Checking In..

My oh my, it has been a busy week in our house and I forgot to check in on the blog!  It seems we are successfully staying on top of our crazy lives and the key to our success is planning.  I knew when we would be busy and made my meals around our schedules.  This means, easy meals when I had less time and time-consuming meals when I had the time.  Below is our meals for the week, if you want to take a peak!

Monday: Salmon
Tuesday: Spaghetti
Wednesday: Hamburgers on the grill
Thursday: Chicken with zuchinni
Friday: Scallops
 

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Rendering Beef Tallow

Sometimes I surprise myself with the things I do.  This is at the top of my list!  I think I might have rolled my eyes in college if I heard someone was rendering beef tallow.  I would have probably thought they were crazy and ridiculous for doing it.  However, one can not judge until they try it.

I decided to make beef tallow after talking with our farmer.  She mentioned how great it is for frying up vegetables.  With our grass-fed cow, we got 8 bags of frozen tallow pieces.  This butcher took the tallow through the processor to make mini-fat pieces.  This is great for those who enjoy ‘crackle’.  ‘Crackle’ is very crunchy beef fat cooked until it dries up and turns brown.  We use ‘crackle’ on top of our salads to give it a crunch.  Or my husband enjoys it plan out of the storage container.  I recommend only rendering tallow from an animal whom you know the farmer.  Animals store their injections in their fat.  If you have a cow which was injected with growth hormones, you will be consuming them through the rendering of the animal fat.  Another reason to buy local!

tallow

Beef tallow has many health benefits.  The fat from grass-fed cows should contain omega-3 and omega-6.  It is also great for providing our brain with nutrients.  Some people think if they eat fat, they will get fat….WRONG!  Tallow is one of the purest fats you can consume.  You can buy it from companies who charge a pretty penny or you can make your own.

What do you use tallow for?  We use tallow as oil.  This means, we fry vegetables in it.  It makes amazing fried sweet potato fries!  I have added it into my morning smoothie for extra fat.  I use it to make pie crusts or bake goods.  Back in the day my grandparents use to cook with lard, beef tallow is lard from a cow.

tallow2

 

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Carne Asada

Just about every week, I make a visit to our local Tacquira.  I always order carne asada, hold the tortilla.  So my order goes like this, “Yo hablo espanol muy poco.  Yo quiero carne asada, para yo no quiero la tortialla.”  She always stares at me and then puts the beef in a box with lots of pico di gallo sauce!  My mouth is watering already as I type this from the taste of carne asada!

We are getting low our grass-fed beef selection.  Our next share of beef comes in two weeks!  I can’t wait, but until then I have to use up what we have in the freezer.  I decided to experiment with a beef lion sirloin steak.  I did take the large steak and cut it into a few smaller pieces prior to marinating it.  This cut of meat was AMAZING for carne asada!

The key to this recipe is the marinating process!  The marinate smells amazing and will flavor and tenderize the meat!  I recommend marinating your meat for 8-10 hours.

You can serve your carne asada on a bed of lettuce or in a Paleo tortilla wrap.  I recommend Simple Paleo Toritllas by Stupid Easy Paleo.  You can find her recipe here

carneasada

Carne Asada

Marinate Ingredients
4 gloves of garlic minced
2 limes juiced
1 juicing orange juiced
2 tbs vinegar
1 cup stuffed with fresh cilantro
1 tbs Himalayan salt ground
1/3 cup olive oil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
 
Beef Ingredients
2 lbs beef lion sirloin steak
 
Directions
1. Place all marinate ingredients into a blender and puree mixture.
2. Place beef in a bag and pour marinate on top of it.
3.  Marinate meat for 8-10 hours in the refrigerator.
4.  Take meat out of the refrigerator and allow it to get to room temperature (about 30 minutes).
5.  Grill your meat to your desired taste.  We like ours medium-rare and it is 3 minutes a side.
6.  Slice your cooked beef into small strips or squares.
7.  Place your carne asada on lettuce or inside a Paleo tortilla and serve with a lime slice.

**Carne Asada tastes amazing the next day served cold on a bed of salad greens with fresh pico de gallo**

carneasada2

 

 

 

Sweet Potato and Cilantro Dip

Sweet potato and cilantro dip is an easy recipe to make for a side dish or as a healthy appetizer.  I know many people LOVE dips!  I have used left over cilantro dip as a salad dressing too.  This is a universal recipe and you can do a lot with these two items.  This is my quick and easy ‘go-to’ recipe when I’m in a time crunch because the sweet potato can be baked before making this dish.

sweetpotato

Sweet Potato and Cilantro Dip

Sweet Potato Ingredients
2 large sweet potatoes
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
 
Cilantro Dip
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cloves garlic
2 tbs fresh lemon juice 
 
Sweet Potato Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2.  Cut sweet potatoes into 1 inch square pieces.
3.  Coat the squares with olive oil and salt
4.  Bake sweet potatoes for 24 minutes, turning every 8 minutes.
5.  Sweet potato squares should be soft, but not mushy.
6.  Allow sweet potato squares to cool before eating this dish.
7.  You may place toothpicks inside the sweet potato to allow for easy dipping.
 
