A Book of Beards

No, this post isn’t about Paleo.

It’s not even about food. >gasp!<

…This post is about a friend of mine who needs our support.

I found out last night that my former hair dresser, Mike Cummings, was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer in 2011. (He’s my former hair dresser only because I had to move states over a year ago for a new job.) Why should you, the few who read my blog, care about Mike and his illness?

Well, if you have ever known or do know someone with cancer, I don’t have to explain it. If you haven’t been close to someone who’s had cancer, look around you: lots of people are suffering from it and other diseases daily. I lost one of my sisters to cancer. It sucks. As someone who’s been through the pain of watching a loved one suffer, I understand what Mike’s family and friends are going through.

What’s amazing to me is that one of Mike’s dear friends is doing something truly significant and beautiful to help him. Justin James Muir is publishing, “A Book of Beards.” This book has 86 stunning beard portraits and 18 written contributions; and its proceeds will all go to two wonderful causes.

The first cause is Mike. All proceeds from the first press of the book will go directly to Mike to help alleviate the stress of the medical bills.

All proceeds from additional pressings will be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help continue their efforts and support their cause. In 1997, Justin’s twin brother was diagnosed with Leukemia. Thankfully, his brother is cancer free now. But so many others still suffer.

I am hoping that you can find it in your heart to help Mike and others like him fighting cancer. Buy the book. Or, if you can’t spare the cash to buy it right now, help me spread the word about it. More information about “A Book of Beards,” go to http://bookofbeards.com/.

Best in Health,

Heather

Coconut-Dill Veggie Dip



Yesterday we hosted our first BBQ since moving into our new home. We love entertaining and it’s so great to have a huge backyard and a full-sized grill. Plus, our new house is plenty big and not all of our “living space” furniture is crammed into one room anymore! I think last night’s BBQ was a great success–everyone seemed to really enjoy the food, beverages and conversation. YAY! 


We had burgers, brats, a veggie platter, a fruit platter, and our friends each brought a little something to share. There were crackers and olives stuffed with anchovies and wine and these OMG-to-die-for-sweet potato fries baked with pumpkin pie spices (Thanks, Nicole and Brian–you two are brilliant!). Are you drooling yet? Well, if not, I think you will be soon because I’m finally going to get the point of this post…


Coconut-Dill Veggie Dip

Ingredients

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon yellow mustard seed, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill (fresh is best, but dried dill weed will work just fine)
  • top half of a 15 ounce can of coconut cream (make sure you don’t shake it up before opening; you want to use the top half of the can b/c that’s where the most fat/cream/pulp has settled–if you use too much of the liquid below it, the dip will be too runny to dip veggies into)
Method
  1. Combine spices in a mini bowl.
  2. Scoop out of the can into a small bowl the top half of the coconut cream. 
  3. Blend the spices into the coconut cream.
  4. Chill for about 5 minutes in the refrigerator.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
As you can see from the picture, I served my dip with baby carrots, broccoli, celery sticks and radishes. The dip was sweet and creamy up front, savory in the middle, and finished with a tiny bite in the back. It went well with all of the veggies! 

Honestly, this was completely a last-minute experiment. (By last-minute, I mean it–I started putting this together at 4 p.m., exactly when the party was supposed to start, haha. Lucky for me, the first fashionably-late friend didn’t arrive until 4:45 p.m.) My goal was to make a Paleo-friendly ranch dip for our veggies; I had even purchased a ranch flavor packet earlier that day just in case my efforts failed. But I really didn’t want to use that packet because it was littered with preservatives and such. 

I was nervous. I tried to look up recipes for making ranch dip from scratch. All of them were different and called for things like mayo and sour cream. But I got a vague idea of what spices to use. I threw caution to the wind and mixed a few spices together. That’s when I started to get excited. After I tasted the final product, I was thrilled!

I think if I had had the time to add some paleo-mayo (freshly made with egg, lemon juice, mustard seed and coconut oil), it might have had that tangy, ranch taste. However, I love this recipe just as it is. I love the sweet coconut, the savory dill with onion and garlic, and the little kick at the end from the yellow mustard seed and black pepper.

And the best part: Everyone loved it.

I hope you will, too. 🙂

Desayuno de Cinco de Mayo

I finally have time to write this one out, nearly a week later… it’s not very timely, I know. Sorry about that.  Alas, life often gets in the way of having a life. :-p Anyways, this breakfast is so yummy (at least, Brent and I think so) and it certainly would be yummy any day, not just on the 5th of May. But, we came up with the idea for it, and made on Cinco de Mayo… so that’s what we’re calling it!

Desayuno de Cinco de Mayo

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons bacon fat
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 small jalapeño, sliced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 and 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle tabasco sauce (or more if you really like a good kick in the pants first thing in the morning! haha)
  • avocado, sliced (optional)
Method
  1. Sauté the onions and jalapeño in the bacon fat until tender.
  2. Toss in the ground beef and, stirring constantly, cook until almost completely browned.
  3. Add the salsa and chipotle tabasco sauce.
  4. Simmer for 7-10 minutes to reduce and get all the flavors blended well.
  5. Serve with sliced avocado.

Sadly, we found that our avocados were not ripe yet… in fact, I tried to slice one and found that it was almost too hard to even cut open. However, this breakfast was super delicious without them! 
We hope you enjoy this festive, slightly smokey and spicy breakfast. 🙂

The best part about working from home… Part 3!



This is the third and final post in a 3-part series. Last but not least, I took time one morning last week to make a quiche. My logic: make something tasty while using up the leftover veggies and ham we had just sitting in the fridge. 


Ham and Veggie Quiche


Ingredients

  • 10 eggs
  • 1 cup of cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 cups of baby bok choy, chopped
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup of ham, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of bacon fat (or coconut oil, ghee, or olive oil–whatever you prefer)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with the bacon fat.
  3. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Toss all the veggies and ham in with the eggs, sprinkle on some salt and pepper (to your liking), and stir until well mixed.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the baking pan.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes.
It’s so fast, so simple, and so delicious! Between me and Brent, it only last three mornings, but that was three mornings I didn’t have to whip up breakfast from scratch (which was a welcome break). The best part is, you can do this with just about any raw veggies you have hanging out in your fridge leftover from making some other recipe.



Enjoy!

The best part about working from home… Part 2

This post is the second of a 3-post series in which I’m sharing three delicious breakfasts that resulted from having spare time  in the morning (when I worked from home over the past two weeks). The first post can be found here: Poached Egg and Smoked Salmon over Roasted Asparagus and Red Bell Pepper.


Ham and Spinach “Egg-izza”

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • approx. 1 cup baby spinach
  • approx. 1/2 cup red bell pepper
  • approx. 1/2 cup of leftover ham
  • 1/2 of one shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ghee
Method

  1. Chop the baby spinach, red bell pepper, ham and shallot.
  2. Scramble the eggs in a small bowl.
  3. Sauté the shallot with the ghee on medium-high for about 2 minutes in a small pan.
  4. Toss in the red bell pepper for about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the ham; continuing sautéing for another 30 seconds.
  6. Pour in the eggs.
  7. When the eggs first hit the pan, I take a fork and carefully pull the egg from the edges towards the center for about 30 seconds to a minute. This allows more raw egg to reach the pan, which in the long run helps the egg cook through a little faster. 
  8. Layer on your spinach. 
  9. After letting the egg cook to form a solid bottom (about 2 to 3 minutes), carefully flip the whole thing over in your pan. I use the largest flipping spatula I have, and hold the pan at an angle to let the egg bake slip out on one edge about half way. I “catch” it with the spatula and flip.
  10. Let the egg-izza cook another 2 to 3 minutes. To confirm it’s fully cooked through (unless you don’t mind slightly undercooked),  lightly touch the center of the egg-izza. If it’s super soft, it still needs to cook. At this point, cover it and turn the heat down to help it cook through without burning the bottom. If slightly firm, you’re all set!
  11.  Flip out on your plate and eat up!



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