Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad

/ Monday, June 29, 2015

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Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad
Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad
Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad
Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad
Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad


Shopping with Helen can be a bit of an ordeal. Thus, Reuben and I TRY to do the grocery shopping together. 

Last week we were going through the self-checkout at Walmart (as we do). Some brilliant marketing person has decided to put lollipops at each checkout station. Thankfully it's so far out of Helen's mind that she would actually get to eat a lollipop that she doesn't ask to buy one. But she always has plenty to say about them. 

She was asking me again and again where the lollipops were, and I was dutifully answering her. Then she said (not at all quietly), "Her big girl undies!" I turned to see where Helen was looking and, sure enough, the lady behind us was ringing up some underclothes. Of course I was horrified at the situation, but I couldn't help but laugh. Thankfully Reuben was finishing up paying so we could make our exit. But not before Helen mentioned the "big girl undies" a few more times. Kids just have no sense of propriety. 

But about this salad. 

It's the kind of dish where you take the first bite and fall instantly in love. The mix of flavors is quite lovely. 

And please don't be turned off if you don't like goat cheese. You could easily leave it out or substitute another cheese (I think feta would be a good choice).







Our Anniversary Trip

/ Tuesday, June 16, 2015

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For our fourth anniversary, we decided to take a trip to the cities (that's what we Minnesotans call the Minneapolis/St. Paul area). Reuben's family graciously agreed to watch Helen so we could have a just-us-two outing. This was the first time we had ever been away from Helen overnight!

Here are some of the things we did and food we ate:

First time at Chipotle.
Starting things off right: we had supper at Chipotle. This was our first time eating there. It wasn't out-of-this-world delicious, but I really appreciate the fact that they are GMO-free.

That evening we did some thrift shopping and stopped by World Market and Whole Foods. I was really impressed by the selection at the Whole Foods in Maple Grove. Their cheese section was huge!


The Copper Hen
The next day we did more thrift shopping, and then I forced convinced Reuben to go to The Copper Hen for lunch (it's really not his kind of restaurant).


The Copper Hen
I ordered The Perfect Marriage cheese and meat board. I was quite impressed with the variety: house-made mustard, dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon, cheddar with veins of blue cheese, house-made strawberry jam, goat cheese with micro greens, fig jam, thinly sliced apples, prosciutto, another cheese, the name of which I can't remember, and thin slices of toast. It was fun trying out different flavor combinations. 


The Copper Hen
Reuben had the BLT with smashed potato "fries." He, of course, was disappointed by his meal. He said the potatoes were falsely advertised as fries. And there was only one slice of bacon on his sandwich.

I really wanted to try one of their Bacon Blueberry Breakfast Cupcakes, but I knew I would be way too full if I did.


Spyhouse Coffee
I also convinced Reuben to take me to Spyhouse Coffee, which was just down the street. I didn't particularly enjoy the atmosphere. The door was open, and someone was smoking outside. The building seemed kind of run down. And the bathroom had a funny smell (needless to say, I skipped it).



Spyhouse Coffee
My vanilla breve had a very interesting flavor. I appreciated that it wasn't sickeningly sweet, but it could have used a hair more syrup (and I don't like my coffee very sweet). It was very smooth, but it had a different flavor to it. Reuben said that it tasted burnt. 

I don't think I would go there again - next time I want to try out Five Watt Coffee.


REI
After lunch/coffee we went to IKEA and The Mall of America. Then we stopped by Reuben's favorite store: REI.



Red Lobster
For supper we went to Red Lobster. We ordered a seafood plate and seafood stuffed mushrooms. Cheesy biscuits. What more can I say?



Anthro
On our last day, we decided to divide and conquer. I went to a shopping center (The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes), and Reuben went to more guy-oriented stores.

Of course I had to roam through Anthropologie. I drooled over their amazing dishes and left with two.


