Thursday, November 29, 2012

12 Ways of Giving: Way One

Last year I was having a little trouble getting into the holiday spirit, so I created the 12 ways of giving.  I loved it SO MUCH that I decided to make it an annual event. 

Last weekend, I took a little extra cash I had on hand, and I went to flex my value spending muscles at Aldi to get some non-perishables for the food pantry at my boyfriend's church. 

I've helped out there before, and the women of the church are doing a great job writing grants and picking up $20 here and $20 there, but there is definitely a need there.

I got to spend the afternoon chatting with my bf's mom, and we blessed a few people who braved the cold weather. 

If you have some extra canned goods or boxes of cereal or pasta and want to donate, let me know, I will gladly deliver them for you.

After a feel-good weekend, I spent the rest of the week being a jerk.  No, really.  I've been just short with people lately, and I want to go public with my 'tude in hope that it keeps me accountable for changing. 

I got a little short with the guy who sold me my new car because the service people hadn't called me... Not his fault, but he was the middleman.  I'm sorry guy who sold me my car.  That was rude of me.

I was mean to the Mediacom guy I talked to last night while trying to set up my new computer.  He told me what we were going to do, and I didn't see how it was going to work, so I got sassy with him.  I later apologized when it worked.  After he put me on a long LONG timeout hold.

And then this morning, I had a little run-in with a self-important parking wench at work.  Ahem, I mean I was rude to a lady who was just trying to do her job.  I'm really hoping she isn't rude to our customers, but she's probably thinking the same thing about me. 

It ended in tears (weird) but it was the rock bottom I had to hit to realize that I'm sending negative vibes into the world.  After all the blessings that I've experienced in the last few weeks, I need to be sending positive love into the world with my smile, patience and helpfulness.  So I'm back! 12 Ways of Giving.  1 down, 11 to go.  Join me!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Paleo Dirty "Rice"

Dirty Rice is one of my all time favorite foods from my winter in New Orleans.  Along with char grilled oysters, jambalaya, anything fried and daquiris... 
But I got home and started to make my own quick and dirty rice..  It's really easy, some rice, onions and green peppers and some cajun seasoning. 
Well, during this Paleo challenge, I'm skipping the rice, which proves difficult when making dirty rice... because you're left with just "dirty"...
So, I gave this cauliflower rice a try, and surprisingly, it was perfect!  It was one of the few paleo recipes that I'm completely convinced that I won't go back to the original recipe! 

Here's how it goes...

PAleo Dirty "Rice"
Servings: 2 (doubles really easily for a family of 4)
1/2 head of cauliflower
1/2 onion
1/2 green pepper
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Pat of butter
1/4 lb ground beef
Cajun seasoning

First, cut your cauliflower off the stem and pop it in a food processor.  Give it a few pulses until it resembles couscous/rice.  You might have to pick out a few stems that just won't cooperate. 

Once you have it rice-ified, pour the cauli-rice in a pan with some olive oil and a little pat of butter, melted.  Stir until the cauli-rice are al dente.  (You HAVE to taste it here.  The cauli-rice don't brown up much, so you have to check the mouth-feel.) (I feel like I'm using some weird words in this post... cauli-rice, rice-ified, mouth-feel....)

Remove the cauli-rice and put it to the side.  In the empty pan, sweat some chopped onions and green peppers with a little olive oil and cajun seasoning to taste.  (remember, you can always add some at the end, I just think the onions take the flavor the best when it's introduced early)

Remove the onions and peppers, and replace them in the empty pan with some ground beef.  Brown it down. 

Once the ground beef is browned, throw everything back in with a little more cajun seasoning if you want.  Warm it all back up and let the oils and juices marry.  mmmmmm. This stuff is almost BETTER the next day. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Salmon and Lentils

I have SO MUCH good food in my apartment right now. Seriously, just the smell alone is intoxicating.  I keep going down 4 floors to switch my laundry, and when I come back it's like walking into heaven. 

I sorta hate that your nose gets used to the smell... I mean, it's probably good for those days I don't get my dishes done right away, or I haven't done laundry in ages... ahem... But it's bad for me right now! I'm straining to smell the nutty deliciousness in this room.  mmmmmmmm

Anyway, enough about the smell, this isn't scent-ernet you're gonna have to make this for yourself to basque in the aromas God.  

Salmon and Lentils. (I type like I talk, so I literally keep typing "mmmmmmm")
2 3oz salmon filets
salt and pepper

herb butter:
2.5 Tbsp butter softened
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp dijon mustard
a few squeezes of lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp chopped parsley

1/2 cup dry lentils
2 cups water
1/2 onion chopped
1 clove garlic
1 T olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach

handfull of cherry tomatoes

Start the lentils boilin' in the water in a large pan.  They take about 15 minutes, but taste them to make sure they're tender.
While the lentils are boilin', sweat some onions and garlic in the olive oil.  Once they're tender and translucent, add the spinach and let that cook down.  It looks like a lot, but 2 cups cook down to less than 1/2 cup, so you're not gonna start looking like Popeye.
Mix up that herb butter.  Just mix it all together.  There ya go....
When the lentils are done, mix them with the onions and 1/2 of the herb butter in the pan.  Let the butter melt down and put the whole shebang aside. 

melt the rest of that herb butter in the empty pan with a splash of olive oil (this keeps the butter from burning, but still allows it to get brown and nutty)
Pat your salmon filets dry and salt and pepper them.  Then put them in the butter pan.  mmmmmmmm.
Salmon cooks pretty fast, and you can see it getting pepto-bismol pink on the side as it cooks. Give it a few minutes on each side.  When you flip your salmon, toss in a few roughly-chopped cherry tomatoes.  Let them warm up while your salmon finishes. 

Top your lentils with some salmon and tomatoes.  Don't forget to drizzle that butter over the top.

This restaurant-worthy meal only has 458 cals per filet and30g protein.