Cooking with AvOmega Avocado Oil

Like many others, I’ve been interested in trying avocado oil for quite some time, but have been deterred by the price. With prices hovering around $1 per fluid ounce of oil and higher, no way was I going to be buying any! Since most avocado oil is so expensive, you might be wondering why would one want to cook with it. Avocado Oil is great for high heat cooking, and contains loads of antioxidants and healthy monounsaturated fats! When Natalie from Chosen Foods contacted me about trying their product, naturally I was interested in trying this liquid gold. I was even more interested after finding out that a 750ml (25.4 fl oz) bottle of AvOmega Avocado Oil was $17.95 on their website- much less than competitors, and has a smoke point of 520F (olive oil is 375F). Within a few days, it arrived on my doorstep. As soon as I opened the shipping box, I had to try it. Tasted a nice big spoonful… Mmmmm it was good! Smooth and light, with a mild nutty, almost buttery taste. I was very excited try out a few staple foods with this oil.

Since I eat eggs for breakfast most days, and I hate the taste of eggs cooked in Virgin Coconut Oil, they were the obvious winner for the first taste test. Since AvOmega is much less viscous than coconut oil, olive oil, or clarified butter, I only needed a tiny bit to coat the pan. The eggs cooked evenly, without sticking, and were left with a nice flavor. The taste of the avocado oil was mild, and did not compete with the flavor of the eggs.

Sweet potatoes are another staple food for many active paleo devotees. When drizzled with AvOmega after baking, they were excellent. The nutty flavor of the oil really stood out and complimented the sweet potato flavor well. I’m pretty sure avocado oil is all I will be putting on my sweet potatoes in the future!

Finally, I created I new recipe for you featuring AvOmega’s great flavor and high smoke point! The avocado oil proved itself again as the perfect oil to saute tomatoes, brown the garlic, and dress up a simple spaghetti squash. Try it with grilled Mahi Mahi (as pictured) or chicken, brushed with AvOmega and salt and pepper.

Spaghetti Squash with Avocado Oil, Garlic, and Tomato

Ingredients

1 Medium Spaghetti Squash

1/2 cup AvOmega Avocado Oil

2 cups Sugar Plum Tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic

Chopped Green Onions for garnish

Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds. Place cut side down on a cooking sheet and bake for 35 min at 350F. Cooking time may vary slightly based on the size of your squash. Use a spoon to scoop the squash out into a serving dish.

In a medium pan, combine the AvOmega, tomatoes, and salt. Cook on the stove over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and add the garlic. Cook until the garlic just starts to brown, stirring frequently.

Pour the oil mixture over the spaghetti squash and garnish with a handful of chopped green onion. Toss well before serving.

So now that I’ve teased and tempted you with my experiences cooking with AvOmega, its time for you to try it yourself! Thanks to Chosen Foods, I will be giving away a bottle of AvOmega Avocado Oil to one lucky reader chosen randomly from all entries!
Here are the rules:

1. Comment on this post

2. “Like” Mastering the Art of Paleo Cooking and Chosen Foods on Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/MasteringtheArtofPaleoCooking

http://www.facebook.com/ChosenFoods

3. Write on Chosen Food’s Facebook wall letting them know why you are excited to try their product.

Hurry, hurry! You have until Friday, September 28, 2012 at 12pm PST to enter this giveaway!

Basil Burgers

Today is day five of my Whole30, and according to Dallas and Melissa’s Whole30 timeline, “Kill all the things” day. Luckily, my husband is at work and I have a day off to be cranky all by myself. Since my diet now usually doesn’t stray too far from Whole 9’s nutritional guidelines, I feel like it has been easier to tighten the reins and not go completely crazy. My main motivation for doing a Whole30 now was the realization that the red wine and dark chocolate covered almonds were sneaking their way back into my life and becoming more than just an occasional indulgence. Mmmmm dark chocolate!! Today I have been avoiding temptation by spending the day working on my master’s research paper, “Influences of Gut Microbiota on Western Disease,” and cooking food for the rest of the week. These delicious turkey burgers are a recreation of some burgers my parents made a few months ago that I just couldn’t get out of my head. My basil plant has been growing like a weed, so today I give you yet another great recipe using fresh basil!

