Chorizo-Stuffed Baby Bella Mushroom Bites (Paleo!)

I’m in vacation prep mode! Also known as that hypervigilant, excited  and stressed out stage of trying to wrap things up prior to leaving for an extended period of time. AKA walking around in circles hoping I get something done.

The end of last week was nice. I did a really good yoga workshop — a Full Moon Yoga session on the rooftop of Hockessin Athletic Club. It was beautiful — not too hot, not too difficult, and really grounding. Friday, during the actual full moon, I enjoyed a nice dinner at a friend’s house, right before the storm came. There was fun, there was wine, and I sprayed a lot of Full Moon Mist on everyone’s heads. Obviously, the last part was the icing on the cake… heh.

I’ve been trying to get the last bit of ideas out of summer cooking before I go into full Fall-Mode. My second job (White House | Black Market) is starting to get their new clothes in, and it HAPPENS to be my favorite color… RED! and then LEOPARD! If y’all only really knew how I love clothes… you’d know that every new season that comes in is like Christmas for us that work there. And then the actual holiday clothes come, and we all get hysterical.

In the spirit of embracing my KSQ roots, this recipe is all about the mushrooms. My personal favorite appetizer bite! I feel like these even go one step further to highlight the strong Latino presence with some spicy chorizo… definitely a crowd pleaser. Bring to your next summer BBQ!

Chorizo-Stuffed Baby Bella Mushroom Bites (Paleo!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 25 min

Ingredients

  • 2 containers of baby bella mushrooms, rinsed, patted dry; stems and gills removed
  • 1 lb of ground chorizo
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, stems and seeds removed and diced
  • 1 heaping tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. on a greased cookie sheet (or cookie sheet with wire rack), scatter mushrooms face up. bake for 15 minutes to allow the juices to release.
  2. Once semi-cooked, remove from heat, drain any water that has shed from the mushrooms, and set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, as your mushrooms are cooking, heat 1 tbsp of your preferred fat (I like olive oil) in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add your onions and peppers, and sauté until browned, stirring occasionally — about 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Leave oven on.
  4. Once your onion/pepper mixture is cooled, add to a large mixing bowl with your chorizo and mix thoroughly. Add your parsley and garlic powder, continuing to mix.
  5. Once thoroughly mixed, grab a bit of chorizo mixture that matches the size of the mushroom you’re looking to fill — the diameter should be no wider or thicker than your mushroom, so the ratio is even. Press into the mushroom to secure the chorizo mixture, and reshape if need be. Space mushrooms evenly on another greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  6. Bake in oven for 25 min, or until chorizo is cooked thoroughly and starts to brown Don’t worry if the mushrooms sweat further — this won’t impact their flavor, and they typically dry out a bit once removed from heat. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

-S

Buffalo Chicken Dip (Paleo, Keto-Friendly!)

Well… we’ve been having some interesting weather, to say the least. I can’t remember the last time there’s been a solid 10 days of rain in the forecast, but perhaps we can look at this a different way. Tomorrow is July’s full moon, which coincides with  entering Leo. Summer birthdays, what’s up!?

There’s a few cool things to note. This will also be a lunar eclipse — which, while we don’t be able to see it from North America, we will definitely know it’s happening. In a literal sense, eclipses both “reveal” and “conceal”. This is especially poignant when you think of all the Leo energy floating around – powerful, loud, and  very present — anything that needs to be addressed will come forth, and anything that needs to take a back seat will no longer be a part of our lives for the time being.

Though this may seem like the perfect time to take action on whatever is happening, wisdom says it should be done gently. If it suddenly feels like you r life is under a microscope and you’re noticing everything that needs to be fixed, don’t go dump your significant other, quit your job or anything else crazy. Doing so with an iron fist is not the best way to go about it. Be calm, diplomatic, and ensure you’re thoughtful in your problem solving during this time.

Ya know what else starts today!? Mercury retrograde! I feel like this is one of the most common things that solicits laughs and eye rolls, because this really shakes those who are heavily immersed in astrology, or earthly energy in general. Retrogrades tend to bring about setbacks, mishaps, miscommunications, and general… un-pleasantries. Things just seem “harder”, and even those who don’t feed into Astrology notice that something just doesn’t seem right.  I think the best remedy to this is to really just cut yourself some slack. Unless you’re truly letting things slide in your life to the effect that it will have long term negative consequences, live a little. Mistakes happen, crap happens… and Mercury will get its @$%& together soon.

