Apple Cinnamon Muffins (Paleo!)

It’s September!

 

‘Tis the season to no longer be ashamed of my basic love for all things PUMPKIN. And carbs. And SWEATERS. Apples! Crunchy leaves to step on when walking my dog! I have to stop here, I’m getting too overwhelmed.

 

This weekend is the annual Mushroom Festival here in little ol’ Kennett Square. Here, you can find all things mushroom-related: décor, food, games, everything. I’ve been a lifelong spectator of the festival, but I’m extra excited for this year! I didn’t go into too much detail the last time I mentioned it, but I will be competing in the annual Amateur Mushroom Cook-off. This year’s special ingredient is Scaramuzza’s pasta – I will be making sage, pancetta and mushroom gnocchi in a garlic cream sauce. Definitely not paleo, gluten free, dairy free, or anything remotely *healthy*,  but it’s really tasty and I’m excited to make it! My first step to being on the Food Network…. hahaha. But no, really. Someone reading this, help me make that happen.  

 

After taking a long weekend and having a lot more time to make some recipe ideas for you all, I’ve turned out a LOT of fall stuff. I’m going to make this quick so we can cut to the chase and get on to talking about food. This is a nice variation of something similar I’ve made before, but it’s SUPER easy to make and freeze to save for later. I wrap them individually in foil or wax paper, defrost it overnight and take one on my way to work. These are nice because they stay nice and moist – they pretty much never go stale… they are what my neighbor’s kids refer to as “wet muffins”. It’s innocent because a four-year-old says it, so I’ll stick with it.

 

Apple Cinnamon Muffins (Paleo!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 25 min

Makes 12 muffins

 

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 fuji or gala apple, core removed – peeled and diced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (unflavored is also fine)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your muffin tin lightly with coconut oil.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
  3. Divide batter evenly among cups – the muffin cups should be about ¾ full so they don’t overflow and bake over the sides.
  4. Bake for about 25 minutes until starting to turn golden on top. Check if they are done by sticking a knife or toothpick into a middle muffin – if it’s clean, they’re finished. Let cool, and serve!

Optional: if you’re feeling extra indulgent, spread a little ghee over them.

Enjoy!

-S

Nacho Kale Chips (Paleo, Vegan!)

Today’s the first day of school!

I don’t have kids, so the only reason this is significant to me is because traffic gets heavier and there are school buses everywhere. I get into my job very early in an attempt to miss work traffic, but I end up getting caught in school traffic. Always something. 

Ok – so having said that, I’ve been using any bit of spare time to create recipe ideas for fall, because Labor Day is coming. Soon it will be socially acceptable to turn into a pumpkin and sprinkle cinnamon and cloves on everything I touch. Can’t WAIT! I don’t drink caffeine if I can help it so I am not a pumpkin spice latte kind of girl, but I have already started buying sweaters and writing down recipes for soups, stews and things you can make in the oven. We’ve had a little taste of cooler weather recently and it’s been lovely. I even have a hair appointment next week for lowlights for cooler weather. When I say I am ready, I aint lyin’.

So, a lot of my posts are centric around the moon – I wanted to take this time to mention this coming Friday’s “Super Moon” new moon. The moon is something unanimously understood, even if it at a really basic level. I would imagine that not nearly as many people are going to relate to the fact that this new moon is conjunct with Mars, or that the Sun and Mars trine Uranus. While it’s significant, the moon is a universal touchpoint for people to understand astrological or cosmic influence and have it be relatable. New moons represent new beginnings – this one is considered a “super moon” because of how close (and large) it will be, though we won’t be able to see it that well if at all. Similar to the recent full moon, this particular phase is aligned similarly – an abundance of creativity because there’s a lot of masculine and feminine energy from surrounding planet alignments. Laymen’s terms – start something fun! Pick up a new healthy habit, start a craft, or kick off a project you’ve been meaning to get to. 

Switching gears. I’ve been doing recipes with a plan recently, trying to get the last of summer. I had one initially planned but then I decided to buy another giant bunch of kale, forgetting I already had one at home. What does one do when they have too much kale? Since I can’t give it to my dog (FYI, y’all – kale is high in calcium oxalate which can cause kidney stones in dogs), I was just going to make a bunch of salads and give them all away. Then it dawned it me. I’m going to make kale chips.

I love kale chips, but let’s be honest. They’re expensive when you buy them. They break and crumble. Oh, also – I am sort of cheap. Why am I paying $8 for a box of kale crumbs? I definitely should be able to make these? So it took about 14 seconds to decide that I wanted nacho kale chips. Vegan nacho kale chips. 

These were really easy, I was surprised. There wasn’t a whole lot of experimenting, so I think I lucked out here. They turned out delicious. Next time you want to buy 2 huge bunches of kale, keep this recipe in the back of your mind!

