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

Wowzer!

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

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

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

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

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

We take one. We deliberately choose to do so.

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

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

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

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

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

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 15 min

Ingredients

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

For the sauce

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

Directions

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

Enjoy!

-S

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

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

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

Cheddar Old Bay Biscuits (with vegan options!)

Hey everyone!

So…. Last time I wrote, the world was normal, I was busy, and stuff was all status quo. Since then, a wild novel coronavirus has infiltrated every corner of the earth, I am stuck at home along with nearly 7.8 billion other people, watching Tiger King, praying I find toilet paper somewhere, and waiting for off-hours to log into my work computer because of network volumes. I am grateful to have a safe place to be, but I’d be lying if I said this was peaches and cream.

I’ve had a LOT of time on my hands in the last 3 weeks…. So why wouldn’t I take the time to post about food!??!

To be completely, honest, I’ve been down. I have been cooking a ton, but I haven’t been enjoying it all that much. I’ve felt guilty when I indulgently dump more shredded cheddar into a bowl (that I normally wouldn’t even eat), wondering if I should be more aware that I’ve still got a paycheck and should be more responsible with my resources. I go to the grocery store, holding my breath (literally) hoping that there’s vegetables there that I can think clearly enough to buy what I need and how to make it last so I’m not out and about, unnecessarily. I’ve left messes in my house, making me quite uncomfortable, so that I have “something to do” a few hours later in cleaning it up.

But it’ll get better – I am alive, healthy (as far as I know, for now), and I have luxuries that I still need to be appreciative of. Having said that, I am going to try to continue posting recipes to my blog, but with more awareness that right now, we’re all just doing the best we can. They may not be paleo, they may not be vegan or gluten free, but hopefully it gives you some inspiration to pass some time and think of everything we do still have until we can all frolic around town like a Disney movie and hug the townspeople.

If you have these things around and can tolerate a bit more lax of a diet, try out this treat for some normalcy, and to make friends with your quarantine buddies. Mine’s my dog, and she’ll eat anything….. but these will still please a picky eater!

Also, pardon this crappy picture of biscuits. Resources are a little stressed, and I ate the rest of them…. 🙂

*4/8/2020 note…. I just looked at my measurements, and they were super super wrong… like ‘worst typo ever’ wrong. Please see below for updated measurements!

Cheddar Old Bay Biscuits! (with vegan options!)

 

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 15 min

Makes 6-8 biscuits

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Old Bay seasoning, or a pinch more if you like zest
  • ½ cup cold salted butter (cut into cubes), plus ¼ cup melted butter – vegan butter is fine
  • 3/4 to 1 cup milk (non dairy is fine!)
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar (vegan is fine)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh, or dried parsley

(note: if you have Bisquick, you can swap the flour, baking powder, salt, cold salted butter and sugar for 2 cups of Bisquick and ¼ cup of melted butter)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  2. Pour the flour, baking powder, sugar, garlic powder, and 1 tsp of Old Bay seasoning in a food processor, then add the cold butter and pulse until the butter is chopped into small pieces. If a food processor isn’t available, mix the dry ingredients thoroughly by hand, then mixing the butter in by hand, pressing the dry mix into the butter thoroughly. (If using Bisquick, mix the Bisquick in a bowl with the garlic powder, Old Bay and melted butter and stir).
  3. Next, pour in the milk and shredded cheddar, then mix to combine. The mixture should be easily breakable by hand, somewhat sticky, neither runny or dry and crumbly. Add more flour or milk (or Bisquick) accordingly to achieve this consistency, if needed.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, or grease a foil-lined sheet. Use a scoop to place even portions of biscuit  (approximately 1/3 cup) batter onto the baking sheets, two inches apart.
  5. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes, or until golden.
  6. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining melted butter and parsley together for the biscuit tops. Once the biscuits come out of the oven, brush them with melted butter.

 

Enjoy!

-S

Roasted Dijon Winter Vegetable Medley with Pancetta (Paleo!)

