Sunday, September 28, 2014

Carne Adovada

The Universe sent this recipe to me.

That's a fact. Maybe you don't believe me or maybe you're rolling your eyes at just how silly this little cavegirl has become. But it's a fact and I have proof.

The Universe sends me things all the time. The things I need to survive. The lessons I need to learn, right when I need to learn them. And pretty little gifts to remind me that there is a higher power looking out for me.

For example, I had been telling the Universe for months that I wanted a purple lacrosse ball (for mobility). I workout pretty hard in the morning, and then I go sit all day, which basically is a recipe for hip-mobility-disaster. So I needed a lacrosse ball to keep at my desk to provide myself some relief when the going got too tough. But I wanted a purple lacrosse ball. My basement cubicle is a drab-brown place and I wanted any new permanent fixture to be soothing and pretty.

Now before you link away because you think I've gone past silly and straight into ridiculous, let me be clear: I wasn't actively telling the Universe I wanted a purple lacrosse ball (you pictured me shouting my desire at the full moon, didn't you?). It's far more simple to communicate with the Universe than all that. In this case, every time I went to a sports store and found only orange or white, I'd lament to myself the lack of purple and walk away. Or when I felt myself getting tight at my desk, I'd think "man I wish I had a purple lacrosse ball right now." That kind of thing.

Fast forward a few months to this Summer. I was out for a run with one of my coworkers to take advantage of the beautiful weather and a long mid-day gap between meetings. We were on the jogging trail complaining about our management (as you do) and half-mocking-half-motivating each other through the final stretch when I spotted something on the side of the trail and had to stop. It was my purple lacrosse ball.

In case that isn't clear enough proof for you, let me describe the setting. We were on a jogging trail. Through a wooded area. With no lacrosse-approriate fields within miles. And I am a scientist working in a male-dominated field. Hell. My running partner and everyone else we saw on the trail that day was male. Where did this lacrosse ball come from? And why purple? Because the Universe sent it to me.

I carried it in and washed it off. Now it sits in a place of prominence at my desk. I let my co-workers hold it while I tell this story whenever someone makes fun of my Vision (white) Board or my claims that it totally works! It's pretty compelling. Stops the cynical mockery right in its tracks!

I also tell this story to friends when they hear me say "I want to be loved like a Brad Paisley song," and they realize that A) I'm not kidding, and B) I'm super optimistic. The Universe delivers!

But back to this recipe.

In June I was on a work trip to New Mexico and binge ate Carne Adovada and green chile. I only make it to New Mexico a few times a year, and my local "new Mexican" restaurant is a sad disappointment, so I started to think that I needed to find a New Mexican grandmother willing to share her recipe with me. I even bought a package of dried New Mexican chiles to have on hand when I found her.

I traveled back to New Mexico in August for work/play and again had the same thought, "I need a New Mexican grandmother's Carne Adovada recipe." I didn't want one from a cookbook or pinterest or cooks.com. I wanted something legit. With lard in it perhaps. And I put the Universe on notice.

Then. At the end of August, I made a new friend. We exchanged normal get-to-know-you information and I found out he was born in New Mexico. I didn't put it all together until a week or so later when I was walking home from the grocery store. He knew about my lacrosse ball so he didn't think I was totally crazy when I texted to see if he happened to have a New Mexican grandmother. He did! AND he was willing to call his mother for her Carne Adovada recipe.

And now I have it.

I had to modify the original to make it SillyLittle CaveGirl-safe. But the flavor is truly authentic. A real gift from the Universe.

Carne Adovada

Yes, those are corn tortillas. Sometimes I "cheat" a little bit...

Ingredients

3 lbs pork shoulder, trimmed and cubed
10 dried New Mexico chiles
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño (optional)
3 cups water + 1 cup
3 tablespoons potato starch
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Remove the stem and seeds from the dried chiles and (optional) jalapeño. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes, careful not to burn the jalapeño. Remove from oven and place in a sauce pan. Pour over 3 cups of water. Place on medium-high heat until water boils. Remover from heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes until peppers soften.

Meanwhile, sprinkle the salt all over the cubed pork. In a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil and garlic. Once you can smell the garlic, add the salted pork. Turn the pork frequently to brown the sides. Remove from heat and set aside.

Once the peppers have softened, pour the mixture into your blender and blend until smooth. Return the sauce to the pan and season with oregano and cumin. You can add a touch more salt and pepper here (to taste) if desired, but be careful because the pork already is salty.

Pour the sauce over the pork and turn well so that the cubes are well coated. Let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate over night.

In the morning, pour the marinated pork (and all the sauce) into your Crock-Pot. Set on low and let cook until the pork is fork-tender. About 4 hours. Turn heat to low. In a small bowl, mix the potato starch into the remaining 1 cup (cold) water until dissolved. Pour potato starch slurry into the Crock-Pot and stir to combine. The sauce should thicken nicely. 

Serve with (homemade paleo) tortillas, salad, avocado, etc. Makes 6 servings.






Saturday, August 9, 2014

Turkey Burger

This is the best Turkey Burger ever. I'm not kidding around. I'm not even bragging...

I am a huge Turkey Burger fan. When I'm feeling especially lazy and particularly hungry, I'll often walk up the hill to Cheesecake Factory and order a bun-less Turkey Burger with salad instead of fries. It's a weakness. It's my go-to snow day treat (because somehow they're open when everything else is closed). It's warm and savory and comforting. CB first introduced me to the dish and I've pretty-much eaten it with everyone I know at some point or other. My history with that burger runs deep.

But you know I don't really love eating out.

Sure I love good service and new and interesting foods. And I love grabbing a few cocktails and spending social time with friends (new and old). But I also feel a lot of the time that I could make just as good of a meal, or better, for a much lower cost, in the comfort of my cave.

With that in mind, I set out to tackle the Turkey Burger.

But I couldn't just make any old Turkey Burger. It had to be a better Turkey Burger. No matter what, it was going to cost less if I made it myself. And take about the same cook time as I normally spend waiting around in the Cheesecake Factory bar. And I would be able to avoid vegetable oil and the load of sugar (I'm positive) they put into their salad dressing to make me crave it all the time... All amazing benefits. But the taste! The comfort! The history! I had to best all of that to make making it myself worth my while (a girl's got to have her priorities).

