Crock Pot Refried Beans

We have been making these beans for about a year now and I cannot get enough of them. They couldn’t be easier to start first thing in the morning, let cook all day, and enjoy for a simple but delicious dinner. These beans go hand-in-hand with the Whole Wheat Tortillas, Erin’s Pulled Pork, and my husband’s homemade guacamole (recipe coming soon). Add some shredded cheddar, sour cream, and dinner is set! Also, this makes a ton – the beans freeze beautifully in a freezer-safe container for another day. Enjoy!

crock pot refried beans

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups dried pinto beans, thoroughly rinsed (you can also use black beans if you’d like)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped roughly
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (If you like a bit of heat like we do, we sometimes add a jalapeño and a serrano or a poblano… you can’t mess this up. If you aren’t so into spice, either omit the pepper entirely or seed it and just use half.)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2-4 crushed cloves of garlic
METHOD:
  1. Dump your rinsed pinto beans into the crock-pot, pour in the water. Add your chopped onion, garlic, pepper, and spices. Give it a stir and cover.
  2. Let this cook on high for 8-10 hours.
  3. Remove the biggest chunks of onion and the excess liquid. With a potato masher, mash the beans until they are the consistency you’d like them to be. If you want them extra smooth, save some of the excess liquid to add back in while mashing.
  4. These are SO delicious and taste like restaurant quality beans.  Enjoy!
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible
**Adapted from 100 Days of Real Food.
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Granola Bars (grain, gluten, dairy free, paleo)

These are for sure one of our favorite new snack items.  All four of us love them.  They are grain-free, gluten-free, salty and sweet, and couldn’t be easier to make.  They are crunchy and chewy at the same time, too… which really is the way a granola bar should be.  These are almost vegan…. replace honey with maple syrup if you need a yummy vegan snack!

granola bars (grain, gluten, dairy free, paleo)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup almond butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons 100% pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (I like “Enjoy Life” brand)
METHOD:
  1. Combine nuts and seeds in food processor, and pulse until roughly chopped.  You can use any combination of nuts and seeds you want, as long as it totals 2 1/2 cups.
  2. Pour nut/seed mixture into a large bowl.
  3. Add shredded coconut and cocoa nibs and stir to combine.
  4. Add dried fruit, and stir again.  You can use any type of dried fruit as well, as long as it totals 1 cup.
  5. In a medium saucepan over low heat melt coconut oil, almond butter, honey, vanilla, and spices.  Simmer for 3-5 minutes once combined, until thick and bubbly.
  6. Pour mixture into nuts / seeds and stir until everything is evenly coated.
  7. Pour into 8×8 baking dish, lined with parchment paper and press down firmly.
  8. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top, and press into bars.  If you mix these in, they will melt and creat a gooey mess.  Trust me, I’ve tried.  So just save them for the last step and press them on top.  
  9. Put in freezer for 1-2 hours to harden.
  10. Cut into desired size bars, store in refrigerator.
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Seasonal Family.

Artichoke Chicken with Mustard Vinaigrette (grain / gluten / dairy free, paleo)

I am always on the look-out for weeknight dinner recipes that are quick and easy but also delicious enough to serve to company on the weekend if I wanted to. This one fits the bill. It’s also a one pan dinner which equals quick and easy clean-up as well.

This dish has great flavor. I love the combination of the artichoke and mushroom with the mustard vinaigrette. I hope you enjoy it, too!

artichoke chicken with mustard vinaigrette, gluten grain dairy free, paleo

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 organic chicken breasts (thighs/legs would do great, too)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of brown mustard 
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (If you aren’t familiar with this, it’s basically just a fabulous blend of spices – I use it for practically everything.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
METHOD:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Line a 13 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper. Arrange the artichokes on the bottom of the pan, place the onions next, then the mushrooms.
  3. Lay the chicken on top of the veggies.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine and mix the mustard, garlic, oil, vinegar, wine and spices. Pour this mixture over your chicken. I let mine marinate in this for about an hour before placing it in the oven, but you certainly can skip that step.
  5. Cook for about 45 minutes. *If your chicken pieces are on the thinner side, check your chicken for doneness around the 30 minute point, you definitely don’t want to overcook it. However, the thicker pieces may need to cook for as long as an hour.
  6. Serve hot and pile all the veggie goodness on top of your chicken. Hope you like it!
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from The Chew.

Pulled Pork Tacos with Mexican Cauliflower “rice” (gluten / grain / dairy free, paleo)

This has become one of our favorite meals.  One thing I’ve learned since taking on this Paleo challenge is how to be creative in the kitchen.  I’ve trashed all the ideas I used to have about the way food was “supposed to be” and am learning how to cook differently. Take these tacos for example.  The shell is lettuce, the rice is cauliflower, and there are no beans or cheese.  Ok fine, there is a little tiny bit of raw goat cheese.  Couldn’t resist it. But still. My point.  Thinking outside the box has resulted in the best food ever to come out of my kitchen. As long as my spice drawer is fully stocked, and my fridge is full of meat and veggies I’m good to go. And any meal that starts with sizzling garlic and onion is gonna be good. That is just simple truth.

Bear with me a little on this recipe.  Or at least use your own creative cooking freedom. There are a lot of components to this.  They are all hard to mess up – so just go with it. Add a little more of this, a little less of that.  It will be good.  Promise.

pulled pork tacos with mexican cauliflower %22rice%22

INGREDIENTS: (pulled pork)
METHOD: (pulled pork)
  1. Put onion in the bottom of slow cooker.  Add pork roast.  Top with garlic and spices.  Fill with water until pork is submerged about half way.  Cover, turn on high, and let cook for 4-6 hours until pork is fork tender and pulls apart easily.
INGREDIENTS: (mexican cauliflower “rice”)
METHOD: (mexican cauliflower “rice”)
  1. Grate raw cauliflower either in food processor, or with handheld cheese grater.  It should be coarsely grated, like long grain rice, and not overly fine – like couscous.  If you grate it too small, it will be soggy.
  2. Heat olive oil in large sautée pan.  Throw in onion and garlic and sautée until golden and fragrant.
  3. Add cauliflower “rice” and ssautée over high heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add in remaining ingredients.  Sautée on high for another 2 minutes until fully incorporated.  You may have to pour off a little extra moisture from cauliflower and tomato.
  5. Done!  Make sure not to over cook, will become too mushy rather quick.  High heat, short period of time is the way to go.  Almost like flash frying it real fast.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:
  1. Set up assembly line with all your fixin’s – some options:  lettuce for shells, sautéed onions and peppers, guacamole or sliced avocado, salsa, fresh cilantro, lime slices… and don’t forget your “rice” and pork.
  2. Assemble tacos.  Consume.  I like my “rice” on the side.  Husband and bro-in-law prefer it inside the taco lettuce shell.  Doesn’t matter what you do as long as you like it.
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
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Homemade Ketchup (gluten / sugar free, paleo)

I used to by the Costco pack of ketchup.  Yep.  The one with high fructose corn syrup, GMO sugar, corn syrup, and “natural flavors” – what does that even mean, “natural flavors”?  Then, about a year ago we switched to an organic brand, thus eliminating a few of the above ingredients, but still containing sugar.  We just did a really, really strict Paleo challenge through our gym, and weren’t able to eat any sugar.  Like none.  Not even naturally occurring fruit sugar.  Welp, husband loooooves ketchup, so I started making my own.  Everytime we ran out, I’d google ‘ketchup’ and ended up trying all different recipes. Some were good, some were so bad.  Now, I’ve taken bits and pieces from the 7 different recipes I tried and came up with my own.  It is perfect for us.  Made to taste just the way we like it.  Husband loves it still, the one kid that likes ketchup loves it, and it has converted me into a ketchup consumer.  Didn’t use to care for the stuff, but as long as it is this recipe, I like it.  Hope you like it too!

homemade ketchup, gluten free, paleo

INGREDIENTS:
  • 24 oz strained tomatoes (we use Bionature Organic brand)
  • 7 oz tomato paste (we use Bionature Organic brand)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or maple, or honey…. or completely omit like us)
METHOD:
1.  Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, and simmer for 20 minutes over low heat.
2.  Allow to cool, store in air tight container in refrigerator.
3.  This recipe fills almost 2 mason jars.  It makes quite a bit.  Not sure how long it keeps because we eat it so fast, but if you are worried about it, 1/2 the recipe.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Sweet Potato + Leek Cakes, with Yogurt Sauce

Erin brought these delicious cakes to my house for dinner over the summer and I believe I have made them three times since. They are so yummy and so beautiful. The first time I made them we just ate them by themselves with the yogurt sauce drizzled over the top. The second and third times, we have placed the cakes on a bed of mixed greens, topped with a fried egg and then drizzled the yogurt sauce on top… our favorite way to eat them, for sure.

The recipe is from Sprouted Kitchen – if you haven’t checked out her blog yet, we strongly recommend it. Her new cookbook is a beautiful piece of art, too. She cooks mostly vegetarian, whole, real foods and the photos of her food are breathtaking. I followed this recipe of hers step-by-step, so she gets all the praise for this one!

I doubled the recipe so we could have leftovers through the week and it made about 20 smallish cakes. The ingredients below need to be doubled if you wish to do the same.

sweet potato + leek cakes with yogurt sauce

INGREDIENTS: (sweet potato cakes)
  • 1 3/4 lbs sweet potatoes (I baked mine, then peeled them and set aside to cool)
  • 2 teaspoons butter or coconut oil, plus more for cooking
  • 1 leek, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons tamari
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (gluten-free oat flour if you need it to be GF)
  • 1 egg, whisked
METHOD: (sweet potato cakes)
  1. Either bake or boil your sweet potatoes until softened and set aside to cool.
  2. While your potatoes are cooking/cooling, in a large pan melt your coconut oil or butter and cook the chopped leeks over medium heat until softened, about 4 or 5 minutes. Once they are ready, set them aside and let them cool.
  3. In a large bowl, add the sweet potatoes, tamari, garlic, red pepper flakes, whisked egg, and flour and mix together with the cooled leeks until combined.
  4. Over medium to medium high heat in a large pan, melt enough coconut oil/ butter to completely coat the pan. Form your patties from 2 tablespoons of the sweet potato-leek mixture and flatten a bit with a spoon once in the pan. If your patties are too wet/sticky to work with, add a bit more flour until they are only “tacky” feeling and not wet. You don’t want them to fall apart in the pan.
  5. Keep an eye on the oil in your pan, if it gets too dry your patties will stick to the pan and most likely scorch – but they’ll be beautifully crisped if you keep up with the oil/butter. Let each patty cook for about 7-8 minutes or until they look nice and browned.
  6. Place cooked cakes on a paper towel lined plate to blot off excess oil while you finish cooking the rest. Serve the cakes warm with the yogurt sauce drizzled on top or on the side. These are amazing on a bed of lettuce with a fried egg! But they are just as yummy on their own! Enjoy.
INGREDIENTS: (yogurt sauce)
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt, or plain whole milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro or basil
  • 2 tablespoons shallot, minced
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
METHOD: (yogurt sauce)
  1. Add the yogurt, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a food processor or blender and pulse a few times until combined.
  2. Add the herbs and chopped shallot to the yogurt mixture and pulse until the mixed.
  3. Can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge!

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Taken from Sprouted Kitchen.

Peanut Butter Quinoa, with Apples + Honey

Oh gosh. I have found a winner. I don’t know about you all, but one of my all-time favorite go-tos for a snack or even a dessert is sliced apple drizzled with peanut butter and honey. In fact, if we don’t have something on hand for dessert, chances are quite good that I will make myself my apple “treat.”

This recipe is perfect for breakfast, lunch (I am currently eating it for lunch as I type), breakfast-for-dinner or post-dinner snack! It’s super quick and easy, too. And… a huge hit with the kiddos. Score!

I topped mine off with a whole banana sliced up. Perfection. I think cinnamon will be added next time… because you all know how much I love my cinnamon. If you have all of these ingredients in your kitchen,  which you probably do, go make it! And let us know what you think.

peanut butter quinoa with apples and honey

 

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 cup of quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup of water (to cook quinoa in)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter or more if you want it more peanut-buttery! (I used 3 tablespoons of natural crunchy peanut butter)
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey
  • 1 apple diced
  • 1 banana for topping (optional)
METHOD:
1. Give your quinoa a quick rinse in a mesh strainer and cook in a medium pot according to the package instructions.
2. After quinoa has cooked, remove from heat. Stir in the diced apple, peanut butter and honey and stir until everything is combined thoroughly and you don’t have anymore globs of peanut butter left.
3. Serve warm. Top with sliced banana if you choose. Enjoy!
NOTE:  Makes 2 large servings.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Oh Shine On.