Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Arroz a la Cubana Re-invented #pff style

Arroz a la Cubana was  one of my favorite dishes growing up as a child in the Philippines.  Like most Filipino dishes, there are many versions and variations to this dish but in my home, ground beef was always the base and it was always served with steamed white rice, fried plantains and topped with a fried egg.  To stay true to my #pff lifestyle and to make whole30 compliant, these are the substitutions I made...

Cauliflower rice in place of regular steamed rice
Grass Fed and organic ground beef for regular beef
Coconut and or avocado oil for frying and sautéing
Organic and free range eggs
I make sure that the tomato paste and the raisins have no added sugar in the ingredients

I've had many requests for my  recipe since posting this on FB.  I don't follow one so here is my best recollection of how I made this (last night). Here it #pff arroz a al Cubana.

2 lbs grass fed and organic ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 Tbsp coconut oil
4 Tbsp no sugar added tomato paste
1/2  cup no sugar added beef broth
1/2 cup no sugar added golden raisins
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp coconut oil and swirl to coat pan.  Add the onions, crushed red pepper and a pinch of salt  to the pan and sauté for about 3 min .  Add the garlic and stir for 30 sec until fragrant.

Add the sweet potatoes and red bell pepper, sauté for about 5 min.  Add the tomato paste and stir to combine for about 2 min. 

Crumble the ground beef into the pan with your hands or wooden spoon and saute until the beef and the sweet potatoes are cooked through.   Add the raisins and the beef broth. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated but not dry.  Salt and  pepper to taste.

*If Serving with Fried Plantains:
Peel and slice 2 ripe plantains to 1/8 of an inch thick
Heat a non - stick pan with about 1 cup avocado oil
Fry plantains until golden brown on both sides

*For Cauliflower Rice:
Here are a couple of cauliflower rice recipes to peruse.  You can find many on Goolge.

*Top with a perfectly cooked sunny side up if you desire. 
Enjoy!  It's breakfast meets dinner!

*Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of this recipe.

*I actually added minced celery to this recipe as I had some that needed to be used - it did not take away from the flavor but I typically don't add celery when I make this.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

To Paleo or Not to Paleo....While on Vacation

Wow- I just realized I have not had an entry in more than a month.  We came back from vacation on July 13 and I started another whole30 the next day which will end this Thursday Aug. 14.  So I did my mini experiment of introducing the forbidden 5, including alcohol, slowly at first as suggested by the Hartwig’s in their book “ It Starts with Food” .  Well of course I started with the alcohol as we waited for our flight at the United Club lounge.  I also enjoyed the perks of being in first class by having my glass of champagne (okay, I had 2) before takeoff and wine with dinner.  I skipped the bread basket and dessert during my meals and chose Paleo as best as I could.  So far so good, aside from a little tummy ache, I was able to tolerate the alcohol pretty well.
My first sip of wine after 30 days
Our first stop was London.  We stayed at the lovely Langham Hotel and for 2 days, my husband and I met up with one of my good friends from high school and her husband for an evening of catching up, reminiscing, laughter and cocktails at their club, Annabelle's.  We wandered the Picadilly area where we took in a Musical, The Book of Mormons, in the West End (Check that off my bucket list).   We visited a couple of Pubs to catch some world soccer fever and we got cultured by spending a few hours at the British Museum.   Yes I enjoyed more wine and champagne but pretty much stuck to a Paleo diet for my meals.  It was not until our last night in London during dinner at the fabulous Fat of the Land where I indulged in some cheese and dessert.  Boy did I enjoy and savor every bite, but I have to say, my tummy – not so much. 
Selfie with the dapper doorman at the Langham
On our way to meet some friends for a night out in London
With my good friend Aimee at Annabel's

a smooch from the Jedi Master
Pistachio Tart - Yummy

Our next stop was the lovely and very charming city of Brussels.  Did you know that Belgium produces over 3,400 beers and that Budweiser is not a beer – it is a chemical according to our cab driver.  Well then, time to sample beer, and sample we did!  At this point of our trip, I pretty much let go of Paleo altogether.   I sampled and enjoyed every culinary treat Brussels had to offer including a wide variety of beer.  I ate Belgian chocolates, I devoured Belgian and Brussels waffles – yes there is a difference and I quite prefer the Brussels waffle – lighter like a donut and sprinkled only with powdered sugar = yummy.  While not in season as the locals eat mussels in October, I was not going to be denied my moules et frite or mussels in Brussels with a side of fries.   How did I feel  after a no holds bar introduction of the forbidden 5 into my system which for the past 30 days was only being fed clean – for the most part not too badly.  I did suffer from a few minor headaches, probably from the alcohol.  I did not have any more tummy aches however, without giving TMI – I had to use the public restrooms and pay .50 cent euros each time in Brussels a lot!  I mean a lot!  My body was revolting to the not so healthy stuff I was feeding it and let's leave it at that.

Our first beer tasting in Brussels


Our final stop was the city of Dublin.  Friends have asked, “how was Dublin” and I respond with “It exceeded my expectations in a good way”.  Now my husband thinks, the city looked better at night.  While not as charming and picturesque as Brussels, the city was clean and I so loved the cascading hanging baskets of flowers that adorned the shops, pubs, homes and buildings in the city.  The Irish are just about the friendliest people ever and boy do they know how to party.  Our first morning in Dublin, we stopped in a pub called O'Donoghues, advertising a full Irish breakfast at 9:15 am.  We were told by the owner it was too early to serve breakfast but he would serve us a drink…go figure.  We had some of the most amazing meals here in Dublin. 

The Famous Temple Bar in Dublin

Amazing Risotto Appetizer at The Pig's Ear, Dublin

This was to die for!

While I had every intention to do my very best, I wasn't able to stick to a Paleo diet while on vacation.  I have no regrets eating my way through these cities… I am still a foodie after all.  I enjoyed every bite and every calorie but I also could not wait to get back and start another whole30 as I desperately needed to clean my act after being fueled by chocolate, waffles and beer among other things delicious.   Now that my second round is almost over, I will continue my #pff lifestyle with a sprinkling of whole30’s here and there…and should I find myself in a situation where I might indulge in a glass of fine wine or 2 or even some pasta at our favorite Italian jaunt, IL Pizzico – I will enjoy it without any guilt because I know I’ve fed my body enough good that a little infraction will do my body no harm.

Last Day in Dublin - Looking forward to another Whole30