Who’s hungry? I am! I’ll leave you with some delicious PALEO! Buffalo Chicken Dip. No dairy, no problem. Kite Hill makes a really convincing almond milk-based cream cheese that melts just like the real thing. If you’re feeling a little naughty… sprinkle some cheddar in there. I won’t tell. I used my instant pot for this, but you could just as easily use a regular oven — it just takes longer.

Buffalo Chicken Dip (Paleo, Keto-Friendly!)

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 25 min

Serves: ??? about 5 as an appetizer (but I could likely eat this myself

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless organic chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce
  • 8 oz Kite Hill plain cream cheese
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped; ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 heaping tbsp of paleo-friendly mayo, like Primal Foods Avocado Oil Mayo
  • optional for keto/non-strict paleo followers: 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 stalks of scallions,  sliced thin
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

  1. First, cook your chicken. In an Instant Pot, place your chicken breasts in and add chicken broth until just about covered. Cook on poultry/meat setting, following the Instant Pot directions for steam release. If using an oven, preheat oven and bake broth covered chicken in a Pyrex dish at 350 for 35-40 minutes, or until temperature registers 165 degrees. I prefer the instant pot because it gets that juicy crockpot feel, but much faster.
  2. Meanwhile, as your chicken cooks, sauté your onion and red pepper on a large skillet over medium heat until just about browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Once the chicken cooked (and your instant pot is properly depressurized), remove from heat, allow to cool and set aside. I tend to shred my chicken after it’s only slightly cooled because I feel it’s easier while it’s still a little hot. Once shredded, add to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Next, add your cream cheese and mayo to your bowl, mixing thoroughly. Continue to mix, next adding your peppers, onions, Frank’s sauce, salt, pepper, and most of your scallions. You only need a few for a garnish, so be generous with mixing the rest in. Add your cheddar, if using.
  5. Once mixed, add mixture to a greased Pyrex dish — I used a 5×7 so the mixture was thicker and wouldn’t burn.
  6. Bake at 350 for 20-25 min, until starting to bubble and turn golden brown on the top. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. Garnish with remaining scallions, and serve with celery or sweet potato chips.

Enjoy!

-S

Summer Peach Crisp (Vegan, with Paleo-friendly option!)

I think I should build an ark.

Is that the stereotypical response when someone mentions the fact that we will be getting 10 straight days of rain in the mid-Atlantic? Yes, it is. And yes, that is actually happening. I am glad I am a strong swimmer.

That aside, I had an amazing weekend! Friday I was able to cook some delicious things to share with y’all. I then got to hang out with my old neighbors, which was fun. It’s nice to find a group of people that you click with, even though you are all so different. A few friends were absent (and dearly missed!), but there’s always next month. Saturday I got to brush up on my Reiki with some additional training – that might be a topic for another time, but I have to say… energy work is amazing and highly recommended! One of those things that you didn’t know you needed until you have had some exposure to it. Saturday afternoon I got to enjoy dinner with some friends I haven’t spent time with in a while, and it was just a really nice weekend. I think the best part was when I inadvertently bought 6 lbs of peaches from a precious little Amish boy and spent the remainder of my free time trying to find ways to use it. Things I made, didn’t document (tasty as they were, some things were a little ugly/sloppy…) but ate  came out FABULOUS. Have any of you put peaches in your tomato sauce? No? You should consider it. Maybe I’ll post a little walk-through on Instagram for my Peach Bolognese sauce recipe. Yes, you read that correctly. and yes… tried, tested and approved by picky eaters.

Let’s get right to the point and talk about my Vegan Peach Crisp. While this particular version is not gluten-free, it’s just a glorious throw-together treat for when you buy 6 lbs of peaches from a little boy on the side of the road and need something to do with them. Or, I mean…. if you grocery shop too. It’s fun, it’s quick, and it keeps really well, which is just the best.

Summer Peach Crisp (Vegan, with Paleo-friendly option!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 40 min

Serves 5-7

Ingredients:

For  the filling

  • 5-6 peaches (any kind you like!) – peeled, pit removed and chopped
  • ¾ cup organic brown sugar
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup vegan butter alternative (or ghee), melted
  • Pinch of finely ground Himalayan sea salt

For the crumble topping

  • ¾ cup oats (or ground flax for paleo substitute
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, or paleo-friendly baking flour (such as Bob’s Redmill mix, or almond flour)
  • ¾ cup organic brown sugar
  • 8 oz organic vegan butter (cold); or 1 stick cold organic butter, cut into ½ in cubes for non vegans. Note: if using paleo alternatives, add additional ghee because of the dryness of paleo alternatives. Start with using 1.5x the amount of ghee/butter)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a glass 9x13in baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss peaches with all of the filling ingredients and mix to coat thoroughly.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the crumble ingredients except your butter. Once dry ingredients are mixed, add in the butter, a little at a time, pressing the crumble into the pieces of butter. You don’t need to be neat – if anything, really pressing the ingredients into the butter is better.  The butter should be reduced into mixture until you’re left with large/coarse crumbs.
  4. Spread the peach filling evenly within the baking dish, patting gently to make sure there are no gaps. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the peaches, ensuring all of the peaches are covered.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top becomes golden and the peach mixture is bubbling. Allow to cool before serving.

Enjoy!

-S

Peppermint Patty Pudding Parfait (Paleo, Vegan)

Spirit animals.

Let’s just jump right into this, because I am too tired to come up with some fancy superfluous introduction. Have you ever given any thought to what a spirit animal is, or why it’s important?

I think because of subtle Native American influence throughout my life, I’ve paid more attention to it than the average person. Only until more recently did it start to make more frequent appearances, and I have to tell you — it’s more than just coming across a great meme on Instagram or talking about how Cardi B is your spirit animal because she’s a chatterbox who don’t curr about nothin’. A spirit animal is essentially Mother Nature’s driving force of what embodies you as a cultivated spiritual being, or what supports you as someone in need a spiritual fine-tuning.

Let’s use me an example. I’ve always known my spirit animal was a horse. I’ve loved them and ridden since I was very young, and I’ve always been a “horse girl”. What does a horse actually represent, though? Those of you who know me, I’m sure you know me quite well — I’m the most unintentionally transparent person alive. Apparently, so is a horse. So, the horse… the horse is known for pride, highly charged emotions, and a very driven instinct. Horses are powerful — not in that they are nature’s predators, but they are powerful in such a way where they know there’s strength in numbers and strength in endurance and perseverance. Horses, like any earthly being, are also not perfect. If given the option between fight or flight, a horse will choose flight 99% of the time. However — a horse is not defenseless. they are quick, and bold if need be.

The interesting thing about the representation of a spirit animal is that — no matter how domesticated, the instinct of an animal remains pure. Animals are born with imprints that can be subdued, but they cannot be stopped. A horse has the innate capability of horsey ways that stay with them for life. The same can be said for someone’s spirituality — you can live your life any way you choose and make any decision you want… but ultimately, one way or another, we are all drawn to the same thing, which is compassion, self-acceptance and growth. When situations come up where I know I need to take a step back, ground myself and really understand the situation, it truly does help to envision what qualities a wild horse possesses, what could apply to this situation and how I could channel that into my own perspective.

Not to get too “woo-woo” — you can interpret your spirit animal any way you choose. While mine is a horse, maybe I keep seeing a fox while out driving, walking or riding (a horse… lol..). Perhaps, for that time, I need to bring more fox-like energy into my life by way of my thoughts, my actions, or my reactions. I think we’re drawn to certain animals in certain times of our lives, and I don’t think it’s simply because nature is around us and it happens as coincidence. embrace your inner wild side!

Onto other fun things… like food! I’m not sure where you are in the world right now, but in the Mid-Atlantic US, it’s HOT. Like, stop-wearing-make-up hot. Like, could-I-really-fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk-today hot. Cool down with this fun delicious peppermint patty chia pudding parfait!

Peppermint Patty Pudding Parfait (Paleo, Vegan)

Prep time: 4 hours

Cook time:  n/a

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the chia pudding

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 heaping tbsp smooth almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, or 6-8 drops of food-grade peppermint essential oil (use sparingly)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

For the parfait

  • 10 oz almond milk Greek yogurt, such as Kite Hill or Silk
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

mint leaves, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a blender or food processor, mix together almond milk, almond butter, peppermint, vanilla, maple syrup and cocoa powder, until smooth.
  2. Once mixed, add to an airtight container and stir in chia seeds thoroughly. Place in refrigerator overnight or for at least 2-3 hours.
  3. Once ready to serve, mix together your yogurt ingredients – the Greek yogurt, honey and vanilla.
  4. Here’s where you can get creative if you want – layer your pudding, and then your yogurt. Add your cacao nibs, and garnish with your mint leaves. Best served chilled – if you want to put it back in the fridge, feel free to do so for a few minutes!

Serve and enjoy 🙂

-S

Lemon Garlic Scallops (Paleo!)

Happy weekend! How’s everyone doing?

What a cray cray week. Yes… I’m still using the term “cray cray”. So did you all know that we just had a new moon on Thursday? This is more fitting than we think, because a LOT is going on these days. This New moon was also a partial solar eclipse. Solar eclipses are interesting, because it’s a literal manifestation of “blocking the light”. The moon stands in front of the sun, essentially blocking the sun’s rays from reaching us. This can be seen as a good thing, but also as something negative.

This particular New Moon is also influenced by our alignment to Pluto, which falls into line with Earth and the sun – this has not happened since 1931. Feeling a little wonky? Yeah, people probably said the same thing back then, too, except they had no internet. I guess we’ll never know. The happening of alignment with this little planet-not-a-planet-now-a-planet-again indicates some sort of crisis with your self-esteem or self-worth, or some other interpersonal relationship. Everyone has traits or characteristics that are less than perfect, but they are really rearing their ugly heads at this point. The best thing is to be self-aware of your thoughts, feelings and actions. Pluto is also in retrograde, which represents a time to reflect about what control you have over things in your life. Are you on a power trip, or trying to desperately control a situation? Now definitely isn’t the time for that – it’s a great time to release whatever neurosis you have about control and to “live and let live”, or “let go and let God”.

As if we needed MORE confusing astrology, something called a “Grand Trine” has also occurred. In conjunction with the need to relinquish control over anything we’re desperately holding onto in life, we get a little help. Venus, Saturn and Uranus align at a perfect 60-degree equilateral triangle, which is essentially a huge window of balance and harmony to help us transform ourselves. Grand Trine energy fosters natural talent and creative potential in order to solve problems peacefully. There exists a different energy between each cosmic body, which can be felt for the next few months. Venus to Saturn is best for establishing to a relationship, or making long-term financial investments, or anything requiring long term stability. Venus to Uranus is best for trying something new, or experimenting. This is for all you folks that are itching for a new job, new relationship, or new adventure. Hop on the train to Funkytown, because you’ll be there a while 🙂 Next, Saturn to Uranus represents a shift or transition in life. See where this is going? They’re all related – take this time to make a shift or change in your life you’ve been waiting and wanting to do. If in your gut you feel it’s right, it’ll have long-lasting effects.

If you’re feeling a little confused, you should probably just take a breather and eat. I’ve got a lil sumpin’ fancy for you to try. Here’s some easy Lemon Garlic Scallops to make your day better. This takes like a micro-minute to do, and as easy as it is, you’ll still impress!

Lemon Garlic Scallops (Paleo!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 10 min

Makes 16 scallops

Ingredients

  • 16 sea scallops (the bigger ones), rinsed, drained and patted dry
  • juice from one lemon, plus a punch of lemon zest
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley, curly or flat (I used curly)
  • 2 heaping tbsp of ghee (or regular butter, if not strict paleo)
  • generous pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add your shallot and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Then add your garlic, stirring until starting to brown. If it starts to brown too quickly, turn the heat down.
  2. Once your garlic and shallot are cooked, add your remaining ghee and turn the heat up to medium high. Then, add your scallops. These are best cooked when left alone! Don’t play with them or check them, they won’t burn. Let sear for 2-3 minutes per side, until a nice golden brown crust forms. Flip and allow the other side to brown. You can scrape the brown bits from the pan that start to form if they brown too quickly.
  3. Once your scallops are finishing, carefully add your lemon juice and zest, followed by your parsley. Remove from heat, and toss scallops to coat, spooning your butter mixture over them. Since they’re piping hot, I like to let them rest for about a minute in the pan before serving so that all the juices can soak in.
  4. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

-S

Taco-Spiced Turkey Stuffed Poblano Peppers (Paleo!)

Ah, Mondays.

Not just any Monday – the Monday that I go back to work after having a week off. These are the worst kind of Mondays, but honestly… this one wasn’t so bad. I had so much fun at the beach, but I’m glad to be back. I didn’t get as tan as I had hoped, but I think it’s because I panicked when I would get overheated and spray SPF 70 all over myself. Note: overheating does not mean my skin is burning. Idk, there was a lot of wine involved.

Side note: I am wildly allergic to conventional sunscreen! It’s no fun. I had no idea until my late 20’s that the rash I’d get on my armpits, inside elbows, back of my knees and hips was not because “it was hot outside” – I am allergic to avobenzone and oxybenzone. These ingredients create chemical reactions on your skin that filter UVA rays and converting them to energy less harmful to your skin. (source)

Oddly enough, I have topical allergic reactions when using sunscreen that contains this, so I’ve experimented with mineral based sunscreen and I found one that doesn’t turn me into Casper while I still get a safer tan. One I don’t like? Alba Organics mineral sunscreen, in the green tube. If we’re being completely honest, that shit sucks.

Cue the angels! I stopped at the local surf shop on my way home from the beach and picked up my new favorite. It’s called Raw Elements Daily Lifestyle lotion, SPF 30. To be completely honest, I wish I found this sooner. The crappy thing about zinc sunscreen is that Casper hue, and if you rub this stuff in enough, you don’t get it. Plus, it stays on for a loooooong time, so if you’re like me and forget, you’re good. Plus PLUS, it does not harm the oceans, seas, rivers and lakes, so that’s my favorite part 🙂 Check it out here.

Back to food. Last week I decided to make some goodies, I have yet to post them. One of the glorious things were these peppers. These PEPPERS. You could absolutely make them vegan and sub in some crumbled tempeh or soy and a pinch more spices, and I think that would just be phenomenal. Enough with the talking, let’s dine.

Taco-Spiced Turkey Stuffed Poblano Peppers (Paleo!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 40 min

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced; or one 15oz can of diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 ½ tbsp taco seasoning
  • 4 poblano peppers, tops sliced off, ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 container of sliced cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ cup of fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
  • optional for non-paleo eaters – cheese and sour cream, for serving

Directions

  1. in a large skillet, add 1 tbsp of your preferred fat and sauté your onions over medium heat until translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add your mushrooms and continue to cook until the moisture has evaporated, another 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add your turkey and sauté until fully cooked, another 6-7 minutes. Add your tomatoes, juice and all, and continue to cook.
  3. While there’s still moisture in the pan, add your taco seasoning and stir, covering the contents of the pan. Set aside to cool.
  4. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. While it heats up, stuff your peppers with your turkey mixture, ensuring they’re full by pressing the turkey mixture into the pepper with a spoon or fork.
  5. Place in a greased baking dish and bake for about 35-40 minutes, until pepper has wilted and turkey has browned.
  6. Garnish with your preferred toppings (cilantro, and sour cream/cheese, if using). I squeezed some lime over the top of mine before eating 🙂

Enjoy!

-S

Super Easy Greek Avocado Dip (Paleo, Vegan!)

July, woo! Heatwave, woo!!

It doesn’t take much for me to whine about extreme weather. I don’t really like extreme  cold, I definitely don’t like extreme heat, and we’ve had some serious triple digit heat these last few days. BUT, I can’t really complain, because the sun has been shining and we’ve had some really great beach weather. I’ve gotten a lot of sun, even though I’ve got my zinc on my face like a little nerdlet.

Some of the fam got a new boat, and this thing is pur-dy. All black, huge speakers, wakeboarding tower… I can’t wait to go on it. They’ve taken it out two days in a row, but I had to get my beach time in…feet in the sand is a must. The house is super close to Assateague State Park, which is where tons of wild ponies live. They’re pretty tame, you can definitely walk up to them (and they’ll walk up to you), but I wouldn’t advise it. I have PTSD flashbacks of a little boy yanking a horse’s tail and promptly getting kicked. Not saying he didn’t deserve it… but… you know. Just saying.

It’s so nice having the week off from work. I brought my work laptop down, but I’m sort of hoping I can fight the urge to open it and check on things. Honestly, thinking in general isn’t what I want to do much of. I bet you picked up on that, as this is likely the most A.D.D., non-guided, inconsistent stream of consciousness I’ve probably ever written. Let’s get to more important things.

If there ever was a “beach food” that is perfect in every sense of the word, it’s gotta be avocados. When perfectly ripe, they can do anything. On toast, in dip, in a smoothie, eaten plain with some salt… or back to dips J I make a mean guacamole, but sometimes you just want to switch it up with a different flavor. Cue the veggies! My version is made with almond milk Greek yogurt, so it’s both vegan and paleo friendly. If you don’t have any dietary restrictions, feel free to use your favorite brand of plain Greek yogurt. This is refreshing, tasty, and can be eaten with just about anything! Chips, tortilla chips, on bread, on a salad… you name it.

Super Easy Greek Avocado Dip (Paleo, Vegan!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: n/a

Serves: n/a

Ingredients

  • 3 avocados, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup Greek-style almond yogurt (or regular Greek yogurt)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced – ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 heaping tbsp of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 small English cucumber, diced
  • ¼ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • juice of 1 small lemon, or less if (to taste)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • optional: sprinkle of feta (not vegan, or paleo friendly, FYI)

Directions

  1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together all of your ingredients, adding lemon last. Gently stir until avocado starts to blend, still leaving large chunks. Add additional salt as needed.

Enjoy!

-S