Friday, December 30, 2011

Paleo Cold Lunch Ideas

Did you call it "hot" and "cold" lunch in elementary school?

I remember the days before swipe cards when the teacher would call roll at the start of the day and you had to respond with your lunch purchase selection so that she/he could hole-punch your paper card accordingly: "hot" (full cafeteria meal), "milk" (buying milk only), or "cold" (meaning you brought meal and drink).  And it only cost $5 to buy "hot lunch" with milk for the entire week.  Does that make me old?  Yes, I guess it does.

Anyways.

While I have the option to heat up my lunch that I bring from home to work, it is inconvenient.  And soup in a thermos is not the tidiest option for my children at school.  So, it is just easier to go with chilled or room-temperature options all around as far as lunches go.  Just like I did at the start of the school year, I am going to brainstorm some lunch options once again...

Children's lunches: the general goal is at least a protein, a fat, and a fruit (carb)... because chances are, they will only eat 2 of the 3 on any given day...

Ideas:

  • grilled, chopped chicken
  • salami
  • grilled then chilled chicken-apple sausages or nitrate-free hot dogs
  • roast beef, if I am feeling generous
  • they don't really like cold eggs, and nut butter is not allowed at school...
  • chopped veggies and dip (guacamole, walnut red-pepper dip, sour cream or cream cheese dip)
  • trail mix (dried fruit/raisins, banana chips, coconut, nuts on non-school days)
  • homemade larabars or fudge babies on non-school days
  • sweet potato chips?
  • olives or pickles (ever heard of cowboy sushi? ha!)
  • cheese or fresh cottage cheese for protein and fat when all else fails
  • fruit that packs well: apples, clementines, cubed melons/pineapple, fresh berries, bananas, grapes, unsweetened applesauce, canned peaches (we don't live in the tropics, and it will be January, good selection is limited)

I know my oldest would like kabobs of some sort - perhaps chicken/cherry tomato/olive?

Adults' lunches: can be similar to the children's except put it all on top of some salad greens, like Mark's big A salad... 

Salads are not usually satisfying to me for lunches, but if there is enough crunch/fat/protein, it might work, so I will give them another shot.

Here are some specific salad ideas to keep from getting in a rut:

  • cobb salad (my favorite!)
  • oriental chicken salad (my next favorite)
  • taco salad (probably with chicken for a cold version)
  • buffalo chicken salad (not purely paleo, but still a yummy option)
  • mediterranean (Italian/Greek) chicken salad
  • waldorf salad

(I've made my own version of most of these before.  If I make them again, I will be share the recipes.  My inspiration for this list came from this list of 20 Salads Hearty Enough for Tonight's Dinner.  I have not tried any of those exact recipes myself, and many would obviously be non-paleo or require serious tweaking in order to become paleo-friendly.)

OK, I may come back and add to this, but that is my brainstorming for now!

Updated 8/29/12: Find my most recent lunch brainstorming list here!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Groceries & the Beginning

Since it is winter break and I have a little more time on my hands (not that I am using it well), I took a photo of my last shopping trip to Aldi; $33.  Non-paleo items include the crescent rolls (could you really get more non-paleo??) and cream cheese.  I am not tempted to eat the crescent rolls since they are all packaged up together.  I will use them for when I need to make a frugal dessert of some sort to take somewhere.  I just got the cream cheese since it is a good price due to the holidays.  I can stick in the freezer if we don't use it for awhile.  The holiday cupcake wrappers (save for Valentine's day or next Christmas) and balsamic vinegar were on clearance for 50 cents and 99 cents, respectively.  Avocados are still 49 cents!


I am still thinking of trying some fermented cod liver oil.. for these low-sunlight winter days... but I have to work up the nerve to both try it and spend the $$ on it.

So... I've decided I want to kick the cravings.  I've slowly gone down the sugar slope over the past few weeks.  Readjusting to no sugar or caffeine is going to be brutal... especially in the afternoons.  I can do no grains OR no sugar/caffeine, but both at once?  Well, let's just say if you try it, you will realize how addicted you are to them.  Last spring, when we did our first paleo 30 day challenge, it took me half a week before I could think straight without them. BUT, then I felt better than ever.

I figure if I start today, I have 5 days before heading back to work, so I should be able to get over the worst of it before then.

(I have easily grown to enjoy coffee, and I am telling myself I will look forward to it's occasional return after 30 days, provided it doesn't make me feel sick.  One of my friends runs a coffee shop, for crying out-loud, and I received a gift card to there for Christmas that I really want to use! Excuses, excuses, right?  Not for 30 days!!)

So: December 29 - January 27.  30 days of paleo, here we go!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Weekly Menu

Some things we didn't get to last week since we were traveling...Which hopefully means a smaller shopping trip this week :)  Anyone up for a self-regulated Whole30 in January?  It is on my mind.  Rather cliche, I know, but a purge would feel good after the holidays and be a good way to start the year, no?  (My exceptions of grassed butter and raw milk stand.)


Breakfasts:
eggs & turkey sausage
banana bread
fruit
coconut milk smoothies
coffee, milk

Lunches:
(I don't have to pack so many since it is Christmas break- yay!)
leftovers
fruit, cheese, nuts (lately this is what my kids have been wanting/eating for lunch)

Dinners:
ham, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberries x2
primal broccoli cheese soup
paleo shepherd's pie x2
roasted paleo stuffing -tweaked according to what is on hand

Latest loves:
coffee milk (raw milk, infant coffee, splash of grade B maple syrup) - basically a cold latte, I think?
macademia nuts (roasted and salted)
Kerrygold Dubliner cheese (amazing)

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekly Menu



Breakfasts:
eggs, avocado
bananas, clementines
milk, coffee


Lunches:
leftovers
cheddar
celery, carrots
nuts
apples, pears


Dinners:
rotisserie chicken from Costco, roasted green beans, unsweetened applesauce
hamburger vegetable soup (paleo-fied) x2
grilled shrimp and pineapple skewers, salad
ham, sweet potatoes, salad x2
roasted paleo stuffing (or my own variation of this)

Kudos to my MIL for making a paleo-friendly meal last Friday night!

