loaded beef & bacon chili

We made this concoction up last night for dins.  Slightly similar to a previous chili recipe of mine, HOWEVER def jazzed up with more flavour and bacon!  I have to say…the bacon was a solid addition.  Today, it has served me very well as a breakfast, lunch AND dinner.  I kid you not!  Some people get all weirded out my eating the same kinds of meals several times in a row and making use of their leftovers.  Not this gal.   More specifically, when it comes to stews, chilies and soups…sometimes they are even better the next day.  Anyhoo, I am keeping in short and sweet tonight.  Hitting the hay…and off to the states tomorrow to do a little shoppy shops!!!  LE CREUSET outlet store…here we come!  TA TA for now…

loaded beef & bacon chili
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Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 20 mins
Serves: 4 +
Ingredients
  • coconut/olive oil- for cooking veggies
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 8-10 slices of bacon – or more if desired!
  • 1 can diced tomatoes- organic (just tomatoes- look at ingredients)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes- same as above
  • 2 package mushroom- quartered into chunks
  • 3-4 large carrots- coined
  • 3 stalks celery – chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion- thickly diced
  • 3 zucchini- diced into chunks
  • 2 red pepper- chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 tbsp ground smoked chipotle chilies
  • loads of chili powder – add and taste – repeat (to reach desired flavour and colour richness)
  • fresh cilantro- chopped for garnish
Instructions
  1. start by browning the ground beef, on medium heat in a frying pan- set aside
  2. in the meantime, bake the bacon in the oven at 325 degrees, until fully cooked – set aside to cool, then break into chunks
  3. in a separate dutch oven (large), sautee all the veggies in coconut/olive oil on medium heat, until cooked (softened)
  4. drain most of the liquid from the veggies, as you don’t want it too watered down
  5. then take the ground beef and bacon pieces and add both to the veggies in the dutch oven
  6. next, add in both cans of tomatoes and stir throughly
  7. then, sprinkle in desired amounts of spices (taste test as you go – we put in lots as that is the way we prefer it!)
  8. let cook on low-medium heat- stirring occasionally
  9. dish and garnish with fresh cilantro
  10. enjoy!
Notes

• The above recipe is wonderful for freezing smaller portions, because of it’s size. I also enjoy using the leftovers as a yummy topping on eggs or over greens.
• One of my ‘readers’ the other day, suggested that it may be a tasty topping for my twice baked chipotle sweet potato. Good call!

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creamy, yet chunky garlicky guac

I have made guac many times before, but have recently updated my recipe with a couple sweet tweaks here and there. The ‘new & improved’ version, so to speak!  In my opinion, making that perfect guac, honestly has a lot to do with finding the perfect avocados.  Catching them at the right time, is key.  They need to be ripe and ready to go, but not starting to go brown inside.  Sidenote: how many times have you bought avocados and thrown them out???  They go fast!  There lies the fine line. The second point to securing amazing flavour is mincing your fresh garlic, rather than just chopping it up.  I find this makes a huge difference is giving it so much more flavour.  Garlic breath beware!

My new version of homemade guac is creamier, yet still a little on the chunky side.  You know…kinda like ‘crispy’ and ‘saucy’ wings…I like a happy combo of both.  The generous amounts of squeezed lime juice and cilantro make it so FRESH!  I love that guac is so filling and serves so many purposes.  Throw it on some meat, use it as a dip for veggies, top off your fav kind of eggs…or just gobble it up on it’s own!  Whatever the case may be, chances are you will be adding it to anything and everything in sight.  It is so good and highly addictive…I fully ate almost the entire batch (and it was a huge batch) all by my lonesome!  Okay…enough chit chat.  Here is is…

Note:  I have made changes/additions below that differ from my original recipe.

