All Posts Tagged ‘whole30 recipes

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End of the Week Breakfast Skillet

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breakfastskillet

 

Every Tuesday we get a big box of produce delivered through our CSA program. It’s enough to completely fill our fridge and then some, so every Monday I clear out whatever is left from the previous week and fry it up for breakfast. This is a quick and simple meal that is ever changing, and really doesn’t require a recipe. Here are a few steps for any newbies in the kitchen, but those of you who already have been cooking for awhile, just go for it and see what delicious combinations you come up with!

Ingredients

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 sweet onion, peeled and diced

1 apple, washed and diced

Any vegetables you have left in your fridge, washed and chopped to uniform size

Some form of protein (a meal is not a meal without protein the size of your palm!). For example: two fried eggs, nitrate free/sugar free farmer’s sausage, chorizo sausage, etc. Experiment with whatever you have in your fridge.

Directions

1) Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and melt coconut oil in it.

2) Fry your onion and whatever meat you have chosen until cooked through.

3) Add in your vegetables, starting with the hardest vegetables (yam or potato), and then adding the softer ones a few minutes later so they don’t get soggy. 

4) Combine and fry until cooked through. Simple and delicious!

Some of my favourite combinations are: 

Chorizo, yam, leek, apple, bell peppers, and kale.

Farmer’s sausage, potato, apple, bell peppers, swiss chard, and sauerkraut.

Ground pork, zucchini, peppers, fennel, and apple.

Pictured: Farmer’s sausage, red potato, swiss chard and apple.

I would love to hear what delicious comments you come up with or suggest! Leave a comment and share your insight. 

 

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A Healthy Vacation – Part 2 – Camping

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I’ve had an on again, off again relationship with camping my whole life. My (brave) parents took all four of us kids camping every single summer for as long as I can remember. And I’m not talking weekend camping, I’m talking 2-3 weeks at a time with no showers, no flushing toilets, no fancy RV. I loved it as a young kid, hated it as a moody teenager, and now I’m back to loving it as an adult. Looking back, I’m so incredibly grateful to them for giving us those amazing, natural, old school, get-outside-and-breathe-that-fresh-air kind of experiences. Just don’t tell them I said that.

I’ve been hearing all summer from people that it’s impossible or just too difficult to stay healthy on vacation, and especially while camping. I decided to try and prove them wrong. (Read Part 1 to see a detailed explanation of how we stayed healthy in Whistler here.) 

You CAN eat healthy and keep up with your balanced lifestyle while camping with minimal preparation, and still leave room for some treats here and there. My husband and I just finished a 5 day road trip to Banff and Jasper, British Columbia, and I promise you we didn’t climb mountains with hot dogs and muffins in our bellies.

Hiking around Lake Louise

Hiking around Lake Louise

Here’s what I packed and how we enjoyed our adventures, completely guilt free.

In an electric cooler I packed:

1 batch of frozen homemade meatballs (previously made and frozen before our Whistler trip), separated into ziploc freezer bags of 5 for quick defrost

1 batch of frozen homemade sausage patties (previously made and frozen before our Whistler trip), separated into ziploc freezer bags of 4 for quick defrost

6 hardboiled eggs

1 pound of frozen grass fed beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch chunks

1 frozen farmer sausage 

4 bell peppers, chopped

3 sweet onions, peeled and chopped

Approximately 20 mushrooms, washed

2 large zucchini, chopped

5 red potatoes, scrubbed 

4 apples

1 bunch of bananas

A big bag of carrots

3 packs (about 350g total) of sugar free, nitrate free beef jerky

4 Larabars

1 glass container of our leftover breakfast from the morning we left (a skillet mixture of chicken sun dried tomato sausage, kale, swiss chard, peppers, potatoes, onion and apple)

A sealed glass container of coconut oil

For cooking supplies I packed:

2 plastic plates

2 forks and 2 knives

1 sharp knife

Heavy duty aluminum foil

1 cutting board

1 frying pan

Propane stove (with propane and matches)

Garlic Salt

Pepper

We dropped our kids off with my parents and left late in the afternoon and drove straight to Golden, BC. We ate before we left and then snacked on veggies, hard boiled eggs, and meatballs for a quick dinner in the car. The next morning we left early to finish our drive and had a similar meal for breakfast in the morning, eating the sausage patties instead of meatballs. (Because I separated the meatballs and sausage patties into ziploc freezer bags, I was able to pull them out of the cooler and let them defrost for 10-15 minutes before eating them). 

For the next three nights we camped in Jasper National Park. We spent each day exploring and adventuring around Jasper and Banff and spent as little time as possible at our actual campground, so here are some of the quick combination meals I came up with for dinner each day. I made a little extra each night to warm up in a pan on the propane stove for breakfast in the morning. Lunch was always a mixture of eggs, veggies, jerky, Larabars, meatballs and sausage patties.

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Tinfoil Steak Dinner

I piled half of the stew meat on 2 large torn pieces of layered tinfoil. I sprinkled it with garlic salt and pepper, then added the diced potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini. I wrapped it in the tinfoil and sealed it tightly at the top, and cooked it on a grate on top of the campfire for approximately 20-30 minutes. Depending on the size of your stew meat chunks and vegetables, check on it every 15 minutes or so until it’s cooked to your liking. We ate it right out of the tinfoil to save dish washing time.

Some possible variations: throw in a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or steak spice.

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Tinfoil Farmer Sausage Dinner

I did the same thing as the Steak Dinner, just replaced the stew meat with sliced farmer’s sausage. Farmer’s sausage usually has a high salt content, so skip the salt on this one and add chopped apple to balance the flavours. This cooks much quicker, so check every 10 minutes or so for doneness. 

If we had stayed longer, I would’ve done the same thing with a cut up chicken breast, pineapple, red onion and more vegetables. By making different combinations, you can have different flavours each night, all healthy and satisfying.

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Eating this way gave us lots of energy for all of our hiking and canoeing adventures, and left room for treats in the cute little town of Banff, at the Lake Agnes Teahouse, and the occasional S’more. If you skip the extra treats, the whole road trip and camping trip could easily be Whole30 approved.

We are hoping to squeeze in another short camping trip before the summer is over, so leave a comment with some of your healthy camping ideas. I’d love to try them out!

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A Healthy Vacation – Part 1 – Whistler

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Over the course of this summer, I’ve heard a lot of this:

“I’ll start eating healthy after my vacation is over.”

“It’s impossible to eat healthy on vacation.”

“It’s too hard to eat healthy while camping.”

“Whole30 is impossible on vacation.”

Of course, I took this on as a challenge to prove that it IS all possible, and that it’s not that difficult or time consuming with a little guidance and prep work. We had two short trips almost back to back, giving me two opportunities to test out my ideas. (Read Part 2 – Camping to see how we stayed healthy on our road trip to Alberta).

First, we got to spend a weekend in Whistler with our good friend and her daughter. We stayed in a lodge with a full kitchen, making this the easier of the two challenges. Still, we only had 2 nights there, and I wanted to spend as little of that time in the kitchen as possible, so I prepped almost everything ahead of time.

whistlerfood

Here’s a complete list of what I packed:

Green beans

Kale/Swiss chard mix, washed and torn

Yellow carrots

1 large zucchini

4 avocados

1 bunch of bananas

Cherries

Apples

1 dozen eggs, half of those hardboiled

Chicken (2 large bone-in breasts and 2 large thighs)

Homemade sausage patties

Homemade meatballs

Partially cooked diced yams

Cooked beets

Cashews

Larabars

Date/Coconut balls

Black coffee

At first glance, all that cooked food may look like a lot of prep work, but it really wasn’t. I like to keep it simple and use shortcuts.

For the chicken, I threw it all in a crockpot the night before with about 1 tbsp of rosemary, 1 tbsp of basil, 1 sliced lemon, salt and pepper, and drizzled olive oil on it. I let it cook all night on low, then let it cool in the morning and packed it away in tupperware. This took about 5 minutes of hands on time.

For the beets, I also used the crockpot. I scrubbed them, threw them in the crockpot and covered them with an inch or two of water. I cooked them on high for 2 hours. Once they cooled, I slid off the peels and then packed them in tupperware. Maximum ten minutes of hands on time.

The meatballs and sausage patties were what took the most time, and so I doubled both recipes knowing that I could use the extra for camping the next week. For the meatballs I used the Greek version of Melissa Joulwan’s meatballs. I packed half of them in a tupperware and froze the other half in a ziploc freezer bag for camping. For the sausage patties, I used my absolute favourite homemade sausage recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo, found here. I did the same as I did with the meatballs, packing half in a tupperware container and freezing the rest in a ziploc freezer bag for camping the next week. This only took about 30 minutes of hands on time the night before our trip.

While the meatballs and sausage patties cooked in the oven, I peeled and chopped about 6 small yams. I fried them in coconut oil but left them slightly hard so that they wouldn’t get mushy over the next few days. This took about 15 minutes of hands on time, and about 15 mins of frying time. 

The morning of our trip, I threw it all in a cooler and unloaded it all in the fridge once we arrived. Over the weekend, we simply ate different combinations of all these foods. Bonus, we came home with a ton of leftovers that we ate at home over the next couple of days. All of this food was Whole30 approved, and because I’m not actually doing the Whole30 challenge this month, eating this way for our 3 main meals a day left room for treats like this that I found at the Whistler Farmer’s Market:

applebaconpie

Apple Bacon Pie. Seriously.

Spending the small amount of time to do this ended up saving us a ton of money (dining out in Whistler is expensive!), a lot of frustration and exhaustion trying to keep our two wiggly children quiet and entertained at restaurants, and left us with so much extra time to explore and have fun. 

Try it, I know you can do it!

(Side note: I was so happy to bump into Caveman Grocer at the Whistler Farmer’s Market. Check her out!)

Kayaking in Whistler

Kayaking in Whistler

Morning run around Lost Lake, Whistler

Morning run around Lost Lake, Whistler

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Basil Kale Pesto

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pestoI received a lovely bunch of fresh basil in my CSA delivery this week, so I figured now is the time to attempt my first homemade pesto sauce. I played around with it a bit today and came up with this combination that I absolutely loved.

Ingredients

3 cups fresh basil leaves

2 cups of kale, chopped and stems removed

5 cloves of garlic, oven roasted

1/2 cup of walnuts, oven roasted

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice from half a lemon

Pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

1) Peel and smash your garlic cloves. Place them on a cookie sheet and roast them under the oven broiler until browned, about 5-10 minutes. Remove and let cool.

2) Spread your walnuts on a cookie sheet and do the same as you did with the garlic.

3) Throw all your ingredients into a food processor or Vitamix and blend until you reach desired consistency. Some like it chunky while others prefer a very smooth pesto.

We enjoyed this with scallops and red peppers over spaghetti squash for dinner. Delicious!

pestodinner

 

 

 

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Potatoes with Kale and Bacon

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POTATOES. KALE. BACON. These are few of my favorite things, especially all served together. I’ve stayed away from white and red potatoes for years but have recently had some fun reintroducing them into my diet after the big Whole30 announcement saying they are now approved.

In regard to the bacon, please don’t make this dish unless you are using sugar free, nitrate free bacon. My conscience can’t let me get away without saying that in this post. Clean bacon can be difficult to find, so do your homework. Find a good butcher and quiz him on how he makes his bacon. If you can’t find it locally, check out US Wellness Meats.

This dish, paired with a few eggs, works well as a pre/post workout meal or a hearty breakfast.

Ingredients

3 cups potatoes, chopped into 1 inch pieces

3 strips of sugar free and nitrate free bacon

1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped, stems removed

Directions

1) Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cut the bacon into 1 inch pieces and fry in the pan until cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, to be added back in later.

2) Remove some of bacon grease from the pan, but leave about 1-2 tbsp in the pan.

3) Add the chopped potatoes to the pan and fry in the bacon grease. Turn the heat down and a little and fry until the potatoes are almost completely cooked through.

