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A Tasty Remedy: February 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Orange Beef with Fried Cabbage Noodles (aka Caboodles)

While you can eat mostly paleo while dining out, one style of cuisine continues to be difficult to work with.  Chinese food is probably one of the hardest to control what ingredients go into your dishes.  So many sauces!  You can still fulfill your cravings for take-out by making it at home.  Using some very familiar ingredients, combined with a few you may not have used before, you can create some awesome take-out inspired meals. 

Let me introduce to you some clean ingredients you may not be familiar with.  If this isn't your first paleo rodeo, feel free to drop down to my recipe for Orange Beef and Fried Cabbage Noodles (aka Caboodles).  Side note: I really thought I was being creative with the term “caboodles.”  Turns out I wasn't the first to come up with this.  Guess I’m not a genius after all.

Coconut Oil
This oil has a high smoke point so it's a great oil to use for cooking at high heat.  It's a very stable oil as well, meaning it will not oxidize as easily as some other oils.  Look for organic, virgin, unrefined brands.  Trader Joe's, Artisana and Tropical Traditions are all great.  I even use coconut oil as a skin moisturizer!  

Coconut Aminos
We all know soy sauce and its heavy use, along with its pal, monosodium glutamate (MSG).  As someone that suffers from chronic inflammation, I avoid both as much as possible.  Coconut aminos are an excellent replacement for soy sauce, which comes from the sap of coconut blossoms.  I use Coconut Secret brand. You can buy it from Amazon (here), or check out your local Whole Foods.  Look for coconut aminos that are organic, GMO-free, gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free.  

Fish Sauce
This may not sound appealing to you, but trust that this ingredient will provide your dishes with a rich flavor.  I use Red Boat brand, which I found at Whole Foods.  It can also be purchased online (here).  Fish sauce is made from anchovies and salt.  Simple, simple.  Red Boat does not contain any added preservatives, MSG or water.  If you find a different brand, just be sure to check the ingredients list.

Arrowroot Powder
Another easy find at Whole Foods or Central Market’s bulk section.  This is your cornstarch replacement that will thicken your sauce and leave it with a glossy finish.

Enough with the learning, let’s get on to the goods!

Orange Beef and Fried 
Cabbage Noodles (aka Caboodles)

Orange Beef
Prep: 10 minutes  Cook: 10 minutes


1 lb sirloin steak, sliced into 1/4” thick strips
2 tbsp coconut oil
Salt & pepper

1 cup water
Juice from 1 orange (about ½ cup)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
½ tsp fresh grated ginger (ground ginger works as well)
Zest from 1 orange, plus more for garnish
¼ cup coconut aminos
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
A few dashes of chili flakes

  1. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk together.  Heat the sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens and begins to look glossy.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium high heat. 
  3. Salt and pepper the steak, and add to the pan.
  4. Cook for approximately 5 minutes until browned and cooked to your liking. 
  5. Add half of the orange sauce to the pan with the meat and toss to coat evenly.
  6. Serve over a bed of fried caboodles and drizzle the remaining sauce over the top.  Garnish with orange zest, if desired.
Serves: 2

Fried Cabbage Noodles (aka Caboodles)
Prep: 10 minutes  Cook: 25 minutes


2 tbsp coconut oil
1 head of cabbage
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp coconut aminos
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp fish sauce

  1. Create your cabbage noodles “caboodles” by cutting the head of cabbage, root side down, in half.  Working with one half at a time, lay the cabbage flat side down.  Starting on one end, with the root side facing away from you, cut ½” slices into the cabbage.  Do not cut all the way to the back where the root end is.  This will help hold the cabbage together while you slice.  Once you have finished slicing, cut the root end off, and discard any hard, thick pieces.  Repeat this with the second half of cabbage. 
  2. In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil on medium heat and add the minced garlic. 
  3. Once the garlic starts to release its aroma, add the cabbage to the pan and cook down, for approximately 20 minutes.  Toss the cabbage occasionally to cook evenly.
  4. Once the cabbage has softened and looks slightly translucent, add the remaining ingredients to the pan and toss the cabbage in the sauce to coat evenly.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium high and cook for an additional 5 minutes, allowing the edges of the cabbage to brown.  
Serves: 2



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Monday, February 17, 2014

Gelatin: The Jiggly Little Superfood

I spent most of last week sneezing, coughing and in general, feeling icky.  Colds:  They never come at a convenient time. 

