Month: March 2012

Happy Birthday Sassy Girl!

Its amazing how quickly you go from this…

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To This….Image

But it happens and today my Sassy and Fearless Princess is six!

I’m determined to enjoy every minute of six and the endless My Little Pony, Barbie and glitter that comes with it because this….

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Will happen before you know it.

Happy Birthday Sassy Girl!  I love you so much!

Cooking Without Drama-Paleo Roasted Root Vegetables

We have just rounded into week 4 of our 3 month Paleo Challenge.  While I am still getting overwhelming cravings for bread, (especially a nice crusty sourdough), and potatoes, I am finding the biggest challenge coming up with side dishes to go with the lean proteins since the rice, biscuits, rolls, garlic toast, mac-n-cheese, pastas, polentas, potato dishes are now off limit.

What I have discovered in its place are other root vegetables.  Sure, I’ve always enjoyed a sweet potato, but I have never tried turnips, rutabagas or parsnips.  Well the other day I did.

I saw the original recipe on the Wegmans website and adjusted it to fit within the confines of the Paleo Challenge.

Paleo Honey Roasted Root Vegetables (Serves 4 as a hearty side, 6 as a small side and two as a meatless dish)

1/2 medium rutabaga, peeled, cut in 1-inch pieces on bias or 2 cups Cleaned & Cut Rutabaga
1 medium (6 oz) turnip, peeled, cut in 1-inch pieces on bias (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 large  Organic Carrots, peeled, cut in 1-inch pieces on bias (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large (6 oz) parsnip, peeled, cut in 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 Tbsp Olive  Oil
Sea Salt and pepper to taste  (I did not use salt, as the challenge does not allow)
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
2 Tbsp Raw Honey, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees 

  1. Toss rutabaga, turnip, carrots and parsnips with basting oil; arrange in a single layer on baking sheet. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast 25 min; remove from oven.
  2. Combine melted coconut oil and honey to make glaze. Drizzle over vegetables and carefully toss until completely coated.
  3. Return veggies to oven. Roast 8-10 min until glaze just begins to bubble.
 I actually cooked them at 350 degrees for 45 minutes because I had a turkey breast in there as well, and jacked up the heat for the last bit while the turkey breast rested.
They were delicious and reheated well.

 

MCAS Day

Since we live in Massachusetts its the week my son takes the MCAS-The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System. This means he has no homework this week, except to “get a good night’s sleep” and “eat a healthy breakfast”. Which annoys me because 1st off they are coddling the kids. If i have an important meeting or presentation at work, it does not mean that the dest of my work stops. And 2nd, shouldn’t I be making sure my kids get a food night sleep and a healthy breakfast every day? It’s annoying enough that I almost want to keep my kid up to all hours and then give him a ‘pop’ themed breakfast of soda pop, tarts of pop and pop rocks as an appetizer.

I really hate the focus on standardized testing. I feel it hampers the teachers and they spend time teaching kids how to do well on the MCAS and less time teaching more critical thinking.

I also hate how the ratings on a standardized test then define the school district. With the exception of one teacher that should have retired, my son has had wonderful, engaged teachers and caring support staff.

However, since the MCAS scores are not good, the school district is not good. And since the school district is not “good” then the whole town is considered a less than desirable place to live.

Which is a lot to be determined from some kids filling out bubbles on a sheet.

Cooking Without Drama-Paleo Stuffed Peppers

Growing up, stuffed peppers were awesome with the bite of the pepper mellowed by tomato sauce and slow roasting and the mixtutre of spices, sausage, rice, breadcrumbs, and cheeses mixed into the pepper.  However since I’m on a Paleo Challenge at my Crossfit Box, I needed to learn to make these delights without the sausage, the rice and the cheese.

Also, since I like dinner on the table within 30 minutes of walking in the door, how can I make it easier?

Answer- Slow Cooker of course!  When I made these beauties, I prepared the stuffing, cleaned out the & stuffed the peppers and made the sauce the night before, then all I had to do the next day was assemble and turn the slow cooker on.  When I got home…the house smelled awesome and dinner was on the table in the 10 minutes it took to make a side salad.

Paleo Stuffed Peppers (Serves 4)

4 Green Bell Peppers

1lb Meatloaf/Meatball Mix (Get the beef/pork/veal mix-its the moistest)

8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 T dried Basil

1 T dried oregano

1/2 t black pepper

1 t crushed red pepper

c cloves crushed garlic

28oz Can Crushed Tomatoes

1 Cup Red Pepper Puree (Recipe Follows)

1. Prepare peppers:  Remove tops of pepper and chop up useable part of top.  Clean out the seeds and membranes and discard.

2. Prepare filling: Place baby bellas in food processor or blender and process until finely chopped, add to pan

3.  Crumble meatloaf/meatball mixture into hot pan with pepper pieces, onions, and spices

4. Let mixture brown, and then drain.

5. Stuff peppers and set aside.

6. Make Sauce: Open Can of Crushed tomatoes and place in a bowl.  Add red pepper puree and mix well.

7. Prepare to cook.  Add 1/2 the sauce to bottom of the slow cooker.  Add peppers to the slow cooker.  Top each pepper with some sauce and pour the rest of the sauce into the slow cooker.

8. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.

Enjoy

Red Pepper Puree

For every two peppers you plan to roast use 1 head garlic.  Drizzle some olive oil on the cut head of garlic and wrap in foil.  Place the peppers and garlic in a pan and roast at 425 for at least an hour or until the garlic yields when given a gentle squeeze.  Place the peppers in a ceramic or plastic bowl (not metal-it messes with the acidity) cover with plastic wrap and let sit 20 minutes.  Peel peppers and remove seeds.  Add peppers into blender and squeeze in roasted garlic.  Puree, adding a drizzle of evoo if the peppers are not moving.

This freezes really well.

Cooking Without Drama-Paleo Chili

Today I started a Paleo Diet Challenge at my Crossfit Box in an attempt to get healthy and lose weight.  My game plan for the challenge is to plan my meals for the week ahead of time and make sure that I have all the food I need so I don’t veer off plan.

In order to do this, I did some careful grocery shopping, hardboiled eggs, chopped up some veggies, bagged some produce, have some leftover meats in the fridge ready to pair with veggies and I made a batch of this awesome chili for my sweet hubs and I to have for lunches this week, with a couple to toss in the freezer for another week.

I have been making chili for years, but previously my chili always had beans, which is a paleo no no.  It also had sausage which is not necessarily a paleo no-no, but is not permitted for the challenge.

One of the fun things about the Paleo Challenge is that its going to really provide me with cooking challenges and get us out of a rut.  Since I can’t use white potatoes, flour, pasta, beans, grains or dairy, I need to totally rethink my cooking.

So it will be a discovery of new spices.

If you saute the meat and veggies the night before, you can toss this all in the slow cooker in the am and come home to dinner.  Have some sliced avocado with it to cool it down a little,

Paleo Chili (Serves 6)

2 lbs of mixed meat.  (I used chicken breasts, boneless short ribs, and stew meat)

1 Large onion

3 bell peppers (I used a green a red and a yellow)

3 cloves garlic (put through press)

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes and chilis

1 28oz can Crushed Tomatoes

1 6oz can tomato paste

1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 Teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/3 C Chili Powder

2 Tablespoons of Chilis in Adobo

Instructions

1. Sear meat and put in slow cooker

2. Saute onion until slightly browned and translucent, put in slow cooker

3. Saute peppers and garlic until soft, add to slow cooker

4. Add tomatoes and spices, stir.

5. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

This was spicy and delicious.  I made a batch and put some in the freezer for a later date and have some in the fridge for lunches and dinners.  Thank goodness for my slow cooker and all the yumminess it helps me make.

Paleo Without Pity-Day 1

I recently joined a cross fit gym and I am loving it, even though its made me a little angry at myself.  I am loving the workouts and variety, but I am angry because apparently all those years I THOUGHT I was working hard, (and all those times I went through the motions) was a bunch of bullshit.

The gym I go to is having a 3 month Paleo Challenge starting today.  The hubs was on the fence about trying it, but I really wanted to, so we both agreed to do it.

So from today, Monday, March 5, 2011 until Sunday, May 27, 2012 I will be following the Paleo Diet.  This means lots of lean proteins, fresh veggies, some fruit and nuts and no grains, dairy or legumes.  I did have a few ‘farewell’ meals so I could enjoy real pizza, ice cream, pasta, and grilled cheese, but today its a Paleo day.

At some point I’ll post some before pics, but my starting weight is 168.  I’m 5’4″ and that is not good.   I’ll get my body fat tested at my box this week.

I have stocked the fridge and I have planned ahead.  My planned meals for today are:

Breakfast: Spinach/Pineapple Smoothie

Morning Snack: Hard boiled egg

Lunch: Chili

Afternoon snack: Grapes

Dinner: Honey Mustard Pecan Turkey Cutlets, Cajun Sweet Potato Chunks, Roasted Asparagus

Evening Snack: Green tea with Stevia, sugar snap peas

I’ll post some recipes tomorrow.

Lets hope this is the beginning of a wonderful journey.

(Ryan Gosling photo Courtesy of Troll.com)