Last night was our M2 T3 event: August edition. :) Just like all our past events, we had a blast together! We did a little photo shoot with Michelle, cooked up some Paleo friendly and whole food dishes and sat down to enjoy our meal during the first NFL Preseason Bears game.
In spite of the rain starting right as we were about to shoot Michelle and the Bears losing to Manning and the Broncos, we had a ton of fun together. I didn’t really enjoy seeing Hanie booed at by what seemed like every single person in attendance at Soldier Field (I would have much rather seen a Bears jersey on his back) but what can ya do?
Since the last time we got together with Bob and Michelle we’ve both gone on separate vacations. They went to Colorado and we went to Portland. On our M2 T3 event in late June, we went on our own walking tour of Chicago. One of our stops was the Farmers Market and while we were there we came across some canned pickled garlic. We talked to the guy behind the table selling the stuff who turned out to be the owner (canner? pickler?). He gave us a sample and they tasted really good except when we looked at the label we realized there was sugar added and that turned both Michelle & I off from buying a can. While Bob & Michelle were in Colorado they happened to come across a bottle of pickled garlic and this time, no sugar was added. So they picked up a bottle and brought it back for us! It was a really cool surprise and I can’t wait to try them.
Here’s what we made!
I slaved all day over a…no, no I didn’t. ;) I spent between 20-30 minutes frying up some chicken breast, chopping up a bunch of – you guessed it – white vegetables, added everything to my slow cooker and let it do all the dirty work. For 6 hours I let that little machine cook on high, while I worked from only a few feet away.
Bacon Topped Roasted Cabbage
This was one of Michelle’s Pinterest inspired recipes. She came fully prepared with the marinade already measured out and ready for me to provide the bacon (properly sourced and sugar free of course, since I’m still on a no-sugar kick). We shoved those individual servings of marinated cabbage in the oven and let it do it’s magic.
Calamari with a Balsamic Reduction
This yummy food has been making a semi-regular appearance in our home over the last few months. It makes for a delicious entree, isn’t too expensive and is super quick to cook up. This was another recipe Michelle came prepared with, having already made the balsamic reduction. She pan fried the squid, covered them with the balsamic reduction and topped it off with fresh parsley. OMG YUM! The parsley definitely gave this dish that extra added freshness. I loved it :)
A Lesson in Taste Testing: Roasted Kabocha Squash
This is one of Michelle’s favorites. It was more like Paleo candy than a vegetable. Kabocha is a Japanese winter squash and it’s similar in consistency to a sweet potato but seriously tastes as sweet as candy. (Well especially because I’ve been laying off the sugar for most of the summer.) This was definitely a nice addition to our meal. Something I’ll be on the look out for in the near future.
Savory Zucchini Muffins
With the cabbage and kabocha in the oven, the crockpot keeping the chili warm and Michelle preparing the calamari, I made these muffins for dessert. I didn’t use any sweeteners, that means no honey or maple syrup or vanilla extract, not even a freaking banana! And they turned out really good. I have to say I was kind of surprised. I wanted to stay true to my no-sugar rule but wasn’t sure how they would turn out without any sweetener. But I was happy with both the taste and the consistency. When we were ready to have dessert I tried making some Coconut Milk Whipped Cream to top these bad boys off, but with my impatience of not wanting to miss the game, it turned out more like a coconut milk that had just been beaten. You know, still more on the liquid side than solid, and no where near the consistency of whipped cream. I don’t even think I could call it a soft peak that formed, hehe but I drizzled some over our muffins anyway.
With the leftover shredded zucchini from making the muffins I decided to make a coleslaw-esque salad dish.
Overall this was another M2 T3 success! An amazing time spent with awesome friends and great food. What more could you ask for? Oh yeah, maybe a Bears win? ;)