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Back when we lived in Indiana, I used to make burgers with extra ingredients that we called Gourmet Burgers. The extra ingredients were garlic, onion, egg, milk, and breadcrumbs, and in the right proportions, they were very, very good. They could be grilled and stay moist and were delicious baked with a beef gravy and served with mashed potatoes. I’ve been kind of hungry for them lately, so that combined with my desire to make something appetizer-like for watching football today drove me in the direction of gourmet sliders.

Obviously the recipe had to be revamped, so I did a little research. Nomnompaleo has some yummy looking sliders with veggies integrated into them, but I was feeling more like a straight-up slider. I finally came up with the following ridiculously easy, delicious recipe. The nicest thing about it is that the numbers play nicely, so you can scale it up or down as necessary.

Without further ado, I bring you:

Amie’s Beef and Bacon Sliders
yields 24-32 three-bite hamburgers

Ingredients
3 pounds ground beef
1 pound bacon
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into several smaller pieces
3 medium eggs (optional–see note)
1/2 pound of mushrooms (optional–see note)
1 1/2 T. wye river black pepper seasoning

Method #1
There are two ways to prepare the meat mixture. The first way is to cut the bacon into small pieces–maybe five or six per strip–and then mince the onion and garlic. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon or by hand. Shape into 2-ounce burgers and grill them or fry them, 3-5 minutes per side depending on thickness. Another nice thing about these little guys is that you know they are done when the bacon starts to brown.

Method #2
Because I so love my Kitchen Aid and it’s meat grinder attachment, and because I really wanted the bacon taste to blend into the meat, I took it out and set it up:

The Ingredients

That’s a package of Sam’s Club ground beef (this was an experiment, after all, and I never experiment with my grass-fed beef), 1 pound of Farmland bacon, 1 large onion, cut into chunks, 2 monster cloves of garlic, and one of the new glass bowls I got for Christmas from Tim and the kids. If you’ve never used one of these before, it’s fairly easy. The ingredients go on the white tray at the top and get fed into the tube, which is rotated by the KA motor, then the whole mixture is pushed out the circle and into the bowl. I used the coarser grinding attachment for this endeavor.

Then I started adding things. Katy was helping me. We rotated through the different ingredients to make sure it mixed evenly. It is much easier on the machine to add bacon slices that have been cut into 3 pieces than to just drop entire pieces in. Here’s what it looked like as it started combining:

And here is what it looked like when it was finished:

I’m still getting used to the new bowls. Turned out I could have used the next size up. But you can see what it looks like mixed up. The red is the ground beef and the brown and white are the bacon and the onion pieces. Add seasonings to taste. I just used the Wye River my sister-in-law awesomely gets for us every six months or so. It’s a perfect all-purpose seasoning. Tonight I used the black formula, but you could use the red formula as well for a little bit of kick. Mix it some more with your hands or a wooden spoon, and then take 2-ounce portions of meat, if you are precise, or small meatballs if you are not, and press them into small burgers. I cooked mine indoors, in the cast iron skillet. I added about 1 tsp of bacon grease to make sure the first ones wouldn’t stick.

I cooked them about five minutes per side. If you made them thinner, you could do three. As I said earlier, the edges of the burgers will brown nicely because of the bacon, giving you an idea of when it’s done.

Serving:
These are great plated with raw spinach leaves or lettuce that has been chopped up to be slightly larger than the sliders,, and a veggie. If you’re not very-low-carbing it, you could add fries or sweet potato fries as well. You can make a little low-carb burger with the greenery. I would also absolutely take these to a party as an appetizer.

Notes

  • The amount of onion is totally to taste. After I mixed mine, I decided it wasn’t onion-y enough and added another half of a large onion. The results tasted great to me but the kids said the onion taste was too strong. So I took some of the leftover plain meat (about a half-pound) and mixed it with the last pound of meat mixture and the kids said that was much better. I left the original amount, one large onion, in the recipe. You can adjust it how you like.
  • About the egg: in theory you could also make full-size burgers out of this mixture. If I did that, I would add one egg per pound of ground beef as a binder and to keep them from drying out in the longer cook time. The bacon is pretty good insurance against drying out, but the egg can’t hurt, and adds protein to the dish as well.
  • About the ‘shrooms: if I were making these for myself, I’d have put some chopped mushrooms through the grinder as well as onion and garlic. But I wasn’t, and Tim and the kids are not mushroom fans, so I didn’t. But I think they would be very good. :)
  • About the Wye River: Here is a link to it. We use the original red and the spicy black. It’s basically a mixture of salt, pepper and a couple of other seasonings.  If you don’t have any of that on hand, just salt and pepper it to taste. You could also add pretty much any other seasoning that strikes your fancy.

