Crock Pot Sausage and Peppers

As 2013 is officially beginning to wind down, I have taken some extra time to take a step back and think about how truly amazing this year has been for me. I always find it interesting to see how far a year can really take you – whether that be in a relationship, your job, your health, etc… This year I lived in two very opposite states, made the decision to move in with R (easily the best decision of the last decade of my life), and chose to stop making excuses about my weight and make a serious change. I couldn’t be happier than where I am at right now, and I have 2013 to thank for that.

This year, among all the great things that happened, I lost my grandfather. I know, without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, that he is in a better place – out of the pain and suffering that he had been going through for the past couple of years. But that didn’t make it any easier for the rest of us that had to say good-bye, in what seemed like a very abrupt way. 7 months later, I can look back at that day and see what an amazing thing it was for so many people to come pay their respects to such a wonderful man, whom I got to call Poppy. It made me realize, more than ever, that I want to live a life in which I am helping others and making a difference in people’s lives. That is what Poppy did and I am so lucky that I got to have him for a grandfather for 23 years. I hope you all take the time to look at where you have come in the past year – some things may not be big, life changing moments and some may be things that were difficult to go through but in the end made you stronger.

2013 was also my introduction to a lifestyle that I had never heard of before – PALEO. I am not sure where I would be on my weight-loss/health journey had R and I not began our Paleo journey in August. At this point, I am not looking back. Yes – we have plenty of times where we eat things that are not Paleo (i.e. weddings, out-of-town visitors, holidays, etc…) but the overall concept is something that we have really stuck to and are enjoying, which to me is the most important part. Over the past 4 months we have experimented and tested tons of recipes – many that we loved, some that we hated. But it has all been an experiment to help better ourselves in the end. If you haven’t bought into this whole she-bang, I challenge you to give it a try. Give it 30 days – that’s it. Commit to challenging yourself and start a Whole30. I promise you, your life will not be the same. Maybe you will decide it isn’t for you – and that is FINE. But I think we all owe it to ourselves and our bodies to see what happens.

This recipe is PERFECT for a busy weeknight AND is Whole30 approved. I think I have mentioned before that I love sausage and peppers – like a lot. It’s one of my favorite meals that my mom makes when I am home, but especially when she knows I will have friends stopping by the house because it is such a crowd pleaser. Now, traditionally we would eat sausage and peppers in large, toasted hoagie buns. (mmm…so good) But for obvious reasons, I left those out this time. This meal can literally be thrown together in 5 minutes, will cook for 6-7 hours and then be ready to serve!

Sausage and Peppers

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Ingredients

  • 1 package of chicken sausage (italian style) – really any sausage will work
  • 3 peppers, sliced (orange, red, yellow) – your choice of color
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 T italian seasoning
  • 1 T of garlic salt

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large crock pot
  2. Stir
  3. Let cook on low for 6-7 hours
  4. Prepared a side of your choice – we used roasted broccoli but you could do sweet potatoes, cauliflower, butternut squash, really whatever you have in the kitchen.
  5. Enjoy!
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Buffalo Turkey Meatloaf

What can I say? I am bad at multi tasking? Whatever – no excuses. 19 days is just too dang long to go without posting. I am sure you have all been on the edge of your seats waiting for the next recipe. Well, today is your lucky day!

Today officially begins my first adult winter break. Something I never knew if I would see again but am welcoming with open arms! R and I both have off today through the 2nd – bring on the new recipes and episodes of Shameless! (Seriously that’s really all I care about doing this week. Oh yea, and trying to get ready for this 10k on New Year’s – yikes!) Quick update on life here in PDX: still going strong with yoga (our month ends on the 29th and then we have to decide if we can handle paying $120 a month for it AHHH!), decorated our apartment for christmas, got some AWESOME new appliances (more to come on that later), enjoyed time with my family in Pittsburgh for a wedding, still working hard on the CSC website and trying to figure out (sooner rather than later of course) where our next move will be to. That’s about it! Other than that – same old, same old. I have a TON of new recipes ready to try out over “winter break” so I am excited to get back into the groove of things.

