Tag Archives: fall

Cherry Barbequeue Boneless Shortribs with Honey Thyme Butternut Squash

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I swear, sometimes it’s so hard to make stew type things look good in pictures. Especially for me, I don’t set anything up special, the dishes are not in makeup for an hour before we shoot, I try to be very realistic, and stove-to-plate…..because that’s real life! Anyway, Here’s something a little different. I really love the Grass-Fed Boneless Short Ribs from US Wellness Meats. They are a perfect portion, and you get a good amount of meat with them since you don’t have to worry about getting one with a big bone. I had some left over wine (Not WLC Compliant alert!) , and I was on a cherry kick, so I decided to make a sort of “Cherry BBQ “sauce for the short ribs. As always, it doesn’t get easier than the slow cooker, producing beautiful, tasty, fall apart-melt-in-your-mouth meat. Super duper easy, and you can substitute the ribs for any good roast.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz boneless short ribs (I get mine from US Wellness Meats)
  • 24 oz strained tomatoes
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
  • 1/8 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • A few tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 cups dark red cherries (I used organic, frozen)
  • a few dashes of nutmeg, Clove, Cinnamon, salt,
  • A good amount of black pepper, paprika, ancho chili powder, and  southwest seasoning

Throw everything in the crock pot, and cook on low for 8-10 hours. I put it in before going to work, and switched it to the keep warm setting when I got home.

Then while I was at the gym, I had a butternut squash roasting (350-375 for about 60-90 min depending on the size of the squash). Before getting into the shower, I cut it in half and removed the seeds. I lightly scored it, and then rubbed it with 1/2 a teaspoon of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon and thyme per side, before putting it back in the oven for another 15 minutes. (Note: Don’t use honey if you are on the WLC as it is not compliant )

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All of this fit into my busy day very nicely, and made getting a delicious dinner on the table a snap. I love rich, fruity, BBQ flavors in the winter time. The ribs were so tender, and pulled apart very easily with a fork.

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Crock Pot Spicy Apple BBQ pulled Chicken

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This stuff is so good, and I’m thrilled that I made so much of it! What I really love about how this came out, is that it has enough flavor to stand on its own, but is subtle enough that you can re-use it for things like tacos, or to stuff inside of an avocado, squash, or potato. Like most crock pot stuff, and with only a few vegetables to chop, it’s beyond easy, and takes all of 10-15 minutes to prepare. I tried something new, and rather than doing this early in the day, and letting it cook on low for 6+ hours, I started it at night, and cooked it on high for only 5.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lbs Boneless and Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 1 lb Chicken Breast
  • 2 Small Apples, chopped
  • 3 jalapeno Peppers, sliced and seeded
  • 1/4 Onion, chopped
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 10 Allspice Berries
  • 4 or 5 Tablespoons Kalustyan’s  Ancho Chili Powder
  • A little salt, cinnamon, nutmeg
  • A dash coconut aminos ( up to 1 or 2 Tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup Tessemae’s paleo BBQ sauce

When adding ingredients to the Crock Pot, I started with the onion and garlic, then I did a layer of chicken thighs, breast, and the rest of the thighs. I finished off with the apples, jalapeno, and seasonings. After adding the BBQ sauce, I mixed it around, just slightly. Once all the ingredients were in, I cooked on high 5 hours. Then, I  shredded the chicken with a fork.

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Mahi-Mahi with Asian Pear and Shiitake Mushrooms

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One of the approaches I find myself taking in the fall, when looking for ways to make an idea a little more festive and fun, is using fruits in savory preparations. This was the idea floating around my head as I was wandering the store perimeter, and trying to figure out dinner. There was a nice looking Mahi-Mahi filet on sale at the fish counter, so that was my starting point. When I think of Mahi-Mahi, I usually think of tropical preparations, with sweet mango salsa, or pineapple and coconut. Being that it’s the fall, I immediately though pears. Pears can be beautifully sweet and juicy, or crisp and subtle, depending on the variety. In this case, I somehow decided on an “Asian” fusion theme….if only because of my decision to use asian pears and shiitake mushrooms. Just for a little extra burst, I decided to throw a few blackberries in for good measure. The seasoning was staying in the fall with cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, and complimented the subtle flavors of the Asian pear nicely.

First, I seasoned the Mahi Mahi with a glaze of duck fat. Then I sprinkled on a combination of

  • Thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Sage

I set it in the oven, which was pre-heated to 375 degrees, and baked for about 30-40 minutes, until the fish was cooked.

