Sundays are Cookdays

I love Sundays!

First thing this morning, I emptied a large package of chicken legs into the crock pot, poured a smaller bottle of Franks Hot Sauce over, turned on high and then made a cup of coffee. While I made the girls breakfast, emptied the dishwasher, caught up on world events, social media and then took a shower, I planned my attack for the day. We hit the grocery store and wah-lah! 5 hours later, the chicken was off the bone and ready to separate. From the drumsticks (which are a super cheap meat option) I will make Buffalo Chicken, as well as a not-so-paleo BUT as-okay-as-I-can-make-it Buffalo Chicken Dip for my husband’s football watching enjoyment (Go Niners?).

Buffalo Chicken Dip

After removing the bones and sifting through for skin, I made 2 containers of chicken. The first, I added a bit more hot sauce to and after cooling, put into the fridge. I will use this to top salads and celery as needed for meal or snack options. I love a spicy chicken salad!

The other dish is reserved for the dip. Instead of following the recipes I’ve seen involving LOADS of cheese and dressing, I decided to see how little I could get away with, as I typically steer clear of dairy but love this dip. In a small pot on the stove top (low heat), I put a quarter block of cream cheese and a small handful of crumbled blue cheese, whisking occasionally. When melted, I let the mixture sit till the oil collected on the surface then poured off into the sink. I added the mixture to the shredded chicken, along with a load of hot sauce and stirred. I had my husband taste test to make sure the consistency was satisfactory for his non-Paleo palate because the lack of cheese was OKAY by me! It was perfect. Enjoy with cut celery.

While I sorted the chicken, I made a dozen Hardboiled Eggs to be used for salads, snacks and, if I find the time today, deviled eggs! (I didn’t find the time before cookday burnout set in and two little girls needed more direct attention.)

Next up: APPLE SAUCE! We love applesauce. I like to dip my meat in it (you read me!) pork, chicken, jerky, WHATEVER. Core, slice, dice and add to the crock pot on low with about a half cup of water for 3lbs of apples, then sprinkled cinnamon on top. I am loosely following a recipe for Homemade Applesauce that has recommendations on the types of apples to use for sauce. Our market had bags of Granny Smith and so it was decided. I stirred every 10-15 minutes until soft enough to throw in the blender, about an hour and a half today.

Homemade Apple Sauce

In the meantime, I dumped a pound of ground beef into a bowl, followed by salt, black pepper, pressed garlic, diced onions and celery along with a snip of countertop chives for good measure. Mixed, smooshed and mashed into Sliders for my husband, and (even mini’er) Mini Sliders for my girls. I packaged them in twos and threw them in the freezer. I have sliders scheduled for dinner on Wednesday. Incidentally, ground beef is another cheap, and filling, meat option.

Now for the luxury item, Almond Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Bacon. This is an amazing hors d’oeuvre, side or snack and one that I haven’t made since 2003, until recently. Let’s just say, the last time I attempted these delicious little buggers the fire department showed up. I apparently gained some sort of culinary sense over the last 8 year, though, since there were no flames when I made them last week, or today. Just keep an eye on them at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until the bacon looks done, flipping once. Use pitted dates and stuff as many almonds as you can in them, typically 1 or 2 depending on the size of the date.

Almond Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Bacon

 

Somewhere along the way, I also put together a few Chicken Kabobs. I used tenders (another cheap option) and sewed them on the skewers (remember to soak in water for fire prevention, see, I’m learning) surrounding them with onions and green peppers. I salt and peppered them, added some Wildtree garlic seasoning and wrapped them up for dinner this week. The remaining tenders were tossed in a freezer storage bag with some herbs and spices and thrown in the freezer for another easy option.

My week’s dinners look like this:

  • Sunday – Buffalo Chicken Dip & Celery, Almond Stuffed Dates/Bacon (what, it’s Football season!)
  • Monday – Steaks and salads (already marinating in the fridge)
  • Tuesday – Chicken Kabobs and baked sweet potatoes
  • Wednesday – Sliders with sweet potato fries and salad, or just salad, we’ll see what I’m feeling
  • Thursday – Pork loin and steamed veggies
  • Friday – Leftovers!
  • Saturday – Chicken Salads

What’s on your menu?

 

 

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Keep It Simple

Paleo eating should take you back to basics (as basic as modern humans can get, of course). It’s a very refreshing way to simplify, at least, a portion of your life. Salt and pepper, garlic, butter or coconut oil, start there to season your protein. Chop and roast your veggies. Mash a sweet potato. Salad, salad, salad. Eggs and bacon. It doesn’t have to be more complicated. Broth is easy to make (crock pot, carcass, cover in water) and therefore soup is too – the combinations are endless and fun to try!

At 5'4", I went from 160 to 128 after switching to a Paleo lifestyle. The benefits are ongoing and include lack of headaches, increased energy, better sleep patterns, shorter menstrual cycles, lack of body odor, cleaner hair, stronger nails...

Food has become so much a reward (and for what?) that we have trained ourselves to expect variety at every snack and meal. And why shouldn’t we? Each new commercial brings us a ‘delicious’ new treat (consider it a dare to find one that isn’t made of grain). They’re all so fantastic! Give me more… it’s an endless cycle and I feel like I’m being taken for a ride, like I’ve lost control of what I want. All the ‘must have’s and ‘latest’, ‘newest’, ‘yummiest’. I’m continually left overstimulated and unsatisfied. With Paleo, I have regained control.

I’m not a chef, nor do I pretend to be one, so I will (again) link you to other sites that have a great variety of recipes and updates on their food choices. Also sites that I enjoy myself, so I know you will too. It’s far too hectic a world for me to try to make things complicated in my kitchen. Instead of running off the grid with my family, like I was planning, Paleo has given me a bit of a ‘deep breath’. A moment in my life that is easy. Food choice is simple now and that sits well with me. I feel calm. Cooking has become a ritual that brings me peace.

SO, if you’re looking for some food inspiration, get clicking below. Don’t be swayed by the more foreign ingredients, it’s okay use what you have. Your cooking arsenal will grow in time. It took me 7 months to buy coconut oil.

Sarah Fragoso and her family at Everyday Paleo are a great source of information and inspiration. Her search option is super easy and she has a Food link that’s categorized by meal time or protein type. Good stuff!  Search “chicken chili”, one of my favorite soups with a bite. YUM.

Fast Paleo has a ROD (Recipe of the Day) feature and about a zillion recipes to browse.

The family friendly Paleo Parents food section is mouth-watering and a great spot to find a sweet treat. I posted about their Dark Chocolate Banana Bites a day or two ago. Just yesterday, my newly-Paleo friend, Betsy, confirmed that these bites are worth their weight in almond flour.

And lastly, the best damn food related Paleo-specific inspiration comes from Nom Nom Paleo‘s blog. One word: NOM.

Pancakes and Bacon, Coffee: Black

Also, I have 2 recipes that friends have recently shared. First, my 4 year old’s favorite: PANCAKES! (err, WAFFLES, but they pancake well) Thank you Pam, I have tried several recipes over the year and haven’t found any that my daughter will eat or that I enjoy. This one is delish with a hint of vanilla and a sweet bite, I even added ENJOY chocolate chips to my 3 year old’s pancakes. Pam makes it for her boys with a bit of almond butter on top. It looks and feels like a pancake too. Great for a snack or meal. Today we had them with bacon (line a baking sheet with foil, lay out bacon, place in oven then turn on to 350 and wait 20-30 minutes till your desired crispness. I typically pour the grease into a pan that I will then use to cook dinner.)

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix together, let sit for thicker waffles, bake in waffle iron. (Again, I’m not an experienced cook, so it took me a few tries to lessen the ‘blackened’ look. I greased the pan with butter, poured a spoon full, then removed from heat for a minute, then back to heat till bubbled, flip and remove from heat again PERFECTION)

Second, we have a delicious dip, spread or as my brother suggested ‘sauce’: ROASTED EGGPLANT DIP. I had some ladies over yesterday and my friend Betsy (also mentioned above, I don’t go around collecting Betsy’s) brought this along with sweet potato chips and celery stalks.

  • Peel & slice eggplant
  • Slice red pepper
  • Slice onion
  • toss with olive oil, salt & pepper and garlic
  • Roast
  • Puree with a scoop of tomato paste
  • Serve

Remember to google “Is ____ Paleo” if you have a question. Or try “Paleo ____” for any recipe, that’s how I find a lot of mine. But also remember: KEEP IT SIMPLE. Fill yourself with clean fuel and enjoy the rest of your life. It tastes so good.