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

Spicy Turkey Sausage Bolognese with Zoodles (Paleo!)

I can’t even believe that we are at the end of September. It feels like it was just March, and here we are, fall is moving in, the weathers better.

I’m guessing most of you are aware that the US had a debate last night. If you watched it, you definitely didn’t get anything worthwhile from it. Thinking about this makes me think about everything that’s in motion right now. The full moon is tomorrow, and for the first time in a while (at least that I can remember), it’s going to happen during the day so that we can see the full showing of the moon. I think this moon is important for many different reasons, a lot of which has to do with all the energy that’s been moving about. As we entered Mars retrograde earlier this month, we are definitely coming up with a lot of shake up. Did you know that Mars was the Roman God of War? All of that masculine energy, moving Yang energy, needs to move forward. But in retrograde, it can feel like we are all standing still. While I know a lot less about intricate astrology than I do the moon, I know that this particular moon is one that is timed with gathering the ‘fruits of our labor’. Seems pretty trite to think that, what with a good lot of us sitting inside for the last 6 months? On the contrary.

This particular moon, in Aries, is opposite of the sun in Libra (holler to my fellow Libra babies!), which definitely brings to light a lot of relationship and interpersonal dynamics that need to be reevaluated, have been outgrown, or issues coