Easy Restaurant Salsa (Paleo, Vegan)

This is the week for easy things.

Easy (somewhat) workweek for me, Wednesday is my Friday! I’m more tired than normal – waking up at 4 really feels like waking up at 3a, sitting in traffic is painful, dragging my dog out for a walk in the cold is painful…. I’m just tired. I’m really excited to just do whatever I want this Thursday and Friday.. and Monday, because I took that day off, too.

My pickles were a surprising hit — I figured something so easy wouldn’t be so popular. The best part about them is once you put them in the fridge, you work is done. All you need to do is wait for them to turn into their pickle-y greatness and then eat them. So, what’s next?

Well, until I start whipping out my St. Patrick’s Day recipes… enjoy this delightful salsa! It literally couldn’t be easier. I am a stickler for chopping things meticulously and with love, however… sometimes you want the goods without struggling to get it all done. This makes that delicious texture you get at Mexican restaurants with the fresh flavor of a good pico de gallo… the easiest part? Get your tomatoes canned. Seriously – it cuts down the time and effort when you’re in a pinch. Plus, you can doctor it up however you like! I like to keep a few seeds left over so my salsa has a bit of kick to it.

Easy Restaurant Salsa (Paleo, Vegan)

prep time: 20 min

cook time: ~10 min

makes about 2 15 oz jar of pickles

Ingredients

  • 1 large can of whole peeled plum tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cans of petit diced tomatoes, juice included
  • 1 small yellow onion, loosely chopped
  • 1 medium bunch of cilantro
  • 1 poblano pepper, stems and seeds removed
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stems removed (set aside a few seeds if you prefer a bit more heat)
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor. Note: if you prefer spicy salsa, add your jalapeno seeds.
  2. Pulse until your desired texture is achieved. I prefer mine to be pretty uniform, slightly runny… so I let mine blend for at least 20 seconds. Salsa can be stored for up to 7 days in the fridge.

Enjoy!

-S

Easy Overnight Pickles! (Paleo, Vegan, GF… everything!)

Hello, hello!

Crazy to think some people are bracing for more snow… I am so glad we have some warmer weather coming up, which hopefully is here to stay. Spring is soon!

…which leads me to my complaining. Did anyone else have a particularly difficult time with adjusting to the time change? I’m not sure what it was, but I am still waking up confused, and confused that it’s dark out when I’m leaving for work. It’s like I  turn around when I’m home, and suddenly it’s time to go to bed. It doesn’t help that I just recently got back into Grey’s Anatomy, and now I feel like I need to watch two episodes at night and stay up even later, while feeling like I am waking up earlier. That aside, this Saturday is St. Patrick’s Day! I think I’m in the mood to cook some green things, Irish dishes… and drink beer. definitely on the agenda.

How is everyone’s March going? I hope you’re remembering to really act on your intentions and take action on what you want to see start happening. The time is now 🙂

In the meantime, why not make some pickles? These are the best addition to a good sandwich, burger, or to just eat out of a jar. You can doctor them up how you like, but this recipe is a great starting point for a basic pickle.

Easy Overnight Pickles! (Paleo, Vegan, GF… everything!)

prep time: 20 min

cook time: ~10 min

makes about 2 15 oz jar of pickles

Ingredients

  • 6 small cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 small handful of dill, large stems removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • pinch of black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Place cucumbers and dill in each mason jar (or one, if you’re using a large one).
  2. In a saucepan, add all other ingredients and whisk together. Bring to a boil, and remove from heat, allowing to cool for a few minutes before adding to the jars.
  3. Once the mixture has sat for 2-3 minutes, pour over the cucumbers. Leave the top off to allow to cool almost to room temperature before refrigerating overnight.
  4. Optional: Add 1 tsp cayenne and 1/2 tsp chipotle powder for spicy pickles. Shake to mix thoroughly before placing in the fridge.

Enjoy!

-S

Best Guacamole Ever (Paleo, Vegan, everything)

Happy March! What’s shakin’?

