quickly: red chili flakes and cinnamon. It’s how my Italian grandmother fed our family, so naturally I consider it the right way, as any true Italian would. Enjoy using these straightforward ingredients to create a bold and flavorful classic Italian dinner…any night of the week.

Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients for Tuesday Night Chicken

  • 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 pound [454 g])
  • 1 tsp (5 g) House Seasoning Blend (see below)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup (150 g) diced white or yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 batch Italian Seasoning Blend (see below)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 (14.5 oz [411 g]) can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • Fresh basil and/or flat-leaf parsley for garnish

For the House Seasoning Blend

For the Italian Seasoning Blend

Directions for Tuesday Night Chicken

Prepare the chicken breasts first by filleting lengthwise to make 2 thick breasts into 4 thinner ones. Dust both sides with the House Seasoning Blend.

Heat a high-sided skillet over medium-high heat and add a little bit of olive oil to the pan—enough to just coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, lay the seasoned chicken breasts in to sear. Work in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan as overcrowding leads to steaming, not browning. When the chicken has been seared (note, not fully cooked) on both sides, transfer it to a plate and set aside.

Reduce the temperature to medium and replenish the pan with a little more olive oil if it looks dry. Add the onion, garlic, Italian Seasoning Blend, kosher salt and cinnamon and cook, stirring often. If you are not accustomed to building sauces this way, I know it may appear a bit strange, but trust me on this. Applying heat and oil to the dried herbs prior to immersing in liquid revives the oils and creates a deeper flavor. It’s the trick to crafting a rich tomato sauce in such a short amount of time.

Cook until the onion is translucent and the garlic and herbs fragrant. Pour in the fire-roasted tomatoes and mix together. When the sauce bubbles, add the par-cooked chicken back to the pan, nestle it into the spiced-tomato-goodness, cover and reduce the temperature to a simmer.

Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes while chopping the fresh garnishes—use either or both basil or flat-leaf parsley. This final simmer also allows plenty of time to whip up a quick vegetable side like an easy salad, sautéed dark leafy greens or Pan-Roasted Cauliflower & Zucchini, which is available on page 157 of the book or here on www.PopularPaleo.com.

I like to serve this directly from the pan after scattering with the vibrant green fresh herbs.

Love this recipe? Pre-order The Frugal Paleo Cookbook here!

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Tuesday Night Chicken—The Frugal Paleo Cookbook | stupideasypaleo.com

Have a question about this recipe? Leave it in the comments below, and we’ll get back to you!

Thai Culinary Adventure—Bangkok

Thai Culinary Adventure—Bangkok

A couple months ago, Nick Massie (better known as Paleo Nick) asked me if I wanted to go to Thailand on a culinary adventure. It didn’t take me long to jump at the chance to check another country off my travel bucket list. As type this, I’m lying on my fold out bed on the overnight train to Chiang Mai…my first chance to be horizontal in about 48 hours. It feels fantastic except my body’s trying to decipher which day it really is, but the jet lag sort of fades to the background as the food and sights and sounds of this trip fill my senses.

If you’ve ever seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, you’re quite aware—and probably fond—of the scene where the troop of twelve Dwarves tumble through the door at Bag End in pairs and trios. The early part of our journey has been quite the same. My trip started on Sunday night when I left San Diego along with two others from our group. After a quick flight to San Francisco, we were joined by four others, expanding our merry tribe to seven.

Thai Culinary Adventure—Bangkok

We tucked in for a very long flight (all told, 13-1/2 hours I think) to Taiwan, accompanied by some epic turbulence and binge-watching every tv show on the in-flight entertainment. Many hours later, we touched down in Taipei, picked up another member and boarded another flight to Bangkok. That’s a total of twelve, if you’ve been counting!

Once there, we greeted another three folks flying in from all over. Upon exiting customs, my hunger got the best of me so I pulled up to a little booth and snagged some fresh spring rolls and a box of pork sautéed with rice noodles and veggies for about 130 baht (roughly $4).

Now, I’m sure you’re probably wondering what / if / how I’m going to “keep it Paleo” when I’m in a country renowned the world over for it’s culinary delights. How will I know what they put in the sauce? What kind of oil do they cook with? Don’t I know that rice isn’t Paleo?!

My simple answer to this is that on a vacation that will come once in a lifetime—unless the universe has other plans—I’m going to enjoy the noms. Food is such a strong part of any culture, and to deny myself the chance to experience this beautiful country, I’m not staying strict Paleo when I’m here. I know there’s sugar in the sauces, it would be absurd for me to ask a street vendor about cooking oil, and that my body reacts fine to white rice because I’ve tested it. For more on my take on eating Paleo while traveling, click here.

Once we gathered everyone up, we stuffed ourselves into the train from the airport right into the heart of Bangkok and made a quick transfer until we were right out front of CrossFit BKK. Henrik and Nick arranged for us to do a Paleo seminar, so we tumbled in the door, set down our bags and started talking. There were some really great questions posed by the audience, and I really loved how we talked about adapting Paleo based on Thai culture and food availability.

Thai Culinary Adventure—Bangkok

Our answer: Just eat as much whole, unprocessed, nourishing food as possible. This isn’t a quick-fix diet. Instead, it’s a framework for choosing the best food you can a majority of the time for the rest of your life. After the seminar, CrossFit BKK was kind enough to offer our tribe the option to do a workout or to just shower for the first time in about 36 hours which I quickly took advantage of. Their facility is pretty rad with both an indoor and a much larger outdoor rooftop training area. If you’re ever in Bangkok, hit them up!

From there, the afternoon was wearing on so our now-expanded group of fourteen traipsed to the train station via another metro…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Bangkok   Thai Culinary Adventure—Bangkok   Thai Culinary Adventure—Bangkok

…and we happened to have enough time to snag some really tasty food from a couple street vendors…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Bangkok   Thai Culinary Adventure—Bangkok

…like skewered meat…

Thai Culinary Adventure—Bangkok

…and Pad Thai.

Thai Culinary Adventure—Bangkok   Thai Culinary Adventure—Bangkok   Thai Culinary Adventure—Bangkok

With our bellies full, it was finally time to board the overnight train to Chiang Mai. It looks circa 1960s but it’s clean and functional despite it’s age. It wasn’t long after we pulled away from the station that it was impossible to keep my eyes open…for about 6 hours.

Thai Culinary Adventure—Bangkok

True to form when I travel, I’m struggling to adapt to the time change. Appearances tell me everyone else is asleep right now as the shiny striped blue curtains are pulled across virtually every sleeping berth. It’s about 2 am, and we’re not quite halfway there.

As I gaze out the window, I can make out bits and pieces of what’s out there in the darkness: the moonlight glinting off the train tracks and silhouettes of palm trees going for what seems like eternity between towns. Kids sitting three to a motor scooter as they laugh and speed down a side street and people eating at a roadside cafe in the middle of the night. Gorgeous temples with intricate adornments. Roads that look like American freeways complete with green road signs with white lettering. If the writing wasn’t in Thai, I’d think it could be in Miami.

Every station we roll through has its own unique character. Phitsanulok was quite expansive with folks sleeping on hard wooden benches women setting up food stalls in the middle of this ebony dark night. Sila-At was deserted except for one man standing in the middle of the platform with his arms folded across his chest.

The train whistles sounds and fades into the black as we approach yet another town. It lumbers and lurches in what seems like a rhythm and lulls me back to sleep.

Stay tuned for more dispatches as we reach our final destination: Chiang Mai.

Paleo Pulled Pork Stuffed Squash

Paleo Pulled Pork Stuffed Squash | stupideasypaleo.com

Paleo Pulled Pork Stuffed Squash doubles as a hearty fall dinner or a great game day appetizer. It takes a little advance planning because the pork gets the low and slow treatment in the slow cooker, but the meat can be made a day ahead of time and reheated after the squash is roasted. Or, just make the meat itself! There are tons of options here. If you omit the honey, this recipe is Whole30-friendly and just as tasty.

Paleo Pulled Pork Stuffed Squash | stupideasypaleo.com Paleo Pulled Pork Stuffed Squash | stupideasypaleo.com Paleo Pulled Pork Stuffed Squash | stupideasypaleo.com

Delicata squash are cylindrical and generally smaller than a butternut. You’ll recognize them by their yellow skin with long green stripes. The skin is thin and edible, the flesh creamy and a bit sweet. You can even experiment with different types of squash if you can’t find delicata—acorn would work well—but instead of four, you’ll probably only need two. I slice the squash boats in halves or thirds for appetizer portions or keep them whole for dinner. Serve with a side salad or some roasted veggies for a complete meal.

Paleo Pulled Pork Stuffed Squash | stupideasypaleo.com

If you’re ever interested in checking out the pastured pork from 5280 Meat in Colorado, my readers get 10% off any order with the code SEPaleo.

