Elk Osso Bucco

First of all, I apologize for not posting for a while….  life got a little crazy round here in Salixisme-land…

Being a massage therapist, I have to do a certain amount of “continuing education” (ie training courses).  Over the last weekend, this was what I was doing.

I did a fire-cupping course on both Saturday and Sunday and now I can offer cupping-massages, or even just use the cupping as part of my normal massages (it is fantastic for trigger-point release). It was a fun weekend…  nothing like playing with fire!

In addition to this, it was our wedding anniversary.  So on Saturday evening, we visited Charcut in downtown Calgary (more on that in another post).  It was a wonderful meal and I ate far too much!  And C had her first ever parade with the Roundup band on Saturday as well.  She was performing at the Santa-claus parade in Fort Mcleod.


Yesterday I was at work, and considering all the snow that Calgary has been having over the last 2 days, it was a long day.  And on my way home, I experienced the scariest bus ride of my life!  There was so much snow and the roads had not been cleared and there were buses sliding all over the place, loads of accidents and buses getting stuck everywhere…  And the traffic was really slow due to the road-conditions, so my normal 45 minute commute took over 2 hours.  NOT FUN!  By the time I finally got home, I was bitterly cold and I was not in the mood to write a post at all.  All  wanted to do was to collapse in a hot bath with a glass of wine!

Anyhow, back to the recipe:

I love elk meat, and being a lean, wild meat, it is perfectly Paleo.  We don’t eat a lot of it, but when we get the chance to go to the Calgary Farmers Market, we always make sure to visit the Wapiti Ways stand and buy some elk (usually stew meat, liver and hearts).  The last time we were there, he pointed out some sliced elk shanks, and mentioned that they would be perfect for long, slow cooking (most elk is so lean that it needs to be cooked quickly or it becomes tough and inedible).

As soon as I saw the elk shanks, I was thinking “Osso Bucco”…  and that is what I made with this wonderful meat.

This recipe contains tomatoes which are an AIP stage 4 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Elk Osso Bucco

serves 6


  • 6 thick slices of elk shank (mine were around 1″ thick), bone in
  • coconut oil to sautee
  • 4 rashers of bacon – chopped (we use pastured bacon that we get from Spraggs Meat Shop)
  • 2 onions – peeled and chopped
  • 4 carrots – peeled and chopped
  • 4 sticks of celery – chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 4 tomatoes – diced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bottle of dry red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro – diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley – diced
  • olive oil

First of all you need to sear the elk in a hot pan with a little coconut oil added.  Cook for 1 minute per side until golden brown.  Remove the elk and place it to one side.

Add the chopped bacon to the pan and cook over a medium heat until the fat runs and the bacon is starting to crip.  Add the onion and 2 cloves of garlic and cook over a gentle heat until the onion is translucent.  Add in the carrots and celery, and then add the thyme, bay leaf, lemon juice and pour in the entire bottle of red wine.  Add the tomatoes and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender and the wine is reduced by at least half.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Nestle the elk shanks on top of the veggies and cook, covered, over a low heat for 1½ – 2 hours until the elk is tender but not falling apart.  Turn or baste the elk every  ½ hour.

While the elk is cooking, place the cilantro, parsley and 4 cloves of garlic in a food processor along with the lemon zest and a glug of olive oil.  Pulse until coarsely chopped to make a gremolata.

Serve the elk with mashed vegetables (I used mashed rutabaga) and greens and spoon over the gravy and some of the veggies.


Sprinkle the gremolata over and serve at once.


Just look at that wonderful bone marrow in there!


When I scooped it out and ate it, it was rich, creamy and delicious!  And the elk shanks themselves were perfectly cooked and very tasty.

Dog Booties

We have been having problems with walking the dog during the cold weather because his feet get too cold and it becomes painful for him.   So we decided that because he does need a lot of walking, we needed to get some dog booties.

Hubby was doing some searching the other day and found this video on how to make dog booties on YouTube.

It seemed very straightforward, and he decided that he could make them himself…

A quick trip to Fabricland produced some remenants of black fleece and some cream coloured vinyl (we couldn’t find any faux suede as recommended in the video.  We also picked up some double sided velcro.