Hello all, and happy 2020. 

I’ve been… for lack of a better word, dormant, so far this winter. I’ve been physically tired, trying to do a lot all at once, have been trying to balance work with fitting in time to cook, and that’s always really hard around the holidays. There was DEFINITELY not a shortage of food, which would be the reason for my favorite jeans being a bit tighter than my preference…. Hoping that with some water, more exercise and more sleep I’ll be back to my old self.

It’s been a whirlwind of a month so far, too. Out in the world there’s some whack shit goin’ down…. Plus we had a full moon that I swear made people turn into wild animals. I was talking with a friend about how this particular moon happened to coincide with a lot of feelings of anxiety, unrest and just general discontentment. I don’t like to feel stagnant – and I think that’s just what I’ve been feeling. I have a few goals, not New Year’s resolutions – I want these to carry on indefinitely, not just for the first six weeks. Although, I am doing Dry January and for those of you that love your red wine the way I do…. It’s been less than stellar but I’m getting by.

Goal #1 – get myself back to my best physical state. I don’t mean crash dieting, “getting thin”, etc. I’ve always been fairly thin, but I want my body to reflect how hard I’ve worked, and I want to feel my best. I dropped the ball at the end of last year…. I plan to continue lifting, and I signed back up for unlimited monthly yoga. My  first hot yoga class of the year was last night, and it was HARD.

Goal #2 – speaking of yoga, I want to take my practice more seriously. I want to be able to handle intense strength movement, and I plan to build upon that. Maybe a few new pairs of tights will be a good incentive.

Goal #3 – indulge in less wine. I’ve cut out all wine for the month of January, which is surprisingly a lot harder than I thought. In noticing this, I realized that my social drinking on weekends crept into a glass with dinner, which turned into one with and one after dinner, which became a lot more frequent that I ultimately want. Learning what is moderation for me and sticking to it will be most important.

Goal #4 – make time for mental clarity. This one is big. My self-proclaimed title as a workaholic is not a humble brag, or any badge of honor. In fact, I often feel shame if I am not working as much as I can – like somehow, I’m Less-Than if I’m not burning the candle at both ends. I don’t like to sit still, be idle, or not have a mental inventory of accomplishments that I can draw from to make sure I’m “still working hard enough”. What’s that even mean, anyway? Working “hard” enough? I’m an accomplished professional, I work long hours… I’ve had at least 2 jobs since I was 10, why am I still trying to check a box? Feeling burnt out already at my age is probably not a sign of good trajectory here, so I plan to take more Me-Time without the shame. I’m giving myself permission to bum it every now and again. 

Goal #5 – lower my expectations. Being realistic, optimistic, pessimistic… those are all still expectations. 2019 was a hard year – I went in feeling like it would be my best year yet, and it was far from it. I’m going into 2020 with the intent to be happy – however that looks, I’ll know in 12 months. Expecting things to go a certain way will set me up for disappointment, which I am not trying to fall into.

I think these are pretty realistic goals…they happen to coincide with the new year, but there’s something icky about calling them New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe it’s the idea that a new year must mean huge changes, and anything less than that means you’re falling short. I’m over that crap, I don’t want to go on thinking I’m failing some sort of test.

I’ve held on to this recipe for a while, and it’s actually really simple… just makes for a really nice combo for your winter meals. Enjoy!

 

Roasted Dijon Winter Vegetable Medley with Pancetta (Paleo)

 

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 45 min

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 large shallot, sliced but left in larger pieces
  • 2 cups fresh butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 cup fresh parsnip, peeled and cubed
  • 2/3 cup pancetta, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • For the sauce:
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tsp dijon
    • ½ tsp paprika
    • Pinch of coconut sugar (to cut the acidity of the dijon)

     

    Directions

    1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add your shallot and pancetta. Sauté 8-10 minutes, until shallots and pancetta are somewhat brown – then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving remaining fat behind in the pan.
    1. Still at medium high heat, add your squash, parsnip and brussels, ensuring as many pieces are in contact with the bottom of the pan to crisp. Cover with a lid – this allows steam build up so that the vegetables can cook a bit faster. Stir occasionally – you don’t want the pieces to break apart, but you want them to thoroughly brown on all sides.
    2. Allow to sauté for about 10-12 minutes covered – once things are starting to brown, turn your heat down to medium low and continue to sauté uncovered and allow to crisp for another 20-25 min.. Season with salt and pepper, only stirring occasionally. Adjust heat as needed.
    1. Meanwhile, whisk together your sauce ingredients in a small bowl until emulsified. Set aside.
    1. Checking back with the vegetables, they should have started to caramelize – stir to ensure consistent exposure to the bottom of the pan. Add your pancetta and shallot back, continuing to gently mix. Add your sauce, drizzling over the contents of the pan, gently mixing.
    1. Remove from heat and serve. Delish 🙂

     

    -S

    Pumpkin Risotto with Fried Sage and Feta (Gluten-Free with Vegan Option!)

    Stop… pumpkin  time!

    Alright, here’s what’s up. The weather is cooling down, at least at night. All my fun pumpkin and other fall recipes are slowly creeping in. and let me tell you….. I’m excited. Honestly, I won’t spend all day here talking about the less important stuff, let’s get straight to the facts – Pumpkin is the law of the land from September 1 through November 30. This marks the time of year where I’m a little more lax on my food preferences, because I like to enjoy holidays to the fullest extent. Also, I tried making this recipe with cauliflower rice and it just wasn’t as indulgent.

    Cue: Pumpkin Risotto, The Food You Didn’t Know You Needed Until You Ate It. This is creamy, gluten-free, delicious, flavorful, and has a lot of room to make it super indulgent for your friends without dietary restrictions, and if you make too much, you can do what I did and make arancini with the leftovers J While I would’ve loved to make this paleo, I chose not to because I wanted to make sure I got the full effect of a good fall dish. If you’re going to use cauliflower rice as a substitute, proceed with caution. Cauliflower holds more water and less flavor – you may need to go a bit heavier on your seasonings if using cauliflower.

    Let’s jump in, shall we?

     

    Pumpkin Risotto with Fried Sage and Feta (Gluten-Free with Vegan Option!)

    prep time: 15 min

    cook time: 30 min

    Ingredients

    • 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth if making vegan)
    • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling!)
    • 3 tbsp ghee or butter, separated (vegan option: 2 tbsp coconut oil)
    • 1 large shallot, minced
    • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
    • ½ cup fresh sage, loosely chopped
    • 1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed
    • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
    • Small handful of fresh parsley, finely  chopped
    • sea salt to taste (be generous!)
    • Pinch of pepper
    • Pinch of pumpkin pie seasoning (a literal pinch – nothing more than to make fragrant)
    • 2/3 cup crumbled feta

    Directions

    1. In a large mixing cup, combine your pumpkin puree and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
    2. In a small skillet, heat 1-2 tbsp of your butter over medium heat. Gently add a piece of sage to test the temperature and see how long it takes your sage to brown. Once you’ve tested, arrange your sage leaves in a single layer, allowing to crisp, about 20-30 seconds, working in batches if necessary. Sage doesn’t contain a lot of water, so it doesn’t take a lot of time to crisp. If it turns completely brown, it’s fried too long. Set aside on a plate/napkin to let cool.
    3. Next, in a large sauce pan or pot, melt 2 tbsp of your butter (or oil) over medium heat, Add your shallot, garlic, and pinch of salt. Sauté until shallot becomes translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
    4. Add your thyme and uncooked rice, stirring to coat rice with mixture. Continue cooking, stirring frequently to prevent rice from browning too much.
    5. Turn your heat down to medium low. A half cup at a time, slowly add your pumpkin stock mixture until it evaporates. Add another half cup, allowing the liquid to absorb until you are out of liquid, all in all about 20 minutes. The rice should be cooked, not entirely al dente, but not gummy. It should still have a creamy texture. Do a taste test and adjust with salt and pepper. Remember – you will be adding additional sage and feta, so don’t go too heavy handed.
    6. Serve, and garnish with feta and sage.

