Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My legs hurt.....

This weekend we tried out a new crossfit gym box whatever it's called in town. If I haven't mentioned, I live in a tiny metropolis of 40,000 people with the closest "city" being 2 hrs away. So a crossfit gym is a big deal. We're behind the times. Anyways we did a killer workout that destroyed my quads. Still can't walk today. Being the crazy person I am I decided to do this workout to try to actively recover. Stupid idea. Here's the workout I did:

You rotate through doing 21 of each exercise then 15 then 9. I didn't use weight because I was so sore, but feel free to add it. For abs I did full sit ups and v-ups on the last round. Enjoy! 

EZ Eats: Pesto Pasta

I've been dying to try making pesto for spaghetti squash or zoodles for quite some time. I finally got around to buying some (not so) fresh basil from Walmart. It was a sad excuse for basil, but luckily a later trip to the farmers market landed me with free fresh cut basil! I also landed a free giant sized zucchini. How awesome is that?...

I'm not going to pretend like I measured these ingredients for the pesto, but here are the rough estimates:
1-2 cups fresh spinach
1/4 cup(not packed) of basil
3-6 tbs olive oil (start with 3 and add more as you go to get the desired consistency, more oil is better when making it for pasta sauce)
1tbs garlic...did I mention I love garlic
1/2-1 tbs of salt, be generous for flavor but stingy for health
1/2 cup raw walnuts

Process all ingredients in a food processor, blender or nut chopper until smooth! Chill in the fridge to set and serve of the pasta of your choice. This also goes great with chicken! It makes about 2 cups of pesto. 

We used spaghetti squash as our pasta and I stir-fried some ground beef with mushrooms, butter and black olives. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sweet Treat Saturday: Paleo Pecan Pie Bars

For some reason figs remind me of the consistency of pecan pie. We had a plethora of figs in the freezer, so I came up with the recipe for pecan pie bars!

Printable Recipe

1 egg
2 c figs
2 tbs coconut flour
2 tbs butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbs maple syrup
1/4 c roasted pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine ingredients except pecans in a sauce pan and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the pecans, save 10 or so to press into the top of the bars.

1/3 c coconut oil
15 dates
1/2 c almonds

Process the dates in a blender. Remove and set aside. Process the almonds until finely chopped then add in the coconut oil and dates. Process until it starts to clump together. Remove and spread in the bottom of a parchment lined 9x9 baking dish.

Add the filling on top of the crust, press in extra pecans, and bake for 40 min. Remove from oven and let cool. Slice into bars. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. This can be served warm or cold and goes great with ice cream!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back to School

Let the countdown begin! Only 1 week left of my summer...sad face...I spent a solid week in my classroom getting it put back together, so I thought I'd share some of my ideas, or Pinterest's ideas rather.

The desks are ready to go! With a name tag, book mark, pencil, red pen and a snack for the first day. The snack is goldfish (I feel extremely guilty feeding these to students, I guess I'll need to switch to an apple next year)...the tag says "You are O "fish" ally in 3rd grade!"

My students are seated in tables of 8. I attended a Kagan Learning program at the beginning of the summer and loved it! That's where the twister template comes into play.

This is a new addition to the room this year! I saw it on Pinterest, and decided I needed a little "white board" to write notes on to help me remind students before they walk out the door!

My sis over at Rosita Designs made this chart for me. It is perfect for surveys or quizzes.

This Octopus is by far the best part of my classroom. A good friend free-handed him! Who does that??  I use the Octopus to show which traits cause someone to be the helper of the week. I started last year with various different helpers and decided that 1 helper was much easier to keep track of!!

Telling time is huge in 3rd grade, so I have these clocks posted to help my students learn time! It also helps limit the number of "what time is...." questions I get asked throughout the day. That's not true, I still get asked.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sweet Treat Saturday: No Bake Cookies

These were inspired by my cheesecake crust. They are simple to make and are super tasty! Perfect for a hot day when you don't want the oven heating up the house.

Printable Recipe
1 tbs coconut
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 c almonds
12 dates
1 square of dark chocolate
1 tsp cinnamon

Process the dates in a blender or food processor and set aside. Add the almonds and dark chocolate to the empty blender and blend until finely chopped. Return the chopped dates to the blender, add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until well combined. Spread on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper, or form into balls and flatten into cookies. Freeze for at least 2 hours. I made mine in to bars, so I cut them when I removed them from the freezer. Store in an air-tight container in the freezer.

