Fact, EVERYTHING is better with bacon!

One thing I love about Paleo is all the different uses of bacon and bacon fat! I try not abuse the fact that someone finally said it’s okay to eat bacon and use the fat in other recipes, but I’m I LOVE bacon and all the different ways to use it! I do ,however, now buy the nitrate-free, uncured bacon.  I used to eat turkey bacon and it was ok, I just ate it because I thought it was “healthy”.  But come on, bacon comes from a pig…. not a turkey!  I read some where about eating food in it’s “natural form” or something like that, bacon does not naturally come from a turkey, they take some parts of the turkey and change it into what kind of looks like bacon.   But if you like it, hey go for it!  I think different things work for different people, as long as you like it that is all that matters.

Now, onto one of my most favorite things to make and is super easy! BACON WRAPPED CHICKEN THIGHS!!!  They are always a huge hit with my family.  This time a paired them with Cauliflower Faux Mashed Potatoes and Sautéed Asparagus.  I got the chicken and cauliflower recipes from Diane Sanfilippo’s book Practical Paleo.  Anyone interested in Paleo and not sure where to start, I would definitely recommend this book to you.  She also covers how to eat better if you have certain cancers, diabetes, immune disorder, digestive problems, heart health and if you’re simply needed to lose some weight!  It is packed FULL of lots of good info.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs

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Nice little thighs tightly wrapped in bacon…

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About 40 min. later, a little slice of Heaven!!

The thighs turn out nice and juicy and so full of flavor! Healthy is NOT boring and bland anymore!!

Cauliflower Faux Mashed Potatoes

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Cut one whole head of cauliflower into florets. Steam cauliflower until soft. Put florets in handy food processor.

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Add about 4 tbsp of butter (I use Kerrygold grass-fed butter), salt and pepper. Pulse until creamy and enjoy!

I personally think these are an amazing substitute for the real thing! My kids took a little while to get used to them, but they eat them now.  I’ve also made the garlic faux potatoes  which  are yummy too, but next up to try are the loaded faux potatoes! 🙂

Sautéed Asparagus

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I melted about 2 tbsp of butter, added asparagus to cook at medium low heat for about 10 min, and season to your liking! I put a little salt and a garlic pre-mixed seasoning on it and I ate almost all of it…by myself…it was pretty good. 😉

So, it turned out to be a pretty tasty and satisfying meal. I didn’t feel bad at all for having seconds with this meal, especially when it was just extra veggies I was eating!  I feel good about making healthier decisions for me and my family! There is hope for us yet, but for now we’re just taking it one day at a time!

-Dubya

Brand new year… lots of big changes!

Thank goodness for the new year! Logically thinking, January 1st is just another day… but for some reason, it feels like a fresh start to what could be an awesome year!  Normally I don’t go for the whole new years resolutions, maybe because I can never stick to it and accomplish the goals I set.  (Not being a downer, those are just the cold hard facts) This year feels different though… so I am setting goals and I will accomplish them! *next sentence said in big commanding voice* It may not happen today or even this month, but I will continue on until I reach greatness!!!   Ha ha, just kidding… I just want me and my family to be happy, healthy, more active, go and do stuff and see things we’ve never done or seen before, get more active in church, become a better cook, build things (or talk my husband into it), get out of debt  and the list can go on and on! 2014 was a very rough and long year, lots of changes for my family… some good, some bad.  Maybe that’s why I’m looking to 2015 so much? Whatever it is, it’s a much welcomed change.  Maybe I’m just so damn happy that school starts back tomorrow and we can get back into a routine.  I also start back to Crossfit and I’m starting a new healthy “lifestyle change” (not diet) for the whole fam.! Not just every once in a while healthy dinners, I’m talking if we want bread I gotta get my butt up and make some Paleo style bread… no store-bought processed chemical packed crap!  There’s also a lot of changes I’m going to be making to my house, inside and out.  We are going to be busy busy! I should probably go ahead and start, this is gonna take a while…

-Dubya

Breakfast is what’s for supper!!

