Apple Beef Roast

So last month I found these boneless beef ribs at Aldi for super cheap, and I stocked up and froze them because ribs are awesome and I love them. But, I didn’t know what to do with them besides slow cook them with BBQ sauce. The only problem is I can’t eat BBQ sauce any more! Ack, what to do? Thankfully I came across a recipe for boneless ribs cooked in the slow cooker with apples. A lot of tweaks later, I came up with the recipe below. The fiance ate it up in like 5 minutes so it’s definitely a hit.

Apple Beef Roast

Serves 4-6, depending on portions


2 lbs beef stew meat, boneless ribs, or chuck roast

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 c soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

1 c apple juice, unsweetened

4 shallots, roughly chopped

1 tbsp olive oil or butter

1 tsp apple cider vinegar


For the gravy:

¼ c cornstarch

1 c water


Brown meat on all sides in a skillet with the oil and garlic. Put everything in the skillet into the slow cooker, scraping the pan to get all the brown bits. Add all other ingredients (except gravy ingredients) to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on low for 6 hours.

When the meat is done, remove from the slow cooker and place on a plate. Pour all the liquid in the slow cooker and 1 cup water into a medium pot. Mix the cornstarch with a bit of water to make a slurry and add to the cooking juices. Whisk on medium high heat until thickened to desired consistency. Pour over ribs and serve immediately.

Chef’s Tip: For extra apple flavor, peel and chop 2-3 medium apples and add to slow cooker with other ingredients.


Homemade Chicken Fried Rice

My bible study was doing a dinner club tonight, where we get together to eat and share the recipe for the meal. Of course, with the whole allergy diet thing, I knew finding something both easy to make and delicious for normal people would be a challenge, but I think I’ve made a winner with this homemade chicken fried rice. I love it because it’s so versatile; you can change the vegetables, the oil, the kind of rice, the meat, even the spices and it will still taste amazing.


Chicken Fried Rice

Cook time: 30 minutes                   Serves: 2


1 chicken breast

1 c. chicken stock

½ c. uncooked rice

2 medium carrots

½ c onion, diced

1 serrano pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 TBSP butter or ghee

2 TBSP soy sauce, or to taste


In a small pot, boil the chicken stock on high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, add rice, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.


While the rice is cooking, peel your carrots and cut into thin slices and cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken pieces, carrot slices, onion, garlic, pepper, and half the butter and soy sauce to a large skillet. Sauté until chicken is cooked through and carrots are crisp-tender, about 10-15 minutes, depending on size of chicken pieces.

Once rice is cooked, add to skillet with remaining butter and soy sauce. Sauté for about 5 minutes to meld flavors. Taste some of the rice and add more soy sauce if necessary. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Chef’s Tips

To make this dish healthier, use brown rice and substitute coconut oil for the butter.

Rotisserie chicken, skin on, is a great time-saver for this dish and adds delicious flavor.

If serrano peppers are too spicy, use a pepper powder and season to taste.

For gluten free or yeast free diets, substitute Bragg’s Liquid Aminos for the soy sauce.

You can add any vegetables you want to this dish; it’s very versatile.

An Update, Plus Creamy Poblano Pork Recipe

So at the beginning of the year, I started seeing this new holistic wellness doctor at the advice of several of my friends. See, I have some medical issues that western medicine has been unable to solve for me. I finally got fed up with being told the only way to get healthy was to take pill after pill after pill and went to see someone who would try to solve the root of the problem, not just the symptoms. Enter the allergen elimination diet.

For the past few months I have had to avoid about 25 different foods, drinks, and spices while my body works to heal itself. Apparently I’ve been eating things that my body can’t properly process all my life, and I didn’t know it was affecting my health until I got a blood test saying so. Of course, not all those foods are really hurting me, but I don’t know what the real culprit is because when I eat it, my body mounts an immune response not only to that food, but the other foods I ate with it. So, what started as maybe one or two true food sensitivities ballooned into 25 over a lifetime. Yaaaaaaaay.

With about 25 things I can’t eat anymore, you would imagine my diet to be basically rice and chicken, right?  Nope! It’s amazing what you can do with a little creativity and variety. I’ve had my share of food flops, but once I got into the swing of things, I found I eat just as good, if not better, than when I started this whole thing. The secret is being willing to experiment with new foods and researching alternatives like there’s no tomorrow.

I wanted to share my favorite recipe I’ve come up with so far. Throwing the “cream” in at the end was totally on a whim, but I am so glad I did because I think it took this dish to a whole new level.

Creamy Poblano Pork

4 boneless pork chops
1 1/2 medium onion, diced
1 large poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup cashew cream (or sour cream for the people who aren’t allergic to dairy)
Juice of 1 lime
3 tsp paprika
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, saute pork chops in olive oil, 1 tsp paprika, and salt and pepper until done. Remove from pan.

Add onion, poblano, lime, and remaining paprika along with salt and pepper. Saute in olive oil until onion is translucent and poblano is crisp-tender. Add cream, stir, and cook for 1 minute until heated through. If too thick, add a little water to thin out to desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Spoon over pork and serve immediately.

