Braised beef tacos – gluten free – grain free – dairy free – kid friendly

img_5792

It sounds a bit gruesome but I love to split a whole cow from a local farm with friends and family.  Other than hunting wild game (which, there is just no way) this is probably the most economical, humane and sustainable way to eat meat.  You know exactly ‘who’ you are eating and how they lived.  Its easier to meal plan when you have a couple months supply of beef in the freezer, there are less trips to the grocery store and less food waste overall.

Throwing out meat is something that just does not happen around my house.

For a long time I was vegan, and for an ever longer time I completely abstained from red meat, opting instead for poultry or fish.  In turn, for a long time, my blood tests have revealed super low ferritin levels (ferritin is just a fancy word for a body’s total iron stores.)

As it turns out, having low ferritin is often associated with hashimotos, and low ferritin can even end up being the true culprit behind many hashimotos symptoms (specifically, hair loss, cold sensitivity, fatigue and even heart palpitations!)

No amount of Spinach, molasses, lentils or supplementation could ever seem to do much for raising those stubborn ferritin levels.  For years, they consistently hovered between 4 and 17, but when I finally added red meat back into my diet (and cut out those grains) all of my symptoms slowly began to improve.

My ferritin levels finally crept above 20, and best of all, my hair shedding slowed dramatically.

I still love a good plant based meal, but I no longer believe that eating meat is ethically wrong.  I feel it is my first priority to be a good mom to my kids and being a suffering wreck riddled with autoimmune disease and anxiety was truly effecting my ability to parent and just exist in the world.

Anyone who has experienced either can attest, hashimotos (and PCOS) can be downright painful.

I now believe eating ethically is all about making better choices about the meat we do eat and eating less of it overall.  The most important thing we can do is listen to our bodies.  If something in our health is amiss, chances are high that something in our diet is amiss too.

I love Mexican flavors and find that this braised beef is a foolproof yet super flavorful way to cook almost any cut of beef. I have tried this with chuck, sirloin and tip roasts, it always turns out.  When in doubt, ask your butcher to recommend a roast that braises well.  The key to this beef is in the long game.  You have to make the time to cook it super low and slow, and if your cut of beef is particularly large and lean, cut it into smaller chunks before searing and braising.

My husband begs me to make this at least once a week and thinks I’m an absolute superstar every time I pull it from the oven.  My picky kids like it too.

I love this beef on grain free tortillas, but it is also a treat served over mashed potatoes or cauliflower rice.  Pair it with a side of guacamole, pico de gallo, and slaw and you’ve got dinner.

Tip * Feel free to sub the beef for chicken, just reduce the cooking time by half.

 

Ingredients:

3-4 pound beef roast

Spice rub ; 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder

4 tbsp olive oil

2 cups beef stock

1 diced jalapeno

3-4 whole garlic cloves peeled

2 diced roma tomatoes

1 cup salsa verde ( I highly recommend the Herdez brand)

1 lime

1 bunch chopped cilantro (include the stems)

 

Directions :

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Let the beef sit at room temperature for about a half hour prior to cooking

Prepare the spice rub

Cut the roast into smaller roughly 1 pound pieces

Drizzle the beef with 2 tbsp olive oil and roll in the spice rub to coat

In a dutch oven or heavy pot with a lid heat the remaining oil and sear the beef on all sides to a light brown color

Pour in the beef stock and scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pot into the liquid

Toss in the salsa verde, tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic cloves and a handful of chopped cilantro.

The liquid should come no more than 1/2 way up the beef

Bring up to a low simmer, cover with a lid and put into the preheated oven

Try to forget about it for 2.5 -3 hours

Tip * If you are using a super lean cut flip the beef halfway through cooking so both sides spend some time immersed in the cooking liquid.

Assemble your tortillas, slaw and guacamole

After three hours turn off the oven and let it sit in the oven another hour

Pull out the beef and shred with forks

Optionally you can use an immersion blender to turn the liquids in the pot into a smooth gravy.  If you are feeding kids you might want to pull out some, or all, of the jalapenos before pureeing.

Mix the shredded beef back into the sauce and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Swimming rama – Thai style beef peanut curry with cauliflower rice – low carb – paleo – grain free – gluten free

IMG_6332

Swimming Rama is my favorite of the Thai curries.  Maybe because I have such a soft spot for the ever controversial peanut butter.  But yum.

It is so rich, flavourful and satisfying.  If you can’t do peanuts you can substitute for cashew or almond butter, it will taste slightly different but will still provide that rich creaminess we are all chasing.

This curry can be made vegan by subbing the meat for tofu, it also is great with chicken, prawns or whatever protein you have on hand.

The magic is in the sauce.

Traditionally, swimming rama is poured over a bed of wilted greens, and served with rice.  I like broccolini, spinach or bok choy, but again, just use what you have on hand.

Because I’m feeling so good eating grain free, I obviously recommend subbing out those grains for a fluffy, steaming bowl of cauliflower rice, but that’s your call.

Meat or vegan, rice or cauliflower this is a perfect meal any day of the week that comes together quickly and pleases even picky family members.

 

Ingredients :

1 shallot

1-2 tbsp. red curry paste (adjust to personal spice preferences)

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 can coconut milk

1-2 limes

chopped cilantro

3 tbsp. peanut butter

1 tsp fish sauce

2 cups protein of choice

As much steamed or sautéed greens as you like

As much cauliflower rice as you like

 

Directions :

Finely chop shallot and lightly saute in oil about 30 seconds

Add curry paste and continue to saute until the paste becomes fragrant

Toss in protein and roll around in the curry sauce and shallots

Slowly add coconut milk and allow to lightly simmer (don’t boil)

When the protein has cooked through (about 10 minutes) turn off heat

Add fish sauce, lime juice, peanut butter and cilantro

Stir to combine and salt and pepper to taste if needed

*Tip* Serve with an extra lime wedge and let everyone add their own chopped red chilis at the end to individually customize the heat and acid.

If you try this recipe and like it tag me @tha_wild_sage and give it a pin!

 

 

One skillet primal chicken pot pie, gluten free, grain free.

img_5962

This is a much healthier skillet version of chicken pot pie.

One of my favorite weeknight dinners is the roast chicken.  It looks so impressive, tastes so good and is yet so simple.  But the real magic happens the next day when I turn the left overs into bone broth and subsequently, chicken pot pie.

Chicken pot pie was one of the first foods I was determined to make grain free.  It’s such a creamy bowl of comfort that warms up even the coldest of days.

Turns out, with the combination of Cassava and Almond flour, making a flaky, grain free lower glycemic crust is actually nbd, and I now make this all the time.

The whole thing gets made in one skillet so there is way less clean up.  Tapioca flour thickens the filling and coconut milk gives it that creaminess we all crave.

Served with shaved brussels sprouts, swiss chard and salad it is to die for, and other than the grass fed butter and potatoes, completely paleo.

 

img_6029

 

Grain free primal chicken pot pie

 

Pie crust ingredients:

3/4 cup cassava flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter

1 egg

2 tbsp ice water

 

Filling ingredients:

2 tbsp fat (butter, ghee or coconut oil)

2 cups bone broth

2 cups chopped chicken meat

1 Onion

2 carrots

3 stalks of celery

2 potatoes

2 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup frozen peas (optional, I sometimes leave it out because my son hates them)

2 tbsp tapioca flour

2 tbsp fat (grass fed butter or coconut oil)

thyme (fresh or dried)

bay leaf

chopped fresh parsley

 

Pie crust directions:

  1. Pop your butter into the freezer to firm it up, ( if using another form or fat it should also be chilled, but I can’t promise success unless butter is used so try at your own risk.)
  2. Mix the flours and salt in a bowl or the bottom of your cold skillet.
  3. Using a box grater grate in chilled butter.
  4. Using your fingers crumble the butter into the flours (if you have a food processor a few pulses in there works too).
  5. Add the egg and just enough ice water to form a sturdy dough.
  6. Don’t over mix, just bring it all together.
  7. Wrap the dough in saran and chill in the fridge while you assemble the pie filling.
  8. Once the filling has been assembled roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment, it should roll to about 1/4 inch and be just big enough to lay across the skillet with enough excess to completely cover the filling.
  9. Poke a few holes in the top of the crust.
  10. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or until the crust is golden and flaky and the filling bubbles over it.

 

Filling directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Chop the onions into a fine dice and cut the rest of the veggies to desired sizes.
  3. Heat the fat and sauté the onions until translucent.
  4. Toss in the garlic and thyme, sauté until fragrant.
  5. Add the rest of the veggies and the tapioca flour. (use any grain free thickener of choice)
  6. Let the flour brown lightly but don’t burn it (1-2 minutes)
  7. Pour in the chicken stock, coconut milk, bay leaf and parsley.
  8. Place the skillet in the preheated oven and cook for 10 – 15 minutes or until the veggies soften a bit.
  9. Remove from oven, let cool a bit and then drape with the prepared pie crust.
  10. Press the excess edges of the crust into the skillet to seal in the filling.
  11. Poke a few fork holes in the top so steam can escape and return it to the oven for 40 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing gluten free – grain free pizza crust

img_5813

Have you ever tried cauliflower pizza crust?

This is how I feel about cauliflower pizza crust.

I mean, it is technically pizza, so I obviously ate it.  But I just don’t know about it… maybe I did it wrong?

I will probably attempt it again with tweaks, but I’ve got to say, since going grain free  I have missed pizza most of all.   Real, chewy, hold it in your hand and let your fingers get all greasy pizza.

And so I busted out my arsenal of grain free flours and whipped up a pie my kids actually LOVE and ask for at least once a week.

I guarantee I will never hear them request cauliflower pizza again.  But my grain free version of pizza with chicken apple sausage and cashew feta.  Yep.  They can’t get enough.

img_5815

 

Easy grain free pizza crust

Ingredients:

1.5 cups bobs paleo flour blend

salt to taste

2 tablespoons coconut flour

1/4 cup oil

1 egg

1/3 cup water

1 tsp vinegar

1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (it gives a really nice chewy texture, but just omit if you have severe dairy allergies, it’s good both ways.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Mix the paleo flour with salt but reserve the coconut flour.
  3. Add the liquid ingredients including the cheese and combine into a wet dough.
  4. Slowly add the coconut flour until it comes together just enough to handle without sticking to fingers.
  5. Roll out between two pieces of parament and toss onto a sheet pan or pizza stone.
  6. Prick the surface with a fork and bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Top with desired toppings and bake for an additional 15. (*If using any nut cheeses put them on at the very end after the pizza has been baked.)

 

Butter chicken that tastes like butter chicken – grain free – primal

IMG_5609

I finally did it. After years of experimentation and an assortment of varying failures,  I pulled off butter chicken so good that I found myself compelled to make it three times in one week.

Even my kids who usually hate anything curry related devoured it.

I’m not sure why it took so long or was so hard to get the flavours right, I’ve followed countless online recipes only to be disappointed in the end.

I’ve gone to specialty grocery stored searching out ingredients like menthi leaves or garam masala, certain they would be the smoking gun, finally pulling everything together and replicating the savory, sweet, tangy and slightly spicy combination I had come to enjoy in restaurant versions.  My kitchen would always smell glorious, but when I would taste the finished product it was a major let down.  The flavours would never live up to the promising aroma and I would be forced to rely on a mountain of basmati rice to help wash it down.

Since dropping grains from my diet there is not room for error in curries or sauces, it has to taste good enough to be eaten solo or I might as well save my ingredients and make something fool proof.

Still, there is something about butter chicken that brings upon occasional cravings so intense the only solution is a big bowl of hot creamy buttery goodness.  And with my new primal way of eating, to heal my autoimmunity, takeout is generally not an option.

In this recipe I used real grass fed butter because I have done an elimination diet and found my body actually loves the stuff, but for the yogurt I found plain almond yogurt worked beautifully.  If you eat dairy, go for some really good full fat Icelandic yogurt, and always choose grass fed.

I also discovered what I believe to be the secret ingredient for nailing this flavour profile… pumpkin pie spice!  I added it on a whim and it really brought this bad boy together.  I know its not traditional, but try if you try it, let me know what you think.

IMG_5610

 

Butter chicken (that tastes good enough to eat) grain free – primal – whole 30.

 

Ingredients:

2 pasture raised chicken breasts

1 small yellow onion

2 roma tomatoes

crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup chicken or beef stock

lemon juice

1 cup full fat coconut milk

grass fed butter or butter replacement

vegan or grass fed plain yogurt

1 clove garlic

1″ piece ginger

1tsp cumin seeds

1tsp coriander

1tsp paprika

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp pataks curry paste

pinch menthi leaves

coconut sugar or honey

cilantro for garnish

cooking oil (olive or coconut)

 

Directions:

  1. Mix 1/2 cup yogurt and 1 heaping tsp curry paste and juice of 1/2 lemon into a marinade. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Marinade whole chicken breasts for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  3. Heat oil in a saucepan and lightly sauté cumin seeds and chopped onion and cook until soft.
  4. Toss in spices, remaining curry paste, ginger and garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
  5. Add Roma tomatoes and stock.
  6. Bring it back up to a simmer and place whole chicken breasts and the yogurt marinade in the saucepan.  Transfer to a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.
  7. After 25 minutes remove the chicken breasts from the cooking liquids, add 3/4 cup of coconut milk and 2 tbsp. butter to the rest of the ingredients.
  8. Once the butter has melted, use an immersion blender (or any old blender will do) to puree the onion tomato liquid mix into a creamy sauce.
  9. Finally, add the sugar and menthi leaves, shred the chicken back into the sauce and drizzle the remaining coconut milk over the curry.
  10. Top with fresh cilantro if desired.

I made a pot of basmati rice for my grain loving family, but ate my curry over a bed of wilted spinach and a side of aloo gobi.  It was so good I didn’t miss the grains at all.  Seriously.

Next time I’m going to serve it with a warm, soft platter of paleo naan bread in an effort to encourage my family to eat less grains.

Both my Aloo Gobi and Paleo naan recipes are coming soon!

 

 

Super easy weeknight roast beef

IMG_5415

I used to be a vegan.  People change.

For the entire decade that I abstained from animal products I was iron deficient.  I would go through phases where I would diligently supplement, see my ferritin levels bump up a couple notches, get constipated, quit taking them and end up back at square one.

I went through this cycle for years before finally accepting that my compromised gut was just not properly absorbing certain nutrients from plant based foods.

Many people with hashimotos, and PCOS also have low iron levels.  I believe this is because all disease starts in the gut and malabsorption of nutrients + too many anti nutrients ends up leading to a myriad of issues.  Once you have one autoimmune disease it is common to get more and I believe this is partly because people with autoimmunity often refuse to fully change their diets.  Those poor white blood cells are constantly being bombarded by food triggers and in an effort to protect us, they end up attacking our own bodies!

Since quitting gluten and adding pasture raised meats back into my diet I feel better than I did in my early twenties. It’s like I can feel the energy flowing into my veins with every bite.

I do still think a vegan diet is a compassionate choice and does have many health producing benefits when done correctly.  I also still maintain a healthy repertoire of plant based recipes that I will toss onto the blog.  Eating meat again was simply a choice I had to make in an attempt to heal a debilitating chronic illness.

When the plane is going down you have to put your mask on first.

This roast is an easy way to get a filling grain free meal on the table.  I make it in my trusty cast iron skillet for an even bigger dose of iron.  It usually takes about 10 minutes to prep and put in the oven, and I can walk my dog while its cooking.  When we return the whole house smells glorious and this juicy bad boy is ready for carving.  Serve it with a loaded salad or roasted root veggies and you’ve got dinner.

 

Easy weeknight roast

 

Ingredients:

One 3-4 pound pasture raised beef roast

Quality olive oil

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup red wine

1/4 cup beef stock

A sprig of thyme

Chopped veggies I use carrots celery mushrooms and whole garlic cloves.

 

Directions:

  1. Drizzle the roast with olive oil and rub generously with salt and pepper.  I love to use Himalayan sea salt and fresh cracked peppercorns.
  2. Heat a skillet, I love my cast iron, and sear the roast to golden brown on all sides.
  3. Toss the veggies in around the roast.  You can get creative and use whichever veggies you like.  Aromatics give a beautiful flavor to the gravy and the carrots come out tasting gourmet.
  4. Sprinkle the leaves of thyme over the meat and veggies.
  5. Pour the stock and wine over the veggies.
  6. Place the whole thing into a preheated 350 degree oven. Cook for 18-20 minutes per pound. When in doubt use a heat thermometer but I find these numbers have never failed to produce a perfect roast that is consistently pink in the middle but not red.
  7. Remove from oven, set the meat and veggies on a cutting board.  Let the roast rest for at least another 10 minutes before carving.
  8. Go ahead and make gravy with the pan dripping using your favorite grain free flour,  it will be heavenly.

 

IMG_5418

Enjoy.

 

 

 

Lemon Dill Salmon

IMG_5441

Salmon is not my favorite fish.  But due to its high omega 3 content, relatively low mercury content and the fact that it can still be sustainably wild caught here in Canada, its one of the few fish I ever eat.  Still, to really enjoy it I’ve got to work it, and this recipe does the trick.

I love Asian inspired flavours with salmon, but I also love the freshness of dill and lemon.  It might seem like a bit of a weird combo but works really well here.

This can be on the table in under an hour from start to finish and even my kids love it.  I like to serve it with a creamy dill sauce and salad.  Usually I’ll also prepare some wild rice for my kiddos who are so not on board with my grain free lifestyle.

 

Lemon Dill Salmon

Ingredients:

A fresh wild caught salmon filet

Three cloves grated garlic

Two tablespoons honey

Four tablespoons coconut aminos (or tamari if you still consume soy products)

Drizzle of olive oil

Juice of one lemon (or lime)

Teaspoon of fresh chopped dill

Salt and pepper

Chopped veggies (I used cauliflower, shaved brussels sprouts and mushrooms)

 

Directions:

  1. Mix the oil, garlic, aminos, honey and most of the citrus into a marinade in the bottom of a baking pan. (Reserve one wedge of citrus for later)
  2. Add the salmon to the marinade and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Marinade it for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  4. Place the salmon and veggies into a 350 degree preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  6. Drizzle with the remaining citrus and top with the fresh dill.

Tip: Cook the salmon skin side up for crispy skin and more moist fish.

 

Creamy dill sauce (essentially my take on tzatziki)

Ingredients:

1 cup plain non dairy yogurt

1/2 cup finely grated cucumber

1 or 2 grated cloves of garlic

lemon zest

a squeeze of lemon

a generous amount of chopped dill

salt and pepper

drizzle of olive oil

Directions:

  1. Grate the cucumber, garlic and lemon zest into the yogurt.
  2. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

 

If you try it out and like it please let me know in the comments!