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Holiday Season Begins

Whole Roasted Chicken

Welcome to November!  It’s time to fully kick off the holiday season!  This is my favorite time of year, the world seems to slow down just a little bit and it won’t be long until we see our first snowfall.

All this month we will be talking food and prepping for Thanksgiving.  The holidays don’t have to be to unhealthy and full of junk foods.  They can be full of awesome food that is good for you.  Sure you’re going to eat your fair share of desserts but whatever.  Don’t dwell on the bad, focus on the good.

This month leading up to Thanksgiving I’ll be sharing tips and tricks on how to make the big day run smoothly along with sharing a few recipes so that you can have a game plan to create a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner.  We are going to be keeping things simple! If you have never cooked a big meal like this before, then this series will be perfect for you!  Everything will be easy to make AND a lot of things can get prepped ahead of time leaving you some breathing room on the big day.

Yes it’s going to take some planning and some time spent in the kitchen but having a home cooked dinner is well worth it.  It will be relaxing and you’ll be able to impress your family with the awesome meal you made!

If you have any questions about cooking Thanksgiving dinner or cooking for the holidays, fire away!  I’ll be sure to answer them in an upcoming post!

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Zoodle Love

Lemon parmesan shrimp and zoodles

Heading into the time of limited sunlight and it’s getting harder and harder to photograph food.  I take pictures of the food when we eat it so depending on the time of day this can be challenging.  During mid-day I’m seeing some funky light and shadows in the house.  Once winter hits I’m not sure if I’ll have a spot in the house where I can take photos!  This will definitely be an obstacle to work through this year.

Yesterday for lunch we had Shrimp with Zoodles in a Lemon Parmesan Cream Sauce.  I had been dreaming of shrimp for days and the idea for the sauce was inspired by Inspiralized’s recipe.  The shrimp was seasoned with Flavor God’s Lemon Garlic and roasted in the oven at 400 until they were just done.

Three medium zucchinis were spiralized and lightly heated in a skillet for about 5 minutes.  For the sauce, I used the same ingredient’s in Ali’s recipe with a bit more parm added for an extra salty bite.  The sauce got added at the last minute and tossed with the zoodles.  Shrimp on top and lunch is served!

This totally hit the spot and I have to admit that I am in love with zoodles.  There’s so many things that can be done with them and it makes for a nice change from a typical lunch salad.  Still getting in a good amount of veggies and protein without having to turn to salads.  This was a quick and easy unprocessed meal!

I went to the grocery store and loaded up on all kinds of veggies for the upcoming week.  I have big plans to make some interesting stuff and hopefully I’ll have enough light to photograph it!

We’re almost through with Unprocessed month!  How have you done so far?

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Spicy Cranberry Chutney from The Spicy Paleo Cookbook by Emily Dionne

I was contacted to review the The Spicy Paleo Cookbook by Emily Dionne and since our eats tend to lean towards more of a primal nature I was happy to take a look at the book.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the book is on the smaller side for a cookbook and that there are no pictures that accompany the recipes.  If this is important to you, you’ll need to keep that in mind.  Personally, I like the size of this book and that it is a paperback.  Sometimes cookbooks become such large tomes that they are a little unwieldy when you’re in the kitchen.

The cookbook is broken down into 6 chapters that features everything from appetizers to desserts.  Yes spicy desserts!  It’s packed full of recipes that you will no doubt start to incorporate in your meal planning and that will spark some inspiration in the kitchen.

While the cookbook does have Paleo in the title, you don’t have to eat primally to enjoy this book!  It’s full of recipes using real whole foods and that’s something we can all benefit from.

Spicy Cranberry Chutney from The Spicy Paleo CookbookWhat do you mean this picture is ironic?

I decided to go with the Cranberry Chutney from this book because I love the use of cranberries in nontraditional ways.  This was super easy to put together and full of flavor.  It would be a great addition to your upcoming Thanksgiving menu!

Spicy Cranberry Chutney
© Emily Dionne, reprinted with permission from Adams Media

Serves 6-8

  • 4 Cups Fresh Cranberries
  • 1 1/2 jalapeños, chopped
  • 1/3 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2C Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2C Fresh Orange Juice
  • 3TBSP Raw Organic Honey
  • 1tsp Sea Salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until combined but not completely smooth.  Create a consistency that is slightly chunky.  Chill overnight and serve.

Sweet and spicy, this was very well balanced!  I did process it so that it was a little smoother just because that’s the consistency that I enjoy.  It was great on crackers and as a spread on some turkey and ham.  It would also be perfect as a chicken or turkey burger topper as well!

If you enjoy recipes that pack some heat, definitely check out The Spicy Paleo cookbook!

 

Disclaimer: I was asked to review this cookbook.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.

 

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Having An Unprocessed Thanksgiving

Mini Squash

How is everyone doing so far for unprocessed month?  Things have been going well here at the HQ!  Bread products like English muffins and sausages are the only things that we have been eating that are technically processed.  However the ingredients are as clean as I can get with them so I feel good about those choices.  We did recently dine out over the weekend but the food left us feeling blah.  I’m pretty sure that dining out is going to be something we eliminate almost completely at some point (unless we’re traveling or it’s a special occasion).

It’s cheaper to cook at home even when cooking with high quality ingredients.  Plus it’s more satisfying eating a meal that I personally made.

I believe in going unprocessed so much that I want everyone to give it a shot!  If you’re not doing it now, then let’s talk about the holidays and how we can keep the junk out of the house.

While it may seem daunting at first, cutting out processed foods from our diets becomes easier with planning, prepping, and having a well stocked pantry.  That’s the challenging part, adopting those habits and getting a groove with this new lifestyle.

In an effort to help keep everyone on track and staying unprocessed once October is over, I was thinking of doing an Unprocessed Thanksgiving.  Providing recipes, tips, a grocery list, and a plan to help everyone get through the holiday while having an amazing meal that is full of flavor and has no unwanted junk in it.

Does this sound like something that would interest you?  

How about fresh cranberry sauce this year and not something out of a can?  Brined turkey and slow cooked greens?  Fluffy mashed potatoes and gravy made with homemade stock?

Let me know what you think about going Unprocessed this holiday season!

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Kicking Monday’s Butt

 

Asian Noodle Soup with 5 Spice Meatballs

Oh Monday.  It did not start off well.  I was having tech issues that were finally resolved by rebooting my computer.  As much as I love Apple, I become more and more frustrated with their products all the time. Well let me clarify this a bit.  The computers work when they are brand new but get a couple of years in them and they start to falter and some stuff won’t even work on them any longer.  That’s the part the frustrates me. I’m definitely leaving my iPhone in the dust and will be switching over to an Android based phone.  I’m a Google girl through and through, and it only makes sense to have a Google based phone verses an iPhone where I have to install apps or run Google through Apple Apps just to access stuff.  Bah! Ok, I’m done rambling. I’m sure you don’t care about my tech bitching.  On to food!

Yesterday was on the cooler side and I finally decided to make some soup.  I had been dreaming of an Asian inspired noodle soup with mini meatballs for days, so that’s what I made.

Homemade chicken broth seasoned with a little garlic and soy sauce.  Rice noodles (passes the kitchen test for unprocessed month, only has two ingredients), wilted spinach, and some pork meatballs.  The meatballs had green onion, soy sauce, and Chinese 5 Spice added to it.  They were roasted in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes and then added right to the soup.

Delicious!  A late lunch/early dinner meal.  Take that Monday!

Later in the evening we had some slices of a chocolate bourbon cake (that I made, no box mixes here) drizzled with a chocolate bourbon sauce. I tried taking a picture but that much dark stuff on a plate in the evening does not photograph well. Trust me.

Soup and cake? We totally kicked Monday’s butt!

How did your week start off?