Maybe we'll make some paleo banana bread this week... and some non-paleo cut-out cookies for Santa :)

We went to Costco today.  Got cheese, salad, pears, clementines, bananas, eggs, almond butter, and coffee.  Will get milk tomorrow.  I also need to go to Aldi and maybe one of the regular grocery stores, and then we should be set for a bit.

Are you making anything special this week?

Find a variety of menu plans here!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekly Menu


Short and sweet this week due to parties and family gatherings....
(Please see last week's for any links; I'm lazy.)

Breakfasts:
eggs and turkey sausage
smoothies
coffee/milk

Lunches:
grilled chicken and avocados
cheese
raw veggies and dip
apples, pears

Dinners:
meatloaf & peas x2
(We ended up having a shepherd's pie variation last week, and I didn't make this yet.)
cashew chicken & green beans
salmon burgers and sweet potatoes

Non-paleo items I am taking to parties:
apple slices and pumpkin cream cheese dip
cocktail meatballs
getting rid of cookies!

This week we've got 6 Christmas parties/events within 5 days (1 and 1/2 which I opted out of), and then following it all on the 5th day I have to take an exam and a final exam all in one sitting.  I haven't studied yet.  Wish me luck :)  Hope you have a good week!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weeky Menu




Breakfasts:
eggs and sausage, fruit
coffee/milk
I want to try to find some primal cranberry muffin recipe or something.
This creamy turmeric tea looks different; I kind of want to try it.

Lunches:
leftovers
salmon salad with avocado
spice rub crock pot chicken (use carcass to make stock for soup)
veggie chips
cheese
fruit

Snacks:
carrots and walnut red pepper dip
celery and almond butter

Dinners:
Cobb salad (greens, grilled chicken, bacon, boiled egg, avocado, cheddar, tomato, Italian dressing)
chicken "no-tortilla" soup topped with avocado, cheddar (and sour cream for the kids) x2
Italian turkey meatballs in marinara sauce, green beans
meatloaf, leftover creamy corn (the corn is a non-paleo t-day leftover from the freezer) x2

I'm going to try to get everything at Aldi this week.  I went last night and got everything, except for the bacon.  I had to forget something.  The only thing I would prefer to get from Costco would be cheddar, but I just got that at Aldi instead.  I think the dairy farm where we get milk has some beef they just processed, so I may be able to get some good ground beef there this week!  Avocados are 25 cents at Aldi through Tuesday, so I hope to incorporate those into a bunch of our meals.  I kind of based some of our meals around this, because we love avocados and they are not usually that cheap around here!  I buy them green, stick them in a basket with the bananas, and they are perfect in a few days.  Here are my lists.

Aldi: $60
veggie chips
eggs (3)
salt, oil (for play-dough)
walnuts (half pound)
cocktail sauce (for a party)
canned salmon
bacon
romaine lettuce (2 pkgs.)
sharp cheddar (3 pkgs.)
carrots
celery
tomatoes
avocados (10)
fruit
bananas
marinara sauce
ro-tel
tomato paste
turkey (3)
whole chicken
frozen green beans
zip top bags

Farm: $52
2 gallons real milk
8 lbs. ground beef

Have a great week!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thoughts

I got these from the library: The Primal Blueprint and Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals.  Very excited.  Now to find time to read them when I should be doing a million other things.  Might have to keep them on the nightstand until after finals.

My opinion: eating paleo is easier than eating Weston A. Price style.  In other words, if you are going to eat a "real" food diet, paleo is the way to go.  I feel like I spend less time preparing food than I used to.  More time planning, because things don't have much of a shelf life, so you have to always be prepared.  But less time actually fixing and cooking food.  No soaked grains, no pots of boiling rice or pasta, no having to make homemade sourdough bread, etc.  When I bake, it is because I want to, not because I have to.  Switching to paleo from a whole foods diet that included grains and legumes simplified things for me.

I struggle with this: giving a brief, accurate, and positive explanation of how and why  we eat "paleo".  These are great thoughts on that topic.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Leftover Turkey Thai Red Curry Soup




I was quite excited about the Thanksgiving Turkeys that our MEAT CSA did, and so I ordered the very biggest one they had.

TWENTY NINE POUNDS.  Just for me, my husband and the baby.

So we have a lot of leftovers, which I actually think is awesome.  And I made a ton of turkey stock, so we'll be prepped for soups for weeks to come!

In any case, I threw together this hearty stew this morning and the house smelled wonderful by dinner time.  It was definitely a winner.

The Tools:

- 6 qt crockpot

- 5 cups turkey stock (you made stock out of your turkey carcass, right? :-) )
- 1 14.5 oz can coconut milk
- 2-3 T red Thai curry paste (depending on how strong of a curry flavor you like in your soup)
- 1 T fish sauce
- 1/2 - 1 T red chili paste (be careful with this stuff!  it's insanely hot!  add slowly!!)
- 4 carrots
- 2 large turnips (or 2 medium white potatoes)
- 1 medium white onion
- 3-4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 3-4 cups leftover turkey meat, chopped into bite sized pieces

The Process:

Besides mincing the garlic and chopping the carrots, potatoes and onion, this is a no-brainer.  Dump it all in the crockpot and mix it together and walk away.

(But remember to plug in AND turn on your crockpot before you do.  I've forgotten this step before.  More than once.  I blame baby brain.)

Let it cook on low for 7-9 hours.  The potatoes and carrots should be cooked through.

Add more spice to your individual bowl as you see fit!  (I always end up dumping way more chili paste in mine; Will would breathe fire if I spiced the entire pot to my liking.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dijon Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Ends


My husband swears that when we were in the hospital after having our daughter, some nurse slipped me some memo on "how to be a new mom" that included a brussels sprout mandate.  He just doesn't understand why I insist upon making them so often for our family.

(Oh, I don't know.  Maybe because they are AWESOME for you?!?)

In any case, I finally developed a recipe based off of this one that my husband doesn't mind.  (He still doesn't like them.  But he'll eat them this way without complaining.)

The Tools:

- 2 qt. crockpot

- 1 lb. brussel sprouts
- 1 T Dijon
- dash salt
- dash pepper
- 2 T butter
- 5-6 oz. bacon ends, cooked crisply

The Process:

Cook your bacon ends until they are crispy-ish.  Cool and then using kitchen shears, cut them up into small bite-sized pieces.

Wash the brussels sprouts and trim the end off of each one.  Then slice them in half.

Plop in the crock.

