I was reading a thread on an AIP Facebook group recently, and a few members complained about the annoyance of the recipe introduction on food blogs. My thought was, “What are we bloggers? Recipe pimps? Just give you what you want, quick and dirty, without any personality and for the cheap price of zero dollars!?”
Blogging is a creative outlet for a lot of people. It’s something we spend a lot of our free time doing to most often provide free content to a specific community of people. I started Grazed & Enthused two years ago so I could share flavorful, interesting protocol-compliant food as well as my passion for home cooking. But I also enjoy the two-way conversation I have started with so many of my readers both on the blog and via social media.
I’ve even made some good, real-life friends this way, and I know that my writing helps personify me before I meet online friends IRL. IRL = in real life. I just learned that last week. So without this platform, I would be a lot more lonely in this healing journey. If you have zero interest in everything but the recipe, scroll on. God forbid you move your finger swiftly over your mousepad for free delicious recipes for an additional three seconds. People complain so much on the internet, and I am complaining about those people.
Now. About this recipe! I freakin’ looooove skillets. They are so affordable and if you bulk them up with vegetables, you can really get a ton of bang for your buck. This skillet could easily serve you six times for roughly $25. That’s two days worth of meals for the price of one meal out!
I was low on greens when I made this, but it would be really yummy and even more nutritious with finely shredded kale mixed in when you add the butternut squash. This Cuisinart 12-inch stainless steel skillet with a lid is my favorite skillet for making big hashes and such because you can get really nice browning on meat and vegetables, and it has nice high sides so you get minimal spill-over when tossing everything together.
I based the five-spice seasoning off my recipe in The Healing Kitchen but modified it slightly to leave out the mace and changed up the ratios a bit. And added parsley. So it’s pretty much not like it at all. There’s a LOT of flavor going on in this recipe though, which isn’t always apparent on the AIP. I have noticed that all of my Paleo cookbooks are filled with nightshades and it’s because they add SO much flavor. Without them things can get a little bland. But not over here on G&E. I promise to never serve you anything bland.
Enjoy this spiced nightshade-free skillet over cauliflower rice!
Five Spice Beef Skillet
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 pounds grass fed ground beef
- 2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb
- 1 cup roughly chopped red onion
- 4 cups shredded butternut squash
- 1/2 cup homemade beef or chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dried currants
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- handful each of parsley and cilantro, chopped
In a large skillet, cook
the ground beef
over medium heat, breaking up with a spoon into crumbled pieces. Once cooked through, stir in half of the seasoning mixture. Transfer seasoned beef
to a bowl and set aside.
fennel and red onion to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes until the fennel is crisp-tender. If ground beef
did not render enough fat to cook the vegetables, add a tablespoon of your fat of choice.
Add butternut squash, remaining seasoning, and broth to the skillet. Turn heat to medium low and cover with a lid. Steam cook the vegetables for 2 minutes until the squash is tender.
from the heat and stir in the ground beef
, currants, lemon, herbs, and additional sea salt
Well the holidays are coming to a close. It’s always a weird feeling when your year comes to an end. The reflection that takes place is generally motivating or a bit depressing. At the end of 2012, I said I had the worst year of my life. Both my grandmothers passed away within two weeks of each other, my gut health was in really poor shape and I was in pain every day, I had recently quit my job in advertising and decided to go back for my master’s degree in occupational therapy – something I never could have predicted. I also had a lot of positive events that year: my husband, then boyfriend, and I moved in together, and I maintained a 4.0 for all my prerequisite courses that I was taking full time while working part time two jobs while still balancing a social life.
This year I thought was a second runner up for worst year ever but really it was just a year of hurdles, challenges, changes, and really positive events. We lived in 4 different cities (which meant finding housing in 4 different cities and packing and unpacking 8 different times), I completed all my clinical rotations, graduated from my master’s program, wrote a cookbook, restored my fertility, celebrated my one-year wedding anniversary – all while battling the worst Hashimoto’s flare I could have ever imagined. I unfortunately discovered what chronic depression is (prior to that, I only knew anxiety), my body changed in ways that weren’t always pleasant or encouraging, and I was scared I would never feel like myself again. Hashimoto’s can be a very debilitating disease that is often brushed off by physicians who think you can take a pill and every symptom magically disappears.
