Category Archives: Product Reviews

Eating Out Paleo: NYC: Hu Kitchen

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Going out to eat can not only be a challenge, it can be downright overwhelming. What was this cooked in? Is this gluten-free? Does the marinade have soy? Can you serve this without sauce? It can be done, but sometimes it’s a little awkward, especially if you’re out with friends. Locally, if we need to eat out, I have my relatively safe choices, and I can usually at least get a nice salad with some grilled chicken, but when you’re far from home it can be a little daunting.

This weekend, I went to the city (NY) to see a show at Carnegie Hall. I went with Mike, and one of our friends, who I’ve been trying to help eat better. We went into the city a little early, so we could grab dinner, and I went to the interwebs to try to find a place that would be fun and exciting, but super paleo friendly for Mike and I. We wanted good food, but we also wanted something that we couldn’t get at home.

Our usual safe choice is BareBurger. They have a great selection of wild and grass-fed meats, sustainable ingredients, organic veggies, and gluten-free substitutions. I love getting their Baby Farmers Salad with an Elk Burger and an Egg. I highly recommend it, and we considered going there, but I kind of wanted to find something new, and took to a combination of Yelp and Google.

That’s when I found out about Hu Kitchen. Their motto is “Get Back To Human” and they talk about eating the way our ancestors ate before the industry ruined food. They talk about unprocessed foods, minimizing grains, natural sugars (used sparingly) good fats, good meats, ingredient quality, and food integrity. They got me interested. I looked over their website, and definitely noticed the paleo influence, and though they DO serve some grains (such as quinoa ) they are by default gluten-free, soy free, dairy free, and GMO free unless noted. They even offer lattes with coconut milk if you want! I was PSYCHED – we needed to go here!

So downtown we drove to the corner of 5th Ave and 14th St and entered under a sign that said “Food For Humans” and pointed to a door below. The inside was warm with rustic wood accents. There was a bar with organic wines and beers (the ONLY gluten here) as well as a pretty good selection of Gluten Free beer and organic hard cider. They even had KOMBUCHA on tap. Let me tell you….previously I’ve only had the stuff that you buy in Whole Foods, which is yummy, but holy moley, THIS was amazing and totally in a different league. I think it was a jasmine green flavor, and it was the perfect amount of sweetness and punch.

Once I walked past the bar, there was a prepared counter (like in a deli) with TONS of offerings. I tasted the stuffed squash that my friend got, and it was really spot on good. In the back they had a menu hot dinners, and sides, and since I glanced at the menu on the way in, I knew this was exactly where I was going.

I ordered the Wild Meatloaf (wild boar, wild elk, berkshire pork, org egg, onion, garlic, parsley) with sides of Caramelized Pineapple with Cashew Cream, and the Rustic Root Vegetable Mash. I watched them make my plate, and the portions were a lot bigger, much to my delight, than I expected. They even gave me a sample piece of Hu Bread, which is not actually bread, and completely grain free.

I ordered a latte with coconut milk at the bar, and sat down with my food, super excited to dig in!

The meal can be summed up super easy – THIS IS MY FAVORITE PLACE EVER.

Everything was exploding with flavor. The meatloaf, was rich and earthy , the root vegetable mash, was a comforting blend of sweet potato, carrots, and other things that I forget…but it was delightful and a perfect complement. To sweeten the plate up, and round off the meal, there were the roasted pineapples with cashew cream. I don’t know exactly what makes cashew cream, but it was amazing and I wanted to dip everything into it. It was sweet, but not too sweet (and I’m pretty sensitive to sweet things), and complemented the pineapple perfectly. I tasted Mike’s soup, a dairy free Butternut Squash Bisque, and it was so flavorful, I kept stealing spoons from him. The icing on my cake (figuratively of course) was my latte. It was so nice to be able to get something other than Black Coffee. being coconut milk based It’s not as light and creamy as a Starbucks latte, but the flavor is beautiful.

