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

Apple Sage and Onion Breakfast Sausage Patties (Paleo!)

Hey ya’ll. It’s JULY. Or rather, it July this weekend. How crazy is that? I’m headed to the beach tomorrow but last night I had the chance to cook some delicious FOOD! Getting some ideas on what to feed the crowd when down at the beach.

Really nothing crazy going on recently, just a lot of the same busy stuff. I am getting my Reiki Level II in July, so that’s new! I can’t wait. I’ll be able to do distance Reiki, so if anyone will need me… I’ll be around. 🙂

In other news… the full moon was last night – it was the Strawberry Moon, which marks the close of peak Strawberry season. This particular full moon falls under the sign of Capricorn. Hardworking, steadfast, balanced and grounded are what we need to channel now and going forward after this full moon. Capricorn is represented by the Mountain Goat. As I write this, I realize now why I’ve been having so many thoughts about goats… I needed to really dig into that energy. I was just telling a good friend that she was appearing in my dreams, and she became a goat shepherd. I guess my elaborate dreams are a story for another time.

Mountain goats are quirky, but are even-keeled, have incredible balance, and are extremely resilient and determined with every step they take up the vertical pitches of a mountain. As we work through this energy during the full moon, it’s important to remember that we can adventure during this time because of how prevalent this grounding energy is.

Just like the mountain goat trusts its footing, also need to trust our place and be sure of where we are. Everything is as it should be, and now is the time to trust the existence of balance and go for what we want. Can I get an AMEN, ladies and gentlemen?

I’ll have more fun stuff to post about once I get to the beach… there’s a new boat waiting for me to lay around like a total slug on and not do anything active. Just kidding, I’m determined to run each morning when I’m down there. Gonna have to, because I’ll be eating a WHOLEEEEE lot. Starting with a solid breakfast!

This is delicious and a really an easy way to make breakfast for crowd, or to roll into patties and freeze for later. I bagged the rest of mine up to bring to the beach! Lord knows those boys can eat.

On that note… short, sweet and to the point. Bon Appetit 🙂

 

Apple Sage and Onion Breakfast Sausage Patties (Paleo!)

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Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 15 min

Makes about 12-14 small patties, 8-10 large patties

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 Fuji apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, combine onion and apple and ~ 1 tbsp of your preferred oil. Sauté until browned, about 6-7 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and allow to cool.
  2. Once sausage has cooled off, combine the pork, garlic powder, sage, thyme, coconut sugar, cayenne pepper, cloves and salt and pepper. Use more salt than you think you’d need – I likely used a heaping tbsp of sea salt, and ½ tsp of black pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Roll into patties of your desired size. If freezing and saving for later, and chill for at least 20-30 minutes before freezing, so they keep their shape. If cooking immediately, heat a large skillet over medium high heat, and add another tbsp of your preferred oil and sauté until browned on both sides, about 4-5 minutes each side.

Enjoy!

-S

Pumpkin Chai Spiced Cheesecake (Paleo, Vegan)

I’ve had some really great ideas lately for things I want to start doing with this blog. My ultimate goal is to have a cookbook (working on it!), but I want to add a few other cool things to my repertoire too. I have so many little recipes for natural household cleaners with essential oils, herb infused cooking ingredients, the whole nine. Once I get some more time, I will definitely be sharing!

On a side note, Thanksgiving is 2 weeks away, and I’m left wondering where 2017 went. I think I can speak for most when I say that 2016 was just a lengthy and traumatic, so we were all waiting for 2017 to be a nice transition to figure all of our shit out.

I don’t think that happened, because it’s November and I’m not sure what I’ve done for the last 10.5 months. And I only drank a *few* beers.

Regardless, I plan on spending the rest of this year making my time count – I have a lot I want to accomplish, and I’m tired of letting time pass me by. To start, I want 2018 to have newsletters, updates, and I want to share with you all whatever it is you’re looking for when you walk into your kitchen and want to be inspired.

This post is short and sweet, didn’t take a lot of time… much like this recipe J I have another variation of this that I’ll have to post, but I wanted you all to have a delicious, gluten free/vegan alternative to bring to the Thanksgiving table next week! For a person that doesn’t really eat desserts… this one takes the cake. Pun intended.

Pumpkin Spiced Cheesecake (Gluten Free, Vegan)

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prep time: 25 min

cook time: n/a

Serves 12

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1¼ cup Medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Filling

  • 1½ cup raw cashews, soaked and drained**
  • ½ cup coconut cream
  • ½ cup agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup liquid virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 tsp chai tea leaves (approx. 2-3 tea bags)

**soaking the cashews for 4-5 hours is best, but you can also soak for about 20-25 minutes in a bowl of boiling water)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

For the crust:

  1. Add dates, cinnamon and almonds to food processor and pulse on high for 1-2 minutes until finely chopped and mixture starts to become sticky when you pinch it together. If the mixture is too dry, add more dates. If it’s too sticky, add more almonds, a small handful at a time.
  2. Transfer your crust to an 8″ springform pan. Firmly press crust into the bottom of the baking dish, ensuring that it is packed evenly around the entire dish and no air bubbles remain. Set aside.

