Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Resisting Holiday Temptation

Christmas gatherings, Hannukah dinners, and sweet gifts are all great and delicious, but when is too much too much? I admit that I have a sweet tooth, and have a hard time saying no when faced with a dessert. Especially when a loved one has gone through the trouble of making it from scratch! But since giving up sweets a couple years ago, I can honestly say that I now show some restraint when I am faced with temptation.

When I went paleo a few things happened.
(1)I lost a bunch of weight and inflammation.
(2) I became much happier and less stressed.
(3)I developed a mechanism that helps me face sugar cravings. When I slip up and have a piece of cake or a big cookie, my body really reacts. The whole next day I feel slightly hungover and sluggish. Now, this sounds bad, but it is actually a good thing. It makes me think long and hard about the decisions I make.

And sometimes it's totally worth it. For example, once a month I get together with about a dozen other girl friends in the city for Cooking Club. We all bring a dish and share the recipes. I love tasting everyone's recipes, and am willing to suffer the fatigue the next day.

Life is short. I do not eat 100% paleo all the time. But when I do I feel energetic and ready to conquer the world!

Have a happy healthy holiday!

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Paleo Proposal

Chris proposed on Saturday!

It was a beautiful clear San Francisco day on Saturday. Not even a touch of fog. So we decided to go for a hike. We headed to our favorite spot at at Golden Gate Rec, overlooking the GGB. I had no idea what was coming up...

Packed a picnic like usual (my mouth is full!)...

And when I turned around he was on one knee...

With a ring

We couldn't be happier to start our 'married lives' together. The past 3 years have been amazing, and this is just the beginning!

Maple Apricot Cookies

For Sale online through December 20!

Here is an original recipe that Chris (the fiance) and I made up when we ran a lunch catering business a couple years ago. If you are going to enjoy a cookie this holiday season, these are the way to go. No, they aren't paleo. But they are much much better than anything else you will find at your holiday party table.

Ingredients (makes 10 regular or 20 mini cookies)
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick - or 1/4 cup- of butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • handful dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 c. granola
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Cream sugar and butter (ok to use electric mixer for all the below steps)
  3. Add egg, set aside
  4. Mix flour, soda, cinnamon
  5. Add flour mixture to wet mixture
  6. stir in remaining ingredients
  7. Bake 8-10 minutes
Promo Code: SWEET

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy December!

The Holidays in SF

I moved to San Francisco (Nob Hill/Russian hill border) in August and am absolutely loving city life! The gym is a half mile away, there is a natural foods grocery store 4 blocks away, and several restaurants on every street. I get to walk everywhere (yes, especially to my car since we usually have to park a few blocks away!) and those hills are really a great way to get a quick workout done in the middle of the day.

Most days I am cooped up inside the apartment on my computer all day, so it's great to head out in the evenings to meet friends for happy hour or dinner, just a short walk or Muni ride away. Getting all bundled up to brave the crisp city air and seeing the Christmas lights in the Bay windows really makes it feel so festive!

Another great thing about the city is the food! You can find basically ANY kind of food you can imagine right around the corner. Saturday night Chris and I were feeling cold, hungry, and tired from a long walk downtown and window shopping. So we decided to get Indian food delivered from a place down the street called Darbar. Best decision ever! The chicken Tikka Masala and Lamb Saag were SO good, and they arrived at our door exactly 18 minutes after I hung up the phone with them. Couldn't get any better than that!

Happy December!

Promo Code: SWEET

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Winter Veggie Soup-Available for order this week!

Winter Veggie Soup

Although I didn't over-indulge quite as bad as past Thanksgivings, I was no angel on Thursday. That's why this soup is meant to cleanse the body of any residual puffiness, and get me back on track to an EF lifestyle.

  • carrots
  • butternut squash
  • onion
  • tomatoes
  • vegetable stock
  • kale, chopped
  1. Roast carrots, squash, onions and tomatoes until tender
  2. Puree veggies, except for carrots (you can leave them chunky)
  3. Mix in equal parts stock
  4. Add kale
  5. Simmer 30 mins.
This recipe was inspired by Simply Recipes. I switched some things around to make it a little cleaner and more EF

Promo Code: STOCK

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bacon Broccoli Salad- Available for order this week

A great snack that will fill you with nutrients and get you through the day. Think about how you'll feel after having this compared to a bag of chips!

