I am excited to announce my very first lamb recipe! The reason I’m so ecstatic is because I haven’t cared for lamb when I’ve tried it in the recent past. Granted, I’ve only tried its flavors in the form of lamb bone broth and slices of roast lamb deli meat. It was enough to turn up my nose though. Lamb isn’t something I ever ate growing up (it was never something my family bought, made or even ordered when we went out) and so, the broth and deli meat were my first experience with it. I really want to like it because it’s so readily available in Portland and usually always grass-fed, at least where I’ve seen it. Plus, it’s fun to have more meat options in my diet and in cooking.
I figured I’d do okay with lamb if I mixed it with some ground beef, and decided that a lamb sausage would probably go over even better, since it’s well spiced. So, I excitedly picked up a couple fresh Italian lamb sausages from one of our local co-ops and felt determined to like it. And guess what? I did like it…a lot! The recipe turned out phenomenal, and I couldn’t stop ooing and ahhing about it after every bite.
Note, I browned the lamb sausages first to make them easier to slice, but you could try skipping this step if you want. I didn’t want the sausage to fall apart and turn into grounds, so I opted for it. If you’re pressed for time, don’t worry about it.
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On a separate note, I need to cut back a little bit on my blogging. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of extra time to dedicate to it right now and sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day. I have to prioritize accordingly and since my blog is strictly for pleasure and not school or work, it’s a little lower on the totem pole. Yes, it’s still important to me and so are all of you, but other things have to take precedence. With that said, I’m aiming to blog 2-4 days during the week versus 4 all the time. I’ll still be active on Facebook, so make sure you’re following me there. Thanks for understanding!
For the stew:
- 1 Tbsp US Wellness Meats grass-fed beef tallow
- 2 Italian grass-fed lamb sausages
- 1/2 lb grass-fed ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp smoky spice blend from Practical Paleo (recipe below)
- 1 cup Pomi chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2-3 Tbsp homemade bone broth or low sodium chicken broth
- Sea salt to taste
- Melt tallow in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the lamb sausage and brown a few minutes each side. Once browned, remove from pan and set aside to cool (sausage may not be cooked all the way through yet, which is fine).
- To the same pan, add the onion and garlic, and saute for a minute over medium heat. Then, add the ground beef and break up with a wooden spoon or spatula. While the beef begins to cook, slice the cooled lamb sausage. Add to the pan with the beef and stir.
- Season to taste with sea salt and add the smoky spice blend. Mix well and then add the tomatoes, broth and apple cider vinegar.
- Reduce heat to medium low and continue to simmer until meat is cooked through and sauce thickens a bit.
- Serve over zucchini noodles, steamed kale or cauliflower rice.
Yields: 3 servings
For the smoky spice blend, courtesy of Practical Paleo:
- 1 Tbsp chipotle powder
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp onion powder
- 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Mix together and store in a jar or spice container.
Yields: 5 Tbsp of blend
I think most of you know that I do eat some limited sources of dairy. Specifically, homemade 24-hour yogurt and butter/ghee are the only dairy sources I can safely tolerate. In fact, homemade 24-hour yogurt is a major component of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and the reason I started making it in the first place. Culturing it for 24 hours ensures that all the lactose gets broken down and makes for a nice, sour yogurt. Generally, I make it with organic grass-fed whole milk, but sometimes I make it with pasture-raised half and half when I want something more decadent. The hardest part is waiting for it to culture and then waiting again for it to set overnight in the fridge. I tell you though, it is well worth the wait! This is unlike any yogurt you’ve ever tasted and thick by nature. It’s yogurt fit for the Gods. I enjoy it plain, with fruit or as a dessert garnish (whipped cream).
For this specific recipe, you need a yogurt maker, but there are ways to make homemade yogurt without one too. I know there is an oven method, along with a heating pad method. I can attest that the heating pad method works, but is a pain in the butt if your heating pad automatically shuts off every two hours, like mine. I had to get up a few times in the night to turn the heating pad back on and after this escapade, I bought a yogurt maker. They’re pretty affordable and I’ve definitely gotten more than my money’s worth out of it. Specifically, this recipe uses the Yogourmet electric yogurt maker, so directions may differ slightly if you have another model.
