Category Archives: Recipes

Grain-free Tortilla Chips That Don’t Suck – BONUS: Awesome Guac

I hate avocados. They taste awful and are good for nothing. Truly, they are the devil’s candy, eaten out of the devil’s grandmother’s “1960’s Orange” candy dish.

UNLESS… you make the incredibly simple guacamole found at the end of this post (literally, I have hated all fresh avocado until I made the perfect guac this very evening).

In the mean time, check out this simple grain-free tortilla chip recipe. You may decide not go back to corn chips after trying these. It’s like the old saying: “Once you go grain-free, you’ll never have a brain tree.” It doesn’t make any sense, but by God, it’s a saying!

Ingredients:
-1/2 cup almond flour/meal
-1/2 cup cashew flour/meal
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp chili powder
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp cumin
-1/4 tsp onion powder
-1/4 tsp paprika
-1 egg white
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Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add egg white and mix together thoroughly until they form an even dough.
2. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, as thinly and evenly as possible. Remove the top layer of parchment paper. Cut the dough into desired shapes for chips (I used a pizza cutter, but you can use a switchblade if you’re a real bad@$$).
3. Move the dough, with the parchment paper, onto a baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes. Use a spatula to remove the chips from the paper. Serve with guacamole or salsa.

Now for the guacamole recipe!

Directions:
1. Slice a ripe avocado in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the green squishy part. Mash it until it’s smooth, imagining the avocado is your high school bully’s face.
2. Add 1/2 tsp. of lime juice, a couple dashes of salt, and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder. Adjust salt/garlic amounts to taste.
3. Stir vigorously, or until your mother says, “Jeez, Brian! That’s enough!” This is especially important if your name isn’t Brian.

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How to Make Chicken Soup That Doesn’t Suck

Have you ever tried making chicken soup from scratch? Homemade soup tends to be bland, mushy, or downright crappy. Here’s about as easy a noodle-free chicken soup recipe as I can muster without throwing my back out. I put my blood, sweat, and tears into this recipe, but only as a garnish. You can substitute parsley. I hope you enjoy it!

Per serving, this soup will cost you much less than Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup. And that’s if you use organic ingredients! If you are on a budget and want to cut costs by using non-organic (not recommended, especially for the chicken) ingredients, you might even be able to make this even cheaper per serving than Aldi’s Chicken Noodle Soup!

Total time – 2 hours
Servings – about 75 cups

Step 1: The Chicken Prep – Ingredients

-2 five-pound chickens
-6 whole carrots, halved
-6 stalks of celery, halved
-1 medium white/yellow onion, peeled and quartered

Directions:

Remove the baggie of gizzards from the chicken and put them in the pot with the whole birds. Add all ingredients to a large stock pot, fill with water (until the chickens are submerged) and bring to a boil. Simmer for 75 minutes, or until meat is very tender and almost falling off the bone.

Remove whole chickens from the pot. Strain out large vegetables from pot (discard veggies, or use them as inexpensive projectiles to throw at the mailman) and skim remaining stock for any solids. After the chickens cool, remove all meat (shred by hand) and place into the pot full of chicken stock. If the chicken has been disrespectful at all, feel free to yell at it a little before placing it into the pot.
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Put any bones/connective tissue/gizzards into a Crock Pot. (These will be used to make delicious/nutritious bone broth… A future post… Preview pic below… Stay tuned!)
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Step 2: The Reckoning – Ingredients

-All chicken flesh you removed from the mutilated, dismembered carcasses
-8 Tbsp butter or coconut oil (one, the other, or a mix)
-2 to 3 medium white or yellow onions, diced
-3 pounds carrots, sliced
-2 pounds(-ish) celery (… I mean, who likes celery anyway? Just enough to give texture and flavor without the whole preachy “celery burns more calories than it contains” angle), sliced, diced, or otherwise cut into tiny, edible pieces
-1 to 2 pounds whole green beans (frozen works fine)

