Well, we have gotten through the first week of our Whole30 during this Lenten season.  It hasn't been terribly bad since I am motivated by the Lenten Season in addition to really wanting to alleviate my adrenal fatigue.

My cravings for sugar and chocolate are ever present, but I am focusing on selecting healthy snacks as my alternative.  Technically, you are not supposed to snack during a Whole30, but those with adrenal fatigue SHOULD snack, so I am focusing on snacking on healthy options rather than my usual ( you know , chocolate or sugared processed something) and not doing the no snacking option.  I'm also being quite diligent in getting my 5 glasses of water in daily and this seems to be alleviating me from needing as many snacks as usual as my body feels more 'filled' with the water intake.

Most of our breakfasts this week have been eggs.  Scrambled eggs as that's the easiest to get my 6 year old to eat.  But each day I try to serve something with them that varies so that it doesn't seem to be the same meal each day. I do this, though my son and I are really learning just how spoiled we are as we near the end of The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, our most recent bedtime story selection.  Laura and her family had only white potatoes and wheat to make bread for the longest time, and then only seed wheat which they had to hand grind in their coffee mill for a couple of months!  Yeah, somehow I feel less inclined to worry about whether our meals feel so varied.

Lunches have been primarily leftovers with some greens or a few slices of organic luncheon meats with some raw veggies and a clementine and a Lara Bar or a handful of nuts.

Dinners have the most variation and I do believe that variation is important in regards to nutrition.  It does our bodies well to have a variety of vegetables and such to be sure we are getting an assortment of vitamins and minerals.  I want to share my dinner mealtime with you here:

Monday:  Paleo Chocolate Chili over mashed potatoes made with ghee, coconut milk and garlic   &Salad

Tuesday: Crockpot Potatoes (baked potatoes & Sweet Potatoes in the crockpot), Sausage & Peppers, Salad

Wednesday:  Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon,  Salad

Thursday:  Turkey Burgers on a bed of lettuce (no bun of course) , Brussels Sprouts, Baked Sweet Potatoes

Friday:  Clam Chowder  & Salad with greens, blueberries, green bell pepper, scallions and cucumber

Saturday:  Roast,  Asparagus and Roasted Carrots

Sunday:  Leftovers-

One of my biggest dilemmas over the years is figuring out what sides to make with my meals to make sure the meal stays easy and, yes, I'll admit it, to add variety (both nutrition and pleasure reasons).  Maybe I'm the only one that stresses over this.  But I like to have something besides the easy frozen broccoli steamed in the pan...  so here's a few of our favorite sides from the week.  I hope you try them and enjoy them!

Print

Easy Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients:

2 bunches asparagus

ghee or grassfed butter

lemon-pepper seasoning


For this recipe, simply break off the ends of the asparagus.  Fresh asparagus should easily snap about an inch or so from the bottom.  Spread asparagus out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Simply dot the amount of ghee/butter that you wish to use.  I use approximately 3 Tablespoons.  Sprinkle with lemon-pepper seasoning to taste.  Bake in oven at 350 for 12-15 minutes until asparagus are crisp-tender.  You don't want to overcook asparagus-  that's when it gets stringy.  Enjoy this simple side dish!

Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings 4
Print

Roasted Carrots

Ingredients:

4-5 large carrots

Coconut OIl

Cinnamon or Cumin


Simply remove ends from carrots and peel.  Cut carrots into 3-4 inch pieces and slice the pieces down the middle into 2-4 sticks.  Spread sticks on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and dot with coconut oil.  For this many I use about 2 Tablespoons but this can vary according to your taste.  Sprinkle with cinnamon or cumin to taste.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until carrots are tender.

Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Print

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

2 Lbs Brussels sprouts (shaved in a food processor or quartered by hand)

4 Tablespoons ghee or grass fed butter

3 teaspoons sea salt

3 teaspoons ground turmeric

Spread the Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Dot with ghee/butter.  Sprinkle salt and turmeric over the sprouts.  Bake at 300 degrees for 30-45 minutes until tender (20-30 minutes at 350) until tender.

You can certainly half this recipe, but I always use 2 lbs to assure that I have plenty of my favorite vegetable for my breakfasts!  These are great with bacon or another breakfast meat!


Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6

 

I've been making some really good cabbage.  Both in terms of the slang word for money and the Brassica family.  🙂

I've been selling lots of things on a local Facebook page for online garage sales.  So far I have decluttered my home of videos, unused wii games, baby toys, games, a keyboard, various books, and a few kitchen items and cookbooks and I've been saving that cabbage to go towards purchases for the new house.  (Closing Date Coming Soon!)

In other parts of my kitchen, I've been making cabbage that is good enough to eat (even by my son who used to turn up his nose at the stuff).  I used to make fried cabbage about once or twice a summer simply because my husband and I loved it.  Secondly, because cabbage is really cheap for a meal (thus saving the other kind of cabbage).  But my kids complained and I hate complaining and just avoided making it at other times - except my cabbage casserole because- well- that's really good.

Now I found a way to make fried cabbage so I have one less complainer.  I thank Sarah Fragoso for this one as I found the base recipe in her Everyday Paleo Cookbook.  It's a great cookbook and well worth every piece of cabbage I spent on it.  🙂  Here's my version which is very close to Sarah's.

recipe title="Great Fried Cabbage" servings="5-6"  time="45 minutes"  difficulty="easy"]

  • 1 package nitrate/nitrite free uncured bacon, preferably organic
  • 1 head green cabbage, shredded in food processor or chopped by hand
  • 1 medium to large onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup homemade chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:   Cut bacon with kitchen shears into pieces about 2 inches long.  Brown bacon with onion s in large skillet.  Remove bacon and onions from pan (NOT the yummy bacon grease!) and set aside.  Add the chopped cabbage to the hot skillet and stir it around the grease for about 4 minutes, allowing the cabbage to wilt slightly.  Add vinegar, chicken broth, mustard, salt and pepper.  Mix Well.  Allow to simmer on medium heat for ten minutes.  Add the bacon and onion mixture. Allow to simmer for another ten minutes.

This dish is great by itself (just use an extra big cabbage) or is also really good served with pork chops and/or sweet potatoes.

[/recipe]

 

 

 

 

Eggs are the most inexpensive quality form of protein someone can buy. There are 6.3 grams of protein in just one large egg! So if you are trying to  figure out how to make a whole foods lifestyle fit into your budget, eggs are a good staple to rely on.

Eggs are very nutritious.  They are not only a good source of protein but are rich in essential fatty acids (fatty acids your body can't create from other materials and, therefore, we must consume from quality food sources) and vitamins!  Unfortunately, for years, people thought eggs were problematic for cholesterol and a cause of heart disease.  Thankfully most people realize now that this is a thoroughly outdated 'scientific' concept.

It is important to note, however, there is an ENORMOUS difference between store-bought CAFO eggs than the eggs you can buy from your local farmer who has free-range chickens eating what chickens should be eating.  Store bought "CAFO" eggs are eggs from chickens that have been raised in an overfilled hen-house or cage that never see the light of day, are filled with antibiotics and hormones (yes, these do end up inside the eggs) and are fed grains (usually GMO grains).   Truly free-range pastured eggs come from chickens that generally run all over the farm eating insects and plant material they find on the ground.  This is what chickens are supposed to eat in a natural world and it is the food that makes their eggs the most nutritious.  There are many other types of eggs that fall in between these two types but the most nutritious is definitely the eggs coming from the entirely cage free, antibiotic free, hormone free and grain fed free chickens!

These pastured chickens have eggs have higher amounts of Omega 3s, beta carotene,  and vitamins A, D and E. They also happen to be lower in cholesterol and saturated fat though I don't believe that actually matters  -   but that's for another post...

Here's Two of My Favorite Egg Recipes:

Crustless Kale Quiche

  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh kale (broccoli or spinach is good too!)
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cups shredded cheese of your choice ( I like a blend of mozz, parmesan and cheddar)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Saute kale and mushrooms until kale is wilted and mushrooms are softened.  Stir in bacon and let mixture cool.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese and pepper.  Add kale mixture to this and stir well.  Scoop into greased pie pan.  Bake in the preheated oven about 30 minutes or until eggs are set.  Let cook about 5-10 minutes before serving.

This makes a wonderful breakfast, lunch or dinner!  We like to serve it over a bed of greens with some fresh sliced tomatoes and avocado for a side dish!

Grain Free Banana Pancakes

  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • cinnamon to taste

Blend the above ingredients together well until no lumps remain.  Pour batter into greased pan and cook pancakes.  Serve with butter, ghee, maple syrup or other topping of your choice.  Enjoy!

My toddler LOVES these pancakes!!!

Resources for additional information:

Authority Nutrition

Food Renegade

3

I am/was behind in menu planning this month.  I am sitting here coming to the realization the month has already started and I haven't planned the menu!  I've enjoyed the last two months as I prepared the following month's menu at least a week before the month started.  It has really made life easier to plan in advance like that rather than waiting until the evening before I do my weekly grocery store trip to plan the menu and the list.  It takes a little longer to plan for the month but not as long as it used to do the weekly plan since I made up a bit of a draft to always follow.

First I print out a Monthly Menu Planner....  I had one saved to my computer but couldn't find the link.  Here's another that I like:

weekly menu planner pict 300x231 Meal Planning Resources

So now I take a look at the menu and fill in the dates....  Then I look at my regular planning calendar and mark off any days we might not be home for dinner due to previous plans or make note of days we will be out of town for dinner and may need to plan on food to take with us!  Then I mark of Wednesdays and Fridays.  These are days we follow the fasting rules of the Orthodox Church.  The rule permits fish without backbones on these days but does not allow any other animal meat.  We are a little more lenient in our home and allow any type of fish, but try to stick to the backbone rule on at least one of these days.  So Wednesday and Fridays are automatically seafood days and I try, if we have it on hand, to do wild caught salmon once a week.  I am out right now and need to get myself to our best source soon! 

Next is my list of our current favorite Paleo meals:

  • Bacon Spinach Casserole
  • Paleo Chili
  • Mushroom Meatloaf
  • Chicken With Mushroom Sauce
  • Spaghetti Squash with Homemade sauce

And a couple "ALMOST" Paleo Meals:

  • Turkey Reuben Salad
  • General Tso's  Chicken served over cauliflower rice

And, usually - because my family LOVES them and my husband and son volunteer every month to help our church make them...AND because we don't, at this time, want to be 100% Paleo.....  one NOT paleo meal...but used more as a side dish now beside a very large salad...

  • Perogies.   Yep---- wheat AND white potatoes in the same meal...I'm sure the paleo police will come after us for sure but so far we do fine with this ... and I personally think making them a side dish now instead of a main meal is just a nice guilty pleasure that is at still better than what we used to do!  🙂

So with the seafood meals, which I also have a list of convenient easy meal combinations pre-made, that automatically gives me 16 meals already planned!  Throw in about 6 Hot Plates (Stir Frys) that are super easy and Thursday Leftover Days  and that leaves me with only about 4 meals to plan!  These will be my experimental days to try new Paleo Recipes!

Recipe Bonus:

I decided to add this here as some of you may be wondering just what Turkey Reuben Salad is...  It may sound a bit strange... making a reuben into a salad rather than a sandwich but my husband suggested it and I figured if he was willing to give up the sandwiches, I should be supportive and attempt the salad.  Even my 15-year-old likes it 🙂

Turkey Reuben Salad

3/4  -  1 lb. organic deli turkey, thinly sliced

1 jar sauerkraut (raw sauerkraut is the healthiest choice)

1/4 - 1/2 red onion, sliced or diced

organic cherry tomatoes - 1 container

1/4 lb. swiss cheese - cubed or you may use sliced cheese and cut it into nice long strips

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

Organic Baby Spinach - Extra Large Package...about 12 oz.  [or green of your choice]

I make this salad up "buffet style".  My husband and I like the spinach but my son prefers a nice romaine lettuce and opts to leave the onions off.   I also like to mix baby romaine or baby lettuces with mine.  Try it and let me know what you think!  Meanwhile, I need to fill out that menu planner!!

3

 Someone asked me recently if I had children...and if so, how do they handle a restricted diet?

Well, yes.  I do have children.  Three.  

And I guess the answer is different for each of them.

About 7 years ago, when we began our journey towards a more whole foods diet, eliminating artificial additives and preservatives from the Standard American Diet we were then eating and thereby transforming our health (See Our Food Story that I posted on   ), we then had 2 children.  At that time they were 12 and 8.

My children saw the reactions we had to the artificial foods when we added them back into our diet.  They saw themselves.  My daughter's skin turned the brightest red I have ever seen on a person that had NOT just spent an entire day at the beach without sunscreen.  My son itched and itched until he cried.  Both felt ill and uncomfortable.  My daughter's mood was anxious and irritable.  My son was agitated as well - possibly from the itching or another symptom - hard to say.  They saw our reactions.  My husband was nauseous and itchy with a rash.  I was moody to say the least, itchy, anxious and could not sleep most of the night. This of course, only summarizes the reactions we had that week.

My children did not enjoy feeling that way.  They understood,for the most part, why we were never taking part in those artificial ingredients ever again.

Now was it easy to transition?  Certainly not.  But we did what we could to make it fun or at least as easy as we could.  We homeschool...  so that made it easier.  It was easier to say, "Well for health class this year, we are transitioning to a more whole foods diet.  We will be exploring the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables and learning about reading labels, artificial ingredients and what they do to the body/brain and for Home Ec, we will learn to cook more foods with wholesome ingredients from scratch".  I think because we homeschool, this made the transition easier.  But I am certain one does not have to homeschool to get your kids on board to a healthier diet or make them a big part of it.  I hear public school families can have deep conversations and discussions at the dinner-time  as well!!  And I'm sure our way is not the only way to make a transition work!

My daughter loved the recipe and cooking part.  Life in my kitchen, though, did NOT look quite so glamorous as the picture above!  😉

At that time, we found Christina Cooks on television and would watch her show and bought two of her cookbooks.  Now Christina used macrobiotics (an approach to physical and emotional wellness through consuming foods that are balanced energetically      (between yin and yang) and nutritionally. It is typically a well-balanced  diet with high fibre, low-fat, lots of vegetables and grains, vegetable protein, and limited meat, with an emphasis on eating  seasonal organic food)  and was also a vegan.  I was not, and still am not, totally convinced of the macrobiotic vegan approach (though I do believe that macrobiotics play an important rule in health to a degree and think that veganism, if approached correctly, can be healthy for SOME people though perhaps not ideally...) but what attracted us to Christina was the wealth of information and cooking techniques her show offered.  And my daughter loved the cooking techniques and ideas that Christina presented.  So the three of us, my children and I, would watch this show and come up with great ideas for meals and create them!  My daughter preferred making the desserts but did help with other things too.

My son became my instant label reader(as did my husband).  He was instantaneously intrigued by what was in his foods and what he didn't want in his foods!  He would help me read labels of our old favorites in the grocery store and point out the things we couldn't have.  He would also help me compare these items to the items in the 'natural' section of the grocery store or health food store, assisting in finding easy or sometimes not so easy replacements for things like salad dressings, mayonnaise, ketchup, cereals, etc. He would also express his dismay when he found that a past favorite was off-limits, especially if it were because of only one or two unnecessary ingredients!

So that is ,essentially, how we approached incorporating the new foods into our healthy diet plan.  But this doesn't exactly address restricting them from foods they normally ate out or socially, does it?

My son was easier with this.  Oh, he still wanted things laden in white flour and sugar.  But he did want to avoid anything that contained an obvious artificial ingredient that he knew would cause an immediate reaction (other than a little hyperactivity) or was a known carcinogen as we were learning (You'd be amazed at how many food additives are known carcinogens but are still labeled by the FDA as GRAS/Generally Regarded as Safe in our processed food products...but that's another story for another day).  Since most of those things laden in white flour and sugar also contained such ingredients, most were easy to avoid.  But not all.  As I said in the previous food post, life is hard and we're not perfect. So yes, there were (and are) things we give into to make life easier for our kids (and ourselves).  We know that pizza is not healthy... but if we can find a kind that does not have an artificial ingredient that will cause instant chemical changes in our brain and thus cause an allergic type reaction, we will, on occasion, eat it.  The same with a glazed donut or, often, you could find my daughter baking up some yummy concoction in our very own oven.

Over the years we took this decision a little too liberally in my opinion...but that led also led us to learning more which is what has us experimenting with the Paleo/Primal diets which eliminates those processed foods even more.  Actually, if we followed the Paleo diet 100% it would totally eliminate the unhealthy (yes even the organic ones!) processed foods from our diet.  But again, we do not do this 100%... more like 90%.... and we do allow our older son to choose one processed snack a week... because he's a kid... and this transition is hard.  Some (from the Paleo world) may fault me for letting him have the processed food ...  but this is my family and this is the choice I'm making for him (while secretly hoping that in time his cravings for this will lessen) at this time.  My choice could change...next week, next year or possibly never. (Of course he didn't like reading this part when I asked him to read it over and see if I left anything important out of the post!)

When our daughter is away at college, we know that, at least for the most part, she follows what we have taught her.  A family member once said to her that since she was going away she wouldn't have to follow our food rules anymore...  and no, she doesn't... if she wants to go back to having bipolar disorder.  She does not want that.   She knows what can befall her if she strays.  She wants her college education.  She wants her independence.  She wants her health.  She's already been the one to experiment here and there with things in previous years and saw the results...  yes, sometimes natural flavors CAN make you feel awful.... No, that one candy bar was NOT a good idea.  So while she may be ingesting way too much processed grains, she is, I believe, at least staying away from the obviously toxic stuff that her peers are practically inhaling all around her and would cause her horrible consequences.  So she says, 'no thank you', picks up her coffee and plain bagel and away she goes.

My son, still at home, tells me what he wants to take with him on his camping trips, sleep-overs and the like.  Our close friends totally understand what we do and why we do it.  We've had no problems there and they let us know if he'll need his own snacks when he visits or if they have enough available for him.  He doesn't seem to care either way.  I probably worry more about the impact of him being 'different' than he does! That is what he tells me.

My younger son is only 3.  He doesn't know anything different.  And he loves practically anything that we put in front of him. Sure, he goes through a day here or there where he says he doesn't like something.  All kids do. That doesn't mean they won't ever eat it.  I  know that it's normal for tastes and moods for certain foods to change.  I shrug it off and a few days later, what do you know, he loves it again.  Being away from home is a little more difficult now.  He sees the treats on the coffee hour table at church and wants cake...or a cookie...or 'that'...  And what does one say to a 3-year-old?  I've been known to say , "No, that's yuck" to him but walk away wondering, 'Hmmm....he sees other people eating this stuff... so what is he thinking?  When will he either not believe me or tell someone else what their eating is yuck?"  I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to handle that one yet.  I believe though, I have seen such discussions held on other blogs I've followed in the past... time to do some research on some ideas for that!

In closing, I would say that for my older kids, being part of the elimination diet at the ages they were and seeing the results for themselves played a key role in how they have adapted to what others would call a restricted diet.  My youngest will have an easier time simply because he doesn't have the cravings established for Doritos, KFC or McDonald's.  I think sometimes, parents don't give their children enough credit... that given enough information and time to adapt... kids can come to the decisions to make these healthy choices for themselves even surrounded by a world still eating the chemicals that are heavily laden in the Standard American Diet.

2

Ever have one of those days, out of the blue, that just sneak up on you and you feel....well, blah....and do not have a single ounce of motivation to do even the most trivial things? Yeah? Well, this is one of those days for me.

Just feeling apathetic and wanting to do nothing that is really productive and yet feelling totally guilty that I"m not and overwhelmed because I know it just means I'll fall further behind... oh bother.

I'm just focusing on the little guy today... he seems to be under the weather with this cough he has....it seems to be monopolizing his days. He's able to sleep, thank goodness. But it does really give him a challenge come bedtime to do so. He just coughs and coughs and coughs....but finally , once sleep comes, it stays....until morning when the cough strikes again. Mid day doesn't seem so bad but the poor guy is not happy. Trying to get the liquids in him as they seem easier to do than solids, cough wise. He loves honey so he's getting spoonfuls of that (helps hide the echinachea taste as I put a few drops in of that). He's getting the vitamin C as well. I've tried a homeopathic cough syrup but I'm not sure that's really helping this time. Since I'm not a homeopath it's obviously hard to judge whether certain things will work or not.... My homeopath is out of the office today at a conference so..... we'll wait...maybe we'll hear from her soon (fingers crossed).

Yesterday I made sushi again. Or shall I say Sushi slop? I don't know what happened to my rice. I made sushi yesterday to make up for the sushi slop I made the day before for my daughter's birthday. While it seemed a little better it just wasn't right and I can't for the life of me figure it out. I've made sushi before. Same rice. Same recipe. I'm not sure what is different...other than the obvious ending result of slop. The taste is fine....but....really not all that desireable with the consistency of the rice. 🙁

I should be planning the menu and making a grocery list... It's one of those days where it's hard to think though. This overcast sky isn't helping. I should also be planning next week's school schedule for my son. I'm not real motivated for that either. I am somewhat motivated to go over there and grab a few cookies that I made last night. Yes, I think I can manage that one..... and then.... well...maybe I'll try the menu thing. Ugh. Or maybe I'll just get out the ingredeients for tonight's dinner.... Tonight is Quinoa and Spinach Soup. Oh, and I should get the bread dough out of the fridge if I want warm bread with that, shouldn't I?

