Puttin On the Foil

Yes, that is a Slapshot reference.  Ice hockey and grilling.  Both are near and dear to my heart.  Speaking of grilling, I have been a grillin’ fool lately.  I have tried to get creative with my foil packet grilling.  I thought I could just compile a list of a few of my more recent favorites.

Pork
Pork chops, butter, garlic, s&p

Chicken
20140327_173019

 

 

 

 

 

I cut up a few chicken breasts, then added garlic, s&p, Italian seasoning

Seafood
20140324_173349
20140324_175213
Tilapia, lemon (or lime) slices, butter, dill, s&p

20140417_161246
sea scallops, butter, s&p

Vegetables
Brussels sprouts: sprouts, garlic, onion, s&p
Sweet potatoes 1: sweet potatoes (sliced), butter, real maple syrup
Sweet potatoes 2: sweet potatoes (chopped), onion, garlic, butter, s&p.  You can also add veggies like asparagus, carrots, and mushrooms.

These are just a couple of examples of my most recent foil packets.  Typically I double foil wrap each packet, otherwise it will leak.  right now, I’m definitely into grilling new things.  Next on the list: beets, butternut squash, and cauliflower.  I figure, if you can roast it, you can grill it.  I also want to try putting beef stew meat into a packet as well.  The possibilities are endless!

Happy Grilling!

-Lindsay

Roasted Butternut Squash

20140404_130748

So, I’ve had this butternut squash just hanging out on the counter for awhile.  I’ve really only made soup with butternut squash, so I was on the lookout for a new delicious recipe.  Then it hit me….roast it.  Duh.  Here is a crazy easy recipe for roasted butternut squash.

Ingredients
1 butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2.
Toss butternut squash with olive oil and garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and black pepper. Arrange coated squash on a baking sheet.
3.
Roast in the preheated oven until squash is tender and lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

See how easy this is? Peel, chop, drizzle, cook, eat.

I was really happy with the way this turned out.  Definitely a fun side.  The squash was perfectly cooked.  I think that butternut squash has a hint of sweetness.  That sweet paired with the garlic and s&p is a winning combination.  Flavorful but not overwhelming.  I pan seared some chicken, butter, and Italian seasonings to have with the squash.  Quick and easy for those rushed evenings.

Try it out!

Happy eating!

Recipe HERE.

Mashed Beets

20140324_174812

Beets.  A pretty common root vegetable. Boil em, roast em, grill em.  Eat em cold. Eat em warm.  Beets are one of those VERY vibrant vegetables, so that means that they are crazy nutritions.  Folate, Manganese, Potassium, Vitamin A, as well as a plethora of other vitamins and minerals.

I have really grown to love them in the past year or two.  They’re like a delicious gem that I am only just discovering.  Now, if only I wouldn’t have been afraid of them on my school lunch plate back in 1st grade.  After making pureed parsnips, I thought hmmm….I wonder how mashed beets would be.  So, I went to the ol’ Google machine.  After reading through a few recipes, I found this one.  Simple. Perfect. Below is the recipe that I used, slightly modified to make it more Paleo.

Mashed Beets
approx. 2 servings

Ingredients
3 – 4 beets, cleaned and peeled, then cut into 1″ pieces
1/4 – 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream (add to your taste)
1 T. melted butter (optional)
1/2 c. finely diced fresh parsley (optional)
salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions
1.  You could either boil or roast the beets.  If you boil them, just throw them in a pot of boiling water and cook until soft.  If you choose to roast, lay the beets across an oiled cookie tray and bake at 450 degrees until soft (roughly 30 min).
2. Once the beets are softened, transfer them to a mixing bowl. Add the milk gradually while you mash the beets, tasting as you go. Immersion blender, mixer, or food processor will do.
4. Add the butter and parsley and continue to mix.
5. Season with salt and pepper and adjust the dairy components if desired. I served this hot along with grilled fish.

My thoughts:

I chose to roast them. I typically prefer roasting vegetables because it takes a lot of the extra liquid out.  According to the author of the recipe, the boiling method removes a lot of healthy vitamins and nutrients. On the flip side, boiling is quicker.

I was really happy how this turned out.  The flavor was great, creamy and perfectly seasoned.  Really easy to make as well.  Cook,20140324_171116 mash, eat.  I ate the entire batch with dinner, but the author of the recipe claims that they’re also good cold the next day, straight out of the refrigerator.

So, beets are crazy vibrantly red.  They will turn your hands red.  Another interesting fact about beets is that they can cause beeturia…basically pink urine.  There’s nothing wrong with you, it’s just how our bodies excrete the vibrant red pigment. No need to be alarmed.  You may just pee pink for a day or two.

Try it out.  You may find out that you in fact do in enjoy beets.

Happy eating!

