Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sour Kombucha Gummies (For Joint Care!)

As I study more towards my physical therapy degree, I learn more and more about how important our joints are. As a CrossFitter, I know that my joints take a beating during workouts, and also by sitting around in class all day. So I know that I need to eat good things that promote joint health, and collagen is such a great supplement for that. I have made a gummy before, but this time I tried it using kombucha instead of pureed fruit and without using the stove at all. Call it a super lazy gummy snack, if you will. Plus, this one not only has the probiotics from the kombucha, but it has the awesome collagen from the powder. We have started taking these with our post-workout recovery meal, and we are enjoying the taste AND the health benefits!

1) 1 cup of kombucha (homemade, or store-bought), any flavor (I used mango this time because it is what I had the most of on hand)
2) 1/4 cup of water
3) 1/4 cup of lemon juice
4) 1/4 cup of unflavored gelatin (I used Great Lakes brand, pictured below)

**Makes 12-16 gummies, depending on size

1) Mix your kombucha and lemon juice together in a bowl.

2) Stir in your 1/4 cup of gelatin.
3) Mix well. It'll still be clumpy, that's ok.
4) Heat up your 1/4 cup of water in a separate bowl in the microwave until bowling, about 45 seconds.
5) Add the boiling water to your mixture, and stir until smooth. All of the gelatin will melt and mix in now.
6) Pour into silicon molds, or into a glass pan. No need to oil the pan: this won't stick at all.
7) Place in the fridge and let harden, at least 1 hour.
8) Cut into squares. Recommend dose of gelatin per day is 1 tablespoon, according to the container, which is 1/4 of your total gummies.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chocolate-covered Fruit and Nut Clusters

Sometimes you just need something sweet! This recipe has 4 ingredients--3 of which I am sure 90% of paleo enthusiasts have on hand all the time: nuts, dried fruit, and shredded coconut. I literally whipped this up in 3 minutes, and let it cool for 10 minutes and we were enjoying the fruits of our labor (pun intended!). You could throw in whatever you have on hand, or go shopping and throw in your favorites. Next time we have some macadamia nuts on hand, I'll definitely try this with those as well.

1) 1/2 cup of roasted nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, etc) - I used almonds
2) 1/2 cup of chopped, dried fruit (apricots, prunes, berries, dates, figs) - I used apricots
3) 1/2 cup of shredded, unsweetened coconut
4) 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life, which are dairy/soy free and only 3 ingredients themselves!)

**Makes: 8-10 clusters

1) Chop up your dried fruit. You could also chop your nuts if you want smaller pieces. 
2) Add your chocolate chips to a bowl, and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Mine took 1 minute.

3) Fold in your fruit and nuts to the chocolate, until all are coated evenly. Then add in your coconut, and mix to combine.
All mixed up
4) Shape into clusters on a lined plate or cookie tray, to prevent sticking. You could also just spread into a layer and then break apart after it's cooled.
5) Place in the fridge to harden, about 10 minutes or longer. Store in the fridge.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

6-Ingredient Butternut Squash Lasagna Stew

I can't stop buying butternut squash cubes from Costco. I don't want the season to run out, so I am trying to take advantage of them while I can and make a million different recipes with them. This recipe was adapted from Paleo Slow Cooking, but was adjusted to make it fewer ingredients and less work!

You could omit one of the veggies to make this 5-ingredient, if you so choose. But I had all of these things on hand, so I figured it was close enough to 5-ingredient standards that I'll let it pass. Hopefully y'all agree!

This recipe does have some stove top cooking prior to the slow cooker, so you can either make it on the weekend when you have a little more time, or cook the stove-top portion the night before and put it in the fridge, and slow cook it the next day.

1) 2 pounds of ground beef (could substitute pork, sausage, or a combo if you'd like)
2) 2 pounds of cubed butternut squash (or 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed)
3) 3 cans (14oz each) of diced tomatoes
4) 1 pound of carrots, finely diced (about 4 large ones)
5) 2 green peppers, finely diced
6) 1 onion, finely diced

**Servings: 6-8

1) Gather all your ingredients, and dice up your veggies while you heat up a large skillet over medium heat.
2) Add your veggies to your hot skillet, except the squash, and saute for 30 minutes until tender.
3) In the mean time, in a separate skillet, brown your ground beef. Drain the liquid/oil if you'd like when done.
4) Add your squash to your slow cooker, and your veggies once tender. Then add your ground beef. Stir to combine.
5) Let cook on low for 4-6 hours. If you like your squash less tender, only cook the 4 hours. You could also cook for 8 hours if you'll be out of the house all day---it'll still taste delicious!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash

This tastes like Thanksgiving to me. Sweet, delicious Thanksgiving.

