Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to you, all of my beautiful followers! I know I have been strangely silent these past few weeks, but I wanted you to know I have not left you!! I am still cooking and have many fun things to share with you!! However, this year I got to finally cross the country to see my beloved family. It has been over a YEAR since I have been”home.” So the weeks leading up were crazy with preparation, and now I am focused on simply “being.” On listening to the men jam on their acoustic guitars, to playing Legos with one nephew or trying to get giggles out of the other infant nephew, to playing “Frozen” with the niece…cuddling with my other puppy, baking with my mom, or watching my dad figure out his new remote control helicopter. To playing Tetris Jenga with my brothers or just sitting close to them on the favorite couch. I’m soaking it all in, and I hope you are doing the same.

All that to say, recipes are coming soon. But until then, rejoice with me over family, the birth of our savior, and breaks to simply breathe. ❤️

First family photo since I was a kid…this is the special family I am enjoying!!

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Chicken Bacon Pesto Spaghetti Squash (Revised)

It was brought to my attention that this blog was missing a couple steps, so here is the revised version!! Much love to all my faithful followers! 🙂

Feeding Mr. Rodgers

Lately I have had SO much fun searching through all my cookbooks (and buying new ones…batting my puppy eyes at Mr. Rodgers when we find them in stores hehe!), adapting the recipes to fit our lifestyle, and sharing the recipes with you wonderful people.  (Seriously, you guys are wonderful.  I love my followers, and that everyone is so encouraging!)  I hope you enjoy seeing all the fun cookbooks I stumble upon!

However, with that being said…I must declare that there is something SO special…so satisfying and confidence-boosting…about successfully creating your own dish.  Your brain child.  Your baby.  And when people you love rave about it…I don’t know about you guys, but that makes me want to cry happy tears!

This is one of those dishes.  MINE!  MY OWN!  MY PRECIOUSSS!  Haha.  (If you understand that reference, you may be a nerd…and I love you for it!)  I sincerely hope that…

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Grain Free Fish Taco Bowls

Yum!  If any of you know anything about Mr. Rodgers, you probably know that he loves anything “taco.” However, our options are limited, seeing as his new, stricter rules cut out any grain!  Now he always loves what I make, but because he’s just so wonderful I love trying to surprise him with new dishes that capture at least parts of his old favorites…without the items on his “no-no” list.

That is what this was.  And it was totally worth it!  I am so excited for a new way to enjoy our favorite flavors.  We used to eat fish tacos once every other week or so, because it made us feel like we were eating a “fancy” or “special” taco.  Now…we can do that again, without guilt or the added pounds for the Mister!  Want to know a secret?  He has lost 40 pounds so far, and is still going!  I am so incredibly proud of him!  And thrilled with all the new recipes we are discovering in the process.

Anyways…back to these AMAZING bowls of flavor!

Adapted from pinchofyum.com

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Recipe Cauliflower Rice
  • 2 Tbsp Grassfed Butter or Coconut Oil
  • 1 lb Fresh Cod (Or white fish of choice)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Red Onion, Diced
  • 1 Red Pepper, Diced
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Powder (to taste, if you don’t like it spicy then just use a pinch)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Recipe Avocado Salsa for topping
  • Fresh Mango for topping (so good!)

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Mix together all the spices and spread generously over your fish filet.
  2. In a large cast iron skillet, melt the butter/oil over medium high heat.
  3. Add your fish now, cooking each side a few minutes until it is white through and flakes easily.  It will be tastiest if you can get at least a little bit of a sear on both sides!  We like ours crisp and a little blackened, as you’ll see in the picture!
  4. Remove the fish and add the peppers and onions.  Cook until tender crisp, making sure to stir and scrape up those blackened bits of goodness stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Add the beans and garlic and stir, cooking until everything is warm through.
  5. In a bowl, add a big spoonful of cauliflower rice.  Next, layer on the bean/veggie mix, then the fish (I shredded mine), then salsa, then mango…and whatever else your heart desires!  Enjoy!

 
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Prep all your veggies and things!

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Get your fish ready…

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Mix together your seasonings…

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And generously season your fish.  Melt your butter and add fish.  Sear each side and cook until it flakes easily.

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Remove from pan and set aside.

