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Fudgy Paleo Brownies with almond butter

My husband said these taste like real fudge brownies with the “sugar sucked out.” “Like Magic?” I asked him. “Yes.” So now my cooking is magical!

Personally, there is plenty of sweetness in these little morsels- especially with the added richness of almond butter on top (if you choose to top them! They are also fine without) Matt just has an intense sweet tooth!

I really like cooking desserts in small batches because then I don’t over-indulge or get sick of the same thing. We had a tiny batch of these at home since we are working on fitness this month- I took the rest to my Staff at Cape Fear Academy and they LOVED them! I hope you do too!

 {small batch} Fudgy Paleo Brownies with almond butter

To make these, you will need 45 minutes and….

  • 1/2 cup 100% cacao
  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of carob chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, butter or ghee {clarified butter with no milk solids}
  • 1/2 cup of no sugar added, pure almond butter
  1. Preheat Oven to 300 degrees
  2. Cover a small loaf pan or 8×8 baking dish (I like glass) with sheet of parchment paper
  3. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT FOR AlMOND BUTTER, adding in the carob chips LAST
  4. Pour brownie batter into baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes
  5. Brownies will not look set immediately! They need to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Spread brownies with a thin layer of almond butter, cut into small chunks and enjoy!

Gravlax: How to Cure your own Salmon

Gravlax

I only wish I had started curing my own salmon earlier! Matt bought a beautiful 3 pound salmon filet for us last week. I divided it in half and baked one part with the traditional lemon, dill, and sea salt, which sustained us with 2 delicious dinners this weekend.

The other half rested in the fridge over the long weekend before it magically became GRAVLAX (or salt cured salmon), which will comprise my lunches for the week. The entire cost of these 4 indulgent salmon dinners and 4 healthy lunches for the week was $16- the affordable cost of the fresh salmon. That’s about the same price of the largest package of smoked salmon at Whole Foods.

If you’re not convinced yet, just look at how quick and easy the curing process is! I’ve included all the tricks and tips I’ve learned along the way below within parentheses. Get ready for melt-in-your-mouth salmon!

Gravlax

To cure your own salmon gravlax you will need…

  • A 1-2 pound salmon flank
  • 1/2 cup of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/8 cup of black pepper
  • a serrated knife
  • plastic wrap
  1. Take your raw salmon flank and cut it (longways) into 2 equal pieces. (Make sure the size is relatively consistent in thickness and width because the thinner pieces will get tough and overcooked, like salmon “jerky”)
  2. Mix all of your seasonings together (If you want the smoked taste, then use “smoked” salt. We prefer gravlax without smokey flavor, so we use regular coarse sea salt)
  3. Generously rub spice mixture into the meaty part of your salmon flanks and place one on top of the other (meat to meat; not skin to skin) Think, “orange on orange!”
  4. Wrap your salmon in plastic wrap tightly ( It’s easier to lay it in the middle of a large piece of plastic wrap on a table to begin wrapping like a gift)
  5. Once your salmon is wrapped, place it on a large platter that will not overflow as oils and juices collect under fish. On top of this platter, you will add another platter, plate, or cookie sheet that covers the salmon. (stay with me, friends!)
  6. Once the plastic-wrapped salmon is covered with two plates or cookie sheets (one on bottom, one on top) put it in the fridge and stack something heavy on it to create pressure. This is important because it drains the salmon of its raw juices. (I used cans of beans one time, and large glass pyrex containers of leftovers another time)
  7. Wait patiently for 3 days while your salmon “cooks” in the fridge!
  8. On the 3rd day, remove salmon from plastic wrap and slice thinly for your desired gravlax thickness (I’ve found that a serrated knife works best for this!)
  9. Store your Gravlax in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week! Serve with thinly sliced red onion, capers, or this delicious

Paleo Dill Mustard Sauce

For an excellent addition to your Gravlax, Mix together:

2 Tablepoons of Dijon Mustard
3 Tablepoons of apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon of honey
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 Handful of fresh, chopped dill

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

 

 

 

Spaghetti Squash & Bison Meatballs with Pumpkin Tomato Sauce

spaghetti squash bison pumpkin meatballsIf you’re interested in a dinner that is completely different and delicious, I highly recommend this one. My spaghetti squash has been staring me in the face from its resting spot on our breakfast table for some time, so I had to bite the bullet this weekend and decided on good old Spaghetti & Meatballs. I had a pound of bison in the fridge, so I decided to use that for the meatballs. Bison has more protein and less fat than beef or pork, which is great for the waistline, but not great for keeping meatballs together. Breadcrumbs usually act as a meatball adhesive, but I had seen Joy Bauer, of morning show fame, use pumpkin puree as an alternative adhesive in turkey meatballs, so I decided to try it- and I’m s glad I did!

Everyone knows that you have to brown meatballs before cooking them in your pasta sauce, so I decided that if the pumpkin meatball was going to leach out its yummy contents, then the sauce might as well be deliberately pumpkin/tomato. This may sound like an unusual combination, but Trader Joe’s actually makes a pumpkin/butternut squash/tomato sauce called Autumnal Harvest. 

The result of mixing pumpkin and nutmeg with my traditional salty tomato sauce was incredible! It provides that salty/sweet umami flavor that I love. I buy pumpkin puree in bulk for all of its many purposes, since it has a high fiber content and delicious flavor, so it always excites me to find yet another use for it! We really loved this new sauce and definitely plan on making it again. You can eat it over Spaghetti Squash like we did, for a low carb option, or over regular pasta. If you do eat it over Spaghetti Squash, then I recommend a teaspoon of baking soda sprinkled on teach side of he squash to aid digestion! I really hope you try this recipe and enjoy something a little different and autumn flavored!

Spaghetti Squash & Bison Meatballs with Pumpkin-Tomato Sauce
Serves 4

1 Spaghetti Squash
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups of pumpkin puree1 lb. of bison
1 lb. of tomatoes (roasted)
6 carrots (roasted)
1/2 cup of olive oil
6 cloves of garlic
basil
2 tsp. Nutmeg
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Roast Tomatoes with garlic, and carrots, drizzle olive oil
  2. While Veggies roast, use your hands to mix 1/2 cup of pumpkin with 1 pound of Bison.
  3. Divide Bison into 4 equal parts and divide the 4 parts in half. This will give you 8 equal sized 1/8 lb meatballs. Roll them into balls between your palms.
  4. Heat a large skillet with olive oil on medium. When oil is hot, brown each side or your pumpkin meatball in the oil.
  5. After 30 minutes of roasting, puree your vegetables in a food processor. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil, basil, 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree, nutmeg, salt and pepper to the mixture process until smooth and incorporated.
  6. Add the sauce mixture to your meatballs and turn heat to simmer.
  7. While your sauce and meatballs simmer together on the stove, puncture your spaghetti squash with a fork.
  8. Microwave your spaghetti squash is a glass bowl of water for 5 minutes so that it is soft enough to cut in half.
  9. Remove Spaghetti squash from the microwave, take out all seeds with a spoon and and your baking soda.
  10. Place each half of your spaghetti squash BACK in the microwave to cook for 5 more minutes until the squash is easily removed in strings with a fork*
  11. Serve with 2 large meatballs and heaping sauce on a bed of spaghetti squash! Enjoy!

*This is the fastest and best way to cook spaghetti squash. Letting in linger in the oven does nothing for the flavor or quality!

 

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

30 Day Challenge 2.0

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Yesterday’s post got me thinking about what I can do to help friends to feel healthier, and how I can use that positive energy of people I love as a source to motivate myself. As I continue to take charge of autoimmune disease and hormone imbalance, I find that companionship helps more than anything else. And unfortunately, now I’m many miles away from my cooking partner! So I’ve decided that we’re kicking off our annual 30 day challenge in 13 days, on September 8th. During this 30 days, we are going to reduce the following as much as possible:

  • processed foods (anything packaged or with multiple ingredients)
  • fried foods
  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • sugar
  • gluten, soy, and dairy (the most common undiagnosed allergens)
  • And all of our meat products will be hormone/antibiotic free

I understand how overwhelming this can be, and it is extremely difficult in the first 2 weeks, but this is why I’ve created a Facebook group for support to share our daily recipes, inspirations, and struggles. You can request to join the group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/825156537605162/

Limiting the above listed foods can help you with various issues, far beyond weight control, including:

  • hormone imbalance
  • eczema and skin problems
  • digestive problems (Indigestion, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea)
  • mood swings and irritability
  • candida/yeast overgrowth
  • bloating and gas
  • restlessness and problems sleeping
  • headaches
  • lack of energy
  • low immunity

I will post some recipes on the blog, but most of the communication regarding the 30 day challenge will be in the Facebook group! Comment below if you are excited to join us!

Prevention is the Cure

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What you put into your body (food & drink), what your inner monologue is, and what your stress management techniques are determine your well-being. You can prevent many forms of sickness and disease if you change the negative parts of your routine and just commit to:

1) Creating a healthy microbiome through good nutrition and exercise, which means cutting down on alcohol, caffeine, and processed/packaged foods.

2) Loving yourself and creating an inner monologue that lifts you up

3) Making your common stresses manageable and avoiding unnecessary stress.

I have tried to narrow the focus of my blog to sharing healthy, homemade, whole food, paleo recipes, but the other aspects of prevention and optimal health are so intertwined with diet and nutrition that I feel compelled to emphasize the importance of nurturing your spirit in tandem with nurturing your gut!

If you are in a negative spiral, remember that “Your thoughts are not facts and your past is not your potential” – Kris Carr

the 5 pillars of prevention

  1. What you’re eating
  2. What you’re drinking
  3. What you’re thinking
  4. How you’re resting
  5. How you’re renewing

I began my health journey with a lot of help from Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy You and Crazy Sexy Diet. I recommend her books and her current FREE online Wellness program!

Crazy Sexy You Energy Video

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!

 

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

I always have pumpkin on hand for my dogs because it fixes their upset tummies after one meal–it’s magic! So I’m big on pumpkin any time of year because it’s really low in calories, but high in flavor and antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E. Also, because it’s orange, we know it packs a lot of Beta Carotene, folates, and niacin. This is an easy breakfast recipe that (for me) is an improvement over the usual oatmeal (too grainy and heavy for me) or yogurt (too much dairy for me). Now you can enjoy pumpkin year round with the added punch of chia seeds!

Pumpkin Chia Pudding
You will need: 5 minutes and….

1 cup of pumpkin puree
1 cup of non dairy milk (almond or coconut) 2 Tbsp. of Chia seeds
1-2 Tbsp. maple syrup or sweetener of your choice

  1. Stir milk and pumpkin into a pot on medium heat, allow mixture to boil then turn down to low
  2. Mix in chia seeds and maple syrup or sweetener to taste. I don’t like sweet stuff, so I use between 1 and 2 tablespooons of maple syrup for the entire mixture, which allows the natural sweetness of the pumpkin fruit to shine

Almond Butter Indulgences: Savory and Sweet

 

 

Paleo Peanut NoodlesI’m loving my almond butter right now. I thought I was allergic for a while because I can’t eat several types of raw nuts without my mouth swelling, but it turns out that I can eat them in butter form or cooked almond meal  because I’m allergic to the coating of the raw nut. With allergies in mind, these recipes are dairy and wheat free, and legit paleo. They’re also Vegan if you use vegetable broth in the noodles.

The fat and protein in almond butter helps to fuel my workouts and feed my metabolism. Here are my sweet and savory almond butter recipes that you can probably try out right now with just a few ingredients from your pantry!

Paleo Almond Noodles, you will need 15 minutes and….

  • your noodle of choice. I recommend Zoodles (Zucchini noodles) or something like black bean pasta. GF is ok too.
  • 3 Tablespoons of Almond Butter
  • 1 tbsp. butter or ghee
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. Coconut aminos or tamari (these are wheat free substitutes for soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup veggie or chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. chopped green onion
  • cilantro and sriracha to garnish

Directions:

  • Prepare your noodles, either by zoodler or cooking in water.
  • In a large saucepan, combine onions with remaining ingredients and saute at medium heat, stirring to combine flavors
  • Stir until liquid is reduced to desired consistency, (about 5 minutes) then add your noodles to the saucepan
  • Garnish with cilantro and sriracha and optional crushed almonds

It’s important to add the noodles to the saucepan, rather than pouring sauce on top of noodles because that reserves the most sauce and coats the noodles best. Also, if you have cooked noodles then the starchy water will help to thicken the sauce. I’m excited about serving these noodles alongside my wasabi tuna steaks for an Asian inspired dinner.

3 Ingredient Power Brownies, you will need 20 minutes and…

Ingredients:

  • 3 overripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup of almond butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place parchment paper in the bottom of a baking dish
  2. Melt nut butter on stove or in microwave
  3. Combine nut butter with other ingredients and mix thoroughly (I suggest using a handmixer or food processor for smooth brownies)
  4. Pour into baking dish and bake 20 minutes.
  5. Refrigerate and cut into squares to enjoy!

I’ve seen many variations of these quick and healthy brownies on health and fitness sites, but these really work if refrigerated and eaten cold, and they’re decadent and less than 100 calories a brownie!

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year Friends! I am so thrilled to see what 2016 has in store for me. I have an entire SYSTEM of 2016 goals and resolutions, divided into 12 areas and spread across the 12 months. My major resolution of 2016, however, is to finish up my DONA Doula certification by attending 3 births this spring. I am so overwhelmed with gratitude and joy that this path is unfolding for me in 2016. Check out this post I wrote for Mind Body Green in 2015 or click on the picture below if you are debating the benefits of having your own Doula.

What are you excited about in the new year? Comment below and share this post for a chance to win a FREE peppermint oil.

Kale Stuffed Mushrooms

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I spent so much time testing new recipes in the kitchen on Monday that I missed a day of The 12 Days of  Christmas!  Rest assured, I have some fantastic recipes in store for you! These mushrooms turned out unexpectedly festive with a green filling, I’m sure due to the loads of kale I packed into these bite-sized party appetizers! I was happy with the result, and equally happy that this is such a flexible recipe. I threw in some smoked salmon to make mine richer and a little more nutrient-dense. You can also sub the kale for spinach if you find that more palatable (kale is actually more of a neutral flavor though).

Kale Stuffed Mushrooms

What you’ll need: 40 minutes and…

18-24 Baby portobellos
1 bunch of kale
3/4 cup of homemade yogurt or full fat organic yogurt
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp fresh dill
2 tbsp fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Clean mushrooms by wiping with a damp cloth, then remove the stems and lay them in a baking dish, top down
  3. Toss stems into a food processor with remainder of ingredients, measuring herbs liberally
  4. Process mixture and then spoon into mushroom caps
  5. Bake the filled mushroom caps for 30 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and dark

Matchstick Root Veg

Trader Joe’s!!! Why do you do this to me? Why do you come out with amazing, no additive, easy-peasy-just-pop-it-in-the-oven products and then remove them from your shelves “seasonally?” Root vegetables are still in season and I NEED these in my life. Why didn’t I buy 10 bags instead of 5 last time I was there?
As I’ve mentioned before, most of my recipes are comfort food recipes that are interpreted in a new, healthy way from my childhood or restaurants that I can no longer go to. In this case, Trader Joe’s has removed this product from their shelves because it is no longer fall. Sigh… so I have to make them myself now.
Root vegetables will make you more grounded and give you a since of stability. They are the best (and most seasonal!) way to get your carbohydrates. They are both sweet and perfectly bitter when roasted AND they look like fries. Ask your kids if they want vegetables for dinner. Now ask them if they want fries. See, we’re all kids at heart. I eat these with fish and shellfish (ala moules frites) and can’t recommend them enough–it’s  life changer.

Matchstick Root Veg

What You’ll need: 30 minutes and…

1 bunch of carrots
3-4 large beets
4 parsnips
1-2 sweet potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. rosemary
2 tsp. sea salt
3 cloves garlic
liberal paprika

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. Wash all root vegetables well. They can (and should)  be dirty. The grow underground.
  3. In order to get a GOOD crisp on these vegetables, you will want to cut them as thin as possible. I have found that the best way to do this is to cut them on a mandolin on a 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch setting and then to hand cut (with a sharp knife) each mandolin slice into a “matchstick” or julienne style. This enables your vegetables to cook quickly and take on a consistency of a frite. I think the char of a thinner cut is very complimentary to the natural sweetness of the root vegetables. For me, it adds a bitterness that is necessary to cut the sweetness! YOU DO NOT need to remove skin. The skin is good for you and carries valuable antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine your oils and all your spices, including finely chopped garlic. Stir vigorously until well-blended
  5. Toss your matchstick vegetables into your oil and lay them out on a sheet pan
  6. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until crisp

 

Vegan Holiday Truffles!

This is my Vegan Truffle Recipe, in case you missed it featured on eatlivelife.com! For various reasons, we’ve decided to give our loved ones some delicious holiday treats as gifts this year, and I had to include these delicious truffles in that repertoire (spoiler alert, friends and family!) The best part is that I can give these to friends who can’t eat sugar and my lactose-intolerant friends, and especially excited for my granny, who is 94 and only really likes to eat chocolate these days, to try them!

