Monday, 30 December 2013

Crock Pot Bbq Ribs

   Tap, tap, tap, is this thing on? Whoopsie, it's been a while.

   I certainly let the holiday's take me over the last week! How was Christmas? We had a great time over here! My kids were so excited, Grey was beyond himself on Christmas Eve! I love the holiday's with the little guys! By Christmas Eve it gets pretty hairy, but somehow it all falls together at the last minute! I must say, matching jammies rule!

   I decided that on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that I was going to have fun and eat what I wanted. Sort of. :) I was, after all, in charge of most of the food so I figure I was mostly safe? My day got so crazy when someone wanted to buy the dresser we had for sale, and they wanted to come right now. I was frantically trying to empty it, into the house I was trying to clean! Then it went downhill. Kids were over excited and I was running out of time! Long story short, I had a Chilada in hand by 3pm. Ask me if that was the last thing I had to drink. Then my dear mother shows up here with a Jesus sized platter of "surprise dip". You know, the cocktail sauce, cream cheese, shrimp layered thingie? It's god damn delicious, that's what it is. That was for sure my big splurge of the day (besides booze) and it was worth it!

   For the two days I tried to just save it for things that I really wanted, and then just had a reasonable portion. Just so we're clear, coffee and Bailey's does NOT fall into any category as I feel it's a parents staple item during the holiday's. And it should go unmeasured and unlimited. If you didn't have any, what kind of friend are you, anyways? Suggested serving? What the hell is that?

   I have been trying to get my groceries stocked back up and back into my usual cooking/eating habits. Sure does not take long to stray away and get lazy. No matter if you stuck to the straight and narrow, or you ate your family's weight in chocolate and appetizers, it's over now! Time to get focused and back in the game.

    I am only 10 pounds until the original goal I set for myself almost a year ago. When I reach that I will be about 90 pounds down. That's right, 90!! That's more than my 2 kids weigh together! There is no secret. There is no "easy" way. Eat real food and exercise. It has to be sustainable for you. If you set unrealistic goals, you will fail. It's vital to do what is best for you and the people in your life! Everyday when my oldest is at school and my youngest goes down to sleep, I get my workout in. I sure wasn't happy every day, giving up my 2 hours to myself. But, if I hadn't made myself do it I'm sure I wouldn't be where I am now! It's not easy, but make it work! I have girlfriends that work out at 9 at night. First choice? Probably not, but that's what works. No excuses! 

   My darling husband used some of a Canadian Tire gift card and bought me a new crock pot this week.( a desperate plea to try a different one, I think) I am so excited about this bad boy! It has a temp and time setting so it shuts off when you get to desired settings. No more overdone meat in this house! It won't have "that taste" as my husband always says about anything I ever made in the old crock pot! Today was it's maiden voyage, and ribs were the first experiment since I already had those out. The beauty of these is they smell so amazing while cooking, you look like a miracle worker before anyone has had a bite. Adjust spices to your liking, and reserve any sauce leftover until the end in case you need more to baste. If everyone ends up with a a sauce mustache- you win.

Crock Pot Bbq Ribs:

2-4 pounds baby back or pork side ribs ( I had pork side ribs)
sea salt 
black pepper
1 tsp each, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika (or regular)
2 cups bbq sauce (home made or store bought)
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed coconut sugar (regular brown sugar can be subbed)
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup Frank's Hot Sauce (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 400. Rub the onion powder, garlic powder and paprika on the ribs to coat. Salt and pepper to taste. Place ribs on cooking racks on a baking sheet and brown for 30 minutes in the oven. This helps to render some fat so it's not all in your sauce in the crock pot. 

After braising in oven:

Once ribs are done, place into crock pot on low. Mix together your sauce ingredients until combined and pour over ribs in the crock pot. Reserving some if there is any.

Do not be a lookie-loo! It's very important to not open the lid for at least the first 2 hours of cooking. You are trying to lock in that flavor and establish a solid cooking temp. Stay out!! If you must later on, give them a little stir and make sure they are all coated. Once in a while does not mean every 5 minutes, you'll ruin all your hard work! I did just under 6 hours on low. I'm still learning my crock pot, so I took them out when the bones were coming off. I put them back on the racks and into the oven at 400 for 10 minutes to caramelize the sauce. This is optional. Baste with your remaining sauce if you like. The saucier the mustache, the better! :)) I made some cauli rice on the side, delish. Not a single leftover. 

Original recipe pingback to ""

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Mozzerella Stuffed Italian Meatballs

Well hello there! Still floating head above water, so close to the holiday's? I am, by a thread!

   Anyone catch Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon  on SNL last night? God, it was so funny! I can't get enough of those two together. Shane and I decided to put it on and kick our wrapping in the ass. As usual, the wrapping won. But- I'm almost done! Only stocking stuff left. Victory in my books!

