Lebanese Lamb Loaf

I will never, ever, ever, EVER post a meatloaf recipe on this blog.  NEVER.  For one, it’s not exactly a complicated recipe and I sincerely doubt I’m cheating anyone out of a good meal.  Google it, you’ll be OK.  For another, my very dear husband has refined his mother’s recipe into such Foodgasmic Meatloaf Perfection that I have absolutely zero desire to make anything else.  And zero desire to share it with the general public.  Sorry, guys.

However!!!  This isn’t your typical meatloaf–it’s a LambLoaf.  With all kinds of fun stuff baked in to give it a distinct and exotic flavor…and a sweet carmelized glaze on top…**SWOON**

Way too exotic for Sunday Supper.  In fact, I made it on a Thursday.  Booyah.

This recipe was actually the result of a few botched attempts at making kibbeh, believe it or not…I mean, kibbeh are just mini stuffed meatloaves and I pretty much said f*ck it and made a big one.  Sometimes, you just need a big block of meat.  Whatever, I was tired.

Ingredients

2 lbs Ground Lamb

1 lb Ground Beef

1/2 c Pine Nuts

1/2 c Dates

1 Sweet Onion, diced

3 Eggs

1 t Cinnamon

1 t Cumin

1 t Allspice

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

In a food processor, pulse the pine nuts until you’ve got a coarse meal–don’t make them too fine, though, because you want a nice textural diversity in the finished product.  Do the same with the dates so that they are finely diced.

In a large bowl, combine the lamb, beef, onion, eggs, dates, pine nuts, and seasonings.  Press into a large, well greased loaf pan.  (You can also form into a loaf in a large baking dish or pan).

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Sweet Potato Hummus

This weekend has been unbelievably lonely.  And not only is work going to suck extra hard after a long weekend but the Hubs left yesterday morning to spend the summer in Boston.  Yeah, I cried like a baaaaaaaby.  And ate a LOTTTTTTT of bacon brownies.  If you haven’t made these yet I’m really, really upset with you.

So I’m starting a 21 Day Sugar Detox this week.  I know, I know…after my little fiasco with my New Years Whole30, I’m skeptical, too.  Cut me some slack, OK??  There’s a lot to be said for cutting the crap and resetting your system from time to time, especially if your husband is out of town all summer and you’ve got no one to cook for but yourself.  Except I guess that means I need to kill the rest of this hummus, like, today…

There have been a few variations of this stuff floating around on Pinterest lately–God, I love Pinterest–but they’re all raw and vegan and full of weird sh*t like liquid smoke and stevia and don’t let you bake the sweet potatoes.  I don’t do raw potatoes.  You might as well eat sand.  Nosirrrreeeee, Bob….not gonna happen.

Ingredients

1 Large Sweet Potato

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/4 c Tahini

2 Cloves Garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Bake and peel your sweet potato.  You want this sucker to be SOFT–I baked mine in foil at 425 for 90 minutes.  Once it’s done baking, allow to cool slightly and the skin should slide right off.

Toss in a food processor with the remaining ingredients.  Pulse until very smooth.

Serve with veggies, on salad, with these chips, or just spoon into your face.

Ginger-Lemon Sweet Potato Salad

Soooooo yay for long weekends!  Long weekends mean I actually get to sleep.  And socialize.  I’m such a hermit…that’s what you get when you work 14 hour days.  Except that my hours here are SO much better than in Texas and I live 10 minutes from work instead of 60.  So I guess I’m just a loser.  OH!  Double yay for Ross being home for a few days before heading up to Boston for the summer…no big plans but there will definitely be good food and outdoors time for all.

To kick off the official beginning of summer I wanted to offer up some picnic food.  Seriously, my neighborhood smells like barbeque and charcoal and smoke.  It’s driving me crazy it’s so good.  But I really don’t need to talk about burgers and brats and steaks because everyone does those and cooking out is like, the single most Paleo-friendly social event ever.  But sides…what to do about the sides…I’ve literally been to outdoor parties where all I could eat was meat.  And maybe some crudités.  Which is fine but sometimes you need a little color on your plate so I’ve been working on some good picnic food this week, whether you need something to bring to a potluck or just to have on hand for a summery meal.

I threw together a big batch of this potato salad earlier this week to have as a convenient side and found that it packs up nicely to bring out for a picnic or cookout.  Besides being visually appealing—summer colors!—it’s a fresh and light tasting staple for any Paleo picnic plate.

Ingredients

5 Large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/4 c Olive Oil

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

Juice of 3 Lemons

1 t Salt

1 t Fresh Ginger

1/4 t Chinese Five Spice

1 T Coconut Aminos

Chopped Fresh Parsley

1/3 c Pine Nuts

Instructions

Place the cubed sweet potatoes in a pot of cold water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly and simmer for 10 minutes until potatoes are tender but not mushy.  Drain and cool.

Meanwhile, combine oil, lemon juice, seasonings and coconut aminos in a bowl and whisk until combined.  Pour over cooled potatoes and stir to combine.  Garnish with fresh parsley and pine nuts.

Triple Fudge Bacon Brownies

Did I get your attention?

Yes, there is TRIPLE fudge. Not single fudge. Not double fudge. And yes, there is BACON.

You see, it’s been too long since I had a good dessert in the house…well, other than plain old dark chocolate. Seriously, is there anything more dangerous than Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks? OK, these brownies might just be it…but at least they take a little bit of effort to make so they feel a little more “special” than shoving chocolate chunks in face while I’m watching Fashion Police.

I seriously love Joan Rivers. And Kelly Osbourne. I want them to be my Mom and Big Sister…then maybe I could leave the house once in a while without looking like a total disaster. Maybe once I’d leave the house in something other than yoga pants. The last time I attempted to dress up was at my own wedding, which even I will admit is a very inappropriate scenario for yoga pants.

Anyway, the brownies. Don’t get all freaked by the bacon part. It’s highly necessary. It provides not only a nice textural contrast–you get a nice little crunch in the midst of ooey-gooey brownie-ness–but a nice bite of salt to go with the rich sweetness. If you’re really going to get your panties in a knot over it, leave out the bacon but know that I’ll be highly disappointed in you. And yes, I eat my brownies with a fork. Don’t judge.

And trust me, these babies are RICH. They aren’t the least bit cake-y (I mean, aren’t cake-y brownies just chocolate cake??) but just be aware that they’ll still be really gooey when they’re done baking. They need to be COOLED COMPLETELY before serving. OK? Or you can do what I did and just dig into hot gooey chocolate-y goodness. It’s just not nearly as pretty and will inevitably end up all over your face. But I’m OK with that.

Ingredients

1 c Coconut Butter

1/2 c Full Fat Canned Coconut Milk (the light stuff will not work)

2 Eggs, beaten

1 T Vanilla

4 oz Baking Chocolate, melted in 1 T Coconut Oil

1/3 c Raw Honey

1/4 c Cocoa Powder

1/2 t Salt

1 T Arrowroot Powder

2 c Chocolate Chips (yes, I said TWO cups)

3 Thick Slices Bacon

Instructions

Fry bacon until very crisp (but not burned) and let cool and drain on paper towels. Chop into very small bits and set aside.

Beat the coconut butter, eggs, coconut milk, vanilla, melted chocolate, honey, cocoa, salt, and arrowroot powder with an electric mixer.

(I used my brand-spanking new stand mixer. Thanks, Karin!!).

Stir in the bacon bits and chocolate chips. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 inch pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remember, they will still be gooey after baking thanks to the massive amount of melted chocolate in them. Cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.

Enjoy!

Lithuanian Kraut

Fermented food is really good for you.  No one is denying it.  But let’s be honest, plain old sauerkraut can get real old, real quick.  Thanks to my Baltic heritage, though, I grew up loving the stuff because we figured out a long time ago how to make it awesome.  I mean…my Mom’s kraut has BACON in it for goodness sake.  If you can’t choke down a bottle of kombucha on a daily basis, this is a great way to get your prebiotics, probiotics, and everything in between.

This is a great side for any meal of the day…I even like it with eggs in the morning!  The apple takes some of the bite out of it and I’m convinced that even people who can’t stand the uber-vinegary flavor would like this version.  And yes, if you’re not in the mood to go crazy with the stuff, it goes great with brats…who doesn’t love brats with sauerkraut?

Ingredients

1 Jar Sauerkraut (28 oz)

2 Granny Smith Apples, chopped

6 Slices Bacon, fried crisp and diced

2 t Fennel Seed

1 t Black Pepper

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a suacepan over medium-low heat.  Allow to simmer for at least 3 hours before serving.  More time is better!  This stuff keeps incredibly well and is even good cold.

Microwave Protein Muffin

Probably the worst thing you can do to me is put me in a situation where I can neither eat good food nor have an opportunity to cook for myself.  I get really, really cranky.  Food is my thing, OK?

I spent an entire year living in an aluminum box in the desert with nothing but a microwave and a Liddle Griddle, subsisting on rice, canned fish, and gluten-free pancake mix (thank the Lord for Amazon…) for most of it.  Yummy!

Believe it or not, though, this recipe was one of my deployment staples and for some god-awful reason I kept making it from time to time after I got back.  The only change I have made was adding real eggs–clearly not available to the poor folks on FOBs in northern Iraq.  I had to settle for a tip I learned from the Vegans (blasphemy!) and use “flax eggs.”  They work fine, too, so feel free to try it but the texture is a LOT more palatable for me with the real deal.  This recipe makes one HUGE muffin, so cut it in half if you want.  Also, feel free to add anything else, like nuts or raisins or coconut–if you’d like!

It’s definitely tasty but most importantly, because it’s easy to make with stuff I always have on hand.  Like this morning, when I awoke to a bare kitchen (as I do most Sunday mornings).  I was starving but SO not willing to go shopping at 6:30am…

Ingredients

1/4 c Coconut Flour

2 Eggs

1/2 t Baking Soda

1 Mashed Banana

1/2 t Cinnamon

Instructions

Whisk together all of the ingredients.  Your “batter” should be pretty thick.

Press the batter/dough into a microwave-safe bowl–a cereal bowl works best for me.  Pop in the microwave and cook on high for 3 minute increments (to avoid an explosion) for 6-9 minutes, or until firm in the center.  Allow to rest for a minute or two, then gently remove from the bowl, loosening the edges with a knife if necessary.

Schmear with almond butter and enjoy!

Remember, every microwave is a little different, so it may take more or less time depending on the individual settings.

Toasted Pine Nut Crusted Salmon Burgers

So last night I was on my way to Whole Foods after yoga and texted my husband for a little inspiration–in hindsight that might have been a little cruel.  Kind like, “Oh, hey, I know you’re a couple states away at the moment but I need to make a delicious meal for myself and have no idea what to make!  Please help!”  So like a good Man, he shoots back, “Steak!”  …I asked for something more creative.  “Crusted fish and chutney.”  I could work with that.

I’m sure he was envisioning something more like this old fave, but thinking of seafood reminded me how atrociously long it’s been since I did anything with salmon.  Salmon is like the Chocolate of the Sea.  If you don’t like it you must be unstable or something.  Know what else is unstable?  The Weekend Time Continuum…I swear it was Friday afternoon about five seconds ago.  That’s just messed up.

Ingredients

(Serves 2-4)

1 c Pine Nuts

1 lb Salmon

1 Egg

1/2 Small Onion, chopped

1/2 Bell Pepper, chopped

1/2 t Paprika

1/2 t Dried Parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Heat a dry skillet over high heat and toast the pine nuts, tossing occasionally until they are light brown all over.  Let cool, then toss into a food processor and pulse into a coarse meal.  Set aside.

Cut the salmon into chunks, then place in the food processor.  Pulse until finely ground, then transfer to a bowl with 1/3 c of the ground pine nuts, egg, onion, pepper, and seasoning.  Mix well.

Form the mixture into 4 balls, then flatten into patties.  Coat each side with the remaining ground pine nuts.  Arrange on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Apple Fritters

I’m honestly not sure what the regional distribution is for Shopper’s Food Warehouse…but this was my mom’s go-to grocery store (and still is).  And the only reason I even remember it is the doughnut display.  I mean HOLY COLOSSAL DOUGHNUTS.  No, really, that’s what they were called.  For 59 cents you could get a doughnut–of any flavor you could imagine–that was literally the size of my 10-year-old face.  No wonder I was a chubby kid.

Besides the doughnuts, however, was something even greater.  The apple fritters.  OMG I’m getting all nostalgic and hungry just thinking about them.  While the doughnuts were the size of my 10-year-old face, the fritters were the size of my 25-year-old face.  Crispy on the outside, huge chunks of cinnamon-y apple nested in an ooey-gooey-doughey center, a sugar glaze about an inch thick all over…yeah.

So by no means are my apple fritters the size of my face.  Or “doughey.”  Or covered in more sugar than you should consume in an entire year.  But they’re so fracking delicious I can’t stand it.  More like fried apple pancakes, maybe, but there’s something about apples and cinnamon–fried to get a crispity, crunchity caramel crust all over…and drizzled with a little honey–that makes me melt on my feet.

If you want to be super-duper healthy and have zero sugar, you can nix the honey completely and they’ll be divine on their own or with a dollop of almond butter.  Mmmmm…almond butter

Ingredients

(Serves 2-4)

4 Green Apples

5 Eggs

1/4 c Flax Meal

2 T Coconut Flour

1/4 t Salt

1 t Cinnamon

1/8 t Nutmeg

1/4 c Shredded Coconut

2 T Honey (optional)

Coconut Oil, for frying

Instructions

Shred the apples with a hand grater–do NOT try to do it in a food processor or you’ll get applesauce.  We don’t want applesauce.  Pat the grated apples dry with paper towels.

Combine apples with all other ingredients and mix well.

Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed skillet.  Don’t be afraid to be generous with the oil!  We like fat around here :)

Add the batter by large spoonfuls to the oil.  Fry for 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for 2-3 more.  Watch them closely to make sure they don’t burn.  Remove onto paper towels to drain off excess oil.

Serve piping hot with honey and/or almond butter!

Sweet ‘n’ Savory Pumpkin Curry

I feel like I’ve been neglecting my crockpot lately…but in all fairness I’ve been off work for a month and even with all the wedding shenanigans I somehow managed to do a decent amount of cooking.  Or guilting my parents into taking us out.  Whichever.

So I’m slowly getting into a new groove at the new job and the new city.  The altitude is killing me, though.  Like really…that combines with some vicious programming at the new gym.  Holy hell…we had some ridiculous thruster-and-burpee-extravaganzaa on Monday followed by the Filthy Fifty Tuesday and after both I could not only taste blood but I couldn’t catch a breath the whole way home.  I even scaled them both, so don’t be too impressed.  Yeah, can’t do double-unders to save my life.  And my hands are still riddled with open sores from last Friday.  I am such a wussie it’s not even funny.

Wow, normally I’m much better at letting my posts flow a little better–like talk about me then food.  Or food then me.  Yeah, not today.  Just split the gosh darn thing in half, I did!

OK so back to the curry.  I made a metric ass-ton for just myself so that it would last for a few days…it ages and reheats like no other, so having extra is a good thing.  I put mine over spaghetti squash the first night and cauliflower rice after that.  Whatever’s clever.  You can definitely add a little more heat if you feel like it but I was going for something a little more mild.  Remember my obsession with anything hot and all those jalapenos that got butchered in my house?  I thing the rampage might be over.  For now.

Ingredients

3 lbs Pork Shoulder, cubed

1 Onion, diced

1 Bunch Kale, chopped

1 can Coconut Milk

1 Can Pumpkin

1 t Curry Powder

1 t Garam Masala

2 t Grated Fresh Ginger

4 Cloves Garlic, chopped

1/4 t Tumeric

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Whisk together the coconut milk, pumpkin, and seasonings in your crockpot.

Add the pork, onion, and kale.

Set on low heat and cook for 6-8 hours.  Serve over spaghetti squash or cauliflower rice.

Pepperoni Pizza Pot Pie

Oh.  Hell.  Yes.

Something about living by myself makes me want pizza.  All the fracking time.  And chocolate, too.  But mostly pizza…and on a Saturday night there’s no just no hope for me.

I had originally planned to work on another recipe I’ve had sitting on the books for a little bit–an Asian style chicken thing–but I really wasn’t feeling it.  You know, the whole pizza thing.  I figured I’d just do another one of these bad boys but dammit if I didn’t have any cauliflower left…Life is hard sometimes.

I really didn’t have much of anything, actually.  I do my shopping on Sundays so on a Saturday night it’s like a Greenwich Village Bachelor Pad in here.  Except a lone spaghetti squash on the counter…OK, creative juices flowing…didn’t PaleOMG make some kind of baked egg thing with one of these a while back?…OK I got some sauce and meat but damned if I’m not sick and tired of spaghetti squash and meat sauce…oh, lookie!  there’s some pepperoni in there, too…OMFG I’M A GENIUS.

You’re welcome.

Ingredients

1/2 Spaghetti Squash, cooked

1 1/2 c Tomato or Pizza sauce

1 lb Ground Sausage (beef would work, too)

1/2 Large Onion, sliced

4 Eggs

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 t Dried Basil

1 t Dried Oregano

1 Package Applegate Farms Pepperoni (or any other brand that is nitrate and crap free!!!!!)

Additional toppings of choice (I used more sausage, random chopped veggies, and fresh organic mozzarella*)

Instructions

Brown the sausage in a bit of oil and let cool slightly.

Place the spaghetti squash in a large mixing bowl with the sausage, tomato sauce, eggs, and seasonings.  Mix well and pour into a greased 2 QT baking dish.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until firm to touch and lightly browned.

Remove dish from the oven and add your toppings–sprinkle extra meat, veggies, cheese, and whatever else directly on the casserole and make sure you add the pepperoni last so it seals in all the flavor and makes a nice little “crust” on the outside.

Broil for an additional 5-7 minutes.  Enjoy!

*Yes, I put cheese on mine.  I only ever used certified organic, pastured dairy products–in the rare event that I do eat dairy–but to make this 100% Paleo instead of Primal, omit the cheese.  It will be just as good!