Spicy Turkey Sausage Bolognese with Zoodles (Paleo!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spicy Turkey Sausage Bolognese with Zoodles (Paleo!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Enjoy!

-S

The BEST Broccoli Salad (Vegan, with options!)

Hello my friends.

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

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

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

The BEST Broccoli Salad (Vegan, with options!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: n/a

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Enjoy!

-S

Thai Tofu Curry Over Rice (VEGAN with Paleo options!)

So, is it fall yet? When the weather turns, I love to make lots of warming fall recipes. While I probably won’t be going to many potlucks or bonfires this year, I still love to make lots of bowls… soups, broths, everything.

Totally unrelated, I had an astrology reading last week. The woman was lovely – her name is Elizabeth Frediani, a knowledgeable astrologist out on the West Coast. We had a phone call, and discuss things about my chart that I already know. I’m not a skeptic by any means, but the first five minutes I was concerned that I wasn’t really going to hear anything I didn’t already know. Once she dove into what my chart actually means and how that influences my life, decisions, personality, etc… I realized that there was a lot more to this than people think about, and a lot of it is very specific. Basically, she let me know that I have a lot of change coming up, I felt very stagnant and I need to explore my creative side a bit more, and use that to “perform acts of service” for others. This was a major part of my chart, that I feel most valuable when helping others achieve their goals, or heal.

Having said that… you may not know that I am a Usui reiki master. I began studying it a few years ago after lots of discussion with some of my other woo-woo friends…. and I never looked back. I wanted to use my hands, and help with the healing that I saw was so desperately needed around me… but I knew something like massage therapy was not for me. I worked towards my classes, practiced on lots of people, and something clicked. I love feeling the energy, allowing people to find their own energy balance, and helping out that positivity out there in the world. If you’re interested in learning about what reiki is, find more out on my website, here.

So with all this stagnant “feeling” I have, what will I do next? Great question. I was recently wondering the same thing. I’ve been mulling doing this over for a few years now, but I finally reached out to a friend of a friend, Susan Smith of One Yoga. I’m going to start my YTT-200 (yoga teacher training) at the end of the month! It’ll be a wild new adventure but I’m excited. I know the experience will be intense, raw, lots of knowledge, practice, etc…. and it’s a lot more than just, “okay, this is how you do a proper Warrior III pose.” I want to find that mind/body balance that I was never ready to find before, and allow this to complement all the other healing work I’ve been doing on myself. Yay, new adventures!

Ok, so back to food. While I’m currently following a ketogenic protocol and this meal ultimately is NOT low carb, it’s delicious, and VEGAN! If you aren’t vegan, you can easily swap out my tofu for chicken or shrimp. This recipe is an easy way to make a Thai-inspired meal, and no… it isn’t one of those “pay $45 to make it yourself when you could’ve paid $15 to buy it” meals. If your kitchen is stocked well, you likely only need a few things!

Thai Tofu Curry Over Rice (VEGAN with paleo options!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 40 min

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of extra firm tofu (vegan, but not paleo), sliced into inch cubes. can sub shrimp, or 1-in cubed chicken if preferred
  • 1.5 cups of cooked basmati rice, or 2.5 cups riced cauliflower if making paleo
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk, shaken
  • 1 red bell pepper, stems and seeds removed, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 small yellow onion, halved/sliced
  • 1 heaping tbsp red curry paste
  • 2 tsp curry powder, separated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 tbsp of tamari or coconut aminos (or regular low-sodium soy sauce, if not strict)
  • 3 stalks of scallions, sliced thin
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • optional (not paleo!): peanuts for garnish
  • also optional (not vegan!): 1 tsp fish sauce – very much a staple in this cuisine, use it if you are able!

Directions

  1. In a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat, add your tofu (or chicken or shrimp) with a tbsp of your preferred cooking fat. I’m loving avocado oil right now, but any is fine.
  2. season with a touch of salt, pepper, and 1 tsp of your curry powder. Sauté until starting to brown or crisp on all sides, about 2-3 minutes total for shrimp, 8-10 minutes for chicken or tofu. Once browned, remove from the skillet and set aside.
  3. At this stage, begin cooking your basmati rice or riced cauliflower according to package instructions. If making homemade riced cauliflower, chop up about 2 cups of cauli in a food processor until it has a rice-like consistency. Add to a skillet over medium heat with 2-3 tbsp of water, pinch of salt and a small tsp of cooking fat and allow to steam for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove your lid and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes to allow any water to evaporate, then set aside on low to keep warm.
  4. Back to the curry – in the same skillet, still over medium heat, add another tsp of your preferred cooking fat, and add your bell pepper and onion. Begin to sauté as well, stirring occasionally, until translucent – about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Once your pepper and onion is at this stage, add you garlic, turning the heat down to medium low to prevent burning. Sauté for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Lightly season with salt and pepper, or a pinch more of your curry powder, doing a taste test.
  6. Now, add your tbsp of curry paste, stirring and pressing it into the pepper/onion mixture, stirring to allow it to cook and break down – about 2 minutes. Add your can of coconut milk and tsp of fish sauce (if using), as well as your tamari or soy sauce.
  7. Turn your heat to low and add your protein (tofu, chicken or shrimp) continuing to stir, and allowing to simmer – either until rice is done, or for another 5-7 minutes. You want to cover the skillet, so that too much water does not evaporate out of the pan. If the mixture bubbles too aggressively/is too hot, turn the heat down to the lowest setting.
  8. Once finished, spoon rice into a bowl, then your curry mixture over your rice. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, and peanuts (if using).

Enjoy!

-S

Cheese Burger Casserole (Gluten-Free, Keto-friendly!)

Today is exactly one month until my birthday! I  can’t believe it’s already September. Time feels like it’s stopped but is also moving at warp speed.

I CANNOT WAIT! To start making pumpkin everything. This fall looks a little different, where I’m not drowning in new sweaters and drinking Punkin Ale. While both are tradition, I haven’t worn anything but leggings in 6 months… and I am going the low-carb route to reset my metabolism and blood sugar. Perhaps a little bit of calorie cutting…. I still have to fit into my sweaters from last year.

So, the interesting thing about low carbs is all the hype about how cool and effective the Ketogenic diet is, and how you just lose weight super fast and it’s sooo great! Well, maybe… but also, no. A bit of science on how this works:

Most of us know what macronutrients, or macros are. These are carbohydrates, fat, and protein. When you eat, your body will seek to burn carbohydrates first from foods, and then fat and protein. Without the go-to of carbohydrates for energy, your body will burn fat instead…. This metabolic state is called ketosis. With your macros, a typical ketogenic ratio is 5:20:75 – carbs, protein, and fat %. This helps maintain that state, and can contribute to fat loss.

It’s a lot of hard work to count macros so specifically, but with an increase in energy, mental  clarity, reduced bloating and potential weight loss, it’s rewarding!

So having said that… what do you cook?

…..a Hamburger. Sort of.

Enjoy this recipe and just picture a Big Mac. You can do it. Just close your eyes. It sort of works.

Cheese Burger Casserole (Gluten-Free, Keto-friendly!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time 45 min total

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

    1 lb lean ground beef (I used 90/10)

    1 medium zucchini, grated (pro tip: I shredded mine first thing in the morning and let it sit on a paper towel/plate to dry out all day until I cooked it. Less water = better casserole!)

    ½ medium sized yellow onion, diced

    1 small tomato, diced

    1 heaping tbsp Grey Poupon Dijon

    1 tsp paleo-friendly Worcestershire sauce

    1 tbsp vegan or paleo-friendly mayonnaise

    ½ tsp sea salt, plus more to taste

    pepper, to taste

    1 tsp hot sauce of your choice

    ½ cup shredded cheddar/Colby mixture, plus a pinch more for the top

Directions

  1. In a large frying pan, add your onion and preferred cooking fat. Sauté until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add your ground beef, breaking up into small pieces. Sauté until browned, about 10-15 minutes. You may want to drain the liquid and fat from the pan if any collects – I use a turkey baster and remove it.

  1. Once cooked, remove the ground beef from your pan and add to a large mixing bowl. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. Next, add your zucchini, cheese, tomato, Dijon, mayo, hot sauce and sea salt to the mixing bowl. Mix together thoroughly, tasting and adding any additional salt or pepper.

  1. In a greased pyrex dish (I used a 9X9in – it all fit perfectly!), pour your mixture into it, ensuring an even layer. Sprinkle your remaining cheese over the top.

  1. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until bubbling, and cheese has melted. Enjoy!

-S

Oven-Baked Salmon with Garlic Chili Lime Butter (Paleo, Keto-friendly!)

So, I had big plans to post something totally different. Then, I thawed something else and decided to cook it, and it turned out so nice I have to post it.

I’m trying to get in all of my seafood ideas before the weather turns – that way, I can start to cook pumpkin, squash, pumpkin squash, more pumpkin, fall, squash. It’s that time of year and I am jones-in’ for some fall.

