Make Ahead Sausage & Veggies Breakfast

I am not a morning person. My toddler on the other hand loves to wake up at 5 or 6 am! He is ready to go as soon as his eyes pop open and he is ready to eat. He does not care that I am not ready to get up and he does not care that I do not feel like making breakfast. Since we are grain (and dairy) free, it obviously limits our breakfast options. On top of that, my son refuses to eat eggs unless they are mixed into something, so there really are no quick options.

This is one of my favorite egg free breakfast recipes, but I usually brown the meat and veggies in a skillet and then place that with seasoning and the apple into the oven. This time though, I said “Hey self. Why not just trying throwing this into the crockpot before you go to sleep and see what happens.” Not only did the house smelling absolutely amazing when we woke up, but the recipe was even better than when I used a skillet and the oven….

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1/2 medium head of cabbage-shredded
  • 1 medium yellow onion-diced
  • 1 medium honeycrisp apple-diced (you can substitute for other sweet apple types)
  • 2 carrots peeled-sliced or shredded
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder

Slow Cooker Directions:

  1. Crumble the ground sausage at the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Add the vegetables and seasonings.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

Please note, if you prefer your apples to be crispier, do not add until the last 1-2 hours of cooking. And remember locally sourced meat is always the best option! If you are in or around Columbia, Missouri like I am then be sure to check out the Columbia Farmer’s Market, where you can find locally raised Sullivan Farms (pastured, non-gmo) and Crocker Farms pork products!

The recipe will half, double or triple great! So try any of those combinations if feeding more or less people. You can add baked sweet potatoes as an excellent side dish to make this meal go farther (which also cook excellent in a crockpot).

Check out the Back 2 Basics Cooking resources page for tons more whole food resources!

What is your favorite go to breakfast choice?

Trying to Lose Weight? Focus on Your Diet, Not A “Diet”!

Say hello to the person who motivated me to start this business- My mother!

mom wow

Not only has she lost tons of weight, dropped several pant sizes and lowered her blood pressure and cholesterol over the last 9 months, but for the first time I can ever remember she is HAPPY with her body. I have watched her struggle with her body imagine my entire life. It is so awesome not to hear her putting herself down. I love that she is getting healthier, but even more so I love that she is happy!

If you are struggling with your self imagine, please don’t say you’re fat. I do not care what the scales says. You are simply a skinny person, who needs to lose a few pounds. Until you correct yourself imagine you will NEVER be skinny enough! Please check out this old post of mine.

Also, after being on almost every diet there is, she says this is the first time she hasn’t felt like she needed to go eat an entire package of Oreos. She is staying full and has tons of energy. No counting calories or points, just eating real food. For her, it is no longer a “diet”, it is a lifestyle!

Remember your diet matters (but not being on a “diet”)!! back2basicscooking.net

Grain Free Sweet Potato Pie Goodness

I have been grain free since April 2014. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I suddenly realized that I must find pie. So I set out to create a grain free pie that was worth sharing on Thanksgiving. I know there are tons of awesome recipes on the internet already; however, sometimes I enjoy creating my own recipe. Here is what I came up with:

Grain Free Sweet Potato Pie

Crust Ingredients

  • 1 cup Almond Meal or Flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 tbsp lard*
  • 1 tbsp real maple syrup grade B
  • 4 tbsp ice cold water
  • large pinch of sea salt

Pie Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (approximately 2 1/4 cups) baked and peeled
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • large pinch of salt

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Instructions 

  1. First make the crust. In a large mixing bowl mix together the almond meal or flour, coconut flour, arrowroot starch and salt, then add the egg, lard, ice water and maple syrup. You can roll with a rolling pin, but this has never worked out for me with grain free crust, so I just scooped it into my glass pie pan and use a spoon to smooth it as evenly as possible. Make sure you put it up the sides also, and use your fingers to pinch the top. Let it sit in the refrigerator for one hour.  If the sides keep falling, add a little more coconut flour.10711019_10154885667615089_367251562230110373_n
  2. Next, mix together all of the pie ingredients in a food processor. (Yes I tasted it! lol)1505288_10204840432627248_723312374104629049_n  10407245_10204840436387342_6517968877076640411_n
  3. Add the filling to the crust and smooth the filling, after the crust had chilled. before pie
  4. Bake for 30-40 mins or until the crust is brown & a toothpick comes out clean. 10353047_10204840437907380_6960240185752649987_n
  5. Enjoy!                                                                        10406650_10204840444987557_3996751603230733503_n

 

*Please Note: The lard should come from a high quality source. If you are in or around the Columbia, MO area then I recommend either Sullivan Farms out of Fayette or Crocker Farms out of Centralia. Both can be found at the farmers market on most Saturdays. They are hit and miss this time of year though.

