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Monkey Salad

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

monkey_saladIf you eat Paleo or are ditching grains for a Whole Life Challenge, then think of salad as the new cereal. Perfectly Paleo and just about as easy as pouring something-O’s from a box, monkey salad is a wonderful way to start a day or enjoy a great anytime snack.


  • 1 just-ripe banana
  • flaked or shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • any combination of your favorite nuts (e.g., cashew, almond, pepita, walnut)


Slice banana into a serving-sized bowl. Add coconut and stir so banana slices are deliciously coated. Add nuts. Stir again. Enjoy!

Paleo Pear Muffins

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

pear_muffinsSummer fruits are explosive, vibrant; they shout like children running through sprinklers on a hot day. Brilliant sunset-cast peaches, thirst-quenching watermelons, cheeky cherries full of flavors that wow like a roller coaster theme park or an action packed summer blockbuster. Fall fruits on the other hand are quiet, thoughtful, moody-hued affairs with gentle flavors that slowly seduce like a walk in the woods or a cozy romance novel. As I’m in the process of embracing the transition to the latter season’s delights, I was thrilled this week to receive from a dear friend the recipe that follows which is absolutely perfect for a chill fall morning when you want to sit and be thoughtful in culinary comfort and watch the rain.


  • 3 medium-sized ripe pears (organic bosc are great right now)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or shortening of choice)
  • 3 tablespoons local, organic honey
  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350°.

Peel and halve pears. Place 3 halves into a food-processor or blender. Fine-dice the other three halves and set aside.

To the processor/blender add the rest of the wet ingredients (eggs, oil and honey) and blend until smooth. Add the diced pears and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. Add to this the wet ingredients and combine until well incorporated.

Scoop into lined (or silicone) muffin tins and bake for about 30 minutes or until done to your liking: less for moist, more for springy.

Best enjoyed warm on a cold and crisp fall day!

Lemon Artichoke Soup

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

artichoke_soupIt’s officially fall, and even though California’s warm Indian Summer still beckons me to the beach, I’m also getting giddy about the idea of mittens, bringing out my favorite boots and comforting warm soups. A little over a week past the equinox and with great restraint the winter clothes are still on the shelves, but beyond that my self-discipline broke down, and I loved every bit of the high-potassium artichoke soup I have to share:


  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup each of minced onion, carrot and celery
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups artichoke hearts (I used canned), loosely diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced green onion
  • 3 cups coconut or almond milk


In a large soup pot with burner set to medium, heat oil for a minute then add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook stirring frequently until onion is translucent.

Add broth, chokes and spices and let simmer 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and either transfer in batches to a blender mixing until smooth or use an immersion blender to do the same.

Return soup to medium heat and add lemon juice, zest and green onion. Simmer another 10 minutes and don’t wait for a cold day to serve!

Tom Kha Gai

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

tom_kha_gaiThis is my favorite soup. It is especially wonderful with the traditional Thai spicing of kaffir lime leaves and galanga. You can find these in most Asian Markets (can be found in the Asian market on Mary St next to Peets and across from Whole Foods in San Rafael). Substitutions for these are noted below; lemongrass can found in Safeway. I keep packets in the freezer of these 3 spices mixed with the garlic which allows me to get this on the dinner table as a meal with kale on the side in 15 or 20 minutes.

I usually included minced jalapeño pepper and red bell pepper, but as nightshades are not Paleo, I’ve omitted these. If you know you are not sensitive to nightshades, they add fantastic kick and color respectively. If in doubt about nightshades, stick with black pepper as that is in the family Piperaceae as opposed to bell pepper, jalapeño, cayenne, et al which are in the Capsicum family and are nightshades.

In case you’ve wondered, the reason these nightshades and others including tomato, white potatoes, and eggplant are avoided in the Paleo diet is because of the potential inflammatory response of the body to lectins which, in sensitive individuals, can provoke an immune system response similar to that toward the WGA lectin in wheat/gluten in folks who are gluten-sensitive or celiac.

