Pecan, Walnut and Mushroom Tacos (Vegan, paleo!)

Two days in a row, lucky y’all! It’s Taco Tuesday and I couldn’t miss this opportunity to share another recipe.

After talking about crystals and new moons, renewing energy and everything, I thought about how the world around us really impacts us. How we feel better when we’re outside, at the beach, in the mountains, whatever. How the earth has its own vibration, and how we’re always happiest when we seek to align with it.

Have you ever heard of the Schumann Resonance? It’s continuous electro-magnetic waves that operate at a low frequency in Earth’s ionosphere.  The waves, though they don’t move like ocean waves, move in a continuous state in such long wavelengths, that they coordinate in tandem with one another, and their timing is so specific that the crests and low-points correspond with seasonal changes each year. It operates at an average frequency of 7.83 Hz.

Why is that relevant? Well – a friend shared today that there was a total blackout about 4 days ago, which is still occurring. While I admittedly don’t know the scientific significance of a blackout, intuitively – it seems like a circuit overloading the breaker tripping. We are wired to coordinate with earth’s energetic frequencies. Prey animals are programmed to give birth at night (under the safety of darkness), menstrual cycles are 28 days, high tide and low tide dictate even modern fishing and boating habits, and we adapt to our living situations based on the season, which is dictated by an earth pivoting on a magnetic axis. And science, blah blah blah.

Having said that, I think it’s really important to acknowledge that this can have an impact on our lives, perhaps more significant than a full or new moon. The very rock we are living on is experiencing a different spike in its frequency, which would make sense that things be more intense, “different”, or just overwhelming. I’ve had a lot of wild stuff happen in the last 4 days, and I think it’s important to just be patient with ourselves as we navigate an intense period of energetic change.

Laymen’s terms – what’s that mean? If you’re stressed, be patient. If you’re feeling depressed or anxious, be compassionate. If you’re finding others a bit more irritable, be loving. Our bodies are impacted from environmental factors on a very small basis, let alone large electromagnetic earth waves. Just something to think about as we navigate this time.

On a less intense note, back to Taco Tuesday. I’d been watching some videos and I felt inspired after a marathon of 7 days eating meat. Behold – vegan tacos…. Keto style!

This involves no starchy vegetables, and all the good fats and proteins. The mystery meat? NUTS.

Yes, for real. Nuts. And mushrooms.

Stay with me, I promise you it’s good. It even has the texture of meat, and it doesn’t need to be piping hot when you eat it on a hot summer day! Perfect Taco Tuesday.

 

Pecan, Walnut and Mushroom Tacos (Vegan, paleo!)

 

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: n/a

 

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups raw pecans
  • 1.5 cups raw walnuts
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, rinsed
  • 1/2 of a small yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp fresh jalapeno
  • 2 tbsp of your preferred taco seasoning
  • juice of half of a lime
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

 

Taco Toppings

 

Directions

  1. In a food processor, combine all taco ingredients and pulse until crumbly, and the consistency of sautéed ground beef (I know, right? Stay with me)
  2. On your preferred taco shell (I love these!), spoon your mixture right into the shell.
  3. Top with slaw, salsa, avocados and cilantro, if desired.
  4. No need to let cool, it isn’t even cooked 🙂

Enjoy!

-S

Summer Strawberry Crumble (paleo, with a vegan option!)

Last week, it was crazy hot. Like, so hot, I considered experimenting if the whole frying-an-egg thing would work on my car.  (Just kidding, I’d rather die than put something like a raw egg on my car… you know that.)

But – it still got me thinking, is it unseasonably warm? Am I just old? Or, have I thrown out the concept of time for the last 12-15 months because the world’s structure and order was flipped upside down and I don’t remember what I was even doing last year? Probably all of the above.

If there’s one thing that really makes me think about summer, it’s strawberries. I… just love them. Sometimes when I was younger, on the last day of school, my mom would pick my sister and I up and take us to this local yard where you could pick strawberries, and that was when I knew it was summertime. Things were way more simple back then – I didn’t have to work, do much, or even really think. I was just kinda floating around like a somewhat-anxious-yet-carefree kid, picking strawberries.

Yesterday, I also was floating around shopping, wanting to be out-and-about, but not remembering what I typically do on a summer Sunday morning when not sequestered inside. Naturally, I went and bought some crystals, because why not? So after I picked out my assortment, I found one last one – I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I needed it.

I bought myself a little polished piece of strawberry quartz.

It’s not quite as soft pink as a rose quartz – and it definitely “felt” different in my hand. It most closely resembled a strawberry JellyBelly bean to me, with its little dark speckles, suspended inside like little strawberry seeds. After thinking about strawberries all weekend, I took this as a little nudge that the Universe needed me to have it.

