3 Best Roast Rubs Ever

 

3 Best Roast Rubs

Sometimes simple is best when it comes to cooking dinner. Actually most of the time simple is best when it comes to cooking dinner.

When trying to keep my time minimal in the kitchen and also provide nutrient dense meals, I often choose simple meals like a roast and vegetables.

I love putting a roast in the slow cooker, smelling its mouth watering goodness all day long, and then savoring the juicy flavors. The key to an amazingly delicious roast is all in the seasoning.

There are three different roast rubs that I like to use to give a little variety to the basic flavor of the meat. Sometimes I choose depending on what vegetables I’m adding to the meal. Other times I just go with whatever mood I’m in when I start the roast in the morning.

bbq rub ingredients

Typically I only cook beef roasts since that is the type of meat we prefer. But these rubs would also taste good on pork or possibly lamb as well. With beef I know there are different cuts of roasts too, but I usually just go with what’s stocked in my freezer. (We buy our beef in bulk from a local farmer.)

3 Best Roast Rubs Ever

Ingredients

    For a 2-3 lb roast:
  • Italian
  • 1 Tbsp Italian herb blend
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • BBQ
  • 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp dry mustard powder
  • Mexican
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Additional Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, add spices and mix with a fork.
  2. Rub thoroughly on roast.
  3. Place in crock-pot. Add ACV and coconut aminos.
  4. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Meat is ready when tender and starts to fall apart.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2015/03/13/3-best-roast-rubs-ever/

bbq roast rub in jar

In my minimalist kitchen I use my slow cooker quite a bit for roasts. The spices meld deliciously together and make the meat super tender. All you need to do to make it a complete meal is add a couple vegetable sides.

With the Italian rub, broccoli and mashed potatoes go really well. Sweet potato and slaw pair well with the BBQ rub. And some sautéed peppers and onions taste great with the Mexican rubbed roast.

Any leftover meat can be shredded and made into another dish later in the week. Some second meal ideas are breakfast scrambles, taco salad, or beef over baked potatoes. The possibilities are endless!

I’m a big fan of delicious food and this is an easy one. Depending on the vegetables you choose, it lines up with most special diets like paleo, GAPS, or autoimmune protocols.

Have you made a roast recently?

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Nourishing Bone Broth

This post contains affiliate links.

nourishing bone broth

There’s something about the cold that makes me want soup.

I haven’t always been a soup person. Especially watery soups. I could handle a creamy soup every now and then, but a chicken and vegetable soup? No, thank you.

Then I discovered homemade bone broth. My life has changed.

I was perusing the labels in the canned soup aisle one day at the store and discovered, much to my dismay, the ridiculous amount of weird ingredients that were included in chicken broth. The more I was reading labels the more I became disgusted at what was being deemed “food”. (That’s another story.)

I needed chicken broth for a recipe, but I didn’t want to feed my family those unpronounceable ingredients that were really unnecessary. So I looked up how to make bone broth. It really is quite simple.

The key to a good bone broth is starting with a whole roasted chicken. (I’m focusing on chicken broth, but you can really make bone broth with any leftover bones!) I like to make my broth in a crock pot, so a roasted chicken in a crock pot makes the most sense.

To cook the chicken, I like to rub it down with a variety of spices and then cook on high for about four hours. Simple as can be.

Once the chicken is cooked, we’ve eaten some for dinner, and I’ve removed the leftover meat, I’m left with a delicious bird carcass. (Actually, chicken bones really gross me out, so I try to not look at it, hence no pictures…)

All I need to do is return the bones to the crock pot, and add in some roughly chopped vegetables, such as carrots, onions, and celery. There is generally enough spices and salt left in the crock pot from roasting the bird that I don’t have to add any more.

I fill the crock pot with water to about an inch short of the top. Cover and let simmer on low overnight. If you wake up in the night while it’s cooking, you may get hungry!

bone broth supplies

In the morning, I strain the broth into jars. (I just use a mesh strainer, but if you want your broth clear of all debris, use cheese cloth.) Usually, if I am making a batch I will put it in smaller freezer safe canning jars so that I can save it for later. Other times, I put it in repurposed jars and use later that week in soup.

It is also possible to make two or even three batches of broth out of the same chicken! I usually only do two, since I run out of jars (gasp!). And the flavor will go down the more batches you make. My hubby prefers “first runnings” when I make a brothy soup or stew so we can savor more of the flavor.

To make more, just refill the water in the crock pot and add in a little more salt or spices if desired. Let simmer through the day. Then, strain and fill your jars. It’s that simple!

