Greek Smorgasboard

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Sorry it’s been so long.  We’ve had a busy month!  We took a lovely little vacation to San Diego – got to spend most of the time in the sun, playing on the beach, eating great seafood and having an all around good time.  Unfortunately, we also all picked up a wicked-bad chest cold that laid us all out for a week.  I went to Detroit for work, pulled a muscle and blah, blah, blah.  Enough excuses, right?  Get to the food!

Through all of that, I’ve done okay on paleo.  I cheated here and there, but overall have done a pretty decent job sticking to the plan.  I really noticed when I strayed, and spent most of those nights with stomach aches and night sweats.  But, this weekend I recommitted to the effort and I am fully back on the wagon.  This morning, I went back to my old standby, the weekday pancake, and for lunch, ate a chicken sausage and avocado.  After tonight’s scrumptious dinner, I hope to be feeling 100% soon!

You can throw whatever you want at this dinner.  I bought some fresh baba ganoush from our local market (you can make your own – here is a good recipe), cut up some crudites (cucumber & orange peppers – made even more delicious by their $0.99 price tag), and threw together my staple greek salad.  My husband and son love tzatziki sauce so we picked some of that up too, but I abstained from eating any (much to my chagrin).  The key to this recipe is getting the chicken just right – I think this pretty much nails it.  Bon Appetit!

Greek Chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-3 inch pieces

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large juicy lemon)

3 tbsp olive oil

2 heads of pressed garlic

2 tbsp oregano

sea salt & pepper to taste

1. Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano & salt & pepper together in a medium sized bowl.  Add chicken, toss to coat.  Marinate 1-4 hours in the refrigerator.

2. Heat the grill to 400ish degrees – when heated, put pieces of chicken on the grill.  Grill 5-7 minutes on each side until slightly charred and cooked through.

3. Serve with greek salad, lettuce, and whatever other yummies you want!

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Greek Salad

1 Red pepper

1/2 large sweet yellow or red onion (I prefer the flavor of a sweet onion to red, but red is more traditional)

1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives

1/2 cup chopped grape tomatoes

1 cup chopped cucumber (Peeled or English)

Vinaigrette (any) or whisk together 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 clove pressed garlic, salt & pepper

1. Chop everything up

2. Put it all in a bowl with the dressing

3. Stir it

4. Let it sit for at least 1 hour before serving


Bacon-Apple Burgers

Today, my husband started the day with the following challenge… “How come at-home burgers never taste as good as restaurant ones?”.  I set forth to prove him wrong!

These were really good as bunless burgers, and even got the thumbs up from my husband and 7 year old.  Now, I don’t know if he would go so far as to say they are better than restaurant ones, but these were pretty darned good.  I piled mine under avocado, tomatoes and lettuce, with a side of terra chips, so you can’t really see too much of the actual burger.

The original recipe for these burgers calls for grated apples, but I liked the idea of little chunks of apples, so I chopped them.

Bacon-Apple Burgers

1 lb ground beef (We used 84% lean)

1/2-1 cup finely chopped, cooked bacon

1/2-1 cup finely chopped (or grated) apples (peeled and cored)

1 egg

Salt and pepper to taste

Condiments (Avocado, tomato, onion and lettuce, in my case)

1. Cook your bacon until crispy in a large skillet.  Once finished, pat the bacon dry and let cool.  Once cool, finely chop

2. While the bacon is cooking, peel, core and chop your apple

3. Mix the beef, bacon, apple, egg, salt and pepper together until the bacon and apples are well distributed throughout the mixture.

4. Form into 6 patties (I’ve heard cutting out a small hole in the middle keeps them from shrinking too much and helps them cook faster)

5. Fry in the bacon grease (or in coconut oil if this irks you) over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes per side, or until desired done-ness

6. Pile your condiments on top of your burger

7. Dig in!


Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes)

I have been waiting for these to show up in my produce box!  They are a wonderful alternative to white potatoes – they aren’t sweet like sweet potatoes and have a beautiful, nutty flavor.  Last year, I made a killer sunchoke gratin with these, but since I’m off cheese, I’ll have to find something else to do with them.  If you are curious about whether or not sunchokes are “strictly” paleo, you can google “are sunchokes paleo?” and read through the different viewpoints.

The are often recommended as a replacement for potatoes for diabetics and people on a low-GI diet.  I am going to figure out what to do with these puppies and I’ll get back to you.

Here are a few ideas:

Rosemary roasted sunchokes

Sunchoke chips

Mushroom & sunchoke saute (with bacon??!)


Avocado Chicken Salad (aka Chicken Guacamole)

Hey friends – it’s been a busy few weeks.  7 year old baseball has begun, work’s been crazy and we have an almost 2 year old who is crazy cute but a wild one!

Here is a quick dinner or lunch recipe you can whip up in no time for busy nights – the bonus is that it’s delicious too!

