Category Archives: Food

Keto Chicken Pad Thai

I just love Pad Thai, and this low carb version hit the spot. It took a little more time than my normal 10 minute meal prep-time but it was totally worth it.

I’m not a clean-as-I-go type person can you tell? And cooking with a three-year-old doesn’t help either. (Hands over face.)

Don’t let this long(ish) list of ingredients scare you! The end result is worth the extra effort:

1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds free-range chicken tenders
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
⅓ cup organic chicken broth
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons tamarin or soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
½ cup chopped scallion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 zucchini, spiralized
½ cup bean sprouts
½ cup crushed peanuts, for garnish
1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish

In a medium bowl, mix the ginger, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Toss the chicken tenders in the spice mixture until they are coated.

Now add the peanut oil to a skillet and get it hot. Add the chicken and cook, turning once until cooked through. It took me about four minutes.

Don’t over-cook it! I usually err on the side of under-cooked to avoid tough chicken. Especially in this recipe, because it will go back in the sauce later. 

Once the chicken is done cut it in 1/4 inch pieces and set aside.

This is where I chopped the scallions.

Use the same skillet to scramble the eggs. I added a little more oil and cracked them right into the pan. Then set the eggs aside.

All I see is protein! I want chickens so bad. 

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the chicken broth, peanut butter, tamarin or soy sauce, vinegar, scallion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Stir well and cook for 3 minutes.

This Pad Thai sauce smelled and tasted so so good.

Now (or even before) spiralize the zucchini.

Add the chicken, zucchini noodles, scrambled eggs, and sprouts to the skillet. Toss to coat with the sauce, and cook for about 1 minute.

The recipe said to add the spiralized zucchini to the sauce and didn’t mention cooking it.. at first and I thought that can’t be right!! But I’m glad I followed the instructions and added it RAW because it was perfectly cooked after just one minute of simmering in the sauce. It was tender-crisp and delicious.

Serve with peanuts and a lime wedge. (Michael and I put peanuts in a bag and hammered them with a meat tenderizer. Perfect little boy job.)
I almost didn’t want to add this picture because it doesn’t do justice to how yummy and gorgeous this was. But here it is. Ah, yay for the convenience of iPhone pics and the craziness of dinner-time!

Brielle just came up and said “Can I write my name??” So here it is:

BRIELLE

MICHAEL

Michael obviously had to join in too. I’m leaving it here for future enjoyment, because you know, my kids will want to read alllllll my blog posts when they are older. 😀

Have a beautiful week friends!

XOXO!

*Thanks to The Easier Life for this awesome recipe!

 

 

 

 

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Thai Beef Satay And Peanut Sauce

Thai food is one of my favvvvvorite foods in the world. I ate my way across Thailand when I was 19. Okay, maybe not “across,” but I ate my fair share in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya City and gained a few kilos.

It was better than heaven and I loved how we ate “family style” with big bowls in the middle of the table and hands reaching every-which way.

I loved the idea of being able to recreate these flavors in my own kitchen… But I never thought it was possible until I bit the bullet and decided to actually *try* it.

I’m so glad I did! The best part of this entire meal for me was the peanut sauce. There was a ton left over and I used it on anything and everything for the next week. It was creamy and spicy-sweet, and exactly what I order in Thai restaurants that always makes my mouth water.

Yummmmmy.

And it was so easy to make:

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup coconut milk full fat from a can
1-2 teaspoons chile garlic sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon Thai Red Curry Paste (I added a little extra at the very end to up the kick.)


Now try not to eat it ALL with a spoon as you prepare the meat. 😀

(I soaked my skewers in water for a day before using.)

1 pound flank steak or skirt steak
2 tablespoons Red Boat Fish Sauce or your favorite
2 tablespoons Tamari Soy Sauce or coconut aminios
2 tablespoons sweetner – I used honey
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Cut the flank steak into 1 1/2 inch strips so that the grain of the meat is going horizontally across the strip.

Stick the skewers into the meat leaving a handle long enough to hold while eating.

Mix the fish sauce, soy sauce, and honey together in a baking dish and coat all surfaces of the beef.

Now sprinkle the meat with the coriander and rub it in. Now let it marinate for about 15-20 minutes.

