Asian-Inspired Broccoli Cabbage Slaw (Paleo, Keto-Friendly, Vegan!)

I always say I’ll keep my momentum going with making posts and recipes to share, but often times I just get so busy that I completely forget. I love to make things, but in all honesty, a lot of what I make either doesn’t make the cut aesthetically, or I eat it before I even think to take a picture. You win some, you lose some.

 I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! Mine was small, but I did go to my parents’ house, against my better judgment. I was fine with eating alone, but decided that I would spend dinner with them, after we all decided that we had been sufficiently social distancing. Boy, was I wrong! COVID scare in the immediate family, and my test is scheduled for later today. Fortunately, they are asymptomatic and okay – fingers crossed that my test comes back negative, but I am quarantining for a few more days just to be sure.  It’s a bummer that I have to miss the farmers market today, but it’s in the interest of public good. Sigh.

So did anybody cook anything really interesting for Thanksgiving? I made a creamed corn recipe that is a hybrid of a fancy Epicurious recipe crossed with a sweet elderly lady named Millicent’s creamed corn. It was delicious. I ate the carbs. I enjoyed the carbs. I am over the carbs. To that end, I am only likely continuing my ketogenic adventures until the end of the year. I’m considering skipping Dry January, because it’s the one indulgence I can still have during COVID. We will see.

I made an Asian Slaw that I want to share with you all, so I guess that’s what I’m sharing. I have been all over the place, and I can’t go to the store until Monday 😦 (I know I could order food and have it delivered, but I’m very particular about feeling my avocados before I buy them) This was made a few weeks ago, and it’s definitely really tasty! Plus, it’s paleo, keto-friendly and vegan!

Asian-Inspired Broccoli Cabbage Slaw (Paleo, Keto-Friendly, Vegan!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: n/a

Ingredients

  • 3 cups red cabbage, sliced very thin

  • 1/3 red onion, also sliced very thin

  • 2 cups fresh broccoli, cut into small, bite-size florets

  • 1 large carrot, julienned

  • 1 large handful cilantro, chopped

  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

  • 3-4 stalks of scallions, sliced thin/on a bias

  • For the dressing

    • ½ cup Vegenaise

    • 2 tbsp sesame oil

    • 1/3 cup rice vinegar

    • sweetener of your choice, just a pinch to take out the tartness – I used a ½ tsp of monkfruit sweetener, but you can use a tsp of honey or maple syrup

    • 1 tsp Tamari, soy sauce or coconut aminos (may not need as much sweetener if using coconut aminos, FYI)

    • juice from ½ of a lime

  • Directions

    1. Mix together your salad ingredients in a large bowl. Separately, in a small bowl, mix together your dressing ingredients, whisking until emulsified.

    1. Combine dressing and salad ingredients. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.

    1. Note – if kept overnight or in the fridge for a while, it may darken due to the soy sauce and red cabbage colors bleeding together. It’s still edible! I always have red cabbage in my fridge, so if it gets over-saturated, I freshen it up the next day with some fresh-sliced red cabbage. Of course, err in your best judgment, but I like to make my salads last 🙂

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Roasted Cauliflower Leek Soup (paleo, with vegan option!)

    I was really hoping by this point in the year that it would’ve been a little chillier. I’m ready to turn my A/C off…. But here we are.

    For my non-US friends…. What’s it like to not stress-eat and go about your merry day, this week? We’ve been on edge waiting for the results of this election, and I will (hopefully) breathe a huge sigh of relief when this is done. Not that I don’t enjoy politics or anything – Political Science was actually one of my majors in college so I really enjoy a good debate. This year has taken the fun out of it though – less science and reason, more feelings. Having said that, I will be glad when the collective US people calms down a bit. Hopefully.

    Even though there hasn’t been a whole lot of chilly fall weather, I’m ready for it. I’ve been making soups and crockpot recipes and baking…. Dare I say, I am even ready for some snow? I’m interested to see how my new Jeep fares in some powder, and I got some Carhartt wool socks that I’ll be sporting (it’s the little things, really). It’ll be a little different this year, since normally I’d love for it to snow and then get together with friends to cook and drink wine, but COVID has sort of hampered those plans. In the meantime, we all have to make due with whatever is thrown our way, and make sure we’re practicing self-care.