Lindsay

Original recipe HERE.

this_5b52ab_914260

Pureed Parsnips

20140312_191320

Parsnips.  Ever heard of them?  Ever tried them?  Parsnips are a root vegetable, similar to a carrot.  Honestly, I told my husband they were white carrots.  He ate them (just a small VICTORY!!) They’re high in a ton of vitamins and minerals, particularly potassium.  My mom used to add them to pot roast, along with carrots, potatoes, and onions.  I’ve been eating these buggers for years.  A few years ago, a friend of mine made parsnip puree for a dinner party I attended.  I loved them.  Thought I’d try my hand at it.

Honestly, I just googled parsnip puree.  I love Epicurious so I used their recipe as a guide.

Ingredients
10 medium parsnips (4 pounds total), peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch-thick slices
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
1. In heavy large pot combine parsnips with enough cold water to cover.
2. Place over moderately high heat, cover, and bring to a boil.
3. Continue boiling until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.
4. Drain.
5. Working in 2 batches, pureé hot parsnips, butter, and chicken stock until smooth.
6. Transfer to large serving dish, stir in salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

This recipe is really easy to make.  I do love easy recipes.  Ok, here is what I did.  First of all, I cut the recipe way back. I was only cooking for 1…not 10.  Peel the parsnips then chop them.  I chopped them as I would potatoes for mashed potatoes.  20 minutes due to the small amount of parsnips.  You know they’re ready when you can stick a for through them.  I drained them then put them into the blender.  It was the perfect amount.  Honestly, I guessed on the rest of the ingredients. Maybe 1 Tbsp of butter, enough chicken stock to make the parsnips creamy, and s&p to taste.  Blend and taste.  Blend and taste. Done and done.

I was thoroughly impressed at how these guys turned out.  They look like mashed potatoes and are velvety smooth.  Parsnips have their own distinct flavor, so there’s still a hint of the parsnip, but the chicken stock and s&p also add so much.  Husband didn’t even mind them.  (I don’t know if he would ever request them, but he said they’re not bad.)

I whipped these bad boys up to go with some roast I had in the slow cooker for hours.  Typically I add sweet potatoes, onions, and parsnips.  This time, I chose to puree them.  For sure happy with this decision.  I even had extra to heat up the next day.  They reheat quite well.

From my reading, parsnips are indeed Paleo, however they should be treated like sweet potatoes.  Super nutritious, yet super starchy. To be enjoyed sparingly.  Not an everyday kind of thing.

I definitely recommend this dish.  Great way to get your veggies in.

Original recipe HERE.

Happy Eating!

20140312_191507

Sirens, Snacks, and Shift Work

Food.  It’s kind of a big deal, especially in my line of work.  Depending on which type of public safety officer you are, you may go for quite awhile without having an opportunity to eat.  That big fire, a high speed chase, that CPR from hell…  OR if you do shift work, perhaps you get those random cravings at 0300. That being said, snacks are a big thing for me.  I like to have a lot of options.  Little munchy things as well as filling snacks. I have had quite a few people text me or message me asking me about some good snack choices. I’ve been working on this post for awhile now…adding to it from time to time.  Here are a few suggestions that I came up with.

Rule #1.  Never allow yourself to starve.  Eat when you can.  I always have snacks on me.  I typically have a Larabar or trail mix from Trader Joe’s…something light, yet filling.  My flight suit and medic pants have some pretty solid snack pockets.  I’m not afraid to use 3 out of my 11 pockets for snacks.  I even keep trail mix and Justin’s almond butter in the glove compartment of my car for road trip emergencies.  Tip: try pre packaged Paleo snacks like Paleo Kits from Steve’s PaleoGoods or muffins and cookies from Tripps Primal Farm and Kitchen.

Rule #2. Veggies and protein.  I really like mini cucumber sandwiches.  Small cucumbers sliced in half, the innerds scooped out, then layers of cheese, turkey lunchmeat, and mustard (no need to call the Paleo police.  I realize cheese is not Paleo).  I also like lettuce wraps.  Romaine hearts filled with mustard, meat, cheese, peppers, bacon, etc.  Ants on a log is also another solid choice.  Celery, almond butter, raisins. Just like 1st grade.  Guacamole and plantain chips. Tip: I’ve found that both vegetables and protein tend to fill me up…especially when I am in a mindless snacking part of my day.  Both are good, but when you combine the veggie AND the protein, you have a total snack win.