One thing I like about quartz crystals is their universal solutions to common problems. Whatever Earth energy a precious gemstone can pull is unique in its own right – but I knew this one was special as soon as I held it. You may be familiar with clear quartz – known as a common “cleansing” stone, it serves as an empty (clear) vessel to absorb whatever negativity that may be lingering and allow you to replace it with more wholesome or loving thoughts.

Something like strawberry quartz is a bit more specific to me. It has the pink hue to it but isn’t quite as soft as a rose quartz – the stone most widely known for love, and the heart chakra. Strawberry quartz, with its complex color and formation, is a very rare type of quartz. Its “seeds” are flecks of hematite, so this one has a lot going on inside.

Strawberry quartz goes beyond any kind of basic attribute about love, or happiness. This one is known as a “finder” – it’ll point you to what you’re looking for if you need a little nudge. If you are looking for things like love, or happiness, or wisdom, this one ties into healing your thought process in pursuit of all of that, offering a better sense of clarity. As expected – this one is tied to the third eye chakra, but I really believe it also ties to the root chakra – getting to know yourself through your thoughts and your identity (which plays a huge part in trying to find love and happiness).

Having said that – I felt inspired to continue with my strawberry kick, so here is a delicious little recipe for a bright strawberry crumble, just in time for strawberry season. Go grab your baskets, pick some berries, and go eat!

Summer Strawberry Crumble (paleo, with a vegan option!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20-25 min

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 4-5 cups strawberries, roughly chopped with both smaller and larger pieces (strawberries have a lot of water – you don’t want them to totally breakdown into a puree while baking!)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (just a dash for flavor depth!)
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar

For the Crumble

  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • ½ cup steel cut oats (instant is preferred)
  • 1/2 cup of cold butter (real or vegan is fine), cubed
  • pinch of Salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix your filling ingredients together, carefully folding the strawberries together so they don’t become crushed.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, mix together your crumble topping ingredients, pressing the cubes of butter into the oats, flour and flaxseed. 
  4. In a greased 8×8 baking dish (or smaller for a thicker), add your strawberries, spreading to an even layer.
  5. Next, sprinkle your topping evenly over the strawberries, ensuring it coats the whole strawberry mixture and the butter chunks are distributed evenly.
  6. Bake until bubbling and topping is golden brown. Remove from heat to let stand and cool for 5 minutes prior to serving.

Enjoy!

-S

Teriyaki Ginger Turkey Meatballs (Paleo, Keto-friendly!)

Hey y’all. What’s poppin.

I don’t know if it was just an overwhelming need for a “break”, but I’ve had a renewed sense of “why the hell am I ignoring this blog when I love cooking, cook every day anyway, and need to document it”, so I am back.

If you follow me on Instagram, I’ve posted some stories here and there. Back in January, I had some house drama and I kind of fell off the blog wagon. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to be a normal human again, socializing, going out to dinner, seeing friends, and sitting my derriere pool side. I suppose I haven’t made much time to be online, as that’s LITERALLY all I did for the last year…. But I’m back. Vaxxed, waxed, all the sass.

So, what’s so special about today? Well, considering from the fact that I am now a work orphan (my whole team has taken really amazing opportunities elsewhere within the organization, go team!), it made me think about how I need to really cultivate and leverage my skills. Professionally, sure – that’s one thing. However, I love sharing food, woo-woo spiritual stuff, and just my general weird self with you all.

Tonight is the new moon in Gemini – I find this particularly relevant, because my moon (when I was born) is in Gemini. I’m a Libra, my ascendant is in Pisces, everything is duality in my life.

Guess who hates ambiguity, “close calls”, and grey areas? Yeah, it’s me. I hate that shit.

So, back this new moon in Gemini. I treat new moons like a jumping off point into the next energetic window – what renewed feeling do you want to embrace? What do you want to reset? This one in particular though was also a solar eclipse. To put it in laymen’s terms, this window of renewal also removed our illumination temporarily, so eclipses can often feel like a point of total confusion and darkness. What better time to pull the plug and press the reset button when you can’t see shit? Just kidding.

However, I don’t see this window as a time of major action – just reevaluating. I know sometimes people like to do whatever rituals feel right during a new moon – which, by all means, please continue to do what makes your heart sing. However, when something like this happens alongside an eclipse, I think that pressing the reset button just requires a bit more thought and introspection. Let this “period of eclipsed darkness” kind of let your mind go where it needs to go.

