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Frogs

Well, if it ain’t turtles hanging around our house it’s the frogs. Last year we had a gray frog — perhaps it’s the American Toad. It sure looks like it.

 

Minnesota Toad

Minnesota Toad

This year my husband was clearing an area of leaves so he could plant some milkweed plants (they attract butterflies). He put the leaves in the compost container and I came along and closed the lid. I don’t know who jumped first — me or the frog. He was just a little itty bitty thing and I almost missed him because he was green just like the compost container.

Here he is — he is either the Copes Gray Tree Frog or the Gray Tree Frog — you have to hear it “croak” in order to tell the difference. The frog appeared a tad frightened as his throat kept bulging in and out as if he was breathing hard but no sound was heard. Notice the toe pads on the frog? They help it cling to the bark of trees or other surfaces. They are a good candidate for nail polish (hahahahaha).

Gray Tree Frog

Gray Tree Frog

Here he is just a tad closer.

Gray Tree Frog

Gray Tree Frog

From what I’ve been reading, these frogs can camouflage themselves.

There are approximately 14 species of frogs in Minnesota. So — I guess I better keep my eyes open for them. We hear a chorus of frogs singing most nights.

Have you ever seen this one before?

 

 

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Beef Pot Roast with Turnip Greens

This recipe was quite delicious although I changed it up just a bit from the original. Prep time is a tad more than what I like although it’s made in a crockpot so you can pretty much leave it alone once it’s there.

But — good recipes require effort sometimes, don’t they?

So — let’s take a look at what you’ll be needing to make this. Here’s the first group …

Ingredients

Ingredients 1 of 3

Next you’ll need the turnip greens, almond flour and parsley. This was, if I remember correctly, the first time I’ve had turnip greens. A good experience …

Ingredients - 2 of 3

Ingredients – 2 of 3

Then there’s the boneless chuck roast — this one was not quite 3 pounds and I have to say we have lots of leftovers. But leftovers are okay as the husband takes them to work for lunch.

Boneless Chuck Roast

Boneless Chuck Roast 3 of 3

After adding the almond flour to the bottom of a cookie sheet (or something similar), you’ll be adding the meat to it so it can be coated with the flour.

Flour the roast

Coat the beef with almond flour

Next you’ll be browning the meat in a skillet in olive oil. Because it was quite a hunk of meat, I did it in two portions.

Brown the roast

Brown the roast

While all the above is going on you need to prepare the parsnips, onion and sweet potato. I actually do this step before anything else so that things will go smoothly. The turnip greens, along with the veggies, will be place in the bottom of the crockpot.

Prepare Veggies

Prepare Veggies

My meat almost didn’t fit in the crockpot but I managed to squeeze it all in there.

Crockpot Mixture

Crockpot Mixture

After you remove the meat from the skillet, you’ll be adding tomato paste and the broth to the skillet then scraping the bottom of the skillet to get all the small pieces that were left behind from the roast when you browned it.

The picture is not “pretty” but cooking is not always pretty and I want you to see the “real” thing.

Pot Roast Broth

Pot Roast Broth

This is what it will look like when it’s all mixed together.

Pot Roast Broth

Pot Roast Broth

This broth will be poured over the veggies that are already in the crockpot, then the crockpot is covered and this will cook on low for about 8 hours. See how I managed to squish it all in there?

Beef Pot Roast in Crockpot

Beef Pot Roast in Crockpot

Okay so — let’s take a look at the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 (2-3 pound) boneless chuck roast, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 -2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (for browning the meat)
  • 1 pound fresh turnip greens, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups diagonally cut parsnips
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 24 ounces low fat vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Add the flour to the bottom of a cookie sheet or jelly roll.
  2. Add salt and pepper to the beef then coat it in the flour.
  3. Heat a cast iron skillet (if you have one) on medium heat then add the oil to it.
  4. Add the beef to the skillet and brown it on both sides (about 5 minutes per side).
  5. Add the turnip greens, parsnips, potato and onion to the bottom of a crockpot.
  6. Add the browned beef to the top of the veggies in the crockpot.
  7. Add the tomato paste and broth to the skillet then bring this to a boil scraping the bottom of the skillet so you can get any browned pieces that remained behind. Stir well to blend everything together.
  8. Bring the skillet mixture to a boil then remove from the stovetop and pour it into the crockpot.
  9. Add the thyme, bay leaves and parsley to the crockpot.
  10. Cook on low for 8 hours or until the beef is tender and cooked through.

You can serve this by itself, on a bed of white rice or on a baked sweet potato. Simply delicious!

Beef Pot Roast with Turnip Greens

Beef Pot Roast with Turnip Greens

Special thanks to MyRecipes for the original recipe.

For a list of other Paleo recipes, click here.

 

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Thai Cuisine – Brooklyn Park

In a little strip mall, tucked away on 85th Avenue North in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, is a quaint restaurant called Thai Cuisine.

A friend and I went here for lunch midweek and there were probably two other groups there – one large and one small.

Thai Cuisine, Brooklyn Park, MN

Thai Cuisine, Brooklyn Park, MN

We were seated right away by a young woman who later told me that she would be leaving her employment here to go to school full-time.