   Against my better judgement, I decided to put the gifts under the tree. I was only going to put a few, and test the waters with my terrorist of a one year old. But after a few got under there, they looked so pretty I couldn't stop. At first he looked stunned to see them this morning. He wasn't sure what to do. There has been poking with his trusty light Sabre, dragging and downright attempts at ripping. But in the end it went much better than I was ready for. They are still there and so far nothing has been revealed, so I'd say that's a success! Everyone in my family will just have to accept the fact that they need a hunting knife and a blow torch to get into their gifts this year! Sealed up like a bank vault! :)

   I was in and out shopping today, because like I said about 3 days ago, I don't need any more groceries!! Well, that was a dirty lie. I saw 92% dark chocolate at Shoppers! Did you know that was there? Yum. Love some dark chocolate! They were already putting their Christmas stuff on Clearance!! What the eff? Can't a gal at least enjoy the holiday before it's over? Bastards! I did buy candy canes for my tree, though! (don't worry, Kort will have the plastic chewed off those bad boys and smash them to pieces by morning!)

   My theme for this week has sort of been easy, quick meals since everyone is so busy. But we still need to eat! May as well make it good. I saw this meatball recipe on Pinterest this week, and it was a real hit! My kids didn't want the marinara sauce on, fine by me. Everyone liked them. Kort, with a little help from our good buddy "ketchup". These would make a wicked Christmas Eve appie, and can be made ahead of time and fried when you're ready to serve. I used a block of fresh mozza that I got when I didn't need to go to Safeway again! You could also use mozza cheese stix and cut them up. You only need a little bit in each one.
It would be really cute and totally super-mom if you stuck a little pretzel stick in each one if you're serving as an appie! You're welcome.

Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatballs:
You need:
2 pounds lean ground meat of your choice (otherwise known as whatever the hell is in the freezer today)
1/2 pound fresh mozza or the cheese sticks
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp granulated garlic (garlic powder)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sea salt
2 eggs
oil for frying
1 jar of your fav marinara sauce or homemade
fresh parm to garnish (optional)

Add your meat to a large mixing bowl and add all the spices, just to combine don't over mix
Add the eggs, mix by hand until all incorporated.
I used a cookie tray to put them on as I rolled. Roll into golf ball size balls and place on the tray.

Once you have them all rolled, push little indents in them, not all the way through. Cut up your cheese accordingly and cram a little piece of cheese in each one. Fold the meat over the cheese to make a sealed meatball. You shouldn't be able to see the cheese inside.Our little secret.

Once you have them all rolled, heat up 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan. Add the meatballs to the heated oil over medium heat. Fry on all sides until cooked through. 15-20 minutes. Don't slam the panic button when you see some of the cheese oozing out a bit. That's normal and it becomes a little crispy, adding to the delicious factor. Mind your business and carry on.

Once they are all cooked through with no pink , add you desired amount of marinara sauce, and stir to coat. Heat over medium low until sauce is heated and everyone is happy. Plate and sprinkle with fresh parm if you want to be well loved. Voila!

Original recipe pingback to ""


Saturday, 21 December 2013

Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Burgers with Baked Garlic Mushrooms

Happy weekend!!

   Well, this is for sure the final countdown to Christmas! 4 more sleeps and counting! My kids are all over the map. Sleeping schedules are off and they are hyper and giddy! Love how excited my four year old is, he's so desperate for a Nerf gun he'd do anything at this point!

   How has your eating been? Been to any parties with tempting treats? Friday is always my "cheat"day. I don't do much for cooking, and we usually eat out or Shane brings home takeout. I try to keep my treat to dinner only, or else it gets carried away quickly! A few days ago my gramma brought over a little Tupperware container of nuts and bolts. Basically like crack for me. I have a dirty love affair with those and have since I was a kid! I put them away and tried to forget about them. They called me and dirty talked me for 2 days! Finally yesterday morning the kids and I stayed in bed and watched Flintstones Christmas, and ate nuts and bolts. For breakfast. Don't look at me like that! I can feel the judgement! It was so good, and the kids loved it! Sometimes you just have fun, and move on! To me, the important part is the "moving on". Don't let it turn into a giant gong show, where all of a sudden you've plowed through 2 boxes of chocolates and a batch of shortbread. Mmmmmmmm......shortbread...........Anyways, you get the point!

   It was roughly -500 degrees yesterday, but I had no choice. I had to take the kids out to do errands. I know, fun like a kick to the head, right?? Luckily they were pretty good, and we made it out fairly unscathed. Although I don't recommend going to the grocery store unless you're looking to take a few years off your life! I sent Shane to Walmart and it gave me secret pleasure picturing him weaving in and out of people in there with Grey in tow! I don't know how people leave their shopping until the last few days. I can't stand going out in the lines and enjoying all the rage people have ! This gal is hopefully tucked in until Boxing Day!

