eat-it-with-a-spoon beef brisket with paleo butter caulimash

Due to the fact that Rusty and I are packing and moving everything we own in two days, this post is going to be short and sweet. We’re not leaving the bay area, just relocating to a new spot. The Bruner kitchen might just get a new look for you guys, but the same delicious meats, sweets, treats, etc. will be coming your way, and hopefully continuing to improve with every recipe.

In my opinion, this brisket is better than my last (which is the way it should be, I suppose). The more time I spend in the kitchen, the better I feel, the more creative the juices, and clearly, the better the outcome. Stay tuned for more tasty meal ideas coming at you from someone who understands how hectic life can be. I will most often keep things simple, easy to make, great as leftovers or a quick bite throughout the week, and ALWAYS delicious.

Also, I will always utilize fresh, seasonal ingredients straight from our local farmers. Everything from this recipe, aside from the spices, came straight from Sunday’s Farmer’s Market. We absolutely love our meat farmers, Lisa and Mitch, from LM Grass Fed. Mitch saved this 7 lb brisket special for us because he knew we wouldn’t ruin it by cutting off all of the flavorful fat that helps to make this such an amazing meal. If you are in the area, go visit Mitch and Lisa at the Los Gatos Farmers Market on Sundays. They have pastured pork and chicken, kick ass jerky, and always 100% grass fed beef; plus, they are so cool.

I will always utilize fresh, seasonal ingredients straight from our local farmers.

Anyways, here is a recipe for a grass fed beef brisket that we could have eaten with a spoon (and might actually have to this week as the moving boxes continue to eat up all my kitchen utensils and gadgets). It is that tender. I think the secret here is cooking it in a roasting pot in the oven, letting the fat render beautifully, and changing up the temperature throughout. The juices work double time as the liquid to steam your cauliflower for the best caulimash I have every had (thanks to Paleo Butter too, of course).

So without further rambling from the organized chaos that is my mind right now, I bring you eat-it-with-a-spoon beef brisket with paleo butter caulimash…

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Eat-it-with-a-Spoon Beef Brisket with Paleo Butter Caulimash (GF, NF)

  • Servings: plenty
  • Time: 6-7 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



  • 6 lb brisket (smaller is fine, but take note of cooking time below)
  • 1 large onion cut into big chunks
  • 3 carrots cut into chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • fresh thyme to taste (I used half of a typical bunch you get at Farmers)
  • 15 oz can of organic tomato sauce (free of preservatives, sugar, and salt)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of bone broth of your choice (preferably homemade)
  • spices: 2 tsp oregano, 2 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp black pepper


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • juices from brisket
  • 2 TB grass fed butter (I use Paleo Butter)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1-2 tbs coconut milk


  • preheat the oven to 350 F
  • cut up/smash your veggies and garlic
  • throw onions in the big roasting pot
  • pat your brisket dry and place it fat side up on top of the sliced onions
  • add the carrots, garlic and thyme twigs on top of and around the brisket
  • season the brisket with additional spices (no salt though)
  • put in the oven, uncovered, for 1 hour so that the beef browns and the fat begins to render
  • turn the oven down to 325 F then pour the tomato sauce and broth over the top of the beef, then cover and return to the oven for 4 hours (subtract 30 minutes for each lb under 7 lbs)
  • after 5 hours, flip the brisket and return to the oven, covered, at 250 F for 1 more hour
  • rest brisket for 30 minutes, meanwhile prep your caulimash
  • rinse and cut your cauliflower and place in a colander or steamer and set this over your juices I the roasting pot
  • let steam for 10-15 minutes (until tender)
  • place in food processor with spices, coconut milk, and butter and blend till smooth but not pasty
  • cut your meat (or literally just pull it apart)
  • plate your caulimash and plate brisket on top
  • ladle some juice for the grand finale
  • Save leftovers for the week!

