Caribbean Party Rice (Vegan, Gluten-Free!)

Hey foodies. Half way through another week and the moon is now in Libra! To be honest, I don’t know that this would necessarily influence my life to the point where I stop and point it out to myself, but it’s nice to think about. I like to think that, similar to my actual birthday month, that this is my own little dedicated “me!” time, or that I should meditate or do more yoga during this time.

 

I made a really fun dinner this past Sunday — I was inspired by the super bright and sunny day we had on Saturday and decided to make a Caribbean themed dinner. All I wanted was bright colors, spicy and earthy flavors, and… pineapple.

 

I have a love/hate relationship with pineapple. It really does have a great flavor, but the texture is enough to make me gag and immediately spit it out. I think this stems back to my older sister force-feeding me pineapples after a stomach bug as a child. I’ll never fully recover.

 

That doesn’t stop me from enjoying little bits of it every now and again though. While I used the majority of the pineapple in the rest of my recipes, I added a little dash to this dish. I saw a jerk spiced rice recipe with beans in it, but I wanted this to be a bit more fun and colorful. 

 

Caribbean Party Rice (Vegan, Gluten-Free!)

 

prep time: 30 min

cook time: 30 min

Serves 6-8

 

Ingredients

 

  • 2.5 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 13oz can of coconut milk
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, finely chopped, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 large jalapeno, finely chopped, seeds and ribs removed
  • 3 stalks of scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts added
  • 1.5 to 2 tsp of sea salt (to taste – I love salt but tend to intentionally under salt)
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

 

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, add your coconut milk, cloves, cayenne pepper, pineapple juice, water and rice. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cover. allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, checking to ensure rice is not stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir, check that it’s cooked (should be soft, no al dente rice!) and allow to air out, fluffing as it dries.
  1. Meanwhile, as you’re waiting for the rice to cook, add your bell pepper, red onion and garlic to a large frying pan with your preferred cooking fat, over medium heat. Sauté until onion stars to become translucent, about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add your garlic and continue to sauté for another 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat until you’re able to add your rice (if it isn’t finished cooking).
  1. Once your rice has finished cooking, add it to your skillet, over a medium low heat. Add your fresh jalapenos and stir, adding additional seasoning if desired. Don’t be afraid to kick up the spices in this one — if you want flavorful rice, you must be generous with your spices!
  1. Continue sautéing until rice is thoroughly mixed, brought back to temperature and browned in some spots. Once finished, remove from heat and stir in your cilantro. Serve immediately.

 

Enjoy!

-S

BBQ Cauliflower “Wings” (Paleo, with vegan option!)

Happy Monday!

I don’t know how the weekend went so fast, but it was MUCH needed. Though it was technically a short week last week due to Monday being off and Wednesday being a snow day, it felt like the longest week ever. I’m ready for another vacation. While I was home on Wednesday, I got to experiment a bit with some really good  BBQ recipes. Example – cauliflower.

Yes, you read that right.

No, it isn’t gross. 

No, you shouldn’t tell picky eaters what it is until after they eat it.

They were like cute little  boneless wings, all crispy and delicious. If I made them again, I’d definitely tweak a few things… so here is my recommendation!

 

BBQ Cauliflower “Wings” (Paleo, with vegan option!)

prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 45-50 min total

Ingredients

For the cauliflower:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower florets, trimmed into bite-size but still somewhat large pieces
  • 1 cup of tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp salt, divided
  • 2 tsp garlic powder, divided
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 3 eggs (vegan option: 1 tbsp flax meal, pinch of salt and 3 tbsp hot water, stirred thoroughly)
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup cassava flour
  • 1 tsp dried parsley

For the BBQ sauce:

  • 2/3 cup organic ketchup
  • ¼ cup sriracha sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In three separate mixing bowls, add your tapioca flour with a tsp of salt to one bowl, your eggs (or flax egg mixture) to another, and then your almond flour, cassava flour, tsp of salt and parsley to the last one. Make sure the contents of each bowl are mixed thoroughly.
  1. Dredge your cauliflower first in your tapioca flour, tapping to dust off any excess, but not too hard so that all the flour comes off. Next, dip into your egg/”egg” mixture, thoroughly coating. Lastly, dredge your piece of cauliflower in your almond flour/breadcrumb mixture. Place on a greased/lined baking sheet spaced evenly apart, and repeat for the rest of the cauliflower pieces. Once finished, bake until golden brown, about 35-40 minutes.
  1. Meanwhile, as your cauliflower is baking, add your ketchup, vinegar, sugar, maple syrup, paprika, garlic, cayenne and onion powder to a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Once brought to a boil, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer and thicken for 15-20 minutes. Test for salt/pepper needed, and add to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  1. Once your cauliflower is cooked, remove from heat and add to a large mixing bowl.  Set your oven to broil. Generously brush your sauce over the cauliflower bites in the bowl, gently stirring to coat. Once coated, add back to your baking sheet, spreading into a single layer, evenly spaced.
  1. Broil until cauliflower starts to crisp again. Remove from heat, and serve.