    Out of curiosity, how much have you seen that term thrown around, “Self-Care”? It’s been adopted by a lot of trendy magazines, beauty lines, and has this spa-like association to it. To be honest, that really makes me mad. There’s nothing like ruining the meaning of something because it makes money – you’re selling someone an idea, something for them to reach for, and the wellness industry has done little to show people what it actually means – all the more reason for no one to really dig into the definition of self-care. From my own personal perspective, it even feels like it has this feminine tie to it too – doll yourself up, take a bubble bath, wear a fuzzy robe on Saturday night in –  all the more damaging, since self-care is for everyone.

    What does self-care actually look like? Not to keep with the vague answers, but that really depends on you.

    To me, self-care is reaching for water instead of wine after I’m done work, to make sure I stay hydrated.

    Self-care is turning off the news for the day, because it gives me anxiety.

    It’s making sure I shower before bed, because I like getting into a clean bed with clean pajamas, and clean hair.

    It’s prioritizing my meetings, switching a less impactful one to tomorrow, because I need to get away from my desk and get some fresh air outside.

    It’s being patient with myself when I short-circuit because I am stressed, or being kind to myself because I was in my feelings and gained some weight in quarantine.

    It’s making healthy choices, and not overly depriving myself of things I enjoy as I’ve slowly shed my quarantine weight, and reminding myself that my friends still love me, no matter what I weigh.

    It’s asserting my boundaries, telling people I’m uncomfortable with large gatherings, but respect that they can still do what they want.

    And if doing these things inspires a big ol’ lumberjack man to put on his fluffy robe, sip Pinot Noir and take a bubble bath, then so be it.

    Does this all sound mushy and weird to you? If so, it’s because we never understood that self-care is making sure we’re doing and feeling okay, respecting our own limits, and honoring our needs. To assign some sort of marketable idea that it’s to just shut off and shut down to primp and pamper, I think we’re doing ourselves a disservice. Learn what it is that you do for yourself when you feel your best, and then do more of it.

    If it’s cold where you are, you’re going to love this soup recipe. It’s deceivingly creamy, and you may even fool some vegetable haters out there too. Get out those delicious leeks and let’s roast some stuff!

    Roasted Cauliflower Leek Soup (Paleo and Keto, with Vegan option!)

    prep time: 15 min

    cook time: 25 min

    serves 4-5

    Ingredients

    • 1 quart chicken stock (vegetable stock can be used to make vegan)
    • 1 large head of cauliflower, thicker stems removed
    • 1/2 to 1 yellow onion, chopped
    • 2 leeks, sliced thin – using only the white or lighter parts
    • 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 tsp paprika (plain, not smoked)
    • 2 tbsp ghee or olive oil
    • juice of half a lemon
    • Salt + pepper (to taste; I used approx. 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper)

    to garnish(optional)

    • Scallions, sliced
    • Crumbled bacon, prosciutto or pancetta

    Directions

    1. In a large pot over medium heat, add your ghee or olive oil, leeks and onion. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until onions and leeks become translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Next, add your garlic and more ghee or olive oil if needed, and stir, cooking for another 3-4 minutes.
    2. Add the cauliflower to the pot next, stirring so that it starts to soften and brown – about 3-4 minutes. Add just a pinch more salt and pepper. This allows the vegetables to “sweat” and incorporate each other’s flavors better.
    3. Now, add your chicken or vegetable stock, thyme and paprika, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the broth starts boiling, reduce heat to medium low and cover with a lid simmering for about 15-20 minutes – allowing the cauliflower to cook thoroughly.
    4. Once the cauliflower has simmered, add your lemon juice. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. If you don’t have one on hand, you can also carefully add the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. If using a blender, add back to your pot once blended.
    5. Taste the soup for additional seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, paprika or lemon as needed. You can also thin it out a bit with additional stock, if it’s too thick.
    6. Serve with garnish (optional), and enjoy!

