Saturday, November 26, 2011

Paleo carbonara!

{Umm... Laksa?? Oh, tastes like carbonara...}

Ok... So this was not what I was trying to make, but this is what it tasted like...

Next time I make it I'm going to intentionally make paleo carbonara! These sweet potato noodles are so exciting because I can finally do something similar to pasta minus the grains that is not actually sliced cabbage or carrot or whatever. I'm sure it's not the best paleo choice, so it will not be a staple, but it will certainly keep me sane.

Yeah... So I was trying to make laksa... Embarrassing, I know... I've made laksa a million times but these noodles were unpredictably absorbent.... And the noodles made more than I expected... Just in general I wasn't prepared for this. It's been a long time since I've really cooked noodles... That's my excuse really.

So, here's my theory recipe for paleo carbonara... The thing I will do next time.... You know, so this is just the theory of how it should go.

Theory: Not in order... Or exact.

-Get some bacony stuff... No sugar, so you gotta look closely... And no nitrates or nitrites... But according to my bro who is a head smoker at some fancy place: you cannot have no nitrates or trites in cured meat... You can however get it from a natural source such as celery (as opposed to chemicals) (Warning: for all you trolls, this is not a direct quote from my bro). As for me: I have limited access to things like this here in New Zealand. Many more options in hippy Portland. So, I've been using some thinly sliced lamb meat found at the Asian grocer in my neighborhood. Ingredients: lamb and cold.

-Get some sweet potato noodles...Not totally paleo I'm sure, but it doesn't have grains or preservatives and other junk. 

-Get some coconut cream... Dump this in the mix. Cook it down a bit. It will be the right consistency.

-Get some chicken stock... Preferably you make your own chicken stock, which is ridiculously easy! In New Zealand you can just grab some chicken frames from your normal supermarket and toss it in the slow cooker overnight. Get it to boiling and then turn it to low overnight. You can freeze it and use it whenever. Nutritious and not full of fake junk.

-Chicken... If ya want. I want. Do yourself a favor and try to avoid hormones.

-Mushrooms galore... Toss in some mushrooms with some butter and saute to your hearts content. Add extra butter (or ghee or coconut oil or whatever) because this is paleo! No dumb low fat diets... Don't think that is sane? Do some research on the benefits of real fats and then get back to me (actually don't bother me if you don't agree).

-Onions, garlic, chilli and other things... Just make it taste like chicken carbonara... You know. Flavor it. You know you want to. Add rocket if you want to be cool like me. You need veggies if you wanna be paleo!

Now maybe 7 months (or more) of paleo have left me confused, but this is totally carbonara to me! Another good substitute for pasta/noodles is cabbage. Maybe not for this recipe, but definitely in laksa and spaghetti!

Naughty times with noodles


I'm on day 26 of my 30 day paleo diet challenge and I've had a few naughty moments that I would like to tell you all about...

Supposedly you should be able to stick to the paleo diet and still have a social life but I'm having a hard time seeing how this is possible... Not even considering the whole drinking thing... I'm just talking about going out to dinner.

For one: the menu is not designed with me in mind. No one creating a menu said "I better make sure to put every single detail in there so that Nicole Andrews knows what is in her food." So, even when I'm ordering salad or things that appear safe, I'm still finding battered meat and sugar added to my dressing. Whatever, it's no big deal.

Except for the gluten... I'm especially trying to avoid gluten for these 30 days far above everything else. I've noticed that I seem to have an actual reaction to eating gluten as opposed to other grains... Yes, paleo is grain free (all grains) but I feel that because of the pain I get from gluten that I should make an extra effort to avoid gluten.

Well, screw putting the details about gluten on the menu! Sure, we'll write that it is a salad, but we won't tell you that we've added battered things to it! Or that we've scattered tiny bits of cous cous with the salad... I just forgot to mention that...

This has been my experience while attempting to avoid gluten (at least) during my paleo challenge. I've made a pretty strong effort to avoid it. I only consciously ate it once! After arriving at a party hungry, being handed a sugary drink- this scenario caused me to lower my standards a bit... When I found myself at my favorite noodle house I just did it... I got the curried won ton soup... Oops!

But every single other dining experience in the last 26 days have been conscious attempts to stick to paleo or at least avoid the gluten. Whatever was possible.

Even when I ended up at that same noodle house last night at 1 am! Yes! I had still tried to be a good girl even at 1 am! I promised myself I would get something new, and that it would not have wheat in it... So I ordered what I thought was stir fry with rice noodles... Nope!!! It was wheat noodles with a sugary kind of teriyaki sauce on it... Now, I'm sure that if I knew a little more about this kind of cuisine, I could have identified it better as wheat noodles... I could have also asked the waitress, but still it was 1 am... I wasn't thinking straight. I would have probably been better off just getting a box of mac and cheese and eating that because it looked about equally nutritious.... This was the low point of my challenge... There's that awful feeling in my torso that I ignored for years...

