We are a family who loves to travel, and our most recent epic road trip took us to Michigan. But, travel can wreak havoc on anyone’s best attempts to eat healthy. Not always. Check out my post below where I show how we traveled across the country while (almost exclusively) staying on our Real Food Foodie Lifestyle (i.e., we ate really healthy in spite of being on the road). It meant extra work, which isn’t always the thing you want to do after a day of being in the car, but I’m simply not willing to eat crap food which is most often what’s served in restaurants.
Grass-Fed Brisket… a wonderful dish that I’m eager to share. It makes such a lovely dinner for family and friends, which is how we always have ours. I make it and I invite our most cherished friends and family. Sharing food is one of my favorite things to do, and making a dish with the grass-fed brisket cut of beef makes it an inexpensive (and nutritious) way.
I learned the basics for cooking brisket this way from Cook’s Country, but I couldn’t follow their recipe precisely because it called for cola. Um… gross. So I made my own version, using their technique for prepping and cooking the brisket, with a twist on the ingredients of my own. It turned out unbelievably fantastic.
I call this Sunday Grass-Fed Brisket because the way I made it required being in and out of the kitchen a bit for the day, but an enjoyable experience. Typically this could be made in most homes on a Sunday, as a result, so you can tend to it. Also, Sunday is when many families have big dinners. Sunday Brisket makes a lot of food, perhaps feeding 6 to 8 people. Therefore, either make it and invite everyone over, or make it and eat it for a few days. Or, make it and freeze the leftovers.
I buy my dry-aged, grass-fed, organic beef from Alderspring Ranch. They’re a beautiful company where the rancher, Glenn, sends email updates on the animals that are darn near poetic. I also appreciate their values, one of which is “Absolute Traceability: Each cut is labeled and traceable to a single beef.” I really like Alderspring Ranch.
We recently enjoyed a summer road trip all the way to Michigan from Arizona. Yes, that’s a looooong trip which is why many people ask why we don’t fly. Well, to be honest, apart from kind of enjoying time in the car (I get a lot of reading done: here’s a great book), there’s an important factor with which I am obsessed: Food. By traveling in the car (our mini van, specifically), I can pack things from my kitchen so that I can cook on the road for my family (induction hot plate, anyone?). As I like to say, “have induction hot plate, will travel.” Eating healthy and delicious food is my main passion so I do whatever it takes to make that happen.
We ventured to Michigan because that is where I grew up, and my brother, his wife, and their kids are there, plus my dad, step-dad, and dear sister-in-law-ish. At the time of our journey, our daughter had just turned four years old, and that meant shorter stretches of driving. Therefore, our days in the car maxed out at around 7 hours, if we could help it. That means lots of nights in hotels. How did I make high-quality, Real Food on the trip in hotels? It was fairly simple… with smart planning. I’ll detail it all in a blog post soon because I have a lot to share on the topic. I’ve made the trip twice now, a bit different each trip, and I like to think I have it figured out.
We didn’t eat every single meal as homemade though. Some of our meals, although just a couple, were enjoyed in restaurants. Enter: Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, NM.
On the trip back from Michigan we decided to spend a couple of days in Santa Fe as a little break from the non-stop driving and to enjoy the local atmosphere of Santa Fe. So lovely.
One of the best meals of my life. And to think I almost opted for a different restaurant because of the Yelp Review stars I saw. Glad my husband urged us to go to Coyote Cafe. Greg had been there about 20 years ago (the place has been around about 27 years), and was itching to try it again.
The presentation of the meals was gorgeous and thoughtful. The decor of the restaurant was open and pleasing, artful, and chic although a bit dated. It is showing the years of wear and is overdue for a refresh.
The service was top of the line. Our server was Lynsey and she catered to our every need. I’d also like to mention that the support staff were equally great. So much of a restaurant experience goes beyond the food.
The last (and best) place I want to share with you about our recent trip to New York is for Bareburger, a “micro-chain of organic burger restaurants” (and like Don Antonio’s Pizza), we chose the location of our AirBnB rental to be between Don Antonio’s and Bare Burger. They’re that good. When we’re in New York we eat at Bareburger every couple of days, sometimes multiple days in a row. Thank you to Lauren for sharing this with us!
- New York Trip – Blue Dog Kitchen Cafe – “Real Food” Friendly
- Bison Burgers, Buttered Cauliflower Puree, Basil Tomatoes Provencal (Gluten Free)
- New York Trip – An Authentic Food Experience Off My Diet – Part 1
- New York Trip – Don Antonio’s – Gluten Free + Plus a Kid Pizza Tip
- Raw & Vegan Foodie Adventures in NY
I originally found myself in the market for a pressure years ago when I was eating a plant based vegan diet (here’s why we stopped our vegan ways). We consumed a lot of beans in those days and I wanted a faster way to prepare them instead of watching them cook in a big pot on my stove all the time.
Fast forward to today… my pressure cooker was sitting on my counter not being used because we don’t fancy beans much these days. I was eager to make a meal quickly with a cut of meat that would usually take all day in the slow cooker. Hello, Pressure Cooker. This thing rocks for its speed and simplicity.
That’s my pressure cooker pictured above: All Clad (I bought it at Sur la Table). This gem was worth every penny because of its high quality. It’s stainless steel and I wanted something that wasn’t non-stick crap or aluminum. I also like this one because I don’t have to stand around the stove watching it (it plugs into the wall), so I feel safe using it. It’s basically a “set it and forget it” piece of kitchen equipment.
Pressure Cooker Beef Chuck Roast
- Organic Grass Fed Beef Chuck Roast, generously salted (I use this salt for this job)
- 2 cups homemade broth (or water if you must, but learn to make broth here)
- 1 bay leaf, optional
You can get very creative here and add other flavors like a halved onion, a few cloves of crushed garlic, etc, especially if you’re using water as the liquid. I usually keep it extra simple though with just flavorful homemade broth and generously salted grass fed meat.
Put all of the ingredients in the pressure cooker. Cook at HIGH pressure for about 45 minutes. Voila! You’re done.
Dear Sous Vide Supreme,
I love you dearly. Thank you for coming into my life and making it so much easier. I call you my BFF in the kitchen because cooking steaks (and much more, like bone broth) is a piece of cake with you. I love my sous vide supreme so much that I even took it on our road trip from Arizona to Michigan.
Your raving fan,
If it isn’t obvious, I love my sous vide supreme kitchen appliance. Thank you to my husband, Greg, for showing me it was an option after I turned too many expensive grass fed steaks into chewing-gum-shoe-leather. Not anymore now that I effortlessly prepare steaks with my sous vide, yielding beautiful steaks with even color and temperature throughout – every time. The best part is that it’s so easy. I don’t need any skills to cook the meat.
The sous vide is also called a water oven, which is similar to a slow cooker but the temperature is tightly controlled and the food is cooked in a vacuum sealed bag. It basically means that you can cook a steak (or any cut of meat, including beef tongue, chicken, turkey, fish and more), perfectly, every time. The meat is cooked through to the exact temperature you want and it will never overcook. I know, magic, right?
Last year in order to save money we ordered an 1/8th of a grass fed organic cow from Alderspring Ranch where you can get the finest organic grass fed beef. When you order in bulk like that you get all different cuts of meats, many of which I was unsure how to prepare.
Enter: Grass Fed Eye of the Round Roast.
I had made roasts in my slow cooker before so I figured that’d be the best way to prepare this particular cut. But, after researching online, I learned that this is one of the toughest, leanest, (and usually cheapest) cuts of beef. Although slow cookers have a knack for making tougher cuts more tender, I had a little doubt as to whether that’d be the best option for cooking it. Back to researching online to see what I might do with my Sous Vide Supreme for this cut of beef.
After reading a few different articles, I’m sharing what I ended up doing (and will always do for grass fed eye of the round roast going forward). This meat, with the reputation for being as tough and chewy as stale bubble gum was one of the most tender pieces of meat we’ve ever had. Literally, it was tenderloin tender after using the Sous Vide to cook the Eye of the Round Roast. I’m not surprised though since that is a prime reason for using a Sous Vide to cook meats. Not only will you never overcook your precious meat, but you will also save money on buying meat because you can buy the cheaper cuts of meat, but still enjoy it without wearing out your jaw.
See? You can save money on meat and use that saved money to buy a sous vide.