crockpot

Winter is Coming

It’s starting to feel like winter! It’s been 32 degrees in the morning with lots of ice on cars. It’s time to bring out the winter coats. Stevie has found his favorite spot in the new house:

…on the heater!

There’s also a small vent near the floor under the kitchen sink and he’ll sit right in front of that, too. Which is super convenient for us when we are trying to do dishes. 😉

I’m not sure if I mentioned it, but because our house is a little weird, we had to do a special situation for AC and heat. The first half of the house is the original 1920’s with vents like the above picture. So the main floor was “AC ready” but because the upstairs was a converted attic, there were no ducts up there. So when we got AC installed in our house this summer we had to do it in two parts. We got traditional AC for the main floor, then we had to get those Mitsubishi ductless units for our bedroom and for Logan’s bedroom.

Because it’s been so cold lately we finally got to use the heat portion of the ductless units and they are AMAZING! So quiet. Super efficient. It doesn’t take much to warm up the room and you can set it up to maintain a certain temperature (instead of just having it run all the time). It will be interesting to see HOW efficient they are on energy. Since we have solar panels on our new house, I am hoping the combination of the panels and the ductless units will save us a ton of money on heating and cooling in the house. Even though we have to spend a lot of money to do two separate systems.

Anyways, this weekend we had the Halloween Party and then Sunday was kind of a chill morning, hanging out with my parents and Logan was playing with his Halloween toys:

After my parents left to head home to Seattle, I went swimming, had a late lunch and then prepped dinner. I decided to make this keto beef stroganoff.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ pounds sirloin steak, thinly sliced (I get my grass-fed meat here)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons beef bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder (I use this brand of seasonings)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the slow cooker on the high setting. To the slow cooker, add the beef stock and mushrooms and cover.
  2. Heat the butter in a large sautĂŠ pan, over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and sautĂŠ until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Add them to the slow cooker.
  3. Sprinkle the sirloin with salt, add it to the pan and sear on both sides, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the steak, heavy cream, sour cream, beef bouillon, Dijon, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, and oregano to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours.

It was pretty easy to make and I love having a crockpot meal! So easy. The only change I did was I added the heavy cream and sour cream one hour before it was going to be done. I didn’t thinking putting it in the crockpot for the whole time would be good–it might curdle or something.

I also used fresh garlic from a friend’s garden! It was so good!

Dinner was really flavorful! I liked it a lot. The sauce was a little thin. Then I realized that it was a SOUP! Duh. I might use less broth next time I make it, though.

I wasn’t sure what to use as a base — I had cauliflower “Rice”, low carb noodles, zoodles, and in the end we used a chickpea pasta rotini instead. Not low carb, but it was really tasty.

Right now I’m not really doing keto. I’m doing more of a low carb/carb cycling program. I saw the above graphic on instagram and I liked the diet suggestion. I might do something like what it suggests, where I do a month of keto, month of low carb, month of something else. Maybe Mediterranean Diet, maybe Paleo or Slow Carb. I just feel like my body adjusts to whatever diet I try REALLY FAST and then it stops working. So maybe doing something like this will be better to switch things up.

Fall Cooking

Sunday I made some keto chili. With some help! Logan wanted to chop things. He has a special knife (a toddler plastic knife that is about as sharp as a plastic knife but it can cut SOME things) and he tried to chop celery (that didn’t really work) and then switched to onions. He did that for awhile and then said “the onions got me”. LOL

So I finished up chopping onions and stuff. Then he helped stir a little:

Then he lost interest. 😉 But we are trying! I made a few substitutions. I didn’t have low carb beer, so I used a splash of red wine instead. I also added celery (one stalk). I also did a combo of ground beef and chunks of stew meat to give it a little variety of texture since I wasn’t adding corn and beans and stuff.

The Best Paleo & Keto Chili

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves garlic ran through a press
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 500 g ground beef
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder *
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground cumin to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons paprika to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder optional, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional, to taste
  • 1 400 g can diced tomatoes
  • 240 ml beef broth
  • 120 ml (gluten free or low carb) beer optional**
  • 60 ml strong brewed coffee optional**
  • kosher salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat up olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium/high heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook until it just begins to brown (about 8 minutes). 
  2. Lower heat to medium, add ground beef, cloves and a large pinch of salt. Cook until it begins to brown, stirring every so often (5 to 7 minutes). Add in all the spices and cook for a couple more minutes until fragrant. Some peeps enjoy their chili spicier, others strong on cumin, etc… so feel free to adjust the spices slowly as the chili cooks (the fun part!). 
  3. Add tomatoes and continue to cook over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Lower the heat to low and continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring every so often.
  4. Add in the beef broth, beer (optional) and coffee (optional). Continue to cook for 3 to 8 hours. Adding 1/4 cup water (or broth) at a time, as needed. Remember that the longer you cook it, the more flavor it gets! 
  5. Allow your chili to rest for 10 minutes prior to serving with your favorite toppings.

Recipe Notes

*Chili spices can vary a lot in taste (and preference!). Buying a ready-made chili powder mix is a good place to start. But do feel free to play around with the individual spices to your liking (think chili, oregano, cumin, coriander, paprika, chipotle… you could even add some chili ancho!).

**Adding in some (gluten free, low carb) beer and coffee add a bunch of flavor. But totally optional, and your chili will still be magnificent without them! 

Please note that nutrition facts were estimated per serving (assuming a yield of 6). Nutrition Facts: Calories 251 Fat 17g Saturated Fat 6g Carbohydrates 6g Fiber 2g Sugar 2g Protein 16g

I put everything in the crockpot because I had a lot of stuff to do and would rather do chili in a crockpot all day anyways.

It turned out pretty good but not quite chili. It was more like a beef stew. I topped it with some shredded cheese, chopped red onion, sour cream and some pickled radishes (David Lebovitz’s are my favorite, and if you don’t follow him on Instagram, you should!). The pickled radishes on top were kind of an excellent addition!

Next time I would drain the can of tomatoes so there was a little less liquid.

The other recipe I tried was Lean Green Bean’s Spicy Yogurt Marinated Chicken.

SPICY YOGURT MARINATED CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
3/4 cup plain yogurt (regular or greek)
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
juice from one lime
pinch of salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large Ziploc bag.
  2. Close tightly and use your hands to mix everything around and make sure the chicken is well coated.
  3. Marinate in the fridge at least 2 hours. (24 hours is best!)
  4. Remove the chicken and cook as desired, discarding the remaining marinade. I cooked mine on a sheet pan with green beans at 400 for 15-25 minutes. Time will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken. Check internal temperature until it reaches 165. You may need to remove the green beans before your chicken is done!

NOTES

To cook the sweet potatoes, thinly slice, spray with oil, season as desired and bake at 400 or 425 for 20-25 min flipping once.

I let it marinade for over 24 hours and then we had it for dinner Monday night. I loved having a quick and easy meal nearly ready for a Monday night meal.

This one was definitely a winner! It had some spice, too! Loved the flavors, loved how easy it was.

The only changes I would make: I’d use chicken breasts instead of thighs and I’d put the green beans in the oven half-way through the chicken cooking. The green beans got a little overdone. They still tasted great, but were a little soft.

Will definitely make this one again!