I’m going through this phase where I’m obsessed with sweet potatoes and spaghetti squash. And I make them both the same way, multiple times a day. Because when your husband deployed and your kids want hot dogs for every meal, you can eat spaghetti squash all day long and no one complains!

I normally just cook up a couple pieces of chopped up bacon, cook the spaghetti squash (or shredded sweet potatoes) in the yummy bacon fat, and then top it all with a runny-yolk egg.

But this weekend I went back to an old favorite: Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai!

And I realize there is absolutely nothing authentic about this Pad Thai but when you’re doing the paleo thing, this feels like a takeout cheat meal. But it’s still paleo! And delicious!

It’s really easy to customize to suit your needs/likes too. I add all sorts of veggies to it typically and have use ground beef, chicken breasts, even ground pork.

One year ago: The Seductive Swan
Two years ago:  Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream
Three years ago: Taco Pasta
Four years ago: Cardamom Crumb Cake
Five years ago: Cheesecake

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Ingredients

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter or almond butter
1/4 cup coconut milk
To make the Pad Thai:
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided
1/2 pound ground turkey (or any meat, really)
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup snap peas, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 cups cooked spaghetti squash

Instructions

    To make the sauce:
  1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. To make the Pad Thai:
  3. Whisk the eggs with the coconut aminos (or soy sauce).
  4. Heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil over medium heat in a medium-sized pan until melted. Add egg mixture and scramble until cooked through. Set aside.
  5. In a separate large pan, heat remaining teaspoon of coconut oil over medium heat. Add turkey and cook, breaking up, until no pink remained. Drain if necessary. Add onion and snap peas and stir until vegetables have softened, about 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in spaghetti squash and sauce. Stir to coat everything with the sauce. Heat until everything is hot.
  7. Garnish with raw, sliced snap peas, green onions, and cashews or almonds.
http://fakeginger.com/spaghetti-squash-pad-thai/

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I’m not sure how common this is but I find that it is so much easier to stick to healthy eating when my husband is gone. Without someone saying “We should just get pizza/burritos/cashew chicken,” it’s really easy for me to just stick with the good stuff. Plus, I’ve told you guys before that when he’s gone, I’m very willing to sacrifice some of my food budget for clothes or makeup.

It is what it is.

So since he’s deployed, I’ve been sticking to pretty much paleo. I mean, besides the McDonald’s chicken nuggets I had for dinner last night. And the hot & spicy chicken sandwich I had for my pre-sleeping snack. But besides that, I’ve been doing the paleo thing.

I really love paleo. I find that I feel best when I’m doing it. But  – and this is a big but – it is so hard to come off paleo. I want to EAT ALL THE THINGS and DRINK ALL THE WINE and GO TO ALL THE RESTAURANTS. It’s bad. So I’m trying to do mostly paleo with some normal (McDonald’s) mixed in.

I make these Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins about once a week. I just keep them in the fridge and reheat when I need quick and easy protein.

You guys know that I’m not good with spicy food but these really aren’t super spicy. You get the flavor of the buffalo sauce without much heat since there is such a small amount of the hot sauce. If you are into the spicy stuff, just sprinkle some over your muffins before you enjoy them.

Two years ago: Southwestern Deviled Eggs
Four years ago: Hot Cross Buns

Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins

Ingredients

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/4 cup hot sauce
1/4 cup coconut oil
12 eggs
1/4 cup green onions, sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with papers (preferably parchment muffin papers).
  2. Arrange chicken breasts on a baking sheet and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, shred and place in a large bowl.
  4. In a separate small bowl, stir together coconut oil (melted if necessary) and hot sauce. Pour half of this mixture over the shredded chicken and stir.
  5. In another bowl, beat together eggs, remaining hot sauce mixture, and green onions. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Fill muffin cups about 12 full with the egg mixture. Top each muffin with about 1/4 cup of shredded chicken.
  7. Bake about 20 minutes or until the eggs are set and the tops are golden brown. Cool slightly before serving.
  8. Store in the fridge and reheat when hunger strikes!
http://fakeginger.com/buffalo-chicken-egg-muffins/

4

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese is the Paleo answer to everyone’s favorite pasta dish. 

You guys. I have gotten in the worst food habits lately. I can’t even tell you that last time I went to the grocery store for actual meal ingredients. In the past week alone, we’ve had Qdoba, McDonald’s, and Chik Fil A. It’s bad.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I put on about 10 pounds after my husband got home from Afghanistan and I lovingly call those 10 pounds my “wine weight” because I needed a whole lot of wine to survive those first few months. But then in the past couple months I’ve put on another 5 or so because of my crappy diet. Ugh.

