Cast Iron Steak Tips with Mushrooms

Cast Iron Steak Tips with Mushrooms

I love cooking steak tips with mushrooms. It's such a satisfying meal and goes great served over brown rice.

I found this recipe at America's Test Kitchen where they cook the steak tips in cast iron and make a gravy with the mushrooms and onions. Cast iron is a great way to cook. It keeps the temperature much more even than aluminum or steel pans. Plus, they're so heavy that you can skip the gym when you use them. Just kidding. Sort of.

What Are Steak Tips

This is the mystery of the ages. Chances are, it's whatever the butcher had on hand and mixed them all up. Some may be tender and some may be tough. You could work around this by buying regular meat and cutting it up into smaller chunks. This will save you money usually. Whole chickens are often less per pound than a package of cut-up parts.

While you could use stew meat, it may be a bit tough unless you cook it for a long time. (that's called braising)Then you could add in the mushrooms and onions and finish it.

The video above also recommend flap, skirt and flank steaks.

The truth is that the tougher cuts of meat do have more flavor. I'm going to be making this tonight with some tips from tri-tip. I bought two untrimmed tri-tip roasts for $2.99/lb and will be practicing my butcher skills. The leftovers will make a great dinner. I just need to pick up some mushrooms and onions!

If you're interested in learning more about butchering your meat, check out this Craftsy class on Make the Right Cuts: Butchering Basics. I'm in the middle of it, and have learned so much about the grain and looking for natural places to cut.  Now I just need to get my knives sharpened.

I also highly recommend Cooking Essentials: All About Beef (w/Raquel Pelzel)

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Healthier Fish Stick Recipes

Healthier Fish Stick Recipes

I bought some rockfish last night to make some healthier fish sticks. They also had Dungeness crab at $5.99 a pound, so I got two small crabs, and well, we had the crab for supper last night.

I was poking around the cabinet looking for the box with fish fry coating. And thankfully, I'm out. So it's time to go find out how to make a healthier fish stick.

What Kind of Fish

The classic fish stick is made out of cod. You could easily make them out of flounder or halibut. If you can find mahi mahi, it will make a nice firm fish stick. You could also look into haddock, pollack, black cod, striped bass, hake, and grouper.

You want to find fish that is fresh. And it helps if the fish is thicker.

How to Make A Healthier Coating

There are a few types of fish batter. Some are smooth like beer batter and others are crumbly like a cornmeal based fish fry coating.

For crumbly fish fry coatings, most people use panko.  You can season it with spices like Old Bay, parsley, salt, paprika, cayenne, or just about anything. Some people like having a kick. You could look into putting in some jalapenos that are finely diced as well.

You can also use normal breadcrumbs if you want a finer crumb. And some people crush potato chips or cereal.

Here's how to make a Paleo crunchy coating:

For a smooth coating that's Primal and Whole 30 friendly, check out these

Paleo Cupboard Fish Sticks

Bowl of Delicious Fish Sticks

PaleoHacks Fish Sticks

But I saved the best for last. This is what I consider to be a classic beer batter, and it's Paleo

Happily Unprocessed Paleo Beer Battered Fish

How to Cook the Fish

We want our fish sticks to be crispy on the outside and flakey on the inside, right?

You could fry in a large cast iron pan using vegetable shortening. Keep the temperature higher (around 350F) and cook quickly. Then transfer the fish to a cooling rack. I put mine in a baking pan to keep the draining oil in an easy to clean up space.

Or you could bake the fish. I will use a cooling rack on a baking pan so the fish cooks evenly. You may still want to turn the fish midway in cooking.  Cook using a high heat (450F) for about 10-12 minutes depends on how big your fish sticks are.

Finally, you can use your air fryer if you have one. It's on my birthday wish list!

Side Dishes

I love cole slaw. You could make it healthier and make broccoli slaw.

