What I'm Reading: Cooked, A Natural History Of Transformation

August 23, 2013

I’ve read every one of Michael Pollan’s books and enjoyed all of them; he’s arguably one of my favorite authors.
His latest book “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation” did not fail to impress me once again. His ability to take the mundane (in this case cooking) and make it interesting has - in my humble opinion - no match.

Oven-Baked Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

August 21, 2013

Oven-Baked Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

Let’s be completely real here; I wasn’t planning on posting this recipe. I made these Oven-baked Spiced Sweet Potato Fries just for photography styling purposes. I didn’t want the Homemade (Paleo) Ketchup to sit there alone on my kitchen table. So I figured baked sweet potato fries would be the perfect companion. Which was a winning decision tbh.
But since I posted the ketchup recipe, I’ve received tons of requests and comments about the fries. My favorite one wasForget the catchup the fries look good where's the recipe dude? I'm hungry!”,
which I thought was hilarious.
But there were also other comments that totally made my day (in fact, you guys are pretty amazing: smart, good listeners, responsive and with a healthy amount of sense of humor. I feel privileged to have readers like you: Thanks!)
With all these requests coming at me, I felt cornered, with only one possible way out: posting the recipe.

Homemade (Paleo) Ketchup

August 18, 2013

Homemade (Paleo) Ketchup

Ok guys, I’ll be honest, I've been on a DIY condiments kick lately.
It started with (paleo) Sriracha a couple of weeks ago. I had wayyyy too much fun making it, it was wayyyy too delicious and I enjoyed wayyy too much success. Who knew?
So It was only a matter of time before I would try making another condiment. I picked ketchup, arguably the most popular sauce in the whole world (I mean, duh).

Herbed Hummus

August 16, 2013

Herbed Hummus

I love hummus for a number of reasons: It’s healthy, low calorie, has a great nutritional value and it's yummy. And for some reason, it's always the right time for hummus.
I love to dunk veggies into a smear of hummus. And I also like it to use as spread in sandwiches. Have you ever tried hummus+oven roasted turkey+tomato+spinach sandwich? Hell yeah!
Grocery stores are packed with several different brands of hummus but, let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like making your own.
Over the years I’ve tried hundreds of different recipes. Even though the ingredients used to make this Middle-Eastern spread are always the same, different processes yield different results.
It starts from the chickpeas you choose and how you cook them. Then there's the tahini (i.e., sesame paste). Using cooking water or not? How much salt? Smooth or chunky? You get it, right? I can go on for hours and never reach a conclusion.
Anyway, the recipe you'll find here is a combination of the hundreds of recipes (and tips) I’ve collected over the years.
I'm quite convinced it's bullet proof, but I'm definitely open to criticism (as long as it's too harsh!)

Dieting? Better Have Someone Hide The Chocolate

August 14, 2013

Common wisdom tells us that willpower is key in losing weight. That there’s only one way to succeed, you need to set your mind to it and fully commit: clean food, calorie restriction, exercise and healthy lifestyle.
If you don’t have the mental strength to do it, you’re doomed to fail. End of the story.
However, the concept of willpower in diet has been the subject of much criticism. Researchers have long rejected the idea that there’s some innate force that will keep you from resisting bad habits1.
To attribute dieting success or failure just to willpower - researchers say - is a simplification that ignores details of the numerous mechanisms in play behind a successful weight loss program.
Believing that only willpower can do the magic trick entails a further risk. If you assume that it’s just a matter of mental strength, you can feel less in control of your eating habits and conclude that, if it’s not your DNA, there’s nothing you can do about it.
That’s not it though. The success of dieting is made by the sum of several behavioral changes. Willpower is one of them but it’s not the only one. There’s the interaction of brain chemicals, behavioral conditioning, hormones, heredity and the influence of habits. All these factors are part of the diet equation2.
Dark Chocolate

Whole Wheat Rhubarb Strawberry Crumb Bars

August 12, 2013

Whole Wheat Rhubarb Strawberry Crumb BarsYesterday was totally my binge day. OMG, score!
I’ve decided to allow myself one binge day a month, mostly because I am so good all the time.
I don’t eat this, I don’t drink that and I train/exercise every single day. So I rightfully deserve a binge day once in a while. A much deserved reward.
For the record, my binge day is not really how normal folks would define a binge day. There’s no stuffing my mouth with processed food, fried food, sugary drinks or anything of the sort.
All my friends say that my binging day is the lamest thing ever. That I’m not even binging. I’m just pretending to binge while still eating healthy food.
I dissent.
To me binging is only about enjoying food I don’t usually eat. I would never binge on BigMac, Pringles, KFC, etc. I find no pleasure whatsoever in eating these foods; it would be pure torture.
Mindless, thoughtless eating doesn’t really work out for me. The act of just shoveling something in, without any thought, it’s just not me. Period.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa

August 8, 2013

Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa

I’ve never been to Jamaica. I had planned to go there two years ago, but I scrapped those plans because of work. It really sucked and I still seethe about it. My holidays were ruined and I was deprived of the opportunity to visit a place I’ve always been interested in. Argh...
To fill the void, I started hanging out - quite a lot - at Miss Lily’s; a Jamaican joint on West Houston. A great little luncheonette, where you can enjoy a taste of Caribbean cuisine.
I can confess without shame that I have tried almost every single item on the menu, and they all tastes great.
I have favorites, but the jerk chicken stands alone at the top of my list. It’s a great dish, full of depth and character.

Paleo Chocolate Chunk Cookies

August 5, 2013

Paleo Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Today was one of those day, you know, when you’re just not feeling it. As usual I went for my early morning run, but at mile 2 I was like: “Humph, it’s not happening!”
So I changed and went to the swimming pool for my typical 60 min swim training session. But by the 10th lap I felt as if my shoulders were made of concrete. I got out, dried off and changed. Now what?
I wasn’t ready to give up, so I decided to go to Bikram Yoga and get it over with.
Somehow I immediately felt that it was the right decision to make. In Bikram there’s no getting out of hot room once the class starts. You need to stay in for the full 90 minutes, no bailing out possible.
In the end, it proved to be the right choice. I sweat out all that I was holding onto (whatever that was); it was as if the toxins (and negativity) of my day fell to the ground under me. I felt reinvigorated and ready to kick-ass again. BOOM!

Baked Quinoa with Spiced Apples, Carrots and Red Onions

August 3, 2013

Baked Quinoa with Spiced Apples, Carrots and Red Onions

It’s been almost two months since I posted a recipe with quinoa. I know, C-R-A-Z-Y. How have I got away with it for so long? I honestly don’t know, I just did.
In my defence, quinoa is always on my mind. There hardly goes a week when I don’t have at least a meal involving quinoa.
Lately I’ve been cooking a lot this Spicy Mexican Quinoa Casserole, which has become one of the most popular recipes on this blog. It makes everybody happy and it reconciled some of my friends with quinoa. The few who thought that quinoa was yuk, have now joined the quinoa team. Massive.

Tomato Avocado Burgers (Low Carb and Gluten-Free)

August 1, 2013

Tomato Avocado Burgers

We’re talking bunless burgers over ‘ere. Wait...what? Bunless burgers? Yep, that's it, a burger sans bun.
I feel you’re already judging me. So stop right there and allow me to make an argument for bunless burger, or better yet, for THIS particular bunless burger. If I can't convince you, feel free to leave, but not before you've heard it all.