Trader Joe's
And I stopped by Trader Joe's. Their flower section was just wonderful - such variety and amazing prices. I really wanted to buy some sushi, but we had other lunch plans, and I didn't know how it would last in our cooler.



Five Guys
Our last meal in the cities: Five Guys Burgers and Fries. This was another first for us. The burger was yummy, but our fries were soggy. Overall, I don't think the taste justified the price. Culver's is just as good, and less expensive.

It was fun to get away for a few days, but I really missed my Helen. We were so glad to be home and hug our little girlie. 

If there are any Twin Cities residents reading this, please let us know if you have any must-try places to eat!



Shrimp Spring Rolls!

/ Monday, June 8, 2015

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Shrimp Spring Rolls with Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce
Shrimp Spring Rolls with Sweet & Spicy Peanut Dipping SauceShrimp Spring Rolls with Sweet & Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
Shrimp Spring Rolls with Sweet & Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
Shrimp Spring Rolls with Sweet & Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

You guys, I made spring rolls for the first time! Yay for me! For some reason I just feel like one of the cool kids for pulling these off.

They were incredibly tasty, especially with the peanut sauce. That stuff is just amazing. Looking at these photos makes me want to whip up another batch of these spring rolls.

I'm a sucker for recipes with shrimp. And all of the fresh veggies make it so colorful and fresh.

You should really give these a try. I shared the step-by-step process over on the Tasty Kitchen Blog.


What was the last new recipe you tried out? Did you like it?



My (Modified) Whole 30: Week 4.25 Recap

/ Wednesday, June 3, 2015

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Whole 30: Week 4.25

I'M FINISHED WITH MY WHOLE 30!

Let the chocolate eating begin. Sort of kidding.

This was definitely an experience that I won't soon forget. I'll detail the things I like and dislike about the diet, but first let me show you what I ate the last 1 1/4 weeks:


Whole 30 Day 22
DAY 22
Breakfast: Scramble with hashbrowns and kiwi.
Lunch: Leftover mayo baked salmon.
Supper: (at my family's house) Burgers with fries, chips, and carrot sticks.
Snacks: Homemade cobbler and rhubarb bars for dessert.
Cheats: Many.


Whole 30 Day 23
DAY 23
Breakfast: Smoothie (strawberries, bananas, milk, cream, and collagen)
Lunch: Leftover meatballs, mashed potatoes, asparagus, butter, and cod liver oil.
Supper: Burger with crispy potatoes.
Snacks: Seaweed snacks, almond butter, pickle, dates.
Cheats (I don't really consider dairy to be a major cheat): Milk, cream, butter, cheese on burger.


Whole 30 Day 24
DAY 24
Breakfast: Fried egg, hash with bacon, orange juice (given to me by Positive Energy), and kiwi.
Lunch: Leftover hamburger + hash from breakfast.
Supper: Taco Salad.
Snacks: Pickle, carrot sticks.
Cheats: Sour cream and cheese on salad.


Whole 30 Day 25
DAY 25
Breakfast: Banana + almond butter.
Lunch: Leftover taco salad.
Supper: Scramble with pulled pork, potatoes, and an orange.
Snacks: Mango, carrot sticks, apple juice, almond butter, pickles, 1/2 banana.
Cheats: Sour cream on salad, took a sip of Helen's (unsweetened) carob milk to see if it was too hot.


Whole 30 Day 26
DAY 26
Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, almond butter, and an orange.
Lunch: Chicken broccoli stir-fry.
Supper: Apple + almond butter, chicken stir-fry, carrot sticks.
Snacks: Seaweed snacks, dried blueberries, carrot sticks, a date, and a pickle.


Whole 30 Day 27
DAY 27
Breakfast: Smoothie (same as day 23 except without collagen).
Supper: Graduation open house food (besides what is pictured I also had a third of a chocolate cupcake).
Snacks: Almond butter, carrot sticks.
Cheats: Many.


