paleo Asian lettuce wraps

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It’s Jeanne.

I don’t know about you, but I found 2013 a complicated year.  Lots of ups and downs.

My beautiful mother-in-law had a stroke and then passed away.

We were negotiating a short sale on a piece of property out of town on some incredible acreage and pretty much got taken for a ride by the owner before the deal fell through.

My car was in the shop more in 2013 than in the five years I’ve owned it.

And the love of my life/husband (who I affectionately call our Cowboy), who was home with us for more than 20 months (during which time our daughter fell totally in love with him), went back to work 1,100 miles away, leaving me and the little ones pretty heartbroken (although thankful for the work) and raking more leaves and shoveling more snow than we’re used to.

So those are the downs.

As for ups … well …

Our gorgeous niece Samantha married the love of her life in one of the most beautiful ceremonies I’ve ever not been to (they got married in Wales in an intimate storybook wedding that, if you have 3 minutes to spare, you might actually find yourself falling in love again, too).

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I learned to ski.  And I love it.  And at 40-something, that’s something.  (Something that’s definitely up and down considering the amount of time I ended up on my bottom.) The Cowboy skis like a pro.  Our 4 year old skis (she learned two weeks before I did and she’s way better than I am).  And our 2 year old has been on skis a few times (including this morning).

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So now I’m looking forward to it being a family activity until I can’t stand up anymore.

But the one thing that was a total “up” last year was my weight … by 10-15 pounds.  Which is also a total down. :-/

I wrote about it once before … eating organic doesn’t make you skinny.  There’s a lot involved in weight loss/gain.  Stress.  Hormones.  Physical activity.  Emotions.

So it’s probably not a surprise that I’ve started this year with a commitment to not only be conscious of what I’m eating, but how much and how often.  I cut out refined sugar a long time ago.  But I’m still an emotional eater and during time of stress can totally overindulge on bread, pasta, ice cream and chips.  So I’m reducing my bread and pasta intake.  I’ve stopped (for the winter) making homemade ice cream.  If I don’t have it in the house, I won’t be able to eat it.  And I’m cutting my portions by about a third.  I’m also writing down everything I eat.  It just helps me stay on track.  (So far today … it’s 3 pm and I’ve been up since 5:30 … I’ve had soaked coconut oatmeal (no almonds), half a banana, a 12 oz. latte, one cup of bone broth, 2 cups of kombucha with chia seeds, an apple, and one piece of homemade long-rise cinnamon raisin bread with raw cultured butter.)

That does NOT mean I’m going to reduce the flavor or start eating “diet” food.  Nope.  Can’t do it.  Don’t want to do it.  Couldn’t be less interested in bland or poisonous food, thank you very much.

Now, just two weeks into the new year, I find myself completely drawn to lettuce wraps.  I mean, I’m a sucker for a good taco (fish, bean, beef, chicken …).  And it’s almost as good wrapped in a few butter lettuce leaves as in a homemade flour tortilla.  Almost.

But I don’t want to eat Mexican food every day of the week (although if Abby were writing this post, I’m pretty sure she’d disagree).  Sometimes (especially in Winter, it seems), I want warm Asian flavors.  Hoisin sauce.  Fish sauce.  Thai Peanut sauce.  Hmmmmm …

So that’s where these Asian-style Paleo Beef Lettuce Wraps make their appearance.

And, just like the Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken dinner I’ve been making, the kiddos totally love it (although, to be honest, they’d rather just eat the filling and leave the lettuce for the rabbits we might get one day).

Asian-style Paleo Beef Lettuce Wraps

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Head Butter Lettuce (leaves separated, washed and dried)
  • 1 lb Grassfed Ground Beef (or chicken or turkey)
  • 1 TBLS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Yellow Onion (chopped)
  • 1 Small Red Pepper (chopped)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 tsp Liquid Aminos
  • 2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 2-3 TBLS Hoisin Sauce

DIRECTIONS:

Wash and dry the butter (or bib) lettuce leaves and set aside.

In a large saucepan, brown the beef.  Once browned, drain the liquid and remove the meat and set aside.

In the same saucepan, add the olive oil and sauté the garlic, yellow onion and red pepper.  (I have also added about 1/4 chopped carrots to this recipe when I have them in the house and they add a nice sweet crunch, but are totally optional).  Once the onion and garlic are translucent, add the Liquid Aminos, Sesame Oil and Hoisin Sauce.  Stir to coat the veggies.  Then add the meat back into the pan and stir to combine well.  Taste the concoction … if it needs a touch of sea salt for your taste, add just a pinch at a time.  The amines are salty enough for us, so we don’t add any sea salt to this dish.

Enjoy!

Makes about 8 lettuce wraps.

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