Back at home, we measured Casesar’s feet and Hubby got my sewing machine out…


The first attempt was a bit of a disaster – they were not long enough.  But a quick adjustment to the pattern and about 2 hours of work resulted in 4 nice looking dog booties.


They are a little tricky to get on him due to the snug fit, but they do fit really well.


These work really well…


they dry quickly, and despite there being quite deep snow, Ceasar’s feet were still warm and dry when he came back from his walk and he seemed to have no problems with them.

The total cost of the fabric and the velcro was less than $15, and we have enough fabric leftover to make several more pairs…  so it certainly worked out cheaper than buying ready made dog-boots from the pet-store.

We will be making him more pairs of these for certain!

Dreams Take Flight

B has been offered a once in a lifetime trip to Disneyland with an awesome charity called Dreams Take Flight.

Today started early (at 3am) as we had to have her at the airport for 4:30am…

We got her up and gave her a good breakfast as they would not be eating on the plane until around 8am…  I chose to give her some of the Taco Bake I posted about the other day…

And then we put her in the car and drove over to the airport at around 4am.

As it happened, we were a little early, so had to wait outside the lounge where the various groups were to meet up while they got everything organized.


Hubby took a couple of photographs of B while we were waiting:


Eventually, we were let into the lounge, where we found the meeting place for B’s group “Minnie Mouse” where she was given a Stampeders Tshirt to wear.


B was so excited that she could not keep still and spent most of her time bouncing.  Her group leader said that she should have been in Tigger group!  But I think the name of her group suits B perfectly – she is small and squeaky!  And she was certainly squeaking with excitement this morning!

There was a bit of waiting around while the other 4 members of her group arrived, and while she was waiting, she got to meet the air-crew who were going to be flying the plane:


The Stampede Princesses:




And the Calgary Flames mascot:


She was also interviewed for the local news (Global TV)

I will be watching the news tonight for sure!


And eventually, they were ready, and at around 5am her group headed off to security on their way to board the plane…

She was so confident and I am really proud of her!

We pick her up at midnight tonight, after a full day of going on rides.  She is going to be exhausted, but she will have so much fun!

I can’t wait to see all the pictures…


This is a picture that appeared in yesterday’s Calgary Herald, showing B’s group as they emerged from the plane.  B is the one with her face half cut off sadly:


And these pictures were taken as they arrived back home to Calgary at just gone midnight:




On her Daddy’s shoulders as we were leaving the airport to come home.


Paleo Chilli (in the slow cooker)

We have a busy night tonight…

Not only do I have to go to a band camp meeting at C’s school, C also has jazz band practice after school and then Roundup band practice after that (it coincides with the band-camp meeting), so I am going to the band-camp meet, and Hubby is taking C to the Roundup band practice, dropping her off and then coming over to join me at the meeting.  Then we will pick her up after.   Poor C is going to be exhausted!


So I expect to be back late…  very late.  We seem to be on a run of late nights this week as there is just so much that needs to be sorted out right now.

Because C, Hubby and I won’t be back home to eat until at least 9:30, a slow-cooker meal seems ideal, especially if it is one that everyone can dip into as and when they want to eat.

So I made a paleo version of chilli in the slow-cooker.   The plan is to serve this with cauli “rice” that is already cooked and in the fridge, but it would be just as good by itself.  I am planning that those who do want the cauli “rice” can just nuke it in the microwave.

This is an AIP Stage 4 reintroduction recipe because it contains both tomatoes and chilli.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Paleo Chilli (in the slow cooker)

serves 6-8


2lb ground beef

1 onion – chopped

1 stick of celery – diced

2 carrots – diced

1 green pepper – diced

6oz mushrooms – sliced

2 cloves garlic – crushed

156ml/5.5 floz can of tomato puree

3 cups bone broth

1 cup of red wine (optional – replace it with more broth or water)

2 chipoltle chillies in adobo sauce

1 green jalapeno – seeded and chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp oregano

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

This is simple to make – throw everything in the slow cooker, mix it up, put on the lid and turn it on.


