Makin’ Bacon

No really… Bacon.
I adore bacon. Its flavor enhances the most dull of vegetables and brightens breakfast. There are typically two camps of people when it comes to bacon- crispy and non-crispy. I am a card carrying, flag waving member of camp crispy. Non-crispy bacon just seems …. Weak. (No offense meant to the non-crispy group. Just don’t let me cook bacon for you.)


In today’ s class we cover how to cook an entire package of bacon at once and make it all crispy without decorating the kitchen with grease. First step is to take a baking sheet and completely line it with foil. Then drop in a wire rack. The rack is very important. You can bake without the rack, but instead of fluffy, crispy bacon, you run the risk of non-crispy bacon.


Next step- preheat the oven. This is my preferred temp. I’ve cooked it at 400, 425, 350, etc. For some reason 375 works, as I don’t cook the bacon too fast but it doesn’t take forever either.


Next up, take thick sliced bacon and line it on the rack. I have cooked regular bacon as well, but believe me on this- it cooks too fast and burns too quickly. The bacon will shrink as it cooks so you can line the pieces right next to each other on the rack. Don’t overlap or they will not cook evenly.

Cook 20-30 minutes. I know this is a wide range of time. I basically cook until the bacon looks almost burnt, but doesn’t smell burnt.


Voila! Crispy, crunchy and very tasty bacon. Perfect for you next BLT, omelet or alongside your plate of pancakes.


Guacamole – Rowe style

Several years ago my sister in-law Laura, went Paleo. I think she has since reverted a little, but she taught me how easy and simple guacamole really is. When I see store bought mixes filled with powders to add to fresh avocados, I shudder. One does not need anything but basic ingredients for this mashed goodness filled with healthy unsaturated fats to feed your brain.

Step 1
-Go to the store and buy 2 avocados. Not sure if its ripe enough? Gently squeeze. If there is a little give, then they are good to go. If they are super firm, they are super unripe. If you have time, you can get those and stash them in a paper bag over night to use tomorrow. Or the next day. But I digress.

-Get a lemon or lime. This is total personal preference and I will usually alternate depending on my mood.

-A tomato.

-Diced garlic. I cheat here an get the pre-diced stuff. A good friend of mine thinks that is heresy, but I don’t like the smell of garlic on my hands for the rest of the night. Call me picky if you must.

-Cilantro if that’s how you roll. I don’t really like it in my guacamole, but you might. If I make you guac, it will be without this tasty herb.

Step 2.
Slice your ripe but not over-ripe alligator pears (aka avocados) in 1/2. Twist and separate. Grab your knife firmly and thwack it into the seed. Twist and remove the seed. Scoop out the avocados into a decent sized bowl.

20130928-145648.jpg Here is Riley learning the fine art of avocados. (We’ve learned the best way to get him to try new foods is to have him make them.)

Once you’ve scooped out both avocados, slice your lemon/lime in 1/2 and squeeze the juice on top of the avocado. I usually do this through a strainer, but I also dislike seeds and pulp in my dip. Your choice. Now take a fork and smash it all together until its as creamy or chunky as you like. I usually add in the diced garlic here and it is purely by taste – usually about 1/2 a tablespoon.
Next up chop up your tomato and throw it in. Stir and taste. Got enough garlic? Tomato? Lemon/lime juice? Good. Grab your favorite chips, pita bread or whatever and eat.

We were out of tomatoes when we made guacamole last time. But that is the great thing about it. You can customize it to your hearts desire. The main thing is good avocado and some citrus juice to keep it from browning. No more store bought stuff with preservatives, MSG, and who knows what else, ok?


Coconut chocolate cups

I follow this page on Facebook called Just Eat Real Food. It’s a wealth of information with some neat recipes and ideas. This recipe was posted a few days ago and since I had almost all of the ingredients, I insisted on trying it.
The original recipe is posted here.

I couldn’t find 100% dark chocolate, so I went with the 90% that my local Fresh Market carried.

Line a muffin pan with 6 liners. Throw in your first layer, which is just pure coconut butter. Yum. I got my coconut butter (again, courtesy of Just Eat Real Food) from Tropical Traditions.

I was a little over zealous with the coconut butter, but that was mostly because I misread 2 teaspoons as 2 tablespoons for the first layer. Oops!

Then I melted down the entire bar of chocolate. I don’t own a double boiler, so I stacked a smaller pan inside larger pan with a layer of water in-between. Once the chocolate was melted down, I added coconut milk, vanilla extract, & honey with a pinch of sea salt. I would love to say I precisely measured everything, but I would be lying. I took the original recipe as a guideline, and tried to stay within the proportions suggested. I added additional coconut milk when the chocolate started to thicken a bit.

Then I added the chocolate layer. I put everything back in the fridge and waited for it to harden. It took longer than the 5 minutes of the coconut butter first layer. (20 minutes, estimated)

Once the chocolate layer was hardened, I added the top layer of coconut butter and put it back in the fridge until morning.


This was what awaited me. It was hard to cut in half, but worth it since I new I had to share with hubby. The coconut butter is super hard straight from the fridge and the chocolate layer has a bit more give. The entire concoction is GOOD. I ate one quarter of a cup and gave the other quarter to Cam. He ate it and demanded more. Then he demanded that I make more for our gathering of friends this evening.

The cost of ingredients is a little high, so if I could find a way to make smaller cups (obviously with a lot less coconut butter on the first layer) then I could make it for friends at large gatherings.


How would you improve this recipe?

Vanilla cinnamon French toast


We started getting local farm fresh eggs from pastured chickens. It’s been pretty awesome seeing the difference in eggs from color to size. And the yolks! Rich, brilliant yellows instead of the tepid sad yolks from store bought eggs. I am striving to bring local foods into my home more and introduce fresh, clean ingredients. To that end, I have some serious eggs to go through soon because we have another 2 dozen coming in the next week. Short of quiche or frittata, French toast is great for using eggs and we also get to use the amazing pane bread I got at Trader Joes from my trip to Atlanta recently. This was one of those ideas where I just threw all the ingredients together and hoped for the best.

Three eggs coated four pieces of bread, and I ended up using about 6 eggs in two different batches. They were whisked together with a dash of vanilla powder and a dash of cinnamon. In a hot pan, I melted butter and coated it. After cooking the bread to a golden brown on each side, I sprinkled cinnamon sugar on the finished pieces. We topped them with a little maple syrup, and man, it was heavenly.


What are your favorite breakfast items using eggs? I’m going to need more ideas soon!

Shamrock shake paleo style

On St Patrick’s Day I shared a link for a smoothie on my Facebook page.

It was originally posted here. So, I decided to make it.

I didn’t have any coconut milk on hand, so I used coconut water. Hopefully it was the same potassium level, but I haven’t had a chance to look up the nutritional value differences. I made it the same way as the recipes except that I didn’t measure the coconut water. I think it was about one cup. I used one avocado that was mostly ripe, three tablespoons of local honey, one tablespoon of homemade vanilla extract, and a 1/2 tablespoon of peppermint extract. I also added 1 1/2 cups of ice and puréed everything in my vitamix blender. This is how it looked.


It was surprisingly good. My husband likened it to mint chocolate chip ice cream. The only thing I would do differently is either to use slightly less peppermint oil or not to do a Pilates class immediately after drinking the shake as it kind of gave me heartburn. But I would happily make it again. Tasty and good for you? Yes, please!