Sunday, September 27, 2015

Blasted Clouds!

TheHub and I had planned to head to the lake place for the night. The possibility of seeing the red moon with little ambient light competing with the show just sounded delicious. Plus the lake is only 45 minutes from our front door so it would be little more effort than running across town.

TheHub was driving down in his car so he could leave straight from the cabin to go to work.  He would only have to leave about 30 minutes earlier than normal to be at his office on time.  After that scrumptious breakfast I fix for him each and every morning, he would be properly fueled for a productive work day. (I can hear him laughing as I type those words. I mean come on! Is it any easier for me to pour that cereal and milk in a bowl than it is for him? )

I was supposed to drive down with Shelby, the dog and thought we could have a little girl time, coffee on the deck and mosey home about noon.  She thought it was a great idea also, but I think she secretly also planned on an early morning dip in the lake.

I just love to have a plan in place and all the details worked out, until I woke to rain! And clouds! And a forecast predicting clouds and light rain all day and night.  So there was no need to have the sleepover at the lake, because ambient light did not matter if we would only be seeing a cloud cover.

Instead the red moon came and went, unseen by me while we sat on the deck at our house watching clouds. Bummer! Thankfully, we had a little wine to go along with my whine, and wouldn't you know it, right at eclipse time a tiny hole appeared in the clouds and, at least I got to see that.

And you know the saying, "Want to make God laugh, make a plan!"

Instead I am leaving a link for some lunar listening pleasure, oh, and don't think this will keep me from making some plan that probably won't happen for tomorrow either.  I have enough hair brained capacity for unlimited futile ideas!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sneaky Veggies

How many of you honestly eat 5 true servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit daily?  It is something I struggle with every single day.  Unless I am having a totally vegetarian day I fight with that number, and since I am mostly paleo we know I don't do vegetarian days often. So, I try and stuff added vegetables into just about everything we eat.

TheHub loves spaghetti and I mistakenly told him we were having it last night. (That was before I got hung up doing some business for Mom, got home in the early evening and just didn't feel like making spaghetti, so supper became a deli roasted chicken and a huge tossed salad.) He was already salivating for some Italian flavors, so I did the wife thing and promised it for tonight.  For us spaghetti dinner is always the same; meat sauce over spaghetti, and a huge green salad.  It would be fine except the salad will not give us the 3 servings of veggies we need for tonights meal.

Fortunately I have a crisper full of veggies and a really sharp knife.  Instead of spaghetti we are having superghetti, an intensely amped up version of our old standard.  This is not a recipe but more of a how to, since everyone has their own favorite sauce recipe or jarred sauce. (No judgements!)

1 lb. ground beef (OK, I actually had barely 3/4 lb. but it worked fine)
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped (minced, grated? your choice)
2 medium zucchini, chopped (ditto)
1/2 green pepper chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 clamshell cherry tomatoes cut in half (that is just what I had on hand)
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 recipe of your favorite sauce or 1 jar of the same (I used an organic no sugar added sauce)

This is where it get tricky because some love a traditional old world flavor and others like a more Americanized version.  I will just say whatever your choice is make sure you add additional herbs, spices, wine, salt, and pepper, because the additional vegetables will absorb some of the flavoring from the sauce and will leave it a little too bland.

In a heavy skillet brown the ground beef until it is crumbly.  Remove the meat to a paper towel to drain reserving the meat drippings in the pan. Stir the onions into the drippings to soften. (If needed add a little olive oil ).

 Toss the vegetables into the pan in the order listed, letting each soften a little bit before adding the next.  When all the veggies have been added and are wilted put the beef back in the pan and cover with your sauce.  Mix together until it comes to a boil, add additional seasonings and wine, put the lid on, turn it to low and let it simmer away until the veggies are nice and soft. (This might be a good time to pour yourself a glass of that wine)

About 20 minutes before serving, cook the spaghetti noodles, drain them and plate.  Serve the sauce over the pasta and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. (Or use the stuff in the green can, again, no judgements)  Serve this to your unsuspecting family who will not realize it is now loaded with good for them stuff and will just think it is delicious.  (If you have someone who stages a revolt every time green food is served, peel the zucchini first and substitute red pepper for the green. I can't begin to tell you how many times I had to do this when Son3 was young! I have even been known to grate everything just so he would not know what he was eating, and as long as he didn't know he loved it.)

