Thanksgiving Recap & a Recipe Roundup

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that I love to love.  I enjoyed every single bite.  No guilt, just indulgence.  We go to my boyfriend’s parents house every year.  They have allllll the fixins and everyone brings something.  And knowing I was going to indulge, I wanted to make sure I had a big side of veggies to put on my plate.  I also wanted to make sure I had something to snack on before the big meal.  And I wanted a sweet treat at the end of the meal but knew I wouldn’t be able to stuff a whole slice of pie down my gullet after all that yummy food.

So here’s what I brought:

spinach artichoke dip (adapted from my vitamix cookbook)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup mayo
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 slice lemon, peeled & seeded
  • 1 large package of fresh spinach
  • a pinch of salt & pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan
  • ½ cup canned artichokes, drained

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients except artichoke hearts in vita-mix
  2. Turn it on (variable 1, increase to 4)
  3. Blend, blend, blend (took me a while to get all that spinach in there and blended up)
  4. Add artichokes and blend a little more
  5. Usually I put it in the oven on 350* for 20-25 min, but this year I brought a cute little mini warmer.  Poured that in there and gave it about 20 min to warm up, stirring every now and then.
  6. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan on top and tortilla chips to dip.
  7. Enjoy!

No pic – it was green and not very photo-worthy.

guacamole – my boyfriend’s special secret recipe 😉  also green and not very photo-worthy.

roasted veg – the great thing about this recipe is that I cooked it in the morning and dumped it all in the crockpot to take over.  Plugged that bad boy in and set it on warm.  When it was time to put it on the table, I just took porcelain container over to the table and drizzled some balsamic on top and sprinkled it with shredded parmesan.  Voila!  Easiest dish to bring for Thanksgiving ever.

pumpkin cheesecake truffles – totally not primal or paleo or even gluten-free but VERY tasty

My plate was full of spinach salad and roasted veg, a big serving of turkey (mmm…dark meat), and a little bit of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy.  And a dreamy buttered roll.  I didn’t finish it all (my plate that is, you can be damn sure I ate every bite of anything I describe as “dreamy“).  And I enjoyed every bite.  And most of all I was grateful to have a wonderful family to celebrate with.

What did you have for Thanksgiving?

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On the Paleo Bandwagon

This week my boyfriend (J) has been on the paleo bandwagon big time.  He’s my partner in crime in everything else in life and it’s nice to have him along on this ride too.  He’s been so supportive of me since I started in January.  Sometimes he would eat what I ate and sometimes he didn’t.  Well this week he really buckled down and ate paleo every day with me and I think he truly liked it.  We tried some AMAZING recipes (courtesy of Paleo Perfectly).

Something as simple as salad dressing which reminded me of a dressing my grandma used to make for family dinners.  It was probably just some wishbone mix, but I LOVED it.  And really hadn’t tasted anything like it until this recipe.  My boyfriend’s mom used to make something similar so it took him back too.

We tried pork for the first time this week.  I know that probably sounds funny.  But I never eat it and I didn’t think J liked it, so it just never figured into my grocery list and menu-making.  But this week when we were standing in line at the butcher’s, the guy in front of us bought some pork and out of nowhere J asks him how he prepares it, is it good, can we grill it…so in addition to our steaks, we also tried one teeny tiny piece of pork.  We grilled it up before our steaks as a little protein appetizer and damn if it wasn’t delicious!  Kinda fun to add a whole new item to our repetoire!

We also tried steak lettuce wraps with asian slaw – which was so yummy and a great way to have leftover steak.

And right now I have some banana muffins cooling – this is the first time I’ve used coconut oil, almond flour, or coconut flour.  I added some cinnamon to the recipe.  Super moist and tasty –  success!  And I have some water with lemon and mint chilling in the fridge.  Perfect for this almost summer-like day in Colorado!  Gotta get it in before it supposedly snows tomorrow!

PS – No weigh-ins this week.  I’ve decided not to bother until the end of April.

Fresh Lime & Black Bean Soup

The crockpot is my friend when cooking slow carb meals.  Tonight’s menu will include lemon & lime broiled chicken, steamed broccoli, and fresh lime & black bean soup.  I found the recipe for the soup in my trusty Crockpot Cookbook.  I’ve made it once before and it was very yummy.  Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed.
  • 1 can (14 oz) reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 (or more if you like it spicy!) teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions

  1. coat crockpot with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Add beans, broth, onion, and spices.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or high for 3 1/2 hours or until the onions are very soft.
  4. Process 1 cup soup in blender until smooth and return to crockpot.  Stir and check consistency and repeat as needed.
  5. Let stand for 15-20 minutes before serving.  Then ladle into bowls, squeeze juice from lime wedge over each.

Anyone making any special 4HB Valentines Day dinners??  I’m looking for some tasty suggestions…

Lentil Soup With Beef

It’s a cold, snowy day today and I thought what’s better than to share a yummy 4HB-friendly recipe!  This one is from the Food Network and Giada De Laurentis.  I don’t know much about her other than she always seems to have scrumptious-looking food on her tv shows.  This is my first attempt at one of her recipes and it was a SUCCESS!  The original recipe can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/lentil-soup-with-beef-recipe/index.html

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 6 (14-ounce) cans beef broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice (I used crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 cups (about 11 ounces) lentils, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

Heat the oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper. Add half of the beef and cook until brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer the beef to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining beef. Add the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, rosemary, and oregano to the pot. Saute until the onions about 8 minutes. Return the beef and any accumulated juices from the bowl to the pot. Add the broth and tomatoes with their juice. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the meat is just tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Add the lentils. Cover and continue simmering until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Season the soup, to taste, with salt and pepper and ENJOY!

This made about 8 servings for me and I froze them in individual tupperware for easy lunches – just add a salad for a complete meal!

Tuscan Bean Soup

So far so good this week!  I’ve been eating well and didn’t have the mid-week blues like I did last week.  I thought I would share one of the recipes I’ve used this week to get those beans in…

Tuscan Bean Soup – adapted from http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Tuscan-White-Bean-Soup/Detail.aspx?prop31=7

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 stalk celery, quartered crosswise
  • 1 carrots, quartered crosswise
  • 2 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
  • 3 cans cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 (32 ounce) carton reduced sodium chicken broth

Directions

  1. In 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, cook bacon, onion, celery, carrot and 2 cloves garlic over medium-high heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Add beans, bay leaf, thyme, wine and broth; cover and cook 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat; cool about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove bay leaf from bean mixture. Pour mixture into food processor; cover and puree. Return to saucepan; stir in salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until thoroughly heated.
  3. Ladle soup into individual soup bowls. Serves 6.

I like this recipe because it was easy and quick to make and lasted the whole week.  You can really play around with the ingredients and add and subtract whatever you prefer.  The original recipe called for basil and red pepper flakes, which wasn’t bad, but a little spicy for me.  I think next time I might try it with a little more bacon.  You could also drizzle some cholula on top for some extra spice.  Hm….speaking of which, that sounds pretty yummy!  I’m going to try that for lunch!  Bon appetit!

What are some of your favorite recipes?