Saturday, May 2, 2015

Weekly Menu

Above: Teaching Charlie how to make scotch eggs

I've been asked numerous times to share my menus. It's easier said that done. While I have well over a year of menu's in my binder they aren't in a format to just share unless you have the cookbooks I use or know where my Pinterest board is. 

Please keep in mind this is how I feed my family. I'm not a nutritionist and plan based on what works for us. I'm going to start with the below menu because everything is available online. I've reviewed in previous posts how I plan my weekly menu. I've laid out below what meals need to be cooked then followed with how I would use them during the week. I try to pair a dish with something different at each meal. Variety helps the dish not get boring during the week. 

My goal for prep is to always get the proteins done because these take the most time. Additionally they are easy to reheat and add with some fresh cold veggies. It makes having dinner on the table in 15 minutes no trouble at all. You can also grab and go for lunches or even breakfast with just a few spare minutes to portion out and go. 

Here are the recipe links for the above recipes. 

On the first lunch above you'll see 'Chicken Salad Pepper Boats' and these are just chunks of peppers that I load up with chicken salad. A different way to eat them and adds a nice crunch. If you don't like that then try making a chicken salad lettuce wrap. 

Let me know if you have any questions!

Enjoy!
Yvonne





Thursday, February 12, 2015

Great Grandmas Oatmeal Cookies

So nearly 20 years ago when I married into my husbands families these cookies were one of the many benefits. Everyone in my house would choose these over chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, chocolate, etc. You get the idea? They are very cake like and certainly count as breakfast in our house, with a green smoothie of course!

Before you ask, NO these are no paleo. However we have cleaned up the recipe so that it qualifies as 'real food' in my book. I'm going to show you the before and after recipe so you can see how easy it is to clean a recipe up. I won't lie because it did take a few batches to get these right, not that the family minded. Please note that I needed to find substitutes that would keep the taste exactly the same, we did NOT want a new tasting oatmeal cookie. Note that these are not an overly sweet cookie, they are just right.



Great Grandmas Oatmeal Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2c light brown sugar organic cane sugar w/ 2 tables of organic molasses
       *I did try coconut sugar and the taste was not right, they were not sweet enough
1c butter / we used butter flavored crisco grass fed butter, we use Kerry Gold
       *we had tried butter in previous years but only crisco gave us the consistency we needed. 
          However Kerry Gold Grass   Fed butter worked perfectly. I would think any gf butter would work.
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c oatmeal, quaker oats organic oats, bulk from Whole Foods
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 c hot water
3 c flour Living Now Gluten Free Flour 3 c box (King Arthur has a good GF Flour mix also)
1 tsp vanilla extract pure or homemade vanilla extract
1 tsp salt sea salt

Add cane sugar and molasses to a large bowl and mix well until sugar is brown. Add in oats, baking soda, sea salt and gluten free flour and mix well. Max a well in the center of the try ingredients and add your melted butter, hot water and vanilla and stir up a little bit. Add eggs and finish stirring all ingredients. It takes a bit of muscle power and that means the consistency is spot on!

Once mixed then I take two tablespoons from the drawer and fill one with batter and use the other to make it into a loose lump then put on the cookie sheet. DON'T smash it down; DON'T roll it into a ball.  It's meant to be a mountain-ish lump on the pan. I fit 12 onto a cookie sheet and pop into the oven. They cook for between 12-15 minutes. My oven is 15 minutes dead on. You want them to be glossy on the top when you pull them out. You normally would think they need to cook more at this point and you DON'T want that. Glossy - pull them!

Now this next step seams silly but trust me because i've tried it several ways and this is what keeps them moist and cake like. Remove them immediately from the cookie sheet and place them on a formica / laminate counter top, or something that won't let the moisture escape through the base of the cookie. I've tried a wood table and a cooling rack and the cookies were ROCK hard. Leave the cookies to cool on the surface for at least 15 minutes. You will need to twist them to release them from the surface, and that's perfect! They should be moist and cake like and oh so yummy!!!

Enjoy! Please tag me if you make them.

-Yvonne

Monday, December 29, 2014

Breakfast Pizza



If you've followed me for any amount of time you are probably aware that our family uses The Domestic Man's Cast iron Pizza Crust. We use to use only Cauliflower Pizza Crusts but once we found the cast iron version there was no going back. It's easy and soooooo good! The favorite feature of the crust is that you can pick it up and eat it.....the boys pointed that out. 

So a few weeks back while trying to think of something different for breakfast we ended up with this little bit of heaven. Breakfast pizza was born and a quick add to the family favorites. 


Step 1: Follow the directions for The Domestic Man's Cast iron Pizza Crust here.
* The only adjustment I make to this recipe is to baste the bottom of the pan with bacon grease. This makes the crust nice and CRISPY. I also use a 15" pan so I only make one large pizza instead of two smaller. If you are using a smaller pan you'll want to cut the below recipe in half as his crust states it makes 2 crusts. 


Step 2: Brown / cook the meat you'll add to the pizza. Today we used 1 lb of browned local pork sausage. We've used canidian bacon before also. 

Step 3: While the crust is baking for the initial 6 minutes you'll want to prepare your toppings. Saute two large hand fulls of finely diced spinach (I have to hide the stuff from the kids) in bacon grease for a minute or two. 


Step 4: Whisk 1 dozen eggs and add to pan with spinach. Cook for a few minutes until almost done but still a little bit slimy. 


Step 5: When pizza comes out of the oven for the initial 6 minutes you'll want to top with your choice of pizza sauce followed by the cooked meat. Then spread the mostly cooked eggs overtop of the pizza followed by about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. We used Kerry Gold GrassFed Cheddar.

WOW - bad photo! Sorry :(



Step 6: Place pizza back in oven to cook about 10 more minutes, or until you feel it's done. 


When mine comes out of the oven I remove it from the castiron onto a pizza sheet for serving / cutting.

Our leftovers, yes there are some, we just eat cold and it's YUMMY! 


Friday, November 7, 2014

A Mother's Rant

So the other night at the dinner table one of my boys (I won't point out which one because they've both done this) made a complaint about eating paleo. They 'hate it', 'wish we didn't do it', etc. I've heard it more than once and I'm sure I'll hear it again before they leave our house.

My response this time and about 3 times prior over the last 2 1/2 years:

"Do you understand why we eat this way? Do you know the sacrifices we make to eat this way? Do you realize that so many people would feel blessed to eat as healthy as we are able to? Do you think I do this to torture you? Do I not let you have treats and non paleo food on occasion? Do you not have input on the weekly menu? Do I not spend hours in the kitchen every week making your favorite things?

Please put the word 'Paleo' aside. We eat REAL FOOD. We eat vegetables, meat, fruit, seeds, nuts and on occasion white rice and clean dairy. Do you understand what real food is? It's GROWN. God has provided it. It does not come in a box of with crap, chemicals, and other stuff that we don't know what it is. We eat REAL FOOD.

This was NOT a family decision but it was a decision made for the good of the family. A decision that your dad and I made for our family health. At this table we had one person medicated for ADHD, one person with high blood pressure, one person who felt bad physically from food, one person who can't tolerate sugar and yeast. We all have food allergies. Again it was done for everyone's health.

Do you think I grew up eating food from a box? NO. My dad hunted, trapped and fished for our meat. Our family together took care and grew a large garden. My mom ensure that everything from the garden was frozen, canned or in someway preserver so we had vegetables all winter. My mom went to a food co-op to buy our granola in a large bin, and this was a treat. We ate oatmeal so many mornings i can't count. We had to make 2 gallons of powdered milk after dinner dishes everyday so we had milk for the next day. We didn't buy store milk, we didn't buy box cereal, we didn't buy processed food. And you know what? I was embarrassed sometimes because we didn't have store bought food. But we ate good and healthy.

When I moved out I bought all store bought processed food. Then YEARS later guess what? I would have given anything to be able to eat the way my mom and dad raised us. And guess what? That's how we are eating. So while 'paleo' may be a new label for it, it's the way I was raised. It's the way you are being raised and one day you'll understand why this decision has been made.

While I know that you may not stay paleo when you move out on your own I do have hopes for you. I hope that you will keep with eating real food. If you eat grains, then make them organic, clean and make the best choices. I pray that you don't turn to eating garbage. You will pay for it with your health.

AND if you don't like what I put on the table each day then you are more than welcome to get up and pack your own lunch, make your breakfast and figure out what you are going to eat for dinner. Going forward you will not complain about how we eat. You will be grateful and thankful that you are fed and provided for. One day you will thank us for caring the way we do. Until that time you will be respectful."