Enjoy! Let me know what you think. ANYONE can make this brisket, so don’t hesitate. Wow some friends and family, and then post about it. 


secret ingredient paleo meatloaf

So Rusty absolutely loves meatloaf, which is great because it’s a relatively simple meal to prepare. BUT what complicates things is that he is incredibly particular about the meatloaf that he likes. I am pretty sure there’s nothing that pisses him off more than dry meatloaf (ok that might be a little extreme, but this is serious stuff). So when I decided to take on the task of making a paleo meatloaf, I knew there was a lot at stake. In fact, this was not my first try. The last time went so poorly, that I haven’t actually attempted it for over a year (let’s just say the hubs is really bad at hiding his emotions, which includes disgust). This time, though, after a lot of time in the kitchen and a much better understanding of recipe creating, things went much much better; there were no tears, we were all smiles, and our bellies were very full.

There is little that compares to having the kitchen filled with the smell of homemade meatloaf baking in the oven; it takes me back to childhood and dinners spent laughing around the table.

I decided to take that old favorite and clean it up a little bit, but I wanted to make sure that I didn’t sacrifice any flavor. This recipe calls for onions carrots and garlic, but you can really change it up and use any veggie you would like as a substitute. What really makes this delicious is the loads of ketchup (I went with Sir Kensington’s because it is clean, organic, and delicious). Most ketchups have a bit of sugar, so if you buy some, go for organic and low sugar (preferably organic pure sugar… the less processed the better). The seasoning here is also imperative. As is the decision to use high-quality, fat-filled ground meat. Please no ground turkey or chicken. Or at least just don’t tell me about it. The importance of grass fed red meat should never be overlooked, but that’s for later post (currently underway, actually).

*the ingredients in Sir Kensington’s ketchup are: Tomatoes, Tomato Paste, Organic Sugar, Onions, Organic Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Lime Juice Concentrate, Green Bell Peppers, Allspice, Citric Acid. While there is some sugar, the total count in a serving of this meatloaf is about 2 g, so I am not worried about it. What really matters is that it’s free of gluten, vegetable oils, soy, and additives.

And my secret ingredient? Liver… don’t worry, it’s optional, and I know most of you won’t include it, BUT if you’re curious, check out THIS post on why it might be a cool idea to sneak some in there. I cooked a couple livers in the crock pot with homemade bone broth, seasoning, garlic and carrots, and then pureed all of it. I threw in about 1/3 cup into my meatloaf in place of some of the ketchup, and holy yum. Just throwing it out there… take it or leave it, of course.

Anyways, I introduce to you a moist (I hate that word) deliciously flavorful Paleo meatloaf, with Rusty’s approval, of course.


Secret Ingredient Paleo Meatloaf (GF, DF, NF)

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or grass fed butter (I used Paleo Butter)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 lbs ground red meat (grass-fed beef, lamb, buffalo)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup Ketchup (HERE is a good recipe if you have time to make your own)
  • 2 teaspoons liquid coconut aminos
  • at least 3 tsp of your favorite dry spices (I used thyme, oregano, rosemary, and black pepper)
  • 2 tsp sea salt


  • preheat oven to 350º F and line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper
  • in a sauté pan, over medium low heat, add the cooking fat, onions , garlic, and carrots and cook until they are soft but not browned
  • combine ground meat, eggs, coconut flour, 3/4 cup of the ketchup, spices, and aminos and mix with your hands (make sure there are no coconut flour clumps)
  • then add the sautéed veggies and garlic and mix until combined evenly
  • place in the baking pan and spread the remaining ketchup evenly on top
  • bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 160º F (*note: put a pan of hot water in the oven under the meatloaf to keep the top from cracking)
  • remove from oven and allow loaf to cool for 10 minutes
  • slice and serve hot, and save extras for leftovers*

*NOTE: To reheat: put whatever amount you would like to heat up in a small baking dish, pour 1/4 – 1/2 cup of homemade broth over the meatloaf and put in the oven at 400º F for about 20 minutes (I think it gets better with time)

Let me know what you think in the comments below. If you try this one out, I would love to hear about it. Have a great week!


banana nut “bread” pudding…. and keeping things fun

This past week, Rusty and I took a trip down to Southern California to catch up with great friends at Deuce Gym in Venice, stay with my amazing cousin in the Cactus Casa, and have a blast celebrating our wonderful friends’ wedding. It was a treat to say the least!

