Sunday, December 30, 2012

Weekly Menu

Welcome back.

my parents' friends have some gorgeous chickens that lay beautiful eggs!
It was nice to have almost a week off from planning food, and I don't really want to think about it again yet, but I must.  Unless we want to fast for a few days, but I'm thinking that wouldn't be great for the kids, right?  Especially since I wouldn't exactly call us well fat adapted right now (we'd have some ugly sugar crashes), nearing the end of the 2012 holidays season and all.  I need to make a grocery list and go shopping.  I don't have to pack a lot of lunches this week (woo-hoo!) since the kids are out of school and I will be working some from home.  Let's hope we can stick to some sort of routine and have fun.

Breakfasts:
paleo breakfast bread
eggs & veggies (spinach, peppers, salsa)
fruit
coffee, raw milk

Lunches:
pizza dip (use up leftover cheese) with celery
tuna stuffed avocados
homemade paleo pretzels
odds & ends

Dinners:
Monday - herb roasted pork loin, green beans, salad with homemade paleo salad dressing
Tuesday - leftovers
Wednesday - baked asian-style salmon, sweet potatoes, salad
Thursday - paleo chicken nuggets, sour cream ranch dipping sauce, fresh veggies
Friday - bean-less chili, avocado
Saturday - balsamic roast beef, paleo coleslaw, sweet potatoes
Sunday - leftovers

Desserts:
OJ popsicles
banana-almond butter bites

Happy New Year!  Wishing you health and happiness in 2013!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Crock Pot Primal Chicken Tortilla Soup

just a few of the ingredients

SOOOO easy!  This is one of those fix it and forget it meals.  It is pretty frugal, too!  Thanks to my sister-in-law for sending it to me.



Ingredients:
  • 2 cans ro-tel (diced tomatoes and green chilis)
  • 1 (15oz) can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 c. salsa
  • 1 can corn*
  • chopped carrots, celery, and onion (the equivalent of 1 can of veggies)*
  • 2 to 4  boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen or thawed
  • cumin, optional
  • cilantro, optional

Instructions:

Dump all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low till ready to serve.  6 hours if breasts are thawed, 8 if frozen is about right.  The chicken meat just shreds in the pot with a fork.  I put in a bit of cumin in, too.  I also add some chopped fresh cilantro at the end, because I love it.  Serve with fresh avocado or guacamole!

*The original recipe calls for 2 cans of black beans, but I sub with other veggies.  Corn is not paleo, but I like the little sweetness it adds.

Update 1/21/13: I made this again, left out the corn and veggies, and subbed 1 can of plain diced tomatoes for 1 of the cans of ro-tel (in an effort to make it milder for my children), and it was still delish!

Cashew Cookie Babies

...that's what I call them!




(aka Cashew Cookie No Bakes, aka mock Cashew Cookie Larabars, inspired by these)

Anyhoo.  These were my paleo "cookies" that I made for my neighborly cookie exchange this year.  I did drizzle them drench them (quite ungracefully) in melted semisweet chocolate, which was not a primal touch.  And I actually wouldn't recommend it, either.  I was trying to make them look prettier (which did not happen since I drenched them), and it kind of distracted from the intended taste of the cookie.  So, what I'm saying is keep it simple.  Don't bother with a chocolate drizzle over top.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups Medjool dates (source: Costco), pits removed
  • 2 cups cashew pieces (source: Trader Joe's)
  • salt (optional)

Instructions:

1. Grind the cashew pieces in a food processor or blender until finely ground.
2. Roughly chop the dates with a knife. (Be sure the pits are removed.)
3. Add the dates and salt (if desired, I omit) to the food processor.
4. Blend all the ingredients together. (Or, squish everything together in a bowl with your hands - my preferred method.)
5. Form into balls or press into a pan and slice.  Enjoy!



Food this Week

I'm not making a menu for the entire week since we'll be with family a lot... but here are some things we plan to eat in the down times...




I just made some of these grain free gingerbread cookies with the kids!  They are not super sweet so we definitely like them with frosting... I have been noticing that some things lately seem to hurt my stomach for a little while (these cookies, corn chips, etc.) Am I becoming more sensitive to them by abstaining from them?  It  will be good for me in the long run.  I guess it will keep me sticking to other options (or just choosing to pay the price - ha!)

I will probably make a gluten free baked ziti pasta dish for when all the little cousins are over - they think we eat weird enough as it is, I am sure.  (I like how I have no craving for these things anymore.)

Right now I am listening to Bing Crosby Holiday station on Pandora... the best and least annoying one to me.

Enough about me. I hope all of you have a peaceful and joyous week and get to spend time with loved ones.  Mwah!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie


Back when our first child was just a little baby, and I was back at work full time, I made a Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie almost every weekend.  It was so easy to take to work for lunches or reheat for dinners throughout the week, and it's one of my husband's favorite meals.  I'd never made it in the crockpot until now, though, and I am really glad I finally tweaked the recipe to work in a slow cooker.

This is the same great comfort food I would make every week, made even simpler by my handy crockpot.

Yum!

Serves 4.

The Tools:

-4 qt. crockpot (any bigger will cook faster, so keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!)

-3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
-1 lb. lamb, beef or turkey (I think lamb is the tastiest)
-2 cups frozen peas and carrots (see note below if you want to use fresh instead)
-1 onion
-2 cloves garlic
-1 T herbs de provence
-1/2 cup beef broth (or water)

The Process:

Brown your meat on the stove with the onions, adding the garlic and the herbs towards the end.

Drain a bit of the fat and plop the meat mixture in the crockpot.  Stir in your frozen vegetables and mix well.

(Note: Of course you could use fresh instead.  If you don't do peas, you could easily substitute fresh carrots and fresh celery here.  I would actually just toss any fresh veggies I was using in with the onions when I was browning my meat.)

Pour beef broth (or water) over the mixture.  Using a rubber spatula, spread the mashed sweet potatoes over the top of the beef.

Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours.  If you're using frozen veggies, you're just letting this warm up and letting the flavors all run together since you already cooked your meat, so you could cheat and end a bit early.  If you're using fresh veggies, you'll need to let them cook through in the crockpot so you'll need the whole cook time.

Turn the crockpot to HIGH and take off the lid.  Let sit for 30 more minutes to make the sweet potatoes all crusty and yummy.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Honey Balsamic Pork Chops


Tired of making complicated dishes?

Need another simple and tasty meal you can assemble in less than three minutes and let cook all day?

Want something sweet and tangy and oh-so-delicious?

BAM.

Done.

The Tools:

-4 qt. crockpot

-3-4 pork chops
-4 T honey
-3 T balsamic vinegar
-salt
-black pepper

The Process:

Place pork chops in the bottom of the crockpot.  Sprinkle some black pepper and salt over them.

Mix honey and balsamic vinegar together in a bowl.  Dump mixture over pork chops.

Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours, checking to be sure pork has been cooked thoroughly.

Enjoy!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Weekly Menu

I just have to give a shout out to two recipes from last week that we all loved.

Balsamic Roast Beef = awesome.   I was worried about this, because whenever I do a roast in the crock pot, it always gets overdone and tough.  This was everything the source claimed it would be.  I look forward to making it again.  We used a rump roast.  I didn't use any Worcestershire because I've been out for quite awhile, and when I read the ingredients one time I wasn't enthused to buy it again.  I did use honey and soy sauce.  The authentically brewed soy sauce doesn't seem to bother anyone in my family.

Shrimp = love.  I was feeling to lazy for this recipe -zesting a lemon and all that strenuous stuff :), so I opened my trusty red plaid BHG cookbook thinking there surely must be a quick shrimp sauté recipe.  And there was!  Husband loved this.  Sooo easy: butter, garlic, shrimp, and a bit of sherry and parsley thrown in at the end.  It is actually quite similar to the one I had linked to and intended to use, minus the lemon stuff.  So maybe I will try the original one next time, provided I have a lemon!  I had a gift card to an upperscale grocery store that was about to expire... so I quickly hit up the sales on organic apples ($1/pound), organic salad greens (BOGO, but still not as good of a deal as at Costco), and US shrimp ($8/pound).  I wish I could afford good shrimp more often!

Anyways... onward.  This week is here.  I did my shopping at Aldi and Trader Joe's.  Keeping the total around $115 this week - yay!  Next weekend I will go to Costco and Whole Foods

The plan for this week...

Breakfasts:
scrambled eggs with spinach and/or goat cheese
fruit
coffee, raw milk

Lunches:
primal tuna salad, celery, tomato soup x2
cranberry muffins* and cottage cheese
primal chicken salad lettuce wraps x2
meatballs, fruit x2
dinner leftovers

Dinners:
Monday - sausage & sweet potato hash
Tuesday - paleo chicken parmesan (no cheese), roasted green beans
Wednesday - corn tortilla pizzadillas, marinara for dipping (not hard core paleo, but thought they looked fun for a change, hopefully we won't get bellyaches from the corn)
Thursday - some kind of buffalo chicken dip with celery (yes, for dinner)
Friday - leftovers
Saturday - meatloaf, peas
Sunday - leftovers

Cheese?  Yes.  A minor concession considering we've been doing really well with all the parties this month.  The party yesterday was cancelled due to illness, but had we gone, this is what I was planning on taking, in case you are curious.  A crockpot full of balsamic-glazed drumsticks... and some chocolate chip cheesecake brownies made with Trader Joe's gluten free basic brownie mix (since I like to bake and my kids said, "Mom, please take a dessert so we can have some!")  We ended up making the drumsticks for supper and I am saving the brownie mix for another time.

*The last time I made these muffins, I replaced all of the pumpkin and maple syrup with some homemade super tart applesauce from my freezer... I think I actually used close to 2 cups.  They turned out great, so I will probably try it again.

That's all for now!  Have a good Sunday!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Paleo Honey Sesame Chicken


More Chinese food!  

I'm having a blast re-creating all of my old takeout favorites, paleo-style, in the crockpot.  Coconut aminos is totally awesome.  And not much beats a bowl of warm, spicy Chinese food on a dark, rainy winter night.  Especially when that bowl of Chinese food doesn't come with soy, gluten or MSG or any other yucky additives that make you feel awful afterwards.

Serves 3.

The Tools:

-6 qt. crockpot

-6-8 (ish) chicken thighs (approx. 2 lbs.)
-salt
-freshly ground black pepper
-1 small onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 cup honey
-1/4 cup tomato paste
-1/2 cup coconut aminos (or gluten free soy sauce if you're not too strict)
-1/2 tsp red chili paste (red chili fla kes would work, too)
-2 T arrowroot powder
-sesame seeds

The Process:

Plop your chicken thighs in the bottom of the crockpot.  Sprinkle some salt and black pepper over the top.  Maybe like a teaspoon of each.  Or a half teaspoon-ish.  You know, whatever.

Mix together remaining ingredients except arrowroot powder and sesame seeds in a large bowl.  Then dump the mixture over the chicken.

Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked through.  Remove a small amount of the liquid from the crockpot and mix in arrowroot powder until it is totally dissolved.  Add the liquid back to the crockpot and cook on HIGH for another fifteen minutes with the lid off to let the liquid thicken.

I served mine over steamed cauliflower and broccoli (once again made in my handy new steamer) but this would be fantastic either by itself or served over cauliflower rice.  This recipe has a lot of liquid, so find your preferred way of using it.

(and now I'm off to my paleo apple crisp for dessert.... yum!)

Enjoy!

pictured below - the newest love of my kitchen appliance life:




Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Simple Sesame Beef


My Paleo Mongolian Beef recipe has been hot stuff these past few weeks.  Like, getting well over double the hits that all the other recipes are getting.  You people really like you some paleo-ified crockpot Chinese food, apparently.  

So here you go!  This is another recipe that takes about four minutes to throw together in the morning and makes you look totally awesome at dinner time.  It's an adaptation from a recipe I found on Six Sisters' Stuff, a great blog to read as their recipes are quite often easily paleo-ified.  