Since my friend had been here before, they recognized him and when his meal — a fish entree — was delivered to our table, she told him that the cook had given him the largest fish he had.  And it was quite big – head, tail and all!

Fish Entree

Fish Entree at Thai Cuisine

I had a simpler dish — chicken with cashews and vegetables.  Simply Delicious!

Chicken Entree

Chicken Entree

After we finished our meal and were getting ready to pay for it, the cook came out and greeted us.

It was a refreshing experience for me — great food, great service and a touch of humanity.

If you’re in the area, I strongly recommend this restaurant.

 

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Baked Sweet Potato with Thyme

Coming up with easy “sides” for entrees is becoming easier and easier.

This paleo Baked Sweet Potato with Thyme recipe was thrown together in no time at all.

Here is what you’ll need …

Ingredients

Ingredients

After cleaning your sweet potato, you’ll be cutting it into bite size pieces.

Sweet Potato - Bite Size Pieces

Sweet Potato – Bite Size Pieces

Next, slice the shallots.

Slice the Shallots

Slice the Shallots

Put the potatoes and shallots in a small bowl.

Potatoes & Shallots in bowl

Potatoes & Shallots in bowl

Next, you’ll be slowly pouring the oil over the potatoes and shallots but just a little at a time. You want the oil to coat the mixture — don’t drown it.  (hehe)

Add 2 teaspoons of thyme to the mixture and blend it all together. Line a glass pan with aluminum foil (easy clean up later) then add the potato mixture to the pan.

Add thyme, oil and spread in pan

Add thyme, oil and spread in pan

Bake for approximately 30 minutes (poke a fork through one of the potato pieces to check for doneness — it should be soft) and whala!

Sweet Potato with Thyme

Sweet Potato with Thyme

Here’s the recipe for you.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 Shallot, peeled then sliced
  • 2 teaspoons dried Thyme
  • 1-2 teaspoons Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. Clean and slice the sweet potato into bite size pieces.
  3. Slice the shallot.
  4. Add the sweet potato and the shallot to a small bowl.
  5. Add the olive oil to the sweet potato mixture a little at a time, while tossing, to coat the mixture.
  6. Add the thyme to the mixture and stir everything together.
  7. Line a glass pan with aluminum foil and add the potato mixture to the pan making sure the potatoes are mostly evenly spaced.
  8.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a fork poked through one of the potato pieces goes through easily.

This makes approximately 3 servings.

I served this with Baked Salmon, Steamed Broccoli and Apricot Ginger Sauce.

And, I must say — it was delicious!

Baked Salmon with Apricot Ginger Sauce and Baked Sweet Potato with Thyme

Baked Salmon with Apricot Ginger Sauce and Baked Sweet Potato with Thyme

Enjoy!

For a list of other Paleo Recipes, click here.

 

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Apricot Ginger Sauce

Besides our regular grocery, a trip to Costco yesterday yielded one large tray of apricots. I really enjoy eating them and can eat 3-4 in one sitting. Unfortunately, as we were checking out, we noticed that one of the apricots in the bunch was spoiled. The cashier was kind enough to have someone bring us a new tray and we walked out the door — happy.

When we arrived home, I opened the tray of apricots to “feel” for the ones that might be ripe and ready to eat. I touched one, then another and another — they were all ripe and ready to eat NOW. I had three and decided to find a recipe that I could make with some of the remaining ones.

This is the recipe I came up with which is adapted from one called Apricot Ginger BBQ Sauce.

I remembered having Apricot Chicken at Olive Garden a couple of years ago so I had high hopes for this recipe and it did not disappoint.

Alright then — let’s take a look at this paleo recipe. Here are the main ingredients (less the salt and water).

Ingredients

Ingredients (salt and water not shown)

You’ll be slicing the apricots in half, removing the pit and then dicing them up. They will mostly break apart when you cook them so they don’t all have to be the same size.

Dice Apricots

Dice Apricots

Next you’ll be dicing up the tomatoes. I used small heirloom tomatoes.

Dice the Tomatoes

Dice the Tomatoes

Both the diced apricots and tomatoes will be thrown (not literally — haha) into a small pot along with a half cup of water then you’ll bring that to a simmer.

Put Apricots and Tomatoes in a small pot and cook

Put Apricots and Tomatoes in a small pot and cook

While the apricot mixture is cooking through, grate the fresh ginger and dice up the cranberries.

Grate Ginger, Dice Dried Cranberries

Grate Ginger, Dice Dried Cranberries

Next you’ll be adding the ginger, cranberries, honey and salt to the apricot mixture and letting everything come to a boil until you have a nice sauce.

You’ll notice it’s still a little thick. Set this aside and allow it to cool.

Apricot Ginger Sauce

Apricot Ginger Sauce

Once the mixture is cooked, you’ll be using an immersion blender and pulsing the mixture until you get a smooth saucy texture.

Immersion Blender

Immersion Blender

And the sauce will be so beautiful looking … ahhhhhh. And so tasty. ….. ahhhhh. I do enjoy apricots.