I used a grill pan to grill the meat, and ended up taking the skewers OUT of the meat before I grilled it because the skewers were too big to fit in the grill pan! Next time I will use smaller skewers so I can retain the “Satay” look.

With some cauliflower “rice” on the side and the peanut sauce it was delicious. I can’t wait to make it again! 

And I have to add this picture because I just love their little faces. Whenever she sees “never-greens” Brielle says “Look Michael, tickle trees!!!” And they both laugh as the trees “tickle them.” Ahhhhh. Never ever ever grow up!

Happy almost Friday!

XOXO

Thanks Low Carb Maven for this awesome recipe! 



Slow Cooker Mexican Meatballs And A Rainy Day At Home

Last Tuesday started with a dead truck battery and ended with a traffic ticket from a very kind police officer. No really, he was so kind.

After one look in the back of my land-cruiser packed with three preschoolers he went from business as usual to sweet and comforting: “Just call DMV and renew your registration and it’s like you never even got a ticket….”

“Call DMV??” I don’t know what planet he’s from, but it’s not earth. Even so, I was thanking him as I drove away.

Kindness! It makes the world such a better place.

After we were merrily on our way I asked my audience in the back; “Can you believe I got a ticket??” To which Brielle’s little friend replied, “A ticket?? To what?”

I mean, adorable.

Days like that remind me how little my happiness and joy depends on my actual circumstances, and how much it depends on my willingness to just be content.

(Telling stories and having our snack in the car before resigning ourselves to an unplanned morning at home.) 

Some days motherhood is a whirlwind of places to go and to-do lists and some days it’s rain coming down and hours of nothing but fights and make-ups and Netflix and crafts and meals and clean-ups and books and games and snacks and make-believes and time-outs, and doing it all agains…

And that leads me to the Mexican Meatballs… They were simmering quietly in the background, not needing or requiring me.. just getting “done” on their own. Ahhh.

I used to think slow cookers were for chili and soup in cold weather. Now, as a mom, I know they are for survival. There’s nothing better than turning a pot on and having dinner done eight hours later.

I found this recipe years ago and I’m excited to share it with you and have it eternally on my meal-planning radar.

Slow Cooker Mexican Meatballs:

Ingredients:
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
6 garlic cloves (I use minced in a jar, so a couple teaspoons full.)
Shallots, 2 bulbs diced
Ground pork 1 1/2 lbs
Garlic powder 2 tsp
Cumin 1 tsp for meatballs and 1 tsp for sauce
Chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce 1, chopped
Chili Powder 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Crushed tomatoes (Can, 14 oz)
Crushed Tomatoes (Can 28 0z)
Avocado, 1 cubed
Lime, sliced into wedges

I always chop my veggies before I deal with the meat, because of the obvious grossness factor.

So I chopped the cilantro (Ahhhh the smell!)

It’s so fresh and amazing.

Then I diced the Shallots:

I added the Cilantro to the pork (The shallots go into the sauce.)

Then I added the spices:

Then I took off my rings and mushed it all together.

Next I made the sauce which is so easy:

I combined the cans of tomatoes in the crockpot with the second half (1 tsp) of cumin and the adobo pepper as well as the shallots and minced garlic.
Stir stir stir.

Then I rolled the meat into balls and dropped them right into the sauce.

Once they were all in there I covered them up with the spoon, being careful not to damage them.
Then I covered the slow cooker and turned it on low for 8 hours (You can also do high for 6 hours.)

As an additional step, (but not necessary for a delicious meal) you can remove the meatballs from the slow cooker when they are done and puree the sauce with an immersion blender before mixing the two together again.

Don’t forget salt and pepper!

They are tender and delicious and way too easy not to add to my monthly meal rotation.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

XOXO

 

 



Bacon Makin’

Oh how I love family traditions! Especially ones that taste good, (and may or may not raise your blood pressure, but let’s not dwell on that.)

Over the past couple of months THIS has become a weekend family tradition for us.

Every Saturday morning I see Brenden dragging this thing from the utility room (he wishes he had a garage) setting it up, pouring the pellets in, and setting the thermometer to connect to his iPhone.

(Who knew smoking meat could be such a nerdy/techy activity?? Maybe Brenden just finds a way to make everything nerdy/techy? Either way, he loves it.)

Last weekend we ran around doing our normal weekend stuff while this baby (we need to name her) did some pretty awesome smoking for us.

