Weekend love and Chocolate Pudding

crazy socks

Check out my socks!!  Aren’t they obnoxious?  I love them…. I went into the gym this morning, with a goal in mind for my performance on the 13.2 workout.  I walked out of the gym having smashed that goal….by almost another full round.  Looking back, I think I could’ve pushed myself harder and finished out round 6, but I’m not displeased with my performance this morning!  I’m actually pretty proud!  So naturally, I went to grab food with some folks from the gym…..duh!  I had a crazy delicious gluten-free cinnamon roll and some insane corned beef hash.  SO GOOD!  Not paleo, sue me.  I’d earned it though!  So now I’m just kicking it, on my couch, letting my belly and my body recover from this morning!

Exciting news in the world of PaleoMeister…….I put my first shirt order in this morning!  Can’t wait for people to be sporting my gear!!  I think it automatically just makes you sexier, but I might be a wee bit biased.  Regardless, I can NOT say thanks enough to the folks that ordered a shirt.  It truly means so much to me that you believe in either me or what I’m doing enough to rep my brand.  HECK YES!  Ooooh!  Also, my 25 pound box of almond flour showed up on my doorstep yesterday.  Can’t freaking WAIT to get started into that bad boy!!!  It is taking up a major portion of my freezer and fridge right now….seriously, I need to invest in a chest freezer.  And yes, I realize that it totally looks like I’m slangin’ drugs…..soooooo funny!  That, my friends, is six, yes SIX gallon sized bags full, plus my regular container that stays in my fridge…..it’s insane!!

almond flour

This past week, I’ve been MAJORLY craving sugar and Thursday I finally caved and made some avocado pumpkin pudding.  It was STUPID delicious.  I promise, it looks absolutely disgusting, but it is ridiculous…..try it!  Don’t let the name or the thought of flavor combos scare you.  I promise you won’t be disappointed!!  SEE!!  It looks (and tastes) magical!

avo pudding

Avocado Pumpkin Pudding

  • 2-3 ripe avocados, seeded and cut into small pieces.  You want to use SOFT ones so they blend better, so get the ones that are really ripe (I used 2.5 avos, because that’s what I had around my kitchen)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (or sunbutter)
  • 4-5 tablespoons raw honey (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (more if you want it more chocolate-y)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt

***You can do this either in a large mixing bowl, or in a food processor.  If you want it really smooth, I’d use the food processor.  Just dump all ingredients in the processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides a few times.  If you are cool with it having some texture and still having some bits of avocado, use the bowl.  I used the bowl.***

  1. In a large mixing bowl, smash your avocados until they are a smooth paste.
  2. Stir in your pumpkin and almond butter.
  3. Add in your honey and cocoa powder.
  4. Sprinkle in your salt and cinnamon.
  5. Taste it.  If you want it a little sweeter, add some more honey.  More chocolate-y?  Add in more cocoa powder.  Just be sure to add it slowly and mix well with each addition.
  6. Let it sit in the fridge for an hour to let the flavors really come together.
  7. Smash!  And then hide the remainder in the the back of the fridge so you don’t eat it all in one sitting.  Seriously, I’ve done it.  It’s insanely good!!!

I really hope you like this as much as I do!  If you can get past the fact that you are eating avocados and chocolate, it’s crazy good.  I was a pudding fiend in my former life, so this is a REALLY good fix for me!  Be looking for another chocolate treat in the next couple of days!!  I’ve got a terrible sweet tooth, due to that magical week of the month…..so I’m trying out a Chocolate Hazelnut pie recipe for tomorrow.  Eek!! Sending chocolate sugar craving love your way!!

-Meister

Wishing for SPRING!!!

Ok, so I know I’ve been complaining a bit about being OVER winter, well apparently, nature decided to bitch slap us one last time this past Sunday.  It got all sorts of crazy with snow and wind and even some ice!  It seemed like it came out of nowhere!  I mean, maybe the news people were talking about it, but I’ve been making it a habit to NOT watch the regular news.  It bums me out, big time!  I usually just watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report during that time slot instead.  Much much more entertaining!  Anyways, the crazy weather granted us one last snow day.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed not working on Monday, but I feel like it has done nothing but put me a day behind with everything.  As we speak, I’m staring at a pile of student work folders that needs to be graded, and I can’t quite find time in the day to get all of it done!  I’m completely kicking myself for letting things pile up…..UGH!  WHEN WILL I LEARN!??!?  Meh, only two more days of teaching then spring break!!  I am going no where, I’m doing nothing, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Needless to say, I’m really really itching for actual spring to show up.  I’ve been already getting the craving for grilled food, I’ve been naturally not feeling the heavy comfort “winter” type foods as much, and I’m LOVING the fact that it is still really light out when I leave the gym in the evening!  Best feeling EVER!!  The only thing that sucks about it is that I can’t seem to fall asleep at a reasonable hour, so I’ve been hitting the Natural Calm pretty hardcore.  Oh well, I suppose it’s something I should take regularly anyway….it IS helping me get much more restful sleep.  Which I guess would be a great thing to have ALL the time!  Yes, I shall continue with this routine.  It’s better for everyone involved.