If you don’t tolerate dairy, you can make yogurt with homemade almond milk or full-fat canned coconut milk, but would need to find a source of non-dairy cultures. I do okay with dairy yogurt and cultures, so I’ve never experimented with this, but I know it’s doable.
Click here to read about the importance of 24-hour yogurt in the SCD.
- 2 packets Yogourmet starter culture
- 2 quarts (1/2 gallon) pasture-raised half and half
- Pour the half and half into a large pot and turn burner to medium heat (or just above medium). Clip a thermometer (candy thermometer works) to the side of the pot. Stir the half and half continuously to keep it from sticking or scorching.
- Slowly heat the half and half to a simmer while stirring constantly. Turn heat down and continue to simmer for about two minutes. Watch closely and keep stirring, so it doesn’t boil over.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool to 110 degrees F. To speed up this process, you can also place the pot into a sink filled with cold water. When checking the temperature, be sure to stir the half and half first and then test in the middle of the pot, versus on the side. It is very important that it’s not too hot when you add the cultures.
- Add yogurt cultures into the yogurt container (mine is one big container) or a large bowl. Scoop a few ladle-fulls of the cooled half and half into the container or bowl. Stir well until the cultures are dissolved. Then, mix back into the pot with the remaining milk.
- Pour the milk into the yogurt container and seal with the lid. Add water to the fill line in the yogurt maker and then place the container inside, and cover with the yogurt maker lid. Plug in and culture for 24-30 hours.
- Once done, place yogurt in the fridge to chill and firm up. I recommend letting it sit overnight to ensure the yogurt is fully set and chilled.
- Enjoy as desired!
Yields: 2 quarts of yogurt
Well, Saturday was the big ring shopping day and boy, was it eventful. I’m kind of sad to say it’s over, but the memory is very fond. This truly is such a fun and special time in our lives.
Jesse and I started the day with breakfast out at Besaw’s, my favorite place to go for breakfast in Portland. We had to wait a bit for a table, but expected to do so and weren’t in a huge rush anyway since the first jewelry shop I wanted to go to didn’t open until 11:30.
Anyway, after breakfast, the day unfolded into three jewelry shops, many beautiful rings (I even tried on one that cost about $10,000…a bit over our budget!), clothes and a bow tie for Jesse (very Portland appropriate, if I do say so myself), celebratory wine and Thai food for dinner since we were too exhausted to go grocery shopping and cook afterward. We were gone from about 9:45 am – 7 pm!
I tried on so many rings and repeated the words, “it’s beautiful,” and “Jesse, look at this one,” more than I could begin to count. With all the rings I liked, I could have had one for every finger…and then some. I knew though, right away, when I found “the one.” What’s funny, is that I found it at the first jewelry store too and knew it was the going to be the one I’d pick. Still though, I had to go elsewhere and reassure myself. I went to two antique/vintage jewelry stores and one modern jewelry store, all of which were in NW Portland.
I actually decided on two rings, even though I thought I’d only pick one, so I have both a band and an engagement ring. The band is a 1930s white gold ring with a stream of little diamonds on top and the engagement ring is a 1920s white gold filigree design with an old mine cut diamond (diamond estimated to be from the 1890s). I can’t share pictures because they’re being re-sized and won’t be ready for 7-10 days. I’ll share a picture on Facebook of my engagement ring when I get it back, but will wait on the other until it’s official. Oh, and Jesse picked a simple white gold band from the same shop where I got mine. It’s a modern estate band, but the time period is unknown. Overall, we’re very happy and excited about our choices. I can’t wait to get my engagement ring back and wear it!
