A Very Veggie Hash

very veggie hash

I have shared and raved about ‘The Paleo Parents’ Sweet Potato Apple Hash. It was one of my first recipe reviews and I’ve since gone back and updated some notes on the bottom of my experiments with that recipe. Today I broke away and adapted this already amazing recipe into something even more amazing. I didn’t even know that was possible!

Here’s what you’ll need for this very veggie hash:

  • 1 Large White Sweet Potato, Diced (Or any extra large potato of choice. Mix and matching is yummy too.)
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 2 Small Apples, Peeled and Diced (Green apples work best, but various red apples are just fine.)
  • 1 Crown of Broccoli, Diced
  • 1 Package of Bacon (I get the uncured, without nitrates.)
  • Aged Balsamic Vinegar (Optional…My new favorite aip friendly sauce!)

The hardest part of this hash is prep. You need a good sharp knife and plenty of plates or bowls to put the veggies on. A platter would work great too. Peel and Dice your vegetables. Go ahead and do this first. It helps the actual cooking go a little smoother. If you’re good at multi-tasking you may go ahead and cut your bacon into pieces and spread it out in a large pan.

Once the bacon has been cooking about 5-7 minutes on medium to medium high heat, add the potatoes, onions, and broccoli first. These vegetables take the longest to cook. This cooking time can depend on the type of potato you use. Sweet potatoes, the regular ole orange ones, cook a bit faster than the dryer white sweet potatoes. About 10 minutes later you can add the apples. About another 10 minutes and you will have your amazing, extra veggie hash.

What can you put on this? Well…I can’t do ketchup, but my kiddos did enjoy it. I have become obsessed with “25 Star Balsamic Vinegar” that I picked up on vacation in Hot Springs, AR at evilO. The flavor is so amazing. I really wish I would have bought one of the huge bottles, instead of a tiny one. I even told my husband we need to start a balsamic vinegar part of our food budget. ^__^ This also went really well with some eggs with green onions, a little bit of minced broccoli, powdered garlic, ginger, with salt and pepper topped with some local raw colby cheese.

I hope you enjoy this delicious and nutritious recipe. This got a 3/3 paleo kiddo approval rating! So I’m sending you guys a plate full of veggie deliciousness from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. Come back next time to see if I can keep up with the paleo hashtag #MoreVegetablesThanAVegetarian.

-Ami M. Lee, Veggie Lover, Balsamic Vinegar Obsessed, Common Sense Cook

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

Common Sense Philosophies – Getting your Paleo Kids Involved

Kiddos making Paleo Granola

It is commonly advised that if you have trouble getting your kiddos to eat, especially transitioning to Paleo, to get them involved with the cooking. I am, on most night, blessed with some great kids who eat just about anything. That’s no reason we can’t have fun right? We decided to make a double batch of Paleo Granola. I have a recipe already blogged, but we did things just a little different this time. Keep in mind, this is for a huge batch and did two cookie sheets full of granola.

Here’s what you’ll need for this kid involved, granola, extravaganza:

  • 4 Cups of Hazlenuts
  • 4 Cups of Sliced Almonds
  • 2 Cups of Organic Coconut Flakes
  • 2 Cups of Sunflower Seeds
  • 2 Cups Shelled Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Local, Raw Honey
  • 2/3 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ginger
  • 1/4 Teaspoon All Spice
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cloves

I had the kids take turns. I moved the huge bowl from place to place at the table. I let each kiddo dump in a cup or spoon that I measured out. However. Momma got to handle the oil and honey. Sorry…this OCD mom cannot handle stickiness. I seriously would like to know if there is a word for a phobia of stickiness!

Add all of the nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes. I found a really great deal on organic coconut flake at Wal-Mart:

coconut flake

It is great to know that Wal-Mart is getting an affordable organic line.

After all of them are in the bowl, feel free to allow the kiddos to put an impeccably clean hand or two in the mix to stir it around. If a piece or two falls out on the table, let them eat it!

Add the spices to the mix. There was enough that each kiddo got to do two spoons. If your kiddos are older and a little more coordinated, you might teach them how to use the measuring spoons and cups. I am a firm believer that boys and girls need to learn how to cook. As they get older, you can teach them more and more. Plus, it’s never too early to teach them about kitchen safety such as not touching knives, the oven is hot, and dishes need to be put up and cleaned. These are important life lessons that are crucial to me, as a parent, so that when my children jump into their life journey on their own, they can take care of themselves well.

Add it onto a baking sheet. Don’t over flow it but slightly pack it so that it’s level with the sides. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. If you like to have it in smaller pieces, go ahead and add it in to a container. If you like chunks, let it cool completely then break it up into a container.

This was a great time with my kids and I hope this will encourage you to get your kids involved in the kitchen. It’s never too late to teach your kids healthy eating and healthy cooking. It’ll be a lesson that they will take with them the rest of their lives.

In some future posts I hope to introduce y’all to my kiddos one by one and discuss our paleo journey with our kids along with their individual needs, likes, wants. I hope you enjoyed this post. If you want, send me some pictures of getting your kids involved in the kitchen on the Facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/commonsensecook

-Happy cooking!

Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Recipe Review – Sweet Potato Apple Hash

I am having quite a bit of fun doing these recipe reviews. I never want to claim these recipes as my own, and as long as it’s a good review, I’m happy to name names! Today’s name that I can’t wait to share is Stacy from Paleo Parents. I discovered Paleo Parents through Dr. Sarah, The Paleo Mom. They do a great podcast together, and I’ve been following Stacy and her empowering words from losing weight, but loving yourself no matter what your size. She does Strong(Wo)man and loves lifting heavy things.

I’ve tried a few recipes and I usually enjoy them just fine. What I made this morning sent me to heaven! I was going to wait and post this on Friday but I can’t help it. I love you guys too much to hold out on you! I will sing the praises of this recipe far and wide! I for one hope to invest in a couple of their cookbooks. If this is any indication of the standard of their quality, it would be an investment well made.

Here’s what you’ll need….No it’s true, this is all you need:

  • 2 Green Granny Smith Apples, Peeled and Diced
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes, Peeled and Diced
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 2 Tablespoons of Lard (I used FatWorks 100% Grassfed Lard.)
  • 1 pound Ground Breakfast Sausage (I used Jimmy Dean, Gluten Free.)
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Now…If you’re a perfectionist like me, this can be slightly tedious. I started with the apple. I peeled it with a vegetable peeler then use an apple corer and slicer to make quick, efficient work. I dice it into tiny square pieces. I then peel the sweet potatoes. I love sweet potatoes and I recently came to a possible tip. I usually buy the biggest potatoes I can find in the bin. But…I came across some smaller potatoes and bought what I could find. The smaller potatoes seem to be easier to peel and are much easier to cut. It was also easier to dice the potatoes by slicing them length wise instead of in circles. I also diced the onion. I separated into bowls to make adding them to the pan easier.

You first add the lard and let it melt.

Let the pan get hot so that the sweet potatoes sizzle immediately when you put them in the pan. Use a very deep pan or even a pot. You’ll be shocked by how much this actually makes. Add the onions as well. Cook them until they start to brown and get soft.

I then moved the sweet potatoes and onions around the side and open the sausage and place it in the middle. I begin to break up the sausage and start to fold the sweet potatoes and onions over the sausage. I continually stir, fold, and break up the sausage. The original recipe says to cook until sausage is cooked. My experience, it took about 30 minutes, mainly because, I wanted it nice and golden.

All my kiddos asked for seconds and ate it up! I put just a bit of organic ketchup on it and I was in heaven. I have to admit…I ate three bowls. Moderation was not in my vocabulary after this! I am even having my husband pick up more sausage so I can make it again! I love the idea of getting fruits and veggies and protein in a breakfast. I have been full all day.

I am so excited to share Stacy’s recipe and let you know how I did it and how good it was. Go check out the original recipe that accompanies a whole post on camping. I love that if we do go camping these are easy to keep ingredients, it is one pot, and I bet this tastes even more heavenly in a cast iron skillet over a fire. It can’t get much better than this… I may regularly schedule this on my weekly grocery list. The ingredients are simple, easy to find, and reasonably priced. I could feed my family of five very well for (by my math) $1.50 a person or about $7.50 for everything except the lard, which I already had, and salt and pepper, which is a pantry staple that I don’t count.

I hope you enjoy Stacy’s recipe. Here’s the original link: http://paleoparents.com/featured/glamping-how-to-camp-paleo-style-with-glamour-2/ Go check her out. If you try this out, come on by the Facebook page and let me know (or leave in the comments below, Who is you’re favorite Paleo Blogger? I can’t pick a favorite but Stacy and Sarah take the awesome Paleo Cake.

I’m sending you my 2 cents on this recipe hoping to save you a buck, from my kitchen to yours. Come back next time and see what this Hash Obsessed, Common Sense Cook tries next. My motto? Sharing is caring.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Update 12/24/2014: I have experimented a lot with this recipe since I posted it. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  1. Take the time to cut a good chop on the vegetables. I have tried to put it in a food processor to mince, cut time in half, and it was not successful. It was mushy and lost a lot of the flavor.
  2. Lard or Tallow works really great. I’ve tried olive oil, and it’s okay if that’s all you have…but I think I prefer and would buy tallow just for this recipe.
  3. If you have a really sticky, well blended sausage, it helps to use a spoonula or spatula to almost slice. Do this in several directions and it’ll break up much easier than just smooshing it to death.
  4. I am confident that if you use your own homemade AIP-friendly sausage that this would be an awesome breakfast dish! I will be doing AIP after the first of the year, so hope to bring some more AIP-Friendly dishes and ways to feed yourself AIP and with a family of non-paleo husband/semi-paleo kids in the future.

