Category Archives: Paleo

Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Thighs

It always impresses me about Meagan’s cooking: she can take a nearly bare pantry and make something amazing out of scant ingredients. (A handy skill when you live way out in the middle of the woods like we do.) She’s done it time and again, and this was no exception…

“Let’s see, we’ve got chicken thighs, some sun-dried tomatoes, a few veggies left in the drawer… no problem!”

An hour later, we’re eating a dish that rocked our socks, warmed us up on a cool winter’s eve, and one we both agreed: “Put it on the blog!” Continue reading

Our Health Philosophy

A Different Way of Thinking About Health and Nutrition

If you’re a walking, talking human and you’re reading this you probably have a “health philosophy”… whether you realize it or not.

If you’re like most people, this is a mish-mash of platitudes and beliefs handed to you by your parents, peers, and the great, anonymous “They” all about what it means to be healthy and take care of this vessel we call a body.

You’ve heard these pearls over the years, things like: Continue reading

Braised Lamb Shank with Caramelized Mirepoix

Here’s the thing about food porn…

We embrace it.

Hell, we even cater to it. Just look at some of the pictures on this site… it might as well be wearing lingerie.

Hey, there are a lot worse things to look at on the internet.

But we have to remember: porn is essentially fantasy.

And if you only fantasize about having food as good as these lamb shanks, and never actually try them in real life… well, that would be a crime, OK? A crime… against Taste.

Do not shuffle off this mortal coil without trying these mouth-watering lamb shanks at least once.

Trust us, it won’t only be once.

Continue reading

Tom Kha Soup with Cod

Anytime we hit a Thai restaurant this is our go-to: one bowl of steaming, coconut-y soup please, two spoons, and don’t skimp on the lime!

It’s a filling soup that hits everything on the palate: the sweet, the spicy, the salty, the sour – even the umami! (Thank you, fish sauce.) Only problem: sometimes (often, let’s be honest) the chicken arrives at the table a little overcooked and sad in that piping hot soup.

Our version takes the usual tom kha gai (chicken) and replaces it with cod. And the results are… Continue reading

Good for You/Bad for You: Ready to be Unconfused?

One day eggs are good for you, the next they’re bad. Same with salt. And butter. And red meat. And saturated fat. And dairy. And carbs. And bread. And… you name it.

It goes on and on. Every year the media flip-flops on last year’s dietary recommendations and vilifications.

Two ways people deal with this: a) they cling to their own cherished nutrition views, or b) they throw their hands up, declare the whole idea of “eating healthy” to be sham and hunker up to a flat of sugar-glazed donuts.

Why not? They’re probably gonna be “good for you” next year.

meat_vs_veggies-199x300If there’s one pervasive idea that confuses nearly everyone when it comes to nutrition it’s the idea that certain foods are inherently “good” or inherently “bad”. It’s a premise that gets foisted on us over and over again in the media to the point where repetition makes it true.

Today, we’re going to destroy that premise. Continue reading

5 “Weird” Foods You’re Not Eating (That You Should Be)

Part of our goal here at Sexy Eyes is to challenge your concept of “normal” food. For most people “normal” consists of opening a package, heating up, and gobbling down whatever happens to be inside. We trust the food manufacturers. After all, they have our best interests at heart, right? They wouldn’t dare do something like slowly poison us with vegetable oils, sugars, and chemicals… right?? Perish the thought!

Here’s where the insights of evolutionary nutrition come to the rescue: what we consider “normal” today has only been so for about four decades. That’s it. For the two hundred thousand decades that preceded the last four, humans ate much, much differently.

Think about that. Two hundred thousand decades vs. four. Which would you call “normal”?

Continue reading

Breakfast Sausage Casserole

Modern humans are funny when it comes to breakfast.

Sure, we’ll grudgingly admit that “most important meal of the day” stuff. But our actions say otherwise: we spend the least amount of time preparing it, the least amount consuming it (twelve minutes, on average), and for the most part, begrudge slowing down to give it much thought.

We eschew thoughtful selection of nutrient-filled ingredients in favor of the quick, the ready-made, the pre-packaged. Pop a couple of slices of bread in the toaster and call it good. Pour some milk over a bowl of sugar-laden cereal and wolf it down. Or even (gasp!) whip up a quick meal replacement shake (blended skim milk powder, fructose, and chemicals – yum!) and go. After all, we have “important things to do”, right?

(The fact that our morning meal leaves us catastrophically under-fueled and over-toxified to do those important things doesn’t register, I guess. Anyway, that’s what energy drinks and caffeine are for, right? 😮 )

Listen, we’re not going to try to convince you to slow down and prepare a proper morning feast every morning. It sounds nice, but modern life says otherwise; we get that. But we will give you a recipe that, prepared in advance—on a lazy Sunday afternoon, for example—will provide you with days worth of breakfasts that serve up in minutes and will give you an actual nutritional boost (since it’s made from, you know… real food).

Once you taste this casserole (and feel what a real power breakfast feels like) we have a feeling your sad little toasted slices of wheat are never going to see your fast-breaking plates again. Thirty minutes of cooking for days worth of easily-served, nutrition-packed breakfasts to fuel your mornings? Sounds like good time investment to us.

Give it a try!

Breakfast Sausage Casserole

Active Time: 25-30 mins

Total Time: 55 mins

Makes 8 Servings

Ingredients:BkfstCss_01 ingredients

  • 1.5 Pounds Breakfast Sausage, bulk or uncased
  • 12 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 Head Broccoli, stems removed, florets finely chopped
  • 2 Carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 Cups Greens (Spinach, Kale, etc), roughly chopped
  • 1 Bunch Green Onions, tops only, chopped
  • 1/2 Pint Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
  • Bacon Grease or Butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 9×12 pan with either bacon grease or butter.
  • Brown meat over medium heat and break into large crumbles. Pour meat into the 9×12, and return the pan to the stove.
  • Increase to medium high heat, add 1/2 tbsp of bacon grease, and allow to heat 30 seconds.
  • Add onions. Caramelize, stirring occasionally, 7-8 minutes.
  • Add carrots, soften for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add broccoli, soften 1-2 minutes.BkfstCss_02 broccoli close up
  • Remove from heat, and stir in greens to wilt. Season veggies with salt and pepper.
  • Pour veggies into 9×12. Add green onions and parsley. Mix in with meat and spread mixture evenly across the pan. BkfstCss_03 into pan
  • Pour eggs over the mixture starting around the edges and corners of the pan to insure even coverage. (It’ll work its way to the center easier than it will work its way to the corners.)
  • Stud the top of the casserole with whole grape tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes, until eggs are set in the middle. Serve immediately, or allow to cool completely, cover and put in the fridge and enjoy for days!

 

Variations!!!

This is a super adaptable recipe, which is great, because it’s an easy make-ahead breakfast. You just want to use approximately the same ratio of meat/eggs/veggies, and you can keep this casserole from getting boring.

Italian w/ Sun dried Tomatoes: Sub in Italian sausage and 3/4 cup of chopped sun dried tomatoes. Try asparagus instead of broccoli. Use arugula for the greens. Throw in some basil.

Viva Mexico!: Use chorizo and cilantro. Sub broccoli for some green peppers. Throw in some pickled jalapenos. Serve with avocado and salsa.

Other meats: Who said you have to stick with sausage? Shred up some chicken or throw in some pulled pork! And of course, let’s not forget… BACON!!

Seriously, the possibilities are endless. Let us know what variations you come up with in the comments below!

 

BkfstCss_04 final

Roasted Cauliflower in Italian Sausage and Fennel Bolognese

Poor cauliflower. It’s the vanilla of the vegetable world, for sure. Dull, slightly sulfuric-smelling, usually boiled or mashed (which doesn’t improve matters). We’ll admit it—we used to be pretty unenthused about this colorless cruciferous.

Until this little gem of a recipe came along…

The mixture of the sausage and tomato with the al dente, slightly-roasted surface of the cauliflower is something special, and we’d wager this to win in a fight against any bowl of pasta. It certainly has the pasta beat nutritionally: the cauliflower is a dense source of potassium, Vitamin C, and other beneficial phytochemicals.

In any case, it’s so tasty, we think you might just add it to your regular cooking rotation. We actually get excited when we bring home a nice, big head of cauliflower now, because we know what’s coming. Cauliflower!!

A few notes…

1) This is a highly adaptable recipe. There are so many ingredients that if you forget something at the store, it’s still going to end up tasting great. The basics are the meat, some veggies, tomato and the cauliflower. The rest is just icing on the cake. If you don’t like anchovy paste, skip it. If you don’t have or can’t find anise seeds, fine. Don’t have the time or energy to zest the lemon, we get it! But we do encourage you to try to find the fresh fennel. It’s the one thing that really elevates this dish and makes it stand out. It’ll still be good without it, but it’s fun to try something different every now and again, right??

2) This is always better the second day… Yay, leftovers!

3) If you are running low on time, you can chop the cauliflower into florets, and it will cook much faster. (But you will lose out on the style points of serving it whole.)

4) If, from time to time, you have a hankering for some pasta, serve this over zucchini noodles (raw shredded zucchini), and you’ll get the same comfort food feeling!

5) It’s a great dish to make if you have mixed vegetarian/non-veg company. Just brown the meat in a separate pan and don’t put the anchovy paste in. You can serve the meat separate and let the meat eaters add meat into their dish!

 

Roasted Cauliflower in Italian Sausage and Fennel Bolognese

Active Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1.5-2 hours

Yields: 6 hearty meals (or 12-15 servings as a side dish)

 

Ingredients:

Cauliflower-Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs. bulk Italian sausage meat (spicy or mild)
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, leaves removed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 head of fennel, separate stems, bulb and fronds, chopped and divided
  • 3 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 large or 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 24oz jar tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped, divided in half
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, separate leaves and stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon anise seed
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (or skip it if you don’t like spicy!)
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • anchovy paste
  • 1 lemon, zested, fruit reserved
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

You will need a large pot for this. 1 pot meal. We use a 7-quart Dutch oven.

  • Preheat oven to 475.
  • Add oil to Dutch oven over medium heat on the stove.
  • When the oil is hot, add sausage meat and brown.
  • Remove sausage from Dutch oven and set aside. Return Dutch oven to stove, adding more oil if needed, and increase to medium high heat. Add onions, stirring regularly to caramelize. When the onions are about halfway done, add chopped fennel bulb and 1/2 tablespoon of anise seed, and continue to stir frequently until the onions are done.
  • Add celery, carrots and fennel stems. Continue to stir regularly until carrots have softened a bit. (Don’t cook them all the way through, as they still have plenty of cooking to do in the oven!)
  • Remove pot from heat. Add tomato puree, tomato paste, zucchini, 1/2 of the chopped garlic, chopped parsley stalks, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, lemon zest and an inch or so of anchovy paste. Mix all ingredients well. Salt and pepper to taste. The sauce may seem quite thick at this stage, but while it’s in the oven, the vegetables will release a lot of moisture, making the consistency more like a marinara sauce.
  • Press the whole cauliflower (stem side down) into the sauce. About half the cauliflower should be covered in sauce and half uncovered. Cauliflower-Whole
  • Drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil and rub to coat evenly. Place a lid or foil over the pot, and put in the oven for about 30 minutes.
  • Check cauliflower with a fork, and when it starts to become tender, remove the lid, and return pot to the oven for another 20-30 minutes. Remove when the cauliflower is completely tender and golden brown.
  • You can finish it under a broiler to crisp the top a touch if you’d like. Squeeze lemon over the cauliflower and sprinkle remaining garlic over the sauce.
  • Cut whole cauliflower into 6-8 sections like a pie. Ladle sauce and cauliflower into bowls. It’s quite an impressive looking dish, so impress the family or friends and plop the whole Dutch oven down on the dinner table and serve from there. Top with chopped parsley leaves and fennel fronds and enjoy!Cauliflower-Whole2

Carrot Greens

You throw them out, don’t you?

That’s okay. For years, we did too. They’re bitter and kind of unappealing, unless you’re one of those people that likes chewing on raw sprigs of green stuff. (Okay, we admit we do).

But there’s gotta be some good nutrition in those bitter, scraggly-looking greens, right?

There is. Turns out, carrot greens are a powerhouse of potassium (which can help lower your blood pressure) and vitamin K (which can help prevent heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, dementia and numerous other organ problems). There is also six times as much vitamin C in the greens as in the root (the carrot). Who knew?

The bitterness is a by-product of the alkaloids in the leaves, and is probably a defense mechanism of the plant to prevent being eaten by grazing animals.

But what if there was a way around that defense mechanism, so you can get to all the good nutrition hiding underneath?

Here it is: blanching and soaking.

Blanching consists of briefly cooking something then shock cooling it. It is used on all sorts of things to remove unpleasant surface flavors but preserve the nutrition that would be lost by over-cooking.

Follow this blanching and soaking procedure to de-bitterify your carrot greens and they can be used to flavor dishes or as a salad in their own right. No more tossing all that good nutrition into the trash!

(Plus, let’s be honest, with food prices on the steep and steady rise, who can afford to be throwing away armfuls of perfectly good plant edibles? Not us, that’s for sure.)

Active Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 8 hours

Instructions:

  • Bring water to a boil over high heat. Lightly salt the water. Add greens, boil for 2 minutes using wooden spoon to keep greens submerged.
  • Drain and immediately submerge in ice water. Let soak 20 minutes, then drain.
  • Squeeze the greens and rinse, then place back in new ice water. Keep greens in ice water for 6-8 hours. Set them on the counter and drain and replace the ice water each time the ice has melted. Drain the water a total of 3-4 times, and then the greens are ready to use.

Stay tuned for more recipes that make delicious use of these under-appreciated leafy greens!

photo credit: ksuyin via photopin cc