Bacon Wrapped Avocado Egg

Bacon Wrapped Avocado Egg

When I first saw this video for a bacon wrapped avocado egg, I thought it was weird. But the more I think about it, the more I realize it could be a great Paleo breakfast. And since tomato season is coming up, it would be a nice low carb lunch with slices of tomatoes.

Watch the video and see what you think:

Avocado is a Good Fat

I'm always telling you to use avocados. They're a healthy fat and can be used in place of mayonnaise.  Some people think they don't like them.  (OK, they probably really don't. I still have some egg issues and probably couldn't make this for myself since I don't like runny eggs).

What Would I Change

A lot of the comments felt that the avocado they chose was underripe.  I don't agree. I think it was perfectly on the lighter edge of ripe and would be delicious.

Others found that you really needed to dry off the avocado really well to get the egg to sit in properly as well as get the bacon to wrap well.

I found PaleoHacks had their own version that seems to come out better than the Thrillist one. They used prosciutto so perhaps that cooked faster and more evenly than two rows of bacon.

Think you'll try it?

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

Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts Salad

I'm in love with Brussels sprouts salad. My biggest challenge is shredding them finely enough. However, this recipe has you roast the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts before tossing with the salad dressing. So you don't have to shred them as fine as if it were a raw Brussels sprouts salad.

Watch the video!

Some Cool Modifications

You could use butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes. You could also use parsnips since they are also naturally sweet. The recipe seems to make a ton of the salad.

So if you like the salad, make a big batch on Sunday and then set up a few Mason jars. Put the dressing in the bottom and the salad on top, and it's good to go for lunch time. Just shake up the jar and pour it out.

You could also toss in some roasted beets and cooked broccoli. If you like carrots, you could roast them along with the sweet potatoes. Or you could shred them and leave them raw for a crunchy counterpoint.

If you want something “meaty” flavored, add in some mushrooms.

This recipe lends itself to bean sprouts. You could add in tofu if you wanted more protein. Also, if you have leftover rice or couscous, you could blend that 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.​​​​​​​

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pulled Pork

Hawaiian pulled pork in a slow cooker is a match made in heaven. Pork shoulder is generally used in restaurants, but they're rarely available in grocery stores. If you have a good butcher, you could order one and make a lot. Pulled pork does freeze well.  Or share with friends and have them return the favor.

If you can't find a shoulder, look for a Boston butt, which is half of the shoulder. The other half is called the picnic shoulder.
Watch the video to see how easy it is

Recipes

The basic recipe is sugar and spices for a dry rub on the pork. Then you put it in the slow cooker with some form of barbecue sauce. You could make it yourself, or buy a bottle.

You can vary how it tastes depending upon the type of barbecue sauce that you use. You'll get a very different flavor with mustard based than you will with a tomato based sauce.

For a more Hawaiian flavor, you will want to use honey, pineapple and soy sauce if you make your own.  You can find Kings Hawaiian's recommended recipe along with a slaw here. Of course, they recommend their brand of barbecue sauce!  (and why not…but feel free to make your own)

Another type of Hawaiian pulled pork is the Kalua pork. It's a lot simpler. NomNom Paleo recommends a 5 pound Boston Butt with 5 strips of bacon and Hawaiian sea salt. The bacon and salt provide the smokiness that's the hallmark of the dish.

Other recipes call for sea salt and liquid smoke. See what you have on hand. Some people pop it in their slow cooker for 16 to 20 hours to cook it like it's pork for a luau.

What to Do With It

You could make a sandwich or sliders. It's delicious on its own with sides like spinach or chard. If you're going Hawaiian you could have poi as well. Cole slaw is always a great side.

You could turn it into a salad with a variety of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and whatever else you like. The sauce would act like a dressing.

Pulled pork also makes great nachos. If you want to be more Paleo, then use sweet potato chips instead of corn chips.

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

Restaurant Quality Mussels

Restaurant Quality Mussels

Today I'll go over some tips on how to make restaurant quality mussels.