That’s not how it is for many people. Many people across the world struggle every day with depression, fatigue, weight gain, painfully slow digestion, and infertility as a result of this disease despite taking that magic pill. I had flared 3 to 4 times since being diagnosed at age 19, but nothing held a candle to this one. I flared because I didn’t listen to my body and my intuition. I listened to someone else and I took Nature-Throid which is a thyroid hormone replacement derived from pig thyroid. I knew I didn’t do well with Armour (a similar medication) 7 years ago but wanted to give it another shot on my quest for fertility. Within 3 weeks my thyroid levels had gone from a very stable level to some of the highest my doctors had ever seen. It took 8 months for my thyroid and adrenal function to recover from that veritable hell. So what did I learn this year?
Always listen to your gut. “You know your body best” is not devoid advice. By listening to my body in the past, I eliminated nightshades before I even discovered the AIP, I broke off relationships with doctors that were only harming and not helping, and I refused many courses of antibiotics that would have no doubt made healing my leaky gut much more difficult.
I can handle a lot more than I thought I could. I don’t know many people who could work full time in a high stress environment while developing over 175 recipes for The Healing Kitchen, while struggling with a severe Hashimoto’s flare and subsequent depression, fatigue, and rapid weight gain, while dealing with the stress of moving 4 times. I’m going to pat myself on the back for that one because most people I know would absolutely crumble and give up. I didn’t give up on anything this year, including myself.
It’s okay to rely on others. I had to rely on my husband, friends, and family more than I typically like to this year. It made me feel very vulnerable at times, and I didn’t like how people felt sorry for me. I’m not one that responds well to empathy, but I actually begged for it many times this year. I just needed, not wanted, but needed my loved ones to understand the hell my body and mind was going through. I don’t know if they ever will truly get it (probably not) but I’m glad I didn’t hide it for once. Pride has it’s place, but it can get in the way of receiving the support you need during tough times.
Toxic people don’t deserve an ounce of energy. I had to deal with several women in my life this year (thankfully not family or close friends) that were absolutely, 100% negative toxicity for my ethos. Others begged me to confront them and stand up for myself and that is probably something I would have done in the past. But with these particular people, I realized it would be a fruitless effort. You can’t change others. They have to come to that on their own. When someone isn’t being a good person, you can sure as heck bet they have their own internal battles and demons they have yet to conquer. It’s not my job to help people realize when they aren’t being good to others. The universe will show them. I think with these particular women it already has even if they have yet to accept that. It will happen. But I no longer will make it my mission to help others “see” their effect on the world. I can only control how my actions and words affect others in a positive manner. Exiting the “mommy” rule I so easily take on has greatly increased my satisfaction with my relationships and let me let myself off the hook with the negative people I encounter.
I encourage you all to take time to reflect on your year. What went well? What didn’t? Is there anything you wish you could change, or do you find value in it all – even the crappy stuff?
OMG THIS SALAD. All the veggies, all the crunch & texture & all the colors!
Roasted Butternut, Pomegranate, and Arugula Salad
- 12 oz butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced shallot
- 10 oz cauliflower florets, riced*
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 oz arugula
- 5 oz pomegranate seeds
- 1/3 cup cranberries**
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.Toss butternut squash with coconut oil and ¼ teaspoon onion powder and place on baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until the squash is tender with golden brown edges. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Sautee the shallots in the skillet for 3 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the riced cauliflower and cinnamon to the skillet and toss until combined with the shallots. Cook for 3 more minutes until the cauliflower is tender.
- Using tongs, toss the arugula with the vegetables in the skillet. Add the vinaigrette to the skillet and continuously toss the arugula with the tongs for several minutes until it is wilted and tender.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and gently mix in the pomegranate, cranberries, and roasted butternut squash. Taste and add additional salt if desired.
- Serve warm or place in the refrigerator for a few hours and serve cold.
*Rice cauliflower florets by placing them in a blender or food processor and pulsing until very, very finely chopped to the size of small rice grains. I find when using a Vitamix, it is easiest to use the tamper to help break up the cauliflower for even chopping.
