Menu Monday: September 15, 2014

Phew!  What a busy week!  The training I attended was long and at times painful (one of the workouts they put us through left me with a swollen and tender right knee), but it’s over!  Thank goodness for that.

Looking back at last week, keeping it paleo wasn’t terribly difficult.  I didn’t follow the menu plan exactly, but I was happy with the food choices I made throughout the week.  I’m even happy I took a couple of recovery days during the week, too!  I struggle a bit with days off.  I want to push myself every day, but I know that it’s my body needs a break every once in a while.  So there you have it.

Now, looking forward.  This week is another busy one but instead of being trained I will be spending most of my working hours working as a personal trainer!  WOOT!  I can’t say it enough, I LOVE my job.  That’s the rant, nice and short.  And here’s the plan for the week:

Sunday: Tostones (twice fried green plantains), Coconut Lime Shrimp (recipe testing), Guac.

Monday: BBQ Ribs, Corn (not strictly paleo, and leftover from last week’s menu plan), Sweet Potato Chips, Paleo Coleslaw.

Tuesday: Eggplant Bolognese.  Eggplant was on sale this week and I grabbed a huge one.  I’ll use part of it for the Bolognese, the other part I’ll roast and turn into some sort of baba ghanosh.  If you need more eggplant ideas here’s one for you, or just ask!

Quick leftover idea! Steak, eggs and lots of veggies.  Good for breakfast, lunch or dinner,

Wednesday: Leftovers, see above.  Leftovers get such a bad rap, but the steak and egg dish above was made with leftover steak from the crock pot, a couple of freshly fried eggs and lots of veggies.  And I bet you are thinking that it looks pretty dang good!  Am I right?  Give leftovers a chance…

Thursday: Maple Cinnamon Butternut Squash Soup (recipe coming soon) with Veggies and Baba Ghnanosh, see notes for Tuesday.

Friday: Spaghetti Squash Pie with Green Salad.  This item was on last week’s menu, too, but when I went to the store they didn’t have any spaghetti squash, so I bought a butternut squash, but as it turned out last week we didn’t eat that either!  It’s a big squash week over here!

Saturday: Out for dinner – or leftovers, which ever sounds better.

And that’s the plan.  Even if I do not follow the plan perfectly, I love having it down on paper, like really, I have a notebook full of menu plans!  I’m just sort of old school that way…  I love making my grocery lists based on the menu because I don’t love going to the store every day, I’ve got other things to do!  Hope it’s a great week!!

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Menu Monday: September 8, 2014

It’s a funny week to start Menu Mondays.  I have three days of training for my work which takes me out of the house from 5 in the morning until 6:30 at night.  Most likely I be packing breakfast and lunch.  And maybe dinner.  The game plan involves lots of grilled chicken, salads and portable food.  The boys will be fending for themselves…

It’s a good week to keep in mind the beauty of 85/15.  Make 85% of your eating choices the best they possibly can be; allow 15% to account for life.  And apply the rule over time, not just for one meal.  To aim for perfection is to set yourself up for failure; it’s simple.  Now, obviously, there are times when you need to be closer to 100% perfection and there are times when you will allow for more than 15% life choices.  Nonetheless,  keeping the 85/15 rule in mind helps you maintain your sanity.

Easy to make and pretty to look at, enjoy this PALEO Cobb Salad

On to the menu…

Sunday: Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad -I used grilled chicken, bacon, hard boiled eggs, spinach, tomatoes, red cabbage, avocado, and pepitas.

Monday: Sweet and Sour Chicken over Cauli-Rice, recipe coming soon!

Tuesday: Crock Pot Beef Tacos with Paleo Tortillas and Guac.

Wednesday: (first day of my training) Spaghetti Squash Pizza Casserole (Hooray for Fall!!) with Green Salad.

Thursday: (training day number two) Leftovers!

Friday: (last day of training, woot!) Kids and Murry will probably go out for a boy’s night while I’ll have leftovers, again.  I don’t mind leftovers, thank goodness!

Saturday: BBQ Chicken with Corn (not strictly Paleo) and Veggies with Salsa.

And that’s it!  I’m not going to lie, this training is kind of throwing me off, but again, the 85/15 rule.  I can do!  Perhaps I’ll be super motivated and post some eating on the go strategies.  GOOD IDEA!!  I hope you have a wonderful week.

A Busy Summer

Dear Blog Followers,

You might have asked yourself: where did Aspen go?  What has she been up to?  Not keeping up with the blog to be certain!  Remember that post a while back when I wrote about all of the major life changes we were contemplating and the decisions we came upon?  One of the changes was me going back to work, back to working outside of the home at a Gold’s Gym near our home.  As a personal trainer my workload started off really light as I built up my client base.  But now that the base is growing and seems hard to control.  This is a good thing, and a fun thing and, oh my goodness I feel like I can really see the good I am working in the lives of my clients.  I’m happy to report that I’ve found a passion more than just a job!