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Add onions and peppers to same pan and cook until tender crisp, stirring so you scrape up all the yummy blackened stuff on the bottom of the pan.

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Add your black beans and garlic, cook until heated through, and dump into a bowl.

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Shred your fish.  Yummy!

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Prepare your spread!

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You an do this buffet style and have everyone create their own, or fix the bowls up yourself!

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Add the rice first, then the veggie mix…

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Then the fish…

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The salsa…

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And the mango!

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So ridiculously yummy, with layers of flavor!!!  I hope you enjoy this like we did!

 

 

Husband Approved Meatloaf!!

So I have a confession. It’s kind of a silly confession. I have been married 3 years, and have been cooking a ton since the beginning. This whole time, I have been TERRIFIED to make a meatloaf. I never have, up until this past month. Why? I’ll tell you why.

Naturally, I am a writer. So I have that slightly dramatic, sometimes forgetting what is real life and what is story sort of mind. Growing up, I read lots of books, and now that I am married to Mr. Rodgers, I watch quite a few movies. And you know what one constant thread seems to be in lots of those stories?! A couple has been married for years, they get into a horrible fight and in a fit of anger the husband yells, “I never liked your meatloaf!” And then the wife breaks down crying because she thought it was his favorite. Or the father pays the kids to eat the meatloaf. Or everyone slips it under the table to the dog. So many versions all communicating one thing to my food-passionate brain: Your husband will secretly hate meatloaf, even if you think it’s good. Meatloaf is gross. Don’t even try.

And so I didn’t. But since we switched to a more paleo-based diet, Mr. Rodgers has been in need of very protein heavy meals. Meatloaf just seemed like an easy option. Then, I downloaded Abel James’ recipe app. Lo and behold, there were meatloaf recipes!! So I decided to be brave and try one because, after all, if the husband hated it, I could always blame it on Abel James. (Sorry to throw you under the bus dude!!) HOWEVER, there was no need to cast blame, because my husband LOVED IT! (As you probably guessed from the title of this post ;)) And he wasn’t just saying that either, he asked for seconds 😉 So…for any of you nervous wives out there, here it is. A husband approved meatloaf!! Adapted ever so slightly from Abel James:

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb Ground Beef, Preferably Grass Fed
  • 1 lb Turkey Bacon (Or pork if you are into pork!  We try to steer clear of it except for on special occasions)
  • 1o oz Jar Sun Dried Tomatoes, minced (Original called for Fire-Roasted but I got sun dried by mistake…but the twangy flavor they added was what Mr. Rodgers loved the best!)
  • 1 Red Onion, Minced
  • 1 Bell Pepper, Minced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 C Almond Flour
  • 1/2 C Flax Meal
  • 2 Tbsp Oregano (Or if you have some leftover homemade Italian seasoning like we use in the sausage…that’s good too!)
  • Sea salt and pepper

 

And here’s how you do it, easy  peasy

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prep veggies.  Mince bacon as small as possible, unless you have a meat grinder.
  3. Combine everything in a large bowl.  Grease a loaf pan with a small amount of grass fed butter, then form your meat mixture into a loaf in the pan.
  4. Bake for an hour or so, until top is browned and middle is cooked.  Preferrably, use a meat thermometer to make sure the temp gets to 165*.
  5. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting into it.  We were starving and cut into it right away so it fell apart a little.  But when you are that hungry, you just don’t care haha!!

 

Peectures!

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Preheat oven to 400*!  Mince everything up small…

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And put it all together in a large bowl!

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And use your hands to mix it all up until combined well, hahaha!!  I had a helper!  Doesn’t he  look excited?! 😀

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Look at all those delicious ingredients all mixed up and ready to be yummy!

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Form into a loaf in a lightly greased loaf pan.  (Why yes, yes we were watching Parks and Rec while we made this meatloaf.  Don’t be jealous.)

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And cook for about an hour until the top is browned and the middle is done, to at least 165*  🙂

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Here it is beside the best brussels sprouts ever!!

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Hallelujah, holy yum, there is hope for meatloaf after all!!  😀  What is your favorite meatloaf recipe?!

Love Someone In THEIR Language

I am going to do something today that I never ever do.  In fact, it happens to be a peeve of mine.  But you will understand once I explain.