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By the end of my meal, I was stuffed, and beaming with excitement that this place existed in the world. If you are in NY you need to go here. This place needs to exist, and I hope to see them expand closer to me one day. This is exactly the type of place I would open, if I ever had the time, money, and drive to expand out of my kitchen. This place is truly important and doing things completely right.

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Happy New Year! Hello 2014! Product Review and Giveaway!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Update 2/1/14 : contest is closed! I will be going through the comments this weekend and will update with a winner shortly!

Update #2: Congrats to Karen who entered the contest and was the lucky winner of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil, Enjoy it!

Not only is this my first post of 2014, but, it is also post 100! Can you believe it! It’s been a great ride so far, and even if I help a small handful of people make a few healthy, tasty meals, I’ve done my job. I’m really looking forward to 2014. I’m not one for resolutions, and I’m not fond of the “New years gym rush” but I think it’s safe to say that my wish for 2014 is just to grow. I am looking forward with positivity. I will grow stronger, both physically and mentally, build on my foundations as a human being, and become better at living a healthy lifestyle. I hope to become consistent at mobilizing, at being mindful, and at giving myself more time to do things I love like playing guitar or reading. I hope to end 2014 smarter, stronger, and healthier than when I entered it. Anyway, to celebrate such an important post, I decided instead of a recipe, I would host a product giveaway!

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. I am also participating in a referral program through Tropical Traditions. If you order by clicking on any of my links or images and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you. That being said, I think their product is pretty darn awesome and stand behind it with an unbiased opinion, regardless of those facts.

That’s right!  Tropical Traditions has been kind enough to send me a quart of their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil to review ($40 Value!), and has given me the opportunity to sponsor a giveaway so you can get a jar just like the one I got. I use A LOT of coconut oil, so I was psyched to try it out. I have been using it for the past month or two, so I’ve had ample time to build my opinion, and I have been nothing but happy. Seriously, they make a great product.

For those who are new this lifestyle, and haven’t used it yet, you can get familiarize yourself and learn, What Is Coconut Oil ? and How To Use It?

Coconut oil is a great oil to cook with, as it is very stable to use at high temperatures. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil: http://coconutoil.com

Prior to getting this coconut oil, I had been using Trader Joe’s (and was running low), so to really form a proper opinion, I put them against each other and A/B ‘d them properly. I tested them on 3 main criteria: “The Spoon Test” (Straight out of the Jar), “The Egg Test” (Using them to make eggs), and “The Coffee Test” (Blending them in a cup of coffee and drinking). Overall, I definitely preferred the Tropical Traditions.

First Impressions:

Opening the jar, it wasn’t super strong-smelling. Sometimes coconut products strongly smell of coconut. I found the Tropical Traditions coconut oil to be light and pleasant.

The Spoon Test:

I found Tropical Traditions to be much more palatable. There was a certain “greasiness” that came with Trader Joe’s, and it left my mouth feeling funny and made me uncomfortable. It had an aftertaste. Tropical Traditions had a very pleasant coconut taste, and melted nicely in the mouth. I’m still not totally a fan of eating it straight, but Tropical Traditions is definitely the winner.

The Egg Test:

I covered half the griddle with Tropical Traditions, and half with Trader Joe’s. I thought the Tropical Traditions side cooked better and browned nicer. I thought it gave the eggs a pleasant and slight coconut taste. The Trader Joe’s side did not have as much of a coconut taste, but it also spread itself thinner. Mike was more fond of this because he is not a huge fan of the coconut taste that sometimes comes with cooking in coconut oil. I don’t mind it, so I preferred the Tropical Traditions by far. Something like this is really going to be a matter of taste.

The Coffee Test:

By far Tropical Traditions stood out here. It blended better, was nice and foamy, and tasted better. It was less oily, melted better, and even us the coffee started to cool, it stayed light and remained delicious even as it started to separate. By contrast, the Trader Joe’s coconut oil lost it’s foamy texture quickly, was oily, and felt and tasted heavier as it cooled. It actually started to make me gag a little. It got really, awkward on the tongue. Yuck, I had to stop drinking it. Tropical Traditions Hands Down took this round.