If you feel like you need a little more umpth to your dinner, try this. Sometimes it is better to be sneaky and silently win the dinner vegetable battle, than to wage war over trying "just one bite".

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cooking Collards

I am from the south and we eat all kinds of greens.  We consume mustard greens, spinach, turnip greens, kale, and collards.  To be honest there are probably more turnip greens eaten around here than any other kind, but collards run a not too distant second. If you are eating at almost any of the gozillion barbecue joints in the south you most likely will find collards on the menu.  I personally have even had takeout from a barbecue restaurant in Portland Oregon that served collards, so by my way of thinking bbq and collards are a universal pairing.

Last night we did not have barbecue, but we had some leftover ham I thought was on its last day of safe eating.  I had bought a bunch of collards at The Pig along with a bag of potatoes so I knew I had the beginnings of supper. (Why do I feel compelled to buy 8 pound bags of potatoes when they are on sale?  We are not big potato eaters.  And why did the large potato bag change from a 10 pound bag to and 8 pound one?  8 pounds is still more potatoes than I need, but I hate shrinking sizes that cost the same as more product used to be. Do they think we are stupid and won't notice?)

Segue from the potato rant back to collards.  The only issue I have with traditional southern vegetable cooking is the need to cook whatever veg is on hand until it is beyond overcooked and is close to mush.  My mother declares she hates collards, but every time  she has eaten mine she has said she likes them. (Twice!  She has a long standing hate affair with mushy collards. You would be hard pressed to find a more tentative tryer eater than she was both times, though.)

This is not a recipe but is a way of cooking almost perfect collards, and I will even tell you how to cook those, but tonight I had no bacon thawed so I settled for almost perfect. I buy collards in a bunch, which means a stack of collard leaves (15-20) held together by a tight rubber band around the stalks.  

Wash each leaf, wash again and then wash one more time.  Collards grow best in sandy soil, so they are gritty hence the 3 washings. (You can cut out this step entirely if you buy bagged pre-washed greens. I don't buy them usually because I like the center stem removed. It makes the finished product so tender and not stringy.) 

Take about 5 leaves and stack them one on top of another on a cutting board.  Roll them like a big fat collard cigar. (No need to dry the leaves, any water droplets will just help with the cooking process)

Slice them into 1/4 to 1/2 inch strips and put the strips into a colander.  When all the leaves have been rolled and cut, give them a final rinse and set them aside.

Slice a medium onion into very thin slices and separate into rings and set them aside.

Also take a cored and seeded medium bell pepper and cut it into small 1/4 inch wide slices.  I cut the pepper in half lengthwise to core and seed  and then cut those halves widthwise before I make my slices.  I cut off all the humpy parts and save them for salad the next day. Keep the peppers separate from the onions.  (I use red peppers because I like the color variation, but green, yellow or orange peppers work equally well.  And for the record, humpy parts is a real cooking term, or at least it should be.) Mince 2 medium cloves of garlic and keep it separate also. (Who am I kidding with that mince thing?  I used a garlic press.)

 Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in an enamel pot or large skillet on medium high.  Toss in the onions and stir until they are almost wilted.  Add the peppers and continue stirring and cooking until they are softened. 

Add the garlic, stirring for about 30 seconds, then top it with the collard greens and 1/2 cup of water. You can see why I use such a big pot.  If you use something shallow like a saute' pan, you will have to fill it to the top, let it cook down and keep adding until all the collards are cooked.  It is much easier to use a big pot to begin with.

Slap the lid on the pan and turn the heat down to medium low.  Walk away for 5 minutes, then stir. Check the liquid level.  You want a bit of liquid in the bottom adding more if needed, but the greens should steam more than they braise. 

When these are finished cooking they will have reduced in volume about 2/3 of the original size. This is just the way they are supposed to do and nothing can change it! 

See what I mean!

Salt and pepper to taste and serve.  To make it a truly southern serving pass the pepper sauce* and splash some of that hot vinegary goodness on the greens.  