My husband and two year old both had huge servings quite happily.  I served it over steamed broccoli and cauliflower I made in my brand new digital steamer, which is totally awesome and might just come in a close second in terms of appliance radness.  (Behind the crockpots, of course.)




Serves 6.

The Tools:

-4-6 qt. crockpot 
-2 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips (or pulled apart)*

-1 cup beef broth
-1/2 cup oyster sauce**
-1/4 cup coconut aminos (or gluten free soy sauce)
-pinch ground ginger
-2 heaping T arrowroot powder

-Broccoli (steamed)
-Cauliflower (either steamed or riced)
-Sesame Seeds


*OK, so I totally cheated and didn't actually cut my chuck roast into thin strips.  I just threw it in the crockpot and  covered it with the rest of the ingredients and walked away.  About an hour before I served it, I took two forks and pulled the meat apart just like I would do for my Super Lazy BBQ Pulled Pork.  And you know what?  It was still delicious and tasted amazing.  And I didn't spend an extra ten minutes painstakingly slicing meat in the morning.  (I spent it changing diapers instead.)


**I finally found oyster sauce I could use in one of the fancier grocery stores around here.  Be careful!  A lot of the "oyster flavored sauce" has MSG, gluten, soy AND dairy in it.  I finally found a brand (WOK MEI) that worked well enough for me, even though it has some cornstarch and caramel coloring in it.  We're not 100% super strict around here, so we have some fudge room with things like this.  If you're super sensitive to cornstarch or additives and don't want to mess with a new questionable ingredient, try using extra coconut aminos with a pinch of ginger instead of the oyster sauce:  It won't be exactly the same, but it should still be really tasty.

The Process:


Place beef in crockpot, either whole like I did, or cut up into thin strips.


Pour beef broth, oyster sauce and coconut aminos over it.  Add pinch of ginger.


Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.  If you're doing the Sarah-Super-Lazy method, about an hour before you're ready to eat, pull the beef apart with two forks and let the meat soak up the liquid.


About 15 minutes before mealtime, ladle a bit of the juices from the crockpot into a separate bowl.  Add your arrowroot powder and stir it together until dissolved.  Add back to the crockpot and leave the lid off.  The juice will thicken a bit.


Right before you serve it, add the steamed broccoli.  I also served mine over steamed cauliflower.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weekly Menu

lunch today


Well, this is just linktastic.  Here's the plan.

Breakfasts:
cranberry orange smoothies
paleo breakfast bread
scrambled eggs
coffee, raw milk

Lunches:
cottage cheese & pineapple
turkey or almond butter apple sandwiches
hot dogs
leftovers
carrots and homemade ranch
paleo trail mix
clementines

Dinners:
garlic lemon butter shrimp, broccoli & carrots, salad
P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps x2
balsamic roast beef, sweet potatoes, salad x2
shawarma chicken salad
party - taking ???
korean beef (paleofied) and green beans

Dessert:
almond butter banana bites

Have a super week, everyone!

I find more recipe inspiration here!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Chicken Thighs with Almonds and Olives


Quick side note/rant.  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of the baking for the holidays going on around me.  Every mom's group I go to, there are trays and trays of cookies, brownies and other cake-type snacks.  I don't bake much, since baking isn't really paleo.  And anyways, blanched almond flour and honey are sure expensive ingredients to use all the time... in any case, I decided I wanted a simple chicken crockpot dish with simple, savory flavors for dinner tonight.

Almonds and olives seemed like a weird flavor combination to me, but sometime last year, I vaguely remember seeing roast chicken with almond and olives on a menu somewhere.  I remember because it seemed to me like an odd flavor combination.

Olives are paleo. So are almonds. So I figured why not try it out?

And I'm glad I did. This was delicious!

Serves 2-3. (you could easily double or triple this recipe, but my husband hates olives, so I only made enough for me and the toddler to eat)

The Tools:

- 4 qt. crockpot

- 1 T olive oil
- 8-12 large olives (mine were stuffed with pimentos)
- 1/2 cup whole raw almonds
- 1 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 t black pepper
- 1/2 t cumin
- 1/2 t chili powder
- 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or chicken breasts)

The Process:

Grease your crockpot with the olive oil.

Mix together all remaining ingredients sans chicken in the crockpot.

Plop the chicken in the crockpot and swirl it all around.

Cook on LOW for 8 hours, or until chicken is done.

I served this with a half of a roasted butternut squash.  As my two year old said: "Mommy, it's TASTY!"

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Grocery Shopping List

Tales from the stores...
(warning:  oversharing ahead)

I did our shopping on Monday (Costco and Trader Joe's with the kids in tow) and Tuesday (Aldi by myself).  This was my plan with the estimate costs listed at the top of each list and actual costs listed at the bottom.  Of course I made some changes to my lists while I was in the stores, and I've put those in italics.

The main pain was the original Costco I went to didn't have the mini chicken sausages, the meatballs, or the avocados!  What?  So I settled for other sausages (which my kids don't like and cost more - boo), no avocados and instead Trader Joe's guacamole, and getting the meatballs the next day when I got out of class and was near the other Costco.

Cotsco: $70
organic ground beef
dates
avocados
chicken sausages
sour cream
celery
meatballs
pirate booty

actual: $68

...................

Trader Joe's: $26
soup
2 cans tuna
apple cider vinegar
cranberries
tomato sauce
ro-tel
sweet corn for soup
2 gf pizzas
bananas
apples
guacamole

actual: $32

...................

Aldi: $35
cashews
apples
bananas
pineapple
chicken
sweet potatoes
carrots
fruit leather
spinach
monterrey jack
cottage cheese
dried onion
2 ro-tel

actual: $32 and pictured here... (except for the carrots and sweet potatoes -- ???)


.................

plus...