Manic Monday – Breakfast

While my children aren’t in school yet, I know come next August I will be sending two of my kiddos to Kindergarten. I am more than a little apprehensive about sending them to a public school for more than a few reasons, but most of all I worry about their food. I am working now on figuring out packing lunches, snacks, and teaching them to only eat what I send. I also know it is my responsibility to start them off right with a good breakfast in the morning. Cereal? No thank you…. Muffins….EHH!? Poptarts… Please…there’s no way I’m feeding my kids that empty calorie junk.

So for Manic Monday this week I want to share one of the easiest breakfasts I know. I was buying gluten free waffles, but I turned that box and low and behold….rice…corn….soy… Not paleo friendly. I’m actually a little sad about this. Thankfully, my kids are in love with eggs right now. Protein is a big deal in keeping us feeling full longer. The sausage I use doesn’t cook out a ton of fat, so they’re getting a healthy, moderate amount of fat, and on top of thisĀ  you can throw out a banana, or hide some onions, red peppers, tomatoes inside to send them some veggies. I will share my basic recipe and then you can play around with it.

Here’s what you’ll need to fish out of the fridge for this Manic Monday breakfast:

  • Gluten Free Sausage (I use Jimmy Dean, marked GF. You have to watch for seasonings in these ground meats.)
  • Eggs (I use 6 for me, and 3 little kiddos or 8 for all five of us.)
  • Ketchup (I use Simple Truth Organic Ketchup from Kroger.)

Open your package of sausage and put it in a deep pan. Break it into pieces with a spatula. Brown the sausage and stir and break up. This shouldn’t take more than 5 to 10 minutes. It really depends on how hot and fast you are comfortable with cooking.

Now…here’s the interesting part. I actually learned this from my dad. He did this the best..and that’s saying something because he’s probably cooked for me only a handful of times growing up. I experimented with this for years and it just wasn’t the same…So I figured…What would Dad do that would be the most simple way?

Add your eggs right on top of the sausage. Depending on the quality of sausage you may or may not need to drain your sausage. Give it a minute to let it start cooking and then start stirring until the eggs are yellow, fluffy, and there are no “gooey” looking spots.

Divide them up in a bowl and top it with your favorite condiment. I like ketchup or mustard. As I mentioned earlier, if you have some pre-chopped (or minced) peppers and onions, that can add a little more adult flavor, and hide some yummy veggies in breakfast. If you love avocado, I enjoy cutting one up on the side.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and it keeps you sane when trying to feed your kiddos on a Manic Monday. If you try it out, feel free to come by and like the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/commonsensecook and remember, I love food pictures! I’m sending you full bellies that stay full for longer, from my kitchen to yours. I hope you’ll come back next time (I try for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with the occasional weekend post.). Come see what this Morning Glory, Common Sense Cook will feed her kiddos (and her hungry husband) next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Recipe Review – Coconut Flour Pancakes

I was watching a documentary yesterday and I whole heartedly agreed with something one of the chefs was saying. Cooking is a science. You may or may not agree, but if you look at baking, you might agree. Baking is something I’ve always loved, but always respected enough to follow the recipe. Pancakes aren’t exactly baking but it uses the same principles of having to use certain things, in a certain way, in a certain ratio. I used to make conventional pancaked all the time. I loved making chocolate chip pancakes and I successfully made Kate Gosselin’s chocolate chip banana pancakes dairy free (From “Love is In the Mix”). I knew that the day would come I would need to try to paleo-fy them.

So off I went into the interwebs, full of hope. I found a recipe with plenty of good reviews of fooling hubsy into thinking they were real pancakes.

Here’s what the recipe called for:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Cream together coconut oil and the honey. This just means, take a whisk and mix them well. Add in 1 egg at a time.

Add the coconut milk and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Add the coconut flour and mix until smooth.

Add cream of tartar, baking soda, salt. Mix just a bit, the recipe stresses not to mix it too much.

My mixture did not turn out thin like pancake batter, so I just scooped it out of the bowl with a spoonula. Use a small pan to do an individual pancake at a time. Once you get a rhythm going, this isn’t that labor intensive for batch work. Put a tip of a tablespoons worth of coconut oil in the pan. If you’re stove is like mine it is slightly tilted. This was helpful. I swirled the oil around till it melted just a bit and I put the batter at the backside of the pan where the oil had gathered. These cook extremely fast and do not need high heat. I kept turning my stove down and eventually landed on 4. The pancakes are very squooshy and wet and do not cake up very well. A spatula to flip these was ridiculously difficult, so if you want to do these pancakes I hope you know how to flip a pancake.

The pan should be well oiled enough so that you can careful slip the pancake back and forth in short movements. Think of any television chef that you see swishing and swirling food in a pan with those short strokes. Prepare yourself….1, 2, 3….With a long, swift tilt of the pan you flip it over….I may not be explaining this well but I am sure YouTube could help if you’re more of a visual learner like I am. Flipping this pancake was mostly easy but since it cooked so fast the inside remained a bit gooey, instead of cake like.

I am not naming the name of the recipe originator only because this is not a great review. I don’t want to harm anyone’s reputation or keep someone from at least trying a recipe. This was much closer than my pumpkin pancaked disaster that turned into pumpkin mush. I have never been a big fan of plain pancakes, so I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t care for the goopy pancake. My husband wouldn’t even eat them because of the flavor and nearly spit it out. Yes, I cried… He had asked for pancakes and I gave him this in the hopes of fooling him as others had. The one bright light is…My kids loved them! I drizzled a little bit of quality maple syrup on their pancakes and they ate them up and asked for more. I might also mention that I had to double this recipe to feed two adults and three kiddos…even though I ate half of mine and my husband only took a bite. It would’ve been enough to feed us all.

It only seems Common Sense to me to share the successes and the failures…and the semi-failures with you guys. If the person who wrote this recipe happens by here, know that it was a great idea…It’s probably just us. If you would like to be credited in an only semi-positive review, just let me know! I encourage everyone to give it a shot. It wasn’t hard to make, and you may find you like it. As my Aunt Linda always says, “Different strokes, for different folks.”

If you try out this recipe, let me know your opinion below, or come by the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/commonsensecook and leave me a picture!

From my kitchen to yours, I’m sending my love, Common Sense, and 2 cents on this recipe. I hope you’ll come back next time. The best thing about this community with Paleo is being able to share the recipes and knowing that even if we don’t like it, someone else could.

The Breakfast of Champions

I don’t often get to splurge on a good steak. Ribeye steaks are my favorite cut. They have just enough fat in them to stay juicy and tender. I am thoroughly addicted. I usually buy two good size steaks to feed all five of us. Keep in mind, one steak feeds my three little kiddos. I was lucky enough to have extras. I love having leftover steak. Why? Breakfast!

Today was a one hour Diamond Cutter workout. I do DDP Yoga and I have been building plenty of muscle and trimming off the fat, slowly but surely. (You can check out my other Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/journeyonthefinalcountdown) I really needed a big breakfast after I had to recover a little longer. So what do I make? Steak and eggs of course. Even the kiddos like this one!

Here’s what you’ll need to make this like a Champ:

  • Left over Steak, Cut into Pieces
  • Half of an Onion
  • 1/4 of a Red Bell Pepper
  • 3 small garlic clove pieces (Or 1-2 large, depending on what you have.)
  • Eggs (I use 6 for just me and 3 kiddos, or 8 for all five of us.)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Organic Ketchup (optional, I use Simple Truth Organic)
  • Avocado (optional)

Take a good food processor (I use my Ninja that came with my blender that I purchased at Wal-Mart.) and add pieces of steak, onions, peppers, and garlic into the food processor. Pulse a few times until the pieces are minced. You do not want to blend this into much, so don’t over do it!

Add coconut oil or olive oil (which ever you have or prefer), to a deep skillet. Let it heat up just a little bit. You should hear a sizzle when you add the meat and veggie mixture. Just cook it a few minutes to reheat all of the ingredients. The onions and peppers should be small enough that they will cook faster than usual. Once you have it good and slightly browned, warmed throughout, crack your eggs right over the meat. Crack some salt and pepper on top and begin to fold the eggs and meat together.

I did notice that it took the eggs a little longer to cook. I had my cook top on medium and I didn’t constantly stir them like I have other scrambled omelets. So if you see it’s still a little gooey, chill out and let it cook. You’ll see the difference. When it’s done, pour it out onto a plate. Douse it in organic ketchup, and an avocado. I think salsa and cheese would be great, if you tolerate dairy. There are so many things to do with eggs, use your imagination!

If you need a big breakfast like I did you could add a couple of gluten free blueberry waffles, and your favorite piece of fruit. I love bananas after a workout for the potassium that is supposed to help prevent muscle cramps.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Feel free to get creative and share a picture with me on the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/commonsensecook because let’s face it…I’m a food picture addict too. Come back next time and see what this Workout Champ, Common Sense Cook throws down next, Diamond Cutter symbol and all. I’m sending y’all lots of protein and full bellies, from my kitchen to yours.

Happy Friday everyone!

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook