Sunday, July 28, 2013

Herb-Garlic Chicken Wings

During our family vacation at the beach, the name-of-the-game for cooking was easy (and also outside, but mostly easy). We didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when there were so many activities calling our names. But we also didn't want to eat out every meal (because we're cost conscious and also because we didn't want to put on real clothes and shoes).

The night before CaveBoy and I arrived, our family ate spaghetti for dinner, leaving a large Tupperware container full of meat sauce in the refrigerator. Once I took over meal planning, I set out to make a family-dinner that used up the left-overs but was different enough to be new and exciting (who wants to eat boring food on vacation?).

We grilled up some Herb-Garlic Chicken Wings and a huge pile of thin asparagus. We served the wings with meatless marinara for dipping, and poured the reheated meat sauce over our asparagus "noodles," for a summertime paleo spaghetti. It was a hit (even with the non-paleo side of the family)!

Herb-Garlic Chicken Wings

You could cut them into drums and flats if you want, but it's not really necessary.


3 lbs chicken wings
3/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons Italian herb paste
3 tablespoons minced garlic
Salt and pepper


Grill the chicken wings until fully cooked. While they are grilling, preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare the herb sauce.

In a small bowl, whisk to combine olive oil, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Once the wings are fully cooked, transfer to a baking dish. Whisk sauce one final time and pour over wings. Use hands to ensure all the wings are coated. Place in 400 degree oven for 5 minutes to heat sauce through.

When plating, spoon the sauce drippings from the bottom of the pan onto each plate of wings. I recommend serving with a tangy tomato sauce for dipping. Makes 8 servings.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Watermelon Margaritas

It's (almost) the weekend, so it seems like the perfect time to share my favorite recipe from our beach vacation. This little beauty was developed on the fly after a pretty intense workout and an enormous bacon-and-eggs breakfast.

I had purchased a bottle of 1800 and a few 2 liters of club soda because I always follow Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl philosophy when making cocktails. (I mean, how can you argue with a bah-gillionaire who advocates day-drinking?) I also had a bottle of lime juice and was prep'd and ready to make margaritas. The only trouble was, LittleSister is allergic to lime.

We had a few bottles of pre-made drink mix and some diet sodas in the kitchen, but I wasn't interested in filling the poor girl up with artificial sugar or high fructose corn syrup. We were going to tax our bodies enough with the alcohol and inevitable dehydration that comes with sitting on the beach - why push it?

LittleSister and I started digging around the refrigerator to see what-all was left from the first few days of activity and found two big Ziplock bags of diced watermelon. Strawberry margaritas are always a hit, so why not watermelon? Why not indeed! I'm only sorry I didn't think of this recipe years earlier.

Enjoy (responsibly)!

Watermelon Margaritas

My mouth is watering!


2 cups club soda or sparkling mineral water
1 cup diced seedless watermelon
1 cup ice
2 oz silver tequila (or more)
Pinch of salt


Add watermelon and pinch of salt to a small bowl. Mash watermelon using a potato masher until pieces are small enough to fit through your straw (or - if you're lazy - you could use a blender). Pour watermelon mash into your favorite water bottle (or a large glass). Add tequila, ice, and club soda. Stir gently. Makes 1 serving (even tho the title is plural). You can share if you want, but I don't recommend it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Bacon-Mushroom Burger (Topping)

What is bacon jam? And why is it everywhere all of a sudden? Are you noticing this phenomenon right now? Is it a phenomenon? Or am I just late to the party? Oh well. This is not bacon jam (unless it is. I'm really not that clear what's going on here!). But it is delicious.

Hamburgers are one of my favorite foods. I probably could eat a hamburger every day. And this week I actually get to do that! As part of my Sunday cook, CaveBoy and I grilled-up a stack of hamburger patties. For toppings, I could have sliced some tomato, cleaned some lettuce, and called it a day. But fresh veggies are hard to keep fresh for a week. And I cannot commit to buying new fresher veggies mid-week.

So, I needed a cooked topping that would taste delicious and keep for seven days. I always enjoy sauteed onion and mushroom on my burgers at restaurants. And who doesn't like a bacon burger? So I thought I'd combine the ideas and make a simple and delicious burger topping that I could just scoop out and re-heat after work. I'm really happy with the result!

Bacon-Mushroom Burger (Topping)

Yes, that's a fried egg. The runny yolk is a 10x improvement over my
previous favorite burger topping: melted cheddar cheese. Try it!


2 strips thick-cut bacon, diced
4 yellow onions, diced
20 oz white mushroom, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper


Add bacon to a large skillet over medium heat. Once the bacon fat starts to render, add the onions and reduce the heat to medium-low. Season with salt and pepper. Cook bacon and onions, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to caramelize. 

Add mushroom and continue cooking over medium-low heat until all liquid evaporates. Add garlic and continue cooking until the mushrooms and onions are caramelized. It is going to take a looooooong time. Slow and low (that is the tempo). 

Once the veggies are caramelized, stir in the vinegar and re-season with salt and pepper. Makes 8 servings.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

CaveLife: Beach Perfect

We're back! Hopefully you didn't notice I was gone. I pre-planned some recipe posts because I didn't want to rub-in the fact that CaveBoy and I were at the beach (without you). But now we're back. And (spoiler alert!) I'm going to brag about how awesome it was. Feel free to depart now. But if you do, you'll miss some pretty sweet photos of a body-surfing dog, a real-live sharknado, girls in bikinis, and more. Your choice.

For the fourth year (and counting) my parents rented a beach-house in Florida and invited all the kids, and my aunt, to join them for some summer fun. This year, we got to hang out with my little sister, her husband, our aunt, and my parents. It's a pretty sweet deal! And just what the doctor ordered. CaveBoy and I have been working ourselves ragged and really needed some time (together!) by the ocean, to decompress and de-stress.

And it worked! On the second day when my aunt asked me how work was going, it took me a minute to remember that I even had a job. The Atlantic Ocean and a 1.75 of 1800 (what? I shared!) achieved what yoga, meditation, and CrossFit could not... Peace. Relaxation. Revitalization. 

The view from the second-level deck. Rainbow included free with purchase.

Now that's not to say I just sat on my butt in a beach chair making vitamin D. No sir-slash-ma'am. We did do a lot of that. A. Lot. But we also cooked (recipes coming soon), and ate (a lot), and worked out, and played. We set up a pretty great routine. We woke up, drank coffee, and then worked out before the sun got too hot.

LittleSister has been following, so on the first morning we consulted the site for inspiration. CaveBoy then modified the workout to make it beach-appropriate (and harder). The next day we did some skills work and taught LittleSister how to do handstand pushups and double unders (what? you don't bring your jump rope on vacation? that's weird). Then we hit the beach for 100 meter sprints in the sand (and surf). It was awesome! Halfway through the sprint set, I thought, "why isn't this our life?!"

LittleSister and I on the second-level deck. This proves it!
 You can always find a place to workout. Photo credit: CaveBoy

After our workouts, we ate a mountain of eggs and bacon with reheated leftover veggies and buttered sweet potato. We then changed into bathing suits, slathered up with sunscreen, mixed the first drinks of the day, and headed for the beach.

That's my chair in the middle, between LittleSisiter and Mom.
How'd that song go again?

Speaking of sunscreen. Do you know about this Clear Zinc stuff? It's amazing! It felt great on my skin, didn't cause breakouts, and was perfect for my face and shoulders after my Neutrogena wore off. I'm bringing a vat of it with me to the next beach vacation!

We spent the morning reading and taking short dips in the ocean to cool off. I was especially excited about my beach book. I had been eye-balling it at airport book stores for months but never pulled the trigger, even tho I love Rob Lowe. (The West Wing is my all-time favorite television series, and who doesn't love Wayne's World and Tommy Boy?) So, when I found it on the bargain rack, I knew it was destiny. I'd found a book that I wanted to read, but still wouldn't be too upset if I dropped it in the ocean. And I wasn't disappointed!

I told you my toes were in the water. Sometimes my ass was even in the water.

After we had baked enough that it was time to re-apply sunscreen (80 to 90 minutes according to the bottle - but we pushed our luck a little bit), we headed into the shade for lunch and a re-fill on drinks. Lunch was usually something simple, like chicken salad or deli-meat ham wrapped around pickles with a side of garlic potato chips (careful! these F-ers are addictive!).

Then, in the afternoon, we played!

CaveBoy surfed until he came within 10 meters of a pretty big shark. Then caught the next wave in and called it a day.

He also paddled out with a sea turtle, which wasn't nearly as terrifying.

We rode beach-bikes into the National Seashore...

Sometimes playing can be a workout!

...until LittleSister hit a patch of soft sand and toppled over.

Photo Credit: CaveBoy, with the action shot!

She survived. And we headed back to the tourist areas (and harder sand). In the evenings, we took LittleSister's puppy down to the beach for some fun in the surf. 

She chased frisbees... 

Shh... Don't tell.
...she jumped waves...

Who says CrossFit isn't for beach muscles?

...and she helped look for a pot of gold.

Such a water baby!

Then we got cleaned up and cooked. And ate. And ate some more. It was glorious. 

When the sun went down, we watched movies. And by movies, I mean movie. And by movie, I mean Pitch Perfect. It was on HBO On Demand. We watched it every night. One night, we even watched it twice (aca-believe it!). We did sprinkle in Johnny Depp's masterpiece, Dark Shadows, and the kids (meaning LittleSister and the husbands) watched Project X

I started that one, but had to leave half-way though. I have a psychological block that precludes me from watching people do things that will get them into trouble. It's a sickness really.

We did have some excitement in the evening. One night, the National Seashore caught on fire and gave the local fire department fits trying to put it out. The seashore was only a few blocks from the beach-house, so we had a pretty spectacular view of the blaze. And the fire truck filled-up at the hydrant in front of the house.

At first we thought the house at the end of the street was on fire. Thankfully no one was hurt.

The aftermath wasn't pretty, either.

Luckily, there isn't much on a beach that burns.

And on the last day, the remnants of a tropical storm closed the beach early, creating some pretty amazing clouds as it moved in.

This one drove me off the beach once I saw the first few cracks of cloud-to-ocean lightening.

The storm also created a huge waterspout.

See. I told you there'd be a sharknado.

And then it was time to go home. Not because of the sharknado, but because our rental was up. It was perfect timing, actually, because it has been raining at the beach ever since we left. Luckily, we had a great week of weather, and we're still basking in the glow of our new tans. Back at home. Did I mention that we're back? Maybe if I say it out loud I will start to believe it, too...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

GuestBlogger: MexiBacon Burgers

Get excited! We have another GuestBlogger!!

After the outrageous success of our first GuestBlogger (who posted one of the most popular recipes to date), I've been on the lookout for more. Luckily (for all of us) I hang out with an amazing bunch of ladies (and a few gents) who know their way around a kitchen and love to share. So I didn't have to look far.

Linda was a guest at our now-famous pool-party-slash-BBQ over 4th of July weekend. Always entertaining, Linda outdid herself this time. She wow'd us with her rendition of the cup song from Pitch Perfect and she brought these amazing MexiBacon Burgers.

Now, here's Linda.

I know what you're thinking: I just tried to awkwardly slam the word bacon into Mexican. But to be quite honest, MexiBacon perfectly captures the essence of these burgers. It's a Mexican symphony, if you will. And creating the perfect recipe is like producing a symphony. There has to be harmony. There has to be passion. And above all, there has to be bacon (Note: Pretty sure bacon is an essential part of every musical symphony...). But without each of these components, you're left feeling like something is missing. Well, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, these burgers are the Beethoven of burgers (Beef-thoven?). Either way, they will tantalize your taste buds, and have you dancing through life in no time.

Now on to the recipe...

MexiBacon Burgers

CaveGirl: Yes! That is a half-eaten burger. I told you it was love-at-first-bite
and then I had to have this recipe on the blog. You're welcome.


1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground bison or buffalo
3 slices thinly-sliced bacon, diced (or more... more bacon is always better!)
2 adobo chipotle peppers, chopped
2 eggs
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the can of peppers)
1 packet taco seasoning (I prefer Trader Joe's

Optional Toppings:
Lettuce (for lettuce wraps)
More bacon!


This recipe calls for 2 lbs of whatever ground meat you want. Whether you want it grassfed, half bison, half beef, or maybe even half buffalo, it is entirely up to you. Get a little adventurous, these will still taste fantastic. 

Basically there isn't much to these directions. Pick out your favorite paleo taco seasoning (I prefer Trader Joe's brand), your favorite brand of bacon, and mix all ingredients together in a bowl with your hands, really making sure to massage all the ingredients together. Once you have a homogeneous mixture, split the meat into 1/3 lb patties, which makes about six burgers. 

They taste better if you refrigerate these puppies for at least 2 hours to let the flavors marinate. My advice? Make them in the morning before work and then you have a delicious dinner waiting for you when you get home. Throw them on the grill then wrap them in a delicious lettuce wrap with tomatoes, guacamole, salsa, and maybe even a side of sweet potato fries. 

My roommate made these for some of our carnivorous friends over July 4th and they were a hit! The perfect recipe to make for any cookout or paleo potluck this summer :) Enjoy!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Coconut Macaroons

These little babies are the last recipe I whipped-up in preparation for our summer vacation. I made a long list of ideas for paleo family dinners at the beach (don't worry, you'll see some of  them here soon), but I had to test the desserts in advance. Baking with coconut can be tricky (I had a bunch of failed attempts at the pineapple cake before it was finally ready for prime time, and I'm still working on a satisfying cobbler topping).

CavePies really are the only dessert that I've completely mastered. So, you can imagine how excited I was when this recipe worked on the first try.

I was inspired by a recipe for tropical macaroons that I found online. But that recipe called for pineapple, which violates the first (and most important) beach house dessert criteria. Because I keep a container of pitted dates on hand, I thought they would be a natural (ha! get it?) replacement for the pineapple's sweetness. I increased the liquid and crossed my fingers.

Macaroons are either a very forgiving dessert, or I am a very lucky CaveGirl (hopefully the second). So now I am passing that luck on to you.

Coconut Macaroons

Each one is three coconut-y bites.


1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
6 dates, pitted
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons coconut milk
Coconut oil spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, process dates until they become a sticky paste. Add egg whites, coconut oil, and coconut milk. Process until completely combined (you may have to scrape the date paste off the sides of the food processor bowl). Add shredded coconut and pulse to combine. Remove mixture to a separate bowl and let stand 5 minutes. 

Grease a baking sheet with coconut oil spray. Roll macaroon dough into evenly-sized balls and place on baking sheet. Press gently into the pan to flatten the bottoms. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. About 25 to 30 minutes. Makes 8-10. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Lime-Dressed Cole Slaw

I haven't been shy about exclaiming my love for Texas. And TexMex probably is my favorite food group. But in the summer, when the weather is hot, nothing tastes better than a little CaliMex. Grilled fish or shrimp tacos, with a crunchy-tangy cole slaw and a few slices of avocado, make my taste buds flutter (flip-flops and bikini optional).

Plus, CaliMex is easy to make! Grilled fish practically is just grill+fish and it's not too tough to throw a shrimp on the barbie. My favorite paleo cookbook Paleo Comfort Foods has a delicious (and sturdy!) coconut flour tortilla recipe. But what about the cole slaw?

I had a stroke of genius when I was pulling this recipe together. I already had the oil:lime juice ratio down pat, and then when I was digging through the spice cupboard the taco seasoning practically jumped into my mixing bowl. Why re-create the perfect seasoning to accompany tacos when the good people at McCormick have taken care of it for me?

Delicious and easy!

Lime-Dressed Cole Slaw

A bright, crunchy topping. Also tastes great on a ground beef "taco bowl."


