Buffalo Turkey Meatballs (Paleo!)

Winner, winner! TURKEY DINNER!

Happy Monday, y’all. This has been one of the Monday-est Monday’s ever. I’ve been waiting for the weekend for what feels like 12 years. Then all of the sudden it’s Monday. That, and the days are made progressively longer by doing the whole keto thing. If you aren’t familiar with Ketosis and the Ketogenic “diet”, definitely read up on it… here is a good book to start.

I think what’s most interesting about this “diet” is that most people compare it to the Atkins diet. If you recall, Atkins was popular in the 90’s and I think everyone’s parents tried it at least once. It was controversial because of the “war on Fat”, when Ancel Keys proclaimed that eating fat made you, well, fat. That is so false. The link of consuming fat with heart disease was actually filled with incorrect inferences and cherry-picked information, and people just stuck with it. After all, if people don’t want to “be fat”, why would they eat it? And down the slippery slope we go.

The Ketogenic Diet and Atkins are similar in that they reduce carbs, but are done so a bit differently. The ketogenic diet was founded back in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder of the Mayo Clinic, and he used it to treat epilepsy. It focused on high fats, a fair amount of protein and the low carbs familiar with Atkins. By reducing your carbs as a source of energy, your glycogen reserves are depleted (as your body can only store that for +/- 48 hours), and it turns to fat as a means of energy consumption. Your stored fat is converted into ketones, which your body uses for energy. This is beneficial if you’re trying to lose fat, but also if you have a difficult time managing your blood sugar, as this increases your insulin sensitivity and lower your glucose levels.

The Atkins diet also reduces carbs, but does so in a step-based process that allows you to reintroduce carbs back into your diet as a form of weight maintenance. The science is the same as the ketogenic diet, but the perception behind this diet was that it was a quick fix, and that you risk gaining your weight back upon eating a high amount of carbs again.

To each their own — I feel better, stronger and I have more clarity when I eat fewer carbs, so that’s what I stick to. with that said… these were born out of a need to eat Frank’s Hot Sauce. I love Frank’s hot sauce, I love buffalo anything. That, and while my brother was home from college, I wanted to make him something that tasted “late night drunk food”, but didn’t leave you feeling like a slug when you woke up.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you… Buffalo Turkey Meatballs. Yaammm.

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs (Paleo!)

prep time: 20 min

cook time: 25 min

Makes about 12-14 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • half container of sliced brown mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, plus separate 1/4 cup set aside
  • 1 heaping tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp salt (this is conservative), plus more to taste
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 2 tbsp almond flour
  • 2 heaping tbsp scallions, green and white parts, sliced thin

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat a tbsp of oil or your preferred fat over medium heat. sauté onions until translucent, about 5-6 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add your mushrooms and sauté for another 4-5 minutes, until soft. remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together your turkey breast, mushrooms, onions, egg, almond flour and scallions. Lastly, add your hot sauce.
  3. The mixture may be quite wet — if you feel you need to add more almond  flour, do so 1 tsp at a time until the mixture is able to hold its shape when rolled into a meatball.
  4. On a cookie sheet with a greased wire rack, set your meatballs about 1-2 inches apart. The rack is optional — I find that these run a bit as the moisture burns out, and I don’t like to drain my cookie sheet halfway through to get them to crisp. Bake until starting to brown, about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, as the meatballs are baking, mix together your remaining hot sauce and ghee. Season with salt, to taste. Drizzle over the meatballs and serve.

Enjoy!

-S

Full Moons…. and Zesty Ginger Sesame Chicken Wings (Paleo!)

Happy Monday…. um, Tuesday! Definitely feels like a Monday, but that kind of thing usually happens over a long weekend.

How was everyone’s Memorial Day? Ours was just crud weather in the mid-Atlantic… but I sort of feel as though the weather in general has been pretty bad. I also feel as though I’ve prematurely aged mentally where I insist the weather/flies/mosquitos/hurricanes/snow/potholes/pollen/life in general gets harder or worse each year. I’ll have to press the reset button on that…. that’s not good energy to be putting out there.

