Creating a Home and Smashing on Stroganoff.

Hello friends! I’ve officially been a Texas resident for all of 13 days and I’ve gotten pretty settled.  In that amount of time, I’ve burned/scalded a limited amount of food on my coil stove.  I’m taking THAT as a win!  I’ve also had maintenance to my apartment probably 5 times.  I’m not 100% sure the kitchen took quite this much of a beating before me, so pretty much all things in the kitchen that could malfunction did. Most exciting of which was the dishwasher!  A kitchen floor covered in bubbles is TONS OF FUN!!!  Anywho, Rico (the head maintenance guy) is my new best friend, and he’s THE MAN!!!  Got everything in excellent working order, and was hilarious to talk to while he was working.  Props to Rico!

Other than causing my kitchen to self-destruct, I’ve done a whole lot of nothing.  Ok, that’s not entirely true.  I’ve read about 5 books and worked on several crochet projects.  Oh, and drank some wine.  Ok, maybe a lot of wine.  I also found myself a new gym!  They are a really amazing group of people, and I can’t wait to make their community my own!

All that being said, I’ve been eating pretty strictly Paleo since I moved.  I’ve allowed myself a small amount of grass-fed cheese here and there, and a bit of dark chocolate, but essentially, I’m eating much MUCH cleaner than I was before I moved.  I’d fallen off the wagon pretty hard, but considering the stress of my life at that time, I didn’t really beat myself up about it.  Whatever.  I’m back on the wagon, and really feeling the benefits already!  I’m sleeping sounder, waking up with a clearer head, still dying in workouts (but I’m blaming that on the heat!), but generally just feeling more alive.  I LOVE that good food can do that to you!

Late last week, I was feeling a teeny bit sad that my family was 900 miles away.  I immediately started craving comfort food, so I whipped up this bad boy, and DANG!  It was SO GOOD!

stroganoff

This is my SUPER easy beef stroganoff!  I didn’t plan appropriately and didn’t make anything to serve it over, but it would be delicious over some spaghetti squash, on an open-face sweet potato, or over some white rice (if you are into that).  I would also probably double the recipe if you are cooking for more than 2 people.  Here it is!:

Stupid Easy Beef Stroganoff

  • 1 pound stew beef chunks (or steak cut into small chunks)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup coconut milk (get the canned stuff)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (any variety will do)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour
  1. In a deep skillet over medium high heat, heat 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil (olive, coconut, etc.).  Add your onion and garlic and cook until translucent.  You want to let them go until they are just starting to brown, about 7 minutes or so.
  2. Add in your stew beef and sear until the beef is browned on all sides, another 5 minutes.
  3. When all the yummies are browned and delicious, add in your coconut milk and spices, NOT the tapioca flour!  Make sure you stir your coconut milk in well, being sure to scrape up any bits on the bottom of your pan. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover your pan.  Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the beef is starting to tenderize and all flavors have come together.
  4. At this point, uncover your pan and taste for salt and pepper.
  5. In a small cup, mix together your 1 tablespoon of tapioca flour with 2 tablespoons of water.  Make sure you mix it until all clumps are gone.
  6. Pour this slurry into your beef and coconut milk mixture slowly, stirring while adding it.  You should notice it thickening up almost immediately. Allow your stroganoff to cook for about 2-3 more minutes over medium heat.
  7. Spoon it over your carb vehicle of choice and put it in your mouth!

This smacked the comfort food craving right out of my mouth!  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!!!  Until next time!

Peace, Love, and Paleo y’all

-Meister

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Guess who’s back????

Well hey there long lost friends!  Clearly, I’ve been away for a bit.  Ok, who am I kidding?  I fell off the face of the Earth for a few months.  In reality, things have been pretty hectic….and while they haven’t at ALL calmed down, they seem to be settling into some sort of twisted sense of normal for me.

That, coupled with a particularly nasty case of academic writer’s block, brings be back to you!  What should I really be doing right now?  Writing my admissions essays…but NO! I made a tragically stupid mistake by looking at the degree plan of study (in depth) that I’m applying for and subsequently am having a mini-panic attack.  Joy. However, my somewhat flaky nature and ability to be scared by a PDF is GREAT for you guys….because I’m back!  If for no other reason that to prove to myself that I can still write.

If it gets rambly, my most sincere apologies.  I am just navigating through the storm of not actually having written anything for months.  Sue me.

