Tag Archives: paleo

Paleo Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

Paleo Stuffed Pork Loin Roast | stupideasypaleo.com This recipe for Paleo Stuffed Pork Loin Roast is easy enough to do on a weeknight, but special enough for a special holiday table.

Paleo Stuffed Pork Loin Roast | stupideasypaleo.com

Traditionally, pork loin is stuffed with bread stuffing, but I’ve kept this Paleo Stuffed Pork Loin Roast super flavorful with a mixture of dried tart cherries, sweet dried apricots, tender walnuts, and earthy sage. With a basic technique, you’ll butterfly the pork loin to flatten the meat and make it perfect for stuffing and rolling. Pounding the meat so it’s uniformly flat after you’ve cut it will make rolling the meat easier.

Paleo Stuffed Pork Loin Roast | stupideasypaleo.com Paleo Stuffed Pork Loin Roast | stupideasypaleo.com Paleo Stuffed Pork Loin Roast | stupideasypaleo.com Paleo Stuffed Pork Loin Roast | stupideasypaleo.com Paleo Stuffed Pork Loin Roast | stupideasypaleo.com

Since pork loin is a very lean cut of meat, I recommend cooking it with the fat side up to help keep it moist. You could even serve it with a simple Paleo herb gravy (like this one from Nom Nom Paleo) for extra credit points. Remember to ask your butcher for some twine when you buy your roast—most will be happy to give you a small amount on the house.

When I got my four pound roast home, I discovered it was actually two smaller pieces tied together by the butcher (oops!). I just rolled with it and did two roasts that were smaller.

Paleo Stuffed Pork Loin Roast | stupideasypaleo.com Paleo Stuffed Pork Loin Roast | stupideasypaleo.com

Here’s how to make your Paleo Stuffed Pork Loin Roast…

Paleo Stuffed Pork Loin
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: Serves 8
 

Ingredients
  • 4 lb (1814 g) pork loin roast
  • 1 c (100 g) chopped walnuts
  • ½ c (100 g) dried apricots*, chopped
  • ½ c (75 g) tart dried cherries*
  • 15 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp (14 g) fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp (5 g) ground black pepper

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F (191C). Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the pork loin roast by butterflying or cutting it in a roll fashion. Here’s how to cut it in a roll so the meat looks beautiful and spiraled when you cut into it. You may want to pound the meat so it’s uniformly flat. Set it aside and prepare the filling.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the walnuts, dried apricots, dried cherries and sage.
  4. With the meat lying open, sprinkle about half the salt and pepper on the inside. Now, place the filling on the meat in one layer. You’ll want to stay away from the edges so the filling won’t fall out when you roll it.
  5. Starting with the thinnest end toward you, roll the meat up carefully. Place the rolled edge down and the fat up. Wrap butcher’s twine around the roast every few inches so it doesn’t open up during roasting.
  6. Roast the pork for approximately 40-50 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the meat reads 145F (63C). Allow the roast to cool for about 10 minutes, then slice it into rounds with a sharp knife.

Notes
*Look for dried fruit that in unsweetened when possible.

 

Paleo Stuffed Pork Loin Roast | stupideasypaleo.com

What’s your favorite meat for your holiday table? Tell me in the comments below!

Performance Paleo & Frugal Paleo Cookbook Tour

Performance Paleo & Frugal Paleo Cookbook Tour | stupideasypaleo.com

The Performance Paleo & Frugal Paleo Cookbook Tour is coming to a city near you starting this January, 2015!

Ciarra from Popular Paleo (author of The Frugal Paleo Cookbook) and myself (author of the soon-to-be-released The Performance Paleo Cookbook) are hitting the road together, and we’d love to see you!

Click each date for venue / time and to RSVP for free!

About Our Performance Paleo & Frugal Paleo Cookbook Tour

We’re making it all about you: we’re planning a mini-seminar with our best tips for using our books in real life; answering your questions; and leaving plenty of time to chat, sign your books and take some selfies. Because everyone loves selfies.

