clean eating

Sautéed Butter Mushrooms – RECIPE

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Oftentimes, when I’m cooking for the both of us, I have an idea for the main dish of the entree, but I get stuck with what side dish to complement it. My go-to side dish always consist of MUSHROOMS! I love mushrooms because they are so versatile, and they pair well with almost virtually any main dish component (chicken, beef, fish, pork, etc.).

Gather the ingrdients!

  • 1-2 cups of mushrooms white OR brown (I typically buy pre-sliced mushrooms to make my life easier)
  • 1/2 a large white onion (or 1 small white onion)
  • 1TBSP of paleo butter, ghee, or fat of choice (I always go for paleo butter or ghee!)
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp thyme
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Other seasoning as needed (have fun with it! I play around with thyme, oregano, basil, asian 5 spice, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Slice onions (or don’t slice them if you were lazy and purchased them pre-sliced like I did)
  2. Set heat of stove to medium-high and place a large saucepan on the stove. Wait for the saucepan to heat up before doing anything. You want the saucepan to be proportionally hot all around to really get that saute going!
  3. Add your butter/lard to the pan
  4. After the butter has melted, add onions. I like to caramelize my onions and get them to brown a little. I’m not a huge onion fan, but man… the smell of caramelized onions… YUM.

    The smell of onions, ghee, and mushroom in the frying pan.... yummy!
    The smell of onions, ghee, and mushroom in the frying pan…. yummy!
  5. After onions are sufficiently browned and cooked through, add the mushrooms. After a few minutes add your seasoning. This is where you can play around with the seasoning. Most seasonings pair really well with mushrooms, but be sure to season your mushrooms with a light hand. Heat tends to intensify flavors, and you don’t want to overpower the taste of the mushroom itself.
  6. Saute for about 6-7 minutes until mushrooms are cooked through.
  7. Voila! Done!

Really simple and you can do so much with this! Hope you enjoy 🙂

Until the next meal,

Joseph & Jennifer

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Sautéed Brussels Sprouts With Bacon – RECIPE

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Our engagement day! Blog post to come soon!
Our engagement day! Blog post to come soon!

I know, shame, shame, SHAME on us for the… oh, you know, 4 month delay in a new post. I attribute it to… life happenings, being busy, but also being lazy at the same time. A lot has occurred between February until now. I (Jennifer) wrapped up my second year teaching, Joseph has added multiple group fitness formats under his belt (P90X, PiYo, and TCX), I finally PR’d a 5K in March, we got engaged, I turned 26, oh wait… what? WHAT? WHAT?! Yes, we got engaged. Most of our readers are our friends, so it’s kind of old news to y’all whomp whomp, but I think we have a few readers who aren’t as familiar with our personal lives, so yes… WE GOT ENGAGED!!! I plan on posting a FULL BLOW-BY-BLOW POST of my emotions and what happened and all that wonderful jazz. Because everyone loves a good proposal. And boy… did Joseph do good. (Yes, I know. Incorrect use of good, but stylistically it works for the purpose of my sentence. GET OVER IT, MS. NGUYEN’S KIDS)

But we’ll save that for a later post. And we’ll save wedding planning woes for later posts as well. But let’s get back to the true purpose of this blog. Paleo-friendly recipes. But hey, I DID mention in our original post that this would include life tangent posts. And I think wedding stuff is a pretty big life tangent and will include those posts for other current and future brides that would like to know more about planning a wedding. Everyone loves a good (or bad) wedding planning story!

So, to be perfectly frank, we’ve been pretty bad at trying out new recipes. It’s been a whirlwind couple of months for us, so we’ve just been sticking to our usual tried-and-true recipes (i.e the recipes we’ve already posted). Sometimes I’ll throw a random mishmash of ingredients together, but I never find them worthy enough to post because I don’t think they taste that post-worthy. I’m also really bad at actually measuring out ingredients (insert Joseph sighing loudly because he’s all about measuring), so I don’t even know how much of everything I put in… Oops.

Farm fresh brussel sprouts from one of Joseph's fitness clients! UGHHH BRUSSEL SPROUTS.
Farm fresh brussels sprouts from one of Joseph’s fitness clients! UGHHH BRUSSEL SPROUTS.

This recipe is for brussel sprouts. Ugh. Brussels sprouts. I hate brussel sprouts. Even when I cook them, I hate them. I hate the way they look. I hate their texture. I hate THE NAME. Brussels sprouts. It even sounds disgusting. But Joseph gets batches of brussels sprouts from some of his fitness clients, and I have to do something with them to make them palatable. And I discovered the magical ingredient that transforms brussel sprouts into something I can handle. BACON. I don’t know what it is, but there is something about bacon that helps ease the pain of brussels sprouts. So here’s my recipe… ENJOY!

