I’m trying to not get buried in life right now. It’s hard. I’m learning proper time management with my new responsibilities. I’m feeling the pressure of not having enough hours in the day to get everything completed. I rush throughout the day most days. I hate rushing. I’m a planner and isn’t planning supposed to prevent rushing? My patience is a bit lower right now and my kids are not responding well to this. Patience is not my strong point. The past few weeks Cia and Cash have been getting less attention than their usual and they are acting out against this. Granted I’m really happy with everything I have going on but I need to better manage my time. Set aside time to play with my kids everyday. Set aside work time so I’m not working late into the night. Meal planning/prepping so dinners are easy but still nutrition and delicious. Basically being a bit more organized than I typically am. And those who know me know I already am organized. It’s just shifting my perspective and my schedule to make it all work. Minor problems I know but this is what is going on in my world.
I cooked this meal last week and posted a picture on social media commenting “One day I will blog my recipes again”. I received positive feedback on this so I thought why not just start here. There’s no reason why I can’t share a recipe or two a week. My pictures are awful but the recipe was delicious. I didn’t measure anything, I rarely do these days, so my recipes are in there most basic format. Run with them add your flare where you feel comfortable and have fun cooking. If it’s not fun then the final product is never as delicious as it could be and your eating experience is not a relaxed and nurturing as it should be.
kelp noodles, 5 spice meatballs, and roasted bok choy
Chinese 5 spice meatballs. Veggies in a ginger broth. Roasted bok choy. Kelp noodles. All combined together to create something delicious.
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- ~ 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice
- 1 shallot, sliced into thin rounds
- shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
- carrots, chopped
- celery, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced/pressed
- 3“ ginger knob, 1/2 grated and 1/2 left whole
- 2-3 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 package kelp noodles, rinsed well
- baby bok choy, washed and dried
- coconut vinegar
- cilantro leaves
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Place ground beef in a bowl, season generously with s&p, and add Chinese 5 spice. Gently mix to incorporate. Roll into small meatballs and place in a greased pyrex dish. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Turn heat up to 425.
- Meanwhile in a pot heat up a bit of oil over medium high heat. Add the sliced shallot and cook stirring often until browned. Add mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic, and ginger (both grated and whole). Season with s&p. Continue to cook stirring often for 5 minutes. Add coconut aminos and chicken stock. Once simmering add kelp noodles and meatballs; turn heat to low.
- Slice baby bok choy in half lengthwise and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with coconut vinegar. Bake for ~4-6 minutes until wilted.
- Serve soup in bowls topped with roasted bok choy and cilantro leaves. Serve with kimchi.
I kept my broth as basic as possible and I didn't want a lot of broth just enough to coat everything. Feel free to spice it up. Add in some chili paste, miso paste, and/or wakame seaweed.
Here is my current go to dinner, we enjoy it every week or so. I always have the short list of ingredients in the house. The kids love it, Josh loves it, and I love it. There is minimal prep and it’s cooked in one pan. Are you sold yet? You should be. This meal idea floats around the paleo world and I thought it would be fun to share my version. Ground beef, garlic, tomato sauce, capers, pecorino romano, and cauliflower rice.
And speaking of cauli rice have you tried Trader Joe’s frozen organic cauliflower rice? Well let me tell you I am hooked! The texture is way better than anything I’ve ever made fresh. The pieces are the perfect uniform size and when cooked it doesn’t turn to mush. I have 5 bags stashed in my freezer right now. Seriously! Typically frozen vegetables are not my thing but this cauliflower takes it to a whole new level! And here’s Cash wondering what this talk is all about cauliflower? I think he thought we were eating pasta. But this was a total mom win! He didn’t even question the cauliflower and gobbled it right up!
As you can tell I’m pretty amped about this meal. I love capers and they offer the perfect zing to the easiest dinner ever. I have yet to get tired of it and same goes for the rest of my family. It doesn’t take a lot of time to make a simple and healthy home cooked meal!
Ground Beef and Cauliflower Rice
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed/minced
- 1/2 25oz jar of your favorite tomato sauce (I like puttanesca)
- 1 bag Trader Joe's frozen cauliflower rice
- capers, to serve
- fresh grated pecorino romano, to serve
- Heat up a bit of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and garlic. Brown the beef and season with s&p.
- Stir in half the jar of sauce. Once heated through stir in the cauliflower rice. Simmer 10 minutes until heated through.
- Serve with a tablespoon or two of capers and fresh grated pecorino romano.
After making this a few times I’ve realized it’s a must recipe to share. Josh and our kids love tacos so it’s an easy dinner for me to prepare some sort of taco bowl that allows me to enjoy the bowl style and everyone to use the fixings to make tacos. Sirloin marinated in a mellow blend of seasonings served with roasted sweet potato, roasted plantain, jicama, cilantro, avocado, and cotija piled on a bowl of lettuce. YUM!
The perfect way to enjoy a light Mexican styled dish. Plenty of flavor and plenty of toppings!
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 lime juiced
- 1 1/2 lbs sirloin, very thinly sliced (you can get this prepackaged at Trader Joe's)
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4-1/2" cubes
- 2 ripe plantain, peeled and sliced into 1/2" rounds
- jicama, chopped
- cilantro leaves
- avocado chopped
- cotija crumbled
- lettuce chopped
- lime wedges
- Place sirloin in a large glass bowl and add marinade ingredients. Mix well, cover, and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Lightly coat sweet potatoes in olive oil and spread on a nonstick baking sheet in a single layer (or use parchment paper). Season with s&p. Bake 15-20 minutes until lightly browned and tender. Set aside.
- Lower heat to 350.
- Grease a pyrex dish with coconut oil and add plantain in a single layer. Coat lightly with a bit more coconut oil. Bake 15 minutes until tender.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot add the sirloin. Cook 5-10 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. If any liquid is released from the meat continue to cook until it is cooked off.
- Place lettuce in bowls. Top with sweet potato cubes, sirloin, plantain, jicama, cilantro, avocado, and cotija. Serve with lime wedges and salsa.
If you prefer serve the ingredients in corn tortillas instead of in bowls.
And add toppings in as you see fit: chopped tomato, sliced black olives, jalapeño peppers, sour cream...
Welcome to 2016!
The end of last year came and went before I knew it. As the holidays rapidly approached we were still rocking our sickness. Seriously we were sick for a solid six weeks. But someone was looking out for us because as soon as we arrived in St Thomas for our annual Christmas vacation our sinuses cleared and we were once again breathing like normal people! It was a special two weeks filled with family, beach time, and yummy food. I always think I’m going to blog while I’m there but I never end up doing it. It’s my recharge time as I soak up plenty of Vitamin D, reflect on the year, and find inspiration for the next.
Looking back I’ve realized the last 5 years have been completely family oriented.. 2011 was the year I learned I’d become a mother, 2012 my life was forever changed for the better as I became a mother, 2013 my motherhood journey expanded with baby #2, and 2014 I fully cherished being a stay at home mother. But by the end of 2014 I was realizing it was time to start adding something back into my life, something more than just taking care of my family. 2015 was the year life opened back up for me. I earned my personal trainer certification from NASM, I made the decision to 100% embrace a lifestyle of fitness and well being, and I jumped back into the workforce following this new path. It’s slow going as I’m still a stay at home mom but I will continue to expand and find my groove, my niche, my place. I’ll achieve the proper balance of being present for my family and pursuing a career. I guess the point I’m trying to make is 2016 is going to be a great year. It’s easy to let the days float by but setting attainable goals for both short term and long term makes things happen. And I’m making moves : ).
Thanks for sticking with me. Now for my first blogged meal of the new year..
This is by no means a typical ratatouille. I’m not quite sure what to call it, but it follows along those lines, just not in the traditional sense. Fresh veggies stewed with fresh tomatoes seasoned with lots and lots of fresh basil. Sometimes I find it hard to feel excited about eating veggie centered meals in the winter but right now I’m motivated to make it happen. Yes I did add in ground beef for my protein, I find it necessary to keep me satiated and energized. And, as I’m still finding the right balance for enjoying carbs, I decided this was definitely going to have the addition of plantain. This may sound weird but they are so delicious when added to stews. Just trust me on this one!
