April 25, 2016

Three Meat Raspberry Chili (Paleo, GAPS, SCD, Whole 30)



Hi friends! I made it back safe and sound from Florida. A little more tanned, with a few more freckles and a little blonder than I was 2 weeks ago. I went for lots of runs on the beach, played a lot of tennis, read a lot of books and of course, did a little shopping. It was amazing!

One of my favourite things to do on vacation is read. Honestly, I could spend weeks reading next to the pool or at the beach. I think I read six books on this trip. Some much better than others of course. My favourites were "A Prayer For Owen Meany" by John Irving and "The House Girl" by Tara Conklin. Has anyone else read these ones? What did you think? John Irving is by far my favourite author. I have loved every book of his that I've read (and I think I've read basically all of them now). His writing is just so smart, and his story development is simply genius. I also stocked up on a few real food items that are hard for me to get at home. Like my favourite brand of grassfed gelatin, Vital proteins, and Kerrygold grassfed butter.


If you follow me on instagram (and if you don't, you should), you would have seen some of these photos from my trip, but for the rest of you, here is a little preview of what my holiday looked like. Simply put, heavenly!














Now that I'm back to the real world it's back to things like homework and meal planning. I get questions from readers all the time about how to make eating a whole foods/paleo diet easier. One of the easiest ways is batch cooking. I often make a huge batch of one or two dishes on the weekend that then carry me through my busy weeks. And this Three Meat Raspberry Chili is one of those recipes that is great for batch cooking. You will get many meals out of this one I promise. Plus it's filled with so many nourishing ingredients like chicken liver, grassfed beef, coconut milk and lots of vegetables! Plus the unusual addition of raspberries. Trust me they work well in this recipe. Really well. You'll just have to try it to find out. And as you may remember from my post a few weeks back, I'm trying to get more liver in my diet, so this recipe is a great way to do that. And if you missed it, here is my post all about the health benefits of liver, and why you should be eating it too!



Three Meat Raspberry Chili Recipe


Ingredients

1 lb free range chicken liver (can be bought here)
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar (I use this brand

2 TBSP bacon fat, grassfed butter/ghee or coconut oil
1 lb grassfed ground beef (can be bought here)
1 lb free range ground pork (can be bought here

10 medium tomatoes, diced (I used tomatoes on the vine)
1 12oz package fresh raspberries (or frozen would also work)
1 can full fat coconut milk (this brand is my favourite

1/3 cup chopped green onion (or sub 1 medium white onion, diced)
1 TBSP organic cacao powder (omit for SCD and Whole 30)
1 TBSP dried oregano (this brand is SCD legal)
1 TBSP dried basil (this brand is SCD legal)
1 TBSP dried parsley (this brand is SCD legal)
1/2 tsp ground cumin (this brand is SCD legal)
1/2 tsp pure ground chilis  (I used this kind, which is not the same as chili powder) 
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper 

1 red pepper, washed and diced
1 yellow pepper, washed and diced
1 orange pepper, washed and diced
2 zucchinis, washed and diced




Directions

1. Rinse the chicken liver and place it in a bowl of warm water with 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar and let sit for 30 minutes
2. While the chicken liver is soaking, place a medium sized pan on the stove on medium heat
3. Add the bacon fat (or other fat of choice) into the pan and let melt
4. Add the ground beef and pork to the pan and cook, breaking apart every few minutes until browned or cooked through
5. While the meat is cooking, place a large pot on the stove on medium heat 
6. Add the tomatoes, raspberries and coconut milk to the pot and let these start to cook
7. Add the spices to the pot and stir well to combine
8. Once the meat is done cooking, transfer to the pot (including the grease) 
9. Place the pan back on the burner (still on), and transfer the liver from its bowl (rinse first) to the pan and allow to cook 
10. While the liver is cooking add the remaining vegetables to the pot and stir well to combine
11. Once the liver is cooked through, turn off the burner, remove it from the pan and cut into very small pieces or use your food processor to chop into fine pieces
12. Add the liver to the pot and stir well to combine 
13. Turn the heat down to low, and let the chili simmer for another 45-60 minutes (until the vegetables are the desired texture) 
14. Remove from heat and turn off the burner 
15. Serve and enjoy!

