food

Remember once upon a time when I talked about weekly dinners and my plans to share recipe details and photos of all the amazing dishes I was whipping up at home?  Right.  Well, between cooking with a toddler semi-attached to my hip and trying to get dinner ready at a reasonable time before we have to start our bedtime routine, I have not been able to document many of my recent kitchen creations.
But, I promise that I have been cooking- a lot!

I’ve been on a bit of a food journey lately, trying to make sure I am eating good, whole, real foods– and that I am feeding those same things to Lincoln!  I had heard a lot about the Paleo diet, but didn’t give it too much thought.  Then, I stumbled upon the Whole30 plan and felt really compelled to give it a try.

The Whole30 (in case you haven’t heard about it) is a 30 day program during which you eliminate several types of food from your diet.  During the 30 days, you do not eat any dairy, sugar, alcohol, legumes (peas, lentils, peanuts, etc.) or grains of any kind.
So, basically, you exclusively eat  fruits, vegetables, and proteins – plus some healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, etc. for one month (which in reality, is what we should probably be eating all the time anyway, right?)

I followed the Whole30 plan for the entire month of May, and about another 15 days into June.  It has really been a great change.  I am eating more vegetables than I have, maybe ever in my life and I am making almost every meal at home, from scratch.  I have more energy, I lost a few pounds and my skin looks really good.

I’ll admit, there is no way I can live the rest of my life without another bite of coconut milk ice cream or some dark chocolate, but this 30 day challenge has really changed the way that I approach food.  Now, if I can just convince my husband to adopt some of these healthy eating habits…

Here are a few photos of some recent meals (if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen them)…

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Oh!  And I have to share this recipe for “Paleo Pancakes” that I came across.  They could technically work on the Whole30 plan, but it is not really recommended to eat a lot of paleo-ized baked goods while you are on the plan…  The point is to break your sugar cravings and simply replacing a regular muffin with a “Paleo” muffin isn’t really helping… (Check out the book, “It Starts With Food” for all of the plan details)

Anyway, I can’t recall where I found this recipe, but I jotted it down and made it for breakfast yesterday.  Easy, fast and super delicious!
(I don’t have any photos of the finished product, because Lincoln & I ate them all so quickly!)

3 bananas
3 eggs
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Blend all ingredients together.
Grease skillet with coconut oil.
Cook over medium heat.

Yum, yum!

another week, another dinner

I got a bit off track with these weekly posts.  Thanksgiving and our trip out of town threw me off…

Anyway, here’s my latest kitchen creation.  It’s from a cookbook I have that is a compilation of recipes from Real Simple magazine called “Meals Made Easy”… The recipe is for ‘Not-So-Sloppy Joes’ and here are the ingredients…

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 hamburger buns, toasted
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese (optional)
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

I substituted ground turkey for the ground beef and, sadly, had to opt out of the Cheddar and sour cream…  This dish was super easy to put together and took less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Instead of using just one regular bell pepper, I used a bunch of these mini peppers that I had.

Also, instead of using just one regular bell pepper, I used a bunch of these mini peppers that I had.

1.  Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.

2.  Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper.  Cook until softened, about 3 minutes.

I have to admit I usually cheat and use this garlic already chopped!

I have to admit I usually cheat and use this garlic already chopped!

3.  Add the beef (or turkey) and cook, crumbling with a spoon, until no trace of pink remains, about 7 minutes.  Spoon off and discard any excess fat.

4.  Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon and salt.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 12 minutes.

almost done!

almost done!

5.  Spoon the mixture onto the bottom half of each bun and top with the Cheddar and dollop of sour cream (if using).  Sandwich with the top half of each bun.

And that’s it!

Yes, I topped my sloppy joe with avocado.  Strange combination?  Perhaps.  Delicious?  Definitely.

Yes, I topped my sloppy joe with avocado. Strange combination? Perhaps. Delicious? Definitely.

Oh, and a good tip from the cookbook, don’t forget to toast the buns!  It’s a quick step that makes sure the bread doesn’t turn to mush.

And a quick Lincoln update… he is crawling all over the place and is now OBSESSED with pulling himself up to stand.  It is literally the first thing he wants to do as soon as he wakes up, and is pretty much all he wants to do throughout the day.  My crazy boy…

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weekly dinners…

It is my dream to become a fabulous cook, who whips up delicious homemade dinners 7 nights a week…

Currently, I am more of a “good-at-following-recipes” cook, who only finds time to make a ‘real’ dinner about once a week… (the other six nights dinners include salads, quick sandwiches and frozen Amy’s entrees… eek!)

I am by no means attempting to become a food blogger, but I thought I’d start sharing my attempts at cooking… Posting my efforts here will (hopefully) keep me on track and ensure I am trying new recipes and following through on my goal of cooking dinner once a week (at least) 🙂

So, first up was an easy pasta dish that I found on Design*Sponge some time ago.  It uses a different technique to cook the pasta, rather than boiling….

Here is the ingredient list in its original form (and here’s a link to the full recipe)–

3/4 lb. penne
2 or 3 shallots, finely sliced, or half of a small yellow onion, finely diced
2-4 slices of pancetta, chopped
1 bunch asparagus
1/4 lb. Feta cheese
Zest of one lemon
4 cups Chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper
2 tablespoons Olive Oil

I’m not much of a meat eater so I eliminated the pancetta and sadly, due to some tummy issues Lincoln was having, I am currently not eating dairy, so no Feta cheese for me this time 😦

my ingredients… I used whole wheat penne, fyi…

Here are my slightly abbreviated directions.  Again you can visit this link for the full recipe…

1.  Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.

2. Snap off the ends of the asparagus. Cut each stalk into angled pieces and keep the tips separate from the stalks.

3.  Add the sliced shallots to the pan and sauté until they start to soften. Add in the dry pasta and stir it around for one minute to coat it in the oil and shallots.

4.  Pour in 2.5 or 3 cups of chicken stock and stir (the pasta should be nearly covered). Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to keep it from boiling. Cook for five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.  When the pasta is about half done, stir in the asparagus stalks. Stir more frequently for two minutes as the stock cooks away.  When the pasta seems to be getting close to done, add the asparagus tips.

6.  Cook another minute or two, stirring constantly, until al dente.

7.  Remove from the heat and stir in three-quarters of the lemon zest. Season to taste.

To serve, top each portion with a bit of lemon zest (as well as Feta and pancetta if you are using), and voila!  Quick, easy dinner.

the finished product

Yum!

In future food posts, I’ll try to take more pictures of the steps along the way, like the real food bloggers do 🙂

Oh, and here are some cute pictures of Lincoln.  Enjoy!

Loving the puzzle/name stool… thanks Meredith!

and, as with everything else, he must explore it with his mouth…