The Paleo Diet: Our 30-Day Update

When we began the diet just over a month ago, I had intended to post a weekly recap of what we ate and how we were doing, etc… Well, life and illness got in the way and I never got past the first week summary – my apologies.  But now I’m here to give you a re-cap of the last three weeks and share some of our favorite meals from the last few weeks.

My favorite part of the Paleo diet has been all of the new recipes I have tried. Before this, we were stuck in a rut of making the same things month after month and this diet has altered the way I cook almost everything. I definitely wouldn’t consider myself an unhealthy eater before, but being very aware of the ingredients in each and everything I put in my mouth has made me more aware of how many things I was eating before that weren’t necessarily beneficial to me.

We decided to give this diet a try to see if would help my husband’s disease: Ulcerative Colitis. I explain more in detail here. Over the last thirty days, I cannot say that he has seen any changes other than in his waistline. My already-slim-husband dropped 12 lbs over the last 30 days, and most of the weight dropped within the first two weeks. I was told that this could be due to inflammation and water-weight so it could have been a good sign that there was some healing going on inside of his body. Other than that, there has not been really any improvement. I have met a lot of great people over the last 30-days, mostly on Instagram, that have seen success from eating clean and time and time again, I am told that it typically takes more like 45-60 days before they noticed any changes. I’m hoping I can keep my husband on board that long.

I, myself, dropped 9 pounds on the diet but my weight-loss was gradual. I lost a couple of pounds a week and I feel great. I’m less bloated, my energy is up,  my skin is clearer and my pores even are smaller and I intend to keep eating this way.

Here are some of the things we ate over the last three weeks:

Spaghetti and Zucchini Noodles with homemade Italian sausage and a tomato sauce. This is one of my favorite meals from the diet.

Spaghetti and Zoodles - minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

For the sausage, I used Melissa Joulwan’s Italian sausage spice recipe. Her book, Well Fed has tons of other great recipes as well.  I love this spice recipe and followed it exactly.

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We had tons of whipped coconut cream. We ate it on pancakes, waffles, mixed with fruit, by the spoonful… yeah, we love this stuff.

Whipped Coconut Cream - www.minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

I experimented with Paleo – Pho. I used zucchini noodles as my rice noodles. I had a pho spice packet (paleo friendly) that I made broth with. Added poached eggs, kimchi, fish sauce, scallions and sriracha sauce. I had this for several meals.

Paleo Pho - www.minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

We made juice several times. Veggie juice in the afternoon and occasionally a fruit juice in the morning.

Juicing recipe - www.minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Juicing - www.minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Paleo friendly pizza… this was our Valentine’s Day dinner. The pizza crust displayed below was not good. It tasted fine alone, but once we added the pizza toppings, the flavors did not mesh well.

Paleo pizza - www.minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

A couple days later we made a cauliflower crust recipe and enjoyed it VERY much.

Paleo cauliflower pizza crust - minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Paleo waffles, with strawberries we heated on the stove until they made a sauce and coconut whipped cream.

Paleo waffles - minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Zucchini Brownies – These were a Super Bowl treat. Of course that is coconut whipped cream on top! YUM! These were great and very moist – more like a cake than a brownie though.

Brownies - minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Chicken Bone Broth

Chicken bone broth - minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Chicken bone broth with poached eggs and homemade kimchi

Bone broth with kimchee - minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Eggs with sausage and homemade sauerkraut. We have eaten tons of eggs of the last 30 days. More eggs than I would have ever imagined I’d eat, but hey, I’m not even sick of them yet!

Spaghetti pie. There are lots of versions out there. It was decent, I’d make it again.

Spaghetti pie

Paleo deviled eggs – we added avocado, mustard powder, homemade pickles, paprika and some leftover guacamole. They were good!

Paleo deviled eggs - minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Sweet potato fries – The following morning we chopped up the rest with some leftover steak and made a hash. We had fried eggs over the hash. Mmmm that was my favorite breakfast. Sorry, I forgot to take a pic!

Sweet potato fries

Smoothies with homemade yogurt, frozen organic fruit and bee pollen.

Smoothies with homemade yogurt - minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

We ate many more meals over the 30 days as well, but these were some of my favorites. I made a calendar and attached it to the refrigerator door. I marked down what we ate for each meal so I could remember. I found this helpful, especially for meal planning.

If you have any favorite Paleo meals, please share them with me in the comments section below!

How to Make Kimchee (Kimchi) from Scratch: Step by Step Guide with Photos!

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Kimchi has been one of my favorite things to eat for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, many of the store bought brands have preservatives in them that do not allow fermentation to happen. Once I learned that a couple years ago, I began making my own. After years of friends asking me for the recipe, I am finally ready to share – I just needed time to get the taste down to my exact liking.