And if you want to a more “official” recipe:

Nourishing Bone Broth

Nourishing Bone Broth

Ingredients

  • Leftover chicken bones and juices from cooking
  • 2 TBSP raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 large carrots
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3-4 ribs celery
  • Any other desired vegetables

Instructions

  1. Remove all the leftover meat from your roasted chicken. Place in your crock pot with any remaining juices from cooking.
  2. Roughly cut your vegetables and add to the crock pot.
  3. Fill with water until about an inch short of the top.
  4. Cover and simmer on low for 8-12 hours, or overnight.
  5. When finished, strain broth into freezer safe jars.
  6. Let cool slightly before labeling and putting in the freezer.
  7. Or place in the fridge until you use it later that week.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2015/01/16/nourishing-bone-broth/

I make bone broth quite frequently. I like to make sure we have a steady supply of it in the freezer.

Bone broth is nourishing due to the fact that as it simmers all day the valuable nutrients are being pulled out of the bones and mixing with the water. And not just the nutrients from the bones, but from the vegetables. You could use a similar technique to make a vegetable broth as well.

Now that we have this nourishing bone broth, I love to make soup! It’s delicious, filling, and good for our bodies. I love it so much I could drink it out of a mug.

bone broth cup

Have you tried making nourishing bone broth?

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Gluten Free Cut Out Cookies

Gluten Free Cut Out Cookies

Soft, sweet, buttery, flakey, iced or not, sugar cookies are a staple Christmas goodie.

I have memories of cutting out Christmas cookies. We had some of those old plastic cutters that were supposed to imprint an image as well as cut a shape. You know the ones! They never seemed to work once the cookies baked. Usually they would just turn out as a blob.

Still, they always tasted so good. Sometimes we iced them. Sometimes we left them plain. There’s just something wonderful about a homemade sugar cookie.

And now I’ve grown up and I want to keep the sugar cookie tradition alive. But I have issues with gluten or wheat, which makes the traditional sugar cookie recipes off the menu for me.

gluten free cookies bowl

My quest this year, was to find a gluten free cookie option that still tastes like old times, but is much easier on my stomach. To satisfy my sugar cookie desires, I put together a recipe that uses almond flour and honey. Both are better options to balance the sweet overload of the holidays.

Gluten Free Cut Out Cookies

Gluten Free Cut Out Cookies

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour and baking soda.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, honey, and vanilla.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until they form a soft dough.
  4. Cover and chill for at least an hour.
  5. Once the dough has chilled, preheat oven to 325.
  6. Sprinkle your rolling surface with coconut flour and carefully roll the dough into a half inch thickness.
  7. Cut your cookies into desired shapes. I like these mini cookie cutters!
  8. If the dough seems too sticky, sprinkle with coconut flour. (Coconut flour sprinkles better than almond flour.)
  9. Place your cookies on parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  10. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Let cool before frosting or eating.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2014/12/18/gluten-free-cut-cookies/

I had the best time making these cookies. I love using the mini cookie cutters! They make the experience so fun. It will be even better when little man is old enough to enjoy it with me.

gluten free cookies

Although I’m sure I’ll indulge in something that won’t make my stomach happy, I have these gluten free cookies to keep me from going too crazy on the bad stuff.

Do you have good cookie cutting memories?


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Real Food Pumpkin Pie

This post contains affiliate links.

Real Food Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving is almost upon us! It is an often overlooked holiday with Christmas joy and joyness overshadowing it. Personally I am a huge Christmas fan, but am always careful to not forget the special day of thanks that comes before it.

We should be thankful everyday for the numerous blessings we receive. But to have a whole day set aside to feast and reflect on the year’s bounty? What fun! I hope you will be able to spend the day in an enjoyable way, with lots of food involved.

And with that special holiday coming this week I must include an obligatory Pumpkin Pie Recipe!

This recipe uses all real food ingredients and is actually quite healthy. I experimented with a few variations and landed on this choice. It uses a gluten-free crust and honey as a sweetener. It isn’t overly sweet and won’t push you over the edge, but has some really excellent flavors. It tastes excellent with coconut whipped cream on top.

Real Food Pumpkin Pie

Real Food Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

Instructions

    For the Pie Crust
  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl, mix wet ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well. It should be moist and flakey.
  5. Pat the dough into a greased pie pan. This takes a little finesse. The dough is fairly flakey and so you need to smooth it into the pan with your fingers.
  6. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the edges are golden brown.
  7. Let cool. It's best to freeze for about 20 minutes before adding pie filling. That helps the edges to not burn when baking your pie.
  8. For the Pumpkin Pie
  9. Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  10. In a large bowl whisk all ingredients together.
  11. Pour pie filling into frozen pie crust. Freezing the crust should keep the edges from burning, but if you are prone to toast the edges, go ahead and cover with foil.
  12. Cook for 40-45 minutes, until the pie is almost fully set, the middle will still be slightly jiggly.
  13. Cool for 30 minutes in the oven with the door cracked, this helps keep the top from splitting in the middle.
  14. Serve chilled.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2014/11/24/real-food-pumpkin-pie/

Enjoy your holiday! Don’t forget to take some time to be thankful and rest.

This post is shared on Homestead Barn Hop, Modest Monday, Meal Plan Monday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Creative Muster, WFMW, Homestead Blog Hop.


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How to Make Vanilla Extract

 

Vanilla Extract Title

The holiday season is coming up. And around here there will be quite a bit of holiday baking going on. Thankfully there are a lot of recipes for holiday treats that use whole food ingredients. Many of which are allergen free. Just take a look on Pinterest!

One of the most common ingredients  in any type of baking is Vanilla Extract. Sadly, if you go to the grocery store and pick up “vanilla extract” up off the shelf it will most likely contain less than desirable ingredients. Who would have thought there would be soy in vanilla extract?!

Instead of reducing myself to using store bought imitation vanilla extract, I like to make my own from organic vanilla beans (affiliate link). It is really very simple!

Homemade Vanilla Extract also makes a great gift! If you have an ounce of vanilla beans, you will have enough to be able to make a few gifts that will be ready just in time for Christmas. People will be impressed that you made your own vanilla extract. You don’t even have to tell them how easy it is.

In addition to the vanilla beans, you will need vodka and a jar (I used a half pint canning jar)(affiliate link).

Vanilla Beans

All you need to do is cut two vanilla beans down the middle, and in half if you are using a short jar.

cutting vanilla beans

Then pour in your vodka up to the top and screw the lid on tight. Label and let sit for about six weeks to extract all the vanilla goodness. Once the vanilla is extracted into the vodka, use as needed. You can even top off the jar with some more vodka as you use it if you want to make it last a little longer.

vanilla beans and vodka in jar

So you see, it really is very easy to make your own Vanilla Extract!

Vanilla Extract

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cut the vanilla beans in half and slice down the middle.
  2. Place the beans in the jar and add vodka up to the top.
  3. Label and let rest for at least six weeks before use.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2014/11/03/how-to-make-vanilla-extract/

Have you ever made your own extracts?

 

This post is shared on Homestead Barn Hop, Modest Mom Blog, Homestead Blog Hop, Wildcraft Wednesday, We are THAT Family, The Homemaking Party, Homeacre Hop, Thrifty Thursday.

 


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Butternut Beef Wraps

 

butternut beef wraps

Do you ever just throw something together in the kitchen and it turns out amazing?

Like knock your socks off amazing?

Yeah, that happened. I was struggling with what to have for lunch. I often just grab some leftovers or graze on random things throughout the day. But there were no leftovers and I didn’t have any grazing foods around. Everything in the fridge and cabinet needed actual cooking. Ugh. Sometimes real food takes some work.

I sat the baby in his chair and started whipping something up. I had some butternut squash and some kale that needed eating. So I started chopping tossed those two items in some olive oil and stuck them in the oven.

My mother says I’m “protein sensitive”. Meaning I need to eat some protein at every meal or I just don’t feel well. Thankfully I had some ground beef in the fridge. I cooked it up on the stove.

What to do with roasted veggies, ground beef, and a need to make it interesting? I threw it all together and added some Sunrise Spice. Only one of THE BEST spice mixes by Melissa Joulwan, author of Well Fed and Well Fed 2, my favorite cook books (affiliate links). It still seemed incomplete.

Looking around my fridge, I pulled out some romaine lettuce. Perfect for wraps. Meal created.

If you are looking for a savory, filling, and scrumptious meal, this is the way to go. It works great as a lunch if you have some time to prepare it, or it would be an excellent dinner. I would even eat it for breakfast! I’m sure my husband would love it. He’s easy to feed!

It’s also free of anything that might be an allergen or cause sensitivity. Paleo all the way! Below is the complete recipe for your cooking pleasure. I changed up a couple of things from what I did initially to make it flow smoother and to give you the best flavor. Enjoy!

