Tag Archives: whole30

Bone Broth 101: How to Make the Best Broth

Bone Broth 101 | stupideasypaleo.com

Bone Broth 101: How to Make the Best Broth

Steph’s note: Today’s awesome tutorial is brought to you by Ryan Harvey, founder of Bare Bones Broth Co. Bare Bones offers hand-crafted broth shipped right to you, but if you’re more of a DIY type of person, Ryan shares some of the secrets for making the best bone broth right here for you.

All About Bone Broth

So what’s the big deal with bone broth these days? It has less to do with bone broth and more to do with the rising awareness of the role our gut health plays in the overall health of our mind, body and soul.

We’re finally starting to acknowledge that what we use to fuel our bodies directly affects the way we think, the things we do and how well we do them. Often referred to as our “second brain,” the human gut is home to over 10 trillion bacteria, a number no human can fully comprehend, yet we’re always looking for and believing in that one all-inclusive lab-manufactured antidote promised to make us feel better.

News flash: There isn’t just one food, one medicine or one supplement. There is, however, bone broth, which can be added to any diet as any or all three of these things. What other real food source contains as many bio-available vitamins and easily assimilated nutrients and extracts of pure collagen (A.K.A gelatin), skin, bone and fat ⎼ you know, the stuff that pretty much makes us human, gives us our silky smooth skin and allows us to grunt beautifully while hitting our max power snatch with ease.

Funny thing about bone broth: It’s nothing new. In fact, broths and stocks have been used for centuries by cultures around the world as a remedy to anything and everything. It also happens to be the base for all cooking, as it’s the first thing you would learn how to make in kitchens around the world as a chef’s apprentice or culinary student.

It’s what stops a stomachache dead in its tracks by soothing and healing the gut, and it quickly returns our joints to normal after an intense workout or rigorous hike. We have the natural occurring gelatin and glucosamine to thank for this; something all commercially available broths lack.

With that said, I want to share a handful of factors that will influence the outcome of your homemade bone broth. Got gelatin?

Factor #1 That Makes Great Bone Broth: Animal’s Upbringing

When deciding how to fuel my body, I always ask where my fuel came from and how it came to be.

Chances are, if you are here reading this then you and I have something in common. It’s no secret that what the animal eats, we eat. This doesn’t just apply to meat. Bones contain marrow, and marrow in turn pretty much contains the essence of our being.

If we’re healthy, that’s great but if we’re sick, our marrow is sick. The same goes for animals. The whole idea is that we’re extracting all this healthy good stuff from the animal and using it as both a food and a medicine for our bodies.

Believe it or not, this all matters on a molecular level, where everything that makes you you is working hard to maintain your optimal health as efficiently as possible. If the animal was factory farmed, ate garbage and didn’t see a pasture a day in its life, you won’t be doing your body any favors in the long run by using its bones.

Pardon my soapbox, but supporting the ranchers and farmers that raise pastured animals and grow organic produce is the only way we’ll ever see a change in our current food system. You want better access to healthy and sustainably raised meats and fresh produce? Then find and support a farm. I’ve seen numerous farms and ranches here in Southern California grow rapidly under the support of enthusiastic communities looking towards a better future in food.

Factor #2 That Makes Great Bone Broth: Animal’s Age 

That’s right. Animals are no different from us in that their bones and joints wear down and degrade over time, reducing the amount of connective tissue and consequently reducing the amount of gelatin that will end up in your broth.

The younger the animal, the more gelatinous your broth will be. Veal bones, joints, feet and necks would yield the most gelatin, as these animals are butchered very young.

You can usually find veal bones at a local butcher for a decent price. Stocks made from veal are a chef’s secret weapon in the kitchen, taking everything from soups and sauces to risottos and braised meats to the next level.

Factor #3 That Makes Great Bone Broth: Bone Type

This is where most people run into trouble.

In my experience the most commercially available bones are usually beef or veal femurs. Femurs are great as they contain a ton of marrow but very little collagen. You want a good mix of bones, joints and feet. I suggest using a 1:1:1 ratio of bones, joints and feet. This will almost guarantee you achieve that victorious gel.

Just remember to always use joints and feet, this is where you will find the most collagen. If you can’t find all of these, go ahead and make your broth with whatever you can get your hands on, you’ll still benefit greatly from the added vitamins and nutrients.

Factor #4 That Makes Great Bone Broth: Bone to Water Ratio 

Whether it’s in a crockpot or on your stove, add water just to cover the bones, and no more.

This is where a lot of folks think they’ve messed up. You’ve spent all those hours simmering away, finally cooling and refrigerating your liquid gold only to wake up in the morning to find no jiggle. You haven’t been defeated! Simply bring your broth back up to a gentle simmer and let evaporation take over. Reduce your broth by an inch or so, cool and refrigerate. If it’s still not jiggling, repeat the process.

A combination of things could have happened here – too much water, bones from sick animals, or you simply didn’t let it simmer long enough. In most cases, the gelatin simply isn’t concentrated enough to give your broth a Jello-like consistency. This is OKAY. Your broth is still loaded with plenty of good stuff.

Try not to get so caught up on the aesthetics. I see people everyday crying out for help because their broth didn’t gel, as if the broth gods are smiting their attempt at glory.

Factor #5 That Makes Great Bone Broth: Time

The beautiful thing about making broth is that once started, it requires very little attention.

The biggest issue here is not letting your broth simmer long enough. We simmer our beef broth for 48 hours and 24 hours for our chicken. Simmering for multiple days is a great way to really get everything out of the bones.