   With all the busy days and nights we've had, I decided to do these burgers and mushrooms. They are fast, and require no prep. The mushrooms are easy and only take about 10 minutes. A good one when you're short on time or there is something super good on Ellen's 12 Days Of Giveaway's and you can't bare to leave the tv! :)

Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Burgers:

You need:   (I made burgers using ground bison because I already had it out, but you can just use pre-made frozen patties if that's what you have) If using frozen, no need to thaw- bonus!!

4-6 frozen or homemade beef or turkey patties
1 can pineapple rings
bbq sauce to taste
8-10 slices of bacon, 2 per burger

pre heat oven to 375
line baking trays with tin foil to catch drips, and top with greased baking racks.
Take a pineapple ring for each burger and place on top. Wrap 2 pieces of bacon over the pineapple to make an X with the bacon, seam on the bottom. Wrap that up like baby Jesus on Christmas morning! Brush the burgers with bbq sauce, making sure to get the edges as they can dry out while baking.

Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes until desired "doneness" is reached. You need about 10-12 minutes for the mushrooms, so start them accordingly.

Garlic Mushrooms 
You Need:
1 container of fresh, white button mushrooms
2-3 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1/4 cup butter
3 cloves finely chopped garlic cloves
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh thyme or (.5 to 1 tbsp dried)
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Heat up a medium frying pan with the oil over med-high heat. Fry the mushrooms, cap side down for a minute or 2, not turning.

Put the fried 'shrooms in a greased baking dish, sticks up!

Melt the butter, and add the remaining ingredients to the buttery goodness. Spoon the mixture over each mushroom, and drizzle the rest evenly.
At this point, some people add breadcrumbs sprinkled lightly over top. I skipped this, as I find it doesn't do much and I'd rather save my grains for nuts and bolts, ha ha !!
Into the oven for 10 minutes, then set to broil for 2 min. Watch them, they are little and vulnerable and they will be on fire in no time!!

When burgers are done, plate them and give them a final little sauce up with the bbq sauce. Spoon your mushrooms on the top, or the side as a side dish. I put a slice of cheese on for the huzz when I put the broiler on.  Seriously. Yum and yum!!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Christmas Snacks Part 1 - Macadamia Nut Crunch

Holy hell, only one week left until the big day! My kids are on fire about the holiday's! They are 1 and 4, such awesome ages for this time of year!

    I was talking to a friend yesterday and we were discussing the disgusting amounts of temptation this time of year. Do you ever find yourself partaking in treats just to be social? You're at someones house and you don't want to be rude, so you have a "little plate". Which actually turns out to be the size of a small child. Or you try and be strong and don't make a plate at all, and instead hover over the snack table like a stalker. Which leads to eating double the amount had you just made a god damn plate to begin with! My best advice is to never go into the war starving. If you're going out, eat before you go. Try something if you really want it and stick to the stuff that is really worth it! Like shortbread and nuts and bolts. :)) Not that those are my fav's....

   A while back I spotted a recipe on Pinterest for macadamia nut crunch. It's basically a toffee/carmel type thing with delicious nuts in it. I finally had a chance to try it this week, and dare I say it's the best sweet thing I have ever made? My husband wouldn't leave it alone long enough to set, and my kids were circling me like Jaws. Little, cranky, drooly versions of Jaws. It sets in the fridge for around an hour, but is good waaaaaaay before that! The recipe was a little vague and I had no real idea how long it took to reach toffee temperature, so I had to hit up "the Google" (as my dad says). I was convinced it wasn't going to come together. But turns out it takes around 25-30 minutes to get there. Don't be scared. It's not constant stirring. Just watching and stirring. Can you handle that? It will be easier if you have a candy thermometer as it tells you a certain temp. If you don't have one, once you think it's getting there, drop a few drops into a glass of water and if the mixture sets in the water, then you're there! 

Macadamia Nut Crunch

You need:
1 cup raw honey
1 cup butter
2 cups Macadamia nuts
1 tbsp pure vanilla
few pinches of sea salt

Line a baking dish with greased parchment. I don't know if it's necessary to grease it, but I was too chicken not to! Leave enough so it sticks over the edges, to make pulling it out easier, later on.
If your butter is not a room temp, soften it up a bit.
Melt the butter and honey over medium heat in a heavy sauce pan (not glass or you'll be in a burnt up mess)

Once you get a solid boil going, drop heat to around 4/5 and stir every few minutes or so. You'll start to see the colour change and all of a sudden you'll smell the beautiful caramel scent and you're almost there.

All in all I think it took me about a half hour to get it thick. If you have a candy thermometer, you're looking for about 300 degrees Fahrenheit. For the rest of us losers, use the drop in water method I talked about earlier.
Once it's thick and you're ready to go, party time. Everybody into the pool!!! Dump in the nuts and stir to coat them all well. Take off the heat and stir through the vanilla and the pinches of salt. Now at this stage, don't go paint your nails and come back in an hour. This will start hardening right away!
Spread that buttery caramel goodness into your prepped pan.

