September 2012 archive

Pancakes for Dinner

Yes…I’ve said it many times, but it’s always true.  Pancakes make everything better.

I had a rough day and was craving some kind of ridiculous cheat meal like nothing else.  Froyo.  Steak.  Bacon.  Cheese.  WINE.  Somehow, I managed to resist the urge to face-plant in a bowl of butter and opted for pancakes instead…with scrambled egg whites on top to add a little extra warmth and protein.  Totally *should* have been whole eggs with runny yolks…but I suck like that.  Whatever.

Truth be told, I’ve been having a lot of rough days lately and that’s the main reason my blog action sucks ass right now.  Sorry, guys.  But I figure I owe some kind of explanation, so here it goes.

I’m going through a lot of changes all at once.  I have a new job that is extremely demanding and draining (but rewarding, too!).  We’re getting ready to move…again…in two weeks…and this time we have to totally to everything ourselves (no free movers courtesy of Uncle Sam).  Ross and I are both finding ourselves traveling a lot lately, too, mostly for work but also for all kinds of other reasons both good and bad (ah, wedding season).  And biggest of all, I’m getting ready to get out of the Army.

Wait, what??

Yep, that’s right.  I won’t get into details, but my time has come to hang up the uniform for good.  I’m pretty damn excited to start a new life and find a new job, finish my master’s degree, and explore *real* life.  But I’m also scared to death.  In my entire adult life, the military is all I’ve ever known.  I signed my name on the dotted line two weeks after I graduated high school and from there on out, Big Army did the rest.  I’ve never had to worry about where I was going to live or where my next meal would come from.  I was beaten into the ground, both literally and figuratively, but I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today if it weren’t for the lessons and experiences I was given.  I spent a year getting shot at, too, and it changed me in ways I still can’t explain.  I’ve come to make some of the closest friends I will ever have in my life, and I’ve felt the pain of losing them in combat and watching their flag-draped caskets descend into the ground.

“I, I, I…”  Sorry.  Main thing here is that there’s a lot going on and most of it was short notice.  My leaving the Army wasn’t exactly my choice–**don’t worry, I’m not in trouble**–and took me by surprise.  (I won’t get into specifics, not yet).  I still have about 9 months to a year left to get my feet under me, but it’s still a big change for someone like me who thrives on ritual and routine.  So here I am, trying every minute to make sense of what is in store for me and what my future holds.  With a mouthful of pancake.

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Carrot-Pepper Turkey Burgers

This political season, I proudly support the Cocktail Party.  Except I’m not drinking much lately.  Why, no, I’m not very pleasant to be around, thanks!

These burgers made me really, really happy, though.  One thing I’m actually enjoying about this little venture of mine is that if I want something that…well…tastes good, I have to get creative.  And creative I can do!  I kinda made these on the fly when I realized all I had to eat this evening was ground turkey and baby carrots.  Body builder’s dream, my personal Hell.

Hidden within these succulent little meat patties are tons of veggies and seasonings that really gives them a phenomenal rich flavor.  The carrots give ‘em a nice sweetness, too…and I’d bet they’d taste great with bacon.  OMG.  You have no idea how much I miss bacon

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs Ground Turkey

2 Bell Peppers, diced fine (red, green, or yellow all work well)

1 c Grated Carrots

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 T Dried Rosemary

1/2 t Garlic Powder

1 t Thyme

1 T Coconut Aminos

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine turkey, veggies, and seasonings in a large bowl.  Shape into burgers and arrange on a greased baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Serve with toppings of choice.  Try bacon.  You know I would.

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Bacon Peach Cobbler

Soooo…I don’t have much to say about this one.  I’ll just show you.

Along with Ross’s special dinner the other night, I decided I had to make dessert, too.  And what better dessert than something–ANYTHING–with bacon?

And just an added bonus, this sweet bowl of goodness is Whole30-friendly!

INGREDIENTS

3 lbs Peaches, washed and quartered

3 Thick Slices Bacon

Pinch Salt

Pinch Cinnamon

1 c Nitrate-free Raisins (optional)

1 c Chopped Pecans (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat a pot over medium high heat.  Chop the bacon into bits, then brown in a little coconut oil in the pot.  Add the salt and cinnamon and cook for a minute longer.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the peaches.  Stir until well combined and the peaches are nicely coated in cinnamon-y bacon grease.  Reduce heat to low, then cover the pot and let simmer for 1 hour.  Remove from heat, cool slightly and serve.

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Chili Dog Pie

Ross was a real trooper all last week as he less-than-happily-but-lovingly supported me in my latest obsession with fitness competition as he choked down meals of dry baked chicken and unseasoned steamed veggies with me.  I figured tonight was time for a change of plans.

Whilst I diligently re-heated my 4 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast and 1/2 cup of frozen broccoli with exactly 4 ounces of baked sweet potato, there were powerful aromas wafting through the house…from the stovetop, from the oven, from…everywhere.  This baby is worth it.  Or so I’m told.

