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Tag Archives: whole foods

Barbacoa (Steak) Quesadillas

Day number 49723.6 of quarantine during this global pandemic, and here we are, staying at home, cooking up a storm, and watching reruns of reruns of The Office. Days are blending into the next, and with each day passing a small glimmer of hope appears. I continue to think about the families who lost all their income, the students who are without any source of food, and new moms such as myself navigating parenthood with very limited interaction with family and the real world. What a time in our history, huh?

Over in our home, we love a good Mexican night. What’s not to love? Guacamole, margaritas, and delicious food, such as quesadillas. I didn’t swap anything for these: I used Whole Foods organic flour tortillas, a chuck roast, homemade guacamole and Organic valley mexican blend cheese. THAT’S IT. Barbacoa is traditionally a stewed beef in an oven or a slow cooker, and so that’s what I did. I’ll admit, I started cooking a little late so it wasn’t as tender as I would have preferred, BUT the flavor was spot on and had it cooked for another 2 hours it would have been perfection.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2lbs chuck roast
  • 1 package flour tortillas
  • 1 package mexican blend cheese
  • Beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Homemade guacamole or store-bought
    • for homemade:
      • two ripe avocados
      • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
      • 1/4 cup finely chopped tomato
      • half a lime to squeeze in juice
      • salt
  • Cooking spray
  • Chili Powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder

First and foremost, prep the chuck roast by patting it dry and seasoning generously with chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Place into the slow cooker and fill with 2 cups of water and 32oz broth (I LOVE Kettle and Fire’s beef broth – it’s delicious and packed with collagen and incredible benefits). Set on low cook for 8 hours, or high cook for 6 hour. You want the meat to be as tender as possible.

When the meat is done, pull apart with two forks or use poultry scissors to cut the meat into smaller pieces (this is what I did). Add the meat back to the stock and let it marinade. Spray cooking spray into a skillet and heat on medium high heat. Take a tortilla and let it begin to crisp. Add in the meat, then a few pinches of the cheese. Let it cook for two minutes on this side. Top the tortilla with a second tortilla and flip. Cook again for another two to three minutes. Repeat until all tortillas are used or to your desire. You can always leave some for leftovers tomorrow. Pair with the guacamole and an extra large margarita 🙂 Enjoy!

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Sausage and Peppers

Peanut butter and jelly. Macaroni and cheese. Donuts and coffee. Okay, the donuts and coffee doesn’t necessarily fit the analogy, but I can always go for a donut when I have coffee it sort of counts. Classic pairings are sometimes even more delicious than getting ultra creative and trying hard in the kitchen. During today’s current reality (I REFUSE to say new normal, because nothing about this is normal, it’s our current reality and if things shift afterwards – hopefully they do – it will be our new reality), it’s damn near impossible to order groceries on whatever site you use, grab a delivery slot, and get everything you hoped for. Sometimes, we have make do with what we have, and that’s what sausage and peppers was for me.

I’m a purist when it comes to certain foods, and sausage is one of them. I’m not a huuuge turkey or chicken sausage fan, I just feel like the flavor in pork sausage tastes better, and it’s higher fat for a reason! Trader Joe’s makes an awesome pork and beef uncured sausage link pack that I am dying to grab again, when I am brave enough to venture to stores. I had a pack in the freezer and decided “THIS is a good time to take these out and make lunch with them.” I had also ordered several bell peppers from the previous week’s grocery delivery, so AHA!… let’s make sausage and peppers. I’d like to take a moment to settle a debate here too: I despise green peppers. There is no room for them at the table: they smell and taste like dirt and are super bitter. I prefer orange and yellow bell peppers and usually have them on hand.

Here’s what you’ll need for this super simple and tasty dish:

  • 1 pkg sausage (I’ll allow turkey or chicken substitutes here), sliced into small rounds
  • 2 medium peppers, julienned (sliced thin)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Your favorite spicy seasoning – I use a fajita mix or cajun mix, I would also use New Bae seasoning from Primal Palate, found here!

Start by heating a large sauté pan with the olive oil. Throw in the peppers and let them cook down until they begin to sweat and slightly brown, this will be around 5-7 minutes. Throw in the sliced sausage and sprinkle in your seasoning. Cook until the sides of the sausage are browned and the peppers are soft.

This dish is perfect on its own, over orzo pasta, paired with rice, or can be tossed with other roasted veggies. I will also say this stays well in the fridge so it’s a perfect stay-at-home meal prep for lunches. Enjoy!

Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet with Garlic Spinach

HELLOOOOO FIRST SNOWY DAY OF THE SEASON!  It’s way too early for this nonsense but nevertheless, tis pretty as it falls no?  It also took me two hours to get home, but was grateful to arrive safely with my sweet girl Penny to greet me at the door.. for those of you who are new here and who don’t know my pup, here she is in her all her glory:56375504072__C45C344C-82E8-42F8-A907-7D0F6B23B3AE.JPG

Before I ate ground beef (and found a dire love for grass fed meats and quality poultry), I relied heavily on lean chicken breast and ground turkey.  I like ground turkey, but it always dries out, which then makes me gag and not want to finish my meal.  This dish, however, is nice and creamy and tastes so flavorful.  I went a little crazy and spiced the dish up a notch with chipotle powder and red pepper flakes – if you don’t like spice, feel free to leave it out!

The dish starts with sautéing some fresh spinach in butter.  Once it wilts, add some garlic powder and set aside.  This will be added to the ground turkey once it’s done browning.  Brown the ground turkey in a cast-iron skillet pre-greased.  Once the turkey is browned, add the spinach and fresh chopped sweet potato (note: I tossed the sweet potato in some avocado oil before adding it to the skillet so it gets tender quicker).

After everything is friendly in the skillet, add in the seasonings, and 1 cup of broth (either vegetable or chicken – I prefer chicken bone broth).  What this will do is keep the turkey juicy and tender, and also steam the sweet potatoes to cook quicker.  I added some flour to the mixture and blended until everything melded together and became thick.

Sprinkle some cheese (we used a fiesta blend) on top, bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.  The end result is a beautifully aromatic, flavorful hearty dish on a snowy cold day in November 🙂 Nomaste!

What’s in Your Shopping Cart?

Grabs cart at Whole Foods, strolls down the isles, glancing over at the breads, the cheese, the meats, fruits.. what do I grab?!  What am I SUPPOSED to buy?  That’s such a great question: what the crap am I supposed to buy (and ultimately, consume) at grocery stores?  What foods do and don’t belong in my cart?  We unpack this here…

To start, we are humans.  We are going to and, in fact, are supposed to not follow the rules all the time.  Let’s say you drive your cart passed a stand with freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies, and you happen to have a hankering for cookies. Grab a few and share with friends.  It is fine to indulge in a vice every now and again, it’s research proven that if you allow yourself to eat “bad foods” and not feel guilty, you are more likely to jump back into your clean eating regimen quicker and with laser focus.

I had a really bad routine of yo-yo dieting for as long as I can remember.  I was vegan, vegetarian, followed a P90X diet, did those protein shakes, the vegan protein shakes, ate raw veggies, and then back to eating whatever I wanted, and lots of bad fats and late night snacking.  Because I didn’t give myself time to adjust to a new way of eating, my body reacted horribly and developed high levels of H.Pylori in my stomach lining.  H. Pylori actually causes stomach ulcers, and cancer.  NO thanks.  I decided to stop trying new things and stick to what I know works best: eating for me.  This looks like playing scientist with specific foods and seeing how my body reacts – kind of like a food elimination.  I found that when I eat whole wheat, my body swells; but with regular flour, I’m fine.  I have slight aversions to Nightshades (TPEP: tomato, potato, eggplant, pepper) but can have in moderation.  I thrive on healthy fats (avocado, grass fed butter, EVOO, coconut, nuts, and yes, CHEESE) and tons of veggies (mostly cruciferous such as zucchini, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach) and know that if I want a slice of pizza, I’ll damn well enjoy it and then get back right on track the next meal, NOT the next day.

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Whole Foods L to R: In-house cookies, family pack of chicken fingers, local mozzarella cheese, in-house sourdough bread, Health-Ade kombucha, half-and-half, grass fed butter, zucchini, onion, Roma tomatoes, chicken (drumsticks and breast), raspberries, basil.

All this to say, your cart does not need to be perfect.  You do not need to have all the sustainable foods, the eco-friendly pouches, and the bio-degradable newest form of broccoli to be healthy.  Eat how your body tells you to eat.  Put things in your cart that you know you’ll eat and enjoy, rather than the blandest form of grilled chicken with steamed broccoli and a side of brown rice. Food is thy medicine, and I’ll be damned if I can’t enjoy my spoonful of sugar!

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Trader Joe’s trip (L to R): brussel sprouts, onion, more Roma tomatoes, avocado, potatoes, eggplant, swiss/gruyere cheese, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes. (not pictured: seltzer water, ground beef, chicken thighs)