We love eating out at restaurants. It's not just because someone else is cooking and we're getting served. But there's something about the flavor that's difficult to recreate in the home.

Or we think it is.  Usually, they're using a lot of butter. And I do mean a ton of it.

The second is that they use good quality ingredients.

Choosing the Mussels

Unlike clams, some mussels are open when you purchase them, and they're alive. They should close quickly when you touch them.  If not, they're dead and should be tossed.

After cooking, if a mussel hasn't opened, it's dead, so go ahead and toss it as well.

Shells should be intact with no signs of cracks or chips.

Mussels are delicious, cheap, fast to prepare and very satisfying.

Mistakes to Avoid

There are some pretty simple steps for making good mussels.  Make sure you don't make these mistakes.

Not cleaning your mussels

We talked about removing the beard in a previous post where I made mussels and clams with linguine. Scrape off any barnacles you see with a paring knife. And rinse them off well.  I prefer soaking in salt water for awhile as well.

Add in aromatics

This really helps develop the flavor for the broth. You want to use chopped onion, garlic, shallots ginger, or a mixture.

Alcohol adds flavor

Using a crisp white wine or lager will infuse flavor into the mussels and make the broth lovely. If you don't want to use alcohol, use something else like coconut milk or chopped tomatoes in juice. Don't just use water.

Always Simmer

You want to slowly cook the mussels using a simmer and never a boil. Simmering is when there's small bubbles coming up. Boiling is larger bubbles.

See more in this video with Jamie Oliver

Remember the herbs

I love using fresh thyme and parsley in my mussels. It's also wonderful with dill, cilantro, and tarragon. Rosemary and sage wouldn't be good choices as they're more woody flavors and you want to appreciate the brininess of the mussels.

Some people also love adding in hot pepper flakes.

Move Them Around

Gently shake the pan to move the mussels around.  You can stir but don't be constantly in there moving them around.  Some people prefer to put a lid on the pan thinking that the shellfish will cook faster.  In a professional kitchen, they rarely have time to find lids and the mussels cook just fine.  So you can use a lid but you don't have to.  And gently move them around but don't be too rough.

And you can finish up the disk with just a little butter to add a lovely depth to the broth.

Serving Them

I like them steamed with the broth and fresh herbs over the top. I'll also make a salad with a vinaigrette dressing. I also love some crusty bread to dip into the broth.

You can slice the French bread thinly and toast it. Then rub a garlic clove over it. It's the perfect accompaniment to your meal. And you will be satisfied with less.

Noodle-less Lasagna Options

Noodle-less Lasagna Options

Continuing on with Low Carb and Grain Free, let's explore Noodle-less Lasagna. I found a good recipe that uses eggplant and zucchini. But you don't have to stop there.

But first, watch the video to see how easy it is.

You can get the full recipe at Eating Well.

What Would I Change

I remember the first time I had zucchini lasagna back in 1987. I wished all lasagnas were made that way. It tasted so much fresher than with pasta.

But I can also see family grumbling. So feel free to make this as a compromise. Maybe you can use lasagna noodles for one of the layers.

Also, feel free to swap in ground turkey that's seasoned like Italian sausage. Some people also prefer ground chicken. And of course there's always ground beef and ground lamb. Just cook it thoroughly and drain off the excess fat. You do keep a fat jar by your stove, don't you?

You could also swap out some of the meat for chopped mushrooms. They have a lovely toothiness and absorb the other flavors. Also, I love adding in some spinach.

I also love straining plain Greek yogurt and using that in place of ricotta. It's higher protein and you honestly can't taste the difference.

But I'd never mess with the mozzarella.

Other Variations

Not everyone likes eggplant.  Shocking!  But you could slice portobello mushrooms as well as butternut squash.

If you want to go more paleo, you can make a ricotta out of cauliflower.  It sounds crazy but the recipe makes it sound delicious.

Then there's also

Crock Pot Sweet Potato Lasagna

Paleo Butternut Squash Lasagna with Cashew Cheese

Cabbage Leaf Lasagna

Those are all gluten free recipes.