This is what  you’ll need:

  • 2 heads of Napa cabbage
  • kosher salt
  • Half a bulb of garlic (More if you prefer more, less if you prefer less)
  • 1 medium onion
  • a chunk of fresh ginger (again… add more if you like a prevalent ginger flavor)
  • 5 organic green onions
  • coarse hot pepper powder (found at the Asian food store)
  • HOT chili powder (optional)
  • Red Boat fish sauce (optional)
  • Food processor

Now here’s how you do it…

Buy two or three heads of Napa Cabbage (2 large or three small). I have seen organic Napa at a select few places, and I always prefer that to conventionally grown, but use what you have available.  Clean with cold water, rinsing in-between each leaf as well as you can.

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Cut the cabbage in half length-wise and rinse again with cold water. Then cut a small slit into the core of the cabbage as seen below:

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Sprinkle Kosher salt in between each leaf, gently massaging the salt into the leaf and be sure to get down towards to core. The salt gives the cabbage flavor and also tenderizes it.

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After I am finished salting, I pile up the cabbage into a large pot and leave them for two hours. Then I turn them over and let them sit for two more hours. There are ways to speed up this process, but from my experience, I personally enjoy the flavor and texture best when I salt the cabbage for four hours.  Towards the end of the four hours, I’ll clean and prep my garlic, onion, green onions and ginger.

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After salting, rinse the cabbage with cold water 3-4 times to remove the salt.

Now it’s time to grab the food processor. Toss in the garlic, ginger and onion. Pulse until it is evenly chopped up and put into a bowl.

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Cut up the green onions into about 1″ pieces. I use the green and white portion. Add the green onions to the bowl as well. Then add in the hot pepper powder(s). The amount of heat you want your kimchi to have will determine how much hot pepper you add but I add about 1 cup of the powders total.

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Then add 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce. I specifically say Red Boat fish sauce because it is only made from black anchovies and sea salt – no added water, no MSG, no preservatives.

Mix everything together and there you have your kimchee base.

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Grab the Napa cabbage, remove the cores and chop it up into bite size pieces. Once you have chopped it all up, grab the kimchi base and combine it with the cabbage.

Kimchi

Once mixed evenly, store the kimchee in sanitized, air-tight jars and leave on the counter for 5-7 days. You must “burp” the kimchi daily – this means open the jar, push down the cabbage and let any excess air escape. I do this twice a day, but I’m kind of obsessive over and I like to take a big wiff of it too. After 5-7 days, store in the fridge.

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You do not have to follow my recipe exactly. I tried a lot of different versions before I found what I liked best. Play around with the ingredients until you come up with what you like. If you are looking for a very hot kimchi, add more spice. It will turn out great no matter what. No two batches ever turn out exactly the same. I suggest taste testing the kimchi daily so you can see how as it ferments, the taste changes.

I’ve learned that kimchee makes everything taste better so be adventurous!

Enjoy!

Bone Broth: Why it is So Beneficial to Your Health and Recipe {Guest Blog Post}

Today I am turning over the blog to one of my favorite people in the world, my cousin Kirstin. She is a born and raised Minnesotan as well. She is an intuitive life coach and she’sa also my go-to-gal for anything Paleo related! Today she is going to explain why bone broth is so very important and how to make it. 

Kirstin and her husband

Are you interested in…

  • – A flatter, less bloated stomach and a much healthier, happier digestive system
  • – Strong bones and preventing osteoporosis
  • – Healthy, glowing skin with fewer wrinkles
  • – Strong teeth and nails
  • -Reducing cellulite
  • -Mental health achieved without pharmaceuticals

If so, then you need to start drinking bone broth.  It is truly a natural superfood and will affect your life in even more ways than I’ve listed.  It gives us access to the stored minerals and nutrients contained in animals bones, skin and joints.  These include collagen, glycine, proline, hyralonic acid, chondrointon sulfite, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfer, potassium and sodium.  What’s unique about bone broth though is that while some of these minerals and nutrients can be found in other foods, there is really no food more easily absorbed as broth. The problem most of us face without realizing it is that we have damaged gastro-intestinal systems.  Our intestines become more permeable than they should be because of less than ideal bacterial populations as well as irritated, damaged intestinal walls.  I won’t go into all the scientific details here but if you are interested the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome by, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is outstanding in explaining this concept in great detail.  The damaged gut is very important because it leads to things getting through your digestive walls that shouldn’t,  such as undigested foods.  This creates a  lot of problems like food allergies, autoimmune conditions, and terrible allergies in general (no it is NOT a coincidence that everyone and their brother seems to have terrible allergies these days.  So did I, until I changed my diet!).  It is also problematic because our bodies are struggling to absorb nutrients even when we eat food that should provide great nutrition.   These nutrient deficiencies cause all kinds of issues including wrinkled skin, dry skin, cellulite, stretch marks, insatiable hunger, weight problems (yes most overweight people are actually under-nourished but over fed), and here’s a big one: mental health issues.  At this point we know we need certain neurotransmitters like serotonin to be in balance and keep us feeling less stressed and happier, but who knew that the first step to creating serotonin is not Prozac, it is in fact eating the right nutrients, and then being able to absorb them.  The precursor to serotonin is then sent up to the brain to be converted and utilized.  But none of this can happen if we don’t take in the right amino acids and absorb them properly. Again I won’t go into great detail but the book The Mood Cure by, Julia Ross is an excellent resource for understanding mental health issues and addiction and how they relate to nutrition.  Also, the vast majority of your immune system is in your gut, so if your gut’s not healthy, neither are you. 

