Paleo Christmas Menu and Christmas in NYC

Bryant Park Christmas Tree

New York City is a magical place at Christmas time. This was not the first year I have ventured in from the ‘burbs to partake of the festive atmosphere.

*Static Noises*



Mwahahahahahahaha! My mom was going to write about her paleo Christmas recipes but I have taken her computer hostage to write about MY day in NYC. I write this on an airplane, with a dying macbook pro, my mom is looking over my shoulder at the progress window as we back up the whole computer onto a hard drive. I am super tech savvy, so I helped her use it even though it is meant for Microsoft Windows machines. SO there. Ha!

Oh, you wan’t me to stay on-topic? Where do I start? Well… I’ll break our day up into small segments, (in chronological order) that have titles that sum-up the segment.


Boys with Empire State Building

  • Take the train, he said. It will be fun, he said.

The first memorable part of my day was waiting for the train to arrive at the station. Because NJ transit is pretty much the worst commuter train ever, we literally had about 45 minutes in delays. Fun! :|

  • Omnamnomnomnomamnomnom-munch-munchnomnomnomnomnomnom. Nom.

Bareburger. Yum. Best burgers. Ever. Not sure if I get the bear theme, but you know, BURGERS! By the time we got there we were pretty tired out from walking for such a long time, so I was ready for some epic omnom time. The food was ready almost immediately after we ordered, which was awesome, because it usually takes longer based on past experiences. Gluten-free bun + bison patty + bacon = heaven in a burger.  I’m completely serious. It was delicious. My mouth waters at the thought of such deliciousness.

  • Hat

I got a new hat. I guess you could say that I am a “smurf.” See photo below!

  • WhoahAhhhhhhh!

We went Ice skating next, which was a nightmare at first but got better as I got the hang of skating, Nathaniel, on the other hand, never quite got it, but he had fun regardless of his skill level. We both fell over like 700 million times, and the zamboni took like 300 years, but like I said, we had fun. Afterwards we got hot chocolate which tasted SOOOOO good.

Boys at Bryant Park Rink-2


We walked to the Rockefeller tree afterwards. It was pretty amazing but then we realized that it lined up with angelic statues, when you looked at it from a certain angle it was absolutely stunning. It was quite literally breathtaking. The amount of work that must have gone into making it look like that is crazy if you think about it. The Saks 5th avenue show ON THE SIDE of the building was pretty incredible too.

  • The ride home

Of course, not everything can be perfect. That’s why our day unfortunately ended with my worst experience I’ve ever had on a train, ever. It was a double-decker train, but it was packed. We didn’t get a seat until much later in the train ride, but that was almost immediately before we got off the train, so it didn’t really help. Whatever, the day as a whole was great, so it made up for the bad train ride.

Radio City Music Hall

Now my mom will take it from here. Bye!

Lea’s Paleo Christmas Menu Continue reading

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Wild Rice with Pistachios and Cilantro

Wild Rice with Pistachios and Cilantro paleoLast week my son Benjamin posted his review of the book “The Hunger Games” followed by a recipe for Hunger Games Lamb Stew with Dried Plums. In the book, the dish is described as being served with wild rice. Now, ordinarily I would not advocate eating a lot of rice. Rice is a grain (some argue wild rice is a grass, but still) so it is not officially part of the Paleo Diet which encourages elimination of grains. Grains are the source of certain anti-nutrients (lectins, phytates, gluten, etc…) that can interfere with the absorption of vitamins and minerals. They are also not as nutrient dense as meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Additionally, grains are high in calories and carbohydrates which is not necessarily what you need when trying to lose weight or maintain your weight.

That having been said, I DO eat rice now and then. The small amount of rice in my diet is usually found underneath a big slab of raw tuna at a sushi restaurant. But when I read about the wild rice dish served with the fictional Lamb Stew with Dried Plums I figured there was little harm in creating a wild rice recipe. My boys are very active and can use energy from starchy carbs. They also think it is super cool to be eating a Hunger Games dish. Even though wild rice still has some of the anti-nutrients found in other grains, it does not contain gluten like wheat, rye or barley. So if you have room in your diet for some starchy carbs now and then, especially if you or your family are very active, then you might consider having wild rice as a side dish. Continue reading

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Hunger Games Lamb Stew with Dried Plums


Hi, my name is Ben. I am an enormously, epically, hugely, giantly, largely-big fan of THE HUNGER GAMES! I am here to do a quick book review before Paleo Spirit (aka my mom) shares a Hunger Games related recipe: Hunger Games Lamb Stew with Dried Plums!

