Saturday, November 3, 2012

Apple Cranberry Pork Loin

I love fall ingredients and I try to cook with the seasons as much as possible.  If you love fall flavors, especially cinnamon, apples, and cranberries, try this pork recipe.  It tastes like autumn on a plate and pairs really well with some roasted squash or sweet potatoes.  This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, nut free for those of you with allergies!

Apple Cranberry Pork Loin
feeds 6-8 people
  • 2-2.5 lbs of pork loin (this was 2 for me), I think tenderloin would work too
  • 5 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/2 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or another acid, such as orange juice)
  • slightly less than 1/4 cup of real maple syrup (brown sugar can be a substitute)
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 tsp of salt, depending on taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients above, except for the pork.
  3. Place the pork in a square casserole dish, or any other oven safe cooking vessel with sides high enough to hold the pork and apple mixture.
  4. Pour apple and cranberry mixture over pork.  Make sure the pork is covered evenly with the mixture.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for about 35-45 minutes, depending on the thickness of your tenderloins.  The best way to determine if the pork is done is with a meat thermometer; it should be about 145 degrees.
  6. After allowing 10-20 minutes to rest, slice pork and serve with some of the cooked apple and cranberry on top.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Coconut and Macadamia Crusted Chicken Tenders

Sometimes I miss fried foods, but its not really for the bread or the "fry," but for the crunch and the flavor. I wanted to find a replacement food that would have lots of healthy fat and stick with my paleo way of eating.  I also have the added challenge of being allergic of two delicious kinds of nuts: almonds and hazelnuts.  But, I lucked out and found a yummy sounding recipe from Stuff I Make My Husband.  Mine wasn't nearly as pretty as hers, but it was yummy and had the flavor and crunch that I love.  Added bonus: Mango dijon dipping sauce that reminds me of a honey mustard!


Coconut and Macadamia Crusted Chicken Tenders
slightly adapted from: Stuff I Make My Husband

  • 2lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut flakes
  • about 1/2 cup of macadamia nuts (I used raw, roasted and salted would work too)
  • pinch of salt (more if you used raw macadamia nuts)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 egg whites
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (F).  Have a baking sheet lined with parchment ready.
  2. Cut chicken into even sized pieces, similar to chicken tenders.
  3. Using the shredder on your food processor, chop up the macadamia nuts.  Best way to do this: put the nuts in the tube of the food processor lid and cover with the pusher so they don't fly up and hit you in the face!  
  4. Use the same technique as above to shred your coconut into smaller pieces.  Combine nuts, coconut, garlic powder, and salt onto a plate.
  5. Put the egg whites in a shallow dish.
  6. Dip chicken in the egg whites and then press into the nut mixture until thoroughly coated.  Place onto parchment lined baking sheet.
  7. Cook for about 20 minutes.  Flip chicken over and cook for another 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked and coated is golden brown.
Mango Dijon Dipping Sauce
also from: Stuff I Make My Husband
  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  1. Peel and cut the mango (doesn't matter if the chop is neat, you are going to blend it)
  2. Throw all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Dip in your yummy chicken!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Maple and mustard glazed chicken

I love pinterest and I found this recipe for "Man Pleasing Chicken" on Pinterest.  I have tried a lot of recipes that I have found on there so far and this one was so tasty I've made it twice.  It has so few ingredients, making it is a snap.  My only problem with it is that the burnt sugar from the maple syrup gets stuck on my pans!  Totally worth it though.  I made this with roasted tomatoes and zucchini dressed with parsley, garlic, salt, and olive oil.
 Maple and Mustard Glazed Chicken
from: Witty in the City

  • 1.5-2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
  • 1/2 cup dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place chicken in a 9x13 pan.
  2. Mix together mustard, maple syrup, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour sauce over chicken and coat thoroughly.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.  It depends on the size of your chicken thighs.  Coat chicken in sauce halfway through cooking to get extra flavor!  Enjoy with lots of veggies!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Tzatziki Sauce

I love Greek food!  Monday, we had gyro from our favorite local Greek restaurant.  It inspired me to make a variation of my husband's Greek-style burgers (recipe soon) and a creamy, cool tzatziki sauce.  I forgot to take a picture of both, but I hope you give this a try.  Tzatziki is a cucumber yogurt sauce with many uses.  It is great on top of burgers, chicken, salad, and anything else that could use a great sauce.  While mine isn't necessarily "classic," it is yummy.  Its also really easy!

Tzatziki Sauce

  • Plain, whole fat yogurt (or Greek style yogurt if you want to save the straining step)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill (or slightly less dried dill)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  1. Shred the cucumber.  Put in a colander of some sort (with small enough holes that the cucumber won't fall through) on top of a bowl and place a paper towel on top.  Place something heavy on top to help squeeze excess water from the cucumber.  Let sit for about 20 minutes.
  2. Place yogurt in a towel or paper towel fine mesh sieve.  Let sit over a bowl or sink for about 20 minutes with the cucumber to get rid of excess whey.  You are essentially making a Greek yogurt with this step.
  3. Once the draining of excess liquid is done, mix together all of your ingredients: yogurt, cucumber, dill, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  4. Let sit for a half hour in the fridge before serving.  This step lets the flavors meld.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Caprese Chicken

I've been a little absent lately, but there hasn't been much cooking lately in my house.  Its been hot and, without air conditioning, the want to cook is missing.  When I have cooked, its been a lot of basics or things you've seen already: chicken tikka masala, enchilada casserole, chocolate mousse, and some pork stir fry (which I might share soon).


One of my favorite combinations for summer is tomatoes and basil, so when I came upon a recipe for Caprese Chicken, I had to try it.  I don't have a grill, so I had to come up with some alterations for this recipe.  It has cool, creamy cheese with fresh, bright basil on warm chicken with a zingy balsamic glaze.

Caprese Chicken
adapted from: Add A Pinch

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese
  • a handful of basil leaves
  • 1 or 2 tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Drizzle olive oil on chicken breasts and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake until thoroughly cooked, 30-40 minutes.
  2. Slice mozzarella cheese and tomatoes about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
  3. Heat balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan or saute pan over medium-high heat until it starts to bubble.  Turn heat down to medium and simmer until the vinegar reduces down and becomes much thicker, between 5 and 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  4. Start to build your caprese chicken stack: place mozzarella, tomato, and one or two basil leaves on top of the chicken breast.  Drizzle balsamic glaze over chicken and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Steak and Cheese Stuffed Peppers

I posted a recipe for shaved steak and cheese recently and I love this recipe, but was looking for something a little more exciting and I wanted a vessel to cook my steak and cheese in and to allow the cheese to brown and melt.

I was scrolling through Chowstalker and found a recipe for steak and cheese stuffed peppers, which is perfect.  Most stuffed pepper recipes have rice, or some other starchy carb in them, but this one is just filled with meat, veggies, and cheese.



Steak and Cheese Stuffed Peppers
from: Peace, Love, and Low Carb

  • 4 large green peppers
  • 1-1.5 pounds of shaved steak
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 8oz button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 12 pieces of provolone
  • 1 tbs salted butter
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil.
  2. Cut green peppers in half, top to bottom.  Take all of the seeds out and line them up on the cookie sheet.  Put 1/2 of a piece of cheese in the bottom of each pepper.
  3. Heat up butter on medium heat in a frying pan.  Saute mushrooms and onions until soft.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Cook shaved steak in the frying pan until no longer pink.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix the cooked steak with the mushrooms and onions.
  5. Fill each pepper with the vegetable and steak mixture.  You may have a little extra for snacking on later.
  6. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until peppers are soft.  Turn the oven off.  Place a piece of cheese on top of each pepper and place back in oven until cheese is melted.  This should only take a few minutes.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Zucchini Boats

I'm getting excited about all of the veggies that are coming into season right now!  Everything is so colorful and tastes so much better than it did a few months ago.