Cook on low for as long as you need, at least 8 hours, but it can sit for a lot longer if needed.

I know a lot of slow-cooker chilli recipes say to brown the meat first, but I don’t bother.

Serve hot either by itself in bowls or with cauliflower “rice”


Now that the recipe is done, back to the Roundup Band….


C has just been accepted to join this, and we are very proud of her.  It is a Junior High marching band based in Calgary, and is one of the best junior high marching bands in Canada (and I suspect North America too).  Last year in 2012, they were a gold medal junior band at the World Association of Marching Show Bands competition in Calgary.  They play, not only in Calgary (they are featured at the Calgary Stampede and the Stampede parade amongst other things), but throughout Canada and even internationally.


This makes it the third band that C is a member of as she also plays with her Junior High Concert Band and Jazz Band.

So now you see why we are so proud of C!

BTW we got home at around 9:45 and C said she was mentally tired and her feet hurt but she felt fine….  and that it was good fun 🙂

She has a band-camp for roundup band at the weekend too which came as a bit of a shock for us…

My Daughter the Artist

A loves to paint….  and I think she is pretty good at it.

The other day, she wanted to give a birthday gift to one of her best friends, but the girl in question said that she did not want anyone to buy gifts for her…

So A decided to give her an original painting that she had done.

And this is what she came up with:


This is acrylic paint on canvas, and her friend absolutely LOVED it.


And a picture with the artist herself 🙂


Hiking Up Baldy Pass

Yesterday, I mentioned in a post that we had gone hiking…..We decided to go to Kananaskis Country, the place where we do most of our hiking.  A didn’t want to come with us this time, she stayed at home with the dog and cooked dinner (a ham from the pastured half pig that we picked up at the farmers market yesterday).

In the car park, waiting to go hiking

In the car park, waiting to go hiking

The hike that we decided to do this time was Baldy Pass, a fairly easy, 8km hike, with about 570m elevation gain,  that usually takes no more than 4 hours.


After leaving the car-park, which is on the east side of Highway 40, aprox 1km beyond the southern end of Barrier Lakes, you cross the road to find the trail head.

Baldy pass viewed from the car park

Baldy pass viewed from the car park

Initially, you are walking along a fairly good path through a wooded area.


There were quite a few flowers in this area despite the lateness of the season, although some of the leaves on the bushes were starting to change colour (the trees were mostly conifers):




Eventually, you come to a junction in the path, and you turn left, passing a signpost:


This path is not as good the first, it is rutted and has a surprising number of sinkholes – the result of the dramatic flooding that Southern Alberta suffered in July of this year…  Kananaskis was badly hit, and there are still some roads and campsites that are closed.


Eventually, this path gives way to what was a scree/dried up river bed – lots of gravel, lots of stones and rocks.  It is pretty hard going at this point – good footwear is needed (although Hubby and I were wearing our Vibram five fingers and they stood up to this terrain very well!)\


Here too were signs of the recent flooding.  The following picture shows what it looked like before the flooding:

Image from hikingwithbarry.com

Image from hikingwithbarry.com

And this is what it looked like after the flooding:


You can clearly see where the flood waters gouged out a new river bed, creating deep gulleys.



The following picture shows the remains of the path that has been destroyed by the floods:


Despite the damage, it is still passable.  My recommendation is that you stick to the left hand side as much as possible on the ascent in this section (and stick to the right hand side on the descent) as for most of the way there is a fairly usable path.  But despite this, this section is the worst part of the entire trip.

Eventually, you come to a small inuksuk that forms a marker where the trail leaves this section and heads back into the woods.


Hubby stopped at this point and took the following panoramic view looking back down the valley:


In this wooded area, the trail is very much steeper than the first section, with lots of tree roots and rocks in the path.  It became quite hard going at times.



This wooded area is much damper than the one down below and it is far more shady.  There were very few flowers and even a few mushrooms/toadstools growing by the path:



And eventually, you come to the top of the pass, where there is a small cairn:


The view from the top looking back the way we had come:


The gaps in the trees you can see in that photograph are the ski runs for the Nakiska ski resort.

This is the view looking the other way:


Hubby took a picture of me at the top – the problem with being the one behind the camera is that there are never any photographs of you!


