Browsing Tag

grass-fed

Paleo Fast Food + US Wellness Meats Featured Chef + Giveaway (YAY!)

November 30, 2017
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Before I get to my chit chatting, I'm going to guess you saw "Giveaway" in the title and might want to cut straight to the chase. Here's the deal. I'm December's US Wellness Meats Featured Chef and we're running a contest together until December 10th (Woohoo!). Sign up to win ALL OF THIS STUFF from US Wellness Meats at the link below. 

HEALTHY HAPPY HOLIDAY FEATURED CHEF PRIZE PACK


In May of this year I decided to send an email to one of my favorite companies to tell them how much I love their products. I had just put in an order with them and was thinking how much easier they had made my life by making grass-fed meat and bones (for my broth!) so much more accessible (Why do I care about grass-fed? I explain here). Much to my surprise, they emailed me back thanking me, and also with a special request:

Would I be their featured chef for December?

Umm, YES! I thought. Is that a rhetorical question? At the time I was still only 5 months pregnant and had no idea how life would be for me come December. 

LiverSaladsPaleo_HealthyStacey

When their marketing representative emailed me in November with a reminder — it was time for me to write my post — I may have had a heart attack. With a 6-week old baby who would not nap for more than 15 minutes, and me going on little to no sleep, how could I possibly find the time to write a post and create recipes for them? For the first time in my life, I truly understood what my readers mean when they tell me that they DO NOT HAVE TIME TO MAKE PALEO FOOD. 

SkilletMeal_Paleo_HealthyStaceyFastFood

Before Charley arrived, I had only myself to take care of. I had no idea how much time I spent in the kitchen tinkering with recipes and making complicated meals until I didn't have it anymore.

I am now the proud parent to a beautiful, rambunctious, curious, curly-haired, smushy-faced 2-month old. I’m going to state the obvious here, but I am madly in love with her and I can’t imagine life without her in it now. As expected, my whole world has been turned upside-down and priorities look very different than they did just a few months ago.

YogurtParfait_PaleoFastFood_HealthyStacey

Every waking moment is spent feeding her, changing her diapers, changing her (poopy, spit-uppy) clothes, tickling her, smiling with her, shhhh-ing her, rocking her, bouncing her, and loving on my Charley girl.

YolkyEggs_HealthyStacey_PaleoFastFood

Come breakfast or lunch time, I’m waiting for just the right moment to throw something on a pan or in a bowl, and shove it down my (very hungry) throat. I’m not saying that I’m resorting to McDonald’s drive-thru runs or Lean Cuisines (no judgement if you do). I still put eating whole, unprocessed food very high on my list of priorities — not to mention that I’m breastfeeding which means what I eat, Charley eats. But what I needed was to simplify.

BoneBrothPaleoFastFood_HealthyStacey

I pulled it together and got US Wellness Meats their recipes, using some of my favorites from past posts. In fact, their beef liverwurst was the perfect thing to work with because it literally takes no cooking at all, but gives me the nutrients of three different organ meats and it's DELICIOUS.

You can see the post here (eek, my head looks HUGE as the header). But this little exercise also made me think about the kind of cook I need to be at this time in my life. I can no longer be the spend-hours-in-the-kitchen type of cook. But that doesn't mean I have to stop cooking all together. 

So I started taking all the last-minute recipe searching, marinade-ing, spice mixing, and time-intensive meals out of the equation. I finally realized that this is a time for fast food. Or at least, faster food. All I ask is that my meals are Paleo-ish, comforting, and satisfying. But they should all take 15 minutes or less to cook. I searched the interwebs looking for such a guide, but could not find one. So I created my own.

I give you…

My Paleo-Friendly Fast Food Cheat Sheet

PROTEINS:

Pork Chop or Loin
Cook Time: 5-8 minutes per side on the stove top (depending on how well done you like it)
Method:

  1. Season with Salt
  2. Turn pan to medium-high heat and let sizzle on side 1 for about 5 minutes
  3. Turn over and put temperature reader in pork until it reads 145 (medium rare) to 160 (well done).
  4. Let rest for 3 minutes before serving.

Optional: Before cooking, add Dijon mustard and sprinkle seasonings of choice (thyme, oregano, cumin, paprika, etc.) on top of sauce.

 

Ground Meats (Beef/Lamb/Chicken/Turkey/Pork/Bison)

Cook Time: 5-10 minutes depending on meat

  1. Heat pan on high until sizzling, and plop meat in pan (I usually avoid adding fat because it creates so much on its own)
  2. Add in seasonings (cumin, cayenne, chipotle powder, etc.) + salt, chop up into small chunks with spatula, turning over frequently; turn pan down to medium heat
  3. Cook until you no longer see pink; season to taste.