Into the fridge it goes. Go get a broom and be ready to beat your family away for the next hour or so! Once it's set, you can leave it on the counter if you prefer a chewier toffee. But because it's a honey based toffee, as soon as you bite into it, it will become soft and chewy in your mouth!
Using your previously genius method of parchment lining, grab the outsides and lift the crack, I mean crunch, out of the pan.

Break that baby into pieces and store in a cute little Christmas tin, pretending you're going to give it as a gift to someone! Enjoy!

Original recipe pingback to""

Monday, 16 December 2013

Deconstructed Bacon Carbonara Spaghetti Squash


     Monday, Monday, Monday.  I have a love hate relationship with today. Monday's are hard no matter what. But it's kind of exciting this week since it's the last full week before the holiday's start. My tree is naked on it's bottom 1/4. My 1 year old will not stop whacking the life out of it with a light saber, picking ornaments off it like they were apples and plain old running at full speed into it. Needless to say, I won't be putting out any presents until at least Christmas Eve!

   Do you have your meal plan for the holiday's, if you're hosting? I am doing both Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. How do you handle the holiday meals, go balls out and eat it all or be super strict and keep it tight all holiday? Is there even a middle ground on this one? Not for this gal! Ha ! My dinner plans for Christmas Eve are appies. The baked wings I posted on here earlier, sweet heat bacon wrapped chicken skewers and a personal family and friends fav, buffalo chicken dip. I have a version to make it Paleo, but I think my family might run into traffic if I mess with it. No one wants that on Christmas Eve! For the morning there were several requests for cinnamon buns. I will be letting go here and making the good, sticky, sugar ones. I like to tell myself about 30 times a day that I won't eat one. It's a beautiful, sunny day here in dreamland!! :))

   I will also have lots of my usual things on hand that I will try my best to stick to. Eggs, breakfast meatballs and fruit. But, I'm not even going to try and tell you I'm not having Bailey's in my coffee while my kids open presents. Or a mimosa. Or both. Screw you suggested serving size, you don't know me!!!!!!
My point here is, have fun and do whatever is in your comfort zone. But don't let food choices and worrying about what you crammed down your throat already, ruin your holiday. That's not supposed to be what the holiday's are all about. We all know that's whether or not I'm getting a double boiler or a veggie sprialelli under the tree!

   I have a few little holiday snacks to have around the house for you, they will be my next post. Spiced almonds and cashews, Macadamia Crunch and Baked Pretzels (which I've been told were the "best pretzels on earth", more than once!) Today I made a deconstructed Carbonara Spaghetti Squash. It was great. Well mine was, oooops! The final touch is to add soft poached eggs to the top. By this point my kids were eating me alive, and I overcooked Shane's eggs a tad. Ok, more like a hard boiled egg, but whatevs. He still got the point! Here it is, hope you love it!

Deconstructed Carbonara Spaghetti Squash
You need:
1 large or 2 medium sized spaghetti squash
4-6 slices of bacon
2-4 garlic cloves, sliced very thin (depending on your taste) 
2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp butter
sea salt and pepper
2-4 eggs, depending how many per person you'd like.

pre heat oven to  375

Cut your spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds and loose strings.
Once clean, brush the inside of your boobies (easy, I mean the squash. It's not Friday night yet!)
with the olive oil until all coated. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.

Put cut side down on a baking tray with a few inches of water to keep from burning. Cook for 35-40 minutes until the outside is easily pierced with a fork. 
In the meantime, slice up your bacon into smaller chunks. Pan fry over medium until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and SAVE the fat that was rendered out during frying. Over medium heat, add your sliced garlic into the pan. Cook only a minute or 2, watching very carefully as garlic burns very easily. Add the bacon back in and turn off heat.

once the squash is done and you can handle it without 3rd degree burns to your hands, fluff out the strands of the squash into a colander. Let it sit in the sink or over a bowl while it cools a bit. This helps some of the water release. Once cooled use a paper towel and push the squash down a bit to get out any more excess water. Dump the squash into a big mixing bowl. Mix 1-2 tbsp of butter in to coat. Add bacon/garlic mix to the bowl, reserving a tbsp or so to use for garnish. Stir to combine.

In a medium frying pan, heat over medium heat, greased. Crack your eggs into the pan slowly, not breaking the yolks.

Cover and cook for 2 minutes or so, until the eggs are just set. Mine are good when they have a slight white film over the yolk. Don't overcook the eggs, the runny yolk is the cream component of the sauce! 
Plate the spaghetti squash while the eggs are cooking. Slowly slide your egg(s) on top of the squash and garnish with your reserved bacon. Add a few sprinkles of grated parm if you are feeling daring!

Once you finally sit down after being so awesome, break open your yolk and mix over the top of your squash. Enjoy!!


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Chewy Dark Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

  Sunday already? Man, I hate the end of the weekend! But the holiday's are in sight!