Nutrition Notes: These are meant to be a treat. The serving size should be 1 small bar. Dates are extremely high in sugar, so they should be limited if fat loss if your goal!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Theme Night Thursday: BBQ Brisket

We have finally made it through 1/8 of a cow! I had to get creative with some of the cuts. The cut I use in this recipe was a brisket and believe it or not, I have never cooked a brisket before! I wanted to make it in the crockpot and after some research found 9 hours + BBQ sauce would do the trick. I didn't want to use store bought BBQ sauce since the ingredients usually include loads of sugar, msg and the like. I decided to make one up from scratch.

I promise this turned out much better than it looks in this awful picture!
Printable Recipe:

Here is what I used:

1 can/8 oz tomato juice (the beverage)
1 tbs garlic
1 tbs coconut oil
1/2 tbs aminos or soy sauce
3 tbs brown mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp honey

Add all ingredients to a sauce pan. Using medium heat, stir ingredients until well combined. Use immediately or store in the fridge. You may want to reheat and stir before using.

For the Brisket: Place the brisket in the crockpot and cover with BBQ sauce. Cook on low for 9 hours or until it falls apart with a fork. Remove from the crockpot and slice against the grain. We served ours with prosciutto wrapped asparagus (wrap and bake for 30-40 min @ 350F).

Here's the playlist to accompany this meal!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sausage Crust Quiche

My oldest sis has a local coffee shop that serves a frittata that uses sausage as the crust. Isn't that ingenious!! I had to come up with a version of my own so I could share in the awesomeness. I'm calling it a quiche since it was cooked only in the oven and not the stove top.

Printable Recipe:
8 eggs
1/2 lb sausage (leave out for a veggie version)
2 medium carrots
1 medium zucchini
1 bell pepper
2 tbs butter divided
1/4 cup black olives
2 large mushrooms
1 tsp salt
1 tbs minced garlic (I love garlic, you can use less)

Preheat your oven to 350F. Press the sausage into the bottom of a greased 9x9 pan. It will shrink, so make sure it is a thick layer. You can add more than 1/2lb if you'd like. Bake for 10 minutes. While the sausage is cooking, shred/chop your veggies and add to a bowl. I shredded the carrots and the zucchini, but you can finely dice them as well. This is about 2 cups of veggies so if you want to try different versions go for it! Break in your eggs and stir until well combined. Add your spices and stir to combine. When the sausage is done, pour the egg mixture over the sausage and top with the 2tbs of butter. Bake for another 40-45 minutes until the eggs are no longer liquidy. Remove and let cool. Slice into squares and serve! This is great left over! It is also a good way to serve multiple guests. This version made 4-5 servings.

Nutrition Notes: This is a great way to sneak veggies into your breakfast. Feel free to eat as much as you like. If you'd like a lower carb version, leave out the carrots. Eggs are a great source of healthy cholesterol and the veggies in this dish are loaded with vitamins. Make sure to buy nitrate free sausage from a responsible source. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

3 Ingredient Ice Cream

I have been searching high and low for a knock-off ice cream recipe that doesn't require an ice cream maker (my momma had one and gave it away!! how dare she.) I wanted something simple, relatively healthy as far as treats go and with a good texture. This is what I came up with so far! It has a fluffy smooth texture. I would like to try different variations and try a version that uses an egg like traditional ice cream. Let me know what you think!

Printable Recipe
2 cups whipping cream
2 tbs-1/4 cup honey (I made this with 2tbs and it was sweet enough for me, but E would like it better with 1/4 cup)
1 can full fat coconut milk (make sure to find a BPA free version)

How to:
Chill your coconut milk overnight in the fridge. This is extremely important, it makes the milk thicken. Whip the whipping cream until peaks form making whipped cream. Chill in the fridge. In a sauce pan heat the coconut milk with the honey until it decreases in size. It should take about 30 min. and you will need to stir often. This is a dairy free version of condensed milk. Keep a close eye on the milk because it will boil over out of no where!! No need to ask me how I know that ;) Let the condensed coconut milk cool and remove the whipped cream from the fridge. Whisk the condensed milk into the whipped cream until well combined. Store in the freezer for at least 4 hours or until frozen. Let thaw on the counter 5-10 minutes before serving. I looovveeed this ice cream so I hope you do too!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Thrift Store Crafts

Two things my momma and I have in common are our loves for crafts and thrift stores! She might have a thrift store obsession, but it works out well for our family. The middle sis gets clothes for her kiddos, I was able to find most of my wedding decorations here, and I love going clothes shopping at a particular store on holidays (50% off!!). Here are a few of the crafts my momma and I did with thrift store buys!

