Monthly Archives: April 2014

Weekly Menu: April 27- May 1

New Patio EscapeSUN: Paleo pumpkin chili (Serves 8) –Leftovers are great for lunch.
MON: Roasted chicken with squash and broccoli (Serves 3)
TUES: Paleo Taco Salad (minus sour cream) (Serves 4)
WED: Slow-cooker pork roast with red onion salsa & simple skillet greenbeans (Serves 4)
THURS: Prosciutto sundried tomato turkey burgers –lettuce wrapped served with roasted zucchini and summer squash (Serves 4)

My husband and I sold our house three years ago and moved across the country. We have been living in an apartment ever since.  It is a very nice complex with a pool and courtyard we can use anytime we desire, but we don’t really have a big outdoor space that is our own. We really missed this about owning a home because we love to be outside as much as possible. Our house had a large front porch with two big rocking chairs that we sat on drinking wine and talking about life with our good friends all the time. Several important life conversations happened on that front porch. Also, my husband put a nice patio in the back that created a space for us to have friends and family over for cook-outs or brunch. Even though we don’t have as many friends or family where we are now to have over for dinner or drinks, I still was missing our own space outdoors.

My husband was feeling the same way. We decided to get rid of some stuff that we were storing on our tiny patio and make it a little escape outdoors. We went shopping, but was not finding an outdoor rug that was the size or color I wanted. So my husband looked online and decided we could just make one ourselves. We bought a piece of cheap outdoor carpet, used tape to create a design and the spray painted it. Total it cost about 40 dollars. Also, I had a few extra small mason jars that I needed to do something with too. I filled them about half full of sand and put a tea light candle on top. Now, we have that space we have been missing. We dined outside lastnight and just talked afterwards over a few cocktails. Even though it is just the two of us, we are a family. I believe it is important to have family dinners at the table (no TV) and just talk. This is why cooking good healthy food every week is important.

This week I am trying some new blogs and recipes again. The only recipe I have made before is the Paleo Pumpkin Chili. This is a favorite in our house and I love that it makes enough for most of my lunches for the entire week. I put the leftovers in individual containers so that during the week all I have to do is “grab-n-go.” If you make eating healthy simple and easy, then you are more likely to stick with it. Here is the Word version and grocery list for Weekly Dinner Menu – Week 9.  As always, have a wonderful week!

~Eat well, be well

Bone Broth

I often hear people say eating healthy is expensive. I agree it can be, especially if you are spending money on “gluten free” or “healthy” pre-packaged food. This is part of the reason why I do not buy these items. Plus, in reality they are still processed foods and not much better than the standard items.

One food that has amazing health benefits, such as gut healing properties, and rich in minerals, but extremely cheap to make is bone broth. All you need is filtered water, about two pounds of bones (preferably from grass-fed animals), a pinch of sea salt and apple cider vinegar to help pull the minerals from the bones. There are different recipes out there that might have a few other ingredients, but for the most part these are the only ingredients. You can usually buy bones at your local grocery store for just a few dollars. The bones can be used a few times too. Just store them in the freezer in between batches.

001  Bone Broth Finished

I like to make my bone broth in my slow cooker because then it can be cooking while I am at work. If you don’t use a slow cooker, you need to let it simmer on the stove for a few hours. Bone broth is very versatile and can be added to soups, stews etc.  You can even freeze it for a couple of weeks. I usually make a batch either every week or every other. Have you tried making your own bone broth?

~Eat well, be well

Easter

Weekly Menu: Apr 20-24

Easter SUN: Herb Roasted Chicken (serves 6-8),Roasted Rainbow Carrots, Asparagus Basil
salad, guacamole devil eggs.
Dessert: Coconut macaroons (made with honey), Almond chocolate buttercups
MON: Paleo Garlic Chicken Nuggets with roasted broccoli or cauliflower (Serves 4)
TUES: Paleo fajitas (lettuce wrapped) (Serves 4)
WED: Coconut crusted cod with asparagus (Serves 2)
THURS: Spicy bacon avocado stuffed burgers –no bun (Normally serves 8 – I cut it in half to only serve 4) with cucumber pasta salad and roasted brussel sprouts (use ghee for this recipe if you cannot do butter)

Happy Easter to you and your family! I hope you are able to spend the day with loved ones. I will be cooking today after all. My Dad isn’t coming this week, but he will be here in a couple of weeks. I am looking forward to seeing him and my upcoming trip in May to Chicago to visit with family.

Since the weather is finally nice everywhere again, I will be grilling out twice this week. I am cooking from a variety of blogs and websites again. Some of them I have cooked from before, like Paleomg and some are new, like Hold The Grain. I really love trying new things because it is what keeps this lifestyle interesting, at least for me. Here is the Word version of the Weekly Dinner Menu – Week 8 and grocery list.

I hope you all have another wonderful week and enjoy the meals!

