In my effort to spend a little less time in the kitchen some days, I’ve come up with a nice, easy, nourishing meal that I’m calling Souped Up Soup. I take a really decent organic boxed soup and I add a bunch of stuff to it to amp up the nutrition. It’s really easy and makes a fast dinner (or lunch) when I just need to get something on the table.
One of my favorite recipes to make is meatballs. Simply, it connects me to my Italian heritage and gives me a warm feeling in the kitchen. As I drop each meatball into the tomato sauce, I think of past generations… wondering what they were thinking about as they made meatballs.
This is an easy recipe that can be thrown together quickly with a few ingredients and some grass-fed ground beef. I intentionally created the recipe with only a smattering of ingredients to inspire myself to make it time and again.
Mama Mia Braised Meatballs is one of my family’s favorite dinners, too. Kamea has fun eating the meatballs because, well, they’re balls. And, Greg? He just chows down without saying much between bites, and then proceeds to lick everyone’s bowl of leftover sauce. Read More »
I admit, 6 months ago I wouldn’t have had the courage to cook wild-caught salmon whole, but, today, I do. And, guess what? It’s wonderfully easy. Easy. Easy. Easy.
Plus, bonus, buying a whole wild-caught sockeye (or king) salmon is cheaper than buying it in pieces. I buy my wild-caught sockeye (and king) salmons from Vital Choice. I opt for the boneless with skin-on. They have an amazing product and fabulous customer service. I called them recently to ask them what to do with the prawns I bought from them. The gal on the phone told me step by step. Awesomeness.
This recipe doesn’t require much work at all. The hearty crisp romaine lettuce is tossed in a delectable creamy avocado dressing that is both sweet and savory, which pairs well with the salmon, having it’s own sweet and spicy elements. My 4-year old loved it. My husband loved it. I loved it. Say no more.
Tuna fish in a can makes a quick lunch, but I’ll only buy one brand of tuna. Wild Planet is a tuna fish I can trust to have low mercury and high omega fatty acids.
When we travel on the road, we eat it right out of the can for a satisfying protein and nutrient boost (we take these to Disney Land, too).
But, today, I’m sharing a recipe where it’s all gussied up with delicious textures and flavors. My whole family loves this, especially the bites with hidden gems in them like diced dried apricot.
Gussied-Up (low-mercury) Tuna Salad
Yield 2 to 4
- 2 cans low-mercury tuna
- Juice 1 organic lemon or lime
- 1/2 cup grass-fed organic (full-fat) Greek yogurt
- 1 stalk celery, chopped <— get a good knife
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 tsp kelp granules
- 1/2 to 1 cucumber, chopped
- 1 green onion, chopped
- Drizzle quality raw organic olive oil (or brain boosting MCT oil)
- 1/2 cup raw sauerkraut
- 1 tablespoon organic mustard
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup diced dried apricots (or currants)
- Handful each cilantro, parsley chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Mix everything together with a large spoon in a large bowl. Enjoy.
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.
As you all know by now, I’m a wee bit picky when it comes to my food. I want the highest quality and most nutritious goodness for my body and for my family. I want high performance, longevity, and energy. So, to ensure I get all of those things I prepare all of our high quality foods from scratch. That’s no small task as you might imagine, but it matters to me.
Sometimes, I need a break, or sometimes we’re traveling and food choices are limited.
One of the places on our list of “OK to eat” is Chipotle. It’s by no means perfect; but, on the spectrum of fast casual restaurants, they get my vote. They try to source quality ingredients and they listen to their customers. For example, they changed their oil by switching from crap gmo soy oil and now use less-crappy-but-still-crappy rice bran oil due to customer complaints.
The easier and simpler a recipe is, the more attracted I am to it these days. Being a mom to a 3.5 year old is busy, but with easy recipes like this, then it’s a breeze.
Enter Orange Chicken & Yams. And, of course… ENTER: SLOW COOKER. I think my slow cooker will go from being my best friend to my bestest best friend. With a recipe as easy, delicious, and nutritious as this, I have so much time on my hands that I can read a book. ;) Speaking of books, I just finished Chris Kressers’ The Paleo Code, which is a good book detailing a Paleo diet with a Real Food spin which I like. I’m about to dive into Eat the Yolks (by funny gal Liz Wolfe) between chapters of one of my favorite authors, Diana Gabaldon. I’m on her 5th book in The Outlander Series, The Fiery Cross. The Outlander Series is soooooo fantastic and very popular (so popular that I believe a TV series is being made of it). I love to read. It’s one of my favorite things.
On to the recipe:
Bone broth (a.k.a. stock)… I love it.
One of the earlier foods I introduced into our diet after changing from vegan to omnivore was nourishing (and delicious) homemade grass fed bone broth (stock).
In culinary circles, stock (or as I’ll refer to it in my blog post, bone broth) is considered the foundation of cooking, and for good reason. A cup of broth seems so simple, and for the most part it is, but it can be used in so many ways. Bone broth really sets the foundational flavor for many recipes.
Michael Ruhlman writes about stock making, “It may be the most commonly avoided preparation in America’s kitchens, even though it’s the single preparation that might elevate a home cook’s food from decent to spectacular.” He also says, “If there’s one preparation that separates a great home cook’s food from a good home cook’s food, it’s stock.”
I hope those quotes inspire you to embrace stock (bone broth) making, and if you’re still on the fence, read on because I’ll show you how easy, fun, and wonderful it is to prepare.
*UPDATE – TODAY (10/25/13): Since writing this long post and scheduling it to appear, I’ve learned even more about making stock because I’m enrolled in a Classic Cooking school right now, and we actually learned about stock making today. I would say that my instructor would probably be intrigued with some of what I’ve written but he’d also probably be horrified. I had planned on adding to this post to reflect that, but I came home and saw that — oops — the post has gone live already. That being said… these are all still “pretty” legit and they make yummy bone broth. I will add to the bottom of this post what I’ve learned in school for the truly classical method, hopefully later today!
*Update (11/24/14): I made a batch of bone broth with all kinds of groovy things in it. I’ll post pics and details at the bottom.
Making bone broth was something that really intrigued me once we ended our decade-long vegan journey. At the same time, I didn’t know much about it. If I remember correctly, we started our omnivore foodie life with organic, pastured-raised eggs, along with grass fed organic ghee and high vitamin butter oil, and then we added sardines (learn how you, too, can love sardines here).
Shortly after, I was mystically drawn to bone broth so I started playing around with it. Seemed weird, mostly because I was using the term “bone broth” yet I couldn’t help myself because it sounded wickedly fun. Bone broth is also referred to as stock (chicken stock, beef stock, fish stock), so when you’re talking to people outside the Paleo or Nourishing Traditions spheres, they might look at you like you have two heads if you say you make bone broth, which is really just good ol’ stock.
When I started the bone broth journey, I had no idea what to do or where to begin, but I quickly learned. It’s my hope to introduce this into your home if you’re new to it, with ease and excitement, because making bone broth (i.e., chicken or beef stock) is really fun and crazy easy. With a few simple tips, you will be well on your way.
I have ventured into unknown territory for me… into a land I never thought I’d enter. I made a stew that had heart in it. Yes, actual heart. It was grass fed bison heart to be exact (though you can make this recipe with either bison or beef heart). And, of course, I used my trusty ol’ slow cooker.
I bought the grass fed bison heart many months ago and it sat in my freezer. Of course, it scared the dickens out of me as I had images flashing before my eyes of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – pictured below. But, as my repertoire of recipes increased to include other unusual things for me (grass fed tongue and grass fed liver), the heart didn’t seem as crazy as when I originally ordered it.
Kamea has been weaning from breastfeeding for the past few months. As a result I’ve noticed my appetite has decreased a bit. It’s weird… I spent the past four years shoveling food in my mouth at every chance, and now I actually go more than 3 hours without food. You’d think life would be easier, yet I find myself spending more time in the kitchen than ever.
- Iced Decaf Bulletproof Coffee (this time it was upgraded decaf coffee beans, Straus European grass fed butter, coconut oil, collagen and grass fed whey)
- Paleo Double Chocolate Banana Bread (recipe coming)
- Poached Eggs and cooked carrots with grass fed butter drizzled on top
- Homemade White Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream (raw eggs, cacao butter, grass fed butter, strawberries, etc).
- Iced Herbal Tea
- Slow Cooker Grass fed Beef Tongue (sounds so weird… recipe coming)
- Cauliflower Carrot Puree (recipe coming)