creamy, yet chunky garlicky guac
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Recipe type: Condiment, Side
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 4 +
Ingredients
  • 4 large avocados (ripe – soft, but not too soft to the touch)
  • 2-3 small white onions – finely diced
  • 6 plum tomatoes – finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic – minced
  • 2-3 limes – freshly squeezed juice
  • fresh cilantro – chopped (lots!)
  • coarse sea salt – several pinches (I used rosemary & lemon)
  • ground black pepper – generous amounts
  • ground cumin – a pinch or two
  • ground cayenne – a pinch or two
  • hot sauce or chopped jalapenos – to kick it up a notch (optional)
Instructions
  1. peel, cut and de-pit avocados, into a medium-sized bowl
  2. add in onions, tomatoes, garlic and lime juice
  3. using a fork, begin mashing all the ingredients together
  4. then, add in cilantro, sea salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne and hot sauce/jalapenos (optional)
  5. continue the mashing process until you have reached your desired consistency
  6. enjoy!
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mango.berry & avocado.cuc salsa

Fresh. Sweet. Crunchy. Summery. Fully loaded with flavour.  There are many words to describe this little number that I could go on forever.  It turned out so amazing, because it has several wonderful ingredients that compliment one another so nicely.

The inspiration for this recipe really came from the simple fact that every time I walk into our local veggie/fruit market, the pile of ripe mangoes are right in the doorway, staring directly at me, totally screamin’ pick me.  It’s really funny, because I think each time I stroll through that doorway, I actually do stop…give one of ‘em a squeeze, but end up setting them back down and continue on my merry way into the shop.  Reason being…I LOVE mango…but to be honest I don’t eat loads of fruit, so this salsa is a real treat.

So good in fact, that you can eat it on it’s own.  That’s what ‘the duster’ did!  It could also serve well as a yummy condiment to pretty much anything.  We are absolute guacamole fans, so we plop that on just about everything we make on a daily basis.  The beauty of this salsa is that it offers a nice change from our usual.  A perfect match for grilled fish, pork or on eggs (like I had this morning)!  Why not even throw some on top of a bed of greens and grilled chicken and call it a day?!?  The options here are really endless.  Do you have a bbq to attend this weekend?  Are you hosting Father’s day brunch?  Family gathering?  Regardless…give it a go!!!

P.S.  The strawberries were a last minute addition to this recipe, but I just couldn’t resist because they are local now (Ontario grown) and super scrumptious.

Makes a large serving.

mango.berry & avocado.cuc salsa
Recipe Type: side, condiment
Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: many
Ingredients
  • 2-3 ripe mangoes – cubed
  • 1/2 pint of fresh strawberries – cubed
  • 4 mini cucumbers – cubed
  • 3-4 ripe avocados – cubed
  • 1/3 large red onion – finely diced
  • 1 orange pepper – cubed
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 1 lemon – juice freshly squeezed (can add in some zest if you wish as well)
  • 1 lime – juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 small navel orange – juice freshly squeezed (optional)
  • lots of fresh cilantro – chopped
  • sea salt and ground pepper – to taste
  • fresh ginger – grated (optional)
  • splash of olive oil
Instructions
  1. take all ingredients from the list that need cubed and chop them into fairly small bits.
  2. put them in a medium sized bowl and mix together.
  3. next, add in the garlic, grated ginger, freshly squeezed lemon/lime and orange juice and a splash of olive oil.
  4. lastly, add in lots of freshly chopped cilantro and sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper.
  5. stir all ingredients together and allow to cool in fridge before serving.
  6. enjoy!
Notes

• I made this salsa yesterday…and then let the flavours meld together in the fridge overnight! It is even tastier the next day!!!

hot n’ spicy salsa

To market, to market to buy a… load of veggies to whip up some hot n’ spicy salsa.  Mmmmmmm…adds a nice little zing to your paleo dishes.  <Beware…this recipe is highly fresh and super addictive. >  What a gorgeous day it was today!  I hope many of you got out to enjoy the sunshine, in some way, shape or form.  It was one of those days that you really just didn’t want to end…oh and the dose of vitamin D that I desperately needed.  Up until now, I hadn’t made this recipe before.  Prior to this, (for a treat) we used to just get the pre-made salsa from a jar or a container.  I thought to myself, why do we keep buying that ?  I realized I could easily make a version of my own, that is just as flavourful and way more fresh.  It’s also totally Paleo, which is exciting and has no preservatives additives or loads of sodium to boot!