Add the rest of the ingredients and, using a large spoon, mix them up a bit.  Doesn't need to be perfect; it will all melt and meld in the crockpot during cooking time.

Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours.  Mine cooked for 4 1/2 and they were just perfect.

Enjoy!

Weekly Menu


Helloooooooo!  Happy Thanksgiving! (albeit late)  Anyone have any "gotta try" new recipes to share?  Around here, the turkey breast in the crock-pot was a success!  The cranberries were super tart.  My kids and I still loved them.  Hubs did not.  I also made my own version of some paleo stuffing/dressing using ground turkey.  Not on Thanksgiving, though - that would have been too much turkey.  It was good!  It was basically just a roasted mixture of meat, veggies, ground nuts, seasonings, and coconut oil.

I know "they" say not to do a strict 30 day paleo challenge during the holidays, but I am getting the itch to for some reason... we'll see.  On to the plan for the week.  I need to go grocery shopping, so I will tack on my lists at the end for those curious types.

Breakfasts:
eggs, sausage, sweet potato hash
berry cobbler
fruit
smoothies
raw milk/coffee

Lunches:
salmon salad with veggie sticks
salami
Tillamook cheddar
celery/carrot sticks and almond butter
fruit

Dinners:
hamburger vegetable soup (paleo-ified) x2
shawarma chicken and onions*, broccoli
bean-less chili with avocados and sour cream x2
chicken Italiano (crockpot version), roasted green beans

Snacks:
turkey jerky
crispy almonds

*We made this shawarma salad a few weekends ago after church, and while I've never been into middle-eastern cuisine, this is SO good.  It will smell up your whole house, but it is worth it.  It reminds me of my college years when my apartment was amongst of the international students', and I could always smell their cooking.

I missed my monthly beef pick-up due to Thankgiving holiday weekend travels... so what's the next best place to get grassfed beef in this area?  Let me know if you have any tips.

OK, here are my short lists of what I need to get at the start of this week.  Just enough to make it to the end of the month...

Costco: $30
almond butter
salami
pears
bananas
sour cream
eggs

Aldi: $22
frozen peas
carrots
celery
frozen chicken
ground turkey
sweet potatoes
avocados
onions
canned salmon

P.S.  Feel free to say hi in the comments, lurkers... I hear you are there :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekly Menu


So, we have to eat this week (and we have been, don't worry).  I may as well post the plan, right?  I'm going to be lazy and only do new links that haven't been shared before.


Breakfasts:
eggs and homemade sausage
fruit
smoothies
coffee/milk

Lunches:
leftovers

Dinners:
Trader Joe's brisket (non-paleo), sweet potatoes, salad
My kids loved this brisket, and so did I.  Probably because it is coated in sugar aka barbecue sauce.
meatza (a non-greek version), salad
shepherd's pie x2
roasted turkey breast, creamy corn (non-paleo), cranberries, salad, sparkling apple cider x2

We will also be eating with work friends and family a few days this week.  I'm sure there will be some more unhealthy indulgences.  Just being honest.  And they will taste good at the time and then we will feel like butt and want to get back to a healthy lifestyle after the week.  Yay!

Here's my non-recipe for how I make shepherd's pie.  Brown the beef.  Add seasonings: garlic, onion, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, balsamic vinegar, sometimes a little water.  Put in a 9x13 pan.  Layer pre-cooked salted and buttered vegetables of your choosing on top (green beans, peas & carrots?).  Layer pre-cooked mashed sweet potatoes on top (made just like white mashed potatoes - not sweetened.  I use butter, milk, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and a touch of chili powder).  Bake at 350 until hot and top begins to brown.  Serve and eat.  It is not pretty, but it is good.  Probably one of my husband's favorites.

I will probably try to roast the turkey breast in the crock-pot like this... I'd also like to try that stuffing recipe.  Since it has meat and is paleo, could we eat that as a main dish sometime?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekly Menu



Breakfasts:
grain-free pumpkin muffins (new recipe) with butter
smoothies
eggs and bananas
berry cobbler
milk, coffee*

Lunches:
chicken salad: chicken, toasted almonds, grapes
cheese
veggie straws
apples

Snacks:
turkey jerky
banana chips
raisins

Dinners:
I made shepherd's pie (with butternut squash for the potato part = yum) last week, instead of the meatballs.  So, they are on the menu, again.
marvelous meatballs, roasted green beans (x3)
chicken no-tortilla soup with avocado, sour cream, and cheese (x2)
apple-gouda chicken sausages, sweet potato fries (x2)
-salad with dressing with each-

*My husband is a coffee drinker.  I have not been, but have started to be these past few weeks.  Something about the cooler weather... I drink it with a generous amount of raw whole milk or else it will give me the jitters.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash (and breakfast, too!)


Trader Joe's sells butternut squash by the squash, not by the pound.

This is awesome.  I dig and dig and dig and find the BIGGEST SQUASH EVER there.  And then I only pay $1.99 per squash.  (Obviously I would like to buy them from my local farmers.  But now the farmer's market is over for the season.  So I buy them from TJ's.)

And then we eat copious amounts of this awesome, inexpensive and wonderfully nourishing squash.  I will probably make some sort of variation of this dish for our family's Thanksgiving this year.

I love this dish for dinner, but I also love how easily the leftovers turn into next morning's breakfast.  I'll make hot butternut squash mash once or twice a week (a paleo version of oatmeal); with a bit of pure maple syrup, it's one of our favorite breakfasts.  But it's sort of time intensive in the mornings.  BUT after we have this side dish for dinner, I just stick my immersion blender in the crockpot and puree the leftover squash chunks and I have breakfast done for the next day.

Brilliant!

The Tools:

- 4 qt. crockpot

- 4 T (preferably grass-fed) butter
- 1 medium to huge-ish butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- juice of one lemon
- 1 heaping tsp. pumpkin pie spice

The Process:

Turn crockpot on HIGH and add the butter.  Let it melt while you (carefully!!) attack the butternut squash.

Peel and cube the butternut squash.  (I know, I know, it's easier said than done.  Give yourself some time and be careful.)  Add all remaining ingredients to the melted butter in the crockpot and, using a large spoon, mix it well.

Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours. Mix well before serving.

