I like lists. Maybe you can relate?

I make grocery lists and client lists and spreadsheets detailing my purchases for the month. I keep mental lists of reasons I like things, reasons I don’t like things, situations that felt awkward with a particular person. I think these lists (1) help me process things, (2) help them make sense, (3) give me a way to hold onto knowledge better.

I also think, that sometimes, (4) it’s hard not to think in lists.

sloppy joe meat

So when a person like me relocates, she thinks in constant comparisons, weighing City B against City A in ever-expanding lists that consider everything from demographics to the cost of living to the way the grocery store feels at 9 PM (I try to avoid it, in case you’re wondering).

garlic gold

So far, Nashville has better weather (hello, 68 degrees yesterday afternoon!) and worse traffic (especially in the middle of the afternoon anywhere near Whole Foods). Cost-wise, it’s about the same—having roommates helps; being far away from your family doesn’t.

garlic gold on salad

As another item to note about my new hometown, it’s where founder of the Exodus Center, Dr. Josh Axe, is from. If you don’t already know about his site, check it out for great information about whole foods and all-natural nutrition. His cookbook, The Real Food Diet Cookbook, is where the idea for these sloppy joes came from.

sloppy joes

Made with a pound of grass-fed beef (which, incidentally is about $3 more a pound here!?), these sloppy joes were hearty, messy, just slightly tangy—all the things good sloppy joes should be. We ate them alongside a big salad dressed with Garlic Gold’s garlic-infused organic extra-virgin olive oil (which the company was nice enough to send me a sample of, in one of my first packages in Tennessee). And we did it on the same day we made these ice cream sandwiches.

Meals like these can offer real clarity, you know? Because as valuable as lists are, at some point, even the most die-hard among us have to surrender all charts and tables and logic and just look at the plate or place before us and go, man, I like this. This is good.

Grass-Fed Sloppy Joes
Adapted from The Real Food Diet Cookbook
Makes enough for about four sandwiches

1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound of grass-fed beef
1/2 cup tomato sauce (we pureed POMI tomatoes and added salt/pepper)
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (we made our own from organic ketchup, balsamic vinegar, organic yellow mustard, salt/pepper and some cayenne)
1 teaspoon sea salt

Begin by sauteeing chopped onions in olive oil, in a large skillet over medium heat. Once they are soft and translucent, add the beef until it browns and cooks through. Add tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, and sea salt.

We like ours on sprouted buns, with a salad on the side.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Kim

    Oh gosh those look good. I’m interested in that garlic oil! I love garlic…I love olive oil…sounds like a winning combo. I don’t suppose they asked you if you have any blogger friends who’d like to do a sample review, did they? 😉

  2. Wandering Educators

    i LOVE sloppy joes. i am so happy to see you settling in…i think any traffic by whole foods is a mess, wherever. :)

  3. Jacqui

    And here I thought grass-fed beef couldn’t get more expensive. Did I tell you Murdo and I finally watched Food, Inc., by the way? Great movie. Turns out I already knew more about food than I thought I did, just from blogs and chats w/ you, etc., but there is still so much more to learn and to consider, too. For example, Murdo’s dad is a farmer and most of his harvest is feed corn. So how does switching to grass-fed affect our family farms? I’ll ask him sometime and report back.

    Also, worse traffic than Chicago? I don’t believe that one!

  4. Emily

    These pictures look like a spring meal – I love it. It’s just hit the 40s here today with some sun. I’m so excited to go running in the sunshine and then sit outside and drink beer – because that’s how deprived people are here for sun.

    Also, I never would have thought that Nashville costs the same or has worse traffic than Chicago! But hey, at least it’s not New York City, right?

  5. Maddie

    I love your last point—that at some point, we have to give up lists and just go by how we feel. As a fellow list-maker, it hit home for me, because the times when I’ve gone by gut feeling are the times that things have turned out the best. Sounds like that’s the case for you, too, and I couldn’t be happier for ya!

  6. Shannalee

    Kim, Ha! Too bad you don’t live in Nashville or I’d share mine with you!

    Wandering Educators, That may be true! : )

    Jacqui, I love that you think through things like that. What happens to small corn-feed farmers is a hard question because I’m like you, and I’m all about the small farms and helping them survive…. but especially after seeing Food, Inc., I feel pretty strongly that the system needs to change, and so along with it all the smaller parts of it, including the foods I buy and the products small farmers make. BUT PS I am so glad you guys watched it and enjoyed it!!

    Emily, I know just how you feel! Moving to Nashville in February felt like an early spring–and even with today’s brisk 30-something-degree weather, I’m loving the sunshine. : ) And PS I know! about the cost of living! It’s true in Nashville the city more than the surrounding area though, which may be cheaper when it’s more rural. But right here? 9+% sales tax. Similar rent costs. Similar food costs. Bah.

    Maddie, So true. I remember someone telling me once, You have to go with your gut, and I was like, what about the pros and cons?! … Maybe we need both but when push comes to shove, the gut thing is crucial.

  7. Dana

    Do you have a list to compare grass fed sloppy joes to ones of lesser provenance? 😛 I do!

  8. Shannalee

    Dana, I like the way you think! : )

  9. Lan

    1. i am a lister, i like them, they keep me organized in my thoughts and comment writing.

    2. i enjoy sloppy joes, they remind me of my childhood.

    3. so very glad you’re settling in Nashville!

  10. Alicia

    I hope you weren’t dreading someone asking this but… any idea on the measurements for that homemade BBQ sauce? Or was it one of those just throw everything together and hope for the best type things? For Lent, I’m giving up baking (it’ll be SO hard.. try not to post too many cookie recipes) and instead trying to cook one new recipe a week. I need BBQ sauce for my first one!

  11. molly

    I know exactly what you mean about those constant side-by-side comparisons: I’m doing it, still, two years out. It is fascinating, and a little wearing, and sometimes I just have to set it all aside. It’s a little like children: you just love them all best, differently.

    I have not, however, thought about sloppy joe’s in DONKEY’S years. I think it’s about time.

  12. Shannalee

    Lan, How much do I love that your comment was in list form! : )

    Alicia, It was totally impromptu… mostly ketchup, with balsamic and other stuff added to taste. But any BBQ sauce you like would work. And your cooking goal sounds like a great idea. I’m totally trying to work more vegetables into my life, as you’ll see in the next post!

    Molly, Ha! Well, it’s definitely about time then! Hope you find some sloppy joes in your kitchen soon! : )

  13. Pingback: Goal Update | Choosing Inexpressible Joy

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