**Try to source cranberries that are either sundried or dried and sweetened with apple juice rather than cane sugar. You may also use dried currants, dried blueberries, or even raisins instead.
How many times a week do you stare into your fridge, nothing prepared, and say out loud “I need to eat and I need to eat NOW.” Me: 5 to 10 times a week on average, on a good week. I’m pretty horrible at “meal planning”. Like I PLAN to eat at least 3 meals a day, but I’m no good at planning what those meals will be. Lately, I’ve started to think at least 24 hours in advance and it’s saved me a lot of curse words. I’m going to store those up for a later date. Like when Macy’s smells like dust and polyester and I wonder what the _____ I’m doing in there.
I have a hard time clothing shopping in public these days. Most of my purchases are made online in hopes of the item not looking terrible. If it’s a 5/10 or greater I keep it, rather than hassling myself with a return. I also care almost zero about clothing these days, so that helps. I don’t walk around looking like a schlep, I just don’t go all out like I used to (high-waisted skirts, tucked in blouses, statement necklaces, 4-inch pumps). Nothing sounds more horrible than what I just typed. I now go for comfort. I have a favorite pair of black leggings that look good no matter how much I weigh (that tends to fluctuate) and I know what looks good on my petite frame: long asymmetrical, lightweight, not too baggy shirts and sweaters with knee high slim boots. Now everything in my closet resembles this outfit in some way but that’s okay. I can’t help it – Whole Foods really knows my style.
Yes, that’s right, almost all my shopping is done at the same time as picking out 3 pounds of wild-caught sockeye salmon for chowder that evening. It’s a very gratifying and thrifty experience and it’s one of the only places I can get organic cotton and fair trade clothing without feeling like a sweet 4-year-old hastily sewed together my knits. I’m not negating child labor with that statement; I have found it increasingly difficult for me to shop at typical retailers like GAP and LOFT these days. I only like to support retailers that serve well-raised animals, so why wouldn’t I want to support clothing retailers that treat humans like humans should be treated!
Unplanned rant for the week. Sowwy.
About this recipe a little more: I made this basil pesto vinaigrette for my friends this weekend over a spinach salad. It was way too amazing to not develop into a recipe so this evening when I saw grass fed beef and a lone butternut squash in my kitchen just pleading to be eaten. I wanted to keep this recipe super simple for a weeknight meal and let the basil pesto do all the talking! If you want to add more greens, definitely throw in several handfuls of spinach when you add the bone broth and let it wilt! You can even add chopped roasted garlic, minced shallot, extra basil or parsley, whatever your sweet little heart desires! And it makes awesome leftovers!!
This was my first dish using my NEW Cuisinart 9-cup food processor! And I am obsessed. You can make all different types of vegetable “rices”, thinly slice sweet potatoes to make homemade sweet potato chips in the oven, pulse small amounts of hard to chop foods like garlic & herbs and make the easiest chunky guacamole you ever did see! If you haven’t finished your holiday wish list you MUST add a food processor so you can get even more creative in your kitchen!!
Beef & Butternut Rice with Nut-Free Pesto
- 4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
- 1 1/2 pounds grass fed ground beef (or pork or lamb)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup bone broth of choice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice nutritional yeast flakes, for serving (optional)
- Nut-Free Pesto:
- 2 cups basil leaves, packed
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Make butternut rice by running cubed squash through your food processor using the shredder blade attachment. Scoop into a separate bowl and set aside. Wipe down food processor bowl so it will be clean when you make the pesto below.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef in skillet and season with sea salt. Cook beef, breaking up into small pieces, until browned and cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add butternut rice to the pan and toss well with the beef. Pour broth into pan, bring to a boil, and cover with a lid. Cook for 2 minutes until butternut is tender.
Remove lid and cook for a couple more minutes until most of the broth has evaporated. Season with lemon juice and remove from heat immediately.
- Meanwhile make pesto: Place all pesto ingredients in clean food processor using regular blade attachment. Turn the machine on for at least 30 seconds until a very finely minced pesto sauce is achieved. Set aside.
Distribute beef and rice among individual serving bowls and drizzle with desired amount of basil pesto. I personally like a hefty amount because it is utterly delicious and addictive! Serve warm sprinkled with nutritional yeast if desired & enjoy!