It is during this time of the year that I love zucchini and summer squash, but I get bored with the same old steaming or grilling, so I searched Pinterest for some squash inspiration.  I found a beautiful picture of zucchini boats that were roasted in the oven with little grape tomatoes, perfect!  Bonus, these tasted wonderful and even got approval from the kids of a coworker!

I forgot to take a picture, so you'll have to make a mental picture :)

Zucchini Boats
adapted from: Proud Italian Cook

  • 4 medium, straight zucchinis
  • 16 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • a pinch of pepper
  • a pinch of salt
  • 8 thin slices of mozzarella
  • 4 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese (the real stuff is better!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with tinfoil.
  2. Slice the zucchinis lengthwise and scoop the seeds out of the middle.  Line them up on the cookie sheet.
  3. Place the grape tomatoes in the zucchini boats, 4 to a zucchini.  
  4. Drizzle zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle on the garlic powder, pepper, and salt.
  5. Bake for about twenty minutes, or until zucchini is starting to get soft.
  6. Remove the zucchini from the oven.  Turn the temperature up to 400 degrees.  
  7. Put the mozzarella on the zucchini and sprinkle the Parmesan on top.  
  8. Return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until cheese starts to brown.  Watch it closely to make sure it doesn't burn!  Enjoy! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Its hot, no cooking!

I'm really glad that I made that buffalo shrimp the other day for salads, because it is too in my apartment for the oven to be on!  Since my apartment is the size of a toaster, it heats up really fast as soon as the stove or oven is turned on.

Since I'm melting and not cooking (Chipotle was kind to us tonight), I thought I might share a little of my story.  A little more than year ago when I moved back from Oklahoma, I stepped on the scale and realized that I officially weighed more than 200 pounds.  I knew I had let myself go a bit after a stressful spring and had slowly let the abundance of fried foods in the south to get the best of me, but I was disappointed that I had let it get that far.

So, I made some changes.  I began walking to the pond near my parent's house and paying attention to my eating.  I cut my alcohol intake by quite a bit, which was a little easier once leaving a college town!  About a month after beginning this routine, I joined myfitnesspal.com, which is a calorie counting and exercising tracking website that I have been using ever since.  This has helped me immensely and I lost about twenty pounds.  I highly recommend this site, it is a great tool and has a great community.

Although I was losing weight and feeling a little better, I needed a change of some sort.  I was still really tired and low energy and I had a lot of bloating.  I was also hungry A LOT, even though I was eating what I felt was a healthy diet.

I started poking around the internet for some nutrition information. I found some information about something called the paleo and primal diet.  A diet that encourages fat intake and is gluten free?  Sounded pretty crazy. I did some reading and read the symptoms of a gluten intolerance.  Turns out, chronic fatigue and bloating were two of the many symptoms.  So, I gave it a try.

After a week, I had energy, my belly felt great, and I wasn't hungry every two hours.  As a child, I was so low energy that I would ask my mom to push me in a stroller to the swing in my grandmother's backyard!  A kid is supposed to have more energy than that!

I was also losing weight pretty quickly!  I was amazed that I could eat healthy fats and avoid gluten, grains, and legumes and not being hungry!  No more sugar crashes or foggy head when I let myself go too long between meals.  It was an exciting feeling!

This was before Christmas and I figured I would cheat a little during the holiday season.  All of my previous symptoms came back and my weight loss stalled (I may have even gained a few pounds!).  I knew what I was doing before was the right choice for me and that I would go back to that.

Once January rolled around, I went back to my paleo/primal eating.  I felt great again shortly after and have been gluten free since the first week of January.  Sometimes I will eat corn or rice and  I have had some exposures during this time and these present themselves with some pretty obvious symptoms.  My joints will start aching and I'll find myself really tired.

Paleo and primal eating has worked awesome for me and I believe that its worth a try for most people.  Test it for 30 days and see how you feel!  Or at least try some of my recipes!

