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Sundried Tomato Pesto Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

Last nights dinner. Oh my god, yum. This has become a weekly addition in our house; especially during the winter. Most of the time I will double the recipe to ensure that we have leftovers. I found this recipe online and have changed it a bit over time to work with what we have in the house. (Post photo has organic purple sweet potato mash and green beans in coconut oil with garlic).

  • Most of time I use 1lb grass-fed meat and 1lb chopped turkey so we have leftovers.
  • I only use sundried tomatoes when I have them, otherwise I will just make regular pesto or no pesto at all. The bacon still gives them a lot of flavor.

1/2 cup sundried tomato pesto, plus 1/4 cup for tops (see recipe below)

1 tablespoon chopped oregano

1 tablespoon chopped basil

1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound fresh grass-fed beef

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup almond flour

1 large egg

4 slices nitrate free bacon

Sundried Tomato Pesto

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (in oil if you can, rehydrate per instructions if dried)

1/2 cup fresh spinach

1/2 cup fresh basil (a small bunch)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Add the garlic, sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste and herbs to your food processor and blend. Stream in the olive oil until the pesto comes together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

bacon_wrap

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beef, almond flour, pesto, herbs, salt, pepper, onion,and garlic. In a small separate bowl, whisk in the egg and add it to meat mixture. With your hands or a spoon, combine the mixture until well incorporated.

Form mixture into 4 equal rounds and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Wrap bacon strips around each meatloaf round. Top each round with additional sundried tomato pesto.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the meatloaf is cooked to desired doneness.

Makes 4 rounds

Farm Fresh Tomatoes In February

Last season our tomato plants produced a total of 156 edible tomatoes. I’d say we had another 30-ish that were ruined by insects.  This was our most successful year yet. After two years of trying different locations in our yard we finally found the perfect space for the proper sun and shade.

I think the most influential thing on our garden this year, was the nutrient rich compost that Greg makes. We maintain our supply year-round by constantly rotating the compost (in our homemade compost bins) with the house scraps we save, and adding from our stockpile of leaves and grass clippings.

We also learned a valuable tomato lesson from a good friend. Pick the tomatoes when they are GREEN. Put them in a brown paper bag and store them in a cool, dark place. Check the tomatoes every few days and in a about a week they will be a beautiful red. The last two years we would wait and wait and then all of sudden they would turn and it was too late. Once they turned red and got sweet, we would have a problem with the bugs eating them.

This was one of the last tomato pulls we had of the season (October). All of these tomatoes were pulled green and turned using the brown bag method.

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In the beginning the flow was pretty steady and we would easily eat everything we picked on a weekly basis. As soon as the weather turned from warm to cool (Sept-Oct), I pulled 62 tomatoes in two weeks. I had to learn how to can…and fast.

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I found a few canning recipes online since this was my first time and experimented with two. (I had also watched a canning demo at the tomato festival this summer) One recipe was for crushed tomatoes and one was for a sauce. The crushed recipe was a lot quicker but now that we’ve been eating them I prefer the sauce recipe more. I think I needed to “wring” out the tomatoes a lot more before crushing them because those cans came out very watery. Below is a pic of the tomatoes cooking down to make the sauce recipe.

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The 62 tomatoes produced enough for 27 jars, half crushed, half sauce. I only have 6 left. It better warm up soon.

Paleo

On February 13, 2013, about a week before I started Crossfit we transitioned to the Paleo diet. Sometimes called the Cave Man Diet. People who eat Paleo follow a gluten-, legume-, and dairy-free diet with an emphasis on foods that are whole and unprocessed. Grass-fed meats and poultry, wild-caught seafood, organic fruits and veggies, naturally occurring fats (coconut milk, grass-fed butter, coconut oil and olive oil) are the basis for this way of eating.

We’d spent the month or so before going back and forth, half committing and ultimately decided to do it full force. For us that meant completely emptying our fridge, shelves and pantry and starting from scratch. We have little to no self-control in our house and knew that if even a single cookie remained, we’d probably break down and eat it. I made bags of food and gave them away to family members and brought the rest to our local church for donation. Our shelves were literally bare.

We had done A LOT of research before hand so we felt prepared to hit the store and stock up on the essentials. Some great resources on the Paleo Diet can be found at Robb Wolf’s website. We found most of the items at our local Stop & Shop. I like to cook our meals everyday so I wanted to have all the staples on hand. As far as pantry items go, the things I find myself using most often are coconut oil, olive oil, almond/coconut flour and our Paleo dressings from Steve’s Original. (Ginger Cilantro is my favorite for a salad dressing)

I bought a few Paleo cookbooks and then revamped my old homemade cookbook to only include Paleo recipes. There are a ton of websites and bloggers that post great recipes daily. Just a few I love, PaleOMG, Civilized Caveman, and Against All Grain  I print a few a week, try them out and if they make the cut, they go into my “cookbook”. My “cookbook” is made up of a split-back easel binder (about $13.50 online) and clear plastic sheet protectors. It really works great when you are trying new things and collecting your favorites.

There are countless resources online that will provide information and explain what this diet will do for you. What I can tell you firsthand, is what it did for us. Our goal was never to lose a ton a weight but rather get consistent. We would always yoyo 5-10 lbs in either direction during the year. We wanted to stop eating anything and everything and feeling like complete garbage afterwards. Eliminating the processed food and gluten has made a visible difference and we feel amazing everyday . It also fixed my never-ending skin problems. I never had acne but would always have an aggressive monthly breakout that no cream or wash could fix. After seeing my doctor, OB and countless dermatologists, they all chalked it up to hormones. Not one, suggested changing my diet. I can honestly say that after the first full month eating Paleo I haven’t had a single breakout.

I would say we are 90/10 Paleo. We are pretty strict during the week and cook all of our breakfast, lunch and dinners. But we are also realistic. We still go out to eat, get together with friends and crave the occasional sweet. Sometimes we have an off weekend, but really try hard to get back on track for Monday. The only reason this way of eating works for us is because we are realistic.