Something we do, and that I highly suggest, is to wait until you have 6-8 hours left to add your vegetables or leafy greens, such as parsley or leaves on your celery. This will prevent any bitter or burnt tastes from being imparted into your broth. The vegetables can only be cooked for so long before they begin to break down, giving your broth and undesirable and often burnt flavor.

It only takes 8 or so hours at a simmer to extract the nutrients and flavor from them, anyway. Anything much longer than this and the vegetables become sponges, soaking up all your hard-earned nutrients.

In my opinion, those are the most important things to keep in mind when making bone broth. As with most things, the more you make it the better you will get. And the better you will get at noticing all these little idiosyncrasies during the process, like waiting to add your veggies until later in the process. It took me several burnt, bitter and off-flavored batches before I finally started figuring out at what times to add what ingredients.

A Simple Bone Broth Recipe

Run through this simple checklist when making any bone broth your gut desires:

  • Roast any bones beforehand for added depth and flavor, except fish.
  • Put bones in pot and add water just to cover bones.
  • Add your acid to help draw out the good stuff. We use apple cider vinegar.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  • Skim, skim and skim some more. Scum and impurities rise to the top during the initial simmer phase. Simply skim, discard and keep simmering.
  • Once there is no longer any scum rising to the surface, keep simmering, adding water only to cover the bones as necessary.
  • Prep your veggies. Peel onions, as the peel can impart a burnt or bitter flavor.
  • After about 15-18 hours for chicken and 35-40 hours for beef, add your veggies, herbs and spices. Wait until the final hour to add parsley or celery leaves.
  • Return to a simmer for the final leg, and this time don’t worry about adding more water. You want the nutrients and gelatin to concentrate as we bring in the flavors from the veggies and herbs.
  • Add your parsley and / or celery greens if desired. Let simmer for another hour or two.
  • That’s it. You’ve done it! Strain your broth and cool it down or use immediately for making your favorite soup, stew, sauce or meat dish!

If you’re ever short on time or can’t seem to procure bones from healthy animals come check us out at Bare Bones Broth Co.! We’ll ship our broths directly to your door, nationwide!

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Bone Broth 101 | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions about making bone broth? Leave them in the comments below!

Kohlrabi Salad with Apple Ginger Vinaigrette

Kohlrabi Salad with Apple Ginger Vinaigrette | stupideasypaleo.com

Kohlrabi is definitely not a vegetable I’d ever had gumption to try. Its funky, globular shape and oddly placed leaves always looked so strange to me. Let’s just say, kohlrabi was never on the menu…until now. I picked up a bunch at the store a few days ago and decided it was high time I give kohlrabi a try.

Interestingly, the word kohlrabi is a mashup of German phraseology that translates roughly into “cabbage turnip.” The flavor tastes of mild cabbage or something like broccoli stem but without the sulfurous undertones. In terms of nutrition, it’s rich in Vitamin C and the healthy phytochemicals that other members of the Brassica family are renowned for.

Photo Jun 14, 11 29 23 AM

I prepared this kohlrabi like a salad, but if you’ve got more time, you could certainly slice it thinner / smaller like a slaw. The simple apple ginger vinaigrette is a great complement to the kohlrabi’s crunch.

Ingredients for the Kohlrabi Salad with Apple Ginger Vinaigrette

For the Salad

  • 1 lb (454 g) kohlrabi, tops removed, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 lb (113 g) carrots, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 lb (113 g) red apple (I like Pink Lady, about half an apple), sliced
  • 1/4 cup packed (3 oz / 85 g) fresh parsley
  • 2 large (1 oz / 28 g) green onions, white and light green parts, sliced
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Dressing

  • 1/4 lb (113 g) red apple (I like Pink Lady, about half an apple), chopped
  • 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons (45 mL) apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp (2 g) sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp (0.5 g) black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) light-tasting olive oil or avocado oil

Directions for the Kohlrabi Salad with Apple Ginger Vinaigrette

  1. Prepare the salad by mixing the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Make the dressing by combining the apple, ginger, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper in a high-powered blender or food processor. Run the blender until the mixture is broken down and starts to liquify, then with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly to combine.

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kohlrabi2

June Giveaway: Elete Electrolyte Prize Packs

June Giveaway: Elete Electrolyte Prize Packs | stupideasypaleo.com

With summer about to officially start on June 21, I’m super excited to share this month’s giveaway with you!

Maintaining a proper electrolyte level when you’re exerting yourself through training or even strenuous work is really important. They help keep your muscles and nervous system functioning properly and guard against dehydration. Unfortunately, many electrolyte replacements available on the market are rammed with sugar and artificial ingredients. And that’s where Elete comes in! It’s a tasteless, colorless, sugarless liquid that contains vital electrolytes: sodium, magnesium, potassium and chloride.

Elete is something I’ve personally used since 2009 when I was racing mountain bikes, and I’ve definitely felt the effects of not using it—especially when I suffered severe double quad cramps during a 6 hour endurance mountain bike race in 2011. Coconut water has become a popular option for naturally occurring electrolytes, but know that it’s very low in sodium so isn’t actually a complete replacement. Bonus: Elete products are Whole30-approved.

Here’s what’s up for grabs!

THREE winners will each receive a prize pack worth over $40 with:

To enter for a chance to win an Elete prize pack!

The giveaway is now closed and winners are displayed on the widget below.

#1 Use the Rafflecopter widget below to finalize your entry and unlock other bonus entries! (This is how the winner will be drawn, so don’t skip this step!)

#2 In the comments below, tell me what sport or training you do and / or when you’d use Elete!

Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest ends June 30, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. PST, and the winner will be announced here on the blog by July 2, 2014. Be sure to check back to see if you won!

The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to confirm back with his or her full name, address, and phone number to claim the prize. Open to readers worldwide. If a non-US resident wins, an Amazon gift card for $40 will be provided.

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June Giveaway: Elete Electrolyte Prize Packs | stupideasypaleo.com

Comment below with the sport / training you do or when you’d use Elete!

6 Common Slow Cooker Problems—And How To Fix Them

6 Common Slow Cooker Problems—And How To Fix Them | stupideasypaleo.com

Slow cooker problems can turn one of Paleo’s most useful kitchen tools into a headache. These appliances are utterly indispensable for busy people who want to cook healthy food, so dialing it in can really help your time in the kitchen. From stews to bone broth to roasts and even veggies, with a little know-how, you’ll be well on your way to making satisfying meals.

Here are 6 common slow cookers problems and what to do if and when you encounter them!

Slow Cooker Problems #1: Meat comes out dry / tough.

When you’re cooking meat in the slow cooker, the leaner the cut, the drier it tends to get. That means fattier cuts of meat—think pork shoulder roasts and beef pot roasts—do better than leaner ones, like pork sirloin or chops. If the meat comes with skin or a fat cap, leave that intact to keep the meat from drying out.

It’s also possible that the meat simply cooked too long. Generally, start out with about 1 to 1.25 hours per pound for cooking on high and 1.25 to 1.5 hours per pound for cooking on low.

Slow Cooker Problems #2: The food’s too liquidy.

For slow cookers, you need about half the amount of liquid that a traditional recipe (for the oven or stovetop) calls for. If the recipe isn’t optimized for a slow cooker, cut the amount of liquid by about 50%. In fact, when I cook a whole chicken or pork roast in the slow cooker, I put the meat in without any liquid at all.

If your final dish comes out too watery, remove the lid and turn the slow cooker to high for about an hour. This will allow some of the moisture to evaporate, thickening the sauce / broth.

Slow Cooker Problems #3: There’s no automatic shut off / timer.

This one’s a valid concern with a simple solution. If you can’t be around to switch off the slow cooker and yours has no automatic shut off, purchase a lamp timer! Then, plug your machine into that, set it, and it’ll turn off even if you aren’t home.

Slow Cooker Problems #4: It makes too much food.

Many slow cooker recipes make large portions, especially for small households. Luckily, many meats / roasts, soups and stews freeze well so you can store them for days you’re too busy to cook.

Slow Cooker Problems #5: The food isn’t cooking evenly.

This is a common problem with slow cookers. If you’re making a beef stew with carrots, for example, some carrots may be mushy while some are too hard. Food that’s cut into pieces that are the same size will cook more evenly than food that’s chopped haphazardly. Very soft / fast cooking vegetables can usually be added toward the end of the total cooking time so they don’t break down into mush.

Slow Cooker Problems #6: You aren’t sure whether to use the low or high setting.

Believe it or not, the low versus high settings aren’t different final temperatures. Rather, the high setting gets the slow cooker to boiling point faster than the low setting. Then, the contents will remain at a simmer for the rest of the cooking process. I personally prefer the low setting because I think meat comes out a bit more tender with the longer cooking time.

Want my free Quick Slow Cooker Recipe Guide? Click here! Also, check out my favorite slow cooker cookbook, The Paleo Slow Cooker. Happy eating!

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6 Common Slow Cooker Problems—And How To Fix Them | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions? Leave them in the comments below.

Paleo Avocado Bacon Sliders

Paleo Avocado Bacon Sliders | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: Please welcome my guest blogger Ashley from Livin Paleo! I first learned of Ashley through her Instagram account where I saw her throwing around heavy barbells, so needless to say, she became an instant girl crush. She’s a CrossFit badass—competing in the NorCal Regionals soon—and a whiz in the Paleo kitchen, coming up with all sorts of simple but really tasty eats to fuel her endeavors. Definitely check out her blog for lots of awesome gluten free bites. Take it away, Ashley!

Serves: 6      Prep Time: 15 min      Cook Time: 30 min

Ingredients for Paleo Avocado Bacon Sliders

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 pound (454 grams) ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 grams) black pepper
  • 1/4 pound (115 grams) bacon
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 tablespoon (22 mL) lime juice
  • Olive oil or fat of choice for cooking
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce

Directions for Paleo Avocado Bacon Sliders

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
  2. Wash the sweet potato and cut into 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) slices.
  3. Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment paper, lightly coat one with olive oil or fat of choice and lay out the sweet potato slices. You will need 12 slices. Lay out the bacon on the other sheet.
  4. Bake both for 20−25 minutes. Flip the bacon and sweet potatoes halfway through. While the sweet potatoes and bacon cook prepare the burgers, bell pepper and onions, and smash the avocado.
  5. In a medium bowl combine the ground beef, minced garlic, salt and pepper and form into six patties.
  6. Heat olive oil or fat of choice in a large skillet over medium heat and add the patties. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side.
  7. Heat olive oil or fat of choice in a separate small skillet over medium heat and cook the bell pepper and onions until soft and slightly charred.
  8. In a medium bowl smash together the avocado and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Assemble each slider by topping a sweet potato slice with lettuce, a burger patty, bacon, smashed avocado, bell pepper and onions and another sweet potato slice.

You can connect with Ashley via social media here: blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

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Paleo Avocado Bacon Sliders | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions for Ashley? Leave them in the comments below!