I don’t have a lot else to say about this, so I may as well get right to it. This recipe is paleo and keto friendly, and it’s literally one of the easiest salmon recipes I’ve made in a long time.

 

Oven-Baked Salmon with Garlic Chili Lime Butter (Paleo, Keto-friendly!)

 

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 15 min

Serves 2

 

Ingredients

  • 2 4oz boneless salmon filets, skin removed
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated or pressed
  • 2 tbsp organic, grass-fed butter, or ghee
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (about ½ of a lime)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, for garnish

 

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. If available, place a baking rack overtop your baking sheet, greasing it so that salmon won’t stick. The baking rack will allow the bottom of the salmon filets to remain crisp, but it isn’t required – just preferred.
  2. In a mug, or in a small stovetop saucepan, melt your butter. Mix together with your garlic, chili powder, lime juice and sea salt.
  3. Place your filets on your baking rack/sheet. Spoon your butter mix evenly over your salmon filets, coating the salmon filets entirely.
  4. Bake until salmon is opaque and starting to brown, about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, and garnish with chives. Serve, and enjoy!

 

-S

Zesty Mac and Cheese (Vegan AND PALEO!)

So…. Let’s talk about fall. Let’s talk about….. how I have a closet full of sweaters, I’ve done really well and haven’t bought any new ones (because where the hell am I going, let’s be totally honest), but am bummed because normally I get to go to wineries, fun parties…. Who am I kidding, WORK is my fashion show. Even still, the little things I miss the most have gotten to me a bit… down.

So, I eat my feelings. Working on that…. But for now, we eat.

I’ve been trying to eat a lot less meat in general, and with that – I figure, why not reduce animal stuff altogether? It isn’t actually difficult once you know some basic swaps – vegetable broth for chicken broth, vegan mayo for regular, dairy-free milks (cashew, almond and oat for ones without flavor!)… even if you’re not looking to go “vegan” per se, I find that these little swaps are great ways to cut down cholesterol, sodium or calories in general, if you need to. That, and I have several friends that have dietary restrictions, so I love a challenge.

I was familiar with butternut squash as a sauce, but this was kind of a “winging it” type of thing. Some of these ingredients aren’t normal things one has in their kitchen, but they’re worth buying, and at least in my area, can be found pretty easily. If you have an immersion blender or regular blender, you’ll need it for tonight.

Please note… as good as this is, I realize that some of my friends reading this just want the real thing. Just shoot me an email if you want a real Pennsyl-tucky dairy filled Mac-and-cheese recipe…., my mama makes a mean recipe I also happen to know how to make…. 😉

Yum!

 

Zesty Mac and Cheese (Vegan with PALEO option!)

 

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 45 min

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups paleo-friendly noodles, like Jovial Cassava noodles
  • 2 cups of cubed butternut squash, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp vegan sour cream (I love this brand, search the link where to find it – omit if strict paleo!)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 heaping tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Sprinkle of pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter, or ghee
  • ½ cup of vegetable broth, plus more if needed for texture

optional – breadcrumbs:

  • 2 tbsp almond flour (if not paleo, panko breadcrumbs can be used)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of parsley

 

Directions

  1. In a sauce pan, add a tbsp of your preferred cooking fat, your onion and squash. Sauté your onion and butternut squash until soft, about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover with a lid to ensure steam stays in to soften them faster.
  2. Once soft, add your vegetable broth. Continue to simmer for another 2-3 minutes, adding some salt and pepper. Now, add your paprika, garlic, cumin and chili powder.
  3. At this step, you can either use your immersion blender to puree until smooth, or place into a blender and puree until smooth. The texture should be somewhat thick like cheese sauce and soupy, but not thick like veggies or thin like soup. Add vegetable broth accordingly to adjust texture. Set sauce aside so that the flavors can meld.
  4. In a separate put, bring water to a boil – add your noodles, and boil until al dente.
  5. While they’re boiling, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a skillet or pyrex dish (my skillet is an 8 inch mini Lodge skillet).
  6. Once noodles are cooked and drained according to cooking instruction, Mix them into your sauce. It may look like you have “too much sauce”, but it will absorb slightly into the noodles once baked. Place into your skillet or baking dish, and bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes.
  7. While your macaroni is baking, if using paleo breadcrumbs, mix together all breadcrumb ingredients in a dry small frying pan and toast slightly over medium heat until starting to brown. If using regular breadcrumbs – no need to pre-toast. With 5 minutes left of cooking, remove the mac and cheese and sprinkle your breadcrumbs over top – bake another 5 minutes until starting to brown further, but not burning.
  8. Serve while hot. Enjoy!