I’m gonna do what I do best!  Serve up a healthy dose of snark and a bangin’ recipe!  With that, I give you these beauties….
bison meatballs

These little bad boys are some CRAZY delicious bison meatballs!  Now, if you are finding yourself saying, “EEEWW!  Bison!?!”  just freaking take my word for it, bison is AMAZING!  Like, life-changing amazing.  In fact, I don’t know why I didn’t get on the bison train sooner!  Now, if you can’t find bison, these could be made with ground beef….I suppose.  But if you CAN find bison (or happen to have an old friend from elementary school who was gifted a bison ranch as a wedding gift…..I mean, it could happen!) load up on as much of that stuff as you can!

Bison Meatballs

  • 2 pounds ground bison
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2-3 small red chile peppers, finely minced seeds and all! (you could sub 1-2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper depending on the heat level you want)
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Ground Black pepper….as much as you dig!
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix by hand.
  2. Get good and dirty making sure all spices are incorporated thoroughly!
  3. Roll mixture into walnut-sized balls.  Mine made just over 2 dozen meatballs.
  4. Heat 1-2 tablespoons in a deep skillet and add meatballs to your pan.
  5. Brown on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side until you get a nice brown crust on each side.
  6. When meatballs are browned on all sides, I topped mine with my favorite red sauce and simmered them somewhat covered (more to protect my cooktop from splatters) on low for about 10 minutes.
  7. Toss those bad boys on some spaghetti squash and enjoy!

I hope that these are rockin’ for ya!  They were pretty much one of the best things I’ve ever made….but I’m a sucker for simple comfort foods.

Here’s to being back! Peace, Love, and Paleo!

Meister

Soaking up the Summer! Roadtrips, Snack Food, and Insecurities!

Ok, so I know over and over again I have apologized at length about neglecting this bad boy.  Well, I’m done apologizing.  I realize I’ve taken quite the break from posting on here, but I’ve been very UNapologetically enjoying my summer and living life to the fullest!  I’m taking advantage of the precious few days/weeks that I have left before I go back to school and there’s nothing to feel sorry about in that!  If that irks you, meh, get over it!

As I sit here typing, I am waiting anxiously for morning to come so that I can embark on my roadtrip to Texas!  Some may think that it’s absolutely ludicrous to spend multiple hours in the car alone….I CAN’T FREAKING WAIT!  Sometimes it’s all dark and stormy for me to be alone in my own head on the open road, but I am in desperate need of this time to sort some stuff out!  Admittedly, I am really pretty apprehensive about being out of my own kitchen and my gym for almost two weeks.  But what the hell.  Life is about embracing the fear and giving it hell, right?  That’s what I’m telling myself at least!  Plus, I prepped some snacks for the road and packed ALL of my workout clothes as well as my jump rope and a kettle bell.  So really, I see that as preparing myself for success!

Before I get to food, I just need to say that my 10 year high school reunion was last weekend.  It was about as good as I expected it would be.  The hardest part of it for me was that I was THAT girl.  You know, the one that a ton of people had to second guess as to who it was.  I posted this picture on facebook on the morning of my reunion:

10 year change

The left side was taken on the morning of my high school graduation in May 2003 and the pic on the right was taken the morning of my 10 year reunion (July 2013).  It kind of set me back a bit looking at the comparison.  First, I guess I hadn’t realized I was that big by the end of high school, and secondly, I realized that I actually got quite a bit bigger before I started losing weight.  Anyway, this comparison photo was shared among several people and I got a ton of really positive comments on it.  Many of them somehow involving the word “inspiration”.  I have to admit that that particular word makes me really awkward.  I want my various passions to inspire people.  I want to inspire my students and those around me to continue their own education on whatever topics fascinate them.  I want my actions, purpose, and interactions with others to inspire those around to treat people better.  Yeah, I lost weight….a LOT of it.  And yes, I have done a complete 180 with my life, my choices, my social circles, my desires, and my needs.  To say that I’m humbled by people calling me an inspiration would be inadequate.  I don’t know, I’m probably just insecure.

Ok enough head case ranting.  I made some BOMB Banana Bread Granola for my trip tomorrow! Not gonna lie, the cooking time is gonna be a bit sketchy because my power went out towards the end of baking….so you might have to play around with the timing.  But the flavor is OUT OF CONTROL!! I swear, it tastes just like banana bread.