Friday was a busy day, too. I worked from home — after a flurry of appointments, I finally had a chance to COOK STUFF!!! Not that I haven’t been cooking, I’ve just been making food that’s much more palatable to my family. I’ve been cooking a lot of non-paleo, non-vegan and non-keto foods since we’re all around more. I can definitely tell a difference with my body, and it does not like it. My jeans don’t, either. Oh also, I forgot how much I like beer? Yeah, this weekend wasn’t good for that.

In other news, we’ve got an interesting Full Moon. This one falls under Sagittarius, which is the best opportunity to give us a fresh perspective.

Is there anything you’ve been struggling to wrap your head around? Have you been wrestling with thoughts that you just can’t seem to get behind? This is an amazing time to really gain a different lens and to garner better insight to everything going on in your life. Sagittarius energy is really about building on what you already know and already have, and broadening  your horizons. What have you done so far that’s really propelled you towards where you want to go? How are you going to use this to get where you’re going next?

This sounds vague, but it really isn’t. It applies most closely to whatever you’re experiencing in life. If there’s something you’ve been waiting to do, wait no more. If you’re waiting to take a risk, move somewhere, take a job, make a big decision, splurge on a vacation, this is the perfect time to start the momentum on that and get it moving. Reevaluate your goals to make sure they still fit you, and to check your state of mind to ensure you’re an open book for growth.

Onto the foodies…. these wings have made an appearance in quite literally everyone’s house this weekend. I made them. All. Weekend. I love them! The key is keeping a bit of the marinade separate and brushing it on right before serving so they keep that really tasty briny and gingery flavor. Try these out on the grill… I whole heartedly believe that good wings always belong on the grill. Plus, while chicken wings certainly aren’t the bare essentials of paleo eating, who doesn’t love a good wing? YUM.

Zesty Ginger Sesame Chicken Wings (Paleo!)

prep time: 20 active min, plus marinating time

cook time: 20 min

Serves anywhere from 1-5 people, depending on your appetite

Ingredients

  • 2 packages organic or all natural wings (separated into wings and drumettes,
  • 1 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 stalks of scallions, green and white parts, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp tahini paste (or miso, if not strict paleo)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (black and white preferred for aesthetics, but any color will do)

Directions

  1. Whisk together your tahini and coconut aminos in a large bowl first to emulsify.
  2. Once the sauce is thoroughly mixed, add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. It should taste VERY briny — chicken absorbs a lot of the salty flavor, so it should have enough zest to really taste salty. Set aside a 1/2 cup of the mixture in a small bowl.
  3. Place your chicken wings in a bag, pour your sauce over them and marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, up to 24 hours. Refrigerate your separate sauce as well.
  4. Once ready to cook, preheat your grill to 400 degrees. We want high heat to make sure the skin is crisp.
  5. Place the wings on the grill, about 1 inch apart. Turn as needed, once the wings darken and appear blackened. They aren’t necessarily burnt — the caramelization from the coconut aminos will just make them appear darker.
  6. Continue to turn until thoroughly browned on all sides, about 15-20 minutes in total.
  7. Remove from heat, and brush with remaining sauce. Garnish with a pinch of scallions.

Enjoy!

-S

Instant Pot Meal! Curried Chicken Salad (Paleo)

Well, well, well – LONG TIME NO CHAT! A lot has been going on this last month – I’ve been MIA and I feel terrible that I haven’t posted anything for you all to make. I moved at the end of April in preparation to build my house, I had a wedding I traveled for, and just general work busyness. I finally had some time to share my recent food adventures, let alone COOK something. I’ve taken a real liking to my Instant Pot, recently. I don’t know about you guys, but crockpot chicken is the best. I’m talking fall-apart-on-your-fork, melt-in-your-mouth chicken made from 8 hours of slow simmering in some juice.

Well… imagine my dismay when I actually used my Instant Pot for something easy, like chicken simmering in chicken broth? Life-changing…. Yes. Sometimes overlooking the simplest things is where we go wrong.

So I decided to throw a bunch of chicken breast in there, set it to cook for 35 minutes, and I was not disappointed. I let it cool and it took MOMENTS to shred with my fork for this recipe, and that is so satisfying. Literally. It is the best thing. I hate shredding chicken because it’s always clumpy. No more clumpy chicken, now! It’s the little things in life.

You could really take this in any direction… a local health food store has something similar, which inspired me to add my own twist to it. I’ll keep this short so y’all can get to eating… yum.

