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Slower Cooker Pulled Pork (Carnitas)(Paleo, Primal, Gluten-Free)


My family didn’t eat a lot of pork when I was growing up.  We stuck mainly with chicken, beef, and seafood.   We occasionally ate bacon when traveling on family vacations, but it wasn’t a part of our daily diet.

Once free of my parent’s clutches ;), and free of my fear of fat after embarking on health and lifestyle change upon learning about the Paleo diet, I got the green light to dive into bacon!


Just kidding.  While I love bacon, I use it primarily as a flavor enhancer for roasted vegetables (check out my recipe here for roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes with bacon).  I’m sure, based on the name of my blog, you may imagine me sitting down with plates piled high with bacon.  Only in my dreams………..


Sorry, I got distracted talking about bacon.  Where was I again?  Right, not having a lot of experience with cooking pork.  Well, I decided to get out of my comfort zone, and figured carnitas were the way to go!


It was a good decision.  These carnitas are full of flavor, seasoned with bold Mexican spices like oregano, cumin and garlic.  In addition, the acidity from the orange juice and the lime juice along with the low and slow heating process using a slow cooker transform the pork into tender and delicious chunks of meat!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork (Carnitas)

Servings: 8-10


3 ½ – 4 pounds’ boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch chunks (visible fat trimmed)

2 large oranges, juiced (approximately 1 cup) (keep spent halves of one orange)

Zest from one orange

1 lime, juiced (approximately 2 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon pepper

t teaspoon paprika

1 large onion, peeled and sliced into quarters

2 bay leaves

2 cups water


  1. Combine the oregano, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, garlic and orange zest in a small bowl, stirring to combine.
  2. Coat the pork with the seasoning, and then place the pork in the bottom of a large slow cooker.
  3. Add the orange halves, the onion quarters and the two bay leaves to the slow cooker.
  4. Pour the orange juice, lime juice and water into the slow cooker.
  5. Cover the slower cooker, and cook the pork on low for approximately 8-10 hours (low and slow is the way to go!).
  6. Once the pork is cooked (you’ll know the pork is done when it shreds easily with a fork), turn the slow cooker off and remove the pork from the liquid, placing the pork into a large bowl.
  7. Shredded the pork into smaller pieces with two forks, and then its ready to serve.
  8. Use the pulled pork in your favorite taco shells, and top with your favorite toppings (e.g., pico, salsa, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, pico de gallo, etc.).

Inspired by Cook’s Illustrated Mexican Pulled Pork Carnitas 



Creamy Chicken Fajita Spaghetti Squash Casserole (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Primal, Low-Carb)

Food critics rave over this dish, giving it two thumbs up!


And by “food critics”, I mean a five year old boy.


Food critic in action!

And by “two thumbs up”, I mean I think he thought it was okay.


Mother and son working it out!

I invited some new members at my CrossFit gym over to dinner at my home a couple of weeks ago to test out a variation of this recipe.  They brought along their five year old son.  At first he refused to even taste the dish.  After some encouragement from his mom, he agreed to try a small serving.  I braced myself for his reaction.


After a couple of bites, he looked at me and said, “I like macaroni and cheese.  This tastes kinda like macaroni and cheese.”  To seal the deal, he asked for a second helping.


Since it’s received a 5 year old’s blessing, you know it has to be good.  Enjoy!

Creamy Chicken Fajita Spaghetti Squash Casserole (Paleo-Friendly option below)

Servings: 8-10


  • large spaghetti squash (1 1/4 to 1 3/4 lbs)
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 16 ounces chunky salsa
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil for cooking (can substitute butter, avocado oil or other preferred cooking oil)