Butternut Beef Wraps

Butternut Beef Wraps

Ingredients

  • 1 small butternut squash, diced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp Sunrise Spice
  • several leaves of romaine lettuce

Instructions

  1. *Prep Sunrise Spice ahead of time
  2. Turn oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place butternut squash in a single layer on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes until soft.
  4. Meanwhile, brown ground beef and onion in a skillet. Once the meat is no longer pink, add kale and cook until slightly wilted. Add Sunrise Spice.
  5. Once the butternut squash is finished roasting, add to the ground beef mixture.
  6. Serve in lettuce wraps.
http://neverlackingzeal.com/2014/10/16/butternut-beef-wraps/

This post is shared on the Homestead Barn Hop, Weekend Potluck,  Wellness Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesdays, and Mealplan Mondays.


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How to Roast a Pumpkin (plus toasted pumpkin seeds!)

how to pumpkin horiz

I must confess…

I’ve never roasted a pumpkin before.

I know. It’s terrible. Especially with the craze for all things pumpkin!

So, since we got the cutest little pumpkin in our last CSA box, it was time to try cooking it into something tasty. I wasn’t going to carve it and let it rot on the porch. (Although I did enjoy carving pumpkins as a kid and will probably do so again when little man is older.) And I didn’t have any specific pumpkin recipe in mind. (Every other Pin I’ve seen lately is pumpkin related!) I decided to go with something utterly basic. Roasted pumpkin.

Once roasted, there are a couple of things you can do with a pumpkin. You can just enjoy it with a dab of butter melted deliciously into it. (I enjoyed this for lunch today while little man gnawed on a non-buttered bite.) Or you can take it further and turn it into a puree, which you can make into all sorts of tasty things. There are many that are made with real food ingredients so you don’t have to compromise your good food choices.

On to roasting the pumpkin.

You will want to choose a smaller pumpkin for roasting. I believe they will be more tender and have better flavor, but also they are just easier to handle.

Start by cutting the top off the pumpkin and dividing it in half.

cut pumpkin

Scrape out all of the innards. Make sure and put the seeds and pulp into a separate bowl and set aside for later.

pumpkin pulp

Cut into wedges and place on a baking sheet. I put some parchment paper on the sheet to help with clean up. But the pumpkins didn’t ooze much so clean up wouldn’t have been any trouble if I had left the paper off. You can do it either way.

pumpkin wedges

Roast in your oven on 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Depending on the size of your pumpkin wedges and your oven, your time may vary. Just keep an eye on it after the 35 minute mark.

…meanwhile, grab that bowl of pumpkin seeds and pulp. This part gets a little messy, but it’s totally worth it. Dig in and start separating the seeds from the pulp. The easiest way is to just grab a chunk and start squeezing the seeds in to a colander. The pulp can be saved for your chickens or compost.

squeezing pumpkin seeds

Once the seeds are separated, rinse them in cool water to remove some of the stickiness. Lay out on a towel to dry while your pumpkin continues roasting…

drying pumpkin seeds

When the pumpkin is fork tender, remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Unintentionally, I let them cool to room temp. (Fussy baby kinda day.) The rind should peel off easily. I believe the warmer the pumpkin is, the easier it will peel. Mine came off in small pieces. You can add your pumpkin rinds to the seed pulp and feed to your chickens or put in your compost.

peeling pumpkin rind

Now you have roasted pumpkin! At this point you can eat the delicious goodness. Or you can make it into a puree.

But before you do that, you need to toast your pumpkin seeds! This is by far one of my favorite snacks of fall. You can even do this with the pumpkin seeds that are pulled out of carving pumpkins.

Turn your oven up to 425 degrees. Then, simply place your seeds on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle a little salt and if you want it spicy add some cayenne pepper. Toss to coat. Toast in the oven for 10-15 minutes. You might even want to keep an eye on them after about 8 minutes. I accidentally left mine in a little too long. Still delicious, but just a little darker than desired.

toasted pumpking seeds

Now back to turning the roasted pumpkin into a puree. Take the chunks of roasted pumpkin and place in a food processor or blender. I had to do mine in batches because I have a tiny processor. If you notice the puree being really dry, add in a little water to make it the desired consistency.

You can now use this puree in any of your favorite pumpkin recipes. Or store for later. I stored my pumpkin puree in one cup portions in the freezer until I decide what I’m going to make with it. I have many pumpkin recipes pinned on my pinterest board. Or here are a few links to some delicious (REAL FOOD!) pumpkin treats:

This roasting technique can be applied to any pumpkin or squash variety. I love acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash, to name a few. Enjoy!

What are you going to make with your Roasted Pumpkin?

This post is shared at Homeacre Hop, Homestead Barn Hop, Mealplan Monday, Work for me WednesdayWildcraft Wednesday, and Wellness Wednesday.

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