Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bacon-Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup

Wow.. I'm sorry guys. It really has been a long time since I posted something. A couple of people asked me why I haven't posted in a while (which was really cool, by the way..), and my only excuse is..

The holidays. Is that a valid excuse for a long hiatus? I hope so. I'm not going to try and tell y'all that I was even remotely good for Thanksgiving. Not even a "I didn't stuff myself silly".. Because I was not and I DID. I was all gravy-on-everything, multiple rolls with tons of butter, plate upon plate of "salad" (you know those marshmallow, jello, nothing good for you kind of things we call salad? Yeah that stuff), and not just one... but multiple pieces of pie. 

To those of you who were good on Thanksgiving I applaud you. You are much stronger than I.. Unfortunately, this and Christmas are two occasions that I don't want to be strong.

...You will probably never hear me say that again. 

You strict Paleo eaters can abuse me the downfalls of mass quantity crap eating later.. Actually don't. I already know. I just can't care around the holidays. It is my favorite time of year. I don't mean just the family traditions, which are a huge part but since I don't live around my family anymore it's other stuff. I mean the ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas is on TV nonstop, my satellite radio is Christmas music, no commercials, 24/7. The moment I get home from the gym I turn on my Christmas tree. I have two white elephants to plan for, a secret Santa week, doodles all over my work whiteboard like a winter wonderland that keeps growing and I'm probably annoying everyone my caroling (yes out loud) far too often. It's like something that is physically in the air and I wrap myself in it as often as possible. I really dislike the cold too.. and somehow this early snow and ice and cold isn't even getting to me this year. Tis the season!

I just love it. It makes me extra happy (which is saying a lot because I'm generally a very happy person..)


Okay enough cheesiness. On to the food. As I said earlier.. it's been remarkably cold around here for this time of year and my apartment is perpetually cold. I don't care that my thermostat says 68°.. that thing is LYING! So in an attempt to warm myself up, I made SOUP!

YAY MORE SOUP! I guest-posted on another website (which is awesome btw) with a recipe for Bacon Chicken Soup before I had this blog, and that started my kick on cooking soups. They are just perfect for this weather.. I can't help it. 

So today this is kind of my own recipe. Woohoo! I will give props to both Civilized Caveman and Passionate Paleo for the inspiration of mine between their two versions of Butternut Squash soup, though. This is a very different type of BNS (gotta abbreviate that.. way too long) soup. It's smoky and a little spicy and frankly.. doesn't taste like any other BNS soup I've ever had. Plus.. it includes bacon.. which automatically puts it on the nice list in my recipe box =)

Bacon-Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 large Butternut Squash (mine was roughly 3#, but could be bigger too) chopped into large chunks
- 1.5 TBSP Coconut Oil, melted
- 1/2# Bacon, diced (I used applewood smoked which went reall well with the rest of the flavors)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small apple, diced
- 2 cups chicken stock (you know the rules.. get the good stuff)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 tsp salt (or more.. to taste)
- Cinnamon 
- Nutmeg
- Ground Chipotle

1) Chop your squash, toss it in the oil, and stick it in the oven at 350° until the chunks are soft enough for a fork to pass through. This will be different depending how big your chunks, mine took roughly 45min.
2) Dice up your bacon, onion and apple. We're wasting some time here while waiting on the squash..
3) With about 15min left on the squash, start frying up your bacon in the bottom of your soup pot (dutch oven, stock pot, what have you). Fry until crispy, then remove all bacon and leave the fat in the pot! 
4) Using the same pot, saute the onion and apples together until soft. Make sure you get all the delicious stuck-on goodness.
Saute-ing goodness!

5) Once the squash is done and the onions and apples are soft, put the squash, coconut milk, and chicken stock in the pot, bringing to a low boil. 
6) Once it has boiled, remove from heat and use your immersion blender (or in my case, normal blender, a food processor also works), to blend up all the pieces.
7) Return it all to the pot again, simmering, and add your spices. I left this up to you because everyone's palettes are different and I don't want to overwhelm anyone. Start with about 1/2 TBSP of each and adjust accordingly. I ended up with roughly 1.5 TBSP of Cinnmon and Chipotle, with a sprinkling of nutmeg.. I think (honestly I don't remember.. I just poured and sprinkled until it tasted good)
8) Pour some of that goodness into a bowl and sprinkle your crispy bacon bits on top! Bon Appetit!

