Boullabaise and Crispy Salmon Skin

Boullabaise

I’ve been taking full advantage of the fresh seafood markets, and thought there was no better way this week than to try my own version of the Boullabaise we had at Galatoire’s in New Orleans in February. It was a rare unfried/ un-rouilled¬† seafood treat I could have there.*
The result was something fabulous, and also different from our regular old meals of salmon/sushi/cauliflower/steak/salad…repeat. It will definitely join the “fancy meal” repertoire!

One of my goals while we are living here is to learn how to filet my own fish. The fish market gentleman were flashing me grins, insisting I must want a filet of my Rainbow Grouper and head off shrimp, so I politely took them up on the filets and did the heads myself, saving a few for garnish!

I also used mussels in my recipe because we love them and eat them a lot! Clams are just as good! And if you have lobster, PLEASE throw it in! We had eaten all our lobster the night before, so I just had the stock.

Elisabeth’s Cajun Boullabaise (serves 2-4)

You will need 1 hour and….

2 tomatoes, rough chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 can organic tomato paste
6 cups of fish stock ( I used lobster because it’s what I had. NEVER throw away your shellfish shells or fish bones! They make super stocks!)
1 lb. white fish like Cod or Grouper
1 lb Shrimp (save some heads!)
3 lbs. mussels and/or clams
2 threads or pinch of ground saffron
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
1 lemon
generous s+p
olive oil
red wine

Directions:
1. In a large mixing pot, combine tomatoes, onions, garlic, and olive oil on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.

2. Add stock and tomato paste and bring to a boil, 5 minutes, then turn down to simmer.

3. Once on simmer, add all herbs and spices, fish and shrimp, let cook 3-5 minutes.

4. Add in 1/2 cup of red wine and shellfish for the final 2 minutes. They will open up when your Boullabaise is ready to serve!

I wouldn’t recommend this dish for a LARGE crowd, but it is a stunner for 4-6!

*Some Boullabaise recipes do have a rouille, which includes flour, but it’s not necessary for thickness or taste!

Here is a photo of me preparing the lobster that made our stock. Thanks for the Wedding gift, Auntie Anne ūüôā

lobster stock

 

AND Check it out! I burned myself in the process, but I discovered the secret to REALLY crispy salmon skin!
Using coconut oil as your base, get your cast iron pan super hot on Medium-high heat.¬† Leave your salmon out while the pan heats and pat it as dry as you can, then score the skin in 5 swift motions with a sharp knife. GENTLY place your salmon in the hot oil and cook for 4-5 minutes, then flip over and finish! It’s PERFECT!

crispy salmon skin

crispy salmon skin

Compassion

I am Compassionate

Compassion is the life breath of peace, love and healing.

I breathe in compassion for all beings who have also breathed within the cycle of birth, living, and death.
I am filled with forgiveness for my own mistakes.
I breathe out fear, anger, and envy.

This message on my “Breathe Easy” cards from my Mom really spoke to me this morning. It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves for not being perfect, for failure, or for not feeling like we are doing enough for others. When we are hard on ourselves, it becomes even easier to be hard on others. I’ve really noticed that as I get better at forgiving myself, I become more open to forgiving everyone else! Pre-wedding stress has found me being tough on myself for not losing more weight or sticking to a stricter diet. I’ve also been critical of my more relaxed work schedule since spring break, and all the spending I’ve been doing lately for our special day.¬† As a woman, I am cursed with the drive to please everyone and lately because I am a “bride” and “wife” in a position of leadership in a wedding and family, I find that task all the more impossible.

And then I remind myself… Elisabeth, you helped a mother to bring her baby into the world this week and your 6 students adore you and learn better with you (and you adore them!) Anyway, your sacral-centered human design means you don’t “fall under the pressure to be as productive as others and you simply enjoy life (what a gift!). You work more as a specialist for short periods of time, usually guiding others in how to work.” And finally, you get to be married to someone who makes you laugh every. single. day. and that is the best form of compassion! And Chocolate. Chocolate is the 2nd best form of compassion, so I treated myself this afternoon.

Women are all so incredibly strong, wise, and compassionate. Extend that compassion to yourself today!

FullSizeRender-1Adapted from LivingLovingPaleo’ s Jamocha

1/2 cup of brewed coffee
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 0z of dark chocolate
1 tsp. Cacao powder
2 coffee beans

Blend on high power, enjoy cold over ice or pour into a microwavable mug and heat up for a grown up hot chocolate!

Doula Life: 3 postpartum foods for healing and lactation

The sole baby girl I was expecting this spring/summer birth season was born early this morning! I still can’t get over how perfect little Beatrice is and how strong her Mama was throughout.

A Galactagogue (great word!!!) is a food, herb, or supplement that aids breast milk supply. Prior to leaving for the hospital, I had prepared the following foods for my client to promote healing for her and baby, to promote lactation, and to intensify her nutrient stores. These could be some great meals for new moms out there, doulas, or just shiny, healthy people looking for whole food, nutrient dense recipes!

Slow baked salmon, kale and quinoa with lemon, fennel, and dill seasoning

In a sheet pan, I slow roasted (275 F) 2 large salmon planks on a bed of spinach, kale and pre-cooked quinoa, covered in lemon and fennel slices, seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and fresh dill.

Spinach, kale and other leafy greens are filled with vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and are non-dairy sources of calcium.
Salmon is full of a special kind of fat called DHA that promotes brain growth in infants (and is found in breast milk and formula). The more DHA you eat, the more you will have in your breast milk, and it is also thought to reduce stress and postpartum depression. Quinoa and whole grains provide folic acid important in breastfeeding as well.

Chickpea and Spinach Soup (If on AIP , replace chickpeas with cauliflower)

In a blender or food processor I combine 2 cups of cooked chickpeas, 1 bag of cooked spinach, 1 pan roasted yellow onion and 3 cloves of garlic, and 4 cups of bone broth (chicken stock). I intensify the healing power of my broth my adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to draw out the marrow goodness, and I season it with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. After that is blended well to smooth, I stir in 1 can of coconut milk.

Soup in general helps to increase milk production as it heals. Warm foods also enliven your Qi (or life force), according to Eastern tradition, and thus promote lactation and healing. Bone broth is always good for everyone after surgeries, and I love bringing it as a “get well” gift, so it is even more relevant if you have had a C-section or episiotomy.

Blueberry Oat Muffins

This recipe is coming in my next blog post! Oats, though, provide a new Mom the necessary folic acid and iron (if the tummy can take them) and blueberries are well known antioxidants and provide an energy boost when needed!

Now I’m off to get some sleep!

 

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

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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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!

All that is gold does not glitter

I love this poem from The Lord of the Rings, and I feel like not many people know that these two beautiful, often extrapolated quotes are lines A and B of a Tolkien poem. Tolkien was a Catholic, which is pervasive in his writing and this poem, in particular, but it obviously speaks to most of us about several universal things.

For me, the first 4 lines are about the value of what is not seen above all else, and how we must nurture these “intangibles” in ourselves.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king

——————————————————————————-

Happy Weekend!

 

Winner, Winner! One Pan Chicken Dinner

I have discovered fennel. The reason fennel is the perfect one pan ingredient in winter is because it is abundant, seasonal, subtly flavors everything and takes on lemon and garlic really beautifully. My other 3 ingredients in this simple, one pan dish are chicken thighs, parsnips, and carrots. It would also be delicious to use fish in this recipe! Another great substitute would be sweet potatoes for parsnips.

I love cooking, but sometimes you just need dinner to be cheap, fast, substantive, and nutrient-dense. I know that combination sounds impossible, but you’ll get it with this. Getting an array of colors in your veggies is a basic way to ensure that. I also might add that this entire dinner is $8. It would have been cheaper, but I refuse to sacrifice my standards for happy chickens!

One Pan Chicken Dinner

You’ll need 45 minutes and…

Chicken (or fish)
2 fennel bulbs
1 bag baby carrots or 3 large carrots
2 parsnips or sweet potatoes
a few cloves garlic
2 lemons2 Tbsp. White wine

I marinated my chicken thighs overnight in plain yogurt, sriracha, lemon juice and herbs ( just some extra parsley and dill I had). This isn’t necessary, but it helped the tenderness and flavor.
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2) Slice fennel into fourths, from top to bottom, reserving fronds
3) Chop carrots and parsnips into bite-size
4) Mix together the following to create marinade: juice of one lemon, lemon zest from that same lemon, 5 large cloves of garlic (minced), a few tablespoons of olive oil,¬† and salt and pepper. And then pour some out for your homies…AKA sacrifice just 2 Tbsp. of white wine for the sauce!
5) Toss your vegetables in this mixture, coating thoroughly, spread them out on the pan and bake for 15 minutes.
6) While veggies are roasting, slice the other lemon
7) After 15 minutes have passed, remove the pan from the oven, add the chicken to the pan, place lemon slices all over and pour the remaining lemon/olive oil/ wine marinade on top. Roast for 25-30 more minutes or until Chicken thighs are done (internal temp of 155/160).
8) Garnish everything with chopped fennel fronds!

Guest Post: Butternut Fennel Leek Soup

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other, gold.

One of the best parts of being an adult is finding true inspiration and fulfillment from your friendships. I’m really proud and lucky to say that I’ve been friends with Lori and Far for 15 years now, and they each inspire me in different ways. I’m totally humbled to think that my recipes and health lifestyle have inspired some of their own cooking. Far designed this website and Lori created and wrote this recipe with (ME?!) in mind. I’m excited to share that it is delicious and the perfect healthy way to warm up your icy weekend! Go get your ingredients quick, before the storm! And enjoy being snowed in this weekend.


This took me about 1.5 hours to make from start to finish. It has a very good earthy flavor and I think the
ginger does kick it up a notch, so feel free to use less if you prefer. If you don’t have a hand mixer (immersion blender) you can use a blender but be careful because it will be hot, so only fill it up half way! Also, I have read other recipes that call for coconut milk to thicken it up. I decided against it because once it’s all mixed together, I feel like its rich and thick enough. Here is how I made this soup. I think this is a good base and you can add or subtract anything to suit your taste. I thought, “Liz would have some good input!”

Butternut Fennel Leek Soup- Paleo, Whole 30, Dairy and Gluten Free

You will need 1-1.5 hours and:

1 butternut squash (cut in half and seeded)
1 fennel (separate stalks and fronds from bulb- fronds can be used to garnish)
2 leeks
ginger root (as mush as you want) I used almost an entire root- but
you can use 1-2 inches)
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
smoked paprika
olive oil- just enough to coat the veggies and a little to cook the
fennel stalks and ginger
garlic powder

  1. Preheat over to 350
  2. Chop up fennel bulb into 8ths, and cut leeks in half (I barely cut the
    end off and then just up to where the green on the stalk gets super
    dark- about 5 inches)
  3. Combine in a bowl with garlic powder, salt and pepper and olive oil
    enough to coat.
  4. Then take butternut squash halves, drizzle with olive
    oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. put on greased baking
    dish and surround with leek and fennel and bake about 40-50 minutes or
    until butternut is soft and easy to scrape out and the edges of fennel
    and leek are brown.
  5. Thinly chop up the fennel stalks, ginger and mash the garlic,
    throw into a pan and saute with salt and pepper to taste until almost
    caramelized- add some smoked paprika to taste. Add in the lemon juice.
  6. Then add about 4-6 cups chicken stock, simmer until the veggies in the oven are done.
  7. Finally, take a spoon and scoop out all of the butternut squash -should
    come out very easily and have nothing left but the skin, discard skin
    and transfer everything into a big pot. simmer for about another 5
    minutes. Take a hand mixer and mix everything until smooth- taste test
    it and see if it needs anymore salt
  8. Scoop into bowls and garnish with fennel
    fronds. Enjoy!

I LOVE how Lori uses EVERY part of the Fennel in this. Very clever and professional. Let me know if you guys try this out!

Up to the Mountain

up to the mountainLuckily, we had the day off today to relax and recuperate from our quick sojourn to Charlotte this weekend for the Carolina Panthers playoff game. Mornings are sacred time for me, though, so I was happy to jump out of bed at 7 am when the doggies woke up. It gave me a chance to have some coffee and some offline time to contemplate the legacy of MLK and the ways in which we can live a life and raise a family with social justice at the heart of it; something that we talk about with a lot of frequency and fervor in RCIA. It’s hard sometimes to feel like whatever you’re building– a family, a business, a career, an idea– will amount to anything substantial or impactful. If Martin Luther King were alive today, he would be 87 and he would see the fruition of his legacy. But he would also see how much work we have left to do.

I’m encouraged by this quote, and by “Up to the Mountain,” one of my favorite songs, recorded by Patty Griffin in honor of King, himself. Whatever you’re working toward, whether it’s sobriety, debt, getting healthy, losing weight, a relationship, a new career, or something as huge as social justice, take it one day at a time, and brick by brick, bird by bird, you will build something worthy of you.

Sometimes I lay down, no more can I do, but then I go on again, because you asked me to.

 

 

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 ūüôā 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

 

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.

100 posts and sweet and savory paleo treats for Christmas Eve Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! I’m so excited that this is my 100th post. I started blogging with WordPress¬† 1 year ago, and my website was up 6 months ago, so I’m happy with my progress.

Today I’m sharing some fun and easy recipes that will help to keep me on track during the holidays. I plan on snacking on these tonight with a cocktail and my family.

Paleo Jalapeno PoppersPaleo Jalape√Īo Poppers

Processed Cream Cheese is a no go for me, so my poppers are stuffed with cheddar and pimientos and wrapped with Applegate’s humanely raised bacon. You will need 30 minutes and….

8 fresh jalape√Īos, halved and deseeded
1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese1/4 cup pimientos
half a package (or 8 pieces) of bacon

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. slice and de-seed jalape√Īos, careful not to touch your face! Wear gloves if necessary!
  3. fill each jalape√Īo half with shredded cheddar and top with diced pimientos
  4. slice your bacon in half and wrap each jalape√Īo half in 1/2 a slice of bacon
  5. bake for 20 minutes until bacon is crispy

Safin’s Paleo Peppermint Bark

You will need 1 hour, 30 minutes and….

1 cup Cream of coconut
1 cup 100% cacao nibs or powder
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
2-3 drops peppermint essential oil or extract

  1. Melt your coconut cream (not milk, you need the thick stuff) in a double boiler
  2. Simultaneously melt (or just after if you only have one double boiler) the other 4 ingredients together; cacao, almond milk, maple syrup, and peppermint extract
  3. Line a dish or pan with sides with parchment paper
  4. Pour both melted mixtures onto parchment paper lined dish or pan and use a knife to swirl it together. The cacao will be denser than the coconut cream and fall to the bottom, and that’s OK! The bark will look cool.
  5. Freeze in the pan for 1-2 hours until solid
  6. Remove from the pan and break apart with your hands to make edges looks rugged, use a knife if it is too hard
  7. Keep bark refrigerated for highest quality. It will taste like a crisp, cold, sugar free peppermint patty!

Paleo Peppermint Bark

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!

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

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!