Pot Roast: An Oldie but a Goodie

3 01 2014

An oldie but a goodie…. I had a 4 pound roast in the freezer and knew what sort of day I was in for; super cold, mega-hard Spinning at noon, Yoga this morning, and a husband that has a crazy cold. Not to mention it is change the sheet night.. Friday is my favourite sleep of the week when the sheets are pressed, the feather bed is fluffed and everything is soft and new. I couldn’t allow dinner prep to infringe on my sheet night.

I knew I needed an easy ready-when-I-got-home meal. I love this balsamic onion pot roast recipe, so much so I am re-posting it for all those who may have missed it the first time.
Am I a jerk for re-posting a recipe? Possibly. I get a lot of questions about what we eat on a normal day. This is normal for us.. jerky or not.

This roast can be done in a dutch oven all day, or in a crock pot… up to you. All I know is that it is paleo, and when accompanied with some roasted Brussels sprouts, it is a pretty fabulous after work meal. People need to hear me when I say it took about 10 minutes to throw this together this morning. I browned the meat when I was drinking my protein coffee, threw in the onions and sauce, and walked away. Eating well isnt about mega planning, but it does mean you need to think about dinner before you roll into the house after work.

The leftovers have been shredded and we are using tomorrow to make Topopo salad… which happens to be one of my favourite Mexican dishes. Hispanic food that translates into Volcano salad. Just awesome especially for a geologist. Look for that post coming soon…
Onto the recipe.. so nice, that I had to repeat it twice *i am such a jerk*

Onion Balsamic Pot Roast

2 lbs of beef, cut is up to you
1 large sweet onion, cut in strips

8 ounces of tomatoe sauce
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of water
2 tbsp white wine OR white wine vinegar

2 tbsp of coconut oil or FOC

Seasonings: smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper

So I did this in a dutch oven on the stove, but you could easily do this in a crock pot. Throw in your coconut oil-fat of choice. Get out your meat and rub the meat with above spices. Wait until fat is hot and then sear each side of the meat. about 3 to 4 minutes per side, until completely browned. Take out of pot.

Whatever vessel you are using to cook this in, layer the cut up onions at the bottom of the pan. Add the meat sitting on top of onions like so.

Mix the water, vinegars, and tomatoe sauce together and pour over the beef and onions. If you are using the same pot as you used to brown, then make sure all those browned flavoured bits at the bottom of the pan get worked in.

Either set your crock to low, or pop the lid onto your dutch oven on medium stovetop for 6 to 8 hours, flipping the roast once if you can. Take roast out, and boil down the liquid to use as a gravy OR add a tablespoon of potato starch if you need/want to thicken it up. SO SO DELICIOUS


2014 Goal: To Meet Mr. LottoMax

2 01 2014

I had an up and down year in 2013 that tested my resolve to put myself first and to not let life throw me into a whirlpool that forced me to keep my head above water.
After spending time with family over the holidays, taking a break from work, and looking back on my year, I have come to the conclusion that “working” Katherine dominated 2013. Once I step away from my daily career job, I put on various other “work” hats on my ‘off’ hours. I haven’t taken a night off to just watch TV, or sat through an entire movie, read a book or started a new knitting project in 2013. I moved away from blogging because people expected it from me, which sucked the fun out of it.
This past weekend just before the New Year I was sick… super sick. I usually push through sickness but this Saturday I just couldn’t and ended up taking a nap. When I woke up Ken said to me “you must be super sick because you never nap”. He’s right.. it was my first nap of 2013 and the first time that I wore my pajamas past lunchtime. Ridiculous that I am that structured.


This year I have decided to just have more fun, to hit a knit night at the Purple Purl at least once a month, to take a course just for the fun of it and not because I should or need to for work, to allow myself one day off a week that I am not running to a class at the gym or a cooking class for someone, to avoid people who just take and take and never give, to do more Yoga and to laugh. I have always struggled to live in the moment. I currently live in the ‘next steps’ of any future projects, planning my workouts for the week and my next day’s dinner and sorting out next steps in ongoing projects.

I started doing Joga each morning and committed to a month of practice to get back into a routine. This is my 30 day Yoga Un-challenge :). Every day I get up an hour early and start my day off with something that I love. I am grateful for my life, my work, my family and friends, my existing cat Kelvin.. all of the above is just fine-tuning.