Now that I have you seeing the importance of a healthy  gut, let’s look at how to rebuild it.

It takes pretty much no work on the part of our digestive system to digest and absorb all these wonderful and much needed nutrients from the broth, and it goes right to work rebuilding our intestines and feeding our bodies what they need.  It is also important to work on improving gut bacteria but that’s a subject for another day.

Let’s look at how to make this broth:

Where to buy?  I get my beef bones from the farmer we order our grass-fed beef from.  We order ½ cow and just ask the butcher to include as many soup bones as possible. If you don’t have access to bones like this, have no fear – just save the carcasses whenever you eat meat on the bone (roasted chickens or turkeys, chicken thigh bones, fish bones etc).  You can also get chicken necks, backs, and beef knuckles from butchers. If you want your joints to age well, use joint bones; if you want to keep your skin wrinkle free, collagen rich chicken feet and ox tail are a great addition to your carcasses.  Grass fed/pastured animals are always best, then organic, but if all you have is conventional, go for it.  It’s still much better than nothing and animals do have detox systems built-in so some argue it’s less important than organic veggies. **Bones can be used to make up to three batches of broth**

Here’s the recipe for broth I made this week:

Ingredients:

  • Beef Bone
  • Stock pot mostly full of water (I think it’s a 16 quart pot but I’m not sure) plus
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • peel of one orange
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 big cloves garlic, smashed
  • Pinch of cloves
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 4 stalks celery

Bone broth --

Take your bones (2-3.5 pounds is really ideal but I often use a bit less if I don’t have enough) and add them to a stock pot full of water.  2-3 chicken carcasses, 1 turkey carcass or a good sized beef bone will work.

Bone broth Recipe - Minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Add about 2 TBSP of organic apple cider vinegar to help the water leach the good minerals out of those bones.  Bring it to a boil and then reduce to simmer, always leave it covered so you don’t evaporate it away.  You can also leave the meat on and extract lots of good amino acids from the meat, but I wouldn’t boil the meat too long if you plan to eat it or it will lose all it’s taste.  Maybe 1-2 hours at most for the meat, and then continue to cook the bones for 1-2 days. You can cook the broth in a crock pot, or as I do, leave it on the stove top simmering. Poultry bones take about 20-24 hours and beef/lamb is more like 2 days. As you see Fat accumulating on the surface of the broth, don’t be alarmed.  According to the GAPS book mentioned above, animal fat is one of the most important factors in rebuilding your gut.  This is especially desirable coming from grass fed animals.

Once your bones have boiled long enough, you have two options:

1. For drinking/cooking broth: You can enjoy as is, just add salt OR add chunks of veggies, herbs, garlic and sea or Himalayan salt to taste towards the end to improve flavor. Keep it to 1-2 hours or less.  Then strain all the solids (meat bones, veggies) out and store the broth  in the refrigerator or freezer until you need it.  The meat and veggies can be thrown away or eaten if they still have flavor.  I gave my meat and veggies to my dog this week (minus the bone, garlic and onion of course).  She’s on a raw/whole food diet, though so it’s not suitable for every dog.

2. For soup: You can strain the broth out from the bones/ meat, and add in veggies, meat, herbs, salt, etc to make a soup. Just boil as long as you need for veggies to be the right texture (30-45 minutes usually) and you’re done!

Bone broth - 3

The broth usually keeps a week or so for poultry and longer for beef. Soup seems to last longer than just broth.  Once it’s been refrigerated it should start to gel, like a soft jello consistency.  This means that you pulled out lots of gelatin, collagen, minerals, etc.

Later I plan to add a couple of cups of this broth to a dutch oven with a pot roast and bake in the oven, it reduces to a really tasty sauce and then I have lots left for drinking.  Also works great for beef stew!