So off to a local produce market (walking distance … just down the street, which is super convenient) I went.  When I got there, I was super excited to see that they had Ontario tomatoes in stock…and they looked and smelled amazing.  JACKPOT!  Literally, on the spot I picked out and threw various veggies into my basket that I thought would meld nicely into the mix for creating this homemade salsa.  Then off to pay for my goods I went.  My husband and I have been going to this little market for awhile now.  It is so nice when they know you as a “regular”.  I love supporting small local businesses like this.  It is also so terrific there (huge turnover), because their produce is always so fresh.  I really enjoy taking the time on the weekends to go around exploring and checking out different local farmer’s markets. We are so fortunate to live in a city that has access to all these wonderful resources.  Take advantage!!!  If you are not from Toronto, do a little research and check out some of the nearest farmer’s markets in your area.  It is the perfect time of year to do so!  Bring on summer…

hot n’ spicy salsa
Recipe Type: condiment, snack
Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: many
Ingredients
  • 6 large vine ripe tomatoes- chopped
  • 1/2-3/4 large white onion- finely diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic- crushed
  • 3 mini-cucumbers- finely diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper- finely chopped
  • lemon/lime juice- freshly squeezed (I used 2 limes)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper- finely diced
  • 1 hot pepper- finely diced
  • fresh cilanto- chop and add depending on taste, then use to garnish as well
  • fresh ground black pepper and sea salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. wash all the veggies thoroughly and chop all ingreadients finely (depending on how “chunky” you want it)
  2. mix everything and combine in a bowl
  3. grab some veggies to dip or use as a side or a spread/topping on your favourite meat
  4. enjoy!
Notes

If you don’t like things hot n’ spicy, then you can omit the jalapeno and hot peppers. Regardless, this condiment dish is super light and fresh tasting. Perfect for bbq season or a summertime party. Make sure you allow for a few hours (overnight even better), for this salsa to set in the fridge. This allows all the flavours to combine with one another.

guacamole with some bite

Can you believe that up until a couple years ago I had never tried an avocado?  Yes…you heard me right, NEVER!!! Not even in guacamole.  Now I honestly go through them like they are going out of style.  “An avocado a day, keeps the doctor away!”  Okay maybe that is a bit much, but they are a scrumptious way of getting healthy fat into your diet.  After deciding to embrace the Paleo lifestyle, I have become more open and willing to try new foods, which I previously wouldn’t.

There are so many different ways to prepare dishes containing avocados.  For me, I love using my avocado slicer (see my fav stuff), and adding it as a topping on an omelette or scrambled eggs- delish!  For work,  I will often take and dice them to lay on a bed of mixed greens or just have as a side, drizzled with balsamic.  More recently, I have started to make a big batch of guacamole  to use during all meals as an on-hand-ready to go dip or spread for just about anything.  It is extremely satisfying and if you want a bit more “texture”, get creative and add finely diced celery, cucumber or different kinds of peppers into your guacamole.  The possibilities are endless! It is one of those recipes where taste testing, eyeballing and improvisation work extremely well.  Below you will find the basic guacamole recipe that we use frequently when cooking Paleo styles.

guacamole with some bite
Print
Recipe type: appetizer, snack, condiment
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: many
Ingredients
  • 4 large avocados
  • 1/2 red onion- diced
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes- diced
  • 1-2 tbsp of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 1/2 lime- squeezed
  • ground pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro- chopped (optional- taste can be strong for some)
Instructions
  1. halve and scoop avocados into bowl
  2. finely dice tomatoes and red onion, then add to mixture
  3. add garlic, chili flakes and ground pepper
  4. squeeze in lime juice and add cilantro if desired
  5. mash all ingredients together to preferred consistency (smooth or chunky)- potato masher works well here
  6. enjoy!
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