   It was a regular weekend around here for me. Did some clearing of the driveway and deck, and managed to tunnel a path out to our hot tub! I have been desperately missing the hot tub since the huge snowfall we had. There was no way we were getting out there at first! I am so happy it's melted a bit today and the snow isn't waist deep anymore.

   I decided to try a cookie recipe today as a trial run for cookies I'd like to give away as little Christmas gifts. Never, I repeat never, give things away without a trial run! Or at the very least, try them first! I usually tend to avoid recipes with more than 10 million ingredients, but this one was haunting me. It does have a lot of components, but it was easy to do and was SO worth it. My fan club, aka my husband and kids, thought they may be my best cookies yet. Have you ever seen Medjool dates before? I see them in baking recipes all the time but they are pricey and I've never been in love with any recipes that needed them. Until now. I got my case of dates at Costco for $7.99. I saw them yesterday at Safeway for $14.99. The same container. That gives me serious rage. Needless to say, get them at Costco if you can. The difference between them and usual dates is the size and the sweetness factor. These suckers are big. And I'm not going to lie, they look gross as hell. Look away, they are worth it.They are supposed to be kept in the fridge for the "chewy" factor, and once they set they were amazing!

   Sometimes people ask how I stay away from all the baking I do. Most of the things don't tempt me, as I am more of a salty/crunchy kind of snacker. And the baking that I do is usually intended for my sons school snacks and breakfast for my little one. These cookies are up my alley though! Does this happen to you when you have baking at home?.................

   This tends to happen to a lot of people if you ban yourself too much from certain foods. You get a little taste of the wild life and you go bat crazy. Find yourself curled up in a ball in a blanket of crumbs, kind of crazy. A good rule of thumb is don't buy or make any food that you feel you don't have control over. A lot of Paleo literature suggests no baking for the first month of your transformation. Baking is a treat meant to be consumed sometimes. Even if there is no refined sugar or processed garbage, it's a treat none the less. A slice of banana bread is not meant to be 7 inches wide. Write that down. :)

   Don't shy away from this recipe because of the longer ingredients list. I promise you this will be one of the  best cookies you'll taste. And they made my house smell awesome all day. Double win. Mom of the year and great-smelling house, can I get a hallelujah!!! Now, hit the store and make these now, I demand it.

Chewy Dark Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies (or crack cookies if you prefer! :)
You need : (brace yourself)
12 Medjool dates, pitted
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 eggs
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup cacao powder
2 tbsp coconut flour (don't sub another flour, they aren't the same)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (I use "enjoy life" brand from Heritage Foods, found in most health food stores)

pre heat to 350

Pit your disgusting looking ugly dates by cutting them on the side and opening them with the knife. Pull out the pit.

Put the pitted dates in a bowl and add 1 tbsp water.Microwave for 30 seconds. Mash them to death with a fork, add the syrup and death mash some more. Make a paste.

Add the date mix, coconut oil, molasses, eggs and vanilla to your food processor and pulse until smooth.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients excluding the chocolate chunks.

Add the dry mix into your food processor and process until smooth and well blended. Scraping down the sides if needed. Stir in dark chocolate.
Using a tbsp, scoop dough onto parchment lined baking trays leaving at least an inch between cookies so everyone can spread out and get comfy.

Into the oven for 10 minutes. They will seem soft and not set when you take them out. Be patient my sweet. Let them cool for 10-15 minutes on the baking tray before you move them. Best stored in the fridge, if you have any left once your family gets a whiff!  Enjoy

original recipe pingback to ""

Friday, 13 December 2013

Crock Pot Pineapple Ribs

Happy Friday! Who doesn't love Friday?

   My family is full into the Christmas swing of things. Grey tells us about 34 things an hour that he wants from Santa. Do your kids love the Wishbook? Ours looks about 10 years old, it's been dragged around so much this year!

   Lots of people comment to me that they want to clean up their eating, and maybe go towards a Paleo lifestyle. But they have no idea where or how to start. My friend Buffy was the one who introduced me to Paleo, and at the time I had no clue what half the things she cooked even were. It seemed like a lot of work and like a bunch of weird food we wouldn't like. After I researched a bit, I realized it was the opposite. It's all great food. Once you get in your groove with food prep, and finding out your family's fav's, it's pretty darn easy!

   This is what I did. I spent about a month reading and researching food and recipes. I didn't stress myself with trying to get back into working out just yet. I wanted to do this the right way. I needed to change everything. How I shopped, cooked and thought. Why? Because my huzz and I were miserable, my baby was just coming into eating solid foods, and I wanted to do better. And I had tried lots of ways before, and always gained the weight back. If it isn't a total lifestyle change, you are not very likely to be successful.

   I didn't go all insane and start throwing out millions of dollars worth of food. I just finished off what we had, and tried to buy a better version next time. Or better yet, I figured out if I could make a better version. I try not to buy anything in a box or packaging. Now, I mean things like Bear Paw's and granola bar type stuff. We try to just eat real food. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm not Little House On The Prairie. Growing , raising and making all my own food. If I can make it, I try to do that instead. We decreased our trash bin from around 6 bags a week to maybe 2 .