Whenever the smoker is ON I go through the fridge: “Can you smoke this? How about THIS??” And I pull out random stuff and bring it to the fire.

Brenden has smoked tomatoes, hot dogs, chicken wings, bacon, pork roast, ribs, (yummmmm, my favorite) and whole chickens:

He used a method called “Spatchcock” (not kidding) to flatten it out. This way it’s able to cook evenly and smoke to perfection!

And then there’s bacon makin’! I don’t know how to articulate how much this family loves bacon. Maybe just by saying, “one day it will probably kill us.” Because it probably will. We eat bacon every morning, then sometimes pork again of some variety by the end of the day. (Hands over face.)

No one really knows the health ramifications of bacon, but that aside, everything in moderation is a good rule… right? Well moderation is certainly not something we’re practicing over here currently. So… if we are going to eat it, it might as well be delicious.

Deeeeelicious.

So at the beginning of Brenden’s bacon making there was some trial and error. We went through a few pork bellies before we cut into it and were like “mmmm yeah, perfect salt to sugar ratio.”

Brenden first started off using brown sugar, and now he uses white sugar. The white sugar actually dissolves and absorbs into the meat as opposed to the brown sugar which seems to fall off right after you rub it on.

So the method he has adopted is this:

Go to whole foods and buy 3 lbs pork belly.
Mix: 1/3 salt, 1/3 cup white sugar, 2 tsp curing salt.

The curing salt is pink. I’m only telling you this because I am a stickler for safety, but this could be LETHAL if ingested in huge amounts. Meaning, if Michael or Brielle decided they for some reason wanted to eat an entire box of this, they would become very very ill. We keep it super high up and out of reach, and I doubt very seriously any human would want to eat that much pink salt anyway, but it’s worth mentioning! Good, off my chest.
Here it is:

The ingredients, if you care: Salt, Sodium Nitrate, and pink food coloring.

Mix mix mix and pat onto the pork belly. Okay, this is a picture from when he used BROWN sugar, picture it white.



He cut the meat into two sections and made one a little spicy with some Sriracha. Yes please.


Just squeeze it on, (no measuring needed) and pat the sugar/salt mixture on after all the sauce is rubbed in.
Then place the meat in a bag and seal it closed. It will stay in the fridge for a week. He flips it once a day (for some reason) and sometimes I flip it too because I think maybe he forgot that day, so when we both flip it, it ends up NOT being flipped at all! Perfect example of too many cooks in the kitchen.

After about a week he pulls it out, and now it’s ready to smoke.


The thermostat talks to his phone so he knows when everything is done without any hassle.

After it’s done he lets it rest and then slices it, and we fry up some regardless of what time it is, because it needs to be tasted immediately! It’s just too good to wait.


XOXO

 



Key West – What We Ate, Saw and Did!

My tan lines are fading fast, time to relive our vacation via a blog post! The first few days home were an adjustment to say the least. Whew! Seriously, peeing alone for four days and not having to mediate one sibling fight… that kind of freedom is hard to recover from. 😀

We stayed at the Casa Marina Waldorf Astoria Resort and I have to say, it was exceptional. I also have to say that we paid for it with our Hilton points! If we had to fork out actual dollars instead of hotel points we would have opted for a different hotel. This is a huge perk to Brenden’s hobby of making sure we have credit cards that give us the most return for our purchases.

We use the AMEX blue on groceries and get cash back on that until it caps out at the max allowed for the year and then we switch to the Hilton card where we get hotel points for every dollar we spend for the remaining of the year. The most bang for our buck comes from the blue card in the form of cash back so once that reaches its max amount allowed it’s pretty nice to have hotel points racking up on our Hilton card for the rest of the year.

It’s funny to see him geek out on all these details, but it turns out it really does make a difference and I’m so glad he spends time optimizing in this area! I can’t remember the last time we actually paid for a hotel room.

I did’t get any full front pics of the resort but it was beautiful.


Roosters and chickens strolled around like guests at the resort, which was so funny. Everywhere we went we heard clucking and crowing, and they seemed to be monogamous (or maybe that’s just me being a romantic?) Whenever I saw a beautiful rooster I would see a significantly less beautiful chicken with him, palling around enjoying their day together. They spent a lot of time scratching in the soil under the shrubs by the pool, digging up bugs for the chicks trailing behind them.

They were all over the city too!

The first night we went to Mallory Square to watch the beautiful sunset and experience the Sunset Celebration. It was beautiful! Then we walked a few feet away to the Hot Tin Roof for dinner.

The Yucka fries are what stands out the most in my memory. They were ammmmazing and served with a pesto dipping sauce which sounds weird but it was just so good. We also had the PEI mussels with grilled ciabatta, pork empanadas, crab cakes (which we found out had dairy in them so I didn’t eat any sadly) and I had the most refreshing delicious New Zealand Sauvignon blanc. The menus lit up!! Back-lit, people. Which made for a very cool ambiance as you looked around the restaurant.

The Hot Tin Roof is famous for its views and it did not disappoint! The post-sunset sky was stunning.
After dinner we went down to the dock to see a Sublime cover band. Apparently they always have a big live entertainment event for the spring break crowd during this time of year. Let me tell you, we felt ollllld in that group. Happy but old!

Thursday morning we took a two hour jet ski tour around Key West. I was the one who wanted to do it! I was giddy and excited! I pictured us puttering around, maybe occasionally accelerating just to get a rush.. but no no no. This was sooo different.

We were FLYING full speed ahead. I reached 50 mph, not because I wanted to but because I had to speed to keep up with the rest of the tour! We were hitting huge wakes and I thought for sure I was going to flip my jet ski or fly off.

It seemed like everyone else was having a blast but I really and truly didn’t like it AT ALL. The only real moment I enjoyed was when we slowed down and got to play in the Gulf of Mexico where it was shallow and calm and I could see the bottom. (That’s where I got this picture of Brenden. When I was stress-free enough to pull my phone out of its waterproof case.) We did fun circles and got to play around instead of flying through the choppy water 50 mph. Seriously, no thank you.

Okay, enough about the darn jet skis.

One of our favorite places was Grand Vin. It’s a sweet place right off Duval street where you can buy a bottle of wine and sit outside, enjoy a glass and they will put your name on it and you can come back and enjoy the rest later! We had a bottle of wine there all week. It was a unique/fun feeling to go back to Grand Vin for “our” bottle of wine. 🙂


Next we had dinner at Nine One Five. I think this was my favorite restaurant of the trip. Click here to see the fans blowing the flowers above the tables. This was the exact view from our table and it was incredible! The ambiance, the beautiful smells, the food, the colors. It was just too wonderful. The address is 915 Duval Street, hence the name.

For a starter we had calamari and bacon wrapped asparagus. Called ‘Addictive Asparagus’ on the menu for a reason!

Brenden had the Seafood Soup which he said was delicious but I couldn’t taste it because it had cream in it. I had Pasta with Shrimp in a wine sauce. The pasta was made in house and it was to.die.for. The noodles literally melted in my mouth and tasted like no pasta I’ve had before.

The next morning was Friday and I remember thinking, we still have three full days!! It was incredible to have that much time with my man in full relaxation mode. No responsibilities and not a care in the world. We never travel without the kids so having this much time together alone was just bliss.

I had so many naps… I told Brenden I didn’t know I was that tired and he said napping is my super power. I can nap on command, even if I’ve already napped twice that day, and it doesn’t even ruin my sleep that night. Yes, I’m proud of my cat-napping ability. It serves me well. 🙂

We heard we HAD to go to Latitudes Restauraunt. It’s on Sunset Key, a short ferry ride over Key West harbor. They were booked for dinner until May! Which was a good thing, considering I can’t imagine spending the $$$ to eat dinner there. Some locals joked that we should bring three wallets. So yeah, no thank you. We decided to go over for lunch, and it was delicious.
We had stone crabs caught that day.

I ordered a blackened fish sandwich and fries… I wish I had some of those fries right now!

Brenden had a fish and risotto dish. He said it was good but I couldn’t taste it because of the cream.
All in all the food wasn’t anything to write home about. It was just some yummy fresh seafood. But the sights, the ferry over, the panoramic gulf views. The warm wind and scents from the flowers and trees. The atmosphere. All of that combined is why it’s worth raving about.

After lunch we took a walk around the Island. Sunset Key is a private island with adorable little houses and sweet picket fences with colorful flowers draping over every-which-way. We walked the entire island in about twenty minutes and loved the quiet atmosphere. No cars, just the occasional gulf cart. Peace and serenity.



