Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Lime Marinade

Flat Iron steak has become a new favorite of mine, provided that it is cooked on the more rare side otherwise it can be a tough cut of meat.

Mike found this recipe and it sounded amazing, so we gave it a try.

Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Lime Marinade
1 large jalapeno
1 flat iron steak
1/2 cup tamari
1/3 cup red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon mustard powder
Salt and Pepper to taste (of course I eliminated the pepper)
Slice jalapeno in half, seed it, then rub the steak on both sides with the pepper.  Finely chop the pepper. Combine the jalapeno and remaining ingredients in a large Ziploc bag.  Add the steak, turn to coat. refrigerate for 1 hour to marinate.  (next time we make this we will marinate it longer than 1 hour to really incorporate the flavors).   Heat grill to high.  Remove steak from marinade and place on grill. Cook for about 4-6 minutes per side.   Remove from grill and let steak rest for about 5 minutes, slice and serve.

Served this meal with grilled zucchini and yucca.

Yucca with Garlic Sauce
Currently I am avoiding lemon and lemon juice.  The first time I made this recipe I used lemon juice.  I substituted lime juice instead and feel that it was a nice substitute.
1-1/2 pounds yucca, peeled and cut into chunks
Juice from 1 lime
6 cloves of garlic mashed into 1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup lime juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
Place yucca in a saucepan; add water until yucca is just covered.  Add a little bit of salt to the water and the lime juice, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender about 30 minutes.  Drain. Remove the woody or fibrous core from the center of the yucca.  Mash garlic cloves into salt using a mortar and pestle (if you don't have one, use a knife and mash it on a cutting board).  Add garlic, lime juice, olive oil, and onions to a separate saucepan, heat until bubbling.  (I cooked this at the same time the yucca were cooking).  Add yucca to the pan of onion mixture, toss to incorporate and saute it over medium heat.  Serve.

Grilled Zucchini 
1 large or 2 small zucchini, sliced
Olive oil
Take 1 large piece of foil, add zucchini to one half of it, drizzle with olive oil and a little bit of salt,  fold foil over to make a pouch.  Place pouch on grill and cook for about 3 minutes per side.   Remove to indirect heat and continue to cook until steak is done.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken

I found this recipe on one of those facebook posts, you know the ones that circulate through all of your friends, well this post actually caught my eye.  The picture of the chicken looked great.  The facebook page is Holly's Fitness & Healthy Living (I like to give credit where credit is due).  I made this recipe yesterday but due to a crazy schedule I couldn't post it last night, so here it is tonight, which really isn't so bad since we had leftovers.

The recipe is super simple.  The only thing I did not add was black pepper which is due to my allergy.  I also used a whole chicken that I cut up into pieces (reserving the backbone and neck to make broth for soup).

Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (make sure that you have pure balsamic vinegar, a lot have other ingredients in them  - so check the label)
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 24 ounces) or breasts (again I used the whole cut up chicken)

Combine the first five dry spices in a small bowl and spread over chicken on both sides.  Set aside.  Pour olive oil and garlic on the bottom of the crock pot.  Place chicken on top.   Pour balsamic vinegar over the chicken.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.  Serve.

To go along with the chicken I fixed steamed fresh green beans and heirloom potatoes.

1 large bag of mixed heirloom potatoes, diced (these potatoes were of the purple, pink, gold variety.  All had a purple or pink/red skin)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic minced
sea salt
In a large cast iron skillet that has a lid.  Heat olive oil and garlic in pan over medium high heat.  Add cut potatoes.   Stir.  Continue to flip/stir potatoes so that they won't stick.  Add about 1/4 cup water and cover skillet with lid.  Cook for about 5 minutes and stir.  Check doneness of potatoes.  If still a little too crunchy add a little bit more water, cover and cook some more.  When they are almost done, remove lid, add a little salt to taste, stirring to continue to cook until all water is gone.  Serve.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Blueberry Crumb Muffins (Paleo)

I picked up this cookbook called Paleo Indulgences by Tammy Credicott.  It is full of recipes and there are several that I have wanted to make.  We have a guy near where we live that grows blueberries that he doesn't spray.  We order several quarts of them and then freeze them.  Since our weather has been so crazy it has taken a while for blueberries to get ripe.  I decided to make this recipe today.

Blueberry Crumb Muffin
I doubled this recipe.  The recipe yields makes 6 muffins.
I also added the optional crumb topping.
Dry Ingredients
1/3 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Wet Ingredients
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

Add In
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Optional Crumb Topping
2 tablespoons almond meal
1/4 cup coarsely chopped raw nuts and seeds (almond, pecan, sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.  Add the wet ingredients, except coconut oil, to the dry and blend well with a hand mixer (I actually used my stand mixture).  With mixer on low, slowly pour in the coconut oil.  Blend well.  Fold in blueberries.  If desired, make the crumb topping by placing all topping ingredients in a small bowl and stirring to combine.  It should be slightly crunchy.

