Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ground beef, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash!

Sweet Potatoes
I love them; Your average large sweet potato (according to nutritiondata) has 692% of your daily value of vitamin A, 59% of your DV of vitamin C, 7% DV iron, 7% DV calcium, 4g of protien, no fat, and all of the for a whopping...wait for it...162 calories. These things rock! And they're super easy to prepare in a variety of different ways. This time I cooked 'em in the oven. Let's get down to it.

What you'll need:
-Some sweet potatoes/yams (as it turns out, in most United States grocery stores, yams are actually sweet potatoes as well)
-Tin foil
-(Optional) Olive oil
-(Optional) Bakeware/Cookie Rack/Something to put them on/in in the oven

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wash your sweet potatoes, cut out any little bad spots, and then dry them.
3. (Optional) Oil 'em up with a little bit of olive oil.
4. Put them in the preheated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes -1 hour and 30 minutes. Cooking time varies depending on size but they're fairly forgiving so don't worry about it too much. You can test if they're done by trying to stick a fork in them; It should go in and come out easily.
Two sweet potatoes ready for some olive oil love ;).
That's it! Enjoy your delicious, nutritious, sweet potatoes!

Grass Fed Ground Beef
When you're making ground beef you have so many options, lots of variables and things to play with (if you want to); You could also go the simple route and just cook plain grass fed ground beef. I'm sure it would be just as delicious.

I decided to add some spices, cook up that walla walla sweet onion just sitting lonely in my fridge alongside some garlic in some ghee, and add a couple roma tomatoes to the mix as well.

What you'll need:
-2 roma tomatoes
-1 sweet onion
-3 cloves of garlic
-Ghee (grass fed, clarified butter)
-Grass fed ground beef (I used 2lbs)
-Spices (I used oregano, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper)

1. Prepare all your ingredients first. Cut up the onion into little bits, mince the garlic, cut up the tomatoes, and prepare your spices in a little bowl.
Onion + Cutting board = Getting started (exhausted but now getting excited about food!)
Little onion chopping trick: Cut the onion into a little grid without cutting all the way down, then turn it on its side and it's almost completely chopped for you!
Two roma tomatoes, just in-case you didn't know what these things looked like ;).
Three cloves of garlic, ready to be minced. That paper looking skin comes right off; Just chop off both ends first.
Everything ready-to-go.
2. Put some ghee or a cooking fat of choice into your skillet and cook up the onions/garlic for 10-20 minutes on medium heat.
Stir them constantly. Burned onion/garlic = bad.
3. Set the onions and garlic aside for now. Start cooking your beef. Once it's almost cooked all the way add the onions/garlic/spices/tomatoes to the mix. I was cooking up two pounds of beef so I did it in two batches. An overfilled skillet is no fun.
Almost there; Add the extras =).
The onion/garlic bowl on the side.
Victory! At this point it was 11 something and I had forgotten to add any other veggies to my meal. Solution: Grab a handful of Kale and forgive yourself. You just spent time preparing delicious food to take care of and nourish your body! Smile =)...and eat!
Sleep. I slept well. I had to wake up early the next morning (today) for a 6:15 yoga class. Yoga in the morning is more than rejuvenating for me; It sets me up for a beautiful day in my body and my mind. Without going *too* hippie on you, it basically allows for accepting yourself, right now, just as you are. Smile again =). Aaaannnd.....leftovers!
Mmm...mash of sweet potato, some frozen brussel sprouts, and frozen french-style green beans. The frozen stuff isn't ideal but it sure is easy!
Breakfast. It doesn't look like much but it did the trick and tasted divine!

Butternut Squash (in a slow cooker/crock pot)
Butternut Squash is another one of my absolute favorites. It's warm and inviting, filling, cool looking, and really easy to prepare with several different methods. Today I decided to go with the slow cooker method so I could have some freshly cooked butternut squash with dinner. According to Whole Foods, butternut squash is, "one of the richest sources of plant based anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega 3s and beta-carotene". Score =).

What you'll need:
-A butternut squash that fits in your slow cooker/crock pot.
-Tin foil

1. Push a knife into several spots in the squash so it doesn't explode on you. I've yet to have to clean it off the ceiling and would imagine that's an experience best avoided ;). I poked 5 or so holes in mine.
Poke some holes. Exploding squash might look nifty, but is probably no bueno.
2. Wrap it in tin foil and put in in your slow cooker on low for six hours or high for 4 hours. Give or take. I always prefer to cook things on low.
Six hours on low.
I can't wait to eat you! This thing barley fit. I got lucky =).
3. When it is done, carefully remove the tin foil (it will be very hot). Cut it in half the long way (from top to bottom). You'll have to scoop out the seeds in the middle but they should come out super easily because it's already cooked. I like to add some cinnamon and some ghee to mine afterwards.
Carefully remove the squash from the slow cooker. I like to use tongs.
Ol' faithful, my wooden cutting board w/ a freshly cooked squash ready to be prepared.
Cut it in half and save the top; There is delicious squash in there!
I seasoned one half with cinnamon. The other half went (covered) into the fridge.
Getting some dinner going to go w/ the squash. Yay for cast iron! Pictured is ground beef from earlier, baby carrots, broccoli, baby kale, and a dash of olive oil.
Dinner is served.
4. Enjoy!

Another quick meal. I wanted to focus on this blog post and my upcoming trip to Whole Foods to get ingredients for some Banana Coffee Cake (post coming later tonight on that!). I just warmed up some ground beef in my skillet, steamed some frozen butternut squash, frozen green beans, frozen brussel sprouts, and a side of organic strawberries. 

Note: Frozen butternut squash can't even come close to the squash I'm cooking up right now in my slow cooker, but it's super easy to pop in a steamer. I like having a good frozen stash of veggies/fruits just-in-case lazyness sets in a little bit. Forgive yourself. I forgive myself =).
Quick lunch of grass fed ground beef cooked w/ onions, garlic, tomatoes, and spices alongside some veggies and fruit. Water.

Perry, The Simple Paleo Cook

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