Calcium-Rich Greens

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After writing my Got Milk? post, I went to the grocery store on a mission to buy produce that was specifically rich in calcium. It is great that I am eating all the right foods so that my body can heal as best as it can, but I wanted to try and do an even better job of making calcium more bio-available to my body in case it needed it. I know that cooked dark greens are great calcium-rich choices. I’ve always loved kale, but thought that straying from the usual and giving it more variety could do my body good. So I went back to my Southern roots: collards and turnip greens.

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Just one cup of cooked collard greens has 220 milligrams of calcium. Turnip greens have 99 milligrams of calcium per cup when cooked. Adding these rich greens into my meals along with my everyday cooked kale which has 93 milligrams of calcium per cup isn’t bad at all! I found these calcium milligram measurements on Eat Drink Paleo. I also picked up some broccoli and okra which also made the calcium-rich list.

For dinner last night, I boiled a pot of water and added the greens in it. I opted for the frozen bags because not only were they cheaper, but they are super splint-friendly in the kitchen. 😉 No chopping required, which means no ambidextrous skills needed from me!

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I let the greens simmer in the hot water for about 10 minutes and then drained them. While my greens were draining, I browned some veal that Hubs had put in the freezer a few weeks ago.

 

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I’ve never had veal. It was so juicy and tender; plus it smelled so good while browning on the cast iron.

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I removed the veal after it browned and cut them into slices. I then added the greens to the skillet and poured a cup or two of my home made bone broth in for the greens to simmer in. I also like to think that the nutrient dense bone broth enhanced my dinner to give me super healing powers.

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I then added the slices of veal back into the broth-simmering greens and covered it up for just a couple of minutes.

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Then dinner was served! I think pork would have been a perfect pairing with the cooked greens, but we didn’t have any in the house at the time. The veal was pretty damn good too! I have my second follow up appointment with the orthopedic specialist tomorrow morning and I don’t think I have ever been this excited to go to the doctor’s! I am really hoping I can get my splint off after tomorrow. That would mean it would come off a week earlier than the doctor said, but I am very optimistic about my recovery and from what my body is telling me, I am feeling great! Fingers crossed!

Bone Broth

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I have been waiting very patiently all weekend for my bone broth to brew. Since this was my first batch, I was a little intimidated by the challenge and I have been waiting for the right time to make it. Nothing like a broken bone to make brewing bone broth on the top of your agenda. Bone broth is exceptionally healthy for the body and is also known for helping with bone formation, growth and repair. Whole9 states:

“Bone broth is a source of minerals, like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium,  and potassium, in forms that your body can easily absorb. It’s also rich in glycine and proline, amino acids not found in significant amounts in muscle meat (the vast majority of the meat we consume). It also contains chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, the compounds sold as supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain. Finally, “soup bones” include collagen, a protein found in connective tissue of vertebrate animals, which is abundant in bone, marrow, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.  (The breakdown of collagen in bone broths is what produces gelatin.)”

See, why I was in dire need of some bone broth in my life? I had Hubs run by Whole Foods so I could pick up some beef bones last week; it was the very next day after my vehicle collision. I got about 2 lbs of beef marrow bones for 6 bucks. I figured for my first batch this would be perfect. I roasted the bones first, which was recommended by many on the Whole30 Forum.

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I didn’t roast them very long. Just long enough for me to dice and cut all of my veggies. This was also a great way to get ride of some prime real estate in the fridge, especially since some of my veggies were on their last breath.

veggiesbrothI chopped up onions, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley and ginger root. I threw some rosemary, bay leaf and red pepper flakes in there too.

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I added the bones, some apple cider vinegar, and filled the slow cooker up with water. I didn’t fuss with measurements; I just added enough water to fill it to the top. Many recommended to use filtered water, but I decided to keep it simple for my first attempt.

brothcookI covered my bone bath on Thursday night and didn’t unplug the crock pot until Sunday afternoon. There were many resources on how long to cook broth for. I’ve read where some only cook for 12 hours but also read that some say that with beef you can go up to 72 hours. I kept my cooking around 50-60. Unfortunately my crock pot may have been too hot at times. I came home Friday after work to see it bubbling, which probably wasn’t a good thing. I would then play around with my pot to change its settings between cooking on low and then turning it off. I could never get it to not stop bubbling after a while so I just settled with my bubbling bone broth. Besides, I still needed to buy a mesh strainer at the store since I didn’t have one!

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My bone bath “shrunk” when I took the top off finally. The water volume had definitely decreased. The smell was rich and warm though.