One of my family’s favorite meals for supper is breakfast! Doesn’t matter what it is… eggs, bacon, biscuits, pancakes, waffles, donuts, sausage, hashbrowns, toast, my grandma’s homemade jelly we LOVE it all!  When I was pregnant with my son my husband would take me out to eat for breakfast 2-3 times a week there for a few months and I was ADDICTED to chicken fried steak, but that’s not all.  I would get chicken fried steak, hashbrowns, 2 scrambled eggs and toast or a biscuit that may or may not have been covered in butter and honey!!! But it’s not just me, my whole family can put back some breakfast like it ain’t nobodys business.

So, I am definitely trying to start cooking a lot healthier for the fam but at the same time I refuse to throw out perfectly good food that may be bad for us.  I’m not buying anymore bad stuff, just going through the bad stuff that I still have. We had a couple of cans of crescent rolls left over from Thanksgiving so I decided to make a breakfast cassorole, but I was craving veggies and maybe a little bit of spice so of course I have to make two separate cassoroles but no biggie!  I made the kids: cresent roll on bottom, cooked sausage and cream cheese mix next, top that with 4 eggs, then some shredded cheese and finally cresent rolls on top.  Cook for 30 min at 350.  Pretty easy, but I’m thinking I want something to go with it and I’ve really been wanting to try this recipe I found on Pinterest.  Click on the link to check out the Baked Pears with Walnuts, but sadly I had no walnuts! 😦 Still pretty good though and the kid I thought would love it didn’t like it and the one I would have bet money on hating it, loved it and ate 2 along with most of the kids casserole… I really don’t know how she’s still moving!

Now on to my casserole, it actually came out looking like a fritatta.  I’ve never made a fritatta but I’ve seen pictures of them and I think might be similar?!?!  Anyways, I cooked up some green bell peppers and onions  in oil. Removed from pan once soft.  Added sausage, cooked til done then put the cream cheese in to pan to mix with it. Added onions and peppers back to pan with sausage mix to reheat.  Put sausage mix in dish.

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Added 4 beaten eggs on top of sausage mix.

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Topped with shredded cheese and quartered cherry tomatoes!
Baked at 350 for 30 min. Turned out pretty good, I topped mine with some green salsa because I have a new found love for it! Not too bad for something just thrown together. Now we’re all full, happy and enjoying Christmas movies by the fire. So blessed for what we have and our amazing family. Thank goodness my kids are willing to try moms new recipes with few threats of what would happen if they didn’t! 🙂 Hope everyone has a great night!

-Dubya

Getting back in the game!

Ok, so it has been A WHILE since I last wrote a post but oh how I’ve missed it!! Still living the country life and trying to raise those two kids not to be hoodlums.  Well, I don’t know about y’all but I got burnt out over Thanksgiving…with cooking, socializing, having to play hostess! Don’t get me wrong, I love family and I love having a full house over the holidays but having to cook for 14 people for 3 or 4 days was exhausting!! But I am lucky enough to have family that shared some of the cooking responsibilities with me.  Anyways, it took me a good week to recoup and get back in the kitchen and cook a meal that didn’t involve reheating at least some leftovers. I’m back in the kitchen now, finding new healthy recipes to try.  One thing I wish I would’ve learned a long time ago was that “healthy” doesn’t have to mean nasty or bland or eating a single pea on top of a bed of what looks like weeds with no salad dressing!  THANK GOODNESS those ways of thinking are long gone. I’ve made it a mission to find good quality/healthy recipes that taste good.  Luckily I have found success in my mission and will share those recipes as I find them! So, I’m gonna try to post at least a few times a week and if you’ve looked at any of my old post you know you’ll get more than just recipes from me… and OMG I swear if that rooster doesn’t find somewhere else to crow besides right outside my window, chicken will be on the menu for supper!!! Ok, he moved on  finally. So anyways, I look forward to sharing some new stuff with everyone! Hope y’all have a great day.

– Dubya

Black Bean Enchiladas

Very yummy!!