I’ve been making an effort to try and eat more fish lately because it normally doesn’t happen very often. I’m aiming for 1-2 times per week and so far, so good. Otherwise, aside from my daily 2 oz of Green Pasture’s fermented cod liver oil, my wild fatty fish consumption is few and far between. Reason being, it’s pretty expensive and I’m kinda hit or miss with it. It doesn’t always taste good to me and I really have to be in the mood for it, unless it’s Loki Fish Co. smoked salmon. I love that stuff and can eat it much more often. Again though, it’s still expensive.
I think fish is much more enjoyable when it has a sauce, nut crust or glaze (remember my honey-lime glazed salmon?), so naturally, I whipped up a sauce. There will be leftover sauce, so feel free to mix some into warm zucchini noodles. It’s delicious and creamy.
Anyway, have a great weekend! I know I will…ring shopping tomorrow!
For the salmon:
- 2 wild coho salmon fillets
- 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter, divided
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, divided
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 9×9 pan with foil or parchment paper.
- Place fish fillets skin side down in the pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Then, dot half the butter on one fillet and half on the other. Then, squeeze 1 tsp lemon juice over each.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Serve with parsley pesto cream sauce on top.
For the parsley pesto cream sauce:
- 1/2 cup curly parsley
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1 clove garlic
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Dash of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup raw cashews, preferably soaked
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Combine all ingredients in the food processor or a high-powered blender (I actually used my new Ninja Master Prep Pro System for this one!) and blend until smooth.
- Taste and adjust seasonings and olive oil quantity, if need be. Cream should be somewhere in the middle between thick and runny.
Wow, it’s been one heck of a week in terms of school and activity, and my body has felt the brunt of it. Thankfully, the school week is over and I now have room to think more about the things I’m excited about. Here’s what I’m especially stoked about right now:
- Ring shopping this weekend: Do I need to say any more here? Oh my goodness, I can’t wait! Jesse and I are going out to breakfast on Saturday and then starting from there. We’re going to Gilt Vintage & Artisan Jewelry to look at some antique pieces (I love the idea of having a ring with a background story!) and will scope out a couple other recommended places as well (Alchemy and Judith Arnell Jewelers). We’re also going ceremony outfit shopping for Jesse. We’re keeping our little ceremony a bit more casual (but nice, of course) and Jesse is really not a suit guy, so we’re going an alternate route. I think it’ll be better this way and why not pay money for something that can be worn again? Jesse and I are practical people, so this makes the most sense for us. I’ll recap about all this after the weekend!
- US Wellness Meats: Yep, my friend, Macala and I are in the process of placing another US Wellness Meats order. I get super giddy putting an order together. Seriously, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. We go in on orders together every few months. We don’t go hog wild, but get some good staples to keep handy in the freezer. This is where I get all my sugar-free beef bacon too. I even ordered our kitties some special pet food, which is a mixture of raw grass-fed beef, beef liver and beef heart. I know they’ll love it because we already feed them some raw food that is a combo of raw turkey, turkey liver and turkey heart and they go crazy over it. They eat this as a supplement to their dry, grain-free cat food. We take good care of our furry friends!
- Primal Recess class: I had to miss this class on Tuesday due to school and exhaustion, so I’m happy to go today. This class, at Recreate, is always a bit more intimate and Jesse has us do lots of playful stuff. I’m usually the only girl and have fun playing with the boys.
- Getting a real senior client: For my special populations pro-act class, which is a follow-up from my fitness and aging class, we’re learning how to test and program for the senior population. Last week, we visited an amazing senior retirement center that literally had everything you could dream of (shops, fitness center & pool, bank, clinic, post office, hair salon, etc.)! We were fortunate to not only get a full tour, but also take part in a chair aerobics class. We let all the seniors find their chairs first because they all have their favorite spots and God forbid someone take it! They were adorable, funny and oh-so precious. It was so enjoyable and heart-warming. In terms of the class, I was quite surprised how challenging a chair aerobics class actually is! Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t intense or difficult for me, but it was harder than I anticipated. The equipment included a chair, obviously, a ball and light dumbbells. Anyway, we’ll be going back in a couple weeks to be introduced to a real client, in which we’ll consult with and administer senior fitness tests to (i.e. 8-foot get-up and go, back scratch, sit-to-stand, etc.). Then, we’ll develop a program for our client and go back again and show them the exercises. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and even though I’m a touch nervous, I’m excited more than anything. It’s really touching to spend time with seniors because it reminds me of being with my grandparents and other senior relatives. It feels good and is actually a bit comforting.
- Continuing to purge: With all the new stuff I got for my wedding shower and items I picked out myself with shower money, Jesse and I have cleared space and gotten rid of a lot of stuff. It feels so refreshing to get rid of bagfuls of old things and replace it with nice, new and fresh stuff. We live in such a small place though, that we really didn’t have a choice, but to purge. We’ll be making another trip to goodwill soon because we just got a shiny new Oneida silverware set and need to get rid of our mismatched cheap pieces. I’m sure I can find more items (again) to ditch with the silverware. It feels SO good!
Taking a time out today to honor those involved in the Boston Marathon tragedy yesterday. These events always break my heart and make me sad for humankind, but it was especially scary this time around because I actually knew two people involved. Both my school instructors were there running the marathon and one of them finished only 10 minutes before the first bomb went off. Thankfully, they are both okay, but very shook up, and rightfully so.
What I want to know is when this is all going to stop. Tragedies like this are becoming far too frequent. Meanwhile, please send your love, strength and prayers to Boston.
Welcome back, all! I hope you had a nice weekend, whether it was eventful, busy or relaxing. I always manage to have a good weekend, no matter what ends up happening. I’m always happy to have time away from school and a little extra time with Jesse!
My weekend consisted of the usual errands, yoga and work on Sunday morning, along with trying desperately to understand my exercise science readings and homework. Jesse did his best to break it down for me, but it’s extra tricky since I don’t have a chemistry background. I only had to take one chemistry class ever and it was my junior year of high school, 11 years ago. I was fortunate to never have to take chemistry when getting my BA, because I had passed it in high school with better than a C. So, it takes some extra studying on my part and even then, it’s still complicated.
Saturday evening was especially lovely because I had a girl’s dinner out with my friends, Laura and Ashley (aka Craving4more). I introduced the two of them to each other and we had a nice meal and conversation at Dick’s Kitchen. We all ordered lettuce-wrapped burgers and veggies, and it was Laura’s very first experience at Dick’s. Naturally, she liked it (it’d be hard not to like it). We were there a couple hours and then afterward, Ashley walked home and Laura and I went for a cup of hot tea before driving back to my place. It was a good evening for us all, and nice for me to get out with the girls…something I never really do.
Anyway, these meat muffins make for an easy, tasty lunch and are suitable for breakfast or dinner as well. The Tessemae’s All Natural BBQ sauce is delicious, but I realized that I need to be careful with it. It has balsamic vinegar in it and I discovered that it’s still a bit too much for me at this point (balsamic is a SCD-illegal food because of the natural sugar content). I thought it’d maybe be okay since I’m far in my healing, but I guess not. My bloat was tolerable each time, but still annoying. I’ll try it out again down the road or understand the potential consequences if I choose to eat it. For most people, this won’t be an issue, but if you adhere to the SCD, don’t try balsamic until you’re far enough into your healing, but realize that it may still cause a problem. On another note, the muffins are really, really delicious and so is the BBQ sauce!
- 1 tsp bacon grease
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- 1 lb ground buffalo
- 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
- 1 pastured egg
- 1/4 cup Tessemae’s All Natural BBQ sauce
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Pepper to taste
- Pinch of cayenne
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a muffin tin with coconut oil and set aside.
- Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, and add the bacon grease. Once melted, add the red onion and saute a few minutes, until translucent and softened. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, mix together the ground buffalo, egg, spinach, BBQ sauce, sea salt, pepper and cayenne. Then, add the sauteed onion.
- Spoon into greased muffin tin, filling to the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through. Time and quantity will vary based on the size of your muffin tin.