Bacon Bacon Brussels Sprouts

I love brussels sprouts but I love them more with bacon…

 

What I Used:

8 slices bacon, chopped

1 pound Brussels sprouts

1 garlic clove, minced

1-2 tablespoons ghee (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

lemon (optional)

What I did:

  1.  In a large pan, over medium-high heat, place the chopped bacon and cook until the fat has been rendered.
  2. While bacon is cooking, start chopping your brussels sprouts. I usually cut mine in halves or fours.
  3. Remove the bacon bits and add the brussels sprouts & garlic to the pan. Turn the sprouts so they are coated in the bacon fat, then place a lid on them and adjust your heat to medium-low. If your brussels sprouts aren’t coated, add some ghee to the pan.
  4. Occasionally, stir your sprouts in the bacon fat so they do not burn.
  5. Once the brussels sprouts are slightly tender, add bacon back into the pan and cook until bacon is to your liking!
  6. Season with lemon, salt and pepper to your personal taste.

 

Don’t want to babysit this on the stove? Take it to your oven!

  1. Preheat your oven to 325.
  2. In a large pan, over medium-high heat, place the chopped bacon and cook until the fat has been rendered.
  3. Toss brussels sprouts in the pan to coat them in the bacon fat.
  4. Lay out enough non-stick pan lining paper (one side is parchment paper, the other side is foil) with the foil side down to hold all your sprouts.
  5. Place brussels sprouts, bacon, garlic and ghee on the sheet and gather the lining sheet from all side and twist at the top creating a loose ball.
  6. Place your ball of brussels sprouts onto a cookie sheet and put into your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and season with lemon, salt, and pepper to your taste.

 

I usually use the oven version in the winter time and the stove top in the summer. Happy eating!

Greensicle Smoothie

Greensicle Smoothie

Here’s an easy and quick breakfast or snack to help you get through your day. My son doesn’t like leafy greens, so I’ve been sneaking them into his diet but using smoothies. So far, it’s working. We typically have smoothies with hard boiled eggs for breakfast.

What I Used:
1/2 cup of Water
1/2 cup of Almond or Coconut Milk
1 handful of Spinach
1 handful of baby Kale
1 cup of sliced Strawberries
1/2 of Mango
1 Banana (peeled and then frozen for best results)

What I Did:
1) Placed my water, coconut milk, spinach and kale in the blender and mixed until all the leafy greens were mixed well with the liquids.

2) Added all the fruits (except for the bananas) and blended some more until I couldn’t see any chunks.

3) Last, I added the frozen banana and blended until smooth.

If you decide not to freeze your banana but want your smoothie nice and cold. You can also use ice instead of the water. This may result in needed more almond or coconut milk. Hope you like!

GymPact Review

GymPact Review

I sometimes struggle with finding the motivation to workout, especially if I am not seeing the results I expect to see after weeks of working out. Ok, it’s probably more like a week, but still the will to get up off my ass falls flat if I don’t feel or see a change once I put in handwork.  I know I am not the only person who struggles with this, so I searched the internet for some help. I looked for “Mommy and Me” groups in my area, which were very few due to the constant rain Tacoma has to offer. Since, I wasn’t going to get outdoors anytime soon and I actually like working out at home in our “box” I looked for apps. Queue GymPact, an app for smartphones that allows you to commit to any number of workouts per week (your “pact”) and charges you for the workouts you miss. GymPact charges a minimum of $5 for each day you miss and rewards you with a small amount of cash for the days you complete a workout*. Overall, the concept seems like it would work, I mean I don’t like giving away money so I just knew this would be the app to get me off my butt! Too bad I ran into a few problems and customer service was very little help.

 

When I first signed up there wasn’t a “workout at home” option so I had to either go to a local gym or use an app on my phone such as “MapMyFitness” and “UP” by Jawbone. I decided to go with these two because I was already using them before I joined GymPact. If you were tracking your workouts using a product like UP you had to hit a minimum of 10,000 steps/day in order for the workout to count towards your “pact”. So if you set a goal on your UP band to only his 8,000 steps in a day, you wouldn’t get the credit. No problem! Do more, move more. If you use apps by MapMyFitness, you had to move for a minimum of 30 mins and you had to cover at least a mile. Not 100% sure on the distance since I always went further than a mile when I used the app to track my jogs or walks. The first problem came when my jogs weren’t being credited in the GymPact app, I had made sure each workout was longer than 30mins and over a mile within the time specified by GymPact. I was still billed $5 for a missed workout. When I contacted customer service they told me the workouts had been edited. Good thing I took screen shots of each completed workout, I attached them to my response to customer service to prove that I completed the workout and it was within the restrictions. Come to find out, since I added “notes” to my workouts in MayMyFitness, it showed as the workout being edited. What the what?!