GATHER THE INGREDIENTS!

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Applegate Uncured Sunday Bacon – PALEO FRIENDLY BACON! THIS IS THE KIND YOU GET! APPLEGATE!
  • 1 tsp Sea salt
  • 1 tsp Ground pepper
  • 2 tsp Garlic powder**
  • 2 tsp Onion powder**

**To be honest, you can season as you’d like. I kept it simple. I also don’t know the measurements… I just eyeball it. You can leave out the garlic and onion powder if you’d like!

Brussel sprouts - de-
Brussels sprouts – de-“stemmed” and halved – removed a few outside leaves that still looked dirty as well.
  1. Wash brussels sprouts well and then cut the “stems” off. I like to pull off a layer or two of the brussels sprout for sanitary reasons. I am possibly wasting a lot of good brussels sprout leaves, but I like to be clean!
  2. Cut brussels sprouts in half and then set brussel sprouts to the side.
  3. Slice your bacon into small pieces or however big your bacon pieces you would like to be (the world is your oyster)
  4. Turn your stove to medium. Take a big skillet and throw in that bacon! No need to use any ghee/oil because that bacon will create its own fat.
  5. When bacon is sufficiently fried/browned, spoon out the bacon into a small bowl. LEAVE THE FAT IN THE SKILLET! Lower the stove heat to LOW or OFF.
  6. Add the brussels sprouts to the skillet. MAKE SURE YOUR BRUSSEL SPROUTS ARE DRY, or you will get some painful oil splash back (learned this the hard way). Once you’ve added all your brussel sprouts, turn the heat back up to medium.
  7. Season your brussel sprouts accordingly. Cook for about 7-10 minutes stirring occasionally. Some of your brussels sprouts will brown. That is good (in my opinion). I’ll add a cover on top sometimes to give the brussels sprouts some steaming action. Helps bake the brussels sprouts a little more tender.
  8. After 10 minutes, turn the stove to low and add the bacon bits and stir around until everything is fully integrated.
  9. VOILA! YOU ARE DONE! I hope it tastes good for you.

    Brussel sprouts with uncured bacon pieces - bacon flavor is nicely infused into the brussel sprouts especially when cooking with bacon fat!
    Brussels sprouts with uncured bacon pieces – bacon flavor is nicely infused into the brussel sprouts especially when cooking with bacon fat!

Hope you enjoyed the recipe! Again, you can ALWAYS play around with the seasonings! I still don’t like brussels sprouts in the least. But now I know what to do with them! I might try roasting them next time, but I’ve had roasted brussels sprouts before, and they are not my cup of tea. We promise to try and not laze about before posting another recipe/update!

Until the next meal,

Joseph & Jennifer

Paleo Waffles Recipe

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I LOVE cooking breakfast foods! I attribute it to the fact that they are so easy to whip up, and you can technically eat them at any time of the day. Breakfast. Brunch. Brinner. 4th Meal. 5th Meal.

One of my concerns with attempting a more paleo-friendly diet was losing foods that I adored. Like bread. And pastas. And rice. And cookies. And cupcakes. But to my pleasant surprise, there are a plethora of recipes out there for paleo-friendly breads, cookies, and the like! Of course, there are SOME things that are just irreplaceable (like beignets…), but many of these recipes offer a close second to the real deal.

Which brings me to our next featured recipe: waffles. Yes, there is such a thing as a paleo waffle! I was just as surprised when I came across this recipe as well. Thank you to the blog, Cherry On My Sundae, for the share! These waffles are fantastic.

Fresh waffle straight from the wafflemaker... NOMS!
Fresh waffle straight from the wafflemaker… NOMS!

Gather the ingredients:

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and cored
  • 1 cup smooth almond butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • coconut spray or melted coconut oil
The steps are pretty easy.
  1. Puree the fruit in a blender and then mix all the ingredients together.
  2. That’s it! Cook paleo waffles as you would regular waffles in a waffle maker.
I literally just throw all of the ingredients in a blender and puree that baby away. When you are ready to make the waffles, you will want to make sure that you are greasing the waffle maker quite well with the coconut oil spray or coconut oil! Otherwise, the batter will stick to the pan. Cook the waffle according to your respective waffle maker.

