Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Nutty Fig Muffin

I made these Paleo friendly muffins for a treat the other day as I was experimenting with new nut flours. While trying to come up with an apple cinnamon version of my pumpkin spice muffins for the kids without any sugars or agave I attempted these.  My husband took one bite and was floored.  He said, "now that is the BEST muffin you have made so far! Are you sure there isn't any flour in that?"  Nope, all nut flours so he dubbed it the Nutty Muffin.  The kids were excited to have one but they both took only one bite.  I guess I will have to stick with adding a little agave for the boys.  This is a great breakfast or desert treat for those of us that find these sweet enough. :)  Enjoy!

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Friday, January 28, 2011

VanSisseren Vinaigrette

To have your own homemade dressing is the best!  I try and make this once a week so I have it on hand for salads or to drizzle over my spinach and eggs in the morning.  It is also great drizzled over steamed or broiled asparagus and probably any steamed veggie of choice.

When I would visit my sister back in my early 20's her husband would always whip up some great sauce or salad dressing with no recipe.  I never cooked back then so it was like magic and I was always so impressed.  And this salad dressing was always my favorite so I finally asked him to write it down and I could attempt to make it on my own.  To this day I still have the old back of an envelope that he wrote the recipe on and I thought it was time to actually make it digital.  Thanks Mike!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kids Loved Them... Pumpkin Spiced Muffins vs. 2

In my continuous quest to find something that both of my boys will eat and enjoy but are heavy on the healthy side has finally come true today!!  I have made so many versions of muffins and bars and most of them they will not touch.  Today I took my Pumpkin Spiced Muffins to a new level... Kid Approved!!  I know you mom's out there know exactly what I'm talking about and something like this makes you feel like you have accomplished the most difficult task in your life.  

I made enough changes that I felt it necessary to re-write the recipe to keep it simple.  Instead of Bob's red mill gf all purpose baking flour I used a combination of almond flour and buckwheat flour and because of the change in flour I was able to eliminate the xanthan gum and baking powder.  Two less additive ingredients two steps closer to a better healthier product is the way I see it.  The last thing I did was remove the butter and replace it with grapeseed oil. I hope you and your kids enjoy this one!

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lamb Shanks & Broccoli Soup

I had to work my weekend Warrior duties today, ie. Navy stuff, and was planning on coming home to roast a chicken.  Well I didn't exactly calculate the thawing time out correctly nor did I give my husband any direction on what to do so we looked at each other and both said, "what's plan B?"  Wish I had one.  You feed the kids and let me think... Luckily the lamb shanks that I pulled out of the freezer yesterday already thawed and I could make my old trusty favorite.  Only problem with that... it was already after 5pm and this recipe has to cook for 2 1/5 hours after all the prep.  It wouldn't be big deal but we were both starving so we munched on some celery and almond butter as dinner preps began.  The prep is quite simple and once it is all in the pot I had time to get the kids ready for bed, read books and say goodnight.  The best part about this is that I get to have a nice quiet delicious dinner and evening with my husband.   So worth the wait.  Ahhhhh!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Use What You Got Inspired Italian Style Stuffed Bell Peppers

Trying to figure out what to make for dinner?  My rule of thumb is to look in the fridge and freezer to see what might be hiding in there that can spur an idea.  Pick one thing and then build your dinner around that. I found ground venison in the Commissary the other day and had to buy it.  It has been in my freezer for a couple of weeks not knowing what I would do with it.  I think I have cooked a Venison Stew once before but that was it.  
I thawed the meat in the fridge yesterday and looked for a recipe that would work.  The Italian Style Stuffed Bell Peppers from Balanced Bites looked like a good fit.  It called for ground beef... close enough.  I had a few bell peppers both yellow and red, a box of frozen spinach instead of fresh spinach, one tomato and some marinara sauce that I needed to use before it went bad.  I always have onions and garlic on hand and some fresh basil so I was good to go.  Don't ever feel like you have to follow a recipe exactly otherwise you will be spending all your days at the grocery store because there is always something missed on the list. 
It was super simple, quick and DELICIOUS!! Click here for the recipe.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thai Spiced Lamb & Beef Lettuce Bowls

Today was a great day!  I was driving home from my Ayurveda treatment and decided to go a different direction.  I had seen a Natur Markt (health food store) store previously on this route but never had a chance to stop so today I made the time and I am so glad I did.  This place was awesome, just a wee bit smaller than a Whole Foods but the aisles were spacious unlike most health food stores.  I was even more thrilled to find organic ground lamb.  If you live in the states you are probably thinking, so what I can pick that up anywhere.  I make a big deal about this because it is the first time I have found it here in Germany and I have lived her for almost three years.  Needless to say I knew what I was going to make tonight.  It has been a very long time since I made this and this time I tweaked it a bit more to make it a Paleo recipe.  Now there is one teaspoon of arrowroot starch in it but I think it would work just fine without it.  I hope you enjoy this as much as my husband and I did!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Substitutes... Really?

Do you wonder why we are always looking for substitutes for the foods that we think we need?  Like our traditional American breakfast foods... pancakes, waffles, muffins, bread... all those delicious things that a Celiac or gluten intolerant person is supposed to avoid and most of the rest of the world doesn't eat.

I was chatting with a friend today about this and we both wondered why this habit of ours is so difficult to break.  Is it really necessary for us to eat those foods that just don't do a body good?  Is it because we were brought up this way and have been given such bad, contradictory and confusing guidance on the proper way to eat?  We have been eating this way all our lives, it is near to impossible to break?  I do think it is possible but for how long?  Can I give up half and half in my coffee or coffee in itself for the rest of my life???? Yikes... I really don't know if I could.  But you know when it is your health at risk or when you have a little baby growing in your belly you make the changes no matter what, at least I did.  I had my boys back to back, so there I was, pregnant or nursing with no coffee and no wine for over four years.  My husband loved it because he always had a designated driver.  I actually didn't mind it but when I finished nursing my second I was pretty happy about my morning coffee again.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Red Wine Beef Short Ribs with Almond Courgettes

Don't have a crockpot? Don't know what a Courgette is? Then this recipe is for you. I have not had short ribs since I was in Virginia Beach and one of my favorite meals to make was this in the crockpot. I was still on active duty and had a newborn so my time was very limited. I'd wake up at zero dark thirty, as my dad used to always say, to get ready for work and just before I'd walk out the door I would throw together some version of a crockpot short rib recipe. In less than 10 minutes dinner was prepped and cooking. When I returned home to see the sweet smile on my baby's face the house would smell fantastic and dinner was just about served. Nothing better than that! This is the only way a working mom can survive those long days away from her little ones.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Paleo NM Green Chili Beef with Roasted Peppers

Day 6 of our Paleo Challenge and my teammate along with the other girls are doing an outstanding job maintaining their 25 daily points and not cheating. Way to go girls! We have been sharing ideas and recipes non-stop on facebook which is a lot of fun. Thanks for all the tips.

Tonight I took an old favorite from Bon Appetite Oct 2006 issue and made it gluten free and now Paleo. If I were still living in New Mexico this dish would be a green chili dream! To get my hands on some Hatch green chillies freshly roasted would be heaven but for now, living here, the Commissary's canned green chilies are the best I can do. For those of you that really want to make this the original way you will need some monterey pepper jack cheese and little bit of 1/2 and 1/2 or cream.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 4 Paleo Challenge

I always love a challenge like this to revisit the way I'm cooking and eating. It is so easy to fall into a routine where you end up eating the same meals week after week... might be good for you but it can be very boring! We have our favorites and they are simple quick and tasty but now that my boys are in school I actually can think and plan meals again. The Paleo diet is a good reason to explore new ways of cooking, new recipes and old recipes slightly altered. It doesn't take much to convert a gluten free recipe to a Paleo recipe. For instance tonight I took this great recipe out of the Delight gluten free Magazine removed the brown sugar and rice ingredients and there you go. Tonights dinner...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Paleo 30 Day Challenge

My CrossFit Trainer asked all us girls to start the New Year off right with a 30 day Paleo challenge and I immediately said "I'm in". We are paired up into teams so we can motivate and share ideas with each other, not to mention a little competition amongst the team. Whoever gains the most points wins a prize. Bring on the challenge!

I have wanted to try this diet for some time now not because I need to lose weight but more as a test to see if I can maintain a good energy level throughout the day no matter how much energy my two little ones drain from me. I'd also like to see if helps me put on more muscle mass and if I will have more strength during my CrossFit workouts.