Overall I have lost 40 pounds and almost twenty of those have been since January.  I went from a 14 to a 6 and I have started lifting weight to become leaner and stronger.

Thanks for reading my story and feel free to share your own or ask any questions you might have!  I love food, nutrition, and helping people!  More recipes soon :)


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Buffalo Shrimp Salad

As much as I love a good salad, I get a little bored with spring greens topped with oil packed tuna, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  That is a combo that I eat two or three times a week.  It keeps me full and tastes good, but I'm definitely not one of those people that can eat the same thing day in and day out, clearly!

When I saw a recipe for buffalo shrimp po' boys, I wondered how I could make this into a paleo friendly.  It struck me that this had the makings of a great salad topper and it was!  The warm shrimp with cool greens and tangy cheese is wonderful and very quick to make.  I think it will be great tomorrow with my lunch, too!

Buffalo Shrimp Salad

  • 1-1 1/2 pound of medium to large size shrimp, whatever your preference
  • 1/2 cup of Frank's Red Hot Original Hot Sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (I prefer Kerrygold)
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/8 crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
  • salad greens of your choice (I like Olivia's Spring Mix)
  1. Toss shrimp in hot sauce, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter.  Add shrimp and cook until completely pink.  
  3. Remove shrimp from heat.  Let cool a bit before putting on top of salad.
  4. If you are serving right away, top greens with some of the tomatoes, scallions, blue cheese, and shrimp mixture.
  5. If you are serving later, let the shrimp cool completely, mix in tomatoes, scallions, and blue cheese and refrigerate until you want to use it.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Caprese salad for a crowd

Happy late father's day!  The past two father's days have been a little rough in my family.  Little might be an understatement...Last year, my husband's father passed away and this year we lost my grandfather a week before father's day.  But I spent a wonderful day with my father and all of my uncles and ate lots of yummy food!

I kept trying to figure out what I should make for our gathering.  I wanted to make something really quick and something that I could eat with a burger in case there were limited food options (which there weren't!!).  I was thinking caprese bites, but making each tiny salad on a toothpick was going to take awhile.  Then I remembered a wonderful thing that we had started making at the in-law's a few summers ago.

This salad is super quick and is a real crowd pleaser!  The ingredient list is really short, which is an extra bonus!


Caprese Salad for a Crowd

  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Almost a cup of basil leaves (not a packed cup, just a big handful size)
  • 16oz mozzarella (full fat tastes better!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • a pinch of pepper
  1. Cut the mozzarella into small squares or rectangles like above.  If you can find tiny little balls of mozzarella, those would be really cute and you could cut them in half to match the tomatoes!
  2. Chiffonade the basil.  This is really simple, but sounds fancy.  Stack some basil leaves and roll into a little cigar shape.  Slice down the leaves to create little strips of basil.
  3. Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl and toss gently.  Sprinkle on the olive oil and vinegar and add the pepper.  Toss gently and serve
  4. If you are going to eat this later, I would recommend adding the vinegar right before serving, otherwise everything turns a little brown and isn't as pretty.  Enjoy!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Enchilada Casserole

I am not completely strict with my paleo eating; I eat rice and corn on occasion.  I also eat full fat dairy, which is more primal than paleo, but I tolerate the dairy well, so it isn't an issue for me.  Paleo is really about finding what works for you without bothering your gut.  Gluten free is a must for me, however, due to strong, er...reactions to it. In other words: yes, I know corn is not strictly paleo, but sometimes I enjoy some good Mexican type food with a corn tortilla.

This casserole has a texture similar to a tamale and would still be wonderful with some spinach added to it.  You can make it spicier with fresh jalapenos or cut back on the green chiles if you are very sensitive to heat. If you are feeling truly ambitious or have some extra time, make your own salsa verde.


Enchilada Casserole

  • 3 cups of shredded poultry**
  • 24 pack of small corn tortillas (you won't use them all, but you will use most)
  • 1 can of tomatoes and green chiles (such as Rotel), drained
  • 1 can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 16oz of sour cream
  • 19oz can of green enchilada sauce or salsa verde if you can't find enchilada sauce (or homemade if you are super ambitious!)
  • 8oz monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 8oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
  2. Shred the cheeses and set aside.  I like to use my food processor for this, very quick!
  3. In a large bowl, mix shredded chicken, tomatoes and green chile mix, half of the can of green chiles, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  4. In a blender or food processor (or a strong mixing arm) mix the sour cream, enchilada sauce or salsa, cayenne pepper, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. To assemble the casserole: 
    1. In a 9x13 pan, place a layer of corn tortillas.
    2. Spoon some of the sour cream and enchilada sauce mixture on the tortillas.
    3. Next add half of the chicken mixture in an even layer.
    4. Add a layer of cheese.
    5. Repeat steps above one more time.  
    6. To finish: add a final layer of tortillas, add the rest of the sour cream and enchilada sauce mixture (there will probably be a lot left to pour on and that is okay!), and top with the rest of the cheese.
  6. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until cheese is nicely browned like the picture above.
  7. This makes about 8 large servings.  Enjoy!
**I used leftover turkey breast from a turkey I had roasted, but cooking up a pound and a half of chicken breasts with some salt, pepper, and olive oil and then shredding it would work just as well.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Garlic and Pumpkin Mashed Sweet Potatoes

How do you like the new blog title?  Since I can't bake with real flour anymore, the old title seemed ill-fitting.  Max came up with the nickname "wife-a-saurus" a while ago, though I'm not sure if it was meant as a term of endearment...Since people in the paleo world often say that they eat like a dinosaur, I thought this would make a cute new title.

So, with the new title comes a new recipe with a paleo spin.  I roasted an entire turkey last week which was left over from Thanksgiving and was taking up far too much room in my freezer.  I needed a side for my turkey, but didn't want a traditional mashed potato.  I have made these before and they made a perfect pair for my turkey.

This recipe does use dairy, but could easily be made with coconut milk for those with a dairy intolerance.


Garlic and Pumpkin Mashed Sweet Potatoes
adapted from: Oh She Glows

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 14oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie spiced!)
  • 1 10oz package of frozen, chopped spinach (thawed and drained of excess liquid)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Put the diced sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes break apart easily with a fork, just like a regular potato.  Drain water from potatoes and return to pot.
  2. Add garlic to potatoes right away.  I find the potatoes are hot enough to get rid of the raw garlic flavor.
  3. Mash the potatoes a bit and then add the pumpkin, spinach, cream, and butter.  Mash and stir until the potatoes are fairly smooth.  I enjoy some chunks in the mashed sweet potatoes, but that is up to you.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pork chops and Peaches

I love pork and apples or applesauce and I have a great recipe that has some cinnamon and cranberries too!  But, its almost summer and apples just don't seem like the right thing to eat when there is so much produce coming into season right now!

This recipe is completely gluten and soy free for those of you with allergies.  It is also super quick!  I paired this with some green beans that I roasted with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.



Pork Chops and Peaches
adapted from: paleoblocks

Ingredients:
  • 1 T olive or coconut oil
  • 4 boneless pork chops or bone in, about 2 pounds
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 fresh peaches cut into wedges
  • 1 small red onion cut into thin slices
  • 3 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet (cast iron is ideal!). Season the pork with salt and 1/4 t pepper and cook until browned and almost cooked through (should feel firm to the touch), set aside. 
  2. Add the peaches, onion, vinegar and salt and pepper to the skillet and cook until peaches and onions begin to soften. 
  3. Return the pork and juices to the skillet. Reduce heat to low or medium low and cook for about five more minutes, or until pork is finished cooking and peaches and onions are soft.
  4. Sprinkle the pork and peaches with the basil and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Almost Paleo Shepherd's Pie

There are two dinners that Max asks for every week: chicken tikka masala and shepherd's pie.  He can't have them every week, because I enjoy a bit more variety in my food, but I do indulge him occasionally.

Now, my shepherd's pie has evolved quite a bit since I started making it in college.  I used to make it with many pre-packaged and convenience foods.  I've been trying to eat more real foods and switch my diet to a more paleo way of eating (gluten, grain, legume free, I still eat some dairy).  So, to make Max happy sometimes, I decided to make my shepherd's pie more paleo friendly and made with more real foods.

This turned out really well.  I've tweaked this a few times and this is my favorite version so far. I'm going to break this recipe into the different parts. Enjoy!

Almost Paleo Shepherd's Pie
created by: me!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  • 3 huge sweet potatoes, or 5 regular sized ones (You want enough to cover a 13x9 pan)**
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
**I love to use white sweet potatoes for this because it still looks like a traditional shepherd's pie.  The usually have white or purple skin and I get them at a regular grocery store for the same price as a regular sweet potato.
  1. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes.  
  2. Bring the cubed sweet potatoes to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes break apart with a fork easily.
  3. Drain water from pot and put the potatoes back in the pan.  Leave the burner on a low temperature for 3 or so minutes to steam off the extra water.
  4. Add the butter to the pan and start to mash the potatoes.  Add the salt, pepper, half and half, milk, and garlic salt and mash until smooth, or almost smooth, depending on your preference.
Mushrooms, Beef, and Gravy
  • 1 8oz (or more if you really like mushrooms) package of white button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1lb grassfed beef (or traditional beef if that's what you have)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (the not really paleo ingredient)
  • 1 tablespoon better than bouillon beef stock (again, not really paleo)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a medium saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat.  Add mushrooms and onion to the pan.  Saute until onions just start to become translucent.
  2. Add beef to pan.  Stir and cook until beef is cooked thoroughly.
  3. Pour in the water and add the bouillon.  Stir and sprinkle the cornstarch over the pan.  Mix this thoroughly to prevent clumping.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Simmer the mixture for a few minutes to allow the cornstarch to thicken the "gravy."  Turn off heat.
Completed Shepherd's Pie
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Pour mushroom and beef mixture into a 13x9 pan.
  3. Layer frozen peas on top of beef.
  4. Gently spread the mashed sweet potatoes over the top of the peas.
  5. Bake the Shepherd's Pie for 40 minutes.  You may want to put a cookie sheet under the pan because the gravy may bubble over.  The sweet potatoes will have little golden brown bits and some of the gravy might have escaped.  Yum!!
This makes 6-8 servings, depending on how hungry you are.  There are about 400 calories per serving in case you are counting that type of thing.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Gluten Free Quiche

I still love baking and cooking, but I just have to be a bit more creative and have some forethought when doing it.  Max requested quiche for dinner this week and I searched everywhere for a gluten free pie crust.

Now, I don't typically eat any grains, but quiche sounded so good and the crust is small compared to the egg portion.

I was very unsuccessful with my attempts to find a gluten free pie crust until after I made the quiche...of course. I decided to bite the bullet and attempt baking something with the gluten free flour I was given for Christmas.

I found a recipe from King Arthur Flour and it was awesome.  It turned out flaky and tasty, even though I didn't even follow proper pie crust making techniques.  I hope you try this and enjoy!


  • Gluten Free Pie Crust
  • adapted from King Arthur Flour
  • 1 1/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar

Directions

1) Lightly grease a 9" pie pan.
2) Whisk together the flour or flour blend, xanthan gum, and salt.
3) Cut the cold butter into pats, then work the pats into the flour mixture till it's crumbly, with some larger, pea-sized chunks of butter remaining.
4) Whisk the egg and vinegar or lemon juice together till very foamy. Mix into the dry ingredients. Stir until the mixture holds together, adding 1 to 3 additional tablespoons cold water if necessary.
5) Shape into a ball and chill for an hour, or up to overnight.
6) Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling.
7) Roll out on a piece of plastic wrap, on a silicone rolling mat, or in a pie bag that's been heavily sprinkled with gluten-free flour or flour blend. Invert the crust into the prepared pie pan.
8) Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Yield: crust for one 9" single-crust pie.

