Pot Roast with Gravy, 2.0

Well, it has been a while since you heard from me, yes?

If you are reading this and it is still summer, and it is getting hot, like it is now, you are probably more concerned with finding cool things to eat, cool meals to cook and cool places to hide, instead of slaving in a hot kitchen to make a hearty batch of pot roast. But then again…if you have AC, or if it is cooling off for you at night, you might just be in the mood for some beef, gravy and potatoes, like my hubby is. Meat and gravy-always sounds good to him.

Yes, there are a million pot roast recipes out there on the web. But if my family wants to make the dish that I serve, this is the only place to find it.

Sadly, I did not get a picture of the finished dish, sorry. We were too busy serving and eating it up. (slurp, slop, burp!)


You need some raw chunks of beef. I cut up a Chuck roast into several smaller pieces.


These are my liquids of choice


There are several things you can include in a recipe that gives it a little something, a mysterious, earthy yumminess. Like mushrooms. Or soy sauce. Or wine. A bit of tomato paste is one of those things. I love the stuff in the tube, dont you? You dont have to deal with leftovers in the can that you put into a little dish, which gets shoved into the back of the fridge and then gets all fuzzy.


Some herbs from the garden if you have it. Tied up with a string, just to be fancy. But usually by the time I pull the string out, there is perhaps a few little twings clinging to it, sometimes not even that. Then you get to find “the lucky sticks” in your pot roast of beef stew.

Old Fashioned Pot Roast with Homemade  Gravy

  • 1 -3 1/2 pounds or so of Boneless Chuck Roast, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
  • 1 or 2 onions (depending on the size. The Costco onions-the-size-of-a-soccer-ball or the 99 cent store tiny ones)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • herbs of choice (I use garden rosemary and thyme)
  • wine
  • tomato paste
  • beef AND chicken broth, about 1 1/2 cups each, give or take
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable, coconut or olive oil
  • carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes or other root vegetable of choice

You will need a large sturdy dutch oven pot, preferably an iron one that holds heat in well and is not as likely to burn on the bottom. If you end up baking this, the burning is not as much an issue. I am cooking this stove top this time around, because it is hot out, like I think one of Gods angels in charge of baking heavenly bread went and left the global oven door open! Hello, close the door thank you!

Heat up some oil in your wonderful sturdy Le Creuset , le kirkland or other dutch oven. Salt the meat. When the dutch oven is good and hot, (if you put your hand over it and it shrivels up black, then its hot enough), add the oil and after about 30 seconds, add the meat. It should sizzle and pop. “spizzzz!”

Leave it a good few minutes to brown. Dont crowd the meat. If you are making a lot, brown a couple of pieces and when done, brown the rest. Too much meat in a pan gives you a gray simmered meat instead of a crisp brown meat. When one side is browned, turn it over and brown the other side. I use tongs. When done, remove to a plate and brown any other pieces you might need.

I do not flour the meat before browning. So don’t. It doesn’t need it.

Take the meat out and you will see nice brown bits on the bottom. Its aaaallllll good. Now I add in the onions that are rough chopped. Not diced. Not tiny.Rough, largish pieces. Stir these up a bit. Add in the diced garlic cloves. Now the tomato paste, about a tablespoon. Stir it around and inhale the wonderful magic.

Now some wine. I do not measure but just pour some in. If I were to guess, I’d say about 1/3 of a cup. I use a red, but a white would work too. Whatever you have on hand or in the fridge left over from that great dinner the other night. If you dont use wine, then just dont.

Stir it up again. The wine will reduce a bit and loosen up some of those brown bits.

Broth. This is the time to add the broth. I think all beef is a bit strong so I combine them. Not to mention that I usually have a box of both open in the fridge at any given time. I really should put dates on those things when I open them.I won’t. But I should. How much broth? I don’t cover the meat, but I make sure it is at least half way up the sides of the meat.

Add in the herbs. If not fresh ones, dried ones will do just fine. A bit more salt and pepper. Now…

If you are stove topping it, just set the flame to low, making sure it reaches a simmer, then leave it alone for a couple of hours.

If you are letting the oven do the work, set the oven temperature depending on how much time you have. 325 for 3-4 hours is good. It allows a more all surrounding  heat. You could even set it for 300 degrees. If you are in a hurry, 350 for 2 1/2 to 3. But stove top is fastest.

Now go work in the garden, check your email, do laundry, watch a bread video. (What? You don’t watch bread made videos? Whassup?) Or do something else while your meat relaxes and tenderizes. The wine helps to tenderize the meat. If you are not using wine, add a tablespoon of vinegar of some kind to it. This will have the same effect.

An hour before you calculate the meat to be done (2 1/2-3 1/2 hours, depending on the way you are making it, stove top is fastest, and how large your meat is to begin with), you need to peel the potatoes and carrots. Any other vegetables you want to add? Go ahead and prep it. Celery root? Turnips? Whatever makes you happy.

Lift the lid carefully! Lots of steam will be poofing up. HOT stem. (Is there such a thing as cold steam?) Check the liquids. There may be more of it, coming from the meat. Or less, if the lid allows steam out. If it is dry, add more broth to it, enough to steam the vegetables nicely, about an inch deep or more. But not enough to cover the meat or anything that drastic.

Put the vegetables in and put the lid back on. Let is simmer gently, steaming the vegetables. Check them with a fork after about 1/2 an hour. It may take more depending on how large the pieces are, if they were chilled, and what kind of veggies you added.

When the vegetables are fork tender and the meat is so tender it tears apart as you pull it out to put on a platter, then it is time to make the gravy. Remove all meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon. Put the pot on the stove with a medium heat to bring the broth left in the pot to a simmer. In a small bowl or a measuring cup, put about 2 tablespoons of flour (or cornstarch or tapioca flour or arrowroot powder) and whisk it with enough water to make a paste. Put this paste into the simmering broth and stir it in to make the gravy. If it does not thicken up enough, make some more paste and add that too. It should only take a couple of minutes to thicken.

Perhaps you have a large serving platter Aunt Martha gave you and you want to show it off, not is the time to get it out. Place the pieces of beef in the center, vegetables around the edges. a little gravy drizzled over the meat with a gravy boat on the side. (Or a measuring cup).

And since I did not get a picture of the finished product, here is breakfast….

Figgies for breakfast...

Figgies for breakfast…

What?? Dried beet greens?

(It’s spring, time to plant those beets. Or time to hit up the farmers markets and let them do all the work. Here was my moms garden 2 years ago, bless her. That is where I discovered wonderful beet green chips. So this is a re-post to remind you how to do it.)

I have to admit, I am not much of a fan of greens. I like wilted spinach salad. And give me any greens in a nice tossed salad.

But cook up a mess of greens and my upper lip starts to twitch.

Older son introduced us to dried seaweed. Now its all the rage, even to having big lighter-than-air boxes of the stuff at Costco! It is very dark green salty, crispy and gives the impression of being good for you. Works for me.

Now my mother is growing an amazing wonderful, nuclear powered garden this year full of beets, tomatoes and corn among other things. It looks kind of like this:

Gadzooks!  Small back plot in a raised bed. It must be soil from another planet.

My mom loves beets. Yee-um! She even made a jar of Harvard beets and no one makes those anymore. These were fresh from her garden and there ain’t nothing as good as any vegy right out of the garden, even a beet. Well I don’t know what made her think to do it, I guess she didn’t want to waste the beet greens. She didn’t really like them just cooked up in the “mess o’ greens” fashion.

Well, she did it. Turned them into seaweed squares, almost. She dried them in the oven, just sprinkled with a little salt. She said all she did was spray non-stick on the pan, lay the cleaned greens on it, sprinkle table salt and bake on a low heat until crispy. Then she brought some over and ya know what?

They were great!

Salty, crispy and light. And good for you! I could feel vitamins and iron coursing through my veins as I ate them. And I got #2 son to eat them too! He didn’t dive in with enthusiasm of course. He was suspicious at first, but admitted that they weren’t bad. For his being almost 15, I’ll take that as a compliment.

Before drying

After drying. Not too pretty, but great to eat.

Now we have a new weapon tool in our arsenal to get the little rugrats (and us big ones too) to eat their greens!

Lazy Mans Lasagne (Or Sam Spade Lasagne)

(Here is an old post I thought worth regurgitating to you. I want to make this again and needed a refresher. But it all brings back “The Maltese Falcon”. Do you ever associate movies with foods?)

I told my son that I was making Lazy Mans lasagna.

