Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sauteed Kale, Bacon and Apples

We have been eating so much kale lately.  At least once a day.  I saute it with eggs and whatever leftovers we have for breakfast, and it's often a dinner side as well.

To accompany the awesome Bacon Sweet Potato Meatloaf I made, I wanted to make the kale a little different - here's what I came up with.

Sauteed Kale, Bacon and Apples
2 bunches of kale, torn into small pieces and stems discarded
1 onion, finely chopped
1 apple, chopped
3-5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
~3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
bacon fat for cooking
little water to help steam

Brown onion and apple in bacon fat in skillet.  Add cider vinegar and then add kale, a large handful at a time, stirring frequently to wilt the kale.  I added a little water to help the steaming.  Once mostly wilted, add your bacon.

Bacon Sweet Potato Meatloaf

I wanted to make a meatloaf and of course was searching around for paleo-frienly recipes.  I love PaleOMG - she has awesome recipes.  And why not put sweet potato into a meatloaf?  This came out awesome and I pretty much followed the original recipe, for once.  Will definitely make again.  Below is with my changes.

2 lbs ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 chopped, cooked sweet potato
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
~5 slices cooked bacon
Bacon fat for cooking
1 cup almond meal
2 eggs
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon jamaican allspice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat some bacon fat in a skillet.  Add onions and saute until browned.  Add raisins, crumbled cooked bacon, and chopped sweet potato.  Yum.  I could have stopped there and ate that-

Add mixture to a large bowl along with the meat.  Add eggs and seasonings and almond flour to a good consistency (I didn't really measure).  For me, the purpose of a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer is to mix meatloaf. Mix all together and place loaf in a pan.  This was too big for a loaf pan so I used a 9x9 ish pyrex.


Bake at 400 for 45 minutes.  Enjoy!  Not the prettiest finished product picture but it was damn good.

I served it with Sauteed Apples & Kale - recipe to follow

Cheesecake Carrot Cake

For Easter I wanted to make something special and delicious and non-paleo friendly.  Rule breaker!
I saw a recipe from Beantown Baker for Carrot Cake & Cheesecake and loved the idea - two of our favorites!

I followed this Tyler Florence Cheesecake recipe from FoodNetwork, minus the crust and this recipe from Southern Living for the carrot cake (with some changes), and Beantown Baker's Cream Cheese Frosting recipe.  I baked both cakes the day before, let them chill overnight, and assembled the following day.  Below is how I did it-

First, make the
16 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon, zested
1 dash vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy.

Add sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix well but don't overmix. Pour the cheesecake into a springform pan with parchment paper on the bottom (cut to fit).

I skipped the water bath because I haven't had success with them and the cake will be layered anyway.

Bake for 45 minutes and let cool completely. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.

While it's baking, make the
Carrot Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1 cup chopped walnuts

Stir together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in large bowl.
Beat eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot and walnuts. Pour batter into prepared cakepans.

Bake at 350° about 30 minutes until done and cool completely.

I then wrapped them all up and refrigerated until the next day.

When ready to assemble, prepare cream cheese frosting.  

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
1 Tbsp vanilla
4 cups confectioner's sugar

Beat cream cheese on medium-high until completely smooth, 3-4 minutes. Add the butter and continue to cream until fluffy.  Add vanilla extract. Slowly add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.

Assemble cakes with cheesecake in the middle and frosting between

Then make it pretty!  I colored some of the frosting to get decorative-

So good!  Both the cheesecake and the carrot cake recipes were awesome and I would definitely use them (separately or together) again.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Homemade Lara Bars, Take II

When you make these, you might as well make more than one because it's a pain to clean your food processor after!

There are tons of recipes for different kinds - basically you need approximately 1c nuts : 3/4-1c dates : 3/4-1 c dried fruit.

The flavors I made most recently include-

Almond Cranberry
1 c almonds
3/4 c dates
3/4 c cranberries
2 tbsp almond butter

Walnut Cranberry
1 c walnuts
3/4 c dates
3/4 c cranberries
2 tbsp coconut

and my FAVORITE were the
Pecan- Hazelnut Apricot
1/4 c pecans
3/4 c hazelnuts
3/4 c dates
3/4 c apricots
1 tbsp sunflower butter

I then wrapped them up and refrigerated for about 20 minutes to harden a bit, then cut into individual bars/ or roll into balls/ however you like.

Artichoke Mustard Tarragon Chx Thighs

I used this recipe as a guide, but made a bunch of changes as listed below.  This is Chris' new favorite meal!!

1 pkg (~2 lbs.) chicken thighs
2 cans artichoke hearts, halved
1 large onion, cut into strips
1 pound baby portabello mushrooms, quartered

~3 tablespoons brown mustard
olive oil to saute
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock/ chicken gravy (*I had leftover homemade gravy from cooking a whole chicken and used this in place of stock - made it nice and thick)
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoon dried tarragon
kosher salt and pepper (to taste)

First, saute the onions and artichokes with olive oil to brown.  Rotate artichokes frequently to brown each side..when almost all browned, add mushrooms, some mustard, white wine, tarragon, pepper, and stock.  Once cooked and blended, place in baking dish.
Add chicken to saute pan and brown each side.  Once browned, add some more mustard, vinegar, wine, stock, and spices. 
Mix all and cook for a few minutes.  Then add to baking dish and bake for ~30 minutes or until your chicken is well cooked through.

Enjoy!  Chris had his with a few artichoke raviolis...I may or may not have had 1 or 2 :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Jalapeno Sweet Potato Chowder

I pinned a page about a jalapeno sweet potato soup, but unfortunately it didn't share the recipe :(  I found this recipe for sweet potato soup with bacon and combined the concepts to make my own delicious soup!

5-6 large sweet potatoes
1/2 water, 1/2 Chicken stock to cover the potatoes
1 large yellow onion
3 jalapeno peppers
cooked chicken (I used meat from 4 drumsticks & 1 breast)
chili powder
less of nutmeg, ginger

Chop the potatoes into 1" - ish size pieces and put in water/stock and boil.  Stir every few minutes while prepping the rest.
Cook the bacon, then reserve most of the fat in a container (to cook your eggs with in the AM), and leave some in the pan to cook the veggies.
Saute the onion & jalapenos.  I did not deseed or devein them because we like it hot!
Chop up your chicken into bite-size pieces.
Add spices and chicken to onion & jalapeno

 The original recipe called to puree the sweet potatoes, but we like soups like this more chunky.  And it's easier.  So as the potatoes start to get mushy, use a spatula or wooden spoon to smush them up.  Once they are mushed to your desired softness, add the rest of the ingredients to the potatoes.

Garnish generously with bacon!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Caribbean Beef Plantain Bake

I have been looking forward to making this for a while!  I pinned it about a month ago from Baltic Maid - not sure how I found it in the first place?   But Thank you Baltic Maid for creating/ posting this!  Always looking for different things to make with ground beef, since we do have like a hundred pounds of it in the freezer :)

I bought the plantains over a week ago - the store only had green ones so I had to wait until they got nice and dark as indicated in the recipe.

Below is my variation, adapted from the original.  I knew it would either come out 'ehh' or AWESOME and luckily it was awesome.  Already looking forward to my lunch leftovers :)

Caribbean Beef Plantain Bake
1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, chopped
(I cheated and used a bag of frozen sliced peppers and onions!)

1/2 jar strained organic tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
Paprika, Cumin, Oregano, Chili Powder, Cinnamon, S&P

2-3 very ripe (dark brown/black) plantains
Coconut oil

2 - 3 eggs

In a large frying pan, brown the ground beef. Set beef aside once done.

Saute the onion & pepper in the same pan and lightly brown.  Add spices (I don't put measurements bc I don't measure.  Be generous!)

Meanwhile in another pan, heat coconut oil.  Peel plantains and cut into bite size slices and saute until browned, flip to brown both sides.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Add tomatoes to the veggies and warm, then stir beef in.

Put the beef/ veggie mixture in 9x9 glass baking pan, top with plantain slices (I kind of pushed them into the sauce).

In a little bowl, beat the eggs. Pour them over the casserole.

Bake the casserole for 20 to 30 minutes.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Easiest Paleo Banana Pancakes

These are so easy and so good!

You need generally 1 banana to 1 egg -  mushier banana makes it easier.  Blend the ingredients together with hand mixer, careful not to overmix.

Batter should look like this - reminiscent of "regular" pancake batter:

Put some coconut oil in your pan and keep heat on med-low/low.  Cook pancakes slowly, not flipping until they are well bubbly on top.  Add blueberries/ other fruit if desired:

Cook some pastured bacon to accompany them:

Chris had his with syrup; I had mine with some almond butter.


I will probably need a snack today since this breakfast is a little light (1 egg, 1 banana, 2 small slices bacon + 1 tbsp almond butter) but it's nice to switch it up from eggs!

Pork Chops w Roasted Balsamic Sweet Potato & Brussels

A quick easy dinner-

Delicious bone-in pork chops from your favorite local farm
2 large sweet potaotes, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 containers brussels sprouts
EVOO + Balsamic vinegar

Roast the chops with s&P& garlic powder on 425 for 45 mins -   Roast veggies approx the same amount of time in EVOO w S&P, adding balsamic for the last 10 mins.  If you don't have as much time for the veggies, pop the potatoes in the microwave for a few minutes to soften them up :)

Whole30 - Meal Template

I see a lot of pins on pinterest for "paleo" meals - a lot of time they are reincarnations of grain- or sugar- laden favorites.  Which is fine on occasion... Personally I'm currently planning on making TWO paleo friendly GF desserts to celebrate my successful completion of the Whole30 :)  But it's also important to remember the meal template... the Hartwigs know what they are talking about.  I have had great success when following the template.  I have found in these 30 days that if a meal doesn't have all the recommended elements (protien, fat, veggies often including starchy ones and sometimes fruit/nuts), you will end up hungry before it's time for the next meal and require a snack (I am not an advocate of starvation).

The Meal Template

Seems daunting at first but it's easy once you get the hang of it.  For example, my W30 compliant, template fitting lunch from yesterday:

Leftover chicken (protein)
An avocado (healthy fat)
1/2 large sweet potato (starchy vegg)
Spicy tomato and mango salsa (vegg and fruit)

+ of course a couple glasses of water

I was full till dinner :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Whole30 Day 29!

So day 29... the time to decide what I'm going to do with myself AFTER 30 days have passed...

On Feb 1st, I plan to have a sushi date with my husband.  And drink wine with dinner.  And some cocktails after dinner.  Yum.  Other than that, I plan to stay compliant with the eating plan.  Besides alcohol I'm planning to stay compliant with the Whole30, at a minimum paleo.  Not sure if I will be compliant enough to dub it a Whole60, but I would like to.  I have some fitness / weight goals I'm looking to meet, and a month has not been enough time to get there.  I'm on a roll so I would like to keep going :)

Now to catch up on some recent meals -

Kinda Best Chicken Ever....

Who could pass up a recipe for "The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat. Ever" ??
This was a pinterest find.  The blog it's from, The Clothes Make the Girl, is pretty awesome overall and has been added to my reader :)

I had a late gym night last night, so Chris cooked.  He followed the recipe with a couple minor modifications- we had no allspice, and he used red curry paste instead of powder (after checking ingredients to make sure it's compliant, of course).  He roasted them in the toaster oven at 400 for ~40 mins.  They were thick.  We also skipped the Dipping Sauce.  Next time!  Instead of needlessly copying the recipe here, check it out on the blog above-

It was realllly good.  The brine helped the chicken stay moist, and the spice rub was a good amount of spiciness and heat.  An avocado was perfect to cut the heat a bit, and steamed cauliflower was also a great side, as you could grab a chunk of the spice rub and eat with the cauli.  He also made a classic red wine vin salad.  Delish!

Eggs w Kale and Chicken Sausage

An easy breakfast-

Melt coconut oil in pan
Add rinsed kale to pan
Stir as kale cooks
Chop GF/ sugar free sausage and add to kale
Whisk eggs
Add eggs to kale & sausage once it's wilted and browned, respectively

Cook eggs the rest of the way and enjoy!

Whole30 Compliant Beef Stew/ Soup

Beef Stew / Soup

2 pkgs grassfed stew beef (cut into smaller cubes)
1 rutabaga, cubed
4-5 carrots, peeled and chopped
lot of kale
1 onion, chopped
GF/ Sugar Free Beef Broth (enough to cover 3/4 the way)
Water to cover the rest of the way
Bay leaves

Not the most exciting recipe, but it was really good on a colllld day like we had been having here. I cooked on high in the crockpot for 4 hours, but wouldn't recommend that method as the veggies weren't very soft. I then transferred to a pot on the stove and simmered for 35-45 mins. I would recommend simmering on low for a few hours for best results. This also helped the liquid reduce to leave a nice broth with the soup.  Since flour/cornstarch are not Whole30 compliant, it was a little more soupy than stewy...but you could certainly food process some of the rutabaga or some sweet potato/butternut squash to make it thicker and more stew-like :)

I brought this for leftovers to work today, and the broth all spilled out in my bag :( So, I have beef stew minus broth for lunch. + An avocado and half a sweet potato. Should work!

Photo, with broth:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Whole30 Day 27 - Paleo Stuffed Peppers & Breakfast

So here I am at Day 27!  I feel really great and am pretty used to the "rules" of the game at this point.  I have finished reading "It Starts With Food", the foundation for the Whole30 and really enjoyed the book.  There is a lot of science to back the reasoning behind it, which is important to me.  I have started to re-read the deeper sciencey sections to have a clearer understanding :)
I plan to stick with the principles I have learned for the most part - I am feeling really great as a result of eating this way.  I don't think I will add dairy back in on a regular basis or gluten.  Definitely enjoying no processed foods - it is challenging to eat NONE whatsoever, but totally do-able.
I am more than ready for a cocktail, though!!  Bring on February 1st!

Paleo Stuffed Peppers
Made these last night, following the basic template from this blog and previous experience.  I had made these before but the peppers weren't cooked enough, so I made sure to pre-cook them this time.

Ingredients -
5-6 bell peppers
1 lb natural hot pork sausage
1 lb grassfed beef
1/2 large head cauliflower
8 oz baby bella mushrooms
1 medium onion
4-5 cloves garlic
1/2 jar strained tomatoes
Dried oregano
Dried parsley
Red Pepper Flakes (we like a lot!)
Salt & Pepper

First cook the sausage.  Use a little coconut oil/ water if needed to ensure it doesn't stick.
While sausage is cooking, rice (raw) cauli in food processor to form rice-ish-size pieces.  Transfer to separate bowl.
Once sausage is cooked, cut into small pieces and cook beef (same pan).  
Preheat oven to 400
Chop garlic and onion in food processor, move to bowl with cauli.
Slice baby bellas - I used top attachment on processor since it was already dirty.
Once all meats are cooked, transfer garlic/ onion/ cauli/ mushrooms to same pan to brown.  Add little coconut (or olive) oil if needed.  Brown veggies, add spices.
Cut centers of bell peppers out so they are stuff-able.  Put a little oil in the bottom of pan you will be using and place pepers bottom-up - cook for ~10 - 15 mins.
Add tomato paste and strained (or sugar free natural sauce if you don't have).
Mix all components together.
Stuff the peppers!  Turn heat down to 375 and bake 30 - 45 mins.

There was some leftover stuffing that didn't fit in our peppers - so I sauteed it this AM with some kale in coconut oil, then added a few eggs.  YUM!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Whole30 - Day 20

I can't believe it's been 20 days!  I feel really good.  It's definitely a challenge keeping food in the house since I have been supplying 100% of our meals.  It's noticeable to me that I sleep better, wake more easily and don't really seem to get tired during the day.  I have felt fine energy-wise with my workouts as long as I make sure to eat something before (usually 1/2 a sweet potato) especially if I'm teaching the class.
I have been completely compliant short of having a sauteed banana with unsweetened coconut for dessert a couple times.  Not too bad.  No alcohol.  That's a bit of a challenge but I survived a party and it was definitely easier than I expected!

Some recent meals that are worth remembering -

Sauteed haddock - marinated first in a little lime juice and garlic (30 mins?) and s&p.  Served with cabbage and onions and asparagus.

The homemade bacon came out AMAZING.  I didn't  use the "pink salt" (sodium nitrite) because I read it wasn't why bother adding it!  I followed this basic recipe (minus sugar, fennel, caraway) and left in fridge for 5 days before cooking as in the recipe.

Delish breakfast with homemade bacon, eggs, and leftover sweet potato fries.

Easy basic chicken thighs/ tomato/ avocado/ salsa salad

The pups begging for food

Wild Salmon marinated in dijon, garlic, lime, apple cider vinegar and cayenne - served with sauteed kale

Coconut shrimp!  So good.  Chris followed this recipe - served with sauteed sugar snap peas and an Asian broccoli slaw.  Topped with some mango salsa :)

And tonight's meal-
I cooked a pork shoulder from our favorite farm, Blue Jingler, following this basic recipe/spice mix and using the crock pot.   The pork cooked for 10 hours and fell right off the bone...minimal shredding needed.  I served with mashed rutabaga - something I had never made (or even eaten) before.  We were both big fans!  I used some vegetable broth to moisten when mashing.   Excited to have a new starchy side other than sweet potato and winter squashes.  Also served with sauteed kale.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chicken Sausage, Peppers and Onion with Zucchini "Pasta"

I got this spiral vegetable cutter for Christmas and finally broke it out of the box...

It works really well, highly recommend!  The blades are super sharp and there are suction cups on the bottom to hold it in place while you push the vegg towards the blades.  Can't wait to make some sweet potato fries with it.

I first cooked some chicken sausage and cut it up, then chopped onions, tomato, peppers, fresh parsley, and garlic and sauteed.
Boiled the zucchini noodles for ~3 minutes while the rest simmered-

 Added some all natural no sugar added sauce to the mix as well as a bunch of crushed red pepper, and combined:

Closest thing to pasta we will have!  Really good and veggie-packed dinner :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 9!

Feeling good on Day 9 of the Whole30.  I received the book in the mail, "It Starts With Food", written by the creators of the program and started reading...  It all makes a lot of sense.  I am having some carb (cookie, specifically) cravings, but I'm going to have Chris take those to work and that should be done with it.  He ate leftover ice cream cake last night, and I was pretty ok with it (Being on a different couch).  I think I may have lost a couple pounds, but I am waiting until the end of the month to approach the scale...

This AM made a delish breakfast - avocado egg nests... Doesn't work as great as in all the recipes online... the egg fell out a few times and ran all over until I scooped out some xtra avocado and had it sitting on the perfect angle. Served with some fresh hot salsa and cilantro and black coffee of course.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


We have been indecisive on the backsplash in the kitchen (STILL) and also don't want to dish out the cash right now for the pricey tile that we sort of like.  We have a New Years Party this year and the lack of a finished backsplash burnt my eyes when I saw the pictures:

A little over dramatic, maybe.  But the rest of the kitchen looked so nice!

So of course I got on Pinterest and searched for ideas.  We decided on a gray tinted chalkboard paint not only for the fun chalkboard use but for the natural slate look that it provides.  It was so easy to do I don't know why I waited a year to finally do something with the area.