Archive for the ‘From The Kitchen’ Category


St. Patty’s Day has come and gone. Normally I wouldn’t make corned beef and cabbage but dad was coming over to stay the night so we could get to Aquatica early on Sunday. He’s always enjoyed corned beef and cabbage so I decided to make it.

Saturday we were going on a long bike trip with James and his family. James is training for an Ironman. His wife, Lori is training for a smaller triathlon. I’m still deciding what I want to do next. Anyway, it made sense to have this dinner in the slow cooker while we were riding our bikes.

I woke up early and the padawan helped me prep. I quartered potatoes, sliced carrots and onions and she layered everything in the crockpot and helped season it. This was super easy. The corned beef goes on top of the vegetables and it cooks for 8 hours on high. At the seventh hour, you open the crockpot and add in the chopped cabbage to steam during the last hour.

It came out awesome. Dad enjoyed it, the padawan tried everything saying that it tasted similar to ham or a hotdog…whatever works. I’m having a high rate of success getting her to try new things.

I even had leftovers. I portioned out two containers of corned beef and veggies for dad but ran out of beef. I had so many veggies that I portioned five containers for me and added one link of Aidelle’s Andouille sausage to each container and froze them for my lunches.

I don’t feel bad about the white potatoes. The Primal Blueprint allows for white potatoes in moderation. If you’re looking for an easy meal that will feed about four people very well, I’d let the crockpot do the work!

Here’s the recipe I used:


I’m always in search of a good, primal snack to have around at the office or on-the-go. Recently I’ve been seeing some buzz about Tanka Bars on several blogs including Mark’s Daily Apple where he gave them away as prizes for the 30-day challenge and recommended them as his top primal/paleo Christmas gifts. So I thought I’d look into it. I emailed to ask questions and request information. I received a response from Jenice Johnson and we had an email conversation back and forth for a bit. After a few transmissions, she offered to send a sample pack to me for review on the blog. This is that review

Last Thursday night, after a good, long day at work, I had to drive down to Winter Park to get some things from my sister to bring back to the new place. In the mail was my sample package from Jenice at Tanka Bar. Upon opening I saw that there were two Tanka Bars, one traditional and one spicy hot. There were also two Wild Buffalo Sticks of the same variety. I’ll stop here to quickly state that the Tanka sticks contain wild rice and while I still sampled them for taste and texture, they are not 100% primal/paleo. That doesn’t lessen the fact that they are 100% all-natural and the rice is non-GMO with no artificial colors or flavors. The flavor on the spicy stick was probably my favorite tasting product of the whole pack but, since this is a review about primal snacks, I want to focus on the Tanka Bars.

Tanka Bars are a modern version of Wasna or Pemmican. If you look up Wasna on Wikipedia, you’re redirected to Pemmican and it’s described as follows.

Traditional preparation

Traditionally, pemmican was prepared from the lean meat of large game such as buffalo, elk or deer. The meat was cut in thin slices and dried over a slow fire, or in the hot sun until it was hard and brittle. About 5 pounds of meat are required to make one pound of dried meat suitable for pemmican. Then it was pounded into very small pieces, almost powder-like in consistency, using stones. The pounded meat was mixed with melted fat in an approximate 1:1 ratio. In some cases, dried fruits such as saskatoon berries, cranberries, blueberries, or choke cherries were pounded into powder and then added to the meat/fat mixture. The resulting mixture was then packed into rawhide pouches for storage.

On their website, Tanka Bar says:

We started with the traditional recipe for wasna, the original Native trail mix, and thought to modernize it. We tried all sorts of ideas to improve on wasna, but each time we added something to the mix, we went further away from what we intended. It could not be improved! We came full circle to see that the traditional flavors were perfect.

So there’s a little background on where the product comes from. So here’s what I have to say about it. I got some of my things from my sister on Thursday night. I got back in my car and since I hadn’t had dinner, I immediately tore open the pack of Tanka Bar samples and went for the spicy hot bar. My raw, first impression was a little weird. I took my first bite and immediately noticed a combination of flavors I had not encountered before. It was like beef jerky but I noticed the raisin/craisin-like texture within. It’s also got this savory, tangy flavor that comes from the mixture of dried beef and cranberries. After the second bite I thought, while it would take a moment to grow on me, that I’d enjoy a snack like this on occasion knowing that I was putting some quality choices into my body. The heat level wasn’t something I’d consider “spicy” but it was noticeable. It wasn’t too hot for the general public who may not have hot sauce on the table at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Overall, I enjoyed it. The bar was 70 calories with 7g protein and 1.5g fat. All sugar in the product is only what occurs naturally in the cranberry and there are no added sugars.


Friday rolled around and I took the traditional bar to the office. I was able to notice a little bit more in daylight since I wasn’t driving. The bars are not incredibly large.20120311-141549.jpg From the front side exterior, they appear to be larger than they are. If you flip the package, you notice that 1/3 of the wrapper is split beside the seal to allow for a good place to grab onto to tear into the package without frustration of perforations gone wrong. You definitely won’t need scissors to open.
It wound up being a good, afternoon snack. I actually liked the taste of the traditional a little bit better than the spicy hot bar. I think it was a good balance of sweet/savory flavors and the texture was good. I’ll say that when you open the package it’s a little oily like a slim jim. I’m not a big fan of slimy, oily foods but it’s nothing a few paper towels and firm pressure couldn’t solve and that’s what I did.

You really should give these bars a try. They’re definitely unique being a blend of dried meat and dried fruit and I’ve never experienced that combination before but now I’m interested in trying it at home with my dehydrator. I plan to grab a few more Tanka Bars soon. On the site, you can buy two 1-oz bars for $5.99. That’s $2.99 per ounce. If you buy the box of 12 for $28.80, you wind up getting each 1-oz bar at about $2.40 so there’s a little savings there. This is a little steep for me and my Dave Ramsey budget plan but if it works for you, I’d say it’s worth it knowing the product is 100% all-natural and you don’t have anything to feel bad about. You know the sayings “you are what you eat” and “you get what you pay for”? This product gives a good answer to both of those. You’re also supporting a small business that’s part of the few trying to keep good, quality food available to those of us that care when the GMO problem is growing at a considerable rate every day.

The Tanka Bar is made by Native American National Foods, LLC and their mission is focused on creating a family of nationally branded food products that are delicious and that promote a Native American way of wellness that feeds mind, body, and spirit. They’re doing a fine job with this!

It has been an interesting week of moving, unpacking and eating on the fly. That means not planning well for my weekly meals. Sadly I ate some more crap again but this week I’m finally getting settled in and my kitchen is shaping up.

I ran/walked a 5k with my father and sister Saturday morning and then spent the rest of the day unpacking boxes.

I spent some time seasoning my cast iron skillet and carbon steel pan. I also dried some blueberries for a snack mix I’ll be talking about next week.

When I woke up Sunday morning, I decided I wanted to start the week off right with a decent primal breakfast for me and my dad. And it goes a little somethin’ like this:


  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Vidalia Onion
  • 6 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 oz local blue cheese
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


  1. Pre-heat your broiler
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a 10-inch skillet.
  3. Add onions and sauté for 8-10 minutes stirring and flipping occasionally.
  4. Add salt and pepper and mix onions a bit more.
  5. Pour eggs into pan over onions. Give a slight shake and allow the egg to set a bit around the edges on the stovetop.
  6. Move entire pan under the broiler and watch for the top of the egg to set.
  7. Place blue cheese in random spots on top of the frittata and place the pan back under the broiler. Once cheese is bubbly and slightly browned, remove, slice and serve.

It looks like this:

If you eat half of it, it totals up like this:

It’s a great combination of sweet and strong flavors. The peppercorn blue cheese I get from The Winter Park Dairy is amazing in this recipe. If you can find some good, local cheese, I say go for it. If not, look for something in the store with minimal processing and preservatives.

If you plan to make this or have an idea to share, leave a comment. Talk to you soon!

Remember Primal Bread? I love that recipe from She Cooks…He Cleans! I’ve been talking to Nancy from the blog since December last year and begging her to write a guest post for From the Kitchen. Today, that post is here and you won’t regret reading all of this! Go check out She Cooks…He Cleans for more great primal/paleo recipes. Thanks for writing this, Nancy!