But I did manage to get pics of Hubby and the girls:





Thee return trip was pretty much retracing your steps – it was much easier and faster going down however…

And by the time we got to the car, we were more than grateful for the homemade energy bars that I had brought along!


I apologize for not posting the “what to pack in a Paleo paced lunch” post that I had promised I would post yesterday…  due to a family matter that needed resolving I simply did not have time to write it.

I will attempt to get it up as soon as possible.

Back to School Packed Lunches 1

image courtesy of http://www.cbe.ab.ca/

image courtesy of http://www.cbe.ab.ca/

It is that time of year again – when the kids are heading back to school and you are thinking about what they are going to eat at lunchtime.

image courtesy of mirror.co.uk

image courtesy of mirror.co.uk

If you are anything like me, or are at all interested in providing them with a healthy lunch-time meal, you will not even consider letting them have what the school cafeteria has to offer. Even with the drive to improve the quality of school lunches, most are not what I would consider to be healthy. They are too high in salt and sugars for the most part. And they are not usually gluten or grain free. Then adding that a very limited supply of fruit and vegetables are on offer…..

No thanks!

image courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk

image courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk

So that leaves you with no choice but to send in a packed lunch. And if you are new to Paleo or Primal eating that can seem like a daunting task.

What are you going to give them in place of the sandwiches? What about the cereal bars? The cakes and cookies? The chips? And what about a drink? Are juice boxes and chocolate milk Paleo/Primal? And will the kids even eat what you pack?

Here are my tips for packing a healthy school lunch that your kids will love, without you tearing your hair out with stress.

Buy good quality food containers
There is nothing more stressful than rummaging in a cupboard desperately trying to match up plastic tubs with their lids first thing in the morning. Get some quality lunch containers (one for each kid that you will be packing lunch for and one for you and your partner too if you work outside the home). Yes it will be expensive, but for the reduction in stress it is worth it. There is a really good review of the various lunchbox options at 100 Days of Real Food. We bought Planet boxes for our kids (and for Hubby and me), 6 of the full Rover Systems, including the carry cases and the big and little dippers.  Believe me, it was NOT cheap!  But a good quality lunch box will last for years.

You get what you pay for, and if you buy cheap, it costs you more in the long run.  (See the Sam Vimes “Boots” Theory of Economic Injustice – invented by Terry Pratchett, inventor of the Discworld).

Make sure that in addition to a lunch box you also get an insulated food jar so that you can send a hot meal. And consider a Thermos to send hot or cold drinks as well.

And while we are at it, cutlery…. I found that if I was buying cheap disposable plastic spoons and forks, the kids would throw them away even if I told them to bring them home and wash them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to contribute to environmental pollution in that way, and I dislike wasting money either. The solution we went with was to buy the kids sporks. They bring them home each day and they go through the dishwasher with the lunch boxes.

Get a metal or BPA-free plastic water bottle so that you can send in water instead of juice or disposable water bottles.

And don’t forget the re-freezable ice pack to keep it all cold.

And the minute they come home from school, make them fetch their lunch boxes and other lunch items out of their bags so that they can be washed or put through the dishwasher…  that way, they are ready for the next day!  No if’s or but’s, no excuses of “But I must do my homework”, fetching their lunch containers takes seconds!

Keep it simple
Aim to use lots of leftovers and consider cooking for the week ahead over the weekend. Either send the leftovers in cold to be eaten cold (even stews and chilli can be surprisingly tasty when served cold!) or reheat them in the morning and pack in an insulated food jar. If your child’s school has a microwave for the kids use (a surprising number do now, especially for older kids) you could send the food in in a microwave safe container for your child to heat up.

If planning on cooking for the week ahead, cook chicken legs and wings, meat such as a beef or ham joint that can be sliced, make soups, stews and chillies and freeze them in single serving containers ready to be used later on.  Maybe even consider making some paleo-friendly treats such as my energy bars or chia pudding.

Stock up on fruits and veggies that can be eaten raw, nuts, seeds and dried fruit and jerkey and other Paleo friendly snacks.  If your kids eat dairy, buy some cheese to cube or cut in sticks and consider these silicone molds that can be filled with natural yoghurt.