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I waited till the broth had cooled a little, but it was still very warm when I used my fancy new mesh strainer. I had to get Hubs to help pour the broth out of the crock pot since I only had one arm.

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The broth had the most beautiful dark color. I was quite surprised at how dark it actually was. You definitely don’t see broth like that come out of a package you buy from the store.

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After the broth cooled, the fat congealed on the top. It was super easy to skim the fat off the top. I was a a bit disappointed to see that my broth didn’t become gelatinous like many would say it would. I’m afraid my crock pot gave it too much heat. Afterwards, I did some trouble shooting to find that most broths made in a crock pot don’t gel because of this problem. I am comforted by the fact that though the broth didn’t gel, it is still super nutritious. I was also a little confused as to why the volume of my bone bath decreased so much. This was also probably due to the high heat of the crock pot. I am going to still write this first time project as a success though because the broth was so deliciously smooth and flavorful! I’ve enjoyed a mug at night after dinner which just makes such a good ending to the day.

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For more bone broth readings that I’ve used visit:

The Whole9 Bone Broth FAQ

Nom Nom Paleo’s Slow Cooker Beef Bone Broth

Wellness Mama’s Homemade Bone Broth Tutorial

Whole30 Forum

Rubies & Radishes Slow Cooker Beef Broth

 

 

Strawberry Spinach Salad

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Today was an awesome care-free day; waking up knowing I had crossed off a huge “to do” task of purchasing a car this weekend…and I still had an entire Sunday to enjoy until Monday morning came!

I have been trying to stay as active as I can while my left elbow heals. I have had to skip lunchtime sweat sessions at work, but I have substituted them with 2 mile walks outside which has been so enjoyable thanks to the nice weather lately. This morning I decided to go to the gym. I walked on the treadmill for 35 minutes and did the stationary bike for 25 minutes. I brought some reading material with me which made the time fly. I have still not experienced any pain in my arm. Sometimes, I will forget it is in a splint and I will instinctively do something (like clasp something with my hand too tightly or quickly) and then I will get a sharp twinge in it to remind me that I am getting too cocky. But that is it. The pain doesn’t subside and it goes away as quickly as it came. The band that goes around my neck that connects to the splint is starting to give me a bit of a chafe on the back of my neck. I wore a tank top yesterday and we were in the warm sun while car shopping, so I was probably sweating which caused the chafing to start. Today the weather cooled off and I’m making sure to wear material between the sling band and my neck. I also rubbed some Vitamin E on it this morning which felt incredible.

In North Carolina, this seasonal warm weather brings strawberry season along with it! I made a trip to the grocery store today and they had local NC strawberries on sale to highlight their debut.. They looked so plump and red and juicy! I also snagged two bags of baby spinach for a buck each along with a few radishes that were at the quick sale produce stand. Spinach Strawberry Salad instantly landed on the dinner menu for tonight.

The great thing about baby spinach is that I could just empty it all into a bowl without chopping or shredding the produce. The less I have to chop or slice, the better for my one-armed kitchen challenges. I sliced most of the strawberries (but saved a few for the dressing), the radishes and celery. I added some cooked chicken to it and topped it with sesame seeds, salt, and a handful of pistachios. To my personal salad bowl I also added some avocado (my husband doesn’t like it–more for me!).

For the dressing I blended a few strawberries, olive oil, lemon, a teensy weensy drop of apple cider vinegar, rosemary and black pepper.

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I blended my strawberry dressing in a magic blender. The flavor was delicious, but the consistency didn’t taste like a salad vinaigrette. It felt very “whipped”, which I actually kind of liked but had to get used to.

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And the best party is that there’s more to last for tomorrow’s lunch! So berry good. (I’m not deleting it)

Salt & Vinegar

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So, my husband conveniently had the day off from work on Opening Day and went to watch the Red Sox play at our local Buffalo Wild Wings joint. He has been planning this for weeks. He is from Boston and loves all New England sports teams but nothing holds a candle to Red Sox baseball. I worked today and went to the gym afterwards so we both ended up getting home around the same time. He asked if I wanted anything from Buffalo Wild Wings. He is so cute; he even thought if he ordered some chicken wings to come “naked” they’d be compliant. I had to break the news to him that he also had to make sure the cooking oil that the wings are cooked in isn’t processed or refined. He then reluctantly gave up…but it is the thought that counts!

I do remember the Salt & Vinegar chicken wings I had ages ago the last time I ate at Buffalo Wild Wings. I really liked them. Of course I did….I love vinegar! Remember that one time I posted a picture of my empty unfiltered apple cider vinegar bottle? I go through them so fast!

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Anyway, I got to thinking of recreating my own Salt & Vinegar chicken wings at home. Except, I didn’t have any chicken wings at home. But I did have drumsticks….frozen drumsticks! I didn’t think about defrosting them earlier today so I decided to boil a pot of water. I threw the drumsticks in once the water was boiling and let them defrost and simmer for a good 10 minutes. I then let the drumsticks dry and lined a pan with parchment paper. I also melted some ghee and mixed it with a good amount of apple cider vinegar and a bit of poultry seasoning. I then patted down the drumsticks to make sure they were dry and lined them on the pan making sure they didn’t touch one another. I brushed the vinegar mixture onto the chicken and gave a few good churns of salt before baking them in the oven. After 30 minutes I flipped them over and cooked for 10 extra minutes.

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They came out quite nicely! I wished for a stronger vinegar taste, but Hubs said it was very flavorful (granted he is a vinegar wussy and has the palate of a 5 year old). The texture was perfectly crispy though which was great! Not a bad alternative compared to the list of added ingredients that go into the BWW Salt & Vinegar wings: “SALT,SOYBEAN OIL, SODIUM DIACETATE, SUGAR, MALTODEXTRIN, SPICES, CITRIC ACID, MALIC ACID, DISODIUM INOSINATE AND DISODIUM GUANYLATE, AND SODIUM ACETATE and Less than 2% Silicon Dioxide to prevent caking.” 

What’s crazy is that this list of ingredients was probably one of the most minimal compared to the other flavors.

The Red Sox lost today; but luckily I am winning. 🙂

Sloppy Joe Sweet Potato Dogs

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I’m ready to kick March in the rear….and hopefully the cold weather with it. I wouldn’t mind basketball season ending either since UNC has already lost. Although, I am sure I will regret saying that since my husband is taking work off to see the Red Sox opening game tomorrow afternoon. Baseball season is always an everlasting holiday in our household. This weekend’s chilly weather inspired me to make some chili…dogs!

I had about a pound of some grass fed beef that I bought on sale at Whole Foods (score)! All I did was saute some diced onion, bell pepper, and garlic clove. Once the onions were translucent I browned the beef and added chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. I then finished my Sloppy Joe sauce with a small 6 oz can of tomato paste and let my Joe-sauce simmer.

sloppyjoeWhile I was making my Joe-sauce, I took a sweet potato and cut it in half. I then roasted them face down in the oven at 400 for about 10-15 minutes.

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I was also cooking some hot dogs. Yes, that is right. I was simultaneously making my Sloppy Joe sauce, roasting sweet potatoes, and cooking hot dogs all at the same time. Just call me the Kitchen Kween. The hot dogs didn’t take long at all. I used Applegate’s Grass-Fed Beef Hot Dogs and I broiled them in the oven while the sweet potatoes were finishing up their roasting. I would have grilled them, but it was raining outside. I didn’t want to deal with that. Plus, it only took the dogs about 5 minutes to cook. Can you guess what I did next?

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Oh yeah. Is your mouth watering yet? Just wait.

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Wait there is just one more thing….

sloppydinnerAvocado to top it off! The Sloppy Joe sauce was so thick and juicy. It made the perfect leftover morning meal this morning with two fried eggs in it.

I am looking forward to April. I am hoping to not spend as much money this month, get some house projects accomplished, and finish my Whole45 of course! Hubs has also already requested another repeat meal of last night’s dinner, so I’ll throw that into the mix for April to-dos as well.

 

 

 

What the Chayote?!

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I keep thinking that today is Thursday and when I think about tomorrow being Friday, my brain chimes into my wishful thinking with a “no, that can’t be right…” Dang it, it is still just Wednesday. At least today is the last day of winter! Right?! Oh, the weather forecast just may be on my side with this one! After the past four days of cold rain the high is supposed to get up to 70 tomorrow. Yay!

I’ve recently felt like I haven’t accomplished enough of what I wanted to have completed by now. The New Year felt like it just passed and we are already approaching the first day of spring! I had visions of freshly coated painted walls in my house, new efficient window treatments in the bedroom and bathroom, and a fence gate that actually closes properly. After the washer machine breaking this weekend and our fence gate falling apart from the harsh wind storm we had a few weeks ago; I have been beating myself up a little bit.

And now it’s time to acknowledge it and let it go! I’ve put a lot of time and energy into getting into a healthy routine and mindset this year and that should be the top of the “to do” list. With spring coming (tomorrow) and hopefully warmer weather right around the corner, I am hoping I will get motivated to head start the house tasks and get most of them accomplished before the fall.

So, to say goodbye to winter and set the new path for spring; I decided to plan dinner tonight around a new food item I’ve never tried: chayote. I’ve been pronouncing chayote like “coyote”, but my husband pronounces it “chai-oat.” However it is pronounced, it is super cute and looks like a cross between a pear and a squash.

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It were super easy to slice and its texture reminded me a lot of an apple or a pear. I ate a sliver of it while dicing and it reminded me of a sweet-pepper-pear.

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I sauteed them with onions, lemon juice, garlic and parsley. I then added my chayote combo to some grass-fed beef and mixed an egg, cumin, celery seed, coriander and oregano all together.

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I then chayote-stuffed some peppers. Chayote! It’s also fun to use as an onomatopoeia. But most of all, it was the perfect addition of flavor to our dinner.

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And 45 minutes later, it was finally time to enjoy.

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Goodbye Winter; welcome Spring.

St. Patty’s Potato-Free Irish Colcannon

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Happy St. Patty’s Day! Instead of suffering from the Irish flu, I put some green socks on and wore a Celtic knotted headband to work and had a productive Monday that flew by. I woke up this morning ready to go! I made a festive breakfast for Hubs: green eggs and kegs (minus the kegs)!

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I scrambled a couple of eggs together and squeezed a few drops of some green food dye in it. I was curious to know what was in the food dye: “water, propylene glycol, and propylparaben” to name a few. I wish I can figure out a way to use a natural green colored food dye. Maybe crushed up herbs or something? Hmmm…a project for next year! After reading the scary ingredient list, I decided to skip the green chemical and try out an equally festive theme: Taste the Rainbow!

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I added some parsley later to give it some green. I added yesterday’s Everything Green Salad to some lettuce with baked chicken this afternoon for lunch and it was delicious! Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I feel like I am getting better and better in the kitchen with each day. I’m not needing to rely on recipes as often as I was and I have been very happy with going rogue on certain meals in the kitchen! Or maybe it’s just St. Patty’s Day luck?! We shall see….

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My two first meals of the day were pretty festive. I had “Taste the Rainbow” for breakfast and the greenest salad ever for lunch (with mint!). I had to end today on an Irish Bang! Thanks to yesterday’s rain I was able to get some much-needed prep time in the kitchen for tonight’s dinner. I recently bought a mini CSA basket from a local produce shop. It came with the cutest head of cabbage ever and lots of little tiny turnip roots and rutabagas. I actually had to study and examine the roots to figure out what they were because they look so different than when they are all shiny and polished in the grocery store!

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I peeled and diced all of my root vegetables yesterday, so when I got home from the gym this evening I went right to the kitchen and put a pot of water on the stove to boil. I then played around with some scallions.

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Okay, enough of that. Once the pot came to a boil, I put the root veggies in there and let them simmer for a good 20 minutes. While they were simmering, I diced the photoed scallions with some onions and sauteed them in some ghee.

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I love the smell of onions being sauteed. Mmmmm…. Once my root veggies were soft and tender, I emptied them into the Ninja blender and pureed them. I kept the water in the pot and put the stove on high heat again. I sliced the cutest little cabbage into quadruplets and put them in the hot water along with some sliced leeks. I found this frozen bag of sliced leeks at Trader Joe’s. I was so happy to find it for my recipe!

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Once my cabbage and leeks were soft (which didn’t take long at all), I added them to the blender with the mashed roots. I also added a few garlic cloves here as well. I pulsed the blender a few times to make everything nice and mixed, but I did intentionally avoid trying to puree the entire thing. After a few rounds of pulsing, it was nicely blended. I poured it into a baking dish and then added the sauteed onions and scallions to it and gently mixed it. To top it off, I put a few extra diced scallions on top with some melted ghee. I must admit, it looked quite aesthetically pleasing for an Irish dish.

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I popped the dish in the oven for 20 minutes and then pan fried lamb chops simply with salt and pepper.

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After listening to several different versions of tin whistles and bag pipes playing on the TV music channel, it was time to take the Colcannon out of the oven!

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I added salt and pepper to taste and let it cool. After tonight’s kitchen fun, I think it is safe to say I will survive if another Potato Famine strikes–maybe even thrive!? My Irish husband is playing trivia tonight, so it was just me and Lady-dog playing in the kitchen. She enjoyed licking my plate when I was finished, so I am going to assume that she approves. I am excited for the leftovers to be recreated into new meals and am already thinking of what I can use the Colcannon for. Its starchiness will make a great post-workout meal. Or even better, its grits-like texture would make a perfect combination with bacon in the morning! I’ll keep you posted. See? No more searching for recipes; I am inspired! Then again, there is that chayote in the fridge still that I have no idea what to do with….