Peach Almond Dutch Baby

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Hello, peach season!  I’ve waited impatiently for you all summer.  I even jumped the gun a few times, against my better judgement, and bought peaches in August.  They looked ripe and lovely on the outside, but the insides were mealy and flavorless.  What a cruel trick to play on someone!  When will I ever learn?  But here we are, surrounded by crates of perfectly ripened peaches at long last.  You see?  Sometimes good things do happen to good people.  

Last year during peach season I was dealing with constant morning sickness in my first trimester.  Nothing sounded good to me except for chicken broth made from those weird bouillon cubes (gross!) and pistachio frozen yogurt (strangely specific!).  Just the sight of fruits and vegetables made me queazy.  I kind of feel like that means I deserve an extra serving of this delicious Dutch Baby.  Which is good…because that already happened.

I’d like to go on the record by saying that I like all babies.  I do.  But I think I might like Dutch babies the best.  Just don’t tell the baby currently asleep in my lap.  She’s the jealous type.  This is really easy to make, and very versatile.  I’ve made it with almond slices and raspberries too.  Basically just take a gander at your fruit bowl and decide what needs to be eaten in a timely fashion, then throw that on top.  It’s perfect for breakfast, but would work great as a dessert too.  

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 3 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 peaches, peeled and sliced

Directions:

  1. Place cast iron skillet in the oven and heat to 400 degrees.  
  2. While the oven is heating, crack the eggs into a medium bowl and beat with a whisk for about a minute, or until they begin to froth a little.
  3. Add almond milk and whisk until well incorporated.  Gradually add flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, almond and vanilla extracts.
  4. Peel and slice the peaches.  Man-handle them a little so some of the juice is released.  Add the peach juice to the rest of your ingredients.
  5. Remove skillet from oven.  Put enough unsalted butter in the skillet to coat the bottom and sides (about 1 Tbsp).
  6. Breathe in melted butter fumes for as long as you deem appropriate/healthy.
  7. Pour batter into the skillet.  Add peaches and any other fruits/nuts you want in an aesthetically pleasing fashion.  You will have some peach slices left over, these can be served alongside the Dutch Baby.  
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned.

You can top this with butter, syrup, honey or coconut cream.  I’ve tried them all and they are all are equally delicious!

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Carrot Cake Pancakes with Browned Butter Syrup

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Being a mom to two small humans has hit me a wee bit harder than expected lately.  I am constantly frazzled.  Running late.  Distracted, disheveled, sometimes downright disagreeable.  There are days when keeping us all clean and fed without bursting into banshee-like wailing feels like a serious accomplishment.  As a modern mother, I feel a lot of internal pressure to go and be and do.  ‘Shouldn’t I be back to my pre-pregnancy body by now?  Shouldn’t this meal and outfit and birthday party look Pinterestly picturesque?  Shouldn’t my children be learning Mandarin while blowing locally sourced bubbles in a field of heirloom wildflowers?  I get the feeling I’m not the only one allowing myself to feel less than perfect due to social media.  Let me tell you, I am anything but put together these days and that should be okay with me.  Let’s all decide to give ourselves a break, shall we?  We can’t do it all and we shouldn’t try to.  So what if I can’t walk around my house in the dark for fear of breaking an ankle on a wide assortment of toys?  Instead of constructing a picture perfect exterior, I’m deciding to focus on the things that matter.  Like looking at my kids instead of my phone.  Cleanliness and organization are wonderful!  Of course they are.  And I hope to enjoy them again in a few years.  So let’s choose to relax a little.  Your children don’t care if your house or hair is clean.  They’re the ones making those things so dirty anyway.  They delight in messiness!  So today, instead of sighing and picking up the toys you will inevitably be picking up again tomorrow…make these pancakes and snuggle your insane children.  Or dog.  Or spouse.  Life is too short not to eat cake.

Seriously though, don’t come to my house.  This place is a mess.

Makes 3 pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c peeled and shredded carrots
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c coconut flakes
  • 1 Tbsp ghee or pasture butter
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp pineapple juice
  • 1/4 c almond meal
  • 1/4 c arrowroot powder
  • 2 heaping Tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Browned Butter Syrup Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp salted butter or ghee
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

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Instructions:

1. Peel and grate carrot.  Put in medium sized bowl.  Add eggs, coconut, ghee, honey, vanilla and pineapple juice.  Stir until combined.

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2. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix until combined.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  Stir until well incorporated.

3. Allow to sit for a few minutes so the coconut flour can absorb some of the liquid.

4. Cook in coconut oil over medium-low heat.  If the batter starts to spread too far, push it back to the size you want.  I only had this problem with the first pancake.  Cook for about 3 minutes each side, or until batter starts to bubble.

Syrup Instructions:

1. Put butter in small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir frequently until it begins to brown.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring frequently until it starts to thicken.

3. Remove from heat and serve over these lovely pancakes.

 

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Chicken Caesar Wrap with Carrot Croutons

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I follow @inspiralized on Instagram.  She’s been making tons of wraps lately using Collard greens as the tortilla.  Genius!  Collard greens are big enough to make a decent sized wrap, and thick enough to stay together.  The filling possibilities are endless really, but here’s one I really like.  By the way, the carrot croutons are so good, they might not make it inside your wrap.  I ate them so fast I barely had enough to photograph.

Ingredients:

  • spiral cut or julienned zucchini
  • chicken breast
  • Caesar dressing
  • carrot ‘croutons’ (recipe below)
  • large collard green leaf

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Carrot ‘Croutons”

Ingredients:

  • 1 carrot (shredded with a peeler)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • sea salt
  • garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Wash carrots and remove skin with a peeler.
  2. Shred the remainder of the carrots with the peeler.
  3. Pat carrots dry with a paper towel.
  4. Put coconut oil in a frying pan.  Heat on medium heat until melted.
  5. Add shredded carrots.
  6. Season with salt and garlic powder to taste.
  7. Cook until crispy and browned.  Watch them carefully, they go from nicely browned to seriously burnt in a matter of seconds.

Add all ingredients to the middle of the collard leaf.  Cut off stem.  Wrap tightly and secure with a toothpick if desired.  Enjoy!

Buttered Chai Latte

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Last week we had some unseasonably cold weather here in Salt Lake.  If only it would’ve lasted a wee bit longer!  Like maybe for the rest of the summer?  I enjoy the activities summer brings, but could we turn down the heat a little?  I don’t enjoy sweating unless I’m burning some serious calories.  I don’t think loading the kids into the car technically counts as cardio, but on a hot day it sure feels like it.  Louis CK has a bit about white people not being from Earth because we’re not comfortable here.  He explains that if we really belonged here we would be comfortable with the temperatures we’re always complaining about.  I totally agree and am simply waiting for my mothership to return me to my completely temperate planet.

Anyway.  On those rare and lovely cool summer days, a hot beverage sounds so refreshing.  That, and watching Harry Potter.  There can be one itty bitty rain cloud in the sky and instantly my thoughts turn to horcruxes and Diagon Alley.  Nerd alert!  When it comes to hot drinks, I generally drink my coffee with butter and coconut oil.  Have you tried this yet?  It sounds wrong at first, I remember feeling that way too.  But now that I’m used to it, it tastes so much better than creamer!  And it’s better for you too, in my opinion.  For more information about the health benefits of butter in your coffee, go here: https://www.bulletproofexec.com/how-to-make-your-coffee-bulletproof-and-your-morning-too/

In this vein, I have created buttered Chai.  It’s so heavenly I find myself craving it even on hot days.  You still have the wonderful creamy taste of butter and coconut oil, all the healthy fat benefits, but with the sweet spiciness of Chai.  If Chai isn’t your thing, Earl Grey makes a delicious substitute.  Any tea you want, really.  Get crazy.

I know the moderate temperatures won’t be back any time soon.  I would have to live somewhere lovely and insanely expensive to expect that (sigh, San Diego).  And now that the temps are in the high 90’s once again, I’m drinking this iced.  Take that, sun!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Chai tea bag
  • 1 c filtered water
  • 1 Tbsp ghee or unsalted pasture butter
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp canned light coconut milk

Steep tea bag in the boiled filtered water for five minutes.  Place tea in blender, or wide mouth mason jar if using an immersion blender.  Add the rest of the ingredients and blend for 1 minute.  Allow to cool first if adding ice.

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Cranberry Apple Cider Vinegar Detox

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Does blogging in your workout gear count as exercise?  I kind of feel like it does.  The intent is there, isn’t that what matters?  Plus strong fingers are extremely important these days!  How else am I going to ‘like’ my neighbor from third grade’s Facebook review of The Expendables 3?  Just recently, while complaining about my slooooow progress in the weight loss department, it occurred to me I haven’t really been…exercising much…at all.  I guess I was just kind of hoping a burning desire and a healthy diet would be enough.  My regular brain knows better, of course.  But my seemingly permanent post-baby brain fog sometimes hides the facts from me.  So I’ve started exercising daily (or as close to that as I can get).  It isn’t always easy to find the time with two kids, but I sneak it in whenever I can.  Luckily, babies enjoy napping at least occasionally and preschoolers can be distracted by a little QT with Jake and his Neverland pirates.  I must say I feel much better since I’ve been exercising.  I feel stronger.  I feel like I’m doing something for myself.  That can do wonders for your mood!  My kids deserve a happy mom, and I deserve some sweaty ‘me time’.  I’ll remind myself of that the next time I’m cursing Tracy Anderson, damn her eyes!