   Once I felt I had a handle on the food prep and cooking, I started working out at home. I am lucky to have a pretty good gym here in the house. We have both an Elliptical and a treadmill, and some weights. We downloaded some Zumba videos and I went from there. One thing thing that really annoys me is when people say to me that they wish that they could be a stay at home mom so they had all the time to do this kind of thing. Well, let me tell you a little secret. Just because I'm at home during the day doesn't mean I'm sipping wine and lounging by the fire! My kids don't just sit quietly and colour while mommy works on recipes! Christ no! They throw shoes in the garbage, pee in the toilet (if I'm lucky) and throw toys into the pee! They fight, cry and cling to me like velcro, just like everybody else's! While I'm very grateful to be able to not work, it's still hard as hell to crank out an edible meal some days!

   If you're looking to make some changes, here are some easy swaps/tips that I started out with.

1. Coconut oil. It's a fabulous, good fat and has tons of great properties. I use this multiple times daily. Frying, greasing, smoothies, on a spoon, lotion, get the point. Check out this link for more info.
Make sure you're getting virgin, cold pressed. Buy it at Costco!

2.Get rid of vegetable oils. Canola, sunflower, vegetable, corn. Stay with a good quality olive oil or as mentioned, the coconut. These are filled with GMO ingredients, and do not have a high smoke point. When you heat them they release toxic substances. Ditch them! Good old butter is great too. Don't you dare buy margarine or I'll break up with you on the spot. Real food only, missy! I'm watching you, throw out that Pam!

3. Make your own! Sauces, flours, baked goods,soups, nuts, creme, almond milk, crackers, fruit leather/gummies. Endless. Now, I'm certainly not saying I do all of this all the time. When you are making a meatsauce, triple the crap out of that and freeze it! Make 3 banana breads. You see where I'm going here. Don't tell me it's too much work to cook. You have a family, you're doing it anyways. Know what is going into your foods. Make it count. And then brag to anyone that will listen that you made it yourself. :)

4. Pump up your food. There a tons of things that you can add into your food that goes unnoticeable, but packs a big punch. A few fav's are Hemp Hearts,chia seeds and flax seeds. I dump hemp hearts into almost everything. My pancake batter, smoothies, sauce, soups, baking, scrambled eggs. A friend mentioned she just eats them plain, in a handful post workout or a s a snack. Both of these are easy to find, and I strongly recommend Costco for both coconut oil and hemp hearts. You can't compare the price difference.

5. Ditch the side dishes and load up on veggies. No newsflash there, right? Here's the secret. Learn how to cook the veggies properly, and try different ways! There is more to them than just steaming them. With all the unlimited Internet access these days, no excuses for not being able to come up with ideas! Plus, that's why I'm here! When I started my husband liked onion, peppers and carrots. Kind of. Not a lot to work with there! Now he eats everything excluding celery, I can't win on that one! We have squash as a main dish, and they love it. Don't just assume they'll never eat it. Try, try and try again! Make it a goal to buy and try a new vegetable every week.

These are just some ideas and tips that are working for me. Once you read a bit, you'll discover what you and your peeps like, and you'll be making changes in no time! Research!!

Here is my recipe for the pineapple ribs. This is a daring one for me, as Shane has always hated anything I've ever made in the crock pot. No exaggeration. In 12 years not one success with it. I usually cram it in the closet and forget I have it. But I tried these and he liked them! At least he says he did! The rest of us enjoyed them,  and they were good leftover. If nothing else, they'll make your house smell like you know what the hell you're doing!

Crock Pot Pineapple Ribs:
You need:
1-2 lbs of either pork back or side ribs
2 cans cubed pineapple, or 1 whole pineapple cored and cubed
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp Dijon mustard (get sugar free if you can)
1 tbsp raw honey

Cut up your ribs into 2 or 3 bones per piece.
Dump 1 of the cans of pineapple into the crock pot, juice included

Mix together the paprika, mustard and honey in a small bowl.. You can micro the honey for around 15 seconds to loosen it. Be careful when you take it out though, it's hot! It will glue your tank top to your chest if it splashes you. Not that I know about that. 
Rub this mixture all oven both sides of your ribs. Get it it there good, girl!! Stack the ribs on top of the pineapple.

Dump your other can of pineapple on top, making sure there is pineapple on top of the ribs.

Close the lid and cook for 4-6 hours on low. Now, I find this hard because all crock pots (or crack pipe, as my auto-correct keeps hoping for) are different. Mine is super hot, and they were done just short of 4 hours. keep and eye out.
When done, or close to, transfer the ribs to a baking tray lined with cooking racks.Don't toss away the liquid in the pot, use it to baste the ribs until you serve. I put the pineapple on top of the ribs when I put them in the oven. Cook in the oven to give a desired "crispy" edge. I did about 15 minutes at 300. Or broil for a few minutes.