Even after I devised the recipe, prepped my mise, and opened a cider, I was bracing myself for disappointment. Don't get me wrong. I know I'm a good cook (please see previous 103 blog posts for proof of my self-confidence). But I didn't know if I could recreate (or especially best) something that I loved so much. On the first try.

But then I did.

I've made this recipe a few times now (and most notably haven't been back to the Cheescake Factory since its invention). I even solicited a second opinion and was assured that this Turkey Burger recipe is one for the books (or the blog, as the case may be...). Please enjoy. And. You're welcome.

Turkey Burger


If you really want to get fancy, stir some garlic and parsley into a tablespoon of
homemade paleo mayo. And don't forget to dress your salad in my French Dressing.

Ingredients

1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup diced white mushroom
2 strips thick-cut bacon, cubed
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon Herbs from Provence
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Instructions

Place a small sauté pan over medium  heat. Add cubed bacon and cook until some of the fat starts to render. Add diced onion and mushroom, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onion becomes translucent and mushroom as released most of its water. Add garlic. Continue cooking until everything becomes brown. Add Herbs from Provence. Stir to evenly combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place ground turkey in a medium bowl and combine with egg. Once the sautéed veggies are cool enough to touch, add them to the turkey and combine (I used my hands. It's easier). Roll and pat turkey mixture into evenly sized patties.

Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot add olive oil, and place turkey patties into the pan* (careful not to crowd them, you probably will need to make them in batches or use two pans). Cook thoroughly. About 4 minutes on each side. Makes 5 patties.**


*Note: This recipe probably isn't the best for the grill. The ground turkey is pretty viscous and probably would stick to the grill grates and turn into a disaster. I don't know what would happen if you tried ground turkey breast (I prefer the higher fat).

**Note: I wouldn't dream of telling you how many servings that should be. These were so amazing I wouldn't be surprised if a knife fight broke out in the kitchen over the last one (so don't say I didn't warn you!).








Monday, July 21, 2014

French Dressing

I don't know what this is. Or even this. I mean. I've tasted them before. But I'm not quite sure where they came from or how they came to be known as French. In all my time in France, I never once came across a neon-lit salad dressing (but then again maybe I was just partying with the right crowd...).

So. If you came looking for a paleo version of a creamy orange dressing that boasts ketchup as a key ingredient (and let's not even talk about the corn oil). You came to the wrong place. Sorry, I'm not sorry. But if you're looking for an amazing, mustardy, salty, tangy vinaigrette that goes great with literally everything, Welcome!

I learned this recipe from the coolest French woman I know. She tossed it over every kind of green, practically nightly. And mid-way through my year in her home, I graduated from observer to support staff in her kitchen, and often made the dressing myself. I carried the recipe home with me and used it to wow my friends and woo men on let-me-cook-for-you dates (it works every time, ladies). And now I'm sharing it with all of you (because I love you all so much).

I recommend mixing this dressing together in a small resealable glass container. It'll keep for basically ever (not that it will last that long). If you're picky you can put it in the refrigerator, just remember to take it out about an hour before you want to use it because real olive oil solidifies at cold temperatures.

You're welcome.

French Dressing

Now isn't that 1000x more appetizing than neon orange gelatinous goop?

Ingredients

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup vinegar (raspberry or balsamic)
2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1 tablespoon dried chives
1 tablespoon dried parsley (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon course ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Combine ingredients in a small bowl or salad dressing shaker. Enjoy.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

CaveLife: Paleo in Paris

Yes. It's possible.

Sure. Yes. I get it. Cheese is almost a religion in France. And there are bakeries and crêpe stands on every corner. But the food culture in Paris is so centered around high quality meat, fresh game, seasonal produce, and great affordable wine, that it is one of the easiest places to maintain a primal lifestyle. If you're willing to expand beyond the stereotype. 

Surprised? I wasn't. But I knew what I was getting myself into...

The fall of my senior year of high school (so waaaaay back in the old days), when my friends were spending long evenings and weekend afternoons writing essay after essay for their college applications, I was hanging out with my little sister looking for something better to do.

Don't get me wrong. I wanted to go to college eventually (spoiler alert: I did go. And go. And go. That's how I ended up a silly little scientist in a basement cubicle). Just not right then. I had great grades, took AP classes, played 2 sports, did all the community service. I was ready for those applications. But I had other plans.

I had decided the summer after my freshman year, while I was hanging out poolside between two-a-day swim practices, that it might be fun to live in Europe for a year between high school and college. Two-and-a-half years later that was still the plan (I told you I'm decisive).

So I sent a bio and a photo to an au pair agency, hoping that an awesome family would hire me. I didn't have a back-up plan. Didn't submit a single college application. I threw everything into this one idea (because that's what I do). And through the magic of the Universe and my guardian angel, I was hired by an amazing French family.

I could go on for days about all the things that I learned, and the ways that I grew, while I lived with my French family. About becoming my true self, and about courage, and about the payoff when you're willing to take big risks. I could tell hilarious stories about watching beautiful little children experience new aspects of the world for the first time. About climbing on trash cans and breaking toddlers out of locked bathrooms and teaching baby girls their first words.

And all of that is bundled up into my feelings about Paris. And my comfort when I landed. And my faith that Easter weekend with my #1 Loves from Grad School was going to be amazing. And my expectation that the trip was going to help me along the path toward reestablishing myself.

I flew over Wednesday night and landed in Paris about dawn on Thursday. Thankfully, I sleep great on planes (even in coach. I'm little... I fit.) so I had a jump start on getting my body into the right timezone.

I got off the plane at Charles De Gaulle, hustled to the RER (stopping at the ATM for Euros), and hopped onto the next train to the city. What was amazing was that even though I hadn't been near an RER train for years the smell was exactly the same - indescribable - and brought me all the way back to my first trip into Paris. And it felt like home.

My #1 Love Aurelia lives in a swanky neighborhood in the 6th Arrondissement, near the Jardin du Luxembourg. So I got off the train near Notre Dame, popped up out of the RER station and caught a glimpse of the cathedral backlit by the early morning sun. Talk about a "welcome to Paris!" Then I navigated my way to Aurelia's apartment and got my real welcome to Paris (which was really just a lot of screaming-hugging-jumping-up-and-down in the stairwell. Sorry neighbors).