Ingredients (6 servings)
  • broccoli florets- 1 lb.
  • mayo- 4 tbsp.
  • red wine vinegar- 2 tbsp.
  • pecans, toasted- a handful
  • red onion or shallot, minced, 4 tbsp.
  • bacon, cooked and crumbled- 4tbsp.
  1. blanch broccoli, allow to cool
  2. toss with as much mayo to thinly coat the broccoli
  3. toss with everything else
voila, quick and easy!

Promo Code: Sweet

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry- Available to order this week
While this isn't the most traditional curry in the world, it's my healthier version of it. Quick and easy comfort food, great for cold autumn nights!

Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion- chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper (optional)- chopped
  • chicken (already cooked and shredded)
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  1. caramelize the onions in a tablespoon of butter
  2. add peppers and cook til tender
  3. Add chicken and spices
  4. Stir for one minute
  5. deglaze pan with wine
  6. allow wine to reduce completely
  7. add chicken stock and coconut milk
  8. simmer for 20 minutes
  9. taste and re-adjust seasonings and/or consistency to your liking

Promo Code: STOCK

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Favorite Workouts

I haven't posted anything about workouts lately, so I thought I'd give a brief rundown of what I've been up to. Note that I try to keep these workouts as irregular as possible, never letting my body settle into a rut.

1. Once/week: Hit the gym for random exercises, basically whatever I feel like doing for 20 mins. This sometimes consists of pull-ups (I can do 12 in a row!), tricep dips, chest presses, ab pulls, push-ups, lunges, squats, cable pulls, etc.

2. Once/week: Super-sets at the gym: If I'm feeling particularly uncreative, I will head to the "Express Workout" section of the gym, where they have about a dozen machines set up in a circle. I will hit each machine with super-sets, which consist of the following:
  • 15 really slow reps of a light to moderate weight
  • 8 reps (fast up, slow down) of a difficult weight
  • 4 quick reps of almost unmanageable weight
3. Once/week: Boot Camp: this is what I call my really intense workouts that incorporate cardio and strength. Basically I make a routine for myself that consists of switching off between a weights exercise and a cardio exercise. I mix it up to keep it fun. Here are some things I throw into the mix:
  • burpees
  • squats on the half ball
  • suicide sprints
  • overhead presses
  • jumping jacks
  • flys w/ dumb bells
  • step (i grab the step and do some shooters off of it)
  • rows
4. Once/week: sprints: I run up and down the crazy hills in my neighborhood, Nob Hill

5. Once/every 2-3 weeks: Step class (for fun and to switch it up a bit- I grew up taking dance classes and love this class b/c we get to learn new routines every week!)

6. Every week I manage to go on at least a couple long walks- a mile to downtown, or the Marina or North Beach, all depending on what we have going on for the weekend. Or I'll go for a quick run on the beach while Chris surfs :)

I really love working out, and when I can't for some reason I get bummed out. Not only do I notice a difference in my muscle tone and leanness, but I rely on exercise to clear my head. Sitting in front of the computer all day most days takes a toll after a while, and I just want to jump out of my seat, throw my iPod on and take off on a run to the gym!

Promo code: STOCK

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

I know I post a lot of articles involving leftover shredded chicken. But there really is a reason for my 'un-creativity'- every week we make at least one or two menu items that involve shredded chicken (salads, enchiladas, wraps, etc.) and once you start making dozens of these types of dishes it gets a little difficult to estimate exactly how much chicken to purchase when you're making, say 27 wraps one week. So I always try to be on the safe side and order a little more than I will need. It would be awful to get to the 26th wrap and run out!!

Anyways, here's a fun recipe Chris and I made the other night. Warning, we did consume some store-bought puff pastry, which I do not condone. I actually woke up that night with a terrible stomachache from the pastry. And hindsight I think the recipe would have been great without the 'pie' component, and just the filling.

Chicken Pot Pie
P.S. One of my very very favorite meals as a kid was Costco's frozen 'Aussie Pies'. This chicken pot pie was ready from freezer to plate in 3 minutes flat, and I believe exceeded the recommended daily caloric intake, but man did I love it! Did my own made-up recipe compare?? YES!!

Ingredients 2 servings (plus leftovers!)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • handful of mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
  • 2 small stalks of celery, chopped
  • leftover cooked chicken breast (1/2-1 lb.), chopped or shredded
  • 1 cup frozen peas (thawed and drained)
  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed up
  • 2 tbsp. homemade chicken stock (for a boost of flavor)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • puff pastry
  1. Saute onions until translucent (preferably a Le Creuset, that can be transferred from stove to oven- available for purchase below)
  2. Saute mushrooms, transfer to a large bowl
  3. Add carrots, celery, cook a couple minutes
  4. Add chicken and cook a couple minutes, season
  5. Transfer to the mushroom bowl
  6. Add peas
  7. In same pan as before , melt butter and add flour to make a roux
  8. Stir in milk and bring to a boil
  9. Stir a few minutes til it thickens up to a soupy consistency
  10. Add chicken stock
  11. Adjust seasoning
  12. Pour chicken and veggie mixture into the cream sauce
  13. Toss to combine
  14. Optional: top with puff pastry
  15. Bake until either puff pastry is cooked through, per the package's instructions (or if not using the pastry, bake until set, about 15-20 mins
Promo Code: STOCK

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quick Soup Idea for Leftovers

Is it just me, or is there something really unappetizing about leftover shredded chicken sitting in the fridge. After a couple days all I want to do is throw it away and go out for Indian food. But here's a better idea, and you can use any spare veggies you have laying around:

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • leftover shredded chicken (1 lb)
  • an onion (sliced)
  • a couple celery stalks(chopped)
  • a couple carrots(chopped)
  • mushrooms (if you have them)
  • chicken stock (a couple cups)
  • white wine (a splash)
  • tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • spices (i use ground cumin and some chile powder)
  • fresh cilantro and cheddar for garnish
  1. Caramelize onions in a tablespoon of butter
  2. Add celery, carrots, mushrooms- cook until tender
  3. Deglaze with chicken stock
  4. Add wine, tomatoes, chicken
  5. Simmer 30-60 mins.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste, Garnish with cheddar and cilantro
Promo Code: CHICKEN

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dinner in a Pumpkin

I love autumn- the changing leaves, the crisp air and the promise of more holidays to come. When I think about what foods represent autumn I can't ignore a family tradition

Dinner in a Pumpkin! Every Halloween season my dad would make his signature dish. A hearty beef, rice and veggie dish baked inside a pumpkin. This week I will share this tradition with all of you.


(optional add-ins include rice, peppers, mushrooms, or anything else you can think of!)
  1. Saute an onion(chopped), and garlic until tender
  2. Add ground beef (figure about a half pound per person) until brown
  3. Add a splash of worcestershire sauce
  4. De-glaze with a splash of red wine
  5. Add one can diced tomatoes, and sauce from the can
  6. Cover and turn heat down to low, cook 10 minutes
  7. Meanwhile grate a couple handfuls of your favorite cheese
  8. And clean out the pumpkin, add melted butter and salt and pepper to inside of pumpkin
  9. Fold a handful of cheese into beef mixture
  10. Spoon everything into pumpkin
  11. Top off with remaining cheese
  12. Cover with pumpkin lid
  13. Bake at 450 degrees one hour
  14. When serving, make sure to scrape out some pumpkin with each scoop
(empty pumpkin)

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Primal Chocolate Almond Butter Cup

Primal Chocolate Almond Butter Cup: if you consider dark chocolate primal :)

There is no question that my biggest weakness is chocolate. Sure it was difficult to give up ice cream, pasta and bread at first, but now I really don't crave those things at all. But I do crave dark chocolate from time to time. And I have decided that life is just so much better with a square of dark chocolate here and there- so I'm not giving it up!

Anyways, here is a fun recipe I put together this afternoon- hope you like it as much as I do!!

  1. 2 ounces dark chocolate (at least 70%)
  2. a couple tablespoons natural (non-sweetened) almond butter
  3. a sprinkling of trail mix, if desired

  1. Melt dark chocolate in a double broiler (this means simply to set a saucepan over another saucepan with simmering water in the bottom one. The top pot should contain chocolate only- no water)
  2. Meanwhile, butter a mini muffin tray
  3. Pour chocolate one third of the way up each muffin container
  4. Spoon a dab of almond butter into the center of each container
  5. Sprinkle some trail mix on top
  6. Drizzle more chocolate over the top, to encompass the candy
  7. Chill in fridge til set (a couple hours)
  8. Yummm
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gorgonzola Steak- Available to order this week!

I used to be afraid to cook meat. Throughout college, I lived off of pre-marinated chicken breasts from the supermarket and was too shy to even approach the meat counter. I don't know why- I guess I thought I would poison myself if I undercooked the meat, or I didn't know what kind of pan to use. Regardless, now I'm a big meat-eater and would like to help others who wish they knew a little more about how to cook it.

Below is a simple recipe that can be modified really really easily. If you want prosciutto in your steak, put prosciutto. How about herbs? Great! roasted red peppers and fontina? Perfect! Be creative.

Gorgonzola Steak
  • flank steak (figure about 8 oz. per person)
  • salt and black pepper (in a grinder)
  • gorgonzola cheese (or whatever filling you'd like)
  • trussing string (if you ask the meat guy at the counter, he'll probably give you some for free- a few feet of it will be plenty)
  • a couple shallots per person
  • 1/2 cup red wine per person
  1. Pound the flank steak until it is about half as thin as when you bought it
  2. Liberally salt and pepper both sides
  3. Sprinkle the cheese and any other fillings on the steak
  4. Roll the steak like a jelly roll
  5. Tightly tie the string to secure (if you're not sure how to do this, just tie in a few places along the steak)
  6. Get a pan really hot with a thin layer of olive oil
  7. Sear the steak for a couple minutes on each side so it is brown and crisp on the outside
  8. Bake at 400 degrees the rest of the way until it has reached your preferred doneness (this could be anywhere from 5-30 minutes depending on the size of the steak and how done you want it)
  9. Poke the steak for firmness. If your finger sinks all the way into it, it's rare. If you rfinger barely indents, it is well-done. The more you do this, the better you will get at it!
  10. When it is almost done to your liking, take it out and let it rest for 10 mins. This is essential! The meat will continue to cook up to 10 degrees and it will be much juicier this way
  11. While the steak is resting (and your fry pan is still hot), pour a splash of the wine into the pan (just enough to deglaze it which means to allow the liquid to sizzle in the pan, while you scrape up the yummy brown bits from the steak)
  12. Add a tablespoon more olive oil and shallots. Season and cook until tender
  13. Add the rest of the wine and reduce by half. Add in some pan juices from the steak and at the last minute swirl in a tablespoon of butter if you'd like. Taste and season as needed
  14. Quickly slice the steak into pinwheels, discard string
  15. Top the steak with the sauce and enjoy!
BTW, sorry theres' no pic of this--I will have to take one in the kitchen on Monday, since it's on the menu for this week!

Promo Code: STEAK

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dinner Challenge 3

Putting Together a Great Dinner from Nothing

It had been a while since I posted a Dinner Challenge, and last week I got the chance again! Only random left-overs in the fridge, and I had to figure out a way to make them into something edible. Here's what I had to work with:

  • cooked salmon
  • bell peppers
  • carrots
  • red onion
  • green onion
  • soy sauce
What I did:
  1. Chop and cook onion over high heat with a little olive oil
  2. Slice and add peppers
  3. Break up salmon and add to onion
  4. De-glaze w/ white wine
  5. Add green onions (the white parts)
  6. Chop and add carrots and a couple tablespoons soy sauce
  7. Cover and steam to allow carrots to soften and flavors to come together, about 10 mins

Chris' Comment: 'best dinner ever'

Promo Code: CHICKEN

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How to tackle childhood obesity

Check out this clip. What is the real source of childhood obesity??

