Mayo-less Egg Salad
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Mayo-less Egg Salad

This salad was easy and, although I had my doubts initially, quite tasteful.

I thought for sure I would miss the mayonnaise ingredient, but I didn’t.  And, I did nothing to make it paleo ~ made it just as the recipe said, well, pretty much.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin
  • Parsley, handful, minced
  • 6 green olives, pitted and minced
  • Salt and ground black pepper (to your taste)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together a dressing with the olive oil, lemon juice and mustard then set this aside.
  2. In a larger bowl, mash the eggs with a potato masher, add the dressing, scallions, parsley and olives then mix everything together.
  3. Add the dressing slowly to the egg mixture to get the right consistency for yourself.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.

This recipe was delicious, however, it does not keep well overnight as it gets soggy so eat it immediately.  You won’t be sorry.

I served this with baked salmon and grilled yellow squash.

Mayo-less Egg Salad

Mayo-less Egg Salad

For more recipes, click here.

 

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Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Dill
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Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Dill

Sometimes I don’t feel like making a “new” entree so instead I find a new side dish that will complement the entree.

Today was such a day.

I found this recipe in a book called 1,000 Vegan Recipes which has quite a few excellent side dishes that are paleo.

The ingredients are quite simple ~

Ingredients for Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Dill

Ingredients for Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Dill

Looks simple enough, eh?

I only used half of the brussels sprouts in the bag since there’s only the two of us and I just needed a small side dish. I cut the tips off the ends of the brussels sprouts, sliced them lengthwise and then cleaned them. Then I steamed them for a bit.

Prepare the brussels sprouts

Prepare the brussels sprouts

After slicing the shallots, I softened them up in a little olive oil.

Saute the shallots

Saute the shallots

Then everything is thrown together (okay, okay, not literally thrown) to get a nice side dish.

Ready to see the recipe?

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 shallots, quartered lengthwise
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried dill seeds

Directions

  1. Steam the Brussels Sprouts until they are just tender ~ about 7 minutes ~ the set them aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat then add the shallots and cook until they are softened.
  3. Add the tender Brussels Sprouts and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook until the shallots and sprouts become lightly browned ~ 5 minutes or so.
  5. Add the dill seed, stir to combine then serve immediately.

I served this side dish with baked yams (Trader Joe’s calls them Sweet Potatoes but I know better) and the Slow Cooker Twenty Garlic Chicken. Delicious!

Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Dill

Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Dill

And just for you, here’s a Brussels Sprouts factoid: Brussels Sprouts may have originated in Brussels, Belgium and are quite popular in that area.

 

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Olympic Mountains
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A Friend’s Death

It’s been a tough month for me having to deal with the death of a friend who I’ve known for 17 years.

She would have been 85 years old but died 2 days short of her birthday. Having been on hospice 4 times in the past 2 years, I had grown accustomed to the calls from the nurses giving me updates on how well she was doing. One morning, she woke up, drank her Ensure and fell back asleep.

By early afternoon she was having trouble breathing although she was resting comfortably. Deep breaths. Heart rate 150, then 160 then 180. She suffered from atrial fibrillation and Alzheimers. I was getting calls every 30 minutes from the caregiver and then the hospice nurse called. “We’d like to administer morphine.” I said no as I had been told she was resting comfortably by the caregiver she lived with. “She’s having difficulty breathing, her pulse is over 180 and her face is contorted — she’s uncomfortable and looks distressed.” “Okay,” I said softly, “but I want an update before you administer more than the lowest dose.” Fifteen minutes after the injection she was gone. That quickly.

Fortunately, I had already booked a trip to Seattle to check in on her and was scheduled to fly out two days later. My mind went blank as I wasn’t sure what her death would entail. I was her personal representative (also known as executor) and had never been one before. When I arrived at the airport, my son picked me up and we had breakfast together. Afterwards, I picked up the rental car and headed straight to the funeral home. A friend, who had offered to have her buried in the same cremation plot as his wife, met me there.

While waiting for my friend to arrive, I walked around the cemetery. Most of the grave markers I saw weren’t easily readable. I walked over to one where another friend of mine had been buried. I missed her so much and memories of our time together flooded my mind. Someone else had been here recently as a vase with almost dead roses was set in front of the marker. At least she’s being remembered, I said to no one.

Dorothy Moore Grave Marker

Dorothy Moore Grave Marker

Washelli Cremation Cemetery

Washelli Cremation Cemetery

Being here made me feel as if life was meaningless. I thought about Solomon’s words in the Bible …

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”     says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless!     Everything is meaningless.”

What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?

These words would come back to haunt me for the duration of this trip and beyond.

I already had a paid contract for the services that the funeral home/cemetery would provide but because of a mix-up more money had to be paid. That’s okay I thought to myself — she can’t take it with her.

Once all the arrangements were confirmed, I drove to the adult family home where she had a room that needed to be cleaned out. The caregiver greeted me and hugged me but I felt nothing. Perhaps it was my state of mind but the hug seemed irrelevant to what had happened. I went to her room and everything, with the exception of her clothes, dolls and paperwork, was gone. No bed. No side table. One room contained everything that she possessed when she died.

“Meaningless …”  As I went through her things I found myself overwhelmed for no particular reason. The caregiver had left me boxes so that I could pack things up. “The carpet cleaners will be here tomorrow evening,” she said. Oh. I guess that meant that I had a full 24 hours to go through all of her belongings.

There was no time to go through each item so I started separating the garbage from the pile of things that I would need to figure out what to do with. After 3 hours I couldn’t do it anymore and left with a couple of boxes that I dropped off at the local Goodwill.

My friend had left me all of her possessions. She had very little money — mainly dolls, clothes, family photos, paperwork. What is the point of my keeping all of this?

She was estranged from her family — one son had molested her, one son was on drugs and the daughter stole from her and had also been on drugs. Sitting here going through her things I remembered the conversation I had had with her daughter the day after her mother died. I called and left a message for her to please call me and when she did … well, I was unprepared for what happened.

She: What do you want?

Me: I called to let you know that your mother passed away yesterday.

She: Well, those things happen.

Me: Silence for a little bit. Then “Okay, well, I was wondering if you could let your brothers know.”

She: Yes, I can, no wait, I’m not going to do you any favors Norma.

Then the phone went dead. She had hung up on me.

Sitting here looking at the family photos I wondered how this family had gotten to be so estranged. (Later in the day, the brother did call me to tell me his sister had called him.)

The caregiver had told me that I could leave whatever clothes I didn’t want and she would use them for another resident. That was a good thing. I took a few things that I had given to her and packed them for myself.

She was a doll collector so I packed a couple of boxes of dolls — one for myself and one for her niece who was the only one in the family who stayed in touch with her on a regular basis.

Another box of pictures was packed to send to the son who called me. I decided to keep the really old pictures of her grandmother, grandfather and parents so that I could make a DVD for the family and send it during the holidays. The niece will appreciate it, the children — who knows?

After loading the car with boxes, I took it to the friends house where I was staying. I would go through these boxes the next day.

The thought kept popping up in my head — this is all meaningless.

We collect things that supposedly give us pleasure only to die and have someone else go through them and toss or give away what doesn’t give them pleasure. It’s a vicious cycle. A meaningless cycle in life.

I found myself feeling depressed.

I decided not to have a funeral service for my friend because frankly, I felt alone and didn’t know if I would be able to endure it. She had a few people who might come but not her children and I did not have the impetus to call people and gather them up for a service.

No. She was dead. She couldn’t care what I did. The only person any of this would matter to was me, so I chose what was best for me.

A friend took me kayaking at Entai Beach in Bellevue to “get you away from funeral and death thoughts” and it worked quite well. The day was lovely.

Entai Beach, Kayaking

Entai Beach, Kayaking

Entai Beach, Kayaing

Entai Beach, Kayaing

Entai Beach, Kayaking

Entai Beach, Kayaking

Entai Beach, Kayaking

Entai Beach, Kayaking

Entai Beach, Kayaking

Entai Beach, Kayaking

Entai Beach, Kayaking

Entai Beach, Kayaking

Beautiful lilies along a walkway really helped to lift my spirits.

Lilies

Lilies

Before leaving Seattle, I was able to get copies of the death certificate, contact the bank, contact the insurance companies and social security. Things flowed quite well actually.

Of course, I had shipped paperwork, dolls and family photos to myself so I still have to go through it all along with figuring out what to do with 15-20 porcelain dolls.

Life — it’s so precious. Possessions — meaningless.

The good influence we as humans have on each other seems to be getting more and more insignificant as morality appears to be decreasing. We go from day to day living our lives — eating, drinking, working, gardening, socializing. Then we become dust.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

It is only our actions that may continue the journey in life as they affect the lives of other people. Soon, too soon, the dead are forgotten. No one remembers their laughs, their cries, their sorrows …

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14

What is left?

Well, for those who don’t believe in God, there is nothing. You simply live and then die.

For those of us who believe in God there is the hope of a resurrection at the second coming of Jesus. That, my friends, is what I hang onto. Not just a belief in an invisible God but a belief in a God who speaks to me everyday, counsels me every day and loves me, every day. The relationship is much stronger than any I’ve ever had.

The old adage “seek and you will find” is true. Fortunately it works both ways — both God and I seek each other.

Meaningless?  Things — yes. Relationships – no. Remember this the next time you have to make a choice between a thing and a person.

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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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