Fill 6 paper lined muffin cups two-thirds full with batter.  Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon crumb topping evenly on each muffin.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until center of each muffin springs back to the touch or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  The tops should be golden brown.

Cool 5 to 10 minutes in the pan.  Serve.  Store any leftovers in an airtight container for 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Coconut Crusted Black Cod

I wanted fish tonight for dinner and my husband pulled from the freezer black cod.  I didn't want to just bake it, I wanted to do something different.  You know how it is you get into a food funk where you eat the same things, in pretty much the same ways, time after time.  Summer is the time where this usually happens to me.  The heat outside diminishes my appetite which doesn't help matters.

I dug around on the internet for a while and found a paleo recipe.  We don't eat any wheat in this house anymore (I am allergic) and really wanted an alternative to a fish crusted with something and cooked.  I found this recipe from a blog called Melik's Paleo Sweets.  I figured minus the black pepper (I am allergic) I could easily do this recipe.

Coconut Crusted Black Cod
2 black cod filets (I cut them in half)  (as always this black cod came from SeaBear)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons avocado oil (you can also use coconut oil)
In one bowl add the coconut flour and half of the spices.  In another bowl add the egg; whip and in another bowl add the shredded coconut and the rest of the spices.  Mix the ingredients with the spices really well so that the spices incorporate really well.   Place the fish into the coconut flour mixture and coat on all sides, dip into the egg mixture and then into the coconut.   Add the oil to a heavy bottomed skillet (I find these cook foods that are fried easier).  Heat over medium high heat.  To test to see if the oil is ready take a piece of the egg mixture that fell off your fish (yes you will have some in the bowl) and add to the skillet, it should sizzle and begin to cook.  If it doesn't start to sizzle your pan isn't hot yet.  Add fish skin side up and cook for about 5 minutes or so.  Keep an eye on it, you don't want it to burn, flip and continue to cook.  Gently pick up each fish and lightly brown each side.  I had one piece that was really thick and was afraid that it wasn't going to cook all the way through so I placed a lid on the pan, leaving enough for any heat to escape (didn't want to steam it).

The meal was served with cooked yellow squash (truly not my favorite) and a salad (all the ingredients in the salad were from our garden).

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

We really wanted to try our hand at making our own sausage.  I have a Kitchen Aid mixture that I got a grinder attachment for (have been wanting one for years) and so we decided to make sausage.
I don't have the part where you can make them into links (that will be next) so I decided to make patties.   I am dealing with several food intolerance's and allergies and one of the things that I am avoiding is black pepper.  So making my own sausage is a great alternative.

We even did a taste test to see what they tasted like once cooked.

Check out my notes at the bottom of the recipe.

Homemade Breakfast Sausage
2 pounds of pork (we used some pork stew beef that was cut into small chunks)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons sage
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1-1/2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
Place pork in the freezer for about 30 minutes this will harden it slightly and allow for easier grinding.  I ground my pork just once on a fine grinder setting.  Once the pork is ground add all ingredients and mix thoroughly, using your hands to incorporate all the ingredients.  Shape the pork mixture into patties. I used a Pampered Chef large scoop which about equaled 1.4 ounces.  I didn't want the patties to be super big but a nice size.  I figure it is easy enough to eat more than one if you were hungry.

I chose to freeze the patties.  I placed the patties onto wax paper and covered with another piece of wax paper and then put them inside of a seal a meal bag.  The patties can be kept separate that way and it is easy to get just one if you want.

Cook the patties until browned on both sides and cooked all the way through.

Note:  Since I used a pork that was considered stew it didn't have a ton of fat.  After the taste test we both agreed that it would be better with a small amount of fat added to it.  The next time we make it we will use a little fatback.  Also if you don't like it spicy you might want to reduce the amount of crushed red pepper.

Sausage Patties Ready for Freezing

In the package ready for freezing

1 for a taste test

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Chilled Cucumber Soup

We have a lot of cucumbers coming from the garden and there is nothing better than chilled cucumber soup.

Here is what I did to make the soup.

Chilled Cucumber Soup
2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1 small avocado
1 handful spinach
1 cup water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 small hungarian wax pepper, seeded (we have these growing in the garden as well)
salt to taste
a couple of sprigs of fresh dill
a couple of basil leaves
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Add more salt or herbs as needed for taste.  Place in refrigerator to chill.  Serve in chilled bowls and top with fresh chopped herbs of your choice.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

24 Hour Refrigerator Pickles

We have a ton of cucumbers coming form the garden and my husband really wanted to make pickles but he wanted to make sure he could find a recipe that doesn't contain sugar (I don't eat sugar anymore).  He found one on     I have to give all the credit for these to my husband Mike.  He tends the garden, picks the vegetables and made these pickles.

I can tell you this, they taste great even with them still being crunchy.  Can't wait until they sit in the refrigerator for a while.

24 Hour Refrigerator Pickles
1-1/4 cups water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 springs of fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2-1/2 pounds cucumbers, sliced or cut into spears (Mike made them both ways)
Make a brine by combing water, vinegar, salt and honey; bring to a boil.  Pack two clean jars (pint mason jars) with the cucumbers.  Add one clove of garlic, one sprig of dill, and a pinch of red pepper flakes to each jar as you pack in the cucumbers.  Make sure the cucumbers are packed in there so they will not float when you add the brine.

Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers in the jars.  The cucumbers should be completely immersed in brine.  Since these refrigerator pickles will not be canned, it is not necessary to leave head space between the surface of the food and the rims of the jars.  Fasten lids and store in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before eating.

Also you can make bread and butter pickles by using 1/4 cup instead of the 2 tablespoons of honey.  Add 1/4 cup finely sliced white onions.  Sprinkle 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds and 2 or 3 whole allspice into each jar as you load the vegetables.  (I am hoping that Mike will make these next).

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Baked Black Cod with Dairy Free Basil Pesto

Baked Black Cod with Dairy Free Basil Pesto
2 black cod filets
1/2 cup olive oil
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups fresh basil leaves (fresh from our garden)
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
a couple of walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place black cod on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for 15 minutes.
In a blender combine all the ingredients (minus the fish) and blend until smooth.  Top each fish with some of the pesto.

Sauteed Beet Greens
1 bunch of beet greens, cut into large chunks (we saved these from the other night when we had beets)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
olive oil
In a large skillet add some olive oil and garlic.  Heat garlic until fragrant over medium heat.   Add greens to skillet, toss and cook until wilted.  Serve

Cooked Sweet Potato
We cheated and cooked this in the microwave which we normally don't like to do.
1 large sweet potato
Place in microwave and cook until tender.  Cut in half and serve.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Green Beans and Beets

Our garden is really starting to produce some really great vegetables.  For this meal we had beets, green beans, lettuce and our first tomato all coming from our garden.

My husband Mike wanted a rub for on the pork tenderloin, he is the grill master in this house so I let him decide (on some things) what he wants to do regarding cooking the meat.  The rub comes from the Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook.

Mustard Sage Rub with Grilled Pork Tenderloin
2 tablespoons nutmeg
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
1 tablespoon coarse salt (we used kosher salt, however 1 tablespoon of salt is really too much for us, so we reduced it)
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper (I am currently avoiding foods that I show an allergic reaction to so we did not add this to the rub - yes can you believe that I have an allergy to pepper?)

Rub pork tenderloin thoroughly with the rub.  Place the tenderloin on a 450 degree Fahrenheit grill and cook for 3 minutes.  Turning every three minutes and continue to cook until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cooked Green Beans
I usually steam my green beans but Mike wanted them cooked like his grandmother cooked them.  Add your green beans to a pan of water (just enough to really cover them), add 1 tablespoon of olive oil (don't ask me why, I assume it imparts some flavor but who am I to argue with grandma).  Let the beans simmer on the stove until tender.

Cooked Beets
I love cooked beets and these were fresh out of our garden which make them super tender and don't have much of that earthy taste.
Take a handful of beets, wash and cut the tops (including greens) off.  Save the greens (Put them in the refrigerator, I will use them later).  Place beets into a pot of water.  Boil the beets until fork tender (where you can stick a fork into the beet without adding a lot of force).  Remove the beets to a bowl. With a paper towel (caution the beets will be hot) rub off the skin of the beet.  The skin should just slide right off.  Slice the beets and serve.  Save the water that your beets were cooked in, let it cool and then add that water to your outdoor plants.  The nutrients from cooking the beets will be in the water which will help your plants.

Serve with a small side salad of fresh lettuce, tomatoes and carrots.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Meatless Monday - Assortment of Vegetables

We went to the farmer's market on Saturday and picked up some fantastic vegetables.  We picked up an assortment of beets, swiss chard, and heirloom carrots.  From our garden came green beans and 1 beet.  We decided to cook all the vegetables and go one night with no meat.

I tried for the first time to roast the beets in the oven.  After 45 minutes they were still hard, even with the oven at 350 degrees and I knew that there was no way they would be done anytime soon.  So I had to go the regular route of boiling them to cook them.

Cooked Beets
Clean beets really good, cut off the stems (save some to add to the chard) and place them in a pot of water.  Boil until the beets are tender (you can poke them with a fork).  Remove from water and using a paper towel (careful they are hot) rub the outside of the beets to remove the skin.  The skin should just slide right off.  Slice beets and serve.

Sauteed Swiss Chard
Clean leaves really well to remove any sand and dirt.  If your leaves have wilted somewhat, bring them back to life by placing them in a bowl with ice water.  Let it sit for several minutes and drain.  The leaves will no longer be limp (you can do the same with lettuce).  Remove the stalk by cutting them out and chop leaves into large pieces.  In a skillet, place some olive oil and one minced clove of garlic.  Cook garlic until fragrant.  Add the chard and toss.  Cook until slightly wilted.  Continue to cook until they have reached the right texture.

Steamed Sauteed Green Beans with Walnuts
Steam green beans in a steamer and cook until just tender.  In a large skillet add some olive oil and add a handful of chopped walnuts.  Stir walnuts so that they warm, don't let them burn.  Add green beans and toss until well coated.

Roasted Carrots
(Since I originally tried to roast the beets, I had the oven on and roasted these along side them)
In a foil pouch add washed carrots, drizzle with olive oil and add some fresh chopped dill.  Place on cookie sheet and cook in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 45 minutes.

Serve all of these vegetables with a fresh avocado and some fresh cut mango.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Beef Stir Fry with Vegetables over Mashed Sweet Potatoes

We are slowly cleaning out our freezer of odds and ends.  We defrosted some left over beef roast, it was about one pound.  Instead of making sandwiches with the leftover beef, I thought about doing something different.  Along with some fresh vegetables, a handful of green beans from our garden I figured a stir fry was in order.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 can of coconut milk
Salt and Pepper
Place sweet potatoes in large pan with water and bring to a boil.  Cook until potatoes are tender.  Drain and add potatoes back into pan.  Place pan back on stove on low and mash using a potato masher.  Add a small amount of coconut milk, mashing to mix.  Continue to add milk to get the consistency you want.  Add a little bit of salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat, cover and let sit until ready to serve.

Beef Stir Fry
1 pound cooked beef, (leftover beef roast)
1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then cut in half, cut into julienne cuts
1/2 of a red bell pepper, julienne cut
1/2 of a green bell pepper, julienne cut
1 hand full of green beans
1/2 onion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, thinly diced
1 cup coconut aminos (coconut aminos are similar to tamari or soy sauce in taste)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon coconut oil
In a skillet heat coconut oil over medium high heat.  Add a small amount of fresh ginger to pan, stirring until fragrant.   Add onions and peppers.  Cook until just tender, add green beans and continue to cook. In a measuring cup add coconut aminos, vinegar, and ground ginger.  Add a small amount of the liquid to the skillet.  Continue to cook vegetables.  Add zucchini and rest of fresh ginger.  Add beef and the remainder of the liquid.  Toss vegetables until thoroughly mixed.  Serve over mashed sweet potatoes.
Note:  I like my green beans and zucchini to have a little bit of crunch to them so I didn't cook them for very long.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Lamb Burgers with Feta Mint on Maple Pancake Buns (Gluten Free)

Sorry I haven't posted in a while.  Mostly we have been having salads which I don't think is necessarily post worthy.  Tonight we decided on lamb burgers.  I bought this Paleo cookbook called Paleo Indulgences.  This is the first thing I have made out of this cookbook.

Maple Pancake Buns

Dry Ingredients:
1/4 cup almond flour
3 tablespoons coconut flour, sifted
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Wet Ingredients:
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted, plus more for greasing

Place the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.  Add wet ingredients, except the oil.  Blend slightly.  Add the oil and mix well.  Let the batter sit for 2-3 minutes to thicken.  Drop 1/4 cup scoops of batter onto a greased hot skillet.  Cook until bubbling and browned on the edges, flip, and continue to cook until done, about 2 minutes per side.  Cool slightly.  Ready to use as hamburger buns or for breakfast.
My Notes:  The next time I make this I will substitute honey in place of maple syrup for something different and eliminate the vanilla.

Lamb Burgers
1 pound ground lamb
Fresh lettuce leaves
Pat ground lamb into 4 burgers.  Place burgers on a 450 degree farienheit grill and cook for 6 minutes per side and check for the desired-doneness.

Feta Cheese and Mint
1/2 package of feta cheese, crumbled
a couple of sprigs of fresh mint, leaves chopped fine
1 tablespoon olive oil
Mix all ingredients together.

To assemble place some lettuce leaves on top of the pancake bun, top with feta cheese mixture and place lamb burger on top.  Top with more feta and the top bun.   Serve.