Pioneer Woman Love

Who loves the Pioneer Woman?  I do.  Confession though: I’m not even subscribed to her blog, and I don’t know what she’s up to lately except that she has a t.v. show (had a t.v. show?).  I don’t cook much of late, am not into photography, and don’t homeschool.  So there’s not for me there these days.  But I still love Ree.  And when I do cook, I love her recipes.  So much beef!  So helpful when one buys half a cow at a time.

So, linking up with Hallie, on an I-should-get-to-bed-but-want-to-write-the-most-random-post-ever whim, here are my favorite  posts from Mrs. Best-Blog-By-A-Non-Papist Drummond:

1.Her pot roast.  Her pot roast!  To die for.


Honorable mention goes to her Sunday night beef stew:



2. I get compliments every time I make these mashed potatoes.  Something along the lines of, “Wow, what did you do with these mashed potatoes that make them so tasty?”  The answer: they’re not mashed potatoes.  They’re cream cheese and butter with a bit of spud mixed in.  Yum.

3. This recipe for Potatoes Romanoff is a recipe from another blogger, posted on Ree’s spin-off blog of sorts, Tasty Kitchen.  Kind of like mashed potatoes, but cheesy and fluffier.

4. Something about this post makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.  I read it out loud to Pat and was laughing until I had tears in my eyes.  Maybe I’m just wistful because my kids hardly ever let me sing.

pioneer woman journey

Journey with Ree Drummond


5. Finally, I’ll always be grateful for Ree’s recommendation for this lovely and inexpensive concealer, which also works well as a highlighter.

Oh, and finally, she has my china (Spode Blue Italian)!  Kindred spirits fo’ sho.

What about you?  Are you a PW fan?



Menu Plan Monday Plus Healthy Avocado “Ranch” Dressing

Lately I recalled something my sister-in-law unexpectedly said when she spent a semester Rome and was talking to us over the phone:

You know what I miss? . . . Raaaaanch dressing.

There she was in Italy, eating wonderful food every day, and she missed that uniquely American blend of soybean oil, buttermilk, and high fructose corn syrup.

I know exactly how she felt.

I am sick of oil and vinegar on my salad.  So I concocted a little Avocado-Ranch-ish concoction.  It might not taste exactly like Hidden Valley, but it’s delish and it’s Perfect Health Diet compliant (or at least it can be, if you make your own mayo).  Here it is:

Primal Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2T mayonnaise (you can make your own from olive oil and egg)
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 2/3 c. whole-milk yogurt (preferably not Greek)
  • 2 T rice vinegar (or white vinegar or lemon juice)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dried dill

Mash up the avocado and then mix everything together well.  Makes about 1.5 cups.

Primal avocado "Ranch" dressing

Primal avocado “Ranch” dressing

You can leave out the mayonnaise and increase the yogurt a bit.  It’s tangier and a bit less creamy, but still good.

I’m  linking up with Org Junkie for Menu Plan Monday today.  Our menu has stayed pretty much the same the past few weeks.  Here’s what it looks like:

  • Breakfasts: Usually banana-egg “pancakes”
  • Lunches: Leftovers, plain yogurt with frozen blueberries, or rice cakes with cheese

We usually eat rice or potatoes on the side, along with either a green salad or a cooked, frozen vegetable.

Have a delicious week!

I Say M&Ms, You Say Scrambled Eggs: M&Ms! Scrambled Eggs! M&Ms! Scrambled Eggs!

. . . And Calf Liver and  . . . Epsom Salt Baths

I’m finally reading the second edition of Perfect Health Diet (“PHD”).   I’m particularly intrigued by their advice on nutritional supplements.  Apparently deficiencies in copper, zinc, and magnesium are quite common, even for those following a healthy diet.  You know what contains all of those nutrients?  Chocolate.  You know what I crave almost all the time?  Chocolate.  Hmmm.

