Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Paleo Cranberry Orange Muffins

Pros:  Super delicious and don't taste healthy. Cons:  Kind of like crack cocaine and you won't be able to stop popping them. I had to make myself step away from the muffins...

I added shredded coconut and chopped walnuts to the recipe below, and upped the amount of cranberries to 1 cup (frozen).

2 cups almond flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon salt
zest of 1 orange
3 eggs
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons ghee, melted
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
½ cup cranberries (can substitute organic dried cranberries)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease or line muffin tin. Combine dry ingredients and orange zest in large bowl. Combine wet ingredients in medium bowl. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then fold in cranberries.

Using a large ice cream or cookie scoop, fill muffin cups ¾ full. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Original Recipe:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Holiday Round Up

Merry Christmas! In an attempt to actually remember what I got this year (and appreciate the thought that went into gifts) I'm doing a round-up of some of the highlights. Here goes nothing.

Clockwise from top left:  Old Navy sports bras and workout gear, 'Thug Kitchen' cookbook, Penzeys seasonings, candles, Amy Pohler's new book, lots of chocolate, gift cards (Michaels, Trader Joe's, and a local dance studio!), and an insulated mug with built in tea infuser (and tea!). Pretty cool. Also got a Le Creuset dutch oven from the hubby that will be featured soon with something delicious in it.

Did presents with my mom and sister on Christmas eve while John was in Georgia with his parents. The weather cooperated on Christmas day so my mom and I walked dogs and went to the movies. Thankful for the time off to recharge and rest.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

I think I've finally cracked deglazing. Here's what went down with this chicken:

1. Heat lots of ghee (like 5-6 tablespoons) in a skillet until hot. Season chicken tenders with herbs of your choice. Throw those babies in the hot ghee and let them cook until 3/4 or so is white. Flip over and let the rest cook through.

2. When all your tenders are done cooking, remove the pan from the heat, then pour in about 1 cup of white wine (I used a mini bottle of chardonnay) in with the ghee. All the delicious seasoning gunk should start to loosen up from the pan as the wine cooks down. I turn the heat back on medium-low and let it reduce by half then mix in some shallots, lemon zest, salt, pepper, sundried tomatoes, and garlic. Then I threw in a little GF flour (a tablespoon or two) to thicken things up.

3. Serve tenders with sauce on top (I made mine with steamed broccoli and mashed white sweet potatoes from our CSA). Enjoy!

Felt Flower Wreath

Let's just go ahead and say it--I'm the best daughter-in-law ever. And the only daughter-in-law, but that's beside the point :). I made this super cute wreath for my husband's parents and it was my first attempt at felt flowers but they were so easy and turned out really well. Here is a really great tutorial on how to make them:

I got a styrofoam ring at the craft store and wrapped a bunch of quilt batting around it, then started wrapping fat strips of burlap around it (it took two rolls--I tried to cover it really well so no batting peeked through). I hot glued the burlap together at the end to seal it and hot glued the felt flowers (with little pearl centers) and a painted wood initial to the wreath. Then I finished it off with a pretty red bow for hanging. Ta da!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Fancy Shrimp Scampi

So no originality points here, but I took the exact same thing I made with gnocchi the other night and served it over zucchini noodles. And it was still pretty darn good! I love Trader Joe's frozen shrimp, even though they are probably not wild caught/organic/whatever. They are plump and perfect for chopping up in a recipe like this.

Honey Baked Porkloin

My aunt is famous for sending our family Honey Baked Hams every year, and this year I was pleased to receive a pork loin stuffed with cranberry, apple, and citrus filling. We've been eating on it for DAYS and it's a nice reprieve from the constant sweets and not-so-good for us foods that are everywhere this time of year.

Social Butterfly

It is definitely that time of year...lots of get togethers and holiday celebrations. Always fun to hang out with friends and family, but man I am BEAT! And sick, I suspect from all the cookie eating and stress bringing my immune system down (ready to get back on that paleo wagon, stat!). Somehow I persevered, despite my introvert tendencies. Clockwise from top left:  good friend Kristin in town (left) visiting and going to see our former cheerleaders, the hubby and I at the gym holiday party and challenge finale (I got 3rd! I won t-shirts!), with the work ladies trading sweets at Liz's new place. Lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Crockpot Turkey

I learned a great little shortcut on Thanksgiving, and I almost feel guilty admitting it. You get a turkey breast (in this case two 3 lb.ers), and a stick of butter (one stick per turkey breast), then put it in the crock pot on low with salt for 6-8 hours. That's it. Perfect, moist turkey!

I went a step further and used the remaining stuffing filling (celery and onions), some chopped carrots, garlic, parsley, and pepper, and it was once again fantastic. Then I gutted our CSA pumpkin and roasted the chunks, blending them in the crock pot (after I removed the cooked turkey obviously) with the cooked down veggies and seasonings to make a nice little puree to serve it over. Go try this, you'll thank me later.

Back in the Saddle

Long story short, I coached competitive cheer and gymnastics for about 15 years, and ran a program for much of that time. I loved coaching, loved the kids, but working every night and weekend was tough. So I took last year off, but now that I'm in better shape I've been working out a little on the tumble track (I did a back handspring! And a back tuck!) and an opportunity came up to help out once a week for an hour. Small time commitment, no admin work, and I have a place to practice my skillz and still be involved in a sport that I love. So far it's working out really well.

Beef Stir Fry, Take 2

This was the same delicious paleo Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry recipe from before, but I had to improvise a little. No coconut aminos, so used gluten free soy sauce. No tomato paste so used tomatoes and Siracha. No arrowroot powder so used tapioca starch. Still tasted great!

Shrimp Gnocchi

As soon as we finished the paleo challenge I was ready for some real deal comfort food, so I got locally made (gluten free) gnocchi, and served them with sauteed shrimp, diced cherry tomatoes, onion, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, ghee, garlic, and basil. Yummy yummy in my tummy!

Paleoish Hot Chocolate

Alright, so truth be told, my attempt at paleo hot chocolate didn't go so well. It was basically like drinking a super rich ganache. BUT I put it in the fridge and it made a delicious pudding the next day! Score!

Whisk several small cans of coconut milk over medium heat, then add in a few teaspoons of 100% cocoa powder. I added about a tablespoon of honey and then cracked up a 70% dark chocolate bar and melted pieces of that in. Continue whisking until bubbling, then serve (or refrigerate).

Roasted Fall Veggies

I made these before Thanksgiving and then again the day of, because they were that good. We had several small pumpkins and squashes from our CSA, so I chopped those info 1 inch pieces along with a large turnip, an onion, several carrots, little potatoes, and asparagus, then tossed everything with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lots of thyme. Roast at 425 for about 40 minutes or until veggies are soft. Goes great with pulled pork!