The Hunger Games is set in North America near the capitol city Panem. Panem is surrounded by twelve districts which specialize in the production of one or more goods. Each year, the districts are forced to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the Hunger Games. During The Hunger Games the tributes are forced to fight to the death on television while the nation watches.

Katniss Everdeen is a 16 year old hunter. She helps feed her mother and younger sister, Prim, by hunting outside the borders of their home in District 12. Katniss’ younger sister was selected for the Hunger Games. But Katniss stepped up and took her place in the Games. Before the games begin, the tributes are well fed and treated like royalty. During this Pre-Hunger Games time Katniss finds that her favorite meal served is the lamb stew with dried plums and wild rice.

The Hunger Games is overall a great book. (or series if you’ve read the other books) When recommending the book to others I commonly say: “This book is not under any circumstance to be used as a bedtime story for young children!” I think that kind of sums up my intensity rating for the book. My parents have not let me see the movie because it is rated PG-13. The thing I really like about the book is that the storyline plays itself out perfectly, keeping the reader excited, so excited in fact that it is hard to put the book down. There are almost no gaps that confuse the reader or unnecessary repetition of the same situation.(I have read books that repeat similar situations over and over again!) The book is great… But so is the lamb stew…

Now for the recipe Continue reading

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Twice-Baked Cauliflower

twice-baked cauliflowerThe inspiration for this Twice-Baked Cauliflower recipe came from my oldest son, Ben, who turns 11 years old today. Happy Birthday, Benjamin! In addition to being an all-around great boy, Ben has bowled me over with his new-found fondness for cauliflower. This is a kid whose pre-paleo vegetable repertoire primarily consisted of canned green beans and the (very) occasional carrot stick. But since we have been following the paleo way of eating he has tried, and liked!, many new things. Ben also enjoys Cauliflower Rice and Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes” both of which are dairy free. However, he eats full fat dairy and gave me the idea of trying a mashed cauliflower dish using Greek yogurt. Ben's twice-baked cauliflowerWe are going all out with the dairy on this one so steer clear if you have an intolerance. I guess you could call this Primal Twice-Baked Cauliflower.

Even though the cauliflower is technically only baked once, the flavors are definitely in keeping with the spirit of the “Twice-Baked Potatoes” we all know and love. This much lower carb version has tons of flavor and is beautiful enough for special occasions. We even served it at Christmas dinner. The colors were perfect and my in-laws loved it which is always a good thing. Continue reading

Ben’s Monster Mash

I put this random recipe for Monster Mash together because:

  1. I was bored (we had a totally random snow day)
  2. it was Halloween
  3. I had a thirst for monster goo.

When I first gave this drink to mom she liked it. This is the story I told:

I went into my back yard and found a giant multi-eyed monster. I grabbed my sword and my imaginary friend (Dragonpuff™*) and together we ground up the monster into a ghoulish, slimy , gross, scary, disgusting…..and surprisingly tasty pulp! It is very sweet. However, if you don’t like pulp in your orange juice you definitely won’t like this.(it is very pulpy)


  • 3/4 cup V-8 Fusion Pomegranate Blueberry (or other, similarly colored, unsweetened, vegetable and fruit juice blend)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • frozen raspberries (aka monster brains)


  1. pour the above ingredients into a cup ( you may add as many “monster brains” as you dare)
  2. stir until applesauce and juice blend nicely.
  3. serve in a scary cup (optional)Monster Mash in a Scary Cup

Overall this is a very tasty blend. I hope you enjoy Ben’s Monster Mash!


~BenBen with Monster Mash




*don’t ask about Dragonpuff™. He’s none of your business.