Mexican Haystacks Discovered on Pinterest

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By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

Gotta love Pinterest!  I still love checking it out every now and then when I need some inspiration (or Pinspiration, as they say).  A couple of days ago I saw this recipe for Mexican Haystacks and they looked so pretty, I thought I would try them.  I looked over the ingredients and they looked pretty basic, like a variation of recipes I’ve tried before, but when I put it all together and made it last night (with a couple of tweaks, of course), they were amazing – and a HUGE hit with my family.

I have to pause for a moment and make a note about the quality of ingredients that go into this recipe (and every recipe, for that matter).  The beef I chose to use for this recipe came from a wonderful little restaurant down the road from us, The Blue Wagyu.  They sell the Wagyu beef that they breed and raise (Artisan Cattle), and I have to say, it is the best beef I have ever had!  Blue Wagyu has recently gone through some changes and they’ve expanded their burger menu since last year.  The first time we went in there this season and tried a burger, I couldn’t believe how good it was – crazy good!  So, I thought I would buy some of their beef to grill on Mike’s new Big Green Egg grill that I got him for Christmas, and to use in the Mexican Haystack recipe.

And, I think it’s the beef that made this recipe really stand out!  I can’t stress enough, how important good quality ingredients are in any recipe!  And when you are talking about an ingredient that has the potential to be as full of drugs and other toxins, such as meat, it’s even more important.

Back to the recipe.  I made a couple of changes:

I used organic Wagyu beef instead of ground turkey.

I used 3 cloves of fresh garlic as opposed to garlic powder.

I served the salsa on the side rather than mixing it with the brown rice (by the way, I used brown rice rather than white rice).

I chopped up some lettuce and mixed it with a little lemon juice and sea salt to add as the final topping.

To make the circle shape that is shown in the picture, I fortunately had a mini cheesecake pan, so I scooped some brown rice into it, pressed it with the back of a spoon, to pack it together, then flipped it over, and removed the pan – easy!

Give a try and have fun with it.  It’s really easy, and my family is still talking about it today!

You can check out the original recipe here.  Enjoy!

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Be More Magazine via Bulletproof Executive

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

It’s no secret that I’ve become a big fan of Dave Asprey from The Bulletproof Executive.  Ever since Lindsey introduced me to the Bulletproof Coffee and I checked it out on Dave’s site, I’ve learned a lot of new things (and I LOVE learning!), and have really enjoyed listening to a few of his podcasts.

Since I get updates and notices by e-mail from The Bulletproof Executive, this past week I received a link to an online magazine that Dave contributes to: “Be More Magazine.”

So, of course, I clicked on the link, watched the introductory video, and perused through the issue.  I love the look and the feel, and the information is great.  I ended up subscribing – and it’s free, for now.

Dave’s article in this months magazine is about “hacking the holidays.”  He goes over strategies for staying healthy and having peak performance over the holidays.  It was a great article for me to read, as it reminded me about activated charcoal and how using it can be especially helpful this time of year if you are eating things or exposed to things that may not be that healthy for you.  Activated charcoal is now going to be in my “first aid kit” for when I travel (along with select essential oils and healthy food I can snack on).  It will come in handy when I’m not sure of the quality of the food and drinks I consume while away from home.

He also talked about “Earplanes”: pressure-relieving earplugs.  I had never heard of them before, but those will be added to my “first aid travel kit” as well.  I’ve never had an issue with pain in my ears on take off or landing before, but when Mike and I returned from California a couple of months ago, I was on the verge of something, and my head was congested.  I experienced quite a bit of pain in my ears during take off and landing – felt like my ears were going to pop!  So, Earplanes, definitely would have been a welcome relief.

He also talks about all of the social gatherings that happen over the holidays and how you can be a great guest at these parties by bringing some healthy options for food and drink.  Being a Foodie Bitch, this is something I almost always do.  First of all, I love for others to experience and enjoy some of the great-tasting foods I’ve come to love.  And secondly, it ensures that there will be at least something there that I know will be healthy for myself and the other guests to eat.  Also, it often leads to some great conversations about food and health.

