I knows youse kids like em sloppy

I made Paleo Sloppy Joe Sweet Potatoes last week, and they turned out super delicious!  At first I was wary of the recipe.  It wasn’t smelling super delicious, and when I initially tasted it, it was just OK.  But I let the concoction simmer for 15 minutes, and out came delicious sloppy sloppy joes!  I used a red onion (I don’t think you are typically supposed to sautee red onions, but they turned out good in this recipe), a red pepper, coconut sugar, and our local favorite mustard, Boetjes.  For the meat I used a pound of ground pork from our hog.  Added to a baked sweet potato, this made for a hearty, delicious meal.   To simplify the meal, I did not scoop out the insides of the sweet potatoes and combine it with the meat sauce and then put it back into the skins.  We just put the meat mixture right on top of the cooked potato.  We ate the leftovers with over-easy eggs and avocado.  Again – delicious.  Try it!!

Recipe Catch-up

Despite it being a rather busy week, I’ve been doing some (if I do say so myself) delicious home cooking lately.  I’ve been fantasizing about opening my own paleo treat business – perhaps solely as a way to justify making unreasonable amounts of paleo desserts.  On the advice of a friend, I made Chocolate Avocado Muffins.  At first bite, I was not a fan.  They seemed too oily and not sweet enough.  Tim said they were too coconutty.  However, I stored the muffins in the fridge overnight, and the next day they were delicious cold!  Tim and I both ended up really liking them.  This recipe is a keeper.

Next on the dessert tip was Paleo Fudgy Brownies.  I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a recipe from Health-Bent, and this was no exception.  I struggled with knowing if/when the brownies were fully cooked, on account of the fudginess.  I think I ended up cooking them 10 minutes longer than the recipe said – until a toothpick inserted came out pretty clean.  Straight out of the oven they were super soft.  However, I put them in the fridge, and =now I can’t keep my dirty mitts out of them.  They are super soft, chocolatey, creamy, and delicious.  So delicious, in point of fact, you have to eat them with a spoon.  And you want to eat the whole pan instead of just one.  I was reading the comments on the website, and someone had the gall to comment, “These were disgusting.”  That’s such a d-bag thing to say.  No, “I appreciate the time and energy these people put into perfecting and posting this recipe, but I was not a fan.”  Just a blanket, “These were disgusting.”  I think that poster is disgusting.  So there.

No on to real food. I made yet another Health-Bent recipe, Thai Basil Beef Balls.  We had these with a nice organic salad last night, and they are by far one of our favorite meat ball recipes now, second only the the Ginger and Lemongrass Meatballs.  I made 1/2 a batch in case we didn’t like the recipe (fish sauce can be kinda sketchy), but I wish I would have made a full batch.  I modified the recipe by using a sauteed pepper instead of a roasted pepper (I didn’t have the time or inclination to roast a pepper), but I followed the rest of the recipe to a T.

Now on to tonight.  I made Omelet Muffins and Brussels Sprouts with Bacon.   It was a bonkers good supper.  Tim will heartily agree.  For the muffins, I added kefir, avocado oil instead of mayo, mild Italian sausage from our delicious pig haul, and chopped up into fine pieces the following:  zucchini, pickled jalapenos & carrots, broccoli, garlic, green onions, red pepper, spinach, and fresh basil and oregano.  I doubled the recipe, so I used 12 eggs.  It ended up making 20 muffins!  I had to bake them about 5 minutes longer than the recipe called for, on account of the extra liquid (kefir and then avocado oil instead of mayo), but Tim said they turned out perfect – nice and fluffy.  They were paired nicely by the brussel sprouts cooked in bacon grease with bacon bits and onions.  I didn’t want to stop eating.  But that may be more of a hormonal thing than a tasty food thing.  It’s probably both 🙂

So that’s an update on all my new recipes so far.  Now I’m going to go sit on the couch and shop online at Banana Republic because they hooked me with a $30 coupon off a $100 purchase.  BR knows my buttons.

Have a good night y’all!

Pork Foray

We recently took our first foray into the world of buying meat in bulk directly from the farmer/butcher.  One of my friends on Facebook mentioned that he had purchased a hog from a local farm, and that the meat was great.  I got the details from him and contacted the farmer on Facebook.  They explained the process (which, simply, is you send them a check, tell them where you want the hog butchered, and they drop it off there within a week or so) and sent me an article to help fill in the details.  Tired of paying $9 for bacon at the Farmer’s Market, we decided to take the plunge, splitting the risk by splitting the hog with a friend.

The cost of the whole hog (non-confinement, no antibiotics, varied diet, humanely treated, etc.) was $350.  We got 145 lbs of meat from it, and the cost of processing (including offal charge, smoking, sausage, brats, lard) was $159.90.  So the meat cost $3.52 per pound, on average.  And it is DEEELICIOUS!  So far we have tried the ground pork, bacon, brats, and pork chops, and it has all been good.  Our friend who bought the other half said the ribs are fantastic.  We have yet to try the smoked ham hocks, lard, hams, ham steaks, and pork loin.

We did have to buy a freezer to hold the meat, however.  We opted for an upright freezer, based on recommendations from friends.  Also, we thought it would be easier to not lose meat deep in the depths.  The freezer was around $430, but that’s a one-time expense that will enable us to take advantage of more bulk meat purchases.  We are considering buying 1/2 a cow and possibly a lamb.