~Eat well, be well

Easter Menu Ideas

EasterAs a kid, Easter was one of my favorite holidays. My sister and I always had Easter dresses (usually that my Mom made) and we spent the entire day with family. Both sets of my grandparents had an Easter egg hunt for all their grandchildren. I loved my Granny and Grandad’s because their eggs were filled with money. Afterwards, we would sit on their front porch swing and swing for hours, just talking. It was always a special day filled with love, home cooked food and family.

My Grandma and Grandpa had 22 grandchildren and had the biggest Easter egg hunt ever in their backyard. It was like a mad dash with all the kids running to get the most eggs. I am pretty sure I recall a few fights breaking out during the race for eggs. It was always crazy, but so much fun. My Grandma also always had one Reese’s peanut butter egg for all the kids. I still associate chocolate and peanut butter with Easter, which is why the chocolate almond butter cups are on my menu.

I didn’t realize how lucky I was growing up. I thought everyone’s family was like mine, but now I realize how fortunate I truly was and am to have so much family. These are memories I will cherish forever.

Cooking for our families is important. I believe it is important to have special meals on the holidays where everyone sits down together and eats. This time allows us to connect with one another, especially family members we may not see everyday.  Right now, I live far away from my family and miss them all dearly. Since it is Easter, I still had planned to make a nourishing, special meal just for my husband and me. However, my Dad surprised me at the last moment and will be out here for work. So we will get to spend Easter with my Dad, which is wonderful. I won’t be cooking though because he loves all the restaurants in San Diego and will want to go out to dinner.  But, if I was cooking brunch or dinner, here are the meals I had planned below.

I hope you have a wonderful Easter with your family. Enjoy all the food and time spent together!

~Eat well, be well

Brunch:
Kale and red pepper frittata
Bacon
Fresh fruit salad made with organic blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries

Dinner:
Herb Roasted Chicken
Roasted Rainbow Carrots
Asparagus basil salad
Guacamole devil eggs

Dessert:
Coconut macaroons (made with honey)
Almond chocolate butter cups

 

 

Beef Curry with Cauli-rice

Beef Curry

This was a very simple and easy meal to make. It was great to make on a busy night because I put the meat in the crock-pot in the morning and it was ready when I got home from work. The meat was so tender and it just fell apart when touched with a fork. The only drawback about this meal was that it was a little bland and I was expecting it to have more flavor. I did use the 3 tbsp of red curry paste like the recipe called for, but I think next time I will add some cayenne pepepr, mince garlic, and curry powder. It was still a great meal and one I will make again.

I served the beef curry over cauli-rice. There is nothing wrong with white or brown rice if your body handles and easily digests it, but it is too high in carbohydrates for me. My body swells up and it upsets my belly. I prefer to make cauli-rice instead (low cab), but I still make white rice in the rice cooker for my husband. He is not a fan of cauliflower or “white broccoli” as he calls it.

Cauli-riceCauli-rice is so easy to make. All you have to do is cut up a head of broccoli and place it in your large food processor. Once you have cut it up, then transfer to a skillet with 1-2 tablespoons of oil (olive or coconut) and cook for about 10 minutes on a medium heat. I usually add sea salt to taste. Tonight, I had some extra green onions I needed to use soon so I added three of them to the “rice.” The onions gave it nice flavor and added some color. The cauli-rice was perfect with the Beef Curry served on top. One head of cauliflower makes approximately 4 servings.

Weekly Menu: April 13-17

 

Birthday dinner

SUN: Citrus garlic marinated steak with simple garlicky greens and rosemary garlic roasted potatoes (Serves 2)
MON: One-pan roasted chicken and broccoli (Serves 4)
TUES: Carne asada tacos with pico de gallo, avocado and sautéed red/yellow peppers (Serves 4)
WED: Beef curry in the slow cooker served over cauli-rice or regular rice – Your choice (Serves 4)
THURS: Lettuce wrapped Mexi burgers with roasted broccoli (Serves 4)

Today is my birthday and my husband asked me what I wanted to do to celebrate this weekend. Of course I chose to celebrate by having delicious, allergy free food and wine. Lastnight, we went to dinner at Blue Ocean Robata and Sushi Bar in Carlsbad. I loved it because they had

rolls made without rice (I don’t digest rice well), as well as bacon wrapped scallops off the robata menu. The roll was SO delicious that I didn’t even miss the soy sauce (contains wheat). It was the perfect birthday dinner. Today, I want to celebrate by cooking a special dinner with my husband. This is why steak is on the menu for tonight. Looking forward to my yummy dinner, as well as my best year yet that lies ahead of me.

This week I am cooking from several different blogs and websites. The two new blogs I am trying recipes from are Rubies and Radishes and Stupid Easy Paleo. All the recipes for Weekly Dinner Menu – Week 7 look delicious. Let me know which ones you try and like. I love hearing from you!

~Eat well, be well

 

Final Pizza Spaghetti Pie

Pizza Spaghetti Pie

My mom made a lot of casseroles for dinner when I was a kid. Therefore, all I knew how to cook when I first got married was casseroles. I have since learned how to cook very differently, mostly due to my food allergies and intolerances, but every once in awhile I still love a good casserole.  It reminds me of home, which is comforting on the days when I feel a little homesick or just miss my family (I live all the way across the country from my entire family). Lastnight, I made Pizza Spaghetti Pie from Paleomg and it reminded me of one of my favorite casseroles my mom made when I was a kid. It was like a little piece of home.

This recipe was so easy to make, but make sure you allow yourself enough time because it has to bake for an hour. Simply, cut the spaghetti squash in half and clean out the seeds. If you want to save some time, then you can cook each half in the microwave for seven minutes. If you have time, it’s always best to cook the squash in a baking dish face down for 20 minutes like the recipe suggests. After you cook it (either way), then take a fork and shred it creating the spaghetti-like noodles.

Spaghetti Squash     Cooked Spaghetti Squash

You can cook the sausage mixture while the spaghetti squash is cooking to save some time. Refer to the recipe for all the other ingredients to add with the sausage. Tip: instead of dried use fresh basil. I used fresh and it gave it wonderful flavor and aroma. Also, add any vegetables you love to have on your pizza.  Then mix the sausage mixture and spaghetti squash all together and add the whisked eggs. Bake for one hour.

Pizza Spaghetti Pie     Spaghetti Pie

My husband eats dairy so I topped his half with Parmesan cheese. We both thought this meal was delicious, filling and very comforting. Below is a picture of the final product, which paired well with a glass of Merlot. This meal yields 4-8 servings depending how big you want the servings. Per My Fitness Pal, the nutrition for each serving (using 4 servings per entire dish) is 370 calories, 17 g carbs, 41 g protein, 4 fiber, 16 g fat.

Final Pizza Spaghetti Pie

~Eat well, be well.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Dinners: Apr 6 – 10

SUN: Gluten free pizza crust with dairy free pesto, sausage, jalapenos, basil and tomatoes
MON: Bacon Chorizo Chipotle Smothered Meatloaf with roasted asparagus
and sweet potato fries (I am choosing to omit the mayo on the meatloaf).
TUES: Slow Cooked Carnitas Tacos with sauteed red bell pepper – recipe has an optional tomatillo sauce link, but I am choosing to just buy a green sauce
WED:Pizza Spaghetti Pie with roasted broccoli
THURS: Stuffed Bell Peppers

This week I am cooking from several different blogs, PaleoOMG, Brittany Angell, Against All Grain, Epicurious and Balanced Bites.  All of the links should work in the menu, but please let me know if one does not. I am still trying to “iron out” some technical issues.

The sweet potato fries in Monday’s night dinner can be done the same way as roasting the broccoli. Simply slice the potatoes, cover in 2 tbsp of olive oil, lay flat on a baking sheet, sprinkle with sea salt and bake for about 35 minutes on 400°F. You can cook them longer if you like crispier chips. The thinner they are sliced, the faster they will cook and the crispier they will be.

Here is the Word version of the menu and the grocery list Weekly Dinner Menu – Week 6.

Now, to finish my bulletproof coffee and enjoy this beautiful day at the beach!

bulletproof coffee

~Eat well, be well

 

fresh broccoli

Roasted Vegetables

My favorite way to eat vegetables is roasted. You may have noticed in my Weekly Dinner Menus I frequently have roasted broccoli and asparagus on the menu. I like to have them with meals during the week because they are a quick and easy way to add vegetables to a meal, especially  when I might be short on time due to a busy schedule. I know most of you reading this blog can relate to being busy during the week.

On Monday night it dawned on me that not everyone knows how to roast vegetables. I thought a short post might be helpful. I am using broccoli as my demonstration, but know this same technique works for just about any vegetable.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Wash and cut the broccoli.fresh broccoli

Measure out 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. If it is cold at room temperature as shown below, them microwave for approximately one minute or until completely melted. Note: you can use olive oil too, but coconut oil is my favorite with green vegetables.

coconut oil cold

Place the broccoli on a baking sheet and pour the melted oil over it.  Rub the broccoli around to ensure all pieces are coated with oil. Then sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. How long exactly depends on if you like crunchy or softer broccoli, but on average 25 minutes.

broccoli pre-roasting

Below is the final product. Add this to a source of protein and you will have a balanced meal of protein, fat (coconut oil), and carbs (broccoli). Simple, quick and easy.

Roasted broccoli

Again, I used broccoli for this demonstration, but you can roast most vegetables. Some of my favorite vegetables to roast are broccoli, asparagus, any type of squash, zucchini, and root vegetables (beets, carrots, parsnip, potatoes etc). Make it fun and play around by adding different spices and oils. If you find a combination you like, let us know on the blog. I love trying new recipes.

~Eat well, be well