Thursday, September 10, 2015

Post Labor Day Eats

Labor Day weekend is now over and school is starting for many kids and adults out there, including me. While I'm exited to start college again, I'm not excited with the prospect of trying to balance working full-time, social time, homework, and the all-important "Me" time. I'm sure I'll make it work out... I hope...

One way I can manage my new schedule, is to make my meals for the week ahead of time. I'll usually make a whole bunch of egg muffins for breakfast and batch cook other meals for lunch/dinner. I've gotten to a point where I can finish pretty much everything in a 2-3 hour time period. At some point, I'll do a whole post on my batch cooking process and show you how I get it all done.

Today's recipe is part of that frantic, I need to get all my stuff together cook-up. Eggplant was finally in season for dirt cheap at the market, so I decided to take advantage of it and create something super tasty from it.

Bacon & Eggplant Hash

  • 2 large purple eggplants
  • 1/2-1 cup cabbage, chopped or shredded
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp hot sausage seasoning
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • Put you bacon strips in a good sized pan over medium-high heat. Fry these up, flipping a few times, until they are browned and crisp.
  • In the meantime, chop your eggplant into cubes. 

  • Remove the bacon strips to a paper towel -lined plate once they're done.
  • Add your eggplant to the pan and saute for several minutes. You want the eggplant to be somewhat softened and a little browned.
  • Add the chopped cabbage to the pan and saute for a couple minutes.
  • Add your seasonings and cook until the cabbage is wilted and the eggplant is soft but still has a tiny-bit of bite.
  • Crumble up your bacon into the eggplant mix and stir to combine.
  • Taste and adjust your seasonings as need be.
  • Enjoy!

This little hash turned out great! It has a nice savory, almost meaty taste to it and would be great served with either some eggs or some pork. I plated mine up for brunch topped with a little leftover pulled pork, two fried eggs and a little hot sauce. MMMMM!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Oodles of "Zoodles"

Hello again folks! I know it's been a long time since I posted anything on here. I'm shaking off the dust, clearing the cobwebs, and trying my hand at this whole recipe blogging thing again.

Here's a brief update as to where I've been and what I've been up to: I am still living at home with my Dad; however, I'm in the process of searching for a home to buy with my man. I've since given up the goal of becoming a massage therapist. Instead, I'm going back to school part-time for Physical Therapy this fall. It's going to take me a fair amount of time, but will be totally worth it in the end. Hello introducing myself as Sarah Bartz, Doctor of Physical Therapy...

I'm still follow a Paleo style diet, with addition of some gluten free treats, white potatoes, peanut butter (GASP! Yes, I eat it every once in a while because it doesn't bother me and it tastes delicious), and the occasional white rice. I've tried the whole low carb/high fat thing and tried higher carb. Now it's pretty much all about making tasty food that nourishes my body.

For instance, eating something great made with zucchini noodles or "zoodles." These have become one of the primary ways to get my pasta fix (without the gluten bomb) and to add a nice dose of veggies to my diet. You can pretty much load them up with any type of sauce that you would traditionally use on pasta and they'll taste yummy!

The easiest way to I found to attain zucchini noodles is to have some sort of Spiralizer. This is the one I have; however, they come in many brands, shapes, and sizes. You could also just use a traditional vegetable peeler to create long fettucini-like strands. If you're going the peeler route, I'd stop when you got to the seedy core of the zucchini.

I then like to take my fresh zoodles, put them in a large colander in the sink, and sprinkle them liberally with sea salt. I'll let them sit there for a half an hour or so brfore pressing them lightly and doing a quick rinse off. Zucchini has a fairly high water content. This extra step of salting the zoodles and letting them sit will cause them to wilt somewhat and drain some of their water. It's like how you'd sweat onions. You can totally skip this step, but you will find that you'll have to drain your zoodles after cooking. (They end up in a big pile of water...)