Lasagna-Like Dishes

You can layer the lasagna and use different spices and sauces.  If you used lamb and a white bechemel sauce, you'd make something like a mousakas.

You could use a white cheese sauce and layer in some asparagus as well.

And the list goes on:

Turkey Parmigiana Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna

Vegan Lasagna

I hope you're inspired to try something different.

Greek Spaghetti Squash Toss

Greek Spaghetti Squash Toss

I love spaghetti squash. My mom used to make it in the 70's and 80s. I loved it with marinara or just butter and some grated Parm cheese (yeah, the stuff in the green can).

But one squash can product an awful lot of spaghetti. So get creative with it.

Watch this video for inspiration

And you can find the full recipe at Cooking Light.

How to Prepare Spaghetti Squash

I know I didn't like to buy large, oddly shaped squashes. Butternut? Forget it. I'll buy it pre-cubed. But it doesn't taste the same.

Spaghetti squash is another one. I worry about my knife slipping or getting stuck.

Just an aside, delicata squash is wonderful. No peeling or de-seeding really necessary. And it has a thin skin so it's easy to cut up and toss in a pan with onions and olive oil for a delicious side.

If you don't have a slow cooker or a pressure cooker, you should slice it in half lengthwise.

Fresh spaghetti squash cut in half on white background

Then scrape out the seeds. If you have a jack-o-lantern scraper leftover from Halloween, it does a GREAT job on this. Then put the halves flesh side down, skin side up in a baking dish.

If you're using an oven, roast it at 400 for about 30-45 minutes. It depends upon the size of your squash.

If you have a microwave, add 3/4 to 1 inch of water and cover the dish with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 10-12 minutes, turning your dish halfway through cooking if necessary, until you can easily pierce the squash with a fork.

Then you let it cool down and scrape out the goodness.

What If You Have Kitchen Appliances

You definitely may want to go to your local thrift store and get a slow cooker or pressure cooker. Or ask a friend to play around with it. It's not for everyone, but I think it can short-cut a lot of the boring work.

You cut out the step of having to cut open the squash and scrape out the seeds if you use a slow cooker or pressure cooker.

For a slow cooker, poke about 10-12 holes into the skin. I use a fork so I don't have to do as many punctures. Then place in the slow cooker with about a cup and a half of water. Turn it on low for 4-6 hours. Then let it cool on a cutting board until it's ok to touch.

If you're using a pressure cooker, use a rack. Add in the minimum amount of water your pressure cooker needs to come to pressure. One of mine is about a cup and another is a cup and a half. Put the squash in and cook at pressure for 12-20 minutes. It depends upon the size of your squash. Do a quick release and let it cool on a cutting board.

Some people prefer to cut open the squash and scrape out the seeds. It's a personal choice. I'm lazy and would rather cut it open when it's soft. Nom Nom Paleo shows how to slice it in half in the middle and cook it in the pressure cooker.

When the squash is cool, slice it open and scoop out the seeds. Then take a fork and glide it along the length of the squash and pull out the strands that are like spaghetti.

 

Baked Potato Fries

Baked Potato Fries

Baked Potato.  And French Fries. Do you really have to choose one? Nope! Check out this cool video for making Hasselback baked potatos that has all the joy of french fries.

How to Make Baked Potato Fries

This recipe has been around for decades. It's official name is the Hasselback style potato and is sometimes served with sour cream and fresh dill.

Personally I like leaving on the skin so I can get more fiber and vitamins. However, if you prefer, you can peel the potato first. You may want to use a thin skinned potato like Yukon Gold or a red skinned potato for more flavor.

You can buy smaller potatoes in a variety of colors and slice them up and bake all at once instead of a big potato.

Hasselback style potatoesThe bottom line is you need a really sharp knife. Then you slice thinly almost all the way to the bottom of the potato. Cooking Light suggested putting chopsticks along the side of the potato to act as a guide so you don't accidentally slice all the way through.