1.25 lbs shredded cabbage (or ready-to-use cole slaw kit)
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon taco seasoning


Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, and seasoning in a large bowl. Add shredded cabbage to the bowl and combine (with your hands) to evenly distribute the dressing. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving. Makes 8 servings. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bacon-Wrapped Chorizo-Stuffed Dates

As promised, this is the second in a series of posts about the amazingly delicious (and simple!) recipes we served at our pool-party-slash-BBQ over 4th of July weekend.

I almost don't know what to say about this recipe, because all of the ingredients and instructions are included in the title. You can't get any simpler than that! And they were a huge hit at the party. Even my sugar-conscious CrossFit beauties couldn't resist the temptation, and held their own with the boys in the date-eating department.

I actually stole this idea from a fellow CrossFitter who brought them to a paleo potluck at the gym. I would love to give them credit, but the party was huge and the buffet table was overwhelmingly-long, so I have no idea who I've robbed. I have a feeling they'd be cool with it, tho. We work out with a pretty-awesome bunch of humans.

Bacon-Wrapped Chorizo-Stuffed Dates

My whole house smelled amazing after cooking these little guys.


3 lbs medjool dates, pitted (I got mine at Costco)
3 links chorizo sausage (I prefer Wellshire Farms - found at Whole Foods)
9 strips thin-cut bacon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice each chorizo link into 18 min-links. I cut mine in half the long way. Then cut each half again into thirds the long way, and then into thirds the short way. For example:

Makes 18 pit-sized mini-links from each chorizo link.

Fill the space in each date (created when the pit was removed) with a chorizo mini-link. Set aside. Slice each bacon strip into six mini-strips. I cut mine down the center the long way and then into thirds. Wrap each date with a mini-strip of bacon and secure it with a toothpick. Place wrapped dates on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until bacon is fully cooked, but not too crispy. About 20 minutes. Immediately remove from baking sheet and place in a heat-safe dish lined with paper towel. Makes 54 dates (between 10 and 25 servings, depending on how many CrossFitters you are feeding).

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower Hummus

This holiday weekend, CaveBoy and I threw a happy birthday pool-party-slash-BBQ in honor of America and also because our good friend Tiff turned 24 (yes, that makes her the same age as the movie).

Tiff is a special girl. She's hilariously-funny (and no, that's not redundant, she's funny at that level), she's always up for adventure, and she's been featured in more than one Silly Little CaveGirl post. So, we wanted to be sure her birthday was a blast!

We invited a cool bunch of CrossFitters for an afternoon by the pool followed by a BBQ in the park. The BBQ part was easy. We got a pile of CaveGirl-approved hot dogs, I made a quick cole slaw and a double batch of Key Lime CavePie, and had a few other treats that will be featured here soon. But, if you've ever fed a CrossFitter (and I have some experience in this area - cough - CaveBoy), you know that you cannot expect them to go too long without eating. Especially if they are boys and especially if they worked out that morning.

So, I wanted to bring something to the pool that would be good even if it got a little warm, wouldn't require much logistics, and wouldn't spoil anyone's dinner (ha!). Guacamole is an obvious choice. It's simple to make, tastes great, and scoops up with veggies. Honestly, because it is so obvious, I'm a little bit over it. AND it oxidizes pretty quickly. Not ideal for an afternoon outside.

Hummus on the other hand, whips up in a snap, scoops up perfectly, and is pretty stable in the sun. Unfortunately, it is also made out of chickpeas, which are legumes (aka not paleo). On top of that, chickpeas contain phytoestrogens that may or may not be bad for you, depending on your hormonal makeup. Bottom line: they don't enter my kitchen.

So what was a CaveGirl to do? Leave my guests slathered with sunscreen, filled to the brim with homemade margaritas, and nary a plantain chip to be found? It's almost as if you don't know me...

Roasted Cauliflower Hummus

It's also really tasty with broccoli florets. 


1 head cauliflower, cut into florets 
Juice from 2 lemons
1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Arrange cauliflower florets in a single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with a large pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Bake until tender and brown. About 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool enough to touch.

In your food processor, combine roasted cauliflower, lemon juice, and tahini. Puree until smooth. Season with garlic and additional salt and pepper to taste (I didn't need to add any to mine). Puree again to combine. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.