Makin Bacon

It’s Memorial Day, which calls for something special on the breakfast table in the Longoria household. Typically breakfast consists of steel cut oats for Tim and eggs and veggies for me.  But today we had PANCAKES! and JALAPENO BACON!

I’ve tried at least 5 paleo pancake recipes and have yet to fall in love with any of them.  They always get burnt on the outside and mushy on the inside.  The flavor is usually OK, but the presentation is absolutely horrid.  Today’s venture was no different. I tried these protein pancakes from paleomg.com.  I didn’t have the protein powder she recommended, so I used our Trader Joe’s hemp protein powder.  Which is dark green.  Yep – I made dark green pancakes for breakfast.  They were actually pretty tasty. I still had the same issue with them not cooking right, but I think that’s more my fault than the recipe’s fault.

We also tried some new bacon from HyVee (we were forced to because they were out of our normal bacon).  It’s jalapeno bacon!  Since my stove top was full of pans of pancakes and scramby eggs, I decided to try the whole baking bacon thing again.  We tried it once, and the bacon didn’t get crispy, but I keep hearing people say how awesome it is, so I figured I would give it another go. I followed the instructions here.  It turned out PERFECT and oh so easy.  You put the bacon on a foil-lined sheet and cook it for 15-20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  It turned out crispy, delicious, and very jalapenoey.  If you take a look at my Instagram feed to the right, you can see a pic of the bacon and pancakes.

And now breakfast is done, Tim is doing the dishes, and I’m trying to figure out what all from the list of things I want to get done today I can actually do:  put down mulch, plant garlic and dill, clean the house, do the laundry, plan meals & go grocery shopping, do a 3 mile run, work on a watercolor painting for the bedroom, watch some of the Criterium, update the checkbook, take a bath, lay in the sun, and I’m sure I am forgetting something.  I need every weekend to be a 3-day weekend!!

Slow Cooker Pork Cacciatore

Allrecipes has started a magazine, and they sent us a preview copy, which is where I got this recipe for Slow-Cooker Pork Cacciatore.  We still have a lot of pork chops left from our pig, so we are always looking for new ways to make them.  I passed over this recipe when I first saw it, but Tim thought it looked good.  Since I’ve gone paleo, we don’t have many pasta-type/tomato dishes, and the Timmy Tee misses them.

This turned out fantastic!  I put it together over lunch yesterday in about 20 minutes, and then put it in the Nesco at about 200 from 12:30 to 5:30.  We ended up being able to cut the pork chops with a fork, they were that tender.

I followed the recipe pretty closely with two exceptions.  I did not add the diced tomatoes, and I also left off the cheese.  We had plenty of sauce, so I think I made the right call.  Next time I make this, I’m going to add some hot peppers to give it some kick.

Breakfast for Supper and Other Happy Things

Wow.  What a busy weekend.  It’s nice to DO stuff on the weekends because you’re living life, experiencing things, putting yourself out there, etc.  BUT by DOING stuff on the weekends, you make the weekends go by way too fast.  Next thing you know it’s Monday morning at 5:54AM, and you have to be to work in 2 hours.  BLURG!!

The busy weekend started out with a  bang on Friday night.  We met up with some friends in LeClaire, IA at the Crane & Pelican.  Well, first we went to the Wide River Winery to check out their live music and their wine.  It’s a small joint inside (24 people max capacity!), and because of the unseasonably chilly weather, the 2-person band was playing inside.  It was loud, but everyone was very relaxed and was having a good time.  The bartender was very friendly and informative.  They can’t actually sell glasses of wine for you to drink there, but they CAN sell you a $6 glass that comes with 5 complimentary tastings.  You can also buy a bottle and drink it there.  It was a scene straight out of Gilmore Girls, to be honest with you.  Even thought I was not a huge fan of the wine, I really enjoyed the 30 minutes we spent there, and now I kind of want to move to LeClaire…

After our tastings we walked up to the Crane & Pelican, which is a restaurant in an old house on a hill overlooking the river.  The building was very interesting, the staff was very friendly, and the food was very delicious.  The menu was reasonably priced for the type of food they serve (locally sourced), and the drinks were actually on the cheap side!  My steak was a little undercooked, but overall we had a great experience and will definitely go back.

We didn’t stay out too late because on Saturday we were registered for the Beer & Bacon 5K at Sunderbruch Park.  We headed out there on our bikes at 8:45. It was a gorgeous, slightly chilly day.  We met up with about 100 other runners, got our free beer mug and “5K…ish” sticker, and milled around, waiting for the race to start.  At the last minute, Tim decided to run the 10K instead!

