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

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

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