Ah yes, it really is time to stop procrastinating. But I did get this post done...lol...that's an accompllishment, right? Oh, somebody tell me that it is!

1

During the second year of my marriage I bought one of those little casserole cookbooks by the checkout line. I loved that cookbook. Our favorite recipe from it was called Cornbread Taco Bake. I made this recipe at least once a month until about seven years ago.... that's when we changed our diet and I wasn't sure how to do the recipe. A lot of my recipes went by the wayside when we changed our diet because I didn't know how to substitute certain ingredients. Along the way I learned how to do that for the majority of my recipes but sort of forgot about others. I came upon the recipe for the Cornbread Taco Bake just the other day and thought, wow.... there's GOT to be an easy way to make my own cornbread mix rather than using the icky prepackaged mixes I use to by and now I have found organic french fried onions that don't contain a lot of the artificial ingredeints that the brand names do. So I googled homemade cornbread mix and this is what I came up with (with a minor substituteion of my own).

HOMEMADE CORNBREAD MIX

4 cups flour (I use a mix of whole wheat and white: whole wheat is much healthier but a mix offers the same texture as what most people are use to)
1 TBSP salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup aluminum free baking powder
1 cup solid vegetable shortening (I actually used half a cup of nonrefined coconut oil and 1/2 cup organic vegetable shortening - it turned out quite well! I will probably use all coconut oil next time!)
4 cups cornmeal

Combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. With a pastry blender or using a mixer, blend this mixture until mixed well and fine. Add the cornmeal mix.

The original recipe says to store this in an airtight container for 3-4 months. I see no reason for this as it calls for nothing that requires refridgeration. My homemade bisquick mix calls for this too and I've never refrigerated it and have kept it around for many months....6 or 7. So I'm not refrigerating mine. I will see how it does.

FOR MIXING CORNBREAD

Combine 2 1/2 cups of your cornbread mix with 1 egg and 1 1/4 cup milk. Mix unitl the dry ingredients are well moistened. Pour into a greased 8" square pan or muffin pan and bake at 425 degrees for 15-25 minutes (depending on pan you are using of course) until golden brown and bread springs back when lightly touched.

CORN BREAD TACO BAKE

1 1/2 - 2 pounds ground beef or venison
1 package taco seasoning mix (or make your own like I did! See recipe below!)
1/2 cup water
1 can whole kernal corn (organic preferred...otherwise it's GMO in the United States)
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
2 1/2 cups corn muffin mix prepared with egg and milk as directed in recipe above
3 oz. french fried onions
1 cup shredded cheddar or colby or monteray jack cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In large skillet, brown ground meat. (My venison doesn't have much liquid...if your meat does, you may want to drain it at this point.) Stir in taco seasoning, water, corn, green pepper and tomato sauce; pour mixture into 2 quart casserole dish. Prepare corn bread mix as directed and stir in HALF of the french fried onions. Spoon corn muffin batter along the edge of the beef mixture (so that there is a round open hole in the center- this is just for looks though so you could just spread it across the top of the whole casserole) Bake, uncovered at 400degrees for 20 minutes or until cornbread is done. Top the cornbread with cheese and remaining onions; bake, uncovered, 1-3 minutes or until onions are golden brown.

Makes approximately 6 servings.

HOMEMADE TACO SEASONING

1 heaping TBLSP chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or 2-3 cloves fresh garlic)
1/4 tsp onion powder (or 1/2-1 tblsp fresh onion, minced)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dreid oregeno
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt* There is a huge difference between ordinary table salt and sea salt. If you have been told to watch your salt intake, this is the salt you should be using (It's the salt you should be using even if you haven't been told that. There are processing issues that make table salt bad for you... but that's all for another post, another day....)

Mix all the ingredients together. This makes ONE serving or the amount to be used if a recipe calls for one package of taco seasoning mix. You can double, triple the recipe, etc. and store it in an airtight container for safekeeping!

ENJOY!