Paleo Chef’s Bangin’ Liver and Me…

Liver recipe

By Shannon Keirnan, Contributing Foodie Bitch

I want to be healthy and on top of the new trends (some of which stick around, some of which are just a fun little experiment), but one of the things I’ve been dragging my feet on is organ meat.

Sure, I’ve started throwing bones, gristle, and just about every other part of the animal into the pot to make bone broth, but the idea of eating organs still makes me go eech. And yes, I know that meat is muscle, but we’ve been conditioned all our lives to eat the drumstick and throw away the gizzard, so changing one’s mindset takes a bit of control and sometimes a strong stomach.

I finally took the plunge, and brought home some grass-fed beef liver. It was so cheap at my butcher’s I almost would have felt bad if I didn’t buy it. I figured hey, if I hate it, the dog will eat it. Win win.

I have never eaten liver before. My dad used to cook it up when we were kids, with a big pan of onions, and holy moly, did that ever stink up our house. Looking back I’m not sure what he was doing to make it smell like old feet, but there was no way a teenage me was going to stick some of that rank amorphous grey stuff into my mouth no matter how much he promised I’d like it.

Ten plus years later, I was ready to give it a go. After all, liver is a superfood, and organ meat in general is nutrient packed. Grass-fed organ meat is a diet powerhouse I had neglected too long.

Enter Paleo Chef’s Bangin’ Liver recipe. I already love her style and her sass, so, finally, I was ready to give liver a try, using her guidance.

I didn’t have the exact ingredients on hand, and I was too lazy to go to the store, so mine turned out to be an adulterated version of her dish, but it was still surprisingly tasty! I added tomatoes, and substituted lime for lemon juice. I used a jalapeño rather than a bell pepper, simply because I had one in the fridge, and I chickened out on using the full amount of the recommended spices, though I wish I had just gone ahead with it.

It turned out really good! It was just lightly sweet and spicy, and frankly, I wouldn’t have known the liver wasn’t a dense cut of steak if I hadn’t been the one cutting it and throwing it in the pan. Mind you I couldn’t look directly at it while eating it, but it tasted darn good, and I was happy to be getting all the nutrition, especially for the approximately three dollars I spent on the whole meal, including leftovers. I had always expected liver to be chewy, but this was perfectly tender and chewable.

Give it a try!

Do you eat organ meat regularly? Leave a comment below!

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Nutrient-Packed Late Afternoon Snack Mix

Healthy snack mix

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

Do you ever find yourself craving something crunchy?  I know I do – especially in the late afternoon.  Whether it’s merely a habit, something I’m lacking in my diet, or simply the need for something other than fruits and vegetables, occasionally as the late afternoon hours roll around, I find myself looking for something to munch on that gives me a little crunch (and not a carrot!).

Well, today, and the last few days for that matter, I found myself with such cravings.  So rather than reach for the gluten-free crackers with pasture butter, which is what I usually go for, I decided to get a little more creative and put something together that would not only satisfy my craving, but would also provide me with more nutrients.

When I was at the store the other day, I stocked up on a number of different organic nuts and other snacks that would make for a good homemade trail mix.  So I went to the nut and snack drawer and pulled all of them out and put together a quick and fun snack to hold everybody over until dinner.

I had quite a nice mix going: macadamia nuts, pecans, roasted pumpkin seeds, raw cashews, chopped dates, coconut flakes, and banana chips (almost all organic, of course).  But something was missing.  I was remembering my granola based trail mixes I used to make when I was a kid (granola, raisins, marshmallows, coconut and M&Ms), and then it hit me that I should add some chocolate.  Since M&Ms really aren’t in the picture anymore, I thought I would utilize some of the Bulletproof Executive’s new chocolate bars I just ordered.  They are actually quite good – don’t expect them to taste like a Hershey bar or anything (that would be gross), but they are good-quality chocolates.  And, they provided the missing link, for my snack mix.  I just chopped up one of the bars and added it in.

Anyway, here’s what I actually put into my Late Afternoon Nutrient Packed Snack Mix:

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup macadamia nuts

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

6-8 soft dates, chopped

1 dark chocolate bar (at least 70% cacao)

Mix them all together and enjoy!

Look around in your pantry and refrigerator and see what you have that you could make a snack mix with.  Maybe you have some superfoods you could add in?  Maybe some goji berries?  Some chocolate-covered hemp seeds?  Hmm… I’m going to have to go back and add a few things, now that I’m thinking about it!

Matcha, Strawberry, and Cucumber Smoothie

Matcha strawberry cucumber smoothie

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

Mike and I returned from Oregon late last night, and I started the day inspired to try some new recipes, and play with the combinations of ingredients that we experienced while on our trip!  The Allison Hotel in Newberg, which is where we stayed, had an amazing Chef’s Garden, and one night Mike and I had front-row seats at the kitchen.  We got to watch them cut and prepare the evening’s meals (I now would like a new set of pans!).  So that was a great experience.

Then, at Prasad Cafe in Portland, where we ate a couple of times, the presentation of the food was just amazing, and I was reminded how much of a difference a great dressing or sauce can make on a salad.  I’m now researching and experimenting with various combinations to play around with to spice up our salads at home – and maybe even get the girls a little more interested in salads as a result.