 

I was ready to just be done with GymPact, but then they added a new feature… working out from ANYWHERE! Nice! Now I could workout at home and not worry about going to the local gym or jogging in the rain just to avoid a $5 charge. The workout anywhere feature tracked your movements (through your smartphone) once you “checked in” and would let you know in one minute increments if you moved a little or a lot. I tried putting my phone in my pocket… failed. And then I tried using an armband for my phone, that worked like 75% of the time. I would constantly have to re-do workouts before it didn’t track movements while doing push ups or sit ups. Just a mess, it was a great attempt but it just wasn’t working all the time. And I was really getting tired of paying $5 when I knew I had completed my workouts.

 

I contacted customer service via email each time I had an issue and it wasn’t until I got a third reply that the rep actually handled the issue. When I signed up I used a promo code for a $5 credit, the credit never went through but the rep credited my account with it later. Also, after providing the screen shots of my workouts via MapMyFitness she credited my account for the “missed” workouts. Then there was the issue with my UP band steps not counting as a workout for my pact even though I completed the required amount of steps. She assured me they would count on the review they sent via email even though I wasn’t seeing it count on the app (they were working out some kinks). Since I was having so many issues with the workouts counting and GymPact has kinks to fix, I put my account on vacation mode. But for some odd reason my account was removed/deleted while I was in “vacation” mode.  I had earned some money but was not allowed to cash in due to the closure of my account, but they had no problem charging me for the one day I had missed. I recently contacted them to see what the issue was with my account and why it had been closed. I haven’t received a response yet. Not sure if I want to give them another try or not. I think if you got to a local/global gym this app would be perfect since all you would have to do is check in for a minimum of 30 mins a workout. Also, if you decide to use this app, do not start off with a high commitment, test it out with a 1-2 workouts per week pact.

 

*Recently their website states they have added healthy eating, this review will be based on the workout portion as that is the only feature I have used.

Seafood Cakes

This was inspired after my first trip to the Tacoma Farmers Market on Broadway. The first time I made these, they were good but I wanted more shrimp in them so I had to revise the recipe a bit. I LOVE salmon cakes and these were just delicious! Be sure to play around with different measurements of seafood to meet your tastebuds needs.

What I Used:

  • ~12oz of Wild Salmon (canned)
  • ~8oz of Crab, cocktail
  • ~8oz of Shrimp, small cocktail
  • coconut oil or ghee for cooking
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp of Paleo Mayo
  • 1/2 tbsp of mustard
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • crushed pepper (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper

What I Did:

  1. Drain the canned salmon and add to a mixing bowl.
  2. Roughly chop crab into smaller pieces and add to your mixing bowl.
  3. Add the shrimp into bowl. If you do not use small cocktail shrimp, chop the shrimp into smaller pieces as well. If you can not find small cocktail shrimp, cooked some before adding it to the bowl.  I’ve seen some at my nearby Costco.
  4. Beat eggs in a separate bowl, and then toss into mixing bowl.
  5.  Add all other ingredients except salt and pepper.
  6. Using a large skillet, warm about a tablespoon of oil on medium to medium low.
  7. While your oil is heating up, mix all the ingredients in your mixing bowl together. This is where using your hands works better than a spoon.
  8. Your oil should be ready! Still using your hands, make patties smaller than palm size and place them into the oil.
  9. Flip to cook on both sides. Each side should have a light brown color.

You may have to add more oil for each batch you cook, but make sure to only add a little at a time or the cakes will come out really greasy. I’ve also used this recipe (only making larger patties) to make Seafood Burgers. You can use lettuce or portobello mushrooms for buns to keep it paleo.

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Sweet & Sour Chicken

My daughter requested sweet and sour chicken for dinner, so I searched the internet for something quick and easy! I either couldn’t find anything quick or I didn’t have any of the items around the house, but I did find one that looked official and tasty here. So I looked around the kitchen and came up this this quick and easy recipe.

 

What I Used:

 

What To Do:

  1. In a large skillet, melted my ghee using medium-high heat.
  2. Added the chicken pieces to the skillet and cook. Season with a little salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the juice and pulp from one (1) large lemon and your honey.
  4. Once your chicken is cooked thoroughly, use an internal thermometer if needed, add your honey and lemon.

And that’s it! If you have more time check out the recipe linked above, it is for a more crunchy sweet and sour chicken. If you are doing the whole30 and want to stay away from the honey, check out this version from Stupid Easy Paleo. Enjoy!

 

Homemade Chicken Broth

When I was young, I assume everyone made their own broths and stocks for soups and other recipes but I remember one Thanksgiving I was helping my mom grocery shop and noticed canned chicken stock. I was excited and told my mother she could save a step by using this instead of making her own. She didn’t take my suggestion and it wasn’t until I made Thanksgiving dinner myself in college did I understand why. Making your own broth and stock not only has a a better flavor but you also have the knowledge of knowing what is in your food. So here’s a homemade broth for you, if I gave you my mother’s recipe she would kill me. Feel free to play around and tinker with some of the items below.

What I Used:

  • 4lb whole chicken, cut into pieces or 4 pounds of chicken leg quarters
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, root end trimmed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced (You can use less if you don’t enjoy garlic as much as I do)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
  • 4-6 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon of peppercorns, whole
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt (optional)
  • 4-5 quarts of water

What to do:

  1. Combine your chicken and all other ingredients into a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours. Occasionally, you may want to skim the surface to remove any foam and fat that forms on the surface.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool a little.
  4. Strain the contents through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container.
  5. If not using right away, let liquid come to room temperature and remove any extra fat from the surface.
  6. Before you place in an airtight container and then into the fridge or freezer, make sure your broth is completely cooled.

Sweet Shrimp

I wasn’t sure how this meal was going to turn out, so I didn’t take any pictures during the cooking process. Bummer. It actually turned out to be really good, even though my husband said the sauce was a little too sweet for his tastebuds. Below is the recipe I will use next time to make it less sweet. Enjoy.

What I used:

  • 1 pound of Raw Shelled Wild Shrimp (but I am sure any shrimp will do)
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 large Ruby Red Grapefruit
  • 2 teaspoons Honey (optional)
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 clove of Garlic, minced
  • Olive Oil

First, devein and clean the shrimp. In a sauce pan, heat up about 1 teaspoon of olive oil on medium low heat and add the minced garlic. After about a minute, add the grapefruit juice (I just cut it in half and then squeezed each half over the sauce pan), honey, cayenne pepper, and a few sprinkles of parsley. Add as much cayenne pepper as you like, I started off with a small amount and as the sauce cooked I added more for taste. Turn the heat on your sauce down to low.

While my sauce was cooking (with small bubbles forming), I added some olive oil to a pan and cooked my shrimp. Once the shrimp was fully cooked, I plated my mashed sweet potatoes with the shrimp on top and poured the sauce over it. I think I will try this sauce again but with salmon or chicken, I thought it was good.

 

Sweet Shrimp

Chicken Fried Cauli-“Rice”

Cauli-Fried RiceReally wanted some fried rice but didn’t want to use a cheat meal or waste some left over grilled chicken, so I came up with this. This is my first time making this recipe and after everyone getting seconds, I will definitely be fine tuning it in the future.

What I used:

  • 1 pound of cooked Chicken Breast
  • 2 heads of cauliflower (about 7 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped Carrots
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 Bell Pepper
  • 2-3 Zucchinis
  • 3 teaspoons of Water
  • Green onions
  • Fish Sauce
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  1. Chop all the veggies and chicken. I chopped the bell peppers and carrots into small pieces and the zucchini into larger pieces.
  2. Crack your eggs into a small bowl and add three teaspoons of water. Mix and scramble. In a large pot on medium heat (or wok if you have one), add some olive oil. Once your pot is hot, pour in your egg mixture and leave egg flat and let cook for about 2 mins, you may have to push the sides in so all the egg can cook. Remove the cooked egg from the pot/wok and cut into pieces.
  3. Add more oil to your pot/wok and once hot, add your chopped carrots and bell peppers. Mix well. (I put the top on my pot to help them soften a little faster.)
  4. Once the veggies have begun to soften, add the cauliflower.
  5. Season with pepper and add a few dashes of fish sauce. Don’t add too much fish sauce, this stuff can get stinky… you’ve been warned. Stir well. Feel free to add the stop back to your pot when not stirring.
  6. Add the cooked & chopped chicken to your pot and stir again.
  7. Lastly, turn off your heat and mix in your green onions and zucchini. The remaining heat will cook the zucchini. (I didn’t want to over cook it.)

Note: Chicken was previously grilled and seasoned with garlic powder, pepper, oregano and sea salt.

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Chicken & Broccoli Scramble

I’ve been working on my meal prepping when I came up on this little number I had for breakfast (but it could easily become a lunch option).

What I Used:

  • Left over chicken breast from the night before (which I chopped into smaller pieces)
  • Left over broccoli
  • 1 egg
  • chopped onions
  • pepper

I placed the chopped onions in a pan/skillet with a little bit of olive oil and seasoned with pepper. I then added my left overs to heat them up a bit. Once I felt everything was good to go, I added the egg and scrambled and mixed everything up. After the egg was cooked, I removed from the heat. As a side, a full apple and almonds were added. This was one of my paleo/zone (zoleo) meals for the day.

Enjoy!

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Quick Breakfast

It’s no secret, I hate breakfast. I’m not hungry when I wake up and it usually takes a few hours before I actually get hungry. So this is my new go to breakfast until I find something else fast to make.

What I Used:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • bell peppers
  • cliantro

Cook an egg your favorite way, mine is fried over hard. I had some bell pepper left over from the night before, threw it in my skillet once I removed my egg. After letting the bell pepper heat up a bit I added a handful of spinach with my seasoning. Once I was done, I tossed it all in a bowl and cut up some cliantro and added it on top. Tadaaaaa… done. Took me about 5 mins to prep and another 5 to cook.

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