5 dozen farm eggs: $10

1 gallon raw milk: $4 (turning in an extra jar)

5 lbs. clementines on Thursday (today): $5

This week's actual total = $151 = not bad! :)

So frozen pizzas are not a staple for us, but when I saw that TJ has gluten-free ones for $5 a pop it was just too handy to pick up a few to have on hand for babysitters, etc.

And as promised, here are the meatballs I am taking to a party on Friday.  Imperfections: they definitely contain some sugar and are browned in vegetable oil.  But so easy and so good!  The jalepeno mango ones are too spicy for my kids, but they liked the carmelized onion ones.  Hubs and I like both.  I will probably stick them in a crock pot and maybe make some dipping sauce on the side for our gathering.



Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Salmon Chowder


My husband grew up Catholic, and so he naturally craves fish and chowders during this time of the year.  While your average chowder will be packed full of dairy and flour, this one has neither of those ingredients.  And yet it's still delicious!  Dare I say... it's even TASTIER?

I used canned salmon in my chowder, because as I've mentioned before, we are quite poor right now with Will back in school.  And a soup is such a great way to use the more bland canned food, since there are so many other flavors in it to "help" it out.  You could use fresh, of course, but I thought it tasted great with the canned.

In any case, this is a great cold weather, rainy day kind of recipe.  (I live in Seattle now, so I seem to have a lot of those days.)

Note: this recipe also calls for white potatoes, which we also eat due to budgetary restraints.  If white potatoes aren't in your diet, consider using leeks, celery or more carrots to "bulk up" your stew.

Serves 6.

The Tools: 

-6 qt. crockpot

-1 14.5 oz can salmon (or similar amount of fresh salmon)
-1 14.5 oz can coconut milk
-4 cups turkey stock (or chicken stock - I just happened to have turkey stock around since we're just past Thanksgiving)
-12 oz. bacon
-5 russet potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
-3 carrots, chopped
-1/2 onion, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, diced
-1 bay leaf
-1 T dill
-1 t black pepper
-1 t sea salt
-1 t thyme
-1/2 t red pepper flakes

The Process:

Fry bacon on stove top until crispy.  Remove from heat, let cool.  Chop into small pieces and plop in crockpot.

Add all other ingredients except salmon.

Cook on LOW for 6 hours.

Open your can of salmon and drain it.  Thoroughly check it over for bones and then add to the chowder.

Cook on HIGH for 1 more hour.

Serve with a bit of dill for garnish if you desire to make it bit more fancy.  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Weekly Menu

festive

I think we should have some yummy food this week, I am looking forward to it.  Using a pork loin from the freezer and trying to keep costs down since I am spending $$ on some paleo party food and ingredients for a cookie exchange next weekend.  I'm gonna be weird and make paleo cookies for that (truly paleo, not just gluten free or grain free).

I'm working on being less of a paleo hypocrite.  Might be quitting the raw milk soon... we'll see.

Breakfasts:
farm fresh eggs
bananas
coffee
smoothies

Lunches:
mini chicken sausages
roasted red pepper & tomato soup
tuna salad
celery or carrots with homemade ranch
apples
fudge babies

Dinners:
Monday - leftovers
Tuesday - jerk seasoned roasted pork loin, pineapple, green beans
Wednesday - leftovers
Thursday - sundried tomato meatballs, broccoli, roasted sweet potatoes
Friday - leftovers/party (taking meatballs)/gf pizza for the kids
Saturday - easy crockpot chicken tortilla soup (need to photog. and share this)
Sunday - leftovers (cookie exchange day - will share afterwards)

Happy December :)

Need an appetizer idea?  Check out this yummy looking gluten free buffalo chicken dip! (& other recipes) at Musings of a Housewife!

P.S. I haven't shopped yet, so maybe I'll post my list on here in a bit...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Goodbye November!

(aka partial brain dump...)

Wow, that was a little sad... I only posted 3 times in November!  And only the menu plans, at that.  I guess that tells you a little about life lately! :)  But hey, at least I made the plans and followed them.  That was definitely helpful to me, even if I didn't throw much else out there to be read!

While December won't exactly be a walk in the park, I do intend to enjoy the slowing down that winter encourages.  Colder weather, dark evenings, some time off work and school over the holidays... mmm, hibernating sounds nice :)  Here's to seeking some rejuvenation for the new year.

Rolling out of bed for a predawn run just isn't enticing in the wintertime, but a morning workout is the only kind that happens around here... SOooooo that is that.  The tweaks for me are there will be some (even more) lifting, some (even less) running.  And when spring rolls around, it will feel so good to get out and moving more frequently again... right? Yes.

Allright.  I'm still making it a goal to sticking to the food budget this month, even with the parties thrown in.  I found some meatballs I LOVE.  From Costco, deli section.  No sauce needed.  Don't remember the name but I'll take a photo after I get some to take to a party next weekend.

Stay strong amidst the holiday food, paleo peeps.  Don't test your willpower too much.  Remember, willpower may be a finite resource that dwindles the more it is exercised.  So protect yourself so you have to use it as little as possible.  A huge part of that is taking responsibility for your own food - always have healthy food around so if you get hungry, you have no excuse to choose something else.  And I may be wrong, but if you do get caught in a circumstance with no healthy choices, going hungry for an extra hour or two won't hurt too much... especially if you are already a fat burner.

Hello December!...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Weekly Menu


I'm back.  I took last week off from posting any meal plan since it was so atypical schedule-wise.  We had a yummy grain free Thanksgiving meal with family.  I got the Christmas decorations up.  Somehow that always turns out to be an all day event and I'm not sure why.

Back to the routine now, if you can call it that this time of year... it sure is busy as we gear up for finals and the holidays - I need to plan ahead just as much as ever!

Breakfasts:
eggs, salsa, avocado, roasted sweet potatoes
paleo breakfast bread
fruit
coffee

Lunches:
meatballs or chicken burgers from Costco
celery and homemade ranch
veggie chips (a compromise)
fruit
fudge babies

School snacks:
pirate's booty
fruit leather (trying the Aldi version since I didn't find it at Costco)

Dinners:
sweet and spicy pork loin (with pineapple) & roasted green beans
cheap & easy korean beef (sub 2T. maple syrup for sugar) with cabbage
shawarma chicken salad
cashew chicken & broccoli
hamburgers (bunless of course) & oven fries

I haven't done all my shopping yet for this week - it will probably be a mix of Aldi and Costco :)

These both popped up "available" on my library holds list:
Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess
Guess I'll be squeezing some reading in.  I don't mind that :)

I hope you have a good week!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Paleo Mongolian Beef




My husband surprised me the other day when he asked if I could possibly make him some Mongolian Beef.  He's never been that big a fan of Chinese food, and I don't think he's actually ever asked for it once in the many years that I've known him.
But I LOVE Chinese food.  So I was more than happy to oblige and pull together a paleo crockpot recipe for him!  I pulled from three recipes: The Preppy Paleo has one here, Once a Month Mom has one here, and Stephanie O'Dea has one here.  There are dozens of versions of this recipe online; it's one of those recipes that works really well in a slow cooker.  Google around and customize it as you wish!
I served this over steamed cauliflower; if I had a food processor, I would have likely made cauliflower rice.  I also added some steamed broccoli at the end to bulk up the dish a bit.  I imagine mushrooms or those little tiny corn things would be really tasty in here, too!
Will ate a huge serving and loved it.  I loved it.  The toddler even ate the meat and broccoli happily.
Delicious.  Will absolutely make it again.
Serves 4.
The Tools:
6 qt. crockpot
2 lbs beef round steak (flank steak could also work, but careful not to overcook it!)
about a half cup of arrowroot powder (or cornstarch would work if you're not too strict)
1/4 cup beef broth
1/2 cup coconut aminos (gluten free soy sauce would also suffice if you're not too strict)
5 garlic cloves, minced
5-6 green onions, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp ginger, freshly grated (or about 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
1 tsp molasses
1 T almond butter
2 T honey
1 T red chili paste (or chili flakes would work, too) - use less if you don't like spicy food!
1/4 tsp ground pepper
optional extras to add in at the end: toasted sesame seeds, more chopped scallions, steamed broccoli
The Process:
Cut your round steak into thin slices.
Dredge through the arrowroot powder until they are lightly coated on all sides.  Set aside meat.
Combine all other ingredients in the crockpot.  Mix well.
Place meat on top and lightly toss to coat the meat.  I used a rubber spatula and just sort of pushed the meat around until it was semi-submerged but still sort of coated with the arrowroot powder.
Cook on LOW for 4 hours, or until meat is no longer pink and has reached your desired consistency.
Enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekly Menu

our "once in awhile" grain free pizza

Breakfasts:
paleo breakfast bread
eggs & salsa
turkey sausage & sweet potato hash
coffee, real milk
(We made waffles this weekend from Eat Like a Dinosaur... still love them!)

Lunches:
salami & Tillamook cheddar
celery & homemade ranch
organic corn chips & guacamole
fruit

Dinners:
Monday - taco night w/ friends
Tuesday - against the grain gourmet pizza (add turkey italian sausage & peppers)
Wednesday - hamburger vegetable soup (paleo-fy)
Thursday - paleo chicken nuggets, fruit
Friday - meatloaf & peas
Saturday - leftovers
Sunday - primal chicken parmesan, roasted green beans

When cranberries go on clearance after Thanksgiving, I want to make some of these smoothies.  And make pumpkin muffins with fresh cranberries inside.  I love the tartness of cranberries!

*********************************************************************************

Need a grain free (yet super indulgent) holiday dessert?  Seriously, who needs that, right?  Well, anyways... if by chance you say you do... make some of these amazing mint brownies, but use this easy flourless chocolate cake recipe for the base layer.  The original recipe won me "best all around" ribbon at a cookie exchange 2 years ago :) -- and I made the grain free version using the combo of recipes above using orange tint for the frosting for my daughter's school Halloween party... and her teachers both asked me for the recipe.

Or, if pumpkin is your thing, make this pumpkin crunch cake recipe using a GF cake mix (with a package of dry vanilla pudding mixed with the cake mix)... and don't leave out the pecans, they are the best part, unless you are allergic, of course.  I made this recipe for my bible study girls last week.  It is like a combo of pumpkin pie and coffee cake!  Bet no one will know you made it gluten free.

OK, enough of the sugarfest.  The paleo purists want to punch me.  I just had to share, though, holidays and all.  The cool thing is, once was enough for me, I don't feel the temptation to bake these things again anytime soon.

Real food wins!

I'm sharing and finding more GF recipes at Musings of a Housewife!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ham with Turnips and Apples


I don't think I've ever bought turnips before. But I saw this recipe for a slow cooked ham with winter-type veggies and storage crops, and I had to try it.  Only had to slightly modify it to be paleo-friendly.

In interest of full disclosure, I didn't like it.  There's a good reason I have never bought turnips before; I really don't like them and this whole dish has a slight turnip-y taste to it.  My two year old didn't care much for the veggies, but she did eat the ham happily.

My husband, however, ate three plates of it, and had the leftovers the next night for dinner as well.  He loves it and is sad I likely won't ever make it again.

Go figure.

If you like turnips, this is a great recipe for you!

The Tools:

-6 qt. crockpot (it will fill it to the brim, don't use any smaller!)

- 1 4-5 lb. smoked picnic ham (pork shoulder)
- 2 Granny Smith apples, diced with skin on
- 2 large turnips, peeled and cut into chunks
- 8 sprigs parsley (or 1 T dried parsley)
- 1 T thyme
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 4 T honey
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch coriander
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 2 cups water
- 1 16 oz package frozen spinach, thawed

The Process:

Place apples and turnips on the bottom of the crockpot.  Place ham on top and dig up a few of the turnips so they surround the ham on the sides.  Add the remaining ingredients, except the spinach, to the slow cooker.  Pour the wine and water on last.

Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.