Aurelia made me a delicious breakfast. Then we changed clothes and went for a brisk walk through the neighborhood and Jardin. I hadn't seen Aurelia in years and had so much to tell her (and her me). About life. About love. About work. About play. We finished our walk. Hit the showers. And then headed out in search of low-key tourism and lunch.

We climbed up to Sacré Coeur on Montmartre and toured the basilica.

One of my favorite places to visit when I lived in France.

After the tour, we climbed back down and ordered Salad Niçoise and a bottle of rosé at a nearby cafe.

Yes, we were day-drinking. It's called vacation for a reason.

Then we headed back to the home-base, changed into shorts (because the weather was beautiful) and walked over to the Jardin to do as the Parisians do (lay in the sun and nap). It was probably one of the top five naps of my life.

Ahhhh. Springtime in Paris.


That night, we dined at Le Relais de l'Entrecôte. The restaurant only serves four things. Steak in a delicious sauce. French fries. Salad. And Dessert. When you order, the waitress asks for your wine choice and preference for steak temperature. But be careful. The lady at the table next to us asked for well done, and they wouldn't serve her. You cannot insult the chef!

The salad comes immediately after you order.
This would be the perfect place to go when you're hungry, except for the looong line out the door.


Mine was medium-rare. And yes, I eat potatoes (they totally count!)
And Sally Dee if you're reading this, please forgive the fork and knife placement.
I swear it was just for the photo!


I wasn't kidding when I said there was a line.
We got there just before opening so thankfully didn't have to wait too long.


Friday morning, we slept late and Aurelia cooked a delicious breakfast of veggie hash, tomato, avocado, eggs, coffee, and juice.

Seriously. How spoiled was I?


Then we left to explore a part of Paris neither of us had seen before. In all our time in the city, we hadn't visited the French military museum at Hôtel national des Invalides or Napoleon's Tomb. So this was the day!

The museum grounds are pretty great by themselves because of the funny trees,
the moat, and also because of the cannons. I'm a sucker for copper cannons.


Napoleon's Tomb or as Aurelia called it,
"The most impressive monument to a
personality on Earth."


Then we walked back toward the 6th along the Seine where I snapped my own version of one of the quintessential Parisian pictures.

How can you not love this place? There is beauty around every corner!


We had a little café near the Louvre to perk ourselves up from all the walking. And also to prepare ourselves for the long night ahead. Our other #1 Love Kristin was flying in from Moscow late that night, and we had plans to cook a midnight dinner at home once she arrived. 

We made haste to the markets after finishing our café to collect meat, veggies, and wine for dinner. We also decided to treat ourselves to a delicious snack.

Artichoke, smoked salmon, lemon, olives, homemade olive oil garlic basil mayonaise,
and of course champaign. "Because we can!"


When we were full and mostly drunk on champaign, Aurelia told me all about her recent trip to Kenya and showed me her amazingly-beautiful pictures. I decided then that Kristin and I had to make our next major adventure a safari (of course I planned to ask her opinion, but I also knew she'd say yes)!

When Kristin arrived, we walked down to the RER station to meet her and had another screaming-hugging-jumping-up-and-down celebration on the sidewalk in the middle of the night. Then we whisked her home for a bottle of good wine and our delicious midnight dinner (we even saved her a little bit of the champaign, because we're that kind of friends).

Filet, radicchio salad, and sweet potato fries.


We laughed and joked. We caught up on girl talk. And then we passed out.

The next morning, Aurelia spoiled us again with an amazing homemade egg scramble with fresh veggies and tons of cilantro. 

Seriously. Spoiled.


And then it was time for tourism. Whereas Aurelia and I had both seen a lot of the city, this was Kristin's first time in Paris. So we organized our Saturday around making sure she saw the must-see attractions. We started at Notre Dame because it was the closest.

Happy Easter, right?


Then found a nice little place to enjoy a café and get Kristin her first-ever pain au chocolate. It smelled amazing and would have been tempting, but my café came with a homemade dark chocolate truffle (totally counts).

Ok. Maybe I ate two dark chocolate truffles. Maybe.


We walked around the city some more. I bought an amazing oil painting from the venders on the side of the Seine (that's now hanging in my living room), and a few souvenirs for the less fortunate back home. Aurelia haggled with one of the vendors until she got the perfect Air France poster for a rock-bottom price. And then we headed back to the markets to find the perfect ingredients for our Easter Sunday Brunch.

That was one of the most fun parts of this trip. The food shopping. I love the grocery store. So being able to go daily to the markets, see what looked best, pick out meat and fresh produce to eat that day (or the next) was a real pleasure. We took everything back to the apartment, changed clothes, and headed toward the Tour Eiffel by way of our dinner reservations.

Aurelia asked me when I first arrived where I thought we should take Kristin for dinner on her first trip to Paris. We kicked around a few ideas but nothing could top Aurelia's first suggestion: La Petite Chaise, the oldest and longest continuously operating restaurant in Paris. How could we not? The food was traditional French. The wine was delicious. And this time, everyone had dessert.

To start I had a bacon and egg dish in onion broth... 


... and one of Kristin's escargot.


For my main course, I had the duck breast with pear and a delicious potato casserole
(that I am totally going to recreate at some point).


And of course there was wine.


Yes. I had dessert. Yes. It was Crème brûlée. No. It's not paleo.
I couldn't resist. I didn't eat the whole thing (not even close!)
And still, it was more sugar than I had probably eaten in an entire year...


After dinner, we continued our walk to the Tour Eiffel. It was late, and the tower was twinkling on the top of every hour. There were people everywhere, and the mood was festive and bright.

I probably took 50 pictures. This is my favorite one.


We waited to see the twinkling spectacle close up and then walked across the bridge to take a midnight spin on the cutest little carousel on Earth.

You know all those dreams?
They came true!


The next day was Easter. We slept late, updated social media, and started cooking the prettiest brunch I have ever eaten. I should note, Aurelia did most of the work. Kristin and I sipped champaign, arranged the radishes, and provided the moral support.

Champaign. Juice. Melon. Radishes. Quail Eggs.
Cured meat. Heirloom tomatoes. Strawberries. And a surprise.


We picked quail eggs because a) they're delicious and b) they come pre-painted.

Our pretty Easter table. Between the three of us, we pretty-much ate all of it, too.

And for dessert we had the apple tart from the Parisian bakery. And it was amazing.
And proof that the quality of the ingredients matter: I didn't react to the wheat at all.


For Easter afternoon, we took Kristin up the Champs-Élysées

On the way we stopped to watch the lovers attaching
their locks to the railing at 
Pont de l'Archevêché.


While we were out, the girls talked me into buying a very expensive perfume by one of the oldest perfume houses in the world. To be honest, I didn't need much convincing. I kind-of loved the idea of from that moment taking on a new signature scent. A fresh start to mark the next chapter of my life. I wear it every day (and some nights) and remember not only my #1 Loves but also the feeling of that Easter afternoon, of being truly myself and truly at peace.

Then we hopped in a Taxi and headed back to Aurelia's apartment, because I had a dinner date with my amazing French family from the au pair days. They were lovely and welcoming and just as fun and loud and full of life as I remembered. The kids are grown. And the family make-up has changed. But the spirt was still alive and well. It made me miss Paris even though I was in it. And it made me regret spending so much time away from them. I vowed then to see them all again soon. 

And then that was it. The trip was over.

The next morning, Kristin and I had to catch a flight back to the states. I used the free WiFi in the United lounge to download The Little Prince in French and English. I had left my copy at home, but felt with all the tender emotions and feelings of renewal and life lessons bubbling up in me from the trip, I needed it close to me on the flight home.

On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. 
One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.

I read both versions on the plane and a few other things. I slept. I drank (a little). And I started to transition myself back to real life. Even though it was short, it was one of the top five trips of my life. 

I cannot wait for our next adventure!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Green Smoothie

I have a love-hate relationship with breakfast.

I love coffee. And breakfast food (all of them). And lingering at the breakfast table reading the news or blogs or Facebook. Sipping a second cup of coffee. The smell of bacon cooking. "Dippy" eggs. Day drinking (oh, that's brunch. but still...). You get it. I love it.

But I hate waking up early enough to eat a real breakfast on a school day. Especially in the Winter when my bed is so warm and the kitchen floor is so cold. So. For years, breakfast and I only really saw each other two days a week. And that's no way to treat something you love.

When I started living the basement-cubicle-life, I rekindled my romance with breakfast when I discovered my building cafeteria. Sure, it's powdered eggs and so-so pre-frozen sausage eaten in front of my computer screen. I mean nothing to write home about. But better than eating air, which is what I had been doing... Still, let's be honest, it was a poor substitute for a lover...

So I decided I needed something better. For my health and for my sanity. But it had to be quick and portable. Something that didn't require a lot of logistics in the morning, could be prepared after only a partial cup of coffee (so no chopping!), and could be carried from bedroom to bathroom and back while I completed my morning routine. So, basically, it had to be a liquid. Which meant it had to be a smoothie.

Thankfully, I have a Ninja Kitchen System. So I knew it would be a snap to get some nutrients into my body before 10 AM without so much burden that I quit trying after the first week. And spoiler alert: it really is super easy.

I started paying closer attention to my dairy consumption a few months back, after a particularly brutal allergic reaction. And I've always been leery of too much soy. So my first objective was to hunt down an egg-based protein powder. Surprisingly, GNC didn't have anything of note. So I grabbed this one at my local Whole Foods. I bought the smallest bag, in case it tasted like dirt, and was pleasantly surprised by how well it mixed up into the smoothies.

My second objective was to ensure I got enough fat. Over the Winter I ate a lot of fruit and potato, probably in an effort to self-soothe during the cold dark months. So with the changing weather, I'm prioritizing high-quality protein and healthy fats to get my body back to being fully fat-adapted (Summertime bodies in the Summertime, and all that). The natural choice for a healthy-fat-laced liquid is coconut milk. But if you want your smoothie to mix well, you need to thin it out with water (or use a carton coconut milk - but note: the carton kind is not Whole30 approved).

Then I started looking around for fruit and vegetables to make the smoothie taste like something but preferably not salad. My first attempt had 1/2 a banana (13 g. carbohydrates for those of you counting along at home) and a huge handful of spinach. The banana masked the spinach and I was filled with vitality all week.

My second version kept the 1/2 banana and added a 1/2 cup of raspberries. They're in season now so it seemed like a good option. The taste was great! At first, I left out the spinach because red + green = grayish brown and unappetizing. But there was no taste-based reason to skip out on the nutrients, so I added it back in.

My third attempt doubled down on fat-adaptatation by removing the 1/2 banana and replacing it with 1/2 an avocado. It was super tasty, like a creamy guacamole, but almost impossible to drink through a straw. So before weeks-end, I was back to banana.

After a few weeks of watching me post pictures of "baby UFO vomit" (thanks Terry) to my Facebook account, my little sister decided to jump on the smoothie train. LittleSister is allergic to banana so she had to be more creative. To date she's had great success with frozen blueberries, diced watermelon, and spinach. And when she runs out of fresh watermelon, she replaces it with shredded coconut (do I come from a brilliant family or what!?).

And that's that.

My abs are poppin', I have tons of energy, and the flavor combinations are basically endless. So, I can pretty-well see this basic formulation carrying me through the Summer.

What are your favorite smoothie flavors?

Green Smoothie

Yes. That is an Athleta bag as background.
I'm an equal-opportunity shopper when it comes to expensive workout attire.

Ingredients

4 ice cubes
1 scoop egg white protein
1 huge handful spinach
1/2 cup canned coconut milk + 1/2 cup water
      OR 1 cup carton coconut milk + 2 tablespoons coconut butter (for the fat)
Fruit of your choice (to the fill line)

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in your blender (I use my Nutri Ninja cups because less dishes). Enjoy.
Makes 1 serving.










Thursday, May 8, 2014

Frying Pan Steak

I recently spent 24 hours in Omaha. 

Although the weather is never beautiful (seriously, who actually wants to live there?), the food was wonderful and overall it was a very successful trip. Not least of which because I read a thought/action provoking book on my flight out. I only made it through the first half (so expect more to come) but I am already in deep.

