Archives for category: primal

Single living has pros and cons. When it comes to cooking and eating, single sized portions & potential leftover quantities need to be considered and juggled to allow for eating a variety of foods and flavors. Both to not be boring, but also to give the body a well rounded variety of nutrients it uses and needs to rebuild and thrive. Food is good medicine, probably the best medicine to stay healthy so treat it as such and you won’t be sick so much!

I prefer fresh food over frozen any day. I try to think ahead about  what might be leftover because I don’t like freezing food. It never tastes good to me. Most things have a really different & unappealing texture–except for maybe cookies and chocolate! So I figure it’s good to talk about what to look for and how to remember to

1. Play with fresh seasonal ingredients

2. Buy what looks appealing without buying TOO much for one (or two, or four, or eight for that matter)!

I’ve always prided myself @ being  good at cooking for an army of people. Too often I can overestimate what’s really needed. Cooking for ONE can be hard… I should say it requires some understand since most packages of food contain more than one person can consume. In contrast but along the same lines, when there’s some lovely produce or product @ the market, sometimes it does pay to buy in bulk.

Probably like you, I don’t want to waste food. There are people starving in my town and around the world. Plus, it’s an unnecessary waste of energy, resources and money.

There’s a fine line between having enough variety but without food spoilage! Do you ever find that your eyes are bigger than your stomach??? I do. Sometimes I over buy. I’m still learning how to get just the right quantity. Maybe one day I’ll figure out a formula–but until then here’s how I like to shop.

Unless there’s something specific I need,  I keep my eyes peeled for fresh items that look appealing. I follow my gut instincts and senses about what I want to eat and how much to buy. You can’t plan BEFORE you go shopping because you don’t know what will look good when you’re at the store/CSA or farmers market. That’s why i find it’s more challenging to make a specific meal plan rather than plan by what looks fresh and tasty.

For instance, when shopping the other day and looking around the bins of seeds, nuts and dried fruits; I came upon these gigantic, plump, amazingly delicious looking Turkish Figs. (photo left) Even the store clerk commented when she saw me scooping the last of them from the bin. She said that she had more (the bin was down to the bottom of the batch), but she said she was rather certain that they wouldn’t be like these. I concurred and scooped out the last of the bin. Mine all mine! I’m on a limited carbohydrate and dried fruit eating plan too. None the less, the quality of these beauties were not to be left behind. They’ll keep well and I’ll use them for grainless granola and some cooking and occasional snack. And so it goes. When the “gettins good”…get.

When you  shop you just have to trust that you’ll pick right. You may want to have a loose plan, but oh please do not pass by the beautiful (whatever amazing item you weren’t planning on buying) because your meal plan calls for a slightly different ingredient. Allow yourself the flexibility to tip and bend  and streeeeeeetch gracefully outside any menu or ingredient lists.

My feeling is Quick and Healthy is Good and Simple no matter how you do it. Bottom line: Pick healthy fresh food. You can not go wrong.

Fly on my apron strings and explore putting together WHATEVER YOU have on hand ~ in a way that’s simple, tasty and nutritious.

A few days ago, I was @ Whole Foods and I saw they had some beautiful, fresh, Wild Salmon. I knew I wanted to get some. It happened to be on sale too. I was TEMPTED to buy more than I needed, (twice as much) but quickly realized the 1.5 lb fillet on the scale MORE than adequately suited my needs and that had I gone for more I would have had to freeze it. For me, not worth it.

The salmon I got was plenty  for  3-4 meals. The first evening I cooked it up searing it in the pan with bacon fat and apples and just a little salt and pepper. I paired the fish with some chayote squash cooked with some wheat free tamari night one. The night after, I put together the arugula, leek & lemon (all of which were in the frig and needed to be used) recipe I’m sharing below, and topped it with cool leftover salmon. It had really nice flavor and pleased me because I’d just put together what I had in the vegetable bin that needed to be used. Oh happy day!

QUICK LEMON ARUGULA & LEEKS with (leftover) PAN SEARED FRESH WILD SALMON cooked with Granny Smith Apple

serves 1 (adjust quantity to serve more easily)

1/2 bag TJ’s organic arugula

1 small leek, bulb only

1/2 – 1 organic lemon (juice)

left over wild salmon or fresh hot salmon or your choice of protein (fish, pork, beef, lamb, chicken and eggs would all pair nicely)

Directions:

in a hot skillet add 1-2 tsp bacon fat (or your choice of oil)

add sliced leek and saute for about 30 seconds

add juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/2 bag (about 3 oz) organic arugula

stir/mix and saute until arugula is wilted (about 3-5 minutes)

add more  lemon juice to taste

the flavor was fantastic. i didn’t add any salt or pepper~i didn’t feel it needed any but season with salt and pepper to your taste (taste first though!)

