Archive for paleo

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

Tasty Turkey Burgers with Apple and Fennel

tasty turkey burgers

Does the title of this post sound like an oxymoron to you? Then you are the perfect person for this recipe!

I don’t usually eat turkey burgers because they’re often dry or tough and sustainably/morally farmed turkey is hard to find in NC. However, turkey is such a fabulous source of lean protein that I made an effort to find some good-quality ground turkey and create some of my own delicious recipes!

The first recipe up is for a tender, juicy turkey burger. Dicing 1 apple and 1/2 a fennel bulb not only gets moisture into my turkey burgers, but introduces produce as well. These turkey burgers turn up a notch with the addition of a dried apple slice, caramelized red onions, spicy mustard, and brie or cheddar cheese (if you’re into that).

For my tasty turkey burgers, you will need 30 minutes and …

  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1 apple
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper
  • your desired turkey burger “accoutrements” but I suggest aged cheddar or brie (if you can have cheese!) and caramelized onions (thinly sliced red onion, cooked slowly on the stove top in ghee)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Chop 1 apple ( I used fuji) and 1/2 a fennel bulb into small pieces the size of your pinky nail
  3. In a bowl, combine your ground turkey with chopped fennel and apple, and season with salt and pepper. You will use much more pepper to add a kick to your burgers and to limit salt. These flavors speak for themselves!
  4. Create patties the size of your palm or fist. 1 pound should make 4 patties.
  5. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or silicon
  6. Bake on each side for 10-12 minutes
  7. Top your burger as desired and eat over salad!

Vegan/Paleo Holiday Biscotti

vegan paleo biscotti

Vegan/Paleo Holiday Biscotti

It’s the week before Christmas! That means that I bought about a pound of chocolate “for my mother-in-law” (who loves chocolate) and promptly “ate most of it.” For some folks that sounds like a typical holiday season mistake, but for someone like me who rarely consumes sugar, it’s painful afterward! I told Matt to try to pry it from my hands, but that’s not working. THUS, I’ve decided to create something that will encourage a healthy “after dinner snack” to replace my steady consumption of a tall glass of red wine and chocolate candy (which both nutritionally and calorically ruins my uber-healthy dinners!) So my plan tonight is to hide the rest of my mother-in-law’s chocolate, and enjoy this Holiday Biscotti alongside a peppermint tea! I’ll let you know how it goes….

Biscotti is Italian for twice baked cookie (just kidding, but that’s essentially what it is). In my opinion, biscotti is even easier to perfect than cookies, because it’s supposed to be burnt, so don’t let the fancy name deter you! We are hosting Christmas this year, and this is so great that I might make this holiday biscotti for my family, but add some pistachios for that festive flash of red & green! Biscotti is also really delicious with almond extract flavor and/or orange zest!

Vegan & Paleo Holiday Biscotti (makes 8-10)

You will need 2 hours and….

1 cup of almond flour
1/4 cup of coconut flour
1/4 cup of cacao powder
1/2 cup of organic oats
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of ginger
1/2 teaspoon on cinnamon
1 cup of dried fruit of your choice- I did cherries for tart sweetness and Turkish apricots for deeper sweetness
optional nuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix together dry ingredients
  3. Add in Maple syrup and ix until thoroughly incorporated
  4. Stir in dried fruit and nuts by hand
  5. Use your hands to form a large rectangular slab of dough/log on cookie sheet topped with parchment paper
  6. Bake for 15 minutes
  7. Remove from oven and let cool completely (45 mins-1 hour)
  8. With a bread knife, slice on the diagonal and lay out biscotti individually
  9.  Bake again for 15 minutes or until crispy
  10. Serve with tea or coffee!

 

Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

gluten free paleo chocolate chip pumpkin cookies

Arthur wants some!

Matt loves baking cookies with me, so it was the perfect hurricane activity for us on this blustery weekend. It’s our first hurricane season as coastal dwellers, so we both have a bit of cabin fever by now.

I also wanted to bake something and eat it up before Whole 30 starts on Wednesday. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but it’s impossible to resist a fresh, warm cookie! And I do love chocolate.

These cookies are perfect for Celiac and Gluten Free folks. I find that a lot of gluten-free flour mixes have weird after-tastes and a lot unnecessary filler, so I prefer using coconut or almond flour, as a purest.