In the spirit of spring coming, I decided to make this AMAZING chicken stew with lots and LOTS of green herbs, peppers, and veg in it.  Hence the name “Green Chicken Stew”.  No, the chicken is not green….that would be extremely bad and makes my guts hurt just thinking about it!  GROSS!  This stew is hearty, yet pretty light.  It’s very citrus-y and bright tasting, and I can’t get over how freaking awesome it turned out!  Naturally I garnished it with green things as well…..duh, I want spring folks, and I’m doing anything I can to con myself into it coming (including refusing to wear a real coat anymore…..seriously, I’m done).  Here it is!  Enjoy!!

Green Chicken Stew

Green Chicken Stew

  • 1 pound chicken, diced (used thigh meat, but you could cut up any chicken you dig)
  • 10-12 tomatillos, husks removed and quartered
  • 2 poblano peppers, diced
  • 4 Anaheim peppers, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced very fine
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 quart stock (I used veggie stock, because that’s what I had, chicken stock would rock too)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 limes (more if you want to top it with lime)
  • Fresh cilantro and avocado (for garnish)
  1. In a soup pot/dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.  When oil is melted add your tomatillos.  Saute until they are soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove tomatillos from the pot and put them in either a food processor or blender…..don’t blend yet or they will shoot everywhere!  Wait till they cool a bit, trust me.
  3. In your pot, add a bit more oil (if needed) and toss in your peppers, onion, and garlic.  Saute for 5-7 minutes or until your onions become a bit translucent.  Remove them from your pot and put in a bowl.
  4. Add your chicken to the pot and brown a bit on all sides.  Don’t sweat it if your chicken doesn’t cook all the way through, it’ll have plenty of time to simmer.  While your chicken is browning, season it with some salt and pepper.
  5. When chicken is browned, add back in your peppers and onions.  Blend your tomatillos until pretty much smooth and add that to your pot.  Stir to combine.
  6. Add in your cumin and squeeze the juice of your 2 limes into the pot.
  7. Stir everything together and add in your stock.  I would add enough to make the soup to the thickness you like.  If you want more of a stew, add less liquid….if soup is more your style, add a little more.
  8. Let that bad boy simmer for about 20 minutes.
  9. Bowl it up, top it with some avocado, some fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime and ENJOY!!

I hope you enjoy smashing on this soup.  I have a container in my freezer and two more in my fridge!  It’s so lime-y and delicious and just screams for spring!!  Sending you tons of fresh spring love!

-Meister

Abandonment Issues…..

Well friends, I sincerely apologize for abandoning this site for the past week.  Although, in my defense, I kind of called it ahead of time….”slow” weeks on the calendar ALWAYS end up crazy for me!  I told you so!!

Anyways, this past week was great.  Got a lot of work done, continued to help at the gym, officially began my CrossFit Open pursuit, and bought some really fun new stuff yesterday!  I’m completely loving the new gym space, and I keep telling people about it every chance I get.  For REALZ, the new and improved CrossFit Artis is going to be insane when all is said and done!  I mean, it’s already pretty freaking awesome….but it’s only gonna keep getting better!  Jon and Jen have built an excellent community that I’m proud to say I’m a part of!

Speaking of community, I’m truly grateful to have been a part of the 13.1 Open workout yesterday.  It was so great to see so many of my friends getting AFTER it and giving it their all.  I loved cheering for and counting reps for them.  The entire building was just oozing determination.  My performance was, eh, well it just was.  I was kind of upset with my personal performance at first, but when I really took a step back and looked at it, I’m OK with it.  Considering I only started this entire CrossFit journey about 8 months ago, and prior to that I had never touched any sort of weight lifting equipment in my entire life…..where I’m at is pretty good for me.  That being said, I’m not getting complacent.  I’m obstinate enough to not be happy with myself, and continue to push to improve.  If ANYTHING, that is what has pushed me to this new place in my life….never settling.  So, I’ll be DAMNED if I can’t snatch 75 pounds by the Open next year.  I’ve done it before, but all things considered, it wasn’t happening on Saturday.  Whatevs.  I’m cool.

This week is going to be full of cooking and baking!  That means lots of recipes for you guys! Yay.  That being said, I’m gonna be honest and say that I may not be able to post again until Wednesday.  We are sending my last childhood pet to kitty heaven tomorrow night, so needless to say I’ll be a mess.  I’ll be doing good to not just stuff my face with chips and tequila.  Pets make me so emotional, but I suppose that’s a good thing, and proves that I’m really NOT harboring a cold, dead, heart of ice.  Tuesday night, I’ll be baking a ton for a baby shower at school.  Depending on how things go that evening, I might have something fantastic for you, but no promises until Wednesday!  I promise I won’t neglect this for another whole week like I did last week.  That was a real jerk move on my part.  Sorry friends.

So, food time!  I made the bacon wrapped brussels sprouts because I got a shout out about making them on my Facebook from my friend Brooke.  Not gonna lie, these were AMAZING!  Nothing is better than a veggie roasted in bacon fat, NOTHING!!

bacon brussels

Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 pound bacon (I get the good stuff….none of that crap with nitrates and such)
  • 25-30 small brussels sprouts (trim of the stems and remove a few of the outer leaves)
  • 25-30 toothpicks
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Cut your bacon strips in half in order to double the amount of bacon.  If you have 12 strips, then you will get 24 pieces, therefore you are able to wrap 24 brussels.  Make sense?  I hope so.
  4. Wrap each brussel in a half strip of bacon and secure the bacon into the brussel with a toothpick.  Some are more fickle than others and will need a couple of toothpicks.  Don’t be ashamed to jam like 3 or 4 in there….no judgment!
  5. Arrange on your baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes.  You will want to bake them until the bacon is cooked fully.  This is why you want smaller brussels, if they get too big, they won’t cook through in the amount of time it takes the bacon to cook.
  6. Remove the toothpicks and enjoy!  I ate mine with a giant hunk of sirloin.  Nothing like meat with a side of meat!