 

Fish

Cook Time: About 10 minutes (rule of thumb is to cook about 10 minutes per inch of fish, turning it halfway through cooking; internal temperature of 145 degrees

Method:

  1. Season your fish with salt and pepper (other seasonings welcome, such as dill, tarragon, cumin, parsley, basil, etc.)
  2. Heat your skillet over high heat, add fat of choice
  3. Lower heat before you plop fish on and let sizzle for 2-5 minutes per side (see rule of thumb above).

 

Yolky Eggs

Cook Time: 5-8 minutes

Method: 

  1. Heat pan till sizzling and add fat of coice
  2. Crack egg over pan and let sizzle for approximately 3 minutes
  3. Sprinkle salt and cover pan with lid. TURN OFF burner and let sit for 2 minutes (I like my egg yolk runny, but let it sit longer if you want a more solid egg yolk)

 

Bone Broth

Cook Time: 2 minutes (re-heating)

Method: 

  1. Re-heat homemade (see my recipe here) or store-bought broth on stove or in microwave
  2. Add leftover meat, chop up vegetables, wilt in spinach…or just drink it straight with a sprinkling of salt and seasonings of your choice

 

Liverwurst Sausage

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Method:

  1. Slice into thin circles and use it to top salads, eggs or crackers. No need to cook.

*Note: I recognize that this one is not easily available at most stores so I highly recommend ordering it from US Wellness Meats. All of their meat is grass-fed and finally gives us a way to get this incredibly nutrient-dense food into our diets easily and quickly. This Liverwurst is a mixture of grass-fed beef, liver, heart, and kidney. DAMN. That is a whole lotta healthy.

 

Sardines

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Method:

  1. Throw canned sardines with extra virgin olive oil (ideally, wild caught) on a big bowl of lettuce – I like this brand.
  2. Add chopped veggies (if you have time)
  3. Toss with lemon juice and sprinkle salt.

 

Smoked Salmon

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Method:

  1. Take it out of the package and toss it on a big plate of greens 
  2. Toss with lemon juice and sprinkle salt.

 

VEGETABLES
Asparagus

Cook Time: 4-5 minutes

Method:

  1. Drizzle with avocado oil/ghee/coconut oil/olive oil
  2. Sprinkle with salt
  3. Put in oven at 425 for a quick flash of heat — just enough to get it hot and crunchy

 

Bed of Greens

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Method:

  1. Literally lay your protein over a bed or a big bowl of greens.
  2. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Sprinkle salt. Done.

 

Broccolini (unlike broccoli, it's ready to cook – no chopping required) 

Cook Time: 5-10 minutes

Method:

  1. Heat up large pan on medium-high heat, once it’s sizzling add fat of choice
  2. Toss in broccolini with plenty of room for them to breath
  3. Sprinkle with salt
  4. Stir fry on high heat until desired doneness (less time = more crunchy).

 

Baby Bok Choy

Cook Time: 2-3 minutes

Method:

  1. Slice baby bok choy into strips,
  2. Sauté on pan at medium-high heat
  3. Sprinkle with salt

 

Much Love,

HealthyStaceySignature

Healthy Reviews

Grange Hall Burger Bar Review + Why Grass-Fed?

September 2, 2015

GrangeHallBurger_healthystaceyI recently met a new friend through Instagram. She had a simple question for me – what are my best healthiest restaurant recommendations in Chicago? 

I racked my brain, challenged to give her the best answers I could, and at the top of my list, was the last place you’d expect: Grange Hall Burger Bar.

A burger bar?
Yeah. A burger bar. But not just any burger bar.

Chicago’s only Farm To Table Burger Bar dedicated to wholesome Grass-Fed beef, Free-Range turkey and local farm fruits and vegetables.

There aren’t many places in Chi-town that guarantee you a grass-fed, grass-finished burger, served alongside fresh ingredients that were literally picked from a Michigan farm just for your plate with an affordable menu.

Yeah. Grange Hall is where it's at. And it’s where I ended up only a few days after my Instagram friend asked if I’d like to join her on one of my recommendations.

And I am SO glad that I did. Because this was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. I’m not sure if that has more to do with the amazing company I had (she’s traveling America for 6 months writing city guides, she has an awesome food blog, and she loves talking good digestion just as much as I do), or the super fresh, super flavorful, super real food at Grange Hall.

But before I get into any of that, let’s start with why. (Thank you, Simon Sinek).

Why grass-fed? Why grass-finished? Why do I care?

GrassFedSignsMarianos

Grass-Fed. You may have heard the word being thrown around on restaurant menus or at the butcher counter at your grocery store.  And all you know is that it means MORE EXPENSIVE. If you’re not necessarily an animal lover, you most likely have no problem turning it down for the much less expensive, conventionally raised meat.

As always, I am not here to tell you to stop eating what you’ve been eating. If you’re even at the produce section of the grocery store buying real food to cook at home, then you’re already doing better than most. But I do want to point out a few facts that might make you reconsider your meat choices – at least every once in awhile.

Grass-Fed Meat Means…

  • Cows (and goats and lamb) were meant to eat green, leafy, natural plants, not grain.
  • When cattle eat grain their fat contains a higher amount of omega-6 fatty acids.
  • When cattle consume green leafy plants, as they were designed to do, their fat contains a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acid.
  • When we eat the cattle that ate the greens, our omega-6 to omega-3 ratio improves.
  • When we eat the cattle that the grains, our omega-6 to omega-3 levels are scewed, causing inflammation in our bodies.
  • An improved omega-6 to omega-3 ratio means decreased inflammation – a very good thing, as its the cause of numerous diseases or just general discomfort, as I’ve posted about before.
  • Many grocers label cattle "Grass-Fed" that they still feed grain right before slaughter to fatten them up (AKA Grass-Fed, Grain-Finished). Although a better choice, this kind of defeats the purpose and eliminates the benefits of every point above. Duh.

In short – you are what you eat. If you’re going through all the steps to eat your veggies, stay away from gluten and grains, reduce anti-inflammatory foods, and eat organic when you can, then you should make sure that your food is doing the same. And even if you’re not doing all of those things, eating grass-fed is a good place to start.

Just like butter, meat IS NOT BAD FOR YOU. It’s just the foods that ol' Bessie is eating and the hormones that she's pumping that are. If you're looking for some suggestions for where you can get your grass-fed meat, email me. I'm working on collecting a list together to post on this blog.

Okay, back to Grange Hall. As I was saying, every single lamb, beef and turkey burger is humanely raised and grass-fed. And the result is something mind-blowingly good.

What I Ate

GrangeHallBurger

I ordered the same thing I always order: The Michelle Burger. AKA, any burger of your choice atop the seasonal salad. Gluten-free buns are available. But why would I do that when my salad is made of locally-grown and incredibly fresh lettuce, strawberries, blueberry, snow peas, carrots and asparagus? Not to mention the homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing and candied pecans that pair perfectly with a bite of lamb (my burger of choice).

The lamb burger (topped with roasted red pepper sauce, arugula, feta and pickled artichoke) was, unfortunately, only available for the season (and I believe as of this posting, will be gone). But I’m sure they will replace it with something equally as delicious.

The Atmosphere

The atmosphere is so welcoming. It’s literally housed in a barn (well, a barn-like building) on uber trendy Randolph Street. Open up the cute red door to find vintage wallpaper, quilted fabric and lots of cute little antique thingamabobs. Everybody – from the girls at the host stand to the always-smiley and knowledgeable waitresses – is so genuinely nice. I get the feeling the staff doesn’t just “work” there; they believe in what the owner is providing to the community. A real farm-to-table, know-where-my-food-came-from experience in the middle of downtown Chicago.

The Owner

The owner, Angela Lee, also just happens to be a farmer as well. OF COURSE SHE IS. She owns White Horse Farm in Southwest Michigan where her Grandpa and Grandma raise 100 head of grass-fed Black Angus cattle, along with hogs and chickens for their family needs. Besides the meat, there are also plenty of blueberries, apples, asparagus, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and more. Thus the fantastic pie selection and seasonally-based salads and burger toppings. Angela literally drops off the goods at Grange Hall kitchen. So when she says those infamous buzz words, “Farm-to-Table," she really means it.

If you live in Chicago, or are considering paying Chicago a visit, I highly, highly recommend Grange Hall.

The Details

The Website

The Menu

The Address:
844 West Randolph Street
Chicago, Illinois 60607

The Digits:
1-312-491-0844

Unsolicited Life Lesson

If you've ever thought to yourself,

That girl's/guy's Instagram feed is so cool. I wonder what they'd be like to hang out with?

I would say, Why not connect with them? You never know what amazing experience can come out of it. (Hi @andjelkaj! Safe travels, my friend. Till we eat again).