5 Recipes To Ease Your Real Food Transition

5 Foods To Ease Your Real Food Transition | stupideasypaleo.com Paleo, Primal and real food lifestyles are gaining in popularity by the day. While the benefits—such as fat loss and stable energy—are enough to convince most people to take the leap and leave their processed food-based diets behind, for others the transition can be pretty overwhelming. If you’re just starting out on your journey to Paleo, this post is dedicated to you.

These five recipes I’ve compiled from my archives can help you make the switch to a gluten- and dairy-free nutrition plan a LOT easier. And, if you don’t tell anyone what they’re about to eat is Paleo, they’ll probably never know!

5 Foods To Ease Your Real Food Transition | stupideasypaleo.com

Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast. What’s not to love already? You’re probably thinking, “Coffee? Pot roast? What?!” but rest assured that it’s not like downing a cup of joe. The coffee adds a subtle depth of flavor that the spices alone can’t achieve. The end result was fall-apart tender. If you have time, I highly recommend taking the liquid from the crock pot and reducing it down by boiling until it becomes thicker. It’s nice to drizzle on top, almost like a gravy. Of course, if you’re in a rush, you can skip that step. If you don’t have access to this awesome cold-brew coffee, and java will do. Whole30-friendly.

5 Foods To Ease Your Real Food Transition | stupideasypaleo.com

Simple Paleo Tortillas

Are Simple Paleo Tortillas really possible?! If you’re looking for a really easy Paleo version of a flour tortilla—or a French crepe—look no further. These are pretty much foolproof and are much more flexible than other Paleo tortillas I’ve tried before that mostly use coconut flour as a base. I had a huge bag of arrowroot powder to use up (a gluten-free flour alternative) so this fit the bill quite well. These Paleo tortillas hold up to folding or rolling and can be used in sweet or savory applications, and it’s easy to make a double or triple batch in advance and save them for upcoming meals. They’d also be perfect for making up some tasty lunches on the go, and I think they’d be super popular with kids (of all ages)! I tested these to see how well they’d freeze. I rolled the tortillas up, froze them, and they thawed flexible and easy to fold!

5 Foods To Ease Your Real Food Transition | stupideasypaleo.com

Paleo Chick-fil-A

This Paleo Chick-fil-A is dedicated to my friend Ricky. Being from the south, he’s been rattling on about Chick-fil-A for SO long, I finally decided to make a Paleo version for him. It came out so tasty that I’m going to bring some to party this weekend for him to officially try. The secret’s in the pickle juice! It basically brines the chicken which makes it super moist and tender. The recipe easily doubles. Whole30-friendly.

5 Foods To Ease Your Real Food Transition | stupideasypaleo.com

Watermelon Mojito Salad

This Watermelon Mojito Salad recipe was inspired by a Southern California road trip I took with one of my best friends. There may have been some mojitos consumed. I decided to make a mojito-esque—but clearly non-alcoholic—dish that would capture the flavors of this iconic Cuban drink. Plus watermelon. I love watermelon. Whole30-friendly.

5 Foods To Ease Your Real Food Transition | stupideasypaleo.com

Cinnamon French Toast Panna Cotta

Cinnamon French Toast Panna Cotta is a riff on a traditional Italian panna cotta, but mine is dairy-free. Usually panna cotta is made from a combination of milk, cream, sugar and gelatin—creamy with a slightly firm texture. Of course, there’s no actual bread in my version, but I incorporated all my favorite French toast flavors: the butteriness from the ghee, richness from the egg yolks, warmth from cinnamon and of course a bit of sweet from maple syrup. A bit of crumbled crispy bacon on top gives a savory counterpoint to the sweetness. And of course, I used coconut milk to keep it dairy-free. Seriously delicious. Keep in mind that this panna cotta doesn’t set up like super-firm gelatin desserts. I serve it in small Mason jars for a few small, rich bites.

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5 Foods To Ease Your Real Food Transition | stupideasypaleo.com

What’s your favorite Paleo recipe to serve to non-Paleo eaters?

Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Squash (Paleo)

Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Squash | Popular Paleo for StupidEasyPaleo.com

Steph’s note: Please welcome Ciarra from Popular Paleo back to the blog. Not only is she a close personal friend of mine, she’s a whiz in the kitchen AND she’s just finished writing a cookbook (releasing December 2nd so click here to pre-order) called The Frugal Paleo Cookbook: Affordable, Easy & Delicious Paleo Cooking. I know y’all are going to love it because she’s done an amazing job. (I got to test drive some of the recipes!) This Chicken Florentine dish is representative of the budget-friendly bites she’s known for. Take it away, Ciarra!

I have a not-so-secret love affair with spaghetti squash, but in my part of the country (the Pacific Northwest) it can get expensive depending on the time of year. Since I make one Paleo-friendly meal to feed my little semi-Paleo family of four each night for dinner, I’m always looking for ways to stretch a pricier ingredient. For spaghetti squash, I do that by mixing it up with chicken Italian sausage and fresh organic baby spinach for Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Squash Boats. I like to serve it all in the shell of the spaghetti squash and top it some fresh herbs and pine nuts if I have some hanging around in my pantry.

Serves 4

Ingredients for Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Squash Boats

  • 1 medium to large spaghetti squash
  • 16 ounces (454 grams) chicken Italian sausage (organic, gluten-free)
  • 1 organic white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2–3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups (700 grams) organic baby spinach leaves, packed into measuring cup
  • 2–3 tablespoons (30–45 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon (7 grams) pine nuts and chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions for Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Squash Boats

  1. First things first, let’s get that spaghetti squash in the oven to roast while we prepare the filling. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Using a large knife and steady hand, split the squash in half lengthwise. The best way to do this is usually by scoring the squash and then inserting the tip of the blade into an end. Apply strong and even pressure on the knife, using it more like a splitting wedge on a large log rather than the familiar slicing action of a blade. Once the squash is split open, use a spoon to remove the seeds and pulp (just toss that stuff). Place the halved squash cut-side down on a roasting pan, add a few tablespoons of water to the pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes in a preheated oven.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken Florentine portion of the dish. Heat a large skillet to medium-high and drizzle in a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Once it comes to temp, crumble in the chicken Italian sausage, garlic and diced onion. Cook and stir until the sausage is fully cooked and the onion is translucent—this should take about 12 minutes or so. A few minutes before the meat is done, pile the baby spinach on top of the sausage so that it wilts as the rest of the items in the pan finish. Stir the spinach into the sausage mixture as it cooks down. Then set it aside until the spaghetti squash has finished roasting.
  3. After you pull the squash out of the oven, turn them over so they cool a little faster. Once you can handle them comfortably (or if you can manage holding them with an oven mitt), use a fork to scrape with the grain of the squash to harvest the strands. Transfer the harvested strands into the pan with the sausage mixture, season with sea salt and black pepper to taste and the pine nuts if you want to use them. Toss the squash strands with the sausage and spinach so everything gets evenly combined.
  4. I like to serve this plated inside the spaghetti squash shell or “boat-style.” It’s pretty and, well, if I can save myself another dish to wash, then I’m all for it. Top with some toasted pine nuts and / or fresh flat-leaf parsley and dig in!

P.S.: If you happen to have any leftovers, this makes a great frittata for breakfast or a to-go lunch the next day!

Be sure to follow Ciarra and Popular Paleo on: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram!

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Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Squash | Popular Paleo for StupidEasyPaleo.com

Questions for Ciarra? Leave them in the comments below!

Strawberry Chili Grilled Chicken by Beyoutifully Delicious

Strawberry Chili Grilled Chicken | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: Please welcome Candace from Beyoutifully Delicious to the blog again. A couple weeks ago, I featured her PeaNOT Pineapple Slaw, and it’s gotten rave reviews. Candace is all about good food with big flavor, and this recipe will not disappoint. Without further adieu, take it away Candace!

Last Easter I came up with a fresh strawberry dressing that gave a subtle sweetness to a spring green salad. For the protein to compliment the slaw, I updated it as a marinade with some heat. There’s nothing like salty, sweet AND spicy. Now we’re talking game-changer.

I love this marinade on mahi-mahi, it’s a flakey fish that has a really clean taste to it. None of that “fishy” business that tends to draw people away from ocean proteins. If seafood is not your thing, this is perfect for chicken too.

You can easily flavor swap blackberry or apricot for the strawberry as they work well with chili peppers. I would use fresh apricots rather than dried just because I want to keep my sugar in check. It’s very easy for that to get crazy if I’m not intentional about food preparation.

Ingredients for the Strawberry Chili Dressing / Marinade

This is enough for two (6 ounce or 340 grams) filets of mahi-mahi or chicken breasts.

  • 1-1/4 cups fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons coconut vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freeze-dried strawberries, crushed into a powder (sub: 1 Tbsp apple juice)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried Thai chilis or 2 teaspoons chili paste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Directions for the Strawberry Chili Dressing / Marinade

  1. In a blender, add all the ingredients except coconut oil and blend on high.
  2. Turn down the speed a little and slowly drizzle in coconut oil.
  3. Marinate the meat or fish for at least 2 hours and grill it until it’s no longer pink inside, about 4 minutes per side. Discard the leftover marinade. Or, bring the leftover marinade to a boil and cook it for 5 minutes to kill any bacteria.

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Strawberry Chili Grilled Chicken | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions? Leave them in the comment box below!

PeaNOT Pineapple Slaw by Beyoutifully Delicious

PeaNOT Pineapple Slaw | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: Please give a super warm welcome to my guest blogger Candace, better known around the Web as the creative mind behind Beyoutifully Delicious. She’s incredibly sweet and wickedly innovative in the kitchen, and I know you’re going to love her Paleo recipes. In fact, look out for part two of this recipe (a Strawberry Chili Grilled Chicken) that’ll be posting next week! Without further adieu, take it away Candace!

Coleslaw was never really my thing. Anytime I had it, it was mushy, drippy and tasted like that Miracle Whip crap. Bleh!

The greatest thing about cooking is you can always make something your own and give it your personal signature. I love peanut dressing and Pad Thai but I have really given up the peanut madness since turning my food over to the “Paleo Way.” I think I was having issues with it anyhow.

I love the texture of Napa cabbage so I make this star of the show, complimented by grated beets which are perfect for sweeping out those pesky phytoestrogens, carrots and fresh pineapple. No canned fruit in syrup here! This combination makes the perfect second post-workout meal where I start tapering off my carbs, upping my fat along with another big hunk o’ protein. It’s satisfying without leaving me weighted down.

Ingredients for PeaNOT Pineapple Slaw:

For the slaw

  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup grated beets
  • 3 cups shredded Napa Cabbage
  • 1 cup fresh chopped pineapple
  • 2 Tablespoons crushed raw cashews
  • 2 Tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, torn

For the dressing

Directions for the PeaNOT Pineapple Slaw:

  1. Make sure you dry the veggies with paper towels or kitchen towels if they’re really damp. The pineapple will add moisture so you don’t need any extra.
  2. Add veggies and pineapple to a large bowl.
  3. Make the dressing: In a blender add the water, then add the remainder of ingredients. Blend on high until you have a smooth, creamy dressing.
  4. Use half of the dressing and toss the salad together, mixing well until everything is coated.
  5. Garnish with the cashews, green onions and cilantro.