While that was going, I made the topping. In a saucepan, over medium heat, I combined

  • 1-2 Ts balsamic
  • 2 Ts coconut oil
  • 2 Asian pears
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 shallots
  • Cinnamon
  • Dash nutmeg and clove
  • Thyme

And simmered, covered, until everything was cooked through and soft. I uncovered, and let it cook down slightly. Then, I added a couple of frozen blackberries towards the end.

Once it was done, I arranged the fish on a plate, and spooned some of the pear topping over it.


Crock Pot Spiced Cherry-Fig Beef Roast

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Oh my! I feel like I’ve just been on a steamy kitchen date. This dish is mega dark, rich, and fruity. The Figs and Cherries are poached in red wine and mulling spices to reconstitute, and all the flavors compliment and play off each other in a sultry evening dance. The beefy flavor of the chuck roast intensify the bold flavors, but the sweetness of the fruit balance and subdue the beef flavor. My boyfriend, who normally doesn’t like “beefy” flavors, gave it a thumbs up. A subtle smokey spice from ancho chili powder adds a mild kick to envelope your taste buds a little further.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Carrot, chopped
  • 3-4 Shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Turnip
  • 1-2 lb Chuck Roast
  • 2-3 tablespoons Ancho Chili Powder (I use Kalustyan’s)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (For Browning)
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Dried Cherries
  • 7 dried Unsweetened Turkish Figs
  • 2-3 cups Red Wine (Cabernet Sauvignon ) + and extra 1/4 cup
  • Mulling Spices
  • salt, pepper, thyme
  • 1/2 split Vanilla Bean
  • 1/2 cup Light Coconut Milk

Instructions:

  1. First, Peel and chop your vegetables and add to the slow cooker the carrot, shallots, parsnip, and turnip
  2. Then, rub the ancho powder all over both sides of your meat, and brown in coconut oil for a few minutes20131123-223340.jpg
  3. Then, Add to the crock pot as well
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  4. add 2-3 Cups red wine, leaving about a 1/4 cup reserved to the side, the cherries, the figs, and mulling spices (in a spice bag), to a sauce pan. Simmer until the fruit has soaked in most of the wine and the figs look plump and moist.
  5. Pour over meat into the crock pot.
  6. Add the remaining wine, spices (salt, pepper, thyme, and a little more ancho powder), 1.2 a split vanilla bean, and 1/2 a can of light coconut milk to the crock pot.
  7. Cook on low 8 hours.

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Pepper Beef and Vegetables

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The other day we went over my boyfriend’s mother’s house for his brothers 15th birthday. His brother requested beef with peppers and onions, but all I remember hearing was “pepper steak”. It was a dish that was sort of inspired by the Chinese food dish, with a soy based sauce, and thickened with flour. Since Mike and I are not eating gluten (He’s not quite as strict Paleo as I am), It was worked out that a portion of the steak strips and veggies would be set aside for us, and I could make it using ingredients compliant with our lifestyle. I definitely appreciate the consideration! I might not have had control over the source of the beef or veggies (It was NOT grass-fed), but I cooked it in coconut oil, and used coconut aminos, as well as my own choices in spices. It was a huge success. It was so good, that I decided to re-create it tonight, using ground beef, and fresh vegetables from the farm stand. The secret ingredient, is definitely one of my favorites for the fall season, and compliments the sweetness and beef flavors: Cinnamon! I also seem to have been inspired in a different direction….”Pepper Beef and Onions” originally was referring to pepper the vegetable, where I took it to mean the spice.

Ingredients:

  • 3 or 4 large florets broccoli, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped small
  • 1 onion, quartered and sliced
  • 2 peppers, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos
  • 2-3 big tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • Lots of pepper (I used a combination of black and an exotic blend), with cayenne and cinnamon
  1. Chop vegetables and saute in the coconut oil and coconut aminos over medium heat, keep covered.
  2. When they soften a little and cook down, add the spices and tomatoes, then stir. Cover pan in between.
  3. When the vegetables are cooked and have reduced a lot, add a bit more black pepper, the ground beef, and cook until meat is cooked through, stirring occasionally.

It came out absolutely fabulous. It was even better than how I made it over the weekend, now that I had full control. I liked the ground beef version, and it was a nice easy dinner. Other than chopping, it was really minimal. I served it with half an avocado, and the creamy fatty awesomeness definitely complimented the salty savory aminos in the dish.

