Congratulations to Helen Rodgers and Nerrida Vose – you are the lucky winners!
Primal Junction is one of my favourite blogs. The recipes are always good and I love the advice they share on nutrition, exercise and well being. Lizzy Marsh is one of the founders of Primal Junction and when she announced her cook book was ready for pre-order I made sure I secured a copy.
The photography in the book is gorgeous and it doesn’t just have recipes. The first section of the book looks at the science behind the foods we eat, in relation to inflammation, immune response, acid/alkaline balance and it also has a pantry guide and list of tools of the trade.
I asked Lizzy if she would share a recipe on the blog as many of the recipes in the book are perfectly suited to families like apricot chicken, zucchini slice, chilli con carne but are all grain, dairy and sugar-free. Lizzy agreed so today’s recipe is from the cook book and she also shares some tips on transitioning to a whole food approach for the family.
Mini Shepherd’s Pie Pots – a Primal Family Favourite!
Following a real-food approach is all about choosing whole foods that are easily recognised by the body, while avoiding those that may cause a reaction, inflammation or digestive distress. Whether you are experimenting with the Paleo Diet or just want to learn some new family-friendly alternatives, here are some helpful hints that will hopefully make the transition easier!
1. Prepping your pantry
The first step towards cleaning up your family’s diet is to “spring clean” your pantry. Set aside a few hours on the weekend to comb the shelves and dispose or donate anything that has been stored for 6 months or more. For everything else, read the ingredients list and check for hidden sugars, artificial flavourings, colouring, fillers, preservatives and products that are like to be old or rancid like spices, vegetable oils, and old nuts. Get rid of all of these products – they are not real-food and many of them can be harmful to your health. Into all your newfound and clean shelf space, organise and add your high-quality, fresh and healthy alternatives. I love organic sugar-free spice blends, coconut oil, raw cacao, coconut products, high quality tuna, loose-leaf teas and other raw ingredients. You don’t need to go out and spend a fortune on these new ingredients at once – you can add oils, seasonings and super-foods with each weekly shop to spread out the impact on your budget.
2. Weekly meal preparation
Planning your week ahead of time is a great way to stay organised and on track. One or two big cooking sessions per week can be a great way to save time and make healthy choices when you finish late at work or when something unexpected comes up. By planning and preparing breakfasts, lunches and some dinners ahead of time, it will be much easier to make healthy choices and also to relax and unwind in the evening, knowing that food is ready to go for the next day! Investing in a slow-cooker or pressure-cooker can also help to prepare large, one pot family meals ahead of time. Particularly in Winter, slow cooked stews, soups and broths will provide nourishing, nutrient dense and warming meals.
3. Know your Primal alternatives
Switching to a real-food diet can take a little time, but with a little practice, you’ll be able to whip up primal alternatives for all your family favourites in no time. Want to try going grain-free or without the normal meal fillers like pasta and breads? Once you learn and practice the primal-friendly alternatives, it’s easy to substitute with foods that won’t lead to inflammation and digestive problems (among other things). Some cleaner alternatives include cauliflower rice and mash, sweet potato fritters, carrot puree, kale chips and many more! Not only are there better options of these standard “staple” foods, it also becomes a creative challenge to make healthier versions of your family favourites like apricot chicken, grain-free muesli, pesto zucchini “pasta” and lasagne with layers of eggplant! Here’s one of our favourite family-friendly meals from our new book, Paleo, grain, dairy and sugar-free Shepherd’s Pie Pots!
- 3 tbsp ghee
- 1 brown onion, peeled and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1kg (2.2Ib) grass-fed lamb mince
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 cups (500ml) lamb stock (or a stock of your choice)
- ½ cup (125ml) red wine (optional – or you can replace with stock)
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cinnamon quill
- ½ tsp allspice
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp arrowroot powder
- 2 large orange sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small chunks
- Heat 1 tbsp. ghee over medium-high and sauté the onion and garlic until soft and translucent.
- Add the lamb mince and stir frequently until lightly browned on all sides (about 10 minutes).
- Add the carrot, stock, wine, tomato paste, spices, salt and bay leaves. Mix well and reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 35 minutes, add 1tbsp ghee and the arrowroot powder. Mix through for a minute until slightly thickened. Cook for a further few minutes uncovered and turn the heat off.
- Place sweet potato in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook for 15-20 minutes until soft.
- Drain well and mash with 1 tbsp. ghee and salt to taste.
- Heat the oven to 200°C/390°F.
- Spoon the lamb mixture into the bottom of small ovenproof ramekins, filling them about ¾ full. Spread the mash on top of the lamb to fill the dishes and scrape with a fork to rough up the top surface.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, and then place under a hot grill for 5 minutes to toast the top of the potato.
PALEO: a real-food diet to reset your life – two copies to giveaway
This easy family meal is one of 55-recipes from Lizzy’s new book, PALEO: a real-food diet to reset your life, hitting shelves in early September! Photography and food styling by Rachel from Two Loves Studio. You can pre-order by clicking here.
If you would like to win one of two copies of the book, simply enter the form below. This will subscribe you to the Primal Junction weekly newsletter and enter you in the giveaway!
Terms and conditions
- To enter you must complete the form below to sign up to the Primal Junction newsletter. If you are reading via email, please click here to enter if you cannot see the form.
- The giveaway is open to Australian residents only.
- The winner will be notified via email. You must have a valid email address to enter. If no response is received with 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.
- The give away will close Friday 12th September 2014.
- The winner will be chosen by Planning With Kids based on creativity and you can only enter once.