So let’s talk about detoxing, shall we?  It seems to be a popular enough concept.  While at a visit to a Naturopath recently, it was suggested that I do some liver detoxing.  I don’t have a lot of intimate personal knowledge of my liver, but I appreciate its efforts and will gladly do what I can to increase its efficacy.  The Naturopath suggested I drink a mix of apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice.  I already drink apple cider vinegar on a pretty regular basis, so all that was needed was a little tweaking of the recipe.  Organic raw apple cider vinegar is said to have many health benefits, including; weight control, immune system support, muscle pain relief, maintaining healthy skin, soothing dry throats, removing body toxins, etc.  Personally, I’ve found it to be extremely helpful with acid reflux.  I started drinking it during my recent pregnancy for that reason and haven’t had any reason to stop.  I make a large drink in the morning, and drink it throughout the day.  I’ve found it inhibits hunger if I drink it before meals.  It’s on the sour side, but I don’t mind it.  You can add some Stevia or honey if you simply must have it sweeter.  I’m not sure what effects my liver is experiencing, but it’s worth a shot!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c Pineapple juice
  • 1/4 c pure cranberry juice
  • 2 Tbsp organic raw apple cider vinegar (I use Braggs)
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • Filtered water

Put the juices, vinegar and cinnamon in a quart sized mason jar, then fill to the top with filtered water.  Put the lid on, give it a good shake, and it’s ready to go.  It can be sipped with a straw or transferred to a more portable receptacle.

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Here’s to your liver!

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Juice

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Recently I went to a holistic health/acupuncture appointment (thanks, Living Social!).  You know what the best part was?  Lying in a dark room by myself for 30 minutes.  In total silence.  I didn’t even care that I was covered in tiny needles.  I hadn’t taken a nap by myself since my 3-year-old was born!  It was heavenly.  Anyway, during my consultation the practitioner suggested I try eating rhubarb for my postpartum hot flashes.  (If this is a glimpse of what Menopause is like, no thank you!  I’ll just skip that part of aging if you please, along with all the rest of it if possible.)

I don’t have much experience with rhubarb.  I think I’ve had it in pie once or twice, but it was most likely covered in sugar.  I knew it was sour, but I couldn’t say exactly what it tasted like by itself.  So I took a bite of some.  I wouldn’t recommend that exactly.  But it was quite delicious in this juice I concocted.  I know juice isn’t really Whole30.  Of course I do.  But I’m really tired of being overheated, and plus Rhubarb is technically a vegetable. I threw some kale in there too to balance out the fruit.  And also I’m on day 22 and I’m not starting over!  (I’m sticking my tongue out right now in protest)  I don’t use my juicer that much in general these days.  I don’t like losing the fiber of the fruits and vegetables, plus juices can be a little high in calories without being filling.  However.  I think a little juice here and there is a fine idea.  Especially when there are strawberries involved.

It’s too early to tell whether the rhubarb is affecting my unholy hot flashes, but the juice was so good I don’t even care!  I put 3 fruits in this juice to counteract the sourness of the rhubarb, but I think 2 would have been fine.  (I would probably leave out the apple next time.)  The taste of the strawberries comes out the most in this juice, with just a little punch from the rhubarb.  Drink some for your hot flashes, or just drink some for fun.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 red apple (I used Fuji)
  • 1 pear
  • 1 stalk rhubarb
  • 5 small strawberries
  • 2 handfuls chopped kale

Fish Taco Bowl

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Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t need an excuse to eat Mexican food.  I have been known to eat it every day for days on end without realizing it.  But since I stopped eating, oh I don’t know…beans, rice, corn, tortillas…I haven’t been eating much food from south of the border.  Recently on Cinco de Mayo, I found myself with a powerful fish taco craving.  Ordinarily I would make a tortilla exception, but I’m doing Whole30!  A tortilla wasn’t worth starting over again.  I decided to make a fish taco bowl instead.  It was so good I may even prefer it to fish tacos.  And I felt so good after I ate it.  There is something about the Paleo/Whole30 diets that make my body feel really light and energized after eating.  Maybe it’s because there isn’t half a loaf of bread weighing my stomach down.  Hmm…maybe.