Details for first eight stops are set up, and we’re currently making plans for the Midwest and East Coast. (We’re holding out for slightly better weather, because last January when I traveled east for The Whole Athlete seminars with Dallas we ran into some gnar gnar conditions.)

If you don’t see your city on our TBD list, please let me know and if you can convince us there’s a strong Paleo community that we mustn’t miss out on, we’ll see if it works into our plans!

It’ll help us tremendously if you RSVP for each event…they’re totally free, but we’d like to give the venues a heads up for seat count. Both The Performance Paleo Cookbook and The Frugal Paleo Cookbook will be available for purchase at the event. Though you may bring books you’ve bought online or in other stores, it’s highly encouraged to purchase one at the store because it helps support our fantastic hosts.

Remember to RSVP now! See you there.

Performance Paleo & Frugal Paleo Cookbook Tour | stupideasypaleo.com

Paleo or Whole30: Which Is Better?

Paleo or Whole30: Which is better?

It’s a question I get a lot. I’m answering it for you today so that you can go forward with confidence and select the best nutrition approach for yourself—especially if you’re planning to kick off the New Year with a renewed focus to eat better.

A Bit About Paleo First

Paleo is a way of eating focusing on real, whole, minimally processed foods. Foods that support gut health, hormonal balance, stable energy, and lean body mass. The stars of the show are meat, seafood, and eggs; veggies and fruit; and healthy fats. Most people start with a yes and no list of foods to eat and avoid, respectively.

Yes: Meat, seafood, and eggs; veggies and fruit; and healthy fats.

No: Grains, legumes, dairy, added sugars, processed foods, and salt. (There are others.)

Five years ago when I first started eating this way (on January 10, 2010 to be exact), the list of what was and wasn’t Paleo was pretty fixed across the board. It was easy to find a lot of consistency from book to book or website to website.

My, my…how things have changed.

Now it’s anyone’s guess, especially when every nutrient-poor baked good under the sun and processed / packaged food is now labeled with the “P” word because it’s “technically” Paleo. It’s kind of a mess, especially for newbies.

One site says white potatoes are okay. Another says to avoid them like the plague. One book says never, ever salt your food. The world replies back with, “But some salt makes food taste good.” Confusing, right?

While a yes / no list is a decent way to start your Paleo lifestyle and wrap your brain around it, it’s no way to live the rest of your life.

And, it’s not the smartest idea either. Why? Here’s an example.

Athletes need more carbohydrate than sedentary folks. By adhering to extremely low carbohydrate Paleo approaches and training extremely hard, many athletes have gotten into hot water with their cortisol levels, thyroid health, and poor performance (to name a few). Applying one Paleo protocol across the board where everyone eats the same exact thing—with disregard for life context, goals, health history, etc.—can have negative implications over time.

Another example. My husband’s been Paleo since 2007, but in the last couple years, he’s battled skin irritation like eczema around his eyes and elbows. Trial and error seemed to link it to certain foods like beef and eggs, but after much research, he narrowed it to a histamine intolerance. Eating a lot of fermented veggies, kombucha, leftover meat, bone broth and even certain vegetables—all foods widely lauded and encouraged in a Paleo diet—actually made his symptoms worse.

Long story short, you are an individual and context matters, which is why you need to learn about yourself and your relationship with food. That’s where Whole30 comes in.

Get Your Learn On With Whole30

[Note: I am an Envoy Extraordinaire for Whole30, which means I help educate the community and answer questions about the program.]

Whole30 is a month long elimination plan that’s been described more than once as “squeaky clean Paleo.” Dallas and Melissa Hartwig created this strategy to help people learn about their relationships with potentially problematic foods, then develop a plan for which foods to avoid long-term and which to reintroduce.

You see, we don’t all react to foods in the same ways. Me? I had a really tough time with sugar. Even after 18 months of Paleo eating, I couldn’t shake it. It consumed me. I wanted to stop eating sweets and craving junk food, but I was stuck. Even notoriously “healthy” foods like dried fruit were irresistible to me. I could slam back a whole bag of Trader Joe’s dried mango in about 10 minutes, then go back for more.

