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

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

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

Mediterranean Zucchini Pasta with Garlic, Sun-dried Tomato, Toasted Walnuts and Feta (Gluten Free, with Vegan option!)

Hello, foodies. Hope you’re all staying dry out there! I’ve been thinking of those of you down south, the news about the devastating flooding breaks my heart 😦 My grandfather lives in Greenville, SC and he said the rain has been unbelievable. Those of you in coastal towns –  you’re in my thoughts! I’ve been trying to find the best way to offer assistance in the wake of all the flooding – unfortunately, not much can be started until the water recedes. If you’re interested in helping out those in need, always do your homework before donating money (local is better!), and make sure you know some details about where you’re donating. Here are a few ways I’m considering:

Local Food Banks – Harvest Hope Food Bank, Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. It’s recommended to contact them to see where their greatest needs are before donating.

Google Donate – if you google “Hurricane Florence donate”, Google has a donation page set up. There are FAQ’s if you’d like to verify its validity, and they will match up to $1MM in donations. Often times, money is the best way to go so it can be used however needed.

Local Humane Societies – North Carolina (Greenville), and South Carolina (Myrtle Beach)

Frank’s Nation – Animal Rescue/Shelter- https://www.gofundme.com/frank039s-nation-vs-hurricane-flo

Verified by GoFundMe, this non-profit has launched a campaign to cover expenses of its volunteers who are searching for dogs in the affected areas. Save the pups left behind! 😦

Hopefully you all find some time or spare money to offer, if you’re able J many people won’t be able to return home until the water recedes, so anything we can do to help, we should!

Side note… I made some delicious stuff in the last few days. Some paleo and gluten free friendly, some “healthy”… and some are NAATTT. I made my family’s famous potato salad, which is filled with sugar, and mayo, and deliciousness… but I also made some light staples, appetizers and some good fall dishes. You’re in for a treat for the next few days, as this weather is going to be cruddy.

Until next time… here’s my delicious zoodles!

Mediterranean Zucchini Pasta with Garlic, Sun-dried Tomato and Toasted Walnuts and Feta (Gluten Free, with Vegan option!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 20 min

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 jar of sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and thinly sliced (save the oil!)
  • 3-4  green zucchinis, spiralized (or two 1lb packages of pre-sliced zoodles)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3  cups of fresh spinach, loosely chopped
  • Handful of toasted walnuts, seasoned to preference (I like garlic powder, generous salt and pepper! Clink the link for my recipe) If vegan- use plain walnuts
  • Optional: 2/3 cup crumbled feta, plus more to taste (cheese is not paleo compliant, FYI)

Directions

  1. Using a spiralizer, cut your zoodles according to the tool’s instructions. Place on a paper towel to remove some of the moisture. Pro-Tip – I like to do this ahead of time to allow them to dry a bit, as zucchinis are made up of a lot of water. If using pre-cut – leave the package open for a few hours in the fridge prior to using.
  2. Once ready to cook, heat about 1-2 tbsp  oil in large pan over medium high heat. Add zucchini noodles and saute for 5-7 minutes, allowing some of the water to cook out. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Once tender, remove from heat and set aside on a plate.
  3. Add another tbsp. of your reserved sundried tomato oil to the pan and turn the heat back down to medium – add your onion and saute for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add your garlic and allow to brown (but not burn), for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Once your onion and  garlic are cooked, add your sundried tomato and spinach to the pan, stirring. Next, add your wine and turn the heat to medium high in order to burn out the alcohol. Stir to combine, until spinach begins to wilt. Salt and pepper to taste, if needed.  Lastly, add your zoodles back to the pan, stirring to coat in the tomatoes and spinach.

Upon serving, garnish with walnuts and feta, if using.

Enjoy!

-S

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Garlic, Sage and Mushrooms (Paleo, Vegan!)

More rain. That’s totally fine. It means I’m not missing anything outdoors, and I can sit inside, watch Barefoot Contessa and stare at my dog. And more importantly…. COOK!

It’s September 1, which means a lot to a lot of different people. To me, as a fall baby, a Libra, and lover of all things fall, it’s been a countdown for the last 9 months. I’m not even ashamed of all the plaid flannel, suede booties and cute thermals I have… and the food is a whole different ballgame. Speaking of ballgames, I think other people are interested in football right now…? I love to watch baseball, but my sport of choice is hockey. Go Flyers. I’m a horseperson, so my hobbies aren’t really something people gather to watch unless they partake themselves. But I do love me some football parties, because that means COOKING!

Short and sweet, honestly. This recipe is a repost by request. I posted a little preview on my Instagram a little while back, but here we are with the final product! Gnocchi is one of the few Italian foods I do eat. While I love carbs, I’d much prefer potatoes than pasta. Growing up around a predominantly Italian extended family (though I am not one bit Italian, lol!), I got to see a lot of different ways to make staple Italian dishes. I love ricotta gnocchi, regular gnocchi, the whole nine… but red sauce isn’t something I typically prefer, unless it’s on top of a pizza. That’s a recipe for another time, so let me share with you how to make Brown Butter and Sage Sweet Potato Gnocchi! Yes, you read that right 🙂

These have an inherently sweet flavor because of the sweet potato, so balancing it with hearty mushrooms, garlic and sage just really makes the dish pop. Oh, did I mention these are VEGAN? You can definitely jazz them up by adding some pancetta, but these will do just fine. Promise.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Garlic, Sage and Mushrooms (Paleo, Vegan!)

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed so that any chunks are broken up
  • 1/2 cup of cassava flour, plus more if needed. Sometimes the sweet potatoes hold a bit more water than anticipated, which is no biggie!
  • ~2 tsp olive oil, plus more if needed
  • pinch of sea salt, to taste
  • 1 package of pre-sliced cremini/baby bella mushrooms, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 heaping tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • additional herbs of choice, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Peel and rinse your sweet potatoes, removing any knots. Boil in a large pot, potatoes covered with water until soft. Once finished, remove from water and allow to cool. Place in a large bowl and mash until smooth.
  2. Add in your cassava flour and mix until completely smooth. Add salt to taste. If you prefer a bit of zest, feel free to add a smidge of garlic powder and paprika, a pinch at a time. The flavor will be in the sauce, so don’t worry if it’s light.
  3. This part can get tedious, so be patient! Take teaspoon sized scoops of the mixture and roll into balls. I used a gnocchi roller to really get the shape going, but you can form into an oblong sphere and roll with a fork to get your gnocchi marks.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop gnocchi into it. Once they have risen to the surface, remove, and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
  5. If you have one, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into the pan. Add gnocchi and cook on each side until golden, then remove. I’ve tried this with cast iron and regular metal, and they may stick unless you use a nonstick skillet.
  6. While your yams are boiling (or while your gnocchi mixture sits), Add your onion to a large frying pan along with a tbsp of olive oil (or ghee/butter if not vegan) over medium heat. Sauté 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent.
  7. Add your garlic and mushrooms, continuing to stir. The mushrooms may start to release some water, so make sure these remain uncovered.
  8. Once the mushroom and onion mixture starts to caramelize, add your gnocchi to the same pan as well as your sage, and continue to sauté. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Try not to disturb the gnocchi too much, as you don’t want them to break apart. Shimmy the pan to mix until further browned, another 2-3 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Garnish with herbs.

Enjoy!

-S