In lieu of rice, I cooked up some cilantro lime cauliflower rice.  You just pulse chopped cauliflower in a blender until the pieces are about the size of grains of rice, then sauté in a little olive oil.  While cooking, I added the juice from 1 lime and a handful of cilantro.  You can take the cilantro out once it’s done cooking, or chop it first and leave it in.  I’m crazy (for cilantro), so I left mine in.  A half head of cauliflower is enough to feed about 2 people with a little left over.  I like to blend up a whole head of cauliflower at once and store half in the fridge for later.  I’m just really a forward thinker like that.  For the fish I used a fresh Tilapia filet, but mostly because it was on sale.  Oh, you fancy?  Then throw some exotic and pricey sea creature in there! Any fresh or frozen fish you have will work.  In a shallow dish I combined the  juice from 2 limes, minced garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, paprika and salt.  I marinated mine for about 30 minutes before I cooked it.  It was plenty flavorful, but I would have let it sit longer if I had the time.  Time…does anyone else have any of this?  Maybe the fancy fish eaters do.  Don’t ask me. I cooked the Tilapia in olive oil and what was left of the marinade for a few minutes on each side, adding a little more seasoning to taste.

The best thing about this recipe (especially if you’re doing Whole30) is how many vegetables you can cram into it.  I mean…you’ve already got a veggie as your rice, but why stop there!  I threw in pretty much everything I had in the fridge.  Red cabbage, avocado, onion, cilantro, Daikon radish, jalapeño, and some fresh pico de gallo.  To finish it off, I added some lime juice and salt and pepper.  Ole!  So tasty!

Ingredients:

  • Tilapia or fish of choice
  • 3 limes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • veggies of choice
  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • handful of cilantro

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Apples and Beets

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There’s nothing like going on the Paleo or Whole30 diet to make you appreciate sweet potatoes.  There was a time in my life when I didn’t see a sweet potato outside the confines of Thanksgiving dinner. You know the dish I’m talking about.  The one in which our no-nonsense tuber gets all dolled up in butter and brown sugar and is then smothered with ooey gooey marshmallows?

Yum.

But maybe not the best thing to be eating on a regular basis.  Plus the sweet potato is capable of so much more!  Since I’ve been doing Whole30, sweet potatoes have almost become a treat to me.  Does that make you feel sad for me?  I can see why it might. However, since I started the diet I’ve noticed desserts have become less tempting for me.  ‘Junk’ food in general seems to be losing its appeal.  If something unhealthy ever does sound good, I can usually think of how I’ll feel after and it immediately sounds less appealing.  I think that might be the point of the diet!  Hooray!

Back to our sweet potato discussion.  I’ve found myself cooking them with just about everything, even eating them for breakfast.  Thus, this super simple and ultra delicious recipe. The tart apples go very well with the sweetness of the beets and sweet potatoes  It’s also an easy way to sneak beets into your diet.  Don’t get me wrong, I love beets…in theory.  I love them in the sense that I know they’re good for me, but I kind of have to talk myself into eating them.  Beet lovers, please don’t take offense!

I peeled the beet but left the skin on the apples and sweet potatoes.  You can peel those too if you want.  Chop everything into uniform sizes.

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Pretty, no?

Place everything in a medium-sized bowl.  Add pecans.  Drizzle with enough balsamic vinegar to lightly coat ingredients.  Add cinnamon, rosemary, and salt and pepper.  Stir to distribute seasonings evenly.  Transfer to an unlined baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tart apples (like Granny Smith or Pink Lady)
  • 2 small sweet potatoes
  • 1 beet
  • 3/4 c pecans
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • pepper

These seasoning measurements are approximate.  I don’t usually measure when I cook…so feel free to adjust according to your taste!

 

Thai Chicken Salad

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Thai Chicken Salad

Fish Sauce.  I love it.  I just try not to inhale when in its presence.  I’m realizing more and more that sometimes the stinkiest food is the best tasting.  Is that a metaphor for life?  You decide.  I, however, will probably continue taking showers.

Back to the fish sauce.  Fish sauce is used a lot in some of my favorite cuisines.  Thai and Burmese to name a few.  And for good reason.  It adds a saltiness and tang that’s hard to replicate.  Plus, it’s on the Whole30 approved list.  Huzzah!  If you haven’t used it before, don’t let the smell stop you.  In fact, just try not to smell it.  Your taste buds will thank you later.

This afternoon I found myself starving, staring down a head of purple cabbage.  I always end up wasting cabbage.  I buy it for fish tacos or something, use a tiny chunk of it and the rest grows ever stinkier in the back of my fridge.  This time I was determined to break the habit.  I had a dozen Pink Lady apples from Costco, so those needed to be used up too.  I’m really trying hard these days not to waste produce.  A coleslaw-type chicken salad sounded appealing, but I didn’t want the mayonnaise base for the sauce.  What I came up with is basically a vinaigrette with fish sauce.  And I’m so glad I did it!  This salad was everything.  The savory flavor of the fish sauce, the sweet crispness of the apples, the soft and creamy avocado coupled with the kick of the jalapeno… So good.  My husband even liked it, and he is generally afraid of most fruits and vegetables.  Once he was about halfway done eating his he said, ‘This sure doesn’t look like it should taste good, but it does!’  Ahh, the things that warm your heart after 7 years of marriage.

This salad is easy to put together if you have the chicken already cooked, so make sure to have that done first.  It made enough for my husband and I and there was about a serving left over.  Next time I will definitely double the recipe!

Core the apple but leave the skin on.  Slice all ingredients into long strips and put into a medium-sized bowl.  Remove the seeds from the jalapeno if you don’t want it very spicy.  Put the fish sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and Dijon mustard in a jar with a lid and shake.  Add to the other ingredients and season with salt and pepper.

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Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 c. shredded chicken
  • 1/4 head purple cabbage
  • 1/2 Jalapeno
  • 1/2 white or red onion
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 Pink Lady apple
  • handful of cilantro

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard

Cholula Burgers

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So it’s been a month since I gave birth to my sweet, adorable daughter. One month. I know in the reality based portion of my brain that a month isn’t long enough for one’s body to recover from the previous nine months it took to look so terrible. But still! I long for my ‘fat pants’ to button up.  I long for the end of slimming undergarments. I long for them now. I don’t want to wait several more months to wear my normal clothes. I am sick of my fat lady uniform of stretchy pants and flowy tops.
Enter:Whole30. It sounded a little harsh when I first read about it. Now it’s sounding downright reasonable. As long as I see some solid results, I don’t care what I have to do! Bring on the restrictions! No honey? No problem! Just take my muffin top. Please. I also have some thyroid/skin issues I’d like to see improved.  Whole30 has promised me as much.  So what have I got to lose?  (Answer: my muffin top.  Pay attention!)
If you’re not familiar with the Whole30 program, it’s like a stricter version of the Paleo diet.  Not only do you forgo gluten, dairy, legumes and the like…you also cut out all sweeteners.  That’s right-no agave, honey…nothing!  You’re not supposed to snack, or cook up those wonderful Paleo recipes that try to mimic junk food.  No almond flour muffins or banana pancakes.  I love those!  And here is the real kicker.  If you falter…if you have one tiny taste of something on the forbidden list… You. Start. Over.  Oh, you were on day 29 of your 30 day commitment? Too bad!  Start over!  This diet is like the Soup Nazi of the nutrition world.  And that’s exactly what I need right now.  I need some borderline unreasonable guidelines to get things moving in the right direction.  Here is the official website for both the nitty and the gritty: http://whole30.com/ 
I’m only on day 4, but it actually hasn’t been that bad so far.  One thing it’s made me realize is how much I crave sweets. I don’t eat refined sugar often, so I didn’t think I had a problem. But apparently I eat honey and other natural sweeteners quite a bit!  I’m really feeling their absence.  I’ve also had a hard time with the no snacking thing. Apparently I’m used to eating basically all day long.  Grazing, some might call it.  Part of it might be the fact that I’m breast-feeding and hungrier than normal. Who knows.  So I do my best. If I feel legitimately hungry, I eat a little something. I don’t want to mess with my milk supply. (Yeah I know…I graze and I produce milk.  Moo.)
One good thing Whole30 has done for me so far is to make me focus on using healthier ingredients. I’ve found myself trying to fit as many vegetables as I can into my meals. Not a bad habit for anyone to be forming, yes? I think that’s the point of undertaking something like this. Focus on the things you should be eating more of instead of what you can’t eat.   So for the next month or so I’ll be sharing some of my Whole30 creations.  And here’s the best part, you don’t have to commit to the diet to eat them!
This burger recipe is a simple way to amp up the flavor quotient on your bun-less burger. Honestly, I never miss the bun. Who needs it!  You can use a lettuce wrap or just dig in with a fork. Don’t forget to pile on as many veggies as you can. Cucumbers, bell peppers, avocado, jalapenos, sprouts… Get crazy.  I chose Cholula because it’s on the Whole30 approved list.  Plus, have you tasted it?  Duh.
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. Cholula
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Form into patties.  Cook as desired.  I cooked mine with bacon grease in a skillet.  Top with any yummy thing you can think of.  I topped mine with a fried egg, avocado, cilantro and onion.
Whole30 never tasted so good!