Archive for Vegetarian

Fall Apple Cake and Sticky Toffee Pudding

These recipes are both adaptations from non-paleo recipes that I enjoyed, and they have similar flavor profiles, perhaps because they are both drizzled in a decadent caramel sauce, which Matt says elevates them from delicious to out of this world! I get most of my inspiration from comfort foods that I have enjoyed over the years, and my goal is to make them evoke the same memories in a healthier way without refined sugar and flour, transfat oils, and also without cream or milk. I used a bundt cake pan for the apple cake, just because that’s always what my mom used. And a large pie dish for the Sticky Toffee Pudding (pictured).

Both of these cakes make me feel nostalgic. The Apple Cake makes me think of my Mom’s amazing baking skills, and how she loved having us in the kitchen with her, doing measurements, and licking spoons. The Sticky Toffee Pudding reminds me of cold, rainy days in Ireland and London, ducking into warm, dark pubs to sit by a fire with a pint and my favorite dessert! These are exactly the kinds of memories I want to relive during the holiday season!

I don’t want to take all the credit, because these recipes are adaptations from other recipes. For the apple cake, I was able to sub out Flours 1:1, sugars 1:1, and replace the cream with coconut milk and use coconut oil. The Sticky Toffee Pudding is based on an SCD recipe, but tweaked with maple syrup and coconut sugar instead of honey since Alba can’t have honey until she is 2. I say this often, but I also really prefer the flavor of maple syrup to honey because honey is often to sweet for me.

All of my friends and family really love how moist and flavorful these cakes are, and I know you will too. Whether you’re a wannabe Brit in need of a Sticky Toffee Pudding fix, or just looking for an alternative to Pumpkin Pie this season (gasp), I’ve got you covered!

Fall Apple Cake

  • 3 cups of chopped apples ( I used gala)
  • 2 cups Coconut sugar
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp each: nutmeg, clove, ginger, cardamom
  1. Preheat Oven to 325 degrees
  2. fold together apples, oil, and sugar
  3. Then add eggs, and dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly
  4. Pour into cake pan and bake for One hour

Caramel Icing

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of butter/ghee
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  1. Combine all ingredients except vanilla on stove top and bring to a boil
  2. let simmer and thicken for 20 minutes and add vanilla
  3. Pour on top of cooled cake

Sticky Toffee Pudding

  • 1/2 cup + 2 TBSP. Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ginger, and clove
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup date paste****(made by blitzing 2 cups of dates with 1/2 cup of warm water. Let date and water mixture sit for 5-10 minutes before you blend or process )

    1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
    2. Blend together all ingredients, and pour into your cake pan.
    3. Bake for 30 minutes, until set, or brown on edges

Toffee Sauce

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • pinch of salt
  1. Bring all ingredients to a boil on stove top
  2. Pour over cooled cake

 

Try something NEW: 10 Alternative Thanksgiving sides and accompaniments EVERYONE will love

Thanksgiving is 2 weeks away! Does anyone else’s family eat totally differently, with an array of allergies and preferences? One Vegetarian (or vegan), me, the token paleo, someone is always part-time gluten-free or Keto, various people have serious or subtle allergies to nuts (me and my cousins), or new restrictions like broccoli (also ME. I AM the problem). There is a lot to keep track of, and it’s hard to please everyone all the time. I hope that I’m bringing a solution to you in the following whole food, easy-to-make options for Thanksgiving. Whether you’re hosting, contributing to a potluck, or pulling together a “Friendsgiving” celebration, these dishes can help you to both please a crowd and branch out at the same time. It’s easy to dazzle tastebuds with loads of sugar coating or generous amounts of butter and cream, but you can also dazzle in a healthy way this holiday season. All my recipes are inspired by comfort foods and big flavors, so you can give the gift of a healthy side-dish that doesn’t “taste healthy” as my husband puts it!turmeric cocktail

For a spectacular and dazzling appetizer pair, try my Fall Turmeric Cocktail with Bacon-Wrapped Dates or shooters of Lori’s Butternut, Fennel & Leek Soup with a fennel garnish on top! For a different, but classically delicious Italian spin on traditional squash, try Acorn Squash Agrodocle, an uniquely delicious side that I recently posted.

Butternut Sage Quinoa

For a protein-packed vegetarian side (Vegan if you replace the butter with oil), try my very popular dish that everyone at Friendsgiving wanted the recipe for, Butternut Squash and Sage Quinoa with Macadamia nuts

For your sometimes gluten-free, one-time vegetarian, newly keto cousin, who you never know what the hell they might eat, try my spin on my Granny’s classic Tart Cranberry Relish.

Tart Cranberry Relish

Thanksgiving can also be stressful. Whether you’re hosting, spending time with the in-laws, or navigating your own colorful family, this holiday can be tricky. It can also get monotonous with everyone clinging to their favorite tradition. This is going to make me sound like a grinch, but it’s hard for me to endorse even the most sentimental traditions when they’re often made up of non-foods: canned cranberry sauce, marshmallow/sugary toppings, evaporated/condensed milk, instant puddings, the list goes on… Tradition is important, sure. It’s also important to have a balance, which is why I like to introduce new WHOLE food recipes that are totally homemade, but easy and with no artificial ingredients. THESE are the traditions that I want the children in my family to remember and adopt so that they can have sentimental favorites that also benefit their health.

In my mind, the most important Thanksgiving tradition is the Pumpkin Pie, and thus, I think it is my most important recipe for you to try. I encourage you to whip up some full-fat coconut milk, sweetened with a bit of vanilla extract and honey or maple syrup to top it! This recipe is dairy free, vegetarian, gluten free, and paleo.

If Pumpkin pie is not your thing, I encourage you to try my newest recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding (coming 11/11) or my crowd-pleasing and nut-free Sunflower Sesame Seed Cookies

And finally, you will need some nourishment in the morning as you prepare the day’s Thanksgiving meal and watch the Parade! My Pumpkin Coffee Cake is my best recipe to date! It is melt-in-your-mouth perfection and would be an EXCELLENT way to say “Thank you” to your Thanksgiving host or “Good Morning!” to your house guests!

If this was helpful to you AT ALL, please drop a comment and let me know. It would make my holiday to know that one of the recipes I’ve created has made it to another family’s precious dinner table!

paleo pumpkin coffee cake

BBQ Jackfruit Nachos {Vegan/Paleo}

This recipe is not only healthy for a comfort food like Nachos, it is also super cheap, at under $12 for the ingredients. I got everything from Trader Joe’s. I love their plantain chips, but they also have some great multigrain/ Quinoa tortilla chips. Jackfruit doesn’t really taste like chicken, but it has a similar texture and the flavor is neutral and covered completely by the BBQ sauce, so it is a great “imposter.” I fed these nachos to Matt and his friend, Jake, and they had no idea it wasn’t chicken until I told them. Those BBQ flavors are strong and that is what your palate focuses on, along with yummy fats like cheese and guacamole.

Eating meatless meals is often cheaper, and a good balance to my paleo diet. I love experimenting with vegan foods because, like paleo, it is such an anti-inflammatory diet, if you do it right! I know I suggest going without cheese for the Vegan version, and some people probably think that’s crazy for nachos. HOWEVER, I have been on a strict AIP paleo regiment and had nachos with sweet potato fries or plantain chips that are served just with veggies, pulled chicken, and tons of flavorful guacamole and THEY. ARE. DELICIOUS. If you opt out on the cheese, for either a strict paleo or vegan meal, I strongly suggest you double the guacamole and you will be absolutely satisfied on every front! Fat, protein, and carb!

You can find sugar-free BBQ sauces in stores, but if you prefer to make one at home, I combine:

  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp coconut aminos or Tamari
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon
  • 1 Pinch each of: all spice, salt, pepper, hungarian paprika, chili powder, cayenne, garlic

Jackfruit Nachos

  • Tortilla or plantain chips (paleo) (1.99)
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese (I use cheddar and pepper jack) (3.99)
  • 1 can of jackfruit, marinated in *paleo barbecue sauce (0.99)
  • 1 cup of black beans (0.89)
  • 1/2 of a thinly sliced red onion ( a few cents for all veggies)
  • 1 thinly chopped celery stalk
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 avocados, mashed, liberally salted, and topped with juice of one lime for a basic guac! (2.99)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. The only purpose here is to melt cheese and warm through jackfruit
  2. Spread chips out on a parchment lined baking sheet so that they are touching, but do not cover one another up
  3. Sprinkle on half of cheese first (this will help other ingredients stick)
  4. sprinkle black beans,onion and celery on
  5. evenly spread BBQ marinated jackfruit over chips, feel free to dump extra marinade on
  6. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cheese is melted and “BBQ” is warmed through
  8. If you used parchment, you can easily pick up nachos and transfer to a platter
  9. THEN top with your cherry tomatoes and avocado, so you don’t lose any to the sheet pan!
  10. I also top with some bonus PICKLED red onions, because I love them!

For Paleo Version

Sub out tortilla chips for Plantain Chips

For Vegan Version

No Cheese or sub with vegan cheese

More Guac Please!

Acorn Squash “Agrodolce”

Agrodolce is Italian for sweet and sour. This dish is just that, with a bit of spice at the end to round out the gorgeous flavor. It’s also super easy and completely paleo, accomplishing all those flavor bombs without sugar or starchy thickeners. This is on my list for Halloween and potlucks this fall. Its something that has familiar ingredients, so it won’t scare people away, but the taste is absolutely new and different. My friends and family get so excited about this simple dish! What do you think of the way I spooked it up with the black rice underneath? Happy Halloween Week!

Acorn Squash Agrodolce

Serves 2-4 Takes 30 minutes and…

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 pinches of crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. sage
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Microwave your acorn squash for 3-4 minutes to make slicing easier!
  3. Cut Squash in half, remove all seeds and pulp and slice halves into 1/2 inch half moon slices
  4. Place squash slices on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake for 25-30 minutes until fork tender
  5. While squash bakes, make your Agrodolce: combine maple syrup, red wine vinegar, butter/oil, red pepper, nutmeg, and sage in a saucepan, on med-high and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat and continue to reduce Agrodolce until syrupy and think
  7. Add currants
  8. Remove acorn squash from the oven, plate it, and then pour agrodolce syrup over it!

