Oxtail…My Favorite Kind of Offal

I hope you’ll stick with me through this one, so I can convince you to try this great dish! I was able to get a great grass-fed oxtail from the local farmer’s market. I will say this… I found a 1 pound oxtail at the grocery store for $16. I purchased 3 pounds at the farmer’s market for $18! A much better deal and much better quality!.

I love trying weird cuts of meat. They’re often more economical and have quite a bit of flavor. So far I’ve tried, oxtail, beef cheek, beef liver, and beef heart. All with unique flavors. So if you think you’re brave, see if you can source them locally! This dish is actually very simple.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 Pounds of Grass-fed Beef Oxtail
  • A Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1Teaspoon of Pink Himalayan Salt
  • As Many Garlic Cloves as you Like (I probably did 5 ish…)
  • Water to Fill the Pressure Cooker

Are you ready for how easy this is? Throw all of these ingredients in your pressure cooker. Remember to put the metal insert at the bottom so that the meat is off the bottom. Please let me stress (as always) that you read your owners manual and understand how to operate it safely. I have a Cuisinart Pressure Cooker…so I’ll try to walk you through the general idea.

Don’t over fill your pressure cooker. Place the lid on top and lock it into position. Select ‘High Pressure’ on your pressure cooker for 90 minutes. Make sure that the pressure valve is in the right position so that it seals as it gets up to pressure. When it is finished cooking, please be extremely careful and know how to release the pressure safely. Most have the ability to do a quick release and a slow release. The only difference is, letting the steam all out by moving the valve, or just letting the pressure naturally seep out over a longer period of time. You choose what works best for you.

This was so delicious that I nearly ate the whole thing by myself! It is an extremely fatty cut, and a little messy to deal with. But it is so flavorful, you’ll be elbow deep before you begin to care about the mess. This goes great with potatoes, rice, or any other vegetables you like.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Go ahead and try some offal! I promise it’s not as *awful* (wink, wink) as you think. Make sure to come back next time and see what weird things I’ll try next. I’m sending yummy, nutritious cuts from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours.

-Ami M. Lee, Offal Loving, Eclectic Ingredient Trying, Common Sense Cook

Manic Monday Recipe Review – Coconut Glass Noodle Soup

Gordon Ramsay…as some of you frequent readers might notice, is one of my favorite modern chefs. He has a great YouTube channel full of cooking clips. The hard thing about these simple, quick clips is that there are often no links to recipes and he doesn’t really give measurements. I Googled, and Googled for this exact recipe and failed. But, I think what I came up with by watching the video countless times, tastes great and is Paleo friendly! I’m not sure how this would turn out if you left out the coriander and red pepper to make it AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) friendly…but if you give it a shot, leave me a comment below!

Here’s what you’ll need for the bright yellow soup:

  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1/3 of a Red Bell Pepper (Use a veggie peeler on the skin, then dice.)
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Ginger, Minced
  • 1 Teaspoon of Turmeric
  • Lemongrass
  • Coriander Seeds (Crushed and minced to break open with your knife.)
  • A Good Squish of Lime Juice
  • 1 Can of Full Fat Coconut Milk (Try to avoid gut irritants like Guar Gum, Cargeenan, and Xanthum Gum.)
  • 1-2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 4 Shakes of Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 2 Small Chicken Breasts (Optional. You can leave it out and it’s just as yummy and vegetarian if you switch to veggie stock for the broth.)
  • Noodles (You can use Rice Vermicelli Noodles if you tolerate rice, or Sweet Potato Starch noodles that are AIP, Paleo, and pretty cool looking glass noodles.)

Cook your noodles according to the directions on the package. If you would like chicken, sautee it in a small pan until just done. Set in a bowl on the side.

This cooks really fast and smells amazing. Dice an onion and part of a red bell pepper. Throw it in a hot pan with your oil of choice. I used coconut oil, about a tablespoon. But, use what you like. When the peppers and onions begin to soften and brown (about 5 to 7 minutes) add minced garlic, ginger, turmeric, coriander seeds and lemongrass. To bring out the lovely lemony aroma, take the blunt side of a knife and bash the end. Give it a squish of lime juice. Add the coconut milk and stock. Simmer.

Make sure to taste, taste, taste. If you’d like your chicken in your soup you can add it into the soup. Don’t over cook it though. When your noodles are done, drain them and add them to a bowl. Pour the yummy broth over the top and enjoy!

Technically…this is me making up the recipe from watching and what I had easily accessible in the house. It was super fast and very delicious. I surprised myself a bit on this one….Seems I’ve been doing that a lot lately.

So enjoy my version of Gordon’s recipe! This is “Soup”-er fast and great for any Manic Monday. It even tasted pretty good cold as leftovers! I’m sending you some unique spices, and a quick meal from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. I hope you’ll come back next time to see if I can bang out some REAL fast food.

-Ami M. Lee, Turmeric in Everything, Messy Soup Eater, Common Sense Cook

Here’s the original link to Gordon’s clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_kKv6mZ8TY

Coconut Butter

Coconut Butter

This may be the toughest recipe I’ve ever done! While there is only one ingredient…the prep of this recipe is long and tough. I’m not one to be negative, but if you don’t have a very, high powered blender. This will not work. Even my Ninja blender that I normally brag on as affordable and great working…Just couldn’t do it. I had to pull out the big gal…the loud….the powerful, Black and Decker Food Processor.

What is coconut butter? Oh man. It is a sweet spread and my kiddos agree that it goes great on apples. I’ve seen recipes where you can use it as “frosting” for cinnamon rolls or added into recipes to make chocolate chunks. It definitely has it’s uses. The problem for me as a budget conscious momma is that a pre-made jar is over $8 before tax and isn’t even organic at our local store. Is it worth it? After the trouble of this recipe…I see why it is a little more expensive but let’s save some money and do it ourselves if we have the resources!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 – 7 ounce Packages of Wild Oats Marketplace Organic Unsweetened Coconut Flake (Found at Wal-Mart.)

If your food processor bowl is big enough, go ahead and add all of the coconut flake. If not, add it in batches as space allows. This is the hard part…. It’s loud. It’s a long time to wait. But, basically you go until it turns into a creamy consistency. Keep an eye out and stop it to scrape down the sides to help it along. This can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes depending on the ability of your food processor. This should fill up a 12 oz jar.

While you’re waiting, here’s the benefits of all that hard work. Instead of $8 plus tax for a jar; I was able to make mine homemade and organic for $4.11 with tax (of course that’ll vary depending on where you live). Basically, you could save over half by taking some time to do it yourself!

When doing diets like Paleo and the Autoimmune Protocol, it seems very important to me to save where you can. Real food coupons are not released as frequent as junk food coupons. If you can make things from scratch, it really helps save on the budget. And in turn, you might make you’re grandparents happy by doing what they grew up doing.

I hope you enjoy the fruits of your labor with this recipe. I’m sending you an ooey gooey snacking alternative from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. Come back next time and see what recipes I can hammer out next.

-Ami M. Lee, Coconut Butter Loving, Common Sense Cook

Recipe Review – Dill Butternut Squash Fries

Chicken and Butternut Squash Fries

Chicken, No-Mato Sauce, and Dill Butternut Squash Fries

I can’t hold out any longer friends. This is by far my favorite new side dish. I’ve never been one to eat a lot of conventional french fries (with white potatoes). I received the book ‘The Paleo Kitchen’ by Juli Bauer and George Bryant for Christmas. The book is absolutely beautiful. Great pictures fill the pages of interesting and different recipes. I saw these unique fries and had to try them immediately. Since that time, I believe I’ve made them 3 times and feel like I am prepared enough to give you my thoughts. (Other than, conventional french fries, who?)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Butternut Squash
  • 1 Tablespoon of Coconut Oil, Melted
  • 3 Tablespoons roughly chopped, Fresh Dill (One of my favorite seasonings!)
  • 2 Teaspoons Coarse Sea Salt (Or I used Pink Himalayan Salt)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut the ends off of the butternut squash and cut in half, length-wise. Remove the seeds with a spoon. (I’m saving mine, since I bought an organic one to see if I can grow my own!) Peel the skin with a vegetable peeler. Here’s the hard part. (Unless you have really good sharp knives.) Most butternut squashes have a rounded end where the seeds are, and a long, thick, solid longer piece towards the stem. This makes it harder to cut useful pieces. I cut at the end of the bulb and cut them separately for better pieces. Then try to cut them in to 1/4 inch slices, then place flat and cut into fry like shapes. A little complicated…but this is the only way I’ve done it so far.

Toss them in a big bowl and add the coconut oil, dill, and salt. Spread them out on a cookie sheet, covered in aluminum foil. Please make sure they don’t over lap. I tried throwing a bunch of them in a casserole dish and seeing what it’d do. They turned to mush. Yummy mush….but mush.

Bake for 35 minutes until crunchy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. The book says to put them on a cooling rack to help retain the crisp. I haven’t done this and they’re just fine…but I would like to try that…especially for the kids and husband. Eat. Enjoy. 🙂

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I am considering doing a book review because this is a really great book that I hope you’ll check out. I also listened to a great podcast on The Paleo Mom with Juli and George and they seem like really awesome people. Check it out and make sure you come back next time. You never know what recipe I’ll try out next.

-Ami M. Lee, Dill Addict, The Common Sense Cook

Reference:

Bauer, Juli & Bryant, George. (2014) The Paleo Kitchen. Victory Belt Publishing Inc. Las Vegas. (Pg. 219)

Manic Monday – AIP Homemade Sausage

Homemade AIP Sausage

We’ve been using a lot of sausage lately. I normally buy the Jimmy Dean, gluten free version. It is usually about $4.00 for 1 pound. Rather expensive and the quality of the pork used is probably questionable. Also, seeing that I am working on recipes that I can make both AIP and conventional…Or yummy enough for my conventional husband to enjoy…I decided to make my own!

The great thing about this recipe is that you can make it your own! You can experiment with your own spices. I happen to have some sage in the fridge that I’m hoping to add to the next batch. If you’re not AIP and avoiding things like paprika, I bet you could make this spicy. Have fun with this and if you try out a great combo, come back and share or share a picture with me on Facebook!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of Ground Pork
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Marjoram
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt (Or Pink Himalayan Salt)

Are you ready for how easy this is?

Throw everything in a food processor. Blend until all spices and meat is well mixed. Tah dah!

Use it for your recipes. I’ve used it for Sweet Potato Apple Hash from the Paleo Parents (Recipe Review was blogged a while back with link to the original.) or with scrambled eggs and sausage. My husband has complained before about sausage that wasn’t marked spicy, being too hot. He is also very sensitive to salt. He actually really liked this sausage. Another great thing? I saved money by buying ground pork and making it myself. I found a great deal on clearance for 2ish pounds of ground pork for $5. That’s $2.50 a pound compared to the usual $4! Plus, you can also personalize this sausage and make it your own.

I hope you’ll try this out whether you’re AIP or not. Make it your own and save some money! What’s better than that? I’m sending you yummy, customizable sausage from my kitchen to yours. I hope you’ll come back next time and see what I can show you how to make yourself.

-Ami M. Lee, Scratch Cooking, Sausage Loving, Common Sense Cook

Gluten Free Cheesy Bread Sticks

Let me begin this with…We’re all human with weird cravings. Even us paleo’s sometimes miss conventional foods. If you’re like me…It is just NOT an option to slip up. Gluten exposure leaves me feeling awful. Too much dairy and I feel like a balloon. Same goes for too much almond butter (I love Almond Butter a little too much). One night my husband was talking about food we used to eat and I got to thinking about cheese filled bread sticks. The kind we bought were like eating an Olive Garden bread stick with a mozzarella cheese string in the middle. Talk about unhealthy habits, I could eat 5 or more by myself.

I had made a pizza dough from The Domestic Man (link at the end) that used parmesan cheese in it. Technically primal more than paleo. From my understandings, primal diets are more okay with dairy. Hard cheeses like parmesan, from what I read, are much more tolerable. My very lactose intolerant kiddo was even okay with these! I’m really starting to think there is a correlation between (at least for my child) the quality of the dairy and his tolerance level. But any hoo…On to the bread sticks y’all!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups tapioca starch or flour (it’s the same thing)
  • 1/4 cup each heavy cream and water (or 1/2 cup coconut milk instead of cream & water)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • pinch of white pepper (I used black pepper just fine.)
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese (or any hard cheese), grated

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk, butter, and salt and bring to a simmer on med/low heat. You want to get it to the point that it’s starting to bubble, but not boiling. In a large bowl, add the tapioca starch. When the cream/water mixture is heated, add it to the starch and stir it all together. I use a spoonula to mix gently. It can get flaky, but that is okay. Let it cool for 5 minutes.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Rub down with a little butter or coconut oil to help prevent sticking (as much).

Add the beaten egg to the mixture, and knead together with your hands. Add the cheese, white pepper, and oregano, and mix together until it’s dough-like.

Take about a golf ball sized piece in your hand. Depending on how sticky the dough is (I’ve had it be super sticky, and not very sticky at all…almost conventional dough like) you may be able to roll it in a ball, then push lightly with your fingers and roll it out into a snake. I’m thinking that the kind of cheese may have affected the consistency of the dough. The best one so far was an aged Romano.

This recipe, as is, makes about 6 about 5 inches long. They may vary in size, but that’s okay. I found that the ones that were about two fingers width wide were the best. Lay them on the cookie sheet and throw them in the oven for 25 minutes. They should be starting to turn a lovely golden brown color.

Let them cook a few minutes and peel them off the aluminum foil. I think that it is very important that you have the foil for easier clean up and removal after they’re cooked.

These bread sticks are crunchy on the outside and chewy, gooey, cheesy on the inside. My non-paleo husband wasn’t too sure about the texture. So, you may be cautious if you have family members that are really picky about textures of food. However, me and the kids ate them up! It may have been a long time since I had conventional bread, but I was thoroughly satisfied! This went great with Potato Soup (recently blogged).

I hope you enjoy this recipe! I encourage you all to look at recipes and find ways to use them more than the way they are printed. You never know what amazing things you could come up with! Don’t forget to check out the original recipes for The Domestic Man’s Cast Iron Skillet Grain and Gluten Free PIzza (http://thedomesticman.com/2012/12/13/cast-iron-skillet-grain-and-gluten-free-pizza/). As always, I’m sending you warmth and cheesiness from my kitchen to yours! I hope you’ll come back next time to see what recipe I’ll work with next.

-Ami M. Lee, Cheese Loving, The Common Sense Cook

Honey Butter

Honey Butter

It’s Thanksgiving Eve. The sun is setting and it’s slowly getting darker in the living room. My kids are taking naps. My husband is still in bed (because he works nights), and I’m watching my father-in-law across the street move their mail box so they can widen their driveway. I was sitting here somewhat enjoying the quiet, then I realized how much blogging, and other jazz I need to get done. But, to me, it’s only Common Sense to give yourself time to breath. Everyone keeps telling me to stop stressing out. So here I go…Can’t be stressed about butter y’all.

Here’s what you’ll need for this Epic Butter:

  • 1 block of Kerrygold Irish Grassfed Butter, Unsalted (I’m sure you could use conventional butter, but I’m paleo, so just roll with the expensive butter for now y’all.)
  • Raw Local Honey (It has so many benefits, so I bought a huge jar before Farmer’s Market season ended.)

Two ingredients. Yep. You’ll never need to buy over processed, extra chemical laden butter again.

If you have the time, let your butter sit out and soften. I let mine sit out for a while and it didn’t seem soft enough to whip so I just threw it in the microwave for 30 seconds. You DO NOT want to melt the butter. Just soften the butter. It should still be opaque, and still have form, but most definitely will be soft and whippable.

Add it into a mixing bowl. Take a whisk and start swirling around until it seems an even texture. Now, as far as how much honey you would like to add, this can depend. Nobody is up, so I just added maybe a 1/4 cup. I know this honey. I’ve been using this honey for a while and it is STRONG! I am hoping my husband can try it before tomorrow so I can get a good gauge on how strong it is. Taste the honey first hand. Use your best judgment. And as always, taste, taste, and re-taste. That’s the best part of being the cook on Thanksgiving.

I hope you enjoy this quick and easy recipe. I’m sending you warm, honey buttered, happiness from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. I hope you’ll come back next time to see what I can whip up next. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and remember, I LOVE pictures! Even if you didn’t use one of my recipes, I’d love to see some pictures over on the Facebook page listed at the very end of the post.

-Ami M. Lee, Butter Lovin’, Turkey Basting, Common Sense Cook

Crock Pot Lamb Stew

It has been extremely cold here in Arkansas! It’s as if Mother Nature decided to skip from summer to winter. In the winter, I love cooking plenty of big, hot, filling meals. Anything I can do in a crock pot…even better. I had the idea after doing Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon (Paleofied Recipe to come soon!) to use wine and lamb in the stew. I was sitting down with my grocery list and knew I had some ground lamb in the freezer that needed to be used. I had found a really great clearance deal and stocked up. So…how most of these intro’s end when I make something up…Bing, bang, boom! I made lamb stew!

Here’s what you’ll need for this hearty winter stew:

  • 3 pounds of Ground Lamb
  • 1 Medium Butternut Squash
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • Red Wine (I used two bottles of red cooking wine, but use something you’ll drink if you’re fortunate enough to not live in a dry county!)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Crushed Dried Mint
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Fresh Ground Pepper (It seriously doesn’t need salt if you’re using red cooking wine.)

Having most of the ingredients in the house made this extremely easy. I didn’t even bother to defrost the lamb. Add everything but the butternut squash into the crock pot. Check it every once and a while and move the lamb around. This can take four to six hours. I didn’t want the squash to get mushy, so I waited two hours before adding it. But, by all means, if you add it all at first, let me know in the comments if it turned out okay. 🙂

This stew is hearty, but yummy. The mint added a lovely after taste. I was a little proud of myself for throwing this together. I hope you enjoy this crock pot recipe. I think this would be great if you ran home and threw everything together on a lunch break. The leftovers are great. I hope you’ll come back next time to see what this Crock Pot Loving, Common Sense Cook will dream up next. I’m sending you a hot meal for the cold weather, from my kitchen to yours.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Manic Monday with A Recipe Review – Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

HWKIP Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

One of my favorite things about the Paleo blogging community is that everyone is so supportive of each other. Even if the bigger named bloggers don’t know who I am, or that I’m pulling out the pom poms and cheering them on; I’m beyond excited to pass along these amazing people. I follow them and I hope that you’ll check them out and consider following them as well.

Today is from ‘He Won’t Know It’s Paleo.’ Breanna fed her gluten loving husband for six months without him knowing that he was eating paleo! What a feat because my husband is aware and has never really been too happy about it. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and her website. I’ll link those things below. ^__^ This was so easy to do and had a smooth, drinkable texture. I know when I do smoothies with just almond milk and fruit, it often is like a thick frosty than a drink. It really was like drinking a pumpkin pie…minus the crust.

Here’s what you’ll need (or may already have on hand! I did!):

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 tablespoons collagen powder (for 13g of protein) (I didn’t have this and just left it out.)
  • Honey, to taste

Ready for probably the easiest recipe I may ever post?

Put it in a blend. Blend until you don’t hear big chunks of ice. Pour in a glass. This makes one regular sized glass up. Enjoy.

Isn’t that great? What can be faster on a Manic Monday for breakfast, quick snack, or just because. In fact, I may get done with this and run to the store for more bananas!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and check out Breanna! I’ve even done her dinner roles that are pretty darn convincing to this paleo gal. You can find her at http://www.hewontknowitspaleo.com or on Facebook! I hope you’ll come back next time and see who I’m jumping up and down for next.

-Ami M. Lee, Pom Pom Waving, Paleo Community Loving, The Common Sense Cook

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Let’s try this again. Note to self…Do not try to write two blogs at the same time. They act like children and some how steal the address to the other one and end up deleting…some how…the previous post.

Let me restart this blog by saying, thank you to all the nice commenters, likers, reposters, and Facebookers.

So, continuing on with our Julia Child themed Thanksgiving, every Thanksgiving table needs some cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce is sweet and tangy, and goes great with just about anything. The first time I made this, last year, I put this on everything the week after. It’s easy to accomplish, so I hope you’ll give it a try! It’s certainly better than the canned junk. It’s always been my motto to use all real food ingredients and always scratch cooking on Thanksgiving.

Here’s what you’ll need for this delicious holiday sauce:

  • 1 Cup of Orange Juice
  • 2 Cups fresh or frozen cranberries (I used fresh.)
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar (You might could use honey, but I haven’t tried that yet.)
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • The Juice of 1 Lemon

Preheat your sauce pan so that when you add the orange juice, it instantly starts bubbling. Add the cranberries, then the chopped apple. Stir until well combined then add the sugar, apple cider vinegar, and the juice of the lemon. Stir often to make sure it is well mixed. Keep an eye on the heat. You may start off at a medium high heat to keep it bubbling. If you have a glass stove top like I do, it retains a lot of the heat. You may have to continually turn it out to keep it from burning. Just keep an eye on it and use your best judgement. When it is well combined and sticky, it will be ready.

You can do this the night before, or early in the morning. The longer it sits in the fridge, the better it gets.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and enjoy it for years to come! I’m sending you sweet holiday wishes for the Thanksgiving. It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving to enjoy this sweet sauce. I hope you’ll come back in the next week for more holiday and Thanksgiving ideas from this Scratch Cooking, Common Sense Cook.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook