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I soooo don’t want to cook…. (Asian Pork Roast)

Monday morning I knew I wasn’t going to want to cook. I had cooked a lot over the weekend, and, well, I just didn’t think I could clean the kitchen one more time. Not today anyway… But I also knew we had to eat dinner at some point. So before we left the house I grabbed what meat we had in the fridge, which happened to be some super thick pork chops, and tossed it in the dutch oven, with some spices and tamari for some slow cooking. Anyway, it took me less than 5 minutes to get the sauce and meat ready, and I took all of the easier routes (see the “or”s in parenthesis next to the ingredients list and you’ll see what I mean.).

Anyway, since MLK Day was such a beautiful day here in Atlanta, we HAD to spend the whole day outside. But, I had no idea that we would be gone all day long. I was lucky I did my 5 minutes of “work” in the morning before we left.

The kids and I started off with a couple of games of tennis and then went on a great  hike down to the river with some friends.

A boy and his stick…Do you have any idea how cold his feet were on the hike back to the car?? Bad mom.

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And the girl he was staring at. The boy has good taste…_DSC7074c

And the other girl, he wasn’t staring at…_DSC7106c

I grew up going to this place and climbing the rocks. Is so beautiful and there really is no better playground…

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From the streets of Buckhead, this is our tough motley crew. Oh Tate, why did that front tooth ever have to come out way before it’s time? When do those front ones come in again? 7 or 8? Uggghhh…He’s such a bruiser._DSC7115v

When we got home, the kids and I were absolutely staaaarrrved!!! It was so nice walking in and having the house smell of a warm cooked meal, especially these Asian Pork Chops (but do a roast, read below under “directions”).

This is what I made…

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs pork roast or tenderloin (or chops if that is what you have)
  • 1/4 cup Tamari GF soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp diced fresh (or dried onions)
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh minced garlic (or garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger (or ginger powder)
  • little butter or oil for searing

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 200. In a small bowl, mix ingredients above. Then sear both sides of your pork roast or chops with a little butter in the dutch oven, add the sauce, cover the lid to your dutch oven and go!

Now, I way overcooked this but that was because I cooked it like it was a whole tenderloin or roast versus chops (not on purpose) but it was still great. Alice ate it for breakfast this morning and then has some more for snack after school. Next time I would just use a whole roast. More leftovers is always a good thing too!

If you do cook a roast in your dutch oven then leave covered on 200 for approximately 6 hours. Or if using a slow cooker, cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.  If you do chops, cook them for about half the time, assuming they are each at least 1 1/2 inch think.

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It looks dry, doesn’t it? Well it was a little. But that was because I cooked it for waaay too long. I think I cooked it twice as long as I should have but honestly we all completely devoured it and it was still great.

I did add some precooked rice and quinoa for the kiddos and my favorite spinach salad with avocado, pepitas roasted in grass fed butter, and slices of a Pink Lady Apple with some Tessamae’s Balsalmic dressing to complete this super quick and easy meal. We were actually all so hungry on the way home the kids said they wanted Willie’s for dinner but after dinner Alice actually said “that was soooo much better than Willie’s!!.” And I hardly did anything!! That was my kind of meal!_DSC7203cr

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Casserole…

Hi all! I know it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted any recipes but please be patient with me. I have been cooking…A LOT. I promise! And I have lots to share, but unfortunately it’s going to have to wait awhile, but please keep checking back!

So my friend Mary told me about a fun dish that I couldn’t wait to make (of course, because it had spaghetti squash in it!) . She said she got it from one of my favorite sites, PaleOMG. If you haven’t checked out Juli’s site, you need to do so immediately! Actually, no wait….don’t because then you won’t come back to my site. Hers is just so great!! Anyway, this recipe is fabulous because it is so versatile.

We made a few changes that were more specific to our taste, but hey, it’s pizza, well, kind of. You can add anything you like to it! There is a Whole Food’s mozzarella cheese on it for the kids along with a little raw cow’s milk Parmesan.  I just took the cheese off of mine and it was just as good!

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Sweet, impatient little guy. While Tate, my husband and I really enjoyed it, my daughter said it wasn’t her favorite. That is her polite way of saying she didn’t like it at all. So there you go, majority wins on this one. You can’t win them all, all of the time, right? I think if I added more pepperoni and bacon, that might have helped. I know I would have eaten even more (assuming I actually had room left in my stomach)…

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What you need:
  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • ½ yellow onion, diced (I used Trader Joe’s pre-cut onion, shallot, garlic pack)
  • 1 15 oz. can pizza sauce (or just make your own using tomato sauce, dried basil, pepper and oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian spices
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • lots of pepperoni (Wellshire brand no nitrates)
  • black olives
  • 2 tsp butter (for sauteing onions)
  • green peppers, bacon, sun-dried tomatoes and anything else you’d like!

What you need to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Place spaghetti squash cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the skin of the squash gives when you press on it. Then reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.
  3. While that is cooking, saute your onions with butter and then put your onions in a 9×12 baking dish.
  4. Next cook the sausage in the same pan and cook until no longer pink. Then add to the baking dish.
  5. Then, once squash is done cooking, let it cool for about few minutes. Once you can hold it, or use a oven mit, remove squash with a fork and place in baking dish.
  6. Now add pizza sauce, eggs, Italian spices and salt and pepper to the dish and mix well.
  7. Cook for 45-50 minutes until your cheese is brown (if you use cheese).

UPDATED: I made it tonight with a pound of ground chicken (Publix Greenwise since I don’t love WF’s Kosher)  also and added some extra dried basil, 1 large can (28oz) and 1 small can (15oz) of diced tomatoes instead of sauce, and salt and oregano. It turned out great and made LOTS, which is great for lunches for me for the week. And,I loved it even more this time!

Landria - Of course! Thanks for the ideas Mary!!!

Mary - Thx Landria for the shout out!!!! Glad it turned out great!

Nature’s BEST Medicine, for kids and adults!

Years ago, after the FDA said not to give young children cough medicine, I remember thinking, “Oh great, now what am I suppose to use?” But little did I know that there were natural remedies that are actually MORE effective (with less side effects). What is that natural remedy? I’ll give you a hint. This anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal product is likely something your grandparents used. It’s great treating for allergies, benefiting your skin, healing wounds AND raising your immune system. Okay, that wasn’t really a hint, sorry about that, but it was an easy way to tell you some of its other benefits. Anyway, it’s…

HONEY! But not just any ole’ honey, honey…

It’s a raw honey, and in particular, Buckwheat honey. I get mine at Whole Foods…

He’s so old and over this. Can you tell? Anyone has some little ones I can borrow for blog pictures? Mine are getting too old!!

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A study from Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that “children who received a small dose of buckwheat honey before bedtime slept better and coughed less than those who received either a common over-the-counter cough suppressant (dextromethorphan) or nothing at all.” See full article here.

This article actually sites a study that concluded that honey (with coffee) can be MORE effective than steroids (prednisone). What?! Now that is impressive!!

And, both the World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend honey to help calm a cough. Okay, enough already, I think you get my point.

Oh by the way, NEVER EVER give kids under the age of 1 honey!

So for kids at least 1 year of age, but the studies were on kids 2 and older, use 1-2 tsp with some warm water and sip.  And don’t be worried about the sugar keeping them up at night. The honey actually helps release tryptophan, the compound famous for making us sleepy after eating turkey at Thanksgiving.

For adults, add ground ginger (1/2 tsp), lemon (juice from 1/2 lemon) and a dash cayenne pepper. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?  Okay, maybe not. But it is very soothing and can aid in killing bacteria, relieving sore throats, and helping strengthen your immune system.  The ginger can help with upset stomach and relieve aches and pains associated with colds and flu. It also is a great expectorant and will help break up mucus in the lungs as well as soothe painful sore throats. The lemon boosts immunity, alkalizes & detoxifies the body, and provides vitamin C. And the cayenne, well, it is potent and effectively treats fevers, sore throats, nausea, and other digestive issues.

I hope you all stay well this Winter season, but if you do you find your kids or yourself not up to par, I hope you will consider using raw honey. It tastes a heck of a lot better than any cough medicine out there anyway!!

Have any of you tried it before? How about the manuka honey? I would love to hear about your experience. That stuff is suppose to be pretty amazing…

landriav - Hey Gracie!! Very cool to hear! Thanks for sharing!!!