Basically, know yourself, listen to how your body responds to certain foods even if they are Paleo approved. This soup is awesome with or without the nightshades!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves minced garlic (I use 4 cubes of TJs frozen garlic)
  • 1/4 cup scallions, fine slice
  • 1 stalk lemon grass minced (if minced, stays in soup and is eaten; alternately – to make things easy – cut into 2” lengths and remove before serving)
  • 1 inch piece of galanga, fresh or dried (fabulous, delicious Thai root spice but if you can’t find it, ginger can be substituted)
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves or 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 to 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons arrowroot, depending on amount of chicken used
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 can straw mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (make sure it’s wheat free)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro


Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. After oil is heated, add garlic, scallions, lemon grass, galanga, and lime leaves. (If substituting lime zest, save this until later below.) Heat and occasionally stir for 2 minutes.

Add water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, slice chicken into bit-sized slices or cubes and toss with arrowroot to lightly coat.

Add chicken to soup and cook for 4 minutes.

Add coconut milk, pepper, mushrooms, fish sauce lime juice and lime zest if making this substitution. Simmer for 2 minutes.

Stir in cilantro and serve.

Kind Bars – The Homemade Kind

Thursday, September 18th, 2014


I’m hiking in Yosemite this week and made my own version of Kind bars for the trip. I got the recipe from thenourishing, and though I want to experiment with a lower-sugar version, this was really delicious for a start! Here it is:


  • 1/3 cup organic honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/3 cups toasted and chopped nuts-of-choice
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit-of-choice
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 300°. Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment leaving some of the paper to hang over two sides of the dish.

In a large bowl, add the honey, coconut flour, almond butter and salt. Stir until well combined. Then add and mix until thoroughly combined the nuts, dried fruit and coconut flakes.

Place the mixture into the parchment-lined baking dish and fold side flaps over ingredients. Evenly and firmly press; this will make bars hold together better after baking. Then gently peel the parchments flaps back off the bars leaving them to hang at the side of the baking dish as this will make it easier to remove the bars after baking.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool, about 1 hour.

Place in fridge to cool further until very cold and hard. At this point, remove dish from refrigerator and run a knife along the two non-parchment edges to detach mixture that’s stuck to baking dish. Then using the parchment paper ends, lift the bars from baking dish and place on a cutting board.

Cut into 8 bars and individually wrap and store in the fridge or freezer. These get sticky at room temp, so make sure wrapping is tight and of a material that will allow for easy removal of your delicious bars. Now go take a hike!

P.S. recommended reading today in the NYT: Artificial Sweeteners May Disrupt Body’s Blood Sugar Controls

Balance Your Protein Intake With Gelatin

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

gelatin_snack_2Gelatin is a worthwhile consideration for balancing protein intake. Although it does not have the kind of amino acids needed for post-workout muscle recovery, it does have what is needed for connective tissue health.

In taking a Paleo view of nutrition, our modern protein consumption has become unbalanced favoring a limited diet of muscle meat and its amino acids over the aminos found in organs, cartilage, bone and sinew. We throw a lot of the animal away that would have been consumed by a hunter gatherer. That leaves us deficient in essential building blocks such as glycine, proline and collagen needed to support healthy joints, connective tissue, skin and bone.

Studies demonstrate gelatin’s ability to maintain strong ligament, tendon, and bone integrity providing clear benefits to weightlifters, body builders and other athletes whose joints and connective tissues are regularly subjected to stress. Gelatin builds the strength of our muscle’s supporting structures and reduces joint pain which in turn supports successful muscle-building.

Gelatin can be flavorlessly and texturelessly added to cooking or a protein shake in the form of non-congealing collagen hydrolysate as well as used in the traditional gelling form to make snacks such this week’s recipe below.* I purchase both forms of gelatin from Great Lakes as their gelatin products are antibiotic and hormone free.

Blueberry Peach Gelatin Squares

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh peaches, peeled and diced (I almost threw out my mealy end-of-season peaches before realizing they were perfect for this recipe; any disappointing fruit would work for this!)
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon**
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup gelatin

Combine blueberries, peaches, coconut water, honey and cinnamon in a saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Let simmer stirring occasionally until fruit has liquified, about 10 minutes.

While fruit is simmering, add gelatin to coconut milk and let sit for 10 minutes. After sitting, add to fruit mixture and stir for a few minutes until gelatin has dissolved; do not allow to boil.

Pour mix into a square pyrex pan or mold of choice. Chill a few hours then dice as desired and enjoy!