Paleo Pulled Pork Stuffed Squash

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours, 15 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 3 lb (1361 g) pork shoulder or pork butt
  • 2 tsp (10 g) fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) stone ground mustard, divided in half
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) raw honey (omit for Whole30)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 small delicata squash, halved and seeded
  • 2 tbsp (15 mL) melted fat or oil of choice
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions

  1. You'll make this recipe in two parts. First, make the pulled pork because it needs 8 hours in the slow cooker. Overnight works really well.
  2. Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker, then rub all over with the salt and half the mustard (about 2 tablespoons / 30 mL). Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the meat, place in a bowl and shred with two forks. (The cooking liquid can get quite salty which is why I don't shred it in the slow cooker itself.) Mix in the other half of the mustard, the honey and the cayenne pepper.
  3. About 45 minutes before you want to serve the food, get the squash roasting in the oven. This can be done ahead of time, too, and then everything can be reheated.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400F (204C). Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Arrange the squash halves on the sheet with the empty boat side facing up, and drizzle with the melted fat or oil. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper, then roast for about 30-40 minutes or until the squash is tender and starting to lightly brown.

Notes

If you're doing Whole30, check labels on the mustard and omit the honey.

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Pomegranate Habanero Shredded Beef—Paleo & Whole30

Pomegranate Habanero Shredded Beef | stupideasypaleo.com

The flavors of fall always inspire me. Roasted root vegetables, soups and stews, and slow-cooked roasts are highlights, meant to warm you up on a cold day. Pomegranates are coming into season now, so I decided to make a beef roast with the juice—for a bit of sweetness—and balanced it out with some heat from the habanero pepper. (I get the juice with no added sugar.) Customize to how spicy you like it. If you want it hotter, leave in the seeds or use jalapeño pepper instead.

Pomegranate Habanero Shredded Beef | stupideasypaleo.com

I used my Dutch oven, but I’m sure you could make it in the slow cooker…I just haven’t tested it yet! Be sure to use a cut of beef roast with enough fat so it turns out tender and not dry. If you’re ever interested in checking out the grass-fed beef from 5280 Meat in Colorado, my readers get 10% off any order with the code SEPaleo.

Pomegranate Habanero Shredded Beef | stupideasypaleo.com

Pomegranate Jalapeño Shredded Beef—Paleo & Whole30

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F (163C). Pat the roast VERY dry with paper towels and season with the salt. You want the meat to be very dry so that a nice crust will form when you sear it. Otherwise the surface will steam instead of brown.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, then add the ghee. (Ghee is great for searing meat because it has such a high smoke point.) Sear all sides for about 4 to 6 minutes each or until a golden brown crust forms.
  3. Turn off the heat, and add the habanero (or jalapeño), beef broth, and pomegranate juice. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and put the pot into the oven.
  4. Bake for about 3 hrs or until the meat is very tender. Shred with two forks. It's great served over roasted sweet potatoes. Bonus points for serving with a drizzle of pomegranate reduction. To make that, pour 1/2 cup pomegranate juice into a small pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until the juice has reduced by about half and coats the back of a spoon. Just keep an eye on it because it can burn quite easily. If you're on Whole30 I would avoid the reduction because of sugar content.
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Pomegranate Habanero Shredded Beef | stupideasypaleo.com

Have a question? Leave it in the comments below!

4 Things You Need To Know Before You Start Strength Training


4 Things You Need to Know Before You Start Strength Training | stupideasypaleo.com

Before you start strength training, there are four things you definitely need to consider.

Lifting heavy things and building muscle mass are incredibly important, especially as we pass into mid-adulthood and beyond. If you’ve been considering starting a strength program, check out my list of four things to look out for.

I shared it on The Paleo Mom’s website, where I was recently a guest blogger.

Click here to read 4 Things You Need to Know Before You Start Strength Training!

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4 Things You Need to Know Before You Start Strength Training | stupideasypaleo.com

Do you strength train? Let me know in the comments below!

Bonus Fitness & Nutrition Guide

Bonus Fitness & Nutrition Guide | stupideasypaleo.com

“Am I doing this right?” It’s a common question I hear from Paleo people all the time!

To go along with my upcoming cookbook—the one that comes out in just a bit over 8 weeks!—I created a companion bonus ebook called The Performance Paleo Cookbook Fitness & Nutrition Guide to help you figure out if you’re doing Paleo right!

The best part? If you pre-order the cookbook before November 31, 2014 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, I’ll send you the Fitness & Nutrition Guide as way of saying thank you. I’m so incredibly grateful for all your support, and pre-ordering helps us know how many books to make. (Plus, you also save 25% off the regular price which is pretty sweet.)

Bonus Fitness & Nutrition Guide | stupideasypaleo.com

What’s in the Fitness & Nutrition Guide? It’s over 30 pages of great information about how to use the recipes in the book, plus a whole ton of other killer stuff like:

  • understanding how to eat Paleo for performance
  • what to eat and how to build a plate
  • how to approach pre- and post workout
  • sound training advice
  • how to get amazing sleep and reduce stress
  • practical tips for cooking
  • common Paleo pitfalls to avoid and
  • tons of awesome resources including my favorite products & discounts!

It’s like a mashup between my nutrition seminars and a miniature version of The Paleo Athlete all rolled into one, and it’s the perfect companion to the cookbook.

To get your bonus Fitness & Nutrition Guide, save your Amazon or Barnes & Noble order number, then fill out the simple form here. You’ll get access to the guide right away, and you can save the PDF ebook to your computer for later.

I’m so excited for you to get your bonus guide. I hope it gives you the tools and confidence to know that indeed, you are doing it right!

Click here to pin this!

Bonus Fitness & Nutrition Guide | stupideasypaleo.com

Remember to pre-order then get your guide here!

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my series on Food Photography Tips! (Click here to read Part 1.) I’m on a mission to help beginners make their food photos look better, so we’re going to jump right in with some basics on styling. Plus, keep reading down for a killer giveaway from my friends at Erickson Wood Works…wink wink.

Here’s the thing with food photography: It’s an art. Sure there are technical things to master like using your camera settings correctly, but SO much of it is what you create from your own ideas and from your heart. There isn’t any one style that’s right, and you’ll find over time you may develop your own signature look.

I’ve seemed to gravitate toward simpler styling, some shadowing and highlighting bold colors in the food itself. Other folks are known for their dramatic shadows and moody shots, others for their chic and polished look, and still others for their “smashed” food shots.

My best advice is to experiment and see what you come up with. Don’t feel like you have to copy a certain style to have it be “right.”

Once you’ve set the stage by optimizing the right location and light, it’s time to turn your attention to the aesthetic quality of your photos.

Food Photography Tips: Styling

The only limit to styling is your imagination, as cheesy and cliche as that sounds. There are some basic pointers that can help you get started, however. I learned a TON from the online course Story on a Plate and Tasty Food Photography, and they were highly influential in my work on the cookbook. Their lessons were indispensable then and now as I continue photographing for myself and others.  First, I’ll discuss some of the elements of a good photo, and then how to stage it.

Element 1: Props

You needn’t go crazy with props, but as you become more comfortable with your food photography you may want different props to shoot with. Props can be anything from the components of a table setting (plates, bowls, glasses, flatware, etc.) to interesting serving wear to linens to kitchen gadgets and of course, the food itself.

A look inside my prop cabinet…

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

My rule of thumb is that whenever I’m shopping, I keep an eye out for interesting props. Sometimes I walk out with nothing, sometimes a few things. If I see something I like, I always get it then and there. I’ve gone back to get an item a few days later only to find it was gone. Huge bummer. I also usually only buy one of something. It forces me to mix and match and cuts down on the amount of storage space I need.

Where to find awesome props? The possibilities are pretty much endless, but here are some of my favorites:

Some of these stores are pricey, so I always comb their sales rack or sales page looking for good deals.

There are no rules about which colors or patterns to use or avoid. I try to find props with interesting shapes or textures that lend visual interest to the photograph without upstaging the food. If you’re just starting out, you may want to invest in some basic / classic pieces, especially white / basic designs and avoid the really flashy pieces. It’s hard to go wrong with simpler props, and you’ll get more mileage out of them versus a really unique piece that will be really obvious the 6th time you’ve used it.

For linens, again, use your imagination. I have a mixture of colored and white linens, mostly dish towels but some napkins, too. Believe it or not, my favorite linen is a 99 cent Ikea dish towel with a simple red stripe. I really love soft, thin fabrics instead of actual linen or terry cloth because they aren’t as bulky and have a nice drape to them. I store my linens crumpled up in my prop cabinet because I love the visual interest that wrinkles bring. Burlap is also a cool fabric, and you can usually find it at craft stores.

Element 2: Backdrops

The surface you shoot on can really make a difference to the mood of your photo, and there are so many different options out there. If you have a nice table, there’s nothing wrong with starting with that and branching out over time. Countertops, floors, and chairs make good surfaces too, depending on the material. I’ve shot on top of old, beat up sheet pans, oversized metal trays, marble pastry slabs, pieces of slate, fabric covering a table, and even my wood floor.