In 2011, I did my first Whole30 which required me to cut out all added sugar. (And, I avoided dried fruit because I knew it was a trigger food.) By the end, I had broken the cycle. Something I struggled with my WHOLE LIFE no longer had a grip on me.

Was I allergic to sugar? No. Do I have a sugar sensitivity? Maybe, but it depends on how you define that. Did I have a bad psychological relationship with it? Eff yeah, I did. What you learn about yourself during and after a Whole30 might surprise you.

So, completing a Whole30 will give you valuable, personalized feedback about which foods affect you positively / negatively, then allow you to make informed modifications to a Paleo approach for life. Sounds cool, right? You get to drive your boat based on how foods make you feel, not because of what some yes / no list you read five years ago told you to eat.

To Summarize…

Paleo or Whole30: Which is better? The answer is neither. They’re just different. They both serve their own purposes and have distinct goals.

The simple solution: Do a Whole30 at the start of your Paleo journey so you know how to better eat Paleo for life.

Paleo is a long-term nutrition and lifestyle strategy where nutrient-dense foods are encouraged, but inflammatory, nutrient-poor foods are avoided.

Whole30 is a short-term, very strict program designed to help you learn about which foods may be problematic for you. You can then apply what you learn to a slightly looser, less strict (but very much informed) Paleo approach to eating for life.

Whole30 Resources To Help You Plan for January 1

1: Get a copy of It Starts with Food. It’s really easy to read, and it’ll set clear guidelines for you. (Plus it has a ton of tasty recipes from Mel Joulwan of Well Fed and Well Fed 2.) No time or dinero to get one? You can read about the program on the Whole30 website here. Not sure if you should get the book? Check out my review here: 5 Reasons to Read It Starts with Food.

2: I’ve tagged every recipe from the blog that’s Whole30-friendly (over 100 to date) for easy searching in the Recipe Index. If it says W30, it’s made from Whole30-friendly ingredients. There are hundreds!

3: My Whole30 Pinterest board. Love to pin? You can find all my Whole30 recipe pins (plus other photos and videos) by clicking here: Stupid Easy Paleo Whole30 Pinterest Board.

4: My Whole30 video tips! You can find them on the Stupid Easy Paleo YouTube channel or by clicking the blog posts here: 5 Tips for a Successful Whole30 and 5 More Tips for a Successful Whole30.

5: Other awesome bloggers who’ve written about Whole30: Nom Nom Paleo and The Clothes Make the Girl just to name a couple rockstars! Click on their blog names for kickass Whole30 posts, including recipes. Mel’s got another newly updated post here: 30 Reasons to Whole30 with lots of good stuff AND her Week 1 Meal Plan with yummies like her famous Chocolate Chili and Sunshine Sauce!

6: My Stupid Easy Paleo Guide to Clean-Eating Challenges (It’s free!)

7: The Whole30 forum. A free forum dedicated to all topics Whole30-related. Click here to join.

Still got questions about Paleo or Whole30? Leave them in the comments below, and I’ll get back to you!

Paleo or Whole30: Which is Better? | stupideasypaleo.com

Just In Time For the Holidays!

Just In Time For the Holidays | stupideasypaleo.com

Just in time for the holidays, our new batch of Stupid Easy Paleo goodies is here! If you’re looking for something fun for someone on your list—or you want to treat yourself—pick up something from the store!

Quantities and sizes are very limited, though, so if there’s something that piques your interest, I highly recommend ordering right away.

Everything is lovingly hand-packed and shipped by me, usually on the same day orders arrive (unless it’s a Sunday), so you’ll be sure to have your gift in hand before the holidays. Domestic shipping is free, and we even ship internationally, too. I’ve sent shirts to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK just to name a few!

I don’t usually post apparel up as a blog post, but there were many people who said they missed the posts I made on social media back in October. I want to make sure that as many folks see it as possible!