(There will be quite a bit of liquid on the bottom of the crock.  Go ahead and blend it into your puree if you're making it with the leftovers.  It will give it a creamier texture.  Enjoy!)

Shopping Paleo at Aldi and Costco

OK, time for another grocery shopping experience summary!  This is just to show anyone interested (because I am nosey on other people like that) what we bought where.

At the end of the week after class, I ran into Whole Foods for shredded coconut and organic pears ($1/lb.) and Trader Joe's for banana chips and organic apples ($1.25/lb.)  So, that gave us fresh produce through this weekend.

Today, the kids and I hit Aldi and Costco.  We drove by the mall area on the way, and it was packed!  I can't believe that many people are Christmas shopping already.  I guess the economy must be picking up a bit here...  Anyways.  I had a pretty strict list today.  As I mentioned before, I am trying to not have any extravagances in the grocery budget this month.  Here's what we got.

Aldi: $41
cashews (not purely paleo)
raisins
dried onion
black pepper
diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 dozen eggs
3 lbs. sweet potatoes
2 lbs. carrots
5 avocados
2 lbs. grapes
3 lbs. apples
2.5 lbs. bananas
1 whole chicken
1 can frozen orange juice (for smoothies)
1 pkg. diapers
laundry detergent for hubs
pasta, cheeses, and sauce to make meal for another family

I was going to get some ground turkey, but they were totally out, so we will make-do without.

Costco: $60
2 lbs. Tillamook cheddar
3 lbs. apple-gouda chicken sausages
1 lb. organic salad greens
3 lbs. bananas
big bag of frozen strawberries
3 lbs. raw almonds
big bag of veggie straws

And then we totally had a junky lunch of pizza and frozen yogurt from the snack bar. :)

All the food is put away now, so no picture, just imagine in your mind.  The menu plan for the week will be posted tomorrow!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dangers of Modern Vegetable Oils

"Isn't canola oil good for your heart?"

No!

Because I get this question from friends and family, and I am not that great at explaining the whys in my answer... here ya go!  A great, thorough little video.  Go watch Kristen here.

My Favorite Treat: Paleo Fudge Babies


I don't know what to call these.  Paleo Date Balls?  Since they are inspired by and adapted from Sarah's Great Balls of Dates in her Everyday Paleo cookbook.  Fudge Babies without a Food Processor?  Because they are also inspired by Katie's Fudge Babies.  Crack Babies?   Because I can eat them like crack.  Wait... you don't eat crack... right??  Anyways, you know what I mean.

If you are wanting something chewy and sweet like cookie dough, make these instead!  We love them.  They are my favorite of all the versions of this type of snack.  Here's what you do.

Take-
15 Medjool dates, chopped, seeds removed (this is easy to do)
1/2 cup almond butter
1/3 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut (I get this from the bulk bins at Whole Foods)
2 T. cocoa
1 T. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla

Put it all in a bowl.  Make sure your hands are really clean.  Squish it all together with your hands until well mixed.  Form into balls.  Eat or store until eating.

All measurements are approximates and can be tweaked to your liking.  I am often not a precise measurer.  I get lazy and just throw stuff in.



Of course you can make these in a food processor and you won't have to chop the dates first.  But if you don't have one, or you are afraid you may be wearing yours out (like mine), this is an easy way to get to enjoy Fudge Baby type snacks because you use almond butter instead of grinding the nuts yourself.  The chocolate-cinnamon flavor is superb.  I would totally make these for Christmas functions except for the fact that they would be a little pricey to make in large batches, and unfortunately, not everyone would appreciate the fact that they are grain, diary, and added sugar free.  So, I guess we will enjoy them ourselves :)  And hopefully you will, too!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Lamb Chop



The Meat CSA awesomeness strikes again!  I love getting different cuts of meat every month; it really forces me to spice things up in the kitchen.  Otherwise, I think I'd just get the same things every week at the grocery store.  Lamb chops?  I don't think I would have bought them on my own, but they are so tasty!

Anyways, this is a great dish.  The lamb chop was pretty large, so the two adults and baby split it for dinner.  It slow roasted so well that it actually fell apart around the bone, as you can see in the picture above.

(I also made my Butternut Squash Apple Ginger Soup, so we had a lovely warm-you-up-on-the-insides dinner.)

The Tools:

- 4 qt. crockpot

- 1 big 'ol lamb chop
- 3 T olive oil
- 2 fresh sprigs rosemary (dried would work, too)
- 4 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
- dash sea salt

The Process:

Mix all ingredients (except the lamb!) together in a bowl.

Rub the herb and olive oil mixture into the lamb chop.  Plop the chop in the crockpot, dump any remaining oil or herbs over the top of it and turn it on LOW for 5-6 hours.

Run around with the kiddo all day, read a ton of books, crunch in the last leaves of fall and then come back to the house and ENJOY!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekly Menu


Well, we gotta eat this week, so what's it gonna be?  Let's see here...

I went to Price Chopper today and spent $25 on a bunch of chicken breasts, apples, bananas, butternut squash, and eggs.  Saved $30-some because everything was on sale.  I also spent a buttload boatload at Costco this week on non-food items, stocking up while the coupons were still valid (tp, razor blades, baby wipes, deodorant, etc.).

Breakfasts:
the usual-
eggs
sausage
bananas
berry cobbler
smoothies*

Lunches:
chicken
cheese
veggie straws
apples
pistachios

Dinners:
meatloaf or meatballs, green beans x2
sundried tomato chicken bake or braised balsamic chicken, squash, broccoli x2
chicken and green bean stir fry with cashews
bean-less chili? x2

*I was inspired by the Pioneer Woman this past week to make a pumpkin smoothie.  I made mine with raw milk, frozen ice cubes of plain canned pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, some grade B maple syrup, and then some ice cubes blended in to make it frothy at the end.  It was like a milkshake, pretty yummy, depending on how much maple syrup you add :)  Also, lately, for our other smoothies, the fruit ones, I've often been using raw milk in place of coconut milk.  I kind of just decide that day what I feel like and what we have more of in stock.

An interesting note:  For Halloween, we handed out snack sized Twix bars and fruit leather.  We set the treats out while our kids went trick-or-treating.  Guess what was the hot item that was gone when we returned?  The fruit leather!  I was pleasantly surprised.

Have a good week!