Curried Chicken Salad (Paleo!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 35 min

Serves 6-8 as an app, or 4-5 with sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts, trimmed (no one likes that rubbery part. Take that off, yikes)
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • Handful of roasted cashews, to taste
  • 4 large scallion stalks, sliced thin (green and white parts included)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp red curry powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ to 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp Coconaise (or other paleo mayo brand), plus more if needed
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, sliced thin (OPTIONAL – I hate celery and would never include it.. but I realize that I’m the weirdo for that)

Directions

  1. Place your chicken breast in your Instant Pot and add your broth until chicken breasts are just about covered. Secure your lid set to high (or Meat setting) for 35 minutes, lock your vent, and start.
  2. While your chicken is cooking, mix together your cumin, turmeric, garlic, coriander, chili powder, parsley, salt and pepper. One thing to remember is that the chicken tends to absorb a lot of the sodium in things like this – I usually err on the heavier side of salting my sauce so that once the flavors meld, it’s the right taste. Add your scallions, reserving a pinch for garnish later.
  3. Once your chicken is done and you’ve released the steam from your Instant Pot, carefully remove with a slotted spoon so as to not bring much juice over with it and place in a large bowl. Discard broth (or save for your puppy like I did 😊) Shred with a fork to desired consistency.
  4. Once cooled, add your mayo mixture to your chicken. If you feel the chicken is too dry, feel free to add a teaspoon more mayo, followed by an additional sprinkle of curry.
  5. Gently fold in your cashews and raisins and mix thoroughly (as well as your celery, if using). Garnish with pinch of scallions and serve.

Enjoy!

-S<<
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Entertaining Ideas, Part II: Bacon-Braided Asparagus (Paleo!)

Spring MAY have finally sprung, this week. We have forecasted temperatures in the 70’s, and it’s not even weird! Hoping that good weather is here to stay for us. I heard birds this morning, our front flowerbeds have blooms, and the horse’s coats are finally growing out to their spring coat. Party time!

I’ve had a few fun purchases come up, all TOTALLY different… but let me give you an idea of what I’ve been doing:

5 spools of cotton cord rope. Bought the whole darned store out. Currently making a plant hanger… will let you all know how it comes out

A 10 inch ring so I can make another dream-catcher… TBD, y’all will love this (when will I have time to do these things??? Literally laughing out loud as I type this)

A saree….! To wear for a wedding I’m going to in two weeks in North Carolina

A shedding blade for my dog because our hardwood looks like carpet at the moment

What’s on my list though in the immediate future is just getting friends together to enjoy the warmer weather, and food. I can’t wait to do some wine-tastings,  some fun outdoor barbequing, making crafts outdoors, and just fun springtime stuff! I shared a delicious cocktail idea with you guys last week, so with your drinks you’ll need some hors d’oeurves to go with it.

I think asparagus gets a really bad rap and I just don’t know why. Aside from stinky-tinkle (sorry), they’re just delicious, not to strong of a flavor, and are just an all-around really good veggie to have on hand. To that, why not just… wrap it in bacon? I steamed a bunch of asparagus, just to the point of being soft but not mushy. Add a little bacon, crisp them up, and you’ve got yourself a delicious treat that’s easy to eat at a party.

Entertaining Ideas, Part II: Bacon-Braided Asparagus (Paleo!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

Makes about 16-17 stalks

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches (lbs) of thin asparagus, washed and trimmed, about 32 stalks
  • 1 lb of thick-cut bacon (organic, nitrate-free, if possible!)
  • ¼ cup water

Directions:

  1. Trim your asparagus about 1 ½-2 inches from the bottom, discarding the tough part of the stem.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once brought to temperature, add your asparagus, and your ¼ cup of water. Cover with a lid and let steam for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the top layer of asparagus is moved to directly to the pan. Once soft, remove from heat and set aside on a plate to dry and cool.
  3. In the meantime, take your bacon and cut each piece in half, length-wise. Try to keep in as clean of a cut piece as possible. If finished prior to asparagus, place back in the fridge to keep it cool. (colder bacon is easier to work with, optional!)
  4. Once your bacon is cut and asparagus are cooled, take two stalks of asparagus and one piece of bacon. Starting at the top, weave the bacon under one piece and over the other, alternating sides like a braid. If your bacon is longer than your stalks, make the bacon weave more tightly through the asparagus stalks from the top.
  5. Once finished, heat your large skillet back up over medium heat and saute your stalks, flipping once browned on each side (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from heat, blot any excess drippings with a paper towel and serve!**

**uncooked stalks can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days prior. If serving for a party, these can be cooked and kept warm in an oven on low heat.

