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!

eggs, salsa, avocado, roasted sweet potatoes
paleo breakfast bread

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

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

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.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekly Menu

our "once in awhile" grain free pizza

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!)

salami & Tillamook cheddar
celery & homemade ranch
organic corn chips & guacamole

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...

scrambled eggs, avocados, bananas
coffee, milk

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

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.)

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!