Bon appetit!

Fun With Homemade Ground Pork

Happy Thanksgiving and welcome back to the blog. I’d like to give you some spiel about how I’ve been really busy and blah blah blah. That would be true, BUT, in all honesty the reason I haven’t been posting all that often is because I haven’t been eating all that well, so I didn’t have much to share. I’m trying to make a pretty good run from now until Christmas though, so hopefully I’ll be popping up a little more often.

This afternoon I was working at Reader Alli’s house at lunchtime, and she made me a delicious salad with turkey, ham, and bacon in it. Don’t worry, there were veggies too, and it was awesome. Thanks Alli :)

For tonight’s dinner, I wanted to get a little creative. We bought some really good grass fed beef from Missouri Grass Fed Beef and I had been contemplating meatballs. Now, I like my meatballs made with a half-beef, half-pork mixture, but sadly, we didn’t have any pastured pork on-hand and I haven’t made it over to the butcher shop lately. Then, inspiration struck when I was at Sam’s Club in the form of boneless pork loin chops, reduced for quick sale (RQS).

I brought them home and hooked up my Kitchen Aid’s Food Grinder Attachment. Then I ground up 1.5 pounds of pork, which was only 3 of those chops, mixed it with 1.5 pounds of the grass-fed beef, added garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, and 3 pastured eggs.

I had previously been wrestling with what kind of binding to add to them. Under most circumstances, I’d just add bread crumbs–homemade if I was being fancy, shop ‘n save brand Italian flavored if I wasn’t. Breadcrumbs aren’t exactly primal, though, and I was trying to decide between almond and tapioca flours when I decided to give some grated fresh parmesan cheese a whirl. It worked perfectly. I then sauteed them in olive oil and dunked them in Primal-approved marinara sauce, and served them up with some greens and some green beans. Yummy!

However, that left me with 6 pork chops–and a idea. If I could grind the meat, how difficult could it be to make homemade sausage? So I ground up the rest of it, cleaned and sanitized the food grinder attachment, and after helping Claire with inverse trig functions (we Trebings really know how to whoop it up on a Tuesday night), I set about finding some recipes.

I made this recipe for Alsatian Breakfast Sausage. We are going to try it tomorrow with breakfast, but Katy and I had a sneak preview tonight and it was good. I would also consider cooking it and then serving it as an appetizer with a nice sharp cheddar and some apple. I left the 1/4 teaspoon sugar in it for the first try–it made 8 patties, so you’re talking 1/32 teaspoon per patty (1/8 grams carbohydrates).

I also found this recipe for Breakfast Sausage on the awesome but non-Primal blog Homesick Texan. I didn’t have the spices for it, so I will make it up tomorrow and try it and report back.

I am also considering tinkering with the spices and making up my own recipe, but I wanted to try a few established recipes first before venturing out on my own.

I would seriously consider making my own sausage on a regular basis…it’s easy, you can make it in bulk and freeze it, and you know what is or is not in it.  All good things!

The 1st Rule is: You do not talk about the Blog

The 2nd Rule is: You do NOT TALK about the Blog!

OK, that was lame. The real rule of the blog (this blog at least) is, do not start a blog when you are headed into one of your busiest times of the work year, AND when you are planning to be out of town for two weekends, AND do not start a blog when you are on a committee for throwing a huge party for Girl Scout volunteers.

But all that is over now, and I’ve actually let in less chaos than I eliminated, so I’m at a chaos deficit, and I’m back. Back to blogging, and more importantly, back to primal eating. To say I was less than 100% compliant would be an understatement on the order of saying that the Titanic had some problems with ice. It shows, too. I gained 3 pounds and some circumference, and generally feel like crap.

For those of you who have been following me with any regularity, and thinking, yeah, I could probably do that, if I just had someone more competent than Amie to help me out here, Mark Sisson has released a new book called Primal Blueprint 21-Day Transformation, so check it out!

See you tomorrow, with recipes and stuff. :)

While it might not have the same ring to it as a Fall Out Boy album, I promise to never put a picture of Pete Wentz’s boy parts on my blog, so you’ve got that going for you, which is nice.

