Sunday, April 26, 2009

Semi-Homemade Lamb Burgers

What a great Sunday- due to an unexpected canceled appointment I was free the whole day to relax, work on the business and cook. Chris and I had an awesome breakfast of biscuits and gravy which kept us full all day until dinner time. Unfortunately we were both glued to our computers most of the evening until 8:15 when we turned to each other and simultaneously cried "what should we eat?!"

We had pretty much cleared out our fridges for the week, so Chipotle's burrito bowl was starting to sound pretty good. Meat, lettuce, peppers, salsa, guacamole (no tortilla, beans or rice please!) But it's a little embarrassing to be a cook for a living and to fork over seven or eight dollars apiece for something that costs two or three. So we decided even though it was late, we really should cook something tonight. (By the way this is a perfect example of why I started my business- I totally get that feeling of not wanting to cook, but still eat healthy!)

Fortunately we live very close to Mollie Stones, the best family-owned market in town! They have an amazing meat department, and we picked out something we had never tried before- these pre-made lamb hamburger patties. A quick stroll through the produce department, and we were out of there by 8:30.

Here's what we managed to throw together in only 10 minutes:

Lamb Burgers with Wilted Spinach, Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese

1. I cooked some spinach in olive oil, just simply sauteeing it until it wilted.
2. Chris sliced and caramelized a whole red onion in about 2 tbsp. butter

3. Chris seared the lamb patties on both sides and popped it into a 400 degree oven to finish cooking

4. I plated the spinach, lamb, some crumbled goat cheese, and topped it off with the onions

And to think, we almost spent eight bucks on Chipotle!

This is now one of my all-time favorite meals, I'm so glad Mollie Stones had those lamb patties :)

Sunday Brunch Bliss

We have been following the caveman diet pretty well the past 2 weeks, and we feel great! However, since I am a total foodie and love all kinds of food, I have to allow myself to stray every once in a while. We had all morning to cook up something amazing, so we consulted the Culinary Institute of America cookbook "Breakfasts and Brunches" (I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves breakfasts- amazing pictures, and tastes even better!) and decided on the Biscuits and Sausage Gravy.

Now, we have made these before, and know how hard it is to leave even one biscuit untouched. We didn't want to ruin everything we've worked for the past two weeks, so we decided to make only a half batch of biscuits. The recipe is really easy, only requiring a bit of kneading, and 15 minutes rest in the fridge before baking.

Chris was the gravy man- he browned the sausage, set the roux, and developed the bechamel to perfection!

We also scrambled up a couple of eggs to go with the recipe so we'd fill up more on protein than the carbo-liscious biscuits.

The biscuits came out with a beautiful golden brown crust, and were light as air in the middle. We sliced them open and piled on the gravy. The gravy was rich, creamy, meaty, and seasoned to perfection They were incredible- worth every last bite:

I'm ready to get back to eating like a caveman now. I have satisfied my foodie craving with a small bite of heaven this morning, and am ready to get right back on track!

Drop a comment with your favorite breakfast or brunch ideas that are worth every sinful bite!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dinner Challenge 1

6:00 on a Wednesday night, and no plans for dinner. The boyfriend is gone at work all night, so I'm on my own. I was about to head out to pick up some Indian food when I peeked into the fridge and realized that there were a few ingredients inside that were about to go bad, and if I didn't use them tonight, they'd be goners. Here's what I had to work with:

Half a dozen zucchini, seven or eight crimini mushrooms, half a pound ground beef, a yellow onion, half a jar of marinara sauce, a bunch of basil, and some mozzarella cheese. (I also had basics like olive oil, sea salt, cracked black pepper, garlic, butter, worcestershire, red wine)

Now, if I ate pasta this would be a piece of cake. I even have some dried pasta in my cupboards for no good reason. But since I don't eat pasta, I decided to get more creative.

Stuffed mushrooms, fun but those criminis were so small, it wouldn't have been filling enough. Ratatouille, maybe, but I didn't have a big enough variety of veggies. So I thought "what is my favorite comfort food?" Lasagna! ding ding ding! But instead of using lasagna noodles I will slice the zucchini into strips. I think I'll call it Kat's Zucchini Parmesan!

So here how the "recipe" goes for Kat's Zucchini Parmesan:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Slice zucchini into strips (as thick as you want, but I got about 3 slices per zuke)
  3. Fry them in some olive oil for a few minutes, season with salt and pepper. Get them a little brown to bring out the flavor

  4. Set zukes aside on paper towel to dry off
  5. Chop the onion and caramelize in some butter
  6. Add some garlic, minced
  7. Once the mushrooms are browning, deglaze with some red wine, scraping off all the yummy brown bits
  8. Add ground beef, break up with spoon/spatula
  9. Meanwhile slice/chop mushrooms
  10. Add them too
  11. Squirt some worcestershire sauce over everything
  12. Now add that store-bought marinara to this mix, and VOILA, you have an awesome meaty marinara
  13. Now, just layer the zukes, sauce, cheese, repeat
  14. Pop in oven 20ish mins
  15. Grab your kitchen blow torch and scorch the cheese on top til bubbly (or, a less fun way to do it is to pop under the broiler a couple mins)
  16. Enjoy!

The Result: Success! I just saved myself some money, and didn't have to throw out those ingredients. Yummy, carb-free, and I feel much healthier than I would have after take-out. This was fun, I think I'll do the dinner challenge again soon :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Feeling Good :)

Rewind to Kat 7 days ago (following her Easter Sunday sugar rush): full, lethargic, puffy,

Kat today: energetic, lean, happy

So how did I lose the extra chub??

My 3 Day Secret:
  • Day 1: Breakfast was a big scramble of eggs and bacon. Then I was in my commercial kitchen filling orders. I resisted even one small bite of the stroganoff noodles or manicotti (although I had a bunch of the sausage and pepper manicotti filling-yummmm). Dinner was left over sirloin from the beef stroganoff and halibut with citrus herb salsa plus some brussel sprouts
  • Day 2: Another big egg scramble for breakfast. Then I was at PAC all day teaching swimming. On my break I grabbed a chicken salad and an orange from the deli. I picked up some steak on my way home from work and cooked it up with a bag of spinach
  • Day 3: I felt great! I wasn't even tempted to eat poorly because I wanted to continue feeling amazing. We even went out to lunch at Crepevine in Burlingame, and I ordered a big yummy Thai salad with chicken. (I discarded the bread that came with it immediately). That night I had chicken with some tabouli and hummus :)
After only three days of cutting out the carbs and the sweets, you can feel great too! Embrace your best self. Join the Evolution.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday Sugar Slump

Happy Easter!

So every now and then we've got to cheat, right? Eating healthy is wonderful, but every once in a while the memory of a buttery croissant or a creamy piece of chocolate can pop into the head and play mind tricks. Well, hopefully I can look back on this blog post next time I want to cheat, and remember why it's not so worth it in the end...

I took orders for Easter goodies, and spent yesterday afternoon filling them. Among the most decadent orders was a cinnamon and sugar bread pudding and a berry cobbler, both of which I made a little extra of. The plan was to bring them to my family's Easter brunch today to share. Well, let's just say the treats didn't make it that far. The cobbler was bubbling with a mixture of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and topped with a brown sugar crumble topping. After a bite out of the cobbler tin (just to make sure it came out OK, of course) that turned into two, three, four bites. By the time Chris and I left the table, a third of the pie was gone! Oh well, it's mainly berries, no big deal, right?

"Ding" the bread pudding is done! Chris has to taste test that one too. And any responsible chef only trusts their own palate, so I needed to try some too! Several bites later we put the forks down, washed the dishes, and tried to justify our bad behavior to each other.

"We need to cheat every once in a while. It probably won't make much of a difference"

Last night we were OK. We had a meat and veggie dinner at a restaurant in San Francisco that put us back on track, or so we thought! When we finally arrived home from our night in the city at 1:00 AM, we both dove straight for that cobbler, and finished off another third of the pie!

Easter Sunday rolls around, and I wake up groggy and sleep-deprived. I roll out of bed, walk straight to the fridge and throw away the remaining bit of cobbler. I had to put a stop to this bad behavior before we were lucid enough to eat any more!