Cocoa Reindeer approves!

My first ME recipe! Let me know what you think! Hope everyone is having a happy happy holiday season!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NOM-tastic Chicken Basil Meatloaf

We're getting right to it tonight... I'm not a big fan of regular meatloaf. This is supposed to be one of those great family traditions that everyone gets nostalgic about..

 I think its basically tasteless except for that layer (or mounds) of ketchup that people add to it, and I don't particularly like ketchup either. Meatloaf was just never something I ever looked forward to eating.. more like something I just endured rather than enjoyed, and I love food too much to suffer through eating it as well as putting the effort forth to make something like that.

Sorry future kiddos of mine, you are never getting meatloaf if I can help it.

Except this one.

Because this one is FANTASTIC!

I kind of want to sit with the bread pan in my lap and scoop [read: SHOVEL] this into my mouth and not stop until it is gone. I might as well haveflipped the entire loaf onto my plate and just gone to town. I'm really not sure that I can save it for last the "3-4 servings" it's supposed to be. I already ate my "serving" and I miss it.. 

I just checked my plate more than once to be sure there wasn't anything left on it.

This comes to you, yet again, from PaleOMG, and I cut the recipe in half. I spent some down time at work looking up copious amounts of recipes a few weeks back and it's like a card shuffle to decide what I cook when I have the chance. I highly recommend doing the same for those who "never know what to cook".

Delicious NOM-tastic Chicken, Basil Meatloaf
 Prep Time: 5min            Cook time: 23min            Servings: 3-4

- 1# Ground Chicken
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup almond meal/flour
- 1/2 heaping cup fresh basil, chopped*
- 1 tsp onion powder*
- 1 tsp garlic powder*
- 1 tsp dried parsley*
- salt and pepper to taste

Why I changed things
- Basil is fantastic and I wanted as much of the flavor as I could get without it turning into a salad.
- Original recipe, cut in half, both powders would've been 1.5 tsp, but I learned from my trial with Crockpot Breakfast Casserole that you can't undo spices once added and I'm proud to agree I was right again on this one. Had I included the extra 1/2 tsp of both it would've been overpowering.
- Doubled the parsley because.. more herby-ness the better in my book! Plus parsley is a pretty innocuous [ooo vocab] herb.

Preheat oven to 375°
- Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl [I added a dusting of both salt and pepper here]
- Stick it all in a bread loaf pan (I sprayed mine with some olive oil just in case), and even it out. 
- Oven, 23 min ish or until it's not pink in the middle any more. Mine just barely started browning on the edges. 
- EAT! (And comment afterwards to tell me what you thought =] )

Nom nom nom. My pictures aren't fancy and they never will be. They come from my phone and they'll keep coming from my phone.. I don't use a filter. You get what you get =] 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

I hate getting out of bed... Like.. super hate.

There is something innately painful for me about getting out of bed. Part of this is because I cannot put myself to bed early enough to actually get enough sleep.. so waking up for work sucks.. This then transfers into the weekend where I simply can't get enough sleep.

But seriously..

The other part is because my workout kicks my ass and it is literally painful to get out of bed. This one I can't really help, but it is a resolution (no, not New Years') of mine to work on the whole getting sleep thing. It's just hard to fit everything into 16 hrs.

The one thing that can get me out of bed though? Solid breakfast. Breakfast is my single favorite meal and I would eat it and all the contents of for every.. single.. meal.. And I rarely ever get to eat hot breakfast so this recipe is bonus awesome. Double bonus awesome for being a Crockpot recipe. SOOO easy!

This recipe comes to you originally from PaleOMG - An awesome site for a ton of Paleo recipes, not to mention the girl writing it is funny and entertaining to read.

* - denotes something I changed from the original recipe

9 eggs (whisked)*
- 2 Sweet potatoes (shredded)*
- 1# Pork Sausage (choose wisely)
- 1/2 yellow onion *
- 1/2 TBSP Garlic powder*
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1 bell pepper (technically I used 1 red and 1 green.. figure it out for you)
- Any other veggies you want to add (squash, spinach, avocado, etc)

Why I made changes:
- I wanted more eggs..
- I wanted more sweet potato bang for my buck. Ups the good energy factor.
- 1 whole onion sounded like a lot of onion.. I cut it in half and loved it. If you love yourself some onion.. add the other half back in.
- Garlic Powder.. I DIDN'T change this originally, and did the whole tablespoon... It was waayyy too much. Not only does my apartment STILL smell like roast garlic two whole days later.. I breathed garlic for a long time afterwards... not professional for work.

Directions:   (Prep time = about 15min - Serves 4-6)
1) Grease your crockpot with some oil. I used coconut oil. Rub some on a paper towel and coat the bottom and sides. Eggs are notorious for getting really stuck to stuff.

2) Shred your sweet potatoes. Use a grater or a grating attachment on a food processor if you have one. I do not so I used my totally awesome Mandolin slicer with the julienne blade. This gadget is the single best thing that has ever happened to the kitchen. No joke. Slicing made easy. Change thickness, Cut straight or wavy, and mine has two different "stick" attachments. It turned two sweet potatoes into a pile of matchsticks in no time.

Best.. invention.. ever.
3) After you have your nice pile of sweet potatoes, whisk up your eggs, dice your veggies and throw all this shiz in a fairly big bowl. You can also jsut start tossing in the crockpot but I wanted to maintain that oil barrier so mixed all up beforehand.

4) Add sausage. I just threw mine in the bowl and broke it up with the fork I used to mix up my eggs. If you want to try breaking it up before hand, be my guest.. I'm lazy and don't like dirtying more dishes than necessary.

5) Add all spices. Mix.

6) Pour into Crockpot, set to low and leave it alone! Cook for approx 7 hrs. Recipe calls for 6-8. I did 8 and it was overdone (still tasty though).

BONUS TIP! So obviously I wanted this for breakfast and it is recommended to get 8hrs of sleep every night. I totally DON'T do that, but I still don't want to set an alarm early just to turn off my Crockpot soooo I bought an outlet timer!! Target has these for about $6, and you can set it for 7hrs, and after that the power to the outlet will be shut off... no more worrying about timing of your crockpot meals!

Enjoy! Let me know if you try it, how you like it, what changes/additions you made!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

First Post Necessariam

Sooo.... here we are. 

What are you doing here? More importantly (for this post only)... what am I doing here?!

Let me start with a little about myself. I'm a twenty something, CrossFit chick who lives a mostly 80/20 Paleo life but... whose favorite foods are mac n cheese, pizza and all things Mexican. 

Totally Paleo right?! Not quite. 

I am starting this blog because as I continue on in this Paleo lifestyle I find myself posting more and more on Facebook/Instagram all these recipes I am trying. A lot of my friends want to know what things taste like, tips and tricks for making it easier and, most importantly, what's the recipe?? 

There are also a number of people who have no idea what/how I eat the way I do.. this is also for them. So for my friends stopping in that don't know what Paleo is, but have certainly seen me post about it 4518343 times, here is a very, very abbreviated version of what Paleo-eating entails in a handy little pyramid:

Biggest key here? No sugar. Which means no grains. We're talking no bread, no rice, no chips/crackers/cereal/crap. No artificial, fill you with chemicals to trick you into thinking its not sugar, sweeteners. Ya kno why? Because it's sugar. That's how your body reacts to it, like sugar, and causes inflammation and insulin spikes and a host of other bad stuff. I don't want to bore you forever on this (and for those experts on it, please don't nitpick me.. this is just to catch others up), and if you want to know more we can talk. 

Some of my recipes I try out will have raw honey, natural maple syrup, and occasionally.. a good bad-for-you item (like dark chocolate chips.. I am not a saint and I love dessert too)! 

 So that's it. That's why I am here. I eat this way because I can perform at a higher level in CrossFit than ever before. I eat this way because I'm tired of all the crap that is in processed food. But most importantly, I eat this way because it makes me feel the best I have ever felt. 

What are your health goals? What are you curious about? Why are YOU here? 

I want to hear about it =] First recipe coming soon!