Hey!” He was offended.

“No, the one making it is lazy, not the ones eating it.” Although I could make a case…nevermind.

notice the browned cheesy part on top and strings of cheese around the plate

Lets get a closer look, shall we?


So much easier than lasagna and just as delish, well in my humble opinion. Not that I’m never making lasagna again. (gasp!)  It’d be like giving up an old faithful dog for a cute new puppy. Sort of. Anyway sweetheart, its like this see…

(I should mention that we just finished watching “The Maltese Falcon” with Sam Spade, Private Eye playing the “I’m not going to play the sap” lead, so it may have colored my vocabulary tonight.)

I don’t even have a recipe for this and you won’t need one either. You see, you have to be too lazy to even have a recipe. Thats how lazy you feel tonight. So you line up your cast of characters…

(Fat Man: Well, sir, what do you suggest? We stand here and shed tears and call each other names… or shall we go to the…” kitchen.)

Pasta. I used some kind of penne, but egg noodles or another fun shape would do. Not spaghetti types though. Sorry Angel.

Get a large pot of water to boiling and cook the pasta. In the meantime…

A favorite spaghetti sauce. I had half a jar of one in the fridge and a Trader Joes can of marinara I mixed with it and of course added “a little bit of this…a little bit of that…a pot, a pan, a broom, a hat” (oops, wrong movie.) I added some seasoning, but not much, ’cause I’m too lazy. I really don’t need to add any. Just heat it up.

Hamburger. I just happened to have some thawed out.  So I fried it up, dicing it and adding it to the sauce. Could have added diced onions. Could have. Didn’t though.

mozzarella cheese. Grated. Some and be ready to grate more. But if you run out, just use what you have ’cause you’re too lazy to run to the store for more. (Your even too lazy to write out the whole word “because”.)

Cottage cheese. I use this instead of the ricotta.

Parmesan, grated. Now this can be fresh grated or the green can for all I care. (“People lose teeth talking like that. If you want to hang around, you’ll be polite”) Sorry Sam. I’ve loved the name Sam ever since my hero, Samwise Gamgee from LOTR.

Lets see, I think that’s it. Get a pot of any size that will fit whatever amount you are making. I used a small round La Cruset baking pan, but almost used the glass Pyrex. But I wanted it to be a little deeper than that to put layers in.

To make it easier on myself (of course) I mixed the pasta with the meat sauce. Then I spooned in a layer of pasta into the pot.

Now a layer of cottage cheese, a layer of parmesan and some mozzarella. More pasta with meat sauce, and the 3 cheeses. Do this as many layers as you have ingredients. I think I ended with 3 layers of saucy-meat-pasta, topping with mozzarella.

Now, under normal circumstances, you would now bake this for, oh, say 30 minutes on 375 oven. But since it was in the high 80’s the day I made it (It was high 90’s today, 90’s!…okay so I’m whining) I decided I had 2 choices.

(“You getting this all right, son, or am I goin’ too fast for ya? )

Get out  my holiday roaster and plug it in on the patio to bake it. But that was too much work for a lazy lady like me. So I put on the broiler, figuring the casserole was all pretty hot to begin with anyway and wouldn’t need much help warming up. A broiler was quicker and I had every fan on.  Then I walked away for a leedle too long, it cooked faster than a woman can think up a lie. I thought I burnt it! (“You… you imbecile. You bloated idiot. You stupid fat-head you”)

As luck would have it, the cheese got nicely browned and crunchy, just the way we like it around here on top of the “lasagna”. In fact that’s the part we usually fight over. We spooned some out into our pasta plate with some salad (and  I pretended not to notice Paul didn’t eat that.) Now Paul had some the next night, since dad and I were having something he didn’t like. And some the next day for lunch. There is one portion left. With narrow eyes we watch to see who is going to try to eat it first.

“You don’t have to trust me as long as you can persuade me to trust you.”

This was lazy, easy, rich and creamy. Enjoy.

“By gad, sir, you are a character”

Maybe I should have called it “Sam Spade Lasagna”. Or “Fat Mans Lasagna.” or even “Effies lasagna”. I bet she was tired at the end of the day and would have made this. (Effie is Sams trusty secretary and all around good Joe.)

Good eating.

