Saturday, 30 November 2013

Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Meat Sauce and Almond Bread

  Happy weekend !

   What's everyone up to? Doing some festive decorating? My husband finished putting up our outside lights today, and we got our tree up. It feels good to get things done. Can't believe how fast the Christmas season has arrived!

   I love Christmas and all the stuff that goes with it. This will be our first Christmas since we've changed our lifestyle and eating habits. We began in January, last year. I do enjoy baking, and trying to make sure my kid has a homemade item in his school snack instead of a packaged mystery thing! I will experiment a bit this year and see if I can come up with any Paleo or clean baking treats. What's your weakness? I am a shortbread cookie whore. I'll say it. Don't judge me! I also enjoy a good bowl of nuts and bolts. Not the worst thing ever invented, but also not the kind of thing you just eat "a bit" of! Luckily I am not at work this year, as this tends to be where a lot of treats hangout! I should be able to avoid temptation, hopefully! Although, I'm sure my gramma will give me some Jesus sized bucket of nuts and bolt in my stocking! I am definitely salty/crunchy over sweets any day. For me, I'm kind of an all or nothing sort of eater. I need to just avoid those little shortbread dirty talkers, or I end up in a dark room with a pile of crumbs all around me! Can you limit yourself, or do you end up splurging to the point of no return? I will for sure share any Christmas food successes I end up with.

 
I bought the last 2 spaghetti squash they had at the store this week. I try my best to never waste anything, so I had to use one up tonight. Usually we have been having it a s a side dish, but I managed to convince Shane that he wouldn't die of starvation if we had it as our main course. I made a spicy bison and sausage meat sauce, and served it on top of the squash. I also made a half batch of the almond flour sandwich rounds I posted in an earlier entry. This is one of those things that I never would of thought we'd be enjoying, a year ago. There are so many different ways to prepare it, and it is very filling and great for you. My oldest son wouldn't touch this if you paid him in marshmallows, and my youngest eats it with no care in the world. Then again, he was also licking sparkly tree ornaments earlier today. Whatevs. Watch tomorrow for slow roasted sirloin roast beef with Paleo yorkshire pudding!

 

Roasting your squash:
1 large sized spaghetti squash
baking tray
1 cup or so of water
olive oil
butter

preheat oven to 375
cut your squash in half ( I find cross wise is easier than the long way)
scoop out seeds and any loose flesh


Place your ugly boobies, I mean squash, on the baking tray (sorry, no parchment paper this time) and pour enough water in the tray to cover the surface. Check about half way through and add more water if it has dried out.


Cook for 35-45 minutes, checking water halfway through. **note- watch yourself when you open the oven. The skin on the squash gets ripper hot and will give you and unwanted eye brow removal if you get your face too close ! (squash is done when outer skin is easily pierced with a fork)

I made the meat sauce in the meantime and let it simmer. I just browned my bison and chopped sausage in a pan with 3 cloves of garlic,  half a diced white onion, onion powder, chili powder, pepper flakes, oregano, basil, sea salt and pepper. It's one of those things that you can add whatever you want to it. I dropped the ball a bit and forgot to take some of my sauce base from the freezer. So I used this as a base..





These are the 2 meats I used...


Once your squash is done, use an oven mitt and turn the squash on it's side to let it cool a bit. Once you can handle it without burning off your fingerprints, use a fork and scrape out the strands into a large bowl.


Mix in 2 tbsp of olive oil and about 1 tbsp of butter. Stir until evenly coated. You can either plate your squash and then serve meat sauce on top, or dump the sauce into the bowl and mix it all together into one big party. Either way is totally delicious! Sprinkle with some good quality Parmesan cheese if you really want to be a winner....
I made the almond flour rounds as the squash was in (http://comfybelly.com/2013/08/sandwich-rounds-using-almond-flour/#.Upq07MRDuSp) and there was dinner! Enjoy!!




 

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Banana Bread and Chicken Fajita Lettuce Wraps

   Happy Thursday, everyone !

   Last night my good friend decided to post my blog link to her facebook status. At first I was terrified, but as it turned out, I got so many positive comments and questions! I am so thankful that people are even reading it , let alone liking it! And so happy to have good friends that have faith in me and want to help me succeed! What's a girl without that?

   I saw a cooking show today while I was folding laundry, (I know, riveting) one of those quick fire challenge-type ones. One of the contestants was an actual medal winning Olympic athlete. His big "thing" was all about very small portion sizes, and how athletes or people losing weight need to "always be dieting". Say whaaaaaa? I couldn't disagree more. And to have someone who should be considered a role model telling people to always be dieting is re-donkulous. I think the exact opposite is true. Yes, for sure some people need to learn about portion sizes, and always keep that in check. But to always be dieting? What kind of life is that? Get rid of the fake, processed crap and trade it for real food. End of story.

   I decided to get all up in my bake today. Grey has a playdate this week with a friend that has a nut allergy. So I opted for a banana bread recipe that uses wheat flour instead of my usual almond flour. Ease down, no need to call the Paleo Police. I'm well aware wheat isn't Paleo. Like I've mentioned before, we are not 100% Paleo, and I have no problem using it occasionally. Also, not all people reading are Paleo. It's about cleaning up our diets, and eating real food. So, I'll share the banana bread recipe. If you're avoiding gluten for allergy reasons, this is a tough one because in most baking, I find almond flour can't really be subbed for regular wheat. I'll supply a link at the end for a Paleo version that I would normally use when no allergies are involved.

   For supper tonight, I went with a really simple chili lime chicken fajita in a lettuce warp. Easy, and can be adapted to whatever meat/ veggies you have on hand. There's not much of a recipe involved, but I'll add a few pictures to give you the idea!

