Monthly Archives: July 2014

Spicy Sausage and Peppers over Zucchini Noodles

The zucchini onslaught has started in my garden. I think I planted enough to make myself pretty sick of zucchini in about a month…..so I’ve started thinking of ways to use it up and not let it go to waste. I already attempted to freeze some and I don’t think it’s going to turn out that great….have you ever frozen zucchini? My guess is it’s going to be really watery….I guess I could probably use it for a soup.

I have plans for zucchini bread, and my husband really likes it grilled, but I decided to put my spiralizer to work and make zucchini noodles! A great substitute for regular pasta. And for the sauce? We get a yummy plain ground pork from our farmer that I can easily add spice to for variety. The sauce is a spicy, sausage-tasting, Italian meat sauce that gives great flavor to the zucchini noodles.

Before I get to the recipe- we got a dog!!!

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Anna is a 6 month old German Sheppard, redbone hound mix that we adopted from the animal shelter.  She is quite a handful so far! Hopefully I can Google and read enough on dog training to make her more obedient but right now she is very hard to contain.

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She can jump right over that fence. At least she’s potty trained already. The cat’s having a hard time accepting the situation.

Anyway- advice for a new dog would be appreciated! On to the recipe!

Spicy Sausage and Peppers over Zucchini Noodles

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Serves: 3-4 /Prep time: 15 minutes /Cook Time: 20 minutes

2 cups prepped zucchini noodles (I used this tutorial)

1 lb ground pork, plain

1 jar clean tomato sauce (or homemade)

1 large red pepper, diced

1 large white onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 jalapeño pepper, minced

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

2 tablespoons fresh herbs ( I used sage and basil)

1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 black pepper

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the pork until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Take the pork out of the skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. With the pan still on, add your coconut oil and heat.

3. Add the onion, pepper, garlic and jalapeño. Cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.

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3. Add back in your pork, season with a little salt and pepper.

4. Pour in the jar of tomato sauce.

(You could use a 28 oz can of tomatoes here…or 3-4 cups of homemade sauce. I stopped buying canned tomatoes because of the various health risks; and organic, BPA free is expensive. I found this awesome, local, all natural sauce I’ve been using that’s inexpensive and has clean ingredients. It does have sugar but a small amount. I figure it’s better than buying conventional canned tomatoes.)

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5. Add all your spices and mix well.

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6. Let the sauce simmer for 10-15 more minutes. Serve over the noodles.

 spicy sausage and peppers over zucchini noodles

Yum! I love sausage and peppers!

What brand of canned/jarred tomatoes do you buy?

Any advice for a first time dog owner? Training tips?

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My Mix Protein Powder {Review}

I’ve DEFINITELY had my share of different protein powders….they were one of the first things I started eating regularly when I began eating healthier. My opinion on them has since changed…but I’m not all against protein powders.

Obviously, getting your protein (and nutrients) from a delicious, whole food source is always the better option. That’s why I kind of shunned protein powders when I started eating Paleo. However the protein powder I used to buy was loaded with nasty stuff. Once I started making the ingredients list a priority I allowed protein powder back into my life again. Truth is, not all of us have time to fry up some eggs or breakfast sausages in the morning. Even if I do have time to make breakfast (and I do….because it’s summer) I find myself not wanting a full blown meal for lunch during the summer so a nice protein shake is perfect.

I was lucky to receive a free sample from the site My Mix Nutrition. If you haven’t heard of it, definitely check it out. They offer completely customizable protein powder mixes that fit virtually ANY type of diet- vegan, Paleo, soy-free, etc.

When you first visit the site, you’ll enter some information about yourself, and then you can build your own personal, customized protein powder. It’s awesome!

***Disclaimer: I received a 5 serving sample of My Mix Protein Powder at no charge. All opinions are my own.

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Then you can choose from a whole bunch of different add ins- from supplements for bones and joints, extra vitamins and minerals, energy boosters and weight loss support.

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Finally, you get to flavor your mix!