banana bread granola

Banana Bread Granola

  • 1.5 cups mixed nuts of choice, roughly chopped (I used pecans and cashews…it’s what I had on hand!)
  • 10-12 dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 smallish very ripe bananas (I’m talking brown and spotty on the peel….that means they are SUPER sweet!)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat up your oven to 325 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork until they are almost pureed smooth.
  3. Add in your melted coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, and salt. Mix well to combine.
  4. Stir in your nuts, coconut, and dates….making sure you coat all dry ingredients well.  The dates will probably clump up together, just try to break them up as much as possible.
  5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out your granola mixture onto the baking sheet.  Make sure it is in an even layer, and spread pretty thinly., no more than 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Bake for 40 ish minutes, stirring the mixture halfway through.  You want to bake until the granola starts to brown a bit and has dried out some.
  7. Remove from the oven and LET IT COOL!!  It is the cooling that makes it all “crispy” and granola like!  Due to the “wet” nature of this mix, it may never crisp up completely.  But I found that I really kind of like the chewy texture of mine!
  8. Once it has cooled completely, I stored mine in an airtight container in the fridge.

Such a sweet and delicious paleo treat!  Can’t wait to smash on this in the car!!!  With that, realize it may be a bit until I post another full out entry, BUT be sure to follow me on FaceBook and I will be sure to post tasty food pics of what I’m smashing on during my travels! And while you’re at it, check yourself….be an inspiration for someone.  Do it! Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister

Baking Queen

baking supplies

Hey friends!  So it’s been a crazy past few days!  Last week was full of prepping for my annual Luau at my house.  The party ended up being a giant success!  Lots of awesome people in attendance and TONS of great food!  I love hanging out with the folks from my gym, they are a stellar crew.  Pretty sure I drank my body weight in hard cider, but who cares!  It’s summer.  Live it up, I say!

This week is ALL about baking.  I’ve been prepping all week for The Duo competition on Saturday.  Because I’m going to have a booth set up, I’ve been doing LITERALLY nothing but baking every afternoon, evening, and night this week.  I’m kind of over it!  In my fridge right now are four pans of Maple Bacon Blondies, four pans of Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies, about 10 dozen Oreo Balls waiting to be dipped in chocolate, and enough Chocolate Chunk cookie dough for about 15 dozen cookies.

I can’t wait for Saturday to be here so that I can stock my fridge with REAL food again and get back into a regular eating schedule instead of eating random protein that is hiding in the back of my fridge.  So because of all of the baking, I have no recipe for you.  I suck at life.  I know.  My bad.  Again, it’s summer. Meh!  Make some desserts that I’ve linked up top.  If you haven’t tried them out before, get on it now!  OR better yet! Show up on Saturday and just buy the treats I’ve already made!  Do it.  It’s a Win-Win!

Well that’s all I’ve got for right now!  If you don’t hear from me for a few days, there’s a really good chance I’m in a sugar coma.  Somebody bring me a steak and some veggies…..

Until then, Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister

Summer time….and the living is EASY!

Hey friends!  Well, I’ve officially somewhat settled into my summer “schedule”.  Honestly, it’s really difficult to stay on track with my eating when I have little to no structure or routine.  I’ve actually been pretty proud of myself so far this year.  I’ve been keeping myself to a regular gym schedule which makes everything else about 10 million times easier!  That being said, I’m still drinking a lot more that I’m used to.  I’m by no means getting inappropriate, but I had all but eliminated my “glass of wine with dinner” mentality…..and now that’s back.  Cider on the deck? Sure! Wine while cooking dinner? Yep! Rum buckets at the College World Series? Hell yes!  So yeah, alcohol is back in the mix.  She’s a tricky tricky devil….and makes me feel squishy.  What a dirty bitch.  Eh, I suppose I do it to myself!

 

I’ve also really been trying to be more spontaneous and go out more.  I became a bit of a recluse over the winter/spring months, and now that it’s summer and there is a TON going on, I’m trying to take FULL advantage of it!  Living life! Because of this, I feel like unless I have food already prepped in my fridge, I’m screwed.  Such is life.  I’ve been just making sure there is some sort of protein in my fridge at all times.  It’s veggies that I’m struggling with making sure I have enough of.  Stupid vegetables and their short shelf life…..

 

A few days back, I promised you something spectacular with that Dill Mayo I made.  Well here it is!  This turned out so insanely delicious.  I just kept it in the big bowl that I mixed it in and I stashed it in my fridge and ate off of it for almost a week.  Hell yes. Easy access!

potato salad

Buffalo Chicken Potato Salad….with BACON!

