Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bison Steak-Burger with Green Chard and Mushroom Topping

Bison Steak-Burger with Green Chard and Mushroom Topping
 1 lb Ground Bison
 2 Tbsp Onion Powder
 1 Tbsp Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute
 1/4 tsp Salt

 4 Tbsp GF Butter
 1 Bunch Green Chard
 1/2 lb Mushroom
 2 Tbsp Onion Powder
 1/4 tsp salt
 1 C Chicken Stock or Water

In a large bowl, mix burger ingredients. Allow the meat to sit while you prep the topping ingredients to allow the flavors to meld.

Slice the mushrooms and green chard.
 In a large pan, melt the butter.  Add in the sliced veggies, onion powder and salt.
Allow the veggies to cook down for about 5 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, form the burgers into 2- 8oz burgers.
Begin cooking the steak burgers in a large pan with a bit of melted butter.

Add stock to the veggie mixture and allow it to reduce by about 1/2.  Flip burgers and continue to cook to your desired temperature. We cooked ours to medium-well.

Once burger is cooked and topping is reduced, plate burger and top.
Make sure you get some of the buttery sauce on there.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bison (Ground Meat) Jerky

Making your own jerky is a great way to cut cost, as well as ensuring you are eating a clean product. Most jerky products on the market are filled with sugars, preservative and tons of salt! By making your own you not only control those, but the quality of the meat used.
An additional cost cutting measure is to use ground meat. Often, Grass fed Ground Meat is less expensive than other cuts.  I got this Grass Fed Ground Bison for $6/lb, making the entire batch (which came out to 1 pound dried, though we ate about 1/2 a sheet pan before I got the picture) for $12. That is incredible for completely clean, Grass fed, Bison Jerky! Try this with bison, or any other ground meat you like!

Bison Jerky
2 lb Ground Bison (or other meat)
1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
1 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Molasses
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

Place all ingredients in a food processor.
Turn it on and let it go till everything is evenly distributed and broken down.
 Place in the refrigerator for several hours to allow the flavors to meld.  When ready to begin, preheat oven to 170.  Spread about 1/3 of the mixture on a full size, raised edge baking sheet.
With the back of a spatula, spread mixture as thin as you can 1/4-1/8in.
 The 2 pounds is enough for 3 baking sheets full. Place in the oven for about 3 hours or until the consistency is what you want.
Remove from oven and allow it to cool. Use kitchen sheers to cut into strips.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Goodbye Grocery Store!

Are you going to go to the grocery store next month? Guess what, I’m not. Yeah, you read that right!

Though I have steered away from processed foods for some time, having made my own breads, baked goods and treats from scratch even prior to giving up grains and sugars, my perspective on food has changed drastically.  Though I am still very budget conscious, my perspective on frugal has shifted; I would rather buy less of a quality item and find ways to stretch it than a larger amount of a low quality item.

After doing a lot of talking, my husband and I have made the decision that we are not going to go to the grocery store for a month. We already find local, high quality sources for much of what we buy, and we want to challenge ourselves to find more. Granted, right now, in the dead of winter might not be the best time to be starting this, but we will give it a go!

So here are the rules we have set forth for ourselves:
1)    We will NOT spend money in a grocery/big box/convenience store on anything we will eat. Paper goods, toiletries, etc will still be purchase when they are needed.

2) We will seek out local sources for what we can, and resort to outside source last. If we cannot find the quality we want locally we are willing to seek out online/shipped sources (Like this awesome deal at Tropical Traditions, or US Wellness Meats, or even Amazon if needed) that will provide us with what we need.

3)  We will stick to our Paleo/Primal tenants. For us this means: No Grains, No Processed Sugars, Limited High Quality Dairy, Limited Paleo Sweeteners (Honey/Maple Syrup/Dates/Figs) and Carbs in the moderation that our bodies thrive (Steven does better with a higher carb than me, and we will maintain those amounts).

Though we have the expectation that making this shift may increase the amount we spend on food a bit, we are hoping that the reduction of spur of the moment purchases will offset these. I won’t be buying the package of dried fruit to occupy the kids in the cart if they are never in the cart, right.

Knowing that this is a testing month we are giving ourselves a bit of wiggle room on the budget. I am going to buy the amounts that we need, and see how much that is. In other words, rather than trying to stick to a budget, I am going to allow our bodies to determine its needs. It will be a process of experimenting and learning, but I think it will be a good shift and bring us more insight.

With all this said, I will be spending the next week preparing by sourcing everything we will need. Though I won’t be starting for another week, I plan to do very limited grocery store shopping. Additionally, I will not buying ahead what I would be using. There is however one exception to that rule: 

I will be ‘stocking-up’ on butter before the challenge starts for a couple reasons. First, I love KerryGold Butter! I love the flavor and have yet to find one I like nearly as well! Secondly, the local pastured alternative is nearly 5 times more expensive. With as much as we use, that cost will add up very fast. For the sake of my wallet (and my taste buds) I will be buying a couple pounds ahead for the month, but I will not go into the grocery store during the month to buy any. Does that make sense?  

And of course, I will be taking you all along for the journey. I will update weekly on what I have purchased, from where, and the cost of my purchases. Though I don’t think I could go without the grocery store forever, I am really hoping that we gain insight into local products, as well as find a better way to fit the quality needs into the budget. So here we go!
What do you guys think? Are you up for the challenge? I would love for others to join and share insights as we work though this! 

Butternut Squash Fry Bread

This turned out so yummy! They are super buttery and fluffy! I could have easily eaten a couple of these, but they are definitely a moderation food for me as they do contain tapioca and almond flour. That being said, the kids (and hubby) ate them right up, so I will be making another batch tomorrow! I don't moderate my kids carbs as much as I do my own because, well, they are kids!! They are expelling a lot of energy growing, running, playing, and being wild everyday, so I don't limit their intake of quality ingredients! Additionally, my husband maintains a higher carb version of Paleo as well because he feels better on one, especially when he is working towards more strength specific goals physically.

Butternut Squash Fry Bread
1 C Butternut Puree
2 Eggs
1/4 C Coconut Flour
1/2 C Tapioca Flour
1 C Almond Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Butter for Cooking

In a small bowl combine the squash and eggs. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients (except butter). Add dry ingredients into wet and stir to combine.

Preheat a tbsp or so of butter in a heavy bottom pan on the stovetop over medium to medium high heat.

 Spoon 2 Tbsp or so of the batter into the preaheated pan and allow it to cook for about 2 minutes on the first side.
Flip the fry bread over and flatten it with the back of the spatula.
Allow the bread to cook an additional 2 minutes or so till nicely browned on both sides and cooked through.
Remove from pan and enjoy warm!

*Something to note: I have found butternut squash to have different consistency depending on how you cook it. The consistency you are looking for is a thick pancake batter, so you may need to adjust the ingredients a bit to get that. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Greek Meatzza

Greek Meatzza
Meat Crust:
2 lb Ground Beef
1 Clove Fresh Garlic
2 Tbsp Onion Powder
2 Tbsp Parsley
2 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tsp Paprika
1 tsp Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Egg

1 Can Artichoke Hearts
1/2 C Sun Dried Tomatoes (Sliced)
Crumbled Bacon
Feta Cheese
1 Tbsp Oregano
Olive Oil

More Optional Toppings:
Marinara Sauce
Greek Olives
Splash of Balsamic

Preheat oven to 350. Place Meat Crust ingredients in the food processor and pulse it till all ingredients are equally incorporated.
 Spread meat evenly into a raised side cookie sheet (mine is 17.25x11.5).
Top meat with the toppings of your choice, ending with the remaining oregano and olive oil sprinkled on top. (I did 1/2 Feta and 1/2 Mozzerella for my kids because Feta can be a bit of a strong flavor for them.)
Place in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. If needed, use a turkey baster to remove excess liquid that may gather in the pan.

Once meatzza is cooked through, turn broiler to low for 2-3 minutes to brown cheese slightly.

 Enjoy with a side salad.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Banana Nut Balls

These are a snack I threw together last week. They are super rich (even without added sweetener) and are a great treat when the sweet tooth hits. I have these in the freezer to indulge on every now and then. I hope you enjoy!

Banana Nut Balls
1 C Cashews
1 C Pecans
1 C Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 C Dried Banana Chips
3/4 C Coconut Oil
Honey (Optional)
8 oz Dark Chocolate

In the food processor, pulse nuts, seeds and banana chips to a pea size texture.
Add in coconut oil (not melted) and process until it comes together into a sticky dough.

