Slow Cooker Thursday – Fruit & Nutty Pork Chops

It’s time for another edition of my slow cooker series.  I’ve decided to do a slow cooker post every Thursday.  It might be a tall order as the semester gets under way.  We’ll see.  This week I did pork chops and they turned out pretty good!

IMG_15892 tablespoons coconut oil

5-6 thick-sliced pork chops

2 tart apples

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 small onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon sea salt

2 teaspoons coarse black pepper

1 tablespoon raw honey

IMG_15941. Turn you slow cooker on high so it can warm up.

2. Melt the oil in a large frying pan on the stove.

3. Once the oil is hot, brown the pork chops on each side for about 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Put your chops in the slow cooker.

5. Place the apple slices in the drying pan, along with the walnuts, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook until onions and apples are soft.

6. Pour the apple mixture over the pork chops.

7. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the meat and drizzle with the honey.

8. Cover and lower the temperature to low.  Cook for 8 hours.

IMG_1595I’ve never had a slow cooked pork chop and I really like it.  I hope you do too.  Happy cooking!

~Laura

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On a Quinoa Binge – Asian-Inspired Quinoa Salad

I liked the quinoa salad I made last week so much that I decided to make a different variation of it this week.  The first couple of steps are the same but I was smart this time and bought already sprouted quinoa so I’ll omit the directions on how to sprout quinoa.

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1 1/2 cups quinoa

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

1 cup wakame seaweed, soaked for 20 minutes, strained and rinsed

1 cup grated carrots

3/4 cup thinly slices zucchini rounds

1 red bell pepper, seeded and stemmed, cut into medium sized chunks

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted

FOR THE DRESSING:

1 tablespoon minced ginger root

1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar

Wheat-free tamari

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Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pot, then pour in the quinoa and lower the heat.  Simmer covered for 12 to 15 minutes.  Around 5 minutes into cooking, add the turmeric to the water.  Once done cooking, turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes before emptying the quinoa into a bowl.

While the cooked quinoa is still warm, stir in the wakame, carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, cilantro, and sesame seeds.

To make the dressing, gently whisk all of the dressing ingredients until well incorporated.  Stir enough dressing into the quinoa mixture to evenly coat everything, then serve.

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I don’t think this one is as good as the one I made last week but it’s still quite tasty.  These photos are shown without the sesame seeds cause I forgot to add them until the last minute.  This is a great lunch salad and it’s veggie and super easy.  Happy cooking!

Send me your recipes and I’ll make them healthy!

So I had a bit of an epiphany last night while I was sitting in a lecture on digital marketing (woo hoo yay I know).  I was thinking to myself, what is my thing with cooking?  What do I do that’s unique?  And it occurred to me that when I’m not cooking out of a healthy cookbook, I take regular old recipes and transform them into healthy, real food meals.  Lots of recipes call for canned goods and sauces and things that are processed but I rarely use those ingredient, I substitute real food in.  So, I want to get you, the reader, involved.   Send me a recipe that you think looks delicious but may not be the healthiest thing on the planet, and I will transform it into a healthy, real food recipe.  I’ll make its, taste test it, and then share it on my blog and let you know if its a win or a lose.  If you live close by, I may even invite you over to taste test it!  Email your recipes to theunrefinedpantry@gmail.com.  I look forward to your submissions!

~Laura

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Something for breakfast tomorrow – Perfect Scrambled Eggs

I haven’t done a breakfast post here yet, mostly because I don’t usually cook anything for breakfast.  I’m a smoothie or sleep through breakfast kinda girl 🙂  But I did this one this weekend cause I was feeling breakfasty and it turned out yum-o!

IMG_15802 medium organic pasture-raised eggs, plus 1 additional yolk

Pinch of unrefined sea salt

Handful of fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon organic coconut milk

1 teaspoon organic raw butter

IMG_1581In a bowl, whisk with some water the eggs, salt, parsley, and coconut milk.    Melt the butter in a skillet set over low heat.  Pour in the egg mixture and, with a spatula, gently move it around to keep it from firming up at the base and sides.  When the eggs are still slightly runny, dish the mixture onto a serving plate.  Let stand for a minute or two.  Then serve.   I served mine with fresh organic tomato slices but you could do fresh or steamed greens too.

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And there you have my first breakfast post.  Super quick and easy.  This recipe only serves one so double and triple, etc according to how many people are eating.  Happy cooking!

 

 

Weekly Slow Cooker Recipe – Chicken Cacciatore – Paleo!!