Rule #3.  Pack a lunch.  When you pack a lunch, you know you have a solid meal with real food.  For the days that I spend on the ambulance, I always have my lunch box with me. I tend to pack a plethora of options as well as a ton of finger food. Again, more veggies.  Pecan hummus and carrot sticks are a good one.  Also, when my almond butter is running low, I like to cut up a handful of celery sticks to put in the jar.  This makes for easy, mess-free dipping.  Cauliflower is a pretty good choice as well.  Filling and not messy.  A CrossFit Paleo cop I know likes to take cooked chicken breast to work and dip it into homemade baconnaise as a snack.  Nuts like almonds and pistachios are a great choice instead of having chips or crackers. I have also been known to pack a salad in a mason jar.  Put your dressing on the bottom then add plantain chips or almonds on top of that.  Continued to add the various layers of your salad.  When you’re ready for lunch, just give the jar a shake and dig in (I do recommend packing a large fork as well…unless you have small hands that can fit into the jar.)  A few other things I may have in my lunchbox include apples, slices of orange, small packages of Justin’s almond butter, some dark chocolate, local grass-fed beef sticks, sweet potato chips…  Snacks are great, but one can not live on snacks alone.  It’s also important to pack some solid sustenance.  Finger food.  One day, there I was, driving down the road….eating steak strips.  I also like to take grilled kabobs along.  Hard boiled eggs, homemade chicken tenders, and homemade coconut oil fried fish are also a few other options that I have been known to take along with me.  Decent protein. Protein will fill you up, and if you nom on clean protein choices, you’re set. Nutritious AND delicious. Tip: I have a couple insulated lunch bags that I take to work with me.  I can throw an ice pack or 2 in there in the morning and keep the lunch bag by my side all day long, even on an ambulance road trip. I also do this when I take road trips in my personal vehicle.  Saves money, there are fewer stops, and I am able to fill up on the good stuff instead of whatever drive thru options may tempt me.

Rule #4.  Strategic convenience store snacking…in case of emergencies.  Sometimes, when you are in a pinch, a gas station is the only option.  While choices are limited, there are a few go-to items that I’ll grab for on the road.  Almonds.  Almonds are good to snack on and great for you.  Once in awhile, if I’m starving and need something satisfying, I will have a roller dog (well, a bratwurst, not a hot dog) with mustard.  Now, this isn’t the best option, but I figure it’s a pretty good meaty protein source for those times that I’ve been up all.day.long and all.night.long, am STARVING, and craving all things bad.  Again, hard boiled eggs are a great choice.  Pork rinds.  Hey, they’re Paleo.  Sometimes I can find a piece of fruit or a package of dried fruit.  A big bottle of water as well.  Water will help to fill your rumbly tummy.  Tip: I actually like to just walk around a few times to see if I can find anything new and exciting….and kind of Paleo.  The popular items are typically on the ends of the aisles and part of big displays.  Walk around a little to find better options.

Rule #5. Water.  I try to stay hydrated the best that I can.  Sometimes your body thinks its hungry when really, you just need water.  Have you heard about the apple test?  I can’t remember where I heard this, but I kind of use it as a rule of thumb, “When you’re hungry, ask yourself, ‘Does an apple sound good to me?'” If it does, you’re probably hungry.  If it doesn’t, then odds are, you need some water.  Tip: Many people reach for Mio or Crystal Light to enhance their water experience.  Yes to drinking more water.  No to the calorie-free, ARTIFICIAL sweetener.  For something different, try adding fruit to you water.  Buy yourself a fancy new water bottle.  Something.  Everyone needs more water.

I guess the most important thing is to not let myself get too hungry.  In order to succeed, you need to plan ahead.  I’m always thinking about when I will eat next and what I will do if I get a flight or ambulance call just as I’m about to sit down for a meal.  When hunger strikes, I really don’t want to miles away from my food.  It makes me irritable.  Nobody likes a grumpy medic.

Whoever you may be….firefighter, busy mom, office guy too busy to take a lunch…hopefully this helps a little.  Eat.  You’ll be a happier person.

Minted Zucchini

20140117_164012

While on the lookout for a new side dish, I found this gem by The Paleo Mom.  Minted zucchini.  It seemed light yet filling.  I always like to find delicious recipes where vegetables take the spotlight.

Ingredients
2 medium zucchini, halved and sliced into ¼” semicircles
2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Instructions
1.     Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add coconut oil and zucchini.
2.    Sautee zucchini until soft and just starting to brown, about 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently.
3.    Add mint and continue to cook for 1 minute. Serve!

Best part, hands down, is the ease of this recipe. 3 ingredients, 3 steps.  I actually dug out my spiral slicer for this one.  I use a Paderno slicer that I bought for about $30 on Amazon.  One of my favorite kitchen gadgets.  I really dig veggie “noodles,” so I thought I’d try a spiral spin on this recipe.  I also set aside some “noodles” and added some s&p and garlic.  Both zucchini “noodle” versions turned out great.  This recipe could be used as a fresh ending to a meal or even just as a snack.  The mint and zucchini go together surprisingly well.  I feel like the only way to describe it is clean and fresh.  Refreshing I suppose.  I will most definitely be making this one again.  It’s a minty win!