I just added some broccoli and cauli to a baking tray, brushed with butter and cooked them while the ribs were in. Let the ribs rest 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy! Watch for Oatmeal Raisin cookies and pepper quiche cups, coming soon!
Please feel free to share my blog!

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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Parmesan Crusted Chicken and Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Happy Wednesday! The weeks sure are flying by, only 2 weeks until Christmas. How does that always happen so fast?

   I haven't started wrapping a thing. I am almost done buying , however. This morning my mom was here to watch my kids so I didn't have to haul them to the gym babysitters. Unknown to me my husband had decided to "hide", and I use this term very loosely, the kids Christmas presents under a blanket in the spare room. Apparently the middle of the living room was already taken, so he took the next most obvious spot on earth? Seriously, who does that? You know where this is going, don't you. Grey and my mom were playing downstairs and he ripped the super clever blanket disguise off. My mom saw right away and tried to divert him from the room with some sort of babbling distraction tactics, all the while crapping her pants at what had happened. He didn't say a word about it to me all day, until Shane got home form work. Then he coyly said he saw some "nerf guns or something" in the basement. I told him they were his cousins gifts and we were hiding them from the baby. He appeared to of bought that load of crap, but now what? I guess we just leave it and hope his little brain forgets? Sheeesh. Note to self, never let Shane hide anything again.

   Like I mentioned, I got my workout in at class this morning. There was a few spots open today, and my dear, sweet, bossy friend Lana decided that she should shove me up to the front of the class. Like I said yesterday I like to hide in the back where I can't see my sweaty self. Too late. On Monday another lady had mentioned to me that my red face was a sign of not being in shape. Or it could be a sign of my complexion rivalling a snowman, but whatevs. So I kind of felt like I had something to prove. I worked my little heart out as hard as I could. I was bordering on having a stroke by the end, watching the teacher and praying she would end the music and I could pretend I had to pee, so I could go into the bathroom and exorcist vomit. Finally it was over. I didn't barf, but mostly because I couldn't catch my breath long enough! One look at Lana and she was feeling the same. I think the whole class took a beating and I was proud of my effort. I am about 98% paralyzed tonight, however. I am sure I'll be walking like a 94 year old man by the morning. But it was required. I can't be shown up like that! :))

   For supper tonight I went with an easy one that doesn't require much prep. It's quick to prepare and fast cleanup. Give this one a try on a busy night. The parm spread can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge (duh) until you're ready.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken:
You need:
3-4 uncooked chicken breasts
That's it for that, can you handle that?
pre-heat the oven to 375. Sprinkle the boobies with sea salt, pepper and garlic salt. Don't ask me how much, just don't drown the suckers.
Line a baking tray with tin foil and toss the chicken in the oven for 30 or so min, until cooked through.

When you are about 20 minutes from the chicken being done, start the cauli mash.
You Need:
1 small-medium head of cauli cut into florets, ditch the stems
2- ish tbsp butter
Steam the cauli until very soft and mashable.
using a potato masher, mash the cauliflower to your desired consistency. You will most likely want it pretty smooth, like a potato. Go figure. Stir in butter and sea salt and pepper to taste. I also like to add chives or some garlic powder.

Parm Spread:
make this and set aside.
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup freshly grated parm or Romano cheese
mix all together

When chicken is cooked through, take out and turn the oven to broil. Spread each breast (the chicken, not your own) with the parm spread . Put back in and broil until the topping is golden brown and sizzling.

There you have it!

Enjoy! Check back tomorrow for slow cooker pineapple spare ribs!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

"Lasagna" Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Hello, everyone! How's the week going? I'm hanging in there! Christmas countdown is on!

   If you go to a workout class or gym, do you ever get a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and almost die? Do I really look like that? Sometimes it's better to stay in the back row at aerobics, like I do, then you are too blind to see the mirror. :)

Point taken.

   Yesterday was a total Monday for me. I woke up with the stiffest neck in the world, and I had aerobics first thing. My youngest is STILL sick, and had a totally ass sleep. Off I headed to class. About 5 minutes in I started to have pain in my calf, which I tore earlier this Fall. I tried to take it easy, but I looked like I needed a body cast! Between that and my neck, I was not rocking my full Richard Simmons potential! A few hours after class my neck hurt so much, I could hardly turn it! Both of my "injuries" have loosened up today, but I still feel pretty sorry for myself!

   Those kind of days are the exact reason that I can't keep any treats or crap food in the house. I start to pout and get cranky, and I start looking for things to pick at. At Target on Sunday, Shane and I were Christmas shopping. This is what he wanted to bring home....

The Jesus sized container of cheesy poofs, as he calls them. Not in this lifetime. I don't even really like those damn things, but rest assured I'd have an orange moustache in no time...
Needless to say, they didn't go in the cart!

