Fed Up

I know I haven’t posted in forever, but we’ve had a lot going on! The two year old tankless hot water heater exploded, flooding the house. I haven’t had an oven since march, and my cooking-spiration has been way down. This led to an increased dependence on convenience foods, until one day I realized I was allowing foods that are affecting my kids’ health. So I had one of those “fed up” moments. You know the ones…where you’re just “done”? Well I was “done” with our crackers, and chips, and “I’m not hungry” when the healthy stuff is offered, but as soon as we’re on the road without it? “Waaahhhh! I’m STARVING!!!!!” So no more. I am back on track. And we might still use convenience foods (still no oven!) but at least they’ll be meats, fruits, or veggies!

So how do you do a sudden change like this… honestly, I expected more of a push back than I received. I decided that Sunday is a day of rest, so crackers and a treat or two will be allowed on Sundays. Otherwise, I have a great answer for why you can’t have goldfish today. “Because it’s not Sunday.” It was a rule that made sense, they could understand, and it gave them something to plan for. “Mommy, on Sunday, can we…..” [Important safety tip: Decide in advance how many treats you’ll have on “treat Sunday” or it’ll be total and complete sugar chaos. Not that we did that, or anything…😉 ]

The other thing is…my kids are older now. The picky eater who really would have starved herself to death had I insisted on certain foods? She eats now. I used to joke (sort of!) that she was opposed to all food. But now we can go out, and she needs to order her own meal. It only took 5.5 years😉 So I’m ready to say “if you’re really hungry, you’ll eat that…(carrot, cucumber, red pepper, whatever).” And she does…or doesn’t, but at least she stays at a healthy weight!

I thought I photographed way more than I did…maybe some things are on my phone… but here is “Fed Up” lunchbox #1. They ate it happily. None of what’s in here is novel in the Paleo world. It’s just that my cracker and chip loving kids ate it without complaint. Those will come, but they didn’t on this day. Obviously, if you’re dairy-free paleo, you’ll want to tweak this somewhat.

  • Red Pepper Strips
  • Mini pepperoni in heart cup
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Grapes
  • Turkey/cheese rollups
  • Ranch dressing

Fed Up 1

Easy Paleo AIP Meals – pancetta wrapped… anything (almost)!

I was looking through some of my old recipes, and thought I’d change-up one of them, and re-post another. Obviously you’ll want to read the ingredient list of whatever brand you buy, but since The Paleo Mom uses pancetta & bacon in her AIP friendly recipes, I’m feeling pretty safe doing the same.🙂

Take your meat of choice (chicken, fish, pork, whatever really) and wrap in bacon or pancetta. Sear it on high heat. Serve it next to your favorite AIP friendly veggies. Done. Both of these meals below can be on the table in under 20 minutes total. And that’s with kids present.

Pancetta wrapped cod (or other favorite mild fish):

  • Wrap your fish with pancetta (I should have bought more to do a complete wrap. See the picture and you’ll know what I mean)
  • Sear it in a hot pan with 1t of your favorite oil (if necessary or desired… my T-fal pans with the red dot don’t need any oil when cooking something that tends to make its own grease, like bacon, beef, whatever) then place it in the oven for a few minutes if it’s not already cooked through (ours was).
  • Eat

I served this with asparagus, but it would have been great with any veggie, including some squash if you want to get some AIP friendly carbs in there.

Pancetta Wrapped Cod
Pancetta wrapped chicken

I previously didn’t post this recipe, but it’s so removed from the original version that I think I’m okay to do so.

    • Cut chicken into small pieces (whatever size you like), I chose about 1″ x 2″
    • Cut pancetta into strips, and wrap around chicken
    • Sear in hot pan, flip to sear each side of the chicken
    • Place on a foil lined cookie sheet, and finish in oven for about 5 -8 minutes
    • Check one of your bigger chicken pieces for doneness
    • Eat alongside your favorite paleo AIP veggies. If following the picture or the other recipe I have posted on here, omit the green beans, and substitute something else. I love sage and pancetta together, so I fried some sage in a little oil, and placed that on top.

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Easy Paleo AIP Meals – butterflied chicken and sweet potatoes

A friend of mine has started the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, so I started searching for “easy Paleo AIP recipes.” There’s not a lot out there. I mean there are tons of super gourmet recipes that are both fancy and schmancy, but not a lot that could be made on a busy day with 3 kids underfoot! So I thought I’d do a series on easy AIP meals, preferably ones that even the non-Paleo members of the family will enjoy! We served this at a dinner that we hosted just an hour after getting home from a kid’s friend’s birthday party, so we did the make-ahead version I outline below.

Menu 1: Butterflied chicken, sweet potatoes, ginger lemon asparagus, kale salad.

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Step one: Prepare the chicken

  • Cut the back out of the chicken (or have the butcher do it for you)
  • Prepare a cold water brine (mix sea salt and water) and submerge the chicken. Either put it in the refrigerator, or pour ice cubes in to keep the water cold. Let it sit for a minimum of 30 minutes, or up to a few hours or overnight.
  • Remove the chicken from the brine, dry and set aside.

Step two: Prepare the potatoes

  • Peel the potatoes and slice to an even thickness (thinner if you like your potatoes more caramelized, thicker if you don’t).
  • Toss the potatoes with coconut oil and sea salt.

Step three: Prepare the pan

  • Line the bottom of a broiler pan with foil, coat it with oil, and shingle the potatoes in the pan (I forgot to take a picture of this, but here’s a photo that shows the shingling anyway).

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  • Rub oil on the top of the broiler pan, and place the chickens on top (if I’m cooking one chicken, I always cook two. It takes the same amount of effort and time, but leaves lots of leftovers).

 

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Roast at 425 for an hour. The chicken juices drip down into the potatoes as it cooks creating an amazing yumminess!

Make ahead version: stop at this point, transfer the chickens to a baking dish and cover. Transfer potatoes to a separate baking dish and cover. Refrigerate overnight. Reheat in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Step four: mix your salad and roast your asparagus. Yum!

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Recipes:

Butterflied Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • 1/4 c. salt
  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes
  • Coconut oil

Instructions:

Prepare the chicken

  • Cut the back out of the chicken (or have the butcher do it for you)
  • Prepare a cold water brine (mix sea salt and water) and submerge the chicken. Either put it in the refrigerator, or pour ice cubes in to keep the water cold. Let it sit for a minimum of 30 minutes, or up to a few hours or overnight.
  • Remove the chicken from the brine, dry and set aside.

Prepare the potatoes

  • Peel the potatoes and slice to an even thickness (thinner if you like your potatoes more caramelized, thicker if you don’t).
  • Toss the potatoes with coconut oil and sea salt.

Prepare the pan

  • Line the bottom of a broiler pan with foil, coat it with oil, and shingle the potatoes in the pan.
  • Rub oil on the top of the broiler pan, and place the chickens on top.

Cook!

Roast at 425 for an hour. The chicken drips down into the potatoes as it cooks creating an amazing yumminess!

Make ahead version: stop at this point, transfer the chickens to a baking dish and cover. Transfer potatoes to a separate baking dish and cover. Refrigerate overnight. Reheat in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

 

Ginger Lemon Asparagus

Ingredients:

  • Asparagus
  • 1T freshly grated ginger
  • 1T oil of your choice
  • 1T lemon juice

Instructions:

Combine all of your ingredients in a Ziploc bag or other container, and let marinade until it is time to cook. Place ingredients (not container! :)) in an oven safe skillet and roast during the last 10-15 minutes of your cooking time.

Kale Salad

Ingredients:

  • Kale
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Carrot matchsticks
  • Red cabbage, chopped
  • Oil and vinegar of choice for dressing

Shred the lettuce and kale with your hands, removing the tough stems if desired. Mix all ingredients together. I served this with optional onions and optional avocado due to the varying tastes of our group.

Meatballs vs. Meatloaf

This is the meal where I learned my lesson about meatballs vs. meatloaf. Did you know, there’s a difference, and it matters, even if the recipe is exactly the same?? It’s true. Kids (and husbands) will eat meatballs far more readily than they’ll eat meatloaf. Over on ibreatheimhungry she often comments that she’ll turn almost any protein into a meatball. And now I know why. I had the bright idea to turn her meatballs into a meatloaf, because, hey, that could be a family meal. Nope. Epic Meal Fail. The next day, the same flavors were offered in a different shape (meatball, not meatloaf) with sauce on top. The kids loved them. So it’s not just veggies and ham that taste better shaped like flowers. Meatballs trump meatloaf every time.

Honestly, the meatballs are so easy to freeze and then reheat individually for lunches and snacks, I doubt I’ll ever push meatloaf again.

The hated meatloaf with mozzarella on top:

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The much loved meatballs cooking in the pan:

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And finishing in the oven:

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We then laid them on a cookie sheet, placed them in a the freezer until they were frozen, then in Ziploc baggies for easy reheating. I get them out for snacks, lunches, dinner, everything. And I’m asked “are these the meatballs you made?” Me: “yes” Them: “Yay!”

Christmas Dinner

So we went off the Paleo / low carb / grain free rails here. But it was good. And shareable. We decided we were full of turkey, and didn’t really want ham, and so settled on Beef Wellington for Christmas Diner. Enter the obvious problems. I’m trying to be grain free, and I’ll be preparing this with a 4 and 6 year old underfoot. Enter Cooks’ Country and their Open Faced Beef Wellington. We’ve made this before, and it was originally one of their recipe card inserts in the magazine! These are 30 minute or less recipes. (It was in their February / March 2011 issue, if you keep the magazines.)

The kids loved this recipe. Even the mushrooms and the “yucky looking sauce that tastes yummy when you eat it.” Which led me to wonder: is the “Child Who Won’t Eat” really picky, or does she just have good taste? She also likes lobster, crab, and a not pretty, but super yummy, balsamic tilapia recipe I recently found. The jury is still out. But she hates chicken nuggets, and loves Beef Wellington… I’m leaning toward she just has good taste.🙂

Here is the grownup version:

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And the kid version (oops, I forgot to use the Christmas plates):

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They requested leftovers for lunch the next day (yes, it was loved that much), so I remedied the plate error, and added cauliflower, just because I could! Hey, any excuse to double the veggies….

IMG_1274If you want a delicious, gourmet, kid friendly, easy to prepare holiday meal, this one is fantastic! It’s just not paleo, low carb, or grain free. But it was worth it. And if you’re an 80/20 paleo-er, then it totally fits.

Merry Christmas

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:8-12

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John 1:1-5

“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:9-14

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”

Romans 5:12-17

http://www.areyouagoodperson.org/

 

 

 

 

 

Chili Shepherd’s Cauliflower Pie

I keep meaning to photograph the easy cheesy cauliflower gratin from ibreatheimhungry. But it keeps getting eaten too fast! Here, I combined her 10 minute chili with the cauliflower gratin as a topping, to make a quick shepherd’s pie. I melted some extra cheese on top…which I should have allowed to brown a little for better photographing, but hey, we were hungry! Again – what I love about this site. The recipes and meal plans are (1) YUMMY; (2) FREE; and (3) YUMMY! Oh, I meant to say easy… my tummy got in there and put in the yummy factor again! But seriously, they’re easy, healthy, and good. The dollop of sarcasm on her site is just an added bonus.🙂

 

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ibreatheimhungry

So I found this new blog: ibreatheimhungry. She has meal plans on there that I love! My two favorite things about her meal plans are (1) they’re free; (2) they’re easy; (3) they’re super yummy. Oh, wait, that’s more than two.😉 But seriously, she’s got great meal plans, with most of the cooking done on the weekend. And the food is delicious! I’ve deviated from her meal plans, as my tendency is to make a dish, and just eat that until it’s gone, then make the next one. But I’m still working my way through in order. Honestly, the food is so good, I couldn’t stop at one serving anyway, so knowing that I get to have the meal again soon was just the ticket!

The first meals I made were the sausage & spinach frittata (as cupcakes), chili spaghetti squash casserole, spinach feta meatballs, and the cauliflower gratin. But I was hungry… so I made some alterations!

So far I’ve loved:

I’ll post and link pictures of these as I can. Some of this I ate before I could photograph it, so I’m needing to make it again!🙂 In the meantime, here is a pic of the Spinach & Feta Meatballs on Spaghetti Squash with Butter. My 6 year old had seconds. After eating her regular dinner. They saw me eating this and asked to have it too. Yep, it’s that good. And yes, that’s an Anna bowl, from Frozen, with my kid’s spaghetti squash in it. (*sighs happily*)

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Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing

Stuffing is one of the hardest things to Paleo-ize on the thanksgiving menu. This year we tried this stuffing found here. It was fantastic! And easy, because there was no fake “bread” to make the day before. It’s just meat and veggies, with a little bit of eggs, coconut flour, and cranberries. We thought it was slightly over cranberried, and will adjust this next year.

Also I made this into a “make ahead stuffing.” My recipe alterations are posted below the picture. And I’ve been loving the leftovers. I mixed some with egg, ate some more with lots of salt, and turned another few spoonfuls into a lettuce wrap. It’s a whole bunch of yummy fabulousness. Whether it’s the “Best Ever Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing” I’m not qualified to judge (yet), but it sure was darned good! Even my “I don’t like stuffing” hubby asked for seconds.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  •  2 cups diced onions
  •  2 cups diced bell peppers
  • 4 cups (about 1 pound) diced mushrooms
  •  2 cups diced apples
  • 8 oz fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup toasted chopped pecans (optional)
  • ~ 2 T duck fat, bacon fat, butter, or coconut oil. (I used duck fat)
  • 1 T fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 T fresh thyme, minced
  • 2-3 leaves fresh sage (or 1/2 t dried)
  • sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chicken or turkey stock
  • 2 T coconut flour

Directions (as modified by me)

Prepare all of your ingredients and preheat your oven to 350°.

1. Melt about 2 teaspoons of your fat of choice in a large cast iron or stainless skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add the pork and cook until it just browns, 3-4 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and remove with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl. Pour off excess liquid from your skillet and add another teaspoon of fat.

3. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Saute for about 8 minutes, stirring often. Add to the bowl with the pork.

6. To the large bowl, add the apples, pecans, cranberries, herbs, and a good pinch of salt.

If doing as make ahead, stop at this point and reserve the ingredients for cooking the next day.

7. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, chicken or turkey stock, and coconut flour. Add a pinch of salt if your stock isn’t salted.

8. Pour the liquid into the large bowl and mix.

9. Pour the whole thing into an oven safe casserole and bake for one hour.

10. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before eating. It will firm up a bit.

Nut-Free, Grain-Free Cupcakes!

In a search for a healthy afternoon snack I can send to the Preschool, where there are life-threatening nut allergies in the afternoon session, I tried these. It’s actually Maria Emmerich’s Red Velvet Cake turned into cupcakes and doughnuts. (Yes, I know, they’re not red. Clearly, we have issues measuring food coloring.) I found them to be delicious. For the doughnuts, I made her cream cheese frosting, and thinned it a bit with some coconut milk (so it could pipe through a small decorating tip). I then stuck the tip into the hot doughnuts and piped a bit of frosting into each doughnut as pictured below. I did the same for the cupcake, but placed a small amount only in the center. I then topped the cupcakes with the remaining frosting.

Although our memories of regular donughts and cupcakes are still too close for my girls to embrace these, we’ll get there. In the meantime, I’ve been loving these as a sweet breakfast treat! They’re so sweet, you’ll want and love a coffee with them.

Doughnuts:

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Cupcakes

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