Chicken Bacon Deliciousness…..aka Eating your Feelings

chicken bacon mac

Hello friends!!  The past couple of weeks have been spent settling into a routine of sorts.  Basically, that means I’ve been doing nothing but reading and going to the gym.  My apartment is impeccably clean, my laundry is always done, and I’m getting into incredibly bizarre eating patterns.  I spent a good week drinking copious amounts of wine and exploring the outdoors.  Headed to Austin last weekend, and believe it or not, yours truly, Queen of Clumsy, hung out in a hammock!  Now, I don’t mean the kind that you gently just sit into.  This one involved a small bit of climbing and WHOLE lot of trust in both my own balance and weight distribution, as well as the sweet rigging skills of my companion.  In the end, there was minimal squealing, a bit of “NOPE! Not doing that!”, and whole lot of self-doubt, and one solid dose of “Suck it up Meister!”.  I owned that hammock.  Enjoyed it immensely, and then had the most UNgraceful dismount out of it that included hugging a tree, therefore scraping and bruising the crap out of my entire left arm.  Good times. No, GREAT times!

Anyways, I’ve been suffering a mild trip-hangover after returning from Austin, so I’ve been just kind of eating whatever is accessible…..until I ran out of food.  Needless to say, I’ve been wanting to eat all of the feelings.  By now, if you’ve read more than two of my posts, I’m sure you’ve figured out that “eating my feelings” = COMFORT FOOD!!

I made this insanely delicious Chicken Bacon “Mac and Cheese”.  While this isn’t technically Paleo (because it includes some grassfed/raw cheese) you could leave the cheese out and it would still be plenty delicious.  If you can’t get down with dairy, just omit it.  I won’t be offended. 🙂

Chicken Bacon Mac & Cheese

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1.5 pounds chicken breast, cut into small chunks
  • 5-6 slices thick cut bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk, make sure it’s at room temperature
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 6-7 oz. grassfed or raw cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Optional toppings: crushed chicharonnes (pork rinds), scallions, fresh parsley, whatever your heart desires
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Cut your spaghetti squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, place facedown on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes (or until the outer skin gives a bit when you press on it).
  2. Set cooked squash aside to cool while you prepare your sauce.
  3. In a deep skillet, heat a small amount of oil over medium-high heat and add your diced chicken.  Cook chicken until it is browned and cooked through, about 7-10 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet…..I just put mine on a plate to hang out until I needed it again.
  4. Add your diced bacon to the skillet.  Cook bacon until it is crisp, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove bacon from skillet.  You want to leave about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the bottom of your skillet.  If your bacon gave off a ton of grease, pour out some of it.  You want just enough to cover the entire bottom of the skillet.
  5. Reduce your heat to medium low.  Whisk your tapioca starch into your bacon grease until it is fully incorporated.
  6. Add your can of coconut milk to the skillet.  You will want to whisk pretty continuously until it is all fully incorporated.  You will notice that it will thicken pretty quickly, thanks to the tapioca starch!
  7. At this point, whisk your cheese into the sauce until it is fully incorporated and melted.  Also add in your spices.
  8. TASTE!  Now is the time to taste your sauce and adjust accordingly.  ***If you do not add the cheese, you’ll want to bump up your spices some***
  9. Mix back in your cooked chicken breast and bacon.
  10. Shred your spaghetti squash into the pan and mix ALL of the goodness together, making sure everything is coated in cheesy deliciousness!
  11. Pour everything into a rectangular baking dish (I used an awkward sized one, but a 9×13 would work great) and top with whatever toppings you choose…..or none at all!
  12. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until it is all bubbly and golden around the edges.
  13. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before smashing it into your face.  Trust me, the roof of your mouth will hate you otherwise.

Word to the wise, this makes a LOT of food.  Pace yourself on it, because it’s pretty rich and decadent.  WORTH IT!!!  In the mean time, get outside, breath some fresh air, test your limits, and scare the hell out of yourself.  The feeling of accomplishment afterwards is WELL worth the freak out during.

Peace, Love, and Paleo!