 

Chicken Fried Cauliflower Rice

I thought a video would help some people who are visual learners better than a recipe, so I put together this video to demonstrate how to prepare Chicken Fried Rice-Paleo Style (meaning without actually containing any rice). You will also see how to make cauliflower rice. Feel free to substitute the meat or omit it altogether.

My apologizes for the poor video quality, but I believe can still help guide others in making this yummy dish! This is my first video, so hopefully the next one will be better. This has definitely been a learning experience (as are most things in life it seems).

I hope you enjoy! Check out my website for the full written recipe.

Please feel free to leave me feedback on this post or the video itself. I appreciate feedback and use it to serve you better.

Let’s Talk About Lard

I went to a health fair today to discuss my business, which offers whole food cooking classes and workshops for children and adults. One of the people I spoke with was very shocked (as many many people are) when I said that cooking with lard from well taken care of, pastured pigs is actually healthy. Not to mention it is cheap compared to most healthy cooking fats, so it is great for people like me on a budget!

It was hard for me to wrap my head around this concept at first as well, considering that the thought of lard previously made me instantly think clogged arteries. Not to mention eating pig fat? What?! Ugh. But that was then and this is now. And now I feel empty inside when I am out of lard. haha But really, it has truly become a staple in our home these days. My son ate all of his vegetables at dinner tonight! At 2, this is not an everyday occurrence. But really, who can resist anything roasted with lard?

I enjoy learning the science behind how food affects us;however, I believe it is best to leave it to the experts when it comes to explaining it. Below are a few links to check out regarding what fats are “healthy”, including our good friend lard:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2011/11/what-about-fat.html

http://nomnompaleo.com/post/2143915389/roast-your-veggies-doused-in-lard

http://culinaryarts.about.com/b/2008/09/21/lard-the-other-good-fat.htm

Check back next week for my Grain Free Sweet Potato Pie recipe, just in time for the holidays, made with, you guess it, lard!

I get my lard from my local farmer’s market. Either Sullivan Farms out of Fayette or Crocker Farms out of Centralia. Remember all lard is not created equally. 

In the end, as always, it is your decision on what you put into your mouth, so don’t take my word for it (or anyone else’s). Do your homework and decide for yourself; but, please just don’t throw lard out without a fair trial as I previously did.

If you use lard like me, what is your favorite thing to prepare with it?

The Potential of a Healthy Diet

When it comes to cleaning up your diet, it is not about perfection, but instead about potential. Potential to minimize or eliminate the symptoms of many chronic illnesses, potential for increased energy, potential to lose unwanted weight and keep it off without starving yourself, potential to add years to your life.

This potential is what motivated me to make a career change and start my business. It is why I run this blog and my webpage. It is why I maintain a Facebook and Instagram account. And it is why I answer dozens of food related questions via e-mail, text, phone, on my sites, and in person every single day.

Bacon Avocado Chicken...I bet this isn't allowed on most "diets". Good thing Paleo is a lifestyle!

Bacon Avocado Chicken…I bet this isn’t allowed on most “diets”. Good thing Paleo is a lifestyle!

It is my hope to help everyone. Not because I am a know it all who wants to take away your pizza; but, because I look around and see diet related health problems everywhere. However, I also understand that many people are in a comfort zone when it comes to food. The thought of stepping out of that comfortable place, even if it means their joints will no longer ache or their diabetes will no longer be an issue or whatever problem could benefit from a diet change, is just too much for them to get started. As I said, I used to be that person, so I completely understand. Food can often times be an addiction, and I believe many more people suffer from this addiction than we are willing to admit.

Take the first step, to getting control back. Don’t be a slave to food any longer. Try a Whole30 or 21 Sugar Detox Diet. Even just 30 days of Paleo eating will help.

Stop drinking diet soda, or soda all together. Stop eating fast food multiple times a week. Stop counting boxed cereal towards your daily fiber intake.

Get educated. Take Control. Start somewhere. It is up to YOU!

Back2BasicsCooking-Final_2

What do you do to keep healthy eating less complicated and more fun?

5 (More) Helpful Things To Have Around During a Whole30 Challenge

I previously wrote a post about 5 things that were helpful to have around during a Whole30 challenge. Since I am in the middle of hosting a Whole30 challenge through my business Back 2 Basics Cooking, I thought I would write another post about helpful things to have around during a challenge. So,here are they are:

1)Lard

LARD

I have been without Lard for a few weeks, because the farmers that I like to purchase Lard from sell them in tub that are around $20 each. While it is large and worth every penny, it can still be hard to afford when on a limited budget. Roast some vegetables in Lard and you will get a small taste of heaven. It is also a cheaper cooking fat than coconut or oil olive.