P.S.  Has anyone tried this paleo bread?  I want to give it a shot once I get the ingredients.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tell the World

Ever have something you just want everyone to see and know?  That's how I feel about the new food pyramid from Mark's Daily Apple.  I want to go out hand a copy to everyone I know.  But that would be  a waste of resources and seriously obnoxious, so I am not going to do that.  But you are my captive audience, so if you haven't heard already, I can at least share it with you :)  Go check it out.  The primal food pyramid.  It is great.  This is the nutrition information I want my kids learning in school!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weekly Menu


We were almost out of meat, eggs, and fresh produce yesterday.  Kind of a problem when you are eating paleo.  So, after picking up our monthly beef order late in the afternoon, I sucked it up and went to Costco and Aldi on a Saturday evening with the kids.  We had a snack of Trader Joe's banana chips (latest indulgence) in the car, so everyone was pretty happy (amazingly) until we got home and heated up some leftover beef stew.  All that is to say that it went surprisingly well when it very easily could have been a disaster.

I doubt it is shocking to anyone to say that the next two months will be pricey for us.  Many once a year expenses on top of the holidays.  Not that we spend a ton on the holidays, but we do spend some extra.  So, I will be trying to keep the grocery spending in check as much as I can without going insane to try to leave some additional money in the monthly budget.

This week...

Breakfasts:
turkey sausage and sweet potato hash x3
egg cupcakes x2
smoothies
berry cobbler (I tried this with apple last week and it does not work.  Much better with berries!)

Lunches (packed):
salami & cheese
veggie straws
fruit
pistachios or fruit leather for a treat on those non-nut days

Dinners:
sausage/pineapple/bell pepper stir fry
fish taco salad
chicken tortilla soup (no beans/corn/tortillas, add extra veggies) x2
marvelous meatballs & green beans x2
salmon burgers and oven sweet potatoes fries
balsamic chicken & broccoli

--carrots and ranch or salad greens with dressing as a side with dinners--

With the craziness of fall, I have not been doing as well on my workouts, but at least trying to get in a good one with some sprinting the weekend and a few other shorter ones throughout the week.  It is crazy how I used to feel soooooo out of shape if I didn't run 4+ times a week and now I am totally OK with it, and feel better than I did when I was into running that much.  Did the "filthy fifty" today.  On of my favs.  Pick 10 exercises (squats, push-ups, tuck jumps, toes to bar, etc.).  Do 50 reps of each for a total of 500.  What is your favorite workout?

It is just about the time of year (typically November) that my hand and foot joint irritation flares up with the change in weather.  This is motivation to stick to the paleo plan to see if it helps!  I'll let you know.

Happy Halloween and have a good week!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Maple Cranberry Apple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

I need to do dishes, obviously.

OK, so I don't know what happened, and I don't know exactly who to blame, but it appears that someone, SOMEONE, canceled fall.  It snowed yesterday.  Like the actual fluffy white stuff.

I don't dislike winter too terribly, but I was so enjoying our lovely fall weather.

So I'm in denial.  And I made the most fall flavored dish I possibly could out of a combination of denial and protest.

And it's very tasty, if I do say so myself.

The Tools:

- 6 qt. crockpot

- 1 lb. chicken thighs (boneless and skinless work best in the crockpot)
- 1 medium white onion
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 2 medium apples
- 3/4 cup fresh cranberries
- 2 T olive oil
- 3 t maple syrup
- 1 t pumpkin pie spice
- extra dash nutmeg
- dash salt
- dash pepper

The Process:

Coat the bottom of the crock with the olive oil.

Plop your chicken on top of it.

Add the maple syrup and spices to the crock.

Peel the sweet potatoes and apples and chop them into bite-sized pieces.  Chop the onion.

Add the sweet potato, apple, onion and cranberries to the crockpot.  Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours, and then using a large spoon, mix well.  Continue cooking on low for another 30 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked.

There will be quite a bit of liquid from the cooking in the crockpot.  It's your choice: eat it or don't eat it.  Either way will be quite tasty!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Soup Stock


Yes, you read the title correctly.  I want you to make soup stock out of the pumpkin skin and guts!
I'm a big believer in using every part of a whole chicken when I get it.  I cook the organs and blend them into soups with the skin.  I make stock out of the bones.  We eat every tiny little piece.  And we do this with all the meat we get.  So when I was making lamb stock the other night after I roasted a leg of lamb, I happened to also be roasting a pumpkin, and I thought to myself: why not try to make a stock from all the pumpkin leftovers I had smeared across the counter?

So I did.  And it's bubbling away in a batch of Pumpkin Cranberry Apple Soup right now.

This is a great way to add a different flavor to your soups while also saving money AND managing to find yet another use for the food you already have in the house.  Huzzah!

The Tools:

- 2 qt. crockpot (or whatever size you want - depends how much stock you want and how flavorful you want it to be)

- Guts, skin and general leftovers from a pumpkin after the seeds have been picked out

The Process:

After you've gotten the roasted flesh scraped out of your pumpkin and picked the seeds out for roasting, dump the rest of the guts and skin in a crockpot and fill it full of water.


Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  I let mine bubble away overnight, and by morning it was perfect and ready to go into today's soup!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Butter Honey Roasted Walnuts

 
You know that smell from the pushcarts that roast nuts out at carnivals and fairs?

That's how my entire house smells right now.

This recipe does use butter, and in my opinion, it's pretty essential.  If you're totally strict Paleo and can't do butter, I'm sorry and I hope you don't live downwind of me.

The Tools:

- 2 qt. crockpot

- 3 T grassfed butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice (or combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger to taste)
- 2 heaping cup of raw walnuts

The Process:

Plop the butter in the crock, cover and turn on HIGH until the butter melts.  It should only take a few minutes.

Add the honey, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice to the melted butter and mix well.  Pour the walnuts in the mixture and using a big spoon, toss them until they are coated as evenly as possible.

Cook them on HIGH for another 1-2 hours, BUT make sure you're around.  This is a recipe that you'll need to break the "never take the lid off during cooking" rule.  You need to stir the walnuts around every 30 minutes or so to prevent the ones on the bottom from burning.