  • 1.5 pounds cooked chicken, chopped into bite size pieces (I used a cooked rotisserie chicken that I just picked clean!)
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2-3 tablespoons hot sauce of choice (I used Frank’s….and I used way more than that amount, because I LOVE hot sauce!)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Dill Mayo…..depending on how saucy you like your salads
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large pot, put in all sweet potato chunks and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, and lightly boil for 15ish minutes.  You want your potatoes to be tender enough that a fork will poke into them, but not so over done that they smush and fall apart. When cooked, drain potatoes and put aside to cool.
  2. While potatoes are boiling, cut bacon into small pieces and cook in a deep skillet until bacon is fully cooked and crisp. (Feel free to bake/microwave your bacon as well and then just cut it into chunks….didn’t want to heat up the whole kitchen with my oven!) When bacon is crisp, remove it from the skillet onto a paper towel to get some of the excess fat off.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine pulled chicken, cooled potatoes, mayo, and hot sauce.  I would add the mayo gradually.  Start with 1/4 cup, get that mixed in, and the see if you want more.  I HATE super gloppy salads.
  4. When mixed well, mixed in your bacon.
  5. Taste your creation and salt and pepper according to your tastes.
  6. For best results, let this bad boy chill in the fridge for about an hour prior to eating or serving so that the flavors have time to really get into all of the ingredients.
  7. SMASH!!!!  Seriously, chicken, bacon, sweet potatoes……hot sauce! HEAVEN!

I realize it’s not the most colorful dish, but it’s damned tasty!  I ate it throughout the week as a main dish, as a side dish, in some lettuce wraps, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  So really, get AFTER it and live the summer high life! Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister

Sweet Baby Jesus, Garlic Dill Mayo!

dill mayo

I’m not even lying when I tell you that this mayo is SO beyond insane that I stood in my kitchen finding reasons to put it on things so I could lick the spoon.  I mean really, who the hell stands around eating mayo!?!?  Apparently I do, and it’s because this stuff is FREAKING delicious!  Like completely out of control and life changing.  LIFE CHANGING FOLKS!

Honestly, I wasn’t planning on blogging tonight.  I was going to cook a simple dinner, take it easy, and just call it a relaxing night.  And then that damned mayo happened…..and I feel guilty NOT sharing it with you guys.

With that being said, there are a couple of tricks to making paleo mayo.  It can be quite finnicky, but if you just find some patience it’s really pretty easy.  Minimal ingredients, a little bit of time, a LOT of calm and love in your heart, and you have magical mayo at the end! Plus, it makes a good amount!  I can’t wait to use this to make crazy good salads!  I’m thinking some sort of sweet potato salad….probably with bacon.  OOOOOH!  Or a BLT chicken salad!  Yep, that’s happening.  Stay tuned for that one, it’s gonna be good.  I can tell already! See! So much joy, from just a little jar of mayo 🙂

Garlic Dill Mayo

  • 2 egg yolks (save the whites for breakfast!)
  • 1 lemon, juiced (you want about 2-3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice)
  • 1 cup Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil, seriously, DON’T use regular Extra Virgin, it won’t come together correctly……you could play around with other oils here as well or combinations, but you are going to want it to be a majority of oil that will stay in a liquid state (AKA NOT all coconut oil)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill (or 1 tablespoon dried dill)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

***My directions below are using a food processor.  You COULD whisk by hand or with a hand mixer, or hell, you could even use a blender, but ain’t nobody got time for that!  Let the food processor do all the work!***

  1. In the bowl of your food processor add your egg yolks and the juice from half of your lemon. Pulse it a couple of times to combine.
  2. Set the processor on the lowest setting.  While it is mixing, SLOWLY add in your oil.  Seriously, I’m talking a few drops at a time for probably the first 1/4 cup of oil added.  It WILL take time and patience!!!  Just keep the processor running!  When you have created a emulsion, the mixture will start to thicken and turn opaque.  At this point, you can begin to add in your oil a bit more at a time.  I will warn you, err on the side of adding oil VERY slowly! Once you break the emulsion by adding it too quickly, you are screwed and the mayo is trash!
  3. Once all of the oil has been incorporated (it took me upwards of about 7 minutes to get all of it added) you can stop the processor.  You should have a thick and AWESOME looking mayo!!  Yay! You did it!
  4. At this point, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the remaining lemon juice as well as the dill and the spices.  Pulse it a few times to mix everything into the mayo.
  5. Taste!!!  Adjust seasoning as needed, just be prepared to want to eat mayo straight off the spoon.  Welcome to being a weirdo!  Sorry to have sealed this fate for you…
  6. Store it in closed container in the fridge.  It keeps as long as eggs normally would, but seriously, I’d be surprised if mine makes it a full week in my fridge!

The uses for this are totally endless.  Like I said earlier, I’m hoping to bring you an epic mayonnaise based salad here sometime soon.  That just sounds SO FREAKING good right now, not to mention, it kind of screams summer! If all else fails, just smear some of this on top of some grilled or broiled salmon and you will be a happy little camper!  See!!

dill mayo salmon

Peace, Love, and Paleo Mayo!

-Meister

Now Introducing….the WORST blogger ever!!

Seriously friends.  I’m a giant jerk.  I haven’t posted in almost a month.  To be fair, a WHOLE lot of big stuff has happened in the past three weeks.  For starters, I had my birthday!  Yay.  I’m officially 28, so I guess that’s exciting?  Also, school ended for the year, which is always a chaotic time. So let’s do a little review in pics of what I’ve been doing that has kept me away from all of you lovely folks.  Ready? Go! I’ve been….clean bruises

Beating the crap out of myself at the gym everyday!  Honestly, it’s crazy how easily I bruise.

wildcat 5k 2013

Hey look!  I ran a 5k at my school!  Plus, I didn’t die AND I took 12 minutes off of my previous 5k….that means I finished in just under 33 minutes.  I’ll TAKE it!

road trip selfie

I headed down to Kansas City for a brief getaway.  It was GREAT!  Love that city and I LOVE road tripping!  Speaking of, stay tuned for plenty of talk about my “Tour of Texas” I’m doing in July!

Lastly, and possibly the most important thing I’ve been doing….

yard drinking

Enjoying the HELL out of my summer break!  For real. I’ve been enjoying deck beverages, yard beverages, patio beverages, beverages with friends, with family, and by myself!  It’s been amazing to JUST RELAX…..which I don’t allow myself to do much.  I’m pretty sure I could get used to this!

As you can see, I’ve been a busy busy girl!  I know I’ve said it before, but I am going to post more often.  I promise.  No, I really REALLY promise!  Anyways, regardless of all of the awesome going on lately, there have been a few things kind of bringing me down.  One of these is body image.  I am convinced that I will always struggle with it.  Always, no matter how old I get, no matter how confident I become, it’s always lurking….waiting to pounce at one moment of weakness.  That’s all a different post for a different day….but be prepared, because I feel like it’s going to be coming soon!

On to food.  To be quite honest, I haven’t really been cooking much exciting stuff lately.  Just sticking to the basics of a piece of grilled/roasted meat, some veggies, and some fat.  Pretty boring folks!  But the one thing I have been mildly obsessed with is stuffing sweet potatoes.  It’s SO FREAKING GOOD!  Not to mention super simple!  So I’ll give ya a two-fer on recipes tonight.  I owe you…….big time.  So here are two of my beauties!

pulled chicken sweet potato jalapeno beef sweet potato

Garlic Jalapeno Pulled Chicken

  • 3-4 whole jalapeno peppers, cut in half lengthwise (leave all seeds and ribs IN)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (just whack them with the back of your knife)
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion (you could use fresh onion chunks, I just didn’t have any in the house!)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 pound of chicken (I used chicken tenders….they cook faster, but you could sub breasts or thighs….the cooking time might be a bit different)
  1. In a large dutch oven or stock pot, fill with 4-6 cups of water.
  2. Put ALL ingredients OTHER THAN the chicken into the pot and bring to a boil.
  3. When the water is at a rolling boil, carefully drop your chicken in. Turn the heat back to Medium and continue to boil for about 30 minutes.
  4. To test if chicken is done, simply remove a piece of chicken and split it apart at the thickest part. If it’s not done, just toss it back into the cauldron!
  5. When chicken is cooked through, remove from the pot and allow to cool before shredding by hand.

This turned out slightly spicy and totally delicious!  Not to mention, it can be used for any number of other recipes.  In fact, I scrambled some of the leftover chicken into my eggs the next morning!  Boom.  Plus, it was damn good stuffed into a baked sweet potato and topped with fresh guacamole.

Jalapeno Lime Ground Beef

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced
  • 4 limes, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion (could sub fresh…about 1/2 an onion, just didn’t have any!)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  1. In a deep skillet, brown your ground beef.
  2. When beef is almost cooked through add in the remaining ingredients and mix together well.
  3. Turn your heat back to Medium-Low and simmer your ground beef for 8-10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Taste, and salt and pepper as needed!
  5. Stuff it in a baked sweet potato and SMASH!

Alrighty, well hopefully I’ve gone and made a bit of amends……I promise not to desert you again! Plus, there will probably be a dessert of some sort coming soon.  I will be selling baked goods at a competition being held at my gym on June 29th, so I will be a baking MACHINE in the next couple of weeks!  Lucky you 🙂 Get out there and enjoy your summer! Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister