Archive | September, 2013

Sunday Sampler-Make Ahead Meals

30 Sep

Well, today is my cook for the week day, so I thought I would share my meal plan with you!

2013-09-29 15.36.15

I only make three meals, with the hope that there will be enough for leftovers at least twice.  That leaves me with just two days during the week to freak out come up with something easy.

This week, my folks are coming into town on Friday so we will probably have grilled tri-tip one night and something my dad likes the next.  Makes it easy!

So here we go:

Meal 1

Carne Asada Stir Fry, Tony Style

Will need 30 minutes on the day of consumption.

For this, I will be cutting up and marinating the meat, then freezing it.  The most time consuming part of making a stir fry is cutting up veggies.  These I will not be freezing but will be separating according to cooking times.

Meat Marinade (my Chinese hubby taught me the right way to do this!)

2013-09-29 18.22.11

1 lb thinly chopped carne asada, grass fed

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 or 2 tsp coconut aminos

(optional) 1 tsp tamari

3 cloves garlic

1 small diced onion

sea salt and pepper

1 tsp fresh grated ginger

1/4 cup red wine

1 tsp honey or coconut sugar

Mixed together, left to sit out for an hour, then frozen.

Veggies

Any combo of the following: bok choy, cabbage, celery, carrots, zucchini, onion, broccoli, green onions, chard, spinach, green and red peppers

These will be chopped and ready to be fried up in coconut oil.

Toppings, not for cooking: cilantro, chives, green onion tops.  These just get tossed in once everything is combined.

Rice

I will use either white rice or sprouted brown rice cooked in bone broth.  This will be saved for the day of cooking.  Broth is already made and in the fridge, ready to go.

Meal 2

2013-09-29 20.31.21

Tami’s Meatloaf

This will need about 45 minutes to cook at 350* after thawing in the fridge on the day of consumption.

The recipe will be mixed and placed in a loaf pan, ready to cook.  Easy to freeze, this will be just as easy to thaw and bake on the day we eat it.

2 lbs ground beef (with liver ground in!) grass fed

1/4 cup ketchup (homemade or Portland brand)

1/8 cup coconut aminos

1 cup gluten free organic oats (or cooked rice)

2 eggs, pasture raised

1 cup shredded zucchini

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion powder

sea salt and pepper

Mixed together well.  Put into loaf pan.  Ditch made down the middle of the top and filled with ketchup. Frozen.

Meal 3

2013-09-29 20.30.14 2013-09-29 20.28.58

Salmon cakes

These will need about 20 minutes in the oven from frozen at 400* on the day of consumption.

I don’t have the recipe for this one figured out yet, but I will be making these and frying them in coconut oil, then freezing with the intent to bake to reheat.

I’ll probably alter the recipes here, here and here, to make a unique and paleo option.  Might have to post that one this week.  🙂

I am using a bunch of the canned Think Pink brand.  This is wild caught salmon from Alaska.  Back when I had a Costco membership, I bought it there.  ( I really wish I could get paid for all this free advertising!)  But in all fairness, they have a lot of bones in their cans.  Just sayin.  Not super time efficient…

So there you go!  What are you having for dinner this week?

Meal planning-with a twist

26 Sep

2013-01-04 17.04.59

Every one needs a cool glass of sunset once in a while, don’t you think?

But seriously, wouldn’t it be awesome to have dinner at that table every night?    My family only got to have that view for a few short days during Christmas break, but every night was just that beautiful.

When my extended family gets together for several days, we have devised a plan to make sure we are all fed and fed well for the duration of the visit.  Each family takes on a meal or two and brings a variety of snacks to share.  It makes the gatherings both enjoyable and affordable, as well as easier for which to plan and shop.  Interestingly, we also end up leaving with lots of leftovers!

Sadly, my life at home is not quite so easy.  I have done a variety of meal plans, and some have worked well for short periods of time.  The truth is though, just because you have a plan, doesn’t mean it will always work.  My biggest issue is just finding the time and energy at the end of a long and sometimes crazily busy day to make dinner.  I can’t tell you how many times I have come in to the kitchen at 4:30 or 5pm and realized that the meat that was supposed to be thawing in the fridge overnight never made it out of the freezer.

Sigh.  (That is not always my thought.)

So this year, we are trying something new. While our setup is unique to me and my particulars, I wanted to share some ideas to motivate meals and build community at the same time.  In the upcoming weeks, I hope to come up with some kind of cool name, like Menu Mondays or Sample Sunday, and share the ideas we have for that week.  There won’t always be a recipe, but that is what google is for, right?