2)Red Boat Fish Sauce

red boat

Seriously, this stuff is amazing! It is pricey but a little goes along way. I can not even remember what life was like without it. I will be doing some free video demonstrations soon with ways to use this fantastic stuff. Add a little usami to your food today!

3)Cauliflower

Chicken Fried Paleo Rice

Cauliflower rice anyone? Need I say more?

4)Larabars

Beware of certain Larabar flavors, as some of them do not have approved ingredients. Always check your labels!

Beware of certain Larabar flavors, as some of them do not have approved ingredients. Always check your labels!

These bars of fruit and nutty goodness are great emergency foods to keep you from making bad choices when you are hungry and without a plan. However you must be sure not to use them to satisfy a sugar craving, as sugar=sugar=sugar. Even when it is natural sugar.

5)Support

whole30 funny by us

This is one thing that is not just helpful to have around, I believe it is, in almost every case, essential to have. For the majority of people, they need some kind of support to sustain something like the Whole30 for the entire 30 days, especially if this is their first time cleaning up their diet. I myself do not feel as if I would have made it through this Whole30 (I am not done yet, but I can see the light) if I would not have had the support of the group who came together to participate in the program with me. Because while a Whole30 is not hard, it IS hard. The support groups (both on-line and in person) have provided encouragement, meal ideas, some fun and time/money saving tips. It really has been an invaluable resource!

There are so many awesome foods that was difficult to only pick 5. This “diet’ has so many options once you stop focusing on what you can’t have!

What is your favorite thing to have around during a Whole30?

Sweet & Salty Tuna Salad

As some of my readers already know, I have been hosting a Whole30 challenge this month through my business Back 2 Basics Cooking . Many of the participants have stated how much the support has helped them to change their eating habits, but it has also taught me a lot in return! As I said in another post, I have learned tons of awesome whole food recipes. This recipe was inspired by something one of the participants posted. (I am not sure if she wants me to give her name, so if now I am going to leave it out.)

I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand for her recipe, so I had to improvise. As is almost always, my improvising was a success!  I discovered another cheap meal that requires no heat for cooking, so it is super quick to throw together. It is also great to take for a lunch since it doesn’t need to be warmed up. I thought I would share my new go to meal with all of my awesome readers.

It is the perfect balance of sweet and salty that has the crunch that you crave, while leaving you satisfied for several hours!

Make sure your tuna doesn't have soy listed as an ingredient.

Make sure your tuna doesn’t have soy listed as an ingredient.

Sweet and Salty Tuna Salad

Serves 1

1 Can of Wild-Caught Tuna in Olive Oil or Water (Check Label for Soy!)

1 Sweet Apple Cut into Chunks, Fuji or Honeycrisp Work Great

1 Cucumber, Cut into Chunks

1 Ripe Avocado, Mashed

1/4 Yellow Onion Diced Small

A Large Pinch of Sea Salt

Mix together and enjoy!

Yum Yum Yum!

Yum Yum Yum!

What Will I Eat If I Don’t Use “Regular” Flour?-A Short Guide to Grain Free Flours

Grain free flours can be confusing, especially when you are used to “regular” all-purpose flours or even whole wheat flours. Have no fear though, because this post will go over the basics with you. After a little experimenting (but not too much because grain free flours are expensive!) you will know your way around grain free flours in no time…

The first thing to remember, is that grain free and gluten free are not the same thing. So anything made from oats, corn and rice, for example, are out. You can use beans flours or quinoa flour; however, if you eat Paleo like I do these are not good options. (Some in the Paleo/Primal communities believe buckwheat flour is ok to use, others avoid it.) Let’s look at what some good options are.

Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Flours

Almond Flour

Almond Flour/Meal- Thanks to more people giving up grains for various reasons, you can purchase almond flour from the health food section in many grocery stores. At around $10-$15 per 16 oz bag, it can get very pricey. You can purchase almond meal (which is slightly less ground than almond flour) from the bulk bins at some stores; however, those who have celiac or high sensitivity to gluten should not use this option due to cross-contamination.

It is much cheaper to make it yourself. Check out this video about how to make your own almond meal.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

I would offer a word of caution about almond flour/meal though, I believe it should be used in moderation only. I personally do not feel my best if I eat too many nuts, so I looked into this and found this post about why to avoid almond flour. While I do think it is ok from time to time, I do think it is easy to go overboard. So as I said moderation (as with many things) is key.

 

Coconut Flour

Coconut Flour

Coconut Flour-Coconuts are amazing! Not only  is there milk, water, and oil, but you can also use the meat to make flour. Again you can buy it from the health food section of many grocery stores already ground up or make it yourself. Check out this video for a step by step how to guide:

Coconut flour is a lot different than regular flour and it may take you a few times working with it to get the hang of it. This post  from Nourished Kitchen tells you what you need to know.  It does not substitute the same as grain based flours, so check out her post before attempting to cook with it.

It also has a different taste. Personally, it took my taste buds a few times eating it before I got used to it. Now I love it!

Arrowroot Starch

Arrowroot Starch

Arrowroot Starch/Powder/Flour-Referred to as starch, powder and flour, this is my go-to thickener. It will replace cornstarch 1:1. Read more here.

Sunflower Seed Flour

Sunflower Seed Flour

Seed Flours-Seed Flours can be made the same way as the nut flours. Sunflowers are probably the most commonly used; however, pumpkin and flax seeds are another option. This can be a great option for some people with tree nut and peanut allergies (some people with peanut allergies can not tolerate sunflower seed either). Here is a great recipe for Gluten Free Healthy No Bake Brownie Bites that you can try out using sunflower seed flour.

Sweet Potato Starch

Sweet Potato Starch

Other Alternative Flours-There are tons of other alternative flours out there-plantain flour, hazelnut flour, sweet potato starch, tapioca start, other ground nuts and seeds, and plenty more. I personally never used any of these options though, so I do not feel comfortable advising the internet world on them. I just wanted to let you know there are other options if you are the adventurous type.

Peanut Free Flour– Those who follow a Paleo/Primal Diet like me probably already know that peanuts are not actually a nut, but rather a legume; therefore, they do not eat any peanuts. I know there people who read this blog that do not eat a Paleo diet and I also know there are plenty of people out there who simply CAN NOT have peanuts. If they do their airway will close up and they will stop breathing. If that happens, how will they come back to read my blog? (In all seriousness though, my boyfriend gets anaphylaxis to certain types of fish and it is nothing to mess around with. So if this is you, play it safe please!)

Some of these people also can not have seeds. While this recipe does contain buckwheat flour, it is the best option I am aware of for anyone with a peanut/seed allergy trying to eat as close to grain free as they can. (Please note that it also has coconut, which can be an allergen for some people with peanut allergies.)

A Few Final Thoughts

I find that using a combination of coconut flour, almond flour, and/or arrowroot starch works the best for most things for me. Play around and try different combinations to see what tastes and cooks the best for you. Remember to use more liquid than normal if you are using coconut flour.

I believe making things such as pancakes, bread, cookies, and even donuts with Paleo/Primal approved ingredients is ok in moderation. Of course, this does not mean that I believe this to be “health” food. I am one of the people who can not have “cheat” days while eating Paleo, because I am so sensitive to many non-Paleo foods that I end up fairly sick. So to have the option to make some pancakes that won’t leave me feeling miserable for hours afterwards is awesome!

Paleo Waffles

Paleo Waffles

If you eat these types of things everyday, please do not think you are eating healthy. While it is still loads better than eating a Standard American Diet, it is a far cry from having half your plate filled with vegetables. Please save them for now and agains if you want to feel your best! And don’t forget you can use it for things like coating chicken also….

What is your favorite grain free flour to cook with? What do you like to use your grain free flours for?

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Saturday, while on a radio show promoting Back 2 Basics Cooking’s upcoming Whole30 Challenge, a caller by the name of Karin asked me how she could afford to eat healthy if she was on a very limited income. She is on disability, which if anyone else knows someone who lives off this income, they know that they don’t have any wiggle room when it comes to their budget. I answered her question, but I did not feel like I gave her enough ideas. So this post is for Karin.

During our conversation yesterday, I explained to her that when you are on a very limited income you have to go all in when eating healthy. You simply can’t afford to eat healthy AND eat junk food. Also, if you quit the junk food, you will be amazed as to how long you can go without food. It takes sometime, but your body will adjust.

You are not suppose to feel like you’re starving a few hours after a meal.

I also suggested using some good quality lard. Karen said she cut pork out of her diet, so I suggested getting some beef fat (tallow) from the Columbia Farmers Market and rendering it herself. Rendering your own beef fat is cheap, easy and has great health benefits. Here is a great video about how to do this.