The Winner:

Tropical Traditions!
Overall it was just better, and is seriously a great, high quality product. A quart is a large jar of coconut oil, and yet I could never have enough.And now for the giveaway! That’s right, one of YOU will get a jar just like the one I got. Super Cool! Believe me, it is such an amazing deal! The giveaway is running the whole month of January, and the winner will be picked at random and notified by email.

All you HAVE to do is Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions Email Newsletter and Like TasteThat! on Facebook. Then comment on this blog post letting me know you did those two things.

As a bonus, and to increase your chances of winning, you can do any of the following things. Let me know in the comments what you did.

Good Luck everyone and Happy January!


Paleo Beef Jerky (Food Dehydrator)

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Ok, seriously I think I have a new addiction. This stuff lasted all of 2-3 days. It was so good, and totally knocks anything you buy from the store out of the park. Plus, it’s totally customizable, and you control exactly what’s in it. Holy cow food dehydrator, where have you been all my life! I can’t wait to start making dried fruits in this thing, it’s so darn easy! So anyway, yes, I got a food dehydrator for Christmas; the Nesco FD-37 to be exact. I’ve read reviews on it, and for the price point this gets the job done quite well. After my first use, I have to agree, and it was easy to clean to boot!

Anyway, I used about 1.5 lbs of Top Round, trimmed of any fat. I stuck it in the freezer for a couple of hours, which made it easier to cut. Then I sliced it against the grain, into thin slices. You want them as thin as you can make them easily,

Then, you marinate it for 15-24 hours. Here is what I used, it was yummy.

  • Coconut aminos
  • Sesame oil
  • Organic Balsamic vinegar
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Coriander
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Apple cider vinegar

When you’re ready, you just wipe off the extra marinade, arrange in the dehydrator, and turn it on. It takes about 4-6 hours depending on the thickness of the slices and how chewy you want them to be. I like them a little chewier, and Mike prefers them a bit softer. You want them to be stiff, but flex easily when you bend them, cracking a little but not breaking.

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Review: US Wellness Meats: Sugar Free Beef Bacon!

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Click to go to the US Wellness Website and get some!

It’s BACON! Seriously, who doesn’t love bacon? Well I’ve definitely been looking for a good bacon, and I’m pretty sure I’ve found it at US Wellness Meats, in their Sugar-Free Beef Bacon! What’s great about it? Well, first of all, for mainly personal reasons, we don’t really eat pork in my house…..well I occasionally will, but my boyfriend tries to stay as pork free as possible. Also, most bacon has sugar in it, so even if you grab one of the many nitrate free choices, they still aren’t Whole Life Challenge compliant. Enter the solution to all my problems – Beef Bacon! Add the fact that the ONLY ingredients are beef and celtic sea salt – it’s a Whole Life Challenge/ Whole 30 Approved Grass-Fed match made in heaven for my house. So when I made my first order at US Wellness Meats, you bet I added a package to my cart!

Let me tell you, this stuff is DELICIOUS! In the past I’ve had turkey bacon, which is….meh, and duck Bacon, which is super tasty, but again, usually has sugar. None, were a solid substitute for good ol’ pork bacon. The main issue I had with the non-pork options was the texture, and the potential to be crispy and awesome. It just wasn’t the same. Enter my grass-fed beef friend…..beef bacon get’s it right! It crisps up nicely, it has a perfect bacon texture, and it tastes amazing. It’s a little on the salty side, but hey, it’s bacon. My boyfriend finds it a little “tallowy” but still likes it, so it’s really a matter of preference. I think it’s kind of what happens when bacon and beef jerky have a baby….and there are so many things right about that! Another perk? Beef fat! Get the bacon going on the griddle, and use the grease to cook your eggs afterwards! It’s so flipping good!

