food

Make Your Own Ready-To-Go Burger Patties

I don’t know why we never did this before. Such a simple and yet ingenious idea. Make your OWN burger patties and freeze them for quick, easy dinners. (Instead of buying what someone else made for you and is loaded with preservatives and other additives.)

You can modify this any number of ways to make the preparation as easy and quick as you need; ours was a little more time-consuming because we used venison that we had to grind first but if you don’t want to take the extra time for that sort of thing (or don’t have an appliance that will grind your meat) you can just buy ground beef and add spices and flavors to your liking. Here’s how we made ours.

Ingredients
Servings: 12 half-pound patties

  • 2 lbs venison
  • 5 ounces of salt pork
  • 1 jalapeno
  • red onion
  • bell pepper
  • green onion
  • minced garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp tapioca flour
  • small handful of bacon bits

Sorry that I don’t have exact measurements on most items. This was Don’s brainchild and as many of you know, he’s not the measuring type. 

  1. We ground the venison and salt pork and mixed them well until they were fully incorporated. (It is important to add fat when using venison or even very lean beef because it helps hold the patty together and it adds flavor as well.)
  2. We diced and chopped all the other ingredients and mixed it all together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Using our handy-dandy kitchen scale we experimented with kitchen tools until we found a measuring cup that we could use to accurately measure out 1/2 pound servings that we then shaped into patties.
  4. Using parchment paper as a separator, we stacked them on a cookie sheet and placed them in the freezer until they were firm but not frozen and then we packaged them two at a time in food saver bags for quick, easy use.

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We have made two dinners since we made the patties about a month ago and they are everything we hoped for. Quick, easy, and delicious.

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Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
~ Buddha 

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Cauliflower Soup ReMixed

I made cauliflower and artichoke soups two ways recently and they were both good. But this past week I think I made the best soup I’ve EVER made.

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Don’t let the plain appearance deceive you. The flavor ROCKS.

My plan was to make the roasted cauliflower and artichoke soup again, like I had before. But after I had the cauliflower in the oven and was pulling out the rest of my ingredients, I discovered I didn’t have any artichoke. Doh! So I improvised.

Ingredients makes about 3 servings

I sautéed the onion, peppers, and garlic paste on the stove over medium heat until the onions were translucent.

Once the cauliflower was roasted to my liking (30-40 minutes at 400) I placed all the onions and cauliflower into my food processor. I added the box of mushroom soup and about a cup of water. I blended it until it was close to smooth, adding more water incrementally. I could not get a truly smooth consistency in the processor so I moved the mix to a saucepan and used my KitchenAid stick blender to further puree it all until it was creamy the way I wanted. Then I added the can of chicken and mixed by hand to incorporate it.

Between the peppers and the spice in the garlic paste, I didn’t even need to add salt or pepper. It was hard not to eat any then but I made it in the morning for the coming week so once combined I portioned it out and moved it to the fridge. I ate it for lunch at work the next day (pictured above.) Blew me away it was so good. WAY better than the first two editions. Definitely a great way to use up any cauliflower in your fridge that is close to the end of its shelf life. I highly recommend combining cauliflower, onion, mushroom, and chicken flavors. 🙂

The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.
~ Ann Wigmore

Almond Coconut Snack Bars

These snacks bars from The Paleo Mom are the bomb. I can’t remember if this recipe for Almond Coconut Bars popped up on my facebook newsfeed somewhere or if I was already following the blog. Regardless, I saw it, and I instantly thought = sweet treat for Don. Surprisingly, they don’t taste like a dessert item like I thought they might. They strike me more like a granola bar. And a small piece goes a long way. I’ve been enjoying them as mid-day snacks for days now. I made two slight changes to accommodate my supplies on hand – sunflower butter in the place of almond butter and maple syrup instead of molasses.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower butter
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3 oz 85% dark chocolate

