Saturday, December 17, 2011

Travel Snacks

Max and I are headed to the East Coast for the holidays.  When I travel, I like to bring a plethora of snacks to help me stay on track while I'm away.  I bring a mix of nuts, dark chocolate and low-carb protein bars (see pg. 65 of the book for acceptable kinds).
Make no mistake, these items are high calorie and should be eaten in moderation.  But, they travel well and will help me to avoid slips while I'm on the go.  If I have a nut snack in my purse, I'm less likely to grab a soft pretzel on 5th Avenue from a street vendor.  If I eat a protein bar, I'm less likely to give into the urge to have one of those classic New York bagels.  And, with chocolate on hand, I can pass up nearly any dessert put before me.
I like packing my nut snacks in these cute, reusable, food-safe, dishwasher-safe bags, called lunchskins from 3greenmoms.  
For your holiday travels, plan ahead and bring some Gundry-friendly snacks that will keep you satisfied.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Seriously Tasty, Not So Pretty, Football-Watching Treats

For several years now, my family has been celebrating Thanksgiving on Friday.  We gather at my parents' vacation home in Central California for a weekend of family fun and, well, eating.  We decided a few years ago, that travel and gathering would be much less stressful if we just moved the big feast to Friday.  This year, a new tradition was born with our turkey day football potluck, to commemorate the first annual family fantasy football league - 8 teams compiled from Max's and my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and brothers. It's been a really fun experience (and humbling for veteran fantasy footballer Max) and a great way to interact with the family more than usual.  On Thursday, we watched football and each brought an appetizery, finger-foody, footbally item to share.
Max loves deviled eggs - so this is usually my go-to football day snack (for a Gundry-friendly version, you can omit mayonnaise or substitute plain yogurt).  But, when I came across a recipe for Scotch Eggs with Merguez and Charmoula that I had taken from Tasting Table earlier in the year, I thought, "Now what is more footbally than a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage and fried!?!?"  I had to try it.  The original recipe calls for a coating of flour and panko, but I've come to learn that almond meal is a delicious, Gundry-friendly, breading alternative (check out recipes here, here and here) and decided I'd do my best to make this indulgent snack Gundry-passable.  The result was a nearly-ridiculous, palm-sized dose of indulgent goodness.

I nearly doubled the recipe.  This is about 2 pounds of sausage.  
2 cups cilantro leaves
4 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt

Scotch Eggs
8 large eggs
1-1/4 lbs. fresh merguez sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (substitute almond flour)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups panko (substitute almond flour)
Oil, for deep frying

1. Place six of the eggs in a saucepan and fill with cold water until the eggs are just covered.  Over high heat, bring the water to a boil.  Lower the heat and let the eggs simmer for 1 minute, then remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 12 minutes.  Peel the eggs, pat dry and set aside.
I'm terrible at peeling eggs and end up losing part of the white itself.
I blame it on the organic eggs I buy. It seems I didn't always have this much difficulty. Also, I tend to cook my eggs for longer than most recipes suggest.  I like to make sure they are really cooked through.
2. Make the charmoula: Place all the ingredients for the charmoula in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a serving bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
I made the charmoula at home the day before.

3.  Make the Scotch Eggs: Preheat the oven to 375.  Place the sausage in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground, about 30 seconds.  Form the sausage into six thin patties, then gently form one patty around each of the hardboiled eggs.
Don't forget to remove the casings first.

I was surprised at how much bulk the sausage layer added. They looked like dinosaur eggs!
4. Place the flour (substitute almond flour) in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.  In another bowl, lightly beat the 2 remaining eggs and season with salt and pepper.  Place the panko (substitute almond flour) in a third bowl.  Dredge the sausage-wrapped eggs in the flour, dusting off the excess.  Dip each in the egg mixture, then roll in the panko until coated.
Set up an "assembly line" near your frying pan.  Since I substituted almond flour for the flour and panko, I used only one bowl.  