I’ll tell you what. My house, this weekend. The wind was so bad in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic that people lost siding, shutters, roofs… no bueno. I made a few things in the last week, not all paleo/vegan but some yummy treats! Gluten free rice crispie treats, carne asada tacos, slaw, gluten free macaroni and cheese with pancetta…. The whole nine. I’ll get to food in a second, but I wanted to talk about March.

Did you know the month is named after Mars? The planet, not so much. The Roman God of War, definitely. Things you think about when you think of March are battles, conquests, adventures…. random last minute snowstorms because mother nature is funny like that…. you know. Just the normal stuff.  Also, March used to be the very first month of the Roman calendar, which also aligned with new beginnings of Spring and the continuation of life from the prior year, or era. Remember how February had only a new moon and no full moon? That was the suppression of things to prepare for your new beginning. Those plans you carefully crafted last month? Jump on them now. With the brunt of things almost behind us, the latter part of March leaves us with light, easy living and smooth sailing. It is what you make of it, though. Care for your business now to lighten your load later this month. 🙂

On to fun foodies. One thing that’s super important to parties, snack time, dinners etc is my guac. I’m not sure what about it makes it so special, but it’s probably my number 1 requested food when I have friends over. It’s simple, you can put it on anything… it’s all around just a good recipe to have on hand. Try it out! The one thing about making this recipe the best ever is really paying attention to the ingredients. You can use what you have on hand, but I like to find the perfect tomatoes, avocados, etc. Yum.

Best Guacamole Ever (Paleo, Vegan, everything)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: n/a

Ingredients

  • 5 pretty ripe but still bright green avocados
  • 1/3 of med-large red onion, -OR- 1 small-med yellow onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced into very small pieces
  • 2 ripe-but-not-too-mushy roma tomatoes (the oblong shaped ones), diced into small pieces
  • 1 large bunch of very fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • juice of a half or whole lime, to taste
  • salt, to taste (I typically start with 1/2 tsp and  go from there)
  • pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mash your avocados with a fork, gently. you don’t want to bruise them and turn them into complete mush.
  2. Next, stir in your tomatoes, gently folding them into the mix, including any juices from the cutting board. Now add your onion, and bell pepper. Stir in your cilantro, as well.
  3. Now add your pepper — just a pinch, and then your salt. Taste test every so often to gauge if you need more… some like their guac a bit more salty.
  4. Lastly, add your lime juice. The idea behind adding your salt before your lime juice is that the enzymes in the citrus react differently to salt, so your flavors are much more vibrant if the lime is added last. I have no idea if that’s really what’s happening, but it sounded nice when I heard it.
  5. Unless you have several hours until you serve your guac, cover with Saran wrap, pressing down against the guac to prevent any oxidation/turning brown. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes prior to serving. If serving within the hour, leave at room temperature to let the flavors meld.

Enjoy!

-S

Sea-Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites (Paleo, Vegan)

Totally unrelated to food…. I have discovered the online store 6pm.com. It’s like the TJ Maxx of Zappos, can you just picture this, please? Amazing. Uggs for half price, cute booties, stuff you didn’t know you needed until you found it.

Who’s ready for spring? Let’s skip straight to the good stuff. This recipe for Sea-salted Caramel Cheesecake bites is a little bit of summer, but since it’s best served frozen…. We can say it’s Spring, instead. These babies are vegan, gluten free, paleo, the whole 9 yards. Have at ‘em.

Sea-Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites (Paleo, Vegan)

Prep time: 3 hours

Cook time: 40 min (active)

Serves 12 (large cups), or (24 small cups)

Ingredients

For the crust

  • ~2 very full cups of pecans, raw
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp almond butter

For the cheesecake

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or in boiling water for 2-3 hours
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar 1/3 cup of coconut cream (from a can), plus 1-2 tbsp of coconut milk if needed
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt for garnish

For the caramel

  • 1/3 cup maple sugar
  • 2 heaping tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Directions

  1. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners and set aside.
  2. Start the caramel sauce, as it takes the longest. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugars and coconut milk. Bring to a low boil, and then add the vanilla extract and salt and mix until combined. Allow to continue to boil for about 2-3 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Turn to very low heat, and simmer slowly for about 35-40 minutes, until reduced to a thick syrup. Remove from heat to allow to further cool, or place in the refrigerator.
  3. Meanwhile, as the caramel sauce is cooking down, place the ingredients for the crust into a food processor and pulse until crumbly and mixed thoroughly.Press about a tbsp of the crust mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Freeze while preparing the remaining layers.
  4. Now for your filling! Drain your cashews and put them into a blender; mix until you have a crumbly wet pile (appetizing, I know). Now add your coconut oil, coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend until smooth… this may take a bit, as your cashew chunks may still be visible. Feel free to add water, 1 tsp at a time, if needed. Once smooth, add your lemon juice and continue to puree until frothy. Add more lemon juice, if desired.
  5. Remove the crusts from the freezer and pour the cheesecake filling evenly into each cup, leaving room for the caramel sauce. Place back into the freezer for about 25-30 minutes.
  6. About 20 minutes before serving, you can remove your cheesecakes to allow them to thaw. Spoon a dollop of caramel sauce atop each cup, and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Serve, and enjoy!

🙂

-S

Strawberry Coconut Lassi (Paleo, Vegan)

It’s unseasonably warm out… which makes me both sad that this may be unpleasant climate change, but slightly happy that I can wear flats and not freeze my tooties off. You take the good with the bad.

How’s everyone’s week going? Perhaps because I had off on Monday and it’s a short week, it seems this is really zooming along. I’ve been dying to get out and walk Sydney a bit longer than usual, but when I get home and start doing everything I have to do… it just gets later and later and before I know it this little old lady is too tired to keep going.

I forgot to mention — this weekend, I stopped at Palo Santo Wellness Boutique, one of my favorite places in Philly. They have crystals, tarot cards, a few other fun things, but my favorite are the essential oil sprays. There’s something nice about having a spray during meditation, before bed, or when doing yoga and stretching — associating the smell with some relaxation helps. The one in particular I really like is the Moon Mist — I’d love to recreate it with some of my own oils and Reiki. This made me think about something — there’s no full moon in February! It’s a short month, and there was one on January 31st (no 31st in February), but I think it’s funny that we can go a whole “month” without a full moon. I guess it depends on who you ask, but February this year is considered a month with a dark moon” — not ominous, it just means the month goes without a full moon in the lunar cycle, or a month with two new (dark) moons. Even though people may interpret that differently, the moon isn’t showing this whole month… one could say it’s hiding, resting, or sleeping (goodnight, moon! Sorry… couldn’t resist, that book is a staple).

This closely correlates with self reflection, starting fresh, and improving upon things with a new beginning. The new moon was officially on February 15th — this means we are moving towards a fuller moon, which means that this is the time to do anything you’ve been thinking about doing but haven’t taken action. Fun stuff, right??? Let’s get moving!

This recipe is a fun way to enjoy an ethnic treat in a bit of a healthier, dairy free way. Get your blender out (food processors won’t work because of the ice,), turn it on high, pour it up and sip away!

Also… if you don’t already, follow me on Instagram! @thedivinekitchen 🙂

Strawberry Coconut Lassi (Paleo, Vegan)

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: n/a

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of strawberries, stems trimmed
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cardamom, plus a pinch extra for garnish
  • 1 cup ice

Directions:

Blend all ingredients together in a high-speed blender until frothy. Adjust sweetness to taste. Garnish with extra cardamom and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

-S

Spicy Crunchy Chipotle Chicken (Paleo)

Had a long weekend this weekend… fortunately spent a lot of it cooking, woo! I’ll have a lot of good recipes for you 🙂 I went out for a friend’s birthday to this place in north Philly called Urban Axes. It was really fun… something I never thought I’d say about drinking and throwing axes at a target. A little danger is fun.

The real fun happened afterwards — we went to eat and had the most delicious BBQ food at Fette Sau, in Fishtown (Philly). I got mac and cheese and baked beans as my sides, which were eh… but the MEAT. Omg, the meat. It was sold by the pound — I got some “burnt ends”, which is the crispy last pieces of the brisket, pork shoulder and pork butt. It was glorious… I love burnt food.

I was everywhere this weekend… I also went to Produce Junction in Exton, where I got 2 dozen roses for $5.00. Five dollars = happiness. I also bought some alstroemeria, which are the cutest little flowers that last forever. My sitting area is basically a garden. Which reminds me, I cannot WAIT to plant my herbs! I’m going to make a point to use them when I cook. Since the herbs got infected when they were brought in last year with little mites, I have to be careful to not let that happen this year.

Friday, I had the day off from work so I dedicated it to making some delicious recipes that I hope you’ll all really like 🙂 to start, how about some spicy chicken!??! The weather is poppin today, this recipe is poppin, I’m going to take my dog for a walk… just trying to make the best of global warming. For those of you that miss a good breaded chicken but can’t do any gluten, this is a treat for you. it has the crunch of a good panko, but is actually made from plantains and almond flour. Tasty, especially for picky eaters! Check it out.

Spicy Crunchy Chipotle Chicken (Paleo)

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Prep time: 20 min

cook time: 25 min

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • 2 large chicken breasts, trimmed and sliced in half thickness-wise
  • 10 oz (1 large bag or 2 small bags) plantain chips, plain
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground chipotle

For the coating/extra sauce

  • 1 cup paleo mayo, or soy-free veganaise
  • 2-3 tbsp adobo sauce (or more, to taste)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or lightly grease with ghee or coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together your mayo, adobo sauce, garlic, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper. Adjust flavors as needed. Scoop out about 3 tbsp, and set aside. You will need this later for your garnish.
  3. Crush your plantain chips until fine crumbs, similar to panko or as crumbly as you can get them. Add them to another large bowl, along with your almond flour, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt, pepper and chipotle. Mix with a fork until combined.
  4. Similar to chicken Milanese, this is a step by step process. Dip the chicken into the sauce, coating generously and thoroughly. Allow any excess to drip off, and place in breading, pressing to coat thoroughly. If you have any spots that are missed, make sure to cover. Place on your baking sheet, evenly spaced.
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes, until chicken starts to brown. Remove from heat and drizzle with extra mayo sauce.

Enjoy!

-S

 

Valentine’s Day Side Dish-Roasted Broccoli with Goat Cheese and Walnuts! (Keto-friendly)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Quick post that I wanted to share (if you were looking for a tasty side dish for your delicious homemade Valentine’s dinner… quick-roasted broccoli with goat cheese and walnuts! The kicker that makes this more exciting is how you season the broccoli… which is generously. Enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 25 min

Serves 5-6

  • 1 large head of broccoli, cut into 1 inch florets (remove the bulk of the stem to avoid tough pieces)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 heaping cup of chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup of crumbled goat cheese
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add your olive oil, salt, pepper, shallot. Whisk to combine, and gently toss your broccoli in the dressing, making sure the florets are completely coated. Spread across a parchment lined (or greased) baking sheet in a single layer. Roast the broccoli for 20-25 minutes, until the broccoli starts to brown.
  3. Meanwhile, we prep the toppings. In a small bowl, whisk together your garlic and lemon juice, and set aside.
  4. In a small frying pan, add  the walnuts and  toast over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Do not use any oil – they should remain dry to stay crisp. Once they start to slightly brown, remove from heat and place on a plate to prevent further toasting.
  5. When the broccoli is finished, remove from oven and sprinkle with toasted walnuts and  goat cheese. Gently  toss with lemon and garlic mixture, and serve.

Enjoy!

-S