Apricot Ginger Sauce

Apricot Ginger Sauce

Ready to see the recipe?

Ingredients

  • 6 Ripe Apricots, pits removed then diced
  • 4-6 small Heirloom Tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Grated Fresh Ginger
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Dried Cranberries, diced
  • 1 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

Ingredients

  1. After preparing the apricots and tomatoes, add them to a small pot along with the water.
  2. Cook the apricot mixture on medium until it comes to a simmer.
  3. Add the honey, vinegar and sea salt then taste to make sure it’s sweet enough for you.
  4. While the apricot mixture is cooking through, prepare the ginger and cranberries then add them to the apricot mixture.
  5. Once the mixture starts boiling, remove it from the stove and let the sauce cool.
  6. After cooling, use an immersion blender to blend the sauce into an almost smooth consistency.

Any leftovers of this sauce can be refrigerated.  The sauce tastes great on both on salmon and chicken.

This time around I used it on baked salmon and I must say, it was delicious! I served the salmon with steamed broccoli and Baked Sweet Potato with Thyme.

Baked Salmon with Apricot Ginger Sauce

Baked Salmon with Apricot Ginger Sauce

Enjoy!

For additional Paleo Recipes, click here.

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Thai Chicken Salad with Cashew Dressing

I’m finally back home after two birthday parties, a graduation party and a family reunion. Whew! That’s a lot of family to see.

Here’s a recipe I made right before I left that I think you’ll enjoy.

Most recipes are easy to “paleo-ize” and this one was no exception. Not only was it easy but it was quite delicious as well. Originally I was going to make this recipe for my husband’s lunch but I kept forgetting so we had it for dinner instead. The ingredients are simple enough to purchase.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients

And, of course, the chicken.

3 Skinless Chicken Breasts

3 Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts

I prepared the vegetables which consisted of shredding the carrots and slicing the celery.

Prepare Vegetables

Prepare Vegetables

Next I cleaned and shredded the lettuce then tossed it in a bowl.

Shred Lettuce

Shred Lettuce

I used three boneless skinless chicken breasts and prepared them by grilling them on the stovetop then cutting them into bite size pieces. Then I seasoned them with a little bit of black ground pepper.

Prepare Chicken

Prepare Chicken

The original recipe calls for peanuts but I used raw cashews that I chopped up.

Cashews

Cashews

The coconut dressing is a combination of light coconut milk, maple syrup, almond butter, lime juice, coconut amino and a tad of red pepper flakes.

Cashew Dressing

Cashew Dressing

So far, so good? Take a peek at the recipe …

Ingredients

  • 4-6 cups romaine lettuce (cut up)
  • 2-3 skinless boneless chicken breasts, grilled and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup celery, sliced
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut amino
  • Red Pepper flakes (just a dash)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped raw unsalted cashews

Directions

  1. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate medium sized bowl, add the coconut milk, maple syrup, almond butter, lime juice, coconut amino and the red pepper flakes (or use ground pepper if you prefer) then stir everything together.
  3. Transfer the coconut mixture to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Stir to make sure everything is well combined.
  4. Remove the coconut mixture from the heat and let it cool for a couple of minutes.
  5. Pour the coconut mixture over the lettuce mixture and sprinkle with the cashews.

And here is the final result. Easy and delicious!

Thai Chicken Salad with Cashew Dressing

Thai Chicken Salad with Cashew Dressing

Adapted from Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing.

For a list of paleo recipes, click here.

 

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Turtles

In the short time that I’ve lived in Minnesota, I’ve seen a few turtles waddle down the street and have slowed down or driven on the “other side” of the road to allow them their space.

However, this year is the first time the turtles have waddled onto our property — all the way to our front door!

One morning I heard my husband call my name quite firmly “Norma! Norma!” Bleary eyed, I headed downstairs as I thought there was an emergency. And there he was — standing at the front door looking out through the glass. He turned around and said “Look.”

As I looked out the window, a rather large turtle was digging a hole next to the azalea plant to the right of our front door. So, I did what any normal blogger would do — I opened the door and snapped a picture.

Minnesota Turtle

Minnesota Turtle

My husband commented that perhaps the turtle was digging a hole to lay her eggs.  Um, okay. I was always under the impression that turtles lay their eggs on the sand next to water but I was mistaken as a search on Google clearly showed.

This turtle had made another hole in our front yard but apparently didn’t like it as she moved to this spot instead.

Heading back to bed, I remembered to take a peek when I was fully awake. The turtle was gone. She had covered the hole back with dirt. Hmmm … I’m wondering if perhaps we have turtle eggs.  We won’t know for another 45-90 days as trying to dig up the eggs could kill the embryos.

The following day, I was working in the yard and headed towards the driveway when I spotted another turtle (much smaller). This turtle was frightened by my presence as it quickly withdrew its head into its body.

Small Minnesota Turtle

Small Minnesota Turtle

It reminded me of the joke “Why did the chicken cross the road?” Do you remember that joke? The answer is “To get to the other side.” It’s not very funny but the joke is well known.

After I walked away, this small turtle scurried across the driveway “to the other side.”  Hahahahaha

Ahhh … life.

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