Make sure you include something that contains healthy fats – olives (if your kids will eat them), avocado, nuts or nut butter (as long as the school is not nut-free), coconut chips, full-fat dairy (if you allow your kids to eat it), even cold cooked bacon…  The fat will give them plenty of energy and help keep them full.

Then enlist the kids to help. Older kids should be able to pack most of their lunches themselves, and even tiniest can assist with making choices (“carrots or celery? Apple or banana?). You want to be able to pack the entire lunch in 5-10 minutes if not less.

Don’t experiment
You want the kids to eat their lunch, so the lunch-box is not the place to experiment with new unfamiliar foods. Stick to what you know they love, and save the experimentation for the weekends.

Don’t pack junk food
This should go without saying. Send in real food. Things that your great-grandma would recognize. So no packets of chips, cookies or crackers. No yoghurt tubes, cereal bars and cakes, even if it is organic. Just because something is organic does not mean that it is good for you!

Instead send in fruit, sliced or whole, fresh veggies, home made (peanut free) trail mix and 85% or better cocoa solid chocolate as treats.

Instead of a juice box (which is really just vitamin enriched sugar water) and sugar-laden chocolate milk send In plain water to drink. Or consider using a Thermos and send in fresh, cold milk.

Don’t worry too much!

The final thing to stress is not to obsess too much over the lunches – if the lunch you send in is a little light in protein (or your child does not eat the protein you provide!), just give them some extra protein at dinner…  think whole day nutrition rather than a single meal.  It is OK to send a meal that consists of a load of veggies and dips with a few nuts if you are all out of protein ingredients, as long as you make up for it at dinner time (and possibly breakfast if you know the lunch is lacking).  And the same goes for anything else that you put in the lunchbox.  If your child does not eat it and is lacking in something you consider essential, just give it to them in another form later in the day…  didn’t eat the veggies?  give them some extra veggies for dinner or as a snack.  Didn’t eat the fruit? give them some fruit as a bed-time snack….  also consider letting them snack on the remainders of their lunch once they get home as long as you consider it safe for them to do so (eggs or meat kept at room temperature for an afternoon might not be quite so safe to eat!  Just sayin….)

So, what could you pack in the lunch box?

I will write a post about that tomorrow…

The Paleo-Vegan – a contradiction in terms!

Several times this week I have encountered people who are claiming to be both Paleo AND Vegan.

The first was a 14 year old girl.  She was celiac, so she would not be eating any wheat.  But she was getting all her protein requirements from pulses….  HELLO?  Pulses are NOT Paleo!  What she is is a grain free vegan or a celiac vegan.  What she is NOT is a Paleo-vegan.

And there have been others like her.

I am sorry, but it is impossible to be a Paleo-vegan.

You just cannot do it.  If you are vegan, you get your protein from soy, pulses and grains – all plant based sources because you do not eat any animal products.

If you are paleo, you get your protein from animal based products – meat, fish and eggs and you avoid soy, pulses and grains.

The 2 are simply not compatible.

I think even being a paleo vegetarian would be very hard to do – while you can eat eggs, dairy is not Paleo.  So you would have to get your entire daily protein allowance from eggs.   And I think you would get sick of eggs mighty fast in this case.   It might be slightly easier if you were primal and ate some dairy as well, but even then it would still be very hard going.

A pescatarian might be able to do it though.  They eat fish, so you could limit your food choices to fish and seafoods, eggs, veggies and the good fats…  and a diet high in wild caught oily fish would be very healthy.

But for me, I choose not to limit the animal protein I eat, but I do avoid grains, pulses, dairy and mass-produced food.  I eat lots of veggies with moderate amounts of fish, meat and eggs, along with some healthy fats (avocado, coconut, olive oil etc).

And that is what makes me Paleo.

So why do they claim to be Paleo when they are so blatantly not?

I have no real idea, but I suspect it is because Paleo is becoming more and more popular.  Veganism has always been seen as hip and trendy.  They are jumping on bandwagons…

But they are failing to understand what Paleo is….