What is this peeve you ask?

When you follow a food blogger because you like their food blogs…and then they start blogging about something that isn’t food!!  I promise, this should be a one time occurrence.  Here is my story:

 

There is a BEAUTIFUL woman at my church who has completely dedicated her life to encouraging other women.  She works tirelessly, puts together movie nights and services with inspirational speakers, she’ll text you randomly just to remind you that you matter, and she is known for making you cry within minutes of a conversation starting (the good kind of cry!).  Her name is Marsha.  A few weeks ago, I was sitting at the church blogging, waiting for my husband to finish up something he was working on, and Marsha spotted me and plopped down on the next chair over.  We were chatting, and she began asking how I was.  In a moment of vulnerability, I shared with her some of my struggles of wanting to be a good wife, and the awkward balance therein.  You see, Mr. Rodgers has turned a corner with his eating.  He is determined, and he has a lot riding on whether he gets results or not.  So I shared with her that, in the moments I do have off from work, I start an inner struggle.  The responsible Mrs. Rodgers wants to prepare healthy food so he has no reason to stumble, to clean and do laundry and mostly just cook and get groceries and stuff him with healthy substances.  But the young bride in me wants to spend that time cuddling and watching movies and going on walks and playing board games and doing the “heart-healthy” things with my husband.  Marsha listened carefully, gave me lots of hugs, prayed with me, and told me “you are doing a really good job.”  That in itself meant a lot to me.

However, she didn’t stop there.  Just a few days ago, she showed up at my job with a little surprise.  A HUGE, beautiful basket CRAMMED with mostly healthy, mostly prepared food!  Her reasoning?  She was taking  care of the healthy food for Mr. Rodgers and I, so that, at least for a few days, those moments would be free for me to simply enjoy his company.  She had really listened, and had taken care of a need, removed an anxiety, and invested in the joy of my marriage.

So.  Because of that, I haven’t cooked a lot the last few days.  I figured it would be appropriate for me to change the blog up a bit this time.  This time, instead of sharing a food idea, I want to issue a challenge.

This week, find someone who needs some encouragement and love, and give them just that.  Really listen when they speak to you, and give them something (or serve them in some way) that reflects the idea that you HEARD them and that what they said matters.  Marsha knows that I am a food blogger.  She knows that I am a health nut.  I’m not sure if she knows that gift baskets are my all time favorite gift to give…if she doesn’t, then she guessed really well.  What inspired me so much was that she loved me in MY language.  Not necessarily just something that would make her feel good, but something she knew I would connect with.

Haha, don’t judge me for this, but it reminds me of a scene from Parks and Recreation, when the bubbly and extravagant Leslie is cooking up a surprise for the introverted Ron Swanson.  The whole week he is terrified because of the bouncy-house parties she has thrown for people in the past.  But when the time has finally come, he realizes that she loved him in his own language.  She set up a table for one with his favorite drink, a giant steak, and his favorite movies…guarding the door so that no one could interrupt.

So this week, I challenge you, go love someone in THEIR language.  And please come back and share your story.  One person at a time, we can change the world.

Clean Out The Crisper Two-In-One: Episode 2; Chicken Veggie Soup

Yeaaaah!  If you don’t know what that title is talking about, go look at the post I shared earlier this week!  Nutshell version: using the veggies that are going bad in your fridge; one prep, two meals, many days of eating healthy!!  BAM!  So with one bowl of veggies, I already showed you how to make some basic easy stir fry!  Now I will show you how to use the rest of your veggies and some left over chicken to make soup!!  Woot woot!!

As I mentioned earlier this week, this will not be a precise, “use this” recipe.  Because the veggies I have in my fridge are not going to be the veggies you have in your fridge.  Instead of communicating a recipe right now, I am trying to more enlighten you on an idea.  You don’t have to lose those veggies!  And you can still eat healthy if you are about to face a busy week!

So here is recipe number two!  Chicken Veggie Soup!!

 

Here’s what I had (you can use whatever you have!): Note: veggies were split between this recipe and my Chicken Stir Fry!

  • 2 Lg Chicken Thighs
  • 1/2 lb Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 2 Small Onions
  • 1/4 Red Cabbage
  • 3 Handfuls Carrots
  • 3 Cloves Garlic

 

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