Practical Paleo: A Paleo Staple

I’m sitting down this evening after having spent a few weeks with Diane Sanfilippo’s (Balanced Bites) amazing new book, Practical Paleo.  After giving it both practical use as a book among our collection of primal-friendly cook books and spending some time in my favorite armchair reading, I have to be straight with you: this book will enrich your life.  Whether you’re trying to start this new “caveman diet” from day naught or are evangelizing your new-found health, there is something new that you will use regularly.

Since I’m a procrastinator, I am sitting down to write this review some 72 hours before the book is released to the public (sorry, Diane!).  There are already a good amount of reviews out there, but we have diligently not read them in an attempt to not attach and regurgitate what others have said better than I’m able to.  That being said, I have heard Diane on a few podcasts lately, and I would be lying if I didn’t automatically open up the book straight to page 75 to have a good laugh on an important part of our health (no spoilers here, you’ll just have to buy the book).

So far this review is a little roundabout, so here is why I really think this book is worth its weight.  First off, the pictures are absolutely stunning.  It’s something you just want to pick up and revisit for inspiration and validation of the great food choices we are making.  As we shared this book with friends and family, their skepticism quickly disappeared.  On page 29 where you’re first introduced to one of the amazing infographics on paleo foods, you find right next to it an amazing picture of examples of those foods.  More than once we heard, “You get to eat THAT when doing this Paleo thing?”

Also, since receiving our reviewer’s copy, we put together the swirly crustless quiche, sage roasted turkey legs, lemon rosemary broiled salmon, and the roasted jalapeño & garlic raw sauerkraut.  They were all fantastic.  I don’t think we will ever go back to anything other than sea salt; and now that we’ve discovered seasoned salts, we’re obsessed.  This small sampling of recipes is only the tip of the iceberg.  We will continue to return back to this reference to expand our meal choices.

But, this is more than just another cookbook.  The beginning section gives true life meaning and reference to the realities of what the SAD does to our body.  While others have done a good job of making these ideas leap off the page from the scientific studies the findings come from, Diane does so alongside great pictures and drawings.  You may or may not really want to know about the intestinal lining of villi and microvilli, but after this book, you’ll at least have a picture to reference along with the information behind why it is important to keep in mind.

My final favorite thing is the creation of meal plans for people with health goals ranging from 100% Paleo perfection to recovering from cancer to heart health.  It is truly appropriate that Diane kicks off the introduction with a Hippocrates quote.  Not only is she really concerned with using food to make you feel better, she wants us to help each other feel better.  That underlying theme gives justice to the beautiful photos, easy to understand language, and the multiple audiences to which it speaks.  The fact that this book has tear-out guides of all the amazing things she wants to teach drives home the point that this information is meant to be active, not passive.  This book is meant to be read and shared and shared again.  We’ve already sparked some interest with our friends and family, and we’ve got another copy coming to us on Tuesday so we can continue to spread the wealth. 

This is a great culmination of the work Diane has started and continues to do.  Be sure to read her blog, listen to her podcast, and follow her on twitter, and Facebook.

Leek, Mushroom & Tomato Sauté with Scrambled Eggs

Today I’m telecommuting. I love these days. TELECOMMUTING.IS.THE.BEST.

So, for Brent’s breakfast this morning I heated up a keilbasa sausage (I had cooked up the package of 4 yesterday, but only used 2 in the recipe I made them for) and scrambled up some eggs. He was a very happy man leaving for work with such delicious food in his belly.

Now, my plan was to make the same for myself a little later–after getting the laundry going, dropping the car to the gas station within walking distance for an oil change, dumping drain-cleaner down our bathtub drain, etc. But, as I was going into the fridge to pull out the eggs and last keilbasa, I remembered the leek…

We made something with leeks weeks ago. (I honestly can’t even remember at this point what it was, haha!) And there’s been one lonely leek hanging out in our veggie drawer ever since. Also chilling in the veggie drawer: some baby portabella mushrooms, Roma tomatoes, avocado, onion, etc. Well, knowing that leek needed to be used because I HATE wasting food, I decided to say “maybe another day” to the keilbasa and find a way to use that.