But it was already too late, the damage was done. We attended a family gathering in the afternoon, and by the time it was over we were so exhausted we took a 2 hour nap! I can't remember the last time I took a nap. I'm usually bursting with energy, and couldn't fall asleep in the middle of the day if I tried. But those sugars and carbs really did a number on my body. The rest of the evening I felt dehydrated, fatigued, and just overall puffy.

Was it worth it? I don't think so. The cobbler and bread pudding were rather tasty, but it really cut into my Sunday. Instead of being productive I was lethargic and cranky. When you eat EF for a long enough period, your body becomes a well-oiled machine. And any deviation from that healthy way of life really makes a difference.

So here's the plan: A protein rich breakfast of sausage and eggs to keep me going all day tomorrow in the kitchen. When I get home I can eat whatever leftovers I have from the orders (halibut, steak, chicken, brussel sprouts!) I'll eat as much meat and veggies as possible, in order to avoid any temptation like chocolate or dried fruit. If I can stick to that way of eating on Monday and Tuesday I should be safe. Fortunately it doesn't take long to get back on track with a little discipline.

I'll write back in a few days to let you know how I did!

Feel free to share your sugar slump stories too! We can help each other stay on track :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Evolutionary Fitness

Q: Why is it called Evolution Catering?

A: A little over a year ago my boyfriend Chris read a blog by a scientist and professor named Arthur Devany, who had discovered a phenomenon called "Evolutionary Fitness" (EF). The idea was to eat like a caveman. No processed foods, bread, pasta, grains. Just meat and veggies and the occasional fruit for dessert. At this point I was eating pretty healthy. I stuck to whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and limited my bread intake. But I was still carrying around a little bit of extra "puffiness" throughout my body. I looked good, but knew there was room for improvement.

Note: Arthur Devany explains all of these concepts much better than me. He has done years of research on the subject, and really knows the science behind EF. Below is a summary in my own words of my experience with EF, but check out his blog to learn the technical side of it.

EF DIET: I had my doubts- OK to be honest I thought Chris was following some crazy fad diet. Why would I want to eat like a caveman? But I was open to it, and here are some advantages to the hunter-gatherer way of life:

  • Food was scarce. You had to hunt for your dinner. Yet today most Americans eat three square meals a day simply because it is available. The body isn't built to eat that much, nor does it need it for survival
  • With the introduction of modern agriculture, grains and starchy root vegetables became economically efficient to live off. That doesn't mean that biologically our bodies want these new foods. Potatoes and beans cause the blood sugar to spike, which means you must maintain a starchy diet to avoid that dreaded sugar crash. Our bodies just weren't built to process such sugary foods.
  • Immune systems are higher when you practice EF. Our immune systems go on attack when an unknown invader enters our bodies. Think about a bag of Cheetos. Our bodies haven't evolved enough to recognize the cheesy fried snacks, so it goes on the offense to ward off this alien invader. It's no wonder so many people suffer from immune system disorders like Diabetes, Cancer, and Alzheimer's.
The EF Workout: While eating EF will produce an improvement in your health, you have to add the workout to the equation to get the full results:

  • Quick bursts: Instead of jogging for an hour, try to sprint (and I mean as fast as possible, pretend a sabertooth tiger is behind you) for a block and walking a block or two. Do this for 10-15 minutes. You get your heart rate up and will notice a difference!
  • Super-sets: When lifting weights start with a low weight and do 15 reps slowly, followed by 8 reps with a higher weight, and then 4 reps quickly with an even higher weight. (Devany explains why this works much better than I could, check out his blog for an explanation)
  • Make it quick: only spend about 20 minutes at the gym, and make those 20 minutes count! Use high weights, and focus on the large muscle groups that hit several muscles at a time. Don't waste time sitting around on the bench between sets, keep moving around
  • Don't fall into a rut: Your body needs to be surprised. Don't do the same workout all the time. Take a day to run around at the local park. Jump up on benches, sprint to the swingset, do some pullups on the monkey bars. Make working out fun!

    THE PROOF: Those are just a few examples of why it is scientifically a good idea to practice EF. But I think that the proof is in the pudding. So I decided to give it a shot. I said goodbye to bread, pasta and rice for three weeks. I also began to exercise as Devany suggests. And the results (drum roll please...)