Happy 2014 everyone and let this be a year full of hope, looking good naked and meeting Mr. LottoMax 🙂

Cookie Butter = Spreadable Dessert

28 11 2013

Whomever thought crushing up cookies, adding a fat and shoving it into a jar was a genius. I first had some cookie butter when I was in Tucson last year and saw it in Trader Joes. The back label was marginally friendly for me and I was excited promising myself I would smear it on celery as a treat..no carbs with extra carbs.

I ended up using a spoon. Needless to say the half eaten jar remained in Tucson because it was so darn good and the amount I was eating was putting me over my surgical sugar limits.

I was getting a bunch of recipes together for the holiday “Survival” series for the York Region WLS group and I came across an unfriendly DIY cookie butter recipe. I thought “this would make a great hostess gift if it turns out” and set out to make a batch to see if this was a good gift or a recipe that just doesn’t ‘cut it’ as a lower carb-sugar free option. Ken and I love this stuff and smear it on everything. I have given it to friends who are “OMG this is fabulous”… on and off plan friends. The true testament to how good something is is when people who aren’t sugar free consume massive quantities! Make some for yourself and see what you think!

Homemade Cookie Dough Butter
adapted from wickedgoodkitchen

1 cup nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, macadamia butter, sun butter…)** I used cashew butter as it has the sweetest taste
1/2 cup butter, salted or unsalted
3 tbsp coconut flour
3 tbsp sugar free maple syrup *whatever sweetener you care to use given your diet
1/4 tsp cinnamon or more
A dash of nutmeg (optional)
1/4 tsp sea salt or less (not course ground)
1/4 tsp pure vanilla
3 tbsp mini chips (optional)

Brown the butter by heating it up in a sauce pot on low heat until it becomes golden brown. Take the butter off the burner right after it reaches this point to prevent burning. In a medium sized bowl add the melted browned butter, nut butter and coconut flour and stir.

Next, add the sugar free maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and vanilla and stir. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Take it out of the fridge and stir in the chocolate chips. If you add the chocolate chips before going in the fridge they will just settle to the bottom. Store the cookie dough butter in the fridge in a mason jar or an air tight container.

Use this as a gift for a hostess OR serve with fruit or crackers for a sweet dip at your next party.
cookie butter

Un-Rice Pudding: Raisin Haters Move On

4 11 2013

The week of comfort food continues…
I love rice pudding..but rice no longer loves me. I miss a steaming bowl of warm rice pudding and I use to make it quite often. Probably one of the reasons why I needed WLS..lol

The fondest memory of rice pudding was at the cottage. As kids we use to head up to Crane Lake Resort every year for the last two weeks of summer. Three generations of Dunnells would be up there fishing, water skiing and running around with lighted cat tails (fire and children.. can you tell it was the 70s?)
Every night all 8 of us would head to the lodge and they would cook us a meal. One night they made rice pudding, still warm, and served it to us in cereal sized bowls. I remember after a long day of fishing and running off the dock swimming, that rice pudding was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

Can Cauliflower be the new Rice? Yes, yes it can.

I know some of you are highly skeptical of this dessert as it may *seem* like a weird pairing. If you were a hardcore rice pudding fan, like myself, this is a good substitute. This can be made for your morning “oatmeal”, snack, or a dessert. Based on an old weight watchers recipe, this version is way lower carbs, no sugar and uses coconut milk so make it friendly for the lactose intolerant.

Un-Rice Pudding

Adapted from a Simply the Best Weight Watchers cookbook

2 cups of rice cauliflower, uncooked
1 can of coconut milk, full fat
1/4 cup of Splenda, or sweetener of choice
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, large, beaten
1/3 cup of water
2 tbsp of arrowroot starch (or potato starch or if you must corn starch)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom (optional)
a splash of rosewater (if you want)


Grab a pot and put it over medium heat on the stovetop. Add the riced cauliflower and stir occasionally. You are in essence steaming the water off the cauliflower. This should take about 10 minutes. Add coconut milk and Splenda and let the mixture come up to a simmer.

On the side in another bowl, mix the eggs, water and starch together. Once the mixture is simmering, add the egg mixture to the hot simmering mixture and stir until the the pudding thickens.

At this point pull it from the heat, mix in spices and raisins. This should make 8 servings or even less if you want to have a big bowl.

