Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An easy go to

Green Chili Turkey Burgers

I was running a little late from work tonight so Kyle made dinner.  BTW...thanks babe!  I was also pretty hungry because I had went a little too long without a snack. (That happens too often at work these days!)  So we went with one of our quick, convenient, go-to dinners - Green Chili Turkey burgers.

What you'll need:
1 pound lean ground turkey (or whatever meat you prefer)
1 large can diced green chilis
1 egg
Some green onion (from the garden)
Tex Joy (or whatever seasoning you prefer to use)

Mix all ingredients together (you know you use your hands for this part...gross!)
Section it off to create 4 patties.
When forming patties - indent the middle just a little so when they expand they stay flat.
Grease pan with a little Olive oil and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes on each side. (Kyle put a little more oil than I typically do...but I'm not complaining!)

That's it! Easy...right?

They go really well with a yummy salad topped with a little mustard dressing. We ate ours tonight lettuce wrap style -a little spicy mustard, some lettuce from the garden and some tomato. Sometimes we'll make sweet potato fries to go with it too.

So simple...so tasty!

I love this meal because not only is it easy - I now have leftovers for lunches (or even breakfast) for the next couple of days!  This is a typical Wednesday night meal when we're trying to make something quickly and head out the door for worship services.

Maybe it will make your weekly rotation too?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Jessipoo!

Happy Birthday Jessica!  I can't believe we are getting so old! :\  Sometimes I still feel like a little kid...don't you?

My sister, Jessica is doing her first Whole 30 challenge...she is about 2 weeks in.  I'm so proud of you!  Last I checked she said she is feeling great.  Even after working 60 hours last week she still has energy to spare! I wanted to make her something special for her birthday and I know she is a chocolate fan.  While this isn't probably exactly "Whole 30" approved...it is Paleo approved...and I thought it would be a good compromise.

I adapted the recipe from one I found from "The Southern Eclectic" - Death By Chocolate Paleo Chocolate Cake.  Her original recipe included agave or honey which I do not typically use.  Several people have been asking about the recipe and wondering if it could be true.  Could you really make a cake with no grains, no sugar, no dairy and it still be worth eating?!

Can I be honest...this is the first cake I have ever made from scratch.  I've never been much of a baker.  But when I had chocolate everywhere and cakes in the freezer cooling (because I was too impatient to let them cool by themselves) and a sink overflowing with dishes (because I wasn't very organized) I just kept thinking of my lovely grandmothers.  I remember baking with them and it brought a smile to my face and a little tear to my eye.  I was always so impressed by them.  And I couldn't help but feeling pretty loved that they took the time to do all "this" and more for everyone.  I kind of got it then...baking is love on a plate. 

I kept trying to remember all their little tips as I was pulling this together....lining the cake pans (I didn't take the time to do that)...How to frost a cake just perfectly (obviously I forgot that part!) As I was putting the finishing touches on the cake and putting the glass lid on it I found myself wondering...Would they be proud of me for creating this...Or would they be shaking their head at me with the ridiculous frosting job...the cracking cakes (because I didn't wait for them to totally cool before taking them out of the pan)...and the complete mess of the kitchen and me wearing half of the batter and frosting.

I decided it would be both! :)  I went to bed with love and admiration in my heart for 3 wonderful ladies.  My Grandma Head, my Grandma McGrew and my beautiful sister, Jessica.  I love, respect and appreciate you all so much!


Here is the original recipe with my substitutions (as close as possible...some of it I didn't really measure):

3/4 c coconut flour
1/4 c cacao powder
1t sea salt
1t baking soda
10 eggs
1 c grapeseed oil (I used 1/2c coconut oil and 1/4c olive oil)
1 1/2 c agave nectar or honey (I used about a pound of medjoul dates, 1/2c applesauce and a shot of espresso. Thin this out in your food processor.  I just kept adding applesauce until it was about the consistency of what I thought honey might be and about 1 1/2 cups)
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t orange zest (I didn't add this)

1. In a small bowl, combine flour, cacao, salt and baking soda
2. In a large bowl, using an electric hand blender, blend eggs, oil, honey (or Date mixture), vanilla and orange zest
3. Add dry ingredients into large bowl and continue to blend
4. Oil (2) 9-inch cake pans and dust with coconut flour {I use a spray coconut oil from Whole Foods for greasing}
5. Pour batter into pans and bake at 325* for 35-40 minutes
6. Remove from oven, allowing to cool completely then remove from pans
7. Frost and serve

