January 12, 2012

Recipe: The Best Paleo Chicken Nugget Recipe!

Ingredients

4 Chicken Breasts, cubed into small pieces

Dash or two of Garlic Powder and Onion Powder

3-4 Tablespoons coconut flour

1/4 cup coconut oil (for cooking)

Method:

Put coconut oil in skillet at high heat. Place chicken breast cubes into container with lid or Ziploc bag. Sprinkle seasonings and coconut flour over chicken and shake (yes, shake-n-bake style). Add chicken to hot skillet and cook until nicely brown. Results in crispy, delicious, gluten-free, picky-eater approved chicken nugget!

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January 12, 2012

Recipe: Super Simple Paleo Cauliflower Rice

If you are the type to gag at the thought of using frozen vegetables, or think it’s a terrible alternative to fresh vegetables, or whatever this probably isn’t a recipe for you (this blog might not be either? lol), If, however, you are the type that appreciates the finer points of frozen veggies, read on!)

Recipe: Super Simple Paleo Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:

One Bag Frozen Cauliflower

Butter or Coconut Oil for Sauteing

Method:

1.  Place frozen cauliflower in colander and run warm water over it until semi-defrosted.

2.  Take out handfuls of defrosted cauliflower and dump into this awesome Food Chopper, and pull the handle 10-15 times.

3.  Pour the “rice” into a saute pan, and cook using butter or coconut oil, and maybe even some garlic if you feel fancy :) Enjoy!

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January 10, 2012

Recipe: Sweet Potato Spinach Curry

Recipe: Sweet Potato Spinach Curry

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef (you could also use cubed chicken breast/thigh- it is delicious either way)

2-3 cups fresh spinach or kale
-or-
1/2 bag of frozen chopped spinach or kale

1 bag frozen stir fry vegetables
-or-
3 cups of your favorite fresh stir fry veggies

1 tbs curry powder

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
-or-
2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potato

Balsamic Vinegar to taste

Method:
Brown meat in skillet over medium high heat. Remove meat from skillet; reserve fat if using grass fed, or drain pan and add two tbs coconut oil. Add fresh or frozen vegetables to skillet and sauté vegetables in fat until soft.

If using fresh sweet potato (not mashed), reduce heat to medium low, cover pan, and cook until potato is desired level of tenderness.

If using mashed sweet potato, add to vegetables an reduce heat to medium low.

Pour meat back into skillet and stir to combine. Add curry powder (1tbs more or less to taste) and let flavors combine for 5-10 minutes.

When ready to serve, drizzle balsamic over individual servings and add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

This recipe was inspired in part by this recipe.

January 8, 2012

Recipe: Grain Free, Gluten Free Coconut Flour Drop Biscuits

Recipe: Grain-Free Gluten-Free Paleo Drop Biscuit

Ingredients:
6 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil or grassfed butter, softened
2/3 Cup Coconut Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tsp garlic powder

Method:
Preheat oven to 400•f. If using coconut oil, wait for eggs to reach room temperature before combining with eggs. Mix eggs and softened coconut oil or butter. Add dry ingredients and mix well. The dough will be very thick. Using two large spoons or a cookie dough scoop, drop heaping spoonfuls of dough onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 400•f. Makes approximately 18 drop biscuits. Serve with Easy Paleo Butternut Squash Soup. Enjoy!

January 8, 2012

Recipe: Easy Paleo Butternut Squash Soup

Recipe: Easy Paleo Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

- 2 packages defrosted frozen cooked butternut squash (looks like frozen rectangular/square package)

- 1 to 2 Tbs grade B Maple Syrup

- 1 can full-fat coconut milk -or- 1.5 cups unsweetened coconut milk plus 1 Tbs Coconut Oil or Grassfed Butter

- Dash of Allspice

- Salt and pepper to taste (optional)

Method:
Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan over low to medium heat and simmer until warm and well combined (20 minutes or more). Serve with Gluten-Free Grain-Free Coconut Flour Drop Biscuits and salad. Enjoy!

January 6, 2012

Recipe: Paleo Pepper & Onion Egg Breakfast Casserole

This can be made with any seasoning, but since I used ground turkey (on sale and in my budget!) instead of sausage, I used creole seasoning. It is probably good with Mexican seasoning too…I’m going to try that next time!

Paleo Pepper & Onion Egg Casserole

Ingredients:
1 package frozen pepper and onion stir-fry
-or-
1/2 sliced onion + 2 bell peppers sliced thin (any color will work)

1 lb Ground Turkey, Beef or Spicy Sausage*

*If you’re not using sausage, use creole seasoning or a blend of Mexican spices to taste.

12-18 Omega 3 Enriched Eggs

Optional: 1-2 Tbs Coconut Oil

Method:
Preheat oven to 350•. Brown meat and add seasoning to taste. Remove meat from skillet and dump into 9×13 glass baking dish, reserving grease if using grass-fed meat. If using conventionally raised meat, dump grease from pan and replace with a tablespoon or two of coconut oil. Sauté peppers and onion over medium high heat until soft. Add peppers to meat in casserole dish.

Crack eggs in mixing bowl. Use electric mixer to whisk eggs so they are light and fluffy (you can do this by hand, but you could end up with chunks of egg white that cook up really dense instead of a nice, evenly cooked casserole). Pour well-whisked eggs over meat and veggie mixture. Cook in preheated 350• oven for roughly 40 minutes until set.

This recipe freezes well. I recommend freezing it once cooked, or freezing meat mixture only then defrosting, and adding eggs only when ready to bake. I love this as an addition to my breakfast OAMC! Enjoy!

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January 4, 2012

WTF Wednesday: JetBlue’s “Minor” Error with My Unaccompanied Minor *with an update

Update: a few hours after this post hit the internets, I received a very kind and apologetic phone call and email from JetBlue. Debbie C. at JetBlue Corporate really understood my concerns and took the time to address each one thoroughly. This is the kind of customer service that I had grown accustomed to receiving from JetBlue, and I’m glad to see they still care about their customers. As I said to Debbie, I’m going to chalk this one up to technical difficulties and (perhaps) a newly trained ticketing agent. Thank you, JetBlue, for doing the right thing!

My daughter has been flying coast-to-coast as an unaccompanied minor for more than three years. In those three years, she has flown roughly 15 round-trip flights. This means she has boarded a plane alone at least 30 times. As a parent, this can be nerve wracking, but I have learned to trust the airlines to be very diligent with her care and their records regarding her flights.

We pay an additional fee for the JetBlue Unaccompanied Minor service and I expect perfection. Lizzy has flown with JetBlue for more than half of her flights, and we didn’t have any issues until last week.

When I arrived at the airport to pick-up my daughter, I went to check-in at the ticket counter to get my gate pass like I always do. After providing the ticketing agent with the flight number and confirmation number, she looked in her computer and immediately called over a supervisor. They explained to me that there was no pick-up or drop-off information in their computer. Somehow, they let my child board a flight with no information in their system about who was to pick her up on the other side.

For security reasons, they could not issue me a gate pass since my information was not in their computer. I was told I would have to meet my daughter at baggage claim, and that I could call customer service to complain.

Before I start my rant, I will say that each unaccompanied minor boards the plane with a necklace containing pick-up information (a carbon copy of paperwork filled out by an adult at drop-off). That said, what if she dropped it in the toilet by mistake? Spilled a bottle of water on it?

My eight year old daughter was expecting me to meet her at the gate like I always do. She (of course) got nervous when she didn’t see me waiting there and had to walk through the airport with a flight attendant. I got nervous too! How can I expect a flight attendant to be totally responsible for my child walking through a crowded airport? It was JFK for crying out loud! Children get abducted when they are with their parents… am I supposed to feel completely comfortable with a stranger walking my child through the airport? It’s one thing when I am the last one to see her when she boards the plane and the first person to take her hand when she deplaned, but this is a whole different level that I didn’t sign up for!

I called JetBlue while I was waiting in baggage claim. The telephone agent was very nice, but told me the best way to get a response would be to contact JetBlue via SpeakUp on their website. So, from my phone, I emailed my complaint immediately.

I got a canned reply! An automated reply for something that is a serious issue and completely negligent on their part. I responded with another strongly worded email, respectfully requesting that they work on their unaccompanied minor policy so this doesn’t happen again, and a refund of my $100 unaccompanied minor fee.

Their reply? Basically this: Sorry lady. Minor Issue. We don’t really care that much. No big deal. Not all complaints result in a full or partial refund.

I don’t know about you, but that is not okay with me. I expect someone at JetBlue to be a horrified as I was. I ask the executives at JetBlue, how would you feel if this was your child?

Do you have an experience to share regarding JetBlue or any other airline and your unaccompanied minor? Did you have any success with a serious acknowledgement from the airline? Tips on how to get a reply from JetBlue that acknowledges the seriousness of this matter?

In the meantime, I guess I’ll be booking all of her flights with Virgin America from now on…my daughter thinks their cooler anyway!