   Ever put so much work into something for your family? You think it's going to be the hit of the century, everyone will love you and tell you on repeat what an awesome mom you are. Then you bust it out and the reaction is like a swift kick to the crotch? I'm "that guy". Grey saw something on t.v. about doing 'Christmas cooking" , so he asked if we could have a Christmas snack. With being away, I haven't totally broke into all my holiday stuff yet. But I did have these cute little baking molds that are Christmas Tree, a bell and a snowman. Done and done. They will love this, I thought to myself. I made my double batch of banana bread and filled my 2 baking trays with the batter.


After they are done, I proudly take them out and tell Grey to come check them out. He rushes over, and then gives the tray the biggest stink eye a 4 year old could muster. "Why are they like that" he says with basic disgust. I try telling him it's Christmas cooking, like he wanted. "Um, no thanks - I'm full." he says. Shane comes home for lunch and looks at them. He asks if he's allowed to have one. Finally, a taker. I wait for the praise. "Sweet, you made drumstick shaped ones, what are they for, anyways?" 
Ummmmm, what? Jesus Christ. Christmas cooking,eh? Nailed it.



Anyways, here's the recipe. Try it if you like broken hearts and disappointment. Ha! Kidding, they are fab and my family can suck it !! They will be all gone by tomorrow with no complaining, I'm sure.

Banana Bread:  (single batch)
You need:
pre-heat oven to 350

3 ripe banana's (I doubled, and used 4 banana's and 2 zucchini, for a single you could use 2 banana and one zucchini.)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup softened butter (don't you dare use margarine, or friend's off)
1/2 cup organic coconut brown sugar (you can use regular brown sugar, but it's sweeter than the coconut, so you might add a bit more to your taste.)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups organic whole wheat flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1-2 tbsp pure vanilla
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp cinnamon (optional)

Mash banana's, stir in the baking soda and set aside. If you're using zucchini as well, grate it on your cheese grater and squeeze the life out of it. Mix in with the bananas.


With a hand mixer, cream your butter and brown sugar together. Scrape sides down with spatula. In a separate , small bowl, whip the eggs until frothy. 10-15 seconds. Add them to your butter mixture in 2 batches. Mix to combine. Stir in your mashed mixture by hand. Add the rest of the ingredients, and stir to combine. No over-mixing!


Spoon batter into a greased loaf pan, mini muffin tins, regular sized- whatever you like. Although, I don't recommend anything in a Christmas shape.  :)
Loaf pan- aprox 40-45 min
mini-muff's - 12-14 min
regular muffin's 16-18 min



For the fajitas, I just cubed up 3 chicken breasts. Fried them in a deep frying pan in coconut oil until cooked through. I had mushrooms, red and orange peppers and onions. Cut those up and sauteed in butter until crisp but tender. Add the 2 together and squeezed a lime and some Frank's over the mixture. I bought some chipolte sauce, but god was it hot! Only used a bit. Served in lettuce wraps with fresh salsa and plain greek yogurt.



Enjoy!!
Paleo version:








Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Bison Burgers and Roasted Cabbage Rounds

 
Hello, everyone! I decided I will start making the title of each post the recipe that I'm sharing. That way it's easier to look back for certain recipes. You're welcome.

   When you have a busy week, are you tempted to slack on the cooking? It's easier to grab something on the go, or resort to a questionable packaged item that came from god knows where. I am guilty of this, and the only way I keep from doing it is to be organised and prepare ahead of time. My husband always laughs at me because I'm constantly asking him a day or two in advance what he wants for dinner. Then he tells me and I make what I want anyways. But, it makes him feel good to pretend to be involved! Just kidding, but not really.

   After my shopping trip, I have a few things that I always do, to stay ahead of the game. I always pre-cut my cauliflower and keep it in a ziploc bag. It's a pain in the wazoo to cut and can be crumbly. So it's nice to have it ready to go. I usually cut up 2 heads at a time, and that fills a freezer bag. I generally always have a big-ass green salad for lunch, post workout. I have all my lettuce and veggies cut up and ready. Then I add whatever meat we have leftover, and I'm good to go. I roast cashews and almonds together with sea salt and lime once weekly. Hard boil eggs. No excuses.

  When I'm hungry, I fall apart. As soon as my blood sugar falls, and I'm past the point of normal, I am a picker. Picking at things and then I fall into the "double dinner" syndrome I mentioned last night. I had to learn how to not let the things in life that keep us busy be an excuse. One night turns to a few, and so on. Try to take a day, or evening, or whatever and stock up a bit. If you're making banana bread, make 3. Make a huge batch of soup and freeze an extra container. Things like those, plus sauces and stocks are simple to double or triple. You're doing it anyways, so make it count and enter yourself in for the mother of the year award. You'll be glad you did.

    My son had an event at his school tonight, and we were scheduled for 5:30. Not the best time in terms of supper. So, it was an easy one tonight. Easy doesn't have to mean crappy. Be prepared and stay strong! Coming from someone who drank their calories for a week straight. The result isn't pretty, and there was not enough butter in the world to help me into my skinny jeans this morning. Nothing a few deep lunges won't stretch out! :)
 
   I still had some of the bison patties from a while back. So I tossed those on a baking rack and onto a tray.

Roasted Cabbage Rounds:

You need:

1 head green cabbage
2 tbsp coconut or olive oil (if using coconut melt in the microwave until liquid)
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
few pinches of garlic salt
few pinches of chili powder

pre-heat oven to 375
Using a sharp knife, cut the core off the bottom of the cabbage. Keep cutting as many rounds as you need. I usually just do the whole thing, unless you have a Jesus sized one, then it's up to you! Place your rounds on a baking tray lined with, what else, parchment paper. It's the crack of my cooking world. I couldn't live with out it ! Liberally brush each round with your chosen oil, so the whole top side is happy. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and chili. I'm sure it's clear, but you can obviously use whatever spices you like.


I put both those and the burgers in the oven at the same time, and cooked them about 35 minutes. The outer edges of the cabbage will darken and might look burnt. Don't slam on the panic button. That's how you want them, and it's perfect that way! I would say 45 minutes on the cabbage should be plenty, unless you are a freak and like things cooked in the style that usually makes people think they're about to have a seizure. You follow? Nobody likes burnt toast! 

I just sauteed some onion and mushrooms to dress the burgers up a bit for the party, and added a bit of cheese to please the troops. Introduce your burger to your cabbage- get that burger allllll up in that cabbages business, and voila. Love at first sight. Enjoy ! 





Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Dry Rubbed Ribs and Cauliflower "Rice"

 
How's that for a title, hey ? Sadly, it may not be what you were hoping for! My recipe today is a double whammie, dry rubbed ribs and cauli rice. The ribs were a new one and the "rice" is something we have some kind of version of, at least once weekly.

   Do you have a certain habit or tendency that you need to cut out? I was thinking about this tonight as I was cooking dinner. I saw another blogger writing about "double dinner syndrome". It makes total sense. Especially to those with small kids, or who are the main chef in the house. In a nut shell, it means that while you're cooking, you sample, nibble and lick your way through. Adding up to enough calories to equal your meal , before you've even eaten ! It can be done pretty unconsciously. Then you sit down to eat (again) and-BOOM ! Double dinner syndrome. I am for sure guilty of this sometimes.  Sound familiar? I will be more aware, and cut that out!

   I've managed to get my mind back to my focused zone, for the most part. It's amazing how quickly you can fall off the wagon, and how you automatically feel like crap on a stick. I'm back down to within 2 pounds of my weight before we left to Mexico. I hold water in like a camel on death row. Always have. I've learned not panic at the scale, as I know after a few good workout days and roughly 10,000 liters of water, I'll be back on track. One major thing I had to learn was that after a slip, not to let it all go to hell in a hand basket. One day turns to a few, then a week, and so on. Take the power and stop it! If you're not happy, don't rely on someone else to help you, DO IT! With me to help you, of course. :)

   For the cauli rice, I strongly recommend using a food processor to "rice" the cauliflower. I have seen recipes say to try a cheese grater, but to me that screams grated knuckles and broken dreams. Don't go there. A word of caution, if you don't already know. Cauliflower stinks. Like someone has crapped themselves a week ago. The less fresh it is, the worse off you are. Don't throw any leftovers away and keep that garbage around, you'll regret it! But, the bonus is that it tastes awesome. And is a very healthy substitute to rice or a high-carb side dish. Did I mention filling? Carry on......

Husband-pleasing dinner : Dry rubbed pork side ribs and cauliflower rice...... 

Ribs - you need:

2 full racks of pork side or back ribs (about 3-4 pounds)
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
add all spices to a small bowl and mix to combine.

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees
I like to cut the ribs into about 3-bone sections.
place tin foil to cover a baking tray. Place greased baking racks on top of your tray. This allows the heat to circulate, and cook evenly. No flipping required.
Then, basically just give your ribs a nice, sensual massage with the spice blend. Both sides, don't be cheap. Place on the racks and into the oven, for 2.5 - 2 hours 45. Depending how crispy you like them. I did close to 3 hours, and the outside was just a tad crunchy for us, 2 hours 45m would be perfect.



Cauliflower "rice" :

You need :

Aprox. 1 medium head of cauliflower, stems removed cut into florets.
1-2 cups organic chicken or beef stock
1/2 a white onion diced
1/2 cup organic corn (optional)
1/2 cup organic peas (optional)

Once your cauli is cut into florets, attach the "ricing" blade to the food processor.


Turn it on and add in all the cauliflower. Once it's all riced, use a wooden spoon and scrape down the sides until it's combined. 



Grease a large, deep frying pan with a tbsp butter or coconut oil. Warm to med-high heat. Add your broth. You don't want it swimming. Just enough to stir in and simmer with. If you have too much liquid that's not cooking off, just drain a bit away.



At this point, you can add any spices or veggies you like. I did the peas and corn, with the diced onion. Then black pepper, sea salt and a pinch of oregano. 
Cook, stirring often for 15-20 minutes. You basically just go for the texture / consistency you want. I have made it enough to know how long it takes. You'll get to know how you like it. I added a bit of Bragg's gluten free soy sauce to it, and a bit more pepper to serve. Easy, healthy and a hit !! Make it your own and add whatever your family enjoys !








Monday, 25 November 2013

Oven Roasted Chickpeas

Hello, everyone !! I am not dead. Close, but not yet.

   We just returned last night from a week in Mexico. It was a fabulous holiday , and we are very sad to be home ! I strongly recommend the Barcelo Tropica Palace, in the Mayan Riviera. It was so great, and we were treated like royalty.

   Did I stick to my diet? Did I bring my workout gear and not look at it once? I'll let you decide which question gets a yes and a no. I was very good in the beginning. I had such good intentions, its disgusting. Then I just fell apart. The buffet was calling me, and I let my boozy days make my decisions . We had to leave our youngest son behind at the last minute (he had croup) and were there only with our 4 year old. He's pretty independent and it freed up my hands a little , not having the baby there. Sadly, this did not fare well for my ass. I think it may of doubled. But, what does a gal do ? There's always the gym and routine, but there's not always a holiday. I do regret letting myself go so far off my path , but I'm home now and back in my game.

   That leads me to the "almost dead" part. I mentioned I didn't work out for, what ends up at 9 days. That's a long time when you've been pretty routine. I go to an aerobics class twice weekly. One day is devastatingly timed on Monday morning. Today. Let me tell you , she wasn't pretty.  Grey was protesting because he didn't want to go to the gym babysitters. I almost took it as a way out ! I felt too guilty.Off we went. Man, did I suck it !!! I was sweating about 5 seconds in, and hovering on a life-threatening asthma attack. I don't have asthma. I was sweating booze and tacos right from my pores ! Lesson learned, again. :)


   One thing that was positive in all this, is I was swiftly reminded how I feel , and stay feeling, when I eat like that. I feel like a gassy, bloated whale.The kind of whale that gets stuck on the beach in her bathing suit. My husband and I are both paying the price, and are suffering through the sugar / gluten detox. One night of drinking affects me to begin with, never mind 7. It's no surprise I'm up 6 pounds. I will forge on and pound water like it was my last glass. I hate to say it was worth it, but it was. :)


   I'll just add a quick recipe today, as I just got my fridge restocked and my mind refocused. Look for lettuce wraps and dry rubbed pork ribs, later this week.


Oven Roasted Chick Peas


You need:
1 can organic chickpeas (I just use Safeway Organics brand)
1-2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
2-3 tbsp (to your taste) Frank's Hot Sauce
sea salt to taste

Pre heat oven to 400
Drain and rinse your chickpeas in a strainer.
Dry them very thoroughly on paper towel. Important to get the crunchy texture!




Transfer them to a large mixing bowl, and add in your chosen oil. Mix to coat. Add your desired amount of hot sauce and mix. 
Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Cook at 400 for about 15 minutes at a time. Taking out to stir so they don't turn to charcoal. Depending on your oven and how crunchy you want, I do this for about 45 min to an hour. After about the 40 min mark, keep your eye on those little suckers, they go from still soft to burnt very fast ! Sprinkle with sea salt.

These are very similar to corn nuts. I love them on my salads, or just as a snack. Great for in the car. You can obviously leave out the hot sauce and add whatever spices you like. Garlic salt or chili's are fab as well.
Enjoy !



Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Cozy weekend breakfast

Ok , so I'm feeling guilty, I feel the need to do one more quick post !

   On the weekends my husband is usually here, and I have more freedom to experiment in the kitchen with less of a chance of a child hanging off my pants! I have been dying to try this apple pie pancakes recipe from 'Primally Inspired.' This one is very easy, but does take a bit more time. In my experience, grain free pancakes do take a bit longer to cook , and aren't quite as easy to flip-a-roo. One thing that is key on this one- bigger is not better. Don't try and make some sort of mega-sized pancake that will feed half of the neighbourhood. Little, silver dollar sized is success! Speaking of the neighbourhood, they will all be peering in the windows to see what's shakin' when they get a whiff of the apples and cinnamon browning. Ahhhh. Being awesome feels good, doesn't it ?

Apple Pie Pancakes (grain/gluten free)
 
You need: 

1 tbsp butter (or ghee)
2 cups diced and peeled apples. I needed 3 medium apples
2 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs
1 cup almond milk (whole cows milk or coconut will work)
1-2 tbsp raw honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut flour  (do not try and sub flours, this is a unique flour and others will not act the same)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of sea salt
3 additional tbsp's milk
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
cooking fat of choice (I use coconut oil)

Melt 1 tbsp of coconut oil (or butter) over medium heat. add diced apples and 2 tsp of cinnamon
cook until apples are tender, about 8 minutes. Here's where to expect gawkers. This smells amazing.



While these are cooking, start the pancake batter. Combine eggs, milk and honey and vanilla. Then add coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Coconut flour is a very "thirsty" flour, and absorbs a lot of liquid. Leave this sit a minute, to soak up all the goodness. Once your apples are done, fold half of them into your pancake mixture. To the lonely apples left in the pan, add the 3 tbsp milk, butter and syrup and stir until butter is melted. Keep warm, and set aside.

Pancakes

Pour your desired size (remember-smaller) pancake onto a well greased frying pan. These don't cook quickly like a traditional pancake. Be patient, my friend. Get a few pans going, start a pancake party/ That's what I did. Because at this point, the hungry little pant-clingers were showing up.


Once the bubbles start showing up, and the edges start pulling in, test it out. If it appears you can flip that sucker without spraying your stove with batter, go for it. Once flipped, cook another few minutes until cooked through. You will get a feel for them , and you'll see right away the  time / size you need. SMALLER. Did you hear me? I see you trying to supersize these because you're impatient. Don't do it, girl. Simma down now and relax.


Once you have all your pancakes done, add your apple topping to each serving plate and present these little gems to your probably now starving family ! Don't forget to sprinkle those with love. Haha. Yeah right. Gag me. :))


Enjoy !

Original recipe pingback to "Primally Inspired"- food blogger 






Chicken and Artichoke Pesto Chicken

Hi , everyone !!

   Again , I intended to post last night. Seems that my youngest child has now contracted the  "plague" that my oldest has.The fun, inevitable truth that every mother with one sick kid knows. It's coming. The healthy one is just a sitting duck ! Normally , I try not to get to stressed out about these kinds of every day things. But, we are leaving to Mexico in just a few days. The anxiety alone of flying with a 15 month old is already enough to make me want to take up a severe heroine addiction immediately. Flying with a sick kid ? Uh-huh. Not happening . I'd rather claw my own eyes out. Am I right ? He has croup , and after a one time dose of some magical potion , should be better in the next day or so. Apparently. Fingers crossed !

   When I started transforming our family to this way of eating , I was having a few little tantrums about all the recipes I was missing out on because I didn't have a food processor. And after roughly ten million tantrums , my loving husband came home with a lovely , new food processor for me. I seriously could not live without it. I use it at least once daily. Sauces, flours, butters, ice creme, dips, dressing....I could go on. If there was one kitchen item I recommend , its this. If you can , spend the money and get a decent one. No point getting one if it doesn't have the balls to chop and shred !

   The next recipe I am going to share was a random one that I just happen to come across on a Facebook group I'm in. It sounded good , I had all the ingredients and needed to use up my squash. Sold. I find myself being so thankful for the Internet and how easy and fast it is to find recipes . Can you imagine what our grandmothers must think of that ? No more paging though the 2 cookbooks you own, trying to come up with something different and healthy. Right at our fingertips . So , here goes another one . Hope you try it, this one was a total success. The sauce by itself could be used as a dip for an appie at your next party ! Baked in the oven with a bit of parm or shredded cheese, and you've got yourself a real crowd pleaser. Can you hear the "ooooh's " and "ahhhhhhhh's" already ? Enjoy !!


Chicken and Artichoke Pesto Spaghetti Squash

You need : 

1lb boneless chicken , cubed (breast or thighs)
1 large spaghetti squash (get the mothership sized one)
2 cans artichoke hearts, drained
1/3 cup walnuts (I used almonds , that's what I had)
3-5 tbsp olive or coconut oil
4 tbsp chicken / veg broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley*
1/2 cup fresh basil*
juice of one lemon
3-5 cups spinach 
sea salt and pepper to taste

* do not sub these herbs for the dried variety. Homey don't play that. Hit up the store and get the fresh stuff


pre heat oven to 400. My oven is convection , and cooks on devil-type temp's. So cook according to your oven.
Cut your spag squash in half , and remove seeds and strands. If you're feeling Martha Stewart-ish , save the seeds and roast later. Late like, when your kids are grown and you have 150 years to dig out and dry the slippery little buggers. Put the squash cut side down in a baking tray with a few inches of water. Into the oven for 35-45 minutes. Until a fork can be inserted easily to skin. Be careful when opening the oven to peek , the skin gets very hot and will burn the wrinkles right off your squinty little eyes!

Start the pesto. Add your oil of choice to a large frying pan. Once heated ,add one of the garlic cloves and the artichokes and cook until very tender and browned slightly. Season with sea salt and pepper.



Add this, along with walnuts, broth, olive oil  and your second garlic clove to your food processor .(see , ya really do want one). Puree until smooth. Then add basil, parsley, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Hit the gas on that again until blended and smooth. T this point , it can be eaten with a spoon, by yourself , in a dark corner. The end. Uh , I mean taste it and add more lemon if you like.



Add your cubed chicken into pan that you used for the artichokes. Cook chicken until browned on all sides and cooked through. Add about 1/4 cup of the pesto mix (if you haven't eaten it all by this point) to your chicken , and add the spinach. Mix to combine. Cover and cook 2-4 minutes until the spinach is wilted and mixed in. 



Assuming you remembered to take out your squash and didn't singe off your eyebrows...now is the time to thread out the strands of that bad boy. I like to add it to a large mixing bowl. If your pan is large enough, you can use that, too. Mix your squash , chicken mixture and desired amount of remaining pesto, and stir to combine. Transfer to serving dishes , garnish with some of the fresh basil...and call the woman of the year committee, because you just made a kick ass meal !!! Enjoy!!


Original recipe pingback goes to : 
http://paleomg.com/artichoke-lemon-pesto-chicken-pasta/










Saturday, 9 November 2013

Almond Flour Sandwich Rounds

Hi everyone ! Happy long weekend !!

  Just a quick post to touch base , and toss up a new recipe ! Is it chilly where you are ? We had a super nice day today , but I think the gloom is headed our way tomorrow. Some of the best cold weather dishes often involve bread. Have you given up bread , or limit it at all ? Or do you just say f$%#  it , and give 'er ? We don't avoid gluten for allergy reasons , so we have the luxury of having it some times, if we choose. Others with serious conditions , such as Crones or Celiac Disease are not so lucky. So , it's nice to have options , right ? Options that don't taste like ass are especially favourable in my books.

   I've experimented quite a bit with different Paleo / gluten free bread recipes. I've decided that the ones with coconut flour in them tend to make me sad. But , I want to like them so desperately ! So , I continue to experiment. In the meantime , I have found a few tried and true almond flour recipes that have become fav's around here. They are simple and easy to tweak (not to be confused with twerk , I can't say for sure the recipe will work if you "twerk it" !) to make them your own.

   The one I'm going to share today , came from a recipe called "sandwich rounds" . They were used as a type of  flat bread substitute. I make them with dishes that typically require "dipping" . I love dipping. Don't argue with me . I know everyone loves a good , soft , warm piece of bread to dunk in hearty comfort food. Any spice can be added to the batter , to accommodate the flavors of whatever you have as your main dish. After the "rounds" are spread onto the baking trays , I like to sprinkle them with seeds , to give them more of a multi-grain bread feel. I use roasted sesame seeds and chia seeds. Let me know if you try something new! The pictures I'm including are of our supper 2 nights ago. We had these little gems with chicken a la king. I'll include the recipe link for that as well. I used the leftover rounds (stored in the fridge) for the "bun" on Shane's breakfast sandwich the next day.Very good. I like to warm them in the toaster or in the oven. Enjoy!


Gluten / Grain Free Sandwich Rounds 


You need :

2 1/2 cups almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice , or Greek yogurt )
1/4 cup melted butter or ghee (coconut oil for dairy free )
3 eggs
1 tsp garlic powder or 2-3 minced garlic bulbs
1 tsp  dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

chia seeds
roasted sesame seeds 

Pre heat oven to 350.
Mix all ingredients together , leaving out your seed toppings. Mix only until combined. Take it easy over there , I see you stirring aggressively! For real though , over stirring causes cranky bread. Don't expect this to look like a traditional "dough" . It should look kind of like oatmeal , or pancake batter. Carry on.



Once combined , using a large spoon , spread circles of the mixture out onto a parchment lined baking tray. Use the back of the spoon to smooth them out , thin but not with any see through spots. Be sure not to crowd the circles on the tray, they need some room to stretch out. The size of them can be according to whatever you are using them for. Just make sure to adjust baking time . I tend to make them about palm size, give or take. Once you have them spread nicely, sprinkle the tops with the seeds you have chosen. Or none at all. Be boring . Whatever.

 At this point , you're going to look at these and think , how in the name of Baby Jesus are these going to turn into anything edible ??? Be patient , my sweet . Just trust me . And follow my instructions , if you don't it's your fault !! 

Into the oven they go , for about 15-18 minutes , size depending. Very good with a bit of butter or honey melted on top. Good luck !





And here we go ! Perfect for dipping !!


original "rounds" recipe pingback to "comfybelly.com"

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Paleo Chicken Enchilada's

Mike.Mike.Mike.Mike.Mike. You know what day it is , Mike ? It's huuuuuuuuump day !!! Ha ha. Love that commercial. Hump day it is, approaching a long weekend !!

   We had a crazy day around here, today. Had our new fridge delivered this afternoon. These things can never just be easy. Why? We have an abnormal kitchen island that comes right in front of the fridge, making it near impossible to get anything in or out. Also, the cabinets above the fridge are too low, so it totally restricts the size of fridge we can choose. Whatevs. I was happy with the one we picked.

   Getting the old one out was not good times. Not to mention the assortment of "treasures" that a gal finds on top of and behind the fridge, once it's been moved ! We finally managed to get the old one across the kitchen and to the front door. They were planning to take the old one away with them.Super handy. What's not so super handy ? My loving husband telling me about this as he's on the way home to meet the guy here. Where do you just simply "empty the fridge out , ok? , as I was told to do . Did I mention I had 5 minutes? Counter tops filled with food . I can handle it for a few minutes. Then the new fridge won't fit . At all . Long story short , imagine your entire fridge and freezer emptied out all over the counters. Then they had to remove cabinets. So the contents of those were mixed up and mingling with my fridge contents. I'm having another OCD flare up , just writing about it. Needless to say , it took hours to clean up , and my afternoon snack was a giant coffee.

   Do you find it tempting to cave in and just order food on a hectic night ? Or make something that was off plan? Sometimes we just have to roll with it , and move on. I did still manage to pull off my enchilada's , but only because I had already roasted the chicken earlier today. That saved me ! This reminds me why preparation is the key for me. I need to have my head in the game , or I fall apart ! I'm a chronic "picker" , and if I let my blood sugar get too low , it's downhill on a toboggan for me ! A handful or something here,another there....sound familiar ? It adds up , and that's my downfall.

   Following is the recipe for the enchilada's , including homemade "tortillas" . This recipe , as most of mine are , is very adjustable to your own tastes. For the actual filling of the enchilada's , you can basically do whatever you like. Like I said , I roasted a fresh chicken , shredded it for the filling. The wraps are very similar to a "crepe" type texture / process . They can be made ahead of time and are great leftover. I suggest if you make them ahead , that you reheat them slightly, as they might be hard to wrap if they are cool. I split the batter and make a side one for the kids , adding cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice , so they can have a more crepe type version. Or call them "flat pancakes" if you are my son. I will provide both a regular and Paleo version of the wraps , if you're looking to try grain free. Enjoy !! Please comment and let me know if you've tried any recipes ! I love the feedback.



Paleo Savory Wraps

http://www.againstallgrain.com/2011/05/04/grain-free-tortillas/


Home made wraps using wheat flour :    (makes a lot , enough for a fam of 4)

4 eggs
2 cups wheat flour
1 cup whole milk (almond or coconut milk can be subbed 1:1)
1 cup water
2-3 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garlic salt*
oil to grease your pan (coconut or olive )

*depending on the flavor you're going for, add whatever spices you like.

Heat oven to 375.

Mix all ingredients together with a whisk until smooth , but still slightly lumpy .Don't over mix.







Warm up your fat of choice in a medium sized frying pan , over medium heat.
Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup , pour your batter onto the pan , and use the bottom of the 1/4 cup to quickly smooth down and spread the batter into a small circle. Just like pancakes , wait until edges start to pull in and middle is setting. Flip , and give it another 30-45 seconds. I like to keep them in a little tinfoil tent until I need them. Feel free to get 2 pans going at once . This is about the size of wrap I'm talking about.....


At this point, start to prep your filling , this is what I used....(you can assume all ingredients are organic , unless stated otherwise)
Filling :

Aprox. 2 cups shredded , cooked roasted chicken
1 cup corn kernels
3/4 cup black beans
1 red bell pepper , diced 
1/2 cup white onion , diced.
plain , full fat greek yogurt to garnish (sour creme to sub , if you like)
1 small can of pickled jalapenos (optional)
1/2 cup shredded marble cheese (optional)
aprox. 1 cup fresh salsa (as much as you want , enough to cover and moisten mixture)
cooking fat of choice  (I use coconut oil)

pre heat frying pan over medium to low heat.

Add all ingredients to large frying pan , stir to combine. Cook until heated through and combined. About 5-10 minutes. Take off heat and allow to cool.


Set yourself up a little assembly line type situation ! Wraps , filling and a greased glass baking dish.
Add about 2 tbsp (depending on wrap size) to the middle of each wrap , leaving room on the ends to tuck. Have you ever swaddled a baby ? Juuuuuuust like that ! Place seam side down in the baking dish. Cram them all nice and snuggly together. I like to sprinkle the jalapenos on top , with some more beans and some shredded cheese for the huzzie. Don't worry if they aren't wrapping perfectly , or don't look like a pinterest photo ! We usually eat them knife and fork styles if they start to come apart. They are so delicious , you won't care anyways !! :)


Once you have used up all your wraps , toss them in the oven for about 10 minutes , until heated through and cheese is melted . (assuming you used that). Voila ! Serve with some sliced avocado , if you like !!



Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Cauliflower Oven Patties

Happy Tuesday !!

   I had intended to get this one up last night , but my oldest ended up with an ear infection and we had to hang out at the ER to score some medicine ! Big shout out to the Brooks Hospital for sneaking us right in , and not making me sit in a crowded waiting room with my wailing kid !! Much appreciated.

   Monday's Grey has soccer after supper and his dad is the coach. So I need to be on the ball with dinner.I had some veggies to use up , so I decided to try out the bison cheese smokies from our order , and then paired them with cauliflower patties and brussel sprouts. These cauli patties have become a staple in our house,and were one of my first successes with a Paleo recipe. We have them pretty much weekly. They are awesome leftover for a few days , cold or hot , and freeze well with parchment between each pattie. Cauliflower is a fabulous veggie , that can be served so many ways. I never in a million years thought my family would ask for cauliflower so much ! There are so many different ways to prepare and serve veggies , a gal doesn't have to stick to plain old steamed all the time. (but that's good, too!) I think cauliflower can be considered one of the most versatile veggies. For anyone that disagrees , you're what I like to call "wrong"  :) For real though , you can pull off some seriously impressive dishes with it.

   We've learned to pair our protein with nutrient dense , filling foods, rather than processed carbs and empty calories. This has been one of my biggest differences in my journey. I'm full so much sooner , stay full and don't feel deprived . In the past , I always felt so miserable when  "dieting". You know the usual starving induced rage that comes from trying to limit yourself to a certain number of calories daily? I am so happy to be free of counting calories and fat and stressing over what to eat and when, so that I don't go over my recommended calories that day.How does my Ipad know how many calories I need, anyways? Screw you serving size, you don't know me !Ha ha. What's that new term these days..."hangry?" Well , I was always hangry . I don't have that anymore.

   For those of you that know my husband , he is a tall drink 'o water. Almost six foot four,225. On his calorie app, after entering in his hour of cardio, plus weights , it adjusted him to 1200 calories daily. Are you kidding me ? For an adult male , actively working out (and not to mention trying to survive) of his size? Pure crap !! Stop the counting , and focus on the product. Eat to exercise , not exercise to eat !!

   Now , I know the calorie apps do work for people , and some really like them. That's cool. I just worry about the stressing on a number , rather than the quality of food and using it when we need to eat , not when the computer says it's ok. Ya dig ? What and when you're eating should be related to that day's activity and nutritional need , not an identical number every single day. Find what works for you !

   Comin' at you hot......instructions for the cauliflower patties. For the smokies , I just put them in a pan with some water and cooked them stove top. They were to die for , and I'll be ordering more for sure. Sprouts recipe to come soon.


Cauliflower Patties 


You need : 
1/2 a head of cauliflower , trimmed into bigger pieces , stems removed
2 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar (or cheese of choice)
1/2 - 3/4 cup breadcrumbs*** (depending how much water you removed from the cauli)
sea salt and pepper to taste
any additional spices could be added. (We like cayenne , garlic powder, red pepper flakes...endless possibilities !)


***About the breadcrumbs. I use Organic Spelt breradcrumbs from the Safeway bakery. You could sub for 1/2 cup almond flour for grain free. 



Turn the oven on to 400.
Ok ,first steam your cauli until very tender and "mashable".Cool about 10 min. Mash it with a potato masher or sturdy fork. *Important step* put your mashed cauli inside a clean tea towel and squeeze the crap out of it , over the sink.. You'll be shocked at how much water will come out, I'm talking like a cup or 2 ! Please wait until it's cooled though, bandaged hands are not fashionable ! 
Once you've squeezed it , transfer to a large mixing bowl . Add in eggs , the cheese,breadcrumbs and salt and pepper. Mix to combine.



Using your hands , form into palm sized patties , about an inch or so thick.Making them just thick enough so they don't fall apart. Place on parchment lined baking sheet.



Flip after 15 minutes. They should be pretty firm by this time , and holding together like a firm pancake. Put back in for another 15-20 minutes. I like to sprinkle a bit of parm for the kids and put under the broiler for a few minutes. Or just broil without the cheese , for crispy edges !



Last nights supper. The patties , bison smokie with horseradish mustard and brussel sprouts with bacon and onion.




Enjoy !!!




Sunday, 3 November 2013

Paleo Jalapeno Poppers

Hi , everyone ! How was your weekend ?

    What snowy , miserable road conditions we had , here in Alberta! We were away in Calgary this weekend , for a birthday party our son was invited to. 7 year olds , bowling and hot dogs! Needless to say , my diet suffered a bit this last 24 hours !

   All was good until I got my over-hyper and very busy kids to bed. Mama decided to partake in a little wine. Which was then a lot of wine. And then, my girlfriend Jody and I found ourselves hunched over a bowl of Halloween candy that was roughly the size of a country. Did I mention it was midnight? Ugh. No good !!! Wrappers everywhere. It was total carnage. There were hardly any survivors. Not even an hour later, I was sicker than a dog. A dog that had just been let loose on a sugar buffet. Nobody enjoys throwing up . And it reminded me why I gave that sort of food up in the first place. We all need a little reminder once in a while, right?

   So , trying to get back in my zone today . Not easy after such carnage !! The light at the end of my 'sugar-binge' tunnel , is that I start my new aerobics boot camp in the morning. Step away from the "incident" and carry on ! Why look back , we're not going that way , right ?

   When we finally got home from Calgary , I was pressed to make something healthy , and fast. Long day + daylight savings makes a cranky family. I had ordered some free-range bison products from a local fundraiser a few weeks ago , and they showed up at the door shortly after we did. So I cooked some of the patties on cooking racks in the oven , and made up some homemade jalapeno poppers , as our side. Did the trick and got me some actual nutrition that wasn't in a tiny little wrapper.

   I'm holding out on my weekly shop until Tuesday , as it's good 'ol 15% off day at Safeway and Heritage Foods. Tomorrow night's dinner will be a game-time decision. I'll see what needs to go the soonest ! I'm thinking brussel sprouts for sure, then I'll figure out the rest, if I make it home alive from the gym.

   Side note . There is a "subscribe by email" button on my homepage. It will alert you by email whenever I have a new blog post. Also , please let me know if you try any of the recipes, and anything different you may of tried. I love the feedback , and find it very helpful for others looking to try the recipe.
 

Tip of the day :  If you're looking for some good quality , affordable workout clothes, ones that don't look like Richard Simmons should be modeling them , try Old Navy ! I have scored some awesome tops and shorts there , for under $20. Today they had some really cute , lightweight tops and sweaters , all on sale. Perfect. If I drop dead at aerobics tomorrow , at least I'll be my cutest ! :)



 Have a great Monday , everyone ! ( jalapeno poppers recipe to follow.....)


                                                                     
Jalapeno Poppers


Ingredients:

4-6 green peppers (medium sized)
1 container soft goat cheese (herb or plain , personal taste)
4-6 slices of prosciutto , sliced  in half diagonally





Cut the top off the peppers to remove stem and then in half , lengthwise. *(I wear gloves to do this , I really react to the peppers , and once the burning starts , there's no stopping it !!) Cut out the seeds and ribbing and rinse the peppers with cool water. Pat dry with paper towel.




 Using a small spoon or butter knife , spread the goat cheese to cover the inside of each pepper half. The amount of cheese you use on each is entirely up to you. Creme cheese could easily be subbed.


Cut each piece of prosciutto in half , on the diagonal. Wrap a piece around the pepper, trying to ensure the seam is on the bottom. ( tends to keep it together better , but not life or death). Place on a parchment lined baking tray. Bake at 400 , for 20-25 min , until your prosciutto is crisped , and cheese is heated through.


This is the particular brand of goat cheese that I had on hand today. Let me know if you have a favourite !


And , there we have it. The free-range bison patty I mentioned above , a romaine heart to "bun it " , some diced cuc's , and a bit of organic ketchup. Healthy , filling and not from Jody's ' dirty little secret' Halloween bowl !! Don't get me wrong , I love a good treat , but we took this one a little too far ! In fact , my husband was so shocked to see our wrapper graveyard , I think he may have a potential intervention staged for me! What's life without one...... or 48 Oh Henry's , right ????


Friday, 1 November 2013

Baked Parm Spaghetti Squash

Baked Parmesan Spaghetti Squash

 Cut your squash in half , crosswise. It will be like cracking a chest in open heart surgery. Forge on. Scrape out the seeds and any loose pulp. Poke a few holes in that bugger and toss it on a lipped baking sheet, cut side down, with a few inches of water. Bake at 375 for around 45 minutes , depending on the size.Check occasionaly to make sure the water hasnt steamed dry.Add more if needed. When done , flip over (girl , put on your oven mitts , that thing will be hawwwwwt ) and set aside. In the mean time, dice and saute half an onion in about a tsp of butter.No margarine here , girlfriend ! Toss the onion into a large mixing bowl. Dump in your squash , once its not scorching anymore !
                                 Add a few scoops of plain , full fat Greek yogurt. Mix to combine.
 Transfer into a greased baking dish. Smooth down a bit. Sprinkle with good quality , fresh Parmesan cheese. I know , I know . Cheese isn't Paleo. When you call the Paleo police , be sure to tell them about my peanut butter , ok ? Mmmmmkay....moving on.....
 Toss that bad boy into the oven and cook about 20 minutes , until heated through. Turn to broil for the last few minutes to brown the cheese, if you like.


Voila ! We had the squash with stuffed, buffalo chicken peppers.

*Sour creme could be subbed for Greek yogurt if you don't have that on hand. And the cheese could be left out entirely , if you want to be "that guy".  Enjoy !!! :)

Ingredients:
1 medium sized spaghetti squash
1/2 a white onion , diced
1 tsp butter
3/4 cups plain , full fat greek yogurt (or to personal taste)
1/2 cup freshly grated parm cheese


Update : also added here is the recipe for the buffalo peppers , by popular demand !!

http://www.realfoodreciperoundup.com/buffalo-ranch-stuffed-peppers/
Recipe pingback to :"Primally Inspired"