Today was spent prepping dinner, which was sausage, steak and chicken kabob. They were speared with onions, green peppers and carrots. On the side, I had Brussel sprouts and bacon sticks and a salad heavy with mixed greens, cucumber, onion, carrot, celery and hard-boiled egg. Oil and vinegar for the dressing and I was full before my plate was empty. Therefore, my lunch is already packed for tomorrow: leftover kabob emptied out onto a bed of mixed greens.
I know I’ve mentioned my love of Brussel sprouts and I’m sure you’re all sick of reading about it, but they are my favorite. I love how they grow and every time I pick up a stalk at the grocery, I inevitably have 1 or more strangers ask what it is. Great conversation starter, who knew?! I think I planted brussels last summer just to see that gorgeous stalk in my own back yard. Of course, homegrown taste EVEN MORE delicious. I hope to have success again this summer.
I’m currently awaiting the finished product of a little snack we like to refer to as “Cookie Bars”. It’s like a grainless granola bar without weird ingredients, but more of a protein bar, if you ask me! Plain and simple, it’s a recipe that can be varied in so many ways. Once you make them, it’ll be a go-to treat for the kiddos, if not for yourself.
In a food processor add
- 5-7 Medjool pitted dates and handful of other dried fruit of choice (we used banana tonight)
Process till the dates start breaking down then add
- handful of pecans
- handful of whole almonds
Process till the really big chunks are gone then add
- handful of crushed walnut
- handful of coconut powder
- a big squeeze of honey (probably 1/4 cup)
Pulse till mixed around a bit and add 1/4 cup or less of maple syrup, grade B preferably. Pulse till mixed. Must be sticky enough to lump together, if not add a bit of honey and syrup till satisfied.
Once the mixture is fully combined – sometimes, I put it in a larger bowl and use a spatula to smash it around some more, but did fine with just the processor tonight – line a baking sheet with parchment paper and flatten the mixture to an even thickness of about 1/4 an inch or your likeness. I then sprinkle it with cinnamon.
Bake at 325 for approx 20 minutes. I check on mine every 10. Timing depends on the thickness and for thicker bars, I usually flip the entire thing after 20 minutes and bake it off for 10-20 more.
Once the bar is browned, I add some sort of chocolate to the top. Sometimes a high cacao dark chip, melted in the microwave and spread on but tonight I used Enjoy brand chocolate chips because that is what I had. I sprinkled them lightly across the bar, placed it back in the oven for 1 minute then removed, spread the chocolate in a very thin layer then removed the parchment paper, with the cookie bar on top, from the sheet to cool on a rack.
As it cools, it will harden. Once cooled, I break it apart by attempting to cut it into rectangles. Sometimes it cuts well and other times, it’s more of a break line that I create.
If you use the same recipe, slightly less honey and syrup, you can toss the mixture while roasting and create a delicious cereal to be enjoyed with some milk of you choice. Warm it for an oatmeal like sensation.
My husband couldn’t wait to get his hands on one of these. While I was getting the girls dressed after bath, and before they were cooled entirely, he went ahead and cut them. Warm and delicious! A comfort treat. The girls had one before bedtime tonight. Yet, they are entirely acceptable for breakfast.
Once cool, I store them in Tupperware, with parchment or wax paper between layers in the fridge and the girls help themselves when they wake up or feel a little hungry. I’ll also grab a few and toss into a ziplock bag when we’ll be running around all day. Easy pick-me-up and a delicious treat.
Savings note: Use the ‘candy bins’ at the grocery store to bag your own nuts. It ends up to be more like $2 or less for more than enough compared to $6 for the prepackaged nuts. This is why we always have a variety in our house.
Here it is! Don’t make fun of my bad paint job.
- Saturday: Tacos (seasoned ground beef and salsa on greens with carrot peels, cucumber slivers, chopped onions – check the bad pic on Facebook)
- Sunday: Kabobs (chicken, pork, steak with peppers, onions, sprouts and bacon) with Brussel Sprout and Bacon Speared
- Monday: Pork Chops with a salad and mashed (sweet) potatoes (and certainly applesauce)
- Tuesday: Burgers with salad and fries (or burger ON salad, hold the fries)
- Wednesday: Chicken Soup (broth, chicken breast, bag(s) of frozen soup vegetables, chopped and peeled additional carrots and onions, seasoned in the crock pot)
- Thursday: Steak (mmm, steak) with baked (sweet) potatoes and a salad
- Friday: $5 PIZZA NIGHT (or leftovers)
- Saturday: Jumbalaya (broth, peppers, onions, garlic, chicken, shrimp and sausage, seasoned in the crock pot)
My shopping list tallied at $100.33 according to my calculator, before check out. That was after I decided to put a few things back to swap out for more proteins; one of the 2 frozen pizzas my husband requested $3.99; the entire stock of k-cups because (I had a coupon for a buy 2) I can get through exactly enough days with the coffee and tea I have $11.98; I put back grass fed hot dogs and resolved to not take short cuts when feeding the kids (besides we have sliced chicken, eggs and there will be plenty of leftovers for lunch options) $5.99; I decided against another jar of olives since I blew through the last one (munchies) and I have guacamole and celery in the crisper I can crunch on instead $2.29.