Dark chocolate also contains iron, which I might be deficient in also.  I’ve started taking Floradix.  It’s too early to tell for sure, but I think it’s improved my energy levels.  PHD warns against iron supplements . . .  except for menstruating women.  Well, guess what I am?  And guess what I crave at those particular times of the month?  Hmmm.

I must admit I tried to follow the PHD supplement recommendations early on, but I quickly tired of taking so many pills, especially as I have to stagger them throughout the day to avoid stomach ache.   According to PHD, it’s basically impossible to get enough copper unless you eat liver every week, or possibly a LOT of chocolate.  I just cannot do organ meat.  Not. Going. There.  And chocolate prices are on the rise.  So, supplementation it is!

Problem is, sometimes M&Ms call out my name like you would not believe.  The dark, more bitter stuff just doesn’t compete.  PHD mentions that cravings for sweets often indicate a need for protein.  I have noticed that if I’m craving sweets but eat protein instead, the cravings go away.  The hard part is force myself to eat protein instead of the sweets.

So, I’m hoping not be undone by M&Ms (or chocolate peanut butter) so much in the future.  Next time the cravings hit, I’ll quickly down some scrambled eggs, with a chaser of dark chocolate, and then jump in an Epsom salt bath for some extra magnesium-y oomph.

We’ll see . . . .

Reading PHD again also reminded me that I should be eating less chicken and more beef  . . . or lamb or goat or liver so . . . beef it is!  Here’s my menu plan for the coming week, with an extra helping of beef.  I’m  linking up with Org Junkie for Menu Plan Monday (better late than never):

Melt-in-your-mouth parmesan chicken breasts

  • Lunches: Leftovers, salads, and um, leftovers.  Oh, and plain yogurt with frozen blueberries.  Pat eats rice cakes with cheese a lot.
  • Dinners:

Monday: Paleo crockpot beef brisket (Really tasty and easy; I use chuck)

Tuesday:  Pan-fried salmon with rice and green beans


Wednesday: Yummy Baked Thingy (ground beef casserole)

Thursday:  Tilapia with spinach and tomatoes baked in foil

Friday: Shrimp stir-fry with rice noodles

Saturday: Parmesan chicken (using Greek yogurt instead of mayo)

Sunday: Crock-pot lime beef stew (trying out a new recipe)

Have a delicious week!

This Week’s Menu Plan

Real quick-like, here’s my menu plan for the week.  I’m  linking up with Org Junkie for Menu Plan Monday:

  • Lunches: Leftovers, salads, and um, leftovers.  Oh, and plain yogurt with frozen blueberries.  Pat eats rice cakes with cheese a lot.
  • Dinners:

Monday: Shrimp stir fry with rice or rice noodles

Tuesday: Man-pleasing chicken  (so good; one of our favorite recipes)

Wednesday: Spinach and tomato frittata

Thursday:  Paleo crockpot beef brisket (Really tasty and easy; I used chuck)

Friday: Salmon cooked one way or another

Saturday: Cajun-spiced tilapia

Sunday: Back-to-school BBQ with Girl 1’s school

Have a delicious week!


Amazing Steak From Aldi {Ye Olde Sometimes-Weekly Food Poste}

I made some delicious steak a few nights ago and just have to share.


I used these frozen sirloin filets from Aldi.  They were $5.60 per pound, which is not cheap but it’s much less expensive than you would usually pay for this cut of beef.


I wasn’t sure what to expect from frozen steaks.  Maybe a connoisseur would find fault with the texture or something, but Pat and I both thought they tasted great!

I defrosted them on the kitchen counter (I like to live dangerously).  Then I seared them in a pan on the stove on medium-high heat for a few minutes on each side.  Then I broiled them in the oven.  Our broiler has “high” and “low” settings.  I used low because I’ve set things on fire before using high.  I don’t remember how long I broiled them, but they ended up medium-well, which I like.