I was very excited about this recipe, like a little too excited!  I love Mexican food, enchiladas being one of my favorites to personally make.  They are super easy and you can change-up the ingredients in so many different ways… this usually works to my advantage because once again I forgot my grocery list at the house!  One thing I changed was the amount of enchiladas I made, the recipe called for 8 and I only made 6, I knew that this pan would fit 6 perfectly from all the other times that I have made enchiladas.  I still made the same amount of ingredients for the filling as the recipe called for because I love eating the leftover filling all by itself.. one of the perks of being the cook! 😉  I used the La Tortilla Factory 80 calorie tortillas that I could only find at Kroger, OF COURSE none of the local grocery stores had them!  Ok, so I was at the grocery store in the freezer section (for those of you who haven’t looked at the recipe already, it calls for a cup of frozen fire roasted corn) and I’m looking (without my list) at the fire roasted corn and I’m thinking, “yum that looks good, but what would I cook with it?”  So instead of getting the fire roasted like I should have, even if it was just because it looked good, I got the plain!  Sometimes I surprise even myself at my stupidity!! So, point of the corn story is that I had to improvise.. I used a cup of the plain corn I had and I mixed in a half can of Rotel to give a little more spice (which I like).  And since the recipe called for chunky salsa, I figured it would all workout just fine!  When it finally came down to chow time I was very pleased.  Even though it didn’t have meat in it, it was still very filling and had a great taste to it!  I definitely will be making these again, I have found healthy enchiladas and I’m super excited… I just have to remember that just because they are healthy that doesn’t mean I should eat the whole pan!

-Dubya

Delicious, my first cow!

Our steer calf, Delicious!

He is a Brangus steer calf that weighs around 700 lbs now, I don’t know how much he’ll weigh when we get done feeding him out but I bet he will be massive!  He loves his sweet feed and is pretty gentle, he lets me pet on him and likes to smell my gloves.  I was told not to get attached, but he’s my first cow I can’t help it!  It does help to think about him feeding our family with  good quality meat for a long time and don’t have to worry about eating meat with all the hormones in it and stuff… he’s on a hay and grain diet only!

The first day this calf was at our house, I don’t think any of us will ever forget!  I had a front row seat to a bronc ride and steer ropin’… just another day of life in the country!  This steer has some spunk to him that’s for sure!!  He busted through fence and caused my husband, who is a retired bronc rider (or so he thought), and Yellar, our roping horse who hasn’t done anything but dodge cactus for the past two years, to saddle up and relive their glory days!!  They did a damn fine good too, I SO wish I would’ve had my phone with me to take pictures but living in the country and raising livestock sometimes you need all the extra hands you can get to help out in these situations!  Luckily my mom showed up just in time to help too.  While my husband was looking fine sitting atop Yellar (both were worn out after chasing down that calf and pushing him a 1/2 mile back into our pasture), my mom and I were on either side of the horse to help keep the calf (which was also very wore out) moving towards the holding pen.

Let me just say that steer was called many other things than Delicious that day!  But a few days have passed and he seems to be getting adjusted to his new surroundings.  I look forward to taking care of our new steer, what’s a few more things added to a long list of things to do everyday?  Still loving life in the country and dealing with all the many obstacles thrown our way… as long as our family works together, we can get through anything! 🙂

Wyatt, our trusted cow dog who helps in the wrangling!

My hubby…bronc riding on Roxy… who is actually just standing still! In the words of my 3 yr old son, “he’s so cray (crazy)”

Yellar and his little buddy of many names, he has been Alvin, Simon, Theodore, Eric,and Ariel (he IS a boy and my daughter could never make up her mind)!

Happy Birthday to me!!

A wonderful birthday present to myself!  I always know just what I want!

Those not familiar with the western world may not know about Corral Boots.  They are not only beautiful, but comfy too!  You can get these boots with a lot of different designs and colors on them, and well…I just needed plain black.  It’s very hard to find a nice looking black dress boot!  These will be strictly for church and maybe a little boot scootin’ too! 😉  Boots are something else I have an obession with, there are all different kinds of boots for many different occasions…at least that’s what I tell myself, my husband does NOT agree!

Cranberry Swirl Bread

I bought a new recipe magazine the other day, Taste of Home Fall Baking. One day I will write a post about my obsession with recipe magazines, but that will take a while so not now! Back on subject.. this magazine has LOTS of recipes that I can’t wait to try, the first one I started off with was the Cranberry Swirl Bread! First of all let me start off by saying that when I went to Kroger (45 min drive from my house, I live in the country for those who didn’t know) to buy the items I was going to need to make this, cranberries WERE on my list… but somehow I came home with blueberries instead! I have an obsessive need to make list’s for everything because I have a horrible memory… so much so that I forget to look at my grocery list while I’m in the store(most often I forget it in the car) and therefore NEVER get everything I need while I am there. SO, that being said I made Blueberry Swirl Bread which turned out very well thank you!! 🙂 This bread without the optional glaze/drizzle toppings is more like a coffee cake, which is one of my favorite things… you just can’t beat coffee and dessert bread in the mornings! The bread itself was not dry, it just wasn’t that sweet. So if you want it to be pretty sweet I would put the glaze/drizzle on it as it describes in the recipe. Now, I am by no means a good photographer so bare with me! I just wanted to show pics of some of the different steps in making the bread just to give a visual. This bread was pretty fun to make, but kind of messy… but I am a “messy baker”!

