Sesame Stir Fry with Crispy Garlic (Primal/Paleo)

These vegetables are just crisp tender, and lightly flavored enough to taste fresh while perfectly complimenting my Asian Spiced Chicken. The crisp garlic gives a little more character than the average stir fry, making the meal feel more indulgent than just a mess of properly cooked vegetables.

Sesame Stir Fry with Crispy Garlic
primal / paleo / grain-free / gluten-free
Yield: 2 servings

2T sesame oil, divided
8 large brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/2 onion, 1/4in crescent slices
2 carrots, peeled and 1/4in bias slices
2 stalks celery, 1/2in bias slices
1T cooking fat of choice
1c broccoli florets, half dollar size
One handful green beans, trimmed
1t coconut aminos
4 cloves garlic, minced
2t sesame seeds

Heat your wok over medium heat. Add 1T of the sesame oil. Once hot and rippling, place the brussel sprout halves cut side down. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, until the brussel sprouts are browned and beginning to soften. Remove the brussel sprouts. 

To the onion add the carrots and celery. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, until beginning to purge their water, then add the 1T cooking fat, broccoli, and green beans. Stir often, and continue cooking until the vegetables are crisp tender. Add the coconut aminos, toss, and add the vegetables to the brussel sprouts off the heat.

Drop the heat to low, add the remaining sesame oil to the wok along with the minced garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic becomes golden and crisp but not bitter and black. It should only take a few minutes depending on your stove top. Plate the vegetables and top with the crispy garlic and sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy.


Asian Spiced Chicken (Primal/Paleo)

The flavors here are light, balanced, and fresh. The chicken is succulent, tender, and flavorful, with a crisp skin. This served alongside my Sesame Stir Fry is a meal quick enough for a busy weeknight, but lovely enough to be craved.

Asian Spiced Chicken
primal / paleo / grain-free / gluten-free / egg-free
Yield: 2 servings

4 chicken drumsticks
3T rice wine vinegar
1T coconut aminos
1T sesame oil
2T olive oil
1/4t fish sauce
1t honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
1t ginger, fresh and minced
1t sriracha, homemade for strict primal/paleo
1/2t garlic powder
1/2t sea salt
1t sesame seeds

Rinse and pat dry the chicken drumsticks. Place into a zip top bag and pour the rest of the ingredients over. Mix around so the marinade distributes evenly over the chicken and place in a shallow container. Let marinate for at least a few hours, or overnight, flipping once.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pour the chicken and marinade into an ovensafe dish and arrange the chicken so that the side with the most skin is facing upwards. Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees; halfway through baking, baste with juices. Let rest for 10 minutes before eating. Top with sesame seeds and enjoy.


The Many Uses of Coconut Oil

To get geared up for a giveaway I thought I'd share the many ways we use coconut oil in my house. I usually buy a huge container at once, then divide it up to have a jar for moisturizing downstairs, a larger jar for multipurpose use upstairs, and the remainder in the kitchen. I also put the empty tubs in the bathroom for getting the last bits out with my hands for moisturizing. We started using coconut oil years and years ago, and I've since found more and more uses for it. It is my go to!

-Baking (Morning Glory Muffins!)
-Roasting (Roasted Sausage and Root Vegetables!)
-Supplemental: By the spoonful, or a tablespoon in your smoothie, coffee, or tea
-Dressings and marinades

Around the House
-Condition leather: I use on my leather braid bracelets, and some leather shoes (test first!)
-Seasoning cast iron
-Moisturizing wood cutting boards
-To treat cooking burns with lavender (this is under first aid, too, but we keep both in the kitchen for immediate treatment of burns)
-Remove sticky stuff (adhesive, labels, glue, etc) with DIY Gunk Remover