Pork Ossobuco

written by Nancy at She Cooks…He Cleans

Pasquale Palazzolo (Pat) from the blog Fatass to Badass ( asked if we would be interesting in doing a guest post, to which I replied “certainly!” We’re honored to be asked! I’ve been following Pat’s progress for a while now – here’s a man who started out at 388 pounds and has changed his life with a Paleo/Primal lifestyle. He has lost over 100 pounds now and is still going strong because he is eating healthy food and exercising. Pat finished in The Disney Half Marathon and Warrior Dash just last month! That qualifies him as a Badass in my book!

In honor of Pat’s Italian heritage, I decided on a recipe from a wonderful cookbook, The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food, by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. The recipe entitled “January Pork” was written for a pork loin roast, but I have adapted it to use pork shank, or ossobuco. The great thing about using this cut of meat is that the nutrients from the bone marrow are released during the long, slow cook. The marrow also adds to the rich taste in this braised dish. If you have a local pork supplier or butcher, ask if they can provide you with fresh pork shanks, cut into 2- to 3-inch sections. Pork shanks are much less expensive than the traditional veal shanks used in most ossobuco recipes. [Be sure to get fresh, not cured, pork. Cured pork shanks, aka ham hocks, will not work in this recipe.] If you can’t find pork shanks, do not despair! This recipe should also work with thick, bone-in pork loin chops.

This pork ossobuco requires some planning ahead, with a 24-hour marinade time and 3 hours of cooking. However, most of the time involved is “hands off” time, so don’t let that dissuade you from trying this recipe. Believe me, it will pay off in the end with a delicious and impressive meal!

The braised meat and sauce has a delicate, indescribable flavor from the marinade – sort of a sweet and subtle spiciness which complements the pork without overwhelming it. Pork Ossobuco is great served over roasted or mashed cauliflower.

A crazy side story… this recipe calls for juniper berries in the marinade. We were in Santa Fe at the time, and there were no juniper berries at the market. However our house is surrounded by juniper; in fact, the landscape is dominated by this shrubby tree. Could I harvest the shriveled, dark blue berries from our yard? Results from Google varied from “North American juniper berries may be toxic and/or bitter”, to “okay to eat for survival in the wild”. Well, not comforting enough for me. I posted the question on facebook and my Southwestern friend Annie came through with a decisive-sounding yes, she has eaten these berries. So, with faith in Annie’s knowledge, I picked a nice handful of berries and used them for this recipe.


  • 3 pounds fresh pork shanks, (have butcher cut into 2- to 3-inch sections)
  • 20 juniper berries
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • several grinds of black pepper
  • kosher or sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or lard, for browning meat
  • 1/2 cup white wine (okay to substitute chicken broth if avoiding wine)
  • 1 to 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large California bay laurel leaf
  • Combine the olive oil, juniper berries, garlic, cloves, and black pepper in a small food processor or blender; process until finely chopped. Alternatively you can crush the ingredients together using a mortar and pestle (which is what I did – no food processor available at the time). Place the pork in a non-metallic dish large enough to hold it snugly. Rub the pork on all sides with the spice mixture. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 18 to 24 hours.

    Remove the pork from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before cooking (at least 30 minutes). Preheat an oven to 325F.

    Lightly salt the pork with kosher or sea salt. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or lard) in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. (Hold on to the dish with the marinade.) Brown the pork shanks on both sides; set aside in the marinade dish. Pour off the excess fat from the pan and discard. Place the pan back over medium-high heat and carefully pour in the wine and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth (it will madly steam and boil at first). Deglaze the pan by loosening the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

    Return the pork to the pan with its juices and any remaining marinade left in the dish. Add more chicken broth to the pan, to nearly cover the pork shanks. (Amount will vary depending on size of pan and amount of pork.) Tuck in the bay leaf, cover, and braise for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. If you are using pork chops, the cooking time will be less. Check on the pork occasionally to assure that there is still liquid in the pan. Add a little water or broth if the pan juices threaten to burn. Toward the end of the cooking time, leave the lid partially off so that the liquid will reduce somewhat. The pork is done when it is tender enough to cut with a fork.

    Remove the pork ossobuco from the braising pan to a serving dish. Remove bay leaf and discard. If necessary, boil down the braising liquid to a saucy consistency. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the pork, and serve immediately!

    Damn! Who’s hungry?! I plan on making this for my first home-cooked meal as soon as I’m settled in the new apartment!

Good morning! I hope you all had a great weekend! I’m happy to welcome you back to the blog. While the amount of posts will be fewer, I hope to bring you as much valuable content and updates on my story as before.

We start this week of with From the Kitchen moved to Mondays from now on. This guest post comes from my sister, Kathy! Kathy got me started on Primal Blueprint a little over a year ago and I owe a great deal of my life change to her and my brother-in-law, Geoff.

The other night after work, I got this text from Kathy:
So I asked her if she’d share her idea with my readers. The following is written by Kathy.

Portobello Pizza


  • Olive Oil
  • 4 portobello mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned
  • 1 pint ricotta cheese
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh tomatoes (your choice, we used the large sweet cherry tomatoes)
  • Parmesan cheese


Heat skillet on medium. Add olive oil and onions. Cook until onions
are caramelized, add garlic for a few minutes until its cooked and set
onions and garlic aside in a bowl. Place portobello mushrooms in pan
face down, cook about 10 minutes. Flip and cook another 10 minutes to
desired texture. Place mushrooms on a Baking sheet face up. In a bowl,
mix caramelized onions and garlic, ricotta, chopped fresh parsley,
crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Fill mushrooms with the
mixture. Top with sliced tomatoes and grated Parmesan cheese. Broil
for 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

There are lots of possibilities for variations. Maybe tomato sauce, mozzarella,
pepperoni and basil to make tiny pizzas, etc.

Thanks, Kathy! I know I’m already coming up with variation ideas in my head. Try this recipe and let me know how it turned out in the comments. Did your kids like it? What did you do differently with your version?

Stop by for The Road on Wednesday to hear more about my family and what we all just committed to! Talk to you soon!

My friend Marrisa pointed out this recipe to me last week. I took the time to make it on Sunday. My father and I gave it a try alongside Everyday Paleo’s Beyond Easy Pulled Pork. I’ve never been a fan of cabbage. I like it in the form of sauerkraut. I also enjoy taking whole, raw leaves and wrapping them around pulled pork to make primal wraps. I’ve never liked red cabbage or soups that have cabbage in them. Even in the past when eating fish tacos, I’ve substituted shredded lettuce instead of the traditional shredded cabbage that the recipe calls for. I was surprised that I actually enjoyed the texture and taste of this version.

The rest of the post comes from Marrisa

When I made the pulled pork that you posted about last week, I wanted the perfect primal side dish to accompany it. Always searching for the easy way out, I came across a roasted cabbage recipe from Martha Stewart. When I read the recipe, it seemed like all you needed to do was chop, season, and roast. And that really is all I had to do! My oven cooked the cabbage in about 35 minutes. The edges got a nice shade of brown. The recipe calls for either fennel seeds or caraway seeds, I used the latter. With this dish you get a nice rich flavor of the cabbage that is enhanced by the seeds. It’s mild and not overpowering.

My entire family enjoyed this recipe. The kids weren’t ranting and raving but I wouldn’t expect them to actually like cabbage. But I will definitely make it again. Maybe next time I’ll experiment with some spices!

This was literally the easiest side dish I have ever made.

The recipe can be found here: Martha Stewart’s Roasted Cabbage Wedges

Thanks for the guest post, Marrisa! If you’d like to do a guest post on a recipe or relevant topic, email me at

20120124-054038.jpgI apologize for lack of content today. It’s been a busy weekend with Warrior Dash and I had some important business opportunities come up yesterday so I don’t have a long post to offer. What I do have is a link to another recipe from Everyday Paleo.

After making the pulled pork last week, I searched for more slow cooker recipes and found this Scrumptious Slow Cooker Chicken. This is another big hit. I’ve made it twice and served it to my father when he comes to watch my daughter while I’m at work. This recipe doesn’t look fancy but it’s full of a variety of flavors

Ever tried parsnips? This recipe calls for them and I’ve never had them before now but I really enjoyed their unique flavor. The rest of it is made up of carrots, celery, whole garlic, chicken, herbs, stock and coconut oil and it tastes amazing!

I love garlic but, for my personal taste, it’s a little heavy for me in this recipe so I think I’ll cut the amount in half next time. I’ve always been a fan of stewed or soup veggies. The carrots and celery come out nice and soft and the parsnips offer a potato-like substitution if you rough chop them into larger chunks. is one of my favorite sites for recipes and, like, she’s got several paleo slow cooker options that allow for convenient cooking! Check out the site for great tips and recipes!

Give this recipe a try and share your thoughts below. I’m also looking for more great recipes to share. If you have a standard recipe that you’d like to see converted to paleo/primal, send it my way and I’ll see what I can do!

What’s your favorite slow cooker recipe?

(image courtesy of Everyday

Remember last week on The Missing Link when I posted Everyday Paleo’s link to Beyond Easy Pulled Pork? Well, while I was out rock climbing on Saturday, this simple meal sat in the crockpot cooking up for my weekly meals.

It honestly can’t be any easier (like the recipe title states). You slice two onions, make a spice rub for the meat, put it all together and turn the crockpot on. It starts out on high for a few hours then you have to turn it to low for a few more. A few easy steps like I just explained gets you a ridiculous amount of cooked food. It really helps that I’m cooking for one most of the time. I was able to portion out five six ounce portions for my meals at work this week and there is more than enough left for dinners at home too.

Here’s a picture of the roast going in to the crockpot

A picture of the roast coming out. It makes a lot of liquid.

…and after shredding it for a few minutes, here’s the finished product.

I couldn’t stop picking at what was left after I portioned it out. It’s got a lot of flavor and it’s not drenched in barbeque sauce. I think I’ll enjoy this with a little hot sauce or just by itself with a side of vegetables. If you find yourself saying ” I just don’t have time to cook at home” but you can manage to spend five minutes going through a drive through or tossing something in the microwave, get a crockpot and find some healthy slow cooker options like this one. Divide it into portions for the week and stop eating salt-packed, processed garbage. You’ll thank yourself for time savers like this.

I like the Everyday Paleo blog. Not just for the incredible recipes but the fact that there is a wealth of information about clean living and fitness too. Sarah Fragoso also has a nationwide best-selling cookbook available at

Talk to you later!

Short post today. It was a busy weekend and I’ve got some catching up to do with my writing. This is always a quick and easy dish I’m able to throw together in a pinch. Some of the traditional Italian recipes my family would make at home when I was growing up will require primal/paleo modifications for the cookbook but this one is all set to go as is. I’ll have this and many other recipes in the cookbook.

Without suggesting a pasta dish, what’s your favorite Italian recipe you’d like to see converted to paleo/primal?

It’s a new year. When I woke up on January 1, 2012, I went down to the kitchen and utilized every healthy, primal ingredient I had in the house to make this omelet.


  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 3-4 Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 medium Onion, sliced
  • 1 handful of chopped Kale
  • 2 ounces of cooked meat (your choice)
  • 3-4 eggs
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

It’s a simple recipe to throw together. You can use leftover steak or chicken. I used some all-natural sausage. Here’s how you put it together.
Preparation Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven by turning on the broiler setting.
  2. Heat pan thoroughly over medium and melt butter. 20120101-165500.jpg
  3. Add Onions, Mushrooms and Meat to the pan. Stir while cooking for 2 minutes.20120101-165507.jpg
  4. Add the handful of Kale to the pan.20120101-165514.jpg
  5. Cover the pan and allow the kale to steam for 4 minutes.20120101-165521.jpg
  6. While pan is steaming, whip your eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl or blender. I used my Hamilton Beach Personal Blender to whip some air into the eggs for a fluffier omelet.20120101-165527.jpg
  7. Open pan and stir all ingredients. Onions, Mushrooms and meat should be browned and kale should be wilted.20120101-165534.jpg
  8. Pour eggs over the top to cover all of the pan.20120101-165541.jpg
  9. Allow to cook 1-2 minutes on the stove top.20120101-165548.jpg
  10. Move pan to the oven and leave under the broiler 3-6 minutes until egg becomes fluffy and slightly browned.20120101-165554.jpg
  11. Carefully remove the pan from the oven using a heat resistant pad or oven mit.20120101-165601.jpg
  12. Use a rubber spatula to release omelet from the pan and slide it on to a plate while folding in half.

All that’s left to do after that is to start eating. I enjoyed mine with a cup of unsweetened green tea. Give this one a try. It’s full of flavor and the kale is soft with no tough stems. If you get a chance to make this or try making your own modified version at home, leave a comment to discuss how it turned out.

Talk to you later!