Salmon:  

I seared the salmon, skin side down in organic bacon fat. It was cooked on a medium – medium/low heat skin side down until cooked part way through. My fillet was rather thick. The trick I’ve learned is to cook it skin down until cooked about 1/3 of the way through, flip and cook until just underdone, remove from heat and let the fish continue to cook through without over cooking as it rests. This prevents dried out fish.

I seasoned this salmon with a little dried dill, tri color pepper, and a splash of garlic. As it was cooking, I decided to cut up 2 small granny smith apples and add them to the pan to add flavor. This is completely optional. Peaches would work and taste great instead, too. Plain salmon or cooked with a fruit (or tomato) up to you and what you may have on hand or see that looks yummy to you.

Here are my leftovers (right):

Night one I ate the fresh hot salmon with chayote sauteed in (wheat free) tamari. (pic below) That’s the 1.5 lbs of salmon, chayote and apples all on one plate~kinda crowded~sorry I don’t have a real platter for ‘show’. It’s just me. 🙂

Night two I had the salmon room temp with the arugula and lemon leek mix. mmmmm Splendid. (photo below)

Funny, but I haven’t eaten the apples I cooked with the fish. When I taste them I’ll amend the post. I’m guessing they’ll taste good with something…

*addendum: the apples have a nicely rounded flavor slightly lemon, lightly sweet (but not sugary) and savory from being cooked with the salmon in the bacon fat. nice.

i highly recommend this simple lemon leek arugula. Give it a try and post your comment below 🙂

EnJoY and be cReAtIvE

LoVe

rona ❤

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Can I tell you a secret? I guess it’s not really a secret. I like fennel a lot. Please, don’t bail out here if you don’t, because I promise, you can make this with something different if fennel isn’t a flavor you fancy or you don’t care for it. But~give it a chance. Make your decision afterwards. Braising it in the butter and orange minimizes it’s pungent flavor to a very subtle hint. In the meantime, here’s what you’ll need on hand to prepare this fresh and flavor bursting dish; I’ll provide some options for you at the end so we can still be friends.

INGREDIENTS (click any photo to enlarge)

(I made this with 3 breasts; you can easily make more, or less)

3 turkey breasts (boneless skinless) sliced lengthwise not all the way through

1 large fennel bulb sliced

1 organic valencia orange

2 tsp unsalted organic butter (may substitute with bacon fat, coconut or olive oil)

a few slices of red onion (optional)

1 bunch organic cilantro

1/3 fresh medium pineapple in chunks or 3/4 1lb can pineapple drained

pink or sea salt

pepper (i like the tri color from trader joes in the grinder)

DIRECTIONS

Slice the breasts lengthwise but not all the way through so you can open them up like a book (you’ll be putting the fennel and onion inside and closing them up again to cook).

Season the inside of the breast with salt and pepper.

Slice the fennel while 2 tsp of butter are melting in a hot pan. Add the fennel to the melted butter and saute until softening slightly, about 2-3 minutes on a low-medium flame.

Squeeze the juice of 1 valencia orange on to the fennel and continue to cook until the fennel begins to lightly caramelize, about 5-7 minutes depending on how finely the fennel is cut. Let the fennel cool enough to handle.

Stuff the breasts with as much fennel as you like or will fit along with a few pieces of red onion (optional). It adds a nice sweetness once cooked along with pretty purple color.

Fold the breasts back to as close to their original shape as you can after stuffing.

I didn’t tie or tether them closed but you could with twine or a toothpick. I found my filling stayed inside nicely.

Turning the breasts with tongs was extremely helpful to maintain the integrity of the filling & keep it inside.

Into a hot, oiled skillet place the breasts to cook over a low-medium heat. Sear and Cook until the bottom layer is just beginning to turn white towards the middle, then flip with tongs. If you don’t own tongs, flip with a spatula, and use caution to not spill the contents.

Continue cooking on this side until JUST right~maybe even a tad UNDERdone and let rest to finish cooking.

*A meat thermometer might be handy, but no worries~just do not eat pink turkey. I used to cut in to my meat to visualize if it was done. Now I just know when to shut off the heat. Be sure your poultry is cooked. You’ll get the gist of when to turn off the heat once you cook breasts a few times I promise.

The addition of the pineapple chunks in the pan once the breasts are turned helps steam and cook the breasts perfectly.

While the turkey finishes cooking, blend the cilantro and pineapple in a small food processor. Chop/grind until pulverized.

The sauce will be sort of thick. I used a full bunch of organic cilantro with about 1/2 c fresh pineapple chunks and two lychee nuts.