If we had to do it again, what would we do differently?  I would ask more questions about the processing.  The offal processing cost $29, which seems expensive for heart, tongue, and liver.  I know that organ meats are super good for you, but I can purchase those at the Farmer’s Market for much less.  Also, I wish we would have gotten the pork belly.  I’ve ran across 2 recipes on www.marksdailyapple.com that sound fantastic.    My friend who told me about the farm also recommended getting the pork jowls smoked, but I forgot to ask for that.  Next year I’ll get my act together 🙂

In the meantime we will be enjoying delicious, locally raised, non-factory farm, inexpensive meat.  Just pray that the power doesn’t go out for an extended period!

Mini Octoberfest and Buttery Turnips

I recently ran across a recipe on www.marksdailyapple.com that, as a spawn of Hagemans and Zimmermans, piqued my curiosity – Sauerbraten:  A Classic German Pot Roast.  I had never heard of this, but it sounded interesting, and it provided an excellent excuse to have people over, as I am wont to do.  So I bought a huge beef roast, plunked it into a funky marinade, and sent out the invites to friends for a Mini Octoberfest/Beer Swap.

I learned a few things during the experience.  People are busy.  It’s hard to find an evening where the majority of my 20 or so acquaintances can all gather at the same time.  We ended up with a showing of about 9 folks, who contributed beer, Black Forest cake, coconut bars, potato salad, and cucumber and onion salad to the festivities.  It was a fun evening.  The sauerbraten turned out okay, I think.  Not ever having it before, I did not know how it was supposed to taste.  It was very…tangy.  The sauce when I first made it was absolutely TOO tangy, so I added a tablespoon of coconut sugar and 2 tablespoons of full-fat Greek yogurt.  That thickened and sweetened it up.  Tim was not a fan, but everyone less liked it, or at least SAID they liked it!

We ate supper, dessert, and then sat by the fire and enjoyed the late summer evening. We were in our PJs by 8:30, which is a perfect time to end a party, in my opinion.  :).

Would I make the sauerbraten again?  I don’t think so.  It was an interesting experiment for a party, but it’s too much work and expense for what it is – a sour tasting pot roast! Plus I burned my hand on the dutch oven lid, so I’m a little pissed at the roast.  Actually, overall it was a dangerous cooking weekend for me.  Saturday morning I was attempting to shake hot sauce on my awesome breakfast when my sensation-less fingertips lost their grip, sending the class bottle into a collision with the Corelle plate.  The plate ‘sploded.  All over the table, floor, and my legs.  I have Corelle shrapnel in my legs now.  It was very traumatic.

I recently read an article by Mark Sisson about the importance of socializing with people you really care about.  While hosting gatherings is a royal pain in the ass, with all the cleaning and prep and frustrations of dealing with peoples’ schedules, I’m glad we did it.  It’s good to be with people.  We all need our tribes!

I tried one other new recipe this week: Turnip and Bison Scramble.  I didn’t have any bison, but I did have pig, so we ate this with ground pork.  It smelled a little weird when it was cooking, but it tasted delicious garnished with some avocado, hot sauce, and green onions.  Of course, anything cooked in 2 T of butter would probably be delicious!

So we started off the weekend right – with a party and tasty food, and we ended it well – by taking a 20 mile bike ride, drinking delicious pale ale from Bent River, and sitting outside for 2 hours reading and soaking in the vitamin D.  We have a big event this week at work, so I’m going to be trapped inside for the next SIX days.  I had to get a lot of outside time in this weekend.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Paleo Alfredo Sauce!!! So good it deserves 3 exclamation marks!

We had a recipe success this evening in the Longoria household:  Paleo Alfredo with Caramelized Leeks & Bacon.  I dirtied almost every dish in the house making this, but it was delicious – very creamy and filling.  And very oniony.  I used 3 leeks because when I bought them at the Farmers Market, they came in a batch of 3.  And what am I going to do with one, lonely leek?  So I tossed it in.  The dish was VERY leeky.  But it was still delicious.  I do not have a vegetable spiralizer, so I just chopped up the sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch chunks and boiled those.  Then I mixed the leeks, alfredo sauce, and potato chunks together in the pan in which I cooked the bacon (there may have been some leftover bacon grease in the pan….), warmed it up and served it with fresh cherry tomatoes and one amazing heirloom tomato from our garden.  Our dinner guest had the brilliant idea to put hot sauce on the “pasta,” and that was even more tasty.

I will definitely make this recipe again; although, I do want to get a spiralizer.  It would be handy to make veggie noodles.  You can even make noodles out of cucumbers!

So how did we top this perfectly paleo supper?  By getting Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter World ice cream, of course.  That stuff is damned delicious.  DO NOT try it, lest you become addicted as Tim and I have become.  I justify eating Ben & Jerry’s because they usually use such high quality ingredients.  However, I was disappointed to see corn oil in the ingredient list.  It’s a good thing it’s all gone now so I don’t have to wrestle with my conscience about whether or not to eat more.

It was a rather bingey weekend, all told.  We drank a lot of beer and ate a lot of fried food, but had a lot of fun in the process.  We did a fun night ride Sunday night, and yesterday we ran 7 miles and then hiked for a couple of hours in Wild Cat Den.  We’ll get back on track tomorrow.  That’s what hump day is for, right??  I was actually trying to get back on track TODAY. I did a weight workout in the basement – squats, lunges, bicycle curls, wall sit, inch worms, and tried out dead lifts.  I think I need some coaching on the dead lifts though.  Reading about them isn’t cutting it.  Back to my point, I was off to a good start today, only to be derailed by peanut butter & chocolate cookies bathed in a rich bath of chocolately cream.  Again, damn you Ben & Jerry.