This dish came together quickly as my kids were running around playing, screaming, and creating a mess with their blocks. Definitely minor chaos. I let them run wild since I was a bit behind schedule for their typical dinner hour and I planned to share this meal with them. As the dish simmered the house smelled delicious, but I had my doubts about them eating it. Lots of green leafy things floating around, which tends to be the deal breaker. But I talked it up and served them their bowls with a nice bit of pecorino mixed in. And to my pleasant surprise they both ate it. Like for real. Smiles as they munched down. And neither picked out any of the veggies but instead ate it bite by bite. Total winning meal for us!!!
A medley of vegetables and ground beef seasoned with plenty of fresh basil - this bright flavor is nice treat during the cold winter months!
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 4 garlic cloves, minced/pressed
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 yellow squash, chopped
- 1 eggplant, peeled and chopped
- 4 kale leaves, stalks removed and chopped
- 1 lb fresh baby san marzano tomatoes
- 4 oz fresh basil, chopped
- .75 oz fresh parsley, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
- 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon chicken base
- 2 ripe plantains, peeled and cut into ~1" rounds
- pecorino romano, to serve
- In a large skillet heat up a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Once warm add half the garlic and stir until fragrant ~30 seconds. Add the ground beef and brown. Set aside.
- In a large pot heat up a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, zucchini, yellow, squash, eggplant, and kale leaves. Stir occasionally as they start to cook ~5 minutes.
- Meanwhile add the tomatoes to your blender and pulse until liquified. Add the tomatoes sauce, basil, parsley, and chicken base to the veggies. Season generously with s&p. Mix well to combine.
- Stir in the plantain and allow sauce to come to a boil.
- Turn heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Serve with fresh grated pecorino romano, garnished with fresh parsley.
I love the flavor of basil and used more than enough for this dish. Mainly because Trader Joe's sells organic basil in 4oz containers and I had no plan to use it in any other meal. You can always use less and add in other Italian seasonings if desired. But if you love basil don't hesitate to go a bit overboard like me!
I wasn’t exactly sure what to label this and I apologize for the less than stellar pictures. I was struggling with my light! As I’ve mentioned some days are a battle with my camera.
Anyway, here I made a ground beef stir fry with lots of fresh woodsy herbs from the garden. Rosemary, sage, and thyme with a bit of cinnamon. Such a good flavor profile going on, so good I wanted to share despite the pics. I also threw in some bacon, onion, celery, and apple. Josh loved this and so did I. My mouth is watering just thinking about how good it was. Ahh and I almost forgot, pine nuts! I toasted some quickly on the stove and added them in at the last minute. A perfect compliment and addition to the smoky bacon, sweet apple, and earthy herbs.
I served this ground beef dish with my roasted delicata squash from the previous post. You can switch it up and serve this in baked acorn squash or with mashed potatoes, sweet or white. Or in a hash with roasted vegetables (brussel sprouts/parsnips) and a fried egg on top. As you can see there are plenty of possibilities to be made here. I will be revisiting this dish soon!
Fall Flavored Ground Beef
Ground beef with lots of fall flavors - rosemary, thyme, sage, cinnamon, apple, celery, bacon, and pine nuts! A party in your mouth :)
- 1lb lean ground beef
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped small
- 2 stalks celery chopped small
- 1 apple, peeled and chopped small
- 1 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- Place bacon in a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Continue to cook stirring often until bacon is starting to crisp. Drain off excess grease leaving just a bit with the bacon.
- Add the onion and celery to the bacon. Season with s&p and continue to cook for 5-8 minutes until onion is soft. Add apple and cook another 2-3 minutes. Remove mixture from pan and set aside.
- Add ground beef to the pan. Season with s&p and brown. Once about cooked through stir in the rosemary, thyme, sage, and cinnamon. Mix well.
- Meanwhile heat up a small pan over low heat. Add the pine nuts and lightly brown. Watch as they will go from lightly browned to burnt very fast!
- Add the bacon onion mixture back to the beef and heat through. Stir in most of the pine nuts.
- Serve topped with the remaining pine nuts.
As I mentioned in the post there are plenty of ways to serve this..
- in roasted acorn squash
- with mashed sweet or white potatoes
- with a roasted vegetable hash
- with a fried egg on top