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Paleo Slow Cooker Carnitas

Paleo Slow Cooker Carnitas

I swear I have been meaning to do something with a pork shoulder for six months, and I just now got around to it. Seriously. And I really shouldn’t have waited – this super simple dish couldn’t have been easier, and it was delish to boot! I love that it makes a ton of super versatile meat – you can throw it onto romaine leaves for some gluten-free tacos, toss it into a frittata, or just chow it with some fresh avocado. Check out the recipe after the jump!

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TEST DRIVE: Bon Appetit’s Proscuitto-Wrapped Pork Loin with Roasted Apples

So, I was perusing my mounds of cooking magazines a few weeks ago and ran across this beauty. (BTW, I may have a problem… So. Many. Magazines.) It’s gorgeous, impressive, wonderfully Paleo, and more than a little intimidating.  For several weeks, it stayed at the back of my mind – I figured I’d wait for a dinner party or even Thanksgiving to try it out, but on Friday Central Market was running a special on pork tenderloins, so I figured I’d give it a try. All by myself.

What I didn’t realize when I bought all the supplies (rookie mistake = not THOROUGHLY reading the instructions before shopping), is that I would actually need to do a little butchery to make this happen.  As it turns out, it was a lot easier than I thought… I’m toying with the idea of a video instructional – anyone interested?

I didn’t really alter the recipe at all – it’s pretty stinking amazing to start with, so check it out on

RECIPE: Bon Appetit Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Loin with Roasted Apples

So, here’s a little photo account of the preparation. I’ll say up front that I really liked how this dish turned out… It’s a teensy bit complicated, but the flavors are lovely and you can’t beat the presentation. You can even make it a day ahead and then roast just before your dinner… perfect!

Let’s dig in… I’m a huge proponent of the mise en place style of cooking (French for “everything in place”). Especially with a dish with lots of components, I find it super helpful to get all my ingredients prepped and separated into individual containers. This can also help avoid any surprises mid-recipe when you realized that you totally forgot to buy mushrooms. Here’s my mise en place setup for this recipe:

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Boiled and Sauteed Fresh Lobster

One seriously gorgeous cooked lobster.

As you all know, I recently made the leap into true carnivore-dom (yep, I’m totally calling that a word) by killing, cooking and eating my dinner for the first time: lobster! As it turns out, the cooking part of the meal was quite straightforward (aside from placing the live, moving lobster in the water – that one got my heart pounding a little)… if you can boil water, you can cook a lobster.   The bigger challenge is getting all that delicious meat OUT of the lobster’s shell so you can actually enjoy it.  Luckily, my brother Andy was on hand to do the dirty work of cracking shells and harvesting the meat.  Poor guy had no idea how much work he was getting into!

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How Lobster Made an Honest Carnivore of Me…

Or, How I Killed and Cooked My Own Dinner.

Our seriously intimidating 2.5 pound live lobster.

I am a carnivore.  I love meat… grilled, cured, raw, stir-fried, dried, whatever. I’m a huge fan of all pork products, from bacon to jamon to pork belly to chops. Seafood? Yep. Poultry? Yep. I love it all, and I’ve eaten loads of it over the years, giving little to no thought about where that yummy meat was coming from.  As long as it tasted good, I wasn’t bothered.  Don’t get me wrong, I love animals and my dog, Piggy, is basically a full member of the family. That said, I’ve always been able to disassociate my love for animals with my love for eating them. I do truly believe that there is a natural order of things and that our bodies crave animal proteins to function at our very best.

Anyhoo, after years of guilt-free animal consumption, this meat-loving gal met the man of her dreams, and he turned out to be… (gasp!) a vegetarian. Who’d have thought I’d end up marrying my food opposite? Early on, P.J. and I found that we could happily co-exist – a carnivore and a vegetarian living in peace, albeit mostly on pasta at the time. Lately, as a result of P.J.’s influence and my transition to Paleo, I’ve been giving the origins of my food a lot more thought. I’ve been exposed to a whole new way of looking at meat – responsible, sustainable farming practices and cruelty-free animal husbandry. We visit the Austin Farmers Market every Saturday to stock up on grass-fed beef and pork, fresh eggs from happy pastured chickens, and loads of locally grown veggies.  When we eat out, we find ourselves gravitating to boutique restaurants serving locally grown and raised fare. It’s been a gradual evolution, and an important one.

On our recent trip to Martha’s Vineyard, while I was snarfing down a silly amount of lobster over three days, it occurred to me that I’d never actually killed my dinner myself. Ever. I can’t even recall cooking a lake fish that I caught as a child (this is probably mostly due to the fact that I was an AWFUL fisherman… fisherwoman?).  With such easy access to beautifully butchered and prepared meats, I’ve found it to be so easy to insulate myself from the realities of eating animal meat. It occurred to me on this trip that I should, at least once, do the deed myself… I needed to kill and eat my dinner. Myself. I see it really as an act of respect for the animals we consume… if I’m not “man” enough to kill the thing I’m eating, well then maybe I shouldn’t be eating it.  Now, I’m not advocating regular at-home butchery for everyone, but I think there’s something important and elemental about respecting our meat enough to be the one to kill it.

