Dinner. Made. Simple.

I have taken up CrossFit and I go on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  I go in the evening because of scheduling, and when I get home the last thing I want is a heavy meal.  Most CF nights, I just have a protein smoothie (which to me is the perfect thing after a workout), but tonight I already had some wild-caught, Texas Gulf shrimp thawed, so I decided to grill ’em up. While they were grilling, I basted them with a super, quick herb butter. This meal took me literally about 15 minutes from grill to table.

 

All I did was:

Gather a handful of herbs from the garden.  I used thyme and rosemary, but use whatever you have.

Chop the herbs and add them to 4 T melted ghee (or pastured butter).  Add salt & pepper to taste.

Skewer your peeled and deveined shrimp ( I left the tails on) alternating with bell pepper slices (or any other veg you want or have).  I only ran into one tiny problem with this recipe tonight.  I was out of skewers.  So, I had to improvise.  Don’t laugh.  OK.  Never mind.  Laugh.  Laugh away! It’s a bad pic, but you get the idea. Yep, that’s a coat hanger. Luckily, I had cleaned out my closet today (getting rid of a LOT of clothes that are too big!! woo-hoo) and I had some wire coat hangers that I was sending back to the cleaners. Luckily. Otherwise, I might not have had grilled shrimp and you certainly wouldn’t be laughing.  I used to be a girl scout, y’all.  I am not making this up. I swear.

Once skewered on whatever you can find to skewer them on, grill them for about 3-4 min per side, basting a few times.

 

Remove to a plate, drizzle some of the remaining herb butter and gobble. Really. That’s all.

That’s dinner. made. simple. Y’all.

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Think you don’t have time for breakfast? Think again!

With a little planning, it can take just a couple of minutes to throw together a delicious and hearty breakfast!  Of course, you have to throw your old ideas of what breakfast should be right out the window…and you should, because breakfast can be so much more than that crap from a cardboard box they tell us is good for us!

Typically, I will spend Sunday prepping breakfast items for the week.  I clean and chop veggies, brown a pound of breakfast sausage, cook bacon pieces or chop up some uncured ham. This way during the week, when mornings get crazy hectic, I am armed and ready with stuff I can just throw in a pan.  Making breakfast has been the single biggest change I have made in my daily cooking.  I am ashamed to say, but my kids have subsisted on breakfast corn dogs (you know the ones…sausage wrapped in pancake on a stick), frozen waffles, kolaches and breakfast sandwiches for far too long. I always wanted to cook a good breakfast for them, but I always thought it would require too much time.  How wrong was I?  It doesn’t take anymore time to make an omelet than it does to heat a waffle. Ok, maybe it takes a little more time, but it’s worth it.  Plus, I have a routine down now, and I can knock out a home cooked breakfast (on two burners) for me and the kids in less than 10 minutes.

All you need to do is:

Chop a variety of veggies into bite size cubes and store in airtight containers in the fridge.  Don’t throw away your broccoli stems, either! These have become one of my most favorite additions to breakfast. Chop ’em up and add ’em in.

Brown sausage or bacon or chop up some ham.

This week I have broccoli stems, carrot coins, asparagus and sausage.

Some other good ideas are chopped sweet potato, mushrooms, onions, spinach (or kale!) and squash.  You can use any vegetable you have on hand.  Try different combinations.  You will get an idea pretty quick of what you like best together.

In addition to veggies and meat, you can use some good pastured eggs.  After all, it is breakfast, right? I have a local place that has yard eggs right now, and I buy about 4 dozen at a time.

How pretty are these?  Delicious, too!

To start, crack however many eggs you want into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and beat slightly with a fork.  Set aside.

Throw some veggies into a pan over med to med-high heat with a little coconut oil or a pat of pastured butter, let them get slightly soft, add in some of the browned meat and then toss in the eggs and cook until done.  I stir it all so it is like a big scramble, but you could just let the eggs set up in the pan and have a giant omelet.

When I am using spinach or kale, I throw in a giant handful after the veggies are slightly soft (or just with browned sausage) with a tsp or so of water and let it wilt, stirring occasionally.  I remove that to a plate and then scramble my eggs separate. Like this:

Once you start doing this, you will get the hang of it and realize you can make breakfast out of almost anything!  When all else fails and you have not prepped any veggies or meat, use leftovers! Two nights ago I had a filet and broccoli for dinner but did not eat it all, so it became breakfast today!