4) Turn up the heat again and add in the chopped kale. Give it a good stir and add in the cooked bacon pieces. Fry until the kale becomes slightly crispy in the pan and the potatoes are cooked through.

Serve up and dig in!

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Energy Balls

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I try not to snack unless I really need to. Over the past year I’ve been experimenting with my meal sizes in an effort to figure out just how much food I need at breakfast, lunch, and dinner to avoid getting hungry in between. That being said, sometimes there is no avoiding it. When dinner gets delayed by cranky kids or extra long outings, I like to have something available to quickly grab and tide me over until my next meal. That’s what these energy balls are for. I can also grab a couple on the way to a work out, or take them with me on a hike. There are so many different variations of these that you can make, and I’ve included a few of our favourites. Charley loves making these and I’m happy to have something to offer her instead of a store bought granola bar! Bonus: these are Whole30 approved! Here’s what we created today.

Ingredients

12 dates, pitted and chopped

10 figs, chopped

1 cup hazelnuts, chopped

1/4 cup almonds, chopped

2 tbsp raw cacao nibs

1 cup freeze dried strawberries and bananas

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Raw Cacao Nibs

Raw Cacao Nibs

Directions

1) Mix all ingredients in a large bowl except for the coconut.

2) Working in batches (approximately 2 cups at a time), blend in a Vitamix (or similar food processor) on low speed until the mixture starts to stick together. Scrape the sides and blend for a few more seconds until it becomes it mouldable.

3) Scrape the sticky mixture out (I use a knife to work around the blade. It’s a sticky mess!) into a separate bowl and repeat with the remaining mixture until all of the mixture is combined. You may need to add a tablespoon of water, depending on how moist your dates and figs are.

4) Scrub your hands and remove any jewellery. Leave your hands wet and roll the sticky mixture into balls, approximately 1 inch in size. Press them pretty tightly to ensure they stay together. Keeping your hands wet will allow you to roll them easily without everything sticking to your fingers.

5) Roll the energy balls in the shredded coconut. You should have approximately 15 energy balls, depending on the size. Enjoy!

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Variations

Replace the hazelnuts and almonds with cashews or macadamia nuts.

Use fresh fruit. This makes the process messier but is absolutely delicious! One of my favourite combinations is fresh chopped cherries and 1 tbsp fresh lime juice.

Add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves. Add 1 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice.

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Whole30 Tips

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This post has been updated since it was originally published on 7/29/2014.

I’ve completed the Whole30 challenge a few times now and generally live a Whole30 lifestyle, but I still remember how overwhelmed I felt during my first challenge. Since then I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that will really increase your chance of success. I wish everyone success with their challenge, and here are my top thirteen tips!

1) Choose a reward for yourself.

It may sound childish, but sometimes you just need a little extra push to complete something difficult. Before you start, choose some sort of reward for yourself to meditate on during the thirty days. It should go without saying, but do not use food as a reward. If you spend the thirty days dreaming of a huge ice cream sundae that you can’t wait to stuff into your face as soon as the challenge is complete, then you are missing the point. (And you will end up with a really sore stomach!) Choose something more along the lines of a new pair of shoes, or a day at the spa. On those extra tough days during Whole30 (usually the first few days), look at photos of what you’ve set as your reward. Remind yourself that you can do it!

2) Surround yourself with those who support you.

To the average person, Whole30 sounds extreme. I’ve crossed paths with a lot of people who write it off as a crazy fad diet before actually knowing anything about it. Do not waste your time arguing and trying to convince those people. Avoid them during your Whole30 challenge and surround yourself with family and friends who love and support your lifestyle change. If you can’t find friends and family who support you, look online. The Whole30 community is huge and incredibly encouraging. Search Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and you will find thousands of people going through the challenge with you.

3) Do your research and know what you are getting into.

The official Whole30 website is fantastic. It’s clear and easy to understand. Make sure you read it and know what to expect. Know that you will probably feel worse before you feel better, and that this is normal and good! Take a look at this timeline to get an idea of what your thirty days will feel like.

4) Build your resources.

Now that Whole30 has gained so much popularity, there are never ending resources online. Spend some time looking at all of the recipes available online. A bunch of us foodies have already done all the work for you, so take advantage of it! Some of my favourite recipe resources are: Well Fed 1&2 By Melissa Joulwan and her blog, Nom Nom Paleo, and The Foodie. There are so many more, so keep looking!  Most of the recipes I post under ‘Cooking with Joanna’ are Whole30 approved or easily modifiable.

5) Meal plan.

Once you’ve found a bunch of recipes that you’re interested in, set up a meal plan and a corresponding grocery list. The first few times you do this it might seem time consuming, but as it becomes a habit and as you become more familiar with the foods you eat, it becomes easier and much faster. Now, I spend about thirty minutes, once a week, setting up my meal plan and grocery list for the next 7 days.

6) Meal prep.

Once you’ve set up your meal plan and shopped for your groceries, prepare those meals ahead of time as much as you can. Spend a couple hours at the beginning of the week chopping your vegetables, partially steaming your vegetables, and cooking your meat. You will be so glad you did! Melissa Joulwan teaches you how to prepare your meals in detail in her cookbooks Well Fed 1&2. I highly recommend them, as all the recipes are Whole30 approved.

7) Cook once, eat twice.

Leftovers are a huge key to surviving Whole30. Look through each recipe in your meal plan and decide which ones are the most simple to double or triple. I always double or triple any meatballs, hamburgers, soups, chilis or casseroles that I make. You can either eat the leftovers over the next few days just as they are, or repurpose them (use leftover meatballs to make a soup), or freeze them for future days in the month where you are too tired or too busy to cook a fresh meal.

8) Keep emergency food handy at all times.

Snacking is not encouraged during Whole30, but neither is starving yourself. During the first few days of your challenge, experiment with the size of your 3 meals a day to make sure you are eating enough to keep you satiated until your next meal. However, sometimes life gets in the way and we can’t eat our breakfast, lunch or dinner at a regular time. In this situation it is so helpful to have “emergency” Whole30 snacks easily available to you. I like to keep Larabars (you can buy them at Costco, but read your labels because not every flavour is approved), approved beef jerky, Energy Balls, hardboiled eggs, and meatballs either in my fridge or in my purse. The hungrier you become, the less likely you are to make a smart decision about food, so in a pinch, use a snack to stop you from making a poor food choice. Do not use these snacks if you are feeling bored, tired, or emotional. Only use them if you are legitimately hungry and will not be able to have a meal soon. (Side note: notice that all of these snacks are mainly protein. If you snack on fruit, you will be hungry in 10 minutes. Protein and healthy fats are the way to go for snacking.)

9) Read your labels.

The first grocery shop that you do during Whole30 will take twice as long as usual just because of all the label reading you will need to do. To avoid an accidental slip up, check the label on everything you buy. It is shocking how many products contain sugar, preservatives and soy. Be aware and watch out!

10) Focus on what you CAN have, not what you can’t have.

Yes, you need to memorize the list of foods you can’t have during the Whole30 program. But once you’ve done that, stop focusing on those foods and start to get excited about all the new vegetables, spices and herbs you are going to try. I kept this Whole30 Shopping List on my fridge during my first few rounds of Whole30 and it helped immensely.

11) Get outside.

If you are feeling tired and sluggish, get outside. Breathe in the fresh air. Remind yourself why you are doing this challenge. It is amazing how many times I find myself in a slump in the middle of the afternoon, and then when I force myself to go outside even just for a quick walk, my mood improves dramatically. Remind yourself that you are changing your life by doing this challenge, and that is very admirable!

12) Make sure you eat enough.