-S

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Baked Potatoes (Paleo!)

I am on a roll! Really hoping I don’t lose my momentum with this. It feels good to be motivated and keep cooking, and it’s great to come up with some creative foods (with my 200 lbs of yams I bought….)

I went to a winery this weekend with some of my friends, and I have to say – it was honestly the best weekend I can remember having. With COVID and having to be home so much, you forget that we are supposed to be social creatures – I was nervous, but it was a calculated risk I was taking, and I make sure to space out at least a week or two between seeing people, just to be extra careful. We went to Penn’s Woods – sat outside, enjoyed some cheese, several bottles of rosé… it was nice to have conversation, get dressed up, put on some mascara and brush my hair for the first time in a few weeks… it’s good for the soul.

Speaking of good for the soul, I want to talk about buffalo sauce. This is not a 180 degree turn, I honestly really have some time of feelings about buffalo sauce. I am loyal to certain brands for certain things (Dijon, you MUST buy Grey Poupon, no off-brand Sriracha – chicken bottle all the way), and Frank’s original buffalo sauce is a sacred staple.

Back in the day, we used to have a bunch of Wings To Go franchises around here. When I was babysitting my brothers and sister, I used to take them there for lunch. They had, without a doubt, the best buffalo sauce ever… but I never knew what it was. It could’ve been Frank’s mixed with lard and unicorn toots, honestly, I will never know. They’re long gone. However, when you find something buffalo flavored and it’s done right, it just hits differently.

This is where I need to share this information with you. I had potatoes from my good friend Vivian’s garden, and they sat on my counter until I decided what to do with them. I could eat a potato plain, I never discriminate against a spud – really. But these were special potatoes… sentimental, if you will.

So – with my leftover chicken from my Pesto Chicken recipe, I made some buffalo chicken stuffed potatoes. They were glorious.

 

Whatever, let’s just get right to it.

 

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Baker Potatoes (Paleo!)

 

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 7 min (if using microwave), 40-50 min (if using oven)

Makes 2 potatoes

 

Ingredients

  • 2 large red potatoes (or preferred potato if strict paleo or Whole30), scrubbed
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast or thigh (approx. 1 large chicken breast, 2-3 thighs)
  • 2 tbsp Frank’s Original Buffalo Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Vegenaise, or paleo mayo
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 stalks of scallions, chopped

 

Directions

  1. Cook potatoes until soft – approximately 5-7 minutes in the microwave, 40-50 minutes in the oven.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, mix together your shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, mayo, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper, until combined.
  3. Once your potatoes are cooked, cut a cross-hair shape into the top. Purse the four corners together (like a cootie catcher, lol!). Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Top with your chicken mixture, and garnish with scallions.
  5. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

-S

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Wedges with Avocado Crema (PALEO!)

Sunday Funday! Except not, because we can’t really do anything.

Guys, I still have yams that I can’t seem to get rid of. When I bought so many, I really didn’t think about how creative I’d have to be to find ways to eat them… that weren’t super boring. Cue the bacon…

Though this year has been a lot different, I love going to the Kennett Square Farmers Market to get stuff like local produce, meats, etc. Though I don’t try to eat a lot of meat, I do prefer to know that it was responsibly farmed and that the animal lived as best a life as it could have. I like buying from Canter Hill Farm out of Malvern, PA – they take organic and animal welfare to the next level. I had some bacon in my freezer, and hot damn, it was the perfect thing to use with sweet potatoes. I’ve done a vegetable hash before, but I wanted to be ready with a great snack idea, once we’re all allowed to party again. Without further delay….

 

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Wedges with Avocado Crema (PALEO!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 30-40 min

 

Ingredients

  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes, cut into about 8 wedges each
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 lb thick cut (preferably local!) bacon

for the crema:

  • 1 small container of Greek-style dairy free yogurt, or regular Greek yogurt if not strict paleo
  • 1 avocado, ripe/bright green
  • Juice from 1 lime, or 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt, to taste