This trip reminded me of a couple of questions I often get. People frequently ask about what to do at special events (like weddings) when food options might not be all that clean. I also get questions about how to interact with family and friends who might not eat the way you do and think you’re strange because of it. So I figured I would touch on each in this post. Let’s first talk about special occasions, since I am still whirling from the amazing wedding last weekend.

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When it comes to special occasions, don’t take the “special” out by being a pain in the a**.

Though that might seem a bit abrasive, I only say this because I have been that pain in the ass person (many times). What I have come to realize is that by focusing on eating incredibly nutrient dense foods 95% of the time, we can set ourselves up for success and health even in those times that call for a splurge. This weekend’s amazing wedding called for eating unique foods (and a bag of chocolate candy coated almonds from a candy bar), sipping on fabulous champagne, and not worrying about a thing. While there were some items on the eight course menu that I had to avoid because they were clearly covered in flour or soy, I had a blast trying most of the courses and celebrating the love and culture of two of my best friends. Take occasions like this to enjoy amazing company, have a glass of wine (if that’s your thing), eat what’s provided, dance the night away, and celebrate what’s important. One night of eating foods that might not fit exactly within your plan will not set you back. You know what will? Stressing about it all night and missing out on an opportunity for joy. Avoid foods that you know will make you sick, but be careful not to make yourself sick worrying about it.

Don’t make yourself sick worrying about avoiding all foods deemed unhealthy 100% of the time; you’ve built up a solid defense and your body thanks you.

Now, what do you do when you are spending time with friends or family, who might not understand the “strange” way you eat, who can’t yet see the beauty of butter, or who feel that you might be taking years off your life by not eating Cheerios. I actually LOVE this; think of it as an opportunity for sharing the real food love, building relationships in the best place I can think of (the kitchen), and perhaps changing a loved one’s life. Rusty and I had the opportunity to do just this last weekend when we stayed with my amazing cousin, Erin, in the perfect Cactus Casa in San Juan Capistrano.

Think of it as an opportunity for sharing the real food love, building relationships in the best place I can think of (the kitchen), and perhaps changing a loved one’s life.

Not only is the Cactus Casa filled with love, childhood memories, and sunshine, it also has the most amazing vintage kitchen that makes cooking exponentially more fun, and because it’s hard to keep me out of a beautiful kitchen for long, it was only a matter of hours before the kitchen was full of laughter, butter tea, grass fed sirloins, fresh local veggies, and shared meals.

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Until this weekend, Erin had some different ideas about food. Over the 4 days we stayed with her, she asked questions, and Rusty and I showed her how we eat rather than lecturing or avoiding the subject. By the first morning we were all sitting in her back patio catching up with mugs filled with buttery caffeinated goodness. The evening consisted of grilled grass fed sirloin, butter garlic roasted romanesco, and a summer salad loaded with nutrient dense seasonal veggies and homemade dressing (rather than the store-bought stuff in the fridge). The best part? We enjoyed it together, discussing how incredible it all tasted, and eventually agreeing on the health benefits of the grass fed butter and red meat that melted in our mouths.

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Hearing my cousin ask questions about nutrition and order steak at dinner the following night made my day, and the experience of cooking together was far more powerful than any sort of rant or lecture on nutrition would have been. Unsolicited advice, especially about nutrition, is rarely taken well. It was an unforgettable weekend of catching up and reminiscing with my cousin, who also happens to be a best friend. And eating well was icing on the cake. The best way to share is to experience cooking and preparing together and to enjoy the process. Healthful foods taste amazing, and when we share with loved-ones, there’s nothing better.

Unsolicited advice, especially about nutrition, is rarely taken well.

While in the Cactus Casa kitchen, I noticed some super ripe bananas, and clearly there was no option but to bake. I have plenty of recipes for loaves and muffins to offer you guys, so I decided to change it up and make a bread pudding (thank you Chopped for the inspiration). It has the perfect amount of sweetness for a summer evening dessert. This one is fun because you can even prepare it with a loved one who hasn’t fully changed his or her ways. It’s vegan, as well as paleo, and it’s a special treat that ANYONE will love. So here you go…