I had finally found that miracle cure for the extra puffiness around my body. My arms were toned, my face was cut, and my tummy was nowhere to be found! I felt amazing too. In the past year since I have been practicing EF I have not been sick at all! I have a superhuman immune system. A few weeks ago I went into the doctor because I thought I had a case of swimmer's ear (I teach swim lessons a couple days a week) and it turned out I had a sinus infection. The doctor couldn't believe that I had absolutely no symptoms to show for it. He said my glands and nose were extremely swollen, and that I should be experiencing a runny nose, headache, and fatigue. But I felt amazing! He said my immune system was too good to show any symptoms.

EF ENERGY: EF gives you an incredible amount of energy. So if you really like sitting on the couch watching reality TV, do not try this at home. You will feel too good, you will want to run up a mountain or jump in a creek (see pics from Chris and my trip to Big Sur last weekend to the right).

SUM IT UP: So now you know where the title Evolution Catering came from. I owe Arthur Devany a BIG thank you for helping me become the healthy individual I am today. Check out his blog. He has done years of research on this subject, and he explains these concepts much better than me! Share your EF stories below. Let's help others join the Evolution!

Intro to Evolution Catering's Blog


Welcome to the first blog for Evolution Catering. If you are unfamiliar to EC, here's a little about what we d0:

What: Provide healthy prepared meals to clients in the Bay Area. Everything is ready to reheat for dinner, making it easy to enjoy a wholesome meal every night of the week.

Why: Obesity is out of control! And I get it- at 6pm when you are driving home from work it is so easy to swing by the drive-through window to pick up dinner. That's why I have created a healthy alternative.

When: We deliver every Monday, to help you stock up your fridge with healthy choices for the week.

Who: Well for starters, I'm Kat and I started up EC in September 2008. I have struggled with my weight since middle school- working out constantly without any result. I ate Slimfast bars for breakfast every morning and stuck to low-fat processed foods. I woke up early to hit the gym for an hour before school and work in College- still no results.

My Revelation: I have always been a foodie! As a kid every Saturday morning I would watch Julia Childs instead of cartoons. Cooking just always made me happy. So my senior year of college in San Diego I applied for my first job in the food industry. It was a healthy sandwich and salad catering business called Rainmaker's. The owner called me in for an interview the next Monday morning. I double-checked the address as I pulled up to the small one bedroom Pacific Beach apartment. It was a residential neighborhood- no sandwich shop to be found. Nevertheless I climbed the steps to the apartment, opened the door, and found the most handsome man I had ever seen dressed in an apron with several dozen sandwiches laid before him. I knew my life would never be the same!

Long story short, I got the job that day, and a boyfriend shortly after. Chris and I have been together for 2 1/2 years now. We eventually moved the sandwich business into a legitimate commercial kitchen, and closed up shop about a year after I joined him. We decided to make our way up the coast to settle down in the Bay Area. We are now living in Burlingame and are planning to move to the city in the summer.

Oh yea, but I forgot to mention my REVELATION! A couple months into my venture with Chris and Rainmaker's we decided to drop a few pounds together. We committed to three weeks without refined sugars. This means basically any ingredient that ends with "-ose" including high fructose corn syrup which was in about everything I ate. It was tough for me b/c I ate a mug full of "low fat" ice cream every night! But all the foods I thought were good for me because they said "low fat" or "low calorie" were actually the worst things for me. So we made this three week commitment and I lost 10 pounds that month! For five feet tall, ten pounds really shows! I was ecstatic.

The next month we decided to cut out white bread and pasta. Same results! Another 10 pounds gone, and I was a completely new person. I finally had the flat stomach I never thought I would have. My face was lean- you could see my cheekbones for the first time in my life. And after cutting out those sugars I just didn't crave them anymore. It was such an amazing gift I had discovered, and I have Chris to thank.

Here are my before/after pics:

Over the next year we kept taking our diet to the next level. I think we have finally arrived. A typical diet for us consists of a lot of meat and vegetables. We stuff ourselves with bacon, chicken, omelettes, and brussel sprouts. We want for nothing. Ok, we do cheat every once in a while but it's nothing like how I ate on a regular basis a couple of years ago!

I look forward to blogging about health, fitness, and starting up a company. Eat like a caveman!