Additionally, you could add chopped nuts as a topper. I plated my squash over black rice for a very Halloweeny look! What do you think? Spooky, spicy, sweet?

The REAL Deal Cookies & Breast Cancer Awareness

halloween real deal chocolate chip cookiesI’m so excited that I’ll be attending Danielle Walker’s tour for the Eat What You Love cookbook, the 4th of her Paleo cookbook series. It’s her first time in Raleigh, NC! If you’re going, send me a message or comment below. I would love to meet up at the event or beforehand!

Though I take a simpler approach to my recipes, and I have enjoyed following MANY other paleo and primal influencers over these years, Danielle’s Against All Grain cookbook was my earliest inspiration and my ultimate savior for gut and autoimmune health. I am forever grateful to her for taking this journey and inspiring so many others along the way — she truly has the reigning aesthetic in primal lifestyle! I Love Danielle, her precious family, and I can’t wait to meet her! She is, without a doubt, the real deal.

To celebrate my ticket purchase (but really to keep myself away from the tempting Halloween candy we have), I made Danielle’s Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies— the nut/grain/gluten/sugar/dairy free version! I added the sugar-free chocolate Halloween sprinkles…Matt and I both love sprinkles 🙂

Find the recipe here.  Buy tickets to join me in January here.

With the month coming to a close, and All Souls’ Day approaching next week, I’d like to take a moment to remind everyone that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and this disease is still robbing us of women and mothers in their prime. One of my college roommates fought cancer and introduced me to earlier.org which encourages early screenings, and is a great place to get (re)involved with this worthy cause. Personally, breast cancer has stolen two of the women I admired most in my life in the last year. Both of these women were incredibly supportive of my journey to better health through nutrition and natural healing, and I have them to thank for getting me started on this road 4 years ago.

Maria taught me so much about being a Doula. She shared literature, stories, and experiences that, in just 3 meetings for tea/coffee, transformed me forever as a Doula and human being. We had so many common interests, and talked for hours. She was the most spiritually connected person I have ever met. And when she found out I was pregnant, she messaged me about all the things she could pass on to me as I entered motherhood, both physical gifts and spiritual ones. She left behind a son and small daughter 2 weeks after Alba was born.

My Mom’s best friend Janice encouraged me, attended my essential oils seminars, and even held one at her house in support of me. She was brilliant and vibrant, the type of person who lit the room. She gave me the cheese dome in this picture and I keep it out always (and try to keep it filled!) so that I get to remember her every day. Specifically, I want to embody her joie de vivre, and her unwillingness to deny any of the delicious and beautiful things that life has to share with us. We have to be willing to take it in like she was. We only get one chance. Take the trip, buy the art, eat the fucking cookies.

I hope to pass on a piece of each of these women to our daughter.

mary oliver quote

 

 

 

VEGAN Sunflower & Sesame Seed (SSS) Cookies

vegan cookies

I am so excited when I get to share vegan recipes that are nut, grain, and sugar free! This recipe ticks every common allergen box, so I can deliver to the widest range of consumers out there, which is my goal. Speaking of goals, I’m really trying to consume fewer animal products, so creating vegan treats is a priority for me lately.

Because they have virtually NO allergens, these cookies are a great option for kids’ party potlucks or schools that allow homemade treats. Personally, I really wanted to find a cookie we could enjoy at home without worrying about Alba being exposed to nuts or honey, which are not recommended for kids under 2.

This is a chewy cookie, and would be great for ice cream sandwiches or packing lunch or a picnic because they are not crumbly or over-soft.

Now, let’s get to this Vegan recipe so you can cooking! If you are not a vegan, or do not have an egg allergy, please feel free to use 1 large egg white in place of the flax egg!

Sunflower & Sesame Seed (SSS) Vegan Cookies

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Tahini
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot starch/powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate covered sunflower seeds
  • The last one is variable! I have used:
    • 1. A vegan egg replacer from Bob’s red mill that contains potato starch, psyllium husk, and tapioca
    • 2. One LARGE egg WHITE only
    • 3. One Flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 2 tbsp water)
Directions
  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine Coconut sugar, maple syrup, and egg white (or replacement) with electric mixer (you need a good mix on these!)
  3. Add all remaining ingredients except chocolate covered sunflower seeds and mix until smooooooth
  4. Stir in chocolate covered sunflower seed with a spoon
  5. Spoon mixture onto parchment covered cookie sheet. THESE COOKIES SPREAD A LOT so you will need 2 cookie sheets. You can make 12 medium sized cookies or about 16 small cookies.
  6. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until golden. I think I have a hot stove, so my bake times are always on the low side!

My hope is that you get to enjoy these delicious vegan, nut free, gluten free, grain free, dairy free, sugar free….Phew! (ha ha ha) cookies with ALL of the people you love! They are delightfully colorful and would make a great addition to your upcoming Halloween or Friendsgiving celebrations!

Thanks for visiting the blog!

 

 

Autumn Favorites!

autumn favorites paleo

We had a rainy fall weekend here in NC, which is one of my favorite types of weather! We went on two long runs with our dogs and I finally got to whip up one of my favorite fall recipes: Bison & Acorn squash Chili. My recipe was featured on Mind Body Green this year, so go on over and check it out on my favorite health blog.2

We were supposed to go apple picking this weekend, but our outing and my paleo apple bread got rained out. Instead, I whipped up some Paleo Pumpkin bread. I went a little crazy with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, but this definitely tastes like fall, so I recommend to all! This is my own recipe, and if you haven’t noticed, I like to keep it simple with the measurements and ingredients.

paleo pumpkin coffee cake

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups Almond Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • Lots of ground pumpkin pie spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, cardamom and ginger ( i do 1-2 teaspoons each)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup organic pureed pumpkin

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Mix your first 4 ingredients in a bowl (dry ones)
  3. Mix your wet ingredients  in a separate bowl until smooth
  4. Combine all ingredients into one bowl and mix until all is incorporated evenly
  5. Pour into bread pan and bake for 45-55 minutes.
    Disclaimer: Know thy Oven!! And know thyself: I like REALLY moist bread that falls apart.

Fall Spiced Paleo Caramel Apple Butter

I had so much fun making these sweet favors for my baby shower last weekend! All of our guests were gifted my Paleo Caramel Apple Butter and my Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte mix in the adorable mini mason jars below! My family also made some incredible appetizers that I could enjoy too, which was so nice! We had a pumpkin and apple quinoa salad, prosciutto wrapped asparagus, and bleu cheese stuffed dates before a beautiful cake from Edible Art. I promised I would post the Caramel Apple Butter Recipe, and it’s taken a full week, but here it is!

This apple butter is not overly sweet like some store bought brands. It contains ZERO sugar or thickeners, so it’s all natural and flavored with pumpkin pie spices. I love this as a new fall staple in our house because it’s basically just a mixture of all my favorite fall flavors, and it’s easy to make! Store this in a mason jar in the fridge for the season and enjoy it on GF toast, biscuits, ice cream, pancakes, or on a cheese plate (I love it with cheddar on a rice cracker). I have also been stirring it into my oatmeal and yogurt lately! Let me know how you like to eat your apple butter in the comments!

Paleo Caramel Apple Butter

Makes several jars full! Keep one (or two) for yourself and give the remaining as gifts!

  • 6-8 cored, chopped fuji apples
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water or apple juice
  • 4 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground clove
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cardamom

For the Caramel

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a large pot on the stove, combine chopped apples and all remaining ingredients (except for the caramel ingredients!)
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  3. Stir mixture until apples are covered in liquid and allow the mixture to come to a simmer on the stovetop.
  4. Move your apple mixture to an oven safe baking dish and into the oven for 2-3 hours, until apples are browned and easily mashed. Mine took about 2 and a half hours.
  5. While your apples bake, you can make your caramel! Simply combine your coconut milk and coconut sugar in a pot on the stove. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil.
  6. Once your caramel is boiling, turn the stove down to “medium-low” so that your caramel is at a low simmer, and add in your vanilla and pinch of salt.
  7. Continue to stir until well-incorporated, this whole process should take less than 15 minutes.
  8. Remove your apple mixture from the oven and use an emersion blender to puree it (if you do not have an emersion blender, you can move the contents to a blender or food processor to puree)
  9. Stir in your caramel, and voila! Your Paleo Caramel Apple Butter is ready to jar and enjoy!
  • Fun fact: If you’d like to enjoy some stewed apples, simply omit caramel, take your apples out of the oven a little bit earlier (after only 30-45 minutes),  and do not puree them. This is a delicious fall side dish to serve with pork, chicken, or your breakfast oatmeal! Yum! I often do not get to make much apple butter around here because we stop the process early to eat the delicious/nutritious stewed apples!

paleo caramel apple butter

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

I can’t believe I haven’t written up this Paleo Pumpkin Pie recipe yet! Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite desserts, and this one mixes up in 5 minutes, then bakes for about 50. It is super easy, especially if you have a pre-made paleo or gluten-free pie crust readily available!

Most of my recipes are paleo remixes on traditional recipes. Converting pumpkin pie to paleo is a pretty basic swap, so I strongly recommend trying it during this fall season. It’s just overall much healthier for everyone! The first major health swap out is coconut milk for evaporated/condensed milk. And the most impressive swap is that I used LESS THAN 1/4 cup of maple syrup to sweeten my entire pie, which means that there is less than half a tablespoon of maple syrup in each piece of pie and that is the only sweetener. That’s likely less of a glucose spike than you get from morning coffee or a piece of gum! The key to getting that great fall taste is in using quality organic pumpkin puree, which is naturally sweet, and a generous mixture of warm spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, vanilla, and cardamom. You can make this crustless, and eat it like soufflé or you can sweeten it up by serving it with a dollop of maple syrup sweetened cream.

Pregnancy has me craving ALL the sweet things, BUT my glucose tolerance test is coming up so I’ve been trying to limit carbs. Of course,  I already know I have a low glucose tolerance! Insulin resistance was a part of my lab work up that led my doctors to check me for PCOS (which I fortunately did not end up having). A big part of the reason paleo recipes work so well for me is because they eliminate the sugar and carb content of the standard american diet. I actually read in my Natural Mamas Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth that women on a whole foods or paleo regime can often trigger the gestational diabetes tests because our blood sugar, kept stable by whole foods, is so sensitive to the high sugar content in the Glucola beverage. For THAT reason, I’m cutting back on the sweets and carbs, but not removing them totally because that would make me even more sensitive to the drink! Pregnancy is confusing, y’all. Enter my perfectly sweet Paleo Pumpkin Pie!

This pie is better after it cools completely or sets up in the fridge, even though I had a hot slice right out of the oven because I couldn’t resist 🙂 Try it out this year and see if anyone notices that you didn’t use processed milk and sugar!

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

You will need an hour and….

  • 1 15 oz. can or box of organic pumpkin puree. I use this one from Thrive
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (not can!) of full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp each of: ground clove, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger
  • 1 pie crust- I use this recipe from Elana’s pantry, but there are also some great frozen options at health food stores! Before I was SCD/Paleo, I made pie crusts from scratch A LOT with just cold butter, water and flour, which I learned from an actual pastry chef!  It was such a beautiful, meditative process that I miss sometimes! If your body can process organic wheat flour, then I absolutely recommend making your own pie crust! You can follow Martha Stewart’s directions here, but no need to add the teaspoon of sugar she adds!
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Combine eggs and pumpkin puree
  3. Add in remaining ingredients and mix by hand until well incorporated
  4. Pour mixture into pie dish
  5. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes until solid (it will still jiggle some, this is not quite as solid as a regular pumpkin pie)
  6. Let it completely cool before eating and store in fridge for best consistency/ quality

paleo pumpkin pie

Paleo Blueberry Muffins

Paleo Blueberry Muffins are my favorite snack to bring my Doula clients! I’ve been experimenting with recipes lately because my plan is to stock my freezer for late pregnancy and early newborn days. This is a great time of year to freeze blueberry muffins so you can take advantage of summer’s delicious in-season blueberries! I’m getting a list of healthy, hearty, filling, easy-to-reheat recipes together for a week of cooking and baking at Thanksgiving before my baby gets here, so look for more freezer friendly food on the blog then!

Paleo Blueberry Muffins are at the top of my freezer list because blueberries are a “galactagogue,” meaning they promote milk production. I’ll also be sharing a paleo lactation cookie recipe soon!

Please comment below if there was something you really enjoyed having on hand during late pregnancy and early breastfeeding days! Matt and I are also thinking about doing a meal service plan like Blue Apron or Sunbasket so we are not dependent on take out or processed foods, and can really control what is going into our bodies and into my breastmilk.

By the way, these muffins aren’t just for lactating Moms! They are great for kids & husbands too, and my co-workers REALLY enjoyed the batch I made them this week! It’s so fun to surprise people with tasty treats by introducing them to delicious sugar-free, dairy-free, grain-free options (but always give them the nut warning for almond flour!)

And Mondays always need a little more cheer 🙂

Paleo Blueberry Muffins (makes 12 muffins)

You will need 30 minutes and

  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2-3 tbsp honey or maple syrup for sweetness
  • 1/2 cup of coconut or almond milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line tin with muffin cups
  3. Mix almond flour, salt, and baking soda together
  4. Mix wet ingredients separately
  5. Combine wet and dry ingredients and fold in blueberries
  6. Bake for 20+ minutes until a dry toothpick can be removed
  7. Set to cool on a wire rack!! If you are freezing, i would double or even triple this recipe, which is easy to do and still works!

silicone muffin wrapper

pumpkin, acorn, butternut, spaghetti, in that order: a catalogue of my favorite decorative (and edible) gourd recipes

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Acorn Squash & Bison Chili

Hey-O! The Blog went a little haywire while I was away from home celebrating our recent marriage with friends  & family in Chapel Hill, home of our alma mater UNC- Go Tarheels!

I’m back at home, settling in for some serious fall cooking-which is my favorite cooking- and some even more serious liver detoxing with fun, fall recipes! Fall is the best time to detox, because like the earth around us, we are shedding what is “dead” or no longer of use to our bodies. The best way to support general health, detox, and immunity is eating seasonally, which is why I support massive gourd consumption in the fall. I really try to limit alcohol, sugar, processed foods, and bad fats leading up to holidays. This produces a more enjoyable holiday season, and a more creative New Year’s Resolution than “Lose 5 pounds” or “Get healthy.”  I know that sometimes these large, tough, strong tasting autumnal fruits can seem overwhelming and impossible to cook, so I’ve catalogued some of my favorite recipes below.

FYI: Trader Joes sells by the gourd, not by the pound, so they are the best price I can find. The great thing about buying gourds and squashes is that you get to decorate with them until you eat them! They live for weeks as your table’s centerpiece!

Pumpkin

Enjoy a Pumpkin Smoothie, pumpkin chia pudding or a healthy PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) every morning this week!

Pumpkin Smoothie: 2 servings
1) Blend together: 1 banana, 1 handful spinach, 1 cup pumpkin puree, 2 cups of almond/hemp milk, generous cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 scoop macha powder or collagen for an extra boost!

Acorn Squash

Check out my Thanksgiving HIT, Acorn Squash Souffle 

And my Autumn staple, as published on Mind. Body. Green: Bison Chili in Acorn Squash

Butternut Squash

A big hit at any Friendsgiving is my Butternut Squash Sage Quinoa

My newest obsession is Butternut Squash and Apple Soup (Serves 4-6)

  1. Slice one butternut squash, 2 apples, and one onion
  2. Drizzle with coconut oil on baking pan and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes
  3. Remove from Oven and move into a pot with 4 cups/ 1 box Veggie broth and 2 inches of grated ginger
  4. Bring mixture to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes to incorporate flavors.
  5. Use immersion blender or food processor to blend soup until smooth!

5 steps to cooking your spaghetti squash in 10 minutes or less

  1. Stab with a fork 5 times and microwave for 5 minutes
  2. Remove Squash from microwave with oven mitts and cut it in half/remove seeds
  3. Place both halves in a dish with 1-2 inches of water in it and microwave for 3-5 more minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with baking soda to aid digestion and use a fork to scoop out spaghetti strands
  5. Season and serve with your favorite pasta sauce

 

 

 

Superfood;Superwoman

Image result for pumpkin pie smoothie

Admittedly, the “superfood” craze is a little silly, but it still blows my mind that adding a little tablespoon of chia seeds to my morning smoothie can afford me enough protein and fiber to really keep me full through my strenuous workouts.

My newest smoothie addition is…

Maca, a root grown high in the Peruvian mountains, used by ancient Incas to increase both fertility and virility. Today, holistics prescribe Maca root powder for chronic fatigue syndrome, fertility issues, hormone imbalance, and low libido. It’s important to start off using Maca in very small doses since it IS a potent superfood. The really great thing about increasing energy and vitality via Maca is that it does not tax the adrenals the way that caffeine does. Your energy is much more slow burning and long lasting. This is great news for the large percentage of the population suffering with adrenal fatigue, which correlates with hormone imbalance in women and causes a lot of stress on our systems.

I’ve instagrammed my use of collagen and chlorophyll in fruit smoothies. To make my smoothies more “Seasonal” this fall, I use Maca in combination with 8 oz. of almond milk, 1 banana, 1/2 a cup of pumpkin puree, a slice of ginger root, a few drops of vanilla extract and 1 tbsp. of cinnamon to create a delicious pumpkin pie smoothie. I’m really looking forward to sharing more details with you about the direct effect of Maca on my quality of life!

Paleo Pumpkin Waffles with Warm Vanilla Bean Maple Syrup

paleo waffles

Wedding gifts are SO FUN- especially the totally impractical ones. Last weekend we used our waffle maker for the first time, and the result was glorious! Matt grew up making waffles, but this was my first time and I was shocked at the quality. It may just be the new waffle maker, but there are also a few nuances that improved our waffle game. We added 1/2 cup of pumpkin and some pumpkin pie spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, to a basic almond flour waffle recipe.  Then, I warmed the maple syrup on the stove in a saucepan with a vanilla bean to amp up the flavor. I also made a few pieces of turkey bacon to top it off and add that salty/sweet contrast that I need with brunch.

Paleo Pumpkin Waffles with Warm Vanilla Bean Maple Syrup

  1.  Preheat waffle iron and coat with butter/cooking spray
  2.  Combine dry ingredients
  3.  In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients
  4. Mix together and pour into the center of waffle iron

The Best Chili I Ever Made: kale & butternut squash edition

best chli i ever made

The Chili with my newest stag head

It’s a rainy September day in Wilmington, and we are currently basking in bowls of the best chili I ever made. There are a few “secret” ingredients in this recipe that I think are important elements to the chili.

spicy sweet

Growing up, my mom made meaty spaghetti sauce that was delicious; both spicy and sweet. She used regular processed sugar in our sauce, but for mine, I used 90% DARK CHOCOLATE. I used 2 squares of an organic bar (about 1 oz.) and it added a rich, sweet element, especially in combination with the sweet BUTTERNUT SQUASH.

To achieve the spicy element that pairs so well with sweetness, I used 1/8 cup of RED CHILI FLAKES. I love these on everything: avocado toast, cauliflower pizza, ice cream (just kidding!) They really are one of my favorite cheap flavor punches. Additionally, I used a can of GREEN CHILIS to deepen the spicy note.

why bison?

Bison is a lean meat that has the flavor of beef, but is packed with less fat and more protein. See my OTHER bison chili recipe for more details! I also like that bison is raised in humane, sustainable practices.

mushrooms

Meaty mushrooms are the key to the texture of this dish. I DID NOT use beans in this recipe because I wanted there to be an easy Vegan Sub out for this chili. Thus, if you are not eating meat, you can simply sub in 1 can of Navy Beans and 1-2 cans of Kidney Beans for your Bison/ Beef. Because there are mushrooms in this chili, it tastes MEATY both ways! Mushrooms are essential to good vegetarian meals. Thank you, FUNGI!

kale

Because Kale.

And those are the secrets for the Best Chili I ever Made!

Butternut Squash, Kale & Mushroom Chili (6-10 servings)

1 butternut squash, sliced and chunked (I used Trader Joe’s pre-chunked)
1 bunch of kale (your preferred type)
1 pound of Bison or Beef (OR sub 2-3 beans as described above)1 can of organic tomato paste
3-4 cups of vegetable broth ( I use the 32 oz box when I don’t use my own which is about 4 cups, but 3 will suffice)
1 large zucchini
1 red onion
1 can of green chilis
1/8 cup of chili flakes
salt and pepper
1 oz. of dark chocolate
cooking oil

  1. In your large chili pot, use cooking fat or oil to saute your chopped onion on medium heat
  2. Add in the beef and dark chocolate
  3. Break down beef, browning in oil for about 3 minutes
  4. Add in butternut squash, mushrooms, chopped zucchini, tomato paste, vegetable broth, green chilis, and spices
  5. Bring to a simmer for 20 minutes, and then turn down to low heat for 1 hour. It will look soupy- That’s good!
  6. Stir in kale and cook until kale is softened and absorbs extra liquid

Cuddle up and enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Cauliflower Mashed potatoes

blackened salmon with asparagus, cauliflower mash, and roasted red pepper sauce

blackened salmon with asparagus, cauliflower mash, and roasted red pepper sauce

My mother-in-law visited last weekend and made Matt some good old fashioned mashed potatoes! I decided to try my hand at Cauliflower Mash one more time and….

It was SO amazing and flavorful! You don’t get that heavy feeing that comes with regular white potatoes and the cauliflower is so much easier to digest. Additionally, cauliflower is chock full of vitamins C and K and folate, which is especially important for pregnant/nursing women and for kids! Note, different people have different tolerances for cruciferous veg!

I made NomNomPaleo’s Garlic Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes” and they turned out perfect! If you want them to be totally smooth, you have to process in a good food processor for about 7 minutes. However, I took some puree out early, which I will use as “Cauliflower Grits” for Paleo Shrimp & Grits this weekend! Lightbulb!

saucy vegan

I was feeling decadent because of my Wednesday Orange Theory Fitness workout, which burned 600 + calories (plus after burn). So I grated my favorite cheese into the Cauliflower mixture and baked it for 15 minutes on 350. I really like getting a flavor burst out of natural foods, so I decided to use an aging red pepper to make a roasted red pepper sauce to pour over my salmon, asparagus, and Cauliflower mashed potatoes. It was incredible and would be delicious on pork, fish, or chicken and is a Vegan sauce for pasta & veggies.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce- makes ~ 1 cup

1 Large Red Bell Pepper

1/4 cup almond milk

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cayenne

salt and black pepper to taste

  1. The key step to this recipe is just slow roasting your pepper(s). I put mine in the oven on 400 for 30 minutes on each side. When I removed it from the oven, I cut off the stem and the seeds/membranes pulled out easily.
  2. Combine other ingredients with your pepper in a blender or food processor. Process until completely smooth.
  3. Should be warm enough to serve, but you can also prepare ahead of time and reheat!

 

Quick Pickled Red Onions

Pickled red onions are good on just about everything. I love the brightness and acidity that they add to any dish, but Ive been using them lately on salads, burgers, tacos, steaks, and anything that is rich and can benefit from that “bite” of the vinegar. Eating fermented veggies is a cheap and healthy way to balance your gut flora and get probiotics into the microbiome. Also, I normally can’t quite handle raw onions on my sensitive stomach, so pickling them gets that oniony flavor I love back into my recipes and diet.

What you need: a few minutes and….

  • A mason jar or air tight jar and lid
  • 1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbs. salt
  • 3 tbs. maple syrup or honey
  • 1 large red onion
  1. Slice your Red onion EXTRA THIN by using a sharp knife or mandolin
  2. Combine remaining ingredients into your jar and shake until sweetener is dissolved
  3. Add onions and let sit for at least 30 minutes. These get better the longer they marinate!
  4. ENJOY on Everything!!

Also great for a Antipasto Platter for a party….

IMG_3418

Chocolate Lover’s Pie

sugar free gluten free vegan chocolate pieThis pie is Sugarfree, Gluten Free, and  Vegan! I’m using fewer animal products in my recipes to 1) save money and 2) support a more plant based lifestyle for healthy living and 3) lend my support to local and humanely farmed food by not using factory farm products.

I LOVE dark chocolate. In graduate school I used to eat chocolate every evening after my classes to unwind and because my day was stressful and my diet was so restricted at this time, I could feel the endorphins lighting up and dancing around in my brain after the first bite. I love using 100% cacao in my recipes and I love the health benefits of this treat. I prefer to sweeten it with maple syrup and/or dates, so my sweet concoctions often end up being Vegan!

Check out this recipe and let me know what you think!

You will need 45 minutes and….
For the crust:

1 cup Almond flour
1 tsp. Baking powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil or Vegan ‘Butter’ spread (softened)
Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and use a mixer to incorporate thoroughly. The mixture should be grainy and spreadable in a pie dish when complete.

*My crust is extra dark because I baked the crust in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes before I baked the pie. I thought this would help it to set. It’s not too done, but the prebake is optional.

For the pie:

3 heaping Tbsp. 100% cocoa powder
1 avocado2 tbsp flaxseed mixed into 2 tbsp water
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 cup of almond milk
1/2 cup of pure, organic maple syrup

Combine wet ingredients with avocado and blend thoroughly until smooth. Use a spatula to mix in your cocoa powder by hand to avoid losing any powder

Pour dark chocolate mixture into crust and bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool and set for 20 minutes before cutting to serve

New Obsessions & Perfected Avocado Toast

What are you into so far in 2016? I’m ashamed to say this, but Matt and I were really enjoying “My Diet is Better than Yours” on ABC last night. I was especially intrigued by the “Wild Diet,” which is pretty much another name given to the nutrition that Paleo/SCD emphasizes. The team of men using that diet, including a popular Paleo cookbook author, was leading in weight loss and heart health after the first episode! Additionally, as a geek archaeologist, I really appreciate relabeling the diet as “primal,” “wild” or “neolithic,” which are all more accurate descriptors. I was so happy that these experts were revealing the truth that you have to eat fat to burn fat. In fact, the only diet coach voted off was the one who emphasized juice fasting(for a WEEK!) The transfats in processed foods are our enemy, not the healthy fats we get from avocados, olive oil, and bone broth. Segue to my other favorite thing of 2016, Avocado Toast. You may have heard of this or already be doing it, but I elevate mine by drizzling a high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (made for dressings not high heat), and pink himalayan sea salt, which I truly believe is going to make me live forever 🙂 Try it on your favorite sprouted grain toast or on my homemade Paleo bread. I’m obsessed. And remember, healthy fats can power you through the day more effectively than sugary starches!

PS If you want the best version of Avocado Toast ever and live in the area, try out breakfast at The Siena Hotel on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.

avocado toast

 

Tart Cranberry Relish


This is an oldie but a goodie. I used to love having this at my grandmother’s house when I was little, and now it’s a staple for us around the holidays because it offers the acidity you need to cut those heavy holiday meals. Mine is my own 2015 version because A) it has no sugar and B) I use macadamia nuts instead of pecans because I’m allergic!

Tart Cranberry Relish
What you’ll need: 10 minutes and…

a bag of fresh cranberries
3-4 stalks of celery
1 orange (including peel)
1/4 cup of grapefruit juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup salted macadamia nuts (or a nut of your choice)
1/2 cup of shredded, unsweetened coconut

  1. Give orange and celery a rough chop
  2. Combine all ingredients into a food processor, adding liquid as needed. The orange peel is very important to the flavor! Don’t be shy!

broccoli cheddar soup & twice baked sweet potato with herbacious compound butter

Day 3 of the 12 meals of Christmas is coming to you with extra bang for your buck– 2 recipes in one, yes! This broccoli cheddar soup is as good as Panera’s, but without the MSG and if you need a little extra something on the side, then my twice baked sweet potato is perfect! For me, it helps fill the gigantic void in my heart left by crusty garlic bread when I bid wheat goodbye!

Soup

What you’ll need: 1 hour, a food processor or blender and….
2 cups of stock
2 cups of almond milk

1 white onion
2 tbsp butter
2 heads of broccoli
4-5 large carrots, shredded
cayenne pepper

  1. In a pot, melt the butter and cook the onion (finely diced) until translucent on medium-low heat
  2. Add stock, and coarsely chopped broccoli and carrots to the pot and simmer for 30 minutes
  3. Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender. Do it in batches if you have to, hot liquid will expand when processed. Process mixture until vegetables become as finely grated as you prefer.
  4. Move the mixture back to your pot on medium-low and add grated cheddar cheese and almond milk,  then stir in until melted.
  5. Season with cayenne and black pepper to taste.

twice baked potato (you can make this is the oven while you make your soup)

What you’ll need: 1 hour and….
1 large sweet potato (for each person) 1 stick of softened butter (1/2 a cup)
a few tbsp. green onion
1 tbsp fresh sage
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup yogurt

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and cook potato(es) through until a fork enters easily (about 30 minutes)
  2. In your mixer combine the butter, green onion, and herbs to create your compound butter. If you don’t use it all on your potato you will have delicious herby butter left for other goodies!
  3. Remove most, but not all, of your sweet potato from its skin or  “jacket” but cutting in half long ways and spooning it out into a bowl. You want to leave some sweet potato on the skin so that they don’t fall apart after they’re baked again.
  4. Transfer 1/3 of the herbacious butter mixture into the bowl with the contents of 1 sweet potato and mash together with 1/4 cup of plain yogurt.
  5. Reheat in the oven at 350 this time, in a pan since butter will run, just for 10 minutes until warmed through