So, in light of all of my rekindled interest in fitness I’ll be making some changes to the blog.  I’m hoping to return to my original F cubed focus: fitness, food and family.  As of late (always) the posts I write have been more food-centric, but that’s about to change.  So, please bear with me and know, blog followers, that I have not forgotten about you.  Stay tuned!

Love,

Aspen

Spicy Asian Slaw with Sausage {PALEO}

I think I have a “life” post banging around in my head, but I’m not ready to write it, and moreover, I’m not sure this is the place to share. So there’s that. You know what else? Yesterday was my birthday! I think birthdays make for lots of introspection; thinking about the changes that took place over the year past, then thinking ahead to the next year. It’s not coincidence that my “life” post and my birthday intersect. And listening to Death Cab doesn’t do much to lift my mood either.

So, let’s do something about that, shall we? Talking about food always gets me excited and this dish is a new favorite around here!  Totally yummy Trader Joe's sausage.I found these amazing spicy Korean sausages at Trader Joe’s a couple of months ago and when I first picked them up I really had no idea what I would do with them. A day or two later I was in the kitchen, it was lunch time and I was on the verge of being hangry! Upon opening the refrigerator door lightening struck my brain and inspiration hit me and BAM! this meal was born: Spicy Asian Slaw with Sausage {PALEO}. The flavors notes of cilantro, cool cabbage, sweet red pepper and nutty sesame make for a well balanced bowl that comes together quickly and tastes great. I’ve fed this one to many and I’m happy to finally get the recipe up for you to enjoy! Here it is: Spicy Asian Slaw with Sausage {PALEO}

Yummy sasuage slaw!

Spicy Asian Slaw with Sausage {PALEO}

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
For the Slaw Mixture:

  • 2 spicy Asian style sausages, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 purple or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • ~ 2 cups coleslaw mix
  • ~ 1/2 cup purple cabbage, chopped
  • ~ 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • toasted cashews, for garnish

For the Dressing:  

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Sriracha, to taste

Directions:

  1. Grab a small skillet and heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.  Add the sausage, onions and red pepper.  Cook stirring occasionally.
  2. While the sausage is cooking, let’s make the dressing.  Using a large bowl mix together all of the dressing ingredients until combined.
  3. Add the cabbage, slaw mix and cilantro to the bowl with the dressing and stir everything together, making sure to coat the slaw.
  4. By now, the sausage and onions should be cooked through; you’re looking for a bit of browning on the sausage and the onions to become translucent and the peppers to be soft.
  5. Spoon the slaw into bowls, add the sausage mixture to the top and garnish with the cashews.
  6. Enjoy!

Notes:

This recipe easily doubles or triples, but tastes best fresh.  If you let it sit around the flavors muddle together and the cabbage becomes less crisp.

You could easily sub any protein of choice for the sausage.  I’ve used leftover steak and loved the result!

If you were really on the ball, you could add some freshly ground ginger to the dressing and fresh, minced garlic.  I was going for quick and easy.

 

Coconut Milk Baked Chicken {PALEO}

So… We’ve survived the move, which just so happened to coincide with a family visit and school letting out for the summer.  In terms of planning, moving while doing fun, touristy things around the city with your family…  Well, let’s just say that it doesn’t make for the easiest move.  But, on the flip side, we had a wonderful time with the niece, nephew and their amazing parents.  We also had the benefit of extra muscle to help move boxes.  Oh!  And their minivan had a capacity that was outstanding!

Boxes have been unpacked and what I’ve dubbed Phase One of the move is mostly complete.  Phase Two will commence when everything that has been sitting in storage in San Diego is hauled across the country and dropped off at the new place; ETA August 3.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Are you ready to hear about food?  This happened this morning:

Bacon and Egg Cups

It wasn’t some amazing culinary feat, but making my egg cups, baked leftover bacon bits, and pouring the fat into the jar marked the return of routine.  And I’ll take that.

Onward to my featured recipe: Coconut Milk Baked Chicken {PALEO}.  This recipe is simple to prepare and tastes amazing.  Spoon extra sauce on the chicken for more flavor, less if your kids are picky and want something that’s plain (my kids loved the sauce).  I hope you enjoy!

Yummy Paleo Chicken Recipe

Coconut Milk Baked Chicken {PALEO}

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 5 Tablespoons full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Shake that can of coconut milk before you open it; if you don’t you’ll have a creamy, watery, separated coconut milk mess.  Then, grab a bowl and whisk together all of the ingredients except the chicken.
  3. Toss the chicken into the sauce.  Look at the time.  If you are short on time, arrange the chicken in an oven proof skillet or Dutch oven and bake.  If time is ample, let the chicken marinade for a bit.
  4. When you are ready, bake the chicken in its yummy sauce for 30 minutes, or until it is done.
  5. Garnish with freshly chopped  cilantro and Sriracha. Slam, bam dinner is served.  Eat up!