Important supplies – a wire baking rack for your sheet (so the bacon doesn’t get soggy)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease/spray your wire backing rack, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet (foil for easy clean up!).
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix together your paprika, garlic and chili powder, with just a pinch of salt. On each wedge, sprinkle the seasoning on both sides of the wedge, and wrap the bacon around the wedge like a spiral, starting at one end and working your way to the other end.
  3. Repeat this for each of the wedges, placing them evenly spaced on the wire rack/baking sheet.
  4. If you have any leftover seasoning mix, sprinkle over the wedges.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until bacon starts to brown. It’s best to flip them halfway through, so that the bottom side is able to brown just as the top does.
  6. Meanwhile, while they’re baking, mash your avocado in a mixing bowl, so that no chunks remain. If you like particularly smooth avocado puree, you can do this step in a food processor. Quite frankly, I did mine by hand because it was 8:30pm and I didn’t want to dirty another dish, so it worked just fine.
  7. Once the avocado is mashed or pureed, mix in your Greek yogurt, lime juice and pinch of salt. Continue to mix until smooth. Place in refrigerator until use.
  8. Once your sweet potato wedges are cooked, serve immediately while hot, with your crema on the side.

 

Enjoy!

-S

Smoked Salmon Breakfast Quesadillas with Spicy Mayo (PALEO!)

This week flew by. It was not without struggle though – tackling some difficult work tasks did a number on my patience… but it’s Friday! Which means… a weekend filled with wine-tasting and sunshine/pool time. Work hard, play/relax hard.

It only took 4 months of depressing quarantine where I drank a bazillion bottles of wine and ate cheese every day, but I have finally been hitting the gym and lifting again, 5 days a week. Some days I wake up and feel unmotivated and lazy, but I remember that if I want to work out when no one’s there, 6 am it is. At this point in 2020, none of my friends go to the gym right when it opens anymore, and I’m fine with that. No offense to anyone else, but I don’t want to breathe your air right now. Stay blessed….  From 6+ feet away.

I’ve also been cooking a lot more! Who would have thought that a total shutdown of my life would’ve afforded me all the time in the world, but also halted all of my passions and will to live my daily life as I know it? Total transparency – I am fine now. 3-4 months ago, not so good. Now that I’m busier, it’s like I have also regained the motivation to cook. I even went without buying White Claw this week. Baby steps.

Part of my motivation is also to cook some breakfast, as healthy as I can. Why not indulge in the AM, if you have the time? I recently stopped at Whole Foods and picked up a few treats I don’t normally buy. (PS – If you wanna know how my 2020 is going, let’s consider that I think about what my dog will eat with me when I cook. My dog has moved up to ‘roommate’ status, from ‘pet’ status. #LivingAloneDuringQuarantine). Smoked salmon made the grocery list cut – I love this stuff. However, I’m not so sure I vibe with how normal chain grocery stores supply their smoked salmon. I don’t know their farming protocols, I don’t know what chemicals or fake flavoring they’re adding to treat the salmon, or if it’s even really properly smoked. I know it’s a lot to really considered where you source food like this, but in a world where we have little control over a lot of things, making sure your food is responsibly cultivated and healthy can combat some of the stressful things we think about otherwise. Whole Foods won the highest rank on Greenpeace’s 2018 Supermarket Sustainability scorecard (source), and specifically for salmon, the buyers actually live in Alaska or PNW during the summer to choose their salmon for the store (source). That’s a lot better than I can say for a lot of other places.

Having said that, let’s share some food!

Smoked Salmon Breakfast Quesadillas with Spicy Mayo (PALEO!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 10 min

Makes 1 quesadilla

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chopped smoked Salmon (Whole Foods’ brand that I like!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 stalks of scallions, chopped, plus more for garnish if desired
  • 1 tbsp diced red pepper
  • 2 Siete Almond Flour wraps
  • 1 tbsp spicy mayo (recipe here!)
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • sprinkle of paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste

If you aren’t strict paleo or just like breakfast and smoked salmon, feel free to add cheese!

Directions

  1. In a large frying pan, add a tsp of your preferred cooking fat. Add your diced red pepper, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until softened.
  2. Next, to the same pan, add your whisked eggs and scallions. Scramble your eggs until cooked but not totally dry – adding a small pinch of salt or pepper. Remove from pan and add to a small mixing bowl. Add your chopped smoked salmon.
  3. Mix the tbsp of spicy mayo into your mixture – this will work to bind the ingredients together and to the tortilla, which is normally what cheese would do.
  4. At this point – your pan should still be on the stove. Carefully, so as to not burn yourself, wipe the pan out to clear any egg stickies, or caramelized stuff. Add another tsp of your preferred cooking fat.
  5. Here’s where this can go one of two ways – if you trust that you won’t burn yourself, reassemble your quesadilla right in the frying pan by evenly spreading your egg and smoked salmon mixture onto one tortilla while it’s in the pan. You can definitely assemble it outside of the pan and then add it, as long as you’re super talented and won’t drop stuff out of the sides. I am self-aware and know I can’t do that, so I just carefully do it right in the pan.
  6. (For y’all cheese people – this is where you add your cheese as a layer over or under your egg/salmon).
  7. Over medium low heat, gently brown your quesadilla. If needed, add another tsp of cooking fat once it’s time to flip the quesadilla. Brown slightly on both sides, then serve!
  8. Garnish with scallions and serve with additional spicy mayo, if desired.