Connect with Candace and Beyoutifully Delicious here: blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

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PeaNOT Pineapple Slaw | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions for Candace? Leave them in the comments below!

Paleo Zucchini Frittata Guest Post

Paleo Zucchini Frittata is one of my favorite make-ahead breakfasts, perfect for busy folks and athletes. You can make up a batch ahead of time, slice it when it cools and take it with you for post-workout or just along for the ride to work.

Paleo Zucchini Frittata | stupideasypaleo.com

I created this recipe specifically for Breaking Muscle, sohead on over there to check out the ingredients and how to get one of these beauties baking in your oven today!

Click here for the recipe → Paleo Zucchini Frittata!

Whole30 Wrap “Party”

Whole30 Wrap Party | stupideasypaleo.com

 You finished! It’s a Whole30 Wrap Party!

High five…fist bump…handshake.

Whatever congratulatory gesture you can think of, I’m going to dole it out because YOU FINISHED YOUR WHOLE30! (Either that or you’re about to finish soon, so revisit this post when you’re through.)

No doubt, you learned something about yourself through this process since it’s a learning tool upon which to make some informed decisions about what your eating might look like going forward into this thing we call life. And yes, you must go forward. You see, it can be tempting to want to stay Whole30 for a long time because it makes the decision-making around food easier. It’s almost like making food choices a little less sexy because you can just default to Whole30 guidelines to do it for you. (Other people, however, have noooo problem jumping back into crappy old eating patterns.)

What’s the best strategy? It’s impossible for me to tell you because, simply put, I’m not you, but I think you’d agree the answer lies somewhere in between these polar opposites. Living by Whole30 rules for the rest of your life sounds pretty unrealistic, as does throwing away everything you’ve learned about yourself and eating processed, nutrient-poor foods for every meal. As Dallas & Melissa put it:

“You can’t – and shouldn’t – live within the strict parameters of the Whole30 forever. Yep, at some point… you’ve gotta take the training wheels off the bike.” 

Click here to read more about how to Ride Your Own Bike.

What about reintroducing foods you may want to start eating again? First, if you don’t want to add a food back into your diet, there’s nothing saying you have to. If you feel great without gluten or dandy without dairy, you are free to avoid it as you see fit. But. (And there’s always a but.)

Don’t do that thing where you get so excited about Day 31 that you go on an epic binge of all the foods you’ve wanted to eat for the past month. You know…that thing of where a slice of pizza becomes *a* pizza with some soda and a piece of chocolate cake and then some ice cream. If you end up with a sore gut, you won’t necessarily know which food caused your tummy to play Twister. Click to read more about how to reintroduce foods after your Whole30.

And yes, you may now step on the scale if you want. Or don’t. (Click to read more about the scale and why I think you should ditch it for good.)

Time to Celebrate

As much as I’d like to throw you an actual party, it’d be hard to cram everyone in the same room, so here’s how we’ll celebrate your successes:

#1 Wave your flag!

Click to save this awesome banner and put it on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram! Be proud. You’ve earned the right to brag a little! To pin, click here. Or to save, right click and choose “Save Image As”.

Whole30 Wrap Party | stupideasypaleo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2 Share your story!

In the comments below, tell us how it went—the good, the bad and even the ugly. What did you learn about yourself? For example, maybe you didn’t realize how much dairy was affecting the clarity of your skin or how hangry you always got at 3 p.m. What did you lose? Body fat, that nagging knee pain or points off your blood pressure, for example. What did you gain? Maybe it was self-confidence or an appreciation of the natural sweetness in foods.

#3 Start a ripple!

As tempting as it may feel right now to start mailing your loved ones their own copies of It Starts With Food—I did that with my mom…it didn’t go so well!—or doing a drive-by and posting Whole30 stuff to their Facebook walls, sometimes your good intentions may backfire. (Loved ones are the hardest to convince to do _________ better.) What you can do is be supportive of someone who comes to you asking for advice or help; start your own blog chronicling your Whole30 story; or buy a loaner copy of the book so when folks do come asking, you can lend a text out.

#4 A sweet giveaway!

I’ll be choosing one lucky reader at random to receive a free copy of my eBook, The Paleo Athlete (a $24.99 value)! You must leave a comment for #2 above (Share your story!), and I’ll select a winner by 11:59 p.m. PST on Monday, February 3, 2014.

Congrats to Bridget! She was selected at random to win a copy of my eBook. Thanks, everyone, for sharing and keep your stories coming in!

Let’s get this party started! Remember to comment below.

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Whole30 Wrap Party | stupideasypaleo.com

How To Instantly Love Yourself More

How To Instantly Love Yourself More | stupideasypaleo.com

How To Instantly Love Yourself More In 3 Simple Steps

1) Walk into your bathroom.

2) Bend down and pick up your scale.

3) Proceed to the nearest trash bin, and chuck it in.

I’m not joking.

Throwing my bathroom scale away was one of the single best things I’ve ever done for my health and my self-esteem, and it’s my honest belief that you should do the same.