It’s time for my weekly edition of Laura’s slow cooker recipe.  This recipe is from Paleolithic Slow Cooker. I find the name of the cookbook entertaining since I’m pretty sure they did not have slow cookers in the Paleolithic era!  But for all you Paleo peeps out there, this is for you (and for regular people too) 🙂

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3 tablespoons coconut oil

2 pounds bone-in chicken breast

2 stalks of celery, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped

3 large bell peppers – any color, sliced

15 oz diced tomatoes (about 3.5 tomatoes)

1 tablespoon oregano

IMG_15761. Turn your slow cooker on high while you get your ingredients ready.

2. Place the coconut oil on the bottom and allow it to melt.

3. Place the remaining ingredients into the slow cooker and reduce the slow cooker to low.

4.  Cook for 7 to 8 hours.

5. Serve with spaghetti squash if desired. (I did not because the soupy style seemed more interesting to me plain).

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This recipe is super easy and very healthy since the meat has been cooked on the bone.  The minerals and nutrients from the bone end up in the broth and the slow cooking nature of it keeps them viable.  Beware, there is no salt in this so if you like your stuff salty, add a teaspoon before you start cooking.  This recipe is great for a work day, you throw everything in in the morning and come home from work and it’s ready!  Happy cooking!

 

Lunch Time Goodness! – Quinoa Salad with Fragrant Spices

I’ve been taking soups and stews for lunch recently so I decided to try something new when I came across this quinoa salad recipe.  Every time I eat this I’m left wanting a second helping.  There are so many different tastes in it you can’t get bored with it! I made a double recipe of it because it’s only supposed to serve 2 or 3.  I’m not sure I needed that much.  I gave Rob a bunch to take home with him!

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1 1/2 cups quinoa

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

1 crisp apple, cut into small chunks

3 celery stalks, cut into thin half-moons

1 small red onion, minced

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 to 2 tablespoons raw cider vinegar

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds, toasted

1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

Unrefined sea salt

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (if available)

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Before preparing this recipe, it is very beneficial (but optional) to soak and sprout the quinoa.  I did not have time to do this with mine but I will give you the directions for both ways:

Soaking the quinoa:

Soak the quinoa in a bowl in 3 cups of water.  Lit it sit at room temperature for 2 hours, then strain and rinse well.  Return the strained quinoa to a bowl and let it sit at room temperature for another 8 to 12 hours.  You should see little tails shooting out of each little quinoa seed.  Rinse again.  In a sauce pot, bring 2 3/4  cups water to a boil, then add the quinoa.  Cover and simmer over medium heat for a total of 10 minutes, but around 5 minutes into cooking, add the turmeric to the water.  Once done cooking, turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes before emptying the quinoa into a bowl. Cool to room temperature.

Not soaking the quinoa:

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pot, then pour in the quinoa and lower the heat.  Simmer covered for 12 to 15 minutes.  Repeat the same final steps described above, adding the turmeric and letting it cool.

Once the quinoa has fully cooled (I put mine in the freezer cause I didn’t want to wait), stir in the apple, celery, onion, cilantro and parsley.  Stir in the olive oil and apple cider vinegar.  Season with the cumin and coriander, and a touch of sea salt, as desired.  Garnish with the pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds, if available.

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This is a good one.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I have been this week!  Happy cooking!

For my veggie followers – Roasted Tempeh with Shiitake and Sweet Potato

I am by  no means a vegetarian but every once in a while its interesting to try a veggie recipe.  I am completely against tofu because its so processed but tempeh is okay in my book.   I haven’t cooked with it in years so when I came across this recipe in Hungry for Change I decided to try it.  I’m pretty impressed with the results.  It smelled so good baking and tasted even better!

IMG_15671 12 oz block of organic – non-GMO tempeh, cut into 4 equal pieces

For the Marinade:

2 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Shiitake and Sweet Potato:

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 sweet potato, washed (and peeled, if desired), cut into 1/2-inch dice (not to be confused with a yam, sweet potatoes are white on the inside)

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

8-10 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 kale leaves, stems removes, torn into bite-size pieces

Unrefined sea salt

IMG_1569To prepare the tempeh, place the cut pieces into a non-reactive glass baking dish.  Blend all the marinade ingredients together in a blender for 30 seconds, them pour over the tempeh.  Allow tempeh to marinate for at lease 1 hour or, ideally, overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the marinated tempeh in its baking dish for 30 minutes.  Tempeh is baked sitting in its marinade. While the tempeh is cooking, make the hash. Melt oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the sweet potato and onion.  Saute, stirring often to prevent sticking, until the sweet potatoes are just about fork tender.  Stir in the shiitake caps, garlic, and kale leaves.  Saute all until the kale is wilted and tender.  Season with salt to taste, then divide the mixture between two serving plates.  Top with pieces of the tempeh and serve.

IMG_1571This was as super easy, quick meal that left me wanting to eat the whole pan of it.  Super yummy!  Happy cooking!