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Just Eat Real Food

Liz Wolfe is the author of Eat the Yolks, a book that dispels the many myths surrounding real, nourishing foods with a good dose of wit and nutritional wisdom. She is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP™) certified by the Nutritional Therapy Association, and she documents her adventures in cooking, natural skincare, and homesteading at



Easy Espresso Rubbed Ropa Vieja
& Smoky Sweet Potatoes

Ropa Vieja

Serves 2. (For several days.)

Time to table: 1 hour, or more if you’re unreasonably slow like me

What you’ll need

For the spice blend (used for 3lb. flank steak. Adjust accordingly.)


Combine the following and set aside:
  • 1 Tbs. Chili Powder
  • 1/2 Tbs smoked paprika
  • 1/2 Tbs. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbs. sea salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 Tbs. black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. ground espresso
For the sweet potatoes:
  • one large sweet potato, peeled & cut into large chunks (large enough to yield 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk or heavy whipping cream (other “milks” will not work, as they are too runny)
  • reserve 1/2 Tbs. of the spice blend for the sweet potatoes
For the Ropa Vieja:
  • 1 whole yellow onion, sliced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • One (1) 3-lb flank steak (adjust recipe accordingly if your flank steak is smaller or larger)
  • 26-ish ounces chopped tomatoes in liquid
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 Tbs. coconut oil (or other stable cooking fat) for searing


  1. Coat the steak in the lime juice.
  2. Coat the steak in the spice blend, reserving 1/2 Tbs. for the sweet potatoes.
  3. Heat (medium-high heat) 2 Tbs. coconut oil in a heavy cast-iron skillet or dutch oven. Sear the flank steak on all sides, about 1 minute per side, then set aside (there will be some spice blend left in the skillet — to loosen, you can add a dash of water to help scrape them up.)
  4. Add 1 Tbs. coconut oil to skillet to saute the onions. Saute the onion until browned.
  5. Add 2 cups water to skillet. This will “deglaze” the skillet, allowing you to scrape up any leftover spices and onion bits. Pour this liquid into the pressure cooker or crock pot.
  6. Add tomatoes to pressure cooker or crock pot.
  7. Place flank steak in the pressure cooker or crock pot, in the liquid.
  8. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions (mine said 45 minutes in the pressure cooker). For a crock pot, this would take 8 –12 hours on low.

Meat is done when it can be easily shredded with a fork.


Right before meat is done cooking, steam sweet potato chunks for approximately 15 minutes. (It will probably take that long for pressure cooker to cool, so plan accordingly.) Remove, add coconut milk and spice blend, then mash or whip.

You’ll have a lot of cooking liquid left over, which you can either reduce into a “gravy” by boiling (or adding 1 Tbs. arrowroot flour dissolved in 1/2 cup water and simmering until thick).

Pat self on back, smirk, do a superiority dance, and devour!


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Easy Barbacoa Beef with ZenBelly’s
Plantain Tortillas


Serves 2. (For several days. Amazing for breakfast topped with pried eggs.)

Time to table: 1 hour, or more if you’re unreasonably slow like me.

To adapt for slow cooker: follow all steps, but put in crock pot/slow cooker for 8-10 hours on low.

What you’ll need


For the roast:
  • one 3-4 lb. roast, brought to room temp, cut into 4 even chunks and coated with a generous sprinkle of extra salt & pepper.
  • 2-3 Tbs. lard, coconut oil or other stable cooking fat
For the tortillas:
  • visit ZenBelly’s site for the easy recipe. All you’ll need is eggs, plantain, lime juice, salt & fat.


  1. Heat the cooking fat over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed skillet (or directly in your pressure cooker pot, if it’s the stovetop kind).
  2. Sear each chunk of roast on all sides, for about 30 seconds per side. This helps “lock in” the juices and flavor. Don’t crowd the skillet – I did 2 chunks at a time in a large skillet. Your kitchen will fill with smoke. I have no idea if this is normal.
  3. Set each seared piece aside in a separate dish whilst you finish the others.
  4. Once all meat is seared, here’s what you do: -if you seared the meat in your pressure cooker pot, simply pour the cooking sauce in to the heated pot, add the seared chunks of roast, close the pressure cooker and cook according to manufacturer’s directions (mine took approximately 45 minutes, plus 15 to cool down.) -if you seared the meat in a different pot, simply combine cooking sauce and meat in pressure cooker and cook according to manufacturer’s directions. -if you are using a slow cooker, combine cooking sauce and meat in slow cooker and cook 8-10 hours on low, or until meat is fork-tender.
  5. Tortillas will take approximately 20 minutes, start to finish, so plan accordingly.

Meat is done when it can be easily shredded with a fork.

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The Bacon Bowl


While I have a cast iron muffin pan – vintage Wagner, thankyouverymuch – the cups are just a little too close together to wedge bacon betwixt them. So, I turned a small glass oven-safe dish upside-down and wrapped it in 3 strips of bacon, and secured the bacon with a bit of my Regency Natural cooking twine. I placed the inverted bacon-wrapped bowl inside a larger glass dish to catch drippings.

I placed a cookie sheet in the rack above the bacon dishes to catch popping grease, and baked the whole deal at 400 degrees for around 30 minutes (timing will vary based on bacon thickness and your desired done-ness, so check frequently).

Voilà. Upon cooling, you get a bacon bowl! (And a dish full of bacon drippings that’s fabulous for roasting veggies.)

I served a mix of roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potato in the bacon bowl. Delicious!

This bacon bowl is fairly large, but this could easily be made with smaller bowls or small muffin tins to create perfect appetizer bacon bowls.

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Healthy Paleo Dessert: Ten-minute Apple Crisp!

Apple Crisp

This healthy Paleo dessert is delicious AND nutritious: it’s full of healthy fat from coconut and/or pastured butter, it’s got warm, healthy cinnamon, and it will make your mind happy, which is the most important thing.


  • 4 small or 2 very large apples of any kind, peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 Tbs. coconut oil or butter for sauteing (pretend I put an accent on the word "sauteing")
  • 2 Tbs. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup Cinnamon PaleoKrunch.

If you don’t have PaleoKrunch, simply toss 1 cup crushed nuts with 2 Tbs. maple syrup (optional) for simple topping. Even better, roast them first for enhanced crunch and flavor.


  1. Saute the apples in the butter or coconut oil over medium heat until the apples “give up” their water. (About 3 minutes.)
  2. Add coconut milk and cinnamon, and continue to saute for another 5 minutes.
  3. Put gooey, delicious apples in a dish of your choosing and top with PaleoKrunch!
  4. Serve and graciously accept compliments while stuffing your face with a healthy Paleo dessert.

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