By far my favorite option though are wooden backgrounds designed for photography.

I’ve made my own from salvaged wood (this one is my favorite)…

Paleo Vanilla Hazelnut Creamer with Homemade Cold-Brew Coffee | stupideasypaleo.com

…and from wood I purchased from the hardware store. (Click that link for the full tutorial.)

Vanilla Berry Chia Pudding | stupideasypaleo.com

The other option is to buy a pre-fab background from an online crafter. They range from vinyl printed to made like wood (which, when the shot is close, sometimes betrays itself as not wood) to reclaimed pieces or those made to look aged  / distressed.

Generally, I like boards that are 2 to 2.5 feet x 2.5 to 3 feet in dimension. This leaves enough space for pull-back / wide shots.

Recently, I found Erickson Wood Works on Etsy that makes double-sided, lightweight boards in a variety of finishes. When it comes down to the cost of making your own (especially if you’re not very crafty or lack the basic tools), these are VERY cost effective. EWW is a small, family-owned California company, and their quality and service is fantastic.

Here’s an example of their boards:

Butternut Squash "Pasta" Sauce—Paleo & Whole30 | stupideasypaleo.com

Moules et Frites—Mussels & Fries | stupideasypaleo.com

I’m SO pumped to offer my fellow food bloggers and photographers the chance to win one of THREE double-sided backgrounds from Erickson Wood Works! The winners will each choose from two of Erickson’s signature finishes. Cool, right? That’s $100+ value for each winner. To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below.*

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Element 3: Planning the Shot

Again, there’s no real right or wrong answer with how to style a shot, but there are some basics that can help you construct a great looking picture.

Probably the most basic way to arrange a shot is called the Rule of Thirds. When you look through your camera’s viewfinder, imagine the field of view divided into 9 small boxes, Brady-bunch style. Placing the focal object of the shot at the corners of these boxes can really help make a photo look more interesting. Put in other terms, centering your focal object can kind of look boring.

That’s not to say that a gorgeous plate of food centered can’t look dramatic and striking! It certainly can…

The Performance Paleo Cookbook | stupideasypaleo.com

But setting your subject off to the side, even with some parts of the props out of the frame can really look awesome.

The Performance Paleo Cookbook | stupideasypaleo.com

I usually start the process of shooting a recipe by choosing my location, then selecting my props. I think about things like the color of the food and the feeling I’m trying to convey. Is it rustic? Casual? Refined? Playful? I tend to choose my props based on the mood I’ve selected.

For example, when I shot this soup, I wanted to create a feeling of fall so I picked a copper tray and a small bowl made of horn because they were both warm / darker colors. The soup really popped!

Curried Kabocha Squash Soup—Paleo & Whole30 | stupideasypaleo.com

For this picture (from my upcoming cookbook), I wanted to create more of a process shot. This is great for recipes where you end up with multiples of things, like these little jars or other individual servings. I set up the photo as I was really topping each jar with blueberries, and I chose simple props that were silvery / had interesting shapes to play off the round jars. (The background? An old beat up baking tray.)

Lemon Vanilla Custard with Blueberry Sauce

As much as I can, I try to visualize what I want the shot to look like before I set it up. I don’t always end up with that I envisioned, but usually it’s pretty close. And sometimes, to be honest, I just wing it and see where inspiration takes me.

I try to think about what, if any, food I’m going to include in the shot and save some while I’m prepping the recipe. For example, in the squash soup recipe, I saved the seeds and toasted those in the oven, then used them as a garnish and a prop element in the photo. When possible, save the BEST-looking food for the shot. Generally, you can get away with more when food is cooked than when it’s raw. For example, in the blueberry sauce above, it didn’t matter at all what the berries looked like. In the shot of the Blueberry Pork Patties though, I saved the best berries for the garnish.

Now I’ll walk you through how I set up this photo of a Blackberry Thyme Kombucha Slushy…

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

Once I select my location, props and background, I begin by setting up a skeleton of a shot without the food. I’ll take several photos with a “stand in” such as an onion (or in this case just the empty mug),  adjusting my camera settings as I go. I added some frozen berries (which I wanted to start thawing) and some thyme leaves.

Generally, I shoot on ISO 500 to 1000, f / 2.5 to 3.5, though that varies depending on the subject and the lighting. This shoot presented a challenge because the berries are very dark and the background, very light. Since I wanted mostly overhead shots, I set my aperture to 7.1 which results in less bokeh since a larger depth of field can be tricky from above. Since that means the lens opening is smaller, my shutter speed was slower to let in more light. (Note: The following photos are unretouched.)

(Settings: ISO 1000  f / 7.1  1/320)

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

I knew this felt too dark, so I added a piece of white foam board (helllllo, cheap reflector) on one side.

(Settings: ISO 1000  f / 3.2  1/1600)

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

I try to start with fewer props than I think I need, then add as I go to comfortably fill the frame. I think there’s a tendency with newbies to overdo it with props and crumbs and sprinkles of this and drips of that. Less is generally more. Here, I decided I wanted more berries and few more sprigs of thyme. Notice I still haven’t poured the frozen drink!

(Settings: ISO 1000  f / 7.1  1/320)

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

I felt sufficiently happy with my styling, so I went and made the frozen drink, then poured it. I knew over time it would start to settle, so I wanted to do the next shots pretty fast. Having this set up ahead of time made that possible.

(Settings: ISO 1000  f / 7.1  1/320) Notice this still feels really dark. To compensate without changing aperture, I changed the shutter speed to make it slower which allows more light into the camera.

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

The result…It’s a bit overexposed, but that can be fixed in editing.

(Settings: ISO 1000  f / 7.1  1/60)

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

Here I changed the composition and angle of the shot a bit. I ended up not liking this as much as the overhead shot, but I encourage you to change things up and see what you get. You never know! Note: I changed the aperture to f / 4.5 since I moved away from an overhead shot. Notice how the shutter speed changed from 1/60 or 1/80 to 1/200…much faster since the aperture was more wide open (lower number) which allows more light into the camera.

(Settings: ISO 1000  f / 4.5  1/200)

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

I also shot this recipe in both orientations: portrait and landscape. Having both orientation options is really key because you never know when you may want to use photo for a future project that requires one or the other. Keep your options open.

(Settings: ISO 1000  f / 7.1  1/80)

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

Probably the best advice I can give is to keep things looking as natural as possible! Stay tuned for Part 3 of my Food Photography Tips series for how to handle editing and some frequently asked questions!

Click here to pin this!

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

Food Photography Tips—Part 2

Have a question? Leave it in the comments below, and I’ll get back to you!

*Open to US residents only. Giveaway ends Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 11:59 PM PST. Winners will be notified by October 21, 2014. The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to confirm back with his or her full name, address, and phone number (for shipping purposes) to claim the prize.

Moules et Frites—Mussels & Fries

Moules et Frites—Mussels & Fries | stupideasypaleo.com

Moules et Frites (or Mussels & Fries) is one of my favorite appetizer-style dishes that seems so fancy, but is quite simple to make. Sometimes when I can get local mussels for a good deal, I’ll make a big batch and eat the whole thing, but this can easily be split among two people as an appetizer or with a big salad for a light dinner.

I make my version of Moules et Frites with a little bit of hard apple cider because it compliments the sweetness of the mussels, but you could just as easily use a splash of white wine or chicken broth. The secret to sweet potato fries that aren’t soggy is to cut them very thin like I did below. Give them some breathing room and spread them in a single layer on the baking sheet so they roast instead of steam.

Moules et Frites—Mussels & Fries | stupideasypaleo.com

Moules et Frites—Mussels & Fries

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (454 g) sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) ghee or coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1-1/2 lb (680 g) mussels
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) ghee
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup (59 mL) hard cider*
  • 2 strips crispy bacon, chopped or 2 tbsp chopped salami**, for garnish
  • Handful chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions

  1. First, get the sweet potato fries going. You can also omit these and just make the mussels which will cut the cooking time down by a lot. Preheat the oven to 400F (204C), and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  2. Cut the sweet potatoes into thin sticks (about the size of regular French fries), then put them on the sheet and toss with the ghee, salt and pepper. Spread them into a single layer and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir at least once during baking so they brown evenly.
  3. While the sweet potato fries are baking, prep the mussels. Wash the mussels with fresh water and discard any that are open or cracked. You might need to remove the beard: It's that scraggly looking bit of stuff that's hanging outside the shell. To do that, gently pull toward the wider end of the shell. Set the mussels aside.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ghee. Then, add the shallot and garlic and cook it for about a minute, until it starts to smell amazing. Toss in the mussels and the hard cider, then increase the heat to medium-high and cover. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mussels open and release their liquid.
  5. Serve the mussels in a big bowl with the broth, and garnish with crispy bacon / salami and parsley. Serve the fries on the side. I like to dip mine in the broth along the way.

Notes

*or use chicken broth or white wine **I like Creminelli Fine Meats, found at Whole Foods

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Moules et Frites—Mussels & Fries | stupideasypaleo.com

Moules et Frites—Mussels & Fries | stupideasypaleo.com

Moules et Frites—Mussels & Fries | stupideasypaleo.com

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Moules et Frites—Mussels & Fries | stupideasypaleo.com

Have a question? Leave it in the comments below, and I’ll get back to you!

5 Questions With My Paleo Shero—Mel Joulwan

5 Questions with Mel Joulwan | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: Every once in a while, I share interviews with some of the amazing people I’ve been lucky enough to get to know in this community. I am beyond excited to interview my friend Mel Joulwan, totally badass creator of the blog The Clothes Make the Girl and author of two amazing cookbooks: Well Fed and Well Fed 2. She’s cooked up some of the most well-loved Paleo / Whole30 recipes EVER (um, hello Chocolate Chili and Homemade Paleo Mayo) and completely lives the lifestyle. I’m a die-hard fan, and still hoping that one day, her, Nom Nom Paleo and I will dress up as Charlie’s Angels for Halloween. Please enjoy!

I know a lot about you Mel, but can you tell newbies about who you are and what you do?

I’m a book nerd who plays classical piano. Along the way to being a grown up,  I fell in love with punk rock music, leopard print, and cooking. I also played flat track roller derby. If you look me up on Amazon, you’ll find Rollergirl: Totally True Tales From The Track (my book about my Derby days), Living Paleo For Dummies, and my cookbooks Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat and Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat. (You’re welcome to download free samples of our books: Well Fed and Well Fed 2.)

5 Questions with Mel Joulwan | stupideasypaleo.com

I have a blog called The Clothes Make The Girl where I write about my triumphs and failures in the gym, in the kitchen, and in life. I like to pretend I’m a badass so I workout at KDR Fitness  (where they have me lift heavy things over and over and over, sometimes quickly.) I also enjoy frequent soaks in epsom salts, walk 10,000 steps almost every day, and meditate. I’ve seen every episode of the original Law & Order at least three times (not an exaggeration), and my favorite book is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (not to be confused with books by Jane Austen.)

5 Questions with Mel Joulwan | stupideasypaleo.com

If you were stuck on a desert island (with a fridge), what 3 foods would you choose to have around?

A jar of Sunbutter, so I’d always have a sweet treat. (Plus, it would taste great on the bananas I’m going to assume are growing on the beach of my island.)

A jar of Thai red curry paste so I could turn the fish I’d catch and the coconuts I’d find into a luscious curry.

A bottle of champagne because…screw it! I’m stuck on a desert island! I’m having a little bubbly once in a while.

(This is all a lie. If I was on a desert island, I would wish I had Doritos, Fritos, and Jackson’s Honest Potato Chips.)

What’s your best time saving tip for making cooking at home less painful?

I have two tricks, and they’re both based on the helpful fact that I actually really love leftovers. Honestly, I think I enjoy leftover food more than the original meal. I know that makes me a weirdo.

1. I always cook a bunch of protein and veggies in advance. I grill chicken and brown ground beef. I partially steam broccoli, cabbage, green beans, Brussels sprouts…and I put everything in BPA-free containers in the fridge. When it’s time to eat, I heat some ghee or duck fat (OMG! Duck fat!) in a skillet, then add garlic and onion. When it’s soft, I plunk in protein and veggies, add some spices, and sauté everything until it’s caramelized. If I’ve done the prep of the protein and veggies in advance, the “make dinner” part takes only about 15 minutes.

2. My best secret weapon is homemade mayo. It takes about 3 minutes to make, and it makes everything you blop it on taste better. Grilled meat. Canned tuna. Raw veggies. Just add some spices and acid (lemon juice or vinegar) to the mayo and you instantly have a creamy dipping sauce.

What’s new on the horizon for The Clothes Make the Girl?

You heard it here first: We’re working on a site redesign that will be more visual to better highlight my recipes and a new structure that should make it easier to find recipes in the archive. We’re super excited to see how it all comes together. It should be launched in early 2015. Whew!

And…I’m working on recipes for our next cookbook. The theme is still a secret, but I can tell everyone this: The recipes will be internationally-inspired favorites with lots of spices — I could never give up my spice drawer! — but there’s also a new twist that I think people will really like. That’s all I can say about it for now. It should be out in early 2016.

