I made the meal (pictured above) last night and the main course (stuffed portobello mushroom) was inspired by a recipe in the new book Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso.
I began a Paleo diet at the end of March after about 2 years of reading about eating Paleo and resisting, insisting the way I was eating and living was ok with my body and just peachy with the environment around me. (I will expound on both of these topics in later posts.)
Then after I gained 33 pounds that I had lost last year, and my clothes no longer fit me, I decided enough was enough. I had to DO SOMETHING. I remembered all the reading I had done on Primal/Paleo and still had a blog subscription to one of my heroes: Mark's Daily Apple author Mark Sisson.
Even though I repeatedly turned away going completely Paleo, a lot of information he wrote about on his website really struck a chord with me. It made so much sense. So, I joined a website to start logging my calories daily (note: many Paleo people do not log calories or measure portions), and decided this time I would follow Paleo.
I googled "Paleo recipes" and also looked for podcasts about Paleo. It was then I found a podcast called "Everyday Paleo"! Everyday Paleo is hosted by Sarah Fragoso, and Chrissy Gower (blog author of Growing Up Paleo). and I also discovered that it was recorded practically in my own backyard!! I am located in Sacramento, and the Everyday Paleo hosts hail from Chico! I was encouraged to have likeminded people, not to mention Paleo experts so nearby. At the time I became a listener, Everyday Paleo only had 10 episodes under their belt, so I was able to listen to all the archived shows. In the shows, Sarah talked about her upcoming book, which is the very book I am now recommending!
So, I have to tell you at first glance Paleo eating seems very restrictive. But, if you look closer, you will see that it's more about what you CAN eat. Everyday Paleo gives you a shopping list if you have no idea where to start, and if you are already a Paleo pro, it gives you fresh recipe ideas. If you are not Paleo, but you are someone who is gluten intolerant, BOOM! a whole book you can eat from!
The great thing about Everyday Paleo is that it is so accessible for anyone at any fitness level. One reason is because Sarah herself was not the most fit person. There are before and after photos of Sarah and the results are spectacular! You would never know she has three children and that one of them is in high school! Speaking of kids, Sarah has made the recipes kid-friendly. There are dishes in the book for all ages, and ones that can be prepped ahead of time and reheated. None of them are difficult to make, and the average prep time for the recipes are 30 mins.
I also love that Sarah put exercise "recipes" in the back of the book. It's not all about cardio anymore. I am excited because I am a beginner with resistance training (after always having been a chronic cardio fanatic) , and this book serves as a good starting point for me.
Oh yes, I almost forgot... About that meal I have pictured above: It was inspired by a recipe out of Sarah's book! It is a spin off of her recipe for "Giant Stuffed Portobellos" I made mine with a 1/2 pound grass-fed ground beef, 1/4 pound nitrate-free ground sausage, a sautéed mixture of shredded carrots, onions and green and red bell peppers, and the insides of the tops of the mushrooms and their stems.
To prepare the stuffed mushrooms, I browned the meat, then sautéed the vegetables in some of the fat to cook them. I should note that when I prepare stuffed mushrooms, a vital step for me is to roast the mushrooms in the oven before stuffing them. This really brings out the richness of the mushrooms. I brush the caps with a little olive oil and brown them while I am preparing the stuffing. I place the side where the stem was down to roast.
I seasoned the cooked meat and vegetables with salt, garlic, fresh sage, and black pepper. I then added one egg to the mixture to bind it. In the recipe from the book, Sarah also uses coconut flour as a binder. I suspect that this takes the place of breadcrumbs in a regular stuffed mushrooms recipe. I did not use either. I piled the meat and veggies in the roasted mushrooms and pressed them to compact. Then I placed them in the oven again (I used a lower temperature of 350°). The finish product should be browned and bubbly when you take it out of the oven.
I topped mine with a tomato sauce I made from Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted tomato products. I pulsed a can of the fire roasted tomatoes and a little tomato paste in the food processor, along with salt and minced garlic. Then I cooked it down to reduce some of the liquid. To obtain a "ketchup-like" meatloaf effect on the mushrooms, I put the sauce on as they were roasting in the oven. Yum!
The side dishes I made were: Mashed Cauliflower & Acorn Squash, and Kale with Nitrate-Free Bacon and Toasted Walnuts. I will post the recipes separately to come, because I want to this post to focus on Sarah's book.
I am still reading through it, but I can tell you the price ($17) is completely worth it for the amount of information you get. Not only that, but there are HUGE illustrations for every recipe, along with easy-to-read type. This is a bonus if you are in your kitchen actually making a dish. You can still read it at a bit of a distance, and your kids will be able to read it, too. For anyone who is already acquainted with Paleo, there is a foreword by Robb Wolf.
The book officially released today! :)
PS: I have now lost 10 pounds in about 28 days. I count calories and follow a strict exercise program in addition to following the Paleo diet.