5.  In a deep saucepan, heat 3 inches of oil to 350 degrees.  Fry the eggs until browned and crisp, about 2 minutes, turning if necessary.  Transfer the eggs to a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 8 minutes.  Cut the eggs into quarters (or halves if you have trouble like me) and serve (or top) with the charmoula.

My college-freshman cousin had the very creative idea of piping plain yogurt through a ziplock bag to turn the Scotch Eggs into little footballs with white laces.  
The recipe called for cutting the Scotch Eggs into fourths and dipping them into the charmoula.   My breading was a bit tenuous and cutting into fourths just wasn't viable.  I discovered that they sort of held up if I cut them in half.  I decided to spoon the charmoula onto the eggs, as attempting to dip would have been mostly futile except for the most experienced and skilled of dippers.
This was a really fun recipe to make.  It's definitely not something you want to try to throw together last minute.  It's a bit of a process.  Perfect for a casual weekend focused on cooking.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Delicious Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving is days away.  Luckily for us, the star of the Thanksgiving table - Turkey - is Gundry-friendly.  It's fairly easy to find recipes that are in line with our Gundry lifestyle. Unfortunately, most of the traditional sides - mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, yams - are not!  So, here are some ideas for some delicious side dishes that you can bring to your Thanksgiving table.

Links from my blog:

Balsamic Braised Brussels Sprouts link

Garlic Green Beans link

Curried Cauliflower with Almonds link

Recipes I've seen recently:

Cider Vinegar Braised Greens 
from Tasting Tables Chef's Recipes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Cook Time: 45 minutes


    1 large bunch collard greens 1 large bunch mustard greens 1 large bunch turnip greens 1 cup canola oil 2 medium yellow onions, chopped 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tablespoon red chile flakes Sea salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 cup cider vinegar 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

1. Fill the sink with clean water. Remove the stems from all of the greens and wash both the leaves and the stems three times, refreshing the water each time. Drain thoroughly and use a kitchen towelt to help remove the excess water from the greens.
2. Prepare the stems by slicing them once lengthwise, then finely chopping the cut stems crosswise; set aside. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, warm the canola oil. Add the onions and garlic; using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chile flakes and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Stir in the chopped stems and cook until slightly tender, about 6 minutes. Season with sea salt and pepper then add the leaves of the greens in three batches, letting each batch wilt slightly to make room for next batch. Once all of the greens are in the pot, season lightly with sea salt and cracked pepper.
4. Add the cider vinegar and cover the saucepan. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender and broken down, about 30 to 40 minutes.
5. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside to cool. Remove the cooled greens from the pot and chop finely. Return the greens to the braising liquid (they can be covered and refrigerated for up to two days). When you're ready to serve the greens, bring them and their liquid to a simmer. Add the butter and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
from Tasting Table Sous Chef Series

Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
  • 2 medium white onions, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, tough outer leaves removed and trimmed
  • 4 ounces slab bacon, cut into medium cubes (about ¼ cup)
  • 5 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium lemon
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
  • Crushed red chile flakes


1. In a large skillet set over low heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, a large pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are sweet and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. In a large stockpot, blanch the Brussels sprouts in salted, boiling water until bright green and just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the Brussels sprouts from the water and set aside to cool. Cut some of the larger Brussels sprouts in half but leave the smaller ones whole.
3. In a medium skillet set over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until it is crisp on all sides, about 5 minutes. Pour off the excess fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon. Add the halved Brussels sprouts cut side down to the pan and cook without stirring over medium heat until the sprouts are tender and nicely caramelized. Add the remaining sprouts to the pan and cook until browned, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the caramelized onions and sage. Finish the dish with a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice, sea salt, chile flakes and a drizzle of olive oil, all to taste. Serve immediately.
Roasted Cauliflower and Shallots with Chard and Dukkah
from Sunset Magazine, October 2011



  • large cauliflower (2 3/4 lbs.), cored and cut into florets about 1 1/2 in. wide
  • 3/4 pound whole shallots, peeled and cut in half if large
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • About 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound Swiss chard, stems and ribs sliced and leaves chopped separately
  • can (15 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • About 1/2 cup Dukkah


  • 1. Preheat oven to 425°. In a roasting pan, toss cauliflower and shallots with 3 tbsp. oil and 3/4 tsp. salt. Roast, stirring occasionally, until light golden, about 20 minutes. Add chard stems and ribs, toss to coat, and roast until vegetables are very tender, 7 to 10 minutes more.
  • 2. Stir in chard leaves, chickpeas, dukkah, and remaining 2 tbsp. oil. Roast until chard is wilted and tender, about 8 minutes. Stir; season to taste with more salt and dukkah.



  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds


  • 1. Toast coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a small frying pan over medium-low heat until a shade darker, 5 to 7 minutes; let cool.
  • 2. Whirl spices, salt, pepper, and thyme in a food processor until fairly finely ground.
  • 3. Add hazelnuts and sesame seeds and pulse until coarsely ground.
Have a happy & healthy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Beef Stew with Cauliflower & Green Beans

Over the past few weeks in Los Angeles, we've actually had some Fall "weather". Last Sunday was rainy and chilly and I was in the mood for stew.  Max suggested that we unearth the crock pot that I rarely use, so that dinner could prepare itself while I joined him on the couch for a proper Football Sunday.  I thought this was an excellent idea and while he washed off our dusty crock pot, I fished out the little cook book that came with the purchase. Sure enough, they had a recipe for Wild Mushroom Beef Stew.  As with traditional beef stew, this recipe called for potatoes and carrots, which we forewent.  And, since Max doesn't like them, we also left out the mushrooms and celery.  Instead, we made a simple stew with beef, onion, cauliflower and green beans.
Below is my modified recipe.  The recipe called for only 1.5 cups of beef broth. I thought this sounded scant, but gave it a go.  You will see from the pictures that about two hours into the cooking, I added another cup and a half, along with a 6 oz. can of tomato paste.  If you're in the Tear Down Phase, simply omit the tomato paste.
1.5 to 2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/8 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. herbs de Provence (optional)
3 cups beef broth
6 oz. can tomato paste
1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. paprika
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 onion, chopped
12 oz. green beans

Put the beef in the crock pot.  Top with almond flour, salt, pepper and herbs de Provence.  Mix together to coat the meat.

Add the onions and cauliflower.  In a small bowl, mix together the broth, tomato paste, Worchestershire sauce, garlic and paprika.  Pour into crock pot and stir all ingredients together.  Add the bay leaf.

Cover and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours or on High for 4 to 6 hours.  Add the green beans about 3/4 of the way into the cooking.  Stir the stew thoroughly before serving.  Taste the broth and adjust seasonings as necessary / to your liking.  I added salt, more herbs de Provence and more Worchestershire.
For a little extra interest, I topped my stew with chopped parsley and crispy shallots.

I have a renewed interest in making use of my crock pot and am reminded about how satisfying and comforting is stew on a cold day.  So, I encourage you to light a fire and break out the crock pot on your next cold, rainy, snowy, lazy Sunday.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Grilled Autumn Pork Chops

In case you accidentally ate more Halloween candy than you passed out or you have been using Fall fashion as an excuse to cover up the few pounds you've let sneak back on... here is a delicious reason to fall back into the Gundry lifestyle and recommit to a healthy way of eating.
Max has been absolutely loving this shake n' bake style pork chop recipe that I started making a few months back (read: he sings "it's pork chop night" every time I make it), so when I saw this idea in the October issue of Sunset magazine, I just had to try it.  The recipe calls for plums, but when I went to Whole Foods, they didn't have any.  I opted for a fuyu persimmon - an absolutely delicious fall fruit.
Do remind yourself of Gundry's rules on fruits (pages 67 - 70) - they should only be eaten after the first two weeks of Phase I and can slow weight loss.  Gundry doesn't comment specifically on persimmons, but I bought a ripe one and hoped that it was more like a "friendly fruit" than a "killer fruit".  Max and I ate less than half a persimmon each for this recipe.

Here's the recipe from Sunset.  If you'd like, you can modify like I did and use a fuyu persimmon.  Max and I shared one large pork chop.
4 bone-in pork chops (about 3/4"-thick)
1/2 tsp. each kosher salt and pepper
1 tsp. coriander seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
1 Tbsp. each minced fresh ginger and cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar *substitue with a few dashes of stevia
1 lb. firm-rip plums, halved and pitted
1/2 sweet onion, cut crosswise into 1/4" thick slices

Heat grill to high (450 to 550 degrees).  Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper.  Cook coriander and mustard seeds in a medium saucepan in 1 tsp. oil over high heat until mustard sees begin to pop, 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in ginger, vinegar, and brown sugar (*substitute with a few dashes of stevia); set aside.
Grill pork chops, turning once, until cooked medium, about 10 minutes total.  Brush plums and onion with remaining 2 tsp. oil.  Grill onion, turning once, until softened and lightly charred, 8 to 10 minutes.  Grill plums, turning once, until grill marks appear, 3 minutes.
Transfer onion and plums to a cutting board and cut pieces in half.  Toss in pan with reserved spice mixture and serve over pork chops.
If you can't tell from the pictures, I didn't read this recipe well, in two areas... I cut my onion into quarters instead of into 1/4"-thick slices and promptly lost about 80% of the onion between the slats on my grill AND, I didn't read that the coriander seeds needed to be crushed.  I left them whole.  It was still very delicious, mistakes and all. Which reminds me... I need to put a mortar and pestle on my Christmas wish list!
By the way, Max also LOVED this dish.  At the end of the meal he said, "next time you ask me what I'd like for dinner and I can't think of anything... this is what I want."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Salad of Brussels Sprouts, Green Beans & Queso Fresco

I came up with this recipe out of happenstance.  I was ready for lunch and planned to make a simple salad, and when I went to the frige, I realized I was out of lettuce.  But, I had extra Brussels and thought - "that's just as good as lettuce."  So I put together a salad of sauteed, shaved Brussels, green beans and queso fresco.  Queso fresco is a crumbly, slighlty tangy and creamy Mexican, fresh cheese.
Gundry doesn't specifically address queso fresco in his book, but does list several fresh cheeses that can stand in as proteins.  Serving sizes listed for these fresh cheeses vary from 1/2 cup (feta, mozzarella) to 1 cup (ricotta, cottage, farmer).  So, with this recipe, I erred on the safe side and used only a half cup of queso fresco.
The whole idea of shaved Brussels sprouts comes from one of Dr. Gundry's recipes - Brussel Sprouts You'll Eat on page 257 of his book.  You can check out my blog post on this recipe here or another favorite Brussels recipe here.

2-1/2 cups Brussels sprouts, shaved*
3/4 cups green beans, chopped into 1" to 2" pieces
1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
These are the proportions I used when I prepared lunch for myself.  You can obviously vary the proportions based on your preferences or if you're preparing the dish for more than one person.  This recipe would also work well as a side dish.
*Get the perfect shaved Brussels sprouts by sending them through a food processor fitted with the slicing blade.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add shaved Brussels sprouts.  Sprinkle with salt.  Saute, approximately 7 minutes, until browned.
I used already cooked, leftover green beans for my lunch, so I threw them in near the end, just to heat through.
If using raw green beans, add to the skillet at the same time as the Brussels sprouts.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and add cheese.  Stir to combine.
Enjoy this simple and delicious combination!

Dr. Gundry notes that in Phase 3, you can try his Brussels recipe raw.  So, if you prefer, you can forego sauteing the veggies or saute as little or as much as you'd like.