Idea 1: Barter

Trading for Services

Do you know someone who cooks the way you want to eat?  Do they have kids?  Do they have time?  Do you have something of value to trade?

If you can trade services for meals this is a fantastic way to get some good food on the table.  I know some people who trade massage therapy, piano lessons, handyman work, gardening, sewing lessons, etc.  Any of those things make excellent currency when looking to trade for meals.

If you are looking for cost comparisons, real food meals *IN TRADE* should cost about $10 per person per meal.  This would include time to prepare.

Trading Meals

If you are the one with the meals to barter, try making a double portion when you are cooking for someone else.  Freeze or refrigerate the second portion for your own family.  This way, your time is being utilized very well, and not only are you getting a service for your hard work, but also feeding your family at the same time.

Idea 2: Prepping with a Friend (or 3 or 5)

Find three to five friends who have similar family structure and food choices.  For example, if you have 3 or 4 young kids, you could partner with people who have 3 or 4 or 5 young kids OR with someone who has 1 or 2 teenagers.  The idea is to need about the same amount of food in each family, with or without leftovers.

Plan one day a week to either cook independently or, for a really fun day, together.  Each person contributes one meal but makes it in bulk with portions for each family.  So you leave your fun cooking session with 3 meals ready to go for the week.

There are so many things that can go along with this!  You can have family meal ratings, anonymous, of course.  This way, everyone gets feedback on the meals without getting feelings hurt.  You can have weekly or monthly themes, kid prepped weeks, added dessert weeks…

And if you are getting together to make the meals, you can have wine.

I’m just sayin…wine.  Win, win.

Idea 3: Payment plan

Similar to barter except…well, with money.

Pay for it

If you are fortunate enough to be able to afford it, find a friend who is a great cook and pay her/him to make you three or four meals per week.  This works really well if you are the payer, because time is money and crazy schedules can work if you have ready made meals to throw together.  If you eat out a lot, this can also be a time AND money AND waist line saver.  Count the cost, see if this is an option for you.

Some advantages from the community perspective is that you are becoming intimately involved with whoever cooks for you.  It is a labor of love, even if there is money involved.

Get Paid For It

If you are the awesome cook, you can offer this as a solution for a friend who can afford it.  (Even as an option to help someone save money!)  Bonus for the chef is that while you are doing meals for someone else, you make double portions and have meals for your own family as well.  Again, time is used very efficiently and you make a little money to pay for art or music lessons (or wine) on the side.

The Point

The point is, we aren’t in this alone.  There are lots of other families who are struggling to get dinner on the table each night.  What a great opportunity to step into a real community spirit and share the burden and blessing of food with each other!

If you have more ideas or something that has worked for your community, please share in the comments!

Raw Mocha (with Dairy free option)

22 Sep

Once upon a time, I worked in a coffee shop.  This was not one of those big named, rigidly structured, seen on every corner shops.  This was a smallish mom and pop shop a little too far up the street from the university I was attending.  In this little shop, I was first introduced to something called Toddy, or cold pressed coffee.  Once I understood it, I was also given lots and lots of freedom to randomly create new and exciting drinks.

Ah, those were the days.

Today, I realize that coffee is not the best thing I could be doing for myself, but doggone it, sometimes I just want one.

There are some out there who have found ways of making their morning cup not only energizing (the right way), but also entertaining.  Check out bulletproof here.

Yeah, I’ve tried that.  Too much work.

And so we return to the cold pressed coffee.

I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel so guess what!  That’s right!  I am sending you away again!  Just don’t forget to come back once you have figured out how to make it!  Learn more about all the benefits about it here.

Just for information, I use this to make mine.

2013-09-22 10.32.432013-09-22 10.33.42

Some coffee shops carry them, or you can just buy it here.

I have to say, the quality of the coffee you use is actually pretty important.  Get the best, least toxic, single origin, shade grown stuff that you can find.  It is worth every drop.

Now once you have your cold coffee concentrate, you can make a great iced mocha, blended or on ice.  (I prefer mine over ice because the flavors are stronger.)

Raw Mocha (With or without Dairy)

1 cup coffee concentrate

1 tbsp good quality raw cacao powder (I get mine from Azure Standard.)

1 tsp. raw coconut nectar or more if needed for sweetness (available at health food stores or Azure.)

Throw those together into the blender and blend until foamy.

2013-09-22 10.44.162013-09-22 10.44.462013-09-22 10.46.48

If you are having it over ice, fill a 24 oz* cup about 2/3 full of ice.  If you want it blended, take the ice that you measured out and toss it into the blender with your frothy coffee.  Blend until nice and crunchy.  *If you only have smaller cups, just make it in a large bowl and serve yourself a couple cups with a ladle.

Pour into the cup and add:

*2-3 tbsp raw cream

Fill the cup the rest of the way with raw milk. (About 1/3 to 1/2 cup)

2013-09-22 10.48.482013-09-22 10.49.16

I know, my cups are a mess.  But they are well used BPA free cups with lids.  Essential for this momma of four!

*Dairy free option:

Fill the cup the rest of the way up with coconut milk or cream.

Stir and enjoy!

2013-09-22 10.50.13

Apple Chicken Salad (Paleo)

10 Sep

Not too long ago, I posted a super quick mayo recipe.  This recipe changed my life!  It has made so many other recipes simple and easy to make with real ingredients.

For example, this chicken salad recipe I am about to share.  The mayo takes about 3 minutes, and once the chicken is cooked, the rest of this thing just takes about 10 minutes total.  Such an easy protein to have in the fridge for snacks or for a quick meal.

Now, I always buy pasture raised chicken, since I can’t bring myself to eat any of the girls we have in the backyard.  Here are some good reasons to consider that for yourself as well.  And here.  Oh, and a little about eggs here.

ANYway, enough preaching, (Can I get an AMEN?!).  Time for sharing.

Apple Chicken Salad

1 whole chicken

1 apple, any crisp variety

1 red onion

3 or 4 stalks of celery

1 mayo recipe

sea salt and pepper to taste

1.  Start off with a fairly bland cooked chicken.  You can roast or fry or whatever.  I usually boil a whole chicken til it starts to fall apart, take it out of the water, strip it of all the meat and throw the bones and skin back in the water to make broth.  This gives you a perfectly shredded chicken and gives you lots of yummy flavor for the bone broth.  Chop it up and throw it into a big bowl.

I always start with a bowl that is too small and end up having to clean two.  Sigh.

2013-09-02 10.46.512013-09-02 10.48.35

2.  Next, make your mayo.  (Click here for the recipe.)

3.  Cut up the apple, onion and celery into a dice.

2013-09-02 10.55.14 2013-09-02 10.57.14 2013-09-02 10.58.47

Throw those into the bowl too.

4.  Add the entire mayo recipe, some sea salt and pepper, then mix it all up.  It should be fairly moist.  Taste.  Does it need more salt?  Probably.  Add some more.  Taste again.  Should be perfect by now!

 

Did I mention that this is great to have in the fridge for a hurried snack or lunches for the kids?  Yeah, cuz it is.

This week, we had it wrapped in lettuce cups.  Mmmm, my favorite!

IMG_1641

Easiest Mayo Ever

2 Sep

IMG_1642

Since learning about how awful the new (as in the last 50 years or so) veggie oils are for our poor overtaxed bodies, mayo from the store has been a rare and fleeting treat.  I have made my own with different old school oils but the process with the food processor is tedious at best and positively time restrictive at worst.

Until now!  I have recently been scouring the good food blogs for ideas for the meal planning that I have taken up.  I found a quick mayo recipe on PaleOMG that seemed plausible.  So I tried a basic version of her recipe.

It worked!!!!

It literally took 3 minutes to make the whole thing!

So then I altered it just a bit to see if it would work with other oils.  It did!!!

Now, I am only sharing it here because hers is attached to other recipes so I can never find it.  But I also wanted a less expensive version, since she swears by avocado oil.  Trust me, it is VERY pricey if you buy the good stuff.   This is also just a basic recipe that can then be altered a bazillion ways.  Seriously, go look at her blog for some really cool additions.

All you need is an immersion blender, a wide mouth quart sized jar, and a few ingredients.

Easiest Mayo Ever

1/3 cup warm coconut oil (I like the refined stuff for this, less coconut flavor.  Also, coconut oil is liquid once it hits 76 degrees so it shouldn’t have to be very warm)

1/3 cup olive oil (you could also use any other old world oil here as long as it is expeller pressed and organic) *

1 pastured egg

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp any organic mustard

1/4 tsp garlic powder

pinch ground pepper

Directions:

Put all that into the mason jar.  Put the immersion blender to the bottom and blend.  Within about 30 seconds you should see the texture and color change.  It should look like a yellower version of mayo.  Mix til all the oil is emulsified, (blended in), and serve or refrigerate.

This only makes about 1 cup so it is the perfect amount for one recipe or a week’s worth of sandwiches.

*You can use more coconut oil if you want less olive oil flavor.  You want to make sure you have 2/3 cup oil total.

I may have to make this every week now.  I already made it 3 times just today.