 

Asian Marinated Chicken Wings {PALEO}

Once a week…  I think I must have meant once a month.  A new post once a month, yeah, that seems about right.  Lame, I know.  If you are here for the food, I suggest you skip the next two paragraphs, if not, read on my friend.  It’s been a crazy couple of months.  Here are some of the life changes we considered:

Move to another state, move to another town, Murry leaving his job, me getting a job, buying a house, renting a house, changing the boys’ school, going to grad school, keeping our leased Explorer, buying a new car, re-starting running club, blah, blah, blah.

For those of you curious, we are staying in the same town in Murry’s job.  We found a cute 1950’s rambler to rent.  I took a job with Gold’s Gym as a CPT.  The boys’ will stay at their schools next year.  We turned in the Explorer and purchased a Subaru Outback (LOVE!!!).  Running club is up and running every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 in the morning.  Life decisions made.  At least for now.  And there you have it, my excuse list, or at least why the blog has fallen to the back burner.

Food!  Remember those two Tuesdays in December when I posted unoriginal recipes that were “Aspen Approved?”  I called it Unoriginal Tuesdays…  Remember?  Well, today I’m bringing back Unoriginal Tuesdays with this recipe from Everyday Paleo.  These Asian Marinated Chicken Wings {PALEO} are easy to make but require a bit of time to marinade, so plan accordingly.  Also, there’s apple juice in the recipe.  This is an ingredient I NEVER have on hand, so if you’re like me you will need to plan for that, too.  Without further ado: Asian Marinated Chicken Wings {PALEO}.

Easy to make and delicious, a recipe the whole family will love.

Asian Marinated Chicken Wings {PALEO}

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lbs chicken wings

Marinade

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • sesame seeds and sliced green onions for garnish

Directions:

  1. Grab a large bowl and mix together the marinade ingredients.  Add the chicken and let it sit for at least 30 minutes, 1-2 hours is better.
  2. As the marinating time draws to an end pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. Prep a large baking sheet by lining it with foil, then add the wings to the sheet one at a time.  Take care not to crowd the wings.
  4. Place the wings in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, flipping them once half way through.
  5. Garnish with the sesame seeds and sliced green onions.  Enjoy!

Butternut Squash and Spinach Curry {PALEO}

I gave myself one month.  One month to break from my blog; to not worry about stats or posting.  One month to decide what I want to do with fcubed.

Looking back, I came out of the gates hard.  I was producing content like it was my job, but the thing is, I’m not getting paid. for my efforts.  So when sharing my recipes became more work than fun I stopped doing it.

Truth be told, I’m not sure exactly what the future holds for fcubed, but I am recommitting to posting at least once a week.  And, I’m recommitting to keeping it fun!

And with that said…  Here is one of my new favorite recipes: Butternut Squash and Spinach Curry {PALEO}.  It’s sort of a Thai curry I guess though I’m no curry expert.  The sweet butternut squash mixed with coconut, curry and a touch of lime leave me asking for seconds.  Here’s hoping you keep coming back for more, too!

Tasty butternut squash curry.  Paleo, dairy free, grain free, vegan.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Curry {PALEO}

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • cumin, to taste
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (do not stir), divided
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons red curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of cloves
  • 5 ounces baby spinach (5 cups packed)
  • 1 Tablespoon Asian fish sauce, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup salted roasted cashews, chopped
  • coconut oil
  • salt
  • Accompaniment: lime wedges

Directions:

  1. In a heavy, large skillet over medium-high heat, heat one tablespoon coconut oil.  Bring it to temperature making sure the oil shimmers.  Add the squash.
  2. Grab your cumin and shake it over the squash, just enough that you can see a little cumin on each squash piece.  Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook for about 6 minutes, until the squash starts to brown.  Transfer to plate and set aside.
  3. Add some more coconut oil to the skillet, about 2 teaspoons.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook the onions until the soften, about five minutes.
  4. While the onions are cooking, grab your can of coconut milk.  Open it and add1/4 cup of the fatty, solid portion to the skillet.  Stir until the fat starts to separate and look glossy, then add the curry paste.  Continue stirring for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the squash back to the pan along with the cinnamon, cloves and remaining coconut milk.  Bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook another 8 to 10 minutes, until the squash is tender.
  6. Stir in the baby spinach, and cook covered, until the spinach wilts, 1 or 2 minutes.
  7. Add the fish sauce.  Top with cashews and serve over cauli-rice.
  8. Enjoy!

Recipe inspiration from Epicurious.