These are super easy to make and are SUPER delicious!  Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!  Sending bacon love!

-Meister

Lazy + Cold = Easy Dinner 2fer

burrito bowl

So, I’m currently typing this with gloves on….no joke.  They are purple and pink, and have princess crowns on them.  Pretty sure my parents gave them to me as a gag gift stocking stuffer a couple of years ago.  My hands are SO FREAKING cold!!!  Actually, all of me is cold, and I can’t seem to get warm.  Tonight is definitely going to be a night where I sleep in long pants and long sleeves……which is EXTREMELY rare for me and probably means I’m dying.  And as far as the gloves go, well, they were closest thing at hand (no pun intended).  They were already out, since little brother wore them to shovel the driveway  when it snowed last.  He’s secure in himself and will rock some sweet princess gloves whenever he feels like it.

Speaking of little brother, he made the comment that I need to work on my food photos.  Duh.  I know this.  I never claimed to be a food photographer.  In fact, much of what you see on this page is pics that I snap of my food immediately prior to me stuffing my face with it!  Which also accounts for some ridiculously sized portions….don’t judge.  Sometimes, a girl just needs to smash.  Got it?  But nevertheless, my most sincere apologize for my crappy food pics.  I’ll work on it….eventually.  Promise!

The recipes I’m posting tonight are kind of a “choose your own adventure” dinner.  I started off by being super lazy and making the chicken in the crockpot, with the intention of making tacos.  Then I got home Monday night, said screw it, and cooked up some cauliflower rice….and BOOM!  The burrito bowl was born.  Skip to tonight were I was feeling lazy again….so I stuffed the leftovers into peppers and just popped them in the oven.  Easy eats are the tastiest kind!!  So here they are.  Eat them all together, make them separately, do whatever your heart desires! Just get down with your paleo self.

stuffed peppers

Crockpot Spicy Pulled Chicken

  • 2 pounds frozen chicken (I used all breast meat, but you could use thighs as well, or a combo)
  • 2 cups prepared salsa (use a brand without a bunch of extra crap in it, or make your own….choose your heat level to suit your tastes)
  • 2 small cans diced green chiles (do not drain these!)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Place frozen chicken in crockpot.
  2. Cover chicken with all remaining ingredients.
  3. Set your crockpot to LOW and cook for 8 hours. Mine went for 8 hours, then I had little brother turn it to WARM when he got home….and it was on that setting for another 2 hours.
  4. Shred chicken with a fork!

Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

  • 2 smallish heads of cauliflower
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes
  • Salt to taste
  1. Using the chopping blade on a food processor (or you could grate it by hand, but that would SUCK hardcore) in small batches, add your cauliflower and pulse it until it looks like grains of rice.  I had to do this in about 4 batches.  No worries. I just dumped it all into a big bowl until I had pulverized all of it!
  2. In a deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium high heat.
  3. Saute onions and garlic until they begin to get a bit of color and start to soften….about 5 minutes.
  4. Add in your “rice” and stir it around in the onions, garlic, and oil.  It’s cool if your pan seems over-loaded, it actually helps to create some steam.  Continue to stir it every couple of minutes until the rice begins to soften up a bit and gets to a texture that you like for cooked rice.  Mine went for about 7 minutes or so.
  5. Squeeze the juice of your limes over your rice and toss in the chopped cilantro.  Continue to cook with these ingredients for another 5 minutes.
  6. EAT!

To make the burrito bowl:

  1. Serve up some rice in a bowl.
  2. Top it with some of your chicken.
  3. For toppings, I added some more salsa, some chopped lettuce, some Sriracha, some cilantro, and some avocado…DUH.
  4. Mix it all up until it’s just a mess of delicious food and SMASH!  Relish in how awesome your cooking abilities are, and how that “chain restaurant” that offers a similar burrito bowl, ain’t got NOTHING on you!

To make the stuffed peppers:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut the tops off of 4 green peppers, and pull out all seeds and ribs, but leaving the pepper in tact as a cup.
  3. Stuff each pepper about half way full of your leftover rice.
  4. Top each pepper with your leftover pulled chicken.
  5. Arrange in a glass baking dish.
  6. Put about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of your dish to create some steam while cooking.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes (or until peppers are cooked to desired done-ness….I like mine on the crunchier side, so I actually pull mine out at about 25 minutes)
  8. Top with whatever toppings you choose!  I used the same ones I topped my burrito bowls with.

Hopefully this gives some options to play around with!  It was all STUPIDLY easy, and aided in my general laziness.  Tomorrow I’m going to get all sorts of crazy and wrap some brussels sprouts in bacon….so you just wait!  Sending warm, princess glove, chamomile tea drinking love your way!