Tonight I made Primal Chicken Tenders for our trip to IRM tomorrow. Primal Skeptic Claire proclaimed them not only good, but assured me I could serve them to her friends, which is what inspired the title of this post and made me happy. You know there’s stuff she’d eat just so she wouldn’t hurt my feelings, but being willing to serve them to friends…well that, my friends is a seal of approval.

Tonight was also my first experience cooking with lard, which I bought at Local Harvest Grocery in Tower Grove. It was different but ultimately delicious, and I recommend it highly. I put a little butter in there too to make sure it would brown right.

So, here you go:

Primal Chicken Tenders

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Eggs
Coconut Flour
Fried Chicken Spices: I used granulated garlic, pepper, poultry seasoning, and a little seasoning salt

Pound out the chicken breasts with a meat tenderizer until they’re nice and even. If you get the bionic chicken breasts from Sam’s like I do, this is a workout in and of itself. Then take a sharp knife and cut them into strips or chicken tender like pieces. (Or be lazy and just get the chicken tenders from Sam’s which is what I will do next time)

Put about 1/2 pound of lard and a half-stick of butter into your frying pan. I used a 10-inch cast iron pan. Turn it to medium heat and let it melt, but keep an eye on it.

Crack a couple eggs into a bowl and beat, then set up your coconut flour for dredging. I always put mine on a large dinner plate and then mix in spices. I shake the garlic, pepper, and poultry seasoning across twice, and then the seasoning salt once. Each time I replenish the flour I do it again. Dip the chicken pieces into the beaten egg, then into the flour. Coconut flour has a slightly different texture than wheat flour, so it takes a little getting used to. I found rolling them back and forth got a nice covering of flour on it. You could also use almond flour, or some other gluten-free meal.  When the lard-and-butter mixture is ready, put the chicken in and cook it like regular fried chicken. Let it stabilize on a cooling rack placed on a cookie sheet.

I liked the color of this chicken and the taste. It was a little sweeter than regular fried chicken because of the coconut flour. Next time I think I will add a little more salt and maybe a dash of hot sauce or something to give it some kick and counteract the sweet. Overall it is really good and will make for a nice primal picnic lunch tomorrow.

Have a great weekend, everyone! See you Monday!

Just a quick note today about yesterday. We are getting ready to go to the Illinois Railway Museum this weekend so not a lot of time to write. Also, not a lot to report. Since I have been trying to eat 50 grams of protein for breakfast, my biggest problem is that I am not hungry for the rest of the day. So I have not been eating lunch. I can’t decide if I need to address that or not. My sense for now is, I eat when I’m hungry because Lord knows there’s plenty of fuel packed onto this body.

Yesterday’s recipe, since I promised to post a recipe for each day of the challenge, was one of those big breakfasts. I needed to cook it fast, and we were nearly out of investment-cooked bacon. So I created the bacon cheeseburger omlette (no cheese for Tim):

Bacon Cheeseburger Scramble (serves 2-4)
8 oz. ground beef, cooked
4 slices of bacon, cooked
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Veggie of your choice

Melt the butter in your cast iron pan. Place the ground beef and the bacon in the pan to warm up while mixing the eggs with the milk in a 6-cup measuring cup. When the beef and bacon are sizzing, pour the eggs over the meat and cook until done. Serve with a veggie on the side and cheese on top of each portion.

Most people are not trying to eat 50 grams of protein for breakfast, so I would say this recipe under normal circumstances would serve 4.  I ate half of it and couldn’t even think about food again until about 2:00pm. I ate my portion of it at BK and Reader Alli’s house at about 9:00 am while I was working and Alli commented that it looked yummy. Enjoy! :)

Today I’m doing the recipe first because it was pretty awesome, at least according to the reviews at the Trebing “Cave.” This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe I had for turkey from America’s Test Kitchen. I really like that show and Cook’s Country. They are not primal but they usually cook with whole foods, so it’s easy to adapt their recipes. I think eventually I’m going to do 4 chicken recipes, one that’s good for each season, but all I’ve got for now is a Fall version.

Amie’s Primal Chicken: Autumn
2 whole chickens
Ground Cinnamon
Ground Cloves
Poultry Seasoning
1 Apple, seeded and cut into eighths
1/2 large onion, quartered
Butter
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

Remove any giblets, etc., that came with the chicken. (They can be simmered in a saucepan with carrots, celery, and onion for chicken stock that is out of this world–more on that another time). Rinse the chickens inside and out. Open the cavity and shake some cinnamon, cloves, and poultry seasoning inside, then add a slice of onion, a chunk of apple, and repeat. Place 1 tablespoon of butter on top of that, and then repeat again for a total of four slices/chunks of onion and four chunks of apple. Rub the outside of the chicken with another tablespoon or so of butter and the sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for about a half-hour per pound. Test with meat thermometer, then remove from oven and allow to rest before carving.

Notes:

  • My chickens were about 4 pounds each, and took about 2 hours and 15 minutes to cook.
  • I use restaurant sized cinnamon and poultry seasoning and went with three shakes of the sprinkley side of each, and a shake of regular sized ground cloves. Use your favorite fall spices for this – you could also use nutmeg or allspice if you like those. Think apple cider spices. :) America’s Test Kitchen also uses an orange, but I am saving that for the Winter edition of 4-seasons chicken.
  • I thought of the internal butter afterwards, but I think it would be a nice addition.
  • I baked my chickens in an 18-quart Nesco Roaster that doesn’t have the air attachment that my 6-quart roaster did, and the skin didn’t come out as crispy and delicious as I had hoped it would (or else there would have been pictures). Next time I think I’ll finish them in the oven.
  • I put these together in about 15 minutes this afternoon because I was teaching tonight, and with a canned or investment cooked veggie (like the asparagus that I could double the quantity I needed this morning for leftovers tonight) and a quick carving, you could have dinner on the table in 20 minutes. They could also be cooked one evening for lunch or dinner the next.

And now, onto Nutrition:

Breakfast: 3 sausage patties crumbled into 4 eggs with sauteed onion and asparagus, water to drink
Lunch: I wasn’t hungry and kinda forgot to eat
Dinner: leftovers from main dinner
Cheat: half of a 20-ounce Coke purchased in a fit of stress after my car accident today. I literally walked into Circle K, filled a 20-ounce cup with ice, and then filled it halfway with Coke, so I am guessing maybe 10 ounces.

…Wait, did you just say car accident?

Yep, highlight of the day. Coming home from teaching class this afternoon, some “jackoff” as the other guy referred to him, made a left turn, cutting me off. When I hit my brakes to avoid hitting him, brakes + downhill + wet pavement made me lock up. I started to skid into the other westbound lane, then corrected, but slightly over-corrected as I wound up sliding into the turn lane the “jackoff” had just turned from and clipped the car that had been behind him. Police said it was the jackoff’s fault, but neither the other driver nor I had noted his license plate number, so we get to both call our insurance agencies and tell them we had an accident that wasn’t our fault, but wasn’t the other guy’s either. Good times. Still no excuse for the soda though. Weak sauce on my part.

 

Primal Challenge, Day 2/30

First, the nutrition on the day:

Breakfast: 1 boneless chicken breast, 4 eggs, asparagus
Lunch: hamburger patty with bacon and cheese, salad (thanks, Reader Alli! :) )
Dinner: “hamburger gravy” (recipe follows) with spinach

Exercise: Walked Katy up to school this morning, walked part-way home from my meeting in Whispering Hills subdivision tonight (Tim happened to drive by and picked me up. Who can resist a cute guy in a red sports car?)

Here is my recipe for Hamburger Gravy. It’s basically like biscuits and gravy, but with hamburger meat instead of sausage. I just had mine with a veggie, but non-Primals could eat with biscuits, and Primals could try it with gluten-free biscuits such as coconut or almond meal biscuits.
Chopped Onion
Mushrooms
Chopped Peppers
(All of those things are optional and to taste)
1 lb. ground beef
Salt, pepper, granulated garlic powder
Butter
Heavy cream/half-and-half/whole milk — maybe a cup?
Almond flour

Brown the ground beef with the onion, mushrooms, peppers, or other vegetables of your choice that brown well with hamburger meat. Remove the meat and veggies and drain the bulk of the grease, but don’t get all obsessive about it or wipe out the pan or anything like that. Add 2-3 tablespoons of butter or bacon grease and about the same of almond flour and cook over medium heat until it thickens and turns a nice brown color (this is a roux, with almond flour, and it shouldn’t smell burnt. Keep stirring it to keep it from sticking/burning). Add cream a little at a time, stirring constantly, until it is a little thinner than you would like it. Add the meat and veggies back, stirring to evenly distribute the gravy.

If you do it right, it’s kinda like a crustless shepherd’s pie.

Why do I drain the meat? In this instance, I did it I didn’t know the source of the meat other than it was reduced for quick sale 80% from Sam’s. If it were grass-fed, I don’t think it would generate enough fat and I’d have to add the extra fat anyway.

