Crispy Roasted Plantains with Cilantro Lime Aioli (Paleo, Vegan!)

Hey y’all!

It’s definitely been a while, I know I need to make an effort to post more. I’ve been cooking, I’ve just been terrible about documenting everything. Some fun stuff, some un-fun stuff, busy with work, the whole nine. I’m headed to the beach late next week, followed by a trip to Philly to see KHALID! (thanks work!), and I plan to just eat… NON STOP. I’ll have to fit some running in there, I think.

Guess what today is! It’s the start of Leo.  Where are my LEO’s at?! A lot of people near and dear to my heart are born under this sign, and I definitely feel a complete shift in energy, for the better. Interesting about this particular time is that when we are dead in the middle of this fixed Fire sign, there’s a lot more intensity, energy, creativity and overall happiness. People are back in their element. I like that, because all of those warm-weather summer projects are calling. Oh, and that intense heatwave is done, so I no longer have to carry my giant dog across the pavement to the grass for her to go to the bathroom.  It’ll only get better when mercury retrograde is done on July 31, when all the confusion and A.D.D.  slows down.

Let’s get to it! Who loves to dip stuff into..stuff? I do. My latest obsession is plantains. They’re the older brother of the banana… less sweet, starchier, can go sweet or savory. Though I feel like I’ll never live down the nasty, bouncy-ball, chewy charcoal briquette plantain slices I made a few months ago, my tribe… they’re good sports. They’ll try these again.

The key to making this dish is RIPE plantains. Borderline brown. Slice them down the middle, gently, and carefully peel them. They’re just so wonderful.

 

Crispy Roasted Plantains with Cilantro Lime Aioli (Paleo, Vegan!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 40 min

 

Ingredients

  • 3 large plantains, peeled, sliced into ½ inch pieces on a diagonal
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • sprinkle of onion powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the aioli

  • 2/3 cup paleo or vegan friendly mayo – i like soy-free Vegenaise
  • juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • 1 small garlic glove, pressed or finely minced
  • 1 heaping tbsp of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • pinch of Himalayan salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

 

Directions

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of ghee. Once up to temperature, add plantains, spacing evenly. Sauté until golden brown on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side. Use your remaining tbsp of ghee once you flip the plantains to the 2nd side, to ensure a consistent golden brown crust.
  2. As plantains are cooking, mix together your aioli ingredients and add to a small serving bowl.
  3. Once plantains are thoroughly cooked, tender and brown on both sides, transfer to a paper-towel covered plate to drain excess oil. Serve immediately while still hot.
  4. Garnish with cilantro, lime and one last dusting of salt.

 

Enjoy!

-S

Arugula-Quinoa Salad with Lime Vinaigrette (Vegan, Gluten-Free!)

Mondays. It’s sort of warm out, but it’s also sort of cloudy and a little sad. I’ve been perpetually hungry, too, so I’ve been trying to eat a lot more protein as I try to run more. Finding alternatives to animal sources of protein has been kinda hard since my go-to is usually chicken, but I’ve been wanting to incorporate a more plant-based approach to my diet.

 

A few weeks ago, I had seen this recipe on one of those facebook videos. I usually scroll past them as they are typically fried, filled with cheese, beef, or weird combinations of meat. Don’t get me wrong, I love bacon…. But I don’t want to wrap a chicken breast loaf stuffed with Babybel cheeses wrapped in ham and ketchup. Exaggeration? Yes. But only a little, which is kind of gross.

 

When I planned to make the salad, I was making my weekly Sunday Dinner. Since we already had a meat, I didn’t want meat in my salad, too. I actually swapped out the meat (which I think was seafood) for quinoa, and it was a welcome substitute. I don’t go out of my way to make quinoa because unless it’s really dressed up, it sort of tastes like shit. This has a lot of really great flavors, fun textures, and it keeps in the fridge really nicely when you have leftovers. Let’s just jump right into it. This salad isn’t the most beautiful dish on the table, but it sure does taste good!

