Tuesday, October 18, 2011

This is How You Start Your Day!!

I am definitely a fan of breakfast. It is my favorite meal of the day. As we have been exploring Primal options for our tasting pleasure in the morning, we have been slowly compiling our favorite recipes and products to have some options besides the typical egg dishes (which we still love and eat frequently). Sometimes, you just gotta mix it up. Here are some of our faves...

Best Bacon:

US Wellness Meats White Sugar-Free Pork Bacon


Best Sausage:

4505 Meats Maple Breakfast Sausage.


Best Primal Pancake recipe:

Snickerdoodle Pancakes by Real Sustenance


Best Primal Waffles:

Coconut Flour Waffles (and Pancakes) by The Food Lovers' Primal Palate


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Have Found the Mother Ship

I heard about Penzey's Spices on several blogs as I searched for Primal friendly recipes. Everyone raved about them. As I saw them mentioned more and more I began to take note of the most popular spices. When I finally received my first Paleo cookbook, Paleo Comfort Foods, and the spices were even mentioned in there, I knew I had to check it out. Because of the lack of actual stores near me, I almost ordered online, but really wanted at least one opportunity to really check out the spices in person. Luckily, a store was located in Santa Rosa, the scene of our Safari adventure and life-changing meal at Stark's Steakhouse.

We headed over after our Safari West tour and I was immediately sucked in. Spices, spices everywhere. We had a blast going around and smelling everything. They have every basic spice you can imagine and lots of unique blends you can't find anywhere else. There are even salt-free versions of many of their most popular blends. We came home with a butt-load. This place is a cook's paradise. It's amazing how even some basic spices smell so different than what we're used to because the quality is higher. The staff was super nice and we even got a free jar of Penzey's Forward Spice because we had a larger order. Score!

Check out our loot:
  • Hot Chocolate Mix
  • Mint Hot Chocolate Mix
  • Original Taco Seasoning
  • Chili con Carne
  • BBQ 3000
  • Shallot Salt
  • Penzey's Forward
  • Chili 9000
  • Northwoods Fire
  • Tuscan Sunset
  • Garlic Salt
  • Arizona Dreaming
  • Old World Seasoning
  • Bavarian Seasoning
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  • Ceylon Cinnamon
Yeah. We went a little crazy. And there are even more that I am interested in trying based on great reviews.

To try still:
  • Sunny Paris
  • Chicago Steak Seasoning
  • Vietnamese Cinnamon
  • Smoked Paprika (surprisingly, the cashier said this was his favorite spice when I asked)
  • Vanilla Extract (man you have to smell this in person)
  • Galena St. Seasoning
Man I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. Although I don't ever feel limited by Primal eating, with fewer food choices available, seasoning becomes even more important to really jazz up a dish.

I sense an addiction coming on. You might want to save this post somewhere as evidence when checking me in to the Penzey's spice rehab center.

Best Meal EVER!!

So not long ago, I saw a posting on the Facebook page of one of my favorite Paleo bloggers,Nom Nom Paleo about a steakhouse in Santa Rosa. The owner of this establishment went on the Paleo diet and had great success. His menu caters to fellow Paleo enthusiasts as well as those who don't follow Paleo guidelines. I knew I must try.

We had the perfect excuse recently as I celebrated my 30th birthday and our 3rd wedding anniversary. We made a lovely little day out of it and drove up to visit Safari West, Penzey's Spices (a post on that to follow), and to finish with a lunch at Stark's Steakhouse. The day was perfect, and the rain made it super cozy. By the time we got to Stark's we were famished. I knew exactly what I wanted: grass-fed Filet Mignon, with an order of Roasted Bone Marrow. I also splurged a little and ordered the Truffled French Fries. My husband ordered the Ribeye with Roasted Bone Marrow and Sauteed Exotic Mushrooms. O.M.G. I must apologize to anyone in the restaurant that day cause that food was getting shoveled down my throat like there was no tomorrow. Seriously one of the best meals I have ever had. All ladylike graces out the window. The steak was excellent with no need for the sauce that came with it. The Bone Marrow was buttery and velvety. The mushrooms were out of this world melt-in-your-mouth and I'm not even a mushroom person. The fries had that earthy, truffle flavor that I adore.

After dinner, we decided to splurge more because we really never do when it comes to dessert. We decided to order the Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread Pudding. I'm no dessert person but *#@% that stuff was good! It was the perfect hot dish to warm us up on that rainy day.

All in all, a perfect meal. The ambiance was incredible too. A very 40's/50's-esque Steakhouse scene. We will definitely be visiting there again.


By the way, that's the exact table we sat at in the front of the picture. Nice view of the fireplace.

A Change in Plans...

So I know it's been awhile. I have been busy working on my Masters and just started a new job this school year. A lot of changes means a lot of time spent just trying to get my bearings. As I settle into a routine, I hope to keep this blog updated with my latest food adventures. So, in that spirit, let me fill you in on the big adventure: Primal eating.

I can't even recall now where I first saw the term "Paleo", but when I did, I started doing some reading (classic me.) I liked what I read. Changing our eating to match what our bodies evolved to process just made sense. Now you'll typically hear the term Paleo, but what my husband and I do is more closely aligned to Primal: a little more lenient and with small amounts of dairy allowed.

We've been eating this way since the end of July and we are really liking it! In a nutshell, we eat meats (preferably grass-fed), vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and lots of healthy fats. We avoid legumes, dairy (except in small amounts), excess sugar and salt, and grains. What drew me to this was the fact that this already closely mirrors my food preferences. The only hard part, I knew, would be grains. No pasta?! No bread?! That's right folks. And to tell you the truth, I haven't missed it as much as I thought. Many restaurants are very accommodating, and it has been such a blast in the kitchen to discover new recipes. With these limitations, you must be twice as creative. It's like figuring out a big puzzle.

The benefits you ask? More energy, WAY better sleep, improved mood, increased satiety after meals, and fewer headaches for me. Oh, and I exercise about half as much as I used to. Such a time saver! We're having fun with it and exploring lots of new Paleo/Primal versions of our favorite foods. So get ready for a slight shift in the recipes you see here. I hope you'll come along for the ride. Keep your seat belts fastened!!