primal

Paleo Sweet Potato Hash with Poached Eggs

You wouldn't know it from some of my posts reliving memories and celebrating the recipes, but in March of 2013, I stopping eating bread and pasta.I know.  Sounds crazy.  It is crazy.  I thought it would be impossible to maintain and had no hopes of sticking to it since I had never, EVER, been on any kind of a diet in my life.  But my doctor told me every year that my weight and cholesterol were inching up and she was concerned that I wasn't exercising enough.  I was too tired to exercise and didn't really know how to diet but I knew I needed to do something.  And then I was introduced to a way of eating called Paleo.

 At first, I thought Paleo sounded impossible.  But the more I read, the more intrigued I became.  All the scientific explanations and testimonials about the Paleo diet made sense to me but I was pretty sure I didn't have the willpower to sustain it.  Or the desire to maintain it.  I love my food!  All of it.  I decided to give it a try by just giving up bread and pasta and see how I felt.  It was surprisingly easy because I didn't try to limit anything else.  I ate what I wanted except for bread and pasta.

A few weeks in and I decided to go completely gluten-free.  Surprisingly, it was still easy and I was feeling pretty good with more energy.  Another month and I gave up grains and legumes except for the occasional sushi rice, and I tried to limit dairy and sugar.

Here I need to pat myself on the back because even though I have never owned a scale and never kept track of my weight, I decided before I gave up bread and pasta that I should monitor my weight at the local gym.  I wrote down my weight on March 16, 2013.   When I weighed in on May 15th, I was shocked to find that after two months of eating all I wanted,  I felt better and lost 7 pounds.!  I actually started feeling like going to the gym.

It has now been over a year of my new way of eating.  I never went fully paleo as you will notice from my instagram posts, still enjoying a bit of dairy and the occasional rice or other gluten-free grain.  I love my wine and occasional sweet.  And I try to never impose my diet on others, not worrying about a meal here or there that includes legumes or grains.  A few bites here and there don't seem to derail me and for the most part, I stick to it and I find it fairly easy to maintain, filling and satisfying, and terrifically varied.  My weight stabilized after the first 8 months, with the total loss being around 14 pounds and that is where I have magically just stayed no matter how much I eat or don't eat.

My doctor was amazed.  She was most impressed with my cholesterol which went from 240 to 186 with the entire loss being in the bad cholesterol category (LDL).  She asked me what on earth I had been doing since she had not seen my weight nor my cholesterol go down in the past 10 years.  She wasn't at all surprised when I told her I was eating mostly Paleo.  She had heard of the results from others.

The hardest part about this type of diet for me is breakfast.  For nearly five decades, (yes, 50 years) I had grains for breakfast every single morning.  Toast, cereal, granola, oatmeal, muffin, bagel....always something with grains.  And then I stopped.

It was hard to figure out what to eat at first.  I had cottage cheese and fruit.  Scrambled eggs.  Paleo granola with almond milk.  I settled on mostly eggs because the protein really kept me going until lunchtime.  But eggs got a little dull day after day.  And poached eggs are my favorite but a little weird with no bread to soak up the yolk.  Then I read a blog post that gave me a huge smile and a big dose of inspiration.

The Amateur Gourmet wrote about his invention of a sweet potato breakfast hash topped with poached eggs and he changed my world.  I took his idea and made it my way, using things I had at hand and spices I love.  Baby Girl and I have a new favorite breakfast.

I don't know why, but I had never thought of chopping a sweet potato for breakfast.  In my mind, they were mashed or made into fries.  But they are so easy to peel and then if you chop them into small cubes, they cook quickly and easily for a perfect savory side dish or base for poached eggs.

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Baby Girl and I still wonder why everyone call yams sweet potatoes but we did a taste test and we definitely prefer the sweet potatoes even if they aren't always the beautiful orange color of yams.  You can use yams or sweet potatoes or both for this recipe and the best part is...you can cook up a large quantity of the hash at dinner time and use it for breakfast all week long!  Thank you Amateur Gourmet.

We used both yams and sweet potatos in this version.

"I want to inspire, and be inspired." -Sam Mendes

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Sweet Potato Hash with Poached Eggs

(serves 2) 1 T coconut oil 1 medium/large sweet potatoes or yam, peeled and chopped into bite-sized cubes 1/2 medium onion, chopped 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper 1 tsp dried sage 1/8 tsp nutmeg 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 4 poached eggs* avocado to serve

Get your poached eggs started. Put coconut oil in a hot pan and add the sweet potato and onion. Cook over medium/high heat stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until sweet potatoes pierce easily with a fork. Stir in the spices and cook 1 more minute. Remove from heat and allow to sit until eggs are ready. Scoop a generous helping of sweet potatoes onto your plate and place drained poached eggs on top. Garnish with avocado and enjoy.

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*For the perfect poached eggs, go to Dad's Poached Eggs

Raspberry Tart sans Gluten

Hubby loves raspberry tart.In Chef Chris' Raspberry Tart, I tell you just how much he loves it. I make it every year for his birthday, but this year he is on a gluten-free diet so I revised the recipe and made it without gluten.  Without grains to be exact.

It may be his new favorite dessert!

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"Every year on your birthday, you get a chance to start new." -Sammy Hagar

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Raspberry Tart sans Gluten

1 cup almond flour 1/4 cup hazelnut flour 1/4 tsp salt 6 T confectioners (powdered) sugar, divided 8 T chilled butter (one stick) cut into pieces 8 oz marscapone 1 T unsweetened almond milk 3 punnets fresh raspberries Special equipment:  10" fluted french tart pan with removable bottom.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put flours, salt and 3 T powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times. With processor running, add butter one tablespoon at a time. Process until dough comes together and all the butter is incorporated. (The "dough" actually seems more like a batter and is VERY sticky.) Scrape dough into the tart pan and press to sides with your hands.  It helps to refrigerate the dough in the pan for 15 minutes and it will be easier to press out. Press dough with fingers and palms into a 10” tart pan.  Prick dough 5-6 times with a fork. Bake blind for about 13-15 minutes at 350 degrees or until lightly browned.  If it puffs up in spots and is still puffy when resting, press it down with your palms.  Cool completely. In a bowl, cream the marscapone and milk until smooth. Sift in 3 T of powdered sugar and mix well. More sugar or cream can be added until the consistency and taste are to your liking.  It should be thick but easily spreadable. Spread marscapone mixture evenly on top of the cooled tart shell all the way to the edges. Carefully place fresh raspberries on top of the tart one berry at a time until all cream is covered. If you are in a hurry, raspberries can be sprinkled over the cream, using more berries and mounding them up for a rustic looking tart.  Either way is beautiful and delicious.

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