Here are some more tips that I did not get to when speaking to Karin:

  1. Meal Plan Meal planning can save you extra trips to the store, help you avoid impulse buys while there, and keep you from being hungry with no idea of what you are going to eat. Always check out what you already have and try to meal plan around that, especially if it is something that will perish quickly. The less you waste, the more you save. Which leads me to me next tip….
  2. Clean Out Your Refrigerator Often The more you clean out your refrigerator, the less leftovers you are likely to waste. Eating for health can get pretty expensive, so don’t waste any of those nutrient dense foods. I often make what I call “Refrigerator Soup” to help us eat up our leftovers (especially in the winter months).  I got the idea from this amazing book http://www.amazon.com/Long-Way-Little-Companion-Deliciously/dp/0979439124
  3. Buy in Season Vegetables and Fruits Buying things like exotic fruits for example, (I live in Missouri) can add up very quickly. Stick to what is in season and local if you are trying to eat healthy on a slim income.
  4. Utilize Bones and Fat As I mentioned above, you can get high quality animal fat from your local farmers market. You can also get bones. Both animal fat and bones are cheap, so they are a must for anyone trying to eat healthy on a limited income. Animal fat will help to keep you feeling full longer. Use the bones to make bone broth for amazing health benefits and taste. Save your vegetable scraps for added nutrient and flavor. Check out this simple explation of how to make it: https://wordpress.com/read/post/id/71388992/32/
  5. Make Things Yourself Obviously making your food instead of eating out will save money. Making things such as baked apple chips, condiments, larabars, salad dressings, and beef jerky can also save  you tons of money. This is also an great option, because you know exactly what is in your food and how it was prepared.
  6. Keep It Simple You do not have to make a 5 star meal every day. Here is an example of a cheap, yet affordable meal. Example:Can of Wild Caught Salmon Sauteed with Diced Onions, Mushrooms, Peas and Peppers or Hamburgers (No Bun) Topped with Avocado, Baked Sweet Potato Fries, & Roasted Brussel Sprouts
  7. Starchy Vegetables As the title of my blog implies, I do not feed my family grains. Doing so eliminates the filler foods that help stretch your dollar a little farther. Including plenty of starchy vegetables such as sweet and white potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and yucca root for example will help fill you up for less when you don’t have grains as an option.
  8. Participate in a CSA program CSA stands for “community supported agriculture”. At the beginning of the farm season you can purchases shares of the crops. Each week (or whatever is designated) you will be given a box of extremely fresh fruits and vegetables at a price lower than you would get them from the store. Read more and find a local farm to sign up for a CSA here: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
  9. Grow/Raise Your Own Food One sure way to save some money is by planting and growing your own produces & herbs. If you don’t have a yard or the space for a garden you can use pots and window boxes. Here are 10 tips for gardening without a garden: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/gardening-without-a-garden-10-ideas-for-your-patio-or-balcony-renters-solutions-167221 In Columbia, you are allowed to have up to 6 chickens (only hens, no roosters) as long as they are locked up at night, so you could have fresh eggs straight from your yard.
  10. Eggs Farm fresh eggs are an excellent food source. If you buy them directly from the farmer or at the market you will save more (if you don’t raise them yourself). You can make several meals per dozen, so even if you pay $5/dozen at the store, it is still a cheap protein source. Remember to keep your cartons and take them back to be used again.
  11. Buy a Whole or Half Cow/Pig/Lamb Buying a whole or half animal is a great way to save on the price per pound. For someone like Karin, who is on a low fixed income such as disability, this is probably not an option as you must have a lump sum of money to pay for all of this meat ahead of time. However, if you get a decent tax refund, you can use this to fill up your freezer. Lucky for us, that is when our beef guy takes his cows in to be butchered, so it works out perfectly.
  12. Organ Meat I will be perfectly honest in telling you it is taking me some time to get use to liver. Along with being extremely healthy organ meat are also cheap, even for high quality. Try this recipe (my son loves it!) http://hillarystarbright.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/going-paleo-this-is-the-best-liver-recipe-ever/
  13. Go Fishing/Hunting Food sources from the wild are typically an extremely healthy option. My dad brought me some morel mushrooms this year and every time I ate some I felt AMAZING for several hours! Animals in the wild are leaner because they are more active. This is obviously a cheap food source also. If you don’t personally hunt/fish, you may be able to find someone who enjoys it to sell you some at a discounted rate compared to the store/market.

These are just some of the ways you can afford to eat healthy on a limited low income. I hope they have helped you.

What ideas would you add to this list to help others like Karin who want to eat healthier on a low income?