I cooked mine on HIGH for about 1 1/2 hours, and they were perfectly done.  If you don't eat them all right away (which if you're like me, you probably will) be sure to store them in an airtight container in the fridge.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Plan or Lack Of

Hi!  I think we will just used some of the things from last week that we haven't made yet as our "menu plan" for this week, like the beef stew, paleo chicken pot pie, maybe some nitrate-free hot dogs and sweet potatoes, and perhaps a (non-paleo) take & bake pizza as a treat.  Gotta run!  Have a good week!

Pumpkin Turkey Chili


My Dad was at the supermarket recently, and attached to one of the coupon booklets by the front door was a recipe for Pumpkin Turkey Chili.  Thinking it would be something I might want to try, he grabbed it for me.

I had to really paleo-ify the recipe, but the idea for it still came from a Baker's Supermarket circular in Omaha, Nebraska.  Just goes to show you that inspiration for fantastic paleo meals can come from unlikely sources!  I would never have thought that pumpkin puree and diced tomatoes could taste so good together, but they do.

This is a creamy, hearty chili full of flavor.  I'm totally making this again, probably with shredded turkey post-Thanksgiving.

The Tools:

- 4 qt. crockpot

- 14.5 oz can pure pumpkin puree
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 bell peppers (I used one green and one red, but any color combination would work)
- 1 medium sized onion
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1 1/2 T chili powder (or more to taste)
- 1/2 t black pepper
- dash cumin
- dash salt
- 1/2 cup water

The Process:

Toss some olive oil in a saute pan and brown the ground turkey.

While it's slowly browning, chop up the bell peppers, onion and garlic.  When the turkey is mostly browned, add the veggies to the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes until they've softened.

Dump the turkey and veggies in the crockpot.  Add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot.

Let it cook on low for 5-6 hours.  Sprinkle some cheese on top if you so desire, or stir in some more chili powder for an extra kick.


Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paleo Crockpot Brownie-In-A-Mug!


Today was most definitely a brownie kind of day.

It was raining.  The baby woke up - most definitely - on the wrong side of the crib.  She was fussy and cranky and crying and I couldn't fix it.  

(Not even with BACON for breakfast.)

So it's been a long, rainy day and I decided I needed to make me some brownies.  Some paleo brownies, of course.  And in my crockpot.

I've been a little soup-crazed these past few weeks, so most of my Pyrex is currently full of soup in the freezer.  I would normally bake in those in the crockpot.  So that's when I turned to the Googler and found this awesome brownie-in-a-mug concept.  (You could also use jars, but I liked the idea of having a handle on my brownie-delivery-vehicle.)

This is an awesome dessert, and the recipe, which I adapted from another adaption (see link below), is an absolute winner.  My version below will make two or three mugfulls, so double (or triple - I won't tell) to your hearts content.

The Tools:

- 4 qt. crockpot
- 2 - 3 mugs (the kind you got from your realtor that you really don't care about)

- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/8 cup cocoa powder
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- dash salt
- 1/4 t baking soda
- dash pumpkin pie spice
- dash ground ginger (optional - use if you like an extra spicy kick to your brownie)

The Process:

Tell yourself you deserve a lovely paleo chocolate brownie.  You totally do.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  

Grease your mugs with some coconut oil, so your brownie doesn't get stuck all over the sides of the mug.

Pour even amounts of the batter in your mugs, and set them inside your crockpot.  Don't fill the mugs any more than about halfway full; the batter will REALLY rise and bubble over if you fill the mugs too full.

Cook on HIGH for somewhere between 1 hour and 15 minutes and 1 hour and 45 minutes.  It will depend on how fast your crockpot cooks and how gooey (or cakey) you like your brownies.  We like our brownies a bit gooier (is that a word?) and so I cooked it for right at 1 hour and 20 minutes.  A knife was mostly clean when I inserted it.

When they are done, turn your crockpot off, take the lid off and just let them cool.

If you can't wait until your mug is cool, carefully dig out your brownie with a spoon and eat it.  But I wouldn't know anything about people who are impatient brownie-eaters....

 Enjoy!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Paleo Pumpkin Butter!


A perfect paleo toddler snack!

I've been seeing jars of pumpkin butter on the shelves at various grocery stores, and have been thinking I should give it a try in the pot that is a crock.

This was ridiculously easy, and tastes so incredibly yummy.  If you're looking for a nice homemade gift for the holidays, look no further!

The Tools:

- 2 qt. crockpot

- 1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin (you could also use 15 oz. fresh pumpkin puree)
- 1/3 cup apple cider (then go make Mulled Apple Cider with the rest of it!)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 heaping tsp. pumpkin pie spice

The Process:

Mix everything together well in your tiny crockpot.

Cook on low for 4 hours.  It will still be liquid-y and runny when it's technically done, but it firms up when you cool it down in the fridge.

Store it in the refrigerator and enjoy with apples, on cold chicken leftovers, on top of cooked squash or just straight on a spoon!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekly Menu


... Paleo Suppers...

Do you say "dinner" or "supper" for your evening meal?  I use them interchangeably.

I don't know what we'll have when, yet.  But assuming I get to the stores (Costco & Aldi), this plan should last us through the weekend, at least.

And, of course, since I can never follow a recipe exactly, I'm sure I will tweak these based on what we like/what I have on hand.

Here are the ideas.  I basically just went here and browsed until I came up with enough dinners ideas.  Thanks, guys.  They have some unique/ethnic/fancy-in-my-book/gourmet type stuff that my family may not like OR would just be too much work for me, so I tried to pick out some of the simpler/more regular recipes.

Paleo Chicken Pot Pie
Paleo Orange Chicken & Broccoli
Meatza (make a standard, non-Tex-Mex version)
Bean-less Chili
Primal Chili Cheese Dogs
Beef Stew (if I am feeling confident that I won't ruin the meat)

I will let you know how they turn out!

Speaking of turning out, yesterday I made some homemade Italian sausage to go in the red pepper sauce with our spaghetti squash.  I did it just like the breakfast sausage I make, just with different seasonings.  Browned some ground turkey.  I dumped in a bunch of Italian seasoning, some dried onion, some garlic powder, and some salt.  I didn't have any fennel or I would have added that, too.  It wasn't spicy or super flavorful (I'd rate it as quite mild Italian sausage), but my kids liked it and that's the most important thing.

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spiced Sweet Potato, Pork & Apple Cider Stew



I had an idea for a stew like this awhile back when the fall vegetables really started coming in and we got apple cider in the produce CSA haul one week, but I originally thought I would use chicken.