-Meister

 

 

 

 

 

Beginnings and Endings

A couple of major events transpired this weekend:

1. We got to demo the CRAP out of the new gym space!  Took down some walls….which mostly meant I stood around and watched dudes work!  It also means I got to play with powertools…..OH YEAH!!! Anyways, I baked for the folks working. Duh! That’s what I do!  When all was said and done, the new space is completely opened up, and the possibilities are truly endless!!  And look, here’s proof that I actually did some work…..oh who am I kidding, I can’t be serious about anything.

OHS 2 by 4

2.  Miss Olivia had her going away party.  It was a completely wonderful send off to quite possibly one of the most BAD ASS chicks I’ve ever met.  I’m super sad to see her go but am completely confident she will continue to be a BAMF in the next chapter of her life.  Hip Hop Fridays won’t be the same without her 😦  Here is a vanity shot of some of the foxiest ladies at the party…..oh wait!  Who is the creeper with devil eyes in the middle? Hmm….why do my eyes ALWAYS do that!?!?! Ugh.

pretty ladies

3.  I did absolutely NOTHING for the remainder of the weekend.  Staying out, dancing like a fool, and having just a couple of drinks totally took it out of me.  Add in the fact that I think I might be getting sick, and BOOM!  You’ve got a perfect storm that amounts to me doing NOTHING all Sunday!

Looking at the calendar for this week kind of scares me….I have nothing on my school calendar, and nothing on my personal calendar.  Why does this scare me?  Because I can’t honestly believe that I will have a week of nothing.  When these weeks usually come around, something manages to EXPLODE! Tame just doesn’t exist in my world.  I’m trying to trust that perhaps the universe has left this week open for me because the good Lord knows that I’m going to be needed to support those nearest and dearest to me.  Lots going on in the lives of those closest to me, so I’m doing my best to put as much positivity out there as I can!!

OK, onto food!  So, I made this cioppino last Thursday.  I’m trying to be a good part-time Catholic and observe not eating meat on Fridays during Lent.  This stew is freaking AMAZING!! It’s slightly spicy and totally delicious.  Typically, the best part of cioppino is dipping some crusty bread into the tomato broth, but yeah, that obviously didn’t happen!  I made some plantain chips to go with it though, and those were BOMB!!

cioppino

Quick Cioppino with Plantain Chips

To make the Plantain Chips:

  • 2 large, slightly ripe (light yellow in color) plantains
  • Coconut oil, for brushing
  • Salt (or any other spices you might want to use)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Brush the parchment paper with a thin coating of coconut oil. (I know this seems counter-intuitive….just do it. Trust me.)
  3. Peel your plantains. I have found it easiest to cut off both ends, then slit through the peel lengthwise.  Use your thumb to separate the peel from the plantain.
  4. Thinly slice your plantains.  Think slightly thicker than a quarter…about as thick as a half dollar.  The important thing is to try to get them all the same thickness.
  5. Arrange the slices on your baking sheet and brush the tops of them with some more coconut oil.
  6. Sprinkle with salt.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
  8. Flip them after 10 minutes, then bake for another 7-8 minutes.
  9. Remove them from the oven and let them cool.  They get crispier as they cool.
  10. Stuff your face!  They are SUPER addictive.  I don’t ever have any leftovers….

To make the Cioppino:

  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 25 oz. jar of marinara sauce (get the good stuff without all of the added CRAP in it!  Or just use about 25 ounces of tomato sauce)
  • 8 oz. bottle of clam juice (totally gross to think about, but it makes it SO GOOD!)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock (you could use chicken stock, but I was trying to keep it meat free)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme (remove the tiny little leaves from the stems)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 pounds of seafood (Use whatever floats your boat.  I used 2 packages of Trader Joe’s Seafood Blend from the freezer case.  Use a mix of chopped white fish, shrimp, scallops, calamari, whatever you’ve got!  Fresh or frozen, doesn’t really matter)
  1. In a large soup pot, add in your veggies (onion, bell pepper, and garlic) and saute until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the marinara, clam juice, veggie stock, red pepper flakes, dried herbs, and thyme.  Simmer on medium low heat for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add in your seafood.  Continue to simmer until seafood is cooked through.  Cooking time will depend on whether you are using precooked/frozen vs. fresh seafood.  I let mine simmer for about 15 minutes, just for good measure.
  4. Stir in half of your fresh parsley.
  5. Serve it up in big bowls.  Top with more fresh parsley and some of those crispy plantain chips!
  6. Enjoy the briny, tomato-y goodness!!!

I shared this with one of my girls from the gym, Ava.  She totally dug it.  Pretty sure you will too!  She’s awesome, and you want to be like her…..so make this!  Sending much love and positivity!

-Meister

 

 

 

 

Dreams, Randoms, and Comfort Food

Ok, I have to warn you upfront.  This will probably be one of the most random posts of my life, but that’s kind of where my brain is right now….all over the place!

Anyways, I had the STRANGEST dream this past weekend.  I dreamed that I had scored a job washing dishes for the Food Network.  Now, I need to be honest.  I HATE washing dishes….so much!  In fact, if I could land myself a boyfriend or a husband that I could cook for all the time, but they would wash every dish, I’d sign on the dotted line!  Anyway, I landed this job washing dishes in the Food Network kitchens.  It was totally sketchy though.  I could only come in after hours, and tackle the piles of dishes from the day.  Alone.  They would not allow me to interact with anyone, especially not any of the talent.  BUT, after the dishes were done, if I finished them with enough time left before the first person came in in the morning……I GOT TO COOK!!!! On ALL of their equipment, using their pantries and products!?!?!  WHAAAAAT? Seriously.  It was completely bizarre.  And completely stupid, because all of my cooking adventures only ended up making more dishes for me to wash…..I think the moral of the story with this one is, I need some new kitchen stuff.  Like cookie/baking sheets.  Mine are a disaster.  I mean, I cover them with either foil or parchment for EVERY single thing that gets baked on them……because they are SO BAD!  I would also kill for some donut pans, an immersion blender, and an ice cream maker.  Maybe with tax money……or maybe my parents are sharking this right now and need ideas for me COUGHbirthday coming up in MayCOUGH!

Wow, now that that is over…..I’ve been craving sweets like crazy lately.  This is very strange for me.  Pretty sure I’m doing some baking late in the week or this weekend and it’s going to take a personal triumph to not go face-first into the goodies!  Ugh…..sugar DEMONS!!!

Lately, I’ve been feeling off.  I’ve been fighting a battle with my voice.  It’s been going in and out for probably upwards of 6 weeks or so.  I hate it.  I’m kind of known for having this loud, bellowing voice that carries….I mean, I AM a Meister after all.  It’s one of our finest genetic gifts.  So this is severely cramping my style at school.  I don’t have anywhere near the power or pull in the hallways during passing period or in the cafeteria at breakfast duty.  I go to announce that it’s time to finish up and pick up all of your trash, and my voice squeaks or cuts out or breaks.  It’s completely embarrassing……..I guess I’m adopting one of the beautiful facets of puberty, again.  In addition to that, my legs are feeling like they have appropriately taken the beating I’ve given them over the past couple of days with workouts.  My quads are rocks….and my hamstrings are strung up super tight!  Why does all of this matter?  Because when I feel crummy, I want comfort food, which generally equates to warm and tomato-y.  Hence the reason I made Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Meatballs and Tomato Sauce tonight!  So as I sit here, sipping on some herbal tea, hoping and praying my voice comes back, I gift you this recipe.  I figure it’s the least I could do after having you sit through my rambling 🙂

PS:  This dish cooks best when rocking out to a Whitney Houston, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” Pandora station in your kitchen.  Also, I would not recommend wearing a white shirt while cooking this…..because only idiots do that.  Note to self: find Bleach pen. Stat.

spaghetti and meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

  • 2 small or 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 red peppers, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 1 package of mushrooms (any variety works!)
  • 1 large yellow onion, 3/4 of it diced, 1/4 set aside
  • 8 cloves garlic, 4 minced, 4 left whole
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut your spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove all seeds and inner strings with a spoon.
  3. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and put into your oven, bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Chop red peppers into large chunks. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Arrange them on a small baking sheet and toss it in the oven with your squash for the last 20-25 ish minutes.
  6. While your veggies are roasting, get our your food processor! Gettin’ crazy!
  7. Toss in 1/4 of your onion (cut into a couple of chunks), 4 cloves of garlic, and about 1/3 of the package of mushrooms. Pulse until all of the veggies are teeny tiny pieces!
  8. In a large bowl, crumble your ground beef.  Add the pulverized veggie mix to the meat.  Add in the cumin, the parsley, and a bit of salt and pepper.
  9. Mix that shiz with your hands!  Get all sorts of dirty! Only mix until the veggies and spices are well incorporated into the meat.  Don’t go crazy on it. WASH YOUR HANDS!!
  10. Heat a bit (like 1 tablespoon) of oil in a deep skillet, keep it over medium high heat.
  11. Roll your mixture into balls, make them whatever size your heart desires.  I made mine about the size of a golfball, and I got about 16 delicious little beauties!
  12. Drop the meatballs into the oil and brown them on 2 sides.  It will take 3-4 minutes on each side.
  13. PAY ATTENTION to your roasting veggies!!!  Pull them out of the oven when they are done!!! But leave your oven on….it ain’t finished!
  14. Once meatballs have browned, remove them and place them on a baking sheet.  I used the SAME sheet my red peppers roasted on…..which are not on the baking sheet anymore, but waiting in the food processor to be pulsed into almost a paste.  Didn’t wash it or nothing!
  15. Put your sheet of meatballs into your 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
  16. While those are baking, we are going to build the sauce!!
  17. In the skillet, with drippings left behind by the meatballs, dump in your chopped onion, minced garlic cloves, and the remainder of your mushrooms.  Saute these veggies for about 5 minutes on high heat.
  18. Add in your red pepper puree.  Stir it all up!!
  19. Dump in your cans of diced tomatoes (juice and all) and tomato paste.  Also toss in your oregano.  At this point, turn your heat back to medium low.  Things will start bubbling and splattering pretty quickly if you don’t…..bad times.
  20. At this point, I filled the tomato paste can with water and added it to my sauce….to thin it out! Add as much as you want until it is the thickness you dig!
  21. When your meatballs are done baking, add them into your sauce and cover them with sauce.  Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.  It may be a good idea to slightly cover your pan with a lid….again, splatters are the devil!!
  22. When you can’t STAND it anymore, fork shred your spaghetti squash into “noodles” and top with your sauce and meatballs.
  23. SMASH and feel all warm and cozy inside!!

