Hello everyone out there in caveland! I have an announcement to make; I am getting a total knee replacement at the end of February due to an skiing accident that I was in at 17 . Yup, I am finally pulling the trigger and getting it done. My world has become smaller and smaller over the last few years and it is at the point that even walking on the beach with the dog is painful. Now the rubber meets the pavement.
I have been eating primal, more or less for 1 ½ years now. I say more or less because even though I eat really healthy and adhere to most of the principals, I’m still 4o pounds overweight. Obviously I don’t follow it to the letter of the law. I lose a few then gain a few. I know it is due to my great love of chocolate, nuts and cheese. I thought primal was the perfect thing for me since I could still eat those wonderful things. But I have proven that too much of anything can sure add up.
My goal is to lose 45 pounds in the next 6 months. My orthopedic surgeon has given me a directive that sense I am having this knee replacement at such a young age I have got to lose some weight. No wiggle room or maybe nots here. I have painted myself into a corner. Time to learn to fly.
I will be working with my nutrition geek, paleo son who has introduced this all to me to achieve my goal. He is mapping out a plan for me full of new tricks for this old(ish) dog. The old adage that I must keep remembering through all this is “Life begins where the comfort zone ends.” Keep my mind open. It is where I feel it closing down that I become lost to old ways.
One of the new tricks he is suggesting is weighing myself every day. Every day! Wow I barely get on the scale for months at a time so this is where my comfort zone ends. (Update on this, I have lost 7 pound this week by weighing myself daily. It is an interesting game that keeps me engaged. So far so good.) My first deadline is February 13th, preop day and I have to weigh in. Second deadline is two weeks later for the surgery. I would love to of lost 20 pounds by then!
One thing I love to eat in the winter is soups. I have been so conditioned to make soups with legumes of all sorts that making primal soups has been difficult for me. But that has been one of the fun things about getting serious; I have really enjoyed playing with my cookbooks and getting creative. Here is one of my new favorite creative soups that I think you will enjoy.
Chinese 5 spice onion soup
Kombu is a type of kelp that you can get at any health food store. Its nutritional value is outstanding and delicious in this soup. All of the spices in this recipe are available from a health food store, as well, in their bulk spices.
2 boneless chicken breasts or a bunch prawns (about 10)
3 nice fat yellow onions
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of coconut oil or butter
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 32 oz container of low sodium chicken broth
1 quart of water
1 tablespoon of finely grated fresh ginger
4, 1/4 inch slices of fresh ginger
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise
1/4 cup of dried kombu, cut into small pieces (optional)
2 cups of sliced shitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon or more of no wheat soy sauce, tamari
Hot sauce to taste, preferably Sriracha
Skin and chop the onions up and let them sit for 5 minutes to let all those health-promoting properties to condense. Meanwhile chop the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. Take out your favorite heavy bottomed soup pot and melt the oil on medium heat. Toss the onions and minced garlic into the pot and stir till the oil has been distributed among them. Then cook slowly over the medium heat. Resist the temptation to turn it up, we want the onions to get caramelized. Stir every few minutes with a heat resistant rubber spatula making sure to get all the goodies off the bottom of the pan. The onions will start to get toast colored and very fragrant after about 15 minutes. Add the chicken plus a bit more oil if you need, and cook about 5 minutes. Then add the fennel bulb through the mushrooms to the mix.
Bring the soup to a gentle boil over the medium heat then let simmer over a medium low heat, uncovered, for 20 minutes to concentrate the flavors. (The smell of the soup will fill the kitchen with faraway places.) Fish out the star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves and ginger if you can find them. If not, no big deal, just warn people you serve to not bite into them or they will get quite the flavor punch. Season the soup with tamari and serve immediately in beautiful soup bowls.