With those tips being said, here's a delicious variation on the zoodle:

Asian Peanut "Zoodles"

  • coconut oil
  • 3-4 medium zucchini
  • 2 medium bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (you could easily use sunbutter or almond butter...)
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red chili powder, depending on the spiciness you desire)
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • Prep your zoodles: Spirulize the zucchini or use a vegetable peeler to peel them into strips. You can use my method of letting them sit in the colander for 1/2 hour prior to cooking. Press them lightly to get excess water out.
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chopped onions and peppers to the pan. Let these saute for a few minutes, or until they're softened.
  • Add the zoodles to the pan and let them saute for a minute or two. If you didn't salt them/let them sit, they will release a fair amount of water. You may need to strain the zoodle mixture and add it back to the pan.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and stir until evenly combine. Let everything cook until it is heated through. Taste and adjust seasonings, if need be.
You can eat your Asian Zoodles as is, or top with your favorite protein source. I topped mine with a yummy homemade, grassfed burger. They'd taste great with chicken, fish, or even eggs. I'm a big fan of topping my leftovers with fried eggs...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

21 DSD Ice Cream!

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I was going to do another round of the 21 Day Sugar Detox in January. Well, I did it (I think this is my fourth time) and had some very nice success. I find that I never really want sweets throughout the 21 days and never make the "not-sweet treats." I tend to want fats and usually end up eating an avocado a day.

Towards the end of my detox, I started thinking about adding any treats back into my diet. My biggest downfall is ice cream. It doesn't matter what time of year it is, either. I just want it. I felt as though this time I was not going to cave in to that sugar-laden, dairy treat. I started searching through official Pinterest page, and found that there are some nice looking recipes made with ingredients like carrots or butternut squash. One of the popsicles subbed a green tipped banana for sweetener. This gave me the idea of making a banana sweetened, coconut milk ice cream base that would work with the detox. There was only one problem. I didn't have an ice cream maker.

Flash forward another week...

I stated in my last post that I moved back with my Dad. He has an elliptical machine, some dumbbells, and a weight bench, in his basement that I've been using to supplement my workouts on days that I can't make it to the gym. On one of these times, I was doing some weighted lunges across the room and happened to look up at one of the shelves along the wall. Low and behold... I spotted an ice cream maker. (Queue heavenly music) I was so excited to see it that I dropped the 20 lb dumbbells that I was carrying and started jumping up and down. (Yes, I'm that much of dork for becoming giddy at the thought of using a new kitchen gadget...) I realized that I could finally create my 21 Day Sugar Detox approved ice cream. After a little finessing, I was able to come up with something that I think you'll like.

21 DSD Chunky Monkey Ice Cream

  • 4 green tipped bananas, cut into pieces
  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup smooth almond butter
  • a tbsp or so unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Heat the coconut milk, bananas, salt, and cinnamon stick in a medium pot over medium heat. Let the mix come up to a simmer. 
  • Add a few tablespoons of the heated coconut milk to the eggs slowly, stirring constantly. 
  • Turn the heat down to medium-low. Pour the tempered egg yolks into the pot and let everything cook for 3-5 minutes, or until it becomes thick and coats the back of a spoon. Be sure not to let the mix come up to a simmer or it will cause the eggs to cook too much and curdle.
  • Add 1/4-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (depending on your tastes) and the vanilla extract.
  • Pour everything into a blender and puree until smooth. You may need to do this in two batches.
  • Pour the custard base into a bowl, cover, and let chill overnight.
  • Take your ice cream maker bowl out of the freezer.
  • Add the chopped walnuts to the custard base.
  • Pour in the base into the ice cream maker and use per your brand's directions.
  • Mix the unsweetened cocoa powder and almond butter.
  • Once the ice cream is most of the way done, add in the chocolate almond butter to create swirls.
  • Once done, cover, and chill until the custard is firm (3-5 hours). Let it sit out 10-20 minutes prior to serving to soften it up.
  • Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
This is DIVINE! The ice cream is smooth and... creamy. It has a wonderful banana flavor that's offset with the toasty walnuts. Throw on some toasted coconut and hazelnuts and you've got yourself a winner! I totally call this a success.