Ingredients

1.5 pounds Ground Turkey

1 Egg

1 Tablespoon Coconut Aminos

1/3 cup Chopped Red Onion

1/4 cup Loosely Packed Chopped Fresh Basil

1 Tablespoon Almond Flour

Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Form into 6 burger patties. Grill for 5 minutes on each side, for a total of 10 minutes.

Quick tip- Make extra burgers and freeze them raw. All you have to do is throw them on the grill for an easy meal when you are in a hurry.

Cool Cucumber Salad

So you may have guessed by my lack of posts recently, but this year is kicking my butt. I’m having a great time in my clinical rotations and learning lots, but the sheer amount of time spent working, driving, and studying is exhausting. Needless to say, my social life, workouts, and of course my blog have suffered. Please don’t be mad. I’m here now, and I have a great recipe to share. This Cool Cucumber Salad is a great side that is simply refreshing on a hot summer day. Hope you enjoy, and stay cool in the heat!

Ingredients

1 Large Cucumber

1 cup Cherry Tomatoes

1/3 cup Loosely Packed Chopped Fresh Basil

3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Wash and skin the cucumber. Cut it in half lengthwise, then into halt inch slices. Place in a mixing bowl.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the cucumbers with the basil.

Toss ingredients with the olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve well chilled.

Book Review- It Starts With Food

After working in healthcare for many years, one thing is blatantly obvious, in respect to health, it all starts with food. While most people are aware that their food choices have some effect on their health, they are often misled as to how much of an impact our food makes. With so many different nutritional recommendations out there, who knows what to believe? Dallas and Melissa Hartwig of Whole9 break it all down for you in their debut book It Starts With Food, available June 12, 2012. The book covers everything you need to know about eating for the rest of your life. They will open your eyes as to what food really is, and expose the so-called ‘healthy’ foods that are really making you less healthy. Don’t let that get you down though because they have tons of good food suggestions to fill your plate with, and sound scientific reasoning to support all of their dos and don’ts. This book offers so much more than just advice on what to eat. They expand to the practical applications of the information, as well as the psychology behind why we make some of the bad choices that tend to creep into our diets.

It Starts With Food is written in an easy to understand style for the layperson, with all the studies and a gazillion references to satisfy more critical scientific minds and health practitioners. One thing that really makes this book, and the Hartwigs themselves stand out is that they are the first ones to point out where scientific evidence is lacking or inconclusive. There is no smoke and mirrors here- just the truth. While many of these topics may sound pretty dull, Dallas and Melissa’s fun and casual trademark style keeps you interested and engaged every step of the journey. Information that may have made you fall asleep in your college biology class is suddenly fascinating though the words of the Hartwigs. My personal favorite parts of the book are their myth-busting sections where they critically evaluate common myths in regards to calcium supplementation and osteoporosis, cholesterol, saturated fat, and many other important topics. I have always wanted a concise, easy to understand way to explain these confusing topics to my own patients, and am pleased to now have a resource to direct them to and help educate them.

If you have been eating clean for a while, following other paleo books and Whole9’s blog articles, you may be wondering if you should bother buying this book. Yes, you should. This is not just a compilation of their previously published free articles. This is not just another list of what to eat. This is a wonderful tool that will inspire you to continue making good choices. With the information contained in this book, you will be more confident explaining and recommending this lifestyle to others. You will learn how to modify your already paleo diet for your activity level, for your personal health problems, as well as a few recommendations on paleo in pregnancy too. As always, you should work with a licensed health care provider when treating medical conditions, and this book can help start the conversation with your doctor, and fine-tune your diet for your specific situation. As Dallas and Melissa often point out, context matters.

After I finished reading It Starts With Food a few days ago, a good friend eagerly asked, “Is it as good as we hoped?” My response- “Yes!” Dallas and Melissa Hartwig continue to set the bar high for both themselves and the rest of the paleo community. It Starts With Food is better than anyone could have hoped for, and should be mandatory reading for all!

If you haven’t yet, pre-order your book today from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

 

Tomato Egg Cups

I am almost halfway done with my clinical year now for PA school. It is amazing how this year is flying by! Right now I am working at a busy OB/GYN practice doing everything from prenatal care, contraceptive management, well woman exams, and labor & delivery. For someone like me who is used to a very regular sleep schedule, the overnight labor & delivery shifts are pretty rough. There is one redeeming factor of staying up all night and having messed up sleep and wacky hormone dysregulation- witnessing the joy of a new mother as she gazes upon her child for the first time. There is something so powerful about the ‘miracle of life’ that allows us to work through the fatigue, and gives us the hope and compassion to comfort other women through the loss of a pregnancy. No other field that I have worked in so far has had highs so high, or lows so low. Exhausted as I may be,  I welcome each experience, good and bad, as it prepares me both academically and emotionally for the rest of my career. 🙂

Now, here’s a new breakfast recipe that has nothing to do with that story- Tomato Egg Cups!

Ingredients

1 Large Tomato

2 Eggs

Pepper

Fresh Basil

Olive Oil

Cut your tomato in half vertically. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and membranes.

Crack an egg into each of the tomato halves. Top with fresh cracked pepper.

Bake at 425F for 20 minutes.

Top with fresh chopped basil and a drizzle of olive oil.

Fresh Chamomile and Lemon Tea

Well I think its safe to say I’ve kicked my coffee habit! I weaned myself off my daily 3+ cups of coffee back in November, but still enjoyed a cup on weekends when I wasn’t in a big rush and could relax and sip it slowly, rather than guzzle it down like I used to. After realizing that even when I only had my one cup of special weekend coffee in the morning I still had trouble falling asleep at night, I decided to cut even that. I don’t really miss coffee now as much as I miss the ritual of it. The simple pleasure of preparing and sipping the coffee while I go about my morning. I have since started drinking herbal teas on occasion to fill that void. I have found several teas that I enjoy, but nothing is as great as fresh chamomile! The adorable little flowers have a mild, sweet taste that is better than any dried tea I’ve had. In addition, chamomile is known to help reduce stress! Sounds like a pretty good alternative to coffee to me!

Ingredients

1/4 cup Fresh Chamomile Flowers

Rind of one Lemon

4 cups Boiling Water

Place lemon rind and chamomile flowers in a teapot.

Pour boiling water over flowers and rind.

Cover and let steep for about 10 minutes.

Strain and serve.

This tea is excellent with a spoonful of canned coconut milk stirred in!

Chicken a la Sarah

This is my friend Sarah and I. Sarah loves sweet potatoes. Now I know what you’re thinking- “I love sweet potatoes too. Big whoop.” Sarah REALLY loves sweet potatoes. Sweet potato fries, chips, baked or mashed, nothing brings that same sparkle to her eye like a sweet potato can. In fact, I gave her a 10 pound box of sweet potatoes for her birthday last year. So, it seems this recipe is likely to be her new favorite dish. Sweet potatoes and sage are a perfect pairing to add a delicious new flavor to chicken. I hope you enjoy “Chicken a la Sarah” or “Sweet Potato and Sage Crusted Chicken.”Ingredients

1 Large Sweet Potato, baked

1 Egg

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Fresh Chopped Sage

1 Tablespoon Coconut Flour

2 Chicken Breasts

1/4 cup Melted Ghee or Pastured Butter

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg with the salt and sage.

Cut your baked sweet potato in half and scoop out the soft insides into the bowl with the egg mixture.

Use a fork to beat the sweet potato into the egg mixture. Add the coconut flour and mix well.

Cut the chicken breasts into halves or thirds, depending on size. Pat dry.

Place chicken breast pieces in a 9×13 baking dish.

Spread the sweet potato mixture evenly over the top and sides of the chicken pieces.

Bake at 400F for 30 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes to add color.

Serve with a spoonful of melted butter or ghee drizzled on top.