It certainly has been awhile. Not simply days or weeks… but rather months since our last post. My apologies. I wish I could say that we were incredibly busy and had no time to even think about blogging, but that isn’t true at all. Yes, there were times when we were quite busy (doesn’t everyone have those busy seasons?), but we most certainly had SOME time to blog something. So shame on us! We will try not to go too long between posts in the future.
I will have a LITTLE bit more time on my hands as I am forced to take a small hiatus from running or anything high-impact really. Stupid me, I decided to train too hard last week for my half-marathon. I started speed work last week, and I pretty much overexerted my feet. After a couple of days of pain in my left foot when I walked, I decided to go to my foot doctor. He told me it wasn’t the fact that I was unfit or incapable of running longer distances, I just put too much pressure on my feet too quickly when I tried to do speed work. I don’t have any symptoms of a stress fracture (thank goodness), but I’m being prescribed an anti-inflammatory medicine, need to take rest the foot, ice it twice-daily, and NOT DO ANY HIGH-IMPACT WORK OUTS. WHOMP WHOMP.
I only do high-impact work outs (running, Insanity, etc.), so this poses a dilemma for me. I guess after resting for a week I’ll get back to PiYo (a more low-impact workout that blends pilates and yoga) to lean out and tone out my muscles.
This is such an unideal time for me to be out of commission! 1) I have a 5K this weekend that I was planning on running with Joseph and my StuCo kids, so now that’s a bust; 2) I NEED to train for my half-marathon coming up in January (Aramco Half anyone? Anyone?); and 3) Joseph is being featured in an P90X Live video on Beachbody on Demand TOMORROW, and I wanted to check out the video and work out with him! #supportivefeyonce (Shameless plug – sign-up for Beachbody on Demand for FREE for 30-days and check him out! Seriously. Go. goo.gl/AbWFOT)
Okay, back to the purpose of this post. Recipe. Summer is usually the time when I cook the most, and this summer was no different. I’ve learned the art of meal-prepping for not just one, but TWO! Joseph eats like a monster, and I’ve been trying to find a variety of ways to not only whip up something that’s somewhat palatable but also something that be made in bulk. This is where ground meat comes in. I like this recipe because it’s so versatile. Honestly, me posting this isn’t really useful because I’m sure anyone could come up with this on their own and/or it’s already something you make. Maybe I’m just late to the game.
Let’s begin! Gather the ingredients!
- 1-2lbs ground meat (can be ground chicken, beef, turkey, etc., and the amount depends on how much you want to cook)
- 1/4 – 1/2 diced onion
- 1-2 minced cloves of garlic (optional, sometimes I’m lazy and give up on the mincing)
- 1-2TBSP fat of choice (I tend to use extra virgin olive oil over ghee, I’ve found that when you refrigerate ground meat cooked with ghee, it hardens and looks nasty. But if you’re eating it immediately after, ghee gives the meat a better flavoring)
- Flavorgod Seasoning of choice (if you don’t have this yet… GET IT. I use it for everything!)
- Turn stove on to medium heat and place a large pan on top of the stove. When the pan is sufficiently heated, add your fat of choice.
- Add your diced onions and garlic. Cook onions a few minutes until it’s slightly translucent.
- Add your ground meat to the pan and begin cooking until meat is half-way cooked. Season meat according to your taste
buds, but don’t be afraid to add a good amount of seasoning! I tend to season things with a lighter hand, but ground meat actually needs a good amount of seasoning before you can begin to taste the seasoning. I wish I could tell you exactly how much to put in… but I honestly eyeball it. Sorry, I’m useless.
- Continue cooking until meat is thoroughly done!
I honestly might be completely off in how to cook this. It is possible that I overcook the meat. But Joseph is such an easy eater that I wouldn’t know if I was doing something wrong. So please use your best judgment in cooking this, haha. 🙂
When you’ve cooked this enough, it can easily take under 15 minutes to prep AND cook it. I love to pair this with fresh cucumbers and if I’m feeling particularly naughty, eat it with BROWN RICE (dun dun dun!!!).
I just love this dish because it’s SO easy to make and you virtually only need to go out to the grocery store to buy two to three fresh ingredients if you don’t have it at home already (meat, onions, garlic). Two pounds of this is more than enough protein to meal prep lunches for almost an entire week for two people.
If you make something similar, what do you like to season your ground meat with? Any other tips and suggestions?
Until the next meal,
Joseph + Jennifer
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.)
- Slice onions (or don’t slice them if you were lazy and purchased them pre-sliced like I did)
- 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!
- Add your butter/lard to the pan
- 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.
- 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.
- Saute for about 6-7 minutes until mushrooms are cooked through.
- Voila! Done!
Really simple and you can do so much with this! Hope you enjoy 🙂
Until the next meal,
Joseph & Jennifer
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.
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!
- 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!
- Cut brussels sprouts in half and then set brussel sprouts to the side.
- Slice your bacon into small pieces or however big your bacon pieces you would like to be (the world is your oyster)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- After 10 minutes, turn the stove to low and add the bacon bits and stir around until everything is fully integrated.
- VOILA! YOU ARE DONE! I hope it tastes good for you.
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
If there’s one thing that you may need to know about my relationship with Joseph, it’s the fact that we really enjoy creating and maintaining traditions. His annual anniversary cake/dessert that he makes for me is one thing. Our annual holiday schedule (Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas day with his family) is another thing. Our annual puppy-themed greeting cards for every occasion that requires a greeting card. Our weekly Sunday schedule: church, lunch, nap, meal prep for the week. You get the gist. Another such tradition is my annual Valentine’s Day pizza making extravaganza for our Valentine’s Day date shenanigans.
Joseph loves pizza. That is his food kryptonite/achilles heel/weakness, and I really think that if he could, he would eat pizza every day for the rest of his life. True story. That is why for our first (or second?) Valentine’s Day when our relationship was just blossoming, I baked my first ever pizza for Joseph. I baked a Hawaiian pizza because I assumed that as a Filipino, he loved pineapples so his favorite pizza must have been Hawaiian pizza. Now, I don’t really know if that’s the case, and Joseph has never really clarified this because I think he loves me and doesn’t want to burst my bubble, so the tradition stuck.
As the years have gone by, my pizza-making skills have morphed and improved. The first few years I bought canned pizza dough, canned pineapples, and everything was just clearly pre-made/processed. I think around the third year is when I decided to make it somewhat healthier by purchasing canned WHEAT pizza dough and using fresh pineapples instead. Last year is when I attempted my first paleo pizza. It was… okay. And this year I have continued the tradition with another Hawaiian pizza, and yes, I made it paleo once again. And wow. I’m not going to lie, but it was absolutely fantastic. Delicious. I am quite proud of myself.
A BIG THANK YOU TO Paleo Spirit for the paleo pizza dough recipe. It really brought my pizza together. People might assume that making dough from scratch is difficult and time-consuming, and time-consuming it may be; however, it’s definitely NOT difficult, and it’s definitely worth it. So let’s begin, shall we?
Paleo Pizza Dough:
- 1 cup tapioca flour (starch) (plus more for rolling out dough)
- 1/3 cup + 2-3 tablespoons coconut flour, separated
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 large egg, whisked
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Combine the tapioca flour, coconut flour (minus the 2-3 tablespoons), and sea salt in a large bowl.
Add the oil and warm water and mix with the dry ingredients. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look dough-y yet. This will happen soon! Add the whisked egg and mix.
Finally, take your 2-3 tablespoons of coconut flour and add to the mixture until it begins to form into a soft but sticky dough.
On PARCHMENT paper (not wax paper – I made that mistake last year. And the parchment paper really changed things), add a bit of tapioca flour to your roller pin and the parchment and roll out your dough. Be carefully of adding TOO much tapioca flour or else your dough will be too dense. I think I made that mistake last year as well. I always make my pizza dough into a heart shape, but you can roll it out into a regular pizza shape.
The dough is really break-able at this point, so be careful! Transfer the parchment paper onto a baking sheet/pizza baking sheet/etc. Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on how “done” you would like your pizza to be. I baked mine for 12 minutes!
- Paleo Pizza Dough slightly pre-cooked
- Organic Pizza Sauce with NO SUGAR ADDED (purchased at Whole Foods – checked the ingredients to ensure everything was paleo-friendly)
- Almond “mozzarella” cheese substitute
- Pre-cut pineapple chunks
- Applegate Uncured Black Forest Ham diced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut your toppings (pineapple and ham) to the desired pizza-topping size. I purchase pre-cut pineapple chunks and cut them into even smaller pieces. I once tried to cut an entire pineapple… that didn’t work out so well. Pineapple cutting is not my thing. Place toppings to the side.
After letting the pizza crust cool for a bit, I took a spoon and carefully ladled the pizza sauce over my pizza. Add as much or as little sauce as you would like. It is YOUR pizza!
You can layer the cheese and toppings however you would like (cheese first, toppings first, what have you), but after 5+ years of this, I think I figured out a way that really makes the pizza delectable. I lightly sprinkled the almond cheese over the pizza to where there was still a lot of sauce showing through the cheese. I added half the pineapples and ham to the pizza. The pizza should still look SPARSE. I then added the full amount of cheese to the pizza, and I topped it off with the rest of my pineapple chunks and ham pieces. It’s almost like a double layer of cheese and toppings. Yums.
Place the pizza in the oven. Cook until toppings are thoroughly heated. I put my timer for 5 minutes at a time, and I simply checked my pizza after each time was up to ensure the crust was not burning. It took about 10-15 minutes. I do want to mention that the almond cheese substitute does not melt as well as regular cheese. I assume because it is a substitute. However, it tastes fine! And voila! You have yourself a paleo-friendly pizza! You can switch out whatever toppings you would like to meet your taste buds.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day weekend! Joseph and I enjoyed a casual weekend together. Honestly, it was just like any other Saturday we had… running in the morning, me making brunch for lunch, running errands, and then dinner. The only thing different was that he surprised me with flowers in the morning before the run (d’awww <3).
Then we had a small gift exchange after lunch – I gave him The Paleo Performance cookbook and a 26.2 mile car decal, and he surprised me with tickets to the Zac Brown Band concert! And finally after dinner, we went to go watch Kingsman (good movie, I recommend. But a little on the gory side, wow).
I also tried to be cutesy and romantic by using an idea I found off of Pinterest (wow, have I ever mentioned how much I love Pinterest?). While making Joseph do the dishes after lunch (hehehe *evil laugh*), I went into his bathroom and decorated his mirror with sticky notes I had written on previously. I think the original Pinterest idea had you write down things you loved about your significant other, but I just wrote down everything possible. Memories, things I love about him, inside jokes, positive comments, etc. I made them into a heart. I was feeling quite sneaky and proud of myself when I walked out of his bathroom. And then…
- Joseph: Were you doing something shady in there?
- Me: What?
- Joseph: You were in the restroom for a long time. And I know you didn’t poop. Or did you? You don’t poop that long.
- Me: ….I wasn’t doing anything shady! I was pooping!
- Joseph: … you look shady. I need to go to the restroom now anyways.
- Me: WAIT NO! WHY! ….I JUST POOPED. IT SMELLS!
- Joseph: …Why are you on the floor?
- Me: *crying/laughing* I don’t know! GO TO THE BATHROOM LATER, IT’S TOO SOON!
I honestly don’t know why I was on the floor. Sometimes, I get so embarrassed when I’m caught trying to be sneaky that I cry. Or I laugh so hard that I cry. Either way, I end up crying and on the floor. Don’t worry, Joseph accepts this. He eventually goes into the restroom, and he has that “I knew it, I know you” face, but he still appreciates the romantic gesture. Except for the fact that it’s covering his mirror and now he can’t see himself lol. Oops.
All in all, it was a perfect day with my Valentine, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Until the next meal,
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.
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
- Puree the fruit in a blender and then mix all the ingredients together.
- That’s it! Cook paleo waffles as you would regular waffles in a waffle maker.
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:
- MILD fresh tomato salsa
- Sour cream
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
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?
Keep striving to eat clean, my friends.
Until the next meal,
Joseph and Jennifer
Happy New Years, everyone! It’s always crazy to me how quickly time flies. Are we celebrating and heralding in a brand new year already? When I reflect upon the past year, it is overwhelming to realize all of the milestones that have occurred in 2014 alone. Joseph starting a new job as well as teaching a new Insanity class, Joseph completing not only a half marathon but also a 25K and a 30K race, me receiving my school and district’s rookie teacher of the year award, me undergoing foot surgery to restructure my right foot, a couple of our close friends getting engaged, my brother’s wedding to my beautiful sister-in-law, us learning how to ballroom dance, us starting a food blog (that we have sadly not kept up to date in recent months – we know, we know)… so many memorable milestones within a short span of one year. I think that we often forget to reflect on all of the wonderful things that happen in our lives.
I know that many people scoff at New Year’s Resolutions, “People just stop after a month anyways! People should be striving ALL THE TIME to achieve their resolutions!” and so on and so forth. But I think it is refreshing to take the time to sit back and think about what you might want to do achieve. Why should we look down on any person who wishes to make a change in their life, even if it ends up being a temporary change? At least they tried. And who knows, maybe the resolution will stick, and it ends up being a huge part of their lives? I say, go for it. Make your New Year’s Resolutions, and don’t be afraid of what others might think.
Joseph and I sat down today to reflect on our year and discuss what our New Year’s Resolutions might be. For the most part, Joseph and I have very similar goals, with minor tweaks here and there to fit our individual lives.
- Eat better! For Joseph that’s eating healthier and for me, that’s making the decision to eat out only once a month.
- Spend less and save more.
- Rely less on social media so that we can focus on each other and those around us (i.e for me, that means checking social media accounts once a day).
- Be more cognizant and reflective. This includes praying daily, being more open-minded, and being more patient and forgiving with each other and those around us.
- Stay active, no matter how hectic our lives become. Whether that’s training for our upcoming half marathons and/or his full marathon, or even just taking the time to dance with each other again just because.
- And finally, to simply love more.
After going over our New Year’s Resolutions with each other, we realized that not only did we have similar resolutions, but our resolutions were really things that we should be striving for every day for the rest of our lives. So I guess, instead of calling these our New Year’s Resolutions… we should call these our LIFE RESOLUTIONS. What are your New Year’s Resolutions?
I can’t leave this entry without a recipe, especially since we’ve left everyone hanging for at least a month! Shame on us! I’ve really been utilizing the crock pot a lot lately, so I’d like to share with you a recipe I tried a few weeks back. I found this recipe from a blog, Stuff I Make My Husband, and it looked so simple and easy! Crock pot recipes usually are quite simple and easy. You literally take whatever you think might taste good together… and just throw in the crock pot and see what happens! Seriously.
Now, when I made this, it ended up having a very thin and soup-like consistency. Very similar to the korean soup, kimchijigae, but with less kick. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a soup, or if it’s supposed to just be chicken with cabbage that’s mildly sauce-like, but I think you can play around with the ingredient measurements and add/remove whatever you would like. I may add chopped onions next time!
GATHER THE INGREDIENTS!!!
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 scallions sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbs coconut aminos
- 1 Tbs dark sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp high-quality ground ginger
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- About 2 cups cabbage kimchi
- Combine all of your ingredients except for the scallions, chicken, and kimchi in the slow cooker. Leave the scallions and kimchi in the fridge as you won’t be needing them for a few hours!
- Add the chicken thighs into the crock pot, and spoon some of the sauce on top.
- Cover and cook for 4 to 6 hours on low. If in a rush, like I was, blast on high for 2 hours. (This may have been the reason for the soup-y consistency I had)
- When you are almost ready to serve, turn heat to high (or in my case, keep it on high), add the kimchi, and cook for about 20 more minutes. Serve sprinkled with the scallion greens.
Voila! Easy peasy, and plenty of spicy kick to keep you warm on a cold winter’s night. Special thanks to Stuff I Make My Husband for the recipe!
Until the next meal,
Joseph and Jennifer