Cilantro Dip Directions
1.  Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high.
2.  Pour dip into a small bowl to serve with sweet potato squares.
3.  Dip can served warm or cold.  If you choose warm, microwave for 1 minute.

Farmers Market Produce Recipes

I love Saturdays because I can go to our local farmers market.  I love how the food is laying on tables displaying all of earths natural colors.  At our farmers market the vendors have signs stating: grower, commercial seller or artisan.

Want to learn a little more about the farmer’s market? Mindful Meals has created a list of “5 Reasons Why I Shop at the Farmer’s Market“.  Or check out Happy Healthy nut post on “How to Make the Most of your Farmers Market.  Last but not least, check out Don’t Waste the Crumbs post “8 Strategies for Saving Money at the Farmers Market.” Her and I think alike!  I love asking questions to the vendors. Often, they inspire me to think outside the box with my recipe creations.  I love how they take pride in their farming and often teach me new information.  Food from a farmers market or CSA tastes different from the grocery store.  It tastes fresh, without a waxy taste.  I also love giving back to my community.  Going to the farmers market or belonging to a CSA helps local businesses succeed!

If you can not attend a farmers market, try finding a CSA near your house.  My husband and I belong to an amazing CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and this will help save money too!  We get a ton of fruits and vegetables and pay $25 for a weekly basket.  Conveying Awareness has written a great blog entry about her CSA box.

During the summer, we rarely venture to the grocery store, perhaps once a month because we get all our food needs through the farmers market or CSA.  Don’t forget, we buy our meat in bulk from a local farmer.

Farmers Market Produce Recipes

Fruit

Strawberry Salsa
Watermelon Jello
Watermelon Appetizer
Chilled Strawberry Watermelon Soup
Cherry Mint Lemonade
Lemon Blossom Spring Smoothie
Microgreens Fruit Salad
Pan Fried Apples with Dates
Cranberry Salad

vegetables2

Leeks
Tomato Candy
Purple Potatoes
Fava Beans
Garlic Brocolinni 
Spring In A Bowl
Radish and Leek Soup
Garlic Scapes
Grilled Garlic Scapes
Beet Greens
Chili-Lime Roasted Asparagus
Grilled Asparagus
Spring Asparagus and Fennel Saute
Chilled Gold Beet Soup
Salsa with Cucumbers
Curried Cream of Kale and Coconut Soup
Roasted Sugar Snap Peas with Mint & Sea Salt
Kale Citrus Kale-salad
Lacto-Fermented Carrot Sticks
Baby Kale Salad with Nectarine Balsamic Dressing
Carrots with Rosemary and Thyme
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Beet Salad
Delicata Squash
Side Salad
Ratatouille 
Zoodles
 

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Planning creates success

I always say “Planning creates success”.  There are several ways to plan for success.  Let me tell you a few of my secrets for planning.

First, do you have enough food options for a day out of the house?  Eating in your home is easy, everything is at your finger tips.  However, when you leave your house is when temptation will arise.  I keep a desk drawer filled with Paleo approved snacking items.  I have kale chips for salty cravings, ginger chews for sweet cravings, coconut chips for crunch, nuts for healthy fat and cashew butter for a grab and go.

Second, are you going out for a meal?  If so, plan for what you will get ahead of time.  This will avoid temptations when put on the spot to order.  I always browse a menu online prior to visiting an establishment.  This helps me know my options.  Often online I can find more information about their gluten-free items than I can on their paper menu.  If you are venturing out, here is a few of my favorite options at establishments here.  You can find the link here.

Third, think about your mood when it comes time for dinner.  If you are tired, you will likely not devote time to items.  Don’t slip, there are two ways to prepare for this.  One way is to be pro-active and know you will be late and use the crockpot.  When using the crockpot I use a light timer to make sure my food is cooked correctly and ready for me when I walk in the door.  I think the light timer was $2 at a local hardware store.  Another way is to have easy back up food in the fridge.  Our favorite two options are Applegate hotdogs or tuna salad.  You just need to make sure you have hotdogs or tuna in the house.

Planning creates success

Lastly, you are traveling and on the road.  Pack a bag of goodies to take with you.  This past weekend we were gone from our house and I filled a gallon size bag with pre-packaged ‘safe’ items.  I had Paleo Steve items, PrimalPacks, Kit Bars, DANG coconut chips, Justin’s Almond Butter packs, nuts, and freeze-dried fruit.  I didn’t know what I would be doing, but wanted to have some options if we ventured out for a day.  Which did happen, we saw the Blue Angels fly and I was glad I had some safe items to keep fueling my body in the hot humid summer weather!

blue angels