   Last night I made something called "Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash". It's sort of similar to the squash recipe I posted last week, but you serve it right inside the squash, and it has 2 kinds of cheese baked in. It was very good, and I finished the rest for lunch today. I've had a few comments on the squash recipes with people saying it was never one of those things they ever thought they'd like. If it is prepared in a good way, it is very delish, and you can do so many things with it. I made the base for the sauce, but you can always use a jarred sauce to save time.

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash:

You need: (this fed 2 adults with leftovers)
2 medium spaghetti squash
olive or coconut oil

meat sauce:
ground meat of choice
1 white onion, diced
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt and pepper to taste

Squash "stuffing"
1 cup full fat cottage cheese or ricotta (I used cottage cheese)
1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
1 cup shredded mozzarella

pre-heat oven to 400
mix cottage cheese and basil in a small bow, set aside
cut your squash in half, vertically, removing seeds.
Brush the insides of the squash with your chosen oil
season with salt and pepper

Put into the oven on a baking tray with a bit of water on it. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until outer flesh is easily pierced. Don't overcook. Nobody enjoys a soggy noodle, am I right?
In the meantime, make the sauce.
Brown your meat in a large frying pan with the onion, garlic and the rest of the sauce ingredients. Once meat is cooked through, turn down heat and simmer until squash is done.

When squash is out,let those buggers cool about 10 minutes, they will steam your face right off!!
Once cool, fluff them up a bit using a fork. Not too aggressively, just for serving purposes. Divide your cottage cheese mixture between the squash.


Add the meat mixture to each one, and sprinkle with the mozza. Turn oven to broiler

Back into the oven and broil until cheese is golden.

Add a bit more salt and pepper to taste and voila! You're a domestic goddess, again!!

Original recipe pingback to:

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Asian Honey Chicken and Baked Spaghetti Squash

Hello! Long time no talk! I have had a crazy few days. I think that's the theme this time of year, isn't it? I saw this the other day and it made me laugh....

 Look familiar? This was made directly for my mom I think! I think it's pretty universal for all grandparents, actually.

   Yesterday was a long parenting day for me. As I was going to the kitchen to make breakfast, I set my Iphone down on my nightstand. My handsy little 1 year old decided to grab it and run like he'd just robbed a bank. We had no idea where, just that he took it somewhere. We then proceeded to look, for the better part of the day for it. I felt like I was naked all day.We don't have a land line, just cell phones. So when mine is gone, I feel like I'm missing my right hand!

   I looked in and went through more garbage's and toilet products than I care to mention. Every toy box, couch cushion and drawer was ripped apart! Still, nothing. I considered that he may of flushed it down the toilet. Crammed it down a heat vent. Out into the snow? When you become desperate, the mind will screw with you! After my panic attack was in full swing, I decided to start ripping rooms apart, one by one. After about an hour of violent cleaning in Grey's room, I put my hand to the bottom of his book rack , and there was my phone. Thank you, sweet baby Jesus. It turned my whole day into a cleaning fest, since I had everything ripped out at that point! Lesson learned. Again.

   On Thursday I made a really easy chicken rub/marinade and paired it with the baked spaghetti squash I posted on an earlier entry. I only had bone-in thighs, so I used that. I think any chicken you had would work fine. Just adjust cooking times. I let mine sit in the fridge for about 4 hours to marinate.
Super easy to do, and you don't need to fuss with it much.

Asian Honey Chicken:  (**note- this recipe requires a minimum of 2 hours marinating time)
You need:
6-8 bone-in chicken thighs or about 12-14 thighs
olive oil or coconut oil, aprox 1/2 cup
Dry rub:
3-4 crushed garlic cloves
4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp red pepper flakes or chili flakes
1 cup honey
2-3 tbsp rice vinegar

Grease a glass baking dish
Drizzle olive oil over chicken and sensually massage it into your chicken. Use love. No one likes their chicken without love.
Combine all rub ingredients in a small bowl, and go for round 2 of your massage session an cover the entire chicken pieces with the rub. Snuggle them all up in the pan and into the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Once the marinating is done, pre-heat oven to 375 for bone in thighs. Toss those bad-boys in and work on your side dish choice. Or get a coffee and watch Ellen for the next 45 minutes.
I baked mine for about 45 minutes, and let rest out of the oven about 10.
When chicken is almost done, mix the honey and vinegar over medium high heat until combined, 2-4 minutes. When you're basically ready to take out the chicken, start basting the tops of the chicken with honey sauce every minute or so for about 5 minutes.
Take it out and add the rest of the sauce to the tops if you like. You should have a pretty nice crispy top on the chicken by now.

You'll notice one is missing. Why do men have to be like that?
 We had the baked spaghetti squash with it and it was really good! I might use more garlic next time.

Look this week for Buffalo Chicken and Eggplant "lasagna" , Italian stuffed Spaghetti Squash and Paleo herb buns. Good luck!