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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Green Chile Turkey Meatloaf with Green Chile Sauce

If you read my last post, you know that the Hatch Chile Store graciously sent me some frozen Hatch green chiles straight from Hatch, New Mexico! I have a bunch of yummy recipes to share with you, and the first was this Hatch Green Chile Sauce, as it is used in most of the other recipes. I have visited New Mexico and wish I was close enough to buy these fresh, but if you're hundreds of miles away like I am, the Hatch Chile Store has got you covered. Be sure to check them out on Facebook, too, for lots of fun giveaways and recipes.

The first recipe I made using this SPICY sauce is a Green Chile Turkey Meatloaf. What I love about meatloaf is that you can either use it to feed a large crowd OR you can repurpose the leftovers into other dishes. You could crumble up leftover meatloaf over salad or into a breakfast scramble. This particular meatloaf is made with ground turkey, but you could sub in chicken or beef if that is what you have on hand.  Not only is this meatloaf topped with green chile sauce, there are also diced green chiles baked into the meatloaf. Basically, I am warning you that if you don't like spice, make sure you use mild chiles. If you like your food so hot that it makes you cry, use extra-hot! :)

Green Chile Turkey Meatloaf with Hatch Green Chile Sauce
Serves: 8
Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

2 lbs ground turkey
1 egg, whisked
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 Hatch green chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup Hatch Green Chile Sauce

Heat oven to 375F

Combine all ingredients except for Hatch Green Chile Sauce in a large bowl. Mix well until thoroughly combined (I just used my hands).

Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil and spread mixture evenly into pan.

Bake for 50 minutes. At this point, I drained off the excess liquid from the loaf pan.

Spread 1/2 cup of the Hatch Green Chile Sauce over the top of the meatloaf. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Slice and serve!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post, but did receive complimentary product from the company. All opinions are 100% my own and I would never share a product or service with you that I haven't purchased or used myself. 

Hatch Green Chile Sauce Made with Chiles from The Hatch Chile Store

Other than the time that my good friend Brittanie of Three Diets One Dinner sent me some fresh Hatch green chiles (side note: this was the exchange that sparked Paleo Pen Pals), I've only ever had access to canned green chiles around here. That doesn't stop me from using them all the time, but I'd much rather have the real deal! So, I was super stoked when Preston from The Hatch Chile Store contacted me about trying out their frozen, roasted chiles - straight from the source in Hatch, New Mexico! Preston's family has over 300 acres of farmland in the Hatch Valley where they grow their chiles. They have four varieties, ranging from mild to extra-hot. I chose the Hot Frozen Whole Hatch Green Chiles and these are no-joke-hot! If anyone tries the extra-hot, let me know if you survive the heat. ;)

The chiles were packed and shipped frozen in vacuum sealed bags in a large cooler. Before freezing, the chiles are roasted and peeled, so once you defrost them, a lot of the prep work is already done for you. I like that they were still whole so I could choose how to use them, but they do also sell frozen chopped chiles, as well as fresh chiles, red chiles, chile powder and salsa. I have to admit, I was at first unsure of what I would do with a 2.5lb bag of green chiles, but once I had them in my hands and had chiles on my brain, I made a full week of hot and spicy dishes with Hatch green chiles!

The first recipe I am going to share with you is a Hatch Green Chile Sauce, as it is the base for many of the other recipes I came up with. The heat in this sauce will depend on the spiciness of your chiles. I added diced tomatoes and lots of southwestern spice for a sauce that would perfectly accompany eggs, chicken, pork, seafood and even this delicious breakfast casserole. I hope you enjoy this recipe, and be on the lookout over the next couple of weeks for the rest of my Hatch green chile creations!!

Hatch Green Chile Sauce
Makes: About 2 Cups
Time: 60 Minutes

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken stock, divided
1 cup diced Hatch green chiles that have been roasted, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add garlic to pan and saute for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add onion to pan and saute for an additional 3 minutes, stirring often.

Stir in 1/4 cup of the chicken stock and stir well. Add chiles, tomatoes and spices. Stir well to incorporate.

Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover.

Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Add a bit more stock each time you stir, as sauce begins to thicken.

Transfer sauce to a blender or use an immersion blender to blend to desired consistency.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post, but did receive complimentary product from the company. All opinions are 100% my own and I would never share a product or service with you that I haven't purchased or used myself. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Our Journey With Introducing Solids: Successes and Failures with Baby Led Weaning and Purees

A beautiful mess.
As a strong real food advocate and soon to be holistic nutrition practitioner, I had a little twinkle in my eye anytime I thought about the day Baby A started eating real food. After hours upon hours (upon hours) of research, I decided Baby Led Weaning (BLW) was the best choice for us. We planned to skip any kind of cereal and even purees and instead allow Baby A to feed himself foods that were suitably sized and soft enough for his little toothless mouth to handle. I had visions of sitting at the dining room table together eating our breakfast while Baby A happily munched away on slices of banana. Well, guess what? The choice wasn't really ours to make - the baby is the one who gets to choose. A lesson I am learning over and over again as a new parent. Here is a little glimpse into our journey so far...

We decided to give Baby A his first taste of real food on Thanksgiving. He was almost six months old and we were going to be with Kevin's family for the holiday. I thought it would be so much fun for us all to be together for this big milestone. We chose banana for the big day and cut it up, put it on a plate and placed it in front of Baby A. I thought he would immediately pick up the little banana bites and start nomming away. Instead, he tried to eat the plate. He didn't even touch the banana. All of my BLW dreams were slowly slipping away and I was honestly a bit disappointed. I'd had big dreams for this moment and my baby was only interested in eating the tableware. We decided to take a bit of a break and try again in a few weeks. I was still exclusively breastfeeding at this point so we weren't in any hurry.
Fast forward a few weeks to Christmastime. We decided to give it another go and cut the banana up a little different this time. Maybe Baby A preferred larger pieces of banana that he could pick up with his little baby hands. I wouldn't say he took an actual bite of banana, but he did push it around on the tray a bit and if he got it to an area where his mouth would reach, he would bend over and put his mouth on it. Somewhat more successful than our first try, but we were starting to waste a lot of bananas.
A little better. At least he is eating some banana with his plastic.
After this second defeat, we decided to give spoon feeding a try. We decided to stick with banana so I mashed about a quarter of a banana up with a fork and stirred in a little breast milk until it was nice and mushy and we sat down at the table to give it a go. For the first few minutes, he wouldn't even open his mouth for the spoon. I don't think he knew what it was. We thought that seeing us eat might give him a little encouragement and it worked! He was still apprehensive at first each time we sat down to eat, but after a few tries he would open up and then look around and shake his fists excitedly for more.

I always give him a little time to "explore" his food before we get down from the highchair.
Soon after he mastered mashed banana we decided to try even more foods. To his diet, we added avocado, then mashed carrots, applesauce and sweet potatoes. With each new food, it seemed to take him  few tries to come around to it, but he happily ate all of them! He must have my independent streak, because he insists on holding the spoon and feeding himself. I usually try to keep a hand on the spoon and assist him so he doesn't make too much of a mess.

More, please!
At some point I decided he needed to get the taste for something a little less sweet and I made peas and pureed them in the food processor. They still have a bit too much texture for him because he kind of gagged and wouldn't swallow them. He is used to foods being pretty smooth, but even after a go-round in the food processor the peas had a lot of texture to them. I figured out that I can give him a small spoonful along with some banana or avocado and he handles it well, but on its own, we get this face...

No peas, please!
Baby A is eight months old now and we dig in to some purees once or twice a day now. He still gets the bulk of his nutrition from breast milk, but we are having fun with it and just trying not to stress. What I originally thought was a failure when he didn't immediately jump at the chance to eat solid food, was actually not a failure at all. I had to shift my frame of mind and know that he will do things in his own time. Baby led weaning is just led. Every baby is different and there is no one method that works for every family. For now, I am letting him take the lead and sometimes that means wearing avocado on his head and that is just fine by me.
Tell me about your experience with first foods. Did you go the Baby led weaning route or start with purees?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Paleo Valentine's Day Dessert - Grain Free Apple Crisp

I've heard a rumor that not all of us out there are chocolate lovers. I'd like to believe this just can't be true, each his own. :) Chocolate usually finds its way into most of my sweet treats, but I don't want anyone to feel left out so today I have a warm, delicious Grain Free Apple Crisp recipe for you! This would be a perfect alternative to the traditional Valentine's Day chocolates and desserts.

I started with layers and layers of tart Granny Smith apples and topped them with a sweet, grain free, crumbly topping. This dessert is easy to put together, too. You can prepare it ahead of time, throw it in the fridge and let it bake while you eat dinner. When you are through with dinner, your apple crisp will be warm and gooey and you can dig right in!

So, tell me, do you prefer chocolate desserts or fruity desserts?

Grain Free Apple Crisp
Makes: 9 Squares
Time: 1 hour, 5 Minutes

5 medium granny smith apples, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups of almond meal
1 tbsp of cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp of melted honey
4 tbsp of melted coconut oil
Dash of salt

Preheat oven to 300F.

Layer apples in an 8x8 glass baking dish. Squeeze the lemon juice over the layered apples.

In a bowl mix together the almond meal, spices, melted honey, melted coconut oil and salt with a fork until it forms a crumbly texture. Spread the crumble topping evenly over the apples.

Sprinkle with a little dash of cinnamon and bake for 50 minutes. Allow to cool and cut into squares.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Paleo Chocolate Covered Strawberries - Sweets for your Valentine's Day Sweetie!

                                    What I Gather: Paleo Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Valentine's Day is almost here! We usually celebrate with a simple dinner at home and a special dessert. Before we discovered Paleo, we usually picked up a box of chocolates, a few cupcakes or some cookies. Following a Paleo way of eating doesn't mean we have to give up our sweet treats, though! 

These chocolate covered strawberries are made with only four ingredients and are perfect for sharing. You can prepare them before dinner and let them chill while you cook a romantic meal together. By the time you are ready for dessert, you'll have a plate full of perfect, decadent chocolate covered strawberries. You can even customize them by rolling them in finely chopped nuts or shredded coconut before chilling.

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Paleo Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Makes: 20 Strawberries
Time: 30 minutes (plus cooling time)

                                       What I Gather: Paleo Chocolate Covered Strawberries

20 medium strawberries
4 oz dark chocolate
Optional - Shredded coconut, finely chopped nuts

Rinse and dry strawberries until they are completely dry.

In a medium microwave safe bowl, microwave chocolate on high for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until all of the chocolate is melted. This can also be done using a double broiler.

Dip strawberries into chocolate and place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet or tray to cool. 

Optional - Immediately after dipping strawberries, roll in shredded coconut or finely chopped nuts.

Refrigerate until chocolate is hardened, about 30 minutes.

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