I realize this recipe takes a bit of time…..but trust me, it’s WORTH IT!  Not to mention, it makes leftovers that are even better than the original product…..I can’t wait to eat them for the rest of the week!  Here’s to crazy dreams, random ramblings, and really REALLY delicious eats! Comfort food love.

-Meister

Sunday ramblings and Kale Chips!

kale chips

Alright friends, I gotta be real about something.  Truth time.  I am going to throw away an entire waffle iron this morning.  It pissed me off one too many times.  There are few things in this world that irritate me more than malfunctioning kitchen equipment!  So the WHOLE iron (ruined waffle still inside) is going in the trash…as soon as it cools down enough to be handled.  That’ll teach you to destroy an epic waffle and smoke up my entire house!! Oh hell no, enjoy the trashcan.

This weekend has been kind of crazy.  Lots of stuff is going down, so I have just been trying to maintain the calm!  In an effort to do that, I haven’t gotten ANYTHING prepped for the week in terms of meal-planning or food, so it’s going to be an interesting afternoon for sure!  But this week should be GREAT in terms of recipes!  I’m trying out a couple of new things, as well as  making some old favorites.  Love it!

Quick recipe for you today!  Just my plain old kale chips.  They are highly addictive.  I have a serious problem with them, for REAL!  People always ask me how I store them so they don’t get all soggy.  Honestly, I couldn’t tell you how to store them….because I never have any to store.  Once I make them, addiction kicks into high gear and I go into BINGE mode on these poor little guys!  Eh, I suppose there are FAR worse things I could be addicted to…..like heroin, or meth.  THAT would be a real problem.

Kale Chips

  • 1 bunch or bag of kale (honestly, it doesn’t matter which kind you use, you want the curly stuff, buy the curly stuff.  You want dino kale, get the dino….your choice!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil.
  3. Evenly spread kale onto your baking sheets.  Make sure you remove any thick stems at this point, they don’t get so delicious when they bake.  If using whole kale, tear the leaves into pieces.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and toss on your spices.
  5. Get down and dirty and mix it all up using your hands.  Spread the kale into an even layer once all of it has been coated with the oil and spices.
  6. Bake for 10-20 minutes.  Start checking at 10 minutes and keep checking every couple of minutes until kale is crispy and starting to brown.  (Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the kale and how much you have crammed onto your baking sheet)
  7. Devour.  They are salty, crispy, and delicious!!

Enjoy these!  And seriously, I dare you to try and not eat the entire pan.  I DARE YOU!!! I’m betting it can’t be done….and if you CAN do it, you have a hell of a lot more willpower than I do!  Much love!

-Meister

Snowday (part 2) and Shrimp Scampi with Mashed Sweet Potatoes!

shrimp scampi

Well, Winter Storm Q delivered and the powers that be granted us another snow day!  Nothing like working a 2 day week, only to have it followed by a 2nd four day weekend in a row!  AND huge props to ME for staying tame with my eating today!  Seriously, I actually ate the foods I had prepped earlier in the week, whaaaat?!?  I’m pretty darn impressed with myself.  Plus, since I wasn’t eating random garbage all day, I’ve actually been pretty productive as well!  I got a TON of dishes washed, did some school work, got my laundry going, worked out, and shoveled my front steps and walkway.  Why didn’t I shovel the entire driveway, you ask?  Well that would be because little brother woke up at 5 AM and got the snowblower running!!!!  Then he cleared the whole driveway!  Today, he’s winning the award for best roommate ever.  I should be a nice landlord and bake him something….hmm, gonna have to think on that!

All of that being said, I’m completely OVER winter.  I want spring desperately.  I’m tired of nasty dry winter skin, chapped lips, having to wear socks and coats, and gross cold wind.  I want green, refreshing rain, thunderstorms, farmers markets, and SUN!!!  Seriously, I can’t wait.  The saving grace in all of this is that it is starting to stay lighter later into the day.  In fact, I generally feel better about life when I can walk out of the gym after my 4:30 workout and still see daylight!

Productivity aside, I can’t quite bring myself to cook dinner yet.  I’m still full from my awesome lunch.  I made homemade Paleo mayo, which is an exercise in patience.  Let me tell you!  You better be SUPER patient and completely in a calm place with your life or your general frantic aura will destroy that mayo, and quickly.  Mine turned out awesome…on the second batch.  I bumped the bowl on the first batch and accidentally poured in WAY too much oil at once!  So yeah, that was ruined.  But hey!  Even Meister makes mistakes, no big deal.  I just threw it away and started over.  My second attempt turned out perfectly!  So I used it to make some delicious tuna salad and baked up some kale chips to go with it!  I have an addiction to kale chips that cannot begin to be described.  I made 2 baking sheets of kale chips…..then ATE 2 baking sheets of kale chips.  I’m out of control.  Clearly.

The discussion of food addiction shall be saved for another day!  In the mean time, this recipe is a favorite of mine.  It is also a “go-to” for me because it is SUPER quick and easy to make.  The longest part is boiling the potatoes to mash them.  It’s stupid how easy this is….but it’s also STUPID delicious!  Enjoy!

Shrimp Scampi with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

For your potatoes:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/2 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Place potatoes in a pot and fill with enough water to cover the potatoes.
  2. Bring potatoes to a boil.
  3. Boil for 15-20 minutes, or until they are fork tender.
  4. Drain your potatoes and put them back into your hot pot.
  5. Mash your potatoes.  Work out your aggression until they are completely mashed.  I like mine a little chunkier, so I don’t go too crazy on them!
  6. Mix in your coconut milk and spices until you get a creamy consistency.
  7. Set them aside to be topped by your delicious shrimp! (or stuff your face with them now….your call)

**If you are wanting to top these with the shrimp scampi, you can just leave the drained potatoes in the pot and hold off on mashing and mixing them until your shrimp is finished!  Just pop a lid on them and they will stay warmer.**

For the shrimp scampi:

  • 2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large or 2 medium red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 – 1 pound of raw, deveined tail-on shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (more or less depending on spice level you want)
  • 1 spoonful ghee (or clarified butter)
  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
  2. Add veggies (onions, garlic, and peppers) to your skillet and saute for about 5 minutes.
  3. While veggies are cooking, pull the tails off of your shrimp and set them aside. Be GENTLE!!  Don’t rip your shrimp to hell….that would be terrible.  Respect your protein!
  4. Add your spices and red pepper flakes to your veggies and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Or until veggies start to soften up a bit.
  5. Now, add your shrimp to your skillet and saute 3-5 minutes, being sure to turn your shrimp.  Cook until shrimp are pink and cooked through.
  6. Just for fun, when the shrimp are cooked, finished with a spoonful of ghee.  This is not a necessary step, but it will take the flavor to an outrageous level!!  And seriously, can it really be considered scampi without butter? I think not.
  7. Plate it up over some of those mashed sweet potatoes and enjoy!  Try to exercise some self control and not eat the entire pan…

Ok, just typing this up has made me hungry enough to start cooking dinner!  Thanks blog!! Much love.

-Meister

 

 

Snowday (part 1) and a delicious Egg Bake

wine and gatsby

Yes, I realize that pic isn’t anything to do with a delicious Egg Bake, but it is how I intend to spend the remainder of my afternoon after this post! Today marks Day 1 of Snowmageddon 2K13, also known as Winter Storm Q.  Honestly, I think it’s completely ridiculous that we are naming winter storms now, but we can’t even get an epic name?  Just a freaking letter?!?  I feel cheated.  We could have had Quentin, or Quincy, or Quin, but NOOOOO, just plain old Q.  Whatever.  So far, I’m not impressed.  It’s snowing pretty decently, so we’ll see how much mayhem this entire system decides to drop on us!

Remember a couple of days ago when I said that I eat like total CRAP on snow days?  And that if I prepared ahead of time, I was much better off?  HAHA!  Yeah…..guess who still has eaten like trash so far today?!  Oh well, what the hell.  I’ve actually done better than expected.  Met up with a couple of friends for brunch at a rad little diner where I had a pretty bangin’ bacon and veggie omelet with a side of bacon, because really, can you ever have too much bacon?  I think not.  I drank about a pot and a half of coffee and just generally enjoyed their company.  It was nice to get out and DO something on a snowday, considering the pavement was bone dry until about noon when it started snowing.

After brunch I ran a couple of errands, got back home, put my pj’s back on and started playing around in the kitchen!  Which is always a fun way for me to waste my time.  I don’t want to totally spill the beans quite yet, but let’s just say that there is a freaking ridiculously delicious waffle recipe in the works and will be coming your way VERY soon!!! Feel free to curse at me, but as I sit here typing this, I’m drinking a glass of wine (at 4 in the afternoon) and I’m looking forward to hanging on the couch and doing some reading this afternoon.  I love snowdays…..so FREAKING MUCH! I’m super sophisticated, wine and Gatsby.  I get extra pretentious points today!

Anyways, onto a recipe.  I usually make some sort of large quantity breakfast dish so that I can split it into individual portions to take with me throughout the week.  I decided to go the egg bake route this week, because I have kind of burned out on sweet potato hash.  So this dish was born!  This could really be made without any additional meat of any kind, but I wanted to add some extra protein…..hence the addition of some salmon!  If you couldn’t tell, presentation wise, this dish looks really pretty.  So if you’ve got a brunch where you need to impress or entertain, bust this one out!

tomato egg bake

Sundried Tomato Basil Egg Bake with Salmon

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bag fresh baby spinach
  • 10-15 leaves of fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 8-10 sundried tomatoes, chopped (I used the jarred kind that are packed in olive oil)
  • 1 large tomato, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • salt and pepper
  • 4-6 oz. of smoked salmon, or 1 can pink salmon (if you are adding meat in!)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet.
  3. Add in your onions and garlic.  Saute until they are translucent. (big word!)
  4. Add in your spinach, one handful at a time, until it wilts down.
  5. When that is finished, transfer it to the bottom of your baking dish that’s been brushed with a bit of olive oil.  I used a weird sized glass baking dish I found in my cabinet….it’s like a 6″ X 10″ that was like 2″ deep.  You could use a square glass one as well and it would work just as great….you just might have to tweak the baking time.
  6. Spread the veggie mixture evenly in the bottom of your baking dish.
  7. If you are adding salmon, evenly distribute it over the veggies at this point.
  8. Next, layer on your sundried tomatoes and chopped basil.
  9. In a bowl, whisk together your eggs, coconut milk, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
  10. Pour your egg mixture over the entire dish of goodness! (Make sure you leave AT LEAST 1/2″ between the top of your eggs and the top of your baking dish, probably more if you can….otherwise you are in for overflow city.  In any case, I put a baking sheet on the rack under the dish while I’m baking it, just in case……nothing worse than cleaning an oven my friends!)
  11. Arrange your thinly sliced fresh tomatoes over the top of the dish.  Make them look all sorts of pretty!
  12. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top of your tomatoes.
  13. Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Start checking at 30 minutes, keep baking until the middle no longer jiggles, even if that means it goes longer than 40 minutes. The time will depend on how deep your baking dish is.
  14. When finished baking, remove and let cool before you cut and serve.
  15. Enjoy!!!

This is a dish that can be enjoyed hot, cold, or room temp!  It’s delicious no matter what!  Feel free to play with additional proteins.  I just like the salmon because it really lets the tomatoes and basil shine through without overpowering them!

Time to get back to enjoying my snowday! Sending warm thoughts and food love your way!

-Meister

Imbalance in the Universe…demands Miracle Soup!

miracle soup

So, something is MAJORLY off today.  Honestly, ALL elements of my world seemed to just go to shit pretty quickly.  For example, work went pretty well, but the kiddos were just CRAZY because of all of the buzz about this impending DOOM SNOW! My performance at the gym was just off, everything was majorly uncomfortable and hurt like crazy….which is very strange.  So I was thinking, “Maybe I just need to get home and chill and all will set itself right.”

Wrong answer.  Had to hit up both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to grab a couple of things.  The saving grace in all of today is that I actually stuck to my list and didn’t blow an astronomical amount of money.  Anyway, got home, got the mail, and got my stuff inside…..where things quickly started to unravel.  Set my bags down on the counter, at which point my delicious ginger kombucha decided to explode!!  YAY!  This was followed by a great deal of swearing.  After that, I started cooking dinner, which lead to a grease splatter to my FACE and catching my finger with the peeler while peeling a sweet potato.  Seriously, the kitchen NEVER rebels against me.  Ever.  We are like BFF’s……this is how I KNOW something ain’t right with the world.  I’m blaming that meteor in Russia….

Oh!  And the kicker?  I got my “official” rejection letter from the Ph.D. program at A&M in the mail today.  I mean, I knew it wasn’t going to happen, my application was incomplete.  No big deal.  But to see the words, ” your overall profile is not competitive with other applicants” stings just a wee bit!  Especially when the day is already in the crapper.

So, I made the Miracle Soup, because this shit can cure anything.  ANYTHING I tell you!  From the plague, to the winter blues, to any kind of sickness imaginable, it’ll set you right.  I have GOT to trust and believe that this soup will set things on a better path!  Plus, I made it SUPER spicy tonight just to ensure that!  Anyways, the recipe below is the NON crazy spicy version, so no fear!

Miracle Soup

**Warning….this is kind of just “kitchen sink” soup….meaning NONE of the measurements are exact and I just kept grabbing stuff! It’ll turn out different every time, but it’ll turn out AWESOME each time too!  It also makes a TON, so use a big pot!**

  • 1 lb. ground Sausage
  • 2 Medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 anaheim peppers, chopped
  • 2 poblano peppers, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped very finely
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale (i used 1 whole bag of the pre-washed pre-cut stuff)
  • 1 LARGE sweet potato, peeled an diced into 1/2 inch cubes (like the size of your forearm, large…or a few smaller ones)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 quarts of homemade chicken stock (you can use boxed stock, but get the better quality organic stuff, not the cheap shit full of MSG and other junk)
  • Salt, Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin for good measure!
  1. Start by browning your sausage in the bottom of a big soup pot. If you need to, start it in a bit of coconut or olive oil. When it is browned, remove it from the pot and set aside.
  2. Add all of your peppers, onions, and garlic and cook until translucent….or like 5 ish minutes, stirring often. When the veggies are cooked through, add back in your sausage…then get ready to start dumping in a BUNCH of stuff!
  3. Dump in your can of tomatoes and stir them into the mix.
  4. Then pour in your chicken stock.
  5. Add in your salt, pepper, and cumin and stir to combine.
  6. Let that come to a boil. DON’T watch it….it WILL take longer.
  7. When everything is boiling away nicely, add in your sweet potato chunks.
  8. Turn the heat back to a simmer and let it simmer away for another 10 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.
  9. Add in your kale, one handful at a time, so that it can wilt down, until you’ve added the whole bunch/bag.
  10. Let it simmer away for another 5-10 minutes! Bowl it up and ENJOY!!!

    A couple of things:

    *If you end up needing to add more liquid, I would always opt for more stock. That being said, this makes a pretty chunky soup. But I like mine hearty. You do what makes you happy.

    *I have also played around with the HEAT level by adding additional jalapenos or by throwing in red pepper flakes. Again, you do what makes you happy and spice it up to your own level. I always err on the side of NOT super spicy……because you can always add some Red Hot to your own bowl!

Here’s to curing all of your demons!! (And hoping and praying I don’t spill my bowl of soup on this computer….) Much love.

-Meister