I noticed lately that as I’m cooking, I find myself using the same gadgets and tools that I’ve relied on for years in different ways now that I’m rocking a Paleo kitchen. This definitely seems like something I should share with you guys. Everything in this post is stuff that I already had in my kitchen and used frequently before Paleo.
My poor silicone baking sheet only saw the back side of cookies til Paleo came along. Now it’s the key tool for making awesome meals like Cauliflower Lasagne and Street Tacos where the trick is in manipulating cauliflower into a noodle or a tortilla. A silicone baking sheet makes it easy to be grain-free.
I was making carnitas about a year ago and wanted to add fresh citrus juices to the pot (see Crock Pot Carnitas for the recipe). I always see cooks on TV use their hands to strain pulp and seeds, but as a CrossFitter it’s a 50/50 chance I’ve got a callus starting to tear making that method a really bad idea. Looking around my kitchen I noticed that I did have an old wooden reamer… and a pint glass… and a cocktail strainer. Why not? Now this is the only way I strain my fresh orange, lemon and lime juices!
Call me crazy, but did you know these things are great for shredding braised meat? Rather than standing over a hot pot with two forks pulling a batch of Carnitas or Crock Pot Fajita Chicken apart, grab your pastry blender and go to town. It only takes minutes.
Wait. What’s a jigger? It’s that little cup thingy that you once used to measure out booze for cocktails! But since we tend to lay off the sauce in magical Paleo land, I now use it as a convenient measuring tool for any recipe that refers to liquids in ounces or milliliters!
The smaller end measures anywhere from an ounce (called a pony) to a standard shot of 1 1/2 ounces. The larger end usually holds up to 2 ounces. The chart below shows conversions, including milliliters! Super handy.
What was just for making awesome curly fries is now an essential tool for making pasta substitutes out of healthy veggies! Carrots, yams, cucumber, butternut squash — you wouldn’t believe what you can do with this thing! Make some Easy Shrimp Scampi to drop on top of fresh zoodles (zucchini noodles) and dinner is done in minutes.
Shred disk for the Cuisinart
Move over, cheese! I can shred sweet potatoes like a champ with this thing! And considering that grating anything has got to be my absolute least favorite cooking task, I kinda need this tool in my life… especially when making Paleo Tex-Mex Casserole. Remember that if you pick up a disk, you’ll need the stem to attach it to your Cuisinart food processor.
While we’re on the subject of food processors, I want to tell you how much I love making nut butters with mine. Since classic peanut butter is out (you can read this article), we turn to almonds and cashews, most commonly, to create this yummy treat. Both cashew and almond butters are awesome as a creamy Paleo dessert base or even just with some apple slices for a little snack. Here’s a recipe I whipped up one day — my kids love it and it’s super affordable!
Don’t want to spring for a Vitamix to make almond flour at home? Don’t worry — a coffee grinder works too! It takes a little longer because you have to work in small batches, but it will get the job done nevertheless. You can reference this post.
Yes, smoothies and shakes are awesome. But want to know what’s really awesome? Bulletproof coffee. (If that’s foreign to you or if you want to learn more, you can read this article.) Before Paleo, I used to rely on soy-based protein shakes as meal supplements for weight loss and a single serve blender was a daily tool for me. Now I wake up, brew some coffee, add it to my blender along with some grass-fed butter and coconut oil (and maybe some vanilla extract and/or cinnamon) and give it a whirl. The fats emulsify in the coffee creating a mysteriously creamy, pleasant cup of Joe that is quite reminiscent of a latte. I was a skeptic for a long time, but now I’m a die-hard believer. This stuff is fantastic!
When I’m in a pinch for time (or just being lazy) and want to short-cut my Bulletproof coffee, this frother comes in handy. It emulsifies the fats to get the job done.
Bye bye, jam. Helllllooo LARD! One of the biggest changes I’ve made when it comes to Paleo has been with my choice of fats. First off, I was always afraid to eat them (calories in, calories out, right?), though it was evident how much better I felt when I was eating adequate amounts. Secondly, the idea of rendering down my own lard just seemed ridiculous and old fashioned. Surely olive oil was sufficient enough in this department? Nope. Beyond Bacon changed my life in terms of how I approach fats, particularly lard, and now I render my own regularly. (Want a snap shot about why you should eat lard? Read this article.)
I had a stash of half pint mason jars and found they are the ideal serving sizes for lard. Cracklins are also stored nicely in them as well. I portion out a big batch of lard into the jars, secure the lids while still warm, and allow to cool at room temp before transferring to the fridge for long term storage. When I’m done with a jar, I just wash and set it aside until it’s time to do the next batch — perfect!
I swear by my slow cooker and I still cook just as often with it now as before Paleo–just without the cream-of-something-rather canned “soup” and handfuls of cheese. Now I’ve learned that slow cookers are an ideal way to prepare rich bone broths! Chicken and beef are the most common, but don’t forget that you can use those holiday turkeys just the same. Here’s a recipe for how to make it and why homemade bone broths are a critical component to a healthy lifestyle.
Do YOU have any tools or gadgets that you’ve repurposed in a creative way to accommodate your Paleo lifestyle?? Share your tips and tricks in comments below!
Hope you guys found this helpful! Happy cooking!