This recipe I made a few weeks back, actually now that I think about it we made it before Thanksgiving even rolled around. (Yeeeesh.) It is 3 of my favorite things: easy, quick and GOOD. I got the recipe from one of my favorite blogs PaleOMG. Julie (the author) writes kind of all over the place (similar to another beginning blogger I know…) so her posts are always fun to read. Not to mention she has GREAT recipes, whether you are just dipping your toes into the Paleo pond or if you are ready to cannon ball right in – she will have something for you. If you are looking for something to impress some guests that stop in over the holidays – but don’t want to spend the whole night in the kitchen, the Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf  (I changed it to turkey because I didn’t have chicken…) is a great one to try out. All you have to do is mix the ingredients in a bowl (most of which you probably already have in your pantry/fridge), plop it in a loaf pan and let it bake! I meant it when I said easy…

So here you go – enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf (link is to the original recipe – below is my altered version)

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Ingredients
  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 3-4 tablespoons hot sauce (I used Red Hot)
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • ¼ small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place all ingredients in a bowl and use your hands to mix thoroughly.
  3. Plop mixture into  one large loaf pan.
  4. Bake for 25-35 or until chicken is completely cooked through.

Yep…THAT’S REALLY IT! I put some sriracha on top before baking and served it with a side of mashed sweet potatoes! Just delightful!

I wish you and your family/friends a wonderful holiday and a happy and healthy new year! Remember, today is the day to make a change for the better, even if it is something small – every little bit counts.

Crockpot Minestrone Soup

I’M BACK!

Did you think I forgot how to post a recipe? To be honest, I thought I might have. It’s slightly insane how quickly a week goes by when you have visitors in town and are celebrating one of the best holidays EVER…Thanksgiving. And add to that the amount of time it takes to get yourself back on track after the big event. Well, it leaves me with the reason that I haven’t posted for two weeks. But, I finally feel back in the swing of our normal routine (you know – work, eat, run, sleep and repeat) except we added one more thing…HOT YOGA. As promised, we started our 30 day pass last week and I will admit – the first couple of classes were, how do I put this…r-o-u-g-h. I spent more time trying to convince myself that I wasn’t going to die during the second class than doing any actual yoga. But I am quite pleased to report that in our 4th class I was able to do the entire set (90 whole sweaty minutes) without taking a rest! Who woulda thought. My main goal now is to make sure that I keep hydrating enough during the day – as you maybe can imagine, it makes a huge difference. Hopefully we see some results after the month end, but we will have to wait and see!

While R’s family was in town, I was off cooking duty – helping where I could but R’s mom is a whiz in the kitchen and had great meals planned for the whole week! When we got back to the apartment after they left, I was so glad that we had some crockpot minestrone soup in the freezer that could be reheated! Definitely the easy way to get back into our Paleo eating.

This soup was super easy to throw together once you get passed the chopping part. I knew I wanted to cook it in the crockpot while I was working. I also knew that there was no freaking way I was going to wake up early enough to chop all the veggies and get to work on time (I am already a walking zombie when my alarm goes off at 5:30). SO I chopped everything the night before, stored it in a ziploc bag and then was able to literally toss everything in the crockpot in a few short minutes.

I got this recipe from Mellow Momma’s blog. The only changes I made was leaving out the kale (didn’t have any!) and adding chicken (protein!!!). Other than that, I followed it pretty exactly…and I ain’t mad about it! If you are looking for a hearty soup to warm you up in this weather but want to be careful of the additives and SODIUM from the store bought kind – this is the recipe for you.

Crockpot Minestrone Soup

Ingredients:
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 whole carrots peeled and chopped
  • 4 small zucchinis chopped
  • 2 bell peppers chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 T parsley
  • 2 T basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Sea salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Chop veggies
  2. Add chicken, veggies and ALL other ingredients to the crock pot
  3. Stir and cook on low for 8 hours
  4. Shred the chicken and serve!

 

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