Sigh... So, basically I've learned that I do actually have to be that annoying customer who asks about everything. Yes, I do realize that I shouldn't be having any grains, but I made a personal decision that if I'm faced with it- I should be gluten free. This is not the paleo way, and it is certainly not how I eat when I'm at home, but the method saves me from being obnoxious even to myself in a restaurant.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New hair cut

Ok, so last week I got a new hair cut...

Do you remember my last hair cut? We don't speak of it... After a lifetime of having my Mom as my amazing hairstylist (she really is an awesome hairstylist)- then suddenly finding myself in a new country and trying to figure out what to do... I made a mistake last year... BUT this time I am happy!

I went to Debbie at the Powder Room at the top of Cuba street.

She is amazing. thanks Debbie! Thanks for making me feel pretty!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Adventures with the spider.

I had an interesting adventure today....

{Ride that spider!}

{Nicole has tamed the beast!}

{Or so she thought!}

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My life in Paleo...

So, I feel great. 
{That's me on the left- hangin' with some friends at a very paleo BBQ... Not my beer}

I always do when I make sure to stick to my Paleo diet. And lately I've been speaking about it more openly. I just hate trying to make another person feel better for my choice of not eating grains.... But it is my life, so I'm not hiding anymore.

This is day 6 of my 30 day hardcore Paleo challenge for my household and I've already lost about 2 kilos... Must have been some water retention in there... Wouldn't normally loose so quickly. But the main thing is that I feel really awesome. I'm not in it for the weight loss; I'm in it because I've gone my whole life with something wrong with my digestion and couldn't ever isolate what it was. I mean: I was 12 years old when we tried cutting out diary for the first time... I was 8 years old when they tried to say that I was allergic to cats and that was the problem (not allergic to cats by the way)... The doctors had no idea what was wrong, and neither did I or my family.... Nothing seriously wrong, but certainly not thriving.

Turns out: I stop eating gluten and I do a million times better! Although if you know anything about the Paleo diet then you know I've stopped eating a lot more than gluten.

Since we've been on the Paleo diet for about 6 months now I've had to spruce up some of our normal recipes so that I don't go crazy.... Crazy meaning: sneaking down to the supermarket for mac and cheese...  (Although, based on my last mac and cheese experience- hurting as I shoveled it into my gullet- I think I'm still a bit scarred from my favorite naughty food.... Man that was bad.)

So here are some recipes I've been trying:

Shepherd's pie: I added tomato paste and worchesershire sauce... I think I needed to throw a parsnip into the cauliflower puree. Too runny, but really good.

I made the egg baskets and tropical macaroons! 

I think I'll make this hollandaise sauce tonight since I've got 4 egg yolks left over from the macaroons. 

And here's some I've got my eye on! Not even having dairy at the moment! My normal approach to the Paleo diet does allow for dairy at times in the whole raw form... Not everyone agrees with this, but I tend to ignore them... Or I will go crazy... But for these 30 days I will be listening to them, so some of these I will have after my challenge ends:

I would make this recipe if I could find coconut flour in New Zealand.

Grain free lasagne!! I want.

These are all great blogs to read by the way.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's food challenge time again!

{Just hugging... Not eating...}

As you may know, I have been on the paleo diet for just about 6 months... I was pretty close to winning a food challenge in August! Well, since then I've been a tad bit lax on my eating. I was pretty darn good, but my cheat days started to get a bit closer together.... Like this:

"Oh look, it's raining outside. Looks like I need a mocha."
"Oh gee, I had a mocha, looks like I need a pizza."
"Oh man I had a pizza yesterday. Looks like I'm having leftovers."
"Oops I had leftovers. Looks like I've got to buy tempura soup for lunch."

These are true stories.... Then I sort it all out for a few days, and suddently it's Friday...

"Oh yay, it's Friday, time to have some wine."
"Oh wait, it's Friday! Time for a cheat day!"

Anyway, so I'm in need of some straightening out. I'm not feeling quite as awesome as I have when I'm eating right... And suddenly my flat mates started to become interested in my paleo diet and have themselves (without my encouragement) committed to 30 days on the paleo diet just to see if it works for them... So Mike and I are taking this opportunity to get back into it.

So today is day one! Seems like a normal day so far. I don't think I'll notice anything until I get to the point where I want a cheat day and I don't have one.