Much Love,

HealthyStaceySignature

Like what you read today? Think somebody else would like Grange Hall Burger Bar or want to know more about Grass-Fed meat? See those cute little social shapes underneath this post? They're for sharing! Click one to post to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or comment right here on the blog. I would love to hear from you.

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Gelatin Is My Favorite + Berry Cherry Lemon Fruit Snack Recipe

March 29, 2015

The beautiful pictures in this post are the work of my talented friends Christie Russert and Marta Wlodkowska. For more work from Christie, visit coffeeandcamera.tumblr.com. 

The beautiful pictures in this post are the work of my talented friends Christie Russert and Marta Wlodkowska. For more work from Christie, visit coffeeandcamera.tumblr.com. 

 

The way I see it, food has amazing powers. For your taste buds, for your body and for your mind.  And every once in a while, one of those foods comes along, and I wonder to myself –

How did I ever live without this stuff?

This is how I feel about gelatin.

I’m not talking about Bill Cosby’s J-E-L-L-O gelatin (it’s weird how everything attached to him suddenly sounds creepy, right?). I’m talking about grass-fed, pasture-grazing gelatin.

I first mentioned this gem in a smoothie recipe a couple months back and later on my Instagram post. I was looking for a protein powder that was void of additives and sweeteners and was having a really hard time finding one. Even the organic, non-GMO ones had a lot of added crap I couldn’t pronounce. 

That’s when I discovered Great Lakes Gelatin. What is it exactly? 

IN A NUTSHELL: It’s made of crushed up bones, fibrous tissues and organs of animals.

I know. It sounds a little scary. But it’s no different than having beef or chicken broth. Except for this stuff is much more versatile than that. You can introduce the crazy benefits of bone broth into your morning smoothie, your nighttime tea, or your afternoon Gummy Snacks  (yeah, GUMMY snacks with benefits). You ready for this list?

HEALTH BENEFITS:

  • Skin Health
  • Hair Health
  • Nail Health
  • Balanced Hormones
  • Bone and Joint Health
  • Digestion and Satiety
  • Allergy Suppression

BAM.

Now, I won’t do my usual and go into scientific detail of each of these benefits. But I can say – with absolute confidence – that I have seen and felt these benefits first-hand.

After about 3 months of adding gelatin to my morning smoothies, I’ve experienced the following…

MY GELATIN EXPERIENCE: 

Skin. It’s clearer and plumper (that sounds weird, but you get what I mean). More importantly, my skin tends to hang on to scars for quite a while. Something to do with the melatonin in my skin, I’m told. Ever since I started eating gelatin, I’ve noticed those scars fading for a much brighter, more even complexion.

Hair. I have A LOT of course, dry and sometimes brittle hair. It’s a chore to take care of it. And I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find the most moisturizing conditioners, oils and creams to maintain this mane. It honestly never occurred to me to work from the inside-out to improve it (DUH, Healthy Stacey). Since I’ve started eating gelatin, it’s growing faster and shining more. When I blow dry my hair, the amount of tiny broken hairs is almost non-existent. A BIG plus for me (and my poor boyfriend who has to share a bathroom with me). 

Nails. I’ve never had too much trouble growing my nails. But with all of the cooking and dish-washing I do, I am always breaking them. Now? They’re tough as nails. Haha. That’s funny. But seriously, they are.

Hormones. This one’s tough for me to rate. I am by no means immune from mood swings, ugly days and crazy chocolate cravings before my period (when hormones are their most volatile). As a psych major, I am very cognizant, however, of the placebo effect. I kind of feel like my mood swings have decreased and I feel better about myself at that time of the month. But I’m honestly not sure if this is because I was expecting these results or because they actually happened. Hormones = complicated. I’m not messing with this one.

Bone and Joint Health. YES, YES, YES. This is probably my favorite feature of my new miracle food. You may remember from past posts, my workout involves a lot of lifting heavy things. I love it. It’s done mirarcles for my body. But man, the soreness I experience in the days after is ROUGH. I can say with 100% confidence that ever since I’ve started taking gelatin, the soreness is 90% gone. Just enough for me to know that I’m still getting a good workout, but not enough to disrupt my work day. My workouts, in turn, have improved because I’m not going into the gym with robot-stiff arms and legs. Cannot say enough about this stuff for fitness enthusiasts. 

Digestion and Satiety. Ahhh digestion. One of my favorite topics. Anything that helps our digestion gets a BIG GOLD STAR in my book. And this does it. Not about to go into detail on this one because you get my point. But yeah. It works.

