Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Ever since I brined my first pork chop, I’ve been a brine believer. I don’t know why I never thought to bring meat before, but for some reason I always thought brining was for turkeys on Thanksgiving. And even then, I figured people were just trying to be all, “Look at me, brining a turkey!” I didn’t realize what a difference it makes.

On my journey to eat healthier, not only am I trying to find good sources of meat, but I’m trying to learn to eat AND ENJOY all parts of the animal. As a child, I wasn’t much of a fan of meat (or vegetables, or really anything but cheese and pop). While trying to lose the weight I gained in college, I learned to like vegetables. It was a slow, focused, meticulous process of eating a tiny bit of a vegetable with something I DID like. Or covering it in a sauce, or baking into a casserole or hiding in soup. I know, an adult eating like a child. But it worked. And I’m convinced you can learn to like anything – either by adapting to the taste, or finding better ways to cook stuff.

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I have a confession: I eat chicken skin (it’s like bacon from chickens). And I love dark meat! 

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I love caramel. No, really. Love it. It’s one of the few things in my life I’d commit to because I know my love is everlasting. I have found reason to cut back (way back to nothing) on dairy recently. It saddens me. Mostly because of cheese (my other love). But also because of caramel.

The truth, though, is it’s good that I have to avoid caramel made with dairy. Why, you ask? Because how often do you get plain old, delicious, perfect caramel? Maybe at Christmas time. Usually, though, I’m stuck eating caramel with something. Like with chocolate coating. Or with some type of nuts. The real craving is for caramel. Just caramel. And not those blocks of Kraft caramels. You know, the plastic-wrapped ones that are good, but also kind of hard and not quite creamy enough. Those are good candies for grandpas to carry in the front pocked of their overalls, but they’re not good for adults who know what real love is.

A week or so ago, Tropical Traditions had coconut cream concentrate on sale. Coconut cream concentrate, also called coconut butter, is essentially ground up coconut. Similar to how peanut butter or almond butter is just ground up peanuts or almonds. Can you make this stuff yourself? Sure. But it was on sale, and Tropical Traditions is a very reputable company. I bought a gallon of their Gold Label virgin coconut oil this last winter from them, and it’s already almost gone. I’m a single girl. I’m not ashamed of my intake of medium chain fatty acids!

Anyway, this isn’t an advertisement for Tropical Traditions. Although, if you’re wondering, yes, you should buy from them. This is for what the coconut cream concentrate inspired me to do: make my very first caramels!

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Sweet mother of deliciousness. Is this what it’s like to have faith that there’s good in the world?

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I made it back from vacation in sunny, humid South Carolina (Charleston and Folly Beach). I can’t believe how much we did in only four days. But it was a fun trip! I even picked up some local raw, organic honey. And the cutest honey pot. Win!

So, I come home to the best summer weather in the world – cool and rainy. I’m not much of a summer gal (yes, I just got back from a beach vacation, but that doesn’t mean it’s my preferred weather). And after a week of seafood (my own attempts at bacon-wrapped, crab-stuffed shrimp will be forth-coming), I was ready for some fall food – SOUP! I had hamburger and a few Italian sausage links in the freezer, so I set them out to thaw. Then started searching for soup recipes with Italian sausage and hamburger, and kept coming up with minestrone soup recipes, which I don’t love. But after looking at them, realized I could probably make something I DO like by taking out the things I don’t (beans, tomato based broth, and I don’t care for zucchini in soup, no matter how little I cook it, I don’t like the consistency), and amping up the things I do (MEAT!, broth, onions and garlic).

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Mmmmm… Soup! 

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I’m a master procrastinator. All weekend I knew I was going to make a roast for lunches this week. And all weekend I procrastinated taking it out of my freezer. I have so much stuff in my freezer, it’s hard to find what I want. The funny thing is when I finally went down to the freezer, at 10PM on Sunday, the roasts were right there on the top. However, it wasn’t a bad thing. I got to read up on how to cook frozen roasts (which led me to my recipe – which DOESN’T contain onion soup mix!), and how to defrost quickly when your roast doesn’t fit into your crockpot when it’s frozen solid. So, everyone gets to share in the joy!

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Here come the meat sweats! 

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Fair warning: This is a long post. But I’ve helped several friends journey into the abyss that is broth, and sooner or later, these are the questions they ask. I don’t like to simply say, “This is what you do, because I said so.” And like all recipes, everything can be customized to YOUR preferences. So this is a guideline. A starting point. I think everyone should make their own broth. Both for the nutrition benefits and the cost savings. Well, and the delicious flavor. I can’t imagine using store-bought broth in anything ever again!

What’s the difference between broth and stock? Broth has meat, stock doesn’t. I’ve made it both ways, and prefer the flavor meat gives, so I generally make broth. But feel free to make this recipe your own! I’m a huge believer in the nutrient benefits a person gets from cooking bones. When I make broth, I generally use mostly bones with just a little bit of meat thrown in. Maybe I’ll leave some meat on my chicken bones. Or maybe I’ll throw in a beef short rib. Or maybe I’ll use a soup bone. Sometimes I’ll even throw in some organ meats (kidney is my choice) for additional nutrient benefits.

My point is, when I make broth, I’m using 95% bones, 5% meat. And I use vegetables and spices for flavoring.

The goal is to have a broth that’s nutrient dense, after pulling all the fantastic stuff from the bones. So what do these bones have to offer?

  • Gelatin and collagen – Gelatin helps soothe and heal your gut. If you have any stomach issues, the gelatin in broth will help. Gelatin and collagen also help with hair growth, skin elasticity and strong nails.
  • Glucosamine – Helps with joint pain and inflammation.
  • Calcium, magnesium and phosphorus – Helps with bone formation and repair.
  • Glycine and proline – Amino acids that are anti-inflammatory. And in today’s world, we need as much anti-inflammatory as possible.
  • And it’s said to help with the immune system before and during sickness. When I’m sick, there’s nothing that tastes better than some broth. Similar to chicken soup when you’re sick, but so convenient to thaw some frozen broth and drink it, especially when it’s cool outside.

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I’m not a huge fan of meatloaf, but I actually like this version. Well, my version, adapted from this recipe.  I adapted the recipe because, well, it’s what I do. But also a friend of mine made it and said it was “a little bland.” When someone else says something’s bland, I’m sure not to like it. I’m not a food snob or anything, but I’m one of those annoying people who eats for pleasure. And I firmly believe even healthy food should taste good. Is this the best thing I’ve ever made? Probably not. I’d far prefer my Mexican Hamburger with Kale, Spinach and Tomatoes over this. But for meatloaf, it’s good. In fact, many say the “bland” meatloaf in the original recipe is “fantastic.” And I think this is an improvement on that. Not just because I made it non-paleo with dairy (those two things could easily be left out). But because of the increased seasonings. Plus, I’ve eaten it for lunch for three straight days, and don’t hate it. Anyway, my point is, this is a fantastic starting point. Feel free to adjust to your taste buds.

The mashed cauliflower, however, I believe is gold. I love the stuff. Maybe more than mashed potatoes. No, seriously. I mix mine with a hand mixer, and it generally comes out somewhere between mashed potatoes and rice, which I love. I don’t do cheesy rice, but this stuff is rich enough it feels like a treat. So, if you want a meatloaf recipe, this one’s respectable and better ingredients than dumping ketchup on top (which grosses me out). But if you have your own meatloaf recipe, and are looking for a good side, try the cauliflower. So. Good!

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About a month ago I bought my first portion of a cow. An 1/8th of a cow, to be exact, but I bought 25 extra pounds of ground beef. My sister says it’s all in my head, but I swear this ground beef tastes better than any ground beef I’ve ever had. Anyway, since I bought so much, I have been having ground beef as a breakfast or snack staple. Specifically, I love this recipe. I’ve been making it for weeks and it’s fantastic. This week I made some guacamole to go along with it. I look forward to it every day!

A side note: I have a couple of weird food intolerances going on. One is eggs, which isn’t an issue with this recipe. The other is peppers. Any kind of peppers: sweet, hot, chilis, etc. But only if they’re fresh or canned. Dry doesn’t bother me (I assume it’s either that the pepper’s so processed, or because you use such a small amount). Anyway, I’ve been find with adding chipotle pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika and even Sriracha to stuff. I do it as minimally as I can stand, but if I eat even a little bit of fresh or canned peppers, my face breaks out, and I hate to think what’s going on inside my body. So keep that in mind with these two recipes. Both would be better with fresh peppers.

Also, due to my allergy, I drain my tomatoes with green chilis and pick out the chilis. It’s a lot of work. I don’t doubt this recipe would be just as good with the chilis in it, but I’ve been eating it without.

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