Since you are already making breakfast for yourself,  just get another pan going and whip up some omelets for the kids! Serve it up with a side of fresh fruit and voila! supermom!

Now, get in there and start cooking. You (and your kids) will be glad you did!

Happy hump day!

Herb Chicken Burgers

During the week, like most parents, I get pretty darn busy.  One of the biggest changes in my life since switching to a Paleo diet is that I cook everyday.  I used to cook probably 4 out of 7 nights a week anyway, but now I cook everyday, twice a day.  Three on the weekend.  One of the things I very quickly learned is that I would need to bring my lunch to work everyday.  No more eating out with the office crew on a whim, driving through somewhere to get something to eat or even running to the grocery store for a quick sushi fix.  I had to be sure to plan ahead.  So, when I cook a weeknight dinner, I always try to make enough to be able to have leftovers for lunch.  Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes what I make is sooo delicious (don’t laugh, it happens) that it all gets eaten or there is only enough left for the hubs for lunch, and he comes first in my book!

Enter, chicken burgers.

Several weeks ago, I received my very first online, grass-fed meat order from Tropical Traditions.  First online meat order.  First grass-fed order. First meat order from Tropical Traditions.  It’s all good.

Along with lots of beef (roasts, short ribs and soup bones!), I purchased 4 lbs of ground chicken.  The chickens from Tropical Traditions eat grass and insects (novel concept!) and are fed Cocofeed (no soy!), which you can read more about here.  I ordered some thinking I would make some burgers and boy, am I glad I did!  These chicken burgers have turned out to be one of the simplest, most flavorful lunches that I carry to work.  Not to mention, they are a great grab-and-go, after school snack for my teenage daughter.  When they are in the fridge, she gobbles them up.  They are just as delicious cold as they are warm, and they keep really well.

Here is what you need to make 4 burgers:

1 lb ground pastured chicken

1 T. dried herb mix of choice, I used Victoria Taylor’s Tuscan seasoning, which I absolutely love!

1  tsp sea salt

1/2 cup onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

pepper to taste

coconut oil

Here’s what you do:

To start, place the ground chicken in a large bowl and sprinkle in the herbs, salt & pepper.  In a non stick pan (this is very important or they will stick!) over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in a little bit of the coconut oil until just translucent.  Add the onions and garlic to the chicken mixture and stir to combine.   NOTE: This step is completely optional.  It would be a lot quicker to leave out the cooked onions and garlic, making this recipe even more of a time saver, but I LOVE onions and garlic.  I use any excuse to put them into whatever I am making!  Feel free to omit the onion and garlic if you want. You won’t hurt my feelings.

Return the pan to the heat, crank the heat up to medium high, and add enough coconut oil to just coat the bottom of the pan.  Form the patties by hand (this part is messy), and place them in the pan. Cook until well browned, about 5-7 minutes per side.

Once cooked through, transfer them to a plate to cool.  When cool, store them in an airtight container in the fridge.  A quick lunch will be ready anytime you need it!

When I take these to work, all I do is put one on top of a pile of spinach and top it with a dollop of homemade paleo mayo!  Lunch is ready for the hubs and I for tomorrow! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Enjoy!!

Crazy Town

Welcome.  Come on in, pull up a chair and sit right down. It has been a crazy couple of weeks around here!

First, the upstairs AC unit went out and is still not fixed.  Don’t worry, it’s only the kids that are suffering.  Kidding.  I’m kidding.  They are not suffering.  They might be a little warm at night, but luckily it is not sweltering here in Texas, YET.  Plus, that’s what top sheets are made for and sleeping in your underwear.  I mean, really, I grew up in a house that did not have central AC and I lived.  They will live, but I gotta figure that out.  I don’t wish this problem on anyone.  It is a nightmare.  Every company that’s looks at it recommends something different, and I don’t really know that much about it.  Nothing like a crash course in Manual J calculations, determining if the copper tubing if the right size and deciding whether or not to re-duct the whole upstairs.  Like I said,  it’s a nightmare.

In addition to that craziness, the hubs got a new job.  Which is very YAY! YAY! YAY! because he is very excited about it (and I am really happy for him), but it has a fairly big downside.  He has a horrendous commute and doesn’t get home until around 8pm, which has flung me into single parent mode.  A place I do not relish being.  I bow to all the single parents out there who do it day in and day out with no relief.  You amaze me!  Along with his new job, however, came a week-long trip to sunny California (San Jose, to be exact!  the lucky dog.).  So last week, while I was here in Texas dealing with broken AC, an ant infestation (don’t ask!) and a dog that decided to swim in the horse pond every night and come home covered in mud, he was jogging in Cali, eating real food (his hotel was an extended stay so he had a kitchen!) and soaking up lots of vitamin D.  To be fair, it wasn’t all fun and games for him, he did have to work everyday but still, he was in California!  The high was like 60, I think.  Not right.

I wanted to give you an idea of why I haven’t been around.  I have been living in crazytown, yes, but I have also been reading a LOT.  There is some really good stuff going on right now in the “paleosphere”.  I think anytime you get into something and see it working for you, it can be very easy to put the blinders on and start preaching, judging, or criticizing and, while the intentions behind it all are probably good, the outcome can be really bad.  I think doing this can lead to people feeling alienated and, if people are feeling alienated, they are not going to get the message.  I think this has got to be the main goal: getting the message out that eating real food is better for you.  Period.  I am trying to stay very open (read: taking my blinders off) to the idea that no one really knows what is the absolute best combination of things to eat.  There is still much to be learned, but I think we are on the right track.  Personally, I have no plans of going back to my old ways of eating because I can tell you (without a doubt!) that eating real food is the way to go, but how far should you take it?  I think it is a very important question with a very personal answer.

Like the wonderful woman at The Paleo Periodical, I will warn you…this is a time suck.  Big time.  It is totally worth it, but don’t make any plans if you are going to read it all.  One page, or comment, will lead you to another and that will lead you to another.  It’s awesome stuff, just be prepared.  Get a glass of water and some carrots.  You might need a snack!

Now, get on it.

Start here, then go here(read the comments), after that go here and end up here (series of 5). and feel free to go anywhere in between that you are lead.  I know, it’s a lot of going, but I can promise you it will be worth it.  Except maybe you will come out with more questions than answers.  That is ok.  Never stop seeking.

If you are a woman…go here and here, and feel great about you no matter where you are with you at this moment in time.  Because we are all made of awesome (Jess)!  That means you too, boys!

Enjoy.

 

And just in case any of you are wondering, yes I am still cooking. Every day, twice a day. Food to follow.

Paleo Chicken Salad

I pretty much always have a rotisserie chicken in the fridge, even before the switch to Paleo.   It is just too easy to work with during the busy, work week!  Plus, I love chicken salad!  Since going Paleo, however, I haven’t really had it because, well, what am I going to eat it with?  No more bread.  No more crackers.  Then along came my discovery of Pure Wraps, and I am back in business!  This is awesome because chicken salad is a versatile, quick weekday lunch!  My chicken salad is different literally every time I make it, and it all depends on what I have on hand.  My go-to faves are apricots, walnuts, onion and tarragon, which is what I happened to have on hand tonight.  The key for me is the tarragon, or Mexican Mint Marigold.  My mom turned me onto this herb a few years ago and it has quickly become one of my favorites, especially in chicken salad!  If you don’t have it, you could sub in any herb you have. Rosemary would be nice.

Be forewarned….there are no quantities here.  If that freaks you out, sorry.  You will just have to deal with it because this is a ‘make it how you like it’ kind of recipe.   Surely you know how you like it, right?  Some people like a lot of mayo, some like a little.  Some might like the sweetness of the dried fruit and want to add more, and some might not.  It is totally up to you how much of each ingredient you put in.  And the beauty of it is…you can’t really mess it up!  Personally, I am heavy on the onions and about even on everything else.  I LOVE onions!  and yes, the hubs still kisses me.  He must love me.  Sigh.

 

Here is a basic list of ingredients:

leftover rotisserie chicken, chopped or shredded

dried fruit, diced

onion, minced

nuts or seeds of choice, chopped

Paleo Mayo

tarragon, chopped  (normally there would be a LOT more than what you see, but my tarragon plant didn’t survive the winter.  I have a new one started, but it is still so little that I felt bad taking all of its leaves.)

s&p

Put it all in a large bowl together and mix it all up.  Wrap it up in a Pure Wrap, add some veg and then pack it to go to the office. or the park. or the car. or wherever you enjoy your lunch!

It really doesn’t get much easier than that for a busy weekday!