I hear you’ve got these cool curated boxes of your favorite Mel things happening now…what’s that all about?

Quarterly is a really fun company that recruits people — like Pharrell Williams, Andrew Zimmern, Nina Garcia, Timothy Ferriss… and me (!) — to curate boxes of goodies that are sent to subscribers a few times a year. The first box I put together was a Paleo starter kit. It went out to 650 subscribers in September, and it was really fun to see the reactions online as people unboxed their care packages. (You can see what was in box EAT01 right here.)

For EAT02, the theme is “Good Morning,” and I’m really excited about the cool stuff that’s going to be in the box. Morning can be a stressful time for people, so EAT02 will be filled with hand-picked items to make mornings a little sweeter. My husband Dave and I collaborate on a hand-drawn letter and recipe for each box. In EAT01, we included an illustrated letter — my handwriting, Dave’s drawings — and a recipe for Snuggle Soup that I developed exclusively for the Quarterly box. We have some really fun ideas for the letter we’ll include in EAT02.

My goal with my Quarterly box is to always give my subscribers delicious things to eat and useful things that are delightful in some way. It’s a care package from me to them. To subscribe, head right on over here: http://on.qrtr.ly/paleobox.

5 Questions with Mel Joulwan | stupideasypaleo.com

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5 Questions with Mel Joulwan | stupideasypaleo.com

Have a question for Mel? Leave it in the comments below!

Totally Pinchworthy


You know that thing of where you get recognized for something really awesome by your peers? Well, that just happened.

Paleo Magazine Best of 2014 | stupideasypaleo.com

I was nominated three Paleo Magazine Best of 2014 awards along with some M E G A talented folks like Nom Nom Paleo and Mel Joulwan. To say that I’m humbled is an understatement, and it makes me remember how very grateful I am for you. You show your support every single day by coming here to get new recipes and to learn how to be healthier. You read my books and join the community on social media. Thank you truly.

Paleo Magazine Best of 2014 | stupideasypaleo.com

If you have a moment, please head over and vote for your favorites. I’m nominated in:

  • Most Anticipated New Cookbook (for The Performance Paleo Cookbook)
  • Best Blog–Food Centered
  • Best Blog Recipe–Treat (for Cinnamon French Toast Panna Cotta)

Click here to vote!

Show some love for your favorite blogs, authors, and Paleo / Primal brands. It’s amazing how this community has grown. Thank you again for all your support…I couldn’t do it without you!

~Steph

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce—Paleo & Whole30

Butternut Squash "Pasta" Sauce—Paleo & Whole30 | stupideasypaleo.com

Sometimes, recipes are born out of necessity. My local market was sold out of a prepared butternut squash sauce, so I decided to make my own version. Of course, I had nothing to compared the taste to, but I’ll settle for “delicious” which is what I got.

Butternut Squash "Pasta" Sauce—Paleo & Whole30 | stupideasypaleo.com

This sauce uses butternut squash as the base, but adds in sautéed aromatics—similar to a classic mirepoix—to create a foundation of flavor. The red pepper gives it some body, and some tomato paste brings acidity without dominating and making it taste too tomato-y.

Butternut Squash "Pasta" Sauce—Paleo & Whole30 | stupideasypaleo.com

I served this over warmed zucchini noodles, but the possibilities are really endless!

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce—Paleo & Whole30

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves 3 to 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp (15 g) ghee
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 lb (454 g) butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) tomato paste
  • ~3/4 cup (177 mL) water
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. First, get the aromatic veggie base going. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the ghee. Add the onion, red pepper, celery and pinch of sea salt. Cook and stir until the veggies soften and lightly brown, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the butternut squash cubes and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the skillet. Cook for another 10 minutes or so until the squash is tender. Stir a few times so nothing sticks. Turn off the heat and let the veggies cool for a few minutes.
  3. Then, add the veggies to a food processor or high speed blender with the tomato paste. Start with 1/2 cup (118 mL) water. Puree the veggies until they become a sauce. If it's too thick, add water by the tablespoon. I found that 3/4 cup (177 mL) water made a sauce that was somewhere between a thin soup and a thick puree. Of course, the moisture content of your veggies may vary so start with less and add more as you go.
  4. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste and warm in a small pot before serving.

Notes

Double the batch and freeze the extras for up to 1 month.

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Butternut Squash "Pasta" Sauce—Paleo & Whole30 | stupideasypaleo.com

Have a question? Leave it in the comments below!