Coyotes and Sausage Cream Sauce (Or A Gluten Free Fall Recipe)

It was finally cool enough to take the Bubba hiking today. It felt great to get back out on our old trail and sit on our rock to be contemplative for a few seconds.

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Okay, I was contemplative. Albus was looking for coyotes.

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He wants to play with them.

I’ve tried to explain that they’re not dogs, but he doesn’t speak English except for the word, “chicken.” (This is why he is not allowed off-leash.)

ANYWAY, because it almost felt like fall today, I made a spicy Italian sausage tomato sauce with cream.

I try not to consume gluten (exceptions include: cookie dough and sausage pizza from Mozza), so I served it on roasted spaghetti squash instead of pasta.

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Ugly but delicious.

I added a little vodka to the sauce because renters left some in my freezer and because vodka cream sauces are from God.

If you want to make it, here’s the recipe.

Spicy Sausage in Vodka Cream Sauce

2 T Olive oil
1 lb Spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 Medium onion, chopped
3 Garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp Red pepper flakes
28 oz Can of plum tomatoes in juice
1/4 C Vodka
1/2 C Whipping cream
Salt to taste

1 Spaghetti squash
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Slice the squash into quarters. Remove the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil. Place on baking sheet and roast until tender and the insides can be removed easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium pot. Add sausage and cook until brown. Add onions and cook until translucent.

Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and vodka. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add whipping cream and salt to taste.

Serve over spaghetti squash.

Garnish with shaved parmesan if desired.

Of Pain and Pig (Or How to Make Wilted Kale with Bacon, Onions, and Apple)

My chiropractor has my number. He seriously calls me out on all of my bullshit, which I must admit I sort of appreciate even though it annoys me a little. When I go for an appointment, he realigns my spine and points out some absurdity in my life that I’m attempting to gloss over.

For example… he once overheard a conversation I was having with his receptionist about my health insurance coverage for emergency room visits and said, “The only way this one is going to the hospital is if she has a baby coming out of her.”

Gross, Dr. Greg. Graphic and gross… but probably totally true.

See, I have a tendency to bulldoze my way through things, deliberately blind to the damage if it’s inconvenient to acknowledge in the moment. This has been somewhat helpful in my career but perhaps less so in my personal life.

As a producer, I often operate on the premise that it is better to apologize than to ask for permission. When time is of the essence, you can’t wait around for fearful people to hem and haw. You just have to get the shot. When money is on the line and politics have to be considered, this can be a risky mode of operation, so it’s a delicate balance.

Also…

For better or for worse, I have a high pain threshold and this can mean not taking very good care of myself if there’s something “more important” to tend to like some actress’ meltdown or a cut that has to go out by 2 am.

Since I’m not actively producing anything right now, I’m taking a little more time to notice when I need something, and many people have played a role in this, my chiropractor included.

So, anyway, this is all to say it was rather huge for me to realize (without anyone else’s help) that I needed to go to the doctor for my sore throat yesterday.

I’d had enough of the sensation of swallowing broken glass and capitulated to the pain. The doctor thought my disease warranted a Z-pack, so I guess it’s good I went to see him.

As I live in a rather colorful area of Hollywood, the clientele in his office was, shall we say…. interesting?

There was a woman (I think?) in a nearby room who was letting out these horrid, high-pitched, reptilian-like screams every few minutes while I waited to see the doctor.

When I was finally leaving the office, prescription in hand, she screamed again. The three nurses stationed in the hallway all looked at me as if to say, “Don’t look at me. I’m not going in there.”

“It sounds like you have a velociraptor caged in there,” I said. They looked at me rather blankly, not getting the reference.

“It’s like Jurassic Park up in here,” I clarified.

And as if on cue, the human dinosaur screamed its reptilian scream again.

They all started laughing, and as I walked away, I heard them slapping their legs and repeating, “Jurassic Park,” through hyena-like cackles.

My work there was done.

And now my work here is done, so I will leave you with a recipe for wilted kale with bacon, onion, and apples.

Why?

Because bacon and Reeses Pieces Easter eggs are the only things I can taste right now… and at least one of those things has some redeeming nutritious value.

Fruit, Veggies, and Pig!

Fruit, Veggies, Vitamins… and Pig!

Kale with Bacon, Onion, and Apples

4 Slices of Bacon
1/2 Small Onion, Sliced
1 Large Apple, Gala or Pink Lady, Sliced
6 C Kale, Chopped
2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook bacon in a skillet. Remove bacon and set aside. Remove all but 2 T of bacon grease from the skillet. Add the chopped onion to bacon grease. Cook until soft, about 6-8 minutes.

Add the kale and allow to wilt, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl before adding the 2 T of apple cider vinegar. (The residual heat from the skillet will evaporate the vinegar otherwise.)

Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add crumbled bacon and apple slices…

And Devour like a velociraptor.

Mint Chocolate for My Mouth (Or Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls)

Remember how I was all into the Cookie Dough Protein Balls from PaleOMG a few weeks ago? (If not, you can find the Balls for Breakfast post here.)

Well, I am still into them. WAY into them. Only, I was eating a handful one day and thought, “What if I put MINT in here?”

If you’re thinking, “Mint with almonds? Have you taken leave of your senses, woman?” I understand.

But go with me for a moment here because it’ll be worth it.

I promise.

Spence the Spinosauraus Can't STOP with these things.

Even Trudy the Triceratops can’t STOP with these things.

If you think Trudy and I are on to something with the mint in our mouths, here’s the recipe.

Mint Chocolate Cookie Dough Protein Balls

1/2 C Trader Joe’s Vanilla Hemp Protein*
2 T Coconut Flour
1 T Coconut Sugar
pinch of salt
1 T Almond Butter
2 T Almond Milk
1 1/2 T Coconut Oil, melted
1/2 tsp Pure Mint Extract
2 T Miniature Chocolate Chips, Semi-Sweet

Mix the first four ingredients together in a small bowl. Mix the almond butter, almond milk, coconut oil, and mint extract together in another bowl and stir to create uniform consistency. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix to blend. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Roll into balls and allow them to firm up in the refrigerator.

Try not to eat them before they set up….

Oh, and the other thing I’m into right now?

Is this song by Thomas Jack.

Please don’t get all uppity about the Chaplin film that contains this speech and give me a lecture on sensitivity. I just like the words in the context of the song.

*Trader Joe’s also makes a chocolate hemp protein. That would probably be good as well. 

Friday I’m in Love (Or Three Things I’m Into)

It’s FRIDAY!!!!

And I’m in LOVE. ❤ ❤ ❤

But not in the way you think I mean. I’m in love with my life, and I want to tell you about a few things that are making me happy right now because I’m all about spreading love and happiness. ❤

MY FAVORITE GLUTEN FREE CRACKERS:

They’re the Sea Salt Brown Rice Crackers by Food Should Taste Good, but a better name might be Crack in a Box.

The government should require a warning label for these things.

I mean…

Monica loves them so much, I think she might fight me for them.

Monica loves them so much, she snuggles with the box. 

They used to carry them at Costco, and I got ADDICTED. They stopped stocking them last year, and I nearly had to go to therapy.

I recently found them at the high end market on my street for 6x the price I paid at Costco. I only let myself buy them as a special treat because I’m not trying to be homeless because I’m addicted to amaranth and rice crackers.

Today felt like the right day to splurge, so I bought a box.

You probably should too, but please don’t blame me if you end up living in your car because of your addiction.

WALKING THE DOG WHILE LISTENING TO SCREENWRITING PODCASTS: 

I’m ALL about maximizing efficiency, so I get excited when I can do two things at once. Yesterday, I found a way to do THREE things at once, which was so fabulous it was almost like having an orgasm.

See, I figured out how to work out, tire out my enormous dog, AND solve some script problems all at once.

The solution?

Walking the dog while listening to screenwriting podcasts.

Genius, right?

I decided to make it an extra relaxing time for us, so we even lay in the park for a while as I listened to smart and famey writers talk about writing.

See?

Aren't you glad I showed you my armpit?

Aren’t you glad I showed you my armpit?

Nature + Learning = ❤

Plus a humming bird joined us for a while.

It was awesome.

That's not dirt. It's a bird.

That’s not dirt. It’s a bad photo of a little bird. I promise.

Time with my dog + birds + learning = ❤ ❤ ❤

If you’re into this sort of movie madness, you can check out Scriptnotes here.

And last but not least….

WRITING TO YOUTUBE MIX TAPES:

I started doing it this week, and it’s uh-mazing. Most of the mix tapes run about an hour, so you get uninterrupted beats without having to deal with ads.

True story.

I put one of my favorites below. This one happens to be all Kygo tracks, but I’m not mad about it. It includes remixes of Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire,” Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” and Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.”

Plus Owly, the genius who created it, even lists the tracks on the playlist so you don’t have to interrupt your writing flow to shazaam a song when you like it.

OK, I’m off to implement some of the screenwriting tips from yesterday before going to dinner with my adorable aunt and cousin.

We’re going to listen to country music while eating our favorite burritos.

It’s going to be beyond.

XOXO

❤ ❤ ❤

All Roads Lead to Bacon (Or Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions)

You know that scene in Dirty Dancing when Dr. Houseman tells Johnny he knows he’s not the one who got Penny pregnant?

He’s all, “When I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong.”

(The moment is at 4:28, in case you’re interested — or in case you just wanna watch pretty people dirty dance.)

ANYWAY, when I’M wrong, I say I’m wrong too.

So, here’s one of the ways I’ve been wrong lately: I think I may have been too hard on the Spicy Calabrian Pork Ribs.

They’ve been sitting in my fridge since I made them on Monday and I’ve been snacking on them all week. I’m liking them more now than I did initially. I think maybe the marinade needs to be made a few days in advance so the flavors have time to marry. I might try this experiment another time. (If I do, I’ll totally get back to you.)

The other experiment I want to try?

Involves the maple chile glaze from this pork chop recipe. I think I want to put THAT on pork ribs as well. This brings me to another thought….

It’s possible my pig obsession is getting out of control.

I keep telling myself at least it’s not as bad as this guy’s:

I mean I haven't declared my love on my car yet….

I mean I haven’t declared my love on my car yet….

But I probably would wear one of these to work out.

If you're as nuts as I am about bacon, you can buy these shirts here.

If you suffer from the same affliction, you can buy these shirts here.

An intervention may be necessary.

Even if things ARE a little out of control, I’m not ready to stop the obsession yet, so let’s just keep oinking, K?

Yesterday I promised you the recipe for Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions, so here it is.

Spence the Spinosaurus is trying to control himself around this goodness.

They were a huge hit with Spence the Spinosaurus.

I had some bacon leftover after I made the dish, so I decided to candy it with spices and maple syrup. (Recipe here.) Then I cranked up the Kygo, and danced in my kitchen while I waited for my candied bacon to cook because that’s what lunatics people do.

Just try to listen to this track and not do a little dirty dancing of your own.

I dare you.

I double bacon candy dare you.

Prosciutto, Mint, and Melon Appetizers (Or A Baby Shower Brunch Idea!)

Yesterday, I was playing around with prosciutto to see if perhaps I might want to do a proscuitto, melon, and mint appetizer for my friend’s baby shower on Saturday.

There's melon in there somewhere.

There’s melon in there somewhere.

I was wrapping mint leaves and the cured meat around balls of cantaloup, when I received word that the shower was off.

Yup, you guessed it… another baby shower canceled due to the early arrival of another baby boy!

Finnie is a big brother now! Yay!!!

Declan is happy and healthy, and so is his mommy, and while I’m disappointed we won’t be stuffing our faces with pork products in his honor this weekend, I’m looking forward to holding him instead really soon!

Also?

I’ll never forget his birthday because he now shares one with my baby who turned four yesterday. ❤

SO not the same thing as a human baby. I know.

SO not the same thing, but I love him with all my heart. And that counts for something, right?

XOXO

Happy Birthday, Bubba! (Or Paleo Cilantro Chicken for the Birthday Boy!)

Today is my dog’s fourth birthday. And while I’m tempted to get out my glittery markers to make him a hat, I think he’d prefer kisses and a fistful of meat instead.

What's this I'm hearing about a hat?

What’s this I’m hearing about a hat?

Last night I made a super delicious chicken dish, and I saved some chicken scraps for him. Maybe we’ll sing “Happy Birthday” and make it a proper celebration with candles and everything. (I need help. Clearly.)

Or maybe we’ll just go for a hike and snuggle on the couch together.

I hate snuggling. Just give me chicken.

I hate snuggling. Just give me chicken.

If you want to know why he’s so fixated on the chicken, here’s why:

It's somewhere under that pile of pears, cilantro, and celery. I swear.

It’s somewhere under that pile of pears, cilantro, and celery. I swear.

I found the recipe in this great gallery of 22 Paleo-friendly recipes from Bon Appetit.

I’ll be honest, though, I didn’t really follow it closely when it came to the ratio of lime juice, cilantro, celery, or pears. I just piled it all on. (I look at savory recipes like speed limits — polite suggestions for minimizing mayhem and mishaps.)

So basically my version just goes like this.

Celery, Cilantro, and Pear Chicken with Lime

4 celery stalks, sliced
2 Asian pears, thinly sliced
A heaping pile of cilantro leaves
Juice from 1 fresh lime
2 chicken breasts
Olive oil

Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Don’t bother pounding them. I think it yields a negligible benefit, frankly. Cook the chicken breasts in a cast iron skillet with a little bit of olive oil — in the stove at 350 or on the burner — whatever your preferred method. (I’d give you cooking times but my stove is whack so it wouldn’t be useful. Just don’t overcook them. Chicken seriously sucks when it’s dry.)

Meanwhile, slice the pear and celery. Squeeze lime juice over the sliced stuff, throw in cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste. (This limey salad can be made the night before if you’d like. It’s almost better the next day, actually.)

Remove chicken from heat, cover in fruity, veggie lime mixture. Devour.

And maybe save some of the chicken scraps for your birthday boy.

You owe me more than scraps for this, woman.

You owe me more than scraps for this, woman.