Boozy Lamb Short Ribs

Short Ribs 1You know how you have friends coming over and you want to cook for them, but lack the kitchen space, air conditioning, and energy to execute it?

Yeah.  Me, too.

Here’s The Thing, though.  I am fairly certain my love language is food. And I’m also fairly certain I have conditioned my family and friends to receive my love in this manner.  Food is NOT love, but food can be a loving gesture in a world of convenience and fast meals.  What’s better than sitting down with friends and sharing a great meal, enjoyable conversation, and choice adult beverage?  Not much.

Also, food is effing delicious, so there’s that.

When I want to share the love and keep the temperature in my kitchen down while making the most of my limited energy, I always turn to my crockpot.  I used to have major bias towards slow cookers. I grew up with crockpots galore at church potlucks.  Everyone clamored for an outlet to plug in their pot before service started so their mystery dish would stay hot and avoid poisoning a whole congregation. It was a sea of crockpots

A couple of decades later, I decided to try to resurrect my slow cooker that was still sitting in my kitchen in the box from our wedding when my truly kind souled cousin gifted us with it. I got brave.  I bought the food.  I read a couple of blogs. I studied and sweated and prayed to the kitchen gods that it would all turn out beautifully.  It didn’t.

I ruined a 5 lb brisket.

$40 of beautiful, succulent, grass-fed meat totally ruined because I didn’t understand fully how to use my slow cooker.  I did not sear it.  I under-seasoned it.  I ADDED WATER. Then I cooked it on high for 4 hours.  It was totally inedible, but of course we ate it anyway because we have a strict budget and can’t afford to toss food when it doesn’t turn out well.  I nicknamed it the Brisket of Tears, because I wept when I ruined it, and again every time I ate the chewy, gray, tasteless meat.

A couple of years ago, I decided to master the crockpot.  I did a massive amount of research. After a week of fretting and praying and hoping that I could pull it off, I made a pork shoulder.  It was phenomenal.  It gave me confidence. And I went further into the slow-cooker abyss.

When I found a ridiculously good sale on New Zealand grassfed lamb, I knew I could execute it well.  My dish would not go the way of the church potluck or failed brisket attempt of 2009.  Nope.  It would succeed.

This is probably one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.  I’m not exaggerating in the least. The flavor of the lamb is complex and finishing the whole dish off in the oven to crisp up the fat made this dish completely decadent.


  • 3-4 lbs of lamb riblets or short ribs
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • 1/3 cup olive or avocado oil (I prefer avocado bc of the mellow flavor)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup(ish) fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup  fresh rosemary
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium shallot or small onion, quartered
  • 2 tsp tumeric
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp (+) fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp (+) salt


  1. Combine all ingredients (except for lamb) in blender or NutriBullet.  Pulse until everything is combined.  Pour over lamb and marinate in a ziplock bag or covered dish for 2-12 hours, or if you’re in a hurry, skip the marination and use right away.
  2. Rub crockpot with a little oil, and put lamb and marinade in.  For best results, cook on Low for 6-8 hours.  Eight hours is optimal, but do what you can.
  3. When the lamb is finished in the slow cooker, transfer to a baking sheet and bake on 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes to crisp up the fat and caramelize.
  4. Garnish with chopped mint leaves and devour immediately.

Short Ribs 2I served this with a side of saffron infused basmati rice, pan fried mushrooms and sweet onion, along with a fruit-filled salad.  There wasn’t even a speck of lamb left on the bones, and we devoured an entire plate in 20 minutes flat.

You will love this.  Trust me.  Or don’t.  But take a chance.  And make friends with your crockpot this summer.

It feels good to be baaaaaad,



Roasted Beef Bone Broth

imageWe make and consume a ton of bone broth in my house, especially during the winter. This food trend is not new. In fact, it’s part of a traditional, centuries old diet.

Bone broth lines your gut with a protective layer of healing collagen, it is packed with protein and minerals, and restores skin elasticity over time. It is excellent for your hair and nails, too. For about $1.00 a quart, you can make your own at home.

  • My favorite go-to recipe uses roasted, grass-fed beef knuckles and leg bones, lightly roasted onion, carrots, celery and just a touch of garlic.

Did I mention that it makes itself? After roasting the bones and veggies, you throw it all in a low temperature crockpot, cover it in water and walk away for two days.


  • 1-2 lbs of grassfed leg and knuckle bones
  • 2 organic carrots, broken in half
  • 3 organic celery stalks, cut in half
  • 1 small organic onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves fresh organic garlic
  • 3 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Coat bones and veggies in oil.
  3. Place in glass baking dish or roasting pan.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, but do not let the ingredients char. Your broth will taste terrible.
  5. Remove from oven and transfer immediately to crockpot and cover with water and add apple cider vinegar.
  6. Cook on low for 12-48 hours.
  7. Strain out veggies and bones. If you want super clear broth, do a second strain through unbleached cheese cloth.
  8. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 6 months.




Healthy Holidays — Slow Down

stock image by sakhorn38 from
stock image by sakhorn38 from

I’m writing this and I don’t even fully know how to tell you to do it because, the very deepest truth is, I’m learning how to do this myself. I like movement. I like commotion. I like getting caught up in the shuffle. It’s exciting and invigorating. Even as frustrating as it can be, it’s a little electrifying and fun. And that’s okay. We all need fun.

But it’s also distracting.

When my body and mind are too busy, (which I slip into way too easily this time of year), I miss the really GOOD stuff. Like my son’s new hand mannerisms that appeared overnight, or my husband’s introverted co-worker who often gets overlooked at company Christmas parties but is delightful to talk to once engaged.

One of my very wise teachers told me she had a serious problem slowing down when she was a girl. At one point, it was so bad that she was almost expelled from school because she couldn’t stay focused on any task that required repetition. Her father decided to help her find a way to connect to methodical tasks that required her full attention. Her family ate rice at every dinner, and he gave her the job of washing the rice. She hated it. She had to stand still, be patient, sift the rice through the water. Fill, sift, wash, dump, repeat, until the water ran clear. She couldn’t leave her task in the middle of it and go do something else. When she took shortcuts, dinner was ruined and her family got angry. Doing this simple task brought her pride when done well, and the important life skill of learning how to slow down. Later, when she went to medical school, she told us how the simple act of washing rice, submerging her hands in water, doing this methodical task, would bring her back from her frazzled, over-stimulated state of being in a matter of 10 minutes.  It carried her through her partner’s heath crisis later, and her son’s teen years. It even helped her build a thriving medical practice.

She told me this as I sifted my own rice to make a slow-cooked curry dish. And as I stood there, listening to her story, I let the water run into my bowl and I felt each grain of rice, each gentle rush of water, and found my brain slowing down. She kept talking and I kept listening (kind of) but I was lost in the simple act of doing something slowly, consciously, and enjoying it.  I was shocked how much I allowed myself to find meaningful connection in a mundane task.

So, can we all slow down just a little? Find our awareness through small, everyday acts of service to those we love. Hell, you don’t even have to do anything more than what you’re doing now, just do them differently.  Do them with intention.  Do them with loving connectedness.

Here are a handful of places to start:

Watch your children. And I mean WATCH them. See how they move, find joy in their play.

Touch your partner with intention. A hand on the back, or a thumb swiped gently across a wrist.

Write a note to your parents. Express gratitude for something positive they did that shaped you. And if you don’t have those kinds of parents, send one to someone who helped bridge that gap. A phone call would work, too.

Wash dishes. Yep, washing dishes engages both hands in concerted movement, which means both sides of your brain are working together. This is excellent for your mental acuity and you have the added bonus of a clean kitchen when you’re finished.

Make slow food. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact, simple is better. But there is something so satisfying about crafting a tasty meal from just a few ingredients and SITTING DOWN to eat it. Yep, that’s part of the deal. Sit down to eat.

So, in the spirit of slowing down, here is my favorite slow-food recipe, Korean Barbeque Beef. I’m sure it’s a far cry from authentic Korean food, but it’s rich, warm, satisfying, and makes excellent leftovers. It also goes well with rice. :)

2-3 lbs grass-fed chuck roast
1 onion, thinly sliced
5-7 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
I cup Braggs Amino Acids
1/4 cup rice vinegar (I use organic and unsweetened, but you might be able to use 1/8 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar instead.)
1/4 cup organic black strap molasses
3 Tbsp Siracha or other hot sauce
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
20-30 drops liquid stevia, or three Tbsp raw honey
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes for extra heat

1) In a medium bowl, whisk everything together except for the onion and chuck roast.
2) Grease your crockpot using some toasted sesame oil.  It adds extra flavor and makes cleaning easy.
3) Put your chuck roast in the crockpot and add the onions around the sides of the roast.
4) Pour your marinade over the roast and onions.  You can add a little water if you’d like,  1/2 cup should do it.
5) Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  I think 7 hrs is perfect, but it’s up to you!

Korean Beef

Pulled Pork with Carrot Fennel Slaw

Photo of Pulled PorkNow, I have to tell you: I ate strictly paleo for a few years. I loved it, and felt great while eating lots of veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds and properly raised animal protein. I’ve added some select grains back into my diet. I know. WHY?  HOW?  It all started when I got pregnant. I was fairly sick for the first two trimesters, and very particular about what I ate for the third.  I had a hard time digesting veggies unless they were cooked to mush, and couldn’t tolerate many animal proteins.  As much as I wanted to eat mostly paleo, even tried to force myself to, my body and my baby did not agree. And since I believe it is super important to listen to my body, I complied.  I tried cutting out grains again after Echo was born and it had a negative impact on my milk supply.  So, as long as I’m the head milk-maker, I will continue with a small serving of sprouted grains or brown rice a day.

Now, I have to tell you something else: I am committed to eating properly-raised protein. Because of Echo’s food allergies, the typical diet of conventionally raised animals is problematic because it is full of grains. So, the animals eat the grains, I eat the animals, Echo drinks my milk, and then he has a reaction to the grains the animal ate. Crazy, right? This means I scour the weekly grocery ads for deals, and buy in bulk when I find a good price on meat at our local co-op or Whole Foods. I make deals with friends who raise their own chickens, and sometimes go a week or two without eating animal protein at all if it is too cost prohibitive. Because BUDGET.

During the days following my son’s birth, many people gifted us with food.  One of our favorites was pulled pork made by our friend, Gwyn.  She inspired me to make this simple crockpot-style meal. I lucked out and found pork shoulder for $2.49 a pound and made a huge batch. This meal is especially nice if it’s too hot to cook and you don’t have time to anyway because you’re too busy cuddling your new baby. It’s also wonderful on a cold day, or to share with friends over dinner and wine.

Ingredients for Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder:

3-5 lbs Pork Shoulder, trimmed of some fat
  • 1/4 cup of a dry spice rub (I made my own with whatever I had in my pantry: S&P, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, celery salt, cinnamon, parsley, tumeric, onion powder.)
  • 2 Tbsp Braggs Amino Acids (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Organic Black Strap Molasses or raw honey (optional)
  • 1 onion, sliced
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Method for Pork Shoulder:

  1. Rub pork shoulder with amino acids, black strap molasses, and then spice mixture.
  2. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. Wake up early and put the pork shoulder in the crockpot with apple cider vinegar and onion.
  4. Cook covered on low setting for 8 hours-10 hours.  Or longer.  This is really hard to mess up.
  5. Serve with slaw and impress everyone with your cooking skills.

Ingredients for Fennel Carrot Slaw:

  • 2 bulbs of fennel, thinly sliced (I recommend using a mandolin.)
2-3 carrots, shaved (I use a veggie peeler.)
  • chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
1 tsp raw honey
  • Sea Salt and Pepper

Method for Slaw:

  1. Combine fennel, carrots and as much cilantro as you’d like in a bowl. I like LOTS of cilantro.
  2. Add vinegar, honey, S&P and mix thoroughly.
  3. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving to set.

My husband used Ezekiel tortillas as a conduit, but you can use lettuce or a sweet potato instead.  The sweet potato is especially delicious, and that’s what I used.  I also topped it with some goat cheese crumbles and it was heavenly.  You could use queso fresco or feta if you don’t like goat cheese, or avocado if you’re trying to avoid dairy altogether. This heats up great in a frying pan for leftovers, and a great filling for a quesadilla.