To give my traditional recipe a little “holiday bump,” I’ll be rolling my truffles in 1) Macha green tea powder 2) crushed dehydrated strawberries from Trader Joe’s and 3) Unsweetened, shredded coconut. Everything else is the same! If you don’t have macha, or have concerns about the caffeine in green tea, then crushed pistachios are a similar color!

If you don’t have sugar or corn syrup restrictions like I do, then I’d highly recommend rolling your truffles in crushed candy canes! And if you’re not on my naughty list, then you can let me know what you think after December 25th!

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

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

Changes.

I’m a little amazed by the date on my last blog post. October 11th. The day before I rushed to the hospital to get Matt seen for kidney stones that would plague him and our house until 2 surgeries and 4 weeks later! October 11th was also ONE week after I had given notice at work, and today was my last day in an office. Ever. I can say that with utter confidence.

So what changes are ahead? Too many to funnel into just one blog post, but suffice it to say that my health game will be amped up, my cooking style has been tweaked, I am laser-focused on my business, and Matt and I have a lot of fun stuff to share with everyone in 2016.

Now let’s get started!

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It’s Canadian Thanksgiving!

In honor of Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I want to highlight my favorite Canadian blog, www.eathealthrive.ca!

I made these pumpkin squares this weekend and they are delicious! What I love about these bars is that they call for pumpkin, which is delicious and easy on our digestive systems. I have cans ready year round for my dogs to have as meals when they’re not feeling well. It ALSO uses gelatin, packing a double bunch of gut healing food. It had been so long since I had bone broth that I convinced myself I need some powdered gelatin in my life (any excuse for sweets, right?) I use maple syrup instead of honey and almond flour in place of the arrowroot powder in this recipe. Still turns out delicious, but I do suggest letting it set overnight.

This is a great addition to your Thanksgiving celebration this year! Stay tuned for more harvest  recipes this month!
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Pumpkin Pie Squares (Paleo, AIP)
Author: Martine Partridge
Recipe type: Treats
Serves: 12

Ingredients

         For the crust:

  • ¼ c coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp. arrowroot flour
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ c coconut oil, dry measure then melt
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extractFor the pumpkin layer:
  • 2 c pumpkin purée
  • ¼ c maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ c coconut oil
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 2 tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1½ tsp gelatin + ¼ c water
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine coconut flour, arrowroot flour, and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre.
  2. Add the melted coconut oil, maple syrup or honey, water, and vanilla into the well.
  3. Stir until thickened and a dough forms. Press into an 8×8 pan.
  4. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until golden on the edges.
  5. Remove from the oven and cool.
  6. While the crust is cooling, prepare the pumpkin layer.
  7. In a small sauce pan, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and allow to soften for 5 minutes. Turn heat to low and stir to melt gelatin completely. Remove from heat.
  8. Add the gelatin mixture to the pumpkin puree, maple syrup (or honey), coconut oil, vanilla, pinch of salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and coconut flour.
  9. Combine all ingredients and process until smooth.
  10. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the cooled crust and place in the refrigerator to chill for several hours or overnight.
  11. Cut into squares and serve with whipped coconut topping, if you fancy that!

Cheers to the Weekend: Autumn Cider Recipe

Autumn cider recipeMost of us are going to be locked up with our loved ones this weekend as Joaquin passes through the East Coast. I’ve recently given up wine because of how the sugar and alcohol make me feel, but I do love a cocktail on a Friday evening while cooking dinner and lounging to watch a movie while we listen to the rain on our roof. I’ve  found that ginger beer and cider (though sugary) is much better on my stomach  and has a much lower alcohol content. I have a few varieties that have no added sugar and finish with a clean, dry taste. I recommend:

– Crispin (artisinal reserve, stagger lee, and the saint) varieties
–  Woodchuck Private reserve Ginger Cider
–  ACE Pumpkin Hard Cider

Tonight, I will be mixing one of these chilled ciders in a glass with wild orange aromatic bitters, 1/2 oz. rye bourbon, and 1 sprig of rosemary or a few cloves to garnish.

Cheers to everyone trying to stay dry out there! And enjoy the FIRST weekend of October.