 

Arugula-Quinoa Salad with Lime Vinaigrette (Vegan, Gluten-Free!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 15 min (plus cooling time)

 

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup dry quinoa (yields about 2.5-3 cups cooked)
  • 1 pkg (~10oz) of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 avocados, cut into 1/2 in cubes
  • 1 mango, diced into 1/2 in cubes
  • 1 cucumber, seeds and skin removed, diced into 1/2 in cubes
  • 2 heaping cups of arugula, roughly chopped
  • 1 big handful of cilantro, chopped

 

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed or very finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Optional (not vegan!) – Feta, to taste

 

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, heat 2 cups of water and 1 tsp sea salt  until boiling – add your quinoa and turn heat down to low. Simmer until quinoa is softened and water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, add to a bowl to cool, and fluff with a fork occasionally to let the heat out. You can also do this step ahead and refrigerate your quinoa.
  1. While your quinoa is cooking, combine your halved tomatoes, chopped onion, diced avocadoes, diced mango, diced cucumber, cilantro and arugula in a bowl. Gently mix to combine, careful not to mash the avocado.
  1. Next, mix your dressing ingredients together in a large bowl, whisking until emulsified. If it separates while you’re preparing your dish, whisk to combine just before using.
  1. Once your quinoa is cooled, fluff with a fork once more and add to your mixing bowl, along with your dressing. Gently stir again to combine, careful so as to not crush the avocado.

Serve, and enjoy!

-S

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Aioli – Inspired by 2SP (Paleo with vegan option!)

Quick recipe share with y’all! 

 

Pretty much every time I go out with my friends, we are looking for Brussels Sprouts on the menu (note to any restaurant owners/staff reading this… the people have spoken, and we want NEED Brussels Sprouts…). I decided I wanted to try and make my own copycat rendition of a personal favorite menu item on a local restaurant menu, Two Stones Pub.

 

Let me prepare you for what this is like. The brussies come out crispaaay, the sauce is saaawsie, and to negate all healthy aspects of this, I like to stay hydrated with a nice Lot #3 by Evolution Brewing, or perhaps a 2SP Bellcracker DIPA. It’s a delightful time, really. It’s how I keep balance when I’m running, working, doing yoga, wrangling dogs, horses, credit card portfolios, food blogging, meal prepping, etc. The thing I like most about this, is that yes, it is actually paleo if you source your ingredients right.

 

Enjoy! If you make this, let me know how you like it.

 

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Aioli – Inspired by 2SP (Paleo with vegan option!)

 

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients

For the Brussels:

  • 1 bag of fresh brussels sprouts (I like the 10oz bag of organic brussels from Wegmans)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of your preferred cooking oil – I like avocado oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp ground sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Japanese 7 Spice seasoning (if not available, sub crushed red pepper, a dash of sesame seeds and a pinch of ground ginger. Make some extra to save it!)
  • 1 tsp coconut aminos
  • For the sauce:
    • ½ cup paleo-friendly (or vegan-friendly!) mayo
    • Sea salt, to taste (I used literally a pinch)
    • ½ tsp paprika
    • ½ tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1 squirt (lol) of sriracha around a tsp, plus more if desired

     

    Directions

    1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. 
    1. First, wash and trim the stems off of your brussels sprouts. Cut some in half, some in quarters, saving any small leaves that fall off. I even break some up so they aren’t as chunky.
    1. Add your cut brussels sprouts to a large bowl. Toss with olive oil and all other brussels ingredients, ensuring they are coated generously. If needed, add more oil.
    1. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread your brussels evenly in a single layer. Bake for 25-30 min, until the larger pieces are cooked thoroughly. **Note – check the brussels frequently – if the thinner leaves start to burn, remove them from the heat  and set them side on a plate to prevent further cooking. Since they don’t retain really any heat anyway, I just throw these back onto the dish upon serving.
    1. While the larger brussels are still cooking, mix together your sauce ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Adjust flavors to preference.
    1. Once all the brussels are tender and crisp on the edges, remove from oven. Add a layer of mayo and spread on your serving plate. Arrange your brussels across your sriracha mayo and if desired, drizzle with any remaining sauce. Serve immediately.

     

    ENJOY!

    -S

    Spicy Chipotle Turkey Meatballs in Gravy (Paleo!)

    Well hey, y’all. Interestingly enough, a wild snowstorm appeared in the bushes and all of us are here waiting for it.  Some sources say 3-5 inches, some say 4-6, I say…. I’m wearing leggings, found a giant blanket, and I have my work laptop out with a cup of tea, a dog and two cats staring at me. Woo! Unexpected snowstorms. An interesting turn of events after a few days off from work followed by a day of intense work crises.

    I said yesterday that I often post and talk about the moon. While I’ve not had anyone openly object to my doing so, I figured I’d at least share why I believe it to be so important. Have you ever heard the word “lunatic”? While it’s an antiquated way to refer to someone who is behaving erratically or is mentally ill, the word has roots in a deeper meaning. Philosophers like Aristotle believed that those with bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses were triggered by the moon. Though in modern days, there’s evidence on both sides that the moon impacts human behavior, I’m here for the fun stuff. The “I Can’t Explain It But I Know Something’s Different” stuff. The far-out, woo-woo stuff.

    Though it’s really anecdotal evidence, I find that days where the full moon is expected are not the same. Perhaps it’s that it really is just brighter outside, and you notice all the little leaves blowing about. Perhaps it’s just that it’s something bigger in the sky to look at, and triggers a series of thoughts about what’s really out there, thoughts of existentialism, or how there’s so much more going on than we can see. I’m a believer in the moon’s influence, but I realize its not for everyone.

    That having been said, this moon comes at an interesting time. The “Snow Supermoon”, as they’re calling it, came just on the brink of a major snowstorm. It comes at a particular time of year where people are coming out of their fog, eager for what’s next. Bonus season just ended for a lot of employers, which is a precursor to a lot of job changes, new adventures, and the like. But on a more personal level, Spring is just around the corner. Daylight savings is, too. There’s a lot of change on the horizon politically and economically. So, how does this particular moon really have anything to do with that?

    This  particular moon, falling within 0 degrees of Virgo, is said to strengthen our intuition and emotional side, but also creates the space for us to really take ownership of how to make real what our intentions are. This is really the time for one to lay groundwork and get organized – to set up the logistics to get what it is they really desire. This full moon falls during a great shift in awareness, so it can feel really intense to suddenly realize, “Wow, I have REALLY got to get moving.” Just don’t forget to set aside time to have fun, to relax, and above all, to de-stress your mind.

    What better way to de-stress than to enjoy some good ol’ comfort food? Little meatballs! Maybe I should call them moon-balls. I don’t think people would eat them if I did. I guess we’ll stick with meatballs.

    Enjoy these paleo-friendly Spicy Chipotle Turkey Meatballs – recipe below!

     

    Spicy Chipotle Turkey Meatballs in Gravy (Paleo!)

     

    Prep time: 25 min

    Cook time: 40 min

     

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb ground turkey
    • 1 4oz can of adobo sauce
    • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped; stems and seeds removed
    • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
    • 1 egg, whisked
    • 1/2 cup almond flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1 can of full fat coconut milk
    • 1 tsp coconut flour or tapioca flour (for thickening), plus more if needed

     

    Directions

    1. In a large skillet, add splash if your preferred cooking fat as well as your chopped onion. Sauté over medium heat until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
    2. In the same skillet, also over medium heat, add your garlic and bell pepper. Sauté until the peppers have cooked out much of their water and onions start to brown – another 5-6 minutes. Season with a small pinch of salt.
    3. Remove from heat, leaving half of your onion/pepper mixture in your pan and set aside – you will move the remaining half into a large mixing bowl.
    4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
    5. Within your mixing bowl, add your ground turkey, egg, almond flour, 2 tbsp of adobo sauce, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. If mixture is too wet, add more almond flour, 1 tbsp at a time. Turkey tends to be less stiff when raw than ground beef or other ground meat, so you don’t want to add too much more flour – they will be dry once cooked.
    6. Once thoroughly mixed, use your hands (or a melon baller/cookie scooper for consistency) to roll mixture into 1-1 1/2 inch balls. Arrange on a greased, foiled or parchment lined baking sheet, evenly spacing 2-3 inches apart. Bake until they start to brown, about 20-25 minutes. It may be more or less time, depending on the size of the meatballs.
    7. Meanwhile, as your meatballs are cooking, place your skillet with onion and peppers back over medium heat. Once brought to temperature, add your coconut milk and another 2 tbsp of adobo sauce, allowing pepper and onion to simmer. Add salt and pepper, to taste. If more adobo is needed, continue to add, 1 tbsp at a time, to ensure appropriate spiciness. Once simmering, if still quite thin, add your tsp of coconut or tapioca flour and stir until well combined. To avoid burning, turn the heat to low and allow to simmer.
    8. Once meatballs are finished cooking, gently remove from  your baking sheet and add to your skillet, stirring to coat meatballs in your gravy. I like to cover it and let it simmer so the meatballs stay tender/juicy for about 3-4 minutes.

    Serve, and enjoy!

    -S

     

     

    Bacon-Wrapped Pepper Bites with Guacamole (Paleo!)

    I need to step my game up. I feel like every time I make a post, it has to do with either the full moon or new moon…. which means I am not posting all that much. I don’t know why I’m so busy, but I do know that it’s from running around like crazy. 

     

    So one thing I’m going to start doing more of this year is Reiki. I’m definitely going to do a whole post on the practice, benefits and effects of it, but for now, my priority is to get a plan together for continuing to practice. Stay tuned for more of that if that interests you.

     

    Onto more of the GOOD STUFF…. I have a lot of recipes I’ve been saving and just haven’t gotten around to posting because I like to put up what I think people are most interested in seeing. There are definitely times where a recipe jumps out at me and I have to make it and post it, and let me tell you… this is definitely one of those times. These things came out just as good as I hoped they would, which is excellent — I love bacon. If you have a party coming up, these are perfect for the guacamole lovers in your life. I’m not even kidding when I say you should probably make a double batch though, because you won’t want to give any away.

     

    Bacon-Wrapped Pepper Bites with Guacamole (Paleo!)

    prep time: 20 min

    cook time: 20 min

     Ingredients

    • 1 lb nitrate-free bacon, kept chilled until use (I recommend Butcher Box, or Wellshire!)
    • 1 large bag of mini sweet peppers – yields about 18-24 peppers
    • handful of toothpicks, soaked in water for 15-20 minutes
    • 2 large ripe avocados
    • 1 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
    • 1 roma or vine tomato, finely chopped (this part is important!)
    • 2 heaping tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
    • juice from 1/2 lime (or more, to taste)
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • Ziploc bag or pastry bag, for filling peppers

     

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with foil.
    1. Cut the top off of each pepper, discarding the stem, seeds and ribs from the inside. Make sure the pepper is cut so that it can stand on its own when placed on the baking sheet.
    1. Starting from the uncut side, carefully wrap each pepper with bacon completely. Depending on the size of the pepper, you may want to start with a half-slice of bacon. If you happen to do multiple layers, it’s alright too – the bacon will still crisp because it isn’t lying flat on the baking sheet. 
    1. Once wrapped, secure the bacon to the pepper by poking the toothpick across the pepper, near the flat side. This will keep the bacon from unwrapping as it cooks.
    1. Place your bacon wrapped peppers in the oven, spaced apart evenly, and bake until the bacon is thoroughly browned, about 20-25 minutes.
    1. Meanwhile, as your peppers cook, prep your guacamole. In a medium sized mixing bowl, gently mash your avocado thoroughly, ensuring there are minimal chunks left. You don’t want to beat it too hard though, as it will start to become runny.
    1. Next, add your onion, tomato, cilantro, lime and seasoning. Mix thoroughly, adjusting salt and pepper to taste.
    1. Once peppers are done, remove from heat and set aside, leaving toothpicks in place until partially cooled. Once cooled, add your guacamole mixture to your bag. If using a Ziploc bag, place guac into the bag before cutting a small part (about 1/2 in across) of the corner off your bag. If you don’t cut enough, you can always cut more off.
    1. Squeeze your guacamole into your peppers until just filled. Arrange on a plate, and enjoy!

     

    -S

    Mexican Fajita Chicken Salad (Paleo!)

    Greetings! How’s everyone doing today?

    I had a really cool weekend – went to a tarot reading with Earth and Fire Tarot at the Prana House in West Chester. It was interesting – often times, I don’t really know how to think of card readings, even though I do them with myself often. I have dozens of oracle and tarot decks… I know the material is legitimate when I’m the only one pulling them, and all too often, coincidences that are really more than just coincidences happen. In this particular reading, they let me pull my cards – while one could argue that you can make anything work if you’re vague enough, the cards fit very well with one another and were a truthful, accurate and very specific representation of a situation in my life at the moment. At the end, they decided to pull a card for me, from a deck I own. I told them, this particular deck, I have a very strange connection to, and I very frequently get the same card. It’s the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck by Kim Krans. The detail within the artwork is absolutely beautiful, and Kim’s descriptions are insightful, comprehensive and honest. The card that frequently comes up is the Dragonfly – and I am grateful that it does. Both in real life and in this card, the dragonfly is this versatile and resilient creature that embraces transformation. It’s born with a finely tuned hunting skill, and requires little to no time in understanding that it can fly, almost immediately. I find that I get this card because I need to be reminded that being aware of your transformation as its happening makes it any less special. In fact, the dragonfly represents the power of self-awareness, knowledge, intuitive thinking and reflection.