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Here’s what I went with:

 

Andrea’s Protein Powder:

*Hemp Protein

*Repair and Recovery- L-Glutamine

*Weight Management- L-Carnatine Tartrate

*Functional Support- Joint Supplement

*Chocolate flavor

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I thought it was awesome that the protein powders are completely customizable. I went with hemp protein because I wanted to try something different than whey- plus I didn’t have any information about whether or not the whey protein was from grass-fed cows so I wasn’t too keen on it.

Verdict? This hemp protein powder was FAR more palatable than ANY other hemp protein powder I’ve ever had. You could definitely still taste the earthiness of the hemp, however. When I first found this company I could have SWORN they had egg white protein powder- which I’ve really wanted to try. But when I went to get my sample it was nowhere to be found. I’d be curious to see how the regular protein powder tastes- I’m sure it’s delicious.

I made a couple of different combos with this mix. I always throw in a banana, coconut milk and ice. This day I added some blueberries and kale. I have no shortage of kale!

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hemp protein shake

It was good- interestingly enough I actually found the protein powder a little heavy on the stevia. Putting the kale in definitely helped out.

Overall, I love the idea of being able to customize your own protein powder. It tasted good and I’d be interested to try the whey protein powder as well.

What’s your favorite protein powder?

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Food Blogging Photography Tips {Guest Post}

 

Two posts in one week!?!? What is this?? Well, I can’t give myself all the credit. I have the pleasure of introducing my friend and fellow blogger Lauren for a blog post today on food photography. I reached out to Lauren to write a guest post about this because…let’s face it…we’ve all seen my food photography. Even though my grandfather was an excellent photographer I guess it doesn’t run in the family. I try!!! Hopefully using these tips will make me better.

Anyways, on to the guest post. Lauren is my friend from high school and runs the blog What Lola Likes. I did a guest post for her blog about Paleo yesterday- check it out!

 

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Hi readers! My name is Lauren Garcia, aka Lola of whatlolalikes

I am a Phoenix based lifestyle blogger on food, fashion, and fitness. Andrea and I go way back to first meeting in middle school. From sleepovers to being weekend warrior mall rats; it’s fun to think back on a time when life wasn’t all about careers or paying bills. Although Andrea and I went to separate colleges and I moved across the country, we stayed in touch and I am so happy to be able to guest post on her blog today.

A little bit about myself. Over three years ago in April, I married my husband; becoming determined to really learn my way around the kitchen. Re-creating delicious plates and being inspired by chefs like Giada de Laurentiis, cooking has become so therapeutic and one of my favorite ways to pass free time. Around that same time, I began to think about health and being my happiest self. I started to make exercise a part of my daily routine while training for half marathons and always staying on top of making time for the gym. Most importantly, I have focused on completely changing my diet, which has made such a change in my overall health these past few years. Everyone has their ups and downs when it comes to eating healthy, but it’s getting yourself back on track when you see yourself really starting to slip that will make the biggest change in your overall lifestyle.

As a hobby, I do enjoy taking photographs. I may not know everything about photography but I do know I have improved my #foodporn photo taking skills by just changing a few key elements in my presentation. A few I will share with you all today.

Please note: Husbands/fiancés/boyfriends/friends may get irritated with your photo shoots after each meal is prepared. They will learn to live with it.

1. Use natural light. This is the best advice I can ever give you. Place your plate next to a large window or better yet, do what I do, and go outside. I first learned this easy photo fix when I was living in an apartment, so going outside was pretty comical when people drove passed me. But… you have to do whatever you need to do to get that picture perfect!

 

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Use white plates. My wedding photographer actually gave me this idea and then I started to notice the trend myself. It makes such a difference. If you do not have white plates (which I did not at the time- probably the only person who didn’t register for white plates for her wedding), then use a white paper towel or copy paper if possible.

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Show the process. I like to show the people interested how the food is being made. When taking photographs of the complete meal, consider adding some of the dry ingredients next to the plate.