These waffles don’t taste like your typical waffle, so don’t have that expectation when you go into your first bite. I think that’s the flaw that people have when they’re trying paleo “substitutes.” They expect it to taste EXACTLY like the original, but when that taste doesn’t meet their expectation, they’re let down and decide that there’s no way the “substitute” could ever beat the real deal. But I think if you open your mind to the fact that they simply that, SUBSTITUTES, and not the actual dish, you will come to find that whatever it is you’re trying is quite delicious in its own way. And these waffles… they really are fantastic! Not too sweet with delicious aromas of banana and almond butter. I usually eat them as is with a few sliced strawberries, but you can serve them with Grade A maple syrup if you’d like. The first time I made these is when I realized that I could actually implement and enjoy this “paleo thing” that Joseph got me into.
Paleo-friendly waffles garnished with strawberries. So good that you don't even need syrup!!!
Paleo-friendly waffles garnished with strawberries. So good that you don’t even need syrup!!!
How did you like this “substitute”? Are there any other “substitute” recipes you’d like to see for non-paleo dishes you love?
Until the next meal,
Joseph and Jennifer

Ordering Paleo-friendly at Chipotle

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Many people assume that you can’t be paleo-friendly AND enjoy a nice meal out at the same time. That’s not true. Not only are there more paleo-friendly restaurants popping up everywhere, it is also possible to make paleo-friendly decisions when you’re making your meal selection at restaurants as well!

YES, YOU CAN HAVE YOUR CHIPOTLE BOWL AND EAT IT TOO! When going to “design-your-own-burrito-bowl” places such as Chipotle, you simply omit a few menu items to keep your selection paleo-friendly. The four main items you want to avoid are the tortillas, cilantro-lime rice, beans, and the roasted chili-corn salsa (WAAHHHH, I KNOW THE CORN IS MY FAVORITE TOO!). Sour cream and cheese are okay options to include depending on what your paleo-standpoint is when it comes to dairy products.

My paleo-friendly bowl:

  • Steak
  • MILD fresh tomato salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Lettuce

Joseph’s paelo-friendly bowl:

  • Double chicken (or double whatever meat he wants at the time)
  • Fajita vegetables
  • MILD fresh tomato salsa
  • HOT Tomatilo-red chili salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce

Yes, I am a little sad when I have to skip over the corn, and there are days when I give in (remember, I’m more 40-60 paleo? Heh.). But I think it’s nice that we don’t have to limit ourselves to my cooking at home! And yes, technically, Chipotle probably uses canola oil to cook its food, so that makes it non-paleo (whomp whomp). However, in the grand scheme of things the main ingredients that you select for your burrito bowl make more of an impact than the canola oil. And hey, it’s better than nothing right?

His-and-hers paleo-friendly Chipotle burrito bowls!
His-and-hers paleo-friendly Chipotle burrito bowls!

Keep striving to eat clean, my friends.

Until the next meal,

Joseph and Jennifer

Paleo Chicken and Kale Stew Recipe – 5 ingredients only!

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Winter = perfect crock pot season (click here to purchase the crockpot we have). Okay, to be honest, every season is perfect crock pot season, but there’s something about winter that makes you thinking of a simmering stew in a crock pot ready and waiting for you when you get home from a long day at work as pure bliss.

I found this recipe while trying to browse easy crock pot recipes that were paleo-friendly. Thank you to 5 Ingredient Paleo for the recipe!!! This recipe caught my eye because it only called for five ingredients! Yes, count that, FIVE ingredients! It’s also incredibly easy on top of that. You simply throw the ingredients in the slow cooker, turn it on, and let it go. That’s what I love about crock pots/slow cookers, one of the best kitchen tools for lazy cooking. Throw in the ingredients in the morning, go to work, and when you get home you have a meal ready for you. No fuss, no muss. So, let’s get started!

Gather the ingredients!
  • 2 pounds chicken breast
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste + 1 cup of water
  • 2-4 cups of baby kale or chopped regular kale
  • Additional seasoning (optional)

Simply throw all of the ingredients except for the kale in the slow cooker, add your cup of water and tomato paste, and then stir to incorporate everything. You do not need to chop up the chicken breast because they will shred easily once cooked in the slow cooker. I added a dash of basil and rosemary. I honestly don’t know if it did anything, but the dish turned out well in the end. I think you can definitely play around with the ingredients by adding different seasonings/spices as well as other veggies as well (carrots? white potatoes? possiblities are endless!).

