Friday, September 28, 2012

Meatballs with Fried Cauliflower and Kale Chips

Oven-baked Meatballs
2 lbs ground beef (grass fed, local is best)
3 eggs (pastured or backyard is best)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper or chili powder
1 tsp herb of choice (I used oregano)

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl using your hands to really mash it all together! Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment, form 1 to 1.5 inch diameter meatballs out of mixture and place on cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 20 minutes then turn each meatball over and bake for another 15-20 minutes until internal temperature reaches 140F or until baked to your preferred doneness.

Fried Cauliflower
2 T bacon grease or coconut oil
1/2 head cauliflower
salt and pepper to taste

Coarsely chop cauliflower. Melt grease or oil in a skillet (I use cast iron). Fry cauliflower in oil stirring often until browned. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Kale Chips
1 bunch kale
1/4 C olive oil
1/4 C lemon juice
1 t salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Remove tough stems from kale then chop into 2 inch pieces. In a bowl or a zip lock bag, combine olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Add kale and massage oil mixture into kale. Place on cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for about 20 minutes or until  kale is crispy.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Name That Carrot - The Results

A few weeks ago we had a naming contest on the Northwest Cavegirls Facebook page to name my strangely shaped carrots. You people are hilarious and slightly abnormal, I must say, and I loved the results. Thanks for participating in my hair-brained schemes. Here are the winning names!

Carrotpox - by Sue

Red Gummy Bear - by Angie

Stub - by Holly
Tiny Tim - by one of the cavegirls
Roasted Chicken - Angie

Manatee - by Peggy

Group Hug - by Tracy
Twisted Sister - by Holly

En Pointe Carrotina - by Kate ?

Bootylicious - by one of the Cavegirls

Twisted Robot - by D-M

I've got Legs and I know how to use them - by D-M 

Gonzo - by Rachel
Dr. Mephisto - by Chris
Bowlegged Cowboy with a Sunburn - by Dawn and Miina

Something Dirty - by Licia ;o)

Here are a couple more that the kids named.
Yoga Tree Pose

The Cobra
Jester Hat

3 Eyed Alien

Slasher Movie

The Brain

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Apple Pancakes

With the abundance of apples on my tree this year I'm putting apples in everything! I've made apple sauce, dried apples, apple cake, baked whole cored apples, taken apples to Scout functions, taken apples to Lego League functions, put them in my kids lunch boxes and traded them for zucchini! This morning while making the usual Sunday morning pancakes I decided to put them in those as well. I altered the recipe a bit to make up for apple vs. banana, but they turned out really great...and I got to use up a few more apples.

Apple Pancakes
6 Eggs
1 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
1 T vanilla
3 t cocoa powder
2.5 C Almond Flour
1/2 C milk (almond, coconut, cow's)
2 C apples

Combine all ingredients in a blender, mixing until well blended. Add milk by the Tablespoon if needed to blend completely. Heat a griddle to 300F. Pour batter from blender onto griddle forming 4 inch pancakes (pancakes much bigger than that will be hard to flip). Add any mix-ins such as shredded coconut, dark chocolate chips, chopped nuts at this time. Once bubbles form in the batter then break and the edges look dry, flip pancakes. Serve warm with pure maple syrup and fruit or the toppings of your choice!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Zucchini Pasta Bolognese in the Crock Pot

After school is crazy busy around my house. With various activities that the kids participate in, homework to do, music practice, etc. going on, it's hard to start making dinner until sometimes 6pm or after. So, I've decided to start using my crock pot more! If I can get dinner in the slow cooker earlier in the day when I have a minute to think about it, then I won't have to worry about it after the kids get home from school. Hopefully this will make my evenings a little less crazy and me a little less cranky.

Yesterday I out did myself! I made both chicken bone broth for use in soup on another day and made spaghetti sauce for dinner last night. The spaghetti sauce couldn't have been easier, really. I just threw all of the ingredients into the pot, stirred it a couple of times before I left the house then had dinner ready to eat when I got back.

I used this bolognese to top the spaghetti pasta I made earlier in the week and had saved in the fridge. If you like your zucchini al dente, then there's no need to cook the thin strips at all before putting the hot bolognese on it. If you like softer pasta you may want to boil your zucchini pasta for a minute in boiling water before topping with the bolognese.

Slow Cooker Bolognese
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground bulk sausage
2 cans or 2 C sliced mushrooms
1 16oz jar marinara sauce (no sugar added)

Add all ingredients to a slow cooker. Break up the beef and sausage and mix well. You may need to let the mixture heat up more before you'll be able to stir the mixture well. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Pasta

After trying out my new Paderno Spiral Slicer on a Mega Zucchini, I had a very large bowl full of zucchini noodles. Now, what do I make with these awesome looking noodles? I could have made Stephanie's Zucchini noodle pesto, but I was looking for something different. I decided to make a Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Pasta. I have to say, this was one of the easiest dishes I've ever made!

Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Pasta
10-15 Shrimp per person - thawed
1 T coconut oil or butter if you eat dairy
1 C zucchini per person (sliced thin or spiral cut)

1/2 C Olive oil
1/2 C lemon juice
1 t minced garlic
1 t Dijon mustard
1 t dried parsley or 1 T fresh parsley
1 t sea salt
1 t black pepper

1 T sun dried tomatoes diced (optional)
1 onion cut into thin rings (optional)

Mix Olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, mustard, salt and pepper in a jar with a lid. Shake well to combine. Pour half of the dressing into a shallow dish with shrimp. Let marinate in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Heat coconut oil or butter in a skillet. Discard marinade and place marinated shrimp in skillet and cook for about a minute on each side or until shrimp are pink and no longer translucent.

If you like your zucchini uncooked or al dente skip this step. Otherwise, boil several cups of water in a saucepan. Drop sliced/cut zucchini into boiling water for 1 minute then remove to plate.

Place cooked shrimp over zucchini then drizzle a few tablespoons of dressing over shrimp.

Optional: If you like caramelized onions, heat more coconut oil in a skillet on low heat and cook thinly cooked onions until browned and caramelized. You can also add some sun dried tomato to the onions to add a little extra zip. Top shrimp and zucchini with caramelized onions.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Paderno Spiral Slicer Review

I've been gazing at the zucchini pasta pesto at PCC all summer longing to be able to make my own zucchini pasta that looks and feels a little more like the "real" thing. Well, I finally broke down and bought a neat little gadget that will do just that. I got the Paderno Spiral Slicer.

It comes with 3 blades that will cut your veggies into angle hair, fettuccine and something that is closer to thin lasagna noodles.

They recommend using the slicer on sweet or regular potatoes, zucchini, cabbage, cucumbers, and more. So far I've only tried it out on zucchini and boy did it work! The kids and I tried out all 3 blades just to see what they did.

After we were all finished cutting our Mega-Zucchini supplied by my friend Julie (I traded her some of my many apples for her baseball-bat-sized zucchini. I love bartering!), we were able to just rinse the whole gizmo under the tap to clean it. It's all plastic, so no need to worry about rusting and such.

So far I love it and keep looking around trying to find more veggies to cut up in fancy ways. Who knows what I'll come up with next!

Last night we had some Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles for dinner. I'll be posting that recipe soon. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Zucchini Spice Bread

My friend Jennifer asked me if I had a Paleo Zucchini bread recipe. I was sure I had one since zucchini bread is a staple of summer. But all of my searching resulted in zero, zilch, nada on the zucchini bread front. Well, I took that as a challenge and went in search of recipe I could convert to Paleo ingredients. I found an old one I'd marked up and dog-eared and seemed to like. So I started there and went to work. When I started mixing ingredients I remembered that this recipe was almost a zucchini gingerbread, which I thought was really good.

The results were very tasty and believe it or not, both kids requested some in their lunches for today. Win for mom! I've been eating them for breakfast, as well. Fast, healthy and filling!

Zucchini Spice Bread
4 C shredded or pureed zucchini (I puree it so the boy doesn't see any green specs. )
1/2 C Maple syrup
4 Eggs
1/2 C coconut oil - melted
2 t vanilla
1 T cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 t ground ginger
1 t ground cloves
2 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground nutmeg
2 t baking soda
1 C coconut flour
2.5 C almond flour
1 C chopped walnuts (optional)
1 C dark chocolate chips (optional)

Bring all ingredients to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350F. Mix coconut flour and coconut oil and let sit for a minute or 2. Stir in all other ingredients except mix-ins. Fold in any mix-ins you like then spoon into lined muffin tins or loaf pans. Bake for about 30 minutes for muffins and 45 for a loaf or until middles aren't mushy when you press on them. This made 18 regular sized muffins and a mini loaf.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Maple Glazed Salmon with Sauteed Carrots and Sun-dried Tomato Green Beans

My garden is steadily producing veggies for us to eat for dinner these days. I'm not getting much extra (except for the apple tree!), but I'm getting enough to feed my family vegetables that I've grown. This week I got some green beans, kale, cucumbers and some lettuce. For dinner last night I got some nice looking Wild caught Coho salmon and looked to the garden for the sides. The result was carrots and kale sauteed in bacon grease and green beans with sun dried tomatoes sauteed in coconut oil. I used a maple glaze on my salmon and the full meal was very good!

Maple Glazed Salmon
1 lb salmon fillet (wild caught is best)
1/4 C maple syrup
2 T soy sauce or coconut aminos

Remove any bones from fillet and place on a cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 350F. Mix Syrup and soy sauce or coconut aminos in a small bowl then spoon over salmon. Bake for about 15-20 minutes careful not to overcook fish.

Sauteed Carrots and Kale
1T bacon grease or coconut oil
2-3 C sliced carrots
small bunch of kale
salt and pepper to taste

Slice carrots into disks and chop kale into 1 inch pieces. Heat bacon grease or coconut oil in a skillet. Saute carrots until they start to get caramelized. Add Kale, cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes until carrots are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sun dried Tomato Green Beans
1 T coconut oil or bacon grease
2 C snipped green beans
1 T chopped sun dried tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in skillet. Snap green beans into 1 inch pieces then saute in oil until almost tender. Add chopped sun dried tomatoes to beans and saute another 1-2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Apple Cake

I have a nice old apple tree in my front yard. It's huge and produces 4 different apple varieties. Now, when I say it's huge, I really mean it. The span of its branches is probably 20 to 25 feet across, and the top is taller than any of our ladders. On some years when the weather has been too hot or too cold at just the wrong time of year we've gotten a poor yield that gave us maybe 20 lbs of apples...This is't one of those years. Every day I can go outside and collect at least a couple dozen apples. Some are smaller and have apple scab, but luckily this year we're getting many "perfect" apples. They are a good size, have unblemished skins and not a bug in sight.

So, what do you do when you've got so many apples? Well, today I made a ton of apple sauce to freeze, put apples in the kids' lunches, and made an apple cake...then Hubby brought in another arm-full of newly fallen apples. Oh, well. I won't complain about having too much of any kind of food. I'll just do my best to preserve it to eat later.

Apple Cake
1 C Coconut flour
1 C Coconut oil - melted
2 C Almond Flour
2 T cinnamon - yes that's tablespoons
1 t ground clove or nutmeg (I used cloves)
1/2 t salt
1/2 C maple syrup - room temp
6 eggs - room temp and separated
4 C peeled, cored and diced apples

Preheat oven to 350 and bring all ingredients to room temperature (this is crucial for getting these ingredients to mix). In a large bowl, combine coconut oil, coconut flour, spices, almond flour, egg yolks and maple syrup. This mixture will be somewhat stiff. Gently mix in the diced apples. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Gently fold egg whites into apple mixture.
Pour batter into an 8x8 pan or lined muffin tins. Bake for about 30-40 minutes for 8x8 and about 20 minutes for muffins. Make sure the middle of cake is somewhat firm to the touch.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Images from around the Garden

The weather's been darn near perfect in the PNW this past week. We've had sunny days with highs in the mid to high 70's. Can't get better than that for a first week of school either! With the weather being so nice, we've been spending as much time outside as possible, too. The kids have been getting off the bus after school, running home, grabbing a snack then running back outside to play. On the last day of summer vacation I managed to get all of the railing lattice on the treehouse platform. So now it's as safe as it's going to get and I don't have to worry as much about the kids falling out of it! They seem to like it, too!

Here are a few pictures I took around the yard the other day. And don't forget to get in on our carrot naming contest over at the Northwest Cavegirls Facebook page! Some of my carrots looked very...amusing to say the least. :)

Kids in the treehouse. They didn't like having their picture taken.

Treehouse from the front

Kids reading highlights magazine and eating a snack in the treehouse

our "pet" chicken. She follows us around everywhere. She's in almost all of my pictures of the chickens because she wouldn't go away!



Red and his "girls"



I found this perfect apple on our tree.

It's a good year for apples in our yard. I'm collecting a basket full every day. Sometimes I get them before the squirrels and bunnies, but sometimes I don't.

It's blackberry season! Go pick some then make some yummy blackberry muffins.

Katniss or Merida?



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