Grilled Cuban Carne Asada

Happy New Year! As we advance into 2015, I know many of us have the goal to eat healthier and lose weight. The recipe I’m about to share with you today will help you on your weight loss journey and not impede your progress. I actually got it out of one of those Costco cookbooks they pass out for free in December during the holidays. I modified the recipe a bit (the original called for flank steak and I changed a few other ingredients here and there) and I have to say that the end result was amazing! Let’s get started.

Ingredients

Cuban Dry Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt

Cilantro Chimichurri sauce:

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or juice of one lemon
  • 1 bunch cilantro, rinsed
  • 1 dash crushed red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (I used one that had Pomegranate flavoring)
  • 1 tablespoon water

Carne asada:

  • 1 pound carne asada
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro sprigs
  • A few splashes of lemon juice or freshly squeezed lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

Cuban dry rub: in a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients. Set aside.

Cilantro chimichurri sauce: place all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.

Carne asada: using the Cuban dry rub, rub the pieces of carne asada on both side. Place the carne asada in the refrigerator while prepping the onions. Brush the sliced onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the rubbed carne asada on the grill and cook to the desired internal temperature. I used a George Foreman grill and grilled mine until well done for 9 minutes.

Remove from grill and let rest, tented with foil. Add the sliced seasoned onions in the grill. When the onions are tender, place in a mixing bowl. Add a few splashes of lemon juice (or squeeze some fresh lemon on top) to the onions, season with salt and pepper, and add some sprigs of cilantro; toss gently and set aside.

To serve, arrange the carne asada on a platter, scatter the warm grilled onions on top, drizzle with the cilantro chimichurri sauce, and garnish with some cilantro sprigs. I served mine with green beans on the side that I sauteed in a dab of butter, garlic, and salt. Yum!

Enjoy!

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Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay, I’m seriously in love with Danielle Walker’s cookbook! Since buying it, I’ve made a dozen of her recipes and each one keeps getting better!  When I saw her, “Real-Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies,” well, I knew I had to put it to the test.  Any recipe that has, “real-deal,” as part of it is just daring to be challenged!

You can find the recipe for the cookies here.  The verdict?  These are truly the real deal!  They turned out moist, incredibly soft, and fluffy!  My husband took a bite and asked,

“Are you sure these are gluten-free?  They taste like they have gluten in them!”

Needless to say, I made a batch of these last night and they are all gone today.  Next time I will need to double up the ingredients because these babies go fast!

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Cookie 1Cookie 2

Cookie 3

Tell me these cookies don’t look absolutely amazing!

On a side note: eating healthy has really changed my life for the better.  Before, I used to eat healthy because I knew it was the right thing to do but I didn’t really do it because I enjoyed it.  Now, though, I do it because I know I am putting only the best ingredients in my body and that realization alone makes me feel good.  Now, I truly enjoy making healthy dishes.  I really credit Paleo, the SCD, and eating gluten-free to me being able to drop all but 3 pounds of the weight I gained during my pregnancy, in less than 5 months (with very little exercise)!  Anyone that has a baby knows that trying to squeeze in gym time is hard but luckily, 80% of weight loss, in my opinion, has to do with your diet.  You can go to the gym all you want but if you’re not putting clean, healthy food into your body, it will be challenging to lose weight in the long run.

So, next time you’re at the office and you see donuts and cookies (not the real-deal chocolate chip ones), think twice before picking up those sugar-laden junk food items.  Instead, know that pretty much any “bad” food you see can be recreated into something healthy and delicious.  That’s why I’m so grateful for Danielle’s book — she’s recreated so many of my favorite dishes that I really don’t miss the junk food I used to eat.

Eat healthy and feel good about yourself!  It’s as simple as that.

Now, go bake some chocolate chip cookies.

Enjoy!

Paleo/Gluten-Free Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chips

What’s the best thing to do with bananas that are getting overripe? Make banana bread! That’s why I absolutely love banana bread — it gives me a way to get rid of my bananas while also enjoying an amazing and easy to make treat! This is another one of Danielle Walker’s recipes (yes, I’m on a roll here!) and once again, it did not disappoint! Words can’t even describe how incredible this turned out: super moist and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. You can find the recipe here. In the past two days, I’ve made two batches because it’s just that good. One thing I should mention: I didn’t have any apple cider vinegar, so I left it out, and it was still amazing. So, if you don’t have any, I wouldn’t worry about it, as it didn’t ruin the recipe.

Enjoy!

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Baked Sweet Potato Chips

When you go the gluten-free route, you will probably miss a lot of your favorite foods, but if you’re creative enough or know someone creative, you can relive all your favorite foods, again! This is another recipe out of Danielle Walker’s book that I tried, except I didn’t make her cilantro-serrano dipping sauce that the recipe called for because I was too lazy. Nevertheless, the baked sweet potato chips on their own are amazing, even without the sauce. Your house will be swirling with all sorts of delicious scents when you put these in the oven. Other things I did differently with this recipe: I left out the chili powder that the recipe called for, since I can’t stomach very spicy foods, and added crushed black pepper to it, instead. I sprinkled the chips with salt and pepper before putting them in the oven. I baked them on one baking sheet, instead of two, and broiled the last few minutes to make them crispy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean, with skins on
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (I substituted this for freshly crushed black pepper)

Preparation:

Use a mandolin or a very sharp knife to cut the potatoes into even 1/8 inch thick slices. Place the potatoes in a bowl, cover with ice water, and soak for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Rinse the chips and pat them dry. Toss them in the oil, then spread them in an even layer on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once. Sprinkle with salt and chili powder.

Enjoy this delicious and healthy treat!

Chips

Paleo/Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Thank you, all, for your patience, as I know I’ve been on a hiatus. My pregnancy ended and I now have a beautiful baby boy to show for it. We’ve gotten into somewhat of a routine now, so I can finally squeeze in some time to post recipes on here more often. Also, since I am no longer pregnant, I  can finally stomach gluten-free foods, again, and have been back on a gluten-free diet. I’m not longer strictly on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet anymore but have now broadened my diet to include anything gluten-free. I feel the gluten-free route is just healthier and overall, makes me feel at my best.

A few weeks ago I came across Danielle Walker’s gem of a book, Against All Grain. I knew that if I wanted to truly dedicate my lifestyle to a gluten-free one, that I had to make it as easy as possible on myself, and that meant having a book I could visit for recipes, instead of having to tap into my own creative mind to invent my own or do random Google searches to find recipes. Let me tell you, her book is worth every penny! This week I’ve made half a dozen of her recipes and each one keeps impressing me.

We’ve had some zucchini in our fridge for weeks now and for fear of it not going bad, I decided to make zucchini bread. I opened Danielle’s book and sure enough, she had a recipe in there for zucchini bread. Let me tell you, it’s seriously the most delicious, moistest zucchini bread I have EVER tried. I was completely floored at how heavenly it turned out! Anyone eating it would never in a million years guess it was gluten-free! My mom made it, as well, but used unsweetened applesauce, instead of the banana the recipe called for, and it definitely did not turn out well (she found it was undercooked after she sliced it, so she put it back in the oven, only for the slices to come out slightly charred.) So, if you’re going to make this recipe, I would suggest not substituting anything.

I’ve linked her recipe above for you all. The recipe in her book differs slightly because the book recipe says to pour the batter into a single 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan, which is what I did. If you’re going to use a single loaf pan, you’ll want to put it in the oven for 40 minutes. Also, I added 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips to my batter, as well as sprinkled a generous amount on top. Danielle’s recipe didn’t call for chocolate chips but how can you go wrong with chocolate? For those on the SCD, just leave the chocolate chips out.

Seriously, go try this bread, and if you’ve dedicated your lifestyle to gluten-free, like me, I highly recommend you buy Danielle’s book. You won’t regret it.

Enjoy!

zuc 1 zuc 2 zuc 3

Chicken Cauliflower Fried Rice

Last night I was craving something healthy (I never thought the day would come in my pregnancy when I would say that!), so I decided to spruce up an old classic. I took my original Cauliflower Fried Rice recipe, added some chicken to it, and tweaked some of the ingredients. Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 lbs. lean chicken breasts, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (omit for Specific Carbohydrate Diet)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (omit for Specific Carbohydrate Diet)
  • Salt, to taste (I like using Himalayan Pink Salt that you can freshly grind yourself; I feel it tastes more mild than other salts)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preparation:

For this part, you can refer to my original post, as I pretty much prepared it in the same way, except this time, I sautéed the garlic last. So, after cooking your red onions, add your green onions, then add your garlic. Since garlic burns quickly, I felt it would be best to hold off on cooking it until the end.

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I also sautéed the chicken in a separate pan for about 15 minutes until it turned golden brown. Then, I added the chicken and eggs to the cauliflower fried rice last, after I had added the final two ingredients of soy and Worcestershire sauces.

Here is the finished product!

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The end result was a delicious, satisfying, and completely guiltless meal. The chicken was a nice touch, as the protein helped keep me full longer than usual. And, I have to add that even if you don’t like cauliflower, you will like this dish because once you sauté the cauliflower, there is no real cauliflower taste. The cauliflower  acts as a nice substitution for rice without the calories.

Bon appétit!

Breakfast Smoothies

I’ve been on a hiatus but I’m back! While I love the Specific Carb Diet and everything it stands for, I have to admit that I haven’t been following it religiously these past 6 months. The reason is that I’m pregnant (yay!) and as most pregnant women can vouch, the thought of most meat dishes still repulse me. In fact, being pregnant has made me crave all those starchy carbs that the SCD is not about, hence, my lack of posts on here lately. But, I am not sweating it. If I can’t give in to my indulgences while pregnant, then why can I? After all, I am eating for two now, right? 🙂

I do have a few yummy smoothie recipes for you all, though. The first one is SCD legal, while the second one is not, since chocolate is not legal on the SCD. Let’s jump right into it!

Smoothie #1 (SCD Legal)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • A handful of frozen mixed berries
  • A handful of frozen pineapple chunks
  • A handful of fresh spinach
  • 1 banana
  • A splash of 100% orange juice
  • A drizzle of honey

Preparation:

Blend all ingredients together, pour into a glass, and enjoy!

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Smoothie #2 (Non-SCD Legal)

Now this second smoothie is the non-SCD legal one, as I’ve pointed out above. I was at Trader Joe’s the other day and decided to get their chocolate almond milk.

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Its consistency is smooth and the drink itself tastes no different than regular chocolate milk; you can’t even detect any trace of almonds in its taste. I initially wanted to add bananas to this smoothie but since we just ran out, I had to get a little creative.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chocolate almond milk
  • 4 frozen strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon all-natural peanut butter
  • A handful of frozen mixed berries
  • A few ice cubes

Preparation:

Blend the first four ingredients together, adding the ice cubes at the end. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

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What I liked most about this smoothie is that it doesn’t even taste like it’s supposed to be good for you — instead, it tastes chocolatey, peanut buttery, and downright delicious! An added bonus is that it really is healthy for you, though it’s not SCD legal.

Now that I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy, I can actually stomach a lot of things I wasn’t able to in the beginning, so I hope to post more SCD recipes in the near future. I want to thank each of you for being faithful subscribers; I really do appreciate all of you stopping by, leaving me comments, and checking my page out, though I know my updates have not been frequent.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year! Cheers to a great 2014!