Chop all ingredients (except for chicken) and throw everything in the slow cooker (minus the kale). THAT'S IT!
Chop all ingredients (except for chicken) and throw everything in the slow cooker (minus the kale). THAT’S IT!

The recipe from the original blog post calls to cook everything on low for about 6-8 hours. And the in the last hour of cooking, open your slow cooker (slowly), and once again stir to mix everything up. The stirring should then shred your chicken easily. Add in the kale, and mix until well incorporated. Cook for about 30-60 minutes longer until the kale is tender.

After adding the kale and mixing to incorporate everything.
After adding the kale and mixing to incorporate everything.

I was a little pressed for time, so I blasted the slow cooker on high for 3-4 hours. I then switched it back to low for another hour, threw in the kale, and then blasted the slow cooker on high for the last hour. The chicken was not as easy to shred, but it was still shreddable with some prodding and poking on my end.

And voila! The stew turned out fantastic. Perfect dish to warm us up on a cold evening!

Piping hot bowl of chicken and kale stew. YUM.
Piping hot bowl of chicken and kale stew. YUM.

Until the next meal,

Joseph and Jennifer

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Recipe

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LOOOONG time no post. My bad, ladies and gentlemen. Jennifer and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary recently… ok maybe almost over four weeks ago, but the important part is that I baked her an anniversary cookie cake. A whole cake?! Yeah, but no worries. It was finished off mainly by me.

Back story behind the cake. Five years ago when I asked Jennifer to be my bae, I “baked” her a cake and drove 6.5 hours from Lubbock to Austin to give to her. And when I say I “baked” her a cake, I mean my good friends from college, Jenny and Carmen, baked the cake for me (gracias). It was a chocolate cake filled with ganache and icing that read “girlfriend?” Thankfully she said yes or else that would have been an awkward and long drive home. Cheesy way of asking a girl out right? Possibly.

But every year since then, I have had someone help me bake a cake every year because my baking skills suck. Also, shout out to Matt and my sister, Jennifer for years 2 and 4. Year 3 I had midterms to study for so no cake, but this anniversary shall continue the tradition from here on out.

Cakes

This year I decided to finally bake a cake on my own. This recipe is pretty easy and straight from a paleo dessert cookbook (purchase book here) I received as a birthday present this past year. Thanks again, Jenny.

The Paleo Chocolate Lovers Cookbook - a gift from our friend, Jenny.
The Paleo Chocolate Lovers Cookbook – a gift from our friend, Jenny.

For the cake ingredients, you need to gather:

  • 2 cups – almond flour
  • ¼ cup – arrowroot flour
  • ½ cup – coconut sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon – sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon – baking soda
  • ½ cup – palm shortening
  • 1 teaspoon – vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces of dark chocolate, finely chopped or 2 and ½ ounce cacao nibs

For the frosting ingredients, you need to farm for:

  • ½ cup – palm shortening
  • ¼ cup – honey
  • 1 teaspoon – vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons – coconut flour, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons – almond flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon – sea salt
  • Liquid vanilla stevia to taste

Ready, set, cake!

  1. Preheat that oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot flour, coconut sugar, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Add palm shortening and vanilla extract. Beat with an electric mixer. Make sure you add enough of the wet ingredients so the cookie actually bakes.
  4. Fold in the chocolate (or cacao nibs)
  5. Line a 12” cast iron skillet with unbleached parchment paper on the bottom only.
  6. Spread cookie dough evenly in the skillet and pack it down.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the edges are beginning to brown slightly.
  8. Let the cookie and the skillet cool completely before frosting.

Frosting time!

  1. Mix together all the ingredients – palm shortening, honey, vanilla extract, coconut flour, almond flour, salt, and liquid vanilla stevia. Before adding the vanilla stevia, try testing out the frosting first. You can add as much stevia as you want to taste.
  2. Decorate the cookie cake however you want. I used a pastry bag I bought from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
  3. So the cake I baked for year 2… I tried to write happy anniversary and it ended up saying happy birthday according to some people. So I decided to just write a 5 on the cake because it’s the thought that counts right? I also added 5 stars because 5. I ended up with tons of extra frosting, but that’s okay. Jennifer doesn’t like frosting too much, so I didn’t want to overload the cake for her sake.
Year 2 cake... Happy Anniversary! Or... happy birthday???
Year 2 cake… Happy Anniversary! Or… happy birthday???
My attempt at frosting year 5 cake lol
My attempt at frosting year 5 cake lol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s it! Happy Anniversary, Babe!

Paleo-friendly cookie cake for year 5!
Paleo-friendly cookie cake for year 5!