(If you don’t want to chop everything, you can use the soup starter from Trader Joes. I used 3 of them for this, and it took care of the celery/onion. I just added about 2.5 pounds more sliced carrots. Oh, and get a mandolin slicer! They make slicing carrots easy! Check Amazon for good ones under $15.)
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-1 Tbsp sea salt
-2 Tbsp cumin
-4 Tbsp minced garlic
-2 tsp garlic powder
-2 inch peeled, minced ginger (or 1 Tbsp powdered ginger, if you can’t stand to peel and mince it without feeling like a serial killer)
-3 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
-2 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme
-Black pepper (to taste, or until you sneeze 3 times)

Directions:

Heat butter or coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed pot and add sea salt, cumin, garlic, ginger, rosemary, and thyme. Stir the seasonings well and let them cook briefly until aromatic. Add onions/celery/carrots and sauté. (This is a lot of vegetables, so you may need to sauté in a couple smaller batches.) Add veggies to chicken stock. Add green beans and black pepper. Add water to the stock as needed. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Test the flavor of the soup. Quizzing it on state capitals will work fine. Add additional herbs/spices until it tastes how you want it.

Sure, the initial cost seems high ($50-$60, if you shop around to make sure you’re not paying much more than $3/lb for the chicken), but when you’re getting 75 servings, it’s so affordable! And that doesn’t even count the quarts (potentially gallons) of nourishing bone broth that come with it! The 2 hour prep time may appear a little long, but you will save yourself meal prep time for weeks after!

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How to Make Brussels Sprouts That Don’t Suck

I never liked Brussels sprouts as a kid, because they are disgusting. Then I discovered that Brussels sprouts are not disgusting (except for the ones that have an unhealthy attraction to balloons).

If you’ve eaten Brussels sprouts, then you’ve probably had them undercooked, under-seasoned, and absolutely “vegetable-y”. Try this recipe to make some Brussels sprouts that don’t suck!

I really don’t feel like spelling out “Brussels sprouts” every time, because by God, I’m going to use it a lot. I’m going to abbreviate. BS? No, that could be easily misinterpreted. Bru-spros? Sounds like a sports injury. Maybe I’ll just say “sprouts”. You’ll know what I mean.
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Ingredients:

-16 ounces of sprouts
-Butter (from grass-fed cows preferred)/Olive oil (extra virgin)
-Sea Salt
-Garlic Powder
-Cumin

I used a bag of Trader Joes steam-in-bag sprouts ($2.49 for 16 ounces), but you can use the same tip from this post to steam fresh sprouts (can be less expensive).

Directions:

1) Steam 16-oz of sprouts on High for 3 minutes in microwave (times may vary, based on your microwave’s wattage and inherent hatred for green vegetables) until they are to desired tenderness.

2) Put 2 Tbsp butter OR 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet and bring to medium heat – very hot, but not smoking (or “poppling”, if you are 5 years old).

3) Toss steamed sprouts in salt, garlic, and cumin. Add sprouts to pan and sauté. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until the outsides are starting to brown.

4) Enjoy, and share with people who didn’t like bru-spros before!

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Make Your Own Lotion (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Animal Fat)

Tallow, n., \’ta-(,)lō\ — 1) the white, nearly tasteless solid rendered fat of cattle and sheep used chiefly in soap, candles, and lotions, and 2) the butter-looking runoff that smells quite a lot like French fries, made using a thoroughly gut-turning process, that leaves your hands smelling like a slaughterhouse.

Here’s a handy-dandy recipe to make your own all-natural moisturizer, plus my own experience.

Ingredients:

-2 to 3 pounds of suet (raw fat/trimmings, purchased from a local farmer, or from a guy who performs liposuction out of the back of his van)

-5-quart Crock Pot, or other electrically heated earthenware

-Cheesecloth

-2 heat-safe bowls

Directions:

Step 1: Cut the suet into 1/2″ pieces or smaller. Be careful to remove any bits of meat from the fat. This will help the cooking process to have a less-potent scent.

I grabbed the biggest, sharpest knife I had. After I removed the wrapping, I set the log of cow fat on the cutting board. As I pressed the knife in, the pieces of fat began to fall apart into cheese curd-like bits. After two or three attempts to cleanly cut the suet, I realized it was useless. Even trying to use the tip of the knife to remove the meaty bits from the pure fat was frustrating.