When I’m sick, I think of a big bowl of chicken soup.   It’s supposed to be good for us, right?  But, why?  For most people, including myself, having a bowl of soup only involved opening a can and dumping the contents into a pot to heat up.  So what’s healthy about that?  Well… nothing really.  That idea of chicken soup helping you recover from the common cold, came from a time when soup didn't come in a can, but was made from scratch in the kitchen. 

Chicken soup made with homemade bone broth.
Bone broth is really what makes that soup so healthy.   Making broth, using traditional methods, provides us with minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, and other trace minerals, as well as gelatin. We’re not talking about that little blue box of flavored powder, people.  We’re talking about that substance made from the connective tissue of animal meats.  Sorry, that didn't sound super appealing. 

Gelatin contains half of the 18 essential amino acids that are needed for survival.  The amino acid glycine, found in gelatin, supports the liver in removing toxins from our system.  It also improves digestion by boosting gastric juices and acids which are necessary for many digestive functions, including digesting protein.  Lysine, which is also found in gelatin, aids in the absorption of calcium and helps build muscle. 

Here are a few more awesome benefits of gelatin:
  • Improves digestion
  • Can help heal your gut
  • Promotes relaxation and a good night’s sleep
  • Helps joint recovery (this was a big selling point for me!)
  • Can help improve cellulite and tighten loose skin
  • Supports skin, hair and nail growth
You can get these benefits from your home-made bone broth (I follow this recipe) or gelatin from grass-fed cows. 

I use Great Lakes Kosher Unflavored Gelatin, from grass-fed cows.  If you want to make gummy snacks, you’ll want to use the red canister (here).  If you prefer to add your gelatin to smoothies, teas, or other beverages, you’ll want to use the green canister (here).  This one will not gel when it mixes with liquid.

Instead of reaching for that blue box on the shelf in the grocery store, consider changing it out for a healthier option.

Cranberry-Orange Gummies

Prep/Cook: 20 minutes  Chill: 1 hour

1 cup whole cranberries (fresh or frozen)
½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice (I had Cara Cara oranges on hand, so that’s what I used)
½ cup water
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp orange zest
4 Tbsp gelatin (this one)
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cranberries, orange juice, water, and maple syrup, and heat until the berries open and start to release their juices.   Stir occasionally.  Do not let the mixture boil.
  2. Remove from heat, and stir in the orange zest.
  3. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a blender and blend until smooth. 
  4. Transfer to a medium bowl or large Pyrex measuring glass.
  5. Whisk in the gelatin, one tablespoon at a time, until dissolved.  (Note: you could add the gelatin in the blender and mix that way, but I've found that the gummies come out frothier that way.)  
  6. Pour the gummy mixture into an 8x8 baking dish or silicon forms and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.  I used these cute little men for my gummies.  If you’re having a bad day, just bite off their heads.  Heal your gut while you get out a little aggression.  That's multitasking.




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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Beef and Sweets Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I think we must have about 80 pounds of ground beef in our freezer (and countless pounds of other cuts).  This last Fall, we purchased half a cow from a 4-H and FFA auction.  We liked the idea of supporting a local kid who was raising good food the right way.  

Having what seems to be a never ending supply of ground beef has given me a challenge to come up with different uses for it.  As much as I love a good burger, I need some variety. 

Beef and Sweets Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms


1 lb ground beef
1 medium sweet potato, shredded
1/2 large onion (or 1 small onion), diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 - 3/4 tsp adobo seasoning (depending on your spice tolerance)
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
4 portobello mushroom caps, stems removed


1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the diced onion and minced garlic.
3.  When the meat is almost done, add in the grated sweet potatoes, adobo seasoning and oregano.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until the meat is done and the sweet potatoes are tender.
4.  Fill each mushroom cap with the meat mixture and place in a shallow baking dish.  
5.  Bake for 15 - 18 minutes, or until the mushrooms have softened, and the meat mixture has browned on top.