Thank you!
Kristin

Meet Kirstin+ get ready to find your way home (to you) at http://www.KirstinBernau.com.

Have you ever tried making bone broth? Do you have any questions for Kirstin? Please feel free to leave any comments on the topic below!

Disney on Ice Presents Let’s Celebrate! at Target Center 2/27-3/2 + GIVEAWAY!

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Disney on Ice is bringing a brand new show to the Target Center in Minneapolis Feb. 27th–March 2, 2014. Make your child’s dreams come true at this magical event! There will be over 50 characters in this all-new, action packed show. You can expect to hear some of your favorite Disney songs, as well as a blend of contemporary music.

For the very first time in the Twin Cities, join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as they celebrate a Very Merry Unbirthday Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter; Mardi Gras with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen; a Royal Valentine’s Day Ball with the Disney Princesses; a Hawaiian luau with Lio and Stitch; a winter wonderland with Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear; a Halloween haunt with the Disney Villians and more in the celebration of the century!

Disney on Ice

Produced by Feld Entertainment, Disney on Ice presents Let’s Celebrate! will host eight performances at Target Center.

Show times

Thursday, Feb. 27th – 10:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 28th —  7:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 1st — 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 2nd — 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

We took our daughter, who was two at the time, to a Disney on Ice show in St. Paul last winter and it was entertaining not only for her but also for us, the adults. I found myself carried away and singing along to several songs, taken back to my childhood. The ice skating is very impressive and the props are fabulous as well — it really is magical.

The folks at Feld Entertainment have been SO generous to GIVEAWAY 2 FAMILY4-PACKS to the opening night show in Minneapolis on Feb. 27th at 7:00 p.m.  Follow the link below to get signed up! Please double check your calendar before entering! GOOD LUCK!

 —-> CLICK HERE TO ENTER TO WIN! <—-

Disney on Ice 1

To discover more about Disney on Ice, go to www.disneyonice.com, or visit on Facebook and YouTube. Ticket prices vary from $16 to $70, with Opening Night tickets (Feb 27th, 7:00 p.m.) available for just $10 (not valid on front row VIP seating). Additional handling and service charges may apply. Tickets are available at Target Center’s Box Office, online at AXS.com or by calling 888.9.AXS.TIX (888-929-7849).

How to Make Sauerkraut From Scratch: Step by Step Guide to Fermenting Cabbage

Homemade Sauerkraut - www.MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Here is a quick and easy guide to making your own sauerkraut. Why ferment foods? I briefly explain why here. For ingredients, all you will need is organic cabbage and sea salt.

Homemade Sauerkraut - www.MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

I use about 1.5 tablespoons of sea salt per every 3 pounds or so of cabbage.

Homemade Sauerkraut - www.MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Clean up your cabbage and shred it or grate it. Place the shredded cabbage in bowls and toss in some sea salt.

Homemade Sauerkraut - www.MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Then begin to layer your cabbage into your crock, alternating between layering the cabbage and sprinkling it with sea salt.  Firmly pack the cabbage into the crock using some elbow grease. You can add additional veggies to your cabbage at this point as well, such as carrots, jalapenos, onions or garlic.

Homemade Sauerkraut - www.MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

I was able to fit both of my cabbages in this gallon sized crock. The salt should pull water out from the cabbage which will create the brine that your cabbage needs to be submerged in.  The older your cabbage is, the less water that will be pulled from the shreds.

Homemade Sauerkraut - www.MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Cover your cabbage with a lid or weight to keep the cabbage under the brine level. I’ve used jars full of water, clean rocks and other creative items to weigh down my lids. Just make sure whatever you use is sanitized.

Homemade Sauerkraut - www.MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

If your brine does not rise above the cabbage, dissolve one tablespoon of sea salt in one cup of filtered water and add it to the crock.  Cover the crock with cheesecloth, a pillowcase or any other breathable wrap. Store in a cool, dry place and check on your sauerkraut on a daily basis to make sure no mold has grown or bugs have found there way in. You also want to make sure the brine has not evaporated.

Taste test every week or so until you have reached your desired taste.  I have had sauerkraut ready in two weeks and have left some fermenting as long as five weeks. Once it is complete, transfer the kraut into glass jars and keep it in the fridge!

How to make homemade sauerkraut - www.minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Wondering about my beautiful crock? Most people ask me where they can find one for themselves. I bought mine from Jeremy Ogusky, a potter out in Boston. It is a handmade gallon size crock, which initially people think is too small, but I have found it to be just the right size. I refer to it as “the gem of my kitchen”. It’s not only functional, but aesthetically pleasing. See more of his crocks, recipes and portfolio here.

 

 

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