Avocado Chicken Salad

1/2 cup grilled chicken, chopped into small pieces

1/2 – 1 whole avocado

1/4 cup red onion or shallot, finely chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp lime juice

Sea salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1. Put everything in a bowl

2. Mash it up

3. Eat it


Paleo Bread

What an incredible weekend!  This is that time of year in Seattle when the sun finally starts to shine, for the first time since September.  Everyone goes crazy – there are car accidents, mobs everywhere, and long ferry lines.  We hit the beach – it’s still a little too windy and cold for the crowds, but for our family, it’s just right for toddler running, driftwood house building and lots of burying feet in the sand.

For breakfast on Saturday morning, I made my easy weekday pancakes, piled high with banana slices and drips of almond butter.  So amazing!

And then we did this:

And this:

When we got home, I decided to make some paleo-friendly bread, from Elana’s Pantry.  I normally don’t like coconut flour very much, but this bread turned out really, really well.  It’s nice and firm and would probably make a great sandwich bread, but as you can see from my picture – I used a wide pan, so my bread turned out a little short and wide :).  It’s also a little oily from the coconut oil, which you could probably reduce if that bothers you, but I think it makes it even more delicious (since it tastes like freshly buttered bread).

Paleo Bread

1 ½ cups blanched almond flour

2 tablespoons coconut flour

¼ cup golden flaxseed meal

¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

5 eggs

¼ cup coconut oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1. Place almond flour, coconut flour, flax, salt and baking soda in a food processor.  Pulse ingredients together

2. Pulse in eggs, oil, honey and vinegar (do it in this order, because otherwise the baking soda and vinegar will react right away)

3. Pour batter into a greased 7.5″ x 3.5″ pan

4. Bake at 350° for 30-45 (I had to bake for 45) minutes, then Cool and serve


Easy weekday pancakes

Okay, so I admit it.  I have a pancake problem.  I don’t know when or how it started, but I think these pancakes my be the root cause.   These are super easy and I think they are delicious and I’ve eaten them three times this week.  They weren’t a huge hit with the kids (they keep asking me when I am going to make “real pancakes”), but they are a great way to tackle your sweet and carb joneses in a totally non-cheater way.

I like to eat these with some chopped up strawberries, coconut butter, and maple syrup and a side of chicken apple sausage. This picture isn’t that great, but you get it, right?  These babies don’t stick around that long to be photographed.

I think these would be delicious with something like blueberries or coconut flakes added to the batter (they might even be a good candidate for the notorious “bacon stuffed pancake”).

Almond-coconut pancakes

Makes 6-9 pancakes

3/4 cup almond flour

1/2 cup canned coconut milk (make sure you shake it really well, in order to mix the cream and water together)

2 eggs

1/4 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp cinnamon

1. Whisk ingredients together until the batter is smooth

2. Heat a tbsp coconut oil (or you can use coconut oil spray, but it has soybean oil in it) in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.

3. Pour slightly less than 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake and fry until bubbles are formed near the center of the pancake (about 2-3 minutes).  Flip and fry the other side (1-2 minutes) until the pancake is cooked through.


Greek-style Lamb Meatballs

So I am now 35 days into eating paleo.  So far it hasn’t really been that tough!  Mornings are the toughest time for me, but instead of splurging on a bagel or something, I decided my “cheats” are probably going to be more in the composition of my meals.  For example – it’s really hard for me to eat animal protein first thing in the morning.  I get really burnt on eating eggs and don’t like eating meat with breakfast.  I find that snacking on a Larabar first thing makes my mornings so much easier, especially if I am going to go work out before work.  I am definitely noticing I have had a lot more energy for the past month and my stomach issues are all but gone.  I have almost zero cravings that can’t be satisfied by paleo-friendly meals.  The only one I still notice occasionally is the craving for baked goods.  I made coconut bread, but I just can’t get used to the texture of coconut flour, it kind of sticks in my throat.

Any how, enough about all of that – how about a delicious recipe?  Here is a good one I found on http://www.everydaypaleo.com.  Using your stand-mixer (if you’ve got one) makes this all go a lot faster.  I also used my small food processor/chopper instead of chopping everything, which made prep very easy.

I ate the meatballs next to a greek salad and it was a wonderful, flavorful, super-satisfying meal.  Enjoy!

Greek-style Lamb Meatballs

Makes 15-20 meatballs, depending on size

2 tbsp fresh chives (about 4)

3 cloves garlic

1/4 cup parsley leaves

10 kalamata (greek) olives

1 lb ground lamb

1/2 lb ground beef

1 egg, room temp

1 tbsp dried mint

1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp cinnamon (I know, right?  But trust me, it makes sense once you taste it)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 deg F

1. Put the first 4 ingredients in a small food processor or automatic chopper.   Blend until everything is finely minced.

2. Put everything else in your stand mixer, or in a large bowl.  Mixed on medium speed until well combined.

3. Shape into balls and place on a baking sheet with a cooling rack (so the meatballs cook evenly without turning) or a broiling pan, so the fat drips off the meatballs.  If you use a broiling pan, turn the meatballs halfway through so they brown on all sides.

4. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of the meatballs)