I took a little hiatus from the Internet for the Lenten season, which is at least part of the reason my last post was forever ago…except school has me pretty much clawing at water so the break from not only social media but, well, everything online was amazing for my study habits. Suddenly I realized where all that time went when I was all like, “OMG I have no TIME to study!”
I haven’t been cooking much, either. It’s terrible. 90% of my food consumption since February has come out of a crockpot. I could make some fancy posts about it all…but it was pretty much either beef or pork. Like, whatever giant hunk of meat I saw first at the store. Tossed it right in there and pressed the go button. Boom. Week of meals right there.
BUT! I finally got around to some baking for Easter brunch. Yay, muffins! Nothing crazy, but as always, a little experimentation with some oldies turned into something glorious. I made my first batch last week and this one is definitely a winner. It’s the first time I’ve used psyllium husk in baking but it really does give a much more gluten-y texture without giving me the bubble guts like a lot of gums out there. If you don’t have it, it’s totally skip-able, but it really does add a little oomf. Feel free to add nuts or chocolate chips or whatever, too…I guess I’m just boring.
Ok, this one may be a little cliche. We’ve long since passed the point where people figured out how to make their own Larabars…got it.
But (according to my husband, at least) these are the best he’s had, homemade or no. As a guy who, working construction, subsists on a diet of trail mix, larabars, and Justin’s nut butter packs…I think I’ll take that as a compliment.
Soooo if you could just stop whatever it is you’re doing right this minute and get your oven ready for a little Valentine’s love, that’d be great.
I had a snow day yesterday (and another one today, in fact) thanks to Snowmageddon. Seriously, I grew up just an hour west of here and we have *never* had a winter like this. I mean, sure, every couple of years we’d get a big snowstorm…but it was A snowstorm…not A BAZILLION snow storms. We’d get single digit temperatures…but not single digit temperatures for days on end. Whatever. Anyway. Snow day.
I had a few comments on my avocado brownies expressing some…concern…that they didn’t come out as good as they should have. I’ve been blogging long enough to realize that this is just going to happen from time to time, and I do take a genuine interest in failed attempts at my recipes, or just things people don’t like about them that I can address with stuff I make down the road. As far as the brownies are concerned, some folks didn’t like the texture (which many others claim to love, so not sure what to do there), thought they weren’t sweet enough (to which I say just add more honey or use pre-sweetened baking chocolate), or…and I guess this was just one but it stuck with me…that the taste of eggs came through a little too much. So, that was a noodle scratcher. Thankfully I had a whole day to waste…and it only took a couple of tries to get a brownie that is not only egg-free, but that is probably the most dense, fudgey, rich chocolaty thing I’ve ever made. Score.
As far as substitutions go, I use sunflower seed butter when I want that “peanutty” flavor, but any kind of nut butter will do. For a more neutral flavor, I love cashew butter…it’s great for a smooth, almost yellow cake-like taste. For a nut and seed free option, coconut manna is great–I’ve used it in past brownie recipes and it provides a subtle coconut flavor that gives a little extra sweetness without any more sugar. Also, if you don’t have/don’t want to use avocados, one ripe banana will do the job.
For those of you who may be skeptical, I admit collards don’t have the best reputation. I mean, generally they come out straight up *boiled*…goopy, bland, and just plain nasty. These are not like that. Sauteeing them with all this simple goodness not only lets the flavor permeate and keep the texture right where it should be, but actually keeps too many of the oh-so-lovely nutrients in these deep green leaves from leaching out and getting thrown away. Whoever thought it was ok to boil leafy greens…ew. Just ew.
Ah, mornings. How quickly you lose your appeal once I have to start getting up for school again.
I really shouldn’t complain. My husband is up around 4:45 every morning for work since his commute is hellacious (welcome to the mid-atlantic…), and it was he who inspired me to make these little guys.
You see, my darling husband is kind of a manorexic child. And I’m kind of an overbearing, secretly 80 year old housewife. He’s one of these people who just…won’t eat if he feels like it’s easier to stay in bed an extra 5 minutes than to eat something. And it drive me bonkers…mostly because he’ll bitch for days about how tired he feels and wonder if he’s sick. No, dear, you’re just starving to death. I imagine mothers of teenagers feel the same.
If a cookie is too much work to grab first thing in the morning, then I suppose you’re beyond help…
My winter break was almost seven weeks long. Seriously. I have never…in my LIFE…had this much time off to do absolutely nothing. Maybe it would be OK if I was like all of my classmates and took a trip somewhere? Or if I was capable of sleeping 14 hours a day? Except no.
The house is cleaner than it’s been or will be for decades. I’ve put in a bazillion hours of MCAT prep. I volunteered at the hospital. The pups have gotten more walking in the last 6 weeks than they had all last year. Ate a few too many of those chocolate covered acai berries (the ones from Costco…dangerous). Too much…*way* too much…has been spent at Target. I don’t know what else to do, you guys.
Class starts next week and it’s the home stretch…4 more months of pre-med and then…well, I’ll let you know. Maybe. Lots of *life plans* in the works and I’m honestly not necessarily sure how it’s going to pan out. Not gonna jinx it. Nope nope. I can tell you, though, that we will be…moving…again. Since I left college I have moved through 3 different states, 1 year-long deployment to Iraq, 5 different homes. Six if you count my CHU in Iraq but I really don’t think that counts. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone unless you have some weird desire to live in a big tin box and sleep on a plastic mattress that smells like mothballs. Blech.
Enough of that…how about I make you dinner? Following my weird BBQ fetish, I’ve been doing a lot of Asian cooking lately. And by that I mean I’ve been putting fish sauce and coconut aminos in *everything.* I recommend it.
This dish can be made meatless or with chicken, shrimp, beef, pork…or all of the above. We like options, don’t we?
Risotto is seriously intimidating to make. I mean, c’mon…how many competitors on Chopped get destrominated because they try and fail…miserably…to make risotto. But I love it enough that I took the plunge and gave it a shot.
So, listen, I’m here to tell you it isn’t that bad…this was such a nice winter meal that was definitely do-able…on a weeknight, no less. Just takes a little extra TLC. It’s one of those dished that requires your full attention whilst cooking–so I’d recommend you have everything ready to go before you start–veggies chopped, broth hot, wine glass filled…
Oh, and for all the radicals out there, yes, I am fully aware that this recipe has dairyand–*gasp*!–rice. Maybe those aren’t part of your Paleo, but they’re sure as hell part of mine. I eat rice. And cheese (sometimes). Deal with it.
For everyone else…enjoy! There is also a couple of substitutions to make if you want to keep this bad boy dairy free.
**This is a re-post from last winter…I probably made a dozen batches of these as gifts and, well…for myself. I made a few tweaks since it went up last year and it’s already making an appearance for this holiday season so I’m sharing again!**
As I was a-stalking the interwebz last year I found this recipe. Couldn’t not do it. Just couldn’t. I love eggnog. I love chocolate. I LOVE that it’s required on pain of death to keep my house full of baked goods during the whole month of December.
So, um…eggnog isn’t Paleo! Oh, wait…I HIGHLY recommend this Paleo eggnog recipe from Health-Bent. (I like maple syrup instead of sugar for this one). It’s totally bonkers, you guys. Even if you’re too lazy to bake it into anything, just do it because eggnog is awesome. I also found some great organic nog at Safeway that’s Primal-friendly (it’s got heavy cream in it), so all hope isn’t lost if you don’t feel like making your own, either. If you’re like a certain husband of mine (*cough*) who doesn’t like eggnog for some godawful reason…just…just get out. Now.