Process

  1. Melt coconut oil over low heat in a small saucepan.
  2. Line a square dish with parchment or wax paper.
  3. Pulse almonds in food processor to a medium-fine texture.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the chocolate to the food processor and pulse. Mix a bit by hand to ensure full incorporation.
  5. Pour into dish and smooth out to edges to fill the dish. Refrigerate until set – at least 1 hour.
  6. Melt chocolate over low heat in a double boiler. Pour over base and spread until evenly coated. Place back into refrigerator for approximately 5 minutes (I completely SPACED this step!) until chocolate is solid but still a little soft – for ease of cutting. (Yep. You definitely should heed that part.)
  7. Cut into bars and store in a plastic container, in the fridge if you want them to be firm. I kept mine on the counter. My fridge was too cold and they were too hard for my taste.

Here’s a look at the method to my madness. 🙂

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Coconut flour and salt on left; shredded coconut center; sunflower butter on right.

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Coconut oil melting.

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Almonds. About to be pulverized.

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See all the large chunks? I think I should have let it go longer.
My bars flaked and broke apart easily and I think it was mostly due to the large chunks.

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Here I’ve added the coconut flakes and other sundry ingredients. Only the coconut oil is missing.

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Here the coconut oil has been added. (This is SUPER easy to make BTW.)

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My pan is 8×8 so I believe my bars are thicker than Paleo Mom’s 9×9 pan. And into the fridge!

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After letting the base firm up, I used my make-shift double broiler to melt my chocolate.
(It’s just a mixing bowl that fits nicely over a small saucepan.)

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Here’s a look after the base is firm.

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Now, topped with chocolate!

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Here’s where I went all wrong. I missed the tip to only let it set for 5 minutes. I put it back in the fridge and went about other projects. It might have been there for another hour. Oops!
So…cutting it was a challenge.

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See that piece in the upper left? All jagged and crumbly? Yeah. I was getting a lot of that.
I managed to salvage most of it by turning it over and cutting from the softer side first.
After enjoying a few, in the end we cut them in half again from what you see pictured.
They are quite filling and hold me over well between meals, especially during the workday.

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Gratuitous last shot. 🙂

People who love to eat are always the best people.
~ Julia Child

Baked Butternut Lasagna of sorts

Don designed this creative masterpiece. I was suspect when he told me what he was thinking of doing. One of these days you’d think I’d just trust his instincts. The man knows flavors and he knows his way around the kitchen.

Ingredients

Method

  1. Wipe the inside of your dish with coconut oil.
  2. Use a food processor to shred your butternut squash and place in the bottom of the dish.
  3. Add a layer of parmesan cheese.
  4. Add a layer of sauce.
  5. Top with a layer of mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes or until your cheese is brown and bubbly.

Don made mini lasagnas in a sense, using medium-sized ramekins that are 4.5 inches in diameter or 500 ml. They really were perfectly sized for individual servings.

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Parmesan layer.

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Ready to bake!

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Beautiful.

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Booyah!

I was so uncertain about pairing butternut with tomato/spaghetti flavors. I thought for sure it would clash. Boy, was I ever wrong. This. Was. Mind-Blowing. Granted, a lot of the flavor comes from the homemade meat sauce but the combination of the butternut, cheese, and sauce was simply genius. Highly recommended for those of you looking for ways to make Italian dishes without the pasta.

When you cut that eggplant up and you roast it in the oven and you make the tomato sauce and you put it on top, your soul is in that food, and there’s something about that that can never be made by a company that has three million employees.
~ Mario Batali 

My First Fried Green Tomatoes

It may come as a surprise to some (but not to most who really know me) that I’ve never had fried green tomatoes before. I thought it was high time to try them. This recipe comes from the Tropical Traditions Coconut Recipe Blog.

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Straight from our own tomato plants!

You don’t need much for this simple finger food.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (we meant to add cayenne too but forgot; I think it would be a good addition)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 large (or 2 small) green tomatoes cut into slices

Dredge through egg wash, coat with flour and spice mix, and fry. Easy. Peasy.

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Damn, that was a good dinner. Seafood balls, coleslaw (cabbage!) with our own homemade dressing, and fried green tomatoes. Mmm…

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
~ Confucius