Cytokines be Damned!

So, I had an IVIG infusion about a week ago. In the past, I have done IVIG for my natural killer cell levels. Historically, my cytokines have always stayed consistent before and during treatment with IVIG. They used to hang out between 12-20 before, during, and after the pregnancy. My cytokines after stopping the strict paleo jumped to 38.5. After two weeks of strict paleo and the IVIG, my cytokines went to 8.8 (they want it below 30 for the purposes of reproduction). Since IVIG never lowered my cytokines in the past, I’m leaning towards the strict paleo making the difference for me. I’m pretty close to saying that this is definitive proof that the paleo does actually lower my inflammation.  There was really no “evidence” before other than how I felt, so it is good to really have more concrete blood results to make this assertion.  So…after totally messing my body up by going off paleo, it seems that my body responded really quickly to the dietary changes. Yay!

Made. My. Day.

One of our good friends brought over this AMAZING Ecopia Farms gift set/salad today. Those who know me know that I have an unfortunate aversion to salad. I have been this way since I was a child, and I usually have to talk myself into eating salad as a side dish.  When I first moved to California from Michigan, I could not understand how people would have salad for lunch. And that’s it. Just salad. Multiple catered new teacher trainings simply had “salad” and nothing else. Since then, my motto has always been, “Salad is not a meal!” It is usually something that I yell at people. It is a running joke with my friends.  This was probably one of the only salads in my life that I ever ate as a meal (totally scrapped my leftover meatball plans) once I tasted it. I even had SECONDS!  It is as if hell has frozen over. My mother would not believe it, and I would totally call her to tell her about it if it weren’t for her being asleep in her bed three time zones away. Those of you in the Bay Area, if you have access to this, you MUST try it. Unbelievable. (The adorable and stylish accessories were almost as awesome as the salad). My day is MADE!

Cutest accessories come with it!!!  I'm in heaven.
The cutest accessories come with it!!! I’m in heaven.
Who ever would've thought of pickled butternut squash? I declare them to be genius!
Who ever would’ve thought of pickled butternut squash? I declare them to be genius!

Paleo Cherry Bake

I am playing with my “crumble” topping. I feel like with the almond meal, it seems “gritty” sometimes. It gets a nice crispiness to it, but I added more tapioca flour this time in the hopes of getting a smoother texture. It doesn’t look like a “crumble” anymore, so now it’s just a “bake”.  The topping actually tasted like pie crust, and I think that I will keep that modification for future experimentation!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole pitted dark cherries
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca flour + 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp grade B maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 2 Tbsp ghee (or butter if you’re primal)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine cherries, orange juice, 2 Tbsp tapioca, and 1 Tbsp maple syrup. Stir and put into ramekins (how many depends on their size). In a separate bowl, melt ghee and add remaining ingredients. Spoon almond meal topping over the cherries. Bake for 30 minutes. Check and be sure top isn’t burning before the mixture becomes bubbly. If it is getting too dark, loosely place a piece of aluminum foil over the top and continue to bake. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Paleo Blueberry Crisp

This tastes like a blueberry cobbler.  Not sure if I can call it a cobbler though with the absence of a crust.  It was REALLY good! My husband ate two of these, and said that it was definitely something he would eat again. My son was busy having a sleepover, but I am pretty confident that he would’ve loved it.

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Ingredients:

  • 18 ounces organic blueberries
  • 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 2 Tbsp +2 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp ghee or coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp grade B maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine blueberries, lemon juice, 2 Tbsp tapioca flour and 2 Tbsp maple syrup. Divide into ramekins (quantity depends on size of ramekins you’d like to use). In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Spoon the crumble over the blueberries. Bake about 35 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Keep watch to make sure that the top doesn’t burn. If it gets too dark, lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top and continue to cook. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, and serve warm.

Paleo Ranch Dressing

This was great! Hubby liked it, and he called it a “keeper”. This was great on a spinach salad with our steak dinner. Yummo!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup LIGHT olive oil (NOT extra virgin)
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 Tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (optional)

In a small food processor, combine all ingredients except for the almond milk and oils. With the food processor running continuously, pour the oils into the drip holes in the lid. If you want a thinner dressing, add the almond milk through the drip holes. Refrigerate and serve.

Easy Pesto Chicken

This was basically a super easy snack that I threw in a skillet today.  It was everything leftover from my chicken roulades (all of the “tenders”). I ate it over a bed of spinach, and my husband suggested afterward that I actually saute the spinach with it at the end. I think that this is a great idea, and I will probably do that next time.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp paleo fat (ghee, coconut oil, bacon fat, avocado oil…)
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp paleo pesto
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 3 slices prosciutto (or bacon), cut into bite-sized pieces

In a skillet over medium-high heat, add fat and chicken. Cook for three minutes and then add remaining ingredients. Cook until chicken is cooked through.

Chicken Roulade

So, today in the psycho storm, I had to go to Costco for my Synthroid prescription. I stumbled upon some organic chicken breasts that looked mighty fine.  I also happened to get an email while I was there from http://www.againstallgrain.com with a roulade recipe. This was my spin on it. It was not too difficult, and everyone liked it. It’s also “pretty”.

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Ingredients:

  • 4- large chicken breasts with “tenders” removed (it’s the little flap hanging off)
  • 1/4 cup paleo pesto
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 6 slices of prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup paleo breadcrumbs (don’t worry, they’re crazy easy)–optional
  • toothpicks

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a flat surface, pound the chicken to approximately 1/4 inch thickness. Smear a thin layer of pesto over each piece of chicken, add approximately 1 Tbsp sun dried tomato to each piece, but space them out. Add a layer of prosciutto over the top. Roll the chicken and secure with toothpicks. Sprinkle (or roll) chicken with the breadcrumbs. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Using a thermometer is recommended. Remove the chicken once it reaches 155 degrees, and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes.  Slice and enjoy.

Killing two birds with one stone.

I was in need of some paleo snacks, so I settled on some Taco Nuts. They are SO easy, and are actually quite addictive and satisfying. Perfect snack on the go. When I was done with the nuts, I had a lot of extra seasoning in my pan.  I decided to take my wild salmon and cook it in the seasonings. It turned out great! Lots of flavor, and avocado on top really sealed the deal. I would definitely make this again. If you want to just make the salmon with the seasoning, you can just make my paleo taco seasoning.

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If you are making the nuts, simply keep the skillet at medium-high heat and cook the salmon for a few minutes on each side (depending on how you like your salmon cooked). Add avocado to the top.  Cilantro would also be great sprinkled on at the end.  If you are just making the salmon, rub a bit of the seasoning into the salmon and cook for a few minutes on each side over medium-high heat.

Paleo Breakfast

Since it appears that eggs and bacon are good for my cytokines (this does not apply to everyone though), I decided to have my usual paleo breakfast with the addition of some shiitake mushrooms that I had in the fridge. This was very easy, and I ended up using only one skillet.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 slices uncured bacon (Trader Joes)
  • 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 2-4 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until desired doneness. Remove to a paper towel. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook for five minutes. Season with salt and pepper.  Remove mushrooms and place on a paper towel. Turn the skillet to medium heat and cook eggs to your liking.

Plate and serve.