Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

October 30, 2013

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs


[Warning: For the next three paragraphs, or so, I’m going to oversell this dish. So if you dig it already - just by looking at the pictures - then feel free to scroll down without even bothering reading this. No, I'm just kidding. All I wanted to do is to start a post with square brackets, which I just did and it feels good!]
So, spaghetti and meatballs...what’s there not to love? It has to be one of the most fun dishes ever. Especially when you’re a kid.
Mounds of spaghetti, tasty meatballs, loads of tomato sauce splattering onto your clothes (and the walls...ugh!) It’s the perfect dish when, as a kid, all you wanted to do was to create a big mess at the table, and laugh your heart out.
I spent many meals trying to twirl spaghettis, cut meatballs and spoon tomato sauce all at the same time; and stuffing everything into my mouth; which of course never worked out. Endless hours of fun though.
Imho, spaghetti with meatballs is so awesome and I still have to find one person who doesn’t like it.
However, I’ve seen people screwing up this dish for years – always thinking of it as a “quick dinner”. Buying crappy store-bought sauce and frozen meatballs, and think they can just throw it together and voila! And then they’re like “Ew....this doesn’t taste anything like my mum’s!
So what I’m presenting you here, is not only a foolproof recipe for spaghetti with meatballs, it’s an improved and healthier version of it. Thanks to the one and only spaghetti squash.

Sauteed Broccoli and Zucchini Casserole

October 28, 2013

Sauteed Broccoli and Zucchini Casserole


Let’s talk about picky eaters; and just to be clear, adults picky eaters not preschoolers.
It’s a fact that everyone prefers some foods over others; but some adults take this tendency to an extreme. Or better yet, some adults act as if they’re still toddlers; eating only foods such as plain pasta, pizza, French fries, burgers, grilled chicken, sweets etc. No veggies, no fruits, nothing that is not familiar or that has a strong taste.
I know quite a few people belonging to this not so rare specie. The, “I’m past 30 but I still don’t eat veggies, fruits or anything that I haven’t tried before!”
One in particular pops into my mind: my cousin Stephen. You see, this guy - who just turned 30 - still eats very few veggies and almost no fruit, at all (I once offered him a strawberry and he gave me the most repulsed face ever!)
With such a narrow dietary spectrum, he drives his poor girlfriend Elena nuts.
She likes to eat healthy food, but with a guy like that around her, she has to work extra hard to do it.
Picture this, every night she has to cook two meals: One for her (with veggies) and one for him (without veggies). I know, nightmare on Elm Street.
So, when the other day she sent me the recipe for a vegetables casserole packed with broccoli and zucchini, claiming that “...even Stephen ate it and he actually loved it!” I was all over it.
If the King of picky eaters, digged this casserole, then it must be winner.
Turns out, it REALLY IS!

(Paleo) Almond Pumpkin Choc Chip Cookies

October 24, 2013

(Paleo) Almond Pumpkin Choc Chip Cookies


First off, let me clear the air: We’re back in the randomness world. The more structured IronYou didn’t last more than three days — that is 72 hours. I know, epic fail.
There was no self-sabotage here though; the feedback I got from you guys about the randomness factor has been so dope, I couldn’t have possibly overlook it. (Thank you all for being this cool, btw!)
And if YOU like TheRandomYou more than TheStructuredYou, then who am I to deny it?
It didn’t took that much to convince me though. I’m not the type of person that can easily fit into a cookie-cutter kind of life, let alone I can possibly blog in that kind of fashion.
I still don’t know how I talked myself into that ; but as you see I got back to my senses and to the old me (tbh I don’t think there was ever a new me).
In other words, TheIronRandom is back.Yo.

Teriyaki Glazed Chicken Kebabs

October 21, 2013

Teriyaki Glazed Chicken Kebabs


I’ve recently been told that TheIronYou is a tad random and needs more structure.
Make no mistake, I receive a plethora of compliments almost daily about it (which makes me super happy!) However, a friend of mine - who’s a powerforce in the publishing business - wrote me a lengthy email on Saturday, listing all the things that I should improve in my blog.
First and foremost, less randomness.
To be honest, I dig randomness. It’s part of who I am, especially in my blogging life.
I like not having restraint whatsoever, not knowing which port I’m sailing to.
The feeling that I can publish whatever goes through my mind — or better yet, whatever happens in my kitchen, without need to think too much about it.
It’s a feel good-freedom sensation. In the end, TheIronYou is part of me and reflects to some extent who I am as an individual, so why doing something that it’s not me?
However, one of the rules I live by, is to always be open to (constructive) criticism — especially when it comes from people who KNOW what they’re talking about.
So here I am, giving more structure to TheIronYou. And let’s start by getting rid of some of the randomness factor.

(Paleo) Fudgy Avocado Brownies

October 18, 2013

(Paleo) Fudgy Avocado Brownies

I’m calling all chocolate lovers here.
If you are obsessed with chocolate (like me) then you need these babies in your life.
Let’s use some adjectives to better describe these brownies.
These are the most creamy, rich, decadent, thick, gooey, appetizing, exquisite, dense, heavenly, savory, succulent, sumptuous, yummy, fudgiest, chocolatey BROWNIES EVER!
Dude...I’m not kidding!

Creamy Pumpkin Garlic Rice

October 17, 2013

Creamy Pumpkin Garlic Rice
OK people, confession time on TIY.
I’ve had this creamy pumpkin rice for lunch and dinner on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
We’ll see how Thursday goes, but I have the gut feeling that it may happen again.
You might call this intuition, but I believe I have the gift of foresight — at least in my kitchen.
For some unknown reason I always know what I’m going to have for lunch and dinner. If that isn’t a sign of my superpowers, I don’t know what it is.
I know, I AM a gifted individual, what can I do about it?

Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

October 15, 2013

Creamy Pumpkin Sauce




Autumn sparks the start of the unavoidable pumpkin everything craze. It’s that time of the year when the leaves are changing, the cold starts to bite and every single food you’re eating has some pumpkin in it, or next to it, or on top of it. Pumpkin-flavored lattes, pies, muffins, even ale. You name it.
And you guys know how much I love ME pumpkin; so before I knew it, I’ve found myself elbow-deep in pumpkin guts.
Operation “Jack-o’-lantern” is officially on, which means loads of pumpkin flesh leftover ready to be used in every single dish I cook.
By the way there’s this rumor going around, about people not liking pumpkin. Folks spreading ill will about pumpkin.
Something like a secret society trying to sabotage our pumpkin extravaganza.
I have the sneaking suspicion that my friend Martha might be part of this sect. The other day - as we were carving the hell out of a humongous pumpkin - she suggested that I should throw out the flesh because “There’s not much you can do with all that pumpkin!”
OK, hold your horses there miss. There are tons of stuff you can do with pumpkin. What about pumpkin curry, pumpkin chili, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin Mac&Cheese or pumpkin protein muffins?
BAM! In your face pumpkin-haters.
And here’s another recipe with pumpkin. DOUBLE-BAM!

Always Buy The Best Quality Meat You Can Afford (And Read This Book!)

October 14, 2013

One of the rules I live by is to eat less meat but better quality meat.
As a health-conscious individual I try to buy only grass-fed, pastured and free-range meat (and fowl and their eggs) — it is said to contain more nutrients and fewer toxins than factory-farmed grain-fed meat.
Yes, it is more expensive and not always easy to find; but it’s worth. Every. Single. Penny.

Always Buy The Best Quality Meat You Can Afford (And Read This Book!)

It’s hard to shy away from huge chunks of wrapped meat from the supermarket — it’s so convenient. But most of the time that meat comes animals raised in factories unable to move, fed unnatural diets, pumped with hormones and antibiotics and living in filth. That alone for me is enough of an incentive not to buy it.
I’m not talking about the ethics involved here, I’m just pointing out that if you care about what you put into your body, you need to choose the best quality meat (and eggs) you can get your hands on. It’s a healthier choice, period.
In addition, it tastes better — pastured meat has a farm-y and robust flavor because the animals are grass-fed, free to roam, and raised sustainably and humanely.
Essentially it comes from animals that have acted and lived like animals.
So a big fat YES to grass-fed, pastured and free-range meat (and eggs).

Almond Chia Recovery Smoothie

October 11, 2013

Almond Chia Recovery Smoothie


This is hands down my new favorite post-workout smoothie.
I recently found the recipe flipping through the pages of Triathlete Magazine.
Just by looking at the ingredient list I knew that this was a total winner. Almond butter, almond milk and banana: Are you kidding me?
I slightly tweaked the recipe and included chia seeds and vegan protein powder. Even more awesome.
This delicious smoothie is perfect post-workout as it’s packed with protein for muscle repair, carbs for glycogen replacement, and essential fats. And it has a great cooling effect on your body too.
After an intense workout our body needs recovery fuel, but as the blood has been diverted from the digestive system to the muscles, digestion can be difficult and food almost unappetizing.
That’s why liquid meals are better tolerated.

Crock-Pot Bolognese Sauce

October 9, 2013

Crock-Pot Bolognese Sauce



The other day I've found paleo spaghettis in a specialty store down the street from where I live.
8 bucks a pack - a tad pricey - but I was so excited about it, I said to myself “What the hell, let’s go for it!”
I decided that my uber-expensive spaghettis deserved a 5-star sauce to go with, so...Bolognese sauce.
You guys know that this traditional Italian meat sauce is called Bolognese because it originates from Bologna in Italy? Ok, probably you do.
But, do you know that there’s only one original recipe for Bolognese sauce, deposited with the Chamber of Commerce in Bologna?
I didn’t know that either, but my friend Francesca told me all about it.
Apparently, in 1982, the Italian Academy of Cuisine recorded and deposited a recipe for "Classic Bolognese Ragu" with the Bologna Chamber of Commerce.
I visited the Italian Academy of Cuisine website and I found the recipe (actually I found two, but whatever).
With the help of Google Translate - which wasn’t at peak performance with this one - I managed to get the one and only original recipe for Bolognese sauce. YAY!
I’ve made this recipe for quite some time already and it’s a total winner. Everybody seems to love it (except for my vegetarian + vegan friends — sorry guys). It's full of depth and so delicious.
I recently adapted it for the Crock-Pot and came out perfectly, with minimal effort. A big high-five to technology!

1-Minute Paleo Choc Chip Cookie (In A Mug)

October 7, 2013

1-Minute Paleo Choc Chip Cookie (In A Mug)

Another Sunday means another late NY Giants collapse and another defeat. We are now 0.
Yup, apparently it’s that kind of year.
I’m not even talking about making it to the play-offs; after losing to the Carolina Panthers 38-0 in the third game, I’ve pretty much given up that hope.
What I’m talking about is stop watching the NFL altogether this season.
I mean, when your team is breaking records for being the worst team on the league (such as giving up 182 points, the most allowed by a team in five games since 1961) you’re disappointed, discouraged, even outraged.
You can’t fathom how a team who hoisted the Lombardi trophy just two years ago is now the laughing stock of the NFL. But there you have it. NY Giants are 0-5.
On top of that there’s no more Breaking Bad...arghhh...my Sunday nights just went from bad to worst.
Last night I was so bummed I decided I deserved a treat, something I could whip up in a heartbeat (and possibly paleo-friendly).
That’s how I came up with this 1-Minute Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie (in a mug).

Spinach Omelette and Whipped Ricotta Cake

October 5, 2013

Spinach Omelette and Whipped Ricotta Cake



My 8-year old nephew Matt was visiting yesterday afternoon. He’s an amazing kid-foodie, meaning that he likes to eat good food, well, he actually demands to eat good food.
I can’t think of something he doesn’t eat. He tries even the most bizarre foods you put in front of him— jelly fish, liver, stinky cheeses, etc.
He tastes everything, and never says no or make a disgusted face. If he doesn’t like something, he just says it's not for him, which I think it's awesome.
Yesterday, out of nowhere, he asked if I could make spinach and cheese ravioli for dinner.
No, not the frozen or canned ravioli, he wanted me to make fresh ravioli from scratch (which is something we had already done together before).
As I wasn’t really in the mood to make fresh pasta, I asked him “What about making a spinach and ricotta cake instead? Something super good that will taste even better than ravioli?”
“Cool” he answered.
So we literally invented this spinach omelette layered cake. True story.

Ginger and Turmeric Carrot Soup

October 3, 2013

Ginger and Turmeric Carrot Soup
Folks there’s nasty cold that’s going around. I haven’t caught it yet but everyone else around me has.
I'm not very prone to sickness, I guess that eating healthy and exercising helps keep my body in good working order and makes it easier to fight diseases.
However, when everybody around me seems to be hoarding tissues like they’re going out of style, I start to worry.
Getting a cold is not the end of the world, I’ll admit it, but it’s a pain in the neck nonetheless. Stuffy and runny noses, sniffing all day or feeling groggy...who doesn’t enjoy that????
Then there’s the part where you have to skip training and I REALLY don’t like that, at all.

(Paleo) Flourless Chocolate Cake

October 1, 2013

(Paleo) Flourless Chocolate Cake



OK guys, I think I just found my new fave sweetener: raw coconut palm sugar.
We all know that white sugar is empty calories with no nutritional value whatsoever; meaning it doesn't have vitamins and/or nutrients, just calories.
So what about replacing it with a nutrient-rich, low-glycemic crystalline sweetener that looks, tastes, and melts almost exactly like sugar, but it’s completely natural and unrefined?
Yep, that’s raw coconut palm sugar.
Raw coconut palm sugar is acquired from the flowers growing on coconut trees. The nectar of the flowers is collected and air-dried to form a crystalline sugar, dark brown in color.
It’s rich in potassium, zinc, iron and B vitamins. There’s quite a lot to it!