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?

eggs with spinach and squash
coffee, milk

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

Pirate's Booty
dried apricots
frozen OJ popsicles
frozen grapes
and surely some candy...

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.


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:

eggs & fruit

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

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

scrambled eggs w/ salsa

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

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)

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.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Weekly Menu

Ack, is it nearly Monday already?!

I am trying to keep things pretty simple and low prep since we had a busy weekend of traveling.  I did some shopping on Friday at Aldi and Trader Joe's, and will head to Costco sometime this week. I'll show you my photos and totals all at once when I gather them together.

I am doing it... the project. Documenting everything we buy and eat this week, to penny. It is kind of hard, because there is always some overlap between weeks, obviously.  So, I am doing my best to clarify that on my submission.  The fact that I generally shop weekly and use a weekly budget number definitely helps make it easier than if I didn't.

Every week I think: "This is the week I am going to be on top of things and get to bed at a decent hour."  And even when I think I do, Thursday morning rolls around and I feel like I am only running on fumes (and coffee).  But once I make it through Friday, it is recovery time again. Thank Goodness!

scrambled eggs & salsa
homemade turkey sausage & roasted squash

little sausages
chicken burgers
apple sandwiches (with nut butter and raisins)
veggie straws
celery & sunbutter or cream cheese
banana chips or fresh fruit

Kids' school snacks:
corn chex

Other snacks:

Monday - paleo chicken marsala & roasted green beans
Tuesday - salmon burgers & butternut squash (gonna try it in the crock pot)
Wednesday - meatloaf & roasted brussels sprouts
Thursday - rosemary sriracha chicken & peas
Friday - against the grain gourmet pizza (loaded), salad w/ dressing
Saturday - Mark's Daily Apple's shawarma chicken, salad w/ dressing

frozen grapes

P.S. I made some gluten free and nearly grain free party cupcakes on Friday.  I made up the recipe and they were edible.  I was proud of myself.  I will share later :)

Good night!

Sharing amidst the GF ideas here!

Hearty Sweet Potato Chili

The slow cooker was  MADE for the fall and winter.  Hearty soups, stews, tender roasts, potatoes, carrots... need I go on?

It's officially sweater weather here in Seattle, which means it's also time for chili.

I got this idea from my awesome cousin, Heather, who really should get going on a food blog because she's always tinkering with something in the kitchen.  She made a variation of this last year - her version had beans - and it was incredibly easy to paleo-ify and crockpoticize.

(I decided those are words.)

The husband came home and ate four bowls of this for dinner and raved about it for the rest of the evening.  

I guess it's pretty tasty.

The Tools:

- 4 qt. crockpot (or double this recipe for leftovers in a larger crockpot!)

- 1 lb ground beef (or bison)
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 large bell pepper, chopped (mine was green - use whatever color you want)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1.5 T chili powder
- 1 t cumin
- 1/2 t black pepper
- dash salt
- 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (mine were the garlic and oregano kind, plain would work as well)
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup water

The Process:

Cook the ground beef on the stove.  Drain off as much of the fat as you like, and then plop the beef in the crockpot.

Add everything else and sort of mix it up.

Cook on LOW for approximately 5 hours, or until the sweet potatoes are tender enough to be pierced with a fork.  Nothing all that bad will happen if you let it go too long, but the sweet potatoes and green peppers might get mushy.

Enjoy!  And don't forget to go apple picking before the season ends!