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Shopping

ZAYCON FOODS- BACON WEEKEND!

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We have been ordering from Zaycon Foods for a while now. We have tried several items and thankfully we have never been disappointed.

Recently we picked up 72 pounds of bacon, I know it sounds like a gigantic amount but it is the sort of bacon that you could have a full out brawl over. We do go through a ton of bacon here at the house every week.  I use it in a lot of things and then I save all the bacon fat to cook other things in.

Next month we will pick up 80 pounds of chicken and I hope to have my crap together so I can make several recipes ahead to freeze and then just portion out the rest of the chicken breasts into freezer bags. I’m thinking chicken pot pie, Greek chicken, shredded chicken, tandoori chicken and maybe the sauce for the crispy keto chicken. I’m hoping to come up with another idea or two because those freezer meals are a great solution and keep us eating well and not spending money on take out all the time. It takes away many excuses to behave badly.

We will also pick up 80 pounds of ground beef in December and hope it goes as well as it did last time. In the summer we picked up 80 pounds of beef, we planned ahead for several dishes so we could make “freezer meals” for the nights I was too tired to cook or if I had been gone all day. A week in advance we started to assemble all the ingredients I was going to need for each dish. We cooked up 32 pounds of beef that day, we made eight pounds each of: Ground Beef Stroganoff, Beef Pot Pie, Caveman Chili and Taco Meat. Then we packaged up the rest of the beef into 2 pound increments and put them into freezer bags for other miscellaneous recipes. Honestly I am a little worried we should have ordered 120 pounds of the beef because we really go through it.

Zaycon Foods have sales all over the country, you sign up, choose your “pick up spot” and turn up at the appointed date/time. It has never taken us more than 5 minutes to get what we ordered. We go through the line, give our name and someone puts it in the trunk for us and we are on the way home in moments. I have added my referral link and if you sign up using my code the folks over at Zaycon Foods will put a dollar into my account, I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but it sure counts up.

 

Avenue Stores – Big Sale

Apparently the company that owns Avenue has undergone a bankruptcy and is closing 150 stores nationwide, In Washington State the only two stores that will remain open are Renton and Yakima. Everything is 60% off at the other stores currently, both the Lakewood and Tacoma stores have gotten an influx of stock from stores closing in Las Vegas and Texas.

Tacoma Avenue

This would be a great time to stock up on things you might need. Sizes 14/16 are in high demand and selection is limited (but still good and worth a visit), however if you are in a size 22+ you have a ton of options.    If you have the time stop by a couple of stores, stock is very different at each store. Happy Shopping!

 

Fabulous Paleo Friendly Bread

While on Pinterest I found some Paleo friendly bread originally posted on She Cooks He Cleans. This gal has it right, this has a good flavor, texture etc and can be used just like regular bread. I LOVE it.Thank you Pinterest!  You have got to try this!

Start with

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 4 tablespoons flax seed meal
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds (I have also tried cashews and pecans)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ~1 teaspoon honey (optional) I have used a tablespoon to make it sweeter depending on why I need the bread.
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, walnut oil or? You might even be able to use butter here if you allow it in your diet.

Ingredients

Mix all dry Ingredients together

Crush, Chop, Roll or nearly obliterate your nuts – Add to bowl

Add Eggs, Honey, Oil to bowl and mix

Prepare an 8×8 Pyrex type pan, I have used a little butter, cooking spray or a tiny bit of oil wiped around the inside of the pan. Bake in the microwave for about 2 minutes 30 seconds. You need to add 30-40 seconds if you increase the honey. When the bread is finished in the microwave:

Turn bread out on to a cutting board or a cooling rack

Give your bread a few minutes to cool (say 5 minutes).

Cut bread – it is a little thick

Slice in half for a thin bread – Use a sharp knife

Enjoy

 

I used my Paleo friendly bread to make a fried egg sandwich – this bread makes wonderful breadcrumbs, it toasts up well and is a dream next to a homemade  soup.  I plan on giving this a whirl using macadamia nuts – think how fab that would be with Havarti cheese or a wonderful cream cheese. YUM!

Make up a batch, have a snack and go poke around She Cooks He Cleans, because clearly this gal has some skill!!

What’s Cookin? Cheeseburger Dip

 

Seriously if you are not on Pinterest, you need to be. I’ve stumbled across more recipes this way.This recipe is from Closet Cooking.