How It Started

Growing up, I’d always been some variation of chubby, chunky or “big-boned”—quite possibly the worst euphemism ever invented. Naturally, when I was about 14, I decided I should be 125 pounds for the rest of my life. Totally reasonable. (Not.) And so began 15 years or so of obsession about my weight. I look back at pictures of myself then and there were plenty that show a normal-sized me, but I only remember fixating on the fact that the scale didn’t read 125. Ever. Sickening as it may sound, I let the scale dictate how I felt about myself for a long time.

Then, I found Paleo four years ago, and while I was eating healthier than I ever had, I continued to fixate on the scale. My daily routine was down pat: Wake up, don’t drink anything, use the bathroom (#1 and #2), and only then was it okay to weigh myself. You can only imagine how dismayed I was when my weight actually started going up.

The Tipping Point

And then, I had enough. I realized I felt healthier than I had in years even though I weighed more.

My energy was stable all day long. My moods were nowhere near as volatile. My skin cleared up. I was stronger than ever. I enjoyed eating such nutritious food and for the first time in my life, wasn’t focused on calories. And, I was performing well as an athlete.

What the hell was I so bothered about? So what if I weighed more? I got so fed up with how much time and mental energy I’d wasted on chasing some arbitrary number on the scale, and I was ignoring all the signs of how much healthier I actually was. Would I actually be happier if I got down to that number I set for myself when I was 14? Could I get there and still be as healthy? I decided the answer to both was “no.”

So in 2011, I threw my bathroom scale away. Forever.

And Then, I Gained

When I tossed out my scale, I continued to gain.

I gained a love of self that I’d never had before because for the first time, I wasn’t using my weight to measure my self-worth.

I gained more mental energy to devote to the things that really mattered, like helping other people and being a better friend.

I gained confidence in myself, that I had more to celebrate about my life than achieving a number on a scale. (Because, even if I got to 125, would I be happier or healthier?!)

But, Isn’t Weight an Important Indicator of Health?

Yes and no.

Carrying an excess of body fat and not having much lean muscle mass—generally termed poor body composition—is obviously not ideal for health. Chances are, if you’re reading this and you’re at an unhealthy weight, you’re acutely aware of it, even if you haven’t set foot on a scale. How your clothes fit, how you look in the mirror, blood markers of disease and how you feel both physically and mentally are all very powerful indicators of health other than bodyweight.

Said another way, it’s possible to be thin and unhealthy, so bodyweight isn’t the only way to tell if something’s gone wrong.

Perhaps the “ideal” weight you’re pursuing was given to you by someone else—such as a doctor, from a BMI chart or even chosen by you at a time in your life when you weren’t actually ideally healthy. (I wasn’t done with puberty yet when I chose 125 pounds so of course I was going to get bigger and heavier. It sounds so irrational now, looking back.) How productive is it to fixate on weight then, ignoring the other signs?

When I went Paleo, ate more nutritious food and started weight training, I lost fat while increasing muscle mass. Simply put, I got heavier even though I was a bit leaner. Bodyweight can be a deceiving thing.

My Challenge To You

If weighing yourself makes you apprehensive, causes you stress or enables you to fixate or obsess, that psychological stress is subtracting from your health.

Take a long, hard look at whether weighing yourself is adding to or detracting from your quality of life. Your worth as a person is not quantifiable by numbers on a scale: It can’t measure your kindness or how much you enrich the lives of others. It can’t tell how funny, intelligent or talented you are. It can’t tell you how good a person you are. It can’t show how much you are loved.

All the scale dispays is how much your mass is affected by the force we call gravity. End of story.

My challenge to you is to get rid of your scale completely, right now. Focus on other ways to measure your health. (Here’s a fantastic list of what to look for from Whole9.) Be kinder and more accepting of yourself and your unique gifts, because you’re pretty freaking awesome, imperfections and all.

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How To Instantly Love Yourself More | stupideasypaleo.com

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Have you ditched your scale? What happened as a result? Leave a comment below!

Whole30 Week 4 Check-In

Whole30 Week 4 Check-In | stupideasypaleo.com

It’s time for your Whole30 Week 4 Check-In!

Take a second and put your hand up in the air…virtual high five coming your way from me. You’re now in Week 4 of your Whole30, and the home stretch is near! Twenty-one days of clean-eating and introspection. (You’re remembering to think about what you’re learning about yourself, right?!)

Hang in there and keep doing the good work you’ve been doing, and don’t give into that tiny voice that may be whispering, “Ah, you’ve already done most of it. You could totally quit now!”

Why You Should Squash That Voice

In my mind, giving up on Day 22 because you feel great doesn’t mean you’re a failure…it means you haven’t given yourself maximum opportunity to LEARN NEW HABITS. If you’re sleeping better, have more mental clarity and are a happier person, fantastic. But the better food choices that got you there—particularly if it’s a 180° departure from your past behavior—really need time to sink in. Practicing good habits is key, and even a week longer will make a big difference.

And What About The Scale?…

Hopefully, this whole time, you haven’t been weighing yourself—there are so many other ways to measure how your health has improved. But, from personal experience, I can understand if you’re anxious to jump on and see if the number has budged. Why is the scale so tempting? It’s a number, easy to quantify. But for some of us, our entire self-worth hangs on that three digit number. (That’s one of the reasons I tossed my scale out for good.)

No matter what happens weight-wise, don’t lose sight of all the OTHER good things that have happened in these 30 days. And just so you can start preparing for what to do on Day 31, here is a link from Whole30 on reintroduction. You definitely don’t want to spend your Day 31 in a world of hurt and really lose the chance to learn which foods many not play nice with your insides.

Need some inspiration to finish Week 4 super-strong?

Here are some awesome resources just for that:

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Whole30 Week 4 Check-In | stupideasypaleo.com

How did Week 3 end up? What’s challenging you as you move into Week 4?

Thai Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Thai Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing | stupideasypaleo.com

I cannot get enough of the flavors in this Thai Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing!

When I came back from Scotland, all I was craving was super fresh veggies and this salad fits the bill. It’s inspired by one I had at Tender Greens but now that I made my own version I can have it any time without driving to the restaurant—plus, it’s nicer on my wallet and Whole30-friendly. The key to making this super-special is to use the freshest veggies you can find; it makes a huge difference. All quantities are approximate, and if you don’t like an ingredient, certainly leave it out or substitute it for something else. Top it with your protein of choice—grilled steak, pan-fried lemon chicken or shrimp would all be outstanding—for a complete meal.

Ingredients for the Thai Salad

  • 1 head red or green leaf lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup green papaya, julienned (I use this peeler to make it happen)
  • 3 tangerines, peeled and segmented
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh thai basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup cashews

Directions for the Thai Salad

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss well. Hint: I kept the mint and basil leaves whole, but you could always chop them.

Ingredients for the Cilantro Lime Dressing

Directions for the Cilantro Lime Dressing

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until the cilantro leaves are finely chopped and everything is combined.
  2. Use right away or store for 1–2 days, tightly covered in the fridge. Give it a shake before using.

Change It Up

  • This easily doubles or triples to feed a large group.
  • Add a couple pinches of ground ginger to the salad dressing.
  • Check your local Asian food market for green papaya. It’s not sweet like it’s orange-fleshed counterpart.

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Whole30 Week 3 Check-In

Whole30 Week 3 Check-In | stupideasypaleo.com

It’s time for your Whole30 Week 3 Check-In!

Now that you’ve got some experience under your belt, it’s time to chat about what the upcoming week is likely to bring. (Of course, you truly are a unique snowflake, so individual experiences may vary.)

By this point, you should over everyone’s favorite, the Carb Flu, and on to some of the more pleasant effects of this nutritional reset: more energy, better sleep, a better relationship with food and perhaps even some changes in body composition. It’s been my experience that the beginning of Week 3 tends to come in gently and, in some cases, ends on a much unexpected note.

You see, it’s not unheard of for folks to fall off the rails, particularly at the end of Week 3. And for some reason, Day 18 seems to be a really common number. What the heck is going on? Why would you make it past the halfway point and then give in?

Cravings.

For some reason, they tend to start acting up during this week, remnants of bad habits past which try to convince you that you’d be so much better off with just a smidge of that cake or just one glass of wine. The solution? Tell your brain to shut up. Seriously. Whole9 often says if you’re not hungry enough to eat steamed fish and broccoli, you aren’t really hungry…you’re experiencing a craving. Most cravings pass within just a few minutes, so find a way to distract yourself until it passes.

And then, there’s sabotage via boredom.

My own theory on why this happens goes sort of like this:

Week 1: “Look at this huge challenge ahead of me! It’s game on, self!” Everything is new, and you’re on the lookout for any food saboteurs, ready to squash them in a moment.

Week 2: “Heck yeah! I’m finally feeling better. This is AWESOME.” You start to enjoy the benefits of kicking crappy food and eating habits to the curb. You’re thinking, “I’m going to ride this wave to Day 30.”

Week 3: “Scrambled eggs for breakfast and grilled chicken for lunch? Again?” If you’re not careful, your wave riding can turn into a wipe out. Boredom and complacency, in combination with cravings, can ruin your clean streak if you’re caught unaware.

There’s also a tendency to think, “I feel better so I can just stop and keep feeling good even if I go back to old ways.” In many cases, you may not start to feel all the positive effects until you’re IN Week 3 so don’t give up. Why? If your gut really needs some intense healing, it may take longer.

What to do?

Don’t get caught by boredom. Mix it up and make some new recipes (suggestions for that below). Buy some new ingredients that you’ve never used or try going out to eat. (I suggest you check out the menu at home and have a plan for making some modifications to your order.) With a little awareness, you can sail smoothly into Week 4.

Here are some awesome resources in case you need some inspiration:

And, for even MORE goodness, click on the images below to print or download these super-duper helpful guides from Whole30!

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Whole30 Week 3 Check-In | stupideasypaleo.com

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How did your Week 2 go? How will you slay boredom in the week to come? Leave a comment below!

Paleo Meatballs, Asian-Style

Paleo Meatballs, Asian-Style | stupideasypaleo.comPaleo meatballs, Asian-style! These are super easy, have just five ingredients and are Whole30-friendly. Feel free to dress these up with your favorite dipping sauce or serve alongside a salad—like my Green Papaya Salad—for a complete meal. To feed a really hungry crowd or for leftovers throughout the week, double or triple the batch.

Ingredients for Paleo Meatballs, Asian-Style

Directions for Paleo Meatballs, Asian-Style

  1. Combine the pork, green onions, coconut aminos, sesame oil and fish sauce in a medium bowl. Mix until everything is combined but not over-mixed because that will make the meat tough.
  2. Rolls the meat into balls. I used roughly a heaping Tablespoon of meat per ball. Before cooking all the meat, I like to heat a tiny amount and check for flavor. If it needs more salt, add sea salt to suit your tastes before you proceed.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the meatballs in a single layer, being careful not to crowd them. Brown on all sides. Repeat with the remainder of the batch. Hint: If your balls are bigger (no jokes please!), you may want to quickly brown the outsides, then place them on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 350°F (175°C) oven for approximately 10 minutes to cook the insides through.
  4. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce!

Change It Up

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