The 10Kers got a 5 minute head-start, and then they let us 5Kers head out.  The route took an immediately left off the paved path, onto a steep, long, never-ending hill.  By the time I reached the top of the hill, I was ready to turn around and head back down to get a beer.  I powered through, though, and was rewarded by one of the funnest runs I’ve ever done.  Don’t get me wrong, trail running is TOUGH, but it was so beautiful in the trees, and the hills/stumps/roots kept your mind focused on the running.  It was so much fun.  I can’t wait to do another trail run.  The only down side, from my perspective, is that the trails are so narrow that you can’t pass anyone, and no one can pass you.

After the race, we partook of the even’s namesake treats (beer & bacon), then rode down to Great River, then rode home, and then crashed.  Oh, and we ate pizza for supper.  Pee I Zee Zee Aye!!!  Ugh.

On Sunday I had a shower in Swisher, IA that Tim was kind enough to drive me to.  It was at 1PM, so the driving and shower took up most of our Sunday.  We did get home in time for me to try a new recipe, however:  Sausage & Sweets Breakfast Bowl.  This was a very easy recipe, and it turned out quite tasty.  I even used some new salt that my friend got me from Galena – Vermont Maple Sea Salt. It went with this dish perfectly.

To accompany the breakfast bowl, I made kale chips from this recipe.  They are so tasty!

And that’s our weekend update.  Hopefully you had a great weekend and were able to get outside and enjoy the sunshine!

Slow Cooker Mediocrity

I made another recipe in the Nesco today:  Slow Cooker Paleo Chicken with Parsnip Puree.  As with many of the slow cooker recipes I’ve tried, this one turned out fairly bland and uninteresting.  Again, perhaps I did not make this correctly (mine did NOT turn out looking as tasty at the picture in the blog post), but this turned out very tan tasting – very mild and uninteresting without a lot of flavor.  Tim liked the chicken, but to me the dish had that distinctive “slow cooker” taste to it.  I don’t think I would make this again.

To compensate for my lackluster supper, I went out for drinks with my coworkers and succumbed to the allure of the chips and queso at Kelley’s.  I was finally back down to the weight/size that I feel comfortable at, and then I go and chock myself full of processed cheese, msg, and all around crispy, cheesy tastiness.  Oh Heather, when will you learn?

I did do *something* proactive for my health today though.  I keep reading about the dangers of nut eating, and I eat a prodigious amount of almonds.  So I finally took the plunge and am in the process of properly preparing my nuts (he he).  I soaked them over night with a tablespoon of sea salt, and now they are roasting in the Nesco at about 175.  They’ve been roasting for about 11 hours, and they aren’t quite crispy yet, but even so they are already insanely delicious.  I can’t even describe the flavor.  I’m hooked. Next card party at the Longorias will definitely be accompanied by some freshly soaked and roasted nuts.  Tasty AND good for you.  You just can’t beat that.

I have no new recipes on the agenda for tomorrow.  Instead we are trying out a restaurant in LeClaire, the Crane & Pelican.  We may also check out the local winery tasting lounge and catch some live music.  Perhaps the Longorias will stay out past 8PM on this Friday night.  Weeeeeoooo!

We can’t stay out too late, though, because on Saturday morning we have to bike out to Sunderbruch park for the Beer & Bacon 5K.  We’ve never run the trails at Sunderbruch, so this promises to be an adventure.  I follow the group that runs out there every Monday, and they seem like really fun, positive, gorgeous people, so I’m looking forward to meeting them, eating some bacon, and drinking some free Great River beer.  Look forward to me complaining about drinking beer on Sunday.  You’ve been forewarned.  🙂

And with that, I’m off!

 

Swedish Meat-a-balls

We tried another new recipe tonight:  Swedish Meatballs.  This time I behaved and followed the recipe almost perfectly.  My only changes where I used whole milk instead of heavy cream (because organic heavy cream is 4.99 for a 1/2 pint!!), and I used my big ice cream scoop to make the balls. I think they are supposed to be tiny, but that sounded like an exercise in frustration.  So I made them big and tasty like me.

They did turn out pretty well!  They tasted fairly Swedish-y, and the sauce was very delicious.  I found it frustrating cooking the meatballs on the stove top though – the balls in the center of the pan got overcooked, and the outer balls were undercooked.  I have a large cast-iron skillet that enjoys not heating evenly.  I think if/when I make this again, I’ll bake them.

I served these with baked sweet potatoes and an organic salad.  It was a very nice, simple meal.

Hope you have a great, productive evening, and thanks for reading!!

Thai Chicken Patties

As promised in my last post, I’m trying some new recipes and doing more cooking at home this week.  It’s amazing how quickly one’s abs disappear after eating a few restaurant meals.  Ugh – chicken wings you are so tasty but so bad for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tonight we tried Thai Chicken Patties with Cabbage Slaw.  We made a few modifications to the recipe – some on purpose and some on accident.  Tim is not a huge fan of purple cabbage (on account of the fact it turns freakishly blue when it gets wet), so we used all green cabbage.  I got lazy/rushed at the grocery store and thought that parsley would do fine in place of cilantro (big difference!!).  Tim didn’t think parsley would taste good in the dish, so I googled cilantro substitutions and found that some people use celery leaves and/or mint leaves instead, so that’s what I did (using fresh mint from the garden – yay!).  I cannot find coconut aminos anywhere in the QC, so I was planning on using tamari instead.  However, when I started to make the dish, I realized that we had no tamari or soy sauce.  Again, I googled subs and ended up using a concoction of Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, and fish sauce instead.  And, finally, we had no sriracha, so I used chile paste instead.  Oh!  And I was lazy and didn’t want to fry the patties, so I just sauteed the whole mess in coconut oil.

Verdict?  TASTY!  Tim and I really liked this dish. It has a lot of unusual flavors and is very light and fresh.  I will definitely make this again, but next time I will try to get all the proper ingredients. I think this meal would taste even better with the cilantro and red cabbage.  Also, as I was looking up the link to this recipe, I saw the blogger’s picture of the crispy chicken patties, and they look mouth-wateringly delicious.  Next time, I do it right!

I did have to chuckle at the blogger’s comments on the recipe – she said it’s an easy, quick recipe.  Before I read that, Tim and I were both commenting that the recipe seemed like a lot of work – a lot of chopping and a lot of ingredients.  I guess if you don’t mind chopping, it’s an easy recipe!  But, easy or not, it’s definitely worth the effort.

Tim and I did get our garden in the ground yesterday too, in case you were on the edge of your seat wondering about that.  We planted a vast array of peppers, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, peas, etc.  We spent about $100 between dirt, compost, plants, and seeds.  Hopefully we will get something tasty out of it!  I do need to find a good squirrel/chipmunk repellent.  Those dirty bastards are already digging up holes all over the garden.  ARGH!!  I found a recipe for hot pepper tea that I’m going to make and try.  I’ll let you know if it works.

Take care, and have a fantastic evening!!

Paleo Cookies and Happy Chihuahuas

Tim and I have an absolutely ancient chihuahua named Lucent.  We are currently sitting in our back yard enjoying this absolutely perfect spring day, and he is slowly wandering around the yard, pausing in patches of sunshine, looking for rabbit poop which is evidently delicious.  He’s old, he is partially blind, his back bends at a right angle, but he is still a happy little dog, as long as there is sunshine and tasty poop.  Ah, to be a dog…

I haven’t written lately.  Life was out-of-control busy these past couple of weeks, but busy with fun stuff – drinks with friends, hair highlights, art classes, etc.  Yet, busy it was, and I had no time or inclination to write.  Also due to the busyness I did not cook at much as usual and tried only 1 new recipe:  The Best Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies.

These truly are really good paleo cookies.  They taste like ALMOST normal cookies.  I followed the suggestion in the recipe and took the cookies out of the oven right when they started to brown.  They tasted great right out of the oven, but the next morning they were super limp and doughy.  I slid them back on to a cookie sheet and popped them back in the oven for maybe 5-7 minutes.  They came out PERFECT.  These are some tasty sons of bitches, so I have to be careful how often I make them.  They have 1.5 cups of almond flour in them, and I’ve read a few articles lately (like this one here) that make me question my (incorrectly prepared) nut consumption.  It would be waaay too easy to overeat nuts when they are made into cookies this tasty.

Next week is a much more sane week.  I’ve already planned out meals for the next 10 days, and I’m looking forward to cooking at home and trying some new recipes.  Besides that, we need to swing into full gear for tri-training (only about a month left – eeeeek!!).  On Saturday we are doing the Beer & Bacon Run at Sunderbruch Park to help prepare for the off-road tri run.  Pray for a sunny, 70 degree day!

Tim and I also purchased the goods to make a couple square foot gardens.  We got some compost, top soil, plants, and seeds.  This is a new venture for us, so wish us luck.  If we get $100 of produce out of these, or a least some meditative, out-doors time, I’ll be happy.

And that’s my update for the week.  Hope you are enjoying this beautiful Saturday!