In my personal opinion, children are eating way too much fake food. From drive-thru windows to frozen TV dinners, children are eating substances of foods that are unrecognizable to their original ingredients. These 'foods' lack the nutrients kids need, and they teach kids addictive and dangerous habits.

Yes, sugar is addictive. And there is no reason to feed children these things. They are a blank slate, so might as well form good healthy habits young while we have a chance.

This is why I am launching a line of Kid's Meals. They will feature good clean kid-friendly food, with a healthy twist. Instead of hiding spinach in brownies (like some popular cookbooks), let's present children with the real deal- meats and vegetables that just taste really good- even to a kid!

Every Monday in October will feature a new kids meal. We'll see how the kids respond and go from there!

Drop a comment if you have any kid meal ideas for me!

promo code: steak

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Healthy To Me

I recently sent out an anonymous survey to everyone who signed up to receive my weekly newsletter, asking for feedback on ways to improve the business. I got some really useful suggestions about different types of food to add to the menu, and will definitely implement most of these. There is just one response that I would love to address :

"butter steak? cordon bleu? seems artery clogging!"

I felt like I should respond to this reader's concerns and tell a little about my food and why I serve the food I serve.

I like meat
Our menu is comprised largely of meat. EC was created as a source of Paleo ("or Caveman diet") foods, which feature meat (including red meat!) and veggies. Only later we received a high demand of Family Style meals (including non-Paleo ingredients such as whole grains) so we introduced some Family Style options as well.

I think dairy is OK
Some Paleo people cut out dairy completely from their diet, which I think is great for them! However, I do enjoy cheese and think that butter enhances flavor. I believe that using real butter (not imitation butter aka margarine) and real cheese in moderation is fine for me!

I'm not so concerned with calories
One of the best things about Evolutionary Fitness is that it takes all of the hard work out of the equation. I no longer have to count calories (as I incessantly did when I was overweight!). But now I eat my fill of my natural meat, veggies, and occasional fruit and dairy, and my body tells me when I have enough, or when I need to re-fuel.

Other sources
Here are some sources that I have found answer a lot of questions about heart disease and the need for animal fats in our diets:

Whole Health
Free The Animal

Promo Code: STEAK

Friday, September 18, 2009

Coq Au Vin

Coq Au Vin
This is a recipe I had seen in various cookbooks, and always wanted to try. So a few days ago when I had a couple of white onions a half bottle of red wine that was about to go bad, I decided this would be the perfect time to make this dish. As always, I strayed from the recipe a bit when I felt like it, but its was based loosely on Julia Child's book (available for purchase to the right)

Ingredients- 4 servings
  • A few strips of thick bacon (cut into lardons)
  • 2 white onions
  • 1 lb. mushrooms (white button)
  • 2lbs. chicken pieces, bone-in, skin-on
  • half a bottle of red wine
  • 1-2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp. butter, softened
  1. Simmer bacon for 10 mins (so the flavor doesn't overpower the chicken later)
  2. Drain and dry off
  3. Saute bacon slowly in hot butter (in a casserole) until slightly browned, remove
  4. Dry and brown chicken in the bacon fat
  5. Season the chicken, return bacon to pan
  6. Cover and let cook slowly 10 mins
  7. Uncover, and pour in wine. Then pour in enough stock to cover chicken
  8. Stir in tomato paste, garlic

  9. Cover and simmer 25-30 mins, until chicken's juices run clear. Remove chicken
  10. Meanwhile, caramelize onions in butter (in a different pan), set aside

  11. Cook the mushrooms (in the onions' pan) til tender in butter, set aside

  12. Simmer chicken's cooking juices until reduced to 2 1/4 cups

  13. Re-season sauce
  14. Blend butter and flour together to make a paste
  15. Beat the paste into the chicken sauce with a whisk
  16. Simmer until thick enough to coat a spoon
  17. Top chicken with sauce, mushrooms and onions