Fajita Seasoning:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds from the center of each half of the spaghetti squash.*
  4. Place the spaghetti squash cut side down on the lined baking sheet, and bake in the oven for approximately 35-40 minutes until tender (you’ll know the squash is done if you can pierce the spaghetti squash noodles easily with a fork).
  5. Once the spaghetti squash has cooked, take it out of the oven, flip the halves over and let the squash cool.
  6. Once the spaghetti squash has cooled enough to handle, use a fork to scrap the squash noodles into a large mixing bowl.
  7. While the spaghetti squash is cooling, mix together the fajita seasoning.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of the fajita seasoning mix.
  8. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Once the skillet is hot, add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive to the skillet.
  9. Add the chicken tenders to the heated skillet, then add the fajita seasoning mix (reserve 1 tablespoon of the fajita seasoning mix for later use).
  10. Sauté the chicken in the large skillet over medium high heat until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.  Once the chicken has cooked, remove the skillet from the heat and set aside, allowing the chicken to cool slightly.  Once the chicken has cooled, chop the chicken tenders into 1/2 – 1 inches pieces.
  11. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Once the skillet is heated through, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  12. Add the sliced peppers and onions to the heated skillet, then add the remaining tablespoon of fajita seasoning mix.
  13. Sauté the vegetables over medium high heat until softened, 10 to 12 minutes.  Once the veggies are done, remove the skillet from the heat and set aside to allow the veggies to cool slightly.
  14. Preheat the oven to 350.
  15. While the oven is preheating, in a medium size bowl, mix together the cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, salsa and sour cream.
  16. Add the chicken and veggies to the spaghetti squash in the large mixing bowl and stir to combine.  Then add the sour cream, cheese and salsa mixture and stir to combine.
  17. pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 baking pan.
  18. Place the baking pan in the middle of the oven, and bake until heated through, approximately 40-45 minutes.
  19. Once the casserole is done, take out of the oven, serve and enjoy!


  •  Quick tip, to make the spaghetti squash easier to cut, microwave for 1-2 minutes to soften the shell before attempting to slice.
  • To make the recipe Paleo friendly, omit the dairy (the cheese and sour cream). Starting at Step 16, once you have mixed the chicken, veggies, spaghetti squash and salsa together, add in 4 large eggs (beaten) and stir until combined.  Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 baking pan.  Place the baking pan in the middle of the oven, and bake until heated through and the egg is no longer runny, 65-75 minutes.  Once the casserole is done, take out of the oven, serve and enjoy!

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Orange Honey “Soy” Chicken


I love lifting heavy things.  Picking up a heavy dumbbell or barbell in the gym gives me a sense of accomplishment.  This love didn’t until later on in my life.  Before I started CrossFit, I was a gym bunny, taking 7-9 exercise classes a week including zumba, Krav Maga, body pump, spinning, kickboxing, step aerobics and boot camp classes.  I really enjoyed the body pump classes (an hour long strength training class focusing on different body parts for 2-3 minutes using light dumbbells and barbells), but never felt like I was getting any stronger.

I joined CrossFit back in 2011 after I moved to Oklahoma, nervous and excited but ready for a new challenge.  Fast forward over 3 years later, and know I can’t imagine a week without picking heavy things up and putting them back down.  Back squats are my all time favorite strength training movement, with front squats a close second (and dead lifts dead last on that list.  Get it?  Deadlifts?  dead last?  Okay, stop groaning, did you at least crack a smile?).

It’s also a sense of accomplishment when my strength gains at the gym show up in other areas of my life.  Telling the checkout lady at the grocery store that she can overload my bags, and then carrying all of my shopping bags from the car to the house in one trip?  Score!  Being able to move heavy objects in my house without having to call someone for help?  Yes thank you!  Lifting heavier than the guys at my gym?  Don’t mind if I do 😉

It’s also great to hang out with other women (and men) who are care about lifting heavy too!  The sense of camaraderie at gym is great, and sometimes I get just as excited about watching my friends reach their strength training goals as I do when I reach my own.

These same friends help me taste test recipes for the blog, and my taste testers have given these Orange Honey “Soy” Chicken thighs two thumbs up!


The marinade for this chicken is a balance of sweetness from the honey and saltiness from the coconut aminos (the “soy” part of the recipe) and salt.  The addition of fresh grated ginger and minced garlic add a level of flavor that is sure to please your taste buds.


Enjoy!  I love reading your reviews of the recipe after you’ve tried it.  Please leave a comment below sharing your results.

Orange Honey “Soy” Chicken

Servings: 3-4


  • 2 1/2 – 3 pounds of chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (approximately 4 large cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Place all of the ingredients except for the chicken in a medium size bowl, and stir to combine.
  2. Place the chicken wings in a large resealable bag.
  3. Pour the marinade mixture over the chicken thighs to coat and then seal the bag tightly (making sure to remove as much of the air from the bag as possible before sealing).
  4. Refrigerate the marinated chicken thighs for 4-6 hours (can refrigerate overnight).
  5. To cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  6. using a 9 x 13 baking dish, place the chicken thighs skin side down in the dish (make sure to remove excess marinade from the chicken thighs before placing in the baking dish).
  7. Bake the chicken thighs in the oven for 20 minutes.
  8. After 20 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven, flip over so that the skin side is up, and place back in the oven.
  9. Continue cooking until chicken thighs are done, approximately 25-30 more minutes (bake until the internal temperature of the chicken thighs is approximately 185 degrees).

Inspired by the Honey Soy Baked Chicken Thighs recipe from She Wears Many Hats


Mexi-Cauli Rice Bowl

Thanksgiving last week was awesome, because I was able to spend time with my family, including my adorable nephew Tayo.  My family lives in Texas, while I live in Oklahoma, so I don’t see my nephew as often as I would like.  He is full of energy and spunk, and his laughter and smiles make everything better (but when he is hungry, you better watch out, cause he’ll let you know how he feels 😉 ).

Every Thanksgiving, my parents invite relatives and friends from their local church to celebrate Thanksgiving.  We have a large potluck at my parent’s house, and this year I  whipped up some of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes, including a green bean casserole and sweet potato casserole.  My sweet potato casserole is a family favorite, and is usually polished off before the end of dinner.

I’m Nigerian-American, and we also have several Nigerian dishes as well, like Jollof Rice (rice cooked with tomato stew and spices), Moi Moi (a dished made from black beans), meat pies and fried plantains.

I love having family and friends come together to celebrate and give thanks for health, well being, and being able to gather together and celebrate the holidays.  However, one of the absolutely best parts about Thanksgiving in Texas, is that I don’t have to worry about finishing off leftovers!  By the time I make it back home, turkey (and any other leftovers) are the last things I want to eat.

If you’re also tired of turkey, ham, and casseroles, than I have a ground beef and vegetable dish that is sure to make your tastebuds happy!



This dish was inspired by my desire for latin american flavored meal without being too carb-heavy.  With low-carb veggies like cauliflower and green and red bell peppers, and ground beef flavored with spices like cumin, chili powder and oregano, you are going to enjoy this flavor combination.


Depending on your tolerance for spicy foods, you can also kick it up a notch by adding more red pepper flakes.

I’d love to know how your Thanksgiving went!  Feel free to leave a comment below sharing your favorite traditional (and non-traditional) Thanksgiving dishes.  If you make the Mexi-Cauli Rice Bowl, please let me know what you think!


Mexi-Cauli Rice Bowl

Servings: serves 3-4


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomato
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking fat (lard, tallow, coconut oil, butter, avocado oil)


  1. Process the cauliflower florets into cauliflower rice by using the shredding attachment on a food processor.  If you don’t have access to a food processor, you can “rice” the cauliflower by using a handle held food grater.  Pour the cauliflower rice into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the ground beef and all of the spices (but reserving 1 teaspoon of sea salt).  Cook the ground beef over medium high heat until browned, approximately 10-12 minutes.
  3. Once the meat has browned, add the diced tomatoes and lower the heat to medium-low, simmering the browned beef and diced tomatoes for 15-20 minutes.  Once the browned beef has finished simmering, remove from heat and set aside.
  4. While the beef and diced tomatoes are simmering, preheat a large pot over medium high heat.  Then add 1 tablespoon of the cooking fat to the pot.
  5. Once the cooking fat has heated, add the minced garlic and sautee for 20-30 seconds.  Add the diced onions and sautee an additional 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Add the diced red and green bell peppers to the large pot, and continue sauteeing for 6-7 minutes.
  7. Add the cauliflower rice to the large pan, and mix with the diced onions and bell peppers until combined.
  8. Continue cooking the cauliflower mixture, stirring the mixture periodically until the rice has softened, 8-10 minutes.
  9. Once the cauliflower rice mixture has cooked through, remove from heat.
  10. Mix the cauliflower rice mixture with the beef and diced tomatoes, and stir to thoroughly combine.
  11. serve immediately.



  • This meal makes great leftovers.