So it’s time to buckle down and be one of those annoying people on a diet.

The Paleo diet has worked well for me in the past – but don’t worry, this blog will never be a Paleo blog – so I’m kind of going in that direction. It’s not something I can go longterm or even for every meal but I feel like going high protein, high fat, low carb is never really a bad thing.

This spaghetti squash bolognese is so good and definitely one of my favorite “diet” meals. It’s so rich that it doesn’t even feel like you’re eating something low carb. It’s got ground beef, pork, and bacon so it’s got plenty to keep it interesting.

I wasn’t a spaghetti squash fan for the longest time and then I got addicted to this Paleo Pad Thai when my husband was deployed and now I can’t get enough! I definitely recommend cooking it until it’s super soft – if it’s crunchy, I’m not eating it.

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash
salt & black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
4 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
3 ounces (1/2 small can) tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and inner portion of the squash, and then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Place both halves face down on a baking sheet. Roast for 35-45 minutes—until the flesh of the squash becomes soft enough that the "noodles" start to separate from each other.
  3. Scoop the "noodles" out into a separate bowl.
  4. While the squash bakes: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Cook the onion, carrot, and celery until they soften just a little. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  5. Add the ground beef, pork, and bacon, and cook until no pink remains. Once the meat is done, add the coconut milk, tomato paste, and white wine and simmer over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  6. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste before removing the sauce from the heat.
  7. Serve over the roasted spaghetti squash.
http://fakeginger.com/spaghetti-squash-bolognese/

 

4

I don’t have a football snack for you this week because, believe it or not, I didn’t make anything this weekend! My husband went to the grocery store on Saturday before the games started and came home with a ton of ribs so there was no point in making what I had planned. And then the same thing happened yesterday except with hot dogs. So yeah, I guess I’m saving my planned snack for next week!

I’ll share these lettuce wraps instead which works out since I’m really, really, really excited about them. So excited that I’m planning on making them again tomorrow night but throwing in zucchini, water chestnuts, carrots, and mushrooms. Mmhmm.

If you haven’t tried lettuce wraps yet, you absolutely must! My kids love them, my paleo husband loves them, and I am kind of obsessed with them. There are millions of ways to make them – change up the meat, veggies, nuts, whatever! But this version is definitely my favorite right now. There’s just something so amazing about the cashews.

One year ago: Mississippi Roast
Two years ago: Spicy Bacon Ranch Pasta
Three years ago: Pumpkin Spice Granola

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

adapted from She Wears Many Hats

Ingredients

For the sauce:
6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
For the wraps:
1 head lettuce, leaves gently removed
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup cashews

Instructions

    For the sauce:
  1. Mix all stir fry sauce ingredients making sure to dissolve brown sugar. Set aside.
  2. For the chicken:
  3. Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add diced chicken and stir fry until cooked through. Do this in batches if your pan is not large enough. Remove chicken from oil. Add onions and cook until soft; add garlic and cook until 30 seconds. Add sauce, browned chicken, and cashews. Cover and let simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes until sauce has reduced and cashews have softened up.
  4. To serve, spoon chicken mixture into lettuce leaves.
http://fakeginger.com/cashew-chicken-lettuce-wraps/

6

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to Sarah’s Kitchen. Sarah has tons and tons of delicious recipes, including lots of ethnic (at least to me) eats. These meatballs caught my eye and I rushed out to get the ingredients.

My husband’s doing the whole grain-free thing so I substituted almond meal for the oats but I’m leaving Sarah’s recipe as is. I couldn’t find mango chutney at my store so I used mango nectar which wasn’t my greatest idea. I don’t think it added much of anything to the dish. If anything, I’d use apricot jam or something in place of the chutney next time.

The meatballs are so delicious though! They’re simmered in a mixture of tomatoes, coconut milk, and curry powder. Fantastic does not even begin to describe how they smelled cooking. So amazing.

South African Meatballs

Ingredients

2 pounds ground beef
1 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons mango chutney
2 eggs
1/8 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves
1 can coconut milk
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in an oven proof pan. Add the onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, canned tomatoes, curry powder, brown sugar and a tsp of salt. Let simmer while you make the meatballs.
  3. To make the meatballs, combine the beef, oatmeal, chutney, eggs and spices and shape into large 2 inch meatballs. Add to the sauce, cover and bake for 1 hour.
http://fakeginger.com/south-african-meatballs/



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