If you want to make these truly perfect cook 5 slices of bacon until it is very crispy, crumble it and set it aside. Save all the bacon drippings. Cook the veggies in the bacon fat and proceed as listed until you get to the water.  Substitute chicken broth for the water and continue cooking as directed above. After serving the greens and splashing with the pepper sauce, sprinkle the crumbled bacon on top of it.

Dang I wish we had some leftover!  I am getting hungry again!

*This pepper sauce is not that red stuff you see in the bottles.  This is essentially pickled hot peppers and it delicious on peas, greens and I have even been known to sprinkle a little on hot cornbread.  Do I sound a little southern?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Meyer Lemon Sherbet

Before Labor Day I was at Sprouts and noticed a bag of beautiful Meyer lemons, which I promptly bought.  I had a delusional moment where I imagined sipping lovely peach raspberry lemonade while sitting on the lake house porch. I guess I believed my imaginary minions were going to be the ones juicing the lemons, pureeing the peaches and straining the raspberries through a sieve.  Short story even shorter, it didn't happen, in fact the lemons never made it to the lake at all.  Suddenly it was a week later and I had done nothing with the lemons. Rather than wait and have to use them right before they ruined, I decided to try my hand at lemon sherbet. Thanks, Mom, for the Donvier!

After making the peach sherbet, there were a couple of changes I wanted to make. Years ago I made strawberry ice cream with unflavored gelatin in it.  It produced a smoother texture than the sherbet which became a little icy after a day in the freezer.  I also wanted it a little creamier, but had no more cream so I substituted some 1 percent milk for part of the water.  If I had been using regular lemons rather than Meyer lemons I would have increased the sugar to compensate for some of the acidity and sharpness, but Meyers are sweeter.  If you use regular ones increase the sugar by a couple of tablespoons.
1/2 package unflavored gelatin (I just eyeballed it)
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice (use fresh juice)
1-2 tablespoons lemon zest (make sure no pith is grated into it)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup milk
Place the gelatin and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a medium heat proof bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Stir like a mad man to dissolve the gelatin and incorporate the sugar.  Add the lemon juice and zest then stir in the sugar  and continue stirring until it is completely dissolved.  Add the milk and cream all at once and stir to combine.  Pour into the frozen container from either the Donvier or Cusiniart and hand crank or turn on the motor. (Or follow the instructions of whatever ice cream maker you have)  When the sherbet is nice and thick and the proper consistency, stop the churning process and let it sit for a few minutes to become firmer.  Serve and prepare yourself for something delicious.

I had a package of those little shortcakes sold in packs of 4 or 6 a the grocery store. (You know, the ones you put strawberries in and top it with whipped cream.)  Move over strawberry shortcake, there is a new sheriff in town.  I put a few large blackberries in the well of the cake and used a cookie scoop to make small sherbet balls.  I know I could have used a regular ice cream paddle, but it would not have been as pretty.  Did I even mention how delicious it tasted.  We really were unexpectedly pleased with how it turned out.  This will probably become a summertime company standard at our house.  It would be fantastic on a summer night after a bbq dinner.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Shadows and Light

Yesterday I had the day after birthday blues. I was feeling not so peppy so I decided to do something to make me feel fresher and younger.  I watched this wonderful Wayne Goss contouring tutorial and saw immediately what proper contouring can do for a person. If I used his plan, some well placed product and a few minutes buffing I should look dewey, younger and fresh faced. It was to be the equivalent  of a surgery free face lift in a 10 minute makeover.

I had a little free time, a coupon to Ulta and the best of intentions, so I set out to purchase everything needed to make me a new me. I didn't play with it last night, because I was out running errands until suppertime, and who wants to wash their face and re-apply makeup shortly before time to cleanse the face for the night?  Certainly not me.  So I saved all of my play time until today.

This morning I had to take Mom to the doctor at 8, so I just put on my regular (almost nothing) face and went about the day until about noon. Then it was time for the New Me! Well, 42 dollars and 45 minutes of contouring and buffing later, following all of Wayne's very simple instructions, I looked nothing like the lovely Mandy  in the video.  Instead of looking refreshed and revitalized I found myself looking a tad more like this.

At least that is what it felt like when I looked in the mirror. There are people who look really good wearing a lot of makeup and people who don't.  I am pretty sure I fall in the latter category.

I considered my options and came up with the following choices:
1. I need a lot more practice and a lighter hand/different plan.
2. I should just give up on it all together and look gross all the time.
3. I should cease all spending, live a Spartan existence and save every penny for a really good plastic surgeon.
4. Accept the fact that I am not a kid anymore and be happy for the opportunity to sit at the grown up's table.

Right this minute I am leaning heavily toward option number 1.

Now I have to run wash this crap makeup off my face and either start over or put a bag over my head and go about the day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Beancounter Humor

I have always heard accountants have no sense of humor.  I have been married to one since I was a very, very young woman, and sometimes I agree with that saying.  Other times, well not so much.

This summer has been a difficult time with many changes for us. I have been overwhelmed with helping Mom cope with her loss and her new normal and all the paper work and filings and changes that go along with it , while trying to move beyond my loss also. If ever there was a time for some comic relief this was the year for it

Yesterday was my birthday and I got the same present we have given each other for every occasion for the past 2 years. We look at each other and say "lake house" and "boat".  If we continue living by these metrics we will never have to buy each other another gift for the rest of our lives, (It's the accountants way of gift accounting) but we do still remember each other with cards. This years card totally slayed me!


                                                                                         ( and on the inside)
                              "Life is too short to be subtle"

It was a fun day.  I don't need jewels or furs or the latest hot car, just give me lots of laughs and I am good to go. At the same time, I am not scoffing at the lake house or boat!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Just Peachy...Sherbet

Disclaimer:  There is nothing paleo about this, but it sure was tasty.

Bummer! We are seeing the very last of the peach season and  I am so saddened on 2 fronts.  First, to me nothing is better than eating a fresh juicy peach.  It just tastes like you are taking a bite of sweetened sunshine with a little bonus juice dribbling down the chin.  Secondly, I eat them daily during their all too brief season and usually I buy at least a bushel of peaches to freeze for some summer delight through the winter.  

This has been a different and difficult summer, so most of my food intentions flew out the window. It's ok, but I know sometime during January TheHub will be craving peach cobbler and there are no frozen peaches to make any this year. Maybe I will do better with apple season, but then again, maybe not.

I had 5 peaches that ripened at the same time, and one day later were slightly overripe.  I could have made a peach cobbler that day, but it was very hot and humid and I didn't want to turn on the oven.  I knew I had to do something with them, then I remembered a kitchen gadget I found in Mom's basement.  She was thinking of getting rid of it, so I brought it home to try before she gave it to Goodwill.

A couple of my friends bought the new Cusiniart Ice Cream maker.  It is a counter top electric maker that consists basically of a motor, inner freezing container with a paddle and an outer container to hold the cold chamber.  The mixing container is placed in the freezer for several hours, the ice cream mix is poured into it, the paddle is set, you turn it on and voila! Ice cream is ready in about 20 minutes without the mess of ice and salt like an old freezer required.  I have been to Bed Bath and Beyond twice lately to buy one and both times I had no coupon with me so I didn't get it. Now I think I am glad I didn't.

So now I had peaches, an ice cream maker. and some heavy cream.  The rest was just tossing a few things together and some stirring.
                                                   Easy Peasy Peach Sherbet

5 very ripe peaches, peeled and chopped
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup boiling water*
2/3 cup  plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional, I left it out because I wanted peach not vanilla sherbet)
2/3 cup heavy cream
In the bowl of a food processor using the blade attachment add the peaches, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons sugar.  Let it sit until the sugar melts and the peaches are juicy.  Blend until they are the smoothness you choose.  Some people like chunky sherbet and some like smoother.  I am choosing for no one, but I do fall in the chunkier camp.
Put the sugar in a heatproof measuring cup ( a 2 cup measuring cup is ideal) and pour 1 cup of boiling water over it.  Stir until the sugar is completely melted and no grains remain. Add to the food processor bowl and blend to combine thoroughly.  Add the vanilla and heavy cream and whirl again to blend completely.  Put the mixture in a bowl and chill for a couple of hours. (I just put it in a quart size measuring cup and stuck it in a bowl of ice to chill because I have little no patience)
When it is nice and cool put it into the ice cream maker of your choice and churn until it is soft set. Scoop it into another container and set it in the freezer for 2 hours to harden. (Yeah right!  Spoon that delicious soft sherbet into a bowl and eat it right away, we did!)
This makes a delicious sherbet that tastes just like what it is, fresh fruit, cream and sugar.  There is nothing remotely artificial tasting to this and it is not the overly sweet stuff you get in the carton at the store.  I thought it had the perfect amount of sweet to cream ratio.  When I do it again (next summer sadly) I will add a couple of more peaches to make it even peachier.  I can't wait!

I think homemade ice cream and sherbets will become a regular part of our menus, and believe it or not, I even have a couple of paleo options. 

*For the record, you could probably add hot tap water to the sugar and stir and stir and stir until all the sugar is absorbed, but the boiling water assures it will totally combine and there will be no lingering graininess.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Buffalo Chicken Breakfast Muffins

I am not a big breakfast eater and even less of a big breakfast preparer, but I had to do something to repair my badly damaged weekend hostess reputation.  I generally let guest know where the Keurig is and where K-Cups, creamer and sugar live.  Then they are on their own unless TheHub makes a trip out to pick up sausage biscuits or doughnuts.  We had guests two weeks ago and I was terribly lax on the breakfast front, so this past weekend with 3 different houseguests, I had a chance for redemption.

Did I mention I also stay up terribly late every night (2 ish) and sleep until 7-7:30 so I am not one of those early riser people.  Labor Day morning I woke at about 5 with a screaming bladder. (Not unusual for me at all)  Now usually I wake, stumble into the bathroom with my eyes half closed to complete the necessary task, wash my hands and return to bed.  I am asleep before my head even rests on the pillow.  Not so on Monday!  I tried to doze off for a few, but kept thinking about all the things I needed to do to have a big breakfast on the table, so I grabbed the Ipad and read until 5:30, got out of bed, fixed a cup of coffee, and started peeling sweet potatoes and shredding some precooked chicken breasts. (So glad I had cooked them the day before!)

By the time the last person woke I had the table spread with sweet potato hash browns, Buffalo chicken egg muffins, bacon wrapped asparagus bundles, bacon, sliced tomatoes and sliced peaches (Wouldn't you know I forgot to make the biscuits!) So now with my hostess rep fully mostly intact, I will share the recipe for the muffins with the knowledge that I have a breakfast pass for at  least the next 2 overnight guest occasions.  I would hate for the world to believe I had actually transformed into some morning type person.

                                                      Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins

3 chicken breasts cooked and shredded or in a small dice
2-3 tablespoons hot sauce (If paleo make it sugar free non-gluten hot sauce)
2 tablespoons melted butter (melted ghee or coconut oil if paleo)
1/4 teaspoon  additional garlic powder
1/2 cup grated cheese for the non paleo people (add into the cooked chicken/hot sauce mix)
salt  and pepper to taste
8 eggs beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 good shakes of pepper
4 scallions minced

Place the chicken breasts flat on a greased baking sheet.  Sprinkle with powdered chipotle, garlic salt and a little pepper.  Cook at 350 for about 18 minuted, until the chicken is cooked.  Shred or chop the chicken in a small dice. Put into a bowl and cover with the melted butter or coconut oil and hot sauce.  Add the additional garlic powder and  toss with the chicken and hot sauce mix until it is all covered. Salt lightly.  Put cupcake liners into each well of the cupcake pan.  Spoon chicken (or chicken and cheese) mixture about 2/3 the way up the cup.  Beat the eggs in a bowl with a spout. Add the salt and pepper and stir again. Pour the egg mix over the chicken and bake. When the egg is set (about 22 minutes),  remove from the oven, take the muffins from the pan and sprinkle scallions over the top of each.  Serve piping hot. Served piping hot with a side of bacon is even better and with a bundle of bacon wrapped asparagus, well that is the best.

This is technically a paleo recipe, but it is so delicious who cares!  It freezes well and you can take a couple out of the freezer the night before then pop them in the microwave for a quick warm up.  I have also kept them in the refrigerator for a few days after baking and it rewarms beautifully .

So paleo or non-paleo this is an easy quick way to have a delicious breakfast meal (great for a crowd too) .  Try it, you might love it!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cowboy Casserole: Paleo or Not, Your Choice

Since this past weekend was the long Labor Day weekend we decided to head down to the lake for some sunning, boating and a little general r&r. Saturday kicked off college football season and I knew there would be a lot of TV watching and heavy snacking so I had planned on taking some (tons of) nibbles with us.  We were having company Sunday and they were going to spend the night and be there Monday.  I really wanted to concentrate on the good food for them, which left only Friday night as my wildcard meal.  After packing for the weekend and driving to the lake I like to keep our lakeside meal prep  to a minimum and really like it if most of it is done before I ever leave the house. (How did we ever function without ziploc bags?)

This easy to prepare, simple supper can be made either paleo or not, the only difference would be the topping.  For a tasty non paleo dinner I would use cornbread* instead of the coconut/almond meal topping, but either way would be delicious.

Cowboy Casserole: Paleo or Non Paleo
You Decide What Works for You

For the filling:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 medium onions, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons coconut aminos (paleo) or Worcestershire sauce (non-paleo)
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
salt and pepper to taste ( start with 1/2 teaspoon salt and adjust to your liking)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (non-paleo)

Brown the ground beef in a pan and remove it from the pan reserving the drippings.  Saute' the onion, onion, garlic, green pepper, and carrots in the beef fat until it is well wilted, but not browned. (If you have extremely lean ground beef you might need to add a little olive oil.  I found none was needed with  80/20 ground beef) Put the beef back into the pan mixing the veggies well.  Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes.  Plop in all the seasonings stir very well and cook on a medium low heat about 10-15 minutes until all the vegetables are soft and all the flavors are legally married.

If you are taking this to another location let the mixture cool and put it in a ziploc bag and straight into an iced cooler.  If you are just making this for supper spread the mix in a 9x9 greased deep baking dish.  I used coconut oil to grease mine, but I am trying very hard to be paleo compliant.  If you are not, use whatever product suits your fancy, either in spray form or any rubbed in fat you choose.  For those on a non-paleo plan sprinkle the cheese over the beef mixture. (All paleo people drool not at the thought of that melty cheese you/we can't have)

Add the topping of your choice and bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes.  Cut into squares and serve.  It is a hot, comforting meal that only requires a salad of some sort to be a complete meal.

I used the paleo topping and none of the non-paleo people eating it complained at all.  I thought it was delicious and they even thought it was very good, but truthfully both said they would rather have regular cornbread as their topping because no matter how you bake it, coconut flour always leaves a slightly sweet coconut flavor. If grain breads are not in your wheelhouse the coconut flour bread is more than delicious.  If you eat grains you would probably opt for cornbread.  When I make this again I will portion out 1/3 of the beef mixture and make me a personal casserole using the paleo topping and I will whip up a small cornbread batch for theirs.  That way I will be compliant and they will be even happier.

Paleo Bread Topping
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond meal
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs, room temperature, beaten
2 tablespoons melted ghee
2 tablespoons melted bacon fat (can use melted coconut oil, but why?)
1/4 cup almond milk

Mix all the dry ingredients well.  Mix together the eggs and the fats.  Slowly add the almond milk while beating.  Add to the dry ingredients, stir to blend well and spread an even thickness over the beef mixture.

Non-Paleo Cornbread Topping
1 1/2 cups medium grind corn meal
3/4 cup flour
2 12 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup  buttermilk

Mix the dry ingredients together, add the egg and buttermilk and stir until  it is smooth. Spread over the beef  and cheese mixture and bake for about 30 minutes.

This is great for dinner and delicious nuked and served as a leftover meal.  Enjoy whichever way you choose.  Of course until something chocolate and irresistible comes along I am Team Paleo.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cauliflower Muffins...What?

Yesterday I was getting really hungry.  This is day 3 of my strict paleo eating plan. (I refuse to call it a diet because diets mean counting all the things you consume and limiting amounts of everything but stuff like celery and cabbage.) With paleo I am completely eliminating several food groups.  There are no grains, beans, sugar, or dairy but I can eat all I want of everything else. (Which sometimes feels like little more than unlimited cabbage and celery unless I plan and cook ahead.)

Day 3 is always the hardest day for me, I guess because I am not eating sugars and my body is used to being fed junk.  Sugar hides in nearly everything we consume so I have made my own versions of Worcestershire sauce, bbq sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise and a few other condiments, (Ever looked at the sugar content in a tablespoon of ketchup?).  Since I am leaving sugar behind Cold Turkey, my body is really craving it and starts to revolt by handing me a searing headache for a few days unless I feed it with plenty of "real" food. This morning I had lots of paleo condiments available but nothing pre-made to just heat and eat.  Plus I wanted cookies bread, or cereal, or even a crappy bowl of oatmeal (and I really don't care for oatmeal).

I looked through the refrigerator and found not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 heads of cauliflower, (You eat a lot of cauliflower in various forms on this eating plan and Sprouts had it for 89 cents per head) so I guessed I might as well use some of it for whatever I was going to make. I had seen a recipe posted on facebook but I couldn't remember who posted it and I just don't have the patience to scroll through more than few posts, so I did what every impatient person does; I googled it.   I have no idea if this was the recipe posted, but I had everything on hand needed to make it and I just wanted something to eat other than cabbage or celery.

I actually made it just as the recipe stated since I have never in my life made cauliflower biscuits and really had no idea how/if it would really work.  You can find the link to the site here at Delighted Momma if you want to see prettier pictures than mine.

Cauliflower Biscuits

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1 head of cauliflower, washed, patted dry and grated (Use the food processor)
2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
1/2 cup almond flour (Grind your own in the blender. The almond skins are fine in this recipe*)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 eggs

Using the shredder blade of the food processor grate all the cauliflower.  Pour the oil into a pan and wilt the shredded cauliflower.  It takes about 7 minutes, stirring constantly (I didn't and it got a little brown on the bottom.  Mix the almond flour, nutritional yeast and the garlic salt with the hot cauliflower in a ceramic or glass bowl.  Stir well and allow it to cool enough so that eggs added to the mix will blend rather than cook. (I suggest slightly above room temperature).

Grease muffin cups well (error on my part: use only non-stick tins and grease them anyway.) and fill them almost to the top of the pan. Using my ancient wedding present muffin tin, I wound up with 9 muffins but they are slightly smaller than current tins.  Bake these puppies for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the pan and enjoy!

Pros and Cons:  Though this tasted nothing like a biscuit it was a delicious way to eat more vegetables in a manner that did not feel like a veggie at all.  It was more like a muffin and held together like one after I finally got them out of the pan.  I only had the 2 in the picture that came out of the pan intact.  The rest broke halfway through and I had to soak the pan to get the bottom half of 7 of them out of it. Bummer! Lesson learned and pan ordered! I bought this one  because it got great reviews, was under 10 bucks, and ships with Prime.  (For the record, I have no affiliation with Amazon or anyone.) I will be making these again so I might as well go ahead and have what is necessary to bake a better product.

I have a couple of issues with the recipe.  I had a rather large cauliflower and would rather the recipe list an amount of grated vegetable than just 1 head.  I think I probably had more than was optimal for the recipe.  When I make it again I will be sure to measure the amount and will update it here.  If I were to do it again using the large cauliflower, I would add a little more almond flour, nutritional yeast and perhaps an additional small egg.

The flavor was fine, but only fine.  I think some dill would be a nice addition and I can see making this during the fall when I make paleo chili, adding some cumin and chili powder to the seasonings.
I will also try it with some crumbled cooked paleo chorizo, sautéed onions, and a little more nutritional yeast for a cheesier flavor. Who knows what is next, but it is a starting point for some experimental cooking.

BTW, even though this is a paleo recipe, it would be a dang fine way to "hide" a serving of vegetables from picky eaters in the family.