 

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

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

Chipotle Twice-Baked Sweet Potato with Bacon and Avocado (Paleo!)

Hey y’all. Still cold. However, apparently there’s a snowstorm on the horizon…. Which I LOVE. I am ready for  snow, 100%.

As I sit back and think about how  close December is, and how close to an end 2018 is, I think about how much happened in 2018, and how much still has yet to happen as a result of what’s since passed this year. 2018 was a prime example of looking at things through a lens lined with emotional and spiritual maturity, peace and loving energy. What’s that really mean, outside of all the foo-foo stuff? Really, just this – as we begin to evolve more quickly, which is happening more and more each year, it’s easier for us to stay aware of what’s changing and going on around us, and how we can react to best suit our needs and heal.

Again, what does this really mean? Here’s a few examples:

  • Not believing every first thought we have – some are rooted in human emotion and fear, and don’t suit our best interest. Taking a step back and realizing that our thoughts have a greater influence on what goes on around us can make a WORLD of difference in keeping with the positive instead of sticking without knee jerk reaction. Be patient with your thoughts, and allow yourself to process before coming to conclusions.
  • Not sourcing our own value from someone else’s perspective – on the flipside, while your thoughts do control your life around you, they cannot directly manipulate people around you. Focus on only your reactions, and understand that if you’re too worried about someone else’s thoughts, you lose sight and strength over your own.
  • Focusing your sights on not having enough, and whatever lackthereof is ailing you – this sounds counterintuitive if you gloss over it, but this one is the most important. I’m a FIRM believer in the law of attraction, for many  reasons. If you go around thinking about everything you don’t have, it will never be any further from you. You say… but, Sarah, how do I live my life like I have all the stuff I need, if I don’t already have it? Well, you choose your words carefully. You wake up in the morning, count your blessings (no matter how few there are), and thank the universe for the opportunity to gain everything you’re destined to. Once you’ve done this enough times, two things happen. First, you truly see how valuable what it is you do already have, and then simultaneously open your doorway for more.

Everyone is guilty of these thoughts at some point, because we are human. In order to truly evolve and heal, we need to catch ourselves and recondition our knee-jerk reactions into things much more suited for growth, and self love. We also need to stop thinking of self-love as a foo-foo, dirty of silly term, and start defining what that means to us, little by little.

Side note, I was pretty excited to see that my store introduced plum for the holidays – what a great color to finish off the year with. Plum, or violet, or any rich shade of purple, is an extremely powerful color – often associated with royalty (the Advent candles are also purple….) 🙂 I came across a healing technique recently, having to do with envisioning a violet flame – both the color, and visualization, are extremely powerful in that they present a quick spiritual “recharge” that we can do for ourselves.

The  color violet is special in that it holds the highest frequency within the spectrum of colors – this is a scientific fact. By identifying the highest color vibration we know of, we provide a segue to the next level of vibrational light. What’s the brightest thing you can think of, that you’ve seen on earth? Fire.

If I haven’t lost you yet, by envisioning a violet colored flame, we are calling our thoughts to move to the highest level of light our minds can think of. Light such as this has the ability to heal our physical bodies (think of laser therapy), alter our perception of what’s around us (think of illuminating a dark room), and provide warmth and comfort, helping heal our emotional bodies. A quick visualization can put you on the path of healing with a few steps.

In a quiet room, visualize yourself seated and surrounded by violet light. While you’re visualizing it, imagine it flickering as if it were a candlelit  flame – anything to create a realistic image.

  • As you picture yourself immersed completely within the violet light, say this to yourself several times:
  • “I am within the violet light, because the violet light is within me.”
  • Express your gratitude for the opportunity to connect with the Violet Light – this actually is a representation of connecting with your higher self.

If you’ve never visualized something like this, I may have definitely lost you. Trust me when I say that at the very least,  you will feel more calm, and definitely more empowered. Repeat this as necessary throughout the rest of the year.

—–

I bet you might be hungry after reading all of this. I know I am. Since it’s still COLD as a witch’s…. broomstick, please enjoy this tasty healthy version of a twice baked potato. Gluten-free, dairy free, paleo, keto-compliant, this thing is the bees knees. You won’t be sorry 🙂

Chipotle Twice-Baked Sweet Potato with Bacon and Avocado (Paleo!)

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 90 min

Serves 5-6

Ingredients

  • 3 sweet potatoes, more round/fat in shape
  • 1 lb of thick cut bacon
  • 1 heaping tsp of ground chipotle powder
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 2-3 ripe avocados
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prick your sweet potatoes with a fork, and coat with your preferred fat/oil (I like avocado oil). Bake for 50-60 minutes, until tender. Once cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool before slicing neatly in half. Further let cool once cut and halved. Turn oven down to 350. If using to cook bacon on a cookie sheet, bake until slightly browned. Leave oven at operating temperature. (skillet cooking bacon is fine too – just cook and set aside). Chop into small pieces, and set aside.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, add 1 tsp of your preferred oil and saute onion until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Then add your garlic, continuing to saute until starting to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, gently scoop the contents of each sweet potato half, leaving behind a thin layer if necessary to keep the skin in tact. Mash the sweet potato, adding the garlic, onion and chipotle. Next, add your bacon. You likely won’t want to taste test for more salt until after your bacon is added, since bacon does tend to add a lot of salty flavor. Add more chipotle, if desired.
  4. Scoop contents back into the sweet potato skins, dividing equally. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until potato starts to form a golden crust.
  5. Meanwhile, as the potatoes are cooking, mash your avocado in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and a pinch of chipotle if desired. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make this as you would any other guacamole (link to my recipe!), depending on what ingredients you have on hand.
  6. When potatoes are finished cooking, remove from heat and serve with a scoop of avocado on top. Garnish with cilantro.

Enjoy!

-S

Garlic Paprika Thyme Sweet Potato Fries (Paleo, Vegan!)

Boy, do I love me some carbs. It’s sort of a problem.

My jeans have gotten tighter, but such is life when Dogfish Head Punkin Ale AND French fries are involved. Even if this means I have to go out and actually get both of them. Yum? Yes. Since I typically start off complaining about the weather, I’d like to point out that it’s been feeling particularly Fall-ish recently… with the exception of the monsoon and grey skies today, I enjoy that the leaves have been falling. I even went out to the barn yesterday! I didn’t ride, it was raining, but it was nice, crisp and cool. Two thumbs up.

I’m also back into the swing of things with cooking on Sundays… I hope to make a few things that I can pass along on the blog, but I do get a bit… lax…. When it comes to healthy eating as the weather gets cooler. I’ve been exceptionally lucky to not have to worry a WHOLE lot about gaining weight with as much as I do, but as I said… my jeans, they is tight. I will be doing some cardio today, with the intention of eating Guinness Beef stew soon, and some Shepherd’s Pie, and… other potato-ey goodness without sacrificing my waistline.

The good news is, not all carbs are created equal. There are complex carbs, and carbs are fuel! Unless you’re into the Ketogenic diet (which I do enjoy a lower carb recipe every now and again), use your carbs to your advantage, and dress em up with some garlic and zest. Like these, below.

Garlic Paprika Thyme Sweet Potato Fries (Paleo, Vegan!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 35-40 min

Ingredients

  • Two large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin, fry-shaped strips (sized to your preference, some people like wedges)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • ½ tbsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together your garlic, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl with your olive oil.
  2. To evenly coat, I like to put my fries into a bag, pour my oil mixture in, and shake… you can also coat sweet potato fries with a brush, or your hands if you enjoy a mess… heh.
  3. On a greased cookie sheet, place your fries in a single layer, evenly spaced, so they cook thoroughly. If you prefer super crispy fries, feel free to turn over with tongs once browned on one side. Once they start to crisp/firm up and brown, remove from heat and allow to cool a few minutes before serving. As they dry, they will  continue to crisp.

Enjoy!

-S

Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean Dip (Gluten Free, Vegan!)

Just a quick update for you all! Tomorrow is my birthday, and I’ve been SUPER busy. I haven’t forgotten about you!

I wanted to give you guys a good recipe for any upcoming parties you have, especially for fall J I love to make my own potato and sweet potato chips, which go really well with this recipe (air fryers for the win, I love Amazon… find mine here). This dip is super quick, super easy, and the last time I made it, it was gone within 30 min. Note…. Double the recipe next time, heh.

Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean Dip (Gluten-free, Vegan!)

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Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: n/a

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can of cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • ¾ cup of roasted red peppers (jarred, in olive oil, is what I used)
  • juice from ½ of a large lemon, plus more to taste
  • salt, to taste (I used ~1 tsp)
  • pepper, to taste
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ~1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • optional: handful of crumbled feta (FYI – feta is not vegan… it’s cheese…)

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except the feta cheese in a food processor and blend until smooth – about 30-45 seconds. Adjust flavors to preference – you may like additional salt, or lemon.
  2. If using feta, upon serving, stir gently into the dip. I also like to sprinkle some on top for presentation, but note! Again, feta is not vegan.

Enjoy!

-S