“Look at me, Sam. You worry me. You always think you know what you’re doing, but you’re too slick for your own good. Some day you’re going to find it out.”

“Don’t be too sure I’m as crooked as I’m supposed to be.”

“Don’t worry about the story’s goofiness. A sensible one would have had us all in the cooler.”

Simmered Chinese Chicken

And here I thought I had already added all our old family favorite recipes to my blog and would stop now. Tsk, tsk. We cannot forget this one! I have had it for years. It is easy and goes perfectly with perfect brown rice. Since it is a stove top recipe, it is handy to have when the oven is otherwise occupied. (I am trying another stab at gluten free bread).

So here is the Simmered Chinese Chicken


  • 1 whole chicken cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1/3 cup soy or tamari sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 1 Tablespoon catsup
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons of corn starch
  • 1 Tablespoon of water
  • 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Brown chicken on all sides.

In a bowl, mix together next 8 ingredients (not the corn starch, water or sesame seeds) and pour over the chicken pieces in the skillet. Cover and simmer 35-45 minutes, turning the pieces after about 20 minutes.

Remove chicken to platter. Skim any fat from the juices in the pan and set it to simmering. Blend together the cornstarch and water. Add to the pan, whisking and cooking until thick. Spoon sauce over chicken and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve extra sauce on the side.

Thats it! A side of rice, some broccoli salad and you are good to go!

Wouldn’t it have been nice if I had gotten a picture before  we gobbled it all down?

Just picture brown chicken covered in sweet brown sauce poured over brown rice. Hmm. Maybe you better picture some bright green broccoli florets around the edges. Thats just so much brown. But it tastes great!

Here is the gluten free bread picture though, if its any consolation:

IMG_4650 (765x1024)It’s delicious. We put some honey on a toasted piece and it tasted almost like eating waffles.

Amazing Brownies free from gluten, dairy or eggs


If you are wondering what to do for you gluten free friends…

Originally posted on la petite kitchen:

(No one seemed to notice that there was no cocoa in this recipe. I am editing it now, for my own benefit. They aren’t very brownie-ish without that cocoa!)

Congratulations to Iris, my Pampered Chef lady and unstoppable cook! Her brownies won 1st place at the OC Fair and deservedly so. I have had them. They really are amazing. How the heck you can make brownies without all the brownie stuff like butter and eggs? But it’s for real!

No kidding.

You have to try these if you have any food allergies in the house. Even if you don’t, these are just plain good. And Iris likes to use the Pampered Chef brownie pan for lots of chewy edge pieces. The picture is small though, sorry. It does not do them justice.

She has graciously given me permission to share this recipe with all of you. So here goes.


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Holiday Bread: Stollen


Ah-ha! I knew I would need this recipe again some day. It is so yummy! I can’t wait.

Originally posted on la petite kitchen:

This bread is a very old German Christmas bread that I have never heard of until this Christmas. My son came home from work raving about this wonderful fruity bread filled with dried fruit and topped with a blizzard of powdered sugar that he had tried that day. I was intrigued.

I was challenged!

It sounded somewhat familiar too.

So I started digging, like Indiana Jones going through ancient parchments, through my myriads of baking books. Sure enough I started finding recipes. Then I went on-line. Yep, Stollen…stollen…stollen. Seems like there are as many Stollen recipes as there are bakers. Some are dryer, aged bread while others are a little bread holding together loads of fruit. They all pretty much hold true to a unique shaping created about 500 years ago that is somehow supposed to represent the Christ child wrapped in swaddling clothes. Sure. I’ll eat that.

So while…

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Happy All Hallows Eve, with a side of beef stewed in wine (and gluten free)

Hello there all. Ready for all the Trick or Treaters to come traipsing to your door? Ready for little angels and ninja turtles and lady bugs and vampires? (And lets not forget the last minute too-cool-to-go-trick-or-treating, but still want that candy older kids coming by with pillow cases to fill)

IMG_4358 (1024x765)

What should we name him? Count of Monte Pumpkin? Casanova? Phantom of the pumpkin?

Look at the inside of this huge pumpkin we got from the store. It looks eery with almost spider-web like pumpkin strands inside:

IMG_4359 (1024x765)It’s a biggin! Waiting to be gutted and carved. (and the seeds toasted by yours truly, and eaten by yours truly, with any luck.)

Anyway, I had pulled some stewing beef out of the freezer the other day and it was high time to cook it up before it went to waste. We had just had spaghetti n meatballs a couple of night before and I was trying to stay away from the whole tomato based meal thing.

Side note:

We were supposed to have this last night, but on my way home yesterday, I was bashed into at an intersection by some young idiot who thought texting while driving was a great idea, and ran a red light. So dinner was put on hold. Stew needs time. This punk robbed me of that time and my car and it could have been my life. Or his. (Don’t worry, I am fine. But the car is hopeless).

So what to do? My usual fall-back beef stew was delicious but had tomatoes. If I left those out, I would need something else to um, ‘enhance’ the stew.

So my mind wandered back along those Juila Child flashbacks. Wine, wine and more wine. How about Jacques Pepin, Mr. French cooking with ze wine?

Have you ever cooked with wine? Have you had much success? My experience is more of a ‘win some-lose some’. But last night we won some! And it was still a gluten-free meal. Here is how it went:

Beef Stew with wine

stewing meat or a chuck roast cut into stew size pieces (I had about 2 pounds. You can use however much you need or make enough to freeze for later. I would  say this is even better the next day.)

olive oil

onion, diced

herbs (I picked some rosemary and thyme from garden. Use what is in your pantry if you want, whatever you like best)

garlic cloves, 2

red wine

chicken broth & some beef broth (I use the boxed size from the store. If you have homemade, even better!)

carrots, pearl onions, peas, mushrooms or whatever mix of vegetables your family likes or you have on hand.

potatoes (sweet or white or a combination)

leeks (optional, if you happen to have some looking kind of sad in the fridge, needing a purpose in life other than going in the trash.)

2 Tbsp. tapioca starch (or you could use potato starch or just flour)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

So,  pour some olive oil in the bottom of a heavy dutch oven, enough to fry the meat in, and heat the pan.

Salt the meat and brown in the hot pan, doing it in 2 or 3 batches depending on how much you are making. Remove the meat to a bowl or large plate. (In my old recipe, I would dredge the meat in flour first. I don’t anymore.)

Add the diced onions and garlic to the pan, frying in the meat fat/oil. Add the meat back in. Add the herbs and about 1/2 a bottle of red wine and half a box of chicken broth or enough to barely cover the meat.

Pop into the oven and forget about it for 1 1/2-2 hours. Isn’t that nice?

Now carefully remove the amazingly, ferociously hot pot from the oven and set on the stove.

Peel the potatoes and carrots. Get out the other vegetables you are putting in. I happened to have pearl onions in my freezer (from Trader Joes of course). You could use any kind of onions you have on hand. The previous diced onions are cooked down to nothing, adding to the sauce, but these will be more intact to pick up with a fork and eat. Cut the potatoes into largish chunks, cut the carrots into 1″-2″ pieces. There are really no hard and fast rules here. Add any other vegetables you want. Add more salt and pepper too.

Put all the vegetables into the pot, stirring them in. At this point I added some beef broth because the vegetables where sitting up too high over the meat and sauce that I wanted them to cook with. So add some beef (or more chicken) broth and stir it all in. Put back into the oven for another hour, or cook on the stove top until vegetables are tender.

IMG_4356 (1024x765)I spooned the meat and vegetables out of the pot and into a serving bowl, leaving the sauce behind.

Now take about 2 Tablespoons of tapioca starch and put it into a little prep bowl. Add some water to it to make a mixture, not much, but enough so you can mix it and smooth is out with a mini whisk or fork.

Put the pan of wine/broth on the stove over a high heat to bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add the tapioca mixture with a whisk, stirring it into the broth. It will thicken up pretty quick. I poured this over the meat/veg mix in the bowl. Ooh-ahh. It’s ready to serve! The boys had some toast with it. (We had some homemade peasant bread) while hubby and I abstained.  Everyone thought it turned out great and there is even a little leftover to fight over for lunch the next day.

Mr big dirty pot.

Mr big dirty pot.

And I had roasted pumpkin seeds for dessert.(hee-hee-hee). Here is the recipe for those that I made 2 years ago while out kitchen was being remodeled and I did not have an oven. But ingenuity is the mother of invention, right?

I may be making pumpkin poppers today to give out to adults walking with their kids. You’ve never heard of pumpkin poppers? Where have you been? You must make some quick! Run to the store right now and get a can of pumpkin and a cake mix!! Or maybe you already have this?

It is sooo easy. You take 1 box of spice cake mix and 1 smaller can of pure pumpkin. Thats it! You mix them together (sometimes I add a shake or two of extra cinnamon) until pretty smooth and scoop them out into a mini muffin pan. Bake in a 350 oven for about 12-15 minutes. Take them out and give them the press test. Gently press the muffin. If the indent bounces back it is ready. If it sinks in, it needs more time. When cool you can sprinkle powdered sugar over them. Or what I did for the cooking class was dip the tops in melted butter and sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar. Extra yum points! Sadly I do not have any pictures of the poppers. You will just have to see them to believe them. (of course, I won’t be eating them…but I can still smell them and love seeing other people enjoy them.)

Happy Halloween!

Oh, and beware of people texting and driving. BEWARE!

Days 4, 5, &6

Where does the time go to?

Is anyone else already thinking about thanksgiving or, heavens, Christmas?

Last year was the first year we watched the Hallmark station for all their holiday movies starting the 1st of November and let me tell you; There is nothing to put you in the holiday mood like good  ol’ sloppy sentimental Christmas movies. Yes, with elves and santas and romances and disasters, with the Christ child and mangers, all of it.  We got out all the trimmings early, bought cards before our usual time,( a week before Christmas) and even sent most of them!

Well we just found out it starts all over again on Oct 31st. I can’t wait. As Hubby says, “Everyone turns up on the Hallmark Channel” meaning any actor or actress you have ever know eventually finds their way onto a Hallmark movie.

But, lets talk Paleo diet for just a moment.

The menu has not changed much. We had zucchini pasta and meatballs…

yes, its a little liht on the zucchini, but I never seem to have enough.

yes, its a little light on the zucchini, but I never seem to make enough, even with the boys eating wheat pasta.

The usual routine is fruit salad either for breakfast or lunch alternating with an egg meal. Then dinners vary. Last night it was cashew chicken and a salad. But I was out of cashews so it was with sliced almonds. And we didn’t have water chestnuts but did you know jicama tastes just like them? Well, they are crunchy like them anyway. Tonight it was roast pork, applesauce, sautéed cauliflower and baked sweet potatoes. So I have finally discovered that there is a way to cook without rice, pasta or beans and rarely potatoes. Now if I could just get my younger son to climb on board the healthy eating lifestyle…

As for the 7 day challenge daily pep talks, I will miss them sorely. One was about the importance of being outside in nature, even if it is just for 15 minutes a day. Its vital. Even people in hospitals with photos of nature in their rooms needed less attention and used less pain meds than those without them. Well, I don’t know if the front lawn counts, but I went out under a full moon and watered our crispy lawn for at solid 1/2 an hour.

Also sunshine. Getting that vitamin D. I didn’t really go out for 15 minutes in the sun this time like he suggested. Just ran out of time. But I am in and out of the sun all day, running to and from the car, which as we know is parked on the street because, as we know, with all my husbands Alfa projects, my car will never live to see the inside of any garage and even was demoted from the driveway…not that I am bitter. Think of all the vitamin D I am getting going to and from the car several times a day.

But even then it is big hat time, shades, I would wear gloves if I had them. I am fair-skinned. Sunshine means freckles, age spots and possible skin cancer, so I think I will pass that one for now.

Another pep talk was about exercise. In a nut shell, all the exercise in the world cannot make up for a poor diet, no matter how hard we try. Don’t get me wrong. I have not even tried.  Exercise is something other people do. Wearing yoga pants. Or swimming out in the ocean, doing laps. (ahem, shark bait!). But I got out the Wii system from the sons room and plugged in the Wii-fit game and did that for 15 minutes. I was kind of excited because it said not only had I lost 3.5 lbs since my last workout 22 days ago (how dare they nag me about the days! But as you can see, over exercising is not an issue here.) but I had crossed the threshold of shame, going from “You are overweight!” to “You are…normal!” for the first time since I started using it some 5 years ago.(but did not fail to mention that I could still lose another 12 lbs or so. Pttttt!)

So exercising with a burrito in one hand and a Slurpee in the other wont cut it. Got it.

Well, that’s it for now. Go and see what my hippy daugther is up to in San Fransisco at her blog “Thread and bones“…It’s usually fun and artsy at the same time. She has become quite the photographer and has been blogging about fashion, travel and how to find the best coffee anywhere you are, food, decor, friends, photography and interesting finds. She just changed the format or what-do-you-call-it, the face…the layout…the theme? Well, it looks nice as you will see.

I added more veggies to the "cashew" chicken than usual, since dave and I couldn't have the rice with it. As it is we had to pick out the corn.

I added more veggies to the “cashew” chicken than usual, since dave and I couldn’t have the rice with it. As it is we had to pick out the corn.But I added mushrooms, broccoli, celery, peppers, jicima and pretty much anything I could get my hands on.Too bad I didn’t get a finished shot of this. Just imagine it full of chicken and shrimp! And a sauce of chicken broth, Tamara sauce, corn starch and fresh ginger.

Day #3 of 7 day Paleo Challenge

Everyone feeling bright and perky today? In spite of this incredible heat?  You’d think we would lose weight just from all the sweating going on here.

Anyhoo, its day 3 for my paleo challenge. And its church day. So I gobbled down a banana when I got up, knowing I would eat after church. (sweat-sweat) When I got home it was some melon slices (water and honeydew) and a few slices of lunch meat. Oh and a few olives. (sweat) Oh, and part of a plum. (fan-fan-sweat) Maybe a couple of raw almonds from a bag I found in the freezer.

Wow, you should see all the stuff I just erased. Enough to put me to sleep! So I will spare you.

Basically today I learned about avoiding situations where you know you are going to be tempted beyond your means and to have a plan of action if you are. Not to wait until you are there and just “hope and pray” you have the will power to say “no”. The video talked about figuring out the foods you most cheat on. I would say mine, while not junk food, are not on my approved list. That would be milk and yogurt, homemade breads (pretty easy to avoid if I’m not baking) and warm scones. (Store bought breads hold no sway with me. But of course, I am not going to go marching into a bakery either.)

Okay, stop right there. I have no intention of NOT eating a scone fresh from the oven. I don’t make them often, so that’s good because I will eat one. Maybe two.

And if Paul would stop leaving half empty cups of milk in the fridge, life would be easier for me too.



Not going to try to avoid this...

Not going to try to avoid this…

But will plan to stay away from this...

But will plan to stay away from this…

Anyway, by spending my monies on more fruits, nuts, good quality lunch meats and so on, (and not spending it on chips, candy, fast food, soda and cereal) I can avoid the famishing moments and keep on my 7 day challenge. (to stay 100% paleo for 7 days).

Why Paleo? Because I can’t count points. Because we are too much the carnivore to become vegetarians. Because we believe in fats, so low fat diets are out. (more on fats tomorrow). So this seemed like the diet that both brings results and does not include paying someone else for a plan, special foods or pills. It’s just real food. So we do not have to worry about commercials coming out next year along the lines of “If you or someone you know was part of the ____ diet pill plan, call the law offices of Cheatum and Wheep. You deserve compensation for all the emotional stress and strain and the now non functional heart valve, liver, pancreas and central nervous systems you suffer from. Call today!”

Look at the haul I made yesterday!

Aren't they pretty? That is not a fancy or frilly apron. That is one of my workhorse aprons for wiping hands on and getting splashed on and general dirtiness that goes on while cleaning and cooking.

Aren’t they pretty? That is not a fancy or frilly apron. That is one of my workhorse aprons for wiping hands on and getting splashed on and general dirtiness that goes on while cleaning and cooking. Or collecting eggs.

Paleo Challenge Day #2/Thai Coconut Soup

By the way, this is my 400th post! 400 rambling stories and recipes, mostly posted so I can find them later and so when I am “over the great divide” my family will have recipes and pictures to look back on.I hope, my dear ones and friends, that you have enjoyed them. Love L.

I could have sworn I had shared the Thai coconut soup recipe with you! Mainly so I could find it later instead of rummaging through all my printouts, online recipes and cookbooks. I would have bet money! But I guess I would have lost because it is not here. I found it on our Kindle in the “Against All Grains” book. I had such good luck with it last time that I am giving it another go tonight, on day 2 of my paleo challenge.