Remove the ham from the crockpot carefully.  Add the thawed package of frozen spinach to the watery veggies at this point and mix well.  Place the ham back in the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 30 more minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove apples, turnips and spinach from the liquid and serve alongside the sliced ham.  Enjoy!  .

Monday, November 5, 2012

Paleo-ish Split Pea and Ham Soup


Peas are another one of those ingredients that are on some primal/paleo diets, and not on others.  They are legumes, so they are technically not part of a strict paleo diet.  We've cut them out completely in the past during a Whole 30, but we've added it back in at times to find that we tolerate them well enough to have them now and then.  I've found that more folks on a paleo diet than not eat peas from time to time, so wanted to include a recipe with them on this blog.  Ultimately, do what works for you!

The folks over at YumSugar put together this fabulous recipe for the slow cooker, and I only had to make a few tweaks to it to make it work for us.  (Notice how I never use celery in any of my recipes?  I'm bizarrely very allergic to it, along with rhubarb and fennel.  Weird, huh?)

Anyways, this is yet another great soup.  It's really hearty and is definitely a meal in and of itself.  Perfect for using up that never-ending supply of bone broth you're making from all those whole chickens, chicken legs and other pieces of meat you eat!  :-)

The Tools:

-6 qt. crockpot

-1 (16 oz.) package dried green split peas, rinsed and picked through
-1 meaty ham bone, 2 ham hocks or 2 cups diced ham (I used a small meaty ham bone AND 1.5 cups diced ham)
-3 carrots, diced
-1 small onion, diced
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (OR 4 tsp. dried parsley, since you use approximately 1/3 of the amount of dried herbs as you would fresh...)
-1 bay leaf
-dash salt
-dash pepper
-6 cups chicken broth

The Process:

Layer ingredients in the slow cooker in the order listed here.  Add the chicken stock last.  Don't stir it up.

Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.  If you've used a ham bone, the meat should be falling off of it.

Dig out the bones and the bay leaf and discard.  Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Weekly Menu


I'm beat! It is 9PM Saturday as I write this and I am just now sitting down from the day... just lots to do, as usual.

We "had" to buy some curtains for our bedroom today.  Our new neighbors turn on their outdoor floodlight at random, occasional moments some nights, and it sometimes wakes me up and bugs me. I am being non confrontational and not wanting to say anything about it to them since they seem quite nice (but I've really only seen them in passing), and it must be happening for some reason since it is just at sporadic times (pets?  a smoke?  shift work?  motion sensor?).  It was time for some curtains to dress up the faux wood blinds anyways.  I took an unconventional (aka cheap) approach to making the curtains, so they won't be total blackout, but they will for sure help... and look better than the sheets that I hung up in the middle of the night... any guesses what they are?  hint: I was at Home Depot this morning and did some hemming this afternoon.  We'll see how they turn out as soon as I can get the hubs to get out his drill and hang the hardware :)

I also did some grocery shopping at Aldi and picked up a few more items at Walmart when I was buying the curtain rods.  I plan to hit up Hy-Vee on Sunday.

Tomorrow, I am also looking forward to revving up the ol' workout routine again after a 3 week hiatus due to what I thought was a stress fracture in my foot, but turns out to likely be a pinched nerve.  Better start slow.

On to the food... mixin some dairy in this week...

Breakfasts:
scrambled eggs, avocados, bananas
leftovers
coffee, milk

Lunches:
chicken-celery-raisin-apple salad
sliced pork loin
cottage cheese & pineapple
apples & sun butter
fudge babies
carrots or celery & homemade sour cream ranch

School snacks:
Pirate's Booty
dried apricots

Dinners:
Monday - paleo chinese coleslaw with chicken
Tuesday - cooking for my bible study: plaza III steak soup (potato flakes to thicken?), apples and cream cheese dip, pumpkin crunch cake (use GF cake mix)
Wednesday - jerk chicken & pineapple bowl (last week, my kids turned up their noses at the sight of this, but changed their minds once they tasted it!)
Thursday - leftovers
Friday - turkey sausage & sweet potato hash
Saturday - bean less chili
Sunday - korean beef & broccoli (sub maple syrup for honey - personal pref.)

Dessert:
frozen OJ popsicles

Linking to more gluten free recipes at Musings of a Housewife.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Moroccan Beef Brisket


So it finally happened.  We all got sick.

It was only a matter of time.  Cross country move, new baby, no sleep... good food or no good food... we were eventually going to get run down and sick.

You know how your house totally falls apart when both parents are sick?  Laundry piles up, dishes pile up, the kitchen and bathroom don't get cleaned, beds don't get made, everyone wears their pajamas all day long... at least when I load the crockpot full of a nutritious dinner in the morning, I can walk through the chaos and mess all day and know that at least we're going to have a good dinner.

And a good dinner it was!  I found this recipe on the Food Network site the other day, and it was a easily modification to make it paleo friendly.  It's a totally different recipe than most of my other ones up on this blog.  It's sweet and subtle and yummy and warm and complex all at once.  The dried apricots really complement the earthy flavors of the parsnips.  It's really tasty.  (And I never mind having to crack open a bottle of wine for a recipe; it means that it *has* to get drunk that night as well.)

The Tools:

-6 qt. crockpot (don't use any smaller - this filled my oval crock pretty full)

-2 lbs boneless beef brisket
-1 red onion, sliced into think wedges
-2 parsnips, chopped into thin(ish) slices
-1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground if you have it
-1 tsp sea salt
-2 t ground coriander
-2 t ground cumin
-1/2 t ground cinnamon
-1/4 t ground nutmeg
-2 large cloves garlic, crushed
-1 cup dried apricots (I used a 6 oz package, and it was about perfect)
-1 cup dry red wine
-1/2 cup beef broth
-2 T honey

optional garnish: cilantro

The Process:

Arrange parsnips and onions on the bottom of the slow cooker.

Take black pepper, sea salt, corinader, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg and garlic and combine into a pastey/dry rub mixture in a bowl.  Rub mixture into the beef brisket.  Place beef brisket on top of the parnsips/onions in the crockpot.

Combine red wine, beef broth and honey in a bowl.  Whisk together.  Pour over brisket in the crockpot.

Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH or 3-4.  (I definitely would go with LOW if you can; brisket can get a bit dry if cooked too quickly.)  Serve with juices from the crock ladled over the top.  The original recipe called for couscous; you could serve this with whipped parnsips or riced cauliflower if you like. We just ate it plain; it was delicious!

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekly Menu

10 lbs. of grass fed beef for the month ahead

The holiday food season begins this week for me.  I just counted, and I am taking dishes to 5 different events in the next month before Thanksgiving.  I will try to take something healthy (paleo) for some of them, others I will do middle of the road (meat and veggie focused, but easy and not too pricey), and for others, I will do some all out gluten free baking (so that my kids don't feel completely left out at birthday and school parties).

This week the "extra" food list includes taking clementines and a GF brownie experiment for a "black and orange" Halloween party, chicken salad & lettuce wraps for a pot luck (just gonna cheat and use miracle whip, gasp!), and some Plaza III Steak Soup per request for a work meeting (might experiment with potato flakes instead of flour to thicken).

I totally ate a SAD (standard American diet) meal this past week at someone's house and a snack at work... and 2 days later, I had issues with my circulation, which may be related to my former rheumatoid arthritis.  Makes me not feel bad about steeling myself to turn down certain foods at events in the gluten filled months ahead.

Bleh. Enough of me.  Moving on.

What are we making at home this week?

Breakfasts:
eggs with spinach and squash
coffee, milk

Lunches:
roast beef with peppercinis
balsamic chicken
nitrate free hot dogs
apples & pumpkin cream cheese dip
bananas & sunbutter
fudge babies
veggie chips

Snacks/desserts:
Pirate's Booty
dried apricots
frozen OJ popsicles
frozen grapes
and surely some candy...

Dinners:
Monday - sundried tomato meatballs, peas
Tuesday - jerk chicken & pineapple bowls
Wednesday - spice rub crock pot chicken, roasted green beans
Thursday - roasted red pepper & tomato soup with chicken, crunchy primal crackers
Friday - baked asian-style salmon, squash (cook whole, in the crock pot), green beans
Saturday - paleo hamburger soup (use stock from the whole chicken on Wednesday)
Sunday - turkey nachos

I hope you have a good week!

Honey Poached Pears: A Celebration Post!


I never thought when I started this blog last year that it would actually get read by anyone other than maybe my mom.  (Hi Mom!)  I'm not a blog that's about fancy layouts or professional looking photos or turning my content into some sort of cookbook or mini-empire.  I frequently ignore this blog for weeks (or even months) at a time; I just don't spend the kind of time on here to make it one of those really awesome paleo blogs out there.

So imagine my surprise that My Paleo Crockpot is actually celebrating 100,000 lifetime hits today.  Sure, it's not a lot compared to some of the other more legit blogs out there... but it's a lot for my little 'ol crockpot blog.  :-)

So thanks to all of you out there in paleo crockpotting and slow cooking land!

To celebrate, I took some pears and covered them in honey and fall spices.  I loosely followed this recipe from (who else?) Betty Crocker.

Mmmm.....

The Tools:

- 4 qt. crockpot  (or whatever size easily fits the amount of pears you want to use)

- 4 pears
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1 T water
- pinch nutmeg
- generous pinch ground ginger
- 1 T arrowroot powder
- 2 T orange juice

The Process:

Core your pears from the bottom, leaving the top stems attached.  Put them upright in your crockpot.

Mix the honey, water and ginger together and pour over the pears.

Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours.  Your pears should be tender and easily pierced with a fork, but not mushy.

Remove the pears from the crockpot; set aside.  Add the arrowroot powder and orange juice to the juices left on the bottom of the slower cooker and mix well.  Continue to cook on HIGH for another ten or fifteen minutes until the sauce is thick(er).  Mine never got super thick; it didn't matter.  It was still quite tasty.

Spoon over the pears and serve.  Enjoy!  And thanks again for reading this blog!  :-)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Apple BBQ Chicken Breasts





I saw this recipe while link-clicking the other day and thought it would be perfect for these chicken breasts I had sitting in my freezer.  Plain and simple, this is awesome.  It takes less than ten minutes to assemble in the crockpot in the morning.  And it's delicious.
I'm still not the biggest fan of chicken breasts in the crockpot, because they can get so dry.  I prefer thigh meat.  But if you prefer white meat, this is a great way to cook it - wrap it in fat and simmer it in apples and BBQ sauce all day; it's still moist and tasty come dinner time!
For the BBQ sauce, you can either make your own (lots of Google-able recipes) if you want to be super paleo... or you can usually find an organic non-scary bottle of BBQ sauce at a fancy-schmancy grocery store.  I did the latter for this recipe.
Many thanks to the thrify and creative ladies over at Money Saving Moms for this awesome recipe!  You should definitely go check out their blog... many great and inexpensive recipes that are easily paleo-ified.
The Tools:
6 qt. crockpot (I actually ended up using a 4 qt. crockpot since my 6 qt. was busy with another meal... I just stacked the wrapped breasts on top of one another and they still cooked reall well...)
handful of toothpicks
4 chicken breasts
8 slices bacon
3/4 cup BBQ sauce (the original recipe calls for 1/2, but we really, really like BBQ sauce...)
juice from one lemon
2 apples, peeled and grated (I used Honey Crisp because that's what I had - I think Granny Smith would be really tasty here, though.)
The Process:
Using your toothpicks, wrap two slices of bacon around each chicken breast.  Place wrapped chicken on the bottom of the crockpot.  (If they overlap a bit, no worries.)
Mix BBQ sauce, lemon juice and grated apples together in a bowl.  Dump over the chicken in the crockpot, taking care to cover each breast as best you can.
Cook on LOW for 8 hours.  I served this with some steamed green veggies and a half of a butternut squash. So tasty!  Will was raving about it for the rest of the night.  I guess I'll be making it again.  :-)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Baked Potato with Bacon Soup

 
White potatoes aren't on everyone's paleo list.  They are pretty starchy and don't offer much in the way of nutrition.  But since we are now a family of four living on an incredibly small stipend, and since the husband and I both need extra calories and starch due to his long bike commutes and my breastfeeding, they are most definitely on my list now.

This soup is really thick and really tasty.  Serve it on one of those cold winter days when you need a dish that really "sticks to your sides."

The Tools:

- 6 qt. crockpot

-8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
-1 medium onion, diced
-1 carrot, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-3 1/2 cups chicken stock
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled/cut into small pieces

The Process:

Mix everything but the bacon in the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours.  Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until you're reached your desired consistency.  (You could also just mash the soup together for a chunkier potato soup.)

Spoon the crumbled bacon bits over the top and enjoy!

Weekly Groceries & Menu

I went to Aldi ($15), Costco ($106), & Trader Joe's ($9) to get food for this week.  We also purchased 5 dozen fresh farm eggs ($10), and will get 2 gallons of raw milk ($12) midweek.  So, that makes the total $152, which is basically on track for our budget which is $600/month for our family of 4 larger than ordinary appetites.  My purchases include extra beef, a salad kit, and a few other ingredients for a non paleo meal I made for someone else.  Plus, I restocked on school snacks for the kids, which should last for another month or so.





Here's what we plan to eat this week:

Breakfasts:
eggs & fruit

Lunches:
mini chicken maple sausages
leftover string cheese (from church event)
apples or celery & almond butter or sun butter
carrots & guacamole

School snacks:
Pirate's Booty
dried apricots

Dinners:
zucchini noodles with meat sauce
paleo korean beef & broccoli (I prefer maple syrup instead of honey.)
paleo chicken marsala & broccoli
soup & tuna we didn't eat last week

Hope you have a good week!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Coconut Oil at Costco!

Look what I saw today!  It is a stellar price, too, if it is any good!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekly Menu



Breakfasts:
scrambled eggs w/ salsa

Lunches:
apples & sun butter
nitrate-free cheddar hot dogs
chile lime chicken burgers
pears
veggie straws

Dinners:
cobb salad x2
sundried tomato meatballs & peas
organic roasted red pepper & tomato soup, tuna salad & celery
shepherd's pie made with squash topping
chicken a la orange & roasted green beans
primal pizza (either against the grain gourmet or on organic corn tortillas)

Other:
primal cookie dough bites

Linking up to more GF recipes here!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Homemade & Almost Grain Free Chocolate Cupcakes


For those cupcake kind of days.  Not short on sugar, but maybe less than the standard counterpart, and just right for birthdays.  According to me.

We had a birthday celebration a few weeks ago.  I realized the night before that I had forgotten to buy GF cake mix, which had been the plan.  I did have instant chocolate pudding mix, which I've learned from my friend with celiac, is a secret ingredient to add in order to make moister GF cupcakes.  The kids were already in bed.  I didn't want to go to the store late at night nor early in the morning.  So I made this recipe up.  And it actually turned out.  What?  Yes.  The addition of my favorite sweet, homemade buttercream frosting was just right.  I was pleasantly surprised by these, and thought they were worth sharing, for those times that call for a cupcake.

I label them as "almost grain free" because there is cornstarch and other stuff that I don't know what it is in the pudding and confectioner's sugar.


And due to our travels, the photos are of a 3 day old cupcake.  Old cupcakes don't bother me :)  Still worth eating.

1 small box chocolate pudding mix
2 T. cocoa
1/2 c. almond meal
1/2 c. almond butter
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. sugar
1 and 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. soda
1/2 t. cinnamon (I love cinnamon and chocolate together.)
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 large bananas, mashed

The eggs I used were mediums, but if anything, the recipe could stand to have a touch more moisture in it, so I think large would be perfectly fine.

I mixed all the ingredients really well with an electric mixer.

I baked the batter in a silicone muffin pan w/ paper liners at 350 degree for 23 minutes.

Frosted with buttercream: 1 cup room temperature butter, 3 cups confectioner's sugar, 1 t. vanilla, and 1-2 T. sour cream.

Enjoy, even if sparingly.  I'm glad primal-ish baking is cost prohibitive.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cinnamon Apple Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash


I couldn't really think of what to call this dish.  There's a lot going on there.  You take ground turkey, mix it with a bunch of stuff that tastes like fall, and then stuff it in acorn squash and let your house get all yummy-smelling while it steams away in the crockpot.

Sounds tasty, right?

Right.  It is INDEED tasty.  You should make it.

Now, here's the thing I should tell you about this recipe.  It will make enough filling for two WHOLE acorn squash, but your crockpot will only fit one, cut in two.  But since ground turkey is almost always sold in one pound increments, I always just make a bunch of filling, save half of it in the freezer, and then pull it out a week or so later and make this dish again.  (You could also eat it plain.  It's super tasty, like I mentioned.)  Or you can halve the recipe to make it work with just one squash. Up to you!

The Tools:

- 6 qt. crockpot (has to be big enough to hold both sides of the squash)

- 1 medium acorn squash
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1 cup raisins (dried cranberries would also work)
- 1/2 Granny Smith apple, chopped into small bite sized pieces (about a cup's worth)
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1/2 onion, chopped (about a cup's worth)
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1 t nutmeg
- dash cloves

The Process:

On the stove, brown the turkey.  When it is almost finished, toss the onions, apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in.  Continue to cook on low heat, stirring often, until the onions are translucent and the apples are soft, about 6-8 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and add the raisins and pecans to the mixture.  Mix it all together well.


Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the guts and seeds.  Plop it in the crockpot.


Carefully spoon the turkey mixture into the squash halves, taking care not to let any fall on the bottom of the crock.  (Then either freeze the leftovers or save them in the fridge for tomorrow's breakfast.) 

Once the squash halves are full, pour approximately a cup of water in the bottom of the crock, cover, and cook on LOW for 4 hours.  The squash should be tender and easily pierced with a fork when done.

Enjoy!