It’s important to note when baking with Coconut flour, that it does not “rise” or “spread” so you will want to shape your cookies exactly like you want the end result to look! Coconut flour also gives you a soft cookie, not a crispy one. So Matt really likes these cookies for making Ice Cream Sandwiches!

Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies
Makes 10 cookies

1/2 cup Coconut Flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I use target brand- it’s always in stock and has 1 ingredient!)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup melted, then cooled butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup molasses/ maple syrup for Paleo or Brown Sugar for Gluten Free
3 cage free Eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Combine all Dry ingredients: Flour, Sugar (optional), baking soda, cinnamon
  2. Add wet ingredients: eggs, vanilla, pumpkin, syrup for paleo, cooled liquid butter
  3. Add chocolate chips and stir thoroughly by hand
  4. Roll dough to smooth and then shape cookies by hand, lay onto parchment paper or greased cookie sheet
  5. Bake for 15-17 minutes until bottoms of cookies are a rich golden brown

Enjoy! 

Weekend Brunch: Paleo Shrimp and Grits

Paleo shrimp and grits

I’m from the South, but I do not understand how anyone could love: vinegar based barbecue, humidity, or grits. So when I adopted an AIP (Autoimmune Paleo) regime, grits were not on my list of items I’d miss. HOWEVER, shrimp is probably my favorite food and everybody, even those of us who are doubtful about grits, loves shrimp & grits! In fact,  I’m often tempted to order it when it’s on brunch menus here in North Carolina (which it almost invariably is) so I was super excited when my Paleo Shrimp and Grits really hit the spot.

I got the idea for Paleo shrimp and grits when processing my cauliflower mashed potatoes from Nomnompaleo’s website. When very under-processed, the texture resembles hot and ready grits. For my Paleo shrimp and grits I used the recipe for cauliflower mashed potatoes from Nomnompaleo, available in the link, but I under-processed the same mixture until grainy (as opposed to smooth) and added a cup of grated, aged cheddar (optional- I eat low lactose cheeses on occasion), lots of black pepper,  and a tablespoon of grass fed butter. You already have so much flavor in these “grits” from the garlic and seasoning in the original recipe, so it doesn’t take much!  Actually, it takes LESS processing!

Additional ingredients and directions for Paleo Shrimp and Grits (serves 2)

Applegate Farms nitrate free/ no hormone added bacon
12-16 large or jumbo shrimp
3 green onions, diced
cayenne pepper
coconut oil

  1. While you are cooking and processing your cauliflower, fry 4 pieces of bacon in a cast iron skillet on medium heat
  2. After your bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan and let it drain on papertowels
  3. Add a small amount of coconut oil to your bacon grease and throw your shrimp into the same cast iron skillet
  4. While shrimp is cooking (2 minutes on each side), dice up your 3 green onions (green and light green parts) and crispy bacon
  5. When shrimp is cooked through (pink), stir those shrimp into your grits!
  6. Sprinkle Paleo shrimp and grits with diced bacon, green onions, and cayenne pepper.
    Bonus: Drizzle everything with rendered bacon fat

I didn’t say this one was lowfat, but I DID SAY that it hit the spot! Play around with your garnishes and let me know what you come up! I was so pleased with this brunch because with just 2 pieces of crumbled bacon, 6 large shrimp,  and some cauliflower, I still felt super light and ready to go for a run and hit the beach with my husband!

 

 

Probiotics, My #1 Health Tip

isle of skye elopement

I got married last month! Isle of Skye, Scotland Loraine Ross Photography

I’ve had a lot of time off to think about what I want to deliver to my readers. Foremost, I want to help people who share my struggles with intestinal discomfort, energy, and food allergies that effect their ability to live life to the fullest! I’ve been traveling a bunch over the last month, and as traveling often does, it has given me clarity. Probiotics clarity!

Friends ask me for help with their own digestive and general health issues, and I really stress the clean diet. I always will. If you live actively and eat REAL food, then whatever body you have is the one meant for you and it’s perfect! My overall wellness is truthfully better because of removing common allergens from my diet (sugar, lactose, wheat, soy, legumes, other carbs). This has changed my life more than anything else, including cardio, weight- training, and supplements.

Probiotics

However, if you are eating well and still struggling, you’re not alone. This happens to me over time and I think it’s important to share that sometimes our microbiome is so unbalanced with bad bacteria that diet alone will not replenish enough good bacteria. This happens for many reasons: overuse of antibiotics, birth via cesarean, contracting C-Diff or another disease that wipes out your good gut bacteria, or just generally having an unhealthy diet. In order to fully recover, I take a 30 Billion CFU probiotic with 15 strains of good bacteria. Trust me, yogurt is not enough, and if you’re buying yogurt and not making your own, then it might be making the situation worse (sugar/chemical thickeners).

Good Probiotics are not in corner drug stores. They ONLY come in glass bottles because plastic’s chemicals bleed in shipment. They have to withstand your stomach acid and should be stored in the refrigerator. They are expensive, but paying for your health today means saving money on sickness tomorrow! I don’t want this to turn into an advertisement for any one type, but I have a couple I will recommend if you reach out.

Fermented foods

In addition to probiotics, I eat one serving of fermented vegetables a day. You can also drink kefir. You guys know I love my veggies though, so I always have home-pickled onions, carrots, sauerkraut, and cauliflower on hand. These are super versatile as you’ll see in my instagram posts! I also drink 2 tablespoons of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar in my water every morning (with a touch of wild orange or lemon). THIS is how I beat gut issues. I hope it’s helpful and transparent enough to help you or your friend succeed with me!

Ask me about my probiotics and check out my post on my new Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and review of NomNomPaleo’s Cauliflower mashed potatoes tomorrow!

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 🙂

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!

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!

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!

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

 

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 Jalapeño 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 jalapeños, 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 jalapeños, careful not to touch your face! Wear gloves if necessary!
  3. fill each jalapeño half with shredded cheddar and top with diced pimientos
  4. slice your bacon in half and wrap each jalapeño 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!

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

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.

A Week of Whole 30 prep: salads, snacks, and meals

a Week of whole 30 prep Practice makes perfect when it comes to paleo and whole food recipes, so after almost 2 years on a Paleo-ish & Selective Carbohydrate diet (SCD), I have an easier time with the few things I do have to give up. I know it’s hard when you are doing a 30 day challenge because it almost feels as if you finally get the hang of cooking, planning, and filling yourself up after that month. Hopefully, the groove you get in after about 3 weeks is what keeps you going down this path, eating more of what we were meant to eat as a species, for your improved health and thriving! Here are some of the tricks of the trade to get you through your first full week of our 30 Day Clean Eating Challenge.

  1. Planning ahead is key. I make a Large salad on Sunday evening, and there are some fabulous options all over my blog, like this one. This week, since I try to east seasonally, I mixed up an entire head of Tuscan Kale (which is my favorite because it is so hearty and stands up to creamy dressings), a bag broccoli slaw veggies, which is essentially julienned sliced broccoli and carrots, and raw Brussels sprouts that I shredded in my food processor by pulsing for a few minutes. I pre-dress this salad with with a cup of homemade salad dressing since these are all hearty veg. Tuscan kale either needs to be “massaged” or softened in dressing before eating it raw. This salad will be my base for all lunches this week, and I’ll add variety to the meal by changing up my protein anchovies, tuna, free range chicken, etc. Before dressing and dividing it up, I took out a sheet pan’s worth to coat in olive oil and roast for our dinner tonight, alongside bison patties.
  2. Every time I make soup or chili, I make a huge pot in my slow-cooker, and store half in the freezer immediately. This week, I get to take out 2 soups and a bison chili, and each will provide us with at least one dinner. This means my only prep for dinner those nights is to a) make a few bacon wrapped dates  to go on the side of my cauliflower soup, b) chop up some cilantro and green onion for my curry soup, and throw them in a green salad to go on the side  and c) slice some avocado for my chili.
  3. During Whole 30, I always have a large head of cauliflower in my crisper, ready to be called upon for my other dinners This week, I will take a sharp knife and cut the head in half. One half will be pulsed in my food processor until it is a grainy rice, and will be pan fried in one egg then mixed with vegetables, shrimp, coconut oil, and coconut aminos for my cauliflower fried rice. The other half will have a bit more processing to go through, when I turn it into my cauliflower pizza crust recipe, coming to the blog tomorrow!