OK that was a HUGE lie.  I totally had this for dinner.  And then went back for seconds.  Sorry.  Wait, no I’m not.

This really reminded me of the macaroni and hot dog casseroles my mom used to make me when I was a little kid.  Except there is neither hot dog nor macaroni in mine.  Go figure.

INGREDIENTS

1 T Olive Oil

1 lb Ground Beef or Bison

1/2 Small Onion, diced

1 c Prepared Enchilada Sauce (I use El Pato)

1 t Chili Powder

1/2 t Cumin

1/4-1/2 t Cayennne Pepper (depending on how hot you want it!)

Salt and Pepper to taste

4 Large Andouille or Bratwurst Sausages, sliced and cooked

1 Large Sweet Potato, grated

1 T Olive Oil

INSTRUCTIONS

First make the chili…it’ll need some  time.  Heat a pot over medium-high and add the olive oil.  Sautee the onion until translucent.  Add the ground beef and cook until browned, then add the seasonings and enchilada sauce.  Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to low.  Allow to simmer for at least an hour but longer is always better!

For the hash brown layers, heat the last tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Cook the grated sweet potato (with a little salt and pepper to taste) until slightly browned and fragrant.

When you are ready to assemble your pie, lightly grease a 2 QT baking dish.  Place half of the hash browns on the bottom and press down firmly.  Arrange the cooked sausages on the hash brown layer.  Pour the chili on top.  Then place the last half of the hash browns on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until the pie is nicely browned on top and bubbling.  Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving!

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Sesame Chicken Bibimbap

When it comes to barbeque, I rank Korean BBQ above both Texan and Carolina.  Sorry.  Chalk it up to my being so completely delusional from this whole egg-white-and-plain-skinless-chicken-dealio if you want.  I don’t care.  Korean BBQ = RadSauce.

Yeah, my presentation skills could use some work.  Don’t hate.

What’s even better than a nice, juicy plate of bulgogi?  Bulgogi served atop a bed of rice and veggies with warm egg yolk swirling through this bowl of love.  Bibimbap is pretty simple–it’s literally meat and veggies on rice with egg on top.  Boom.  And it’s totally customizable.  Seriously.  You can get CAH-RAYZZEE with it if you want…I’ve been on a bibimbap rampage this week.  This recipe, by far, was my most successful creation–Ross agreed weakly from his food coma.  So did the dogs.  I’m such an enabler.

I opted for chicken because a) I wanted to take a new spin on the whole thing since I’ve never seen chicken in bibimbap and besides, who doesn’t like chicken?, b) I’m on a diet that forbids red meat/most foods that make my life worth living and c) traditional bulgogi is too much effort for me.  So chicken = win.

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast

1/4 c Sesame Oil

2 T Rice Vinegar

1/4 c Coconut Aminos

1 t Chili Powder

2 t Fresh Grated Ginger

1/4 t Dry Mustard

1 t Salt

1 t Black Pepper

1 Head Cauliflower

6 Eggs

Hot and Cold Veggies/Toppings of Choice

INSTRUCTIONS

Pound the chicken breasts to 1/2 inch.  Place in a dish along with the sesame oil, vinegar, coconut aminos, chili powder, ginger, mustard, salt, and pepper.  Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour…but longer is better!

Bake COVERED at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Uncover, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes out of the oven, then cut into strips.

Grate the cauliflower by hand or in a food processor.  Place in a microwave-safe dish and nuke for 8 minutes or until tender.

Cook the eggs sunny side up (you want nice, runny yolks!) while the chicken is still in the oven.

To assemble the bibimbap, place a layer of cauliflower rice in a bowl or on a plate.  Assemble toppings and veggies of choice, then top with the chicken pieces.  Top everything off with the sunny side up eggs.

Admire your presentation skills, then mix it all up and dig in!

Bonus Points!!  I found this new hot sauce at Whole Foods last week from Tessemae’s.  It’s good on anything and everything…but ESPECIALLY this!

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Buffaloaf

So, so glad Ross is home…I can actually cook again instead of re-heating skinless chicken breast!

I’ll keep this short and sweet–I’ve got two-a-day cardio sessions all month and it’s already kicking my ass.  Sadness.  But anyway I got the idea for this recipe from the Appaloosa Grill in Denver…definitely a killer restaurant with an awesome gluten-free menu!

(I’d also like to apologize for my sh*t photography skillz…trust me, this was GOOD!  Pinky Swear!!)

INGREDIENTS

3 lbs Ground Bison

3 Eggs

1 Onion, diced

1 Bell Pepper, diced

1 t Dry Mustard

1 t Salt

1 t Black Pepper

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

2 T Coconut Aminos

2 T Shredded Horseradish

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix all ingredients together and combine well by hand.  Press into a greased loaf pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour, 15 minutes.

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