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food: beef barley soup

if there is one thing i know, its that my life is made easier by my ownership of the slow cooker and food processor.

but to be honest, i really don’t use either to their maximum capacity.  i often find myself with a big pot simmering away on the stove or meat braising in the oven, when a slow cooker could definitely be doing that work for me.
and the same goes for my food processor.  sometimes i’m elbow deep in chopped vegetables working away for 40 minutes when it dawns on my that i could have just chucked these in the food processor and i could have been done in seconds.
so i’m working on it.

to me, the slow cooker is a magical device that slaves away when i’m at work.  i throw my raw goods in before i leave, and when i’m home i reap the benefits.  nothing could be easier.
but there’s no reason that i can’t be using it on weekends while i’m nesting on my couch watching movies.  and if i have to pop out to run an errand, its a-okay to leave it to do its thing.

so, on sunday i put it to use.  my biggest temptation is to constantly be lifting the lid & stirring & tasting.  but where the slow cooker is involved, thats bad news.  so i had to really restrain myself from fussing over it.

i used the food processor to chop: 1 onion, 3 giant carrots, some green cabbage and 4 stalks of celery into a pretty uniform dice.  then i threw that in the slow cooker with a frozen ziplock bag with some bone broth i’d made a few weeks ago and let that make friends for a couple hours while my stew beef was defrosting.

i tossed the beef in salt & pepper and browned it in ghee before adding it to the cooker.  topped it up with a bit of water, dried thyme and a teaspoon of beef better than boulion.  and because my husband loves barley, i added a half cup of pearl barley.  oh, and a can of tomato paste.

that hung out in the slow cooker and got delicious for about 5 hours.  we added a bit of chopped fresh thyme and flat leaf parsley and chowed down.

as a side dish, i whipped up some savory scones.  they kinda went down like this:

– 3 cups of flour- 1 tablespoon sugar
– 2 tablespoons of baking powder
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon each of: dried thyme, garlic salt & dried jalapeno
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 stick of cold butter
– 1 cup plain greek yogurt
– 2 green onions finely diced
– 1 cup shredded cheese (i used cheddar & aged gouda)

preheat the oven to 400
mix dry ingredients in a large bowl
cut in butter with pastry blender
stir in cheese, onion & greek yogurt.  use a little water to thin if dough isn’t coming together – i probably had to add about 1/4 cup of water total
let chill 20 minutes. divide dough in half & roll out into a square.  cut into quarters and then cut each square diagonally to make a triangle.
brush with milk or melted butter (i used ghee) and bake for 15-20 minutes on parchment paper until golden brown.

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food: paleo pumpkin bread

i did a bad bad thing this week.
a very bad delicious thing…
i had a starbucks pumpkin scone.  and then a pumpkin loaf.  aaaaaand also a pumpkin cream cheese muffin.
not all on the same day… but within a 7 day period.
basically i’m trying to say that i’m craving the pumpkin.

so instead of sliding further down the slippery slope of starbucks baked goods, i’m going to try to nip this in the bud and make myself a paleo pumpkin loaf.
as with most things, there’s many of the same recipe floating around the net, so with my usual tweaks in play, here’s what i ended up using…

Paleo Pumpkin Loaf

Ingredients:

-1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
-1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
-5 Eggs
-1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
-1 to 2 Tablespoons Pumpkin Spice (cinnamon, ginger & nutmeg)
-1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
-1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
-1/4 Cup melted Coconut Oil
-2 Tablespoons Raw Honey

Instructions:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Combine all wet ingredients in a separate dish.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredient dish, mixing well, preferably using a whisk or electric mixer.
  4. Pour batter into greased baking dish, preferably an 8×8 dish, smooth top of batter
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.

*This coconut flour pumpkin bread recipe can also be used to make muffins. For muffins, bake for about 15 minutes.

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okay… so I also added 1/2 cup of Hershey chocolate chips. because my ovaries told me so.
the loaf/bread whatever turned out more like a cake, which made it extra delightful… and it definitely satiated my pumpkin craving.

food: farro & kale salad

last week there was a fun article on buzz feed that had a bunch of pumpkin recipes and they all sounded soooooo yummy…
so of course, i took it upon myself to bastardize one of them.

this recipe below started as a lentil & pumpkin salad with feta & arugula.
and i turned it into a farro & sweet potato salad with blue cheese & kale.  because those all seemed like logical substitutions.

I started with a bag of trader joe’s 10 minute farro.  essentially its been par-cooked, so it doesn’t take an hour of boiling before its edible.
so i cooked the farro, microwaved 2 sweet potatoes and chopped a couple kale leaves, some asparagus and flat leaf parsley.

once the sweet potatoes & farro were cooled off (aka – not steaming hot, but still warm) i combined them in a big bowl with the veggies, added the juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of olive oil, salt & pepper and chili flakes.
then i tossed in some delicious crumbled blue cheese and topped with chopped avocado.

easy peasy!

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travel: los angeles recap

i guess one would say that we survived LA.
although the jury is still out on my liver making it out alive.

but here’s your brief photojournal.  and sorry, but if you’re following me on instagram, you’ve already seen all these.

if you squint and look reeeeeal close you’ll see the hollywood sign in the centre of this first picture.  and that is the most we saw of it, lol.  (from the plane)

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we made it to our lovely hotel in hollywood without much incident… it was a great location and super cute.  i definitely recommend the grafton.
friendly staff, nice rooms and we adored the pool.

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our first whole day there we kicked it to universal studios to ride some rides and have the fun!

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the last time i was there was many moons ago… probably like 15 years ago, so basically besides the bones, the whole place was different.

we had a rad time and were very happy we went first thing in the morning when it opened.  we rode the simpsons ride, transformers, the mummy and jurassic park before there were any lines at all.

the simpsons ride was SO COOL.  definitely my favourite thing there.

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after a hot sweaty day in the california sunshine, we had another very important stop to make…

hot dogs!  (obviously)

only a block away from our hotel was Carney’s, which is hailed as the best hot dog in LA.  and it did not disappoint.
we went with the classic carney’s dog which had chili, cheese, mustard, onions and tomato on it.  we added the insanely hot peppers on top and i had mine without onions.
it was a frigging delight.  hands down the best dog i’ve had to date.
and can’t you tell how excited the husband is?  he looks like a boy on christmas, lol.

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one of the things that always makes me excited is checking out venues in other cities.  we didn’t make it into a show, but wow was it ever neat to see so many legendary places in person.

the whiskey, the viper room, the troubadour, the roxy… it felt like every block we turned had another amazing spot for me to gawk at.
next time, i most definitely have to see a show.

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as i mentioned, the whole point of the trip was to see our dear friends get hitched and the wedding and all the partying that accompanied it was top notch.

the wedding itself, absolute perfection and getting to know so many super cool people was just a blast.  those LA people have the most hilarious stories.

on our last day we had the pleasure of enjoying a gorgeous pool in bel air and it was a wonderful end to a great trip.

and we agreed that we need to visit LA more often.

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