    As they were just as familiar with this card and its meaning as I was, I wasn’t surprised when they pulled it as expected and gasped and how that was possible. I don’t know, but when ya know, ya just know, ya know? We confirmed what I already knew and off I went.

    This wasn’t meant to be a self-righteous post, or me toot-tooting my own horn about something anyone could just chalk up to a “coincidence”. My point is this – there is no such thing as coincidences. Once you take full ownership of your life and surroundings, you suddenly have this knowingness that you never paid attention to. You have a little more peace, and a little more perspective, and a little more confidence. Who couldn’t use a little more of that?

    Now, let’s talk some food.

     

    Mexican Fajita Chicken Salad (Paleo!)

    Prep time: 25 min

    Cook time: 25 min if using an Instant Pot, 45 min if baking 

     

    Ingredients

    • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
    • 1 heaping tbsp small red onion, finely chopped (or more if preferred)
    • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
    • 2/3 cup petite diced tomatoes
    • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped with seeds and stems removed (optional)
    • 1/2 cup paleo mayonnaise or Veganaise
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • preferred greens, such as romaine, arugula, spring mix

     

    Directions

    1. If using an Instant Pot, place your chicken into the pot and pour chicken or vegetable broth over until pieces are just covered. Seal and cook according to instructions — about 25 minutes. If using an oven, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken into a baking dish and pour broth over, also until just covered. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
    1. Once cooked, allow to cool, remove from broth and shred with a fork. Reserve some of your broth to add to shredded chicken to prevent drying, cover and set aside.
    1. In a small mixing bowl, mix your mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar thoroughly. Add your taco seasoning, salt and pepper, and continue to stir. Set aside.
    1. In a larger mixing bowl, add your shredded chicken and all remaining ingredients except your lettuce. Mix until well combined.
    1. Next, add your mayonnaise mixture, continuing to thoroughly mix. Add salt or pepper to taste.
  • Serve over crackers, in a wrap, or over a salad.
  • Enjoy!
  • -S

    Mushroom and Sage Roasted Turkey Meatballs (PALEO!)

    In an interesting turn of events, the weather outside is GLORIOUS! high 50’s, low 60’s. The groundhog did not see his shadow, the snow has melted, and hopefully we don’t get much bad weather from here on out. It certainly feels like the twilight zone, especially with the full moon coming out tonight. After a super fast weekend, I’m ready for some good weather.

    I’ll keep this short and sweet — this weekend I had some time to make some glorious little meatballs, and because I couldn’t decide what I wanted, I decided to make two different kinds. Praise be, especially when your turkey meatballs don’t turn out dry. The first one I’ll share with you is below 🙂

    Mushroom and Sage Roasted Turkey Meatballs 

    Prep time: 20 min

    cook time: 30 min

     

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb ground turkey
    • 1/2 cup almond flour
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage, divided
    • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped
    • 1 small/medium sized yellow onion, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or pressed
    • 1 can of coconut milk, shaken
    • 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • Pinch of other thickening gluten free alternative flour, such as potato or tapioca flour

    Directions

    1. In a skillet over medium heat, sauté your chopped onion until translucent, stirring frequently to avoid burning — about 4-5 min. Add your garlic, continuing to stir. Next, add your mushrooms and Add a pinch of salt and pepper to season. Sauté, uncovered, until onions start to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
    1. Next, in a large mixing bowl, add your turkey, half of your sautéed onion and mushrooms, egg, almond flour, 1 tbsp of sage, salt and pepper — mix  thoroughly. If the mixture looks too wet, add more almond flour, 1 tbsp at a time, while stirring. 
    1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. On a parchment lined or  greased baking sheet, roll your mixture into your preferred meatball size. I used a cookie scooper, making meatballs about 1.5in in diameter. Space evenly on the baking sheet.
    1. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. The internal temperature should be 155 degrees.
    1. Meanwhile, as the meatballs are baking, add your remaining sage to your skillet of mushroom and onion, over low heat. Add your coconut milk and stir. Allow to simmer for about 5-7 minutes, until the sauce has now thickened slightly. If it’s still runny, feel free to sprinkle in some of your thickening flour, and stir well to combine.
    1. Once meatballs are done cooking in the oven, carefully add them to your sauce pan, and gently stir to coat meatballs. Allow them to simmer for another 3-4 minutes.
    1. Remove from heat and serve.

     

    Enjoy!

    -S