All Posts Tagged ‘Pastured pork

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Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps

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It’s been awhile since I’ve spent any extra time creating new things in the kitchen. To be honest, recipe creating is not my jam. I only started cooking from scratch a couple of years ago and I’m much more comfortable following recipes from some of my favourite cookbooks and blogs.

This recipe was born from a lack of proper meal planning leading to a lack of ingredients. I was aiming for this recipe (which I’ve heard is absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to try it once I’ve collected the ingredients), but ended up doing the following:

Ingredients

For the pulled pork:

3-4 lb pastured pork roast

1 cup beef bone broth

1 jar salsa verde

4 tsp crushed garlic

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp dried cilantro

1 tsp oregano

For the cauliflower rice:

2 heads cauliflower

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 tbsp dried cilantro

Salt

Butter lettuce or preferred lettuce for wraps

Directions

For the pulled pork:

1) Rub the roast with the garlic, cilantro, oregano, and salt.

2) Place the roast in crockpot with the beef bone broth, and then pour approximately 3/4 of the jar of salsa verde on top of the roast. (Reserve the rest of the salsa for topping off the wraps.)

3) Cook the pork in the crockpot on the low setting for 24 hours.

4) After 24 hours, remove the roast from the crockpot and shred it with two forks.

For the cauliflower rice:

4) Grate the cauliflower with a cheese grater or pulse in food processor until it resembles grains of rice.

5) Heat the coconut coconut oil in a large frying pan on medium heat.

6) Add the cauliflower to the pan, with the dried cilantro and salt. Fry it on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until it begins to get slightly crisp on the outside. Remove from heat.

For the wraps:

7) Wash and dry lettuce leaves. I like using butter lettuce or even cabbage leaves for extra crunch.

8) Fill lettuce leaves with cauliflower rice, pulled pork, and a dab of salsa verde on top.

Enjoy!

There's no way to make these look appetizing but I promise they were delicious.

There’s no way to make these look appetizing but I promise they were delicious. Trust me.

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Q&A: Organic and Other Labels

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I posted on my Facebook page last week, asking for people to leave any questions they have that they would like answered in a blog post. I’ll be working on answering these questions as they come up. Please feel free to shoot me an email (joanna@wellnesswithjoanna.com) or leave a comment at any time with questions!

Here’s a great one that I think a lot of people get confused about.

Question: What is the difference in “terms” you see in your grocery store? Organic, grass fed, grass finished etc. They all sound healthy but I’m sure some of it is marketing and you aren’t getting what you think you’re buying.

Answer: Yes, a lot of it is marketing! Here’s a list of some common terms and labels and my simplified definitions. 

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Organic: If a food is labeled organic, then it means that no synthetic chemicals have been used to grow it or make it. That means no GMO ingredients, food additives, antibiotics, sewage sludge (yes, this is used in conventional food!), or pesticides. Animals must be fed organic feed without animal byproducts.

Natural: In the USA, this term really has no meaning. It is not regulated at all, and so can be used by anyone on any product. Of course the term implies minimal processing, but because it is not regulated, it cannot be trusted and is often used to trick consumers into paying more money for a less than desirable product.

However, in Canada, the term is regulated and can only be used as a label on foods that do not contain any food additives, artificial flavouring, and have not been significantly altered by processing.

Cage Free: This means that the animals were not raised in cages, but does not tell you what the animals were fed or describe any other living conditions. These animals could still be packed into barns with no room to move and no access to pasture.

Pastured: This indicates that the animal has been raised outside, but it does not tell you the amount of time spent outside. (It could be outside for a very limited time each day, making the term misleading).

Free Range: Free range hens must have access to the outdoors for the majority of the year. Their feed cannot contain antibiotics or hormones. (These are the eggs I insist on buying.)

Free Run: Free run hens are not confined to life in a cage, but are allowed to only roam on the barn floor. They are not required to be allowed access to outdoors, and they eat the same feed as conventional hens, including antibiotics and hormones.

Grass Fed: Grass Fed is a term that is quickly becoming over used and misused. Originally, grass fed implied that the cow was raised on grass exclusively, and allowed to range free. Recently, because of the increasing demand for grass fed beef, the term has sometimes now been used to describe cows that have been only partially grass fed. Often, farmers will feed the cow grain to sweeten and fatten the cow for a few months before it is butchered. This alters the nutrition immensely (negatively). This is one example of the importance of knowing where your food comes from. Get to know your local farmers and the people you buy your food from!

Grass Finished: This means that the cow has been grass fed for the entire duration of it’s life. No grain, no corn and no antibiotics or hormones.

Hormone Free: This means that no synthetic hormones were administered to the animal at all. This one is tricky and often used to mislead consumers into paying a higher price for food than is necessary. Federal Law permits the use of hormones in poultry or hogs, but the meat is often labeled ‘Hormone Free’ anyway. Do not pay more for chicken labeled hormone free, as it is no different than chicken without the label. However, keep in mind that ‘hormone free’ still does not tell you what the chicken has been fed or how it was raised (humanely or squished into horrible cages).

Antibiotic Free: This means that no antibiotics were used over the animal’s lifetime. Again, this is a good thing, but still does not tell you how the animal was raised or what it was fed.

Farmed (referring to seafood): This means that the fish have been raised in tanks or enclosures. They are often contaminated, given antibiotics, and have two to three times less Omega 3’s than wild fish.

Wild Caught (referring to seafood): This means the seafood has been caught by fishermen in the open water, in their natural habitat.

Any more labels you’ve been seeing in your grocery store that are confusing? Leave a comment and I’ll add it to this list.

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Brussels Sprouts Breakfast Skillet

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A few years ago I would have never imagined eating brussels sprouts for breakfast. When I adopted the grain free, sugar free, dairy free lifestyle, one of my biggest struggles was figuring out what to eat for breakfast. I got sick of scrambled eggs pretty quickly and so started combining meat and veggies and now breakfast has become my favourite meal. I love starting off the day with a full stomach and tons of energy.

I use ground pork for this recipe because it’s relatively cheap. Our family only buys pastured, hormone free, antibiotic free, and humanely raised meats and that really adds up over time and makes a huge dent in our budget. Pork is a cheaper option than chicken, beef or turkey and works well for a meal like this.

As for the brussels sprouts…just try it! My kids won’t touch them on their own, but they’ll gobble them up mixed into this skillet without even noticing. Victory!

This recipe is enough for 3 breakfast meals for myself, or you can stretch it farther by adding 2 eggs to each portion.

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Ingredients:

1-2 tbsp of coconut oil

1 lb ground pork (pastured, hormone and antibiotic free, humanely treated)

1 large yam (or 2 smaller yams), diced

10 brussels sprouts, quartered

1 large apple, diced

2 bell peppers, diced

1 bunch kale, roughly torn into bite size pieces (stems removed)

1-2 tbsp of rosemary

1-2 tbsp of sage

Sea salt to taste

Directions:

1) Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over medium.

2) Crumble your ground pork into the pan and season with sage and rosemary. Sprinkle with salt.

3) Once the pork begins to brown, add the diced yams and brussels sprouts. Mix to combine and continue cooking until yams being to soften to your liking, about 10 minutes.

4) Add your diced apple and peppers. Mix to combine and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes.

5) Lastly, add your torn kale. Mix to combine, fry for approximately 3 minutes, and then serve and enjoy.

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Potato Soup with Kale and Italian Sausage

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All of a sudden winter has hit us here in Vancouver. It’s been beautifully sunny and absolutely chilly and we are loving it! We’ve spent hours outside each day soaking up the sunshine and everyone’s mood has been lifted.

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The fresh cold air makes me crave hot soup, and so that plus the fact that kale was on sale at our local market had me coming up with this for dinner last night. This made quite a large pot, probably enough for about 6 bowls.

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Ingredients:

-6 slices of nitrate free, sugar free bacon

-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

-1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped

-2 celery stalks, chopped

-4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped (I used red potatoes but any kind will do)

-3 potatoes, diced into bite size pieces (I prefer to leave the peel on for this part)

-6 sausage links, Italian flavoured or chorizo (I did a mix)

-2 large red bell peppers, diced

-2 bunches of kale, stems removed and roughly torn or chopped

-fresh chives, chopped

-4 cups chicken broth

-1 cup water

-salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1) Fry the bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat. (Put the bacon in your cold soup pot and then turn on the heat to medium to get the most fat rendered out of your bacon – thanks Cherie for that tip!)

2) Once the bacon is cooked, remove it and set it to the side. Remove all but 1-2 tbsp of the bacon fat. (Save that removed bacon fat in a jar for another day…it’s gold.)

3) Fry your garlic, leek and celery in the pot with the 1-2 tbsp bacon fat until it smells wonderful, about 2-4 minutes.

4) Add in your 4 peeled and chopped potatoes and fry for another few minutes.

5) Pour in your chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 or so minutes, until potatoes are soft.

6) While your potatoes are cooking, heat a large pan over medium heat. Remove the sausage casing and crumble the meat into the pan. Cook until there is no longer any pink.

7) When the potatoes are soft, puree the whole pot of broth, potatoes, garlic, leeks and celery. Use a hand held immersion blender or remove the mixture and blend it in a Vitamix and then return it to the pot.

8) Add the rest of the potatoes and the cooked sausage. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes or until the diced potatoes begin to soften.

9) Add your chopped kale and diced red pepper and simmer for 3-5 minutes.

10) Ladle the soup into bowls and serve topped with chives and bacon.

Enjoy!

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Whole 30 – Week 5 – Meal Plan

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Only two more days! Congratulations to everyone who has held on this far. Now the most important part is coming next: Life After Whole30. Don’t mess this up! Carefully re-introduce foods in the proper manner. You’ve worked hard so please don’t throw it all away now.

Breakfast:

Sausage Egg Cups

Spicy Breakfast Stew (I’m sure by now you guys have become accustomed to eating weird stuff for breakfast!)

Meat Crust Quiche

Dinner:

Beef Pot Roast

Baked Garlic Mushroom Chicken

Grilled Flank Steak with Cilantro Balsamic Marinade

Spicy Shrimp Butternut Squash “Rice” with Tomatoes

Italian Chopped Salad

Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

Crockpot Pulled Pork Chili

Previously:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

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Bacon Wrapped Date Salad

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I’ve got this really great friend. In the past year or so, I’ve watched her completely dive in to a healthy lifestyle for her and her family. She’s a busy super mom who runs an in-home daycare and yet she’s managed to build a healthy lifestyle through working out (often including her kids and husband) and healthy eating. We’re big food nerds and so we often send each other picture messages of what we’re eating. (Don’t judge me. I seriously LOVE FOOD.) The other day she sent me a picture of her lunch: a salad with bacon wrapped dates on top. I drooled a little, and then got to work making my own version. I came up with this, and now I kinda wanna eat this every day for the rest of my life.

Ingredients:

-8 dates

-4 pieces of sugar free, nitrate free, pastured bacon

-2 cups spinach

-1/4 red onion, diced

-1 nectarine, diced

-1/2 tomato, diced

-1/2 jalapeño, seeded and diced

-1/2 cucumber, diced

Instructions:

1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

2) Using a small, sharp knife, carefully slit a hole in each date and remove the pit.

3) Cut your bacon slices in half so you have 8 pieces, each a couple of inches long.

4) Tightly wind a piece of bacon around each date and secure it by piercing all the way through with a toothpick.

5) Place the bacon wrapped dates on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until bacon is cooked to your liking.

6) Once cooked, remove from the oven and gently pat dry each bacon wrapped date. Set them aside to cool.

7) Place your spinach on a large plate or in a large bowl and throw all your vegetable toppings and nectarine on top. Add your bacon wrapped dates and enjoy!

Eat outside as often as you can. Food just tastes better outside.

Eat outside as often as you can. Food just tastes better outside.

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A Healthy Vacation – Part 1 – Whistler

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Over the course of this summer, I’ve heard a lot of this:

“I’ll start eating healthy after my vacation is over.”

“It’s impossible to eat healthy on vacation.”

“It’s too hard to eat healthy while camping.”

“Whole30 is impossible on vacation.”

Of course, I took this on as a challenge to prove that it IS all possible, and that it’s not that difficult or time consuming with a little guidance and prep work. We had two short trips almost back to back, giving me two opportunities to test out my ideas. (Read Part 2 – Camping to see how we stayed healthy on our road trip to Alberta).

First, we got to spend a weekend in Whistler with our good friend and her daughter. We stayed in a lodge with a full kitchen, making this the easier of the two challenges. Still, we only had 2 nights there, and I wanted to spend as little of that time in the kitchen as possible, so I prepped almost everything ahead of time.

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Here’s a complete list of what I packed:

Green beans

Kale/Swiss chard mix, washed and torn

Yellow carrots

1 large zucchini

4 avocados

1 bunch of bananas

Cherries

Apples

1 dozen eggs, half of those hardboiled

Chicken (2 large bone-in breasts and 2 large thighs)

Homemade sausage patties

Homemade meatballs

Partially cooked diced yams

Cooked beets

Cashews

Larabars

Date/Coconut balls

Black coffee

At first glance, all that cooked food may look like a lot of prep work, but it really wasn’t. I like to keep it simple and use shortcuts.

For the chicken, I threw it all in a crockpot the night before with about 1 tbsp of rosemary, 1 tbsp of basil, 1 sliced lemon, salt and pepper, and drizzled olive oil on it. I let it cook all night on low, then let it cool in the morning and packed it away in tupperware. This took about 5 minutes of hands on time.

For the beets, I also used the crockpot. I scrubbed them, threw them in the crockpot and covered them with an inch or two of water. I cooked them on high for 2 hours. Once they cooled, I slid off the peels and then packed them in tupperware. Maximum ten minutes of hands on time.

The meatballs and sausage patties were what took the most time, and so I doubled both recipes knowing that I could use the extra for camping the next week. For the meatballs I used the Greek version of Melissa Joulwan’s meatballs. I packed half of them in a tupperware and froze the other half in a ziploc freezer bag for camping. For the sausage patties, I used my absolute favourite homemade sausage recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo, found here. I did the same as I did with the meatballs, packing half in a tupperware container and freezing the rest in a ziploc freezer bag for camping the next week. This only took about 30 minutes of hands on time the night before our trip.

While the meatballs and sausage patties cooked in the oven, I peeled and chopped about 6 small yams. I fried them in coconut oil but left them slightly hard so that they wouldn’t get mushy over the next few days. This took about 15 minutes of hands on time, and about 15 mins of frying time. 

The morning of our trip, I threw it all in a cooler and unloaded it all in the fridge once we arrived. Over the weekend, we simply ate different combinations of all these foods. Bonus, we came home with a ton of leftovers that we ate at home over the next couple of days. All of this food was Whole30 approved, and because I’m not actually doing the Whole30 challenge this month, eating this way for our 3 main meals a day left room for treats like this that I found at the Whistler Farmer’s Market:

applebaconpie

Apple Bacon Pie. Seriously.

Spending the small amount of time to do this ended up saving us a ton of money (dining out in Whistler is expensive!), a lot of frustration and exhaustion trying to keep our two wiggly children quiet and entertained at restaurants, and left us with so much extra time to explore and have fun. 

Try it, I know you can do it!

(Side note: I was so happy to bump into Caveman Grocer at the Whistler Farmer’s Market. Check her out!)

Kayaking in Whistler

Kayaking in Whistler

Morning run around Lost Lake, Whistler

Morning run around Lost Lake, Whistler