And I confess to loving french fries. If you have an air fryer, go for the potato! You can also make fries from sweet potatoes that are super delicious.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

More Paleo Tricks for Your Favorite Foods

More Paleo Tricks for Your Favorite Foods

Today let's look at some more Paleo tricks for your favorite foods. If you missed Part 1, you can find Paleo Tricks for Your Favorite Foods here. I'm going to skip cauliflower since I've already done a few posts about substituting cauliflower into your recipes. I'm also going to skip spiralizing since I talk about that here.

So let's dig in.


If you're not sure about using lettuce wraps for your hamburgers, feel free to substitute Portobello mushrooms. They're large and meaty. And they hold everything together very well.

Stuffed mushrooms are also a wonderful appetizer or small plates dish. You can put together a wide variety of flavor profiles like lamb, mint, and feta or sausage with spinach. Here's a great video for spinach stuffed mushrooms.


Tomatoes are another great way to serve things hot or cold. You could make a tuna, shrimp or crab salad and serve them in a hollowed out tomato.

Or you could try this Paleo lamb in a tomato recipe.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Paleo Tricks for Your Favorite Foods

Paleo Tricks for Your Favorite Foods

I found these Paleo tricks for your favorite foods. What do we love? Sandwiches and tacos!  But what do we avoid? Carbs. (well, sometimes we do.) If you're going Primal, Whole 30, Paleo, or just low carb, then this is the post for you.

Replace Taco Shells With Zucchini

There's actually two ways to use zucchini in place of taco shells for Paleo tacos. First, you can cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Next,  scoop out the center and bake the zucchini until it's soft. Then you can put in your taco filling and go to town.  If you're eating cheese, you can sprinkle it on and toast the zucchini boat until the cheese is all melted.

Quinoa stuffed zucchinis
Quinoa stuffed zucchinis

The second way is to shred the zucchini and create tortillas with them.

Another Quick Paleo Trick

You can also use cauliflower to make a tortilla. And these can also be used as wraps for well, wrap sandwiches.

A Common Paleo Trick

You can get large lettuce leaves and wrap your taco filling inside of that. It's somewhat more like a burrito, but it's still very tasty.

And lettuce wraps are perfect for burgers, pulled meats, and just about any filling you can think of. I know some people don't like that they tear and have the filling spill out. I look for thicker leafed varieties like romaine.

Replace Sandwich Bread with Veggies

Use cucumbers in place of bread for sandwiches. I did a blog post on this earlier. You need to hollow out the center and then use something like cream cheese to hold everything in place.


Another great idea is to use avocados in place of mayo, and then eat right out of the avocado. This is perfect for things like tuna salad, shrimp salad, crab salad, and BLT's.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Personal Bean Dip Cups

Personal Bean Dip Cups

I just saw this fantastic video for making personal bean dip cups. It's a terrific way to enforce portion control if you are left after a party wondering just how many tablespoons of salsa you really ate.

You could add in ground beef if you wanted more protein. And you can dip vegetables instead of chips. Imagine never having to worry about someone else double dipping again.

Other Ideas for Personal Snack Cups

These could be great with other flavors as well. You could make a hummus cup with tzatziki, feta, cucumber, and tomato.  You could also substitute in lamb crumbles.

And if you wanted to be crazy, you could use a zip top bag as a piping bag and put in onion dip, guac and hummus so you could get a small taste of your favorite dips.


Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Easy Vegetarian Soups from Scratch

Easy Vegetarian Soups from Scratch

Why should you make easy vegetarian soups from scratch? Soups are a great way to get filled up. When you make them from scratch, you can save a lot of money. And if you go back for a second bowl, you won't feel guilty.

Bean Soups

Most people think about black beans when they think of bean soups. I love Jamie Oliver and find him fun to watch. Hope you do too.

Here are some other fun bean soup recipes:

Slow cooker white bean soup

10 High Protein Low Fat Bean Soup Ideas

Smoky Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Lime Cashew Cream

Vegetable Soups

easy vegetable soups from scratch

You can make amazing cream of vegetable soup recipes without using cream. I love making creamed vegetable soups out of broccoli or asparagus. It feels so decadent and yet it's so incredibly healthy.

I cooked Cauliflower Leek soup last night and will toss it into the Vitamix for lunch today (and then heat it up). And I got two large bags of broccoli in my CSA so I'll be making this Creamy Broccoli soup later this weekend.

Other Types of Vegetarian Soups

I love minestrone. This recipe is a copycat of Olive Garden's minestrone recipe and is vegetarian since you need to use vegetarian broth. You can also try this Tuscan Vegetable Bean soup (I love Ellie Krieger).minestrone soup

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.


Taco Pie with Avocado Crust

Taco Pie with Avocado Crust

Taco pie with avocado crust sounds, well, interesting, doesn't it? Avocado is a great and healthy fat. If you don't like it, you won't taste it.

Watch the video to see how easy it is:


Even I'm thinking I could roll out a crust like that. Now, I hear you going “But…but…SHORTENING?”  Well, first off, it's not that bad for you. And secondly, there is all vegetable shortening out there that is vegan

Make Taco Pie with Avocado Crust Your Own

What I love about recipes like these are that you have so much opportunity to adjust it. If you're feeling vegetarian, skip the beef and add in mushrooms or more varieties of beans. Want more vegetables? Add in corn or spinach. (or any other diced veggie. I would totally put diced zucchini in here.)

And you could put in whatever spices you prefer. I love chipotles with adobo sauce for an all over warmth. Jalapenos are more like a fast jolt. I'm not saying I don't love jalapenos. Pickled ones absolutely belong on my burgers. But, I'm just saying you can change the whole dish just by changing the spices.

Now, what if you used ground lamb and Meditteranean spices? Then you could put feta and diced cucumbers and tomatoes on top and have a Greek gyro pie with avocado crust.

But Can You Make It Paleo

You could easily use rice flour to make the crust. There are also alternative baking mixes that are gluten-free. And, you could skip the idea of a crust altogether and substitute in thinly sliced sweet potatoes or riced cauliflower to make the crust.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​


Making Things From Scratch Is Easier Than You Think

Making Things From Scratch Is Easier Than You Think

I'm always on your case about making things from scratch because it will be healthier. And you'll usually save money. But mostly it's so you can control how much sugar and additives are going into your system.

Last year I bought The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making and it was so inspiring.

And just recently, Craftsy had a big sale on their classes…everything was under $20….so I picked up The From-Scratch Kitchen by the same author – Alana Chernila.

Things I Forgot I Liked To Make

I used to make tortillas all the time from scratch. It was back when I felt I had more time. The truth is I have as much time. I just don't spend it as wisely as I used to!  I'm getting better.

The tortillas you get in the store are pretty good. Most of them are just made out of the basic ingredients with no preservatives. Still, I have to tell you it's wonderful to eat a handmade flour tortilla right out of the pan with a little bit of butter.

Corn tortillas need a bit more finesse because they dry out. My favorite thing to do with them is to lightly coat them with oil, bake and then salt them up. I think they're some of the tastiest chips ever.

I also love making mayonnaise. And lately, I've been making hummus since I like adding more lemon juice and trying different add-ins like olive tapenade from Trader Joes.

Also, I used to keep dry mustard powder around. (note to self…add it to the shopping list). You know the hot mustard packets you get with takeout Chinese? It's just dry mustard powder mixed with some water. And it's required in this household for egg rolls and chicken strips.

Yogurt was a major staple that I'd make. I love very firm yogurt that's lime flavored, and I just ran out of steam trying to make it easier. I'm now inspired to get some key lime flavoring from King Arthur and some yogurt culture from Amazon. Making it in the Instant Pot is a lot easier though then in the slow cooker or on the stove.

What I Can't Wait to Try

I've tried pickles and sauerkraut on my own and they were OK. So I'm looking forward to trying her recipes. I want to pickle beets and cauliflower. I'm also looking forward to making catsup. I'm astonished at how much sugar is in the store bought bottles!

What I want to try is making toaster pastries. My husband eats one brown sugar & cinnamon pop-tart every morning for breakfast. Well, except on weekends. Then he eats two chocolate fudge ones. He's a pop-tart monster. I'm hoping I can make them better so he never looks back.

Plus, I stopped being able to easily make pie crust.  Somewhere along the line, it just stopped working out! So I plan on practicing making that from scratch again.

So What's In the Craftsy Class?

The recipes are the same as in The Homemade Pantry but you get Alana walking you through the steps and options you have for making adjustments. The recipes she chose were what she felt were the most common pantry staples.

Alana is engaging and has lots of tips for saving money and increasing the flavor. The pace is good, and it's easy to skip around to the sections you're interested in.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Copycat Starbucks Drinks Part 1

Copycat Starbucks Drinks Part 1

It's time to make your own copycat Starbucks drinks so they're healthier and much cheaper. I'd also like to say that it's OK to cheat and use strong coffee instead of espresso. Do what you have to.

Mug of strong coffee on scattered coffee beans

I have to drink decaff because of my hypertension. I get a spike if I have too much caffeine. So it's just easier for me to do decaff despite all the weird looks.

I'm calling this Part 1 because I'm going to focus on three drinks in this one. I promise to do more.

Copycat Pumpkin Spice Latte

I believe in being as natural as you can to be healthier. The old eat real food that you can recognize thing. So I recommend putting real pumpkin into your pumpkin spice latte.

You can also substitute in almond milk if you're wanting to do dairy free. I recommend sugar free varieties so you can sweeten it yourself. Some people use honey and others use stevia.

For the pumpkin spice, I say it's up to you. I do cheat and buy pre-mixed. If you want to blend your own, go for it!

Copycat Caramel Macchiato (hot and cold)

Ashley shows us the cheaper way to make it (at home)

Now, if you wanted to make it healthier, you can use almond milk. And I'd consider using vanilla paste instead of vanilla syrup. You'll cut down on the sugar.

Look for sugar-free versions of the syrups, but be careful that they're not using fillers and other chemicals.

Check out this recipe from Paleo Hacks on how to lighten it up.

Go Crazy

Here's how to make a turmeric latte. Turmeric is a lovely yellow spice. You see it in curries. Tumeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxident. I love putting it into beans since it's subtle yet effective. It's much better than taking pills.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Engagement Roast Chicken

Engagement Roast Chicken

I was able to pick up a whole organic chicken at the supermarket yesterday. It was marked down. That's why I like shopping early in the morning. The butchers have gone through and put the money off stickers on items that are close to their due date.

But if you're like me, it can sometimes get boring making a roasted chicken again. I'm always looking for ways of making it different and fun. Luckily, I found Ina Garden's recipe, and it looks perfect.

Check out the video here


Things I Learned

I'd heard about patting dry poultry but never knew why. I figured it was just after rinsing it off that you'd want to dry it a bit before salting.

I also loved learning an easy way to truss the chicken.  The answer is simply. You don't want it to look like it's in bondage. And the reason why you truss poultry is so they roast more evenly.

Finally, making a pan sauce is so easy. I learned how to do that in a Craftsy course and forgot.

I guess I'd better buy some more onions. She calls for Spanish onions and says they're sweeter. I figure that Vidalia or Maui onions will do just as well.

Make It A Meal

I may add in some potatoes with the onions and lemon to round out the meal. I'd quarter small potatoes so they'd get that nice crispy texture along with the carmalized onions.

You could also toss in parsnips, carrots, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and butternut squash.

What's your favorite way of roasting a whole chicken?


Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​