Whole 30 Day 28
DAY 28
Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, 1/2 grapefruit, dill pickle relish, sauerkraut, and cranberry juice from Positive Energy.
Lunch: Graduation open house food.
Supper: Apple + banana with almond butter.
Snacks: Pickles.
Cheats: Many.


Whole 30 Day 29
DAY 29
Breakfast: Scramble with mango.
Lunch: An apple with almond butter, pickles, carrot sticks, a date, and sauerkraut.
Supper: Shepherd's pie.


Whole 30 Day 30!
DAY 30
Breakfast: Scramble with grapefruit.
Lunch: Leftover shepherd's pie.
Supper: Crockpot roast chicken with mashed potatoes, peas, and butter.
Snacks: almond butter, a date, and dill pickle relish.
Cheats: Butter, cheese on shepherd's pie.



WHAT I LIKE AND DISLIKE ABOUT THE WHOLE 30 DIET

Overall I think my experience was positive, but there were a few things that bothered be about this program.


WHAT I LIKED:
  • * It really makes you realize just how much sugar you consume. It's in everything! I personally don't have a problem with consuming moderate amounts of sugar, but it was a bit of an eye opener when I had to avoid all forms of it.
  • * It encourages you to eat the majority of your meals at home. Normally, when I'm not feeling like making supper, I can convince Reuben to take me out to eat. But with the limited options for Whole 30 approved restaurant meals, you're forced to do a lot of cooking. Which isn't a bad thing at all!
  • * I ate way more fruits and vegetables than I usually do. Without grains to cut through proteins and fats, you have to consume fruits and veggies or die of nausea (kidding).
  • * When you can't use grains, it actually simplifies your meals. Instead of coming up with complicated Whole 30 approved dishes, I stuck to simple ones that didn't call for banned ingredients in the first place.
  • * Throughout the month I have felt less bloated. I notice a bit of discomfort if I eat a lot of grains at once.
  • *  At the start I had a few more blemishes, but they diminished as the month went on. I only had one new blemish pop up, and it disappeared quickly. I'm not sure if it was just the progression of the month (if you know what I mean), or the diet. I usually don't have a lot of acne problems.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
  • * I'm a little put out that the Whole 30 plan doesn't allow dairy. I know that a lot of people are allergic to it, but they can be allergic to eggs and nuts as well. You can't cut out a food just because someone somewhere is allergic to it. People have been consuming dairy for a long time. As long as you're sourcing organic/grass-fed/raw dairy, I don't see a problem. In fact, unless you're allergic, I think that dairy is a very beneficial food.
  • * There is no encouragement to soak your nuts for optimal digestion.
  • * This diet was somewhat of a trigger for me. During the first few days when I was still figuring things out, I was hungry often. It brought me back to my low-fat days. You see, hunger can be addicting, and some of those old feelings came back to me. I don't think it's healthy.
  • * My nails seemed a little more brittle - perhaps because of the decrease in dairy and thus calcium?
  • * I had less energy than I normally do, especially at the beginning as my body was adjusting. Nothing major, but it's not a fun feeling. I've also been on the verge of a headache often. This could be a combination of being on the Whole 30 and Helen not wanting to sleep at night...
  • * It's harder to be spontaneous. If I wanted to take Helen to the park, I had to worry about making supper when I get home. I felt guilty for cheating.
  • * Reuben didn't like me doing the Whole 30. He thought I was a bit more cranky, which I freely admit to. When a girl can't have her chocolate, it ain't pretty!

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS DIET?

Yes, but I would say: Listen to your body and make modifications if you want to. Be strict with yourself most of the time, but forgive yourself if you cheat.

If you want to try Whole 30 for yourself, HERE are the original rules.



Thank you for coming on this journey with me!

Would you be interested in an occasional post about what I eat normally for a day or a week?



Note: some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Buttered Side Up!