January 2, 2012

Recipe: Paleo Ground Beef Curry

This recipe was buried in a post from a few months ago, so here it is again in an easier to read format.  Enjoy!

Recipe: Paleo Ground Beef Curry

Ingredients:

-1 lb ground beef
- 1 package frozen stir-fry vegetables (I find the broccoli stir-fry is usually the one I can count on to be legume-free)
- 1 package frozen spinach
- scoop of yellow curry paste whisked with coconut cream and a bit of water to taste.

Method:

Brown the ground beef. If using grass-fed beef, remove the meat from the pan but reserve the fat to stir-fry the veggies.  If using grain-fed beef, drain the fat and rinse the meat in a colander. Then add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil to your pan. Now you should have a pan with beef fat or coconut oil. Add the frozen stir-fry veggies and spinach and sauté until cooked. While the veggies cook, whisk together curry paste, coconut cream, and water. Make as much sauce as you like. I usually end up making 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup per pound of meat. Add sauce to vegetables, then return meat to pan. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors blend.

If cooking this for a freezer meal (OAMC) allow to cool, then spoon into freezer safe containers and freeze. I usually take this out of the freezer a full twenty-four hours before I want to eat it, then microwave to warm. Super simple!

 

December 30, 2011

Recipe: Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Banana Bread

I recently made this Primal Banana Bread to take with us on vacation. I wanted my kids to have something similar to the other non-paleo food choices, in hopes they would choose this instead. They did…mostly!

This is probably the best banana bread I have ever had…grain-free, gluten-free, primal, paleo, or even the regular gluten and sugar filled versions. I’m sure you could make this into muffins as well, but I sliced this and then cut it into sticks (which was kinda fun too)!

Recipe: Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Banana Bread Loaf

Ingredients:
1 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 tablespoons cinnamon
12 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted *or 1/2 cup melted grass-fed butter
1/4 cup grade b maple syrup
6 ripe mashed bananas

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 325•F
2. Combine wet ingredients in your blender (love my Blendtec!) food processor, or kitchen aide.
3. Pour wet ingredients into large bowl.
4. Add dry ingredients and mix with hand mixer.
5. Pour into one large loaf pan or two smaller loaf pans.
6. Bake at 325• for 60-75 minutes for large loaf, 40 minutes for two smaller.

Oven temperatures and cooking times really vary. This recipe does brown quite a bit (I guess because there are a lot of bananas?), so be sure to check for doneness with a knife or toothpick. Mine looked fairly brown and was still mushy in the middle at first check.

This recipe was inspired in part or in whole by this one and this one. Enjoy!

December 24, 2011

Minimalist Eco-Friendly (Green) Gift Wrap Idea

We really don’t go all out for Holidays. As I’ve mentioned in my son’s birthday post, we don’t get crazy with the commercialism and stick to a pretty minimalist theme. We also don’t celebrate Christmas in our house (more like Chrissmas), but more on that another time.

Other family members, however, are a different story. Many people (especially older folk, wink wink) seem to equate love with gift giving, and it’s really tough to get them to break the habit.

Unfortunately we live away from all family, so for many years my Mom has been sending Amazon gift cards and I have been ordering what she wants to get my kids. I use my Amazon Prime Membership to save money on shipping and it really does help to simplify things (for my Mom too). The only issue I have is when Amazon ships in multiple shipments and I end up with extra boxes. I do my best to avoid that, but some things are shipped from different distribution centers, so there isn’t a lot I can do.

So, I’m already feeling kinda bad about extra boxes…how could I even consider using a bunch of wrapping paper to wrap each gift? I searched the web for eco-friendly or green wrapping paper ideas, and I liked what I found. That said, since we are minimalists we don’t have a lot of that stuff laying around. Even though I love the reusable tote bag idea, I already have those and my kids don’t need ‘em. I also want to do something we can do every year for Xmas and even for Birthdays (why not?).

For the last two years, we’ve just piled everything into one Amazon box per kid and let them open the box of unwrapped gifts. This year, I’ve come up with a new plan for Minimalist Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap! The kids are going to repurpose plastic storage totes we already own!

I wish I could tell you we already did this and I could provide pictures of their handy-work, but we are opening gifts from my family on the 28th because we will be out-of-state for Xmas (and the date doesn’t really matter to us anyway). So, on our Chrissmas Eve (Dec 27th this year), I will have the kids decorate their storage bins with stickers and markers. I think it will be a fun new tradition for them and we can reduce our carbon footprint at the same time!

I will update this post next week with pictures, but in the meantime….what do you do that helps you to be green during the Holidays?