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Sous Vide Herbed Pork Chops

Tender, Juicy Sous Vide Pork Chops

I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this recipe… As you know, I got my very own SousVide Supreme for my birthday in July – each new recipe is an experiment! I’d been eyeing the beautiful bone-in pork chops at the Central Market meat counter, and I figured they’d make a good 2nd dish to try out (first dish was a ribeye… still need to work on that one). Pork can be a bit of a challenge to cook without the right tools – it’s super easy to dry it out, and there are few things that I like less than a dried-out pork chop. Ugh. So, I did a little hunting around and ran across a Williams Sonoma recipe that I’ve adapted for the blog… Check it out after the jump!

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Every Day Shredded Chicken

Every Day Shredded Chicken

For many years, I’ve been nervous about cooking chicken, and I’m not entirely sure why.  I really like chicken (especially dark meat, not gonna lie), and I ate loads of it growing up (thanks, Mom!).  Since I’m working on adding some great easy, tasty proteins to my weekly menu, a roasted chicken that can be added to just about anything seemed like a good thing to try.  This one’s good solo, but it can also be a salad topper, a frittata protein, whatever!

This is a super-easy recipe that will give you several servings of protein to use at will during the week… enjoy!

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My Favorite Roasted Turkey Breast

Feeding my turkey addiction: Roasted Turkey Breast

I LOVE the house-made Traditional Roasted Turkey Breast at Central Market. They actually give me funny looks at the deli counter when I ask for four pounds of this stuff.  It’s just a simple roasted turkey breast seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  I got a wild hair this week to try roasting my own turkey breast. My only prior experience with roasting turkey was Thanksgiving a few years ago… it involved a 5-gallon brining bag filled with seasoned salt water and turkey juice that ended up all over my kitchen floor.  Although I did have to thoroughly disinfect my floor, my kitchen did smell wonderfully of rosemary for several days… 😉  Needless to say, it was time to re-tackle the turkey.

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Pan-Seared and Roasted Bone-In Pork Chops

A Towering Stack of Simple, Tasty Bone-In Pork Chops

Time for a new protein! I wrote recently that I’ve always been intimidated by cooking steak. As it turns out, same goes for pork chops. I’ve had some dry, icky pork chops over the years, and I was also nervous about under-cooking the pork (as we know, you definitely don’t want to under-cook your pork…). With the recent changes in cooking guidelines for pork and the fact that I’ve made beef filets for the last 4 of 5 meals I’ve cooked for friends/family, I figured it was time to try the pork chop.

I REALLY enjoyed these pork chops, and they were super easy to make. This is going to become a regular weeknight protein for me.

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Throwing a Fab Paleo Dinner Party for Non-Paleo Friends

The Table Setting: Fun Linens, Tealights, and White Hydrangea Blooms in Short Water Glasses

I LOVE a good dinner party.  Seriously.  I honestly can’t imagine what I enjoy more on a weekend night than having friends in our home, eating food we’ve prepared, drinking good wine, and having a great time. Pre-Paleo, this was a pretty regular occurrence: whether it was hors d’oeuvres for 30 for my husband’s birthday or an intimate multi-course meal, I reveled in cooking for others. (We’ll just ignore the fact that my typical menus included bread-and-cheese trays, fried risotto balls, Italian pasta with cream sauce, and loads of gluten-rich baked goods. No one needs to know… it’s our little secret.)

In fact, one of my original reasons for resisting the change to a Paleo lifestyle was that I wasn’t sure I could still create delicious, gourmet food that was both Paleo and appetizing to our guests.  I couldn’t have been more off-base!  The Paleo lifestyle has such an incredible range of possibilities for creating incredible food, and I’m beyond excited to keep experimenting.

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Bacon-Wrapped Mini Paleo Meatloaf

Bacon-Wrapped Mini Paleo Meatloaf

I grew up loving my mom’s meatloaf. Really!  I have no problem with the idea of multiple ground meats mixed together with some veggies and tomato sauce and baked to perfection. The only way I can see making it better is to cut the gluten and add bacon (words for life, eh?). Most recently I tried the Seriously Tasty Paleo Meatloaf over at – loved it and wanted to make it my own.

So, here is my take on some fun mini-meatloafs that would be great for a casual get-together or family meal… and everyone gets their own!  I’ve opted to include veggies directly in the loaf in this recipe, but if you’ve got persnickety young ones, it tastes great without ’em, too.

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