For the cheesecake:

  1. In a blender, add cashews, coconut cream, agave nectar, vanilla extract, pumpkin, coconut oil and pumpkin pie seasoning. Blend on high until filling is very smooth and appears creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Pour half of the batter over the crust, making sure to get rid of any bubbles and that it’s covered evenly. Place in the freezer while you work with the remaining batter.
  3. Add the chai tea leaves to the last half of the batter and blend for another minute or so, making sure the entire mix is evenly blended.
  4. Gently pour the chai batter over the first batter slowly, so as to not mix the two. Tap  the sides of the dish to ensure the layer is evenly covering the rest, and to get rid of any air bubbles.
  5. Place cake in freezer for at least 2 hours to set. Before serving, remove from freeze for about 15 minutes to allow to thaw.

Enjoy!

-S

Girl-Scout Cookie Truffles (Paleo)

I have a love/hate relationship with girl scout cookies. I was girl scout for years, my mom was Cookie Mom… I have fond memories of a time when cookies weren’t $4 a box and were actually filled full with cookies. This was also a time where I could eat a box in its entirety, and the only consequence was the sugar high that lasted for what felt like a lifetime.

I tested that theory a few years ago, and those days are definitely over. I think the metabolic cut-off for that is about age 11.

I can recall. It was a rainy day, and I had just left my part time job at a clothing store. It was situated right next to a high end grocery store, which every girl scout knows is the mecca of selling cookies. I was hungry, my feet hurt, and the sweetest little Brownie, vest covered in patches she had earned, asked when the last time I had my favorite  cookie was.

You’re good, I thought. This little girl’s sales tactics are aggressive.

“Too long”, I said.  Out of respect, I bought a box of Caramel Delites, or “Samoas” as other regions know them.

I ate the whole box as I drove home. I still feel guilty when I think of that.

In my pursuit to recreate this cookie, but a much healthier version, my little truffle bites were born. This cookie is refined-sugar and guilt free. Added bonus: it’s vegan! If you miss the cookie but don’t have a crazy sweet tooth (I don’t), you can use the darkest chocolate available to balance out the coconut palm sugar. It’s absolutely delicious.

There’s really something to be said about all the silly things we feel guilty for. As you read this, you might think I’m crazy for feeling guilty about eating one box of cookies, 6 years ago. Then again, there’s probably things that everyone holds onto, feeling guilty, when from the outside it may seem quite silly. Though this cookie recipe may be small and simple, take it with a grain of salt (literally! Salt is so good on these things) and move forward from whatever little things make you feel guilty. It does you no good, harboring all these shameful thoughts about even the smallest of things…. if it’s so small, why not just chuck it and start over?

 

Paleo/Vegan “Caramel Delite” Bites

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Prep time: 45 min

Cook time: n/a

Yields 10-12

 

Ingredients

  • can full-fat coconut milk
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips, vegan certified
  • ½ tsp course Himalayan sea salt

 

Instructions

  1. In a medium sized saucepan, combine the coconut milk and coconut sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Once boiling, turn the heat to low and let the mixture cook slowly. Continue to stir frequently, until reduced to a thicker, syrupy texture.. this should take about 30-35 minutes. It will continue to thicken as it cools. Remove from heat and stir in salt and vanilla extract.  Set pan aside to cool. (side note – once cooled, this can be stored in a jar for up to two weeks, wahoo!)
  3. Combine shredded coconut in a bowl with caramel sauce until mixed thoroughly. Place mixture in the freezer for 30 minutes, until it has solidified.
  4. Melt chocolate using double boiler. If not available, heat on VERY low heat right in a saucepan with a smidge (1/2 tsp) of coconut oil, so that it won’t stick or burn.
  5. Meanwhile, scoop out about 1-2 tablespoons of the coconut mix, and shape into a ball in your hands. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat with rest of mixture, leaving 1-2 inches of room between each ball.
  6. Once all the balls are formed, pour a spoonful of the still-hot chocolate over each, ensuring the chocolate spreads evenly… it may pool down the side, which is fine. Once all are covered, you could garnish with extra shredded coconut, or salt.
  7. Place back in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to allow to dry before serving. If storing long term, they really only need less than 5 minutes to thaw before you can eat them.

Enjoy!

-S

 

These are a few of my favorite things….

Every time I say that, I think about the Sound of Music…. and cringe a little. I was never a fan of musicals, but I love to sing. I have mixed reviews of my singing abilities…. so I’m going to go with the notion of WHATEVER! I’ll sing WHENEVER! WHEREVER! As I sit here waiting for my brown sugar BBQ chicken to cook, and my sundried tomato orzo to absorb, I was thinking of a few of my favorite kitchen staples. Food, utensils, gotta have the goods. I may or may not have opened a bottle of wine my co-worker “sent me home with”, and I may be drinking it because I love a good Pinot Noir. Didn’t have to twist my arm on that one.

fullsizeoutput_26fGarlic Press – I love this thing. I have a hangup where I don’t like touching garlic, so I avoid mincing it whenever I can. This Little puppy, by OXO, is a godsend. I don’t even really have to get my hands smelly when I wash it, because you can press a lever and the thing comes apart! Wildly in love with it, highly recommend. You can find it here at Williams-Sonoma for about $20.

 

fullsizeoutput_288     Garlic Peeler – Did I mention I love garlic? This thing takes the agony out of getting the peels off of garlic. Just throw a clove inside, roll, and you’ve got all bare little clove of garlic. It’s a timesaver….and a lifesaver. Find one here on Amazon.

 

fullsizeoutput_273   A good silicone baking spatula – I found this in a bucket at Williams-Sonoma on Black Friday weekend last year, and I think it was mis-marked. I paid about $5 for it and I’ve been using it obsessively ever since. Le Creuset is a favorite of mine; their products really do stand up to the test of time. Mama 2 has a Le Creuset baking dish from when she got married…. I made some roasted veggies in it a few months ago when I was at their house. You do the math. Find it here for about $14.

 

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A (really, really, REALLY) sharp knife – Down the street at my actual house growing up, Mama 1 had some weird fear of sharp knives, so I never really grew up appreciating how convenient a super sharp knife is. This knife, by Shun, was a Christmas gift one year — runs you about $182. Trust me when I say you notice a difference — WELL worth the money. It’s my baby, and it slices a ripe tomato like a bodybuilder tearing a piece of tissue paper. That was terrible, please forget I said that. But i’m keeping it because I feel like you got the point.

 

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A good tea kettle – In my life, we don’t believe in microwaves. Anything that can voodoo-zap the moisture out of something until it heats up is freaking weird — don’t be jaded. This tea kettle (obviously very well loved, until I tried to get the tarnish off of it….) is by Il Mulino, which I found on sale and unfortunately haven’t seen once since. It’s used for everything — tea, tea, more tea, hot water for anything. I love it. A copper tea kettle is such a cool addition to your kitchen, we never put it away. It looks like it’s on it’s last leg, but it’s still kickin’.

 

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Sundried tomatoes – I get these from a local natural foods store called Harvest Market, and they are so delicious. They’re organic, and not super crispy — I like to put them in boiling water to soak, but then i’ll mix them with some olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper to liven them up a bit before I add them to things. Delicious addition to anything starchy, or chicken.

 

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Arrowroot powder – this is a paleo staple. Since regular wheat flour can’t be used as a thickener, this is a lifesaver. It’s 1:1 to cornstarch, but you use them for different things.  Arrowroot is used for sauces with acid like fruits, vinegar, etc, slow cooking over low heat, and things you want to freeze. Cornstarch is best for recipes with dairy, or things cooked in the oven, like pies. I use Bob’s Redmill Arrowroot powder, which is available on Amazon for about $8. A little goes a loooong way.

 

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a good “normal” starchy side – I love couscous… there’s so much you can do with it. I realize that not everyone who comes over eats like a vegan, paleo or gluten-free person, so this is a great staple that i love to have on hand. It cooks quickly, can take on any flavor, and makes a ton once cooked. Pick yours up at Acme, or you can pick up at Amazon.

 

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Good cutting/serving boards – I use these for everything. They’re sturdy enough for normal use as a cutting board but pretty enough to display on (you may see some of them make a cameo in my photos…). Always a go-to for entertaining. Pictured – top is by Anthropologie circa 2010; the skinny one is by Cynthia Rowley.

 

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Good cooking fats – I use olive oil on a lot of things, but I do love my grapeseed oil. Grapeseed and olive oil are the same in unsaturated fats and calories, but grapeseed oil has 2x as much Vitamin E… plus it’s a bit milder in taste. Available at Wegman’s, and Whole Foods!

 

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Quality vinegar(s) – I love making dressings for salads, and some just need a bit of something different. Apple cider vinegar is my staple, but I love balsamic for something different. The other one, Aronia Berry vinegar, by KeepWell, was picked up at a local farmers market.

 

Leave some comments on your favorite kitchen essentials — tools, ingredients, you name it!