Gracie - Hi Landria! We are bee keepers and this was our first year of honey supply. Needless to say, not one of us has gotten so much as a sniffle this year! The local honey (from our backyard!) has really helped our sons allergies also!:) Thank you for the great post!

landriav - Ha! Small world Erin!! Thank you and so nice to hear from you! :)

Erin - oh Wow!! I just came across your blog on pinterest, and realized that we went to high school together. Wonderful blog… loving all of your recipes!! :) Erin (London) Bagwell

landriav - GREAT to hear Mandy! Thanks for sharing!! I hope you and your sweet family had a great holiday and are not needing any honey or cayenne! :)

landriav - Sure Coleen! Thanks for posting! Hope you’re doing well!!

mandy - It’s true! We used raw local honey for cough/sore throat and also to help with some respiratory allergies (not for asthma but that’s another story…) And the recipe above with lemon, ginger and cayenne is my own go-to in the winter time! It totally works. I’ll have to learn more about the buckwheat honey though. Something new to try this year!

Coleen - I knew about honey for colds, etc. but didn’t know it had to be raw honey — no wonder!! Thanks for the info!

landriav - Hi Erin! Some of the studies were actually on Buckwheat in particular. But, I’m sure any raw local honey is great!!

Emily Crouch - Thanks for this Landria! I’ve always used raw honey for my kids and I but wondered about your recommendation for the buckwheat honey in particular vs. other kinds? I use a local raw honey from Home Town Honey. Thanks.

Our Christmas Meal…

So, many of you asked me what we are making for Christmas this year and after 4 grocery store trips in less than 24 hours (ugh!), I think we are ready. Anyway here are a few of the things that will be on our menu:

There are so many fun and fabulous ways to cook a turkey. Fry it. Grill it. Roast it. But, I always wondered why more people don’t slow cook their turkeys. You’ve all tried the slow cooked chicken by now, right? You’ve got to try that if you haven’t. Dipping a bite of chicken in the juice, oh, it’s so good. So why wouldn’t we want the same tender, fall-off-the-bone texture for a turkey?

This past Thanksgiving we slow cooked a turkey, and it was awesome and easy to make.

Here is what you need:

  • 15 lb turkey
  • fresh sage and thyme
  • sea salt
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup butter or ghee
  • 1 1/2 cup white wine

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  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Next, rinse and pat dry your turkey.
  3. Then, chop your herbs and set aside.
  4. Then melt your butter and add the herbs to make a herb butter.
  5. Then, it’s time to get messy. Separate the skin from the turkey breast and spread the herb butter between the skin and the meat of the turkey breast.
  6. Place quartered onion in the baking dish alongside the turkey breast and some inside the cavity of the turkey.  Also stuff the cavity with the lemons (cut in half) and any additional herbs you might like. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper as desired. Pour wine into the pan.
  7. Truss the turkey and slow roast for approximately twelve hours, cover tightly with foil. Baste every 2 to 3 hours, if possible.
  8. Increase the heat to 375 degrees and continue roasting for one and one-half hours or until the skin is a rich brown and the meat has reached an internal temperature of at least 185 F. Allow the turkey to rest for 30 minutes prior to carving.

Our fear was that it wouldn’t turn out nice and brown like a traditional turkey but as you can see, it browned very nicely!
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So on to my new favorite side…So I’ve never made a sweet potato casserole and I’m not sure why since I love sweet potatoes so much. Oh my goodness, this tastes more like a dessert. It is fabulous, if I do say so myself!!

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Sweet Potato Casserole

Here is what you need:

Filling

  • 4 large sweet potatoes (or pre-cut bag from Trader Joe’s 2 lbs)
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp celtic salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg

Topping

  • 1 cup raw pecans, chopped (Trader Joe’s has a pre-chopped bag)
  • 1/3 cup almond meal or flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp celtic salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar (for the top)

Of course I bought pre-pealed pre-cut sweet potatoes from Trader Joe’s. You can get them in the freezer section at Whole Foods too. Or you can just use 4 large sweet potatoes, peel and chop them.

Then, boil the sweet potato in a large pot of water for about 10 or so minutes until they are fork tender. Next put in a food processor with the rest of the “Filling” ingredients and blend until smooth. Move to a 9″ Pyrex glass pie or glass baking dish.