For example, this past Fall, when Mike and I went to the big Michigan State vs. University of Michigan football game, I brought along some snacks of our own for the tailgate.  On the way to the game, others had already started with the alcohol (this was at 10:00 in the morning, mind you), and I offered them some “hot chocolate.”  A couple of the guys laughed at me, and when I said I was serious – it was the Foodie Bitch superfoods Hot Chocolate, and then when proceeded to explain exactly what it was, I had some of their curiosity peaked.  I poured a few cups of the hot chocolate, and they were sold!  They loved it and felt great about drinking it.  Click here for the recipe, in case you missed it.

Anyway, back to “Be More Magazine.”  I haven’t read the whole issue yet, but I’m thinking my next article to scan will be “Pew: FDA Allows Untested Chemicals in Food.” Kinda figured that already, but it’s always interesting to have access to resources and actual sources of this information.

There’s lots more in the magazine – check it out for some great holiday reading.

And don’t forget! If you haven’t liked or shared Nancy Smorch: The Foodie Bitch’s Facebook page yet to be entered to win one of our double-sided canvas totes, make sure you do before New Years!

Stumptown Coffee

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

With all the excitement about Bulletproof Coffee, and my new knowledge of what makes a good coffee bean, I’ve been on the lookout for different sources of really good coffee beans.  So when I saw that Food52 was carrying this coffee from Stumptown, I thought I had better check it out.

After spending some time on Stumptown’s website, I thought I would go ahead and order some of their coffee for our daughter, Frankie, for Christmas.  She’s quite the coffee connoisseur, and I was hoping she would appreciate my newly discovered coffee source.  She opened up the coffee last night and made a pot of the Ethiopia Mordecofe Reserve.  I took a sip and couldn’t believe my taste buds!  Frankie is always trying to get me to try her coffee – black.  I never drink black coffee – actually I usually don’t drink coffee, until recently with the Bulletproof “formula.”  But I had to check out, for myself, this new stuff.  I could actually drink it – black!  It was amazing!

I bought 5 different bags of coffee from Stumptown, and so far, the three that we have tried have been excellent.  So if you are looking for an amazing coffee experience, give it a try.

Check out Stumptown’s video.  I hope it inspires you as it did me, on many different levels!!

Peace to you all!

Butternut Squash with Penne Pasta

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By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

Being in Florida, I’m having a hard time finding fresh organic fruits and vegetables nearby.  You would think that in a state with such great weather, I’d be able to find plenty of options, but, no.

I’m starting to wonder what’s behind this?  I know Florida is known for exporting a lot of produce, but what about the local food supply?  I think it’s time for a movement down here!

Fortunately, just last week, I was referred to Fernando’s Organic Produce in Summerfield, but that’s still at least a 30 minute drive for me.  Orlando is just over an hour, so when we get desperate, we’ll make a trip to the “big city” and stop at Whole Foods, or choose from the many restaurant options in that area, but it would be nice to have something close by!

Needless to say, I’m having a bit of a challenge adjusting to the food scene here in Central Florida.  But, I have to admit, I’m having no problem adjusting to the nicer weather!  It looks like I’m going to have to grow my own food here – that should be fun.  Looks like that will be my holiday project.

In the meantime, I was able to pick up some organic butternut squash at Whole Foods while we were there last week.  So, when I was struggling to find ideas for dinner, I thought I would use the squash.  Below is what I came up with.  Pretty simple, but it’s quick, and it worked perfectly on a night when my mind was elsewhere – preparing for the next few days of the holidays (and planning my new garden!). Luckily, even back up north butternut squash is still pretty easy to find, so everyone can enjoy this hearty fall dish!

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks

16 oz. gluten free pasta (I used penne pasta)

5 Tbsp. organic pasture butter

1/2 tsp. sage

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive Oil

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix the cubed butternut squash with about 3 Tbsp. olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Add the sage and mix well.

Spoon into a glass baking dish and cook for 45 minutes, or until tender.

Cook pasta according to package, and drain well.

Combine the pasta and butter, and sauté until the pasta is just a slightly browned and crisp.

Add the cooked butternut squash to the pasta, mix together, and serve!

As simple as this sounds, it’s really great.  It was a big hit.  You know what would have made it even better?  Bacon!  Unfortunately we are out of bacon until I can go to the farm tomorrow, but if you have some, it would make a great addition!