And if you are doubting for one second that all of that plus a little extra didn't come out of my mouth the other night, you are wrong. I do not pamper my boys. They are being raised with the same values that my husband and I were raised. While I value their opinions and encourage them to talk things out when they are unhappy, we do not condone being disrespectful or rude. While they may not agree with decisions made for our family that's fine. BUT they do not run the house.

When I post about recipes that the family likes, or specifically the boys like, I'm being 100% honest. My boys beg for certain things to be made daily or weekly. If recipes come up that one of us doesn't like then I tend not to make it again and move on. We have plenty of recipes that we all do like. On the occasions that they do eat non paleo they've found that they feel crappy. When that happens we talk about it and how to perhaps make a different choice the next time.

Recently the youngest came back from an overnight trip with school. We talked about what choices to make for meals before he left. He came home so excited to tell me about the food and what he ate. The camp had all the dishes labeled so it made it easy for him to see what was 'GF' or gluten free. He knew what the GF stood for. He told me about all the good stuff he had and also told me about the non paleo choices he made. He was very pleased with itself and the meals he chose. He did great!

At the start of the school year my oldest, who's a junior in high school, was so excited to tell me about the changes that were made at school. That have more real food options. The cook was actually cooking food. He always takes his lunch but he will often purchase a garden salad at school to have with what he's brought from home.

So while what I post here, on Facebook, or IG may seem 'perfect', it's not. But I will tell you when it comes to food I feel like that our family has been very successful in the transition to real food. We have bumps here and there but my kids understand food, where it comes from, how to cook it, how to plan meals, how to eat a balanced meal, the importance of the foods we eat, how to fuel their bodies and how to do dishes.

I just wanted to share that moving a family to eating real foods is a lifestyle change and the kids don't have to love it. But they need to understand it and the importance of it. Us as parents are responsible for teaching them. Getting the whole family involved makes the process easier and everyone benefits. And at the end of the day remember who the parent is and who the child is. They WILL eat when they are hungry and if you provide healthy options they will surprise you.

Stepping down from my soap box now :)

Yvonne






Sunday, September 28, 2014

Kevin's Fried Potatoes



Potatoes are something we've been receiving in our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share. over the last month or so. Kevin came up with this beautifully perfect recipe that we've been using over and over each week and the whole family enjoys it.

Ingredients
1 medium onion (about 1 cup) diced
2 cups diced peppers (we've used multiple types due to whatever comes in the farm share)
1 1/2 - 2 pounds of baby potatoes (again baby reds or another type, what comes in the share)
Sea Salt / Pepper to taste
4 tablespoons of olive oil or your choice of fat


Cut potatoes into 1/2 - 1" cubes and boil for 5 minutes then drain

Dice peppers and onions and sauté in olive oil for 2-4 minutes

Add cubed potatoes along with salt and pepper

Cook until desired brownness is achieved (5-10 min)

Serve with your favorite protein and green veggies

Last night we Green Chicken with Roasted Garlic from Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook, potatoes and green salad.
Then this morning we used the leftover fried potatoes for breakfast with scrambled eggs and chorizo sausage. I topped mine with hot sauce and fresh tomatoes and a side of cucumber salad. Perfect.
A week or so ago Kevin used leftover fried potatoes for my special breakfast. The bottom omelet was eggs and bacon. Then he topped that with fresh tomatoes and fried potatoes. I can't even tell you how delicious this was!
I've also made a hamburger salad with fried potatoes in it. The burger was topped with onions and hot sauce / mustard dressing. 

The potatoes are so versatile that they are great to make ahead and just throw in with a meal. A great starchy carb for work outs also. 

Enjoy!
Yvonne

Cucumber Salad


This summer we've worked harder to eat by season. So between our garden and the farm share we purchased we've done pretty well. It has been a challenge here and there when you get the same ingridents over and over. You want to come up with something new and not always eat the ingredients the same way. I think we've been pretty successful overall. 