Yard Art: My momma saw these totem poles and decided she needed to make one herself. They are made out of old dishes, vases and ceramic knick knacks. We simply glued them together, making sure a vase was on the bottom so we could stick it on a piece of rebar.
I adore this little rooster

More Yard Art: These are flowers that will be glued onto a piece of PVC pipe and put on rebar as well. My momma loves her yard and loves to decorate it!

Don't you love this little lighthouse!
Jewelry/Cake Stands: We had some left over yellow plates, and my guest room happens to be yellow and gray. This is what we came up with! We just glued 2 plates to either side of a martini/wine glass.

The glass we used was one of my grandmother's and it happened to be chipped. This is a great way to up-cycle old dishes and create something useful out of sentimental pieces!

EZ Eats: Cabbage Stew

My momma tried this recipe when we were visiting her and I decided to make a version of my own. It came out pretty tasty and I will be making it again!

Printable Recipe

2 lbs ground beef (cooked, not drained)
5 cups beef stock
3 large carrots peeled and diced
2 tbs sea salt/to taste
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs cayenne
1 tbs jalepeno juice from the jar
1/2-3/4 a head of green or purple cabbage
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tbs ground pepper

Brown the ground beef and then add all ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Guiltless Pizza Review

I stumbled across this awesome pizza place called Guiltless Pizza on Google....They have pre-made grain free pizzas...say what!!??!?! When I saw this I knew we had to try them. We were more than pleased with how tasty the pizza was! The crust was actually like a real pizza! They come frozen and you bake them yourself. I think we need to bring some home with us the next time we visit Dallas. We also received a free muffin sampler...those were amazing as well.
If you're ever in the Dallas area, you must give it it a try!

Windmill Punch

Last Christmas, my niece was thrilled to drink "Windmill Punch" My dad came up with this clever name to make water sound special. He tossed in a few strawberries to make it legit. When I was visiting my sister in Iowa, we decided to make our own version.

1/2 gallon of water
1 small cucumber slice
5 strawberries cut
1 lemon sliced

Combine all ingredients and soak in the fridge for 4 hours. The longer it soaks, the more infused the water will become!

Nutrition Notes: This is a great drink to kick soda cravings. You could try mixing it with club soda if you are missing the carbonation!

Blueberry Pickin' and Color Runnin'

I'm finally getting around to writing about my time in Iowa! Let me tell you...it was a blast! I was so sad to leave my sister's family. My niece and nephew are adorable and are growing up too fast!! The house next door to my sister happens to be for sale....maybe we need to pack our bags and move in! Here are some of the super fun things we did while I was there:

Trying on TK's glasses while eating homemade popsicles, and riding Henry the Horse at Hy-Vee

Color Run:
If you haven't done a color run yet, you need too! They aren't lying when they say its the happiest 5k on the planet.

Picking Blueberries:
This was another highlight of my trip! These blueberries ended up in a lot of our meals throughout the week...one of my favorites was the cheesecake. yum. 

I also made a SB&J dessert out of sunbutter, blueberry compote, and whipped cream.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Theme Night Thursday: Cajun Chicken, Dirty Rice, Rosemary Potatoes

E and I both went to school at LSU, so I was excited to try my hand at some simple cajun dishes. This was also my first time to cook a whole chicken!! I found the chickens on sale at our local grocer for $3 each and they were sustainably raised. I decided to use my Crock-Pot, and saw a tip to use foil balls under the chicken to keep it from sticking to the pot. It worked great! I rubbed the chicken with a cajun marinade from Penzey's Spices and cooked it on high for about 5 hours. Aim for 5-7 depending on your Crock-Pot.
***Make sure to test the chicken with a meat thermometer. It should be 165F. Make sure to stick the thermometer in the middle of the chicken and not to ever stick it in liquid.

Mr. Chicken waiting to be cooked! I convinced my crazy husband to eat the liver...

For the potatoes I used red potatoes. These were strictly for E. Dice the potatoes and put them in a baking dish. I used 2 potatoes. (1 potato is one serving and is great for post-workout or anyone trying to gain mass.) Sprinkle with a decent amount of Rosemary, salt and garlic powder. I used a tsp of each. SLice 1-2 tbs of grassfed butter into pats and place on top of the potatoes. Bake for 20 min at 400, remove stir and bake another 25 minutes.

Check out the Dirty Rice post here. This could be a stand alone meal or a side. I was impressed by how well it turned out.

Here was the playlist for the night. The best part is, it was made by klsu radio!