Slowcooker Short Ribs & Spaghetti Squash with Cilantro Pesto {AIP}

Commitment. That’s my theme for the rest of this year. It has to be. A lack of commitment is the reason I haven’t written a blog post in over a month, the reason my house consistently looks like someone broke in all willy-nilly, the reason my Pampered Chef business is not completely where I’d like it to be (though I did receive a promotion to Director last month!)…

I think most people are the same. When we start something new – a job, a project, a relationship, a new way of eating – we tend to be very motivated and excited, essentially “all-in” and committed to making it work, no matter what.  That excitement can last a few days, months, or even years.  At some point, though, reality slaps you in the face.

HIMYM Slap gif

The sting of that slap causes us to doubt, then lie to ourselves.
Should I really be writing a food blog?  There are so many food blogs, why should I add to the madness? Mine’s not as good as the others…  Is this person really “the one?”  Am I even good enough for him/her? There’s got to be something better out there…
Why did I start this project?  I never finish anything!  I definitely wasn’t cut out for this...
Am I really going to get healthier eating this way?  I mean, I see progress, but I’m sure I’m going to screw up again…

After a while of feeding our brains with this gobbledygook, we start to get extremely creative – not the type of creativity that feeds our souls, but the kind that sucks them dry.  Creative “busy-ness,” creative excuses.
I really need to update my blog!  Oh, I haven’t cleaned out my inbox in a while.  Plus, I haven’t developed a new recipe in a while, so I’ll wait until next week….
We really need a date night.  I should buy him this book – he’s really been wanting it.  Oh, but money is tight and he wouldn’t want me spending extra.  Plus, we are SO busy lately and have our own things we could get done this evening...
I need to make phone calls to my customers today.  Oh!  Before I can do that I MUST make sure I’ve got my office completely organized.  And the bathroom really needs cleaning...
Okay – today I clean the whole house!  Ugh, but it is SO much.  I really need to get organized.  I know! I’ll read Clean Mama’s blog for the next few hours to develop a plan…  {house remains a disaster}

Following? At some point, things get completely out of hand, low, broken, etc., and you look around wondering ‘how the hell did I get here?‘  Did I LET this happen?  This is decision time.  Evaluate where you are versus where you want to be.  It is time to quit or start over.  Figure out WHY you wanted to do something in the first place, and DECIDE if that is still important to you.  Sometimes, the answer is to quit, especially if you figure out that your goal, project, job, relationship etc. is destroying all the good in you.  Sometimes, the answer is to start at the beginning and find your motivation again.  Get excited again!  And be realistic, because this is a cycle, but one from which you will grow immensly, either way, if you allow yourself.  (Check out Monday Motivation over at Balanced Bites – great stuff here).

Thiago (amazing Dallas-based pianist – check out his info here) is a good friend of mine, and my husband’s best friend of over 20 years. I’ve mentioned him before. I can always depend on him for sound advice with an artistic twist.  Just the kind I like.  He shared this the other day and it really spoke to me –

Don't Let This Happen
Abbey, don’t let this happen.  Stop making excuses.  Remember your WHY, and go forth.  GET EXCITED.  Create, love, cook, design, lead, and quit yer bitchin’.

Time for food!  This is a recipe that most definitely excites me, which seems appropriate since I’m telling myself to get excited.  I’ve made it a few times now and it has become one of my favorite go-to meals.  It is super easy but seems kinda fancy-ish.  Plus, my husband and son love it, which is always a plus :).

Slowcooker Short Ribs & Spaghetti Squash with Cilantro Pesto
serves 4, maybe more

Slow Cooker Shortribs & Spaghetti Squash with Cilantro Pesto 2
for the short ribs:
ingredients
2-3 pounds pastured short ribs (we typically pick up some on Market Day at Eden’s)
1 tablespoon bacon fat or other cooking fat
1 small white onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large stalk of celery, chopped
4 pieces of thick bacon (pastured is ideal)
1/2 cup of beef bone broth
1/2 cup of good balsamic vinegar
4 large cloves of garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or a few sprigs of fresh, left whole, removed before serving)
1 teaspoon dried, crushed rosemary (or a few sprigs of fresh, left whole, removed before serving)
3 medjool dates or 1-2 tsp honey
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of Real Salt or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of cracked black pepper (omit if in the first phases of AIP – read what The Paleo Mom has to say about safe spices)

directions
Separate short ribs by cutting between the bones, if necessary. (I don’t know this guy, but this is a REALLY informative video!)

Heat cooking fat in large skillet over medium heat.  Add your mirepoix (onion, carrots, & celery) to the skillet and cook 4-5 minutes, until onions are translucent.  Turn heat up to med-high and add short ribs to skillet, searing about 2 minutes per side.

Line the bottom of your slow cooker with bacon.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP, because bacon.  (My cooker is a 6-quart, but you can use whatever size you have and adjust the recipe to fit if necessary.)  Add the seared short ribs, veggies, and remaining fat from skillet.  Add balsamic vinegar, bone broth, garlic, dates, and all spices to slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, until the meat easily falls off the bone.

for the spaghetti squash with cilantro pesto:
ingredients
1 whole spaghetti squash, cooked (I typically bake it whole, and here’s a microwaved option from Nom Nom Paleo)
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
Real Salt or sea salt to taste
2 cups fresh cilantro, loosely packed
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic
Avocado oil* (I eyeball this and add slowly until my pesto has reached a desired consistency)

*Note: You can use extra virgin olive oil if you prefer, but I find that the avocado oil allows the flavors of the cilantro, lemon, and garlic to shine more.

directions
Toss cooked spaghetti squash (assuming you’ve already removed the innards – if not, see link above) with olive oil and salt.

Add cilantro, lemon juice and zest, and garlic to your food processor.  I prefer to use my Manual Food Processor for these smaller, quick jobs.  Process ingredients until finely chopped.  Drizzle in about 1 tablespoon of avocado oil, then continue processing.  Of course, you could drizzle a continuous stream if your processor allows.  Add enough oil and process until your pesto reaches desired consistency.  Serve over spaghetti squash.  If you have extra leftover, it will keep for about a week.

I hope you enjoy!

Always,
Abbey

Slow Cooker Shortribs & Spaghetti Squash with Cilantro Pesto 1

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