I like to use my travel time for things that I cannot do otherwise. Sometimes it is gloriously-ridiculous little things like napping with a cup of coffee in my hand (the fact that I have never spilled is proof I have a vigilant guardian angel). Sometimes it is more important things like education and self-reflection. Sitting quietly among strangers engulfed in white noise is like a deprivation chamber (or more accurately like the long hours I've spent in the pool swimming lap after lap, alone with my thoughts) providing the space and time to puzzle through my life.

Last December, I used the cumulative 18 hours out and back to Honolulu to process the entirety of my relationship with CaveBoy. Beginning. Middle. And end. And I spent a few hours on a recent flight home from Texas mulling over a particularly sticky friendship situation. Taking that time allowed me to give the right response (understanding) instead of my instinctive first response (fuck.off.) and my friendship is better for it (mostly in that it still exists).

On the Texas trip I also read a book about high achievers and how they accomplish so much more than everyone else on Earth. I haven't had a ton of time for professional development (I've instead been in fake-it-til-you-make-it mode, crashing down my mentors' doors when things got to be too much) so I was interested in what this book could offer. Unfortunately it wasn't as insightful as it could have been - the authors seemed to have rushed their theme development - but I did take away a few useful nuggets.

So I was hopeful but skeptical when I opened my next book. This one was about goal setting. But in a new way. Instead of developing actionable, measurable goals with deadlines (that then become yet another to do list), this book asks you to first determine how you want to feel and then set goals that will accomplish the desired feeling. I cannot wait to apply this strategy at work and at play! I told you, I am only halfway into it but I am into it.

That probably is surprising for anyone who has ever found themselves in my basement cubicle. I am highly critical when my colleagues "bring their feelings to work." But what I mean by that is they take things personally. I find that most work-based disagreements aren't personal. And the sooner people realize that and stop indulging their bruised egos, the sooner we can find a solution. And I am all about moving quickly to a solution.

The truth is, I bring all my feelings to work. Without that constant gut-check, how would I know if I am doing the right things? Without my empathy and humility, how could I build a productive team? Without my passionate excitement how could I find creative solutions to hard problems? How could I know who to trust? Or when it is time for me to leave?

Answering that last question is really why the Omaha trip was so successful (and the food, of course the food). I've been getting a ton of attention for some of my projects and people have started to ask what I am going to do next. And not just people people but important people with name plates on their office doors. And I started to panic that I should be working on setting up The Next Thing. But after some reflection it became clear that I still have a ton of passionate excitement for where those projects are going, and a few ideas for new projects to similarly birth in my basement cubicle. Which means there is no need to move on just yet.

I celebrated this realization with a bacon garnished bloody Mary.


Hey! I arrived on a Sunday within reasonable
brunch hours. This was totally legit.

And followed it up with a ribeye as big as my head once my partner arrived.


Beer for scale.

Both were delicious, but not enough to overcome the horrible weather (still never-ever going to live there). And still not as good as my homemade bloody Marys (although I will add a bacon twist to my garnish bar) or Kia's Frying Pan Steaks. 

Frying Pan Steaks

If you squint you can see it, buried under all that salad.
And I was too hungry to remember to point the asparagus tops out - amateur move!

Ingredients

1 steak per person (I prefer ribeyes)
1 teaspoon olive oil per steak

Instructions

Coat steaks with olive oil and season with steak seasoning on both sides. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Place steak into the hot pan. Sear both sides then cook until desired temperature. About 7 minutes per side for medium.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Carrot Fries

I learned this recipe on a recent trip to Texas. I had the wonderful-amazing-fantastic opportunity to travel back to Texas A&M for work. And because my management loves me (this quarter) they let me travel out early and spend the weekend with the Texas branch of my family. How cool is that?!

I spent 3 1/2 years in Aggieland advancing my education. And although that was the second-shortest residency of my #32! years (after the year+ I lived in Europe), I've adopted Texas as my home state. I grew up in Michigan, but hardly have any roots left up there. I completed undergrad in a sleepy Florida beach town (I loved!) that recommends itself more as a retirement destination. And now I'm in my grown-up-got-a-job home (which automatically disqualifies it as a "home state.")

Even without the process of elimination, Texas is amazing! The people are friendly, the sky is enormous, and it is home to a large percentage of my favorite people on Earth. I was so excited to go, I woke up at 3:15 on the morning of my flight!

My oldest brother Dave lives near Texas A&M and welcomed me back to Aggieland with a weekend full of delicious food and quality time with family. Dave picked me up at the airport and conveyed me directly to Freebirds (so much better than Chipotle). There we discussed our plans for the weekend and then headed to his house.

After we let our food settle for a little bit, it was time for an afternoon workout. Dave is a police officer and one of the strongest and fittest people I know. My sister-in-law Nicki is practically paleo, and both my nephews play multiple sports (including football - of course). So unlike most work trips, I knew I wouldn't struggle to keep up with my fitness.

Dave programmed a high rep metcon followed by a combatives circuit. We pushed through lunges, planks, crunches, etc, rested a few minutes and then Dave set up two punching bags in the driveway. We did three rounds of kicks, punches with a follow-up half SPEAR, and a run. The runner set the time. By the middle of the second round, my knuckles were bruised and swelling (I go hard!) and I had to switch to palm strikes. During the third round I switched to a full SPEAR (got to keep converting that flinch!).

On our cool down jog, Dave and I discussed personal defense readiness and my experiences this year coaching seminars around the city. I described a time last summer where I had to improvise my escape from an attacker who was sitting on my chest and throwing punches - because it came up in a Q&A and I hadn't practiced the scenario with my training partner. It was meant to be an explanation for how great the PDR system is - the fact that I was able to escape easily with no prior practice makes it more likely that I will survive a real attack.

My brother, ever my protector, instead took it as a sign that I needed more training (and he's right - training never stops). So we spent the next hour on the garage floor working through escapes with an attacker choking me, punching me, and otherwise trying to kill me. I was bruised and battered in the end. But that much safer for the effort. I told you! These are my favorite people!

By the time we were cleaned up, Nicki was home from work, and it was time to start the weekend. Which meant it was time to eat.

Texas is far and away one of the easiest places to keep up with a CaveGirl diet. The cuisine is meat-centered in the best way possible. And I enjoyed every bite of it.

We started the weekend with carnitas and skinny margaritas at Casa Rod.

Styrofoam cup for scale.

Then on Saturday, Dave's good friends hosted a crawfish boil.

Pre-boil crawfish battle. Entertainment for all ages.

The first pour. Soooooo delicious!

And before I left town, I ordered the biggest pile of BBQ I could find.

The other passengers are lucky I didn't stuff a second helping into my carry-on!

The only so-so meal I had the whole 5 days was a gross salad from McDonalds during a quick break from work. But it was still a better choice than the free pizza my employer provided...

AND! On the second trip to Casa Rod (I love that place, what can I say?) the waitress checked my ID and said, "wow! you look so super young!" #32!

But don't let the restaurant pics fool you! We didn't eat out for every meal. Nicki is an excellent cook, and Dave is a master on the grill. So I also ate a ton of delicious CaveSafe foods at their house, including Nicki's carrot fries. It makes so much sense I can't believe I didn't think of it myself! This recipe is a combo of what I learned from Nicki and suggestions my brilliant friend Aurelia made when I described it to her (aka a masterpiece).

Carrot Fries

Why, yes. That is a kale and bacon egg yolk scramble. Thank you for noticing!

Ingredients

1 lb carrots
1 egg white (or 1 tablespoon olive oil for vegan option)
2 teaspoons seasoning of choice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Coconut oil spray
Salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the carrots but do not peel them (it's annoying and besides most of the nutrients are in or just below the skin). Then cut them into thin fries.

In a large bowl, whisk egg white until it becomes frothy then stir in vinegar and 1 teaspoon seasoning (Nicki used cayenne pepper, I prefer BBQ seasoning, whatever floats your boat). Toss carrot fries in egg white mixture until they are evenly coated. Spray a large baking sheet with coconut oil. Arrange fries in an even layer. Sprinkle remaining seasoning over top. 

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn carrot fries and return to oven for another 15 minutes. Turn fries and return to oven until they reach desired doneness and crispiness (I put mine back in for 10 minutes and called good enough good enough). Makes 2 servings.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sausage and Sauerkraut

I've been MIA. I know. And I don't have anything to say for myself.

That's a lie...

I started my SillyLittle blog as a creative outlet. A place to share what I've been cookin' and describe the mostly-harmless-and-often-truly-boring "adventures" I made for myself in and out of the CrossFit box. I had my pleasant little life. And I was happy enough. And everything was going along the way it is supposed to go along. And I convinced myself that it was everything I could hope for and more than I deserved.

But when it all came to a halt - and every plan I'd made from now until next forever instantly disappeared - I was shocked to realize that I didn't miss a single one of those lost plans. Not. One.

I had spent the better part of a decade concealing my potential, containing my spirit, convincing myself that I was less than, that I was simple, that I was scared of this big world. That I preferred my tidy, neat routine. That I was OK being city-stuck and working hard and playing little. And my future plans were a reflection of that false life.

(And maybe that's the risk of being truly happy, from the inside. Unless you take the time to consider your life, you'll go along as if what you're doing is actually living. Because you don't have any of the sadness or disappointment that would normally force you to reevaluate your existence... And I was - and still am - truly happy.)

So instead it took losing my entire future in one swift swoop to force me to do the work that needed to be done. To reach way way back and way down deep to find the girl I was before I had to hide the girl I am. It took me a little while to find her. But I did.

And you know what?

I love that silly little girl. I'm in awe of the girl who refused to apply for college and moved to Europe at 18 (on a whim and a prayer) to live with a family she'd never met and care for three children under age 5 who spoke no English. I adore the girl who delayed graduation to work in the space program. Who walked away from a PhD, over the violent objections of her father. Who followed her true calling and landed her dream job - even though it ultimately led to the demise of her marriage.

That girl is brave! And decisive. And would never ever settle for a tidy little routine life.

So now that I've rediscovered the SillyLittleCaveGirl that always was and should have been, I'm expending all of my energy building a new (infinitely better) life and making new (sometimes terrifying) plans. And it has been a ton of (beautiful) work. And it has required every ounce of my creativity and every molecule of my courage. And I'm nowhere near done yet.

In fact. I don't think I'll ever be done.

So what does that mean for SillyLittleCaveGirl the blog? First. It means I'm back, but in a new way. You'll probably notice that I don't really spend that much time in the kitchen anymore. This post should be your case in point. But I promise I haven't gone soft on nutrition. I'm still a CaveGirl through and through. I'm just expending my creative energy elsewhere.

So expect to see a few more plugs for other paleo websites. But I also promise to fortify you with all-new content from brilliant guest bloggers. And even from me when the spirit moves. And of course I will continue to share silly stories about my hopefully-much-less-boring-and-no-longer-in-quotation-marks adventures. It should be interesting - to me least - and equally delicious.

Thanks for sticking with me! And please enjoy the simplest recipe you've ever made:

Sausage and Sauerkraut

Not the prettiest picture I've ever taken. But then again, not the worst.

Ingredients

German sausage or bratwurst
Sauerkraut
German mustard

Instructions

This thing is so simple it totally doesn't count as a recipe. But it tastes amazing and is sure to please a crowd. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Strain the sauerkraut and spread it in an even layer in a baking dish. Lay the raw sausages on top. Bake at 400 degrees until the sausages are fully cooked. About 20 minutes. Makes as many servings as you make sausages. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tangy Turkey Meatballs

I had the kind of week that proves The Universe has a sense of humor.

I knew something had to be coming because last Friday was almost too good. And you can't sit at a peak-of-life forever.

I've been working on a project that has the potential to change the course of my career. It's my baby. I carried the idea inside me for months and struggled through a long and painful labor to get it into the world. And now that it's here and has had time to mature, it's exceeding my expectations, and I couldn't me more proud.

But back to Friday.

Last Friday, I left work drunk-with-joy over Baby achieving its next major milestone (we're way past first steps now, more like taking the training wheels off Baby's bicycle). I transitioned quickly from work to play and met a few of my #1 Loves from grad school at a concert. Shortly after arriving, I added drunk-with-alcohol to my joy and carried my bliss through the night. The concert was great. The company was as-always-amazing. And the night ended unexpectedly late after an over-the-top good time.

See what I mean? Peak-of-life.

