My favorite time of year is here – IT’S FALL IT’S FALL IT’S FALL! Although I don’t get to enjoy the smell of crisp fall mornings nor enjoy watching the leafs change colors, I do get a reprieve from triple digit temperatures. I don’t think we hit 100 at all this week and I’m feeling super pumped about it.
My plan this week, guys, was to get back into the swing of things. I had a plan to make all the things, photograph those things, and then tell you all about those things. I made it 2/3 of the way through that plan. I made all the things, I photographed those things, and then I promptly lost my camera’s SD card, and therefore all the pictures of the things I had made, and then I cried a thousand tears of sadness. (Not really, but I was medium annoyed).
I had put the card in my pocket for safe-keeping and apparently was unaware that there was a black hole in my pocket that was hungry for SD cards. I retraced my steps over and over and over again looking for my poor little card but alas there was no card to be found.
Fear not, I have ordered a new SD card for the camera which, with any luck, should arrive in time for this weekend and for new cooking adventures. Which MEANS, there is a chance I can get back on the blog-wagon by next week.
*Fingers-crossed**Knock on wood**Whatever-else-you-do-to-create-good-luck*
So, instead of all the pumpkin things I made last weekend, you get this. Which is a potato salad that I made for a BBQ at my father in law’s house. I snapped a quick picture on my iPhone before we left the house so I decided I would share it with you because something is better than nothing, right?
- 2 pounds redskin potatoes, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- Chicken stock (or vegetable stock, or water); enough to cover the potatoes by at least 1 inch
- 1 Tablespoon of salt
- 1 large shallot, finely minced
- 3 stalks celery, finely diced
- 4 slices bacon, finely diced
- 3 Tablespoons (ish) fresh-snipped chives, reserve some for decoration
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 to 2 Tablespoon sour cream
- 1 to 2 teaspoons yellow or stone ground mustard
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon smoked paprika*
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Dice potatoes and put into a large pot. Cover with water or stock by 1-inch and add tablespoon of salt.
- Bring pot of potatoes to a boil over high heat and cook until potatoes are slightly tender but still firm. (You should be able to easily pierce them with a fork but you don't want them to fall apart when you do so).
- Strain potatoes and set aside to cool slightly. Taste one piece of potato so that you know how much salt you will need to add to the dressing.
- In a large bowl mix mayo, sour cream, mustard, paprika, garlic powder, and a generous helping of salt and pepper. A dash of hot sauce or chipotle is good here too, if you're into that sort of thing. It's not against the rules to try a taste of the dressing before you toss the potatoes in to make sure that the flavor is balanced. Keep in mind you want it to taste a bit "strong" plain since the potatoes will absorb and mute the flavor a bit.
- Throw the potatoes into the bowl with the dressing and toss to combine. Add the shallot, celery, bacon, and chives and continue tossing to combine. If necessary, add another tablespoon or two of mayo or sour cream.*
- Once your salad is tossed to your liking, place in the fridge uncovered until chilled (to avoid that pesky condensation). Once chilled, cover tightly with plastic wrap until ready to serve. Potato can be made (and is usually better made) one day ahead.
- Sprinkle with extra chives and paprika just before serving to make it look pretty.
*I like my potato salad to have a bit more "kick" so I tend to be a little heavy-handed with my spices. If you're afraid of smoked paprika, start with the smaller 1 teaspoon amount. If not, go for the larger amount.
*I tend to like my potato salad to be very lightly-dressed, others prefer theirs to be loaded with mayo. If you prefer the latter, feel free to add more mayo and/or sour cream to your dressing, you'll get no judgment from me!
Well, we’ve passed the halfway mark on this Whole30 thing and one thing I have been eating a lot of this month is salads.
So many salads. Like, all the salads.
This day in particular I wanted tacos. But, since I can’t eat tortillas, cheese, rice, or sour cream, I made a salad instead.
It’s basically the same thing (not really).
However, this recipe passed a very important test. The FH test. You see, at some point during this ordeal FH decided he was going to support me, stand by my side, and eat only what I could eat (at least, while I was around).
I mean, he saw the cruelty in pigging out on chips and cookies while I was chewing on lettuce on apples… If that’s not love then I don’t know what is.
This is probably one of our favorite Whole 30-compliant recipes that I’ve made so far (along with that delicious cauliflower soup).
As an added bonus, it’s super easy to make. Don’t let the mile-long recipe throw you off – You throw all the meat stuff together in a slow cooker and cook it on low for a bajillion hours until it’s fall-apart-tender.
While that’s cooking, you chop up some veggies ( I chose onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, and roasted sweet potatoes), and then when you’re ready to eat just cook up some cilantro-lime cauliflower “rice” alongside so you can pretend like you’re eating rice.
As for the Whole 30?
17 days down, 13 more to go!
I haven’t gained any super powers yet (unless wanting to fall asleep while walking up a flight of stairs or being able to quickly find “sugar” in any of its numerous forms on an ingredient label count as super powers).
HOWEVER, my skin has cleared up significantly and is softer than a baby’s behind, my belly feels less gross and bloaty (generally speaking), I’m sleeping better than I have in ages, and I have the added benefit of just knowing that I”m doing something good for my body. That counts for something, right?
You can see what else I’ve been cooking up on Instagram.
- 1 small (3 pound) chuck roast (or other cut of meat that is good for cooking low and slow)
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 cups chicken or beef broth ( Imagine broth is whole 30 approved :) )
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon chipotle paste (or 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced)
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1 or 2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 large head cauliflower (about 1 pound)
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, minced
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 to 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Lettuce of your choice; washed,dried, and chopped (I used romaine)
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Pat steak dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. Brown steak on both sides (don't cook it through, just get some good color on it). Then transfer to slow cooker.
- In same pan, add sliced onions and cook until softened but not browned. Add to slow cooker.
- Pour chicken or beef broth into pan and scrape off any browned bits remaining in the pan. Add remaining ingredients to broth and stir to combine. Pour over steak in slow cooker.
- Set slow cooker to "low" - Cook on low until meat is tender about 8 to 10 hours.
- When meat is finished cooking, shred and let sit in juices. Skim and remove fat, if necessary.
- Heat oven to 400F. Line a sheet pan with foil and toss sweet potato chunks with melted coconut oil, salt, and spices.
- Roast 30 to 40 minutes until browned, tossing halfway through.
- Process cauliflower in food processor until pieces are about the size of grains of rice. Be sure not to over-process.
- Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add coconut oil until melted. Add cauliflower rice and a healthy dash of salt and pepper. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover pan and allow cauliflower to "steam" for about 5 to 7 minutes.**
- Remove cover and stir cauliflower - I like to get my cauliflower nice and browned so it takes another 5 to 7 minutes or so, but you don't have to cook it that far.
- Add the lime juice and cilantro and stir to combine. Transfer cauliflower to another dish until ready to serve.
- (***See notes below for oven-method)
- Heat oil in saute pan until shimmering. Add peppers and onions and saute until softened. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Assemble salad with lettuce, peppers, onions, etc and enjoy! Top with salsa or a simple dressing, if desired. (Try a vinaigrette with lime, olive oil, and paprika)
* I usually make my beef the day before and store it in the fridge until I'm ready to use it. When I start cooking everything else, I reheat the meat in a saucepan over low heat.
**Alternatively, you can give your rice a head-start in the microwave. Place cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high 2 to 3 minutes, covered with a microwave-safe plastic wrap. Continue with the rest of the steps as directed.
*** You can make your cauliflower rice more "hands off" by roasting it in the oven on a separate sheet pan while you roast your sweet potatoes, stirring occasionally. Add lime and cilantro before serving. (Thanks Shannon for turning me on to this method!)
Beef recipe adapted from Ezra Pound Cake
We’ve finally reached triple digits here and today they even graced us with the courtesy of an “excessive heat warning” as of 10:00 AM. This warning is technically scheduled until 8:00 PM tonight, but we know better than that. This warning will be renewed daily probably until the middle of September. Yay.
Try as I might, I have not been able to successfully devise a way for FH and I to find an alternate summer residence, where we could work remotely from somewhere that does not feel like the surface of the sun.
Until such a day exists (or until the end of the summer) I am likely to crave all things cold and vegetable-laden. Something about it being a million degrees out makes me want to stay inside and eat cold, crunchy veggies all day every day. Enter this salad.
Crisp romaine lettuce, crunchy chickpeas, and creamy pesto parmesan dressing. What more could a girl ask for?
This salad is from Pinch of Yum‘s latest cookbook Everyday Healthy. This e-cookbook is full of quick and healthy recipes and even comes with a nutrition guide (with substitution recommendations) and a meal planning guide.
I modified the recipe a bit by tossing my chickpeas in olive oil before roasting them (I like the crunch it gives them), upping the pesto in the dressing (call me a basil-holic if you will), halving the amount of tomatoes called for (they are not my favorite), and adding cucumbers. Because cucumbers make everything better.
- 1 14-oz can of chickpeas
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 8 slices bacon, cooked
- 2 medium tomatoes, rinsed
- 1/2 seedless cucumber, rinsed
- 4 cups romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 5 Tablespoons water
- 3 Tablespoons parsley
- 2 Tablespoons pesto
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400?F. Line baking sheet with parchment. Drain, rinse, and dry chickpeas.
- Toss chickpeas with olive oil and spread on baking sheet. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until crisp, tossing halfway through. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, dice tomatoes, cucumber, and bacon to desired size. Toss together with lettuce and set aside.
