Carne Asada 

Tonight is our first softball practice of the season. B started playing last Spring and it was quite exciting to see her get her first hits. It was also lovely because Hubs grew up playing ball and volunteered to Shuttle B back and forth to and from all of her practices.

Since then he has started Crossfitting. Our box offers a 2 day a week membership, but for two specific classes. This year, it looks like those classes are going to overlap with t-ball.  Of course. Such is motherhood.

The spring is highly chaotic around these parts. In addition to our regularly scheduled programming (work, crossfit, life….) and t-ball, the spring is incredibly chaotic for both Hubs and I at work. I have started my countdown to the last day of school already. 60 school days until freedom.

Grilling provides a lot of flavor without a lot of work. This recipe is also wonderful because carne asada is (relatively) cheap. I picked up some grassfed carne asada for $8 a pound. 

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds carne asada steak
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions 

  1. Combine all of the spices and rub them on the outside of the carne asada.
  2. Grill meat until it is just cut through. This will depend on the thickness of your meat. 
  3. Serve with guacamole and your favorite rice (use cauliflower rice to make it paleo) and guacamole. 
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Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes

These pumpkin pancakes have just a hint of orange flavor which makes them extra special. I made these during my meal prep session this weekennd to be reheated for breakfast during the week.


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup cassava flour
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grassfed butter or coconut oil, melted plus additional for the pan
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • zest of 1 orange

Instructions:

  1. Crack and whisk the eggs until they are well combined.
  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix.
  3. Heat a pan or gridle over medium low heat and add your fat of choice.  Cooking these pancakes slowly helps make sure that they are fluffy and cooked all the way through.
  4. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter onto your pan into circular pancakes.  Allow to heat for approximately 3 minutes, or until large bubbles start to form on the pancake.  Flip the pancake and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until cooked through.
  5. Transfer to a plate and continue with your remaining batter.
  6. Serve with additional butter and syrup.

Fed and Fit Book Review

I discovered Cassy Joy Garcia while listening to the Balanced Bites Podcast  and was instantly inspired by her bubbly attitude and her realistic approach to the paleo diet.  I couldn’t wait for her book to come out.

I purchased Cassy Joy Garcia’s book Fed & Fit when it was published in August and I have been making at least one recipe a week from this book ever since.  The book centered around recipes that she created with her husband in mind and that is why they are so wonderful.  My husband doesn’t not follow a paleo diet, but he will eat almost anything that I prepare from Cassy’s book.

She also provides a clear framework for developing a personalized plan which she calls “The Perfect You Plan”.  She suggests incorporating certain food types with each meal (protein, fat, and different types of carbs), and provides

Kid Approved Simple Guacamole 

This is one that I hesitated to post because it is so simple. But, if you have a spice hater like me, it could be pretty useful.

My daughter refuses to eat anything spicy. Don’t even ask. It will not happen. She even complains about spice that I can’t even taste. I once convinced her not to eat a chocolate peanut butter cup by telling her it was spicy. (What can I say… I am a terrible mother!)

Guacamole is hit or miss. Sometimes a restaurant will have a B Approved guacamole, and sometimes not. We struggle to get consistent guacamole even at the same restaurant. And if a restaurant EVER had spicy guacamole, she will always label it as such.

This simple guacamole can be made at home, but most Mexican restaurants also have the ingredients so you can make your own at the table in tiny amounts.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste

Instructions 

  1. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scrape out the interior of the avocado with a fork and put it in a small bowl.
  2. Add the juice from 1/2 a lime, cilantro and salt to taste. Mash with a fork and stir until it is easily combined.
  3. Serve on the side of any meal because kids love dip.

Bacon and Sausage Breakfast Casserole 

Mornings have the potential to be very rough in our household. This school year, our schedule requires that we leave the house by 7 am every morning. There’s breakfasts, lunches, backpacks and all of the other things that must be taken care of when we leave the house. Also,B still has accidents at night on occasion, so we need to build in time for a shower every morning.

Things run best when breakfast is already prepared in the morning.  I like to make sure I start eating veggies right away, but they just don’t sound very appealing. Spaghetti squash is sweet and easy to eat, even early in the morning.

Ingredients 

  • 1 tsp fat of choice (bacon grease, butter or coconut oil recommended)
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 4 slices of bacon 
  • 1/2 pound of breakfast sausage 
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions 

  1. Prepare the spaghetti squash by poking it 10-20 times with a knife and then putting it in the microwave. OR if you have and Instant Pot check out this post from Nom Nom Paleo on how to prep a spaghetti squash. When it is done, use a spoon to remove the seeds and discard them. Remove the threads by scraping the inside of a squash with a fork.
  2. Grease the inside of a 9 x 9 baking dish and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Cook the bacon in a pan on the stove over medium heat until it is just starting to crisp. Remove and set aside. Add your sausage to the same pan and brown it breaking it apart as you stir.
  4. While the sausage is browning, crack eggs into the baking dish and whisk. Add the spaghetti squash, thyme leaves, salt and pepper and stir the mixture until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  5. One the sausage has browned, sprinkle it evenly over the top of the egg mixture. Dice the bacon and sprinkle it and the green onions over the tops as well.
  6. Put it in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes. Cover with foil, or cut into 4 pieces and place it into a storage container.