Allergy Suppression. Since Bone and Joint Health was my favorite benefit, this is my second favorite. I like to refer to my sinus allergies as Chinese Water Torture. They’re not big outbursts of irritation. More like small, annoying, irritating drips throughout my day.  In the past, almost every morning, I would wake up with a sore throat and dry mouth. Then, it would fade out as the morning went on. And then come back around 2:00 at work and just linger there for the rest of the day. No amount of liquid would make it feel better. Allergies are the result of inflammation in the nose and throat. And gelatin helps deflate that inflammation. Ever since I started taking gelatin, my allergies are gone. Absolutely gone. No joke. Now, I have to do my due diligence here and admit that I have also started incorporating turmeric into my morning smoothies around the same time as I started taking gelatin. And since turmeric is also known for its anti-inflammatory powers, it’s quite likely that this has been a big help too. But together – they could be an allergy powerhouse. Either way, life is SO much better without my Chinese Water Torture sinus issues and I’m positive this is a result of improving my nutrition. 

Phew. That was a lot. You see what I mean now by life-changing? I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without it. And how come nobody ever told me about this stuff? It’s such an under-the-radar health food. Am I right?

Okay, so you’re probably thinking, okay Crazy Stacey. I’ll try this crushed up animal bones thing if you really really think I should (I do). Now where do I get this miracle powder and when I do, how do I eat it? Great question guys.

WHERE TO GET IT:

I hesitated to try gelatin at first because it is not easily available. As in, you cannot go to the neighborhood grocery store (even Whole Foods!) and just pick up the kind of gelatin I am talking about. Sure. You could go to the baking aisle and easily find gelatin that is used to make Jello. But I beg you – do NOT incorporate this stuff into your daily diet. It’s not the same.

Where the gelatin comes from is just as important as getting it into your diet. Unfortunately, the only way I have found to get trustworthy gelatin from grass-fed, well-treated animals is by ordering it online.

This is the brand I use: Great Lakes Gelatin 

Warning: their website is hideous, but it’s good stuff, promise.

But I’ve also heard great things about this one too: Vital Proteins 

Much prettier, more user-friendly website; this is the new cool kid on the gelatin block, but I can’t speak to using it personally.

HOW TO USE IT:

There are two different forms of gelatin.

  1. Collagen Hydrolysate (Vital Proteins calls it Collagen Peptides)
  2. Gelatin (Vital Proteins calls it Collagen Protein)

Collagen Hydrolysate. This one is cold water soluble so you can put it in pretty much anything. A glass of water, a cup of juice, even a nice vodka pasta sauce if you wanted. But the way I like to use it is in smoothies. It’s absolutely perfect for a post workout smoothie so you can combat sore muscles and joints and have a great source of protein.

Color Code: 

Great Lakes = Green Container 

Vital Proteins = Blue Lid

For a delicious post-workout smoothie recipe, refer to this post for the orange monster smoothie or this post for the carrot ginger smoothie. 

Gelatin. This one will gel (get clumpy) in cold liquids so it is best to use in hot beverages such as tea, coffee, soups or – my favorite – gummy bears! (if you have a bear mold, that is). See below for my recipe. 

Color Code: 

Great Lakes = Orange Container 

Vital Proteins = Green Lid

BERRY CHERRY LEMON FRUIT SNACKS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries (you can of course use fresh too)
  • 1/3 cup of lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup of cherry juice (I used this brand)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of honey (depending on your sweet tooth)
  • 4 Tablespoons gelatin

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put frozen berries in a blender with lemon juice, cherry juice and honey and blend.
  2. Pour vibrant concoction into a saucepan.
  3. Mix in gelatin powder.
  4. Turn the heat on medium and whisk away until the powder dissolves (it gets lumpy so just keep at it until you’ve gotten it as smooth as possible).
  5. Pour liquid into a glass dish and set in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Cut out into fun shapes (I used the small round cap on a bottle of olive oil).

DISCLAIMER: This goes without saying (I hope). But please consult your doctor before you go crazy and start eating gelatin by the spoonful. I am no doctor and I don’t know what health implications it could have for certain people.

SPECIAL SHOUT-OUT:

I’d like to thank Christie Russert and Marta Wlodkowska for the breathtaking pictures in this post. I am so lucky to have such talented friends who love good food and pretty things just as much as I do. For more from Christie, please visit coffeeandcamera.tumblr.com.

COMMENT TIME! What do you guys think? Would you be willing to try it? I know a few of you have already contacted me about it. Have you tried it yet? What do you think? Any other crazy creative ways we could make stuff with this miracle powder? You know the drill, comment below…