My Tiny Squares
- Just A Random Wednesday – A Post Only A Mother Could Love
- Keto-Friendly Chicken Pad Thai
- Thai Beef Satay And Peanut Sauce
- Slow Cooker Mexican Meatballs And A Rainy Day At Home
- My Babiest Baby Is Three!
- Bacon Makin’
- Key West – What We Ate, Saw and Did!
- My girl is FIVE!
- 10 Tricks I’m Doing To Stay Alive During My Sugar Cleanse
- Slow Cooker Paleo Jerk Chicken
Category Archives: Food
Can I just tell you how much I love trying a new crockpot meal? Especially pork?
1) If we love them, I have yet another easy meal to add to my list of go-tos.
2) I love seeing Brenden happy, and it seems he’s happiest eating PORK.
3) Slow-cooker recipes usually have lots of leftovers, and leftovers are my best friend.
This is a style of pork I’ve never even heard of before! It’s a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork that is prepared by marinating the meat in strongly acidic citrus juice. And the mix of spices is superb.
The recipe calls for Pork Butt. Which, if you want to be less grossed out you can just call “Pork Shoulder.” It’s a great cut of meat for the crock-pot because it has lots of good fat to render, and it’s a great cut of meat for your wallet because it’s more economical than most cuts. WIN.
- 4 lbs pork butt
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 2 red onion, sliced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 2/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 habanero peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano
- Fresh cilantro
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
I always cut my veggies first, even before I even open the meat. I want the meat to be the last thing that touches my surfaces.
So first I dice the tomatoes, slice the red onions, and dice the red peppers. Already I am loving this meal, just look at these beautiful colors!
I dump all of that in a big bowl, and put it aside for later.
Now I juice the limes and pour the juice in a bowl with the orange juice and the garlic. I dice the habanero peppers and throw them in there too.
I set the bowl of juices aside and go on to the spices.
I mix all the spices in a little bowl and then the meat makes an appearance.
I always try to buy happy meat/meat that came from happy animals.
I rub the spices into the meat.
Now it’s time to put it all in the pot!
I set the meat in the slow cooker and pour the delicious liquid over the top.
Next I pour the bowl of veggies on top of that.
Once the meat is cooked (8 hours later) I shred it and mix it all in the crockpot to make sure it has access to all the flavors and juices.
This pork can be served with a sweet potato mash, or with anything really, but I chose to make tacos.
I made some black beans to go with it, and warmed some corn tortillas in a pan. I find that doing this without butter makes the corn tortilla perfectly warm and crispy while still being just a little chewy. (Which I love.)
The most important ingredient they saved for last:
Add some sea salt and plenty of cilantro to your final dish! It takes the entire meal to a different level.
It was a winner! Michael loved the pork by itself, Brenden and I loved the tacos, Brielle wouldn’t try it, (but what’s new??) and I’ll for sure be making it again.
Next time I plan to marinate the meat in the spices and juices overnight.
*This is yet another recipe from paleoleap. I could make a recipe -a-day from these guys and never get bored! Check them out for all things Paleo!
I’ve always included Brielle in my cooking, but just recently she’s really started to get into it. Now she wants to participate more than just stirring the pancake or cupcake batter.
This week she helped me make fish. We went to Whole Foods and picked it out together and I fielded questions like, “Mommy, why aren’t his eyes moving?” (We were looking at the smoked whole whitefish.) And when she saw the huge Octopus: “Mommy, can it eat??” Nope.. it’s dead.
So there were some heavy feelings at the fish counter, but we survived and walked away with a pound of haddock.
Then we waited 48 hours to cook it (way too long) and when I opened it all I smelled was bad fish. So we returned it and got more. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. If my produce or meat goes bad (within reason obviously!) I just RETURN IT. I mean, why re-buy it if you never got to use it in the first place? (No judging please.)
So we got the fresh, happy fish home and got to work making Mustard Roasted Fish.
The original recipe calls for cream, but to make it dairy free I decided to use Mayonnaise instead. (Seems a little gross but it somehow worked!)
For the mustard sauce we put in a bowl:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Juice of 1/2 lemon (We used lime because we didn’t have lemon.)
1 shallot, minced
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Then pop into the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. I like to turn on broil right at the end to get the top sort of brown and crispy.
Let me backtrack one quick second. That morning, before cooking the fish, I made LENTILS to go with it. Talk about delicious. And so many health benefits! Lentils are high protein, stablize blood sugar, lower cholesterol, increase energy, etc. etc. etc! We love them.
Rinse and drain one cup green or french lentils.
Cut up one onion.
Put some olive oil in a dutch oven or pot, (I am using a regular pot because my dutch oven burned up, long story..) And add the onion and sauté for a few minutes. Add some garlic, maybe a teaspoon? I never cut my own, I use the pre-minced jars.
Bring to a boil and cover. Lower the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
Serve the fish over the lentils. Brielle didn’t have ONE bite of fish, which I expected, but it still broke my heart!
We had a great conversation at dinner as Brenden and I ate our fish and Brielle ate a quesadilla and carrots, where we explained to Brielle that this meal was not in fact our favorite food either. But we still eat it because it’s healthy and good for our bodies.
Her diet is improving slowly, and I am working harder than ever to encourage her to eat healthier foods and have a better relationship with food in general. It’s a process for me. Blog post coming up about my struggles with that soon. When I find another free, (alone) 30 minutes!
Hope everyone is having such a wonderful summer.
*This recipe is originally from Cooksmarts.
A variety of olives and peppers
Our favorite balsamic vinaigrette
Grilled veggies that I cut up and marinate in balsamic and olive oil and roast and they are good the whole week!
I switch up the toppings:
Grilled Chicken Strips
Curried Chicken Salad
You get the point.
Well today I made Salmon Croquettes for our lunch salad! I say “croquettes” but really I have no idea what the difference between a “Salmon Croquette” and a “Salmon Cake” is. Is there a difference? For some reason I picture a croquette to be smaller and crispier. And maybe even yummier? so this was a croquette.
I didn’t measure what I used, I just eye-balled it. But I promise you can too. It’s the most no-brainer meal ever. And so freaking delicious.
I started with a can of salmon. Thank you Trader Joes.
Open that up, pour out the juice (preferably into a grateful pet’s food bowl) and dump the fish into a bowl.
Next add about a cup of Panko Bread Crumbs. Or regular bread crumbs! Or Gluten Free Bread crumbs. Really anything you want that’s a bit of a bonding agent.
Now, two eggs. (No pic for this because my son was a total mess cracking the eggs everywhere.)
Now, ONION! 1/2 onion, diced. This is muy importante.
Add it to the bowl and then some salt and freshly ground pepper.
Now, mustard! About 1 tablespoon. Even if you aren’t a mustard fan please don’t skip this step. It really adds to the flavor! Any Dijon will work beautifully.
Stir stir stir. Mix mix mix.
Now heat a pan with cooking oil. Medium-high heat. Take about two spoonfuls in your hand and pat it down to the size you want. Add it to the pan. Wear an apron at this step because POP POP POP. And oil ruins shirts!
Let me tell you, just looking at this pic makes my mouth water. And I just ate!
While you cook the croquettes (HA, I love saying that word mostly because I have no idea what it means,) prepare your salads!
I added some mustard to the side of the greens for dipping, and some olives and peppers.
This is my favorite salad dressing of all time. But olive oil and vinegar and a little salt and lemon would be just as good on this dish!!
Sprinkle the greens lightly with your dressing of choice and top with your piping hot salmon!
Saturday was hectic.. Too much stuff going on in too little time. But there was a pound of chicken in the fridge that was expiring that day and there was no way I was going to let that happen!
Brenden went to the gym at 4:00 and I decided to use the 45 minutes between then and when we all went to the pool to save the chicken. We already had dinner plans, but this meal keeps beautifully and viola! Our Sunday dinner would be dunzo. So I got to work. (And work it was, the kids were a hot mess.)
It’s another Cooksmarts favorite. It’s rich and full of flavor, and good with rice or by itself.
You will need:
1 lb. Bonesless skinless chicken breast
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
3-4 carrots or turnips, peeled and chopped
Peanut butter, creamy (“natural” preferred but any variety is fine.) 1/2 cup
Garlic, 2 cloves
Fresh ginger, 2 tsp. grated
2 tbs tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock
Red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp.
Garnish: (all optional)
3 tbsp fresh cilantro
Peanuts, 1/2 cup, roasted and unsalted, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
Put the carrots (or turnips) on a microwave safe dish and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 4 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender and carrots still have a bit of crunch. Set aside.
Heat a dutch oven or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken (season it with salt and pepper!) and sear on all sides, about 4 minutes. Don’t cook it through, it will cook in the sauce later. Set aside.
Next make the peanut sauce.
Whisk together the Peanut butter, tomato paste, chicken stock, ginger, and red pepper flakes At first it looks pretty gross and then you smell it and realize, this is how they do that sauce, wow!!
Now add more oil to the hot pan and toss in the garlic and bell peppers. Cook until it smells delicious, about 1 minute.
Now add sweet potatoes, carrots (or turnips) and the peanut sauce. Add chicken and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on med-low for about 10-12 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. I added a little more chicken stock because it looked too thick. But it depends on the consistency you want!
It’s so good I couldn’t help but eat it straight from the pot.
Serve it with the peanuts/cilantro/lime juice or all by itself!
During all this cooking and picture taking the background dialogue was constant as per usual. Michael was at the sink “washing dishes” (a.k.a pouring water all over the floor) when Brielle brought her doll into the kitchen:
“Mommy, can you cute Peelah’s hair now?”
Me: “But her hair is so pretty, are you sure?” (She’d been talking about it for two days so I knew she was sure.)
B: “Yes, I really want it shorter. She really wants it shorter.”
I grab my kitchen shears. “Okay, how short?”
She gives me the length with her fingers parted in the air.
I show her on the doll. “Here?”
“Yes. Thanks mom.”
I make the cut.
And then I move to the OTHER side of the doll’s head and make the same cut on that side. Of course, right?? Wrong.
She melts to the floor, crying real tears. “I did’t want that side short!! Only this side!”
We spent the next five minutes taping Peelah’s hair back on ONE side of her head.
And the chicken was saved in a delicious new state, ready to be devoured at a later date (I couldn’t resist!) 😀
I hope everyone had a great weekend!
Genevieve, my beautiful adopted sister, is home after a six hour surgery and a week’s stay in the hospital. To say my mom and dad are strong is an understatement. But I worry for them. I worry for their health and energy. But they are so steadfast in who they are and what they do that I just say “okay.” And get back to my life.
And tonight my life is this:
A house that is literally shaking at its foundations.
Is that everyone??
I have TWO kids. What about a house that has 3-+ kids?? My house seems like it’s about to explode at any minute!
My neighbor Kim was outside tonight gardening, happily trimming this and that, and I could see her peace being disrupted through her beige visor as my children’s voices escalated.
What a spectacle.
So I decided to check something off my list: Make Gen Coconut Rice. Yes, it’s as mouthwatering as it sounds. And it’s her favorite. So I got busy. And as usual the kids joined me.
I put some oil in a pot
Added some minced garlic
1 tsp of Cajun seasoning
1 cup of coconut milk
1 bay leaf
And brought it to a simmer.
Then I added 1 cup chicken stock
2/3 cup white jasmine rice
1 teaspoon salt
I brought it all to a boil and then simmered on low for 15-20 minutes until the liquid was almost gone.
Then rinsed and drained 1 can of dark kidney beans.
And folded them into the rice. (Oh and I took the bay leaves out here too.)
Then I added more salt (never be afraid of salt!) and more Cajun seasoning to taste.
Michael and I had some, (we had to taste it before we sent it off to Gen!) Brielle wouldnt eat it because of the scary beans. 🙂
1) Maybe add raisins instead of beans? At the beginning so they can cook and get plump?
2) Double it, there’s always reason for leftover rice.
3) Add sliced almonds instead of the beans (and maybe even with the rains??)
4) Add a pinch of brown sugar to the Cajun seasoning at the beginning?
So many ways to tweak it and make it even better!
And oh my this boy.. he just loves being in the kitchen with his momma.
His personality is off the charts.. His hair cut is way past due and I love the look of it! He just learned how to “put your lips on my lips for a kiss” instead of his huge forehead on my lips for a kiss. I’m so in love!
Nature never ceases to amaze me. Squash that looks and tastes (use your imagination!) like angel hair pasta, and now butternut squash that can be used as lasagna noodles?!
Add some Mozzarella cheese and it tastes like you are getting fatter by the bite-full, but you’re not!
You don’t really need a recipe for this one. It’s just a meaty delicious marinara sauce of your choice piled on top of thinly sliced butternut squash.
I used the following recipe:
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large butternut squash (I used half for the lasagna and the other half I smothered in butter and cinnamon and roasted to be consumed later.)
- 29 oz jar tomato sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 onion, minced
- tablespoon garlic
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
First, preheat the oven to 400.
Then get the hardest part over with: Try to cut the squash without going to the ER.
First peel it then slice it in half length-wise.
Then slice into thin strips.
Have a taste. It’s delicious RAW. I had no idea! I was snacking on it the entire time I cooked.
Michael didn’t think so at all though…
I love how he will taste literally ANYTHING.
Now start working on the sauce.
Cut up the onion, throw in a pan with some olive oil or your choice of fat, add the garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the meat and cook until browned. About 6 minutes.
Now I drain out any extra fat that’s in the pan.
Add the sauce, paste, and spices.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Pour the sauce over the layer of “noodles” and then add some cheese if you are feeling it. I used almond milk mozzarella “cheese.” The finished product was melty and delicious.
Do one more layer, and then pop in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the squash is nice and soft(ish.) I like it to have a little texture still!
Now eat it!
I had two servings and I didn’t feel “ugh” after. And there are plenty of leftovers for the weekend. Is an easy and healthy go-to dish! Try it.
Without the trip to IKEA!
These actually resemble an amazing dairy-free Beef Stroganoff. And Beef Stroganoff was one of my FAVORITE dishes pre-dairy allergy. So I’m beyond excited to find this recipe! Next time I’ll add a grain-free noodle and it will cover that craving perfectly.
This recipe makes a ton, so depending on your family size you can freeze some and/or have leftovers for the next day. I’m excited to eat it again for lunch. So is Michael!
The ingredients are simple, the flavor is PACKED.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1 onion, diced
- ½ cup almond meal
- 2 large egg yolks
- ¼ tsp. allspice, ground
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg, ground
- 4 cups beef stock
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup ghee
- 2 tbsp. tapioca starch (I used regular corn starch because I could’t find tapioca starch.)
- 1 tbsp. fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- Cooking fat
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
First dice the onion and sauté it in a cooking fat (I used coconut oil) for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly until they are soft. Then add it to a bowl with the ground pork and ground beef. Mix together and add egg yolks and the spices and almond flour. Then add some salt and pepper (I just sprinkle a little, no need to measure.)
The kids LOVED the texture and feel of the egg yolk. I just cracked both eggs into a bowl and scooped the yolk out with my hand.
Then I took off my rings, gave the meat mixture one last good mix with my hands and formed little 1-2 inch balls.
Next add some cooking fat to the pan and sear the meatballs on all sides until a nice (I like charred) brown. It will take about 5 minutes per batch. Then set aside and start on the sauce! (They will be mostly raw in the middle and will finish cooking in the sauce.)
Put the 1/4 cup ghee in a pan and melt. Slowly whisk in the beef stock and cook, stirring constantly, for about two minutes. Next add the coconut milk and some salt and pepper. I use canned coconut milk and I used plenty of the creamy top part too! Once it’s hot pour about a cup of it in a bowl and add the starch and whisk until it’s lump free. Add back to the sauce in the pan. Whisk some more until it thickens. It took about 5 minutes for me, on medium heat.
Now add the meatballs to the sauce. Stir occassionaly and cook until cooked through and sauce has fully thickened, about 12-15 minutes, low heat.
Absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers.
Thanks to Paleo Leap for all these amazing grain-free recipes!
I’m so happy Spring is here for so many reasons. Long days.. vitamin D.. no mittens to keep track of or coats to hang up.. no cabin fever.. lots of pool time and vacations on the horizon. And the biggest thing for me is just time OUTSIDE with family and friends.
Last weekend we kicked the season off right with our dear friends in the country. It was a blast. Delicious BBQ Chicken, a stream to explore in the woods, S’mores, tons of room for the kids to run, and LIGHT SABERS…
Yeah, these boys and their toys.
For this shin-dig I decided to incorporate one of our favorite condiments into the mix: Hot sauce.
We LOVE Sriracha. We put it on our eggs in the morning, and Brenden makes a weird mayonnaise/Sriracha concoction that he dips everything into. We have a big bottle of it sitting in the door of our fridge just asking to be squeezed onto something. So I decided to use it in our deviled eggs. And it equaled deviled egg SUCCESS.
Sriracha Deviled Eggs
- 12 eggs
- 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 4 teaspoons Sriracha hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Kosher salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Cilantro (chopped) for a garnish if desired
Start with half as many eggs as you want to end up with. I started with 12 eggs to end up with 24 deviled eggs.
Place the eggs in enough water to just cover them and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling I turn the oven timer on to 8 minutes.
When the timer goes off, rinse the eggs in cool water.
(Here’s where I once again wish we had chickens. Because I can’t imagine how amazing it would be to pick these eggs out of a hen house instead of a carton.)
Now employ some little fingers to help peel the eggs.
We had a few minor egg-casualties but ugly deviled eggs taste just as good as pretty ones!
Now slice the eggs in half.
Scoop the yolks into a bowl and add everything else listed above and stir.
Now have a taste. Yummmmm. The Sriracha adds just a bit of heat and so much flavor.
Spoon into the egg halves.
Now just sprinkle with the extra Cilantro.
And EAT one because chances are wherever you are taking them they will go quick! And you don’t want to miss out.
**I found this recipe on Chowhound.The only variation is the Pickled carrots or daikon, which we couldn’t find!**
There’s nothing a new mom needs more than food. (And sleep. But that’s a different topic altogether.)
Healthy, easy to access FOOD. Especially if she’s nursing. AND/OR has other kids.
I have a go-to “new mom” meal that I just made two days ago (for about the 40th time) and I want to share it with you!
It’s easy, full of protein, leftovers are better the second day, which is a huge plus, kids (usually) eat it up and it’s so delicious your new mom friend will ask for the recipe for future non-hectic meals.
Here it be. (And I wish I could remember where I got it so I could give credit where credit is due, but it’s been way too long.)
Chicken Bean Bake
6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (adjust quantity as needed)
3 cans Cannellini beans
1 pint grape tomatoes
A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional, and remember new moms are usually more sensitive to spice.)
garlic – 2 cloves
Olive Oil – about 2 tablespoons
First, choose a pan you don’t mind never seeing again. Because a new mom’s favorite words are “Don’t worry about returning it.” Otherwise she’ll have stacks and stacks of tupperware to return to various people. NO THANKS.
Next, open the beans and rinse and drain.
Pour into the casserole dish. I double this recipe whenever I make it, and presto! Dinner is ready for us too!
Wash the tomatoes
Add the herb springs (about 10 of each) and the olive oil, garlic, and pepper flakes if you are using them.
Now stir it all together.
Next place the chicken on top of the bean and tomato mixture.
Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.
I usually leave the baking part to the recipient because then it comes out of HER oven right when she needs it, hot and fresh.
So I just cover the pan with aluminum foil and place a note on the top that says “Uncover and bake in 400 degree oven for 1 hour.”
And when it comes out it’s crispy and crunchy and the beans have soaked up all the chicken juice and taste divine and the tomatoes are roasted and sweet and pop in your mouth. Its just an all-around wholesome healthy happy meal.
Of course no meal to a “new mom” is complete without something fresh and green and something CHOCOLATE.
** If after an hour the chicken isn’t crispy/done just pop it back in for another 10 minutes.
I tell you what, trying to write a blog post as a stay-at-home-mom is HA-larious. It’s a miracle when I have two minutes to sit down and put a coherent sentence together, and maybe add some pictures and then hit “publish.” Half the time I walk away thinking, “Did that even make sense???”
Yet here I go again!! Attempting to write.
This weekend was CHOCK FULL of fun things to do in Charlottesville. The Fridays After Five season kicked-off Friday night, and was a BLAST as usual. Tom Tom Founders Festival was on, and so was the DogWood Festival. There were so many family friendly things to do, and everyone was out enjoying the sunshine! Oh how I love Charlottesville in Spring.
Brenden decided to make Carnitas on Sunday, which is a FAVORITE at our house. I’m giddy any time he decides to cook because 1) It’s always delicious and 2) I DON’T HAVE TO COOK!
This time I told him to wait for me so I could take pictures and share this deliciousness with you. It was quite a scene, Brielle and Michael standing on a chair waiting for us to take them swimming, all four of us in our tiny kitchen getting the pork ready to cook.
This is the easiest meal to make ever. I know I always say that, but the payoff of this taco far outweighs the effort.
Start with a beautiful piece of boneless pork shoulder. Brenden got a 2 lb piece from Whole Foods.
Take off the string
Trim whatever fat is obviously “too much” fat. So you don’t have to get rid of it all, just the excess.
Then cut the meat into about two inch pieces.
Now this is kind of gross but in addition to this HUGE piece of pork you also need Pork Lard. I know.
Whole Foods doesn’t carry it so Brenden gets it at a local market. You need two small containers like this. I don’t know the exact weight but I can’t imagine it needs to be a perfect science. You just want to make sure the meat is semi-covered and simmering in it.
Now it’s time to FRY it! Yes, you heard me right.
Take a couple tablespoons of the lard/pork juice from the crock pot and put in a skillet. Make the lard/juice mixture HOT and add little pieces of pork to the pan until crispy.
Once the pork is fried (and WAY TOO GOOD for words) set it on a paper towel covered plate.
ADD SEA SALT. This step is soooooo important. Regular salt is good too.
Next we heat some tortillas. No oil, no butter (finally, right??) Just a HOT pan and some corn tortillas.
There are so many things that can be added to these tacos. I like it simple, black beans and avocados and a little salsa.
Seriously, some of the best tacos I’ve ever had right here.
And TONS of leftovers for the rest of the week!
I hope everyone has a beautiful happy week!