Mix up some olive oil with salt, pepper, herbs, and fresh chopped garlic. Then pour or brush over the potato, making sure the oil seeps between slices. Bake, uncovered, at 450° for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size and type of potato. Sprinkle with more fresh herbs like parsley.

Love Your Potatoes

The potato can be your friend when cooking yourself thin.  It's a good hearty side dish. I'll often bake a potato and stuff it with cheese, broccoli and salsa and call it lunch.

I'll take a small potato and dice it up, and then fry that a little bit before tossing in veggies and an egg for breakfast.

Potatoes add a great mouth feel and sense of comfort.  If you don't want to use a potato, look into alternatives like parsnips and celery root.

But as I always say, balance is everything.

The Best Products To Use In Your Kitchen To Cook With

Even if you only cook for your family, there is always something new to learn. Knowing the proper methods and how to go about applying them, will turn simple meals into amazing feasts that everyone will remember you for. By applying these tips to your next cooking endeavor, you will find yourself with loads of good food.

Cooking with skewers can provide very beneficial if you use them properly. Avoid round metal skewers and stick to square or twisted types.

If you are learning to cook for yourself or your family, pick up a cookbook from your bookstore or library. Look for one that has basic, easy recipes that will be fun to cook. Pick out a few recipes to try and decide after it has been eaten if it is a recipe you want to add to your permanent collection. Be sure to be patient as you try these new recipes.

Do not keep your herbs or spices in a place that is not cool and dark. Shelf life can be significantly decreased for those spices which have been exposed to too much light, dampness and heat. Storing your spices in a dark location with a lower temperature will help preserve them longer. Using fresher spices can make tastier meals.

To slice meat with ease, you should place it in the freezer for a bit. This is a good way to cut strips for Asian dishes, such as Chinese and Thai. Partially freezing the meat will help the fibers to stay together when it is being sliced. Just remember, though, to let the stripped meat completely thaw out before you start cooking. This keeps the meat from cooking unevenly.

Boiling takes time and removes the nutrients from veggies. To get the greatest health benefit from vegetables, cook them quickly with methods like steaming or sauteing, or serve them raw.

When you cook vegetables quickly over high heat, their quality is best. When you cook veggies slowly, they lose many nutrients. These speed-cooking techniques usually produce vegetables that are more nutritious overall. Discovering how to quickly cook veggies in a safe manner is an important step in preparing more nutritious vegetables.

Be careful when using garlic because the flavor and aroma can be transferred to a variety of surfaces, including your hands. By rubbing your hands inside a stainless sink after handling pungent smelling foods. The steel will clean your hands and remove the smell. You can buy stainless steel “soaps” at your local kitchen store to keep on hand.

When you make chicken stock, a good piece of advice is to make it in a big quantity. Plan to make a big pot of stock so you can freeze and store it. Homemade chicken stock makes a great base for casseroles, soups, stews, and many other wonderful dishes. After the liquid has cooled you can store it in heavy-duty freezer bags.

If you find that making a whole dinner at once is too much work, do parts of your food preparation the night before. Try chopping all your onions and veggies, making up a sauce or putting the meat in a marinade before going to bed at night. When you decide to cook the following day you'll have less to do and become less stressed, this lets you focus on your main cooking tasks.

You should never throw away your leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Take the leftovers, cut them up, put in a container and store in the freezer for future use. Frozen turkey will keep for weeks in the freezer and can be unfrozen and used for a variety of dishes.

When cooking, get into the habit of washing your dishes as soon as you finish using them. Try keeping one side of the sink full of hot water with soap ready to wash dishes. The other should contain rinse water. If you wash while you are cooking, the dishes and pots will be easier to scrub and you will save time on cleaning up after dinner. Plus, they will be immediately available to use again.

When you are making pasta you need to be sure to add a liberal amount of salt to the water. This helps to add flavor to the pasta while it is boiling. Pasta salted during cooking tastes better than pasta salted after the fact.