The white sandy beach where we sat for lunch is apparently where those blissful Corona commercials are filmed! Makes total sense:

We took our time heading back and before we knew it, it was dinner-time. We got a recommendation from some locals for dinner:
I was seriously excited for some Cuban food!! Bring on the rice and beans! It was authentic, amazing, and just a taste of Cuba for real.

I got grilled chicken with black beans and rice and it came smothered with sweet plantains. Realllllly good. The portion of chicken could have fed a family of four which kind of turned me off considering I saw these birds in live action clucking around all day with their cute little chicks behind them. It’s okay…  I value lean protein for fuel too much to be phased by this for long. So I enjoyed every bite.

Meanwhile Brenden had the slow roasted pork and was right in his element. There was a hot sauce on the table that was almost gone when we left. It was delicious, all of it!

One of my favorite discoveries on this trip was the watermelon juice. I found it at the hotel breakfast buffet and I was determined to recreate it for the kids as soon as I got home.



I would drink two glasses with breakfast and then take some to the pool with me for later. My version of it at home was not quite as good, sadly!


It was surreal spending so much time together with no distractions and no responsibilities. Wow. At home a two hour date night is a treat!! Here we had a date night every night… and all day. I mean, come on. Mom-life culture shock much?

The last night we decided to go to Sunset Pier to just see if they could accommodate us. We didn’t have a reservation and it worked out perfectly. We got a table right on the water and got to see the boats and the insane sunset.

We started dinner with some conch fritters. Mostly because I was curious!

They were okay. Kind of a weird texture… I detected some stringy-ness every now and then.

But my dinner was two-thumbs up. I mean three if I had three. I am a sucker for ribs. Ribs and coleslaw and street corn?? BRING IT ON.

Brenden got steak skewers and raved about his too.

We were so happy. And this was our view.

The next morning was Sunday, time to go home. We woke up in time for the sunrise for once! So glad we did.
Four days was my limit. I loved every single moment of independent bliss but by night four I wanted to SWIM home to see my babies. I missed their little faces and non-stop noises and fighting and their very persons. I MISSED THEM.

That is what makes a vacation without kids so amazing…. there is such a contrast from vacation to mom life!

Sunday morning we went to Banana Cafe before taking the taxi to the airport. The herb and potato omelette hit the spot.

I am so grateful to our incredible moms (and company!) who made the kid’s time so healthy and happy. They felt like they had a vacation too, I could tell when I got home! They were so full of love and joy and security. It was such a gift, to be able to relax with each other knowing our babies were happy and well cared for.

Key West, we are coming back for you!

XOXO

 



Bacon Wrapped Whole Chicken with Maple Herb Butter

Apparently fat really doesn’t make us fat after all?? Sugar does? Says this guy.
He’s adopted a keto diet over the past year and most of his calories come from fat. And somehow he isn’t blowing up…
(This picture makes me so happy. Rhode Island in summer!)

I love to cook chicken because it’s economical and I really enjoy eating it. But Brenden doesn’t like it much. Something about it not being “fatty” enough?

Well the other day I had a whole chicken sitting in the fridge and I knew if I roasted it and served it up for dinner I would get some “thank you”s but not a lot of “wow this is good”s. And sometime a girl just needs a “WOW”.

So I decided to wrap it in bacon. The best part of the experience was the kid’s reaction.

They were pretty amazed at the process:

“I’m not going to taste that. That looks gross.”

“Are you putting those carrots in its bottom?”

“Is it dead??”

They touched everything and loved it. And somehow we managed to not contract a foodborne illness.




Next time I will use twice as much bacon. I didn’t realize it would shrink so much!

I used a recipe from The Cookie Writer for a delicious maple syrup herb butter. I poured 1/2 cup beef stock into the bottom of a baking dish. stuffed the bird with chopped carrots (I cooked them again outside of the bird before we ate them) and doused the bird with the herb butter before we wrapped it.

The butter recipe:

  • 1 tbsp.fresh rosemary, chopped (I used dry)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped (I used dry)
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper

The kids loved to mix mix mix and spread spread spread.

Then we wrapped it with bacon and baked it at 375 for an hour and 10 minutes. I turned it to broil and cooked it another 5 minutes to get the bacon extra crispy.

To salvage all the delicious bacon fat/chicken drippings I made a delicious out of control gravy to go over all of it. Not like a bacon wrapped chicken doused in butter needs gravy. But why not, right?

The gravy was super easy and rich thanks to the bacon grease!



Butter, drippings, corn starch, salt and pepper. Stir stir stir. It thickened right up.

There’s nothing like gravy with bacon grease in it. Oh my.

And bonus, I used the chicken bones and leftover meat to make a delicious chicken soup later. It was really rich and different thanks to the bacon flavor. Bacon bacon bacon. Sorry, I’ll stop now.

XOXO!



Slow Cooker Keto Chicken Tikka Masala

I’ve been trying to write this post for a week now. Life has been crazy with these littles. CraYzee.

(I chose this calm picture because it’s the exact opposite of how it’s been around here lately.) 🙂

I’ve been contemplating some big family changes that have my mind spinning on hyper-drive. I hope I’ll start to feel normal again soon? Probably not. I have a feeling I’m about to embark on a journey of weirdness and “non-normalness” like none other. Which has me saying “help” and “I’m excited” simultaneously. But back to the point of this post: FOOD!

I made this amazing Indian inspired dish last week and Brenden and I lovvvved it. I’m meal planning for next week and realized: it’s not on my blog! I love having all my favorites right here so I can meal plan somewhat painlessly. So into my arsenal it goes!

Let me tell you first: If you order Tikka Masala at your favorite Indian restaurant you’ll love this recipe. Like love, love. I found the recipe on ruled.me and made just a couple small changes. This is the first time I’ve made a Keto diet recipe!

The ingredient list:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. Chicken Thighs, bone-in skin-on
  • 1 lb. Chicken Thighs, boneless/skinless
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 inch Ginger Root, grated
  • 3 tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 5 tsp. Garam Masala
  • 2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 4 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 10 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream (I used full-fat coconut milk)
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk (from the carton)
  • Fresh Cilantro, chopped (to top)
  • 1 tsp. Guar Gum (I used almond flour)

I had no idea why they called for one pound of skin on bone in thighs AND one pound of boneless skinless thighs. It didn’t make sense until I saw it all come together. The boneless skinless thighs provide a lot of extra meat and the bone in thighs provide the skin that melts into delicious flavor and fat during the long cooking process.

It was a labor of love though, considering I dislike (okay, hate) dealing with raw poultry. I had to cut cut cut into skin and bone. And if a vegetarian is reading this I’m sure they are like WHAT…?? Yeah, it’s pretty gross when you think about it. Which I try not to do.

I cut all the chicken into little bite sized pieces. I used kitchen shears for the bone in skin on pieces. Which made things easier, but also potentially more dangerous. My hands were freeeeezing and I could have just taken a finger off without noticing much. So I used a different technique to cut the meat. I didn’t cut the meat like I would cut paper. Instead I held the scissors vertically, point to the cutting board, and sliced downwards. Again, labor of love! But the end result was worth the time. I had delicious Tikka Masala leftovers for lunch for a week!

After the meat was all cut up I put it in the slow cooker and grated a knob of ginger over the top.

Next I added the spices.

Talk about fragrant! This is what Indian food is made of. (And I did not buy the salt-free blend on purpose! But I made up for it in pink Himalayan salt, don’t worry.) 😀
Next I added this stuff.

I mixed well and closed the top of the slow-cooker.

I turned it on low for 6 hours. (You can also cook on high for three hours but there is something about the low/slow heat that works magic on skin-on chicken thighs.)

After it was done I added some more coconut milk instead of the heavy cream (the cream at the top of the can this time) and left out the Guar Gum and used almond flour as a thickening agent instead.

Michael and I made cauliflower rice to go with it.

He’s wearing a pair of swim trunks his friend Waltie just gave him. He lovvvvves swim trunks. And wearing them while cooking in January?? Why not.

The end result is so worth the time and effort and I can’t wait to taste it again!

Oh and don’t forget the Cilantro!

 

 

 

 

 



Christmas Numero Tres… Co-Starring Braised Beef Short Ribs!

Three days of celebrating – I’m tired! We celebrated with my family Christmas Eve, Brenden’s mom Christmas day and Brenden’s dad the day after Christmas.

That’s a lot of eating and drinking and being merry! I can’t wait to get back on track and organized mentally and physically for the new year.

I made slow-cooker braised short ribs for Dinner for our Christmas Number Three. Compliments of Sarah The Cow. It’s amazing at how fast we are going through this cow share!

Regardless, this was the most delicious fall-off-the-bone meat ever. I found it on glutenfreehomestead.com.

At 9AM Brielle helped me get the meat in the slow-cooker. (3-4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs.) She sprinkled salt and pepper on the ribs after I washed them with cold water.

We cut up three carrots, a stalk of celery and an onion.
I put some coconut oil in a pan and browned the meat, 4 minutes on each side. Then into the slow-cooker it went.
I used the hot pan to fry the veggies up, about 8 minutes.

I added two tablespoons coconut flour (I’ve never used this before and it smelled so good in the pan!)

And 1 and 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste. Stir stir stir.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups red wine, bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 8 minutes to reduce. I used this fabulous $8.00 wine from Trader Joes.

Add 1 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp rosemary and one bay leaf, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Add two cups beef stock. Stir.

Remove from heat and pour sauce over ribs in the slow cooker.

Cover and turn on low – cook for 7-8 hours and be prepared to be amazed when you open it up and taste it. AMMMMAZED.

I made some fun sides, but my favorite was the bacon roasted brussel sprouts.

It’s exactly what it sounds like: Bacon and Brussels!



I love how there are actual leaves on the stove-top. My kitchen was A MESS during this whole process. Cooking with kids is chaos. 😀

Before dinner we did presents. AGAIN! By far the kid’s favorite present from Grandpop was this remote-controlled ROBOT dinosaur that I promptly named “Shiny.” Even though he is obviously a boy.

He’s so life-like it kind of freaks me out. He’s programmed to lean in when you rub his head, and even when I say, “pet his head” to one of the kids, he leans IN toward them. He was walking and sensed the Christmas tree and lowered his head to avoid bumping into it. At one point I touched his tail and I saw him re-balance himself, making tiny life-like movements. EEEEEK.

He’s a generally happy dinosaur, unless he’s in “hunting” mode, (yes, you can change his mood) or “cautious mode.” He’s so cute when he’s being “playful.” And the kids just love him. I really have no idea what their future will look like, but based on what their childhood looks like (ROBOTS) I have a feeing it’s going to be incredible. And pretty “futuristic.”

I get really weird when it comes to robots… I feel like one day they will become very involved in our lives.. and after meeting Shiny I have a feeling that time will be sooner rather than later.

Brielle and Michael have been so super cute together the last few days. When there’s no school and no playmates besides each other this is what happens!

Brielle loves asking Michael to “read” to her. This is a Noah’s Ark book that is all illustrations (beautiful illustrations, done by Peter Spier.) And Michael is making up the cutest words.

Whenever he stops: “Keep reading Michael.”

I love my pjs from my MIL and my throw from my FIL. Plaid on Plaid on Plaid! Pokie is giving me some serious kisses. She’s so sweet.

Whew THAT WAS FUN. And more than enough Holiday love and joy to last the whole year through. I’m so ready for 2017 and all the awesomeness it’s going to bring. There’s nothing more inspiring than a New Year!

I’ll leave you with this last bit of Holiday Cheer: A “real reindeer” and my favorite little dinosaur.

XOXO!

 



Bacon Cabbage Chuck Beef Stew: Paleo Comfort Food!

Good old Crock-Pot meals… I can be having a haaaale of a week and if I have dinner cooking in the slow-cooker I feel like I can (possibly) hold it all together.

This week I’ve had a couple of those days. Monday for example: Everything I did I had to re-do. The kids were sick and not sleeping. I was tired. I came home from running errands and put an entire load of freshly washed laundry BACK into the washer. It was in the hamper upstairs ready to be folded and I thought it was dirty and started the process all over again!

But in the background my good old Crock-Pot was dutifully “doing.” So I breathed in.

And let me tell you what I smelled.

We recently got a cow share. Hm. Does “beef” share sound better? Either way I have a freezer full of grass-fed beef that I know lived a happy and healthy life. We named it Sarah. Don’t think about that too long. I try not to. 😉img_5202 img_5203This is our first time doing a beef share, and it’s super fun to pull out different cuts for different recipes.