Using a bit more coconut oil, grease your hands and form dough into balls.
 Place balls into the freezer to set up for at least an hour. When ready to dip, melt chocolate in a double boiler.
Remove balls from the freezer and dip into the melted chocolate. Allow to sit out in room temperate for a bit so the centers soften slightly. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Grass Fed Bison for $6/lb!!!

I don't know about all of you, but finding Grass Fed meats is important to me, but is sometimes unattainable on my budget. Because of that, when I do find a good deal I will generally stock up! This is the case today. Tropical Traditions has an awesome deal going on right now for 60% off Ground Bison. This is 100% Grass Fed, Grass Finished Bison, for about $6/lb, shipped to your door! We decided to use some of our Christmas money from family to get 48/lbs of this and it came out to about $5.94/lb! How awesome is that?!?!
You don't have to buy as much as I did to get the great deal either.
Here is the link!
GF Ground Bison about $6/lb

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mexi-Spiced Salad Dressing

One of the ways we maintain Paleo on our busy days/nights is by making large amounts of protein ahead and using it in simple salads and other meals. This is a great example of that. I cooked a 5 lb roast over the weekend and we are able to eat off of it for a couple days. This dressing changes up the flavor enough to give you a unique meal, but without making a separate protein each night. You can use this same idea and mix up the seasonings.

Mexi-Spiced Salad Dressing
1/2 Mashed Avocado
1/4 C Avocado Mayonnaise
1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/2 Tbsp Cumin
1 tsp Dried Cilantro Leaves
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

Mix it all up and enjoy it on a fresh salad.

 (Ours included spinich, tomatoes, cucumbers, bacon crumbles, and leftover roast shredded.)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Spinach Artichoke Meatballs

While these were great last night when I made them, the leftovers today were AMAZING! After sitting in the sauce overnight and being reheated for my breakfast (umm, and maybe my lunch as well) they were just fantastic. Great flavor and texture! Perfect to make a big batch of as stand-by protein in the fridge!

Spinach Artichoke Meatballs
3 Good Size Handfuls of fresh Spinach
1 Egg
1 Clove of fresh Garlic
4 Tbsp Dried Sweet Basil
2 Tbsp Dried Italian Seasoning
2 Tbsp Dried Chopped Onions
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Can Artichoke Hearts (drained)
3 lb Ground Meat (I like a combo, so I used 1/2 Turkey and 1/2 GF Beef)

Place spinach, egg and all seasonings in the food processor. Allow spinach to breakdown to a paste and all seasonings to be distributed evenly.
Add in ground meat and combine until it is evenly dispersed.
Add in the can of artichoke hearts and pulse till they are broken up and distributed, but not completely chopped.
You want some bigger chunks of artichoke.
 Allow mixture to sit in the refrigerator for a couple hours to let the flavors meld.
 Form meat into desired size balls and place on a baking sheet.
Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are almost completely cooked through. The time will vary depending on the size you make, as well as the type of meat.
 Place in a large pot and add in tomato sauce of your choice and allow them to finish cooking in the sauce.

 Serve as is or on top of spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thai (NO) Peanut Beef and Veggies

I got the inspiration for this recipe from my friend Tovah who brought a delicious sauce to our house for dinner a couple months back. I used her recipe as a jumping off point and this awesome creation was made. The 4 (and 1/2 counting Colton) were raving about how great this was, and there are no leftovers. Next time I will double this recipe!!

Thai (NO) Peanut Beef and Veggies
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Almond Butter
Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)

3 Tbsp Almond Butter
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Tbsp Sesame Oil
3 Tbsp Coconut Aminos

Stir Fry:
2 lb Beef Steak
10 oz Broccoli
10 oz Cauliflower
10 oz Baby Carrots
Sesame Seeds for garnish

In a large bowl, combine marinade ingredients with a whisk.
Slice beef into thin stir fry slices.
Place beef to marinade, stir till coated and allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or up to 8.

Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and allow it to sit in the fridge for at least an hour prior to serving.

Par cook broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in a steamer basket prior to stir frying. Once steak has marinaded and veggies are par cooked, heat a couple Tbsp of oil in a large pan.  Add in beef and cook through.
 Add in veggies and allow them to warm back up to temperature.

Serve stir fry topped with sauce and a sprinkled with sesame seeds.