It became apparent that I could save time and effort by simply breaking the fat into bits using my bare hands. I felt uneasy as I used my fingernails to separate small bits of meat from the gristle. At that very moment, I realized I would not make a very good serial killer.
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Step 2: Cook the suet in a Crock-Pot for 90 minutes on low, or until the tallow has completely separated from the solid trimmings. This is essentially a way to render fat at home.

The first thing I did after starting to heat the suet was to wash my hands. Good lord, my fingers had a thick layer of waxy fat which smelled intensely of hoof and organ meat. (Paramedics described a similar smell when they came upon Elvis in his Graceland bathroom.) The house began to fill with the aroma of a McDonald’s, if that McDonald’s used pure animal fat for their fry grease and didn’t have a ball pit that smelled like urine.

Step 3: Use a cheese cloth to strain the tallow into a heat-safe bowl. After straining, set the remaining solids aside.

This is a two-person job for sure. One person holds the cheesecloth/bowl, and the other pours the tallow/solids and asks why in the world they were doing this in the first place.
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Step 4: Enjoy the fruit of your bounty!

Apparently, the tallow soaks into your skin better than many other organic oils/lotion alternatives. You can even mix in your choice of aromatic essential oils if you don’t want to smell like French fries (but who doesn’t want that?). It will keep for up to a couple of months in the fridge, or a few weeks at room temperature (again, not unlike McDonald’s fries).

The solids are called “cracklins”. You can fry them up in a pan and top your favorite food with them – eggs, salads, chili, etc. Especially etc. They have the consistency of fried bacon fat and are actually quite delicious.

I hope this has been a chance for you to live vicariously through me. Vicarious is definitely an upgrade. Usually, I’m just a cautionary tale.

Chili Today, Armageddon Tamale

As promised, here’s my award-winning chili! Full disclosure: I created, voted, and presented the award, to/for myself (Cutest Left-Handed Chili Maker in the Lower 48).

Total Prep/Cook Time: About an hour, allowing for the extra time to refer to this recipe, minus the time that you cranked up the heat during Step 3 because your kids/significant other were complaining that dinner was not ready, and he/she/they is/are hungry/a huge freaking baby. Makes about 16 servings. Great for families, or for a couple who wants to eat chili for a week.

Ingredients:

-3 pounds of ground beef (grass-fed organic preferred)

-1 can (15/16-ounce) organic tomato sauce

-2 cups water

-4 teaspoons paprika

-8 teaspoons cumin

-2 tablespoons dried onion flakes

-1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

-1 cup chili powder

-2 teaspoons ground red pepper

-3 small/medium sweet potatoes

-12 to 16 ounces of your favorite all-natural, organic, pastured, grass-fed, nitrate-free, minimally-processed, natural-casing, crap-free beef/chicken/pork/turkey sausage

-Fresh peppers to taste

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Step 1: Brown 3 pounds of beef in a 5-quart pot. DO NOT DRAIN THE MEAT.

While the meat is browning, combine tomato sauce, water, paprika, cumin, onion flakes, garlic salt, chili powder, and red pepper (cayenne) into a mixing bowl.

After stirring, the wet mixture should be the same color as the still-beating heart of your defeated enemy on the battlefield. You may also refer to the picture above.

Just in case you missed it – DO NOT DRAIN THE MEAT.

Combine the bowl with the pot and bring to a simmer.

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Step 2: As the pot simmers, peel and chop the sweet potatoes into 1/2″ cubes. Add to the pot and continue to simmer.

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Step 3: Cut the sausage and add it – continue to simmer. Slice and add any peppers to taste.

Simmer for up to another 30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are cooked to the desired tenderness. If the chili is too thick, add water until you reach the desired consistency.

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Step 4: Garnish with your favorite organic cheese and serve piping hot. Enjoy!

For bonus points, add additional peppers, like habenero, Bhut Jolokia, or Carolina Reaper. Then, tell me how it goes the next day. No pictures, please.