Pork was SO MUCH BETTER.  I don't know why I don't cook with more pork more often.  It's awesome.

This stew takes about twenty minutes to throw together, and it's savory and sweet all at the same time.  Because I could only have eight ingredients (except the pork and "pantry staples" such as salt, etc.) I creatively made do with poultry seasoning and pumpkin pie spice.  The vanilla and apple cider vinegar play well with each other, and round out the stew well with great depth of flavor.

And, like most stews, it tastes even better the next day.

The Tools:

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 large Granny Smith apple
1 cup red onion
1 lb pork chops, thawed
3 cups apple cider
1 cup water
1 T poultry seasoning
1 t pumpkin pie spice 
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 t vanilla extract

The Process:

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and apple into bite-sized pieces.  Dump them into the crockpot.  Chop enough of a red onion to fill your measuring cup, and then plop the onion in the crock as well.

Definitely remember to wash your hands now.  (And definitely DON'T scratch your eye and then flail around the kitchen doing that oh-crud-I-got-onion-in-my-eye squealy dance.)

Using a pair of sharp kitchen scissors, cut the pork chops into bite-sized pieces and place them in the crockpot.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours.

Weekend Ramblings

Who wants to tell me what to cook next week?  I am feeling uninspired.  I got behind on sleep last week (through no fault but my own) and then never got caught up.  I am thankful for a little bit of a restful weekend to keep me sane....

I know there are lots of paleo/primal stories out there, and I read some every week, but this one in particular moved me (to tears! -not common for me).  I guess because it shows you don't have to give up on life as you age.  I know that before we went paleo, I didn't feel like there was anything wrong with my health.  But I still experienced such a renewed sense of vitality and energy, that I don't want to go back!  It is one of those things you may not appreciate until you do it.  I think that is why paleo people are so eager to share the lifestyle with others.

I guess I better figure out something for us to eat this week :)  But a bigger goal will be no computer time after 9pm, unless I'm listening to a podcast as I fold laundry.  Or watching a movie with my husband.  But we have to start it by 8:30.  Wait, that is too many freaking rules.  I don't think there is going to be time for a movie this week, anyways.  How about just go to bed by 10pm?  That will be huge.

P.S. Any meal ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

(Kid Friendly) Curried Butternut Squash, Apple & Ginger Soup

 
One of the best meals I've come up with in the last few months has been the Curried Sweet Potato, Apple & Ginger Soup.  Will LOVED it.  He's still talking about it.

So when I volunteered to bring dinner to a family that just adopted their seventh (yes, that's right - seventh) child, I thought I would make them something like this.  But it needed to be a bit more kid friendly, so I made some modifications.  Butternut squash instead of sweet potato, less curry powder, no cumin, add cinnamon and nutmeg, an additional apple.

It's still very tasty and hearty, but it's definitely a bit lighter and sweeter.  It's very velvety and creamy.

Will loved this recipe, too.  I don't think I can go wrong when it comes to fall foods and him, though.

The Tools:

- 6 qt. crockpot

- 1 medium to large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 2 medium tart-ish (think Granny Smith) apples, peeled and cubed
- 1 small white onion, chopped into small chunks
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 t curry powder
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/4 t nutmeg
- 1 t sea salt
- dash black pepper
- 1 T ground ginger (I was out of fresh, but it would work just as well - use a bit more than a T of fresh)
- 1 14.5 oz can coconut milk


The Process:

Combine everything except the coconut milk in the crockpot, and mix somewhat thoroughly.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Using an immersion blender (or CAREFULLY in batches in a regular blender,) blend until smooth.

Add the coconut milk, blend once more and serve.  All sorts of garnishes would be fun here: cilantro, roasted butternut squash seeds, a dash of cinnamon... etc.

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weekly Menu


The banana bread was a hit last week, but making just 2 recipes used up my entire large $6 jar of almond butter from Costco, just fyi.  Here's the plan for this go 'round... looks to be another busy week here!

Breakfasts:
Eggs and Turkey Sausage, Bananas
Smoothies
Blueberry Cobbler with Raw Milk

Lunches:
Chicken Fingers (trying out this breading)
Apples
Carrots and Homemade Ranch (no mayo, up the sour cream and seasonings)

Dinners:
Monday - Meatloaf, Salad with Italian Dressing
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Nitrate-free Hot Dogs & Homemade Sweet Potato Oven Fries
Thursday - Chicken & Green Bean Stir Fry with Cashews
Friday - Paleo Fish Sticks, Peas
Saturday - Spaghetti Squash with Italian Sausage (maybe homemade?  will let you know) and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Sunday - Leftovers

Hope you have a good week!

Primal Pancakes


So, I wanted pancakes this morning, but only had 3 eggs and had 3 mouths to feed. I took this recipe, improvised a little, and the results were pleasant!

(A note: I've never purchased almond flour, I just attempt to make my own in the food processor. It is probably more like a fine almond meal than a true flour, but it works.)

Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ c almond flour
  • ½ c raw milk (more if needed to thin)
  • 1 generous splash maple syrup
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 2-3 T coconut oil (totally guessing here, I just scooped 2 heaping Tablespoons worth)
  • butter for cooking
Blend all the ingredients in your blender or food processor. Set griddle to medium heat and melt some of your butter. Ladle the batter into whatever size you’d like. Once tiny, little bubbles form around the edges of the pancake, it’s ready to flip.  Re-grease your griddle with butter between batches.

I found these pancakes to be suprisingly light for a nut-based pancake.  My kids and I are weird, we eat them plain, with bananas on the side and milk to drink.

I had a few leftovers in the fridge, so I took picture just for you.  The butter, cinnamon, and vanilla make the house smell yummy!



Friday, October 7, 2011

Mulled Apple Cider

 It looks like Halloween to me, because the star anise looks like a spider!

My awesome friend Nora from NYC took the bus after work to Boston tonight.  I'm escaping to Vermont for the weekend with her, and I'm really excited.  We're going apple picking and Nora's found all these awesome fall festival-type events for us to check out, and it's also THE FIRST TIME I will be away from the baby for the night.  In fifteen months.

I will probably be really sad, but I'm also looking forward to 36 hours of freedom.

