Dinner, Dessert, and DANCE!

Welp.  The time has come to share a couple more delish recipes that I have stumbled across in my travels, as of late.  There have been a couple of awesome websites I have found ranging from just a completely clean eating lifestyle to an all out raw, vegan, more of a Paleo-ish sort of lifestyle.  I am finding that with Kev's belly issues and with my need for serious protein during the tail end of my pregnancies -- along with three little Hoolies who all fall into various degrees on the "fussy" scale of eating....what's working best for us right now, is just a good ole' trial and error kind of lifestyle.

Aaaand whatever Mama happens to be craving at the moment.
Just keeping it real.

So, for supper last night we had ourselves a wee venison taco pie, and Kev and I found it to be quite delicious.  Instead of a typical flour crust, I made it out of mashed potato, thus making it completely gluten free.  My wee hoolies would have much prefered a "real" crust or "real" corn taco shells...but this was different for a change...and I found the mashed potatoes to be rather soothing to my soul.
 So, here's what you do:

Cook up a bunch of potatoes, and then smash them all up with 2 Tablespoons of taco seasoning, and press firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch pan.  (The recipe originally called for this:  melt 1/4 cup butter, add 2/3 cup milk, and 2 tablespoons taco seasoning.  Remove from heat and add 2 1/2 cups of mashed potato flakes until incorporated.)  I never have mashed potato flakes.  This step would obviously be much easier....

Bake this in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until the potato starts to turn golden brown.  (This will also give it all little "crisp" making it feel more like a true crust...and less like mushy, mashed potatoes...if your kids aren't so much of a mashed potato kind of a fan...as a couple of mine are NOT...hypocritical Mainer's that they are....)

Meanwhile, in a skillet cook up 1 pound of ground beef..(or chicken, or turkey, or venison or buffalo...or whatever kind of burger you have on hand, I guess) along with 1/2 cup of chopped onion.  Drain.  Add 1/2 cup salsa and remaining taco seasoning, if you used a packet.  If you made your own seasoning...add about 2 Tablespoons to your meat mixture.  Reheat until bubbly.

Pour into crust.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until crust is nice and golden brown.
Let cool for 5 minutes.  Top with cheese, plain Greek yogurt, avocado, lettuce, and tomatoes.....or whatever.
My boys prefer just a nice salad on the side instead of mixing everything all together.  And some fresh cut pineapple is always delish served along with just about anything...so says Baby London.
Voila!  A healthy, high protein, no gluten, and if you use lots and lots of veggies - well, rounded supper.

Just to keep it real -- my eldest is neither a potato fan, nor a cheese fan...so this was not one of his "rise up and call Mama blessed" kind of a meal.  My other two love cheese and are okay with potatoes...so the meal was no issue.  My dear hubby would thank me if I served him oatmeal every night for supper....and that's why I love him.

Okay.  Moving onto dessert.
Oh.  My.  Goodness.
These cookies rock.  Hardcore.

I found the recipe in one of my runners magazines.  Sandra Bulluck's sister is a chef, and she always includes high energy healthy desserts - specifically designed for athletes in her column. And so far, I have tried and loved everything that she has offered.

So, here is a recipe for Soft Ginger Cookies.
And I would highly recommend making yourselves a double batch.  Post haste.
But, I shall just include below the recipe for a regular, single batch.
Combine 3/4 cup hot coffee, 1 cup of chopped pitted dates (which, if any of you out there hate dates, I promise you will not taste them), and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda...and let sit for 10 minutes.

Put this mixture into a food processor, and process until nearly smooth.
In a bowl, whisk 2 room temp eggs and 1/4 cup blackstrap (or regular) molasses.
Continue whisking and add the date puree to this mixture.

In a small bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cups spelt, or rice, or whatever flour you so desire to whisk (although if you use rice like we did - you will need to add more than 1 1/2 cups.  I think I added closer to 2 or 2 1/2), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 Tablespoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper if you want some extra zip.

Stir into the date mixture.
Mix in 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger - (SO good!)

And freeze until very firm, but scoopable - 30+ minutes.

Drop dough onto cookie sheets - and if you want some extra crunch and sweetness, dip the tops in turbinado or natural sugar - and bake for 10 minutes or until they feel spongy yet firm, and spring back when gently poked.

Thank you Sandra Bullock's sister....my new BFF.
Best served hot and piping with a ginormous glass of milk...with your Love...once your Hoolies are abed.
Or - if you feel like being nice, you can share.

And Then!
Disregard the trash lying on the floor...
We dance!
During kitchen clean-up...post supper and pre-bedtime...
Crank the tunes!
Let the Hoolies run wild!
Get crazy!
And then, put 'em to bed....
It works well in this family, anyway...
And it makes the deafening silence after they are all in bed - THAT much sweeter...

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