February 19, 2012

Bacon-apple burgers

It's already been 10 (!!) days since my last post. Oops. It wasn't because of a lack of new meals, but because I had to attend some classes. Not that that's the best excuse, but still.
In the mean time, I started working out again, CrossFit! How I love that!! I knew I'd missed it, but after my first workout I was sure. I can't go without sports. It makes me feel beter physically, and it certainly improves my overall mood as well. Therefore, I see no reason why I shouldn't do sports. It's a good kind of addiction.
I also made a new, delicious meal. Bacon-apple burgers. I was inspired by a dish from my new cookbook, which I bought last week. It's called: MEAT. by Adrian Richardson. It's chock full of everything you want to know about meat; different preparation and cooking methods and techniques, and a number of tasty recipes. I actually went to the cooking supply store to get myself a mini-muffin tin, but I couldn't resist buying this book.
Something else they had at the store was a CrockPot. Something I laid my eye on over a year ago already, and hadn't bought yet. It might be a feminine trait, but as soon as I like something and want to have it, I'm prone to feel like I also need it. As you might have guessed by now, after another day of doubting whether to buy it or not, I ordered it. My CrockPot SCV1600BS. It'll be mailed to me next week, and I already can't wait.
Along with my CrockPot, I also ordered another 8kg-pack of grassfed beef. Which includes a whole lot of stew meat, perfect for my CrockPot. That's going to save me a huge amount of time, last week it took 6 hours to turn 2,5kg beef into 3 different stews.

Now, here's the burger recipe. I enjoyed it twice: once for dinner (with a carrot salad and sauteed onions and peppers), and once for breakfast (with eggs in a nest of kale, apple and onion).
Bacon-apple burgers (serves 3)
500g ground beef
- 125g finely diced bacon
- 1 egg
- 1 apple
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
1. Add ground beef, bacon, egg, salt and pepper to a bowl.
2. Rinse the apple, peel it and discard the center. Coarsely grate the apple pieces and add them to the beef in the bowl.
3. Mix the contents of the bowl until well combined. Separate into 6 equal pieces and roll them into balls.
4. Flatten the meatballs into burgers of your desired thickness and put them onto a plate.
5. Heat coconut oil in a frying pan and fry the burgers for 1 minute on each side until golden brown. Then lower heat to medium and fry them for another 3 minutes on each side until cooked.
6. Serve with veggies of your choice and enjoy!
Tip: These taste great with a fried egg on top!

February 9, 2012

Limits and Paleo Cinnamon Rolls

Yay! I just signed in for a CrossFit WOD, tomorrow night. I finally have some energy to do sports again, how I missed that! My recovery seems to be speeding up this week; last week I could hardly climb some stairs, now it's an easy job. Last week I intended to clean my home but I wasn't able to do more than change the bed sheets (after which I had to sit down), today I cleaned the whole place and changed the sheets. And I still have lots of energy left!
Moreover, my enthusiasm has returned over the last couple of days. (meaning I am now more fun to be around with..)
There only lies 1 problem: it's easy to go over my limits. Even though I have a lot of energy now and feel well, my limits aren't where they once used to be yet and they're vulnerable. How do I know? From experience. I've been feeling  well so often before, after which I took on too much work and had to recover for a while again. I think many people will recognize this, even after recovering from a flu or injury.
That's why I'm using a new strategy now: I'll wait until my energy levels are sufficient and will slowly build from there. I'll give my body a chance to adapt, instead of wreaking havoc on it again. There's only one way to do this, and that's by listening to your body. Everyone's limits are different and every body shows different signals when going over them. Some people are in pain when they're pushing their limits too much, some get a cold all of a sudden and for me it's fatigue that sets in to let me know I've gone too far.
Limits are everywhere: mental and physical. Your body responds to stress in all its forms, that's why you can be physically tired from trying to make a deadline all day while all you've done is sit behind a desk. And you can get trouble concentrating the day after a really tough workout. They all influence each other.
The body is a complicated 'machine' and all we can do is listen to it and try to accomodate to those signals by eating well, relaxation, exercise, etc.
This morning I made this recipe as a 'dessert after breakfast' (or mid-morning snack). Before going paleo I used to love Danish pastries, they were my favourites at breakfast buffets in hotels. These cinnamon rolls brought back that memory and I loved it! I got the idea for this recipe from these Cinnamon Rolls, from What Runs Lori. I adapted the recipe a little and baked them in a different way. The good thing about these is that you can easily make them for one.

Cinnamon Rolls (serves 1)
- 2 tbsp coconut flour (+1 tsp extra when your dough is too sticky)
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp coconut milk (or water)
- 2 tsp honey
- raisins (or other dried fruits)
1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
2. Mix coconut flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl.
3. Add vanilla, egg, coconut milk and honey and stir well until there aren't any lumps anymore. Let the dough sit for a few minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the liquids.
4. Put a 15cm wide strip of parchment paper on a flat surface and scoop the dough on top.
5. Shape the dough in a rectangle of approx. 7x20cm, using the back of a spoon.
6. Divide the dried fruits over the dough.
7. Use the parchment paper to turn the dough into a roll, starting on the narrow side.
8. Cut the roll in half, using a sharp knife and place them on top of the parchment paper, cut side down.
9. Transfer the rolls and parchment paper to a baking tray and bake until golden, approx. 25 minutes.
10. Allow to cool and enjoy!

February 4, 2012

Shredded beef with pumpkin

Comfort food still is a favourite these days. Not just because it's been freezing and the thick layer of snow outside, no, mostly because the side effects of my treatment for HPU (pyroluria). Apparently you can get quite some side effects from supplementing large deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals. Just to make something clear: these deficiencies weren't caused by my way of eating. HPU (pyroluria) is a genetic condition where very little zinc, manganese and vitamine B6 can be absorbed into the body. This causes deficiencies to an extent where it's impossible to supplement them with just food. That's why I'm taking quite some supplements these days. They don't just cause a slight improvement in my energy levels, but they also make my head spin and have the tendency to turn me into an emotional wreck at times. Beats the hell out of PMS. Fortunately for me, it should get better in a month or so. Can't wait.
In the mean time I make sure my meals are tasty. It might not be a good idea to comfort oneself with food, but boiled veggies and a tough piece of meat won't make me any happier either. After all, cooking can have  a great therapeutic effect (everything does, as long as you enjoy it), so I gladly cook my way through this time.
In this recipe, I roasted a chunk of meat in the oven right until I could easily shred it. I roasted the veggies along with the meat, so I could easily turn it into a coarse puree. Yum!

Shredded beef with pumpkin (serves 4)
- 2 large onions
- 1 small pumpkin
- 1/2 bulb garlic
- 600g rib roast, boneless
- 1 tsp pimenta powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 tbsp fresh cilanto or parsley
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
1. Preheat oven to max. temperature.
2. Heat coconut oil in a Dutch oven and chop the onions in the mean time.
3. Sautee the onions over low heat in the pan. In the mean time, wash the pumpkin, discard the seeds and dice it.
4. Separate the bulb of garlic into cloves and peel them. Add them to the onions in the pan along with the pumpkin.
5. Sautee everything for a minute or so before removing the pan from the heat.
6. Pat the rib roast dry with a paper towel and rub it with the dry spices.
7. Put the roast on top of the vegetables in the pan and cover with a lid.
8. Transfer the pan to the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 170 degrees Celsius.
9. Roast everything for approx. 3 1/2 - 4 hours, until you can easily shred the meat with a fork.
10. Remove the pan from the oven and shred the meat with 2 forks.
11. Mix the shredded beef with the soft vegetables and divide over 4 plates.
12. Coarsely chop the cilantro or parsley and use as garnish. Serve and enjoy!

February 2, 2012

Apple scones

Almost every weekend, the same thing happens to me: I feel like baking. To be honest, I also get that feeling during the week, but I only get baking on weekends. After all, my freezer is filled to the brim with meat and eating everything I bake at once isn't that much a good idea for my health (and weight..).
I made these scones twice so far. The dough turned out quite differently in both cases, while using the same ingredients in the same amounts. Turns out the size of the eggs you use actually matters. I used large eggs the first time and medium the second. It didn't affect the flavor, yet it was impossible to form scones with the first batch of dough and they turned out a little stickier. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I still liked the result of the second batch a little better; it was more 'scone-worthy'. That's why this recipe clearly calls for medium sized eggs.
Apple scones (10 pieces)
- 2 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, liquified
- 2-4 tbsp honey
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 sweet apple, core discared and finely chopped
- 1 handful of raisins
- 1 handful of chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Combine almond flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger in a large bowl.
3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs together with the coconut oil and honey.
4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and stir until well combined and a thick batter forms.
5. Stir in the apple, raisins and walnuts.
6. Put small heapings of the batter on the baking tray, keeping them approx. 1 inch apart, and shape them into scones by using your hands. When your batter is really thick and sticky, it helps to wet your hands a little before you start shaping.
7. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool, serve and enjoy!