So Monday I pulled out a mammoth sized chuck roast. When Brielle saw it she said ‘That’s something a dinosaur eats.” and then “Is that BLOOD?” Yeah, she doesn’t eat red meat and probably never will after seeing this.

I found this recipe on The Nourished Caveman. It is so easy and delicious.

Ingredients
  • ½ pound of organic uncured bacon, in strips
  • 2 to 3 pound grass-fed and -finished chuck roast, cut in 2″ pieces
  • 2 large organic red onions, peeled and cut in slices
  • 1 clove organic garlic, peeled and smashed – (I used minced in a jar garlic)
  • 1 small organic green or Savoy cabbage
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 sprig fresh organic thyme
  • 1 cup of homemade beef bone broth (I used organic store-bought but now I can make some bone broth with the bones from this cut!)

We started by putting the bacon in the bottom of the slow cooker. Michael helped with this until I caught him with an entire piece of raw bacon in his mouth. Reallllly gross. img_5201
img_5204Then we sliced the red onions and added them to the bacon along with the garlic.
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Then we cut the beef and the cabbage. This was a group effort, which means a LOT more effort on my part, and zero time for picture taking.

This is the easy breakdown of all steps:

  1. bacon slices to line the bottom
  2. onion slices and garlic
  3. the chuck roast
  4. the cabbage slices
  5. the thyme
  6. the broth
  7. add few pinches of sea salt and a liberal amount of freshly ground black pepper
  8. Cook on low for 7 hours.
  9. Serve in bowls.

This is Michael adding the cabbage. It looks like a lot of cabbage but it will caramelize down beautifully!
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I love including them in the cooking. It is pretty time consuming (and more than a little messy) but I know it’s invaluable.

After the stew was done I stirred it all up, added some salt and tasted it.
It was sooooo good. I didn’t know how the onions and bacon would turn out because the onions were a big pile in the bottom of the slow cooker and the bacon was in raw strips (???) but they were a delicious caramelized tangle of goodness.

The beef was tender and to die for.

But the cabbage was my favorite. It had amazing flavor and was so delicious. I’m going to slow cook some cabbage alone with some bone broth very soon. The health benefits of cabbage are off the charts and I didn’t know slow cooking it would make it so tasty!

So there it is. And I’m eating leftovers right now! It’s perfect for a Fall/Winter day. XOXO

 

 



Mexican-Style Pulled Pork

Yet another slow-cooker pork recipe to add to my arsenal! Praise the easy recipe gods.

And this might be my favorite yet.

I had high hopes for this recipe for a few reasons. One being that it called for enchilada sauce. That just spelled “comfort food” to me. And let me tell you, it does not disappoint in this category.

This pulled pork can (and should!) be served over everything from baked potatoes to big fat rolls to corn tortillas. And the sides… I can’t even imagine the tastes that would compliment this. Coleslaw, Pinto beans, Collards, oh my!

We kept it simple tonight and ate the face off some tacos. With a side of spicy black beans.

Mexican-Style Pulled Pork:

You will need –

  • 2 to 3 lb. pork butt or shoulder
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 2 green chilies, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix the last six ingredients in the list (the spices) in bowl and rub it all over the meat.
img_0721
img_0719Put the seasoned meat in a slow cooker (turned on low.)

Now pour over the meat:
The salsa, the enchilada sauce, the green peppers, (I used 1/2 can of mild green chilies – sliced – instead) and the beef stock.
img_0722Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Once it’s done, take the meat out and let it rest. Strain the sauce with a colander into a saucepan.) It’t hot! Cook the sauce over medium heat until it thickens a bit.

I added two tablespoons of corn starch to a portion of it and once it was dissolved I added it back to the pan. It thickened the sauce nicely! Totally optional, but gave it more of a gravy comfort food vibe.

Shred the pork using two forks, and put back in the slow cooker with the thickened sauce, combining with a few stirs. Cover the crock pot and cook on high heat for another 20 minutes. I didn’t cook it the additional 20 minutes, (we are impatient over here,) and it still turned out perfect. 

Open it up (again) and enjoy!!!!

XOXO

*This recipe (minus a few changes) is from Paleo Leap: My go-to treasure trove for all things Paleo!