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Garnish your plate. There is nothing prettier than something that looks like it is out of a magazine or gourmet restaurant. Make the plate look mouthwatering.

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Clean your plate. Make sure that white plate is spotless, meaning no splashes or crumbs are left behind. Spot cleaning may be necessary.

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Angle your lens. Get up in there or take a photograph standing directly over it. Play with the angels for your desired

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Put a filter on it. Especially when using something like Instagram to showcase your foodie efforts, adding a photo filter can make all the difference.

Thank you for taking the time to read this! Feel free to head over to my blog to check out my most recent posts at www.whatlolalikes.com.
 
Instagram: whatlolalikes
twitter: whatlolalikes_
 
Be Kind,
Lola

 

Do you consider yourself a novice or expert with food photography?

What tips helped you learn?

Happy Fourth of July!!!!!!

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How to blanch and freeze kale + a recipe

Well it seems like I have been getting a solid one blog post a week for the last month or so. I’m okay with that. Still really busy with the farm and animals! We put the baby chicks outside yesterday!

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More on that in a separate post. Now that SCHOOL’S DONE!!!! I should have more time for blogging…if laying by the pool and binging on Netflix don’t take precedence.

I don’t know if I mentioned this on the blog or not…but my garden is doing great! I am about up to my ears in kale. This would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that I also joined a CSA. Guess what’s in season there??!!? Lettuce and kale!! I hate wasting food so it seems like such a waste to just compost it or give it to the pigs. I decided I would try preserving it so I could have some when it is not in season. I try to get kale organic and my normal grocery store never has it. So whenever I want it I have to go to Wegmans and it’s usually pretty pricey. I’m happy this year I’ll have an abundance in my freezer.

Freezing kale seemed like a complicated job before I did it…but it really wasn’t.It’s simple to do and will definitely be worth it.

First, I cleaned the stems off the kale and tore the leaves into pieces.

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Then I brought a large pot of water to boiling. I also set up another large bowl with cold water and lots of ice. When the water boils, plunge the kale (I did two batches) into the water and boil for 2 minutes.

Immediately take out the kale and put it into the ice bath to stop cooking.

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I let it sit in the ice bath for about 2 minutes, then I took it out and laid on a paper towel.

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I used the paper towels to squeeze some of the moisture out, then I bagged it up and popped it in the freezer!

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Expect to use the kale much like you would use frozen spinach. I could sauté some onion and garlic and heat up the kale and mix into a casserole….like the following recipe!

I made this recipe with fresh kale, but I will definitely be saving it for later in the year when I’m looking for something to do with all this kale I froze…

Kale Quiche with Coconut Flour Crust

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1 large bunch of kale, stemmed and torn into pieces

1 bell pepper, diced

1 large white onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbsp coconut oil

6 eggs

2 tbsp coconut milk

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/4 tsp onion powder

1 coconut flour crust ***

***I used this recipe and pre-baked the crust for 15 minutes

1. While your crust is cooking, heat your coconut oil in a large sauté pan. When warmed, add garlic. (Oven should be set to 350).

2. When garlic is fragrant, add the peppers and onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.

3. After the veggies are cooked, add your kale (do it in batches if necessary). It will seem like a lot of kale but it will cook down.

4. Mix the veggies around to reduce the volume of kale. Add a tablespoon or two of water, put a cover on the sauté pan, and cook the kale down for about 5-8 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp of garlic salt and 1/4 tsp of onion powder to the veggies. Also salt and pepper to taste.

5. While the kale is cooking, crack your eggs in a bowl and mix the coconut milk in. Add the rest of your spices.

6.When the veggies are done, quickly add them to the eggs, mix around, and then pour the entire mixture into the prepared pie crust.

7. Bake for 45 minutes or until the quiche is set in the middle. (depends on your pie pan size-mine was very deep).

Of course I decided to bake that on the hottest day of the summer so far. Why?? It was good nonetheless!

How do you preserve your veggies??

Kale- fad or tasty food?

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