holidays

I’m going to keep this week’s recipe intro a bit short, because to be honest I’m a little distracted – we welcomed our second child into the world yesterday! His name is Elliott and I’m sure plenty of pics will soon be coming to my various social media platforms.

I recently asked my readers what recipes they’d like me to tackle next, and an overwhelming majority asked for pressure-cooker meals; for those folks, I have something special in store for next week. Meanwhile, a vocal minority asked for appetizers to bring to holiday parties, so I put together this recipe as a fun way to enjoy a classic Chinese takeout dish: Chicken & Broccoli. While not as celebrated as its big brother, Beef & Broccoli, I like the contrast of crisp chicken with a dark sauce. Enjoy!

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Recently, I’ve been thinking about living a simpler life. The idea started when I visited Mickey Trescott’s new home in the Willamette Valley over the summer, but it really solidified when we moved all of our things from Maryland to Florida last month – over 14,000 lbs worth of belongings. As we started unpacking boxes, I couldn’t help but think that I just didn’t need so much stuff. The worst part about it? We’re still unpacking.

So for the holidays this year, we’re trying to not buy any objects for each other. Instead, we’re gifting experiences. So this week’s recipe is going to be a little different from your usual Tuesday post; I’m going to walk you through how to make gifts to hand out to people that aren’t stuff. A couple years back I made a few gallons of my barbecue sauce and gave it away as gifts. While I had a lot of fun with that idea, I wanted to do something more immediate and useful – wouldn’t it be better to just gift someone a fully-cooked delicious meal? And thus my idea of Stew for You (or Two) was born. The concept is simple: make a large batch of delicious stew, vacuum-seal it, and give it away as gifts.

I’m particularly in love with my Beef à la Mode recipe from earlier this year, yet I’m sure that its 3.5-hour cook time deters readers from making it often enough. Instead, imagine reheating a vacuum-sealed homemade meal directly in gently simmering water, offering an unbeatable experience in just 20-30 minutes. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, a resealable mylar bag or Wrap ‘n Boil bag would work well, or even something like this IndieGoGo project would be great.

So read on for the stew recipe and sealing instructions, plus other gift suggestions. Let’s make Stew for You (or Two) go viral.

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Just wanted to share some cool news: my Honey and Citrus Glazed Ham recipe is featured in this year’s People Magazine Holiday Entertaining issue! Definitely one of the highlights of my cooking/blogging career so far.

If you get a chance to grab a copy, let me know what you think. I pared down the recipe slightly to appeal to a broader audience, but it still definitely carries my personal touch to it. It’s awesome to see a Paleo recipe in such a widely-circulated magazine! And I must admit, it’s pretty surreal to be able to go into any supermarket right now and grab a picture of yours truly.

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Ham seems like a simple hunk of meat. All you have to do is buy a cured, pre-sliced ham and warm it up in the oven. Unfortunately, while this is the easiest (and most common) way to get some ham in your belly, it’s not the healthiest option. Your everyday pre-cooked ham is loaded with sugar and nitrates.

I’ve been meaning to tackle an uncured ham for a while, so imagine my delight when US Wellness Meats asked me to write up a recipe for their petite ham. This smoked ham is both sugar and nitrate free, using compassionate certified pork. Its size is also perfect for our family of three – 2.5 lbs of porcine goodness. There was plenty for us to eat, and a good amount of leftovers to boot. For those of you using a cured and/or a spiral-cut ham, don’t worry – this recipe works just fine for them as well.

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