A friendly reminder that not only the sun and moon are in Gemini today, but Mercury is also there too. And Mercury is in retrograde… so it’s alright if you’re feeling a little jacked up when trying to take some time to think about what you may want to re-evaluate, reset or renew. When the Sun and Mercury are together in the same sign, typically you get that happy, cheerful confidence around your own thoughts, but the retrograde adds a very real layer of confusion. The moral of the story – be chill during this time, things are really weird.

In other news, I made meatballs. I haven’t given a lot of thought to curating my recipes recently, so here’s a shitty picture of them. They taste good. I promise.

Teriyaki Ginger Turkey Meatballs (Paleo, Keto-friendly!)

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 15 min

Makes 12-15 meatballs

Ingredients

  • Ground turkey, kept as cold as possible
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp finely chopped or minced fresh ginger
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 of a small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • dash of fresh lime juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together. Place back in fridge or freezer so that meat can cool, making it easier to handle (I buy Koch’s Ground Turkey from Harvest Market – it’s a bit “wet”, so it has to be cold to handle well).
  2. Roll into even meatballs. Place on a parchment or foil-lined/greased baking sheet, approx. 2-3 inches apart.
  3. Bake until starting to brown, about 20-25 min.
  4. Serve with sesame oil/soy sauce zoodles, your favorite teriyaki dipping sauce… heck, throw them in a bowl and eat em straight… I like to garnish mine with sliced scallions. They’re delicious. I missed together some miso, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil and Vegenaise for a dipping sauce…. it was righteous.

Enjoy!

-S

Asian-Inspired Broccoli Cabbage Slaw (Paleo, Keto-Friendly, Vegan!)

I always say I’ll keep my momentum going with making posts and recipes to share, but often times I just get so busy that I completely forget. I love to make things, but in all honesty, a lot of what I make either doesn’t make the cut aesthetically, or I eat it before I even think to take a picture. You win some, you lose some.

 I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! Mine was small, but I did go to my parents’ house, against my better judgment. I was fine with eating alone, but decided that I would spend dinner with them, after we all decided that we had been sufficiently social distancing. Boy, was I wrong! COVID scare in the immediate family, and my test is scheduled for later today. Fortunately, they are asymptomatic and okay – fingers crossed that my test comes back negative, but I am quarantining for a few more days just to be sure.  It’s a bummer that I have to miss the farmers market today, but it’s in the interest of public good. Sigh.

So did anybody cook anything really interesting for Thanksgiving? I made a creamed corn recipe that is a hybrid of a fancy Epicurious recipe crossed with a sweet elderly lady named Millicent’s creamed corn. It was delicious. I ate the carbs. I enjoyed the carbs. I am over the carbs. To that end, I am only likely continuing my ketogenic adventures until the end of the year. I’m considering skipping Dry January, because it’s the one indulgence I can still have during COVID. We will see.

I made an Asian Slaw that I want to share with you all, so I guess that’s what I’m sharing. I have been all over the place, and I can’t go to the store until Monday 😦 (I know I could order food and have it delivered, but I’m very particular about feeling my avocados before I buy them) This was made a few weeks ago, and it’s definitely really tasty! Plus, it’s paleo, keto-friendly and vegan!

Asian-Inspired Broccoli Cabbage Slaw (Paleo, Keto-Friendly, Vegan!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: n/a

Ingredients

  • 3 cups red cabbage, sliced very thin

  • 1/3 red onion, also sliced very thin

  • 2 cups fresh broccoli, cut into small, bite-size florets

  • 1 large carrot, julienned

  • 1 large handful cilantro, chopped

  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

  • 3-4 stalks of scallions, sliced thin/on a bias

  • For the dressing

    • ½ cup Vegenaise

    • 2 tbsp sesame oil

    • 1/3 cup rice vinegar

    • sweetener of your choice, just a pinch to take out the tartness – I used a ½ tsp of monkfruit sweetener, but you can use a tsp of honey or maple syrup

    • 1 tsp Tamari, soy sauce or coconut aminos (may not need as much sweetener if using coconut aminos, FYI)

    • juice from ½ of a lime

  • Directions

    1. Mix together your salad ingredients in a large bowl. Separately, in a small bowl, mix together your dressing ingredients, whisking until emulsified.

    1. Combine dressing and salad ingredients. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.

    1. Note – if kept overnight or in the fridge for a while, it may darken due to the soy sauce and red cabbage colors bleeding together. It’s still edible! I always have red cabbage in my fridge, so if it gets over-saturated, I freshen it up the next day with some fresh-sliced red cabbage. Of course, err in your best judgment, but I like to make my salads last 🙂

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Roasted Cauliflower Leek Soup (paleo, with vegan option!)

    I was really hoping by this point in the year that it would’ve been a little chillier. I’m ready to turn my A/C off…. But here we are.

    For my non-US friends…. What’s it like to not stress-eat and go about your merry day, this week? We’ve been on edge waiting for the results of this election, and I will (hopefully) breathe a huge sigh of relief when this is done. Not that I don’t enjoy politics or anything – Political Science was actually one of my majors in college so I really enjoy a good debate. This year has taken the fun out of it though – less science and reason, more feelings. Having said that, I will be glad when the collective US people calms down a bit. Hopefully.

    Even though there hasn’t been a whole lot of chilly fall weather, I’m ready for it. I’ve been making soups and crockpot recipes and baking…. Dare I say, I am even ready for some snow? I’m interested to see how my new Jeep fares in some powder, and I got some Carhartt wool socks that I’ll be sporting (it’s the little things, really). It’ll be a little different this year, since normally I’d love for it to snow and then get together with friends to cook and drink wine, but COVID has sort of hampered those plans. In the meantime, we all have to make due with whatever is thrown our way, and make sure we’re practicing self-care.

    Out of curiosity, how much have you seen that term thrown around, “Self-Care”? It’s been adopted by a lot of trendy magazines, beauty lines, and has this spa-like association to it. To be honest, that really makes me mad. There’s nothing like ruining the meaning of something because it makes money – you’re selling someone an idea, something for them to reach for, and the wellness industry has done little to show people what it actually means – all the more reason for no one to really dig into the definition of self-care. From my own personal perspective, it even feels like it has this feminine tie to it too – doll yourself up, take a bubble bath, wear a fuzzy robe on Saturday night in –  all the more damaging, since self-care is for everyone.

    What does self-care actually look like? Not to keep with the vague answers, but that really depends on you.

    To me, self-care is reaching for water instead of wine after I’m done work, to make sure I stay hydrated.

    Self-care is turning off the news for the day, because it gives me anxiety.

    It’s making sure I shower before bed, because I like getting into a clean bed with clean pajamas, and clean hair.

    It’s prioritizing my meetings, switching a less impactful one to tomorrow, because I need to get away from my desk and get some fresh air outside.

    It’s being patient with myself when I short-circuit because I am stressed, or being kind to myself because I was in my feelings and gained some weight in quarantine.

    It’s making healthy choices, and not overly depriving myself of things I enjoy as I’ve slowly shed my quarantine weight, and reminding myself that my friends still love me, no matter what I weigh.

    It’s asserting my boundaries, telling people I’m uncomfortable with large gatherings, but respect that they can still do what they want.

    And if doing these things inspires a big ol’ lumberjack man to put on his fluffy robe, sip Pinot Noir and take a bubble bath, then so be it.

    Does this all sound mushy and weird to you? If so, it’s because we never understood that self-care is making sure we’re doing and feeling okay, respecting our own limits, and honoring our needs. To assign some sort of marketable idea that it’s to just shut off and shut down to primp and pamper, I think we’re doing ourselves a disservice. Learn what it is that you do for yourself when you feel your best, and then do more of it.

    If it’s cold where you are, you’re going to love this soup recipe. It’s deceivingly creamy, and you may even fool some vegetable haters out there too. Get out those delicious leeks and let’s roast some stuff!

    Roasted Cauliflower Leek Soup (Paleo and Keto, with Vegan option!)

    prep time: 15 min

    cook time: 25 min

    serves 4-5

    Ingredients

    • 1 quart chicken stock (vegetable stock can be used to make vegan)
    • 1 large head of cauliflower, thicker stems removed
    • 1/2 to 1 yellow onion, chopped
    • 2 leeks, sliced thin – using only the white or lighter parts
    • 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 tsp paprika (plain, not smoked)
    • 2 tbsp ghee or olive oil
    • juice of half a lemon
    • Salt + pepper (to taste; I used approx. 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper)

    to garnish(optional)

    • Scallions, sliced
    • Crumbled bacon, prosciutto or pancetta

    Directions

    1. In a large pot over medium heat, add your ghee or olive oil, leeks and onion. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until onions and leeks become translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Next, add your garlic and more ghee or olive oil if needed, and stir, cooking for another 3-4 minutes.
    2. Add the cauliflower to the pot next, stirring so that it starts to soften and brown – about 3-4 minutes. Add just a pinch more salt and pepper. This allows the vegetables to “sweat” and incorporate each other’s flavors better.
    3. Now, add your chicken or vegetable stock, thyme and paprika, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the broth starts boiling, reduce heat to medium low and cover with a lid simmering for about 15-20 minutes – allowing the cauliflower to cook thoroughly.
    4. Once the cauliflower has simmered, add your lemon juice. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. If you don’t have one on hand, you can also carefully add the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. If using a blender, add back to your pot once blended.
    5. Taste the soup for additional seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, paprika or lemon as needed. You can also thin it out a bit with additional stock, if it’s too thick.
    6. Serve with garnish (optional), and enjoy!

