Paleo with a Twist

Just sounds DELICIOUS
Just sounds DELICIOUS

I think I’m a bit out of sync here. I need to post here AFTER I’ve tried the recipe(s). However, this week I’m just too excited about two sites I’ve found. I shortened the recipes to keep with the goal of quick-easy-simple however my changes MAY have been influenced by what I had on hand. I am loving coconut milk, fresh ginger and am pretty excited about cilantro! After making the Savory Pepper Steak from last week, I am convinced the trick for slow cooking is building flavor. I’m hoping these last three items make for delicious dinners this week!

Beef curry came from http://www.rubiesandradishes.com/2013/12/03/easy-slow-cooker-curry-2-ways/. I chose to try the beef version since the cook time is closer to 8 hours. I also added about a tablespoon of fresh ginger and a teaspoon of minced garlic (or one clove).

Cilantro chicken came from http://www.honeygheeandme.com/2014/01/crock-pot-cilantro-chicken-whole30/ I modified this one a lot.

1 large yellow onion, about 2 cups diced
5 large garlic cloves, about 2 tbsp minced
1 Serrano chile pepper, about 1 tbsp minced (half deseeded) I used a can of chopped green chilis and kept the juices
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek I didn’t have on hand
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1 can coconut milk (not light)
2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
4-6 chicken thighs, boneless/skinless (approx 1.25- 1.5 lb) I used 5 gmo free, organic chicken drumbsticks.

I didn’t brown the chicken or the beef…I threw it all in a plastic bag, labeled it and froze it for this up coming week. We’ll see how it turns out!

If you’re interested, I’m on Pinterest as ‘Mama Thyme’, I’m tracking the recipes I love and my research recipes (recipes in test).

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Dad Friendly Slow Cooker meal

Today I am writing from a small unglamorous town while on travel for work. The whole saying goodbye to George and Sweetpea is never exactly easy, but these little trips fulfil my engineering/industrial -isms. There’s that and sleep. A full night of uninterrupted sleep is simply glorious.

Before I left, I made a few meals to help support George as he enjoys his week with Sweetpea. Which brings me to this week’s featured slow cooker recipe from http://www.mommysfabulousfinds.com/2013/10/easy-crock-pot-freezer-meals-2.html (slight modifications due to what I had on hand and/or Sweetpea’s patience).

I’ve tried about 6 of mommysfabulousfinds recipes but found that I really needed to take them out after 6-8 hours, which for our working family is just not possible. Even though the slow cooker switches to warm, the meat still cooks and becomes tough, dried out meat mash. As I learned previously, cooking slow cooker meals at night, packaging them in containers for the day and reheating for dinner does the trick.

Minus the Steak...it was defrosting in the microwave for 8 minutes
Minus the Steak…it was defrosting in the microwave for 8 minutes

Savory Pepper Steak
Prep: 10-20 minutes (Sweetpea helped)

1 lb pre-chopped thawed beef (I try to go for GMO free, organic etc)
1/2 chopped red onion
1/2 chopped large green pepper
5 t chopped garlic (yes I cheat and use the pre-chopped)
1 can original Rotel
1 can chopped green chilies
1 T Steak Seasoning
2 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 T A-1 Steak Sauce

I did not drain the Rotel or the chilies. Since I planned to cook this recipe in the morning I placed it all in a glass container (and refrigerated it) prior to cooking.

The last time I made this, it was easy to make, flavorful and delicious.

Fun Fact: When you have leftover meat and don’t enjoy groundhogs day: try making burritos/quesadillas/sandwiches for lunch!

Paleo Frozen Slow Cooker meals

The Actors
Smokey Roast: The Actors

So much of my day to and from work is rush-faster-leaner-stronger…….so when it’s time to sit down and enjoy dinner — I would rather pass on the tasteless meat mash. My slow cooker focus is: quick, easy, less than a million ingredients/steps, and delicious.

When a friend mentioned she was making “SLOW COOKER KOREAN GRASS FED SHORT RIBS” I was intrigued. Could be slightly amazing. Two recipes later….and I have the prospects of decent exciting dinners that happen to be Paleo — I count that as a win.

To me, the Korean Short Ribs are more complicated than simple (you have to brown, chop, blend, prep stuff). The recipe is here: http://nomnompaleo.com/post/3762844557/slow-cooker-korean-grass-fed-short-ribs I made it anyway.

My other adventure for today was “Smokey Roast” which had equal praise and was quite simple to make.

Stir “The Actors” in a bowl, thoroughly cover/rub into 2.5 lbs beef chuck roast, brown in coconut oil (5 min each side). Chop 1 onion. Put in bag. I stopped there. I’ll add 3/4 cups water when I cook it for 7-8 hours. We’ll see how I did! The recipe came from here: http://everydaypaleo.com/smokey-roast/

I love rectangular teaspoons/tablespoons
I love rectangular teaspoons/ tablespoons

Working as Mama

Somewhere along the way, the idea of going to work became somewhat of a hobby. I draw energy, fulfillment, excitement from working. Add in baby, and I still like working. Happy Mommy, happy baby, happy family — right? Or if we’re going for cliche, “quality time with baby is still quality…time.” Add in two dogs, and I still like working. Add in…husband working nights…I waiver. Then my nerd-isms start kicking in. No help in the morning?! No baby — easy! 15 minutes out the door. Done. Add baby…1 hr. Add extra dog…we’re at an hour and a half. Sooooooooo I was bored and had some rare freetime.

In an effort to streamline my mornings and get to work on time without help (George on nights means 12 hour so we don’t see him for about a week), I physically drew out my morning and where I perform major morning tasks. My goal was to look for areas to gain time in the morning (mainly so I could eat breakfast).

It's okay, I know I'm a nerd
It’s okay, I know I’m a nerd

It’s been amazing! Breakfast in a mug as I walk around the house really solved so many problems!

Any(?) Mom’s H*ll: Dinner

Source
No frills required i.e. I just don’t do 50 ingredients or over complicated these days

I enjoy eating. Sorry but that’s out there. Ever since Sweetpea marched into our life, that thing called ‘free time’ has slightly decreased — imagine that?! In an effort to “have it all” and not eat cheesy fries daily, I made the inevitable decision to give up my 1-2 hours cooking routine (particularly when George works the 12 hour night shift) and find a reasonable solution. I have a few things that limit my day: a 2-3 hr commute (door to door), I make George’s lunches every day, and I value quality time with our lovely little lady.

Drum roll……..AMAZING DISCOVERY: FROZEN CROCKPOT MEALS MADE AT NIGHT!

I am testing several recipes and will share the results but for now here are some of my finds:

1. Crock pot liners: streamline cleaning…just throw out the bag after you remove your dinner
(such as reynolds slow cooker liners but oven bags work fine as well)

2. Cook your dinner at night!
Most days I’m gone for greater than 8 hours. The crock pot we have is programmable with a manual or temperature probe dependent (Hamilton Beach® 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker $49 from Bed Bath and Beyond). The issue with long hours is after the 8 hour cook time the crock pot kicks to warm, which still cooks the food READ: dried out dinner. So I usually am home in the evening for atleast 8 hours (including sleeping) so… a) Cook at night b) refrigerate in containers during the day and c) warm up at night.

3. Make a huge thing of rice for the week or if you get sick of rice use Seeds of Change (http://www.amazon.com/Seeds-Change-Quinoa-Brown-6pack/dp/B00GRT9PZY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1389587597&sr=8-2&keywords=Seeds+Of+Change)

4. Use microwavable veggies or steam fresh veggies in the microwave (http://www.amazon.com/Sistema-1103-Large-Microwave-Steamer/dp/B005D6XZ4O/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1389587700&sr=8-7&keywords=steam+container+microwave)

5. Have everything delivered! But I’ll write about that one another day.

Mama Moment: Walks

Urban Walking
Urban Walking

Walks. Easy right? Walk out of the house, lock the door, go for a walk. Done. HA! Somehow adding Sweetpea brings ridiculous game changing difficulty. Getting out of the house has been one of the most daunting things to do by myself with Sweetpea (add the dog in for fun). I thought I’d share.

Step One: Make the decision and commit to getting out of the house.

Step Two-Ten: Jackets (found) and put on, dog harness put on the dog, stroller prepped, coffee in un-spill-able container (coffee made), blanket that was supposed to be in the stroller spot is missing, find blanket, realize collapsible stroller is in the most awkward position ever, phone charged (enough), headphones in hand.

That’s all before clambering down the steps. The steps for us aren’t 4 nice steps right out of our house. It’s the flight of stairs to get to the front door that’s super challenging. Carrying Sweetpea, the stroller and hoping the dog stays at the bottom of the stairs is super fun to say the least — so slow is the name of the game.

***I make it out of the house!!!***

Front doors locked — check, house alarmed — check, the sense of accomplishment is beyond high. The accomplishment level is somewhere between Olympic gold and an Oscar. In my Super-mom minute, I casually flip the stroller into position and puff out my chest. Right about then is when I realize I’d forgotten my gloves and sunglasses. Going back into the house is simply not an option. I take a minute to connect my headset to my phone, put on my Amazon mp3 player, start my “Map my Run” and step out, dog in tow.

A block later, the phone dies…

Resolutions….Pipe Dreams?….Wishes?

When you ring in the New Year in bed — as in you fell asleep while putting the baby to sleep…you know life is super exciting. The whole, I haven’t slept through the night in forever — starts taking its toll. I’m proud that I’ve been able to nurse and I still do on demand through the night (I just can’t do the “cry it out” method), the only downside is sleep deprivation. Maybe it’s a tinge of guilt for using daycare? Maybe it’s, I like feeling needed. Regardless, it leaves me zombie-ish.

So as my ‘early morning’ haze clears (thank you coffee), onto resolutions. This year I’m going to do something new. I’m not going to set some goal of losing 10 pounds or solving world peace, just one thing per role/pot to really focus on. I’m also not going to write on the top 25 things to do in 2014 (anyone else getting sick of the endless lists of things to do or not do?).

On second thought, looking at all those words I just wrote….how about a summary. So if you’re like me and don’t feel like reading all those words, my resolutions are: the video games, less Facebook, write things down, schedule stuff, workout, and be organized.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Pot One: Wife

Years ago, my mother mentioned how she and my father were ships passing in the night. Both of them lived together, they ate dinner with us as a family, but as a whole, the relationship was on pause while they had 6 children (myself included). We have Sweetpea, we both work, and our schedules often do not cross. In an effort to avoid a 15-20 year relationship stale-mate, my goal is to learn how to play video games so we can do something at home together where we can enjoy each others company.

    Pot Two: Mother

Be present.

    Three: Job

Some people say having a baby is slightly disruptive to your ability to think. I will say my mind must have been erased: I FORGET EVERYTHING! Resolution….actually use the fancy planner I purchased for myself…

    Four: Part time job

Plan, predict, prioritize…or schedule sh*t.

    Five: me 🙂

Run a half marathon. On second thought, this one gets two. I have a very keen ability to put things away or translation: I take stuff out and put it wherever I left it (that’s where it belongs right?) regardless of its intended home. So focus on: if I take it out…put it back.

Wholesome Living: Finding Balance