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Challenge Accepted

Earlier this year, Kali and I were talking about goals and one of hers was to try new recipes to use up a plethora of spices and spice blends in her cabinet. For her it was a way to clean out the clutter and use what she already had. Resourceful. Money saving. Super smart. When I heard it, I took it as a challenge to find new ways to have fun in the kitchen. Both Kali and I, as well as my husband, really enjoy cooking. That’s good for us. Not only does it save us money on expensive take out, but we eat healthier and more well-rounded meals as a result. So with this in mind, I set out to try at least one new recipe every week. I succeeded. My repertoire of healthy recipes was expanded by the dozens.
Today my goal is to share a few of my favorite cookbooks and resources for those recipes that we paired with great conversation at our dinner table on an almost nightly basis. First you should know that I am an Instagram junkie. But in a *good* way. ūüėČ I follow Paleo and real food bloggers that often post pictures of what they are eating and recipes to go along with it. That’s good for me. That’s where I found Fed and Fit’s (Cassy Joy Garcia) BBQ Bacon Bombs – the deliciousness of an onion ring packed with BBQ beef and then wrapped in bacon and baked until sizzling glory. Instagram is also where I found paleomg’s (Juli Bauer) link for Pad Thai Casserole (the mouth-watering version of pad Thai made with one of our patient’s garden bounty of spaghetti squash -thanks, Darlene!).¬† And Diane Sanfilippo’s spicy, deeply flavored Instant Pot beef and butternut squash chili. I’m getting hungry just thinking about these recipes.
What I also did was turn to my trusty stack of cookbooks to find new avenues to explore. My newest one has already spun out one heck of a good recipe for bone broth. Michelle Tam’s newest book “Ready or Not”, the second in her NomNom Paleo series, is loaded with richly flavored, well thought out and manageable recipes that even a novice could master. The bone broth recipe makes amazing broths that have been used as the base for a few soups including a kale, bean and ham soup and a chicken and veggie soup that used up all my excess veggies in a flash. Another cookbook worth checking out is Danielle Walkers “Against All Grain”. That book is ear-marked and tabbed, post-it noted, and scribbled in from front cover to back. We’ve made gluten-free waffles and chicken zoodle soup and so much more from this one. A few other cook books worth mentioning that I really like: Juli Bauer’s Paleo Kitchen (try the afternoon pick-me-up smoothie and sweet potato breakfast hash!) and The Fed & Fit Project by Cassy Joy Garcia. Her version of saut√©ed kale has me loving my greens for breakfast. See how she uses her secret ingredient (lemon juice!) to move this super food into everyone’s comfort territory. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Sally’s Baking Addiction. Sally McKenny does an outstanding job of hitting the nail on the head when it comes to a sweet tooth or two or three. It might not always be the healthiest stuff on our table, but the treats and sweets out of her books always turn out amazing from the first time. I’m definitely addicted to tying her recipes, both savory and sweet. And hey- banana bread at least has bananas in it, right. *wink, wink At least I eat my veggies beforehand and balance out my treats with exercise and otherwise healthy eating.
My goal of trying some new recipes really panned out! I have a binder FULL of new additions in all categories – appetizers, main dishes, vegetables, dessert (healthy ones, too! Look up Juli Bauer’s chocolate raspberry shortbread and tell me you didn’t sigh when you took your first bite) and more. It was really fun. My goal going forward is to continue finding new winners to add to my binder, and mixing in some of the old stand-by’s, so that we don’t get bored at dinner time anymore. Oh – and if you want to see my recipe binder, just ask. I’m not one of those recipe hoarders. If you want to know how I made something, I’m more than happy to share. Thanks, Kali, for the inspiration. I hope your meals have been even more enjoyable than ours.¬†Cheers to healthy eating for life!

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