Oh, and I should mention that I have no affiliation with US Wellness Meats, nor do I get any money from you clicking the images in my post and wandering to their website to buy bacon. I’m strictly spreading the love.

Perfect addition to a Paleo Morning...Afternoon...Or Evening meal!

Perfect addition to a Paleo Morning…Afternoon…Or Evening meal!

 


Like a Ninja! : Homemade Cashew Butter, and a Smoothie to try out my new Ninja Kitchen System!

Please note, I am in no way affiliated with Ninja, or any of the brands mentioned in my blog posts. I also do not get any money from you going and buying their products. I’m just sharing my own personal experience.

How have I gone this long without a blender/food processor? I have no idea. I’ve been using a hand blender for select things up until now, all while looking enviously at high powered Über blenders like the Vitamix, while sobbing at the price tag, and waiting for the day that I could bring one home. Then yesterday my parents decide to get me the Ninja Ultra Kitchen System 1200 for a gift, to congratulate me on another successful challenge completed, and for all my healthy efforts and success. Best – Parents – Ever! It’s not a Vitamix, but it’s seriously an awesome and waaaaay more affordable option. I couldn’t wait to try it out! It comes with a 72 oz Blender, a 64 oz Food Processor/Dough Mixer cup, and 3 single serve containers. My brain was racing with possibilities all the way home. Here’s a link to the Ultra Kitchen System on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Ninja-Ultra-Kitchen-System-1200/dp/B00FROKCI4

If you are a member at Costco, it’s also available there for considerably cheaper.

http://www.costco.com/Ninja%C2%AE-Ultra-Kitchen-System%E2%84%A2-.product.100056570.html

The first thing I wanted to try, was making my own nut butter. In my house we LOVE Artisana’s Cashew Butter, but it’s definitely a luxury at $15-$19 a jar. We picked up some Raw Cashews at Trader Joe’s and decided to start with that! Then, being that I’ve never made nut butter from scratch, I did some research on the inter-webs.

In the end, I soaked the cashews for 3-4 hours, drained the water, and put them in the processor still a little wet. I didn’t dehydrate them or roast them first like some of the blogs. I also decided not to add any extra oil. The only ingredient I added was a little sea salt at the end. It wasn’t as sweet and creamy as Artisana, but I think it was pretty awesome for a first attempt! It definitely has a creamy smooth texture, and a nice flavor. I think it came out lovely, especially considering how EASY it was.

Raw Cashew Butter

  • 2 cups Trader Joe’s raw cashews (Soaked)
  • A few shakes of sea salt

The first link I listed outlines the process pretty well. You really just have to keep processing until it gets creamy. It takes longer than you might expect, and it definitely goes through different stages. It’s the same process for making nut meal and nut flour, but you leave it in longer to get nut butter.

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This morning, I decided to try the single serve containers, and make smoothies.The containers are built well, and have a clear “Max Fill” line. The top with the blade screws on securely, and when you’re done, they also have tops with a hole to drink out of, so you don’t even have to take it out of the container. They are also super easy to clean.

Nutty Cocoa Berry Smoothie:

  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cashew butter
  • 1 pitted medjool date
  • 3-4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries (approx.)
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries (approx.)

I put everything into the containers, starting with the coconut milk.

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Then I hit the “Single Serve” button until everything was blended.

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That’s it, super easy! I am so psyched to try more things in this. It’s a really solid machine and performs wonderfully.  It’s new, so time will tell how long it lasts, and how it handles in the long run, but I definitely am prepared to keep testing it!

While I was making the smoothies, I also got the rest of breakfast ready. I cooked some Portabella Mushrooms on the griddle, and topped them with heated Applegate Herb Turkey, Applegate Roast Beef, and Two Eggs. YUM! (Note, I know the Applegate roast beef is compliant for the WLC, but the Herb Turkey has Carageenan so it is NOT compliant)

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