Enjoy!

-S

 

Crab Flatbread with Honey, Balsamic and Fresh Basil

After a quick little stint at the beach, I am back, working, and already primed and ready for a weekend.

I think what I miss the most about this whole “don’t hang out with anybody” era is being able to laugh over drinks and enjoying new restaurants… as a group activity. I really considered myself an introvert (a loud one, but still). Now that I CAN’T actually be with people, it’s like a tired child that needs to go to bed but doesn’t want to. I don’t want to stay home, because now I’m being forced to. But…. It’s the right thing to do to slow this whole thing down until we have more information and more options, so this is what I’ll do.

I have more time than ever to make recipes, but I am feeling so UNMOTIVATED, it’s painful. My focus has been trying to eat less, workout more (not going into a gym for months really did a number on my body composition), and generally be kinder to myself. I normally am totally fine with working until the point of burnout and exhaustion, but now there is a visceral reaction to doing so – almost as if my mind and body are conspiring with the universe to force me to slow down, in every sense of the term. So, for now – I am trying to work with when I get little bursts of motivation. If I eat my recipe before I take a nice picture of it? Whatever, I’ll make it again. I’m going to devote more mindspace and time to ensuring I’m keeping myself up and motivated, but being patient when I’m not.

I’ve been doing a lot of work, a lot of thinking on what I want the next few years of my life to look like… I’ve recently taken this back seat to my own life and moving forward, and I realized that living passively is no way to live – we shouldn’t do stuff just to “get by”, unless survival depends on it. This recipe had me thinking as I was buying the ingredients. I was really into seafood, and wanted to make something a little indulgent – I immediately thought of crab. I was digging my heels in at spending money on a can of jumbo lump crab meat, but I figured I’d splurge. It’s worth it after all, right? Have you ever sat down and picked crab meat? That shit is HARD. You get your fingers all torn up, sometimes you can’t get it all out in a clean piece, it takes a long time, and it’s really not a lot of meat for the effort. But man, when you keep digging and pull out a huge chunk of backfin meat, it’s all worth it.

That had me thinking about working towards what I want whatever my next step in life looks like. Taking one step isn’t going to move me a whole lot, but each tiny step, though small, is a necessary. It sounds so cliché, really, but sometimes all you need to do is make a little jump on a new idea and stuff just starts to snowball. I think that’s what I’m going to do. Of course, you guys won’t see a finished product for a while, but…. Just know I’m trying to make something cool out of my passion project.

Ok, so RECIPE. This is indulgent, definitely party food, it could be subbed with gluten-free flatbread, but this was just an easy store-bought flatbread. Literally, one of the easiest things I’ve ever made. Perhaps if I remake it and experiment with a paleo or gluten free flatbread, I’ll share!

 

Crab Flatbread with Honey, Balsamic and Fresh Basil

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

Serves 2

 

Ingredients

  • 1 large flatbread (the one I used was approx.. 12 in by 8 in, about the size of a piece of paper)
  • ½ cup of jumbo lump crab meat
  • 1 tbsp balsamic glaze (I like Whole Foods’ organic store brand!)
  • 1 tsp honey (local, if you can find it)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or melted ghee
  • 1 tbsp finely minced shallot or yellow onion
  • 1 heaping tbsp of fresh chopped basil
  • pinch of ground himilayan or sea salt

 

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. On a greased, foil lined baking sheet or pizza stone, place your flatbread. Drizzle olive oil over the flatbread, and add a pinch of salt. Sprinkle your onion, ensuring the flatbread is evenly covered. Next, carefully sprinkle your crab, ensuring any clumps (NOT the lumps!) stuck together are separated so the crab is evenly distributed.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until thoroughly heated and slightly crisped – you don’t want your flatbread to brown or get too crispy and turn into a rock.
  4. Once removed, Immediately drizzle with your honey. Let cool for a few minutes, then drizzle with your balsamic glaze.
  5. Lastly, garnish with your basil. Slice into even pieces, serve, and enjoy!

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-S