I didn't really follow the Chocolate frosting exactly.  I didn't measure anything out and I used quite a bit of almond butter instead of honey.  But below is the recipe:
Chocolate Frosting
1c dark chocolate chips {the higher % of cocoa the better. Some are in the 40 range, some are in the 60 range, and I try to find at least 72%} (I used some 72% dark chocolate with no sugar added)
1/2 c grapeseed oil (I used coconut oil)
2T agave nectar {same applies as above. Honey worked great} (I used Almond Butter)
1t vanilla extract
Pinch celtic sea salt

1. In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate and grapeseed oil
2. Stir in honey, vanilla and salt
3. Place frosting in freezer for 15 minutes to cool {I had to do close to 30 to get it to whip properly}
4. Remove from freezer and whip frosting with a hand blender until it is thick and fluffy
5. Frost over cake and serve
*I would DOUBLE the entire recipe for ample frosting. I barely had enough to cover it in just a thin coat, and some areas were still spotty.

The beginning

I find I'm starting my first blog post with the same feeling I start a lot of new things with.  I'm excited...I have so much I want to share and talk about I find it a little overwhelming and almost paralyzing.  I get this way about a lot of things I'm excited about from decorating a new room, to starting a new challenge, to taking on a new hobby, to shopping at a great Sale. :)  There is excitement mixed with thoughts of wanting to make the right choice...which soon leads to feeling a little overwhelmed...which sometimes causes a little anxiety.  My thoughts to want to do things "right" and "perfect" have kept me from doing a lot of things in life. 

I felt this way when I was thinking about starting the Paleo diet.  I had been struggling for a long time with a lot of different symptoms and then was diagnosed with PCOS. (We can talk about that later.)  The doctor wanted to put me on diabetic medication and hormones.  I really didn't like the idea of being on medication for the rest of my life and just covering up the symptoms while not really dealing with the root of the problem.  So I started researching....and researching...

Research led me to the Paleo diet.  Exciting...It seemed like this had really worked for a lot of people. Could this be the answer I was looking for? Intimidating...what if I couldn't do it?  Overwhelming...there was so much information and so many variations.  Paralyzing...where do I even start...which variation of Paleo should I follow...what if it doesn't work?  I talked to a friend about it and she told me to check out "Whole 30." 30 days?  That seemed doable.  So I started in January of 2012.  I tried to put all the "what if it doesn't work/what if I'm not doing it right?" thoughts out of my mind and just took one day at a time...one meal at a time...one snack at a time.  30 days later...all my PCOS symptoms had pretty much gone away and I felt great!  IT CHANGED MY LIFE!!  I didn't look back and continued eating Paleo moving forward. 

Fast forward to June 2012.  One of the biggest changes you may notice is the 35 pounds I have lost. (I had previously lost about 20 pounds before starting Paleo...and I had to fight hard for each one!) But some of the many changes you may not notice at first glance are the elimination of headaches, heartburn, stomach pain, gasteroparesis symptoms, many PCOS symptoms, food sensitivities, seasonal allergies, acne, restless nights, fatigue and depression that I had been struggling with for so long.  More than everything I have "lost" eating Paleo, what I have gained is the real story!  I have gained peace from my symptoms that seemed to consume my every day life.  I have gained a peace of mind when it comes to eating...my life is not consumed with calories and guilt. Food isn't the enemy anymore!  I have gained the joy in living my life again.  You don't realize how bad you feel until you start to feel good again.

And so I start my first blog...my first post...like I did my journey to regain my health...one simple step.  I've learned to just go for it and start somewhere.  It doesn't have to (and most likely isn't going to be) perfect!  I'm starting to learn that part of the fun is the journey and not just the end result. The results I have seen from my Paleo journey thus far helped to reinforce that.  Was I "perfect" every day? No!  Did I make the right decisions every day? Uh...nope! But I just took it one step at a time and didn't let any missteps get me totally off track.

And just like that I've completed my first blog post. :)

This gives me somewhere to start. People have started to ask me a lot of questions regarding the health/nutrition decisions I have been making.  I have so much to say!  I hope to share some stories, recipes, things that have inspired me, and who knows what else.  I guess we'll find out together and enjoy the journey!