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 35 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 TB chia seeds
  • 6 TB water
  • 2 medium sized extra ripe bananas
  • 1 cup nut butter (I used raw almond butter)
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 TB of raw honey (maple syrup also works)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ADDITIONS (your choice): crushed raw walnuts, dark chocolate chips, coconut shavings, or just get creative


  • preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • in a small bowl, mix chia seeds and water and let it sit so the chia seeds soak up the water
  • mash your bananas really well in a medium bowl
  • add your nut butter, vanilla, honey, and cinnamon, and incorporate well until you have a batter
  • now, add your baking soda and apple cider vinegar (it’ll fiz) and mix it all up till smooth
  • fold in your chia mixture and mix until you have a batter
  • add optional additions (I used crushed raw walnuts)
  • pour batter into a loaf pan and cook for about 25 min
  • start checking on your pudding at 20 minutes. It’ll be ready when there’s no jiggle when you wiggle
  • try your pudding topped with cinnamon butter, over paleo vanilla ice cream, or topped with coconut whipped cream
  • ENJOY!

If you make this, post to comments or tag #liftlaugheatrepeat on social media. I love hearing from you guys, so don’t hesitate to let me know what you think!

no-cook coconut cocoa truffles… and the importance of your people

It’ll be no surprise to anyone when I say this… People spend too much damn time with their noses in their phones (while not everyone is guilty of this, I’m speaking of the majority… At least here in the Silicon Valley). I think it’s gotten too easy to forget about living and loving actual life because it feels like we’re living when we can simply look at a phone and see pictures and status updates about the beach, hiking trails, adventures, love, and REAL relationships.

Now, I have been just as guilty of this as others at times, but I’ve been making a point as of late to really try and appreciate all that life has to offer outside of the screen. When work, blogging, recipes, photos, and social media all have to do with that little phone screen or my laptop, it becomes easy to get sucked in. But you guys, what really matters are the people you surround yourself with, the adventures you go on, and the love you build for each other and for life. So make sure you are doing what you love with the people you love, and most importantly, don’t take it for granted. Having a summer devoted to healing has really been a tough lesson on this.

Fall in love with life.

I know it might come off as cliché, but the “LIFT” in the name of this blog refers to barbells, yes, but more importantly, to lifting each other up and lifting your own spirit up through fostering relationships and enjoying experiences.


Wherever that happy place is for you (a coffee shop, sunset, or road trip, perhaps?), get there. Whoever those people are for you (significant other, friends, family, or dogs), love them. Some experiences are meant just for you and the ones you’re with, so put the phone away, and take it all in. Go for adventures, and *gasp* leave your phone at home; sit in a coffee shop and read or catch up with an old friend; get lost in nature; use your imagination to believe better things…. and go live them.

We can all be a living, breathing, screaming invitation to our person to believe better things.

Crazy? Maybe. Possible? Definitely. So go do it.

Now, onto my recipe for the day. featuring the amazing Sweet Spreads. If you haven’t, check this stuff out (you won’t regret it)!. I think you’ll like this one. Plus, it takes only about 7 minutes to prep, so you’ll have more time to be with your people. Introducing….

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No-Cook Coconut Cocoa Truffles (GF)

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 40 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup clean chocolate or vanilla protein powder (I used Tera’s Whey)
  • 2 TB coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 heaping TB raw nut butter of your choice
  • 2 TB chocolate brownie Sweet Spreads
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (soy free and at least 75%)
  • 3 TB shredded coconut


  • mix flax, coconut flour, protein powder, coconut sugar, and cinnamon ingredients well in a medium bowl
  • in a pot over low heat, stir nut butter, Sweet Spreads, coconut milk, and vanilla just long enough to combine
  • pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until you have a nice dough
  • add in your chocolate ships and incorporate
  • now form “dough” into 6-8 balls and roll them in the coconut shreds (this helps them stay together nicely)*
  • set on a plate or dish and put them in the fridge for at least 30 min
  • ENJOY!
  • store them in the fridge (if you have any left)

*this is fun, messy, and sticky… enjoy the process (your hands will be messy)

If you make these, let me know what you think, and post a pic using #liftlaugheatrepeat (but don’t spend too much time on that phone).

Now, it’s off to Orange County to make some memories all weekend…. family, friends, weddings, love, and all with my favorite person. Ciao! 

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