    -S

    Fall Harvest Salad with Parmesan, Cranberries and Pecans (Gluten-Free!)

    Y’all it’s fall! And it was WINDY today!

    I’ve been hitting the gym pretty hard, so I’m not sure if that’s why I’m more hungry, or… if I am nearing hibernation. But I’ve needed to make some more heartier lunches and dinners…. So with a good protein, I’ve been enjoying some really good salads. It’s been a challenge to get my fats in as much as possible, especially with the weather turning – I am a carb-aholic, and potatoes when the weather’s cold just seems like the right thing to do.

    Also, I just realized I am emotionally eating because tomorrow is one of the most intense Election Days in the history of America. I also have not done my annual haul of buying-sweaters-I-can’t-fit-into-my-closet, so the act that I have no exciting parties to look forward to stings a little, too. I suppose the first reason is a bigger problem concern than sweaters, but we cope how we can.

    Not a lot more to say – I wanted to get this recipe out in time for dinner in case anyone was looking for a good recipe for a fall salad!

    Fall Harvest Salad with Parmesan, Cranberries and Pecans (Gluten-Free!)

    Prep time: 10 min

    Cook time: n/a

    Ingredients

    • 4 cups of Spring mix, rinsed  (if not pre-washed)
    • 1/2 cup shaved/shredded parmesan
    • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, or craisins
    • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
    • 1 small shallot, minced
    • For the dressing
    • 1/3 cup good olive oil
    • 3 tbsp cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 tsp maple syrup

    Directions

    1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Adjust flavors as necessary.
    2. Add your spring mix to a large bowl, along with your shallot, cranberries, pecans and parmesan. Mix together thoroughly.
    3. Dress salad, mixing half of the dressing into the salad at a time to ensure you don’t drown the salad. Garnish with additional parmesan, if desired. Serve with salmon or on the side with some chicken!

    Enjoy!

    -S

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

    Wowzer!

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

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

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

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

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

    We take one. We deliberately choose to do so.

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

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

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

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

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

    Prep time: 20 min

    Cook time: 15 min

    Ingredients

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

    For the sauce

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

    Directions

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

    Enjoy!

    -S

    The BEST Broccoli Salad (Vegan, with options!)

    Hello my friends.

    It’s Thursday, which means it’s almost Friday, which means it’s time to party! By myself.

    Mars retrograde began yesterday – just another exciting moment for 2020. We all know that when Mercury is in retrograde, things go haywire, people act weird…. But Mars is a different breed, only going retrograde about every two years. Mars is masculine energy – moving, aggressive, and intense. However, in retrograde, things just move and happen slower… and these next two months will prove to be frustrating in needing to have a lot of patience.

    Speaking of moving backward, since today is Thursday – it’s a throwback Thursday! Taking this recipe back from the past. I used to work as a sub shop as a teenager, down in the boonies of Landenberg. I made homemade chicken salad, deviled eggs, sandwiches.. and broccoli salad! I loved making this, but I haven’t had it in years. I made a few minor tweaks to keep it current, and above all else… vegan! Enjoy the last bits of warm weather with this side salad for your social-distancing BBQ.

    The BEST Broccoli Salad (Vegan, with options!)

    Prep time: 10 min

    Cook time: n/a

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients

    • 2 heads of broccoli, cut into small, bite size florets
    • ½ cup dried cranberries
    • ½ of one small red onion, minced
    • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
    • 1 cup of walnut pieces
    • 1 cup carrots, julienned
    • 1 cup vegan mayo, such as Vegenaise
    • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1 heaping tbsp of coconut sugar, or 2 tsp maple syrup
    • 1 tsp celery seed

    Directions

    1. Whisk together mayo, sugar or maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and celery seed in a small bowl. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
    2. In the meantime, combine broccoli, walnuts, green onions, cranberries, carrots and red onion in a large serving dish.
    3. Toss the dressing with the rest of the salad ingredients and stir. Allow to sit for at least 30 min to an hour prior to serving to allow the dressing to absorb.

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Thai Tofu Curry Over Rice (VEGAN with Paleo options!)