 

Nacho Kale Chips (Paleo, Vegan!)

 

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of kale, ribs removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more if needed

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet or two with foil and spray, or use parchment paper to line the sheet.
  1. In a small mixing bowl, add your tahini and spices. Whisk your oil in, slowly. Mixture should be thinner than straight tahini but not quite runny. Add more olive oil in if needed, 1 tsp at a time to get the right consistency. Adjust flavors to taste – it should be pretty zesty with a noticeably salty flavor. 
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add your kale (ensuring it’s dry first!). Drizzle your dressing over the kale. With clean or gloved hands, thoroughly mix the kale, pressing the dressing into the leaves to break them down.
  1. On your cookie sheet(s), spread your kale out in an even single layer, ensuring pieces aren’t overlapped.
  1. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until thoroughly crispy but not burnt.

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

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

Sweet Potato “Crostini” with Red Pepper Bruschetta (Paleo!)

Ah… the full moon. Sunday was an interesting day for it. My friend and I went out shopping, and the predicted temperature was supposed to dip down to about 4 degrees F that night. We planned to make dinner, and we had to go to 3 different grocery stores to find onions, ground turkey and ginger. Apparently, people in this area thought they weren’t going to be able to go outside… or… eat turkey. It was a really strange day that ended with a giant tarp blowing across the road and into/onto a man’s pick-up truck and then onto mine, and then finding that my cat got stuck in my room and peed on my expensive dress coat because he panicked. Again, very… interesting day.

I started off this year really strong, actually. Not to say that my year is not still strong, but I was really intentional about my new year’s plans. I had maybe 1-2 drinks at a very small get-together, went to bed at 12:30, and woke up at 7, did some yoga/stretching, and went to the gym. I’ve made an effort to be much more aware of my thoughts, what I want to happen, and want I want, in general. The first week of January, I came across a numerology article about what this “year” is considered, and it says it’s a “3” year. It said that we’re already familiar with this number because our lives revolve around this number – we are on the third planet from the sun, we are made of mind, body and soul, good and bad things come in three’s. After calculating my personal number for 2019, I found that I am also a number 3 for this year. It felt spot on – I’ve said “This year is my year!” before, but this year, it actually feels accurate. It says my creativity and abundance are up on deck to shine, and I honestly couldn’t agree more. I think the thing that keeps me going is truly believing that this kind of energy really is limitless. If you put into practice the idea that your thoughts really do dictate your situation (your job, happiness, wealth, friendships, etc.), it really does happen. It’s so simple, yet so hard for a lot of us. My advice? Invest in yourself, and meditate. Do some yoga. It took me YEARS to learn how to settle into my hot yoga classes and focus – dozens of times to meditate and no longer wonder ‘was I just sort of sleeping?’ This stuff pays off, and it allows you to really connect with what’s going on around (and above) you.

I find that the frustrations of 2018 haven’t left me, they’re definitely still around. I’m just less mad about them, or more sure that they’ll fade or get better, whether I have control over it or not.  This full moon that happened on Monday was a total lunar eclipse. While eclipses sound like darkness, uncertainty, or unexpected events, there’s place for the confidence and courage to accept the change that is coming. This year is more of a reset button – to take a moment to pause and drop what isn’t serving you. Are you feeling really independent and capable? Awesome, that’s where you should be. This moon was huge – it was closer to us and it was close enough to leave behind some energy to those most sensitive or most in need of it. The moral of the story is this – this year, energetically, we have a leg-up to get ourselves through some challenges… much like our earthly New Years’ resolutions, this is only the beginning. Don’t give up yet.

I actually have a few recipes to post in the next few days, but every now and again I like to post a recipe for an appetizer, for a party. Now’s a great time to have some friends over – it’s colder than a witch’s bittie right now, so why not sit indoors and sip wine and eat snacks with your friends?!

Sweet Potato “Crostini” with Red Pepper Bruschetta (Paleo!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 45 min

Ingredients

For the sweet potatoes:

  • 3 long (or at least more skinny) sweet potatoes, cut into ½ centimeter slices
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried parsley

For the bruschetta:

  • 4-5 pound roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp (ish) balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a small dish, mix together your first parts of olive oil, paprika, and salt/pepper. Place your sweet potato slices on a greased or lined cookie sheet and brush with oil mixture on both sides. Bake for 20-25 minutes until starting to brown, then flip sweet potato pieces over onto other side for remaining 20-25 minutes, until brown (but not burnt!).
  3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, grab a small bowl for the dressing. Whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, balsamic, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt/pepper) until mixed. Add your tomato, onion and roasted red pepper, and allow to sit and marinate.
  4. Once sweet potato slices are cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool on a rack to allow them to crisp. Once cool to the touch, spoon some bruschetta onto each slice, and garnish with parsley and basil.

Serve, and enjoy 🙂

-S