This is a really simple way to get all your lunches and dinners out of some good produce and minimal prep.  I go with smoothies or smoothie bowls packed with fibrous chia and flax to keep me full in the morning. If I do get hungry before lunch, My array of mid-morning snacks include: 1/2 cup of macadamia nuts, pistachios, 2 soft boiled eggs, extra bacon wrapped dates from dinner, almond butter on celery, 1 piece of fruit,  or a palm full of plantain chips.

Ok, get to prepping! I hope this was helpful for a week of whole 30 prep!

Paleo on the Go: 3 simple and filling lunch ideas for the woman on the move!

Today’s post is brought to you buy the 3 S’s of our modern lunch time: salad, sandwich or soup (or one of each). I don’t have as much time in the kitchen now that I have 3+ jobs and my sanity to keep, but these are some paleo on the go items that keep me happy and healthy!

  1. As of late, my go to lunch is a Paleo Caesar Salad with this amazing dressing from Primal Palate and anchovies on Romaine. My favorites are only 1.69 per can at Trader Joe’s and 120 calories per can with 8 g of protein! WHAT!? If you don’t have a taste for anchovies, acquire one! Seriously, if you are missing potato chips or salty fries, then this is a great way to curb that craving! prepare the dressing the night before. You can even use this recipe in a “mason jar salad” if you like. Just remember! Dressing on bottom, lettuce in between, anchovies on top!
  2. Cabbage leaves and Collard leaves are the new sandwich wraps to reach for. No more iceberg! Yesterday I had two cabbage leaves filled with Dijon, sliced turkey breast, tomato, and avocado and dipped them in homemade mayo (egg yolks +olive oil). It was decadently delicious. I use the collards more frequently with larger wraps like turkey burgers and bison burgers, It adds amazing flavor and nutrients, but those do need to be cooked (or at least blanched) There aren’t any excuses when it’s as easy as making a sandwich.
  3. It’s that time of year again when we can warm up soup for lunch and try not to drip it on our snuggly sweaters and scarves! My freezer is stocked right now with bison chili, cauliflower soup, and lemongrass pumpkin soup because I have to have back up. Here’s another quick option for you if you aren’t as over-prepared as me for a September blizzard 🙂
    Roasted Root Veg Soup
    -Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On one pan, roast: 2 sweet potatoes, 1 large yellow onion, 2 lbs of carrots (1 bag), and one head of garlic for 25 minutes. Cover vegetables with olive oil and sea salt.
    -In small batches, use a blender, immersion blender, or food processor to incorporate 4 cups of chicken broth and 3 tbsp. pure maple syrup
    -Season with herbs of your choice!

low-fat roasted winter vegetable soup recipe | writes4food.com

 

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

Two grain-free “shortbread” cookies: rosemary and lavender

It’s like picking a favorite child. The woodsy, savory flavor of the rosemary cookie pairs so well with this buttery recipe, but the lavender is so fresh, subtle, and unique. I make two batches: one of each, so I can alternate flavors as I eat them.  I adapted this recipe from the Nourish Blog for the lavender cookies. Lavender is my absolute favorite, and a good friend gave me a gift of culinary lavender for my birthday this summer, so I had to make a grain-free version of these cookies that I made with her back when I was wheat-eater.  Baked goods are a rare treat for me, and these most certainly top my list of favorites.

Paleo Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Prep time: 10 min  Total time: 1 hr 30 min Makes: 18 cookies

1/2 cup (120 g) unsalted butter, softened

2-3 tbs (45 mL) honey, maple syrup, or other natural sweetener

4 tsp (20 mL) culinary lavender, minced

2 cups (240 g) almond flour

½ tsp (2.5 mL) sea salt

First, cream your butter and sweetener together. Next, combine your (3)  dry ingredients and add them to the creamed mixture. Mix until thoroughly incorporated. The next step is of utmost importance. Roll your dough into a 10 inch cylinder, using cling wrap. Make it as even as possible so that you can slice cookies from it once it has hardened. Refrigerate (or even freeze) the dough for 1 hour (freezer) 2+ (refrigerator). Once your cookies have chilled, preheat your oven to 325 Degrees. Remove cookie cylinder from plastic wrap before cutting, and slice into 16-18 cookies. Place them on a baking sheet for 15-20 minutes (until edges are brown). Remove, let cool, and enjoy!