It's the weekend, so I am cooking us up a stand-alone protein and some veggie sides for dinner. I usually do carrots, but had just bought a few boxes of diced up butternut squash from Costco the other day. So this was a hail marry---I was hoping it would be delicious and easy and was it ever!

Hope you enjoy. I am definitely going to make this more often, and I will for sure make it come Thanksgiving this year!

1) 2 pounds of cubed butternut squash (or 1 large squash, peeled and cubed)
2) 2 tablespoons of melted ghee or butter (could use coconut oil, but won't taste as buttery obviously)
3) 1 tablespoon of honey
4) 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
5) 1/4 teaspoon of salt

**Servings: 2-4

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Melt your ghee or butter in a small bowl, then add in your honey and stir to combine.
3) Place your squash on a lined cookie sheet (I used a silicon mat, but parchment or tin foil would work).
4) Drizzle the honey butter mixture on top of the squash, and then use your hands to evenly distribute and coat all of the squash.
5) Sprinkle on your cinnamon, and do the same thing to mix it evenly.
6) Sprinkle with salt.
7) Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes, flipping/stirring the squash at the half way point. I wanted mine really tender, so I cooked the full 35 minutes, but if you'd prefer a bite to your squash, cook 25-30 minutes only.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cuban Shepard's Pie

I really love one pot meals. It makes it so much easier to make a larger meal and portion out the leftovers for the week. We also tend to put some in the freezer for later too, so we end up cooking less often. My best paleo tip would really be to double your recipe, and put half in the fridge portioned out, and half in the freezer. Then you make about 3 meals and do the same for all, and then you have a bigger variety of stuff to eat for the next 1-2 weeks. Nothing is worse, in my mind, than eating the same meal for 4 days in a row. I'd much rather have some variety, which is where a lot of my meals come from.

Plantains are a really interesting flavor, and I've made a few dishes in the past with them. This actually has a similar taste profile to a dish I made before (Plantain Lasanga), but it was a lot easier! This definitely looks like a shepard's pie, but instead of a cauliflower or potato topping, why not try it with plantains?

My grocery store only sells green plantains, so I had to wait about 10 days for these to ripen up in order to use them. That way they are a tiny bit sweeter than the green ones, and work well with the spiced meat bottom layer.

You can make the Sofrito mixture using the below link, or just use tomato sauce for the whole thing and it'll still be delicious! Or add in a chopped onion and/or a chopped pepper to the mix if you have some on hand.

1) 2 pounds of ground beef (or bison/chicken/turkey/etc)
2) 4-5 very ripe plantains (about 1.5-2 pounds)
3) 1/4 cup of coconut or almond milk
4) 2 cups of tomato sauce (or 1 cup tomato sauce, and 1 cup homemade Sofrito -- recipe here)
*Sofrito is really just pureed tomatoes, onions, and peppers
5) Spices: I did 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of salt

**Makes 5-6 servings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1) Over medium heat, brown your ground meat. Once cooked, you can drain some of the oil if your meat was too fatty for your liking.    
Browning your meat
2) Add your tomato sauce/sofrito and spices to your meat, and mix thoroughly.
Adding your sauce and spices
3) Pour your meat mixture into a 13x9 pan. This is the bottom layer of your shepard's pie.
Bottom half complete
4) Now work on your plantain topping. Peel your plantains and roughly chop, then add to your food processor.
Super-ripe plantains
Ready for the food processor
5) Add your coconut milk to the food processor with your plantains and blend until smooth.
Pureed plantains and coconut milk
6) Pour your pureed plantains on top of your meat layer and spread evenly.
Adding your topping
Ready for the oven!
7) Bake at 350 for 45 minutes until your plantain topping is firm when you touch it.
All cooked up
Lovely layers of Cuban Shepard's Pie
8) Let rest for a few minutes to cool, and then eat up! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Crockpot Sausage, Peppers and Onions

I love the tastes of sausage and peppers, and I have a nice recipe for an oven version here. But I have a lot more ground sausage in my freezer than links, and I also wanted to try and make a slow cooked version that would be easier to throw together. And here you go...100% cooked in the crockpot, and still insanely delicious!

This filled my crockpot up to the very top, but it cooks down a bit and then leaves you with a nice soup-like broth for your meal. I'd never really used raw ground meat in my crockpot before so I wasn't exactly sure how it would work out, but it cooked right up and was so much easier than pre-cooking it!

1) 2 pounds of ground sausage (or 1 pound sausage and 1 pound ground pork)
2) 6-8 green peppers (or any color), chopped into bite-sized pieces
3) 2 onions, diced
4) 2-3 apples, diced
5) 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

**Makes 6-8 servings

1) Add your ground meat to the bottom of your crockpot.
2) Add your chopped peppers, onions and apples to the crockpot as well.
3) Cook on low for 8-10 hours, and then stir very well to break up the sausage into smaller pieces.
4) Add in your lemon juice. You can add more juice as needed and/or salt and pepper to your liking.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Crockpot Beef Stew Curry

It's been abnormally cold in Texas the last month. 70s on some days, and then 30 degrees the next. What is going on? So it's nice to have a warm, comforting meal at the end of the day when it's just so freezing outside.

I've never tried to make a curry before that wasn't just straight up chicken. But we have a lot of beef stew meat in our freezer, and we LOVE curry, so I thought I'd try to make it and see how it tastes. Thankfully I did---because it's equally delicious! So now we can rotate between chicken and beef curry so we never get bored of it. How exciting!

As with all curries, you can add any vegetables you want to this to satisfy your taste buds and your dietary desires. I like to add cauliflower florets to all my curries to give it some texture and mimic what I assume rice would do in the dish. But the choice for veggies is yours--you can't go wrong!

1) 2 pounds of beef stew meat
2) 1 can of coconut milk (14oz) - I used Thai Kitchen
3) 2 heaping tablespoons of curry powder
4-5) Chopped veggies of your choosing: 1 onion, 3-4 carrots, 1 head cauliflower and 1 cup celery are what I used
Optional: 1/2-1 teaspoon of salt, added at the end, to your taste

**Makes 6 large servings

1) Add your coconut milk and curry powder to your crockpot, and stir to mix well.
2) Add in your stew meat and mix.

3) Add in your chopped veggies and mix.

4) Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Paleo Schnitzel (Fried Pork Cutlets)

When I visited Germany a few years ago, before I knew I was allergic to gluten and wasn't quite paleo yet, I enjoyed a lot of delicious schnitzel from local places. All I knew was that it was some sort of breaded and fried meat, and that it was super tasty. I tried to recreate it at home a few times once I went paleo, using chicken breast and almond flour, but it just wasn't exactly right. It was still delicious, but I wasn't fully satisfied that I had recreated it.

When we went to visit my boyfriend's parents a few months ago, they made us a similar dish to schnitzel and used a pork cutlet as the protein. They also used some corn starch and Parmesan cheese for the breading so I could still eat it. It was awesome! I knew then that I could totally recreate it using pork and some paleo-approved breading options. So I whipped this dish up after CrossFit a few nights ago, and we gobbled it down. HOLY CRAP, it is delicious! I am definitely headed to the store now to buy more pork chops so I can whip this up on the regular. Paleo win!

1) 4-6 pork chops, boneless
2) 1/2 cup of almond flour - I used Honeyville
3) 1/4 cup of arrowroot powder or tapioca flour
4) 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil or ghee
5) 1 egg

**Makes 4-6 servings

1) Lay out a piece of saran wrap the size of your cutting board. Add one pork chop to the center and fold the saran wrap over the top. Using a meat tenderizer, mallet, hammer, or rolling pin, smash out your pork chop until it is about 1/4 inch thin. Cut off the fatty parts at this time, if you'd like.

2) Warm up a large frying pan over medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon of your frying oil. If you are making more than 4 chops, you'll use the second tablespoon of oil to fry your remaining chops unless all 6 fit in the same pan.

3) Prepare your breading mixtures. In one dish add your egg, in a second dish add your almond flour and arrowroot/tapioca flour. Stir to mix up both mixtures.
4) Using your flattened pork chops, dip one into the egg mixture and then straight into the flour mixture. Make sure you evenly coat both sides of the chop. Do this for all of your pork chops.
5) Add the chops to your frying pan that already has the hot oil inside. Cook 5 minutes on one side and then flip over. Cook another 4-5 minutes until both sides are nice and golden brown.