Yes, I knead my dough on a lightly floured CLEAN countertop!

I greased my bowl with shortening.

After an hour of rising, recipe says 40-45 min, but I had to feed and water horses. Took a little longer than I thought, oh well on we go to the next step!

Dough rolled out to a close 20″x10″ rectangle. I couldn’t draw a straight line if my life depended on it, I definitely can’t roll out dough in a perfect rectangle!

By the grace of God it made it into the pan, that sucker is heavy with the filling in it!

Not as good of a pic as the original recipe, but I think their 9×5 pan wasn’t the same as mine..I needed like a 10×5 or something MY PAN RUNNETH OVER! Oh well, still not too bad!

Gotta love that swirl, so pretty!

Well, like I said this was a pretty fun bread to make and it was very delicious!  I have to share my desserts with my family so I don’t eat the whole thing myself and they can collaborate my story! 😉 Hope you give this recipe a try, might even try it with cranberries..could be pretty good too!

Chicken Parmigiana

I found this recipe (click here) on Pinterest and I have to say, I was VERY impressed! Parmigiana is the authentic Italian word that pretty much translates into parmesan. So, don’t let the title throw you off from trying the recipe. I’ve never been a real big fan of traditional chicken parmesan, the tomato sauce was always too thick and there was way too much of it! This reicpe was really quite easy to make with the help of a food processor. It made a little bit too much tomato sauce, but it was okay… I just used as much as I needed! I paired it with Betty Crocker Basil Pesto Pasta Salad, which was also very yummy. I forgot to take a pic of the dish after it came out of the oven so the one on here is after I reheated it for lunch the next day and it was still very good! I will be making this one again, hope you give it a try too!

Cookie Mix Recipes

Chewy Chocolate Heaven

1 2/3 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 c. white sugar

2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 c. brown sugar

To make cookie jars:

Combine the flour, baking soda, and white sugar. Place 1/2  of mixture in clean quart size jar with wide mouth. Place 1 cup of chocolate chips on top, pack firmly.  Place brown sugar on top and again pack firmly.  Place remaining mixture on top of brown sugar, follow with the rest of the chocolate chips.  Cover with lid.

To bake:

Empty jar into a large bowl.  In separate bowl combine 3/4 cup of butter, 2 eggs, and 1 tsp vanilla.  Beat until creamy.  Add to dry mixture. Drop by tablespoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for eight to ten minutes.

 

Cranberry Sensation

5/8 c. all-purpose flour                                              1/3 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 c. rolled oats (old fashioned oats)                       1/3 c. white sugar

1/2 c. all-purpose flour                                               1/2 c. dried cranberries

1/2 tsp baking soda                                                    1/2 c. white chocolate chips

1/2 tsp salt                                                                  1/2 c. chopped pecans

To make cookie jar:

Layer the ingredients in order listed in a wide mouth quart jar. Cover with lid.

To bake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla until fluffy.  Add the entire jar of ingredients, and mix together by hand until well blended.  Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake for eight to ten minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

 

PB&C Cookies

1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour                               3/4 c. old fashioned oats

1 tsp baking powder                                      1/2 c. Reeses pieces

1/2 tsp baking soda                                       1/2 c. chopped pecans

1/4 tsp salt                                                     1/2 c. mini semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. white sugar

To make cookie jars:

Layer ingredients into jar in order listed.  Cover with lid.

To bake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix 1 tsp vanilla, 2 eggs, and 3/4 c. melted butter in a large bowl at medium speed until mixed well.  Slowly add the contents of the jar into the bowl while mixing at a low speed.  When ingredients are well mixed, roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Place balls about 1 inch apart.  Bake eight to ten minutes or until edges are set and brown.  Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

 

Hope you enjoy these cookies as much as my family and I do!

-Dubya

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