Smoothie-sicles! (Whole30 Borderline)

 

popsicle3

My toddler is ADDICTED to popsicles.  I can’t say that I blame him…they’re delicious and summers in San Antonio are much like sitting on the surface of the sun while a one-legged goat is trying to fan you with a post-it note.  Let’s just say…it’s hot, and eating frozen juicy treats is just what the thermostat ordered.  So instead of beginning his addiction to chemicals and high-fructose corn syrup, I decided to make a healthier alternative.

 

I’ve seen a recipe bouncing around Facebook and Pinterest for about a year now for popsicles made out of chopped fruit and coconut water.  They look cute and all, but since I’m trying to appeal to a 2-year old, I wasn’t sure that he would like them that way.  Also…chopping fruit is somewhat of a tedious task when you’re chasing around a hurricane that has arms and toys.  I’ve labeled this as “Whole30 Borderline” for a couple reasons:

1.  Although smoothies are not expressly forbidden, they aren’t exactly an optimal choice.  You should really be eating your nutrition, not gulping it all down in two seconds.  I basically axed this as a possible reason to not label them as Whole30 because the standard popsicle mold holds what?  A quarter cup of liquid per popsicle?  If you’re on a Whole30, just don’t eat 40 of these and you should still be within compliance.

2.  This IS, however, borderline SWYPO (sex with your pants on).  It sort of falls into the category of replacing a SAD treat with paleo-compliant foods…but I don’t know many other people (toddlers of the world aside) who have an unhealthy relationship with popsicles.  If you are making these in order to shove paleo food into your typical SAD treats…then they aren’t compliant.  If you are making these as an occasional frozen treat for the summer, in my opinion, your Whole30 isn’t blown.

 

Pay no attention to the toy explosion in the background…typical 2-year old boy

 

popsicle1

 

Smoothie-sicles (Whole30 Borderline)

You can make this with whatever fruit catches your fancy–but here is the grouping that I chose

 

Handful of blueberries

1 kiwi, peeled

1 peach, pit removed

2 Tbsp fresh cilantro

Coconut water

Almond milk

 

1.  Dump all the solid ingredients in the blender.

2.  Add coconut water basically to cover fruit.  The amount of liquid depends on your molds–mine hold about a quarter cup each…so all amounts are relative to your popsicle molds.  I added about a quarter cup of almond milk at the end, just to give it a little more nutritional boost.

3.  Whiz all of this in the blender until it’s thick and creamy.  Well, as thick and creamy as water-based foods get.  Pour into popsicle molds, insert whatever sticks come with your molds, and freeze until solid.  Voila!

 

Isak, post-popsicle

popsicle2

 

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Guacamole Stuffed Burgers (Whole30 Compliant)

 

Guacamole Stuffed Burgers

I felt like having burgers tonight, but I wanted a burger that wasn’t just a plain burger.  I know we’re mostly paleo, but my favorite way to have a burger is still with cheese and on a sesame seed bun.  I used to LOVE the nights that my parents would take us to the drive-in to see a couple movies, because that meant homemade burgers on good buns, wrapped in foil so they would travel well.  That meant that the hot burger in combination with the foil made it into steamy beefy goodness by the time we got to the drive-in!

 

But we were going to be Up with Paleo tonight, so no buns or cheese in sight!  I also love guacamole…so I decided to stuff the burgers with guacamole, grill them up with a nice crust on the top and bottom, and serve them over local baby spinach with chopped Granny Smith apples and a little lime juice.  DELICIOUS!

 

Guacamole Stuffed Burgers

Serves 4-6

2 pounds grass-fed ground beef

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp ground mustard

4-5 mushrooms, finely diced

1/4 C + 2 Tbsp onion, finely diced and divided

2 avocados

1 tomato, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 C chopped cilantro

juice of 1/2 lime

 

1.- In a small skillet over medium heat, add a little fat (a tsp or so)–ghee, clarified butter, olive oil, whatever.  Toss in the mushrooms and 2 Tbsp of onion.  Cook until soft.