Ginger Berry Smoothie

I am a little under the weather this morning. Food doesn’t sound great, but I did want something cold for my throat. Also, B isn’t sick so I am trying to give her immune system a boost.

So, smoothies it is….

I make hers with a little less spinach and ginger and a little more coconut milk to make it more palatable.

For hers:

  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup spinach

For mine

  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup spinach

Snack Week?!?!

Kindergarten has brought so many new challenges. One of them has been getting used to my roll as a parent rather than the teacher. There’s a whole new list of responsibilities, one of which is providing snack for her class for a week… and it’s my week.

I think most moms would pick up some snacks that their own kid enjoyed without much thought. Not me. I have been contemplating snack choices for weeks now. I am a chronic meal planner.  I hate not knowing what our next meal is going to be. That’s one of the reasons that I decided to start this blog… it’s a natural progression for this odd compulsion to plan, plan, plan.

Ideally, I’d provide minimally processed foods. Not necessarily Paleo, but something I wouldn’t hesitate to provide my daughter. However, there are several challenges that Inhave to keep in mind:

  1. We are not rich and providing snack for 28 kids for 5 days isn’t cheap.  Unfortunately, it seems that the more processed the food, the less expensive it is. 
  2. Most kids don’t eat like my kid. My kid would eat anything in a wrapper because we don’t usually have that stuff at home. It is a special treat to her.  But other kids… not so much. One time I brought snack to t-ball practice and two kids actually cried. CRIED!
  3. There isn’t refrigeration in the classroom and homemade foods are a no-no. 

I got word that there were no food allergies in class this year, so that helps but…..!!!!

Here is what I picked up along with my reasons:

  • Mandarin oranges (Halos) -They are fruit. They are easy to pass out and eat. Most kids seem to like them. I bring them for my high school students and they are gone in no time.
  • Applesauce pouches– I found some that contained only apple and apple juice concentrate. I know adding apple juice concentrate is a way of adding sugar without having to include sugar on the label. It’s not ideal, but they are easy to pass out and didn’t have a bunch of other stuff. I considered individual packs of sliced apples, but those weren’t in the budget. Also, they were on sale.
  • Chiobani Yogurt Tubes– They contain some protein and fat (although low fat was the only option 🙁). They can be frozen so that they can be left out. They do contain added sugar but at 6 grams of sugar per serving this was one of the lowest sugar snack options I found.
  • Annie’s Granola Bars – These were the lowest sugar granola bars I found and I looked at every single box. Many granola or cereal bars had well over 10 grams of sugar per serving.
  • Bananas – Easy to eat and most kids like them. 

Many of these aren’t ideal. I would love feedback and suggestions about what you do when it’s your turn to provide snack. 

Weekly Wrap Up ~ January 9th – 15th

Last week, we had a pretty successful week. B returned to school and I returned to work after 3 weeks off. I know, feel bad for me.

You would think that those I could have used some of those three weeks off to do a little extra meal prep for those three days off, but unfortunately our fridge said it’s final farewell, taking with it everything in our fridge and all of the premise meals I had been saving for future go to meals.  We without a fridge for 8 days and Our new one didn’t come until the Friday before I returned to work.

Most of last weekend was spent prepping and restocking the fridge.  I did another prep day on Wednesday to help get us through the week.

Here’s what we ate last week:

Breakfasts:

Lunch:

  • Me:Leftovers on repeat
  • B: lunchmeat, frozen veggies, a clementine and lemony blueberry muffins from Practical Paleo 2nd Edition or leftovers

Dinners:

I did all of my cooking in 2 evenings with minimal prep and cooking on a third night. I also managed to go to Crossfit 2 times and went back to Yoga on Saturday after a month-long hiatus.

Butternut Squash Puree

Purees are my super sneaking tool in the never ending fight to get my family to eat more vegetables.  While my daughter has a pretty reasonable number of vegetables that she will consume, my husband absolutely hates them.  I cannot think of a single vegetable that he would voluntarily eat.

This puree is fantastic to sneak in small quantity into chili.  If I sprinkle it with a little bit of cinnamon, my daughter will eat tons of it.  She says she likes it better than applesauce and will happily eat it cold.  I put some in small containers like these and put them in her lunches.

It can also be frozen in ice cube trays or used as baby food.

 Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1-2 tbsp fat  like coconut oil, grassfed butter, etc. (optional)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cut the stem and top 1/2 inch off of the butternut squash.  Then, cut in half lengthwise.  Use a spoon to scoop out seeds.
  3. Put about an 3/4 inch of water in the bottom of a 9 x 11 inch glass baking dish.  Place the butternut squash in, cut side down.  Bake for approximately 1 hour, until the squash can be easily pierced.
  4. CAREFULLY remove the baking dish from the oven.  Remember that water is going to be hot.  Allow the squash to cool until it can be comfortably touched.  Using a fork or your fingers, peel off the skin.
  5. Place the remaining meat and fat into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
  6. Add cinnamon if desired.