Then. This week. I was knocked out hard by an allergic reaction. I've cried to you before about my weird list of allergies and annoyingly sensitive skin. But this time was bad! Emergency-appointment-at-the-dermatologist-skin-biopsy-two-stitches-blood-work bad. Thankfully my dermatologist is Grade A and she hooked me up with some aggressive medicine. And double-thankfully it was just an allergic reaction and not something much more serious (that blood work was well worth the lab fees!).

But it still took me all week to get myself under control. And it's not like I could hang out at home and suffer in peace. That basement cubicle isn't going to sit in itself!

And that is where The Universe and its devilish sense of humor comes in... Last week, Baby started doing even better than great: popping wheelies and riding with no hands (wearing a helmet, of course). I'm starting to gain the respect of people I thought would forever see me as That Little Girl. And a few long-suffering science projects are proving they were worth the effort. Basically, all the work is still working at work. And not only is it working, it's thriving and changing (my little) world.

I see what you did there, Universe. Thanks for keeping me humble!



There's no easy way to transition into describing this recipe. So I'll just plough forward. Turkey and sweet potatoes were a special request by TDH for this week's lunches. And because I think turkey tastes best when it tastes like Thanksgiving, I thought this would be a delicious twist. As always, I was right (that humility didn't last long, did it?). Enjoy!

Tangy Turkey Meatballs

I also served them with green beans, to get a little bit more nutrition into our lunch boxes.

Ingredients

2 lb ground turkey
2 eggs
3 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon herbs de provence
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Instructions

Place a skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and diced onion and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté veggies over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they become soft and start to brown. Add garlic and continue sautéing until everything is caramelized (and your whole house smells amazing).

Meanwhile, run a knife through the dried cranberries to break them into about 25%-size pieces (this will help more evenly distribute the tang throughout the meatballs).

Once the veggies are caramelized, add the cranberries and herbs de provence and mix until fully combined. Remove from heat and let cool so you don't scald yourself in the next step.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, eggs, and cooled veggie mixture. Roll mixture into evenly-sized meatballs.* My rule of thumb is to take the amount of meat I can fit balled between my two hands and quarter it. Then roll that quartered amount into a ball and place it in the baking dish (does that make any sense? If not, just go with your gut). 

Bake meatballs at 400 degrees until fully cooked. Mine took about 20 minutes. Makes 8 servings.


*Note: This also would be delicious as a meatloaf if you're too lazy to roll it into meatballs.







Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bars

I spent last weekend with DrLindsey, my primary care physician / best friend / paleo-supportive-all-around-amazing-woman-to-know. We staged a mini-college reunion with another one of our good friends from back in the day. We drank a flood of cosmos (that's proof these are friends from waaaaayyy back), got all dolled up, ate amazing food, and laughed like lunatics.

Thankfully DrLindsey's husband was available to chaperone and shepherd our drunk-asses around town. We re-payed him by pretending he wasn't there during college-level girl-talk (good thing he knows us well, or he might still be in shock...).

It had been maybe 10 months since I last visited this crew. But we didn't skip a beat. Even though my new life is 180 degrees out of phase with DrLindsey's beautiful little family, I still mesh into their world as perfectly as ever. It's gratifying to know that our deep admiration for each other isn't situationally dependent. We've known each other since before we became the people we are today. We've loved each other like sisters through all the growing up that life requires. And we're still supporting each other 100% even though we're walking different paths.

DrLindsey and her husband have my back as I try to figure out my new single-girl life. They check on me often and squash any insecurities before they have a chance to bubble all the way up to the surface. For my part, I'm sharing every ounce of the health and fitness information I've pulled together during these two-and-a-half wildly successful years. That's friendship!


After the cosmo-fueled night (that still ended early because we're old. #32!), we did a little shopping, got our eyebrows threaded (just what I needed: a new beauty obsession to add on to shellac), and had a delicious family dinner with DrLindsey's parents, aunt, uncle, and sister. Lindsey's mom, ever the impeccable hostess, went easy on the grains in support of my lifestyle and served fillet with squash and pear soup. 

That evening, we watched a little Dora, put the baby to bed, and started playing in the kitchen. DrLindsey was on the hunt for easy paleo snacks to pack for her long days at the office, so she asked if I'd work some of my SillyLittle magic in her kitchen. I love to play with recipes, so I was excited to see what I could do with the paleo-friendly ingredients she had on hand.

We created this Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bar recipe on the fly. It's basically a two-step version of my Pecan Bacon Maple Bars with a little less fuss (because DrLindsey didn't have a food processor). I think I shocked my sous chefs by how spontaneous my process is in the kitchen. Don't have a food processor? Let's use the hazelnut meal! Ran out of baking powder? Baking soda will be fine! What's the worst that can happen? It's still delicious paleo food. Just eat it and try something different next time!

Luckily these bars turned out tasty. But they still were slightly-less-than-perfect. The bar wasn't quite sweet enough to stand up to the bitterness of the chocolate. So for this post I've doubled the honey and reduced the amount of chocolate. If you're a super-duper-chocolate-lover, by all means double it back up. It's your kitchen! 

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bars

That cell phone sure takes a pretty picture!

Ingredients

1 egg, beaten
1 cup hazelnut meal (we used Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
Coconut oil spray

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (we used Enjoy Life)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch of salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt 1/4 cup coconut oil and honey together. In a medium bowl, mix together hazelnut meal, almond meal, baking soda, and salt. Add coconut oil-honey mixture, vanilla, and egg. Mix thoroughly to combine. Spray a loaf pan with coconut oil spray. Pour mixture into loaf pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake at 375 degrees until it passes the toothpick test. About 20 minutes. 

While the bars are baking, combine chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, vanilla, and pinch of salt in a small sauce pan. Place over low-to-medium heat. Stir continuously until the chocolate melts. Remove from heat and set aside.

Once the bars are baked, remove them from the oven and let cool for a few minutes so that the heat from the loaf pan doesn't burn your chocolate. Then spread the chocolate onto the bars in an even layer. Let cool to room temperature (so the chocolate firms up a bit). Cut into bars and enjoy. Makes 8 servings. 














Monday, February 17, 2014

Beet Soup

This Winter sure is trying to go out with a bang! Holy snowstorms!

We only have 4 weeks left according to our buddy Phil. And while I'm ready to give my Winter coat a break, I'm still enjoying all of the warm beverages, soups, and stews that taste so great in colder weather. I've been using my snowy days at home as the perfect excuse to let a pot of chili simmer all afternoon, and I've been collecting soup recipes from friends and family (that I will then repost here as if they were my own... Love you guys!).

The last week-or-so, I've also been on a beet kick.

It all started when I baked beet-based cupcakes for my 32nd birthday party (#32!). Then I used the leftover beet purée as the sauce for a spinach and goat cheese gluten free pizza.

Yes, that is bacon. No, goat cheese is not paleo.
Neither is GF pizza crust. Live your life!

Shortly thereafter my Ukrainian heritage kicked in and I started toying with the idea of a beet soup. I was sure I could make a creamy puréed soup, like my ever-popular Roasted Broccoli version. And I knew the beets would cook up well with typical soup-starters like onion and garlic. But I wanted to be sure it was slightly tangy to mimic the flavor profile of my pizza, without the added goat cheese. After a quick scan through what-passes-for-my-pantry I decided a splash of vinegar would do the trick (and beet salad is delicious, right? so it couldn't totally ruin the soup).

This recipe came together nicely and tasted even better than expected (which is really saying something. I have very high expectations for myself). It definitely tastes like beets, though. So if you're a beet-hater like my father, please skip along to the next post (sorry Dad!). If you're a beet-lover like me, then I definitely recommend it! How often do you get to eat pink food?! 

 Beet Soup

Pink Soup!

Ingredients

3 medium beets, peeled and diced*
1 large sweet onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups beef stock
2 cups cauliflower florets
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper

Instructions

Pour olive oil into a large pot and place over medium heat. Add diced onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook onion until it starts to brown. Add garlic and continue cooking until onions begin to caramelize (be careful not to burn the garlic). Add cauliflower florets and diced beets and toss together until the cauliflower turns pink. 

Add beef stock and bay leaf. Season with a pinch of salt and a few shakes of pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and continue simmering until beets are tender. About 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly so that you don't scald yourself on the next step.

Use your immersion blender to purée the soup until creamy (if you don't have an immersion blender, carefully pour the soup into your standard blender and purée until smooth). Return the soup to medium heat. Add balsamic vinegar and re-season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir continuously until it just starts to boil. Remove from heat. Makes 6 servings.


*Pro Tip: Peel and dice your beets in the sink. Literally. I cleaned the sink and then put the cutting board in it to work. Otherwise, your kitchen will look like you massacred a herd of My Little Ponies.




Thursday, February 13, 2014

Baked Corned Beef Hash

It's been a while since I last explana-bragged about the sweat gear in my Silly Little Kitchen. So I figured it's about that time... This post is also quite timely because last weekend was huge for my Ninja Mega Kitchen System.

Yes there is a cult-of-the-Ninja. And you can hate if you want to. But I totally get it. My new Ninja was delivered only a few hours before CaveBoy moved out, so it (literally) sat on the shelf for a few months before I was motivated to get back in the kitchen and fully test its oft-praised features. Now I only regret waiting so long!

I had been coveting the Ninja for months because (spoiler alert) advertising works on me. And I wake up early on the weekends. And there is almost nothing to watch on TV but infomercials. And the end.

So after the third or fourth running, I finally decided I really did need a Ninja Mega Kitchen System. Not for me. But for all of you! Think of how many new and wonderful recipes I could create with such a tool at my disposal. So really this is all your fault!

I went online to place my order.

But wait! I "called" within the next 10 minutes, and the wonderful people at Ninja threw in a Ninja Mega Professional Prep System at no additional charge! And on top of that (for being so cute, I assume) they also gave me a Frozen Treat Accessory Kit. ChaChing!

Sweet deal, right?
So. Fast forward to last weekend.

A dozen of my favorite girls came over to celebrate my 32 years on Earth. The group was an amazing mash-up of my awesome worlds. The Fierce Ladies from the office came out in force, along with the CrossFit Beauties, and one of my #1 Loves from grad school. 

We drank (quite a few) margaritas and a few bottles of wine. I force-fed everyone shots of Fireball Whisky (whatever. it tastes like Valentine's Day). And then we went out and danced like crazy at the local 22-year-old-meat-market-that-passes-for-a-Club (they have a video DJ!).

But before that, we had cupcakes. Paleo Naturally Red Velvet Cupcakes made almost entirely out of roasted beets (like I said, these are good friends, people). And I used my Ninja food processor to puree the beets, mix the wet ingredients, pulse in the combo-flour, and otherwise rock the recipe in no time flat. And they tasted pretty good, too!

And then. The next day. After I had semi-partially recovered from my hangover (I'm getting too old to have any more birthdays), I got to work on Ninja experiment number two: Baked Corned Beef Hash. 

I'm a hash fan. I often keep freezer-bagged portions of sweet potato hash on hand to easily turn Saturday morning breakfast into something special. It's particularly great with the yolks of a couple "dippy" eggs oozing through the shredded veggies (my mouth is watering). And with Saint Patrick's Day coming, Whole Foods has corned beef back in stock. 

With my Professional Prep System (and it's shredder attachment), I was able to pull this recipe together with minimal effort and get back to convalescing on the couch. The flavor was amazing and exactly what I needed to make a full recovery! Enjoy.

Baked Corned Beef Hash

EXTREME CLOSE UP!

Ingredients

1.5 lbs corned beef
2 pink lady apples, shredded
1 large sweet potato, shredded (seriously, get the biggest sweet potato you've ever seen, or two medium)
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Instructions

Cook the corned beef according to the package instructions (I put mine in the Crock-Pot because I didn't feel up to babysitting a simmering stock pot). Then set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine shredded/diced veggies and olive oil in a baking dish. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Place baking dish in oven. Cook until sweet potato shreds are softened, but not mushy. About 1 hr 20 minutes. Be careful not to let the bottom burn! I pulled mine out every 20 minutes to stir. 

Shred corned beef* and combine with cooked sweet potato mixture. Re-season with salt and pepper to taste.** Makes 5 servings.


*Note: CB recommends that you cube the corned beef into chunks instead of shredding it, so that it isn't all the same texture. I think she's probably on to something...

**Note: Yes. That's it. I told you it was hangover-proof.