Seared Scallops with Bacon, Pepper and Chimichurri Relish (Paleo!)

It is hot, hot… HOT these days. Thank goodness for a grill, because I will NOT be turning on my oven these days.

I had off all last week! It started out as a 4th of July beach vacay with some fam/friends, and then ended as a staycation where I planned to clean, get up to speed on laundry, clean my daily diet back up and drink more water.

I did none of those things.

But I’m fine with that…. Trying to be nicer to myself for just living life. Especially since the latest new moon in Cancer has rolled around. This one is all about relationships – relationships with yourself, with others – significant others, close friends. This past Friday was a great opportunity to “press the restart button” – to really just start back to the good energy that healthy relationships start with. Since Cancer, being a water sign (a crab!), is associated with fluidity, emotions, intuition – all things that are dynamic and often change. Taking this time to be more gentle with yourself and with your relationships, allowing things to move slow and at whatever pace they need to.

Speaking of patience, remember how I said I have been cooking on the grill? Yeah. I hate that you can’t see what’s inside the grill. Plus, I used a Himalayan salt block to grill my scallops, preheating it to about 600 degrees before grilling the scallops… it takes a good 20-30 minutes to slow-heat the salt block to just the right temperature. Having said that, the scallops ended up lightly seared, and over a bed of delicious peppers, onions, bacon and chimichurri sauce.

No need for a fancy salt block though – pan searing in a butter/olive oil mixture will do just fine! This is a multi-step dinner, so definitely not ideal for a weeknight… but I promise it’s worth it.

Seared Scallops with Bacon, Pepper and Chimichurri Relish (Paleo!)

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Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 15 min

Ingredients

  • 1 lb U12 (big) sea scallops, dry and trimmed
  • 2 cups (2-3 ears) cooked fresh sweet corn; canned will work if fresh isn’t available
  • 1/2 lb bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 of a large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup chimichurri sauce
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 large tbsp block of butter (a little thicker… like 1.5 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Some prep-work first… if you do not have it already prepared, put together your chimichurri sauce.
  2. Next, if not starting with bacon that you’ve already cooked – cook in oven or pan until well done and quite crisp.. it should be easily crumbled. Set aside to cool if not already cooked so that you can crumble or chop it finely.
  3. Now, in a large skillet, add your onion and preferred cooking oil over medium heat. Sauté until starting to become translucent – about 4-5 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and add your bell pepper and garlic, lightly seasoning again with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté another 3-4 minutes.
  4. Next, add your corn. Continue sautéing, turning the heat lower if onion cooks too quickly, until corn starts to brown. Check for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if desired.
  5. Add your bacon crumbles in, occasionally stirring, allowing the flavors to meld. Once everything is browned, after another 2-3 minutes, turn to low and move to back burner to keep warm.
  6. In a separate, heavy bottomed skillet (preferably cast iron), heat your pan over medium high to high heat. Add your butter and grapeseed oil, and heat until shimmering. (a note – this will produce SOME smoke, as grapeseed oil has a much higher burn temp than others but the butter is included for some flavor – either open your windows or turn your range vent on!)
  7. Once at temperature, add your scallops. Season with salt and pepper. Let them sit, and do not touch them as they cook – I don’t actually know why, but I’ve been told this is the only way. Sear for 2 ish minutes, and turn once they are golden brown. Dash them again with a pinch of salt and pepper, and allow them to brown for another minute on the other side. Less time is needed, as the internal temp is already warmed and the surface will crisp more quickly than the prior side. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
  8. Plate your pepper corn bacon relish, placing your scallops overtop. Drizzle with chimichurri sauce, and enjoy!

-S

I have nothing else really to cover here, outside of the fact that I have cared for my bird problem. A friend advised that a rubber snake behind my car would deter the bird. 12 hours later, and my freshly washed car is still clean. Sarah: 1 – Bird: 0.

What else is there to do in this oppressive heat but sit in the air conditioning and eat? Lets cut right to the chase and talk about the food everyone loves: pizza. Minus the part that upsets my stomach – the crust. Though I do love me some bread, bread does not love me.

Cue… pizza… MUSHROOMS.

Stay with me. Mushrooms take on whatever flavor they’re near…. And with a little flake salt, they make a great base to smother some sauce and cheese on. It’s easy, quick, and delicious, with minimal prep time. Check it out!

Pizza-stuffed Baby Bella Mushrooms! (Gluten-Free!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 25 min

Ingredients

  • 10-12 baby bella mushrooms, stems removed, washed and patted dry
  • 2/3 cup pizza sauce (I like to take canned tomato sauce and dress it up with minced garlic, salt pepper, oregano, basil and thyme!)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8-10 slices of pepperoni, chopped
  • chopped basil, for garnish (optional)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. On a parchment lined or greased/foil-lined baking sheet, place your mushrooms face up, evenly spaced. Bake for ~10 minutes – this is to get the water out of them initially, so they aren’t soggy.
  2. Once partially cooked, remove from heat. They will likely have some water pooled in the center – take a paper towel and blot any excess water out. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Next, spoon tomato sauce, between 1 tsp and 1 tbsp, into the mushrooms. It will vary depending on size – but be generous, so there’s flavor.
  4. Next, add a generous amount of mozzarella cheese, packing into the mushroom if needed. It’s alright if some spills over, as it will melt over the side.
  5. Lastly, sprinkle your chopped pepperoni across the mushrooms, ensuring they’re placed so they won’t slide off as the cheese melts.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is thoroughly melted and pepperoni is crisp.

Garnish with basil, if desired.

Enjoy!

-S

I woke up and thought to myself yesterday… is there a full moon soon? I’ve had the weirdest thing happen. Not weird, actually… just inconvenient.

Some back-story that no one asked for… I really, really enjoy keeping my car clean. Well, the outside, anyway. My dad was meticulous about washing and keeping cars clean, as is my stepdad, so it just kind of took when I got my first nicer car. It’s never really been a problem, except when I’d go to the beach and the birds by the brush/woods would target the chrome accents on my Jeep like a B29 Superfortress, canvassing it in bird waste, and then smearing it everywhere as they tried to fight their own reflection like a total weirdo. I was excited that my newest car is blacked out and without any chrome…. a first-world problem now eliminated, right?

WRONG.

I back my car into the same spot every day, and behind it is this little wood-post fence, and some bucolic tall grass and wildflowers that sway in the breeze. I hear the birds chirping, and smile – how lovely!

I return from the car wash, having mooched the codes my stepdad gets every week from his own washes. All is right in the world, my car is mirror-shiny and sexy. Until I hear a chaotic tapping the moment I shut my car off. What’s in my trunk? Did I leave an animal back there? Surely Sydney’d make a bigger sound if that was a thing? Did I inherit a rodent from someone and forget?

WRONG, AGAIN!

Some weird bird has taken a liking to throwing himself into my trunk, pooping himself in his state of fury. This bird is really trying to do something too, because he’s used his beak to help smear bird poo into my car. Why? Why do you want that, bird? Am I being punished by nature for wasting precious water keeping this car too clean? Am I being punished for being a stickler about this particular parking spot, so now nature wants to rebel against me? Probably. I have no idea.

I did buy a plastic horned owl, hoping to deter these pesky flying potatoes from wanting to get near my car. So far it hasn’t stopped them. Could I move? Sure. I will not be bullied by a half-ounce song sparrow, though. I’ve tried to smack him away, but he’s too fast. I’ve considered other methods of elimination, but everything I think of is either frowned upon, or not nice…. so I can’t do them. It wouldn’t be very Snow-White of me. Not very yoga of me to disrupt nature, either.

I was trying to remember the point of this story… but I think this may be beyond what the full moon can be responsible for. This is the last super moon of 2021, and it’s in Capricorn – so emotions are heightened and confidence is at an all time high. Actually, this explains this bird’s beef with a 2-ton vehicle and its neurotic owner… very ballsy. This bird’s about to @#%& around and find out.

Carrying on the carrot theme here with a delicious take on a local restaurant’s soup I enjoyed last Friday! I was hoping to not tag Sovana Bistro in a post alongside my vendetta with a bird, but I guess that’s life… high’s and low’s, right? Anyway, this soup is delicious – theirs was flavorful, refreshing, and… VEGAN! Had a punch to it with some kimchi. I got so much of it, I had to take it home. Then, I left it out all night and had to pitch it 😦

From that, I decided to recreate my own version to pay homage to one of my favorite restaurants that’s now open again. This version may have a bit of creative license used, but I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Cheers to a more peaceful Full Moon evening.

Coconut Carrot Soup with Kimchi, Lime and Chili Oil (Paleo, Vegan!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients

  • 8-10 large carrots, rinsed, stems removed (peeled if the skin has blemishes), and cut into ~2 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, cut into 1-2 inch pieces (no need to dice!)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tsp red curry powder
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt, to taste (I likely used ~1 tsp in total)
  • ~1 cup kimchi, finely chopped (can vary depending how much garnish you’re serving with each helping)
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • optional: chili oil, for garnish

Directions

  1. Add your carrots, onion, ginger,  1/2 tsp curry powder and garlic to a stockpot, covering with your vegetable broth, over medium high heat. Sprinkle with salt to impart some flavor into the vegetables. Add more broth, if necessary to cover. Bring to a low boil, and cover.
  2. Simmer your carrots until tender, approximately 15-20 minutes. They should be somewhat fork-tender. Remove from heat and drain, reserving your vegetable broth to the side.
  3. In a blender, add your vegetables, your remaining 1/2 tsp of curry powder and your coconut milk. Blend until smooth (remember to be careful – hot stuff expands in a contained blender!)
  4. Once pureed, return to your mix to your pot, allowing the flavors to meld.
  5. If the soup is too thick, use your leftover vegetable broth, adding 1/4 cup at a time to achieve desired thickness. Since it’s summer, I don’t like this as thick as, say, a pumpkin bisque, so I like to thin it out just a bit. Once you achieve your desired thickness, check for salt needed. I don’t do this until after, because adding the vegetable broth adds hidden sodium flavor.
  6. Allow to simmer for another 4-5 minutes. Once finished, add your lime juice, stirring together.
  7. Serve topped with a tbsp or two of kimchi, cilantro, and a drizzle of chili oil.

Enjoy!

-S

I spent a lot of time thinking today about, now that things are opening up, how quickly summer has been going by. I remember this time last year – I was admittedly too much of a scaredy-cat to *go* places that weren’t outside, and it just feels so good to have some normalcy again. I’ve been spending most of my weekends poolside, or grilling, or grilling poolside. I used to get really anxious when I’d think about how much time is passing, as its passing. Almost as if I was experiencing a real-time FOMO, but I wasn’t aware of what it was that I was missing. No matter how much “work” I do on myself, it’s always really eye opening to learn of something new I need to work on. It was then that I realized I needed to figure out what it meant to live in the present, and to actually do it. That sounds so lofty, doesn’t it? “bE pReSEnT!!!” One of those silly “Live, Laugh, Love” type of mantras you’d find on a Starbucks cup. However, when I really think about it, being present just means to let the world happen, and to receive what happens without attachment. I don’t think that means “be a dead fish with no emotions” – here are some examples. Something amazing and life changing, like getting married, buying a house, getting a new job? Celebrate, but don’t idealize what “could be”, years from now. Enjoy it as it comes. Something tragic, such a loss or setback? Don’t catastrophize, and remember that everything changes and is only temporary. Plan where needed, but accept changes with dignity and patience. This is what I envision when I tell myself to be present. In this moment, I am VERY much enjoying carrots. Sydney eats the raw ones (she’s on a little bit of a diet, has had too many dog cookies….. oops), I prefer cooked. These have a delicious spicy twist on them, with a rich umami flavor, perfect to complement some grilled snacks.

Miso Sesame Glazed Carrots (Paleo, Vegan!)

img_1161-2Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 40 min

Ingredients

  • 7-8 large carrots, rinsed, stems removed (peeled if the skin has blemishes)
  • 1 heaping tbsp miso (red or yellow is fine)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together your remaining ingredients (miso, sesame oil, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt/pepper) until smooth. It should be thin enough to brush on the carrots, but not enough to cake onto the carrots.
  3. On a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, lay your carrots out evenly. Brush with your miso glaze, reserving a third of it for once they’re finished.
  4. Roast until starting to brown – about 35-40 min. Remove from heat, and brush with remaining glaze. Serve immediately.
Enjoy! -S

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