This would also be delicious over mashed cauliflower, although I don’t get into the “see how it’s like mashed potatoes?” thing. Cauliflower isn’t bad, but it ain’t mashed potatoes! Just wait until a high-activity day and eat the darn potatoes with a good quality butter and cream or sour cream.

If you’ve been reading my blog and thinking, “Hmmmm. Maybe I’ll give this a try…”

No, really.

Now is your chance!

Periodically, Mark Sisson from Mark’s Daily Apple starts a 30-Day Primal Challenge. Try it for 30 days, and see how you feel. There is one starting on Monday, September 12. I’m using it as my opportunity to buckle down a little and get rid of some of the carb creep. (It doesn’t hurt that this is starting right after the Holy Spirit Carnival, which is all kinds of hazardous for me!) But I’m happily offering myself up as an accountability partner to anyone who might want to try it, even more happily if you’re willing to be a blog guinea pig. :-)

Here is a link to the challenge.

File this under, “ways in which I’m grateful I’m not actually a cavewoman.”

Friday I came down with a really, really bad toothache. A good chunk of Saturday, all of Sunday, and all of Monday I was miserable. Tuesday I felt much better, thanks to antibiotics and a visit to Des Peres Dental Group, and today I am back on the horse. Tomorrow? Said tooth will be extracted, so we’ll see. Nevertheless, while I tend to regard modern medicine with a healthy amount of skepticism, I am happy for the existence of Keflex and Vicodin, and even happier for the existence of Demerol which works better than Vicodin and doesn’t give me trippy dreams.

Something possibly only interesting to me about this experience: my face has gotten a lot thinner since I started this whole primal thing. I’ve heard people say it’s from the inflammation in your body from eating grain, which I buy because if grains can cause inflammation in your stomach and other parts of your body, why not your face? Anyway, this weekend, the left side of my face was very swollen, and I thought it looked like a “before and after.” I also gained 2.5 pounds between body inflammation and water weight (water was the only thing that made my mouth feel better, and on Monday alone I drank 400 ounces of it), and then lost it when the infection subsided and the swelling went down.

Recipe time!

Reader BK recently requested the recipe for Nutty Blueberry Protein Balls, which I delivered to him one day at Starbucks as a Primal alternative to his beloved donuts. No, they were not so good that he immediately swore off donuts. But he did ask for the recipe, which is a pretty good endorsement!

Nutty Blueberry Protein Balls
(from Primal Blueprint: Quick and Easy Meals)

4 dates, pits removed
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
2 T. coconut oil
1/2 c. fresh or defrosted blueberries (fresh works best)
1/2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

Pulverize dates in a food processor until a paste forms, about 40 seconds (the paste will come together in a clump). Add walnuts and macadamia nuts and blend until very finely chopped, about 35 seconds. With the blade still running, drizzle in coconut oil and stop as soon as the oil is blended in. Scrape the batter into a bowl and stir in the blueberries and 1/4 cup of the coconut. Form the batter into round balls, then roll in leftover shredded coconut. Pop a few in your mouth immediately, and refrigerate the rest for snacking later.

Notes: I didn’t have macadamia nuts, and the budget was straining from purchasing hazelnuts for primal nutella, so I skipped them and used a mixture of walnuts and pecans I had on hand. Still delicious. Also, I’m planning to make these again with shaved dark chocolate in place of the blueberries. I’ll keep you posted.


The Results Show, 09/01/2011

So when I started this, I said I would do it for a month and see how it went. Overall, I am SO pleased! Before I get into the details, here’s the Bottom Line:

Weight, 08/01/2011: Very Large
Weight, 09/01/2011: Very Large - 14 pounds

Waist Measurement, 08/01/2011: Immense
Waist Measuremen, 09/01/2011t: Immense - 2 inches

BMI, 08/01/2011: Astronomical
BMI, 09/01/2011: Astronomical – 2.3

Lean Mass, 08/01/2011: Not nearly enough
Lean Mass, 09/01/2011: Not nearly enough + 2.6 pounds

Which means that (in theory) I have actually lost 16.6 pounds of fat and gained 2.6 pounds of muscle.

I have also gotten stronger, slept more, and developed an appreciation for dark chocolate. In addition, my blood pressure has gone down. And I have cooked more in the last month than I had in the three months previous.

…And I lost a dress size.

I think I’ll go another month!

Thanks, everyone for your support. I’ll try to put more food and less talk on here this month!

 

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