Monday, December 31, 2012

Carnitas New Year!

New Years Resolution #1: Post more recipes

It's New Years Eve and I thought I'd close out 2012 with one final recipe and some resolutions for 2013.

New Years Resolution #2: Go to kickboxing regularly

In addition to ditching dairy this year, I've also been flirting a lot with Paleo eating for about the last 6 months. For those not familiar with Paleo I recommend going here and here to learn what it's all about.

A lot of the Paleo-holics also do Cross Fit. I have not yet gotten into Cross Fit mostly due to the expense. It's the "it" thing right now and so gyms here in Seattle charge upwards of $125/month or more that I've seen. However, I have started kickboxing and Muy Thai fusion classes. These are a great workout to pair with my dino chow. Whatever works best for you, Paleo goes great with a regular workout routine.

The recipe below is almost Paleo, except I used white rice to get rid of some that was sitting around in my pantry. I fully intend to eat the left overs in butter lettuce cups as recommended in the awesome original recipe from one of my favorite Paleo blogs, PaleOMG.

New Years Resolution #3: Add more color to my diet

I was born in the year of the Rat, but that doesn't mean I have to eat the same boring brown pellets all the time. I noticed that a lot of the food I made this year had a few of the same colors, and a usually that added up to a lot of brown and green. This first recipe uses red cabbage so I am getting started right with a shock of purple!

Crockpot Carnitas

Without further ado, here is the recipe with a few of my own modifications:

  • 2-2.5 lb pork shoulder roast (Pro tip: This cut was called the "picnic" at the Farmer's Market I went to.)
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 1 orange, juiced and zested
  • ½ cup broth (I used chicken and it worked great)
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • cilantro (several sprigs if fresh, 1 teaspoon if dried)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
For the top
  • 1 head of purple cabbage, sliced to thickness preference
  • Lime wedges
  • Cilantro
  1. Add your pork ingredients to the crockpot. (Don't trim any of the fat off of the pork until after it's done cooking for a richer flavor. Rub the dry seasonings directly on the pork so they will best flavor the meat.)
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. (8 hours was perfect for a 2.5 lb shoulder)
  3. Once pork is done cooking, shred it.
  4. Top the pork with shredded purple cabbage, lime juice, and cilantro and dig in!

This is the gift that keeps on giving since you'll have plenty to eat for a few meals to come.  Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Put salsa on EVERYTHING!

I made salsa for a little work shindig lately and it was overwhelmingly well received. The recipe is now highly sought after and I promised to share. Time to resurrect the ol' blog!

I have also started cleaning out my diet and a lot of sauces, dips, spreads, and condiments have been sent packing as I slowly move towards a mostly Paleo diet (still very dairy free). Salsa is a guilt free, dairy-less, flavor packed, and versatile "condiment" that can be used in pretty much every diet. I mean unless you have an allergy to one of the ingredients and even then it's not hopeless since there are so many ways to adapt salsa.

To celebrate my salsa love here is the quick and dirty recipe for traditional salsa.

  • 4 medium to large tomatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 of one small to medium onion, cubed (I like less onion, but if you are an onion fan I don't recommend going over a 1 onion to 3 tomato ratio for flavor balancing reasons)
  • Juice from 1 whole lime (roll this with the palm of your hand a couple of times before you cut into it and it will be even juicier)
  • 2 cloves garlic, quick minced
  • 1 or 2 handfuls of fresh cilantro leaves, quick chopped or whole is fine
  • 3 Tablespoons worth of pickled jalepeno slices, quick chopped
  • Salt, garlic powder, pepper (to taste)

If you have a food processor, toss all these goodies in and pulse puree till you get the consistency you prefer. Or if you are sans this kitchen gadget and short on funds at the moment, just do a better chopping job while preparing all of these ingredients and mix up 'em up. 

I recommend putting the salsa in the fridge for at least 1 hour before eating, although overnight is best. I know it will be hard to resist, but if you let it rest everything blends together and tastes even better.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Day Okra

Here's a quickie post so I can save my first recipe of 2012. It was simple, but super delicious.  Warning, you have to like okra!