Here are some of my favorites:

Metal Campfire Mugs

Stupid Easy Paleo Logo Enamelware Mug | stupideasypaleo.com

Trapzilla Sweatshirts (super-limited supplies)

Women's Trapzilla Sweatshirt | stupideasypaleo.com

Healthy Happy Harder to Kill Shirts (t-shirts and tanks…these are going fast!)

Women's HHHTK Tank Top | stupideasypaleo.com

Quadzilla Shirts (t-shirts and tanks)

Women's Quadzilla Tank Top | stupideasypaleo.com

Hangry Dish Towels

Hangry Flour Sack Towel | stupideasypaleo.com

And there are still a few Quadfather t-shirts left for the guys!

Men's Quadfather T-Shirt | stupideasypaleo.com

Every time an order comes in, it humbles me so much. I just sent a shirt to the Northwest Territories of Canada and one to Australia! I am so incredibly grateful for all the support you give me daily by reading the blog and chatting with me on social media. Without you, this site wouldn’t be here.

Much love,

Steph

Paleo Chicken Sweet Potato Frittata

Paleo Chicken Sweet Potato Frittata | stupideasypaleo.com

Paleo Chicken Sweet Potato Frittata is one of my favorite post-workout foods because it’s 1) packed with protein and 2) totally portable. In fact, it’s totally representative of the tasty post-workout bites in my upcoming cookbook, The Performance Paleo Cookbook! (It comes out in just a little over a month, and it’s still on pre-order for 25 off!)

Paleo Chicken Sweet Potato Frittata | stupideasypaleo.com

My pal Jesse from Whitford Foundry came down to the house today to film a video teaser for the cookbook, and I needed to whip something up as my “prep at home, take to the gym” dish. This fit the bill perfectly.

Paleo Chicken Sweet Potato Frittata | stupideasypaleo.com

Normally, I like to keep post-workout food pretty low in fat—which slows digestion—but eggs are a great tradeoff for busy folks. The lean chicken bumps up the protein content, and I added sweet potato for a good carb boost.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients for Paleo Chicken Sweet Potato Frittata

  • 9 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) coconut oil or ghee
  • 1 large roasted sweet potato, cooled and roughly chopped*
  • 12 oz (340 g) lean ground chicken
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small head broccoli, stem removed, chopped small

Directions for Paleo Chicken Sweet Potato Frittata

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs together with the smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Mix in the chopped sweet potato. Set aside.
  3. In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the coconut oil. Then, sauté the chicken until it’s cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove to a separate bowl.
  4. In the same skillet, add the onion and broccoli and sauté on medium heat until they are softened and slightly tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Now, add the cooked chicken back to the pan.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Turn off the heat and stir the ingredients to combine.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the eggs are set and not runny.
  7. Serve directly from the skillet or slice and store for leftovers.

*My weekly big food prep involves roasting half a dozen sweet potatoes. I line a baking sheet with foil, place the washed and unpeeled sweet potatoes on it, and get that into a 400°F (204°C) oven for about 45 minutes. I cool them, then store them in the fridge. When it’s time to use them, I just peel them! (The peels loosen right up after they cool.)

Remember to check out my cookbook! It comes out on January 6th!

Click here to pin this!

Paleo Chicken Sweet Potato Frittata | stupideasypaleo.com

Paleo Pumpkin Sweet Potato Custard Recipe—Dairy-Free & Egg-Free

Paleo Pumpkin Sweet Potato Custard—Dairy-Free & Egg-Free | stupideasypaleo.com

Paleo Pumpkin Sweet Potato Custard was the finishing touch to our Thanksgiving holiday meal, and it’s incredibly easy to make.

This was my husband’s first Thanksgiving in the US—he’s from Scotland—so I wanted to make a simple but delicious feast for us, including something a bit sweet for dessert. I don’t bake, though, so whatever I made had to be crustless and be mindful of his histamine intolerance; that meant avoiding eggs.

Paleo Pumpkin Sweet Potato Custard—Dairy-Free & Egg-Free | stupideasypaleo.com

So, while this isn’t a true custard which contains milk or a dairy-free milk substitute plus eggs, it’s the closest thing I could replicate. The texture is creamy and soft like a custard, plus it’s got a boost of gut-healing gelatin.

The rest of our meal included a brined and herbed ghee-slathered turkey, Beet and Brussels Sprout Salad, whipped sweet potatoes with sage browned ghee, cranberry orange walnut relish, and Nom Nom Paleo’s Easy Paleo Herb Gravy.

Paleo Pumpkin Sweet Potato Custard—Dairy-Free & Egg-Free | stupideasypaleo.com Paleo Pumpkin Sweet Potato Custard—Dairy-Free & Egg-Free | stupideasypaleo.com Paleo Pumpkin Sweet Potato Custard—Dairy-Free & Egg-Free | stupideasypaleo.com Paleo Pumpkin Sweet Potato Custard—Dairy-Free & Egg-Free | stupideasypaleo.com

I served the Paleo Pumpkin Sweet Potato Custard with some coconut cream whipped with a pinch of cardamom.

Paleo Pumpkin Sweet Potato Custard—Dairy-Free & Egg-Free | stupideasypaleo.com

Serves 5.

Ingredients for Paleo Pumpkin Sweet Potato Custard

Directions for Paleo Pumpkin Sweet Potato Custard

  1. Gather five small jelly jars or ramekins, about 1/4 cup in capacity. You can make these as large or small as you’d like, so use what you have on hand.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the pumpkin, sweet potato, honey (optional if you’re limiting sugar, though this recipe isn’t very sweet), cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger until they’re well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a small pot, heat the coconut milk on medium-high heat until it’s warmed through but not boiling. Turn off the heat. Slowly add the gelatin while whisking constantly. Make sure it’s dissolved and there are no lumps.
  4. Now, slowly whisk the coconut milk / gelatin into the pumpkin and sweet potato mixture until well combined. Pour the mixture into the jelly jars or ramekins.
  5. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until firm. Store covered. Top with coconut whipped cream if you’re feeling sassy!

Change It Up

  • Use all pumpkin or all sweet potato instead of a mixture.
  • Use pumpkin pie spice instead of the individual spices. Start with 2 teaspoons then increase to your desired taste. Click here for my recipe for homemade.

Have a question? Leave it in the comments below.

Click here to pin this!

Paleo Pumpkin Sweet Potato Custard—Dairy-Free & Egg-Free | stupideasypaleo.com

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!

Click here to pin this!

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!

Click here to pin this!

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: 
Total time: 

 

Ingredients
  • 3 lb (1361 g) pork shoulder or pork butt
  • 2 tsp (10 g) fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) stone ground mustard, divided in half
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) raw honey (omit for Whole30)
  • ¼ 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

Instructions
  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.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: Serves 4 to 6

Click here to pin this recipe for Paleo Pulled Pork Stuffed Squash!

Paleo Pulled Pork Stuffed Squash | stupideasypaleo.com

Have a question? Leave it in the comments below.

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: 
Total time: 

Serves: Serves 4 to 6
 

Ingredients

Instructions
  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 ½ 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.

Click here to pin this recipe for Pomegranate Habanero Shredded Beef—Paleo & Whole30!

Pomegranate Habanero Shredded Beef | stupideasypaleo.com

Have a question? Leave it 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

5 from 1 reviews

Moules et Frites—Mussels & Fries
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

 

Ingredients
  • 1 lb (454 g) sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) ghee or coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ 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
  • ¼ cup (59 mL) hard cider*
  • 2 strips crispy bacon, chopped or 2 tbsp chopped salami**, for garnish
  • Handful chopped parsley, for garnish

Instructions
  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

Nutrition Information
Serving size: Serves 2

Moules et Frites—Mussels & Fries | stupideasypaleo.com

Moules et Frites—Mussels & Fries | stupideasypaleo.com

Moules et Frites—Mussels & Fries | stupideasypaleo.com

Click here to pin this!

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

 Click here to pin this!

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