I based my nutrition on 8-1/2 cup servings.
Calories 132, Carbs 11g(NET 10), Fat 8g, Protein 2g, Sugars 7g

40 Cloves of Garlic Roasted Chicken – Vampires Beware

28 10 2013

Ever since we went to the garlic festival a couple of months ago I have been wanting to make this recipe. I have read about it in Larousse Gastronomique, which is hailed as the ‘World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia”. My brother and Sister in Law bought me a 70s edition for my birthday a couple of years ago and I love it. If you love cooking, this is one of the must-have books on your shelf. It outlines every French cooking technique and provides recipes on all classic French dishes. So I have been thinking about this recipe for some time.. waiting until Ontario garlic is in season. That stuff from China in the grocery store isn’t really worthy and I hate to buy it. I was holding out.

There are many species of garlic, all producing slightly different flavours and clove size. I used 4 heads of garlic which produced about 7 cloves of garlic per head. It wasn’t anywhere near the 40 clove count, but these were monstrous cloves, so it made up for it.

This recipe also outlines the perfect way to roast a chicken (capon). I will NEVER roast a chicken any other way from now on. I have, in the past, had dry chicken with crispy skin, OR juicy chicken but no crispy outer bits. This was the perfect combo of OMG juicy and OMG crispy chicken skin to pick at.

I also will always buy a capon. They are larger than a roaster chicken, and usually start around the 5 lb mark. They are slightly cheaper per pound, and because of the added size, I think come out juicer when you roast them. The extra chicken I have left over I will translate into another night’s dinner. See my post later this week on chicken and broccoli casserole. A comfort food classic that I have de-carbed and paleo-ized.


40 Cloves of Garlic Roasted Chicken

adapted from Larousse Gastronomique

1 chicken/capon, 5 lbs (I prefer a capon, as they are juicer & slightly bigger)
1 lemon, sliced in half
4 bulbs of garlic, dismantled and skins removed ~ loads-o-cloves
1.5 cups of chicken stock
2 tbsp butter
fresh thyme
salt and pepper

(not an exhaustive list of ingredients, right??)

Plop chicken on a plate on the counter for 20 minutes to bring up it to room temp and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Give the bird a good rinse, and pat dry. Get the butter out of the fridge and work it until it is soft. Lather up the bird on both sides with butter, like you are applying suntan lotion.
Wash hands.
Separate all the stems from the thyme by running your pinched fingers up the stem and pushing off all the leaves of flavour and use maybe 3 tbsp of fresh thyme and smear it all over the bird. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and tie bird up if you so choose or leave as is. Place cut lemon inside of bird cavity and plop bird into roasting pan.

Add the cloves of garlic around the bird, and the stock. Pop into the oven.
So the times and temperature will seem a bit crazy, but there is a method to my madness:

~ so for the next 15 minutes – uncover chicken into a 350 degree oven

~ timer beeps

~ cover chicken with foil-lid, and cook for the next 25 minutes at 350

~ timer beeps

~ baste chicken with fluids & uncover chicken and roast chicken at 450 degrees from 35 – 50 minutes**

**I set the timer for 20 minutes in, and shoved a meat thermometer into the bird so I could tell when it hit 165 plus degrees. I checked it to baste and to top up stock around the chicken. At this point all the garlic cloves are all squishy, so I smeared some on the outside of the chicken skin. Delicious.

Take out and leave on counter for 20 minutes so the internal temperature comes up to 170 and all the juices re-distribute into the bird.

NOW.. the pan juices – OMG the pan juices are nusto yummy on this. I skimmed off some of the obvious fat, and then proceeded to MASH the yielding garlic cloves into the pan juices scrapping all the bits on the bottom of the roasting pan. No thickener required.

We carved the bird, threw some broccoli on the side, nibbled on some garlic chicken skin and poured garlic pan juices over the whole thing.
There was complete and utter silence last night at dinner. Best chicken I have ever eaten.

Pumpkin Truffles = A Taste of Fall

24 10 2013

Those who read my blog regularly know I have a slight pumpkin obsession which kicks into high gear in the Fall. Right on schedule, the temperature dips and I am craving my fibreous pumpkin friend to beef up soups and stews to make my belly feel warm and happy. Pumpkin is fabulous for our systems, is versatile enough to throw into savoury things like chili or into desserts, which creates bulk and can replace grain flours in your favourite dessert.

Pumpkin is a miracle food with the exception of anything that Starbucks does with pumpkin. I am sorry Starbucks but pumpkin products should ACTUALLY contain pumpkin.

For those who read my blog regularly you also know I have a thing about truffle and bite-sized desserts. I haven’t met a baked good yet that I has left me gagging with disgust so portion control is a bit thing for me. A whole slice will be eaten, so scaling things down to bite-sized portions makes for better grab and go as well as better on the waist-line.

I am really watching what I eat at the moment as my weight is slightly up and we are heading into the holidays. Ken and I recently had a tragedy and put down our lovely girl Winnie cat. She had been suffering from renal failure since the summer. Worst-Best (for her) thing that I have ever done. I never wish the experience on anyone. We had been playing cat nurse for months, and I often opted to head home to spend time with her then to head to the gym. I let my exercise and food choices slide a bit. After the sickness had ended, I grabbed a can of pumpkin from the pantry and got back on the horse.

I hate that pumpkin is in 28 oz cans. That is A LOT of pumpkin to deal with all at once. In one can I made pumpkin biscotti, pumpkin chia pudding, pumpkin brownies and pumpkin truffles (featured here). Opening a can of pumpkin is a COMMITMENT.
So the next time you need 1/2 a cup of pumpkin and are trying to use the rest up, make up a batch of these for the fridge.

Pumpkin Protein Truffles

1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of almond butter (or any nut butter-cashew would be awesome in this)
2 tbsp sf maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil (or FOC)
1/4 cup of vanilla protein powder
1 cup of almond flour + more if needed (see instructions)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
10 drops stevia
a dash of salt

Optional: 70% or higher chocolate bar (to melt for coating)

Mix almond butter, coconut oil (or FOC) with pumpkin until they are incorporated. Add maple syrup, stevia, and mix. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and give it a good stir. The consistency should be like a dough and when you mix the batter, it should be coming off the sides of your bowl. If not, then add 1/4 cup of almond flour at a time until this happens.

This seems loosey-goosey but it has a lot of do with what nut butter you used (some have more oil than others) and what type of almond flour you use (some are milled finer, absorb more liquid and therefore you use less)
Pumpkin spice cake mixed with cream cheese frosting

Roll into 30ish balls and pop in the fridge to chill overnight. I tested one for poison before they went into the fridge. You can leave it as is, or the next day nuke some chocolate, dip in the pumpkin truffle and coat. These are a good time.. they are spicy from the pumpkin spice and good for your soul. Nutrition on these varies dependent on nut butter and how much almond flour you ended up using.

For me I got for two large truffles : 171 calories, Carbs 6 (NET 3g), Fat 14g, Protein 8g, Sugars 2g
Winnie would have approved of this dessert! She liked when I puttered in the kitchen, always at my feet hoping for a little nibble.


(NOT) Pecan Pie Truffles

15 10 2013

i am nuts about nuts! Let’s be frank, I am nuts about marzipan. I swear, my taste-buds pre-surgery were weird. I loved Turkish delight, marzipan, and Bridge Mix. Ken use to say I had the sweet tooth of a 65 year old woman. So after making the peanut butter truffles, I started to mull over how I would make truffles that were a mix between rum balls (which are almond flour) and marzipan. I have many different styles of nut truffles on this blog, lime cashew truffles, the aforementioned peanut butter truffles, rumballs, and now pecan pie truffles.

Nothing says the south in your mouth than a good pecan pie. Canadians have their version, the butter tart, which is equally as delicious. Pie, either in tart form or a full on slice is never a bad thing. I quite like these pecan truffles and it does remind me of a big slice of pie.


Pecan Pie Truffles
by moi!
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup nut butter (preferably natural), whatever you prefer..I used cashew butter
1/2 cup granulated erythritol, or whatever sweetener you want
16 drops stevia extract
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp of nutmeg
½ tsp of ginger
1 tsp maple syrup extract
1.5 cups pecan flour

Coating (optional): 72% or higher cocoa chocolate, melted in the microwave

Melt butter and combine with nut butter in a large bowl until you have a smooth mixture. Throw in the rest of the ingredients keeping the nut flour (pecan flour in this case) nearby as all nut flours absorb liquid differently. The key to getting a good truffle is when the dough come away from the sides of the bowl, you know that you will be able to roll it. If the dough is too sticky, you will have a mess of a time trying to get it into ball form. Add some more nut flour or some super absorbent coconut flour in tbsp increments until the dough starts to come off the sides and forms a large ball. Shape balls into desired size and place in the fridge for a couple of hours until hard. You can stop here and don’t necessarily need to coat in chocolate. It depends on how much time you have and whether you feel the need.

Heat chocolate in microwave in 30 sec increments, stirring between each session until chocolate is melted. Roll each chilled ball in chocolate and place on wax paper to harden. Store in fridge until ready to serve.