    -S

    Fall Harvest Salad with Parmesan, Cranberries and Pecans (Gluten-Free!)

    Y’all it’s fall! And it was WINDY today!

    I’ve been hitting the gym pretty hard, so I’m not sure if that’s why I’m more hungry, or… if I am nearing hibernation. But I’ve needed to make some more heartier lunches and dinners…. So with a good protein, I’ve been enjoying some really good salads. It’s been a challenge to get my fats in as much as possible, especially with the weather turning – I am a carb-aholic, and potatoes when the weather’s cold just seems like the right thing to do.

    Also, I just realized I am emotionally eating because tomorrow is one of the most intense Election Days in the history of America. I also have not done my annual haul of buying-sweaters-I-can’t-fit-into-my-closet, so the act that I have no exciting parties to look forward to stings a little, too. I suppose the first reason is a bigger problem concern than sweaters, but we cope how we can.

    Not a lot more to say – I wanted to get this recipe out in time for dinner in case anyone was looking for a good recipe for a fall salad!

    Fall Harvest Salad with Parmesan, Cranberries and Pecans (Gluten-Free!)

    Prep time: 10 min

    Cook time: n/a

    Ingredients

    • 4 cups of Spring mix, rinsed  (if not pre-washed)
    • 1/2 cup shaved/shredded parmesan
    • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, or craisins
    • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
    • 1 small shallot, minced
    • For the dressing
    • 1/3 cup good olive oil
    • 3 tbsp cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 tsp maple syrup

    Directions

    1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Adjust flavors as necessary.
    2. Add your spring mix to a large bowl, along with your shallot, cranberries, pecans and parmesan. Mix together thoroughly.
    3. Dress salad, mixing half of the dressing into the salad at a time to ensure you don’t drown the salad. Garnish with additional parmesan, if desired. Serve with salmon or on the side with some chicken!

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Lemon Dill Salmon Cakes with Cucumber Tzatziki Sauce (Gluten-Free with Paleo Option!)

    Wowzer!

    I sure do go missing a lot. I have spurts of motivation, then I start working on something else, then I ……get sidetracked altogether, and here we are.

    One thing I’d like to update you all on – if you didn’t know before, now ya do – I do Reiki sessions, and other energetic healing! If it’s not your cup of tea, I get it, but for those of you fabulous people that do, you can head on over to thedivine-house.com to check out what I do. I am working on the website, and what is more exciting, is that after getting my master certification in Herbalism earlier this year, I have been concocting cool stuff that I want to share with you too. Things like essential oil sprays, anointing oils, palo santo cleansing sprays… just to start.

    Which leads me to my next point. This Saturday is a full moon, a blue moon (aka the second within a calendar month’s time), on Halloween. Days before Election Day, and the end of the current mercury retrograde. Is that not just the witchiest shit you’ve ever heard? Seriously. I’m so excited. Though a few of us are getting together to hide candy in random places in the little area next to the neighborhood for the kids, my real excitement will be bringing a blanket outside in the full moon, with all my crystals in tow, and a candle, to meditate in all my crunchy, spiritual, witchy, woo woo glory. At this point, (A friendly PSA: if you haven’t been vibing with this weirdness, you’ve either been missing out or you’re reading the wrong blog. Stay a while!)

    So this full moon, and this astrological mind-warp black hole we’re in. I know you’ve been feeling it. We’ve entered Scorpio, which is very much an inner-angst, touchy-feely time. But! This full moon is one to bring about prosperity, albeit some intensity. It’s also a full moon situated in Taurus, which is super active and bright – totally opposite of the Scorpio times we’re in now. Though there’s a lot of opposition going on right now (lol), any full moon is a chance to cleanse and renew, releasing energy that is counterproductive to you. It may seem that we haven’t been making a lot of progress, seemingly even moving backwards (lol again), but this is just the pressure from both Mercury and Mars both being in retrograde – where those energies remain slow and stagnant. Interestingly enough, Mars returns correct on 11/3, which will calm a lot of unruly energy (last lol, promise. More of an eyeroll, if anything). The astrology for this time is absolutely nuts – while I don’t have the level of expertise that several do (studying it is just a hobby of mine), if you’re interested – please check out Elizabeth Frediani – an astrologer that a friend referred me to.