Easiest Pulled Pork in the Crockpot/Slow Cooker

/ Monday, June 1, 2015

4 comments

Pulled Pork in the Crockpot-Slow Cooker | Buttered Side Up
I didn't invest in a crockpot until I got pregnant. Everyone raved about how easy it is to cook delicious meat in one, but it seemed like a superfluous appliance to me. But the list that my midwife gave me for my birthing kit suggested that I have a crockpot on hand. So I purchased a generic one at Walmart. I didn't actually use it during labor, but it's been very useful since then!

My mom was the one who got me into pulled pork. She made it for after-church-dinner a few times, and Reuben got hooked. When she sent me the recipe, I was shocked by how easy it was. Her pork was always so tasty - how could so few ingredients produce so much flavor? But they do.

Here's the super easy steps to get delicious pulled pork:


Pulled Pork in the Crockpot-Slow Cooker | Buttered Side Up
Slice up an onion and place it in the bottom of your crockpot. I didn't have quite a full onion, but that's okay.


Pulled Pork in the Crockpot-Slow Cooker | Buttered Side Up
Put a pork shoulder (AKA butt) roast on top of the onion and season well with salt and freshly ground pepper.


Pulled Pork in the Crockpot-Slow Cooker | Buttered Side Up
Pour in about 1 -1 1/2 cups of broth (you could also use water or another liquid, but it probably won't be as flavorful).

Cook on low for about 8 hours or overnight. If you want your pork ready at 6:00 PM, start it at 10:00. Once the pork is done cooking, pull it apart with two forks.

Serve with lots of BBQ sauce. This goes really well with crispy baked potatoes (I'll share the recipe someday!) or homemade buns. Mmhmm.


Pulled Pork in the Crockpot-Slow Cooker | Buttered Side Up




Easiest Pulled Pork in the Crockpot/Slow Cooker
recipe from my mom. | PRINT
A super easy and flavorful way to cook pulled pork! Serve with BBQ sauce.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
1 onion, sliced,
1 pork shoulder/butt roast,
salt and pepper to taste,
1 - 1.5 cups broth,

Instructions:

Place the onion in the bottom of a slow cooker. Put the roast on top and season well with salt and pepper. Pour in the broth.

Cook on low for 8 hours. Pull the pork apart with two forks.



My (Modified) Whole 30: Week 3 Recap

/ Tuesday, May 26, 2015

7 comments
Whole 30 Week 3
This week was a bit of a challenge. Not because I had crazy cravings, but because we went "camping" (we actually visited friends and family at their campsites). We ate our breakfasts at home, so at least we had a good start to the day. And the rest of the week I did a pretty good job of sticking to the plan; I tried to snack mindfully. But the rest of the meals while out and about were basically cheats.

HERE'S WHAT I ATE LAST WEEK:

Whole 30 Day 15
DAY 15:
Breakfast: Scramble with bacon and strawberries.
Lunch: Leftover chicken curry soup and water kefir.
Supper: Pulled pork, crispy potatoes, parsnip puree, asparagus, and homemade balsamic ketchup.
Snacks: Almond butter (pre-workout snack), seaweed snacks, an orange, and homemade pesto.

Whole 30 Day 16
DAY 16:
Breakfast: Smoothie (made with local goat milk, cream, frozen strawberries, banana, and collagen).
Lunch: Leftover pork, potatoes, parsnip and asparagus with butter, ketchup and water kefir.
Supper: Chicken salad with tomatoes, avocado, dates, pecans (toasted in butter), homemade (dairy-free) ranch and French dressings.
Snacks: Pesto, an orange, pecans. 