Enjoy 🙂

-S

Entertaining Ideas, Part I: Lemon-Basil Vodka Spritzers (Paleo!)

I am so done with this cold. It’s April 7th, and yet somehow, there’s still snow in the forecast. I realize that we’ve gotten snowstorms over the years before as late as April, but to be honest, ayeye! It’s cold, I want to go get my herbs to plant this year, and here we are, still wearing Winter jackets. One of these days, it’ll be about 75 degrees and I’ll wonder what happened to Spring. Well, that dingus groundhog saw his shadow (or something) and really stuck it to us with our 6 more weeks of Winter. What he meant was actually 10 more weeks of Winter, with no Spring, right into Summer. But, I digress.

During those fleeting moments of good weather, I absolutely get the itch for Springtime parties and the like. Entertaining, friends coming over, dinner parties, my FAVORITE. Fortunately, I had some time yesterday, so a little playing around with some flavors was in the itinerary. Now, I don’t really ever drink liquor – I especially don’t drink vodka (personal choice)… however, I realize some of my friends like it a little now and again. I have a mystery handle of vodka sitting in my freezer, and I had a thought – what about a little Springtime aperitif? The herbs at the grocery store are so beautiful, why not… drink them, too? I love spices, flavoring anything, so putting herbs in your drinks is perfect (hello, Mojitos!). And there it was – my Lemon Basil Vodka spritzer. My spring cocktail was born.

This requires a little bit of patience, and a few kitchen (or bar) tools, but I promise it’s worth it. It’s refreshing, and you can omit the vodka and soda and just have a nice lemonade. One editor’s note…. I don’t actually know how much vodka one prefers in their drink… so…. add that at your discretion. In fact, i’ll preface this recipe with the fact that drink ratios are all about preference. If you like sweet lemonade, add more sweetener. If you like to taste your alcohol, add more. Change it up!

Actually, another editor’s note – if you have Celiac’s disease, be cautious of your vodka brand. Though it’s a distilled spirit and there technically should NOT be any gluten in your vodka, a wheat-based vodka may be made in a facility that is cross-contaminated with wheat products. If avoiding gluten as a major health concern, stick to brands that are derived from wheat-free foods, such as Ciroc (grapes), VuQo (coconuts), or Karlsson’s (potato). Other brands such as Absolut, Grey Goose, Stolichnaya, SKYY and Smirnoff are wheat-based, so be cautious if wheat is a concern.

 

Lemon-Basil Vodka Spritzer (Paleo..!?)

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 25-30 min

Makes about 2 quarts

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Ingredients

  • ~1/2 cup of honey or maple syrup (or sweetener of choice), plus more to taste if needed
  • 1 cup firmly packed basil leaves
  • 4 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1½ cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (6 to 8 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 cup club soda (sodium-free, if possible)
  • 6-8 shots of vodka….or more, or less, this is a guess

 

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan, muddle the basil with a tsp of water together with a wooden spoon, until the leaves are broken and bruised. Add 2 cups of water and sweetener, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until all of your sweetener has dissolved. Be careful not to bring your mix to a rolling boil, as you’ll burn off the basil flavor.
  2. Remove from the heat and allow the basil to steep in the syrup until cool – feel free to add any extra fresh basil if preferred. Once cooled, strain your mixture into a pitcher. Add 4 cups of water and the lemon juice, and stir well.
  3. Add your club soda, and continue to stir.
  4. To your preference, add your vodka – since this makes a pitcher, I’d add about a shot per drink serving, and since this will serve approximately 6-8 people, add 1 shot per person. Allow to cool completely before serving – serve over ice with a garnish of basil and lemon.

Enjoy!

-S

Cheddar Bay Biscuits (Gluten-Free!)

Hello, internet! It’s already April, and wouldn’t you know it, we got snow yesterday morning. Some surprise.

I’ve been a lot busier than I’d like to be these days. The good news is that now that it stays lighter for longer, I don’t feel the need to close up shop shortly after getting home from work. I can cook when I get home, I don’t need to rush, and I can photograph my food without needing to work from home… I mean, what? I don’t do that.

My friend came over this weekend and we made Indian food — Chicken Curry, it was delicious. I even had some leftover naan bread, spiced some chick peas, the works. The best part was that after, she asked me to do Reiki on her. I didn’t have a lot of time to give it enough thought to say no, but I realized how apprehensive I was do actually practice Reiki. Will people think I’m weird? Will they believe what I’m actually doing? If I do sessions on people, will they actually think that what I’m doing is legitimate?

I did a quick half hour session on her, and oddly enough, once I did it, I stopped worrying about the legitimacy of the practice and fell right into it like a seasoned habit. I was able to pick up on physical energy blockages that manifested from what was going on in her life and I was able to clear them to set her on the right path. It was nice hearing from her yesterday that she said she felt a lot better and truly believes that it makes a world of difference after she receives Reiki. Perhaps as I study it more, I’ll practice on more people 🙂

No other updates from me, but I wanted to leave you a little treat. I LOVE biscuits. Like, I can’t even convey in words how excited I am when a restaurant has good biscuits, or biscuits and gravy (HUGE points… love it so much). Here’s a little gluten free treat, cheddar Old Bay biscuits!!!

Cheddar Bay Biscuits (Gluten-Free!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 25 min

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste (after you add your Old Bay!)
  • 2 eggs

For the topping:

  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • ½ tsp old bay
  • ½ tsp garlic powder

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. In medium bowl, mix together almond flour, tapioca flour, cheese, salt, chives and garlic powder. Mix in the cold butter cubes with your hands until the mixture is chunky and the flours are thoroughly pressed into the chunks of butter. Add your eggs and sour cream and stir thoroughly.
  3. Divide into your preferred biscuit size on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  4. As the  biscuits bake, mix together your spices with your butter. During the last 5 minutes of your biscuits baking, brush with butter mixture and return to oven.

Enjoy!

-S

Matcha Green Tea Cupcakes (Paleo)

Spring Equinox. Mercury retrograde. Snow. Rain??? Cold?? No, not that bad.

There’s so much going on !??!! One of these days soon, I’m going to get my life together and get organized. I just need some time, sigh. On a brighter note, the snow that came Wednesday is melting rapidly. The birds are out, and it looks like it’s going to stay in the 40’s and 50’s for the next two weeks. It’d be lovely if it got into the 60’s, but I’m afraid to ask.

I stocked up recently on all my favorites from Athleta recently (thank you work for providing me a gift certificate for an award I received!), and I am absolutely loving my new  tank tops. You can find them here! They’re stretchy but not too tight, and they come in great colors. I’m excited to use them for yoga, lifting, etc.

Not a whole lot of other things going on with me, just dropping in to remind you to remember your intentions for Spring, stay true to yourself, be kind to yourself and others, and have fun! There’s no reason these days to not enjoy yourself every now and again. Stay tuned for more delicious recipes this weekend… for now, here are some matcha green tea cupcakes.

Matcha Green Tea Cupcakes (Paleo)

Prep time: 20 min

cook time: n/a

serves 3-4 as a meal, 6-8 as an app

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp matcha green tea powder

For the icing:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews soaked in filtered water for at least 4 hours**, drained, rinsed, and gently dried
  • 2/3 cup coconut cream chilled*
  • juice from one lemon, about 2 1/2 tbsp
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, room temperature (solid)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup of maple syrup, plus more to taste
  • pinch of ground sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp of matcha green tea powder

Directions:

  1. preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper cups.
  2. In a food processor, blend cashews on high until they form a paste. Scoop the excess paste down from the sides to ensure the mix forms properly.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and continue to blend or process on high for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is creamy. Refrigerate until using, for up to 24 hours.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, almond milk, honey, vanilla, and then coconut oil. Slowly add your almond flour, baking powder and salt. Distribute your batter evenly among the cups. Bake for about 20 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven, transfer to a rack and allow to cool completely before frosting. You can either frost with a spoon, or with a pastry bag.

Enjoy!

-S