If you desire to be a better cook, use these tips accomplish that. These cooking tips can help you learn to cook better for either yourself, a crowd, family, or friends.

Have You Been Afraid To Try Your Hand At Cooking?

Do you find cooking stressful or intimidating? Cooking is a task that should be enjoyable, and not one that you dread. This article provides several fantastic tips that will make cooking more enjoyable, and stress-free. After you put the information from this article to good use, you will undoubtedly wish that you'd come across it sooner.

When possible, complete all of the prep work in advance. It is important to have all the prep work done before you start cooking. Trying to cook a meal that has to be on the table by a certain time can be stressful. You can save yourself a lot of stress by doing as much preparation ahead of time as you can.

Preparation is key when cooking for family or friends. Save yourself time and trouble by having all your ingredients ready. Get out everything that you'll need including the ingredients and utensils a day ahead of time. Doing so allows you to focus on the cooking itself.

Apples spoil quickly if stored incorrectly. Warm, dry air will make apples rot, so keep them in the fridge or cellar in plastic bags. Watch your apples so that you can catch any rotten ones, a rotten apple will make the others spoil.

Whatever you may be cooking, using fresh foods is always better than canned, dried, or frozen. Use fresh ingredients as often as you can; they offer more flavor and tend to be less expensive as well.

They will soak up much of the water, as if they were a sponge. Get a soft, clean and wet cloth to wipe the dirt off each individual mushroom for better results.

Sauteing vegetables in a small amount of chicken broth is a healthy and delicious way to cook. The chicken broth will add a dimension of flavor, and let you cut down on how much oil you use. This method produces healthy and tasty vegetables.

Read the nutrition facts, even for raw ingredients you purchase. Many often-used ingredients contain hidden, unhealthy ingredients. Be sure that the ingredients you are buying do not contain high amounts of sugar or sodium, as these both can cause health problems if overdone.

You can avoid some of the stress of being rushed while preparing dinner if you make some preparations the previous night. Do little things for your meals the night before so your mealtime will be a little bit easier. You won't be as stressed when you prepare the meal the next day.

Find a convenient cool dark place for storing herbs and spices. Storing spices in warm locations, such as above the stove, can cause the spices to lose their flavor and you to lose your money.

It is necessary for all cooks to organize their cooking supplies. Supplies and staples kept in disarray will have you scrambling when trying to find a needed utensil or ingredient. Store items of a similar nature together. As an example, parsley and basil are spices, so they should be stored in a cabinet together with all of the other spices.

Place any unripened fruit that you buy in a plastic bag that is perforated. Fruits produce ethylene gas when they become riper. When you store the fruit in a perforated bag, the ethylene gas can escape so that the natural decay process slows down. This allows your produce and fruits to stay fresh longer.

Macaroni and cheese should be cooked with careful attention to the instructions. This is the best way to get the noodles and cheese cooked to just the right consistency. You can just use a big solid spoon to serve your mac and cheese. Adding a little pepper will give the macaroni a little zing!

To have especially flavor rich foods, produce your own stock. Make a large batch, and then store it in your freezer. You should always have access to stock when you are cooking other dishes. By making and having your own stock on hand, you will know it doesn't contain preservatives.

When you cook, wash dishes as you go along. Make it easy on yourself by filling your sink with water, while reserving a separate section for rinsing. Mixing bowls and utensils wash up easily just after they have been used and they will be clean and ready for whipping up the next ingredient of your family meal.

Regular meal preparation can seem like a major chore at times. Fortunately, there are many shortcuts and tricks to make cooking for a family quick and easy. You should be relaxed when you are walking into your kitchen.

Cooking Suggestions To Benefit You And Your Family

Cooking is something that you can never really master; there's always more to learn. Even a cook with lots of experience can always learn something new in the kitchen to improve their skills and make it more fun. Novice cooks must learn a few basic skills before undertaking a major culinary project. Here, we will give you some great advice to make your cooking adventures more satisfying.

There's an easy way to save thin sauces. You need to mix 2 tablespoons filled with water and 1 tablespoon filled with corn starch in a bowl. Continually stir the sauce while adding corn starch slowly. However, it is important that the sauce is stirred often while the mixture is being added so as to stop it becoming too thick.

To make slicing meat into thin strips a little easier, partially freeze it. This procedure can be particular helpful when you are preparing Asian dishes. By marginally freezing meat, slicing it is made cleaner, as its fibers will not tear quite as easily. A word of caution, allow meat to completely thaw prior to cooking. This will ensure even cooking of your meat.

If you are serious about losing weight and getting healthy, you need to cut back on cooking oils. These types of foods contain many unnecessary fats you can live without. Replace them with a nonstick cooking spray and you won't notice the difference.

Wooden skewers should be soaked in plain water before each use for an absolute minimum of thirty minutes. This way, you don't burn them when you are cooking with them. Instead of cooking food on a single skewer, opt for two parallel skewers. This prevents the ingredients from sliding off into the fire.

When you season food add a little at a time every few minutes rather than adding it all at one time. In this manner, you will be able to enhance the flavors of the final dish.

Measure the oil you use when cooking! By measuring, you will be able to lower the quantity of fat and grease in your foods. That way, you will know precisely how much oil is going into the dish you are preparing.

When cooking a roast in a short amount of time, it is important to keep the bone in the meat. This will help the meat to cook quicker because the heat will be carried to the center of the roast through the bone. When you are done cooking the roast cut it off the bone.

Stop! Don't throw away those turkey leftovers! Rather, cut up the meat and store in in the freezer. Freezing can add weeks to the life of your leftovers and turkey can be pulled out as desired, and thawed for sandwiches or shredded for salads.

If you purchase fruit that is still green and want it to ripen quickly, put it in a plastic bag with perforations. As fruits ripen, they produce a gas called ethylene. Placing fruit in a perforated bag allows air circulation in the bag, retaining ethylene gas and keeping the fruit tasting good.

When preparing a meal, make sure you have clean cooking utensils. Leftover food could really screw up your next dish. This could spread harmful bacteria into your food, and could be detrimental to your health.

Instead of chopping them on a cutting board, a better way to cut herbs is to hold them in a bunch and cut them with sharp scissors. This works especially well for dill and parsley. When cut in this way, these herbs will have a lighter, fresher appearance.

When you are planning to make quite a detailed meal, do some of the prep work the day before to reduce some of the stress involved. There are a lot of things you can do ahead of time like chopping vegetables, measuring seasonings and gathering all the utensils you will need. Also verify that you aren't missing any ingredients. When you are ready to start cooking, all you have to do is combine the ingredients and cook them.

Make all the preparations for your food before you begin to cook it. This will prevent you from wasting resources or overcooking your food, as well as prevent other dangerous situations resulting from distractions.

When it comes to sauteing food, do not put too much food in the pan at once. You may end up steaming your meal because of the water content of your vegetables. Always saute over a low flame or low setting on your stove-top.

There are various ways to heat up tortillas properly. For example, place the tortillas directly onto a rack in a oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees. Remove the tortillas from the oven when they are sufficiently crispy. You can also place the tortilla right on top of a gas stove top burner set to a low flame. This will make sure you have a more tasty and fresh tortilla.

When you are working with a fruit or vegetable you are unfamiliar with, take some time to learn about it. After a little research, you may be amazed at the versatility of food. Giving yourself more knowledge prior to cooking anything will go a long way towards improving the overall experience.

You should have stackable cooling racks in your kitchen. If you bake large batches, the cooling baked goods often take up every spare inch of space in your kitchen. These racks utilize the vertical spaces in your kitchen. Using vertical space will allow you to have open space in your kitchen while the cookies are cooling.

Even seasoned cooks can use new tips to ease their cooking process. And if you are new to cooking, you will need to learn all you can to make your meals special. Try out the tips you have read in the article in order to see how much your cooking skills will improve, and how enjoyable a kitchen experience can be.