2.- In a large bowl, put ground beef, salt and pepper, ground mustard, and onion/mushroom mixture.  Mix well with hands and set aside.

3.- In a small bowl, scoop out avocado and mash well.  Add lime juice, tomato, garlic, cilantro, 1/4 C onion, and salt and pepper.  Stir it up and taste it at least 1000 times.  Wait…am I the only one who eats guacamole as I’m making it?  Yes?  Oh.

4.- Form thin hamburger patties of approximately the same size.  On half of the hamburger patties, put about a heaping tablespoon of guacamole in the center.  Take the other half of the patties and place on top of the guacamole, sandwich style.  Press around the edges, sealing the patties together.  Some of mine didn’t seal completely, but they still cooked just fine…so don’t worry!

5.- At this point you can grill them, broil them, or cook them on the stove.  I cooked mine on the stove in about a tsp of Kerrygold butter.  I used medium to medium-high heat and cooked them for about 5-6 minutes on each side.

 

ENJOY!

 

Roasted Artichokes (Whole30 Compliant)

 

Roasted Artichokes

Remember last night when I decided not to make the SALMON CAKES?  Well, I made them tonight.  I didn’t really know what I felt like eating with them, so I decided to roast an artichoke for the husband and I to split.  I just love the lemony garlic taste of an artichoke, straight out of the oven.  The foil wrapping helps steam the artichoke perfectly, the garlic roasts inside the center of the artichoke, which is equally as tasty to eat as the artichoke itself, and the lemon adds a little citrus kick to the meat of the leaves.

 

This is definitely something to add to the lineup of side dishes to cook (which sometimes gets hard on something like a Whole30…I don’t know about you, but a couple weeks in, I get in a side-dish rut and can’t figure out what to make).  If we had a grill, I would definitely roast these suckers that way…but because we live in an apartment on campus, we don’t have one–something to look forward to in the future, right?!

 

Roasted Artichokes (Whole30 Compliant)

2 artichokes

1 lemon

2 Tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

6 garlic cloves

 

1.–Preheat oven to 425.  Using a serrated knife, cut bottom stalk and top third of the artichoke off and discard.  Cut two pieces of foil, large enough to wrap around each of the artichokes.  Using a paring knife, hollow out a discard inner center leaves.  Spread remaining leaves out as much as possible.

2.– Drizzle half of the lemon juice over each of the artichokes, getting the juice in between the leaves as much as possible.  Do the same with the olive oil.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.  Stuff three garlic cloves into the center of each artichoke.  Wrap each artichoke tightly in foil, place on baking sheet, and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until very tender.

Paleo Pork Breakfast Gravy (Whole30 Compliant)

 

dinner on the fly

I was going to make SALMON CAKES tonight, but then I decided that I didn’t want them (mostly because I didn’t have any made, which means I was going to be making a double batch…and I just didn’t feel like it).  The only thing I had thawed in the fridge as far as meat goes was ground pork.  When I think of ground pork, I think of pre-paleo when I would make delicious, buttery, fluffy biscuits and use the pork to make gravy.  I’m drooling a little bit just thinking about it…but I don’t know that 15 minutes of that taste would be worth the hours of headaches and bloating.  I’m not going to enter the work of paleo baking anytime soon–the few paleo baked goods that I’ve tried were pretty gross, so biscuits were definitely out.  However, I decided to make the gravy part of that and just dump it over some scrambled eggs!

 

For the scrambled eggs, I sauteed half of a chopped onion and a handful of thick-sliced cremini mushrooms.  I whisked five eggs, chopped about a cup of fresh spinach, and sliced a handful of grape tomatoes.  Add the spinach to the mushroom mixture and let wilt for a minute or two.  Add the eggs and cook, adding tomatoes at the end.  Salt, pepper, whatever seasonings you want.  Voila, the eggs are done.