Quiche Filling
8 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
6oz ham steak (I like Jones because its yummy and gluten free), chopped into small pieces
4oz Cabot Monterey Jack, sliced or shredded
1 frozen package of spinach, thawed and with water squeezed out

1) Whisk the 8 eggs.  Whisk in heavy cream.  Stir in the diced ham, cheese, and spinach.  Make sure the spinach doesn't clump together.
2) Pour the egg mixture into the slightly baked pie crust.  Make sure it only fills the crust to slightly below the top, you don't want the filling to overflow.
3) Bake for about 40 minutes at 350.  The quiche is done baking when the center of the eggs no longer wiggle and are completely set.

Enjoy!!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Shaved steak with onions and peppers

I really need to think of a new name for this blog.  I officially eat a gluten free diet and I have cut out most grains and legumes and reduced my dairy.  I'm working on eating a paleo diet, which focuses on natural foods prepared in more traditional ways.  It makes me feel a lot better and a recent trip to Chicago reconfirmed my decision to eat this way.  So, not a whole lot of baking going on here anymore,  but I have been cooking a ton and I've been trying to prepare most of our foods from scratch.  If anyone has a suggestion, let me know :)

The following recipe is one I kind of made up and is a quick and easy dinner for a week night.  You can add cheese to eat if you eat dairy, or leave it off!  Either way, it is yummy.  Tonight's version was one of the better versions, so I decided to share it!

Shaved Steak with Onions and Peppers
Serves 4 big appetites, or 6 small ones

  • 2 lbs of shaved steak
  • 2 bell peppers, any color, cut into strips
  • 1 yellow onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 3 slices of bacon, or Trader Joe's Bacon Ends and Pieces
  • salt, pepper, or Camp Spice
  1. Cook bacon on a low heat (medium or medium low) to render the fat out.  Once the bacon is crispy, take it out of the pan and put it aside.  You'll want to crumble it up when its cool and add it back later.
  2. Turn the heat up to medium or medium high.  Add peppers and onions to the bacon drippings.  Saute until the vegetables are soft and remove from pan.
  3. Add shaved steak to the pan.  Cook and stir, breaking up the pieces of steak, until the steak is cooked.  Add bacon, peppers, and onions to the beef and stir.  Season with salt and pepper, or Camp Spice.
  4. You can top with cheese, barbecue sauce, or nothing at all!
Enjoy!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Its cold out and I work all day, so nothing could be better than a good, easy to make bowl of soup.  I think, in theory, soups are supposed to be easy, but often times they involved a lot of chopping and waiting and simmering and sometimes I just don't have time for that.

This recipe was so good I had to jump right on here and tell you about it.  The ingredients are minimal and the chopping will take you five minutes at the most.  Prep and actual involved cooking time is minimal, there is some waiting, just watch some tv or do some yoga or sit and stare at your oven while the cauliflower bakes.

It is pretty low calorie, but not low fat (remember, fat doesn't make you fat!).  I think it approximately 300 calories per serving (makes 4 servings).  The fat will keep you full for a long time, longer than low cal, low fat, high carb!  Now, before this turns into a rant or a lecture, the recipe!!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
adapted from: Elana's Pantry