I hear lots of people complain that they are constantly hungry during Whole30. I take a look at what they’re eating and immediately see one of two problems. Either they’re eating toddler sized portions each meal, or they are not eating any carb-dense or starchy vegetables and healthy fats. If you are eating the same amount as your three year old, then yes, you will be hungry all the time. If you are trying to survive on a small chicken breast and spinach salad every day then yes, you will be hungry all the time. Make sure you include vegetables like yams, sweet potatoes, beets, broccoli and cauliflower, and healthy fats like avocados, olives and nuts. Your body needs them for so many reasons, one of them being to keep you full.

13) Don’t measure your success by the number on your scale.

Say it with me, your value has nothing to do with your weight. Absolutely nothing. Get that idea out of your head. Our society has pounded it into our minds, but I’m challenging you to spend the rest of your life erasing it from your psyche. Instead, be in tune with your body to notice more important changes. How are you sleeping? How do your nails, skin and hair feel? How is your mood? Energy level? Bloating? These are the results that are life changing, not a number on the scale.

I love this post on the topic of weight and the scale.


I’m so excited for you and wish you the best of luck! Feel free to comment and share your own tips or ask any questions. I would love to be a Whole30 resource for you!

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Lemon Pepper Spaghetti Squash with Scallops and Kale

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I absolutely love scallops! They are a quick and easy source of protein and completely versatile when it comes to flavour. This is one of my favourite lunches to eat post workout.

Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash, cooked and threaded into ‘noodles’

8-10 scallops, ocean wise

1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped, stems removed

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/8 cup of Tessemae’s Lemon Pepper sauce, approximately

Directions

1) Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat.

2) Pour into the pan about half of the Tessemae’s Lemon Pepper sauce

3) Place your scallops in the pan, leaving lots of wiggle room between them. Leave them to cook for 3-5 minutes.

4) Flip over your scallops and allow them to cook for another few minutes.

5) Add your red pepper and stir to combine with the scallops. Let cook for a minute.

6) Add your kale and the rest of your Tessemae’s sauce. Mix everything and fry until kale is softened and scallops are completely cooked through.

7) Remove from pan and serve over spaghetti squash noodles. Enjoy!

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Balsamic Beef Stew

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I woke up to the sound of pouring rain this morning and immediately thought to myself that today is a good day for stew. A couple of hours later I got a text from my sister in law asking if I had any good stew recipes. Great minds think alike! There’s just something comforting about curling up with a bowl of hot stew while the rain comes down outside….

Ha! Who am I kidding? No mom ever gets to eat their stew while it’s still hot. I’m usually scarfing down my dinner as fast as I can while simultaneously doing the airplane move, trying to shovel food into my 1 year old’s mouth and chanting “You can do it!” to my 3 year old, desperately trying to convince her to eat her carrots. Bonus points if I can get the dirty dishes loaded before the 1 year old climbs out of his high chair and starts climbing right into the dishwasher. What is it with babies and dishwashers? Good thing he’s so cute!

IMG_9921Back to the stew. It takes some time, but the end result is completely worth it. Serve it with a side salad and enjoy!

Ingredients

1 lb stewing beef (grass fed and local if possible)

1 tbsp steak spice (sugar free)

1 tbsp coconut oil 

4 cups of yams, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks

2 cups of parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks

2 cups of carrot, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tbsp of fresh rosemary, chopped (dried will work just fine but fresh is always better!)

1 tbsp of fresh thyme leaves

2 cups beef bone broth (sugar free)

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (sugar free)

Directions

1) Preheat your oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit.

2) Dry the stewing beef by blotting it with paper towel. Toss it in the steak spice to coat it evenly.

3) Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and melt the coconut oil in it. Working in batches if necessary, brown all sides of the beef in the pan. Don’t crowd the beef, give it lots of wriggle room to properly brown the sides. Remove the beef to a dutch oven or large, deep casserole dish with a lid. 

4) Pile the yams, carrots and parsnips on top of the beef.

5) Return to the same saucepan and add your onion, rosemary and thyme. Saute for a few minutes to soften. Add the bone broth and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil, all the while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the juicy beefy bits.

6) Pour the contents of the saucepan into your dutch oven or casserole dish, put the lid on, and place it in the oven for three hours, if you can wait that long. The delicious aroma will drive you crazy while you wait! Enjoy.