Whole 30 Day 17
DAY 17:
Breakfast: Scramble with bacon and strawberries + mandarin orange.
Lunch: Leftover pulled pork, parsnip puree, pesto, butter, and water kefir.
Supper (at my family's house): Fried rice with 2 fried eggs, butter, bacon, sriracha mayo, and peanut sauce. I could have had bread and a glass of milk, but I was a good girl.
Snacks: pecans, pesto, and an orange.
Cheats (besides supper): Reuben "forced" me to eat a chocolate chip. I was soooooo sad. ;) 


Whole 30 Day 18
DAY 18:
Breakfast: Scramble with bacon, avocado, tomato, and a mandarin orange.
Lunch: Homemade chicken "waldorf" salad and an apple with almond butter.
Supper: Meatballs and gravy with mashed potatoes, butter, peas, water kefir, and cod liver oil.
Snacks: seaweed snacks and pesto.
Cheats: 1 chocolate chip (to check to see if it was freezer burnt). As I mentioned on Instagram, it was really hard not to sample some of the cookie dough that I made.

Whole 30 Day 19
DAY 19:
Breakfast: Scramble with mushrooms, bacon, and grapefruit.
Lunch: Leftover meatballs, gravy, mashed potatoes, butter, peas, and a strawberry.
Supper: Mayo salmon, asparagus, mashed potatoes, and butter.
Snacks: Seaweed snack.
Cheats: 2 bites of ice cream (while camping).

Whole 30 Day 20
DAY 20:
Breakfast: Scramble with strawberries + iced coffee (Made with espresso, cream, and a tiny amount of maple syrup. I was dragging that morning.).
Lunch: 3 bites of Reuben's sandwich, half a slice of homemade bread spread with butter and almond butter, and an apple.
Supper: Zuppa Toscana (same as lunch last Sunday) with homemade bread and butter.
Snacks: Almond butter, grapes, cheese, and a bite of Helen's chip.

Whole 30 Day 21
DAY 21:
Breakfast: Scramble with bacon and grapefruit.
Lunch: Potluck! Salad, pulled pork, cheesy potatoes, Thai chicken and rice casserole, fruit salad, chocolate chip cookie, and a small piece each of cheesecake and peach/blueberry cobbler.
Supper: BLTs toasted over the fire (homemade bread, nitrate-free bacon, organic lettuce, tomato, and mustard, and homemade avocado oil mayo) with organic pickles and avocado-oil potato chips.
Cheats: Many (as stated above). :D


I can't believe that I'm already on the last week of my Whole 30! I'm hoping to finish strong. Next week I'll be telling you about the things that I like and dislike about the Whole 30 program. 


PREVIOUS WHOLE 30 POSTS:





Note: some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Buttered Side Up!


A-Hunting We Did Go | Fried Morel Mushrooms

/ Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2 comments


This post was first published on May 7, 2010 on Cooking for Seven. I always considered it some of my best work, so of course I wanted to share it here on Buttered Side Up. I also included the original comments because there was some good conversation and suggestions for cooking morels...

001
Each spring, around the time of opening fishing, when the ferns begin to pop up, we head out with our mesh gathering bags to hunt for morel mushrooms. We have a special spot down the road that is nearly guaranteed to give us a few of these delectable little fungi.


Morel Mushrooms
Yesterday, about an hour before supper, I decided it was high time we visited our secret hunting ground. We spent about half an hour of careful search & brought home enough mushrooms to complement our dinner.


Morel Mushrooms
So if you find yourself with a few of these precious mushrooms, please: eat them plain, cooked in butter & seasoned with salt and pepper. Don’t put them in a soup or pasta dish. They are far too good by themselves. Or with bleu cheese. Yes — Bleu Cheese!



TO COOK MOREL MUSHROOMS

Ingredients:

  • Butter
  • Morel Mushroom
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

1) Cut the mushrooms in half lengthwise & remove any dirt or bugs.

2) In a medium skillet, melt a generous amount of butter. Add the mushroom & season with salt & pepper to taste. The mushrooms with release their “juices” and the skillet will become saucy.

3) Cook until most of the liquid is gone & the mushrooms begin to darken. Transfer to a serving bowl and eat/devour immediately.



Morel Mushrooms

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