For the topping, mix in a medium bowl all of the ingredients except for the coconut palm sugar. If you don’t melt the butter, you may need to use your hands to mush it all together. I used my hands since I needed to spread the “Topping” over the “Filling” anyway .  Then, dust 1 tbsp of coconut palm sugar evenly over your topping. Cook on 350 for 20-25 minutes and enjoy!

 

Ahh and our broccoli casserole. It’s such a favorite of ours.  This year I added about 1/3 cup of almond meal to the mixture to thicken it up a bit and it was a nice change.

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And for dessert: Chocolate Bark

Okay, here is one other super simple, super tasty dessert that I’ve been using all season long for holiday parties, etc.

All you need is some dark chocolate, good salt chunks, and some nuts or seeds and or dried fruit that you like.

This is what I used:

  • Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate 70% cacao Bar (It’s a 1 lb bar and only $5 but I only used 1/2 lb)
  • slivered almonds, handful
  • pepitas, handful
  • sunflower seeds, handful
  • dried cherries

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The easiest way to melt the chocolate (I only use 1/2 lb since that is all that will fit on one cookie sheet) is to get a big metal bowl, break the chocolate apart and put it in the bowl. Next, get a pan, add hot water and bring it to a boil. Then set the metal bowl on top and stir the chocolate as it melts. Once it’s melted, lay out some parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spread it evenly (make it pretty thin). Then immediately add your nuts, seeds, dried fruit, salt, etc. asap  while the chocolate is still melted. Then put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or until it has hardened. Then break apart into pieces and enjoy!_DSC5256c

So those are a few of our favorite things. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

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landriav - Thanks Pat! Merry Christmas to you too!!

Pat - Merry Christmas to you guys! The broccoli casserole looks especially good, will have to give that a try. We typically roast broccoli…

Turkey looks good as well. We did a big bird earlier in the season, and did a brine soak overnight, then cooked a bit faster than yours but with a hotter browning at the end. Crisp outside, and juicy inside!

So, finally, Happy New Year to you guys!

Amber - Looks amazing! Merry Christmas!

Mmmm, Hot Cocoa….

With the rain finally ending (at least I hope!), it’s about to start getting real cold here in Atlanta. With the holidays, and the cold, finally, I love making some fun after school treats once in awhile. And, what’s better than coming home from school all cold, throwing down the backpacks, tearing off the jackets, and  enjoying some  hot cocoa? Mmmm…
What I love about this, and the kids don’t even know, is that it is actually pretty good for them! The fat from the coconut milk is of course, awesome for them. But the raw cacao powder is fabulous too. With more magnesium than any other food, loads of iron, and up to 4x more antioxidants that green tea, why would you not make this?! Actually, just be sure you don’t do it too late in the day or the cacao can keep them up since it does have some caffeine in it. If yours are sensitive, this might be a better weekend treat.
Here is what you need for your Healthy (shhh) Hot Cocoa:
  • 3 tbsp raw cacao powder (WF or Amazon)
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
  • stevia, 2-3 drops (optional if you family likes things sweeter)
  • 2 cups of original almond milk (I used Whole Foods brand for this)
  • 1 cup coconut milk full fat
  • 2-4 tbsp dark chocolate chunks (optional)
The cacao can be a little tricky to mix with liquids. The cacao powder and liquids can be like oil and water and just won’t combine well, unless your liquid is hot. So, I would actually start by warming up the water first in your pot. Then add the cacao powder and stir until smooth. Once those are combined, then add in the rest of your ingredients and let it come to a boil while you continue to stir. Then turn off immediately and serve.   I like mine without the extra chocolate since that part can get a little chunky and sometimes it doesn’t turn out to be super smooth, but of course the kids don’t mind that at all!

 

landriav - Ha, thanks for sharing Jordan!! Hope y’all had a fun day today. I think we probably have a couple of more days of this. Stay warm!!

Jordan - Just making this today since we are home celebrating the SNOW DAY! It’s delicious and I will never reveal that it’s healthy! ( :

landriav - Hey Leane! Yes! I only use Whole Foods brand or Silk or sometimes one of the Trader Joe’s. I am cautious also not to use anything with carrageen in it. Thanks so much for commenting! :)

Leane - Hi! This Hot Cocoa is fantastic! Yummy! Thanks for sharing it. Do you happen to know of any almond milks and coconut milks that do not contain carrageenan? It’s in many of them and is known in some studies to be a carcinogen. I see it in yogurt tubes and many many other products. Ugh.