We planted about 6-8 plants of cucumbers this year and ALL of them grew. We had cucumbers coming out our ears. I gave a ton away, we picked a ton and then I still had a few pounds left. Earlier for a party I'd wanted to make an old fashion cucumber salad but didn't when I saw that the cucumbers had to be salted and sit for 2 hours. Well last weekend I had 2 hours to spare so I made the recipe. My mom had made it growing up and said that it froze well. We froze several pint glass jars that I'll pull out later in the fall. 

Kevin made another batch using the very last of the cucumbers that came from the garden as everything got pulled up. This batch I've been eating all week! It's stay crispy and yummy and I still have some left that I'll eat over the next few days. 



This is an old Betty Crocker recipe that we've edited for Paleo. 

2-3 medium cucumbers
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Thinly slice the cucumbers and place in a shallow pan and salt in layers. Place a cutting board and heavy object on top of the cucumbers and let it sit for 2 hours. Because we did this recipe x 5 I used a 9x13 pan, cutting board, paper towel over cutting board then our food processor. Worked like a charm. This just sits out on the counter. 

After 2 hours drain the liquid and press out any additional. Combine the vinegar, coconut sugar, and pepper and pour over the cucumbers. Refrigerate and eat later. 

FREEZER instructions
To freeze in glass jars I filled the jars with the drained cucumbers then poured liquid over and left down about 1" from the top of the jar. This allows for expansion during freezing. I lightly put the lids / rings on and place in the freezer. After they are frozen then i'll tighten the lid. I've not had any of the frozen ones yet, however mom said it works. Based on how crispy the batch is that i made earlier this week I can't see this not coming out of the freezer perfectly!

Now for what to have your cucumbers with:

 Breakfast of: PaleOmg's Breakfast Bacon Maple Meatballs + cucumber salad + fresh tomatoes
Taco Salad - Lettuce, fresh cut tomatoes, cucumber salad, taco meat, onions and lime with hot sauce
The vinegar from the cucumber salad was beyond perfect for this salad!
Breakfast of: Taco meat, cucumber salad, diced tomatoes

I've also had the cucumber salad with pretty much every meal this week because there's so much of it. The rest of the family only likes pickles and doesn't care for the cucumbers any other way. Oh well, their loss.

Enjoy!
Yvonne

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Kids Paleo Lunches

I've received a few questions lately about kids lunches. I wrote an article back in 2013 that you can find here. I'll expand on that with some new favorites the kids have. First let me say that I plan lunches based on what we are having for breakfast and lunch as we use leftovers for lunch.

Meatballs
Italian Meatballs - this can be sooooo many differnt types of meatballs, it's a long list! Meatballs are pretty much a weekly food in our house
Breakfast Bacon and Maple Meatballs - leave out bacon to make this cheaper
Marvelous Meatballs - I edit this recipe and make 1" meatballs and cook at 350 degrees in the oven for 30 min. I've tried the larger crockpot size and we don't care for them that way. 

Meat Rolls - We use clean ham / salami (just two different meats) roll together and stick with a toothpick for their thermos

Hot Dogs & Eggs - Sounds gross but this is a huge fav! I use Applegate hot dogs sliced up and cooked in with scrambled eggs

ABJ a.k.a. Almond Butter and Jam sandwiches made with paleo pancakes  or using this bread

Tacos using this seasoning. Taco meat can be mixed with several different things like diced cabbage and wilted in a pan; shredded and cooked sweet potatos; send along with letttuce boats for them to load at the lunch table

Chicken Salad

Brussel Sprouts & Bacon / Sausage

Baked Chicken

Chicken Nuggests

Chicken Fried Cauliflower Rice = use this recipe and I add in diced baked chicken and extra eggs (4-6)

Cauliflower Pizza Bites

Scotch Eggs

Sweet Potato Hash

Pulled Pork 

Hamburgers

Hot dogs - Applegate grassfed hotdogs

All these main meals are paired with a pretty standard rotation of green beans, carrots, celery, salad, apples, banana, berries, pear ect. They get a fruit and a vegetable picked from what we have in the house. Everything above minus the hot dogs and eggs I would make ahead and just re heat the morning of. Kevin and I spend about 30 minutes in the kitchen in the morning together making / reheating lunch and breakfast for the family of 4. Team work gets it done and everyone gets a great paleo meal that will be kept either hot or cold depending on the dish. A thermos and lunch box are the key!

Let me know some of your favorite kids lunches or if you have any questions.

Enjoy!
Yvonne