-Meister

Advertisements

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

New Adventures!

new home

Well, in case you hadn’t noticed, I went away for a while….but I’m back!  And this time with a bit of a twist.  Here’s the low down on the past few months, just in case any of you nosy Nellie’s were curious:

I sold my house in January, moved back in with my parents in March, and just this past weekend moved to College Station (well, technically Bryan) Texas.  Now, living with my parents was something I honestly did value; however, it did put quite a strain on my ability to cook.  Not because I didn’t have the access (their house is AMAZING) but more because my mother is a phenomenal cook and enjoys doing it! I cooked a few times for the family, but really kind of fell out of the habit of cooking all of my own meals.

So that’s it!  My parents and my brother made the 14 hour trek down to my new home with me and helped me get all moved in and situated.  I truly do not have words to accurately articulate how thankful I am for their help this weekend.  They left town mid-morning today, and I was a pretty ugly wreck for a good portion of the afternoon, but all is well!

Going forward, I will be focusing on writing about my adventures with eating Paleo on a starving graduate student budget, meal planning for the week to reduce my amount of waste, and the joys of re-learning how to cook on an electric coil stove……..I see a LOT of burnt eggs in my future.  Great.

Anywho!  Give me the rest of this week to get somewhat settled into a “routine” of sorts, and I’ll be back in the blogging game full force!

Peace, Love, and Paleo y’all!
-Meister

Stepping off of Easy Street

big ol booty

Warning: This is going to be largely a rant…however; some of this might resonate with others, so read if you want. Or ignore! It’s cool either way.

I’ve been all over the map mentally and emotionally lately. This is somewhat to be expected considering I’m on the brink of the biggest life change I’ve ever experienced. I just sold my house, accepted my offer for a Ph.D. program, moved back in with my parents, and have absolutely no idea where I will be living or what life will look like 4 months from now. All of that allows me to feel off overwhelmed, right?

Wrong. All of that allows me to feel a bit uncertain. But can we honestly ever say we know what life will look like a few months from right now? This moment. Right now. Is the only sure thing, and even that is in a constant state of flux based on the choices we make. I like to think I’m a rational intelligent person, but why is it that I find myself asking, “When are things going to be easy?”

This concept of the “easy road” has been one that has haunted me for quite some time. I find myself falling into the spiral of “If I only lost some weight, if I was only in a relationship, if I only had another degree, if I only had a less stressful job…..” THEN life would be easy. It would be carefree. Things would come naturally. I wouldn’t have to try so freaking hard.

At the bottom of that spiral is one simple truth: SCREW EASY.

Easy is safe, it’s tame. It’s never allowing ourselves to experience moments that bring us face to face with fear, pain, despair, and sheer emptiness and unknowing that allow us to truly change and break barriers. Human beings are warriors. We fight, we scream, we bleed, we cry, we cuss, we shut out those closest to us, we fail. But we learn.

So from the bottom of my current spiral:

Easy would be settling for the job I’m in. I’m jumping head first into the unknown of going back to school.

Easy would be staying in Omaha. I’m uprooting everything I’ve known for a new adventure.

Easy would be wasting my life counting calories and living on a treadmill. Instead, I’m showing up and giving whatever I have in me (which admittedly isn’t always much) at my CrossFit gym…and improving, slowly, no matter how tiny my baby steps seem. And I’m eating. Food. Lots and lots of REAL food.

Easy would be lowering my standards to simply “have a boyfriend”. I’m forging through on my own and respecting myself enough to know that I won’t settle in my relationships, and that I deserve better.

Be a fucking warrior. Rant over. Now go eat something!

Peace, Love, and Paleo.

Meister

Naughty Naughty Comfort Food Bliss

meatball bake

How freaking delicious does that look?! I mean, how could I NOT lead with this picture?  This, my friends, is a meatball bake.  Yes indeed!  Hidden under all of that gloriousness are meatballs.  Who would’ve known?!

Paleo confession time: I crave traditional comfort foods all the time.  Seriously, ALL the time.  For me, these foods are usually something really starchy, smothered in a red sauce and baked, or anything covered in Gravy.  I’m German and Irish.  We are gravy loving, potato smashing folks.  I can’t deny my genetics, nor can I refuse these tasty, tasty foods. So I’ve tried desperately to find ways to satisfy these cravings….and since I’ve YET to find an epic gravy recipe that comes anywhere CLOSE to being Paleo, I usually go the smothered in red sauce route to feed my hungry soul.

Paleo Confession #2:  I eat cheese.  Sue me.  Most of the time I shoot for raw milk or grassfed cheeses, but sometimes I don’t. Don’t care.  If some cheese is going to bring me to an early death, bring it on!

So my friends, enjoy! And don’t judge me too harshly for the aforementioned confessions.

Meatball Bake

     For the meatballs:

  • 1.5 – 2 pounds ground beef
  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup dried minced onion
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 heaping tablespoons of almond flour (can sub coconut flour, but cut to 2 tbsp)
  • Spices to taste (salt, pepper, dried oregano)

     For the sauce topping:

  • 2 cans fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • Freshly torn basil
  • Grated cheese…..if that’s how you get down
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly.  Get in there all down and dirty like with your hands and get after it.
  3. Roll into balls (I made mine bigger than walnut-sized) and place in a deep baking dish.  You should be able to get around 16-20 meatballs out of the mixture.
  4. Bake meatballs uncovered for 25 minutes, or until they are browned on the outside.
  5. Remove from the oven and top with your chopped up artichoke hearts.
  6. Then layer on your two cans of fire-roasted tomatoes over the top.
  7. Put your dish back in the oven and bake for another 30 minutes.
  8. When your sauce is bubbling like crazy and starting to brown around the edges, remove from oven.
  9. Top with your fresh torn basil and grated cheese and pop it back in the oven for 5 more minutes to melt.
  10. SMASH ON COMFORT FOOD GOODNESS!……after you’ve let it cool down first of course.  It will come out hotter than the surface of the sun, and you don’t want to turn your mouth to lava.  Safety first, friends. Safety first.

There it is peeps.  Get after it!  Fill your bellies with simple goodness.  Make it happen.  And live it up with your naughty paleo selves. 🙂

Peace, Love, and Paleo.

Meister

Update on Life!

Hello all!

Ok, so life has been one crazy joy ride after another……here’s a brief update.

The holidays came and went without much to do.  This was actually a blessing in disguise, as it allowed for plenty of rest and relaxation for what was to come.

This semester at school is completely insane.  I’ve taken on some extra responsibilities with curriculum writing for my district, as well as teaching a course at a university here in town.  In addition to that, I’ve made up my mind.  I’m officially relocating.  I can’t say as to where exactly yet, but it will be out of state…..still waiting on a couple of pieces to fall into place before I can announce where I’m heading.

All of that being said, I haven’t been cooking anything worthy of posting.  Honestly.  I’ve been keeping things SUPER basic….with a few tricks up my sleeve here and there.  The biggest reason for that is that I don’t like to junk up my kitchen or stink up my house.  Selling my house has been priority #1, and to do that efficiently, people don’t want to truly see a lived in kitchen or smell bacon in the air………although I know a HUGE selling point for me would be Eau De Bacon, but apparently that’s a no no for most buyers.  Whatever, I don’t judge.

Living in my house has become a relative term.  I feel like it’s still mine, but it’s already gone. Like I’m living in a museum of what used to be my home.  It’s an indescribably bizarre feeling. Buying that house 5 years ago was my way of asserting my adulthood.  Proving that even though I wasn’t engaged, getting married, or spawning children, dammit, I was a grown up.  So I went and got myself a mortgage.  And that’s all 30 days from being over.  Needless to say, I’ve been a bit weird about it.

In spite of everything, I can’t help but be crazy stupid excited about the future.  I have been having moments where I start to freak out about where I’m going to live, how I’m going to pay rent, how the hell I’m going to afford a CrossFit membership somewhere, how I’m going to buy groceries….but in the end, I don’t care.  It’s gonna happen.  I can feel it.

So here’s to new adventures! Whichever direction they take me……and oh yeah, this happened too:

SOLDRecipe to come soon…..but in the meantime, call my boy McGee.  He’s the jam, and gets things DONE!

Peace, Love, and Paleo!
Meister

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