 

Paleo Pork Breakfast Gravy

Serves 2-4

1 pound ground pork

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp arrowroot starch or coconut flour

1 can coconut milk

salt

pepper

sage

rosemary

 

1.– Heat large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add pork and cook, breaking up into small pieces as it’s cooking.  When pork is almost cooked, add onions and garlic, stirring until soft.

2.–Sprinkle arrowroot or coconut over meat.  Stir until starch has absorbed the fat and soaked in.  Add half of the can of coconut milk and stir slowly until the liquid has stopped changing consistency (this will take a minute or two).  Add in the other half of the coconut milk and stir.

3.– Put in whatever seasonings you want to use.  I use salt, pepper, dried sage, and rosemary.  Keep adding and tasting until you get the flavor you want.  I probably added a couple tsp of salt, 20-ish turns of pepper, a tsp of sage, and a tsp of rosemary.

When serving this, I put a pile of scrambled eggs on each plate, spooned some gravy on the eggs, and topped with a couple sliced grape tomatoes.  Delicious!

 

Slow-Cooker Beef Ribs (Primal/Paleo)

 

beef ribs

One of my last cuts left from our first GRASSLAND OASIS experience were beef ribs.  You have never eaten beef until you’ve had it from pasture-raised cows.  It tastes nothing like the corn-fed “beef” at the grocery store.  Pasture-raised beef has a much more delicate, subtle flavor.  It doesn’t scream, “OH MY GOD!  I ATE CORN AND ANIMAL BY-PRODUCTS MY WHOLE LIFE!”  In fact, I told JR tonight that if someone set a piece of this beef in front of me, didn’t label it, and told me to guess what it was, I would have guessed something like…well, there’s nothing to compare it to.  It’s like a more delicate version of bison.  To be clear, I’ve had pasture-raised beef before…but never was the flavor of the beef so pronounced (mostly because before it was covered in barbecue sauce or in a stew).

 

I decided to see what I could do with these in the slow-cooker today.  Keep in mind that if you make this recipe using mainstream grocery store beef, your cooking times will be a bit different.  Pasture-raised beef has a shorter cook time (I’m still getting used to the difference in cook time).  So…my times given are based on pasture-raised beef.  I’ll give suggestions for corn-fed beef, but know that I haven’t actually tested those times–I’m just going based on about what I think it would be.

 

Slow-Cooker Beef Ribs

Serves 2-4

2-3 pounds beef ribs (bone-in)

2 Tbsp kosher sea salt

4 Tbsp coconut palm sugar

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp coriander

1 tsp chili powder

ground black pepper to taste

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

3-4 Tbsp raw honey

ground black pepper

 

1.– In small bowl, mix kosher sea salt, coconut palm sugar, paprika, coriander, chili powder, and black pepper.  Mix well.  Rub liberally on ribs, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least two hours.

2.– Put ribs in slow-cooker (if your slow-cooker isn’t big enough to fit them in one piece, feel free to cut them into 2-3 rib chunks and pile them in).  Pour 1-2 C water or beef broth around the bottom of the slow-cooker.  Turn on low and cook away for 2-3 hours (you want the internal temp to be 145).  Pull out of the slow-cooker and let rest 10 minutes while you preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with foil.

3.– In small bowl, whisk apple cider vinegar, honey, and pepper.  After the 10-minute resting period, I cut the ribs into single pieces (feel free to leave them all together if you want–I just think it’s easier this way).  Brush the ribs liberally with the apple cider vinegar mixture.  Sprinkle the tops of the ribs with a large pinch of coconut palm sugar (you want a thin layer across the ribs to get a little crunchy under the broiler).

4.–Place under broiler for 5-6 minutes.  Let rest for a few minutes and serve hot!  As an aside, the apple cider vinegar mixture whisked with some olive oil makes a great salad dressing.  Dress it up with a few crushed lavender buds!