Bluberry Balsamic Beef Roast

One of the first thing I noticed about paleo is the importance of grass fed beef.  I’d like to think this option would be a whole helluva lot easier stateside, but maybe I’m wrong.  There are some decent options here in Okinawa like I posted in 2012, but the problem with the off-base-grass-fed beef is: 1. the price (ouch) and 2. the size (the cuts of beef off base are made for Japanese families- petite).

One of my absolute favorite cuts of beef is the prime rib.  During my time in Klamath Falls I would visit my great grandfather who lived in Medford.  We would take long Sunday drives around the Rogue Valley where he would transform the land into the way he remembered it in the 1920s and 30s: majestic.  The area where Costco is now used to be my great grandfathers fathers farm.  Our timing was epically off.

After a few hours every Sunday we would find ourselves in Jacksonville, Oregon.  Nestled quietly in the Rouge Valley, Jacksonville, Oregon, is one of my most favorite places in the world.  Quaint, rustic and simple.  The Bella Union with its gourmet menu, gorgeous staff and stiff martini- is my favorite local restaurant.  My great grandfather and I would order the same thing every time: a gin martini and the prime rib.  Our dates together were filled with history lessons, memories of the olden days and talks of the future.

Since his passing in 2004 I have not been back to Jacksonville, however, during the holidays I attempt to make a prime rib he would be proud of.  This past Christmas season had me so far off the paleo bandwagon, I went with this recipe: Webers Prime Rib in a Blue Cheese Crust.  I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, he would have approved!

After a soul satisfying Christmas Dinner, I bagged up the prime ribs and saved them for beef broth.  I used the recipe by eatyourbeets and went with the crockpot-for-8-hours option.

I’ve had the broth sitting in the fridge for a couple of days and finally found a recipe with sacred beef broth potential… here’s the recipe that was my inspiration: Mushroom and Blueberry Balsamic Pot Roast.

Blueberry Balsamic Beef Roast with Shrooms and Carrots

  • chuck roast “Chuck”
  • 2 plastic containers of mushrooms
  • 6 T fat of your choice
  • 1 package of fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 bag baby carrots
  • 1 onion, quartered, peeled and core removed
  • 1 c beef broth
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar (I used strawberry)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

Turn your crockpot on low.  Remove Chuck from the fridge, wrapper and let him breath while you chop and brown.  Slice the mushrooms in halves, the onion into quarters and leave the blueberries and carrots be.

Heat a pan to just above medium heat, add 2 T of fat of your choice (I used ghee… next time, bacon grease).  Brown the onions, then remove the onions on both sides- place them on a plate.  Do the same with the carrots (they wont “brown”), then remove the carrots and throw them on top of the onion plate.  Add 2 more T of your fat (+some if you’re feeling frisky).  Brown the mushrooms and garlic.  The mushrooms will soak up the fat leaving you with darker colored shrooms, browned garlic and a dry pan.  Add the shrooms and garlic to the onion/carrot plate.

Add the last of your fat to the pan and salt and pepper Chuck.  Brown all sides of Chuck.  Once he is brown on all sides (yes you may have to hold him while you sear the ends) remove him from the pan and lay him ever so gently in the crockpot.

In the same hot pan add the broth, balsamic vinegar and tomato sauce; bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer until reduced by half.  Add the garlic, shooms, onions and carrots to the crockpot.  Tuck all those veggies around Chuck.  Once the sauce is reduced by half pour it over the Chuck and his friends.

Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

the sauce

the sauce

dinner

dinner

approved!

approved!

When you’re ready to eat, pour the sauce back into the pan and reduce it by half again.  While its reducing slice the roast against the grain, plate your veggies and prepare for tender, flavorful, rustic roast!  Pour the sauce over Chuck and his friends.  Enjoy!

Tootles.

jess

Adapt and Overcome

As soon as I found my oh-dark-thirty groove, my schedule changes. Here’s my shocked face: insert eye roll.  I’m working swing shifts (nights) for the next few weeks.  I’ve always enjoyed this shift because I get to have breakfast with my two youngest, can throw dinner together in the crock pot, make it to the gym, make it home to shower, eat lunch, get dressed, get a Starbucks and make it to work early– I feel so accomplished!!

The poopy thing about working swings is I never get to see my oldest, MC. Guess there will be a couple of 5am wake up calls for me to make a hot breakfast in the weeks to come!

Working, crossfitting and raising a family goes a whole lot smoother when I have a plan.  The best tool I have to assist in my mother hen plan is using the crock pot for dinners.  I have enough time in the morning to prep and it’s one less thing my husband has to do.   Since I don’t actually create recipes, I tried a new one from nomnompaleo. Her pictures, her words and her cute little cartoon make this a blog an absolute favorite of mine!  I did her “slow cooker Korean grass-fed short ribs” recipe in part to pay homage to my coworker who I am no longer on crew with: Joe (whose wife makes the  most amazing bulgogi on this planet).

$10.80 for four ribs- OUCH!

$10.80 for four ribs- OUCH!

I followed this recipe to the best of my ability, but I started off fighting an uphill battle: grass-fed ribs… not gonna happen at this commissary.  You’d think since I live on a tropical island I’d have coconut vinegar, well, not so much.  I exchanged the vinegar with some fancy smancy vinegar I got on my trip to Sacramento: Blackberry-ginger Balsamic Vinegar (yes, they ship to APO and they are super fast too!).

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Next time I make this I won’t add the chicken broth and when they are done cooking I’m gonna pull them out of the crock pot and slide them under the broiler for a bit cause they were pretty greasy.  But, lets not take away the fact that they were absolutely heavenly!  This will be making a comeback!!!

The last week we have been doing a better job at working out with JR.  In fact, MC has popped his out and asked to join us more than once!  Call it crazy, but Im seeing a difference!  For example, I introduced box jumps to my son, JR less than a month ago.

The wod: 7-5-3

  • box jumps (14″)
  • deadlifts (w/ 8 lb kettlebell)
  • pushups (on knees)

During the first set of box jumps, JR missed…BAD!!  There were tears, ice packs, hugs and scaling: step ups.  He finished in 6:57.  Since then we have been giving JR wods at least twice a week.  On January 5th the box jump was back.

The wod: 4 Rounds for Time

  • 10 sec plank hold (on knees)
  • 8 push ups (on knees)
  • 6 sit ups
  • 4 burpees
  • 2 box jumps

Both MC and JR were wodding together.  My husband and I had decided earlier that JR was going to scale the box jumps and do step-ups.  We went over the skill: the wall ball and then started explaining the wod.  We had Matt do 5 practice box jumps and then told JR that he would be doing step ups.  “No! I do box jumps too!” he snapped.

“Ok, but if you miss, you can go to step-ups,” I replied as gently as I could.

“I wont miss, I’ll do better this time,” he said, his hands on his hips and his chest out.  I think there might have been Superman-spandex under his Angry Birds shirt.

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5:52, no misses, all smiles.

Tootles.

jess