The original plan last night was to make these lamb meatballs. Quick, easy…sticky sweet and decadent…You guys, when the holiday season comes along I don’t mess around. It’s one month a year to cram as much good food into my facehole and I’ve never been one to accept mediocrity.
Except I don’t live in either Texas of Colorado anymore and I can’t get meat anywhere. Well, meat that isn’t beef covered in red goop or extra lean turkey. Even my local Whole Foods…I’m fine with the Vegan agenda and everything but DAMN. At least you could grudgingly restock the butcher’s counter once in a while.
So…I kinda went free-style on this one and what I thought would be a turkey-based version of the dish took a few detours after I a) relized I had no pine nuts and b) didn’t feel like busting out the food processor to shop the apricots. That’s OK, though, because my end-result was amazing and, especially after Thanksgiving, I KNOW you’ve got all the ingredients on hand. Or at least you can most certainly get them at even the most understocked Safeway.
As soon as I saw this recipe pop up in my Facebook feed, I hopped on the bandwagon. I mean, who DOESN’T need something wholesome to eat in between Halloween candy binges? (Oh, Reese’s Pumpkins…you are my nemises…) Buuuuuut when I went shopping my TJ’s didn’t have any beets or sunflower seeds (seriously, WTF?), so I kinda just grabbed anything and everything I thought would taste good together.
Here’s my own riff on this salad, and it’s pretty damn good. Filling, so healthy it hurts, and a great way to change up my daily Big Ass Salad. I’ve had this every single day for lunch this week with some chicken and it’s so much more fun than spinach and tomato. Plus, you know, it’s got superfoods in it. Kale and cabbage and apple cider vinegar, OH MY!
I’ve been on a cereal kick lately. I dunno…I think it’s because I read the article on LBEB criticizing “clean” eating and the constant references to Cinnamon Toast Crunch were getting to me.
My latest concoction is granola, fried apples, and almond milk. Fall in a bowl. I love Fall. Find me a place where it’s Fall year-round and I’ll never, ever leave.
So…you don’t like eating granola like cereal? How bout…on baked apples…on ice cream (or banana froyo!)…on pancakes or french toast…as a topping for banana bread…instead of bread crumbs in stuffing (no, really!)…
So I made some baked apples this morning for breakfast and then realized I could use the same pan to roast up a bunch of chicken for this week’s lunches. No, I didn’t wash it in between (who does that?) so there was still a little coconut oil, apple goop, and allspice left behind. No big deal or anything, but this is the best damned chicken ever. EVER.
Speaking of chicken…Ross and I are in a roast chicken phase. Like, at least once a week for the last couple months. Whole chickens are super cost effective, even if they’re free range and organic…which they should be because unhappy, drug-induced chickens are no bueno for a lot of reasons. But we all knew that. Anyway, lots of roast chicken means lots of opportunities to make some fresh chicken stock without an ass-ton of added sodium and Goodness knows whatever else goes into the canned stuff. So go roast a chicken and make stock out of its carcass. You know you want to.
And of course, Fall is upon us here in the Mid-Atlantic and so it Soup Season. How convenient! Stock = Soup. I do love a good bowl of soup when the weather gets cooler, and I love soup, too, because it’s so low maintenance. Chop, toss, boil, eat. Boom. This is my latest concoction and it turned out swimmingly. Full of veggies and enough heat to warm you up!
Oh yeah, you read right. Ross and I had a VEGAN dinner last night. It was also Paleo…which I tend to get excited about since there is so little that happens to be Vegan AND Paleo AND is substantial enough to make a meal. Seriously, you can’t give me a salad with no meat and call it a meal. You just can’t. So, no, this isn’t a salad.
I do have an strange interest in Vegan cooking despite my taste for flesh. I honestly have a lot of respect for the Vegan movement–like Paleo, Veganism ultimately seeks to better the health of our population with good, clean food and do away with nasty ass farming practices and pumping our food sources full of hormones and antibiotics and stuff. The more militant members of the movement get a little weird, sure, but so do the militant members of the Paleosphere. A healthy diet shouldn’t be intimidating or make us feel like they’re bad people for not buying in. I can be an asshole sometimes, I know, but I hate it when bloggers and spokespeople get condescending–like I’m not truly Paleo if I make Paleo desserts…or include dairy sometimes…or because I don’t follow so-and-so’s definition of Paleo to a tee. Um, yeah. Bite me.
What I do like about Veganism is the focus on the benefits of a plant-based diet. Not all that soy-based crapola, but the emphasis on quality produce and sources of naturally occurring nutrients. Lately, I’ve been working on making my own diet more plant-based…I think one thing we can all do to improve our health is to get more veggies. Animal protein is an essential part of our diet, but a lot of folks, even those who have been Paleo for a long time, believe Paleo is all about eating massive quantities of meat and fat and very little of anything else. I like my steak and bacon and all that as much as the next gal, but seriously. Filling my plate with produce and supplementing with animal protein is much more effective. And colorful. You need veggies and other plant matter to get a number of vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants and high-quality carbs that your body can access for quick fuel. For me, thinking less 50/50 animals to plants and more 35/65, perhaps.
So this cheezey spaghetti. I was blown away at how good it was–the sauce tastes like Velveeta. It’ll undoubtedly make an appearance again soon. Like, on a cheeseburger. Or with bacon. Oh, geez, this would make a hell of an eggs Benedict. My quality of life just got soooo much better.
Welp, class is in full swing again, which I have to admit is kind of refreshing. After 4 years of working non-stop I kind of forgot what a real “summer break” felt like. I’m not exactly good with free time on my hands…Netflix has nothing to hide from me anymore. Nothing.
Oh! I did manage to get away from the house for a week in there and spend a solid week in Oregon with my folks. My dad has this obsession with road-tripping so they rented a car and we drove from Portland out to Crater Lake and Bend back to Roseburg and made our way up the coast to end at a family reunion in Corvallis. Amazing. Except when I got home–post-vacation depression is bad for me. Seriously, I need like a week to recover from a long weekend away…seriously.
With classes going again, the slow cooker is running almost daily again. I really hope it survives the semester…otherwise it’ll be canned tuna and avocados and…I dunno, maybe some apples or something. I’m hopeless.
This recipe rocks because, not only is it a toss-n-go into the crock pot (lots of rough chopping and tossing, oh yes) but it’s an excellent way to use up leftover chicken. Leftover chicken is an issue here since I make a big tray every week to make my lunch salads and haven’t managed to figure out that no, I will not eat 6 pounds worth of chicken breasts in a week. I just won’t. Maybe next week, though.
Score one for three…THREE…ingredient recipes. Especially ones where you just toss and bake.
Well…not counting the pesto, but that’s super easy and I made a HUGE batch a little while ago after my awesome mother gave me a giant bouquet of fresh basil. I miss living in the country sometimes…we always had an awesome vegetable and herb garden but somehow with all the kids out of the house, Mom is pretty much running a farm these days. Having me living close by gives her a convenient way to pawn off the surplus, and I’m not complaining one bit!
¾ c Olive Oil (can be more or less to achieve desired thickness)
Combine the sausage and sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and salt until fine.
Add the olive oil a little at a time (if you’ve got a food processor with one of those openings in the top, drizzle it in while the power is on as you would for mayonnaise) and pulse until you have reached your desired consistency.
Add the pesto to the sausage and sweet potatoes and mix well.
Transfer to a roasting pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are a little brown and the dish is super-fragrant.
I may or may not have posted this recipe before. But this one is a weeeee bit different, I swear, but still a fun riff on hot wings. At least my photography skillz are moving beyond toddler-level. You guys weren’t exactly loving the pig’s feet when I made posted my recipe, but pleasepleaseplease trust me that pig tails are a helluva lot better and less weird to eat. Pinky swear.
One thing I did differently this time was indulge my obsession with Tessemae’s and use this sauce instead of making my own. I guess I was making up for the fact that I completely re-did the brine…but this batch was infinitely better and more tender and juicy.
1 c Tessemae’s Hot Wing Sauce (or hot sauce of choice)
For the Brine:
6 c Water
2 Lemons, Quartered
2 Onions, Chopped
¼ c Apple Cider Vinegar
2 T Salt
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
2 T Black Pepper
Combine the ingredients for the brine and pour over the pig tails. Allow to sit for 12-24 hours. This is an essential step to ensure the meat is tender.
Drain the pig tails and marinate in the hot sauce for at lease one hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange pig tails on a greased baking sheet and brush with additional sauce. Bake for 30 minutes. With tongs, flip each pig tail and brush with more sauce. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes.
My summer break is almost over…first day of class is on Friday and I’m a little depressed about it. I just spent the last week and change in Oregon visiting family and am pretty convinced I’m meant to live there forever. I also realized I have way too few tattoos and facial piercings to fit in anywhere in Portland. That’s OK…anywhere I can get scrambled eggs and lox at 2 am is A-OK with me! But now I’m back at my boring old life about to start four months of boring old premed and live off of salad and hard-boiled eggs. OK that would be gross…so I’m playing with some new ideas for quick and easy meals with as few ingredients as possible and as little prep as possible while still being…I dunno…not boring. Like everything else in my life.
So let’s welcome these kebabs to my regular rotation. I have a serious addiction to anything and everything Tessemae’s…my newest love: Southwest Ranch. You should get some. And then make the fastest dinner ever. Have fun with whatever add-ons you’d like…I used bacon and cherry tomatoes and they were outstanding but any veggie…or even fruit like pineapple or mango…would be awesome. Crazy flavorful and juicy and are ready in less time it takes to grab a shower after a long day.
We first decided to hop on the Paleo bandwagon almost 4 years ago when we lived in Texas and giant cuts of meat were plentiful and–most importantly for us–affordable. I didn’t know a pork loin from a chop at the time since I’d always been a good girl who opted for whole wheat pasta over fatty meats, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t have to learn quick. The first time I bought a Boston Butt I actually thought it was the pig’s ass meat…score one for immature curiosity.
Fun fact: it’s the ham that’s the pig’s ass. Just FYI. Boston Butt is the pig’s upper shoulder, like up around the shoulder blade and is an incredibly tender, meaty and fatty cut that is superb for slow cooking. Don’t let the layer of fat freak you out–for one fat is good for you, and for another it renders down considerably during the cooking process and flavors the rest of the cut. It can be seasoned minimally or maximally (try this recipe, or this one, or this one), but this recipe is my go-to for a busy week night because it’s FAST, EASY, and DELICIOUS…and makes enough leftovers to keep us fed for a few days if needed. When we were at Ft Hood and had to commute in at 4:30 am, then not get home till 7:30 pm, this was an absolute lifesaver. I’d make a 5 or 6 pound butt on Monday, shred it up, and we’d have dinner and lunches till Wednesday.