Now can you honestly tell me that does not look yummy!? For the boys, I put a large scoop of rice in the bottom of the bowl before pouring in the soup.

Now can you honestly tell me that does not look yummy!? For the boys, I put a large scoop of rice in the bottom of the bowl before pouring in the soup.

So for day 2 we started out with fruit, sausage, bacon and an egg scramble.

I sauteed some zucchini and shallots first, then scrambled up some of our girls eggs. Topped it with my moms garden tomatoes!

I sauteed some zucchini and shallots first, then scrambled up some of our girls eggs. Topped it with my moms garden tomatoes!

I made the ‘boys’ some multi grain blueberry pancakes and didn’t eat 1 bite! Go me! (Last time I made some, I scarfed one down when no one was looking. Bad me.)

As soon as I took this picture I ate a bite of the egg, snagged one of the sausages and a slice of cantaloupe.I was too lazy to make my own plate full. It’s more fun to steal his. Just nibble-nibble-nibble. Honestly, how does he put  up with it. I cant think of the last time I poured myself a glass of ice water. I just slurp on his, since he is never without. Sometimes he beats me to the punch by bringing me my own glass of water. I try drinking a sip out of younger sons cups sometimes but he acts very affronted. His look basically said to ‘get your own’.

Then for lunch we nibbled some more on Cortinas deli meats as a reward for all our good healthy shopping. Boars Head ham, mortadella, salami, soppressata, and more. Not a lot of each, but enough to round out a meal of melon salad and have some throughout the week.

Now for dinner.

Here is a recipe modified from “Against All Grain” for Thai coconut chicken soup. we all enjoyed this soup last time I made it. It reminds us of the soup we all share at our favorite Thai place and its really not hard to make. You just dump everything in the pot, bit by bit. Sometimes I use chicken sausages (the bacon n pineapple ones, yum!) with the chicken. This time it is shrimp.Whatever floats your Thai boat. (I was going to say junk, since that is a Chinese boat, but thought some might get the wrong idea.)


  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 8 whole thai birds eye chilies (which I never heard of. I use dried chilis I have on hand and pick them out later.)
  • 2 cans (14 oz) full fat coconut milk. (This time around it is low fat from Trader Joes. Sorry, its all they had!)
  • 1 full box of chicken broth
  • a 2″ piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass, sliced into about 3″ pieces and smashed with the butt of the knife.
  • the recipe calls for 8 kaffir lime leaves but since I never heard of them, I skipped it.
  • 4 Tbsp. of fish sauce.
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of all fat and thinly sliced
  • I either add a couple of sliced bacon chicken sausages or, like today, added some cooked shrimp.
  • 1 cup slices mushrooms. (sometimes I use button, this time I am re-hydrating Chanterells).
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 of a lime juiced
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • optional spice: turmeric (makes it yellow, health benefits), any Indian spices that suit your fancy, fresh basil, etc.
  • optional: rice stick noodles
  • fresh chopped cilantro and scallions for garnish.


In a large soup pot, heat the coconut oil to melt. Add the chilies and stir for 1-2 minutes. You can leave them in at this point or pick them out. I picked them out this time and will put one on top of hubbys bowl for decor. This batch was not as hot as before, which made some of us happy.

Pour in the coconut milk and broth, bringing to a boil.

Add the chicken, fish sauce, ginger, lemongrass and turmeric and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, cooked shrimp or sausages, onion, lime juice and cherry tomatoes and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Remove, if you can find them, the lemongrass sticks, the kaffir lime leaves, if you happen to be lucky enough to find them at a store, and the ginger slices (which I usually cant find in amongst the onion. You find them when you bite into them.).

Add your noodles here if using. I might next time.

Serve in a bowl and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and scallions.

One pot meal, quite easy and very flavorful!

The tomatoes add some color. I would have used more if I had them. See the yellow from the turmeric? I have a big jar of it and my son and husband keep asking me to add it to just about everything, its so good for you.

The tomatoes add some color.(both red ones and yellow ones).I would have used more if I had them. See the yellow from the turmeric? I have a big jar of it and my son and husband keep asking me to add it to just about everything, its so good for you.

Maybe if I ate more turmeric in my food, I would remember better to add turmeric to our food…It adds very little flavor, very mild.

Basically this makes an all purpose broth that you can add any kind of protein you like. Enjoy

Love L

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