Quinoa Breakfast Scramble

I made this up one morning and it has quickly become my go-to weekend breakfast meal. It’s so tasty and easy and healthy I can’t help making it all the time. It’s friend approved too, so you know it’ll be a hit.

Amounts and veggies can be adjusted for your preference. I think the versatility is the best part of this recipe.

4 eggs
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and fully cooked
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bell peppers, diced
Onion, diced (I used 1/4 bag of frozen)
Shredded cheese (for dairy free I recommend Daiya)
Olive oil, for sauteing
Salt and pepper, to taste
Red pepper, to taste

In a medium skillet with high sides, saute the onion, garlic, and bell pepper in olive oil on medium heat until desired tenderness.


Add quinoa, egg, and spices and scramble until eggs are fully cooked.


Add cheese and stir until melted. Serve immediately.


Cheesy Beef Casserole

I made up something completely delicious, and I actually managed to A) remember what I did and B) take pictures. I got the inspiration from shepherd’s pie, but I didn’t have any mashed potatoes and didn’t want to go to the store…so I made something completely different. But sort of related? IDK. It’s delicious.


1 lb ground beef
2 cups frozen mixed veggies
1 cup wild rice, cooked
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 small sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tsp Worsteshire sauce
1/2 tsp paprika
1-2 tsp KC Masterpiece Steak seasoning
1 1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 package Daiya mozzarella style shredded cheese
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brown the ground beef in a skillet with tall sides with the onion, garlic, spices, and red wine until the meat is cooked and the red wine is reduced.


Drain and combine in a large oven safe dish with the rice, broth, coconut milk, and mixed veggies. Sprinkle Daiya shredded cheese on top of the mixture.


Bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

The mixture will be runny, but this is normal. I always add more liquid to casseroles when I use rice because the rice absorbs water even after I put it in the fridge. You can substitute about 1/4 cup reserved grease/red wine from when you drained the meat for the broth/coconut milk mixture if you are not planning for leftovers.

I was pleasantly surprised by how well this turned out. I hope you will be too.

The Jetlag is Strong with This One

The plane touches down in DFW airport. It’s been 36 hours since I left India, and my emotions are all out of whack due to jet lag and lack of sleep. On the verge of exhausted tears, I make arrangements to have my delayed bag delivered to my apartment.

The next day is a blur of catnaps and puppy kisses and phone calls to family during hours of alertness.

I wake up early the next morning to get ready for work. Everything seems surreal, as if I am still asleep in my bed in India and dreaming of home. Driving down the highway, I keep expecting other drivers to honk at me as they pass…but this is not India, and honking does not mean “hello, I am passing you; please don’t move over” here. “Namaste!” I greet my coworkers. No one notices the mehndi on my hands or the jingling anklet on my foot.

Was it just last week when I was singing silly songs with a room full of children? Was it just last week when I sat around the dinner table with my friends, talking about the craft for the next day? Was it just last week when I was boarding a run-down bus to go into town to eat lunch, and watching all the cows and dogs and goats wander down the road?

“How was India?” The inevitable question. As if I can sum it up in a sentence or two. “Awesome!” I always reply. “I had a lot of fun spending time with the kids.”

I don’t tell them about the darkness that has reigned over the subcontinent for thousands of years, the spiritual oppression you feel all day every day.

I don’t tell them about how unvalued women are there, how I avoided the eyes of every man to reduce the risk of unwanted advances.

I don’t tell them about the overwhelming grief I felt when I would see a woman kiss her fingers and touch a passing cow, as if it could save her.

I don’t tell them…it’s too soon.

Trusting God in the Small Stuff, or Why I Hate Big Cities

I should have posted this before I left for India, but preparations kept me busy up until I left for the airport. So, here it is now, with a post on India to follow in a few days or so. I don’t know about you guys, but for me it seems easier to trust God with the big things, the things that you know you can’t handle on your own, like a long period of unemployment or failing a class or living paycheck to paycheck, than it is to trust him with the little things. Now that I’m commuting to work every day, I get to deal with big city traffic. I’ve noticed myself getting annoyed and angry when I hit a traffic jam or when I have to change my route to avoid an accident and have to wait through lights. I’ve been thinking lately, though, that I need to change my attitude about minor setbacks and start trusting God with them. Getting ready to go to India has been an exercise in faith for me. Not because I don’t think I will make it, but because there are a thousand little things that have to fall into place before I can leave and I’m also worried about a situation in my family. Every week, it seems like one more thing has gone wrong and has to be fixed. Every week, I feel like Satan is throwing everything he has at me to keep me from going to India. Through all these things, though, God has shown me that I have not been trusting him with the everyday things, the things that I can theoretically handle on my own. I prefer my independence. I prefer chugging along by myself until something big comes along that I can’t handle alone. But you know what? That is not a good attitude to have. I need to maintain a daily dependence on God, because without him I can do nothing (John 15:5). I have to stay connected to the vine, have to keep getting those nutrients, have to keep trusting and leaning and depending, or I will wither and die spiritually. So, I’m going to try harder to realize my daily dependence on God. I’m going to try harder to seek him in everything instead of just the big things.