- In a food processor, combine sour cream, pesto, parsley, garlic, parmesan and lemon juice until combined. Stream in water one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve salad in bowls and top with chickpeas and desired amount of dressing.
* Experiment by tossing your chickpeas with other seasonings like smoked paprika and cumin or even with parmesan cheese.
* Will easily serve 4 as a main salad or 6 as a side salad.
* Add more or less pesto to your taste.
Recipe adapted from Everyday Healthy by Lindsay Olstrom
It’s Thursday! What you are seeing above is a glorious pineapple-coconut margarita (aka: “Nectar of the Gods”) from Blanco Tacos & Tequila in Arizona. Thursdays are great margarita days, in case you didn’t know. Helps to take the edge off the week and prepare you for the weekend…
I tried all the new Doritos flavors and can confidently recommend that you save your dollars and not buy them. My notes are below – if you have tried them, please feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Yellow has almost a honey-mustard flavor, but then it has lime. It is like sweet-salty-limey flavor that I am not quite sure what they are going for. The only thing I can think of that is sweet, salty, and limey is a margarita, but it doesn’t taste like a margarita. I did actually think of something else it could be the other night but I already forgot. Maybe they’re just going for “zesty lime” in which case they hit the nail on the head, I guess. If they were going for “Mountain Dew” (which the internet seems to think) then, sorry guys. You missed the target (you are slightly closer to the target if you were aiming for “salty Mountain Dew” lol). Red I would describe as “hot as f**k” with a hint of cheddar. Every flavor I would assume they were going for already exists (buffalo wing? hot sauce? tabasco? but they already have “Tapatio” Doitos so… I dunno…) I mean, it takes a LOT of heat for something to make my mouth uncomfortably hot but this one did the trick. Actually, it wasn’t so much my mouth that suffered but every bite sent the spicy powder into my sinuses which then tried to murder me from the inside. If you are into fiery murder, go for it. These are your chips. Blue is definitely a molé flavor – It’s a bit smokey, a bit spicy, and a bit chocolatey, but somehow the flavors combine and cancel each other out making them almost bland with a hint of lingering spice that builds as you continue eating them.
I also found a new favorite snack. They are crunchy and delicious and I can pretend they are good for me because they are made with lentils. I’ve also tried the wasabi ranch flavor (more wasabi than ranch) and the caesar flavor (not the best) and the “lightly salted” (which were also really good) but the tomato basil is my favorite. They are almost always on sale for super cheap at our grocery store so my curiosity finally got the better of me and I picked up a few.
In other news…
All you dog people can EAT IT because this cat proves that they are just as effective as dogs are at protecting you
Dominique Ansel is at it again with nutella-filled cronut holes… because that’s necessary.
Trader Joes released their Top 25 Products from 2013 and I’ve purchased woefully few of them. Triple ginger snaps, I’m coming for you this weekend!
So apparently I can stop my search for pineberries and grow my own, along with some indigo tomatoes (did you know those were a thing?)…. if I can just conquer this awful curse of killing every plant I touch…. Seriously, I have the equivalent of a plant graveyard on the side of the house.
Confused about whether to use light or dark brown sugar? Serious Eats to the rescue (as usual) – I usually split the difference and use “Golden Brown” sugar… seems like a good choice, right ?
Arizona’s Restaurant Week is this week so if you’re local be sure to check out your options.
Also, when I made my quinoa tabbouleh the other day I also made a “southwest” version. Because I had cilantro and it sounded like fun. It’s basically the same recipe but swap cilantro for the parsley, swap lime for the lemon, and add some avocado. The “official” recipe is below but I stand by my “adjust to your own preferences” recommendation. The recipe is VERY forgiving.
- 1/2 c quinoa
- 1/2 c water
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large or 2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced (or substitute one small shallot for more "pico" flavor)
- 1 avocado, pitted and chopped
- 4 cups cilantro, loosely packed
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan. Add quinoa and cook, stirring, until gently toasted. Add water (I use a 1:1 ratio of quinoa to water) and heat to a boil. Cook according to time stated on package directions. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
- Chop tomatoes and avocado to desired size and slice green onions (or shallots); set aside
- In a food processor, pulse cilantro leafs until finely-chopped but stop before it reaches a paste. Add a drizzle of olive oil and lime juice (sometimes I'll add my onion and tomato here too, just to chop them up a bit more) and pulse a couple seconds more to distribute.
- Transfer cilantro to a large bowl, add tomato, avocado, and green onions/shallot. Toss to combine.
- Add desired amount of quinoa, distributing evenly throughout.
- Salt and pepper to taste, refrigerate 30 minutes to allow flavors to mingle. Taste again and adjust seasoning as necessary.
You can adjust the rations of vegetables/herbs/quinoa to your liking. I usually don't use all of the quinoa but if you want to give yours more bulk, feel free!
This makes a great side or filling for taco night!