Another idea (self-reminder) I’m looking forward to trying is caramelizing more things.  We were watching “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” one night before bed, and the chefs at a couple of the featured restaurants were making sure to caramelize their meats and veggies, and you could tell that made a huge difference in the taste.  I know it does, from experience… I just needed to be reminded.

Watching the food prep at the Allison Hotel’s restaurant (Jory) and seeing the creative displays of salads at Prasad prompted me to see how they cut up some of those veggies.  You may recall the picture of the salad I posted a few days ago – well, I was curious how they got those beets to be cut up like that, all curly and thin.  I asked Shannon, and she said it was a “spiralizer.”  Can you believe I had never heard of such a thing??  She brought her’s over for me to try out – I can’t wait.  After I finish writing this post, I’m on my way to the health food store for some zucchini and carrots and other fun stuff to spiralize.  I’m thinking Mike and the girls will be so impressed with my newfound culinary skills, but actually, I will probably be more excited than them :)!

Finally, I couldn’t wait to try making one of Prasad’s smoothies at home.  I had my first attempt this afternoon.  I printed off their menu to keep on hand for meal ideas, and for lunch today, I thought I would try to make one of their smoothies.  Mine didn’t turn out quite as green as their’s, but it was just as good.  Here’s what I did.

Ingredients:

1 cup strawberries

1 small cucumber (not peeled – so make sure it’s organic)

1 tsp. Matcha tea powder

8 mint leaves (or peppermint leaves)

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

1/2 Tbsp. honey

Directions:

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and mix.  Pour and enjoy!

You can play around with the ingredients and the adjust them according to your taste.  I happen to like mint, so I like that the 8 leaves of mint gave a stronger mint taste to the drink.  If you don’t like such a strong mint taste, you can always go a little easier on it.  As I mentioned, my smoothie wasn’t nearly as green as Prasad’s, so next if you want a more green smoothie, you can add more Matcha powder – it’s good for you anyway, and will definitely add more color.  My drink at Prasad wasn’t too sweet, so I figured I would add enough honey to make it a little sweeter, but if you are fine without the extra sweetness, you can cut back on the honey – the strawberries might add enough sweetness for you.  I think next time, I may play around and add a little lemon juice.  I think the lemon and strawberry combination would be tasty.

Can’t wait until my mid-afternoon snack to play around with some more ideas!

Superfood Smoothie For Energy!

superfood smoothie

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

I was feeling great this morning.  I got up, took Missy (our Dutch Shepherd mix) for a walk.  Let the horses out of the barn and fed them. Played with one of our horses – had him do a little work before putting him in the pasture (he was a little mouthy this morning!).  Played around in the garden for a bit and picked some cucumbers to snack on.  Took Frankie up to the school for her driver’s training at 9:30.

I was full of energy, and came home buzzing around the house.  I hadn’t taken he time to eat breakfast yet and because I was feeling so good, I was tempted to keep going until I got hungry.

Thankfully, my instincts kicked in (and I listened to them), and reminded me that the reason I was probably feeling so good was because I had a good night’s sleep and I had a good dinner yesterday evening.  So fortunately, rather than pushing myself to the limit (which is what I have done in the past), I stopped what I was doing, and decided to make a snack.

I was thinking a power-packed smoothie would do me good and keep this higher energy level going, so I set out to create just that.  I used some of the recipes that Martha Stewart posted of their most-pinned smoothies, and then enhanced them with what I had available, and some superfood additions.

I had to do some adapting (which I have gotten used to), because a lot of smoothie recipes I see call for yogurt.  Since I am off dairy for a while, I had to figure out a way to get that creamy, dairy feel and taste… without the dairy.

I gave whole fat coconut milk a try and it worked really well – and without much of a coconut taste.

I looked in our pantry on the “Superfood Shelf” to see what I could add to the basic smoothie.  I decided to add some hemp seeds, collagen protein powder (from Bulletproof Executive), and Vanilla Powder (also from Bulletproof Executive).  I also decided to put in some Sacha Inchi Powder which is high in protein, iron, fiber, and calcium.  I decided to throw in some almonds for fun (and some vitamins, minerals, fat, and protein).

I was pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out – and it kept me feeling full for quite a while.  Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

1/4 cup rice milk (or milk of choice)

3/4 cup quick gluten free organic oats

1 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. almonds

1 Tbsp. collagen protein powder

1/2 tsp. vanilla powder (or vanilla)

1 Tbsp. Sacha Inchi Powder

1 Tbsp. hemp seeds

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Adjust the consistency if needed – if you like a thinner smoothie, add more rice milk.  If you like a thicker one, add more frozen strawberries.

Honestly, how great are smoothies?  If I put all of these ingredients in a bowl and tried to eat them and get all of the nutrients from them, it probably wouldn’t go so well – not only would it not look appetizing, it wouldn’t taste good.  But put them all in a blender, and it turns into something quite magical – I say magical, because it tastes good and gives me the energy I need to do the things I want.  Love that!

Even if you don’t have all of the superfood ingredients in this recipe, play around with what you do have – experiment with ingredients and let me know if you come up with some winners too!