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 or two cloves of garlic, minced (honestly, I used the jarred stuff!)
  • 4 cups of chick stock (or 4 cups of water and some Better than Bouillon, love this stuff!)
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (not low fat, remember?)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper (Max likes lots of pepper, but season to taste)
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Take off the green stalk of your cauliflower.  Chop the head in half and then slice it.  Put on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil and sprinkle with one tablespoon of olive oil.  Bake until brown and caramelized, about 30-45 minutes.  This step is important because the flavor it develops is outstanding.
  3. Once the cauliflower is done cooking (and you are done with that show you were watching), heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauce pot on medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, add chopped onion.
  4. Cook the onion for about five minutes, or until onion starts to become translucent.  Add garlic and cook for about one more minute.
  5. Chop your cooked and cooling cauliflower into slightly smaller pieces (rough chop or do like I did and hack at it with your wooden spoon) and add to pot.  Add your chicken stock now as well.
  6. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer on low for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very soft (like over-cooked broccoli). 
  7. Now, you can use a immersion blender or a regular one for the next part (have you gotten an immersion blender yet?  You should).  Turn the heat off and blend soup until smooth and creamy.  While you are blending, add the heavy cream.
  8. Turn the stove back onto low just to make sure the soup is nice and hot before serving.  Top with bacon, cheese, or eat as is and enjoy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Banana Bread Lara Bar

Last week the local "health food" store had a sale on Larabars, which I love, but I can't eat most of them because of the nuts they use and they are usually very expensive.  I looked at the ingredients and did some searching online and found out that they whole process of making these wouldn't be very hard and I could customize them with non-allergy causing ingredients.

I hope you try these; they are especially good for breakfast and will keep you full for a long time.  Although I highly recommend trying the real thing, this is a great recipe and ends up being a lot cheaper.

Banana Bread Lara Bars

  • 3 cups dates (make sure you pit them, I initially forgot this step!)
  • 1/2 cup banana chips
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Chop up the dates in a food processor (a blender may work, but you might burn out the engine, not sure).
  2. Remove the dates from the food processor and put in the banana chips and walnuts.  Pulse the nuts and fruit a few times until chopped into little pieces.
  3. Place the dates, walnuts, and bananas into a bowl and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Mix with your hands until fully combined.
  4. On parchment or wax paper, spread the mixture out into a rectangle.  It should be about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into eight pieces.  They should look like granola bars, or similar to that.  If you have ever had a Lara Bar, it should look pretty similar.  If you haven't had one, well, I probably should have taken a picture!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Heavenly Chocolate Mousse

Another post already?  Why, yes!  I have made this chocolate mousse three times now and it is so yummy.  I have not made it the same way twice because sometimes I have one type of chocolate and sometimes I am missing eggs (oops!) and sometimes I really want a dark chocolate orange mousse, which was the case tonight.

For those of you who don't know, I work at a chocolate factory.  Because of this, I usually have a surplus of chocolate on hand and I don't usually eat any of it.  If you're lucky enough to live close to me, you've probably benefited from this, and if you haven't then I apologize.  I had some wonderful orange dark chocolate (which is one of my favorites) and was craving a dessert.

Now this is not low fat or low anything in fact, but it a nice indulgence at the end of a long day.  I'm going to post the original recipe, but feel free to play with the flavors a bit.  Even if you mess this up, it will be a delicious mistake!

Heavenly Chocolate Mousse
from: All Recipes

Ingredients

  • 8 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (if you prefer milk, use it, if you like flavored chocolate, use it!!)
  • 1/2 cup water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter (no substitutes)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (If you use a sweeter chocolate, such as milk, reduce to 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 1/4 cups whipping cream, whipped

Directions

  1. In a microwave or double boiler, heat chocolate, 1/4 cup water and butter until the chocolate and butter are melted. Cool for 10 minutes. 
  2. In a small heavy saucepan, whisk egg yolks, sugar and remaining water. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches 160 degrees F (it will feel slightly thicker under your whisk), about 1-2 minutes. 
  3. Remove from the heat; whisk in chocolate mixture. Set saucepan in ice and stir until cooled, about 5-10 minutes (or, as I did, whisk egg mixture into chocolate and place in fridge, whisking every few minutes.  Don't forget about it or your chocolate may seize up)
  4. Fold in whipped cream (Don't use cool whip or the stuff from a can!  It won't work or taste good.  Tip for great whipped cream: place whisk and bowl in freezer for 15 minutes before making). Spoon into dessert dishes. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.  Then lick the bowl!!!