The cashier presented me with the grand total of $102.55. Not bad. Mind you, that also includes $44.44 in NON Paleo foods or housewares items. HOLY SHIT. Imagine if we just ate Paleo.
I’ll also be making hard-boiled eggs for snacking and salad, cookie bars (grainless granola like concoction, basically nuts and honey) and I have apples and bananas to turn into yummy breakfast or dessert options for the girls. That makes a week worth of (almost) Paleo eating.
Some more thoughts on Paleo being as affordable as you want to make it:
- Robb’s rant, he will always hold a spot in my heart for opening my eyes to the power I have over my own health.
- I follow Paleo On a Budget on Facebook
- A quick google search (if you really want to know something, you can find the answer yourself) and here is a nice rundown on ways to cut the budget from the Lean Machine and 15 Tips for Eating Paleo on the Cheap from Following my Nose
- Now harvest your own information. If you want something, you’ll make it work. Don’t blame anyone but yourself.
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To view more $100/week budget Menu & Receipt posts click below.
One word: YUM.
Shocked? Me too. I am a
big huge fan of sauerkraut, so imagine my surprise when I chomped into my first slice of Brussel sprout only to find a hint of kraut upon my tongue! Being a relative of cabbage gives them a similar, yet milder taste to their fermented friends. I had no idea I had been missing out on this yummy treat until my girlfriend served them during a post-bouldering, paleo feast of roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower with meatloaf balls, a dinner I replicated for my family a week later and one they gobbled up.
The next amazing detail to note about Brussel sprouts is that they grow right out of a thick, spikey looking stalk creating a visual feast. This is also how I prefer to purchase them, rather then packaged in containers already removed from the stalk. If you do buy them already packaged, open it up when you get home and remove any yellowed or soft sprouts so they don’t ruin the entire bunch. These sprouts will also give off a sour odor, perhaps a reason for their bad reputation.
Also potential cause for a bad rap may be in the preparation of the delicious little buggars. If you cook them whole, cut an X in the bottom of each sprout to allow for more internal/even cooking – whether you steam or roast. An undercooked sprout is hard, an overcooked sprout is mushy and stinky, who would enjoy either of those options at dinnertime? I would suggest slicing or dicing these balls of magic, tossing in coconut oil or pastured butter, a little salt, perhaps some garlic and onions and roasting them in the oven alone or with a buddy. I’ve been roasting ours with carrots because I know my girls will eat them. I also just found a recipe pairing them with diced bacon, tossing every 10 minutes for about 30 mins at 350 degrees. This will be on tomorrow night’s menu, guaranteed. Another recipe I look forward to trying is Brussel Sprout Slaw, found in Paleo Comfort Food. I’m drooling just thinking about all the possibilities. (While I have your attention, are any of my readers currently borrowing this book? I’d love to have it back soon for this recipe and others.)
- One of few vegetables originating in Northern Europe
- Introduced to America through the French settlers in Louisiana – most are now grown in California
- Best harvested in the Fall through Spring
- Related to cabbage, broccoli and kale
- Contain significant amounts of protein, Vitamin A, C and nitrogen compounds that may prevent some cancers (boiling voids most of this, so try steaming for 6 mins or roasting for 30)
- A stalk costs $4.99 at GIANT in season and has fed my family of 4 through 3 dinners.
In short, finding out that Brussel sprouts aren’t repulsive little vegetables was similar to the day I learned relish is just chopped pickles, my head almost exploded. I could weep at the thought of missing so much time with these delightful options. I hope everyone continues to try new and old foods alike. Our taste buds, like other sensory cells, wear out as we age which can alter our taste preferences and allow room for more additions to our diet. You never know what might become your new obsession.
I’d also like to extend a special thanks to Wendy for sharing the delight of a roasted, sliced Brussel sprout with me for the first time and also to my husband, Chris, for educating (and making fun of) me about relish, after 30 years of fearing these foods based on name and reputation alone.