Personal Care
-Shaving cream
-After shave lotion
-Oil Cleansing Method or as a facial moisturizer, mask, or intensive moisturizing treatment
-Make up remover
-Deodorant: Mix with baking soda and essential oils
-Lip balm
-Sunscreen: Naturally SPF 4 or in homemade sunscreen
-Tanning oil
-Baths: Add 1/4c coconut oil, 1/4c baking soda, 1/4c epsom salt and essential oils
-Moisturizer: Using clean hands, grab a chunk and let it melt between your hands to apply anywhere on the body
-Cuticle care: Rub into cuticles and on nails nightly for softer cuticles, and stronger, longer nails
-Hair mask: Melt about 1/4 c (my hair is thick!) and add 5-7 drops of tea tree oil essential oil (based on your sensitivity), 2-3 drops rosemary essential oil, and 2-3 drops lavender essential oil in a squeeze bottle. Comb through the hair, massage in, wrap your hair in saran wrap, and let sit overnight. Wash as normal, twice, and lightly condition the next day. Repeat weekly until hair and scalp are at a good moisture level, then monthly thereafter.
-Hair styling: Apply a very small amount in your palm, then use your fingers to tame fly aways, frizzy hair, or split ends.
-Toothpaste: Equal parts coconut oil and baking soda, a little liquid stevia, and some peppermint essential oil
-Oil pulling
-On rough feet: Soak feet in warm water with epsom salt, pumice any rough spots, apply coconut oil liberally, put on thick socks, and sleep. Smooth feet in the morning!
-Treating psoriasis or eczema
-Bug repellant: Mixed with mint and rosemary essential oils and applied to body

First Aid
-Cuts: Apply with lavender essential oil
-Help heal ear infections
-Insect bites (mosquitos)
-Burns: Apply with lavender essential oil
-Sunburns: Apply washcloths soaked in cold strong black tea to the affected area for 10 minutes, remove and let the skin dry to the touch, then apply coconut oil and lavender essential oil
-Cold sores: Apply directly and use in conjunction with tea tree essential oil and/or geranium essential oil

Pet Care
-Supplement: I put a small amount in with our cat's food
-Rub on cat's paws to help with hairballs
-Skin issues

What else do you use coconut oil for?


Barbecue Pork and Beans in the Slow Cooker (Practically Primal/Paleo)

Technically speaking, legumes aren't "primal" or "paleo" (carbs, phytates, lectin, gut issues and all that) but, to quote myself in my Who I Am page:
Sometimes we don't eat 100% primal/paleo, so please take your "but THAT isn't paleo!" elsewhere. Just love here... :)
More importantly, legumes are a-ok with me every once in a while when prepared properly (rinsing, soaking, prolonged cooking, sprouting and/or fermenting). That said, if you choose not to, at any time, let any legume enter your body, then go ahead and skip them in the following recipe. You can supplement with extra vegetables, or just continue on! Either way, this is a lovely, simple, flavorful and versatile slow cooker meal.

Steaming bowl of barbecue pork and beans

Barbecue Pork and Beans 
primal option / paleo option / grain-free
Source: Adapted from Art of the Slow Cooker
Yield: 6-8 servings

1c dried beans: white, pinto, kidney, or mixture
2lb boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1in cubes
3t spice rub, recipe following or a southwest style rub of choice
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, 1/2in dice
2 carrots, 1/2in dice
1 celery rib, 1/2in slice
3c bone broth
1/2c barbecue sauce, recipe following or one of choice

Spice rub
1.5T coarse sea salt, decrease if using fine salt
2T paprika
2T honey
1T chile powder
1t cumin
1/2t freshly ground black pepper

Barbecue sauce
1/3c primal ketchup
3T grainy dijon mustard
3T honey
1t hot sauce
1/2t freshly ground black pepper

24-36 hours before the meal will be served, put the beans in a bowl, cover with at least 3 inches of water, add 1T apple cider vinegar, and let soak for 12-24 hours (you will want them to be done soaking on the morning you are preparing the meal for slow cooking). At this time, you can also cube the meat and rub with 2t of the spice rub, wrap, and refrigerate. If you can, rinse the beans and add new water and apple cider vinegar once to twice during the soaking process.

On the morning of, cook the bacon in a large deep cast iron skillet over medium-low, until the fat renders from the meat and coats the skillet. Remove the bacon and transfer to the slow cooker. In the same skillet, over medium-high heat, brown the pork in the fat in two to three batches depending on the size of your skillet. Transfer to the slow cooker.

Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the skillet and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining teaspoon of spice rub as well as the tapioca flour, and stir to coat. Slowly add in the broth, stir, and simmer until slightly thickened. Add the barbecue sauce, as well as the tomatoes with their liquid, and add to the slow cooker with the meat. 

Drain the beans and rinse well. Add to the slow cooker, give everything a stir, and cook for 8-10 hours on low. Stir, serve, and enjoy! 

Barbecue pork and soaked beans in the slow cooker, exclude beans for strict paleo