Cinnamon Parsnips…Yum!

I tried this recipe for cinnamon parsnips. My kids seemed to think they were eating baked apples, since the spices were similar. As much as I love garlic, I didn’t know how it would go with so much cinnamon and nutmeg. I shouldn’t have been concerned about it – everyone fought over who got to eat a second serving.

Later that day, on the way to the grocery store, my five year old announced I needed to buy 25 parsnips, so we’d “have enough for one meal.” While at the store, when I stopped to look for something else, he got very concerned that we needed get the parsnips immediately, before anyone else could buy them all. (How funny is it to have a five year old that is worried everyone will drop their chips and cookies and go raid the produce section?) He finally agreed that we didn’t really need 25…8 would be enough.

I will definitely be trying more recipes from this couple.

Taste: 5

Ease of preparation: 4

Red Curry Stir Fry

As much as it bugged me, I stopped to measure the ingredients in this stir fry. I’m glad I did, because it came out pretty well.

1/4 c minced garlic

3 c onions, diced

4 T coconut oil

1/2 tsp salt

1 T grate fresh ginger

2 T Thai Kitchen brand red curry paste

2 c steak, chopped into small pieces

1/2 c of diced zucchini, yellow squash, or a mixture of the two

3/4 c chopped celery

12 oz frozen snap peas

1-2 baby bok choy diced

1. Saute the onions in coconut oil until they start to brown.

2. Add the steak, ginger, curry paste, and salt. Cook until the steak is almost cooked through.

3. Add everything else, except the bok choy and garlic.

4. When the food is almost done cooking, add the garlic and bok choy. Cook for just a few minutes, not letting the bok choy get overcooked.

Ease of Preparation: 3

Taste: 4.5

I had to add water a few times and added too much. The food wound up being a little soupy, but tasted good. Next time, I will use less water. Broccoli would also make a good addition.

It’s Not as Bad as It Looks

Recently, I’ve had two comments to the effect of “I was interested in the paleo diet, but it doesn’t look very tasty, based on your reviews.” First of all, make sure you read my rating scale to understand how I rate the recipes. I’m a tough grader and very few recipes will get a 5 from me. Think of me like that college professor that only gives out one A per semester.

Also, I like spicier versions of food more than most people (this doesn’t necessarily mean “hot” from peppers), so most recipes will be what I consider a little bland, unless I double or triple the amount of spices. I finally measured the amount of chopped garlic that I think is enough for most dishes and it came out to be 1/4 cup. Obviously, this is a lot more than the 1-2 cloves most dishes call for.

If you are test driving a paleo diet, don’t give up because of a few bad recipe ratings. Despite the terrible pancake results, and the so-so cobbler results, I have found several new recipes we all like already. I will continue to make the curried veggie hash and everyone gets very excited about nutty cookies.

Curried Beef Stew

This is another recipe from Everyday Paleo. I think it will be the last one I review here, because it’s overdue at the library.

2 lbs beef, cut into pieces
1/2 head red cabbage, chopped
1 TBLS red curry paste, or to taste
2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup chicken stock

The book calls for this to be cooked in a crock pot, but I made it twice on the stove. I found it needed more than 1 TBLS of curry paste, but I’ve also noticed (as have others on Amazon) that Thai Kitchen’s curry pastes don’t seem to be nearly as strong as they used to be.

The first time, I made it without the cabbage. The second time, I made it without the chicken stock. Neither one seemed to change the flavor, from what I could tell. So, use both for extra nutrition, but if you don’t have either, it won’t matter much. This would be an easy recipe to sneak extra vegetables in, such as zucchini or yellow squash.

I never would’ve thought to mix sweet potatoes and beef, but it was a good combination. This is better than almost every meat and potato stew I’ve ever had.

Ease of Preparation: 4
Taste: 4.5

Baked Parsnips

2 large parsnips, peeled and diced
1/2 lb bag baby carrots
1 red onion, diced
10-12 whole cloves of garlic
salt to taste
1/4 c coconut oil
dried basil

I mixed all this together and baked it at 400 degrees for almost an hour. I’d never had parsnips before (they look like gigantic white carrots), so I wasn’t sure what to expect. They were really good and I will be cooking this again. Next time, I might consider adding sweet potatoes or butternut squash.

Ease of Preparation: 4
Taste: 4

Peach Cobbler

I made a peach and blueberry cobbler, following the recipe for the blueberry cobbler, minus the 2 T of honey. It wasn’t very good. The fruit was okay, but the “crust” was bitter. I won’t be making it again, especially after I found out how much better the baked apples taste.

Ease of Preparation: 5
Taste: 2

Nutty Cookies

Nutty Cookies

Besides the “pancakes” I made today, I tried Sarah Fragoso’s Nutty Cookies today.

2 bananas, smashed
1/3 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup almond butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1 apple, finely diced
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 T cinnamon (I was out and used 1/2 T vanilla instead)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Smash the bananas and chop the walnuts.
3. Mix all ingredients.
4. Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.
5. Drop on cookie sheets by the tablespoonful.
6. Bake 25 minutes.

I don’t like bananas in any form, even banana flavored candy, so I didn’t expect to like these. But I was pleasantly surprised that the banana flavor was very mild. I will make these again and see how I like them with the cinnamon.

Ease of Preparation: 4
Taste: 4

Turkey

The turkey all ready to be cookedI cooked a 12 lb turkey yesterday. I needed room in the freezer, which already has four other unlucky birds in it…and I haven’t even gone to my “black Friday” yet at the grocery store to buy clearance turkeys. Also, in two weeks, our local grass-fed beef farmer will be delivering 100+ lbs of tasty, tasty meat to us.

12 lb turkey
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
2 T apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup red onion
1/4 flat leaf parsley
extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on top

1. Mix up all the spices.
2. Cut some slits in the turkey’s skin and stuff some spice mixture in.
3. Spread the rest of the spice mixture over the top of the turkey.
4. Drizzle with olive oil.
5. Put the whole pan in a paper bag.
6. If you like, take the turkey out of the bag for the last 20-30 minutes to brown the skin.

Why the apple cider vinegar? The idea came to me out of the blue as I was cooking, so I thought I’d try it. I don’t know if it made any difference in the flavor or not.

Unfortunately, even with all that garlic, the only parts that tasted even slightly like garlic instead of plain turkey were the areas directly under the cuts in the skin. I was really hoping for the meat to absorb the flavor more. Also, I was out of paper bags, so I had to resort to aluminum foil instead.

The turkey wasn’t done until about two minutes before we had to leave for Tae Kwon Do, so my ratings are based on re-heated meat.

Ease of preparation: 4
Taste: 4

A Pancake Disaster

Today I attempted to make the Almond-Meal Blueberry Pancakes from Everyday Paleo. It was a disaster. The batter was way too thick and wouldn’t spread out in the pan. Then it completely fell apart when I flipped the pancake. I tossed that pancake, thinned down some batter with water, and tried again. It spread out properly, but still fell apart.

In an attempt to rescue the pancakes (after all, the three cups of blueberries aren’t cheap), I dropped the batter dough onto a cookie sheet and made “blueberry cookies.” My older boy, who likes almost everything, said he didn’t really like them. The two year old claimed to eat some, but I haven’t verified that yet don’t believe him. I thought the “cookies” tasted like blueberry muffins that somebody forgot several ingredients for, including all the sugar.

I think I’ll stick with coconut flour pancakes for now.

Ease of Preparation: 1
Taste: 2

Curried Veggie Hash

Curried Veggie Hash

This is a variation of the Curried Veggie Hash on page 120 of Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso.

1 cup of sweet potato (yields about 2 cups shredded)
1/2 red onion
1 medium zucchini
1/2 medium yellow squash
1 T curry powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 T dried cilantro
2 eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil

1. Shred all the vegetables in a food processor.
2. Add in the spices and eggs. Stir.
3. Melt the coconut oil in a large pan.
4. Cook on medium heat until done (about 7-10 minutes).

Fragoso’s version uses cinnamon, shallots instead of red onions, and no yellow squash. I liked it, but decided to make a spicier version. This version is okay, although I think 1/4 cup of minced garlic would probably improve the taste. I wanted to use fresh cilantro but it had gone bad. I also think a few teaspoons of chopped fresh ginger would be a tasty addition. Finally, I’d even consider adding some Thai basil next time.

Ease of preparation: 4 out of 5
Taste: 3.5 out of 5