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April 11, 2016

The Safest Sunscreens (That Actually Work)



Since I am currently on vacation in Florida I figured now would be the perfect time to talk about sun protection and safe sunscreens. As a blond haired, blue eyed girl with pale skin, sun protection is extremely important to me. I have had a few bad sunburns in my life and am now a huge SPF advocate. That being said, some sun exposure is important to health, especially when it comes to vitamin D production. However, avoiding overexposure is also crucial. And during those warm spring and summer days most of us want to be able to stay outside longer than our skin would naturally allow without getting sun burned. Hence the need for sun protection with physical barriers (ie. clothing) and SPF.

And while I am an SPF advocate, that definitely doesn't mean that all sunscreens are created equal. In fact, most brands on the market contain ingredients that are known to be harmful to your health. It wasn't until I started using EWG's Skin Deep Guide that I really learned how dangerous the sunscreen that I loved was for me. Not familiar with the Skin Deep Guide? It is my go-to website when it comes to determining safe skin care products. EWG has analyzed thousands of products and their ingredients and rated them in terms of their safety. Products with a rating of 1 are the safest, and 10 the most harmful. I recommend keeping all your products to a 1-2 rating if possible. EWG even has an app that is super handy! You can scan the barcodes of your favourite products and find out just how safe or unsafe they are. I highly recommend downloading it for your day-to-day use.





Avoiding sun over-exposure is especially important for those with acne-prone skin (like myself) and for avoiding photo damage (which can lead to skin cancer). Getting too much sun can actually damage the skin's fragile oils and make photo damage, acne and skin irritation much worse. So even if you are a sunscreen hater, I would at least recommend getting some for your face.

When it comes to sunblock, you really have two options: toxic chemical filled sunscreens and physical blocks or barriers such as clothing or zinc based products. Initially, sun "screens" only protected against UVA radiation, but they are now required to offer both UVA and UVB protection. This is where the term "broad-spectrum" originated.  Most chemical based sunscreens (ie. anything without zinc oxide as the active ingredient) rely on ingredients ending in "benzone" like avobenzone or oxybenzone that are known to be dangerous to human health and I strongly suggest avoiding. Like. The. Plaque. Brands like Neutrogena, Coppertone and Banana Boat all use these ingredients so make sure you are reading those labels! What's even scarier, and something I just learned, is that some of those ingredients in the chemical based sunscreens actually become even more dangerous when they are exposed to UV radiation. Without getting too sciencey on you, they form free radicals when exposed to UV light, which can cause significant damage within the body. Yikes!

The safest types of sunscreen you can find are those that use zinc oxide, which acts as a physical barrier protecting the skin. Just make sure you avoid any with titanium dioxide, because even though this ingredient is generally considered safe, it is also one of those ingredients that can undergo changes when exposed to UV light. So stick with zinc oxide only please!

Now, even when it comes to sunscreens with zinc oxide, not all are created equal. It's actually very difficult to tell when the ingredients in zinc based sunscreens have separated, so you may actually be applying sunblock with little to no sun protection! Scary right? This is where zinc based sunscreen sticks come in. The suspension ingredients in sticks are more solid, often more nourishing, and highly unlikely to separate. So you always know that your skin is being protected. Always.



So, what are the best brand of zinc-oxide based sunscreen sticks out there? Now, I clearly haven't tried all of them on the market, but of the ones I have tried these are my favourites:

1. Beautycounter Protect Stick Sunscreen
As you guys might have heard, I just recently partnered with Beautycounter, and the more products I try from this brand, the more I fall in love with this company. This is by far the best (safe) sunscreen stick I have tried. Why is it so good? It doesn't leave nearly the same white residue that most zinc sticks leave, so it's much easier to use on those areas like your face that are exposed to the world. It is also rated 1 (the safest) on the EWG Skin Deep Guide. And if you are a fan of Liz Anne from Real Food Liz (also the author of one of my favourite books, Eat the Yolks) you will be interested to know that she recently gave her endorsement for this product as well. And as you may know, she only endorses the safest of skin care products!

2. Badger SPF 35 Face Stick


Another extremely effective face stick is the Badger SPF 35 Face Stick. What's also great about this product is that besides zinc oxide, it only contains 5 other ingredients! Talk about safe. This one also has a 1 rating on EWG's Skin Deep Guide so you really can feel good about putting this one on that delicate skin on your face.


3. Babo Botanicals SPF 30 Sunscreen Stick



This brand makes a couple sunscreen sticks. An unscented one, and scented one. I highly recommend the unscented version. The apple scent of the scented version is strong, and anyone sensitive to smells (like myself) will likely have a hard time using it. But, both of this brand's sunscreen sticks rate a 1 on EWG's Skin Deep Guide, meaning they are both extremely safe.

Now, if the idea of using a sunscreen stick for your whole body doesn't sound very fun to you, here are a few creams that I would recommend, that again only use zinc oxide and are all rated 1 on EWG's Skin Deep Guide.

1. Beautycounter's Protect All Over Sunscreen SPF 30

2. Badger Sport Sunscreen SPF 35

3. Badger Unscented Sunscreen SPF 30

4. Badger Baby Sunscreen SPF 30

5. Babo Botanicals Fragrance Free SPF 30 Sunscreen

Well there you have it. My favourite safe sunscreens! So lather up and get outdoors and play!

And if you are interested in doing some extra reading, here are a few references regarding the information I presented in this post:
1. The Trouble With Sunscreen Chemicals
2. The Dangers of Vitamin A
3. Reactive Oxygen Species Produced from Titanium Dioxide Sunscreen

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DISCLAIMER: The statements made on this website have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. You assume full responsibility for how you use this information. Always consult with your physician or other health professionals before making any diet or lifestyle changes. 

April 04, 2016

Paleo Orange Creamsicle Macaroons and The New Yiddish Kitchen Cookbook Review


I may be busy relaxing on the beach in Florida, but that doesn't mean I will be neglecting the blog these next two weeks while I am on vacation. Nope, in fact I have a pretty great post for you guys today. Not only do I have another amazing cookbook to review for you, I also get to give you a sneak peak of these Paleo Orange Creamsicle Macaroons.

On the table today (you like that pun?) is The New Yiddish Kitchen by my very talented friends Simone Miller and Jennifer Robins. If you follow the paleo diet I am sure you have already heard of these amazing ladies from their blogs and previous cookbooks. Simone is the voice behind the blog Zenbelly and has written The Zenbelly Cookbook while Jennifer is the author of Predominantly Paleo and has written Down South Paleo and co-authored We All Scream For Ice Cream. And not only do I get to review their book for you today, I also get to share the recipe for these delicious Orange Creamsicle Macaroons as well. It's a good day today friends.


So what is Yiddish Kitchen? Simply put, it is a paleo cookbook filled with Jewish recipes. Both Simone and Jennifer were frustrated by the lack of Jewish paleo recipes out there, so they decided to take matters into their own hands and adapt the recipes themselves. Now, I am not Jewish, but I definitely appreciate many Jewish foods like Bagels, Matzo balls, Challah and more. However, I have to admit that there were many Jewish foods that I had never even heard of before. This book provided me with some much needed education that's for sure. Foods like Kreplach, Bialys, Shakshuka, Cholent, Rugelach were completely foreign to me. But all of them look so tasty! Trust me, just google them and you will see. The Jewish definitely know how to cook!