We are trying to be at least Paleo-ish (still doing dairy of course and a few peanuts here and there), so with that being said this cheeseburger dip is fabulous. It works as a dip or even a main dish as my son Carl and I have done several times. You could serve it with crackers, chips, crusty bread or on a bun like a sloppy Joe if you’re still eating grain. I have served this with Paleo crackers but we like it as a main dish with salad the most.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground beef (I use an entire pound)
  • 6 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces (If you LOVE bacon use a little more)
  • 1 small onion, diced (use a sweet or mild onion)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup

Brown the ground beef

Cook the bacon until crispy

Saute Onion and garlic until tender

Mix together

Bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes

I Have used cheddar cheese but we also used Colby Jack (My favorite) and it turned out great. I have also used Hormel pre-cooked bacon from Costco and that did a nice job as well. Serve with your fresh tomatoes and lettuce shreds to make this just like a cheeseburger. Kevin over at Closet Cooking made his look so much nicer than mine (clearly I have the ghetto version).

 

What’s Cookin? Parmesan Zucchini Rounds

I am always on the look out for some sort of snack item that is at least semi legal. At the moment zucchini is inexpensive and plentiful so lets use that.

Ingredients

NEED:

Zucchini and/or Summer Squash

Parmesan (I have used both freshly grated and the stuff in the tub I associate with pizza places)

Oil of your choice (I have used walnut and olive oil)

 

Flick your oven on to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheet with parchment paper to keep the cheese from sticking.

Cut them up into little coins

 

Dip In Oil

Dip in Parmesan

Put them on the cookie sheet

Bake for 25-30 minutes

ENJOY!

 

Remember, the thinner you cut your zucchini the crispier they will be. The first time we did this we used freshly grated Parmesan cheese ($$$) and they were wonderful, but during a quick trip to Sam’s club I spied a HUGE canister of that Parmesan cheese I remember having around the house as a kid.  So I could not resist trying another batch. They were also good but I will say they tasted saltier to me even if I did not add salt.

You could broil these if you were in a hurry (I’d try 3-5 minutes and watch them like a hawk).

They are fabulous by themselves and make a wonderful appetizer or snack to hold everyone over. They are great with dip too!

SOTA Graduation

Bethany and Alex

Recently I was honored to be invited to attend Alexandra’s graduation from The Tacoma School of the Arts. Alex is my daughter Bethany’s best friend and honestly she is like family. I love this girl. Alex has been on hand as a trusted friend practically since we moved to Tacoma from Seattle years ago.  I’m sure the girls will be friends for a lifetime.

Pantages Theater

The graduation took place in the Pantages theater in downtown Tacoma. The venue is small and elegant so I felt really very touched to be invited to attend the graduation along with her family.

The kids from SOTA are very talented and put on a truly top shelf performance. The announcers and staff kept the comments to a minimum, with the exception of one lady.. she seriously recited her entire job history, I can only conclude she was actually job hunting and this was a way to get her resume out there. She gets extra points for the creativity. The odd part about her was that even Alex had no clue who she was. The gal never introduced herself, but she had a robe so I guess she was supposed to be there. :D

Alex is headed to Northwest University in the fall where Bethany is already attending. I just know she will have a wonderful time. We were trying to think of something great to give her for graduation. Finally we came up with the idea of a dorm essentials box. I got a list of items from Bethany and bought a Rubbermaid Tote to put it all in. We put in tea, coffee, cocoa, sugar, salt & pepper, granola bars, white board, hanging jewelry organizer, dish towels, dish soap, cleaning wipes, paper towels, big clothes pin, big mug, travel mug, kleenex, Command hooks, warm blanket, erasers, double hanging rod… etc. We wrapped every silly item and added little funny blurbs on each one, for instance on the hanging rod “For your big hang ups”..I had such a great time shopping for stuff. I had no shortage of ideas when it came to this gift.

The Loot

The Dorm Box Before

To Keep You Warm

Almost Finished

Alex has a wonderful family and they must be so proud. Here is a girl who passed on getting a car in order to do a mission trip. How many teenagers forgo a car? For anything let alone to help others?!?  I love it!

 

Blender Salsa

I am working on this whole Paleo-ish diet but I am not going to lose my mind because we all know what happened last time and my cholesterol dropped like a stone. Yes folks your cholesterol can be too low! I’ve decided to keep dairy and of course I am still not off of sugar (damned sweet tooth).. but I am better (even if its only marginally).

While traipsing around Pinterest I found a ton of recipes. I found a recipe for Blender Salsa, its quick & dirty salsa and actually really good. After I made the first batch I think Paul ate it all week and wanted more the next weekend. Think how quick and easy you could whip up a quick snack.  If you click the link it will take you to the blog that Pinterest directed me to.

1 can original Rotel tomatoes

1 can diced tomatoes

1/2 Onion – chopped

1 Clove of garlic diced

a handful of cilantro – I go heavy here because I love cilantro

1 tsp Honey – I probably add a little more

1/2-1 jalapeno – I left it out

Lime juice (equal to one lime)

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Cumin

Slap it all into the good old food processor and zip zip you have salsa. It made a glass sauce jar with enough left for a good snackfest!

We did use the rice crackers or the Stacey’s Naked Pita chips (my favorite).. I have meant to try the Paleo crackers and chips… but sometimes there is just not enough energy to go around.. plus those Stacey’s Pita Chips are super addictive!!

Easy Paleo Food

Okay for all of you Paleo folks Paul and I went to Jasmine Mongolian Grill two weeks ago and this is the easiest place to stick to your plan. Granted you can do it anywhere by hitting only meat and vegetables, but often the non-Paleo sides that arrive are far too tasty to pass up.  Mongolian grills seem to be popping up all over and you could probably find one in almost every town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought the best part about it was that I loaded up the bowl and not only did I not have to do all the prep, I didn’t have to cook it myself.

I was really sold on te stir fry so I thought we might want to try it at home.

I cut up all the ingredients when we got home from the store. I used  red pepper, onion, fresh pineapple, mushrooms, cilantro, celery, carrots and zucchini as well as 4 steaks.

I tossed the first two steaks in the freezer (the other two were purchased last minute because the kids were going to stay for dinner), I wanted them frozen because you can do a very thin cut when they are nice and frozen, but the fresh steaks were easy to cut with kitchen scissors.

I added seasonings as I went along including the juice of two lemons and some beef flavoring to jazz things up a bit.

This is my end result and every bit as fabulous as the food from the mongolian grill. Not only is it really good it is a great item to heat up and eat for lunch the next day.  Enjoy!

Farmer’s Market September 3rd

Saturday morning we hit the Federal Way Farmer’s Market and picked up a few more produce items and then ran by Trader Joe’s on the way home.

At the Farmer’s Market we picked up Apples, cucumbers, nectarines, peaches, tomatoes, radishes and a flat of blueberries.

At Trader Joes we grabbed my favorite Belgian chocolate, bag of pears, a truffle chocoalte bar to try (not as good as the Belgian Chocolate), Dark Chocolate Pomegranate seeds (for Carl), Vegetable Root Chips and some cherry pomegranate water flavor packets (no artificial sweeteners).  The Vegetable Root Chips were at least as bad as they sound.. barf! Seriously, even the dogs were not interested in these chips.

Adventures in Grain Free Cooking

Okay I know what you must be thinking.. grain free? Why? We are trying to be healthier and removing grain has had some odd unexpected side effect. My ring finger on my right hand has been swollen and painful for months when my middle finger on the left hand started to hurt. After several days on the grain free diet I noticed my fingers no longer ached. So there might be something to the claim that grains cause inflammation. Very strange. Of course at the same time we had also been doing 8oz of juice before breakfast and dinner so perhaps that has an effect as well.

The last drill Paul went to this is what I made hm for breakfast, buttermilk pancakes and bacon with syrup and coffee. Boy how things have changed.

Almond & banana pancakes with a side of bacon made a fantastic breakfast. I found the recipe here. I did however increase the number of eggs used to 4 to increase the protein. I made fresh strawberry syrup to slather on the pancakes. I also used the strawberry syrup mixed with oil and red wine vinegar to make salad dressing. That was the best idea!

Grain Free Blueberry muffins with a side of bacon makes a great breakfast as well. Check out the recipe here. I did double the blueberries to make them really pop with blueberry flavor.

In an effort to make things easier I tried to make this coconut flour bread. The thing with coconut flour is that it REALLY sucks up all the liquid and it turned out a little dry. So I think with a little work I could perfect this bread. Maybe adding some yogurt would help with the end result.

I made egg, bacon and cheese cups with coconut flour so these can be in the freezer and warmed in the morning as a quick breakfast. I will admit with the coconut flour they were slightly dry but they do have an excellent flavor.

Pauls favorite bread is lemon poppyseed so I gave that a whirl too… Lemon poppyseed muffins with coconut flour. They were moist and really good. I did use WAY more lemon juice because I wanted it to be really lemon flavored. The little slice is an Almond meal shortbread cookie I tried. Great with butter but lacks the shortbread texture I was looking for.

I made this Blackberry & Blueberry Strusel but I did learn that perhaps I should be certain that the berries are all sweet before baking. It was a little bitter even with all the cinnamon and sugar.

Miss Lisa Marie gave me a great grain free biscuit recipe, I did learn however that you should not do egg whites in the food processor as they turn white but stay soupy. User error.  So I had to add in a little coconut flour and almond flour to suck up the soupyness.  This one is not Paleo because of the cream cheese but I’m not really strict on Paleo (have I been strict on much of anything?).  I will post the recipe when I make them again and they work for me.

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