Until the next meal,

Joseph and Jennifer

Breakfast Egg Muffins Recipe

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Apologies for the ridiculously delayed blog post! Joseph’s work schedule has been particularly busy at work these past two weeks, and I started teaching a brand new novel study that I’ve never taught before, so that usually means me attempting to stay ahead of my kids each night by studying up on the content that I’m about to teach… #procastination. Sigh. Plus, we’ve both just been too lazy to blog. We have tons of recipes to share, but we just can’t seem to find the time to just sit down and type away. Professional blogging is no joke!

Most of the recipes that I like to use the most in my kitchen are the ones that are most convenient, i.e great for meal prep and easy to make. I like recipes that are easy to cook in bulk! This is not only for meal prep but also because Joseph tends to eat a massive amount of whatever I make (he loves me? or he loves food? who knows…).

This recipe is for breakfast egg muffins. This recipe is not only extremely easy, but it’s also flexible as well! If you don’t like the ingredients that I put in, you can change it up to meet your needs and wants! The breakfast egg muffins store very easily for meal prep, and you can eat them as an on-the-go breakfast or even eat them for lunch. I do both!

First up, gather the ingredients:

  • 5 links of Applegate pork breakfast sausage
  • 10-12 eggs (Grade A, cage-free, and organic is preferable)
  • ghee, coconut oil, or other fat of choice
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 green bell pepper diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 onion diced into small pieces
  • shredded cheese of choice (I use mexican blend)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and also washing your hands!

Take the breakfast sausage and dice them into small pieces. Sausage is typically a no-no when it comes to paleo-friendly foods, however the Applegate brand is one of the better brands that have pre-made/cooked meats that are paleo-friendly. You will of course still have to check the ingredients listed on the back of any Applegate product to double-check if it’s pale-friendly, but the pork sausage has been verified by us!

Applegate Classic Pork Breakfast Sausages are paleo-friendly! These are pre-cooked as well.
Applegate Classic Pork Breakfast Sausages are paleo-friendly! These are pre-cooked as well.

In a medium/large bowl, scramble your eggs and season with salt and pepper. I also sometimes throw in FlavorGod seasoning just because! Add the green bell peppers, red bell peppers, onions, as well as shredded cheese (as much as you desire). Honestly, this is where you have fun. You can add diced cook mushrooms, diced tomatoes, chopped broccoli, bacon, basically anything that floats your boat! There IS such a thing as putting too many different ingredients because it will overflow your muffin tins. My recommendation is to vary it up each time you make it. Bell peppers and sausage one day and maybe mushrooms and bacon the next day!

Scramble together eggs, breakfast ingredients of your choice, salt/pepper and other seasonings of your choice!
Scramble together eggs, breakfast ingredients of your choice, salt/pepper and other seasonings of your choice!

Grease the cups of a muffin tin with your ghee/coconut oil/lard of choice. This is where it can get tricky. If you grease it TOO much then your muffins will turn out… well, greasy! Grease it too little and your muffins end up sticking to the pan. My recommendation is to use silicone baking cups (to purchase click here). There’s no need to grease, and the muffins slide out perfectly.

Place equal amounts of sausage in the bottoms of the muffin tins. Don’t worry, the sausages will rise up throughout your muffins. AMAZING.

Pour your egg mixture evenly on top of the sausage. You will want to pour it about 5/6th of the way full (a little more than 3/4 but less than the brim of the muffin tin). Don’t pour to the brim or else you will have a colossal crazy mass of muffin, but pour too little and you have dinky little muffins. 10 eggs will make about 10 muffins, and 12 eggs will make about 12 muffins.

Meat on the bottom of the tins and then evenly pour the egg mixture on top.
Meat on the bottom of the tins and then evenly pour the egg mixture on top.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and try to allow it to cool for about 5 minutes before digging in! Use a knife to loosen the egg muffin from the sides of the pan.

Breakfast egg muffins
Freshly baked egg muffins. NOM NOM NOM.

You can store in an an airtight container and refrigerate to eat later. You can eat these as is or serve these with salsa, bacon, paleo-friendly wraps (to purchase wraps, click here), or if you are not strictly paleo, you can even crumble it up and throw it in a tortilla for an easy breakfast wrap!

Again, feel free to be creative and add whatever breakfast ingredient you would like! The options are endless!

Did you add any additional ingredients when you made yours? If so, please share! We’d love to know all of the different combinations you can do with this dish! Remember to hashtag #jenjoandpaleo!

Until the next meal,

Joseph and Jennifer