  • 3 bacon slices 
  • 1 (16 oz) package frozen sliced okra
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can chopped tomatoes 
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoon mixture of garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt & pepper


  1. Cook bacon until crisp; remove and drain on paper towel. Crumble bacon, and set aside.
  2. Add bacon drippings to Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add onion, sweat for 1 minute.
  3. Add okra, tomatoes, corn, water, and seasonings. Cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Top with crumbled bacon. Serve over rice, if desired.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Back on the grid w/ flat breads

I have been storing up my dairy-free food adventures until I had more time to post. I was so excited about my Christmas present from Dad that this seemed like a good time to share all of the good stuff I've been saving up. This is going to be an awfully long post.

Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy Delicious Meals

I haven't really be interested in any cookbooks on this subject yet. They seem a little more like snobbish guides on keeping up with diet trends.  This cookbook on the other hand, is just a mom trying to feed her kid the type of food he ate before they found out he was gluten and dairy intolerant. I don't know about you, but I have a lot of great food memories from growing up. I'd love to be able to eat this sort of food again, but paired with a cocktail since I can now also reap the rewards of being a grown-up. I am starting to gear up to try some of these recipes soon.

In the meantime, I recently had some successful food adventures with the universal delights of flat breads. I am on a mission to eat my way around the world and everywhere you go they all seem to have a local unleavened bread. You can't go wrong with naan from India, pitas from Greece. My two favorites though are tortillas from Mexico and the dressed up Italian flat bread, pizza! Get ready to go from south of the border to across the Atlantic.

For flour tortillas I went with the recipe from my online cooking bible The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I thought I'd share the tips I picked up.

1. I highly recommend getting a pastry cutter as the recipe calls for. I did this twice, once with two knives and once with the pastry cutter. Boy was the second time easier. You can plunk down anywhere from $5 to $20 for one, but you won't really use it enough to justify spending more. Check out the options on Amazon here or hit up your local Target. You won't regret it if you ever do any more dough making.

2. If you don't have a tortilla press, then cellophane (a.k.a. saran wrap) is your friend. Start by balling up all of your dough.

Then take one of the dough balls and place it between a piece of saran wrap folded in half. From here you can use a rolling pin or you can slowly flatten out the dough ball with your fingers. I went with the second method and was able to get the dough nice and thin.

Have a dry nonstick skillet ready on medium high heat. As you flatten out your dough, put them straight into the skillet, about 1 minute on each side. The first tortilla is always the best because you get to eat it to make sure your skillet is set to the right heat and you flipped at the right time.

3. Finally, remember that Crisco is only for use sparingly. I think it tastes weird straight out of the can, but apparently some people disagree.  Just remember the warning on their labels before you decide to go buttering your toast with it.

Once you've made your delicious dough discs, you can eat some right away and then the rest will keep.  They freeze really well, or last in the fridge for about a week. Tortillas are good with just about anything, but my favorite is guacamole. All you need is pico de gallo, lime, a dollop of mayo, and the fruit (yes it's a fruit) of the gods, avocado.

For pizza I cheated, but why reinvent the wheel? I went with the delicious whole wheat dough and pizza sauce from Trader Joes as my base. They even have delicious directions right on the bag.

Once you have a good base, you can start building. I went with kalamata olives, shallots, mushrooms, and white truffle oil which was an awesome combination.

Add a good friend to eat it with you are in business. I can't even tell you how delicious this was!

That concludes my last post of 2011. Happy new year; I hope 2012 is full of foodie adventures for us all. See you next year for more posts.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I knew that my biggest challenge when I started this whole project would be replacing cheese and boy was I right. This week I have to report that I had a good faux cheese experience and a bad one. The difference? DIY. Which brings me to the conclusion that fake cheese is just better left to the pros.

The failed attempt was vegan nacho cheese. I should have known raw cashews was just a little too weird. In the end it was a texture thing mostly. I just couldn't bring myself to eat more than a taste of the grainy concoction.  A yellow witches brew full of complicated ingredients that was so not worth the hassle. And I spent almost an hour at Whole Foods trying to track down pimientos and nutritional yeast!

The good experience also came from Whole Foods; however, from a company called Candle Cafe. Apparently it's a vegan New York eatery that started making frozen foods recently.  If I actually take the trip to NYC to visit friends I've been saying I will, then I may even check them out in person and give a full report.

But when it comes to frozen foods boy are they worth checking out! I had vegan macaroni and cheese that was honestly better than any other frozen mac and cheese I've had that uses real cheese. I would even say it matches up to the Trader Joes frozen Macaroni and Cheese experience. Carmen, my only blog watcher, you will be flabbergasted by this statement.  The only downside I can see is as usual affordability. But to keep some on hand for those days I just need a quick go to lunch that won't make me feel incredibly guilty for eating dairy in a pinch, then they are totally worth it.

Sorry that I didn't have another recipe for the blog this time, but trust me you didn't want this one. Next time, homemade tortillas!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall Recipe - Choco Pumpkin Pie

I am not gonna lie to you; I was flying by the seat of my pants on this one. Also spoiler alert this is going to be the BROWNEST entry I will ever do. But brown means chocolate and who doesn't love chocolate.

1 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (semi sweet)
1/4 cup Silk dark chocolate almond milk
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree (I wanted to avoid tofu since soy is no bueno, but that is up to you dear viewer)
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
2 tps arrowroot powder (this is a thickening agent)
1 tsp vanilla extract

If you are a cheater like me, you can buy an Arrowhead Mills premade graham cracker crust. Note: this is dairy, but not soy free.

For most of the crazier ingredients (vegan chocolate chips and arrowroot powder) you are gonna need to hit up your local Whole Foods. When you get back preheat your oven to 425 degrees while you watch this awesome video to laugh about how you just experienced most of it for real. Your best friends will be these two milk free chocolate filled goodies:

While the oven is heating up put the chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl and heat at 15 second intervals, checking regularly, until melted.

Open up the pumpkin puree and mix it in with the melted chocolate. I tried this to help get some of the chocolate stuck on the bottom of the bowl and it actually worked really well.

Add the rest of the filling ingredients to the bowl and then mix in the pumpkin chocolate mixture. Stir until everything is well combined and put it in the pie crust. Even it out so you look like you know what you are doing and pop in the oven for 15 minutes.

This will give you some time to contain your excitment, but don't get ahead of yourself. After 15 minutes you will need to lower the heat to 350 degrees and then bake for 40 more minutes.

Now I pulled it out, let it cool and then went straight for a slice. Looking back I think I would have put it straight into the fridge to see if it would firm up a bit more.  Either way you do it the taste is great though so it's up to you.  Give it a try and if you do your own variations, let me know. There is no wrong way to make a chocolate pie!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ranting About Farmer's Markets

My goodies after a very thoughtful trip the Farmer's Market

It should come as no surprise that I have something to rant about, but Farmers' Markets can really make me cranky sometimes.  It is nice having so many markets to choose from, I mean there is one for every neighborhood in the PNW pretty much. Even so most areas now have at least a few going on. My parents have one to go to at their neighborhood park back in Tucson, Arizona for pete's sake! Due to a different climates you will see different things wherever you are and the PNW has an abundance compared to some areas which is amazing. I love walking down the market pathways and seeing so many colors of delicious. What I don't love is how trendy they have gotten which means a lot of the stalls charge premium for lower quality goods.

Now not all stalls are this way, but gosh darnit you better do a lap first before you commit to buying anything. Today I saw the grungiest leeks ever plucked from the ground for $2/lb and then two stalls down there were some gorgeous leeks at $2 for a huge bunch of four. If I hadn't waited I would have been very sad indeed when I laid eyes on those second leeks. And unfortunately, there are probably many who buy from the first stall, because they expect a little gouging at a Farmer's Market. To me this defeats the purpose of cutting out the middle man and the whole reasoning for why you want to go to the FM instead of the Grocery.

I am not advocating a FM boycott or anything and I know that there are a lot of factors that might go into why a farmer charges what they do. I also know that there are some bad apples who really are taking advantage. I am just hoping that more of us might take a little extra time so we can find those farmer's that are truly excited about providing fresh locally grown goods and who believe that it is the right thing to do to charge a fair price. And maybe the bad apples will take note and rethink their prices when their goods go unsold.