 


Salmon with Pumpkin Sauce and Purple Harvest “Risotto”

I bought some beautiful purple cauliflower from the farmstand, and still had a bunch left over that didn’t make it into the polenta. I decided to use the rest of it to make a rice/risotto type thing. Originally I was going to make fried rice, but with some of the wetter ingredients I added, it cooked a little faster and ended up more like a risotto. Regardless, it was creamy and delicious, even if it was by accident. Happy accidents are just as much a part of cooking as planned masterpieces. Most of the time I’m “winging it” anyway. Sometimes I start off in one direction, and then steer myself off course and end up with something else. I’m a cook by the seat of my pants kind of girl.

I didn’t start with the risotto. First, I sectioned my glass rectangular pan with aluminum foil, so I could save clean up and cook the fish and sweet potatoes in one pan. I peeled and sliced the sweet potatoes into circles, then arranged them in the pan. Finally, I sprinkled them with some…I mean a generous amount…of cinnamon. I pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees and put them in. The purple sweets, have been one of my favorite ingredients this fall.

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Then, I made the sauce for the fish.  It’s really easy, and doesn’t take much time or effort. In a sauce pan, you simply simmer the ingredients over medium heat for maybe 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pumpkin Sauce

  • 1 cup organic pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup organic strained tomato
  • 1/4 cup organic vegetable broth
  • Sage, cinnamon, thyme, allspice

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After I made the sauce, I took the tray of sweet potatoes out of the oven (They were only in the oven for maybe 10 minutes), and added the salmon filet to the other section of pan. I sprinkled some salt and pepper, and then covered it in pumpkin sauce. I returned it to the oven for about 30-40 minutes until it was cooked through and flaked easily, but was still nice and moist. The sweet potatoes were nice and soft on the inside, with just a little bit of a crunch to the outside.

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Then, while that was cooking, I got the ingredients ready for the risotto. I riced the cauliflower. while I sautéed the other ingredients over medium heat in about two tablespoons of duck fat.

20131107-172803.jpgPurple Harvest Risotto

  • 2-3 cups riced cauliflower
  • 2 handfuls Shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 handfuls whole Cranberries
  • 1/4 cup Pecans
  • 1 Apple
  • 1/2 onion
  • Dash of nutmeg, lots of cinnamon, some paprika, sage, pepper, thyme, ginger, and salt

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I left it covered, occasionally stirring, and eventually everything cooked down, and looked like this:

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At that point, I added the cauliflower, and a bit more duck fat. I kept stirring until the cauliflower was soft and everything began to clump together a bit.

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Everything came out really nice. The sweet potatoes tasted and felt like toasted marshmallows. Seriously, they were amazing. The pumpkin sauce complimented the salmon really well, and the risotto had a nice flavor that balanced everything out, while having little bursty pockets of extra goodies mixed in. Next time I’ll probably go a bit heavier on the spices, but with the other parts of the meal being so flavorful, it was actually nice to have the cauliflower dish be a bit milder.

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Crustless No Sugar Added Paleo Pumpkin Bake

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This is more savory than your typical pumpkin pie, with just a hint of sweetness from the coconut butter. It made the house smell amazing as it was baking, just like pumpkin pie. When I took it out initially, it was done cooking (the toothpick came out clean),It tasted good, and it held together fairly well if I used a spatula, but wasn’t as forgiving if I tried to use a spoon or fork to remove squares of it. I decided to put it back in a little longer to get some more moisture out which did the trick. It still wasn’t as firm as traditional pumpkin pie, but letting it chill in the fridge helped it firm up more. Maybe next time I’ll play with the ratio, but it was definitely yummy and made for a great side to my eggs in the morning. If you’re looking for more of a dessert, or are feeling more indulgent, add some maple syrup, honey, or maybe some shredded coconut! But I liked it just fine this way.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can organic Pumpkin
  • 1 can Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 cup (or a few heaping spoons) Raw Coconut butter
  • Some good big shakes of Cinnamon and Ginger
  • A large Dash of Nutmeg

Combine all ingredients with a hand blender until smooth, then pour into glass pan. Bake at 350 for 40-60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. If there is still a lot of moisture, turn the heat down to 300 and cook 15-20 minutes longer. For best results, chill in the refrigerator, and then lightly warm when ready to eat/serve.

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