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Orange Ginger Kale salad (Paleo, Vegan!)

    Hello, my food-loving friends! This week is especially exciting for me for a few reasons. Let’s break this down:

    It’s a new moon on July 31st, which is quite fitting for me at the moment. New starts, new opportunities (and a pair of new shoes that should be coming in the mail that day….). So this particular one aligns conjunct with Venus and square with Uranus, so… to all my hetero friends, be kind to your significant others. You’re likely going to want to roundhouse kick someone, and the battling masculine and feminine energy of this alignment is all it’s going to take for someone to get sassy. Also – with this confusion and battling balance between yin and yang energy, try not to impulse-buy or make major decisions without really thinking things through.

    Let’s start with my upcoming vacay. I’ll be off this Friday for a week, spending some time down at the beach with friends. SOOOO excited. Against my better judgment, I’ll be laying around like a baked potato by the pool, cooking, enjoying some fun time with friends. I have a ton of new recipes and several willing taste-testers, so be on the lookout on my Instagram (@thedivinekitchen) to see what I’ll be cooking and doing.

    Side note, as I’ve typed this, I need to share those shoes I bought. I’m a huge fan of Athleta, and I love those funky-looking Sorel Kinetic sneakers they use a lot in their ads. They’re edgy, different and apparently super comfortable. I’ve had my eye on them for about 2 years, but as a shoe-holic and sneaker junkie as it is, I figured I didn’t need a pair of play sneakers. Then, I saw Zappos was having a sale, and then a sale on top of a sale… so you bet your buns I caved and bought them. Go check them out and grab a pair while they’re still marked down! Link here.

    Now, onto the real excitement. I found out on Friday that I’ve qualified as a finalist in the Mushroom Festival’s Amateur Cook Off! The mushroom festival is a town festival in my hometown of Kennett Square, PA,  hosted to  celebrate our town’s claim to fame as the mushroom capital of the world. The winner wins some cash, bragging rights, and a ticket to the World Food Championships to compete again. Wow, talk about nerves! I never signed up for the show “Chopped” because it seems terrifying, and here I am trying to win and go to the World Food Championships. Ayeyeye. Maybe one step closer to being on the Food Network, my Guy-Fieri inspired outdoor kitchen, and having the horse farm of my dreams.

    My recipe is required to have mushrooms and this year’s sponsor item, Scaramuzza pasta. I will be making Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage, Pancetta and Mushroom in a garlic cream sauce. not paleo, but definitely tasty. I think I’ll be doing a lot of mushroom recipes as it gets closer to the festival so you guys can really appreciate mushroom recipes that aren’t weird. After all, it’s a fungi…. Eating fungus sounds gross in theory but mushroom recipes are delicious.

    All of that being said (and switching gears to something a lollbit healthier), try this delicious salad that’ll serve a crowd with some in-season summer goodies. Yum!

    Orange Ginger Kale salad (Paleo, Vegan!)

    Prep time: 15 min

    Cook time: 15-20 min for kale to absorb dressing

    Ingredients

    • 1 head of kale, ribs/stems removed, loosely chopped
    • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
    • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
    • dried white craisins
    • optional for non-paleo or non-vegans – 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

    For the dressing

    • juice of one orange, plus zest
    • 1 small clove of garlic, minced or pressed
    • 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 tbsp champagne vinegar

    Directions

    1. In a medium-sized bowl, add your dressing ingredients and allow to flavors to infuse. Set aside.
    2. Add your kale to a large bowl.
    3. Stir your dressing once more, and pour through a fine strainer to catch the garlic and ginger chunks (no one wants an entire mouthful of garlic in a refreshing salad!)
    4. Stir to combine and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes, mixing gently every few minutes to let the dressing break the kale down a bit.
    5. Once ready to serve, add your pecans, shallot and goat cheese, if using.

    Enjoy!