*The lychee is a lovely addition but not necessary. I just happened to have some fresh ones on hand (they’re the light heart shaped things in the  photo on the plate with cilantro and pineapple @ 11 o’clock. The magenta skin has been peeled. You’ll see it’s shiny brown pit to the right.)

OPTIONS:

I promised you didn’t need to bail. If you don’t have fennel, won’t try fennel or want to prepare your stuffed breasts another way, try sauteed shiitake, crimini or portabello mushrooms with tomatoes (fresh or sundried) and thyme, sage or oregano. Add a little sheep milk feta, ricotta asiago, provolone or mozzarella cheese…mmm, beautiful. Lots of options. As the fall and winter months come upon us, you might even stuff the the turkey breasts with pumpkin, butternut, acorn or kombucha squash and season with some cinnamon, ginger, cloves or pumpkin pie spice! (there are ALWAYS options!) Feel free to comment or email me with your questions or creations!

Always EnJoY with Lots of LoVe

Dr Rona 🙂

yes...that's an m&m plate 😀

Silly, simple, succulent success. So fast and easy my dad could do it.  It’s possible to add anything to it but time was of the essence! I was hungry and all I wanted was fast, easy, flavorful protein, quickly.

ITEMS TO HAVE ON HAND:

1. Ground Turkey breast 1.44 lbs made 4 good sized burgers

* if you prefer, make meat balls (more time consuming to roll but would be delicious too.

Options are good aren’t they? I say yes!

2. Capers

3. Olive oil or spray for pan (yes people, you know who you are, your bacon grease is perfectly acceptable here)

4. Salt (sea or pink)

5. Pepper (tri color is great)

6. Left over veggies or veggie(s) of choice ~ anything you have on hand will do. Fresh is preferable.

7. (optional) sauce

8. (optional) cheese

DIRECTIONS

Heat skillet with olive oil, bacon grease, or spray

assemble burgers (or balls).

I simply opened my package of meat, scored into 4 pieces and made a large ball with each then flattened to a potato looking shape

Next, poke finger holes (about 4-5 in each piece)

Add 1-2 (2-3?) capers in each hole then shape burgers and flatten covering up the caper pockets.

I chose to reheat fennel I had cooked in the same pan; but any vegetable can be incorporated INTO the burger, or cooked on the side.

This was such a fast process that by the time my pan was hot, my capered turkey burgers were shaped and ready to sear.

All burgers go in the pan and get seasoned on top there. After seasoning, I added my cold fennel and 1/2 oz of raw romano sliced on top of the fennel (i like the taste of the browned cheese mmm)

Cook, flip, cook second side and let rest…

Usually, I undercook slightly so the white meat doesn’t dry out

The capers add a beautiful burst of moisture and fabulous flavor

Easy, Simple, Healthy and a burger (or ball) with a Sweet & Salty zest. Quite Yummy in the tummy.

Eat ’em up!

Pair with just about any vegetable. Try sweet potatoes, squash, eggplant, onions, turnips, string beans any type of greens or a simple salad.

If you make turkey balls, try this sauce from Trader Joe’s. You might even want to sauce your burgers! ~ The sauce ~ it’s not organic but it’s got nice ingredients (including CAPERS!). Seems tasty. I tried it at the store and got a jar.

Options, additions and other musings to try:

*make it a meat loaf

*add an egg or two to the meat

*season with fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, oregano (i’m especially fond of greek oregano), rosemary and lemon rind

Options are a good thing. I’m sure of it. Nothing is written in stone except the 10 commandments. So work it, have fun, play and EnJoY the flavors!

LoVe,

dR  RoNa

caper (verb)[intrans] to skip or dance about in a lively, playful way

All these pears got me thinking about how lucky we are. We don’t have to pick, hunt or chase our food.  There are fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits at the market we can pick from daily. How incredibly fortunate for us! But people often take this great fortune, their food and their health for granted, without consideration.

We also have an over abundance of readily available, chemically processed, nutritionally stripped, man-made, modified foods that are directly linked to the most common illnesses and diseases. Illnesses and diseases that should have no right to be so prevalent, commonplace, and accepted. Where has our common sense gone?

It is absurd  that todays  highly advertised, pre-packaged, processed, engineered ‘foods’ are our demise.  They contribute first hand to horrific, epidemic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, digestive diseases, cancers and more troubles that destroy our bodies. Most all of these problems, even aches and pains are completely reversible, and should not be considered normal amongst us. Yet they are! They are rampant, even amongst children. I urge you to think about this because it’s not ok for this to be the way it continues to be.

My education is as an holistic Doctor, so it astonishes me that people don’t seem to question it much. But I do.  And I want you to consider it too, before it’s too late to alter bad choices which are responsible for 99.9% of all common illness.

Drugs don’t fix illnesses. Normally, they’re not necessary. We can eliminate most ailments by changing our choices. That’s right. Our choices, on a daily basis, determines our health outcome.  A pill can’t do it. An insurance company isn’t meant to do it. So we need to learn how to do it now, before the outcome becomes grim.

I’ll go in to this in more detail in another post. Until then, consider the above as a bite sized appetizer for thought. Along with just one more thing to help you to do it:

Do you keep a food journal?  I recommend that you begin to keep one now. Do it to get the full picture of what you actually eat (everything),  and do it without judgement. Just do it. There are computer programs you can download, that’s what I do, or jot it by hand in a notebook you use just for this purpose. Be as specific as you can including quantities and any other details significant to you. You may want to note if you get tired or energized  after your meals, especially if you are hypoglycemic, diabetic or overweight.

I’ll go on more about this another time because I believe you came here for my recipe, directions and pictures of this Paleo friendly, Primally delicious grain, gluten and sugar free…

PALEO PEAR PIE (surprise ingredient included!)

Ingredient List

6 pears

chayote and pear (the chayote looks a lot like a pear!)

1 Chayote squash (surprise ingredient) Note: if you aren’t able to find Chayote squash nearby, no worries. Just substitute yellow or green zucchini or squash. It’ll help keep the glycemic index lower and add some additional nutrients as well.

2-3 organic bananas

3T organic unsalted butter

3T organic Maple syrup

3T citrus juice (lemon, grapefruit, lime or orange~i used grapefruit because it’s what i had on hand)

aprox 1/4 c. H2O

1/4 -1/2 tsp cardamom

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2T arrowroot

*optional: 3T grand marinier

sliced pears (L), quartered peeled chayote (R)

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven or toaster oven to Broil setting. Have a rack set where your pie plate can be aprox 3″ from the heating element. (the closer the bananas are to the heating element the closer you’ll need to keep watch to prevent burning)

Peel  the chayote squash and quarter. Cut out the center seeds.

Core the pears and quarter or third so you can slice by hand or size to fit in processor chamber.

Slice squash and pears thinly by hand with a chefs knife, or use a food processor to evenly slice. I enjoy the act of cutting. I find it meditative and relaxing, but it’ll take you 20 min or so to slice by hand, and maybe 5 to process. Pick your pleasure.

sliced bananas drizzled with melted butter ready to broil

*to prepare a more crusty crust, you may mash 1-2  bananas and butter/oil into 1/3 to 1/2 cup almond or flax meal. Press ‘crust’ into baking dish and BAKE rather than BROIL for aprox 15 -20 min @ 350 degrees.

caramelized banana base 'crust'

Turn the oven down from BROIL to BAKE and set to 350 degrees.

layering pears from outer to inner /bananas still visible

Sprinkle cardamom, cinnamon and salt on top of a couple of the layers to infuse their flavors.

into the oven ... @350 bake

Once all the fruit has been layered, mix the arrowroot with the citrus juice, maple syrup (optional), vanilla and water and pour the mixture over the top of the fruit. You may also slice another banana on top at this time.

Pears are not as moist as apples, so I added the banana to the top after 1/2 hour of baking and also basted the pears with the juices from the pan.

Top the plate with 1-2T butter thinly sliced or 1-2T of melted coconut oil and place in the pre-heated 350 oven. Bake for aprox 20 min and baste if the top seems to be too dry. Continue baking for about 15-20 more minutes, turn oven off and allow pie to steam through in the oven. This will assure that the Chayote steams through fully softens. * oven temperatures vary greatly so your cooking time may vary. Checking the pie after 20 min will assure the best results.

cooking pears @ 20 min (a little dry) ...BASTE and top with bananas...continue cooking 20 more min

If you top with the extra banana at the beginning of baking and top with butter, the bananas will caramelize a bit more than mine did.

beautifully cooked all ready to eat or decorate

I topped it with sliced blackberries I happened to have on hand but you could just as easily top with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or currants to add color or let it stand as is.

Here’s a photo of the finished pie/tart (below)

final product ready for presentation with blackberries sliced for more color and love

The flavor combinations are lovely.

I love the smell and taste cardamom. It goes so well with this dish.

I hope you will enjoy making, eating and sharing this too. If you do share the recipe, please do note where you got the recipe and share a link to my blog for credit.


This can be prepared in any size/shape dish you have on hand.

Quantities specified fit an 8 x 8 ” tin.

For a 9 or 12″ pie use 2-4 more pears and  another banana for the base crust or enough to fill the base.


It’s mouth watering, very satisfying, and will accompany as a side dish with lamb, chicken, beef, bison, eggs, cheese or be eaten as a snack or dessert. ENJOY.



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