Happy eating!

Recipe HERE

Stuffed Acorn Squash

image

Tis the season for squash.  So many options.  I love it!  While perusing through the Delicously Organic site, I happened upon this recipe. I was drawn in by the picture, intrigued by the ingredients. Here’s the info.

Ingredients
Squash
2 acorn squash, cut in half pole-to-pole, seeds removed
1 tablespoons ghee, melted (click here for an easy homemade recipe)
1 tablespoon honey
Celtic sea salt

Filling

4 tablespoons ghee
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups “riced” cauliflower*
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1/3 cup pecans
1/4 cup plumped raisins**
1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Adjust rack to middle position.
2. Place squash, cut-side up, on a baking sheet.
3. Combine ghee and honey then brush the squash with the mixture using a pastry brush.
4. Season with sea salt.
5. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons ghee in a large sauté pan and swirl to coat.
7. Add onion and celery then cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes until soft.
8. Stir in cauliflower and cook for 3-4 minutes until hot.
9. Stir in thyme, pecans, raisins, sea salt and pepper.
10. Spoon filling into acorn squash and roast for 20 minutes. Serve.

 

*To rice cauliflower: Cut cauliflower into bite-size pieces and place half of the pieces in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 12-15 times until cauliflower is the size of rice. Repeat. As an alternative, you can grate the cauliflower with a cheese grater or chop finely with a large chef’s knife.

 

**To plump raisins: Place raisins and 1/4 cup juice (orange, apple, even kombucha works!) in a small saucepan. Bring to a low simmer. Turn off heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove raisins.

 A couple things.  I used butter instead of ghee.  I was at work, hungry, and afraid I would get called out while making it.  For time’s sake, I chose to use the regular grass-fed butter.  Also, I used apple juice to plump the raisins.  Good choice on my part.  Thirdly, I couldn’t find a grater at work, so I ended up finely chopping the cauliflower.  That worked just fine. 

I was thoroughly impressed with this dish.  I planned on having it as a side, but ended up actually eating it for dinner.  It’s filling and super tasty.  I couldn’t get enough!  It tastes like Thanksgiving stuffing.  The flavors are perfectly savory with just a subtle hint of sweet.  The crispy filling compliments the soft squash really well.  The flavors just layer perfectly.  This would be a great side for a family get-together or a warm the soul kind of dish for a cozy night at home. 

Happy eating!

Recipe HERE

Chia Seed Pudding

image

Chia seeds.  Packed with a big nutritional punch in a tinylittleseed.  Chia seeds are interesting little buggers.  When dry, they look kind of like a poppy seed.  When moisture is added, it basically turns into a gelatinous orb. It has been debated that these seeds can help curb hunger.  I guess my take on it is that since the seed sort of expands, it helps you to feel more full. In addition to maybe curbing hunger, these seeds are pretty good for you.  Fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3.  All of that in these tinylittleseeds. 

I typically use Chia seeds when I make shakes and smoothies.  I’m always looking for other uses for these funky little seeds.  Recently, I came across this pudding recipe on the Deliciously Organic site.  Sounds pretty delicious.

Ingredients
1-1/2 Cups full fat coconut milk
4 Tbsp real maple syrup (or honey)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup fresh berries

Instructions
1. Whisk coconut milk, maple syrup, and extracts until smooth. 
2. Stir in chia seeds
3. Divide mixture evenly between 4 glasses.
4. Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
5. Serve

Note: If you’d like to make the pudding ahead of time, cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator.  Set pudding out for 15 minutes before serving.  Best if eaten within 24 hours.

I found this recipe a couple of days ago, printed it off, and set it on my counter.  This morning, before work, I quick whipped up a batch to throw in my lunch bag.  I altered it just slightly due to time.  I had about a half a can of coconut milk and added almond milk to make the 1-1/2 cups. I was out of maple syrup so I used honey.  I didn’t have any almond extract so I left that stuff out as well.  I had my blender out, so I threw it all into the blender and gave it whirl.  Once mixed, I poured the pudding into mason jars and put them in my lunch bag for work. 

Around lunchtime (about 6 hours after making the pudding), I tried this stuff out.  I added fresh raspberries to make it pretty.  This stuff is pretty fantastic.  As my medic partner so eloquently put it, “It looks reptilian!”  The seeds do give it a funky look and texture, but that’s alright.  The flavor makes up for it.  It totally reminded me of tapioca pudding.  Subtly sweet, a hint of vanilla, and packed with healthy goodness. 

I WILL be making this again.  I foresee having this stuff on hand often to have as dessert.  Perfect.

Happy eating!

Recipe HERE. Also listed is a chocolate version. I plan to make that one next time. I have fond memories of warm tapioca pudding with chocolate chips.  Ahh, memories.

image