I sautéed some fresh onion and mushroom in the pan with the steak drippings, adding some coconut oil, water, salt, and pepper.


Aaaand, wouldn’t you know, just as I’m planning to write this post I read about how U.S. beef is all horrible and stuff (prior link didn’t work; sorry about that).  Anyway . . . if you can’t eat organic, grass-fed beef all the time, and you want some good but inexpensive steak . . . try the frozen sirloin filet from Aldi.

Linking up this week with Cari at Clan Donaldson for Theme Thursday.

For More About How We Eat, Read These:

Ye Olde Weekly Food Poste: Steak N’ Greens

Can I just share with y’all one of my favorite meals of late?

Pan fried steak with mushrooms, onions and collard greens (or kale): it’s paleo/ Perfect Health Diet friendly but also basic, comforting, Southern-inspired home cooking.


I don’t have exact recipes for you, but this is basically what I do:

For the greens:

Buy a  bag of pre-washed, pre-cut greens and put in a big pot.  It will seem like a lot but they reduce a lot in volume once cooked.  Add enough water or broth that they are almost covered (about 10 cups).  Add some onion and garlic and (ideally) a ham bone or some bacon.  Bring to a boil then simmer until the greens are very tender (an hour or so for collards, more for kale).  Salt to taste.  This will make about 4 generous helpings.

For the steak:

Take two steaks (try cube steak for economical deliciousness) and fry them up in a pan with a little olive oil (more or less depending on whether you have a non-stick pan).   Use medium-low to medium heat.

If you’re using cube steak, you can dredge it in a little flour (rice or almond) with salt and pepper and garlic powder, before you fry it.

After the steak is done, add some sliced onion and mushrooms and enough Worcestershire sauce and red wine to make a little sauce.  Saute until the veggies are tender.


Aw man, I love it.


The end.

Menu Plan Monday: Musings of the Dairyless

I’ve been without dairy for over two weeks now.

At first I was all like:

But now I’ve actually lost a pound or two.  A friend of mine was gluten-free and dairy-free for several months for various reasons.  She was quite thin, and I remember thinking, “She’s given up gluten and dairy: of course she’s skinny!  There’s nothing she can eat!”  And now I’m in the same boat (albeit by choice).  So yeah . . .

I doubt any weight I lose is due to my giving up dairy, exactly, and more a matter of my having fewer food options.  For snacks I’ve got nothin’ but fruit and nuts, nuts and fruit, as far as the eye can see.

Also, I’ve learned to drink my coffee black (gasp!).  I never thought it would happen.  It tastes a bit better when I brew it with some cinnamon shaken in with the coffee grinds (thank you Sharon, for the tip).  And I think that my caffeine addiction is just stronger than I gave it credit for.

True. Dat.

Cutting out a whole food group is a pretty drastic way to lose weight.  I don’t know whether I’ll keep it up when (if???) I get down to my goal weight.  I experienced weird stomachaches and headaches recently, and those are gone now.  So maybe I was slightly sensitive to milk?  I don’t know.  We’ll see.


I’m  linking up with Org Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.  About the menu plan though: Girl 2 is sick and screams if I don’t hold her constantly.  I don’t know what I’ll cook, if at all.  Fortunately we have enough leftovers and odds and ends to keep body and soul together.    But here are some ideas I have for later in the week:

Butternut squash, quinoa, and chicken stew with Kalamata olives. I love this recipe from Cookin’ Canuck so much. I make it with frozen, cubed squash and frozen, diced onion to make it easier.

And next time I’m at the store I plan to get some rice papers, to make Asian-style leftover rolls, like my little sister did:

Classy leftovers from Romancing Reilly

Have a great week!

Menu Plan Monday: “Philly Cheese Steak” Over Rice (Devolution of a Recipe)

Start with this recipe found on Pinterest and decide to improvise a bit (duh duh DUHN).