Note:  If you don't happen to have 80 pounds of ground beef in your freezer, ground pork or turkey would also work well.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Welcome to A Tasty Remedy!

Hi!  My name is Suzie, and I have an autoimmune disease.  No, I don’t normally introduce myself that way.  If you knew how much it was top of mind for me though, you wouldn’t be surprised if I did!  I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2011, following a stressful and emotional divorce in 2010.  (Is there such thing as a non-stressful divorce?)  After having my life turned upside down; moving out of my house and in with my parents (yikes!), losing family and friends, my dog, and questioning everything about my past and my potential future, my overall health began to decline. 

Rewind back to my teen years, and I don’t remember a time when I didn’t hurt somewhere in my body.  My ankles, hips, wrists, elbows…  There was always an excuse for the pain.  I played the violin daily, so that was the “reason” for the wrist and elbow pain.  I rode horses daily, so that was the “reason” for my ankle and hip pain.  Oh and my wrists and elbows probably hurt from that, too.  I was diagnosed with tendonitis and started massage therapy once a week.  Although that was pretty nice, it didn’t fully help any of my pain.  So, I learned to ignore it.  Put it to the back of mind and pushed through. 

Fast forward to my twenties and I was tired.  All. The. Time.  I felt lazy.  I’m sure my boyfriend, turned husband, thought I was lazy as well.  A full Saturday of running errands and I didn’t want to move for the rest of the night.  Weeknights on the couch, cuddled up with my chocolate lab were what I looked forward to daily.  And the pain continued, with at least the excuse of riding horses to be the blame.  I was unhappy and I hurt.

My divorce was finalized in August of 2010 and I felt like I could really start over.  I continued to show my horse, Dude, traveled with friends, and bought a new home for me and my cat, Toby.  Following a horse show that fall, I began to have a lot of pain in my fingers.  I shrugged it off like I had for years, but when the bruising started, I knew something was up.  A trip to my doctor’s office and some blood tests later, I learned I had some of the markers for Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I didn’t even know what that was!  I was referred to a specialist and was on my way to heavy medication, and a lot more pain. 

I had days that I dreaded getting out of bed.  I had days that holding a pencil at work, or using the mouse was painful.  Walking from my desk to the restroom or anywhere else in the office was painful as well.  Some days I couldn’t raise my arm away from my body.   It took a major kick in the butt to push me to do something about this.  I was tired of the medication.  It improved my joint pain, but I didn’t feel healthy.  Then a friend introduced me to the Paleo diet.  To be honest, I was very skeptical at first.  It went against everything I’d been told was “healthy” for my whole life.  My normal diet of low fat, whole grains and turkey bacon became a thing of the past.

I dipped my toes in, making small changes.  I noticed I was starting to feel better!  It didn’t take me as long in the morning to loosen up, my joints weren’t as puffy or painful, and my energy level was increasing.  I could go a whole day without needing a nap!  Oh and the best part of all, my RA factor decreased by 9 points!  I began to decrease my medication and continued to eat better.  My boyfriend, now fiancé, was incredibly supportive along the way and noticed these positive changes in me as well.  Maybe medication was a band aid and food was the real remedy!


I’m not perfect with this whole clean eating thing, and I don’t know if I ever will be.  I’m still learning!  What I do know is that I’m making positive changes to improving my health and overall wellbeing.  I read whatever clean eating nutrition books I can get my hands on, and trust me, there are a lot out there.  Changing my diet has rekindled my love for cooking, too!  It’s exciting to get in the kitchen and create something delicious that I don’t feel guilty about eating!

Well, that was a lot about me!  Let’s get to why we’re here.  I want to provide you with healthy and delicious meals, that are easy to prepare for you and your family.  Along the way, I also hope to share what I have learned from many of the wonderful resources out there in the Paleo community.  So that’s what I plan to do for you.  What will you do for me?  It’s pretty simple on your end.  If you show up, I’ll keep at this!  You will help keep me motivated in this journey that’s not always a smooth path.  Sometimes a little accountability really does the trick! 

Thank you for being here!

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