Anyways, her bus gets in at like, oh-dark-hundred tonight, so I made some mulled apple cider and it'll be waiting for us in the crockpot when she finally gets here.

And then we're off to Vermont for the weekend come morning!  I think it's safe to say that there will be lots of apple-themed crockpot dishes on here in the coming week.

The Tools:

- 2 qt crockpot

- 4 cups apple cider (we got ours at the farmer's market last week!!)
- 8 whole cloves
- 1 whole star anise (I just bought these and they are SO COOL)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 medium orange, peeled and pulled into segments

The Process:

Put all the ingredients in the crockpot.

Let it sit on low for 3-4 hours.

Serve garnished with an orange slice.  Enjoy!

Paleo Crockpot Italian Sausage and Peppers


We got these amazing Hot Italian Sausages from our Meat CSA this month, and I instantly thought to myself:  Sausage and Peppers.  A paleo version.  CrockPot.  DO IT.

My pepper plant looks like it will yield about one more pepper, and then it will be done.  The grocery stores will start shipping them in again from other areas of the country, but before that happens, make sure to cook with some local peppers just one last time!

This is a great meal, and there's enough liquid that it's almost a little soupy.  It was delicious on a cool fall evening.

The Tools:

- 6 qt crockpot

- 1 T olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs. Italian sausage (mine was HOT)
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 bell peppers (I had one of each: yellow, orange, red)
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
- 1/2 t red pepper flakes
- 1 t salt


The Process:

Pour the olive oil in a saute pan, and slowly brown the sausage on both sides.  I let mine go for awhile; it wasn't totally cooked through, but that's okay.  Place it on a plate and let it cool.

Chop up all of the bell peppers and onions, and put them in the pan.  I took a picture because it was just oh-so-pretty.

When they're almost cooked, add the minced garlic.  Let cook for a minute or two longer and then transfer everything to the crockpot.

Once the sausage has cooled, chop it up into bite-sized pieces and dump them in the crockpot with the veggies.

Add the rest of the ingredients.  Mix well and walk away.  (After you've turned the crockpot on low, of course.  And plugged it in.  You laugh, but I've done this.  More than once.)

Let it cook on low for 4-5 hours.

You're welcome.

Honey Dijon Glazed Salmon


Why salmon?

It was time for a break from soup.

I got an email from a fried recently who discovered, thanks to this blog, that you can cook FISH IN THE CROCKPOT! Why, yes! You most certainly can!

And I did. And so should you. Because unlike other dishes, fish the crockpot is really easy, and only needs about two hours to cook. So if you have a crazy busy morning one day and won't be able to cook until the mid-afternoon, as long as your salmon has thawed out in the fridge overnight, you're good to go.

It doesn't hurt that it's super tasty, very moist, not oily and leaves virtually no mess in the crock.

The Tools:

- 6 qt crockpot
- 1 parchment paper packet

- 2 filets of salmon, thawed
- 3 T honey
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 t Dijon mustard
- 1 t ground ginger (I was out of fresh, but you could use fresh if you want - just use a bit more)
- several dashes of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

The Process:


Rinse the salmon off and place aside.

Mix the remaining ingredients together until you have a nice thick glaze.

(I know, I know. I cheated. A glaze should really be reduced on the stove. But I had to go pick up my produce CSA and we had ballet in the morning and I was having too much fun cooking with the baby in the play kitchen. So I cut that corner and just made the "glaze" thicker so I didn't have to reduce it. And you know what? It was still very tasty.)

Cover the salmon with your glaze, and slide into parchment paper packet.

For pictures that show you the best way I've found to do this, check out this post.

Cook on low for about 2 hours.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Paleo Garlicky Tomato Puree


Tomato season is almost gone.

I would be sadder about this if it weren't for apple and butternut squash season.

I got these beautiful heirloom tomatoes from my produce CSA share last week, and it just was a little too cold outside to make my normal gazpacho. As usual, I had a lot of garlic in the house, so I figured I would try my hand at a garlic-infused tomato puree.

My hand was quite good at this, if I do say so myself.

The Tools:


- 2 qt. crockpot

- 3 medium sized heirloom tomatoes
- 8-10 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 t sea salt
- dash balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup green pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro

The Process:


Chop up your tomatoes, and then plop them in your crockpot. Using an immersion blender (you really need to get one if you don't have one already!) blend the tomatoes until you have a nice liquid.

After you've minced the garlic and chopped the onions, heat a bit of oil in a pan and saute the onions until they are translucent. Add the garlic and let it simmer for no more than 60 seconds -- you don't want the garlic to burn, you just want the flavor to come out a bit.

Add them to the crockpot. And then add the rest of the ingredients.

Using that oh-so-necessary immersion blender, blend until smooth.

Let it simmer on low for 3-4 hours, stirring every now and then, and serve garnished with more cilantro. I love how the crockpot lets flavors meld together so nicely. The garlic was pronounced, but not overpowering. This was a very solid fall soup.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cinnamon Spiced Pumpkin & Apple Soup


It was raining today.

And Will took the car and was gone from 5 AM until almost 9 PM.

And I had some homemade chicken stock that needed to be used up.

So I rummaged through my cabinets and the fridge to see what else I could use, keeping in mind that we've had quite a few curries lately and I should probably give the cumin a break.

The result was this light and sweet paleo soup. We liked it, and I think I will have the leftovers in a mug for an afternoon snack tomorrow. I did secretly miss all my curry spices and powders, though. I just really like all of my food burning-spicy hot.

(I think Will was thankful for the break!)

The Tools:

- 4 qt crockpot

- 1 can (14.5 oz) pumpkin puree
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 large golden delicious (or other sweet-tangy) apple, peeled and chopped
- 2 T minced fresh ginger
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 t cinannmon
- 1/4 t nutmeg
- 1/4 t cloves

The Process:


Plop some olive oil in a pan and saute the onion for a few minutes until it's somewhat translucent.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the crockpot and mix well.

Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Using an immersion blender, carefully blend the soup until it's creamy. (If you don't have an immersion blender, send an email to your mom and let her know that's what you want this year for the holidays. Because they are AWESOME. And then carefully blend it in batches using lots of hot pads and oven mitts in your blender.)

I let mine sit on warm for several more hours until Will finally got home, and then I served it garnished with pumpkin seeds, because I'm super creative like that.