Thursday, January 22, 2015

Beef Barbacoa

Holy hell this is good. Get on over to Against All Grain and make these NOW. Don't be intimated by the long list of ingredients or the fact that you have to make a sauce before it goes in the crockpot. It is sooooo worth it. Top with cilantro and you're golden.

Homemade Broth

So what do you do with all the roasted chicken bones? Make broth! Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Fill with bones and veggie/herb scraps and let it simmer for 15 minutes or so. Drain into mason jars and you're all set!

Whole Roasted Chicken

Isn't that beautiful? I'm loving the dutch oven. So this was a bunch of chopped root veggies (sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions) with some broth on the bottom, topped with a local whole chicken that I stuffed with butter, garlic, and rosemary. Seasoned everything with salt, pepper, and parsley, and topped with 3 sliced lemons (and the juice). Cooked until the chicken was 165 degrees, about an hour. Simple and delicious!

Treat Yo Self

Sometimes you just have to treat yo self to something nice. I never ever get manicures and decided to go nuts and get an express mani during my lunch hour. Cheery!

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

This is such an easy way to get veggies, it almost feels like cheating. Almost. I've decided that soups are the smoothies of the veggie world. And cauliflower makes a nice base for whatever type of soup you want to make. Try it, it's easier than you think!

Here's the basic formula:

Sauteed veggies + ghee + coconut milk + broth + seasonings

Cook everything on the stove until veggies are soft, then put in blender and add broth until it's the texture that you like. This time it took two batches in the blender. I used two mini cans of coconut milk (maybe a cup total). This one has one head of cauliflower, one zucchini, one small onion, a carrot, and a jar and a half of roasted red peppers. Plus garlic and seasonings (spicy red pepper works well with this). It makes a lot, which is good because you'll DEVOUR it!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Not Your Momma's Pot Roast

I love this twist on pot roast! Lots of balsamic and rosemary flavor, served in a sweet potato/carrot gravy. Once it was cooked I pureed the veggies and the meat shredded pretty easily. I also grilled up some asparagus on the stove to go with it.

Balsamic Pot Roast
3 lbs. boneless chuck roast
2-3 sweet potatoes, cut in large pieces
4 carrots, cut in large pieces
1 large onion, sliced
3 springs rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Season the roast on all sides with salt and pepper, then place in slow cooker. Top with everything except the potatoes/carrots/onions and cook on low for 6 hours. Add veggies and cook on high another 3 hours (this is not an exact science--meat should be shreddable and veggies soft when it's ready!). Also good with red wine in the sauce if you're not doing strict paleo.

Chicken Fajitas

Alright kids, it's time to get down to business again--paleo nutrition challenge deuce is starting at our gym! I spent the latter part of the weekend shopping and prepping meals so I can kick ass over the next 40 days.

Chicken Fajitas
Chicken - Marinated in olive oil/chili powder/cumin/paprika/garlic powder and grilled in a cast iron skillet and chopped into chunks.

Veggies - Sliced green and yellow bell peppers and an onion on the mandoline (so they'd be super thin), then sauteed on the stove top in butter and garlic powder/parsley/black pepper until soft.

Cauliflower Rice - Chopped up a head of cauliflower in the food processor and sauteed in a pan with a large spoonful of tomato paste, chili powder, garlic/onion powder, paprika, cumin, and a little broth until soft.

Some cilantro and fresh lime would have been awesome on top, but I forgot to pick it up at the store (womp, womp).

Lamb and Sweet Potato Stew

I broke in the new Le Creuset pot with my tasty lamb stew, just subbing in sweet potatoes and omitting the flour. Delicious as ever!

Hoppin' John

A long standing Southern tradition is to make hoppin' johns--black eyed peas (good luck) and collard greens (wealth), traditionally cooked in ham to ring in the new year. My dad always made this for us, and I decided to cook some up. I put the peas and greens in a pan on the stove and sauteed with Frank's hot sauce, broth, butter, and quite a bit of salt and pepper (greens are bitter!) until they were soft and tasted good. Here's hoping for a prosperous 2015!

Curry Chicken and Veggies

This was an easy dinner I threw together while we were in the mountains. Baked chicken in the oven covered in curry powder, salt, and pepper. Roasted a tray of carrots and cauliflower in the oven covered in curry powder and butter. Sauteed diced sweet potato and spinach on the stove top in butter until soft, then combined everything in a bowl, added a little salt to taste, and chowed down.

Christmas Cookies

I'm not even going to pretend there is anything healthy about this cookie, but it sure was tasty. Made cookie sammiches for the neighbors using my standard chocolate chip recipe and adding holiday M&Ms, then sandwiching some vanilla icing in the middle. I substituted gluten-free flour and they held up just fine :).

Mason Jar Candles

Somehow the holidays got crazy and I didn't get around to making the candles I had planned to give out as gifts. But I redeemed myself by making them the week after Christmas and now I have them to burn myself or give as gifts during the year. So not a total loss.

A few notes: 1. food coloring does not work, it separates and makes dots vs. dying the entire candle, 2. baking extracts work well for scents (I couldn't get my hands on the oils and used coconut baking extract instead), and 3. most of the supplies are available on Amazon for pretty cheap.

Here are some good instructions for making your own candles!

New Year's in Brevard

I did a lousy job taking pictures this trip, but mostly because I was really enjoying being lazy. We drove to the mountains for New Year's, where we stayed at Dogwood Retreat with our pups for the second time. The weather was clear the first day, so the dogs ran around crazy and we did some hiking at Dupont State Park. It rained the rest of the trip (no snow, boo!), so we lounged around and watched movies, did puzzles, read books, and snuggled with doggies. And made donuts. Glorious, carby donuts.

Gluten free boxed donut mix with blood orange icing = heaven. The icing is powdered sugar mixed with the juice and zest from one orange. That's it! The rest are cinnamon and sugar from the mix.