*10 grams a day recommended

**The lovely thing about cinnamon and other sweet-friendly spices such as cardamom is that they enhance the perception of sweetness allowing one to minimize the use of sweeteners in a recipe.

Key Lime Shots

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

key_lime_annieAnnie and I like lime. In fact, she wouldn’t let me photograph this without hovering close enough to secure a spoonful after the shot was taken. Like Annie, I’m willing to bet this dessert will make you purr!


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup lime juice (key lime is my preference)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, just barely melted on low heat in microwave
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon grass-fed gelatin

In a medium saucepan, combine eggs, zest, honey, lime juice and coconut oil. Mix well, turn on heat to medium, and cook stirring constantly until mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and strain through cheesecloth or a fine sieve into a bowl and refrigerate.

Next, add coconut milk and gelatin to saucepan. Stir together, let sit for a full 10 minutes, and then turn heat to medium and stir until gelatin has dissolved. Transfer to another bowl and refrigerate along with lime mixture. Let both chill for about 4 hours or until gelatin has set.

Once set, combine contents of both bowls in a food processor and blend together until smooth and creamy. Adjust sweetness with further honey or maple syrup if desired. Enjoy right away!

Lemon Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

porktlNext week my son goes back to school, and although I love to cook, I do not look forward to packing a school lunch. Trying to come up with healthy, nut-free faire that won’t come back home in a lunch box with cookies devoured and rejection stamped all over everything else is a challenge. There are times I open the fridge door and blankly stare for minutes wondering what to pack. But last year I found that leftover pork tenderloin was a huge hit! Not to mention it’s so easy to just slice and pack because you’ve already made it for dinner the night before.


  • 1 to 1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup olive or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest from juiced lemon(s)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper


Aside from tenderloin, mix all ingredients together. Place along with pork in a zip-lock bag or plastic container with tight-fitting lid and let marinate in fridge for about 3 to 4 hours.

After marinating, preheat grill at a high temp. Let it get really hot; about 10 minutes.

Place pork on hot grill and sear for 7 minutes on one side with grill covered. After 7 minutes, flip tenderloin and grill for 6 minutes on other side, grill still high; covered. After 6 minutes on the second side, and with the lid still closed, turn off the heat leaving the meat to sit on the grill for another 5 minutes. After 5 minutes has passed, check with a digital thermometer for an internal temperature of about 145°.

For dinner, slice thin and serve with sides of kale and summer berries. For lunch the next day, pack sliced tenderloin rounds along with some of those berries, and then enjoy having a few extra minutes that you didn’t have to spend wondering what to make.

Sweet Potato Salad

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

sweet_potato_saladI’m vacationing with family in Connecticut this week, so I’m going to make this short and sweet as in sweet potato with a recipe from my sister-in-law Kath who I gratefully credit with introducing me to Crossfit as well as to awesome food. If, like me, you have a relative who has inspired you to live a healthier happier lifestyle, send some love that angel’s way! And maybe have them over for some sweet potato salad :o).


  • 2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • (optional non-Paleo addition: 15 oz can black beans)


Preheat oven to 350°.

Toss sweet potatoes and onion with olive oil, salt and pepper until well coated. Spread evenly on baking tray and bake for about a half hour, giving an occasional stir until edges are golden.

Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix bell pepper and cilantro together with jalapeño, garlic and lime juice.

When the potatoes and onion are done, remove from oven, add to bowl and toss well. Season with additional s&p as desired and serve warm, room temp or cold. It’s all good!

Easy Grilled Chicken Satay

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

sataySomewhere along the lines I picked this recipe up and love it. Can’t remember where; not originally mine but adapted it over time to be Paleo and make it constantly. Don’t even bother with the skewers anymore. Grab a slice before a workout and/or after one, it’s great in school lunches, packs well for a plane ride. It’s easy. It’s good. And it’s real food.


  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (make sure you get one that does not have wheat protein!)
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or coconut aminos
  • 1 minced stalk lemon grass
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast


Combine all the above ingredients except chicken in a zip lock bag.

Cut chicken on the diagonal in roughly half to three quarter inch strips and add to zip lock. Seal and shake to thoroughly coat chicken.

Place ziplock bag in fridge for an hour or two to marinate and when ready, heat grill at high temp, place chicken strips evenly on grilling surface and cook about 4 minutes on each side.

Eat immediately and refrigerate leftovers for a few days.