    So, is it fall yet? When the weather turns, I love to make lots of warming fall recipes. While I probably won’t be going to many potlucks or bonfires this year, I still love to make lots of bowls… soups, broths, everything.

    Totally unrelated, I had an astrology reading last week. The woman was lovely – her name is Elizabeth Frediani, a knowledgeable astrologist out on the West Coast. We had a phone call, and discuss things about my chart that I already know. I’m not a skeptic by any means, but the first five minutes I was concerned that I wasn’t really going to hear anything I didn’t already know. Once she dove into what my chart actually means and how that influences my life, decisions, personality, etc… I realized that there was a lot more to this than people think about, and a lot of it is very specific. Basically, she let me know that I have a lot of change coming up, I felt very stagnant and I need to explore my creative side a bit more, and use that to “perform acts of service” for others. This was a major part of my chart, that I feel most valuable when helping others achieve their goals, or heal.

    Having said that… you may not know that I am a Usui reiki master. I began studying it a few years ago after lots of discussion with some of my other woo-woo friends…. and I never looked back. I wanted to use my hands, and help with the healing that I saw was so desperately needed around me… but I knew something like massage therapy was not for me. I worked towards my classes, practiced on lots of people, and something clicked. I love feeling the energy, allowing people to find their own energy balance, and helping out that positivity out there in the world. If you’re interested in learning about what reiki is, find more out on my website, here.

    So with all this stagnant “feeling” I have, what will I do next? Great question. I was recently wondering the same thing. I’ve been mulling doing this over for a few years now, but I finally reached out to a friend of a friend, Susan Smith of One Yoga. I’m going to start my YTT-200 (yoga teacher training) at the end of the month! It’ll be a wild new adventure but I’m excited. I know the experience will be intense, raw, lots of knowledge, practice, etc…. and it’s a lot more than just, “okay, this is how you do a proper Warrior III pose.” I want to find that mind/body balance that I was never ready to find before, and allow this to complement all the other healing work I’ve been doing on myself. Yay, new adventures!

    Ok, so back to food. While I’m currently following a ketogenic protocol and this meal ultimately is NOT low carb, it’s delicious, and VEGAN! If you aren’t vegan, you can easily swap out my tofu for chicken or shrimp. This recipe is an easy way to make a Thai-inspired meal, and no… it isn’t one of those “pay $45 to make it yourself when you could’ve paid $15 to buy it” meals. If your kitchen is stocked well, you likely only need a few things!

    Thai Tofu Curry Over Rice (VEGAN with paleo options!)

    Prep time: 10 min

    Cook time: 40 min

    Serves 2-3

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup of extra firm tofu (vegan, but not paleo), sliced into inch cubes. can sub shrimp, or 1-in cubed chicken if preferred
    • 1.5 cups of cooked basmati rice, or 2.5 cups riced cauliflower if making paleo
    • 1 can of full fat coconut milk, shaken
    • 1 red bell pepper, stems and seeds removed, sliced into thin strips
    • 1 small yellow onion, halved/sliced
    • 1 heaping tbsp red curry paste
    • 2 tsp curry powder, separated
    • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
    • 1 tbsp of tamari or coconut aminos (or regular low-sodium soy sauce, if not strict)
    • 3 stalks of scallions, sliced thin
    • handful of cilantro, chopped
    • optional (not paleo!): peanuts for garnish
    • also optional (not vegan!): 1 tsp fish sauce – very much a staple in this cuisine, use it if you are able!

    Directions

    1. In a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat, add your tofu (or chicken or shrimp) with a tbsp of your preferred cooking fat. I’m loving avocado oil right now, but any is fine.
    2. season with a touch of salt, pepper, and 1 tsp of your curry powder. Sauté until starting to brown or crisp on all sides, about 2-3 minutes total for shrimp, 8-10 minutes for chicken or tofu. Once browned, remove from the skillet and set aside.
    3. At this stage, begin cooking your basmati rice or riced cauliflower according to package instructions. If making homemade riced cauliflower, chop up about 2 cups of cauli in a food processor until it has a rice-like consistency. Add to a skillet over medium heat with 2-3 tbsp of water, pinch of salt and a small tsp of cooking fat and allow to steam for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove your lid and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes to allow any water to evaporate, then set aside on low to keep warm.
    4. Back to the curry – in the same skillet, still over medium heat, add another tsp of your preferred cooking fat, and add your bell pepper and onion. Begin to sauté as well, stirring occasionally, until translucent – about 3-4 minutes.
    5. Once your pepper and onion is at this stage, add you garlic, turning the heat down to medium low to prevent burning. Sauté for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Lightly season with salt and pepper, or a pinch more of your curry powder, doing a taste test.
    6. Now, add your tbsp of curry paste, stirring and pressing it into the pepper/onion mixture, stirring to allow it to cook and break down – about 2 minutes. Add your can of coconut milk and tsp of fish sauce (if using), as well as your tamari or soy sauce.
    7. Turn your heat to low and add your protein (tofu, chicken or shrimp) continuing to stir, and allowing to simmer – either until rice is done, or for another 5-7 minutes. You want to cover the skillet, so that too much water does not evaporate out of the pan. If the mixture bubbles too aggressively/is too hot, turn the heat down to the lowest setting.
    8. Once finished, spoon rice into a bowl, then your curry mixture over your rice. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, and peanuts (if using).

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Zesty Mac and Cheese (Vegan AND PALEO!)

    So…. Let’s talk about fall. Let’s talk about….. how I have a closet full of sweaters, I’ve done really well and haven’t bought any new ones (because where the hell am I going, let’s be totally honest), but am bummed because normally I get to go to wineries, fun parties…. Who am I kidding, WORK is my fashion show. Even still, the little things I miss the most have gotten to me a bit… down.

    So, I eat my feelings. Working on that…. But for now, we eat.

    I’ve been trying to eat a lot less meat in general, and with that – I figure, why not reduce animal stuff altogether? It isn’t actually difficult once you know some basic swaps – vegetable broth for chicken broth, vegan mayo for regular, dairy-free milks (cashew, almond and oat for ones without flavor!)… even if you’re not looking to go “vegan” per se, I find that these little swaps are great ways to cut down cholesterol, sodium or calories in general, if you need to. That, and I have several friends that have dietary restrictions, so I love a challenge.

    I was familiar with butternut squash as a sauce, but this was kind of a “winging it” type of thing. Some of these ingredients aren’t normal things one has in their kitchen, but they’re worth buying, and at least in my area, can be found pretty easily. If you have an immersion blender or regular blender, you’ll need it for tonight.

    Please note… as good as this is, I realize that some of my friends reading this just want the real thing. Just shoot me an email if you want a real Pennsyl-tucky dairy filled Mac-and-cheese recipe…., my mama makes a mean recipe I also happen to know how to make…. 😉

    Yum!

     

    Zesty Mac and Cheese (Vegan with PALEO option!)

     

    Prep time: 10 min

    Cook time: 45 min

    Serves 2-3

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups paleo-friendly noodles, like Jovial Cassava noodles
    • 2 cups of cubed butternut squash, fresh or frozen
    • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
    • 2 tbsp vegan sour cream (I love this brand, search the link where to find it – omit if strict paleo!)
    • 1 small yellow onion, diced
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • ½ tsp paprika
    • ½ tsp chili powder
    • 1 heaping tbsp cumin
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • Sprinkle of pepper to taste
    • 2 tbsp vegan butter, or ghee
    • ½ cup of vegetable broth, plus more if needed for texture

    optional – breadcrumbs:

    • 2 tbsp almond flour (if not paleo, panko breadcrumbs can be used)
    • ½ tsp garlic powder
    • sprinkle of sea salt
    • 1 tsp of parsley

     

    Directions

    1. In a sauce pan, add a tbsp of your preferred cooking fat, your onion and squash. Sauté your onion and butternut squash until soft, about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover with a lid to ensure steam stays in to soften them faster.
    2. Once soft, add your vegetable broth. Continue to simmer for another 2-3 minutes, adding some salt and pepper. Now, add your paprika, garlic, cumin and chili powder.
    3. At this step, you can either use your immersion blender to puree until smooth, or place into a blender and puree until smooth. The texture should be somewhat thick like cheese sauce and soupy, but not thick like veggies or thin like soup. Add vegetable broth accordingly to adjust texture. Set sauce aside so that the flavors can meld.
    4. In a separate put, bring water to a boil – add your noodles, and boil until al dente.
    5. While they’re boiling, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a skillet or pyrex dish (my skillet is an 8 inch mini Lodge skillet).
    6. Once noodles are cooked and drained according to cooking instruction, Mix them into your sauce. It may look like you have “too much sauce”, but it will absorb slightly into the noodles once baked. Place into your skillet or baking dish, and bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes.
    7. While your macaroni is baking, if using paleo breadcrumbs, mix together all breadcrumb ingredients in a dry small frying pan and toast slightly over medium heat until starting to brown. If using regular breadcrumbs – no need to pre-toast. With 5 minutes left of cooking, remove the mac and cheese and sprinkle your breadcrumbs over top – bake another 5 minutes until starting to brown further, but not burning.
    8. Serve while hot. Enjoy!

    -S

    Shrimp Pad Thai (Gluten Free with Paleo and Vegan substitutes!)

    Happy….Tuesday? These days blend together. I hope everyone reading this is healthy and safe at home!

    I did wake up at “normal” time today, won’t be doing that again until stuff is open once again. It’s only fun to do when I have things to tend to, like getting dressed and going to the gym. Right now, I just leave here to either take my dog out for as long of walks as we can, or even less frequently, go to the store. I have been doing yoga once or twice a day, and I even skipped the wine and White Claw last night. I’m trying. It’s hard.

    I put it off in favor of getting take out, eating an outdoorsy Easter dinner in my mom’s flowerbed with my own plates, fork and serving utensils (social distancing, y’all), as well as trying to stretch out my leftovers… but I FINALLY made my Pad Thai. It was worth the wait.

    I’ve made this a few times and because I rarely go by a recipe, sometimes it turns out better than others. It’s never been bad, but last night’s edition was the best I’ve done. Fortunately, I wrote down most of it. Key word – “most”.

    A lot of my best recipes are based off of improvisation. Outside of basic ingredients, when it comes to seasoning, my recipes tend to err on the  cautious side. I have a really high tolerance for spicy, and I LOVE love love salt, so when I piece these recipes together, it’s done for the masses who may not be able to tolerate the 7 teaspoons of red curry paste that I’m really using… so I only write in to use the 4 tsp that I started with, “plus more, if preferred”. It’s a good lesson for me to start writing down my recipes more accurately… but I’m always open to feedback!

    Okay, on to the noodles. This recipe uses rice noodles from my local grocery store, but if you wanted a bonafide paleo recipe you could use shirataki noodles, zoodles (zucchini spiralized “noodles”), or the new Jovial Cassava pasta once it’s available.

     

    Shrimp Pad Thai (Gluten Free with Paleo and Vegan substitutes!)

    Prep time: 20 min

    Cook time: 20 min

    Serves 3-4

     

    Ingredients

    • 1 package of rice noodles –  if preferred: shirataki noodles, any whole wheat or gluten-free spaghetti noodle or Jovial brand’s Cassava spaghetti noodles will do
    • 2 large carrots, julienned or shaved
    • 1 medium yellow onion, halved then sliced into ¼ inch thick semi circles
    • 1 cup of fresh or frozen sliced green beans, or snow peas
    • 1 tbsp fresh minced or pressed garlic
    • 1/3 to ½ lb of raw shrimp, peeled and tails removed (if vegan – sub tofu in, or your preferred veggies)
    • 1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
    • 1 tbsp plus one tsp fresh grated or chopped ginger
    • juice of ½ a lime

    For the sauce:

    • 1 heaping tbsp peanut butter (or almond butter)
    • 1 tsp fish sauce (omit if making vegan)
    • 1 tbsp rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
    • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (can sub tamari or regular soy sauce), plus more if desired
    • 1/4 cup mild olive oil, or avocado oil
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or more if preferred
    • juice from the other half of your lime