Enjoy 🙂

-S

Maple Ginger Salmon (Paleo)

fullsizeoutput_239.jpegThere’s something about this recipe that really just brings back great memories. When I was 14, I worked at a sandwich shop near my house. Though it wasn’t in a populated area (the store itself was actually in the woods, next to a creek), people came from all over to eat deli sandwiches, buy penny candy, sip coffee and stop in to bring home dinner for the evening. The “regulars” took on a few different personas, depending on what time of day it was. There was the coffee crew, a collective group of older men that would make their way down to the storefront in their pick-up trucks and wait out front until the door opened at 6am. This sounds a bit menacing, but these were the grandfathers, fathers, great uncles and brothers of prominent business owners and other fixtures within the community; they were the friendly 2nd, 3rd and sometimes 4th generation men who were always there to help. Following this group were the landscapers,  construction foremen, local law enforcement, and of course, the kids came around once school let out. The last group that you could always look forward to consisted of busy mothers with children in tow, or a hurried husband designated with the task of manning that night’s dinner. Each person was there for something a bit different, yet the sentiment was always the same. This is where you came to grab a quick bite, an ingredient for later, or just some conversation with another local about when that darn bridge would get fixed. There is really something to be said about having a communal gathering place in a small town and the camaraderie it promotes… but then again, this was a REALLY small town.

I had started out behind the counter, making sandwiches and operating the cash register. My older sister had started there a few years prior, and had shown me how to make several of the staple recipes; the egg salad and deviled eggs, the Caesar salad dressing for the pre-made salad kits, the marinade for the salmon. If one knew anything about us, it was that we were (are) both perfectionists. As such, we had developed quite a reputation for making our sandwiches, neatly and symmetrically stacking our sliced deli cheeses, or throwing out “old” food maybe a bit prematurely (much to the dismay of our store owner). We made sure everything was made exactly the same way, every time, and that was what people came back for. While that was nice and all, I’m not sure what happened since then, because I can’t remember the last time I read a recipe and thought, “Wow, I am going to make this without changing a damn thing!!!” I change everything. I duplicate nothing. It’s only a problem if you think of it as a problem!

fullsizeoutput_23e.jpegOne of the previous store owners was a chef – people would line up out the door if they knew he was making one of his specialties. Of all the things we helped make, the Salmon was, by far, my favorite. Like I said before, my recall of how it was really made has since left me, but that’s probably for the best so I don’t infringe on his true recipe. I’ve tweaked this over the years, and FORTUNATELY, I remember my measurements so it comes out the same each time. I’m all for catering to individual preference though – if you like yours to have a bit more zip, add whatever you’d like. A friend of mine “helped” me make this once, and dumped 2 tbsp of sriracha in the sauce bowl when I wandered away. We called that ‘Hell House’ salmon…. and that’s where we left it.

At the end of the day – there’s something to be said for nostalgia. To have something that you’re able to fondly look back on keeps your perspective of the past, and sets a precedent for your future if you approach it with the same positivity you look back at happy memories with.

Maple Ginger Salmon

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Prep time: 20 min

Cook Time: 20-25 min

Serves 4

Note: You can marinate the salmon prior to cooking – I usually try to do at least 2 hours in the fridge, if I have the time. Not mandatory, though!

Ingredients

  • 4 half-pound fillets of wild caught salmon, skin and bones removed
  • 1/3 cup red or brown miso paste, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup; more to taste if needed
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, very finely minced, or ground with a zester
  • 1/3 cup tamari (soy sauce can be used for non-gluten free alternative)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup scallions, sliced thin

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix miso paste, maple syrup, ginger, half of the scallions and tamari together in a bowl. Slowly drizzle olive oil in until emulsified. The sauce should be thick, but not like a paste. If too thick, add more oil, slowly. Feel free to taste and add more of each ingredient as necessary – some like their salmon a bit saltier, some a bit sweeter.
  3. If cooking immediately in the oven, brush the bottom of a 3 quart glass baking dish with some of the marinade. Place salmon in the dish, allowing space between the fillets so they can cook evenly. If you’re grilling, just make sure you switch out your plate from the raw salmon to a fresh one – always a good idea with raw meats.
  4. The salmon should be cooked after approximately 20 min – you don’t want it too dry, the salmon should be opaque and starting to flake. Once removed from the oven, garnish with remaining scallions. Enjoy this with some Garlicky Tahini Kale. 🙂

Enjoy!

-S

Taco Seasoning

This seasoning is perfect for meats, veggies or anything you want to make taste like a taco. If you have a preference for less spice, feel free to add less heat (i.e. Cayenne, Chili Powder, etc). With spices, I like to get organic as often as possible since you put them in everything you eat. A lot of spice companies use preservatives to keep them fresh on the shelves, so make sure you check that your spice has only the ingredients it should!

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Taco seasoning

  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground coriander

You can store this in a glass spice jar in a cool, dry place for up to 1 month. Enjoy!

-S