    So what do we do in a time like this? I feel like everyone is fatigued – COVID fear, the holidays coming up, the election, general unrest…. How do we catch a break?

    We take one. We deliberately choose to do so.

    Whether it be getting your hair done, booking a massage, enjoying a day off, drinking your favorite wine (in moderation!), Zooming with family, or just getting outside and putting your bare feet in the grass while the weather still permits…. Now is a time where we have to be deliberate in taking time for ourselves. We have to be extra clear in our boundaries, extra clear in our beliefs, but also extra compassionate with those around us – but especially ourselves.

    I think what was most refreshing about looking at astrology charts is that 2021 is expected to be largely positive, for pretty much everyone. Having that hope, whether it’s anecdotal or not, just makes me feel a bit more excited to move through the literal dumpster fire that is/was 2020.

    So let’s eat. I have a few recipes that I’ll share this week, but this one is one of my favorites. I try to make as much food from other types of culture and cuisine as much as possible – I find it’s really helpful to understand flavor profiles of different spices. Also, while continuing to eat in a ketogenic, low/no carb fashion, I have to get pretty creative. This particular dinner was inspired by some of my absolute favorite food – GREEK FOOD, ugh. Love it.

    These are super easy to pull off last minute, or to plan ahead for. I use boneless, skinless canned salmon, which you can keep in your cabinet for a long time. Mixing some fresh herbs into everything just makes it all so delicious.

    Lemon Dill Salmon Cakes with Cucumber Tzatziki Sauce (Gluten-Free with Paleo Option!)

    Prep time: 20 min

    Cook time: 15 min

    Ingredients

    • 2 cans of boneless, skinless salmon, drained
    • 1 egg
    • 1 heaping tbsp of flax meal
    • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
    • 1 tsp dried parsley
    • 1 tsp dried dill
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • sprinkle of dried oregano
    • ½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
    • 1 tsp lemon zest

    For the sauce

    • 1 cup of greek yoghurt, or sour cream (almond milk greek style yoghurt or sour cream is a good substitute for paleo!)
    • 1 heaping tsp of dried dill
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
    • 1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
    • juice from one lemon
    • ½ cup of finely chopped cucumber (about half of a large cucumber)
    • salt, to taste

    Directions

    1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or greased foil.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, add your salmon, breaking apart with a fork. Add all of your salmon cake ingredients to the bowl, mixing thoroughly – EXCEPT your egg. Since canned salmon is already cooked, I do a quick taste test to see if it needs anything.
    3. Once I’ve added anything (salt, more dill, garlic, etc), then I whisk my egg into the mix, continuing to gently fold everything together.
    4. Shape into patties – you should be able to get about 6-8 patties, similar to crab cake sizes. If your mix is too sticky, feel free to add more flax seed, a tsp at a time. If your mix is too thick, a tsp of olive oil should loosen everything up. Space your patties 2-4 inches apart, depending on the size of your baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
    5. Meanwhile, in a smaller mixing bowl, whisk your yoghurt ingredients together – yoghurt, dill, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and cucumber. Add preferred amount of salt. If you aren’t familiar with this type of flavor, I like to make sure mine is tangy from the lemon, zesty from the garlic, fresh tasting from the herbs, but cooling – I find that adding the salt last lets you control how bold of an overall flavor you get. I should note – additional zest from that lemon can always be used to add more flavor, if needed. Set aside in the fridge while the salmon patties continue to cook.
    6. Once the salmon patties are done, serve with a dollop of your tzatziki sauce. If you’re a sauce-heathen like me, just straight up drench them. Please know that I smothered mine, these photos don’t capture the accurate sauce to patty ratio. You can always pair them with a few nice salads, too…

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Spicy Turkey Sausage Bolognese with Zoodles (Paleo!)

    I can’t even believe that we are at the end of September. It feels like it was just March, and here we are all is moving in, the weathers better.

    I’m guessing most of you are aware that the US had a debate last night. If you watched it, you definitely didn’t get anything worthwhile from it. Thinking about this makes me think about everything that’s in motion right now. The full moon is tomorrow, and for the first time in a while (at least that I can remember), it’s going to happen during the day so that we can see the four showing of the moon. I think this moon is important for many different reasons, a lot of which has to do with all the energy that’s been moving about. As we entered Mars retrograde earlier this month, we are definitely coming up with a lot of shake up. Did you know that Mars was the Roman God of War?  All of that masculine energy, moving Yang energy, needs to move forward. But in retrograde, it can feel like we are all standing still. While I know a lot less about intricate astrology than I do the moon, I know that this particular moon is one that is timed with gathering the ‘fruits of our labor’. Seems pretty trite to think that, what with a good lot of us sitting inside for the last 6 months? On the contrary.

