Archive for Vegetarian

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….

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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

sweet potato fries with curried ketchup

This recipe is admittedly inspired by an appetizer at an iconic restaurant/bar in my college town, Chapel Hill. On my paleo/scd diet, I wasn’t getting enough carbohydrates to recover after personal training and weight-lifting, so I’ve had to get creative with the carbs I CAN eat, like sweet potatoes and squash and this is something that I really enjoy.

The best way to ensure your fries are crispy is to get them really, really thin, and I do that with my spiralizer, which is key for thin, crispy fries AND vegetable spaghetti.

What you’ll need: 30 minutes and…

1 sweet potato
natural, organic or homemade ketchup ( I make my own by mixing tomato paste, water, and maple syrup to taste)
curry powder
cayenne pepper
optional to bring it up a notch: 1/4 cup blue cheese and a 1/4 cup sharp cheddar

  1. Preheat your oven to 400
  2. spiralize or finely chop into matchsticks one entire sweet potato
  3. spread sweet potato onto a sheet pan and salt before baking for 25 minutes
  4. while sweet potato fried are baking, mix a pinch of cayenne and a tablespoon of curry powder into a small bowl filled with the amount of ketchup you might typically use for a platter of shared fries
  5. When 2-3 minutes are left you can add shredded cheddar and blue cheese crumbles to drive the fries up a notch and add some delicious fats!
  6. Serve your delicious fries on a platter with your spicy ketchup!

Butternut Squash and Sage Quinoa

I made this dish for the Friendsgiving we went to last month and it was a big hit. I attribute that to 2 things: 1) sage and butternut squash go together easily and naturally like old friends and 2) butter. This dish is frighteningly easy for how delicious it is and can be used as a hearty side to your holiday feast OR as a main dish for vegetarian friends and meatless nights. My one caveat is that you really brown and crisp up the cubed butternut squash, thus it’s important that you have even and equal knife cuts. This also make a great wheat-free, vegetarian stuffing

You will need 1 hour and:

1 bunch Fresh Sage
1 butternut squash ( they are sold by the squash and not by the pound at Trader Joe’s) 1/2 cup of grassfed butter
2 cups of water or vegetable stock
1 cup of red Quinoa (any color fine though)
1 tbsp rosemary
optional: 1 cup of macadamia nuts

  1. Preheat your oven to 400
  2. Chop butternut squash into even, bite sized cubes by slicing in half long ways, and then removing seeds and slicing each half. No need to removes skin. It will crisp up and be delicious!
  3. Place squash cubes on a sheet pan and season with salt and an olive oil drizzle. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until browned on edges
  4. While squash is baking, heat 2 cups of water or stock in a pot on the stove. Once it has reached a boil, cook your quinoa for 20-30 minutes or until most of the water is gone and quinoa seeds are fluffy.
  5. In a large skillet, heat your butter on medium, carefully stirring so as not to burn it. You want a golden-brown butter
  6. When butter is thoroughly melted, add finely chopped sage. It is important to give the sage a fine chop so that the soapy consistency is cooked off.
  7. When your butternut squash is done, transfer it to your butter-sage mixture and add rosemary, stir and fold to incorporate and cover squash with buttery mixture.
  8. Transfer squash and butter mixture to a serving dish and stir in your quinoa evenly
  9. Sprinkle with crushed macadamia nuts

12 Meals of Christmas

One of the big changes I’m making to my own daily diet and thus my blog is reducing animal protein and saving those valuable calories and nutrients for local farms, where I’m assured of the quality of life of the animals. This has added a new dimension to my recipe creation, and really challenged me outside of my comfort zone, so I’m excited to share a compilation of mostly vegetarian, and some vegan and pescatarian recipes.

I’ve been training really hard the last few weeks, and I’ve been replenishing with lean protein from wild-caught fish and shrimp, in addition to more carbs than were in my previous diet. These recipes reflect that nutrient shift,  as well as the seasonal quality of the starches and vegetables that I’m using in my dishes. I’m hoping to use the cohesiveness of these recipes {seasonal, varietal, mostly plant-based, healthy alternatives to comfort foods, and still allergen-free} to create a compilation or cookbook as I build on and test out these recipes. All these recipes are also grain, sugar, soy, and lactose free. So over the next 12 days, you can expect the following recipes:

  • butternut squash & sage quinoa
  • sweet potato cheese fries with curried ketchup
  • broccoli cheddar soup
  • Vegan Holiday Truffles
  • twice baked sweet potato with green onions and herbacious compound butter
  • Stuffed mushrooms
  • tart cranberry relish
  • dressed up hearts of romaine
  • SCD/ Paleo Sticky Toffee pudding
  • curried spaghetti squash {with shrimp} and golden raisins*
  • paleo peppermint bark
  • Match stick root veg

I hope you’ll tune in and discover the 12 meals (or desserts)  that you can either enjoy during the holidays or put on the metaphorical “back burner” for next month when you’re trying to reset. And I hope this “plant-based paleo” movement really takes off.

https://static.pexels.com/photos/5876/food-salad-healthy-vegetables.jpg

It’s Decorative (and edible) Gourd Season!

Decorative (and edible) gourd seasonOver here trying to contain my excitement!!! I definitely prefer the natural, muted, fall colors of real gourds, as opposed to the stark orange & black combo this time of year. the good news is, you can decorate with your gourds and eat them too. I’m coming at you today with a Paleo/SCD/Whole 30 recipe for each of my favorite seasonal centerpieces. I hope you enjoy!

  1. Acorn squash agrodulce. I hope you read and enjoyed my acorn squash chili bowl recipe on Mind Body Green. For the leftover acorn squash chili bowls, I slice them thinly up from bottom to top (where you put the chili in) and roast them. They’ve already been baked a bit to soften them for coring, so if you haven’t made your acorn squash chili bowl, then you will need to prebake for 30 minutes at 375 so that you can soften the squash up and remove seeds from the center. For the agrodulce, I used this recipe from The Kitchen, which is SCD/Paleo safe. Honey and Maple syrup are not always Whole 30 approved, but I do use them in very small amounts, as well as agave nectar. I agree that keeping the blood sugar’s stability is important, so I usually cut sweeteners in half, especially honey, so that would be just 1/8 cup in this recipe by Ms. Katie Lee! It is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving spread, or just a lunch/dinner entree on its own! I especially like this addition to a pork loin meal.
  2. Butternut squash gnocchi with sage butter sauce. These are some of my absolute favorite flavors in the entire Universe and it creates such a warm and hearty, yet delicate meal. To make your gnocchi, you will need 1/2 cup of roasted butternut squash (seeds removed), combined with 1/4 a cup of mashed sweet potato. I combine in a food processor with 1/4 a cup of sifted coconut flower and 1/4 a cup of sifted almond flour, then add 2 eggs,  1 tsp. sea salt, and garlic salt. Next, you will bring a large pot of water to boil. Remove your dough mixture and sprinkle generously with more coconut flour. Finally, you can follow the simple directions of making gnocchi in this video from minute 3-4 by rolling your dough up into a long tube and cutting 1 inch squares (makes about 30-40 squares). Gently, add your gnocchi to your boiling water, a few at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. They will rise to the top when done in 3-5 minutes. While you are doing that, in a pan, you can begin to brown 1/4 a cup of butter or ghee with 2 tbsp. fresh, chopped sage. To brown and not burn butter, you just want to heat it on medium/high and constantly stir until it is a golden, nutty color.
  3. Neck pumpkin Cinnamon mash. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the neck pumpkin into a baking dish, with the rind pointing up. Add 1/4 inch of water to the dish. Set the baking dish in the hot oven. Bake the neck pumpkin until it is tender. The time will depend on the size of the pumpkin. Poke the rind with a fork. When the tines slide through easily, the pumpkin is done. Remove the rind and mash the pumpkin as it cools to the touch. I like to use my food processor to blend in 1 egg, 1/2 cup of almond or coconut milk, and plenty of Cinnamon and Nutmeg. This dish is reminiscent of my Thanksgiving Acorn Squash Puree from last year.

I also love using gourds as lanterns, rather than (or in addition to) pumpkins. There is some ethereal harvest feel I get from them that somehow surpasses the traditional jack-o-lantern. Good luck with your gourds and your paleo/whole 30  efforts to eat more simply, locally, and healthfully this season!

Decorative (and edible) Gourd Season

Martha Stewart Gourd Lantern

Autumn Favorites: More Paleo Lovers Recipes

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.

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-Banana/Peach bread with the 8 brown bananas I had frozen over the last several months. 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. We are not all Chefs out there and I don’t think that arrowroot powder or palm and coconut sugars benefit my digestion. So if you ever have questions  about steps or ingredients because of my focus on simplicity, please comment! I will respond quickly!

Autumn favorites Paleo

Ingredients

1/2 cup Almond Flour
1/2 cup Coconut Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
Lots of pumpkin pie spice or: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and ginger
3 eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup organic pureed pumpkin
3-4 ripe bananas or peaches ( I made a loaf with each and left out maple syrup with peaches)
* Walnuts would be excellent in this bread! I just have an allergy 🙂

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix your first 4 ingredients in a bowl (dry ones)
  3. Mix your last 5 ingredients 9wet ones) 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 35-45 minutes.
    Disclaimer: Traditionally, this should take 45, but I have a hot oven and take everything out early! Know thy Oven!! And know thyself: I like REALLY moist bread that falls apart.

Crispy Cauliflower Pizza Crust the right way

crispy cauliflower pizza crust
This is a legit good recipe. Who wants soggy fall apart crust? I want crispy cauliflower pizza crust, don’t you?! I was a little shocked when I was perusing online for a cauliflower pizza crust recipe. So many included starches or creamy cheeses (what?!) and one I actually tried (with 3 eggs in it) tasted more like an omelet. I hope this one is fine-tuned enough that it’s just perfect! It’s hard to trust recipes on the internet these days, but I think the pictures are justification! This is also a note about staying AWAY from the gluten free crusts on the market. They may help with gluten intolerance, but they are too often packed with bad ingredients that result in higher calorie and fat content, so they are DEFINTELY not for the person looking to stay slim.

Ingredients

1/2 head of cauliflower (I rice the entire thing and freeze the other in baggies for use later)
2 tablespoons of coconut flour
1 egg
1.5 cups of Parmesan (sub with non-dairy cheese if necessary, but Parmesan has TRACE amount of lactose)
dried italian herbs
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
* I don’t use salt because I usually use salty ingredients like homemade pesto, prosciutto, or anchovies. You can salt it to tastes if you like.

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Break cauliflower into florets
  3. Lightly blend until you get a “rice like” consistency- (makes about 2-3 cups)
  4. Using a cheese cloth or a dish towel, squeeze excess water from cauliflower (should get 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
  5. Transfer cauliflower to a bowl and combine remaining ingredients
  6. Heat cauliflower “dough” mixture in a double boiler until cheese is melted and it is warmed through and sticking together {it wont be as sticky as normal dough ;)}
  7. Take dough and spread VERY thin 1/4 -1/8 inch onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper
  8. Bake crust for 20-25 minutes until edges are dark brown
  9. Add your sauce and toppings and heat under a broiler for 3-5 minutes
  10. My toppings include: homemade pesto, prosciutto, more parmesan, and leftover veggies from previous dinner! if you like tomato sauce, then Trader Joe’s has some great natural options with no additives.

My 5 Favorite Healthy Pumpkin Recipes For Fall

healthy pumpkin recipesHealthy recipes are hard to come by when talking about traditional used of canned pumpkin. Canned pumpkin by nature is healthy– it is naturally sweet, fibrous, and energy-giving– and is legal on our Whole 30 challenge this month.  It is the combination of that can of pumpkin with things like evaporated milk, pastries, and sweeteners that detracts from your overall health. Check out these pumpkin recipe obsessions of mine. these are on my repertoire all fall!

5. Grain Free Pumpkin Pancakes. My age old trick is simple: Use the Against All Grain Banana Pancake Recipe, but replace the banana and chocolate chips with 1 can of pumpkin puree!! #foolproof

4. New Isagenix flavor Pumpkin Spice lean protein! Literally one of the best pumpkin spice flavors I’ve ever tasted, let alone the best protein shake I’ve ever tasted! I look SO forward to  having this every morning this fall with almond milk after a workout! Paired with a piece of fruit, it becomes the perfect 400 calories breakfast to energize your day and keep you full until lunch!

3. My Pumpkin Lemongrass Soup might be the recipe I am most proud of. It is so simple, wholesome and absolutely flavorful and delicious! Please make it this month!!

2. Massaged Tuscan Kale Salad with dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and homemade Caesar dressing. I add a can of anchovies from Trader Joe’s to this beautiful Fall Salad for my lunches every day! To massage the kale, you just want to pre-dress it with your dressing of choice and lemon juice and massage the leaves to soften them. You can also shake it up in a tupperware.

1.My Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte is pretty famous for being delicious, healthy and low in calories. A Starbucks PSL contains some dangerously unnecessary additives and packs about 400 calories. Mine is more like 120 and contains only canned pumpkin, fall spices, maple syrup, coffee,  and light coconut milk.

30 Day Clean Eating Challenge- Starts September 10th!

Maybe some of you have a nutrition cycle like me: You do really well all week long with few indulgences. You make your balanced lunches, and dream up nutritious dinners like zoodles with homemade pesto or buffalo chicken lettuce cups with homemade dressing. You eat vegetarian for most meals, vegan even, and lots of fish and lean protein to fill you up after workouts. THEN the weekend comes along… One indulgence becomes EVERY MEAL, drinking alcohol leaves you feeling too lazy for morning workouts, and everyone is eating out and using food to socialize, right?

Usually for me, Sunday ends in a necessary liquid fast after this type of weekend and I start my week off feeling less than great, and back on my clean eating train. That’s why I’m challenging myself to a 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge or WHOLE 30. This type of whole food cleanse is so good for your body (unlike the water-cayenne pepper-lemon juice kind) and is REALISTIC to maintain over a lifetime. I could honestly not imagine going back to sugar or wheat after my first 30 days without it and there is a distinct possibility that you could find a similar culprit for your headaches, fatigue, stomach aches, anxiety, and be free of it after October 10th. What a fabulous way to start out the Fall Season? With all your clothes too big and a new palate for healthy, seasonal food.

I only have success with this type of thing when I have accountability partners! That’s why I am participating in my 30 Day Whole food Challenge via my friends over at Supersisterfitness.com  The program includes meal plans, supplements, nutritious cleanse day drinks and a built-in support system, so that you really can’t fail. Comment below or Send me an email if you want details on how you can participate!

Here are some rules to guide our 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge

  • NO Processed foods– meaning nothing pre-packaged or not REAL
  • NO SUGAR- this includes added sugar! (I’m looking at you, Greek Yogurt)
  • NO Alcohol (ok, one glass of red wine a week if you must)
  • NO refined carbohydrates (which should already be clear from #1) but I’ll say it again: don’t eat  white rice, corn, or wheat
  • DO YOUR BEST to eat organic, antibiotic- free meat. Local is best. Know that the animal that is feeding you had a normal animal life.
  • LIMIT Dairy. I do not have milk, cream, or any milk by-product because these foods are inflammatory for me. I DO have low-lactose cheeses, dark chocolate, and make my own yogurt. Find a balance and do what works for you!
  • NO Soda or beverages other than water. Only green tea or “bulletproof”  coffee…more on that later

If you follow the rules above, I KNOW you will be feeling better in 72 hours or less. Take your Summer challenge to the next level with this me this month and start Fall off on the right foot!
30 Day Clean Eating Challenge

It’s Almost Soup Season: Creamy, Dairy-free Cauliflower Soup, 2 ways

Normally I wouldn’t start on my soup craze until September, but I turned up with a bad cold this rainy Monday morning, and there’s nothin
g better. Luckily I tried out (and tweaked to perfection) this lovely Cauliflower Soup Recipe. I can’t wait to post a picture of what it looks like with It's Almost Soup Season: Creamy, Dairy-free Cauliflower Soup, 2 waysthe curry powder in it! Cauliflower is such a superstar in the kitchen– from bread to pizzas, to rice to mash, and soup too! Versatility is key for me. Check out the simple recipe below, adapted from Paleo Leap and look for my DIY video later this week for the incredible Bacon-Wrapped Dates in the corner of my Cauliflower Soup photo!

Creamy, Dairy-free Cauliflower Soup, 2 Ways (8 servings, easily doubled)

1 head cauliflower
1 cup of light coconut milk ( I like the Trader Joe’s brand with no sugar or additives)
3 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegan soup, chicken has more flavor and homemade is always best)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 Tb thyme
cooking fat
GENEROUS salt and black pepper

*Garnish with crumbled bacon (pictured with cheddar cheese because I had bacon wrapped dates! yum!)

for 2nd way: add 2 Tb. Curry Powder, 2 Tb turmeric, and Cilantro garnish at the end! 

  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees; Combine chopped onion, garlic, and cauliflower head onto a sheet pan and bake roast for 30 minutes
  2. Move your roasted mixture to a large pot and add chicken stock and herbs. Let this mixture come to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. After flavors are incorporated through simmer, turn heat off, remove bay leaf,  and use hand-held mixer/ emulsifier (or move to a blender/processor) to blend into a creamy consistency
  4. Once all your cauliflower is broken down, stir in your coconut milk, and then you can add spices (salt and pepper to taste).
    * if you choose to make it the 2nd way with curry powder and turmeric, your soup will be a bright golden color, garnish with cilantro.
  5. I like to serve in large bowls with crumbled bacon as a garnish. I’m not dairy-intolerant, I eat low lactose, so I also enjoy this soup with aged cheddar shredded on top, which has a very low lactose content.

This is also a great soup to enjoy with my grain-free bread

The Perfect Grain-free Sandwich Bread!

perfect grain-free sandwich bread

See, no sticking with parchment paper! Pulls right up!

Trust me, you need this in your life right now. The smell is wafting up from the kitchen, and it is AMAZING. If you are doing the gluten free/wheat free thing, please! please! please! don’t buy store-made Gluten Free Flours. The Xanthum Gum and Tapioca Starch and Rice Flour junk they put in them is just as bad for your inflammation as gluten or wheat, I promise!

This bread is so easy to make! It takes less than 10 minutes to throw everything together and 40 minutes to bake. I use it for sandwiches (below) or individual pizza slices–Anchovies anyone? I would compare the consistency to that of a pita pocket. Ok, go officially be a badass bread maker, just grab the following ingredients: 3 cups of Almond flour, 3 eggs,  1/4 cup butter, 1 cup DCCC (Farmer’s Cheese) or greek yogurt, 1 tsp. baking soda,  1 tsp. salt + rosemary to taste.

1. Preheat Oven to 375
2. Combine all ingredients except rosemary in your food processor or blender and blend.
3. Add as much water as you need to make the consistency into a sticky dough.
4. Poor the dough into a parchment paper-lined  8×10 baking pan and press it down to  about 1/4 inch think, evenly spread across the pan & Sprinkle Rosemary over top!
5. IMPORTANT STEP: Cut the raw dough as you see I’ve done. Once down the middle and two X’s on each half. This will make your bread easy to get out in a serving size and it won’t crumble when you cut it!

The perfect grain-free sandwich bread is pretty beautiful itself in the pan, but check out this sandwich I made using it, with basil, tomato and cheese!Picture perfect grain-free sandiwch bread with tomato, basil, mayo, and cheese!