Easy Paleo(ish) Weeknight Dinner: Sweet Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Apples and Onions

It’s about time for a real recipe, don’t you think?

We’re back to planning meals in our household. Sort of. Here’s a window into our meal-planning process:

Tim: We have to make that pork roast I bought last week or it’ll go bad.
Me: Ugh. Okay. I don’t even know what to put with it. How many pounds?
Tim: 4 or 5.
Me: So… slow cooker…
Tim: Yea. What do we have?
Me: I dunno. Apples, onions, garlic…
Tim: Sounds good.

So, then, I hit up Pinterest, find some ideas, adjust them for what we have already because, as I’ve stated before, I do not want to take my pregnant self to the store, and make something that I hope will be edible. 75% of the time, it turns out OK. The other 25% of the time, we grab a burger or pizza. Super healthy, I know. Whatever – that’s close enough to the Paleo 80/20 rule that I’m comfortable with it.

Anyway, that’s exactly what happened yesterday. And, believe it or not, our pork roast turned out so deliciously awesome that I didn’t even get a picture of it until after we packed away the leftovers because we were so into eating it that I forgot to take a picture.

Seriously. Yum.

You could probably use this dry rub on any kind of meat, and it’s Paleo as long as you’re comfortable with eating brown sugar. If not, try a honey or maple syrup glaze with these spices instead. But, if you’re OK eating honey or maple syrup, I’m not really sure what’s keeping you from a few tablespoons of brown sugar… to each his or her own, I guess.

We discarded the apple and onion pieces and just ate the meat. You can eat them if you want, I guess, but they’ll be pretty mushy. They just add liquid and awesome flavor.

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Sweet Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Apples and Onions
Serves 4-6

Ingredients for dry rub:
-5 tbs brown sugar
-1 tbs paprika
-1 tsp chili powder
-1 tsp cumin
-1 tsp cinnamon
-Dash of nutmegĀ 

Ingredients for meal:
-dry rub (ingredients listed above)
-4-5 pound pork shoulder or tenderloin roast
-1 tart, green apple, sliced into thin wedges
-1/2 onion, sliced into half circles
-3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

Directions:
1. Mix all the ingredients for the dry rub together in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Place roast in slow cooker. Rub dry rub all over the meat, making sure to get all sides covered.
3. Sprinkle minced garlic over the meat.
4. Place apple and onion pieces around and on top of the meat.
5. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 8-10 hours (or until meat reaches an appropriate internal temperature).
6. Serve warm and enjoy!

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DIY Paleo Tea: Beverages to Warm You Up on a Cold Day

In case you missed the memo, it is beyond freezing in Chicagoland. The hashtag #chiberia is making its way around the internet. I don’t think it’s been this cold since the #snowpocalypse2011, and even then the temps didn’t get this cold. Today, the high was -17 degrees with a wind chill of -44. That was the HIGH. Tomorrow, we can expect more of the same.

Lucky for me, I have a warm house with the power still on and the water still running. I know not everyone is that fortunate, so stay safe out there, Midwesterners. Check on your loved ones and keep your pets indoors as much as possible.

For those of you who know me well, you know I have a serious tea addiction. It’s not the caffeine; it’s the warmth of it all. I even have an electric kettle in my classroom, and I boil water during my off periods to make tea. I have a stock full of tea bags in my cabinet of all levels of caffeination and all flavors. It’s the best. There’s nothing like holding a warm beverage in your freezing cold classroom and taking a second to sip it before responding to a student. It truly gives you time to collect your thoughts and calm yourself.

I don’t even drink much water anymore. I know, that’s really bad, but I’m drinking about 6-8 16-oz mugs of tea (only one is caffeinated) per day. Yes, if you were wondering, my bathroom breaks are quite frequent. Sorry if that was TMI. I never could get plain water down, and when my classroom is cold, it’s nearly impossible for me to drink cold water. It only makes me colder.

All the Paleo books told me to drink teas in moderation, and I couldn’t possibly think of why. Well, with two snow days tacked on to the end of my winter break, I hunkered down to really look at the ingredients on some of these teas and I realized why. There’s some stuff in commercially-produced teas that isn’t that good for you! I got rid of a lot of my teas today because of this. Now, granted, I still have a LOT of teas to choose from, but I was also intensely bored and, facing another cold day off tomorrow, I set out to try to make a few combinations of hot, caffeine-free, fruit infusions that are chock-full of great flavor and vitamins and will keep you warm all day. These are super easy to make, and you can literally add anything. Got some fresh rosemary or mint? Bruise it and add it! Ginger? Go for it (that’s a great way to ease nausea, by the way!). Oranges? Sure! Limes? You bet! The possibilities are endless. There are no measurements on this recipe because you can seriously add as much or as little as you want. The teapot shown here, which I was using, holds 24 ounces of hot water, so I would fill up the filter with fruit and steep.

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DIY Paleo Teas
I have yet to try an apple-lemon or apple-lemon honey combination, but I look forward to trying that tomorrow. Also, for what it’s worth, lemon is great at relieving tummy troubles like bloating, indigestion, and constipation. Again, sorry if that was TMI.

Tea #1: Apple & Honey

Ingredients:
Chopped apple pieces – Make them small and chop enough to fill up your filter. Be sure to choose a type of apple you like because your tea will taste JUST LIKE the apple.
Honey to taste
Hot water

Directions:
Add the chopped apple pieces to your teapot filter. Add water just off of boiling. Let steep for 10-20 minutes. Pour into a mug, add honey to taste, stir, and enjoy!

*Note: If the honey makes the tea too sweet, add less of it or try it without the honey completely. It tastes like healthy apple juice! You can also add a cinnamon stick for an apple cider.

Tea #2: Lemon

Ingredients:
1/4 lemon, peel on
Hot water

Directions:
Fill your teapot with water just off of boiling. Squeeze the lemon juice into it, then put the leftover lemon peel into the filter. (This is where all the nutrients are!) Let it steep for 5-10 minutes. Pour into your mug and enjoy!

*NOTE: If you like more lemon, add more; if you like less lemon, add less. If the taste is too bitter for you, add a little honey. Honey and lemon prepared in this way is a great, natural way to ease a sore throat and cough, as well.

Paleo Dessert: Apple Crumble

Like many people, we had two Thanksgivings this weekend. Since I get nervous about desserts since I’ve gone Paleo, that means I made two desserts. They were both awesome, and highly recommended. This apple crumble was stolen directly from Empowering Mommy.

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Paleo Apple Crumble

Ingredients:
6 medium size apples, peeled and diced
2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup raw honey
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Directions:
Preheat oven to 35o degrees and lightly grease a pie pan with cooking spray.
Whisk together the honey and vanilla extract in a bowl with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the flour and whisk until smooth and combined.
Cut in the coconut oil and stir with a fork until it forms a crumbled mixture. Spread the apples in the bottom of the pie pan and top with the crumbled mixture.
Cover with foil then bake for about 45 minutes until the apples are tender. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.