Some of my favourite things about The New Yiddish Kitchen include:
  • It's a hardcover book: I don't know about you, but soft cover cookbooks tend to take a beating in my house, so I always appreciate cookbooks with a hardcover. This one is meant to last!
  • The Bubbe's tips that are found with each recipe: This is the cutest addition! Both Simone's and Jennifer's Bubbes are featured throughout the book providing their tips and tricks for each recipe. 
  • The wide variety of recipes: There are over 100 recipes in Yiddish Kitchen that are broken down into 7 different sections; Not-Your-Bubbe's Appetizers and Soups, Grain-Free Breads and Crackers to Make you "Chaffah", Not-So-Traditional Deli Fare, Pastured Meats and Main Courses, Garden-Fresh Salads and Veggies, Naturally Sweetened Treats, and Dairy-Free Condiments and Sauces. There is definitely something for everyone in this cookbook
  • The Resources section at the back of the book: This section describes the various ingredients that are featured throughout the cookbook, and where you can find them. I get questions from readers all the time about where to buy certain ingredients so I am sure you will find this helpful.
Now, I mentioned that there are over 100 recipes inside The New Yiddish Kitchen, and while I couldn't possibly list them all, here are some that I can't wait to try:
  • Roasted Squash Hummus
  • Matzo Balls
  • Kreplach
  • Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup
  • Everything Crackers
  • Pita Bread
  • Marble Rye Bread
  • Challah
  • Bialys
  • Everything Bagels
  • Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
  • Allergen Friendly Bagels
  • Challah French Toast
  • Sweet Matzo Brei
  • Cranberry Crunch Tuna Salad
  • Curried Egg Salad
  • Caramelized Onion and Potato Knish
  • Fried Potato Knishes 
  • Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken
  • Brisket with Onions and Porcini Mushrooms 
  • Balsamic Braised Short Ribs
  • Roasted Leg of Lamb with Mint Macadamia Pesto
  • Pan Roasted Chicken with Figs and Olives
  • Crispy Chicken Thighs with Pomegranate Sauce
  • Shakshuka
  • Cholent
  • Sweet Potato Latkes
  • Savory Sauteed Veggie Kugel
  • Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pine Nuts
  • Roasted Beet Salad with Pomegranate Infused Vinaigrette
  • Hamantaschen
  • Rugelach
  • Blintzes with Blueberry Topping
  • Chocolate Babka
  • Chocolate Donuts
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake
  • Black and White Cookies
  • Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot
  • Dairy Free Sour Cream
  • Dairy Free Butter
  • Cashew Cream Cheese 
Whew! Yes there are a lot of tasty looking recipes inside of The New Yiddish Kitchen. Which ones would you like to try first? How about these Paleo Orange Creamsicle Macaroons? I made these about a week ago and let's just say they didn't last long. Erik and I both loved them. They taste good both warm and cold (I actually prefer them straight out of the fridge). Plus these are really easy to make and don't require any complicated ingredients. I bet you already have everything to make these in your fridge and pantry.

If you're interested in learning more about The New Yiddish Kitchen please click here. In the mean time, enjoy these macaroons!

Happy eating friends!

As always I would be thrilled if you visited me on my social media pages on  Instagram, FacebookPinterest and  Twitter.


Orange Creamsicle Macaroons Recipe



Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25–30 minutes Makes: 18 cookies

Ingredients

2 egg whites
12 ounces (340 g) unsweetened shredded coconut (I use this brand
1 (14-ounce [414-ml]) can full-fat coconut milk (this brand is BPA and guar gum free) 
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) honey
Zest of one orange (about 1⁄2 tablespoon [7 ml])
1 tablespoon (15 ml) orange juice
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract (I recommend this kind
Pinch salt




Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
2. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until medium peaks form.
3. In a large bowl, combine the shredded coconut, coconut milk, honey, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla and salt.
4. Fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
5. Using a small ice cream scoop with a lever, or two spoons, drop the mixture onto a cookie sheet, about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) in each.
6. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges. Allow them to cool before removing from the pan.

** Bubbe’s tip: Don’t waste those yolks! Save them to make Mayonnaise (on page 228 of the book).

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