    -S

    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

    Gorgonzola Chive Hummus (Gluten-Free!)

    Hello friends!

    To say it’s been a while would be an UNDERSTATEMENT.

    So much so, I don’t even know what I last shared with you. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’ve done a ton of cooking. I moved in June, have been absolutely slammed with work (#RemediationQueen, I’ll fix your problems, get at me), slammed with errands…. Who would have thought finding furnishings for a new humble abode was so time consuming? And expensive? Wtf. Figure out what new TV you want, check. Tell the guy at Costco the only reason you’re buying a TV is so your dog can watch it while you’re at work, check. Try to find a nice TV console/stand that’s not as expensive as the TV itself? WHERE? Ugh.

     

    In all of this, though, I’ve tried to set aside some time to make some food that was worth sharing. As busy as I’ve been, I turned to all my old-faithful recipes that are quick, tasty and I can make on autopilot. Though they’ve been mostly paleo and vegetarian, I was at a local restaurant last week and had something I really liked and wanted to create. I’ll share that later, obvi. For now, let’s talk about some moon stuff.

     

    Tomorrow is the New Moon for July – its in Cancer. Shout out to all my Cancer friends – and boy, y’all decided to be born at the same time. I have like 8 friends, and 7 of you have birthdays coming up. Just kidding.. but no really. The interesting thing about this moon is that it coincides with a total solar eclipse. The last total solar eclipse was two years ago, in August 2017 – do you all remember burning your retinas and worrying you’d be permanently blind like I did? Well, our friends in the southern hemisphere will get that fun tomorrow. This New Moon will mean a lot for people’s emotions and frustration. Falling within Cancer, which is one of the four cardinal zodiac signs, means a lot of buried emotions can’t hide any longer and will dig themselves out of the sand – like a crab on the beach would. This action will set off many reactions, and those afflicted will be acting with emotions first, logic second. Like the beach, it’s good to remember that even in a matter of hours – the tide rises and falls. So will our concerns. If your emotions last more than just a few days, perhaps it’s something to wait and think about with your non-emotional, logical side. As with any New Moon, use tomorrow as a “reset” button if you need it – you can shed the past, and start fresh – one step, one day at a time.

     

    Back to food! I went to a local restaurant recently, and their hummus and bread was just… delicious. I loved it. While I’m pretty lax right now and paired it with some naan bread, it would be so good with some gluten free goodies such as cut veggies, cauliflower bread, you name it. I definitely altered this quite a bit (theirs was a dark, almost purple color… I have no idea how they did it). Without further delay, here’s my rendition of the most delicious hummus I’ve had in a long time.

     

    Gorgonzola Chive Hummus (Gluten-Free!)

     

    Prep time: 15 min

    Cook time: n/a

    Makes about 2 cups (good appetizer for 6-8 people)

     

    Ingredients

    • 1 13oz can of organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
    • juice from half of a lemon
    • ½ of a yellow onion, loosely quartered (to easily break up in the good processor)
    • 2 tbsp organic olive oil
    • 1 tbsp organic tahini
    • 1 large clove of garlic
    • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, rinsed
    • 1/2 cup fresh chives (no need to chop… just shove em in there)
    • 2/3 cup high quality crumbled gorgonzola (I love Rogue Creamery brand from Wegmans)
    • ~1 tsp ground Himalayan sea salt, or more to taste
    • water, as needed (to thin the hummus)

     

    Directions

    1. In a food processor, first add your garbanzo beans, onion, tahini, lemon and garlic. Puree for 15-20 seconds, slowly pouring in your olive oil as it mixes (if your food processor doesn’t have a lid, add one tbsp at a time).
    2. Once somewhat smooth, add your parsley, chives, gorgonzola and sea salt. Continue to puree – mixture should be smooth. If the mixture needs thinning, add your water, 1 tsp at a time. Taste test, add more salt or lemon if needed.
    3. Once finished, serve in a small bowl. Garnish with additional chives.

     

    Enjoy!

    -S