Here is what I came up with: a sauteed mixture of leek, mushrooms and tomato served with eggs. This was super easy and fast, and best of all, it came out delicious!

Leek, Mushroom & Tomato Saute with Scrambled Eggs

1 Leek (just the light green part), sliced and rinsed
1 Roma tomato, quartered and sliced
5 Baby portabella mushrooms, sliced and rinsed
1/2 – 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat
2 Eggs, beaten

First, make sure you rinse the leeks and mushrooms well under cold running water in a strainer. Leeks tend to have little gritty stores of sand between the layers, and it’s best if you try to separate the layers while rinsing the slices to make sure all that washes away.

1. Melt the bacon fat in medium skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Toss in the leek and mushroom slices.
3. Sauté until soft (about 3-5 minutes).
4. Add the tomato slices and continue to sauté for about 1 minute.
5. Put your sauté mixture on your plate or in your bowl, leaving a small amount of the juices in the skillet.
6. Scramble your eggs in the skillet.
7. Put the scrambled eggs on your plate or in the bowl with the sauté mixture.

Now, you’re ready to eat. 🙂 Enjoy!

I hope you like this as much as I did. The leek provides a subtle, oniony flavor. The mushrooms, of course, provide a nice earthy undertone. Meanwhile, the tomatoes keep it light and fresh! And who doesn’t love the hint of bacon-y goodness from using bacon fat? Feel free to toss in a little salt, pepper or other seasonings; but I think this is great without anything extra. 😉

Asian Pork Shoulder Stir Fry

This recipe was a nice combination of leftover pork and what we had laying around the house.  It turned out amazing, and I really hope to make it into part of our regular rotation.  We had slow cooked a pork shoulder last week, and still had a good deal left (while a good amount of it got slathered in our Potent Primal BBQ Sauce).  This was a nice and filling dinner that doubled for a great lunch, even cold.  As far as I’m concerned, being able to eat something that was prepared hot as a cold dish is the ultimate test.  Without further ado…

Asian Pork Shoulder Stirfry


  •  baby bok choy (about 10-12 of them)
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, cut with a julienne peeler (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 8oz can of water chestnuts, drained
  • 1/3 of a 10.58oz can of bamboo shoots, drained
  • 1.5 pounds of pork (previously slow-cooked), cut into small slices
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoons of ginger, divided evenly
  • 1/2 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons coconut aminos 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • red pepper flakes, to taste


First thing we did was cut up our pork shoulder and marinate it.  If you have not yet cooked your pork, I’m sure this marinade would also work well with sliced, raw pork shoulder.  Cooking it down and then sauteing the vegetables in the juices would probably be a great flavor boost!

In a ziplock bag, we combined the pork, almond butter, 1 tablespoon coconut aminos, and teaspoon of ginger with the egg white.  I’ve heard and read that egg white and baking soda are great for tenderizing and marinating pork, but baking soda is unnecessary.  At least, we found it to be. We marinated for a few hours, but I’m sure anything beyond an hour (but less than 24) would be good.

Once you’ve marinated your meat (and cooked it if it was raw):

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil in large pan (or wok if you have it)
  2. Saute bok choy for 1 minute
  3. Add water chestnuts and bamboo shoots and 2 teaspoon coconut aminos
  4. Saute for another 2 minutes
  5. Add carrots, green onion, and sprinkle with red pepper flakes
  6. Saute for 1 minute
  7. Add marinated pork and 1 teaspoon ginger
  8. Sprinkle more red pepper flakes (optional)
  9. Saute for 3-5 minutes, or until pork pieces are heated through

And done.  This was a great unexpected surprise for us, but we’re glad it turned out.  Please let us know how it turns out, or what you decide to do with the idea!  Also, don’t forget to follow us on twitter and Facebook.  Enjoy!

Potent Primal BBQ Sauce

If you haven’t discovered Stubb’s BBQ sauce, you are missing out. It’s the cleanest, tastiest stuff on the market. Yes–I did just say tastiest–and coming from a former Sweet Baby Ray’s-enthusiast, that’s A LOT.

However, Stubb’s is not Whole30 approved. In fact, we’ve not seen a Whole30-friendly BBQ sauce at any store, any time, any where. So, we make our own during Whole30 challenges, and this time, I think we made a good one. 🙂 Edit: Since this recipe, we’ve toyed around more with barbecue, and think this recipe is both easier to make and more delicious!
Why do we love this sauce so much? Well, it’s got bold tomato flavor, the natural sweetness of which is subtle but delightful. Then there’s the slightly smokey, lingering heat from the roasted jalapeño and spices. Finally, it has a great tangy bite from the garlic, mustard, and lime juice.
Warning: This sauce is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t like spice or heat, don’t bother reading the rest of this post. You’re wasting your time.

Just kidding! You could easily modify this to suit your tastes, whether you like more kick or less in your sauce. (Follow the recipe below, and then water it down a smidgen with chicken broth or amp up the heat with more spices once you’ve tasted it.)

Potent Primal BBQ Sauce

  • 6 Campari tomatoes, sliced in half and seeded
  • 2 Jalapeños, sliced in half and seeded
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat, melted
  • 1/4 Teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 Shallot, minced
  • 1 Teaspoon organic spicy mustard
  • 1 Teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Cup organic chicken broth
  • 1 and 1/2 limes, juiced
  • 1 6-oz can of tomato paste


First, roast the tomatoes, garlic and jalapeños:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Place the tomatoes, garlic and jalapeños in a baking dish or roasting pan (we used a shallow glass baking dish).
  • Drizzle the bacon fat over everything.
  • Sprinkle the 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt over everything.
  • Roast for approximately 15 minutes.

Set aside and allow it to cool. Then, move on to the rest of the recipe.


  • Heat coconut oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Press the roasted garlic and add to the sauce pan.
  • Immediately add the minced shallot. 
  • Sauté until shallot is soft and translucent.
  • Add the mustard, smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder, cumin and the 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Stir to blend in the spices.
  • Then, add the chicken broth, lime juice, and tomato paste.
Stir again (use a whisk if you have one!) until smooth.

  • Add roasted tomatoes and jalapeños, and stir.
  • Bring everything to a soft boil, then reduce it to a simmer and lightly cover it with a lid.
  • Simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat, and allow the mixture to cool.
Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor (we used our handy-dandy Ninja!), and blend until the whole mixture is smooth.

Wednesday for lunch, we slathered it on slow-cooked pork shoulder and served it on a bed of greens (baby spinach and spring mix, to be specific). It was delicious! Next week, we’re thinking about using it on ribs and/or chicken. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Whole30 Challenge, Again. Say what?!

As we may or may not have already mentioned somewhere on Facebook or Twitter,  Brent and I have begun yet another Whole30 Challenge. We haven’t done one in a while, and we know it makes us feel great. This time, it will actually be more than 30 days:

We started this past Monday and we’re planning to keep clean until the Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan 2012 at 11:00 A.M. Saturday, August 25.

Yep, that’s right. We are participating in the Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan race. It’s going to be insane. We are so very excited and, maybe, a little frightened. (…Ok, ok, I’ll admit, I’m frightened a lot!) We’ve been working out and eating pretty well–I’d say we average 80% clean Paleo most of the time–but we knew we wanted to do something to kick-start our last month of training for this crazy event.

So, on Monday we took measurements and photos. Also, Brent crafted a nifty template which we will use to track our progress! 

Meanwhile, we’ll continue to post as frequently as we can new recipes as well as occasional tweets about the Whole30 approved meals we’re particularly excited about. If you’re doing a Whole30 too, keep in touch with us! Let us know what you’re doing to keep clean. Tweet at us, like our Facebook page and leave a comment on our wall, or simple leave comments here.

We’d love to hear from you!

P.S. If you just so happened to stumble upon this blog randomly and you don’t know what Whole30 is, you should learn more here at Then, you should try it. 🙂


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