     This particular moon, in Aries, is opposite of the sun in Libra (holler to my fellow Libra babies!), which definitely brings to light a lot of relationship and interpersonal dynamics that need to be reevaluated, have been outgrown, or issues coming up related to our internal self and our need shake things up.  It’s also a time to release tension, frustration, and anger. What we’ve seen socially and politically as of recently coincides with the energy of this time, where people are itching to lash out and rebel against the system. To counter this, it’s super important to keep flexibility in the back of your mind at all times, and to adapt to changing circumstances. This month, interestingly enough, opens and closes with a full moon. I truly believe this will be one of the most important times in 2020, so I will be doing my best to be thoughtful, patient and…. Well… I suppose I’ll keep my mouth shut.

    On the side of shaking things up, I really should be taking a lot of my own advice – I know that outside of my work, I find the most joy when I’m doing things cooking, yoga or Reiki related. I’ve been trying to find more opportunities to incorporate more of that into my life, which brings me to my next point…. I’ve started my yoga teacher training! It was an impromptu decision last month to try this – I’ve enrolled with an absolutely lovely yoga institute, and I know I’m going to learn a lot about myself and the practice of yoga – the yamas, niyamas, asanas, pranayamas, pratyaharas… there’s a few other limbs, but I can’t give away all the goodies just yet J

    I’ve been stockpiling recipes, trying to get some momentum going – in the meantime, I’ve been making some goodies for my reiki and cooking projects…. A little hint hint, think… aromatherapy sprays, natural body care, wholesome stuff for the wholesome chef. I’ll try to post some info about it once I know what it is that I’m doing.

    I rolled the dice on posting this one (I have a few other good ones!), but I figured since it was fresh off the stove, I’ll post it. The weather dipped a little in temperature today, so you KNOW I pulled out all of my pots and pans to simmer stuff, dump spices in… I couldn’t resist. While I’m doing the low-carb thing, I whipped out my Vegetti (yeah, you heard me), spiralized some zucchini, and went to town with whatever frozen meat was in my freezer… which happened to be turkey sausage. Turned out great – but you could use whatever meat you prefer.

    Spicy Turkey Sausage Bolognese with Zoodles (Paleo!)

    Prep time: 20 min

    Cook time: 30 min

    Ingredients

    • 2 green zucchini squash, washed, ends trimmed – makes about 3-4 cups of zoodles
    • 1 lb turkey sausage, or preferred ground meat
    • 1 15 oz can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
    • 1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
    • 1 tsp dried thyme
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 tsp dried rosemary
    • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    • ½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
    • 1 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more if preferred
    • 1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)

    Directions

    1.  Using the Vegetti or other spiralizer, spiralize two whole zucchinis with the skins still on. I like to do this ahead of time, and let them air dry on a paper plate/towel for a few hours. (you can also buy pre-packaged zoodles, but they’re kind of expensive.) Set aside.
    1. Next, in a large frying pan, heat up your olive oil over medium heat. Add your onion and turkey sausage, breaking apart, stirring as you browned the meat – approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Season the meat lightly with salt and pepper, adding your garlic in once the meat is nearly cooked. I make sure the meet is as ground and broken up as possible – I just feel like the texture is better that way.
    1. After the meat has browned, add your can of crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, spices, and white wine. Stir and let simmer until bubbling, then turn heat down to low – allowing to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. If liquid evaporates too quickly, feel free to add a splash of chicken broth.
    1. This next step you could do a few ways, since technically the zoodles could be eaten raw, but nobody really likes that. You could either add your zoodles to the sauce pan and let simmer for another 3-4 minutes, or, you could sauté in a separate pan over medium heat with another tablespoon of your preferred cooking fat.  I like to do it this way, because while I only eat for one, I typically have leftovers and want to keep for as long as possible.  Sautéing or cooking your zoodles separately can allow for freezing or storing more easily, but it is a preference. However much of the zoodles you cook, cook them down to evaporate some of the leftover liquid still in the zucchini – about 4-5 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
    1.  Add your zoodles to a small pasta bowl and spoon your Bolognese sauce on, or add right in your pan if preferred. Serve immediately. If totally dairy free, feel free to garnish with nutritional yeast. If not strict Paleo, serve with grated or shredded Parmesan cheese.

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Dark Chocolate Raspberry Muffins (PALEO!)

    It’s Friday. Fri-yay.

    I’ll excuse myself, now. JUST KIDDING!

    A reader (who am I kidding – a real life friend) sent me a DM that I never post desserts – and I really think that’s indicative of my eating habits. I really don’t often eat desserts. I never wanted birthday cakes, I don’t really crave chocolate and I never have sugary drinks. My recipes aren’t a direct reflection of my eating habits (I really don’t each this much bacon, I swear) but I do make things that I’m familiar with. I thought it’d be a good time to show y’all some muffins. If we can’t all sit together at a coffee shop and stare at one another while sipping spiced cider and lattes in our new sweaters and puffer vests surrounded by pumpkins and apples, muffins will do.

    There’s something really universal about muffins… I feel like they appeal to everyone. You have your breakfast muffin crowd, you have the let’s-put-fruit-in-everything crowd, you have the i-can-sneak-a-zucchini-in-here crowd… there’s a muffin for everyone. Personally, I hate surprises and I never want a surprise with my muffin, so this recipe really goes off of my universal muffin recipe base with some tweaks to keep things interesting. They’re paleo, use fresh fruits, and you can put whatever cocoa powder and chocolate you’d like in them. They freeze really well, and they don’t “taste gross and healthy” according to my step-dad, who hasn’t eaten anything dark and leafy green since 1986.

    Having said that, to all my sweet-tooth-dessert-loving friends, here’s a muffin. I promise there’s no bacon in it.

    Prep time: 10 min

    Cook time: 20 min

    Makes 12 muffins

    Ingredients

    • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
    • 1 cup fresh raspberries
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/8 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (unflavored is also fine)
    • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
    • 3 tbsp maple syrup
    • 2 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
    • 2 cups almond flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/8 tsp ground sea salt

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your muffin tin lightly with your preferred cooking fat.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, mash your bananas with a fork. Whisk in your egg, vanilla extract, maple syrup and almond milk until smooth.
    3. Next, in a separate large mixing bowl, mix your cocoa powder, baking powder, sea salt and almond flour. Once your dry mixture is evenly mixed, slowly add to your wet mixture, combining until smooth.
    4. Lastly, gently fold your raspberries into the mixture, careful not to break or mash them up.
    5. Since almond flour doesn’t immediately absorb the liquids, I like to allow my batter to rest for about 5 minutes before moving it into my muffin tin.
    6. Once the mixture has absorbed a little, divide batter evenly among cups – the muffin cups should be about ¾ full so they don’t overflow and bake over the sides.
    7. Bake for 18-25 minutes until starting to turn golden on top. Check if they are done by sticking a knife or toothpick into a middle muffin – if it’s clean, they’re finished. Let cool, and serve!

    Optional: if you’re feeling extra indulgent, spread a little ghee over them.

    Enjoy!

    -S

    The BEST Broccoli Salad (Vegan, with options!)

    Hello my friends.

    It’s Thursday, which means it’s almost Friday, which means it’s time to party! By myself.

    Mars retrograde began yesterday – just another exciting moment for 2020. We all know that when Mercury is in retrograde, things go haywire, people act weird…. But Mars is a different breed, only going retrograde about every two years. Mars is masculine energy – moving, aggressive, and intense. However, in retrograde, things just move and happen slower… and these next two months will prove to be frustrating in needing to have a lot of patience.

    Speaking of moving backward, since today is Thursday – it’s a throwback Thursday! Taking this recipe back from the past. I used to work as a sub shop as a teenager, down in the boonies of Landenberg. I made homemade chicken salad, deviled eggs, sandwiches.. and broccoli salad! I loved making this, but I haven’t had it in years. I made a few minor tweaks to keep it current, and above all else… vegan! Enjoy the last bits of warm weather with this side salad for your social-distancing BBQ.

    The BEST Broccoli Salad (Vegan, with options!)

    Prep time: 10 min

    Cook time: n/a

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients

    • 2 heads of broccoli, cut into small, bite size florets
    • ½ cup dried cranberries
    • ½ of one small red onion, minced
    • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
    • 1 cup of walnut pieces
    • 1 cup carrots, julienned
    • 1 cup vegan mayo, such as Vegenaise
    • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1 heaping tbsp of coconut sugar, or 2 tsp maple syrup
    • 1 tsp celery seed

    Directions

    1. Whisk together mayo, sugar or maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and celery seed in a small bowl. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
    2. In the meantime, combine broccoli, walnuts, green onions, cranberries, carrots and red onion in a large serving dish.
    3. Toss the dressing with the rest of the salad ingredients and stir. Allow to sit for at least 30 min to an hour prior to serving to allow the dressing to absorb.

    Enjoy!

    -S