Balsamic pot roast from Add A Pinch

Use sirloin instead of chuck (because you’ve had the sirloin steak sitting in your deep freezer for one and a half years).

Put it in a saucepan on the stove instead of the crock pot, because you’re running low on time.

Simmer about two hours.

Become concerned when it looks like shoe leather.

Resist temptation to swat husband when he says something about Philly Cheese Steaks.  (“We’re not supposed to be eating bread!!!”)

Realize he may be on to something.

Slice up meat, add some onion slices, and simmer in the sauce.

Whip up some cheesy sauce in the ‘crowave using cream cheese, shredded cheddar, and milk.


Serve over rice.


Voila!  Philadelphians may call it blasphemy.  We call it Good. E. Nuff.


I’m linking up again with Org Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Have a delicious week!

Menu Plan Monday, Fifteen Minutes of Fame Edition

Linking up again with Org Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

We’re starting week 7 on the Perfect Health Diet  (PHD).  The authors kindly linked on their blog to my Menu Plan post of two weeks ago and I saw my readership skyrocket, at least temporarily.   Quite the thrill, especially to see that people from all over the world were reading about my paleo pancake discovery.  So thank you to the Jaminets!

Through the PHD link-up I also made acquaintance with the folks over at Catholic Hunter Gatherer, a Catholic paleo diet blog (tagline: “Orthodox Catholicism, Heterodox Food”; love it).  I look forward to a lot of great insight from them.

Unfortunately I don’t have any new recipe demonstrations this week.  I do highly recommend this recipe for wild rice “stuffing.” It is delicious.  I brought it to Thanksgiving dinner and it seemed well received.

I’m not sure whether wild rice is actually PHD friendly, as it’s not a true rice.  I used a gluten-free wild rice blend, though, and even that was combined with white rice.  So, the amount of actual wild rice is pretty low.

 I made a few changes to the recipe:

  • I doubled the amount of mushrooms.
  • I added about a cup of toasted chopped pecans.  I think the crunchy pecans contrasted nicely with the chewy rice.
  • I used Lundberg Wild Blend Rice in place of wild rice.
  • I used jasmine rice is place of basmati.
  • I skipped the parsley.
  • I used a cup of frozen pre-chopped onion and green pepper in place of the fresh onion.

I’m going to make it again this week, adding some ground beef to make it more of a main dish.

Also, I just discovered a new smoothie recipe.  Pretty basic but quite delicious.  Girl 1 likes it, which can be said for almost nothing these days.

I made the following changes:

  • I use powdered ginger or just skip it.
  • I add some coconut milk in place of some of the ice.  I don’t need my smoothies super icy, and I want to get more coconut fat in my diet.
  • I use regular, whole-milk yogurt in place of Greek.
  • I use canned pineapple in juice.

I’m re-discovering smoothies.  They used to seem like too much work because each time I took the blender from the cabinet and afterward disassembled it to wash it.  Now I’ve reserved some counter top real estate for it, and I’m just rinsing it out after most uses.  So, I’m thinking more smoothies will be in my future.  (Pat doesn’t like them, but he’s generally on his own for breakfast anyway.)

Here’s the menu for the rest of the week:

  • Breakfasts: Paleo pancakes, yogurt with fruit, Pineapple smoothie
  • Lunches: Leftovers, roast beef “sandwiches” wrapped in lettuce
  • Dinners:
    • Monday: Chicken soup  (something along these lines) with leftover rotisserie chicken
    • Tuesday: Rice stuffing with less sausage and some hamburger added
    • WednesdayHamburger vegetable soup
    • Thursday: chicken and roast vegetables (like the dish Jen describes here)
    • Friday: salmon and potatoes or rice and a veggie
    • Saturday: Cheeseburgers (sans bun) and parmesan potato packets on the grill
    • Sunday: beef stew

I literally just fed the baby a crust of bread on the floor under the table.  I guess I should get off the computer.

That’s all folks!  Have a delicious week!