     

    • Peanuts and additional sliced lime, for garnish

     

    Directions

    1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together your nut butter, fish sauce, vinegar, coconut aminos, oil, crushed red pepper, lime juice and the tsp of fresh ginger. Do a taste test – if it’s too sweet (sometimes coconut aminos can be), add more lime, or rice vinegar. Set aside.
    2. Cook your noodles according to instructions. I typically start boiling the water at the same time I do my next step, as the water takes a bit to heat and the noodles vary in cook time. Cook until soft, drain, and set aside, watching to ensure they don’t dry out and get sticky.
    3. Meanwhile, as the noodles boil, in a frying pan with a tsp of your preferred cooking oil, add your onion, carrot and green beans over medium heat. Sauté for 5-6 min, stirring frequently, until starting to brown. Add your ginger, garlic and shrimp (or tofu) and continue to sauté for another 3-4 minutes, stirring, making sure shrimp does not overcook. Once shrimp has turned pink (or your tofu/veggies have browned), Add your noodles into your frying pan. With tongs, gently fold, mixing together.
    4. Next, pour your sauce over the noodles, gently mixing to coat. If your noodles are absorbing the sauce too quickly – no worries! Drizzle a tsp of additional oil in at a time until they’re smooth again. You can also add additional coconut aminos/soy for a punch of flavor.
    5. Gently mix in your chopped cilantro.
    6. Serve in a bowl with peanuts and lime for garnish.

     

    Enjoy!

    -S

     

     

    WHIPPED Coffee, aka “Dalgona” Coffee! (Paleo, Vegan)

    Hey y’all!

    As it turns out, all I needed was a little globally-enforced R&R to feel rejuvenated and start churning out the recipes again.

    I have been seeing a lot of videos and Facebook posts on this whole new “whipped coffee” trend. So… what am I to do with 16 hours of waking time in my house and nothing to do? I’m going to make the darned coffee.

    I found out that it’s an Indian/Pakistani tradition and was popular long before these quaran-times…. I don’t know how we never found out about this until now.

    No story time here, just going to give it to you straight. This recipe is PALEO! I’m doing my best to still eat healthy, but when there’s little else to do… I’ll eat whatever I’ve got. You can certainly sub this recipe out with regular granulated sugar, but it will definitely be sweeter. I drink my coffee black anyway, so I wanted minimal sweetness. The whole thing was different, I’d definitely try again!

    A disclaimer…. This would be SUPER hard without a hand mixer of some sort. I had to whip it for about 5 minutes, and I’m not sure if it was because I didn’t use real sugar, but if you’re doing this by hand, be prepared for a workout!

    Oh, and I also don’t recommend putting it in a champagne flute… but I didn’t want to waste any more almond milk than needed, gotta limit my trips to the store!

     

    WHIPPED Coffee, aka “Dalgona” Coffee! (Paleo, Vegan)

     

    Prep time: 10 min

    Cook time: n/a

    Serves 2

     

    Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp instant coffee
    • 2 tbsp coconut sugar (granulated regular sugar or really any other type will do just fine)
    • 2 tbsp very warm water
    • 8-10 oz piping hot almond milk (or other dairy/non dairy milk), or chilled with ice cubes if preferred

     

    Directions

    1. In a mixing bowl, mix together the coffee, sugar and water. Whip until you have semi-stiff peaks, somewhat close to egg whites. Set aside.
    2. Over stovetop or microwave, heat your milk to preferred temperature and pour desired amount into your coffee cup or mug. If using chilled milk, pour over ice cubes into your cup.
    3. Spoon your whipped mix overtop, and enjoy!

    -S

     

     

    Cheddar Old Bay Biscuits (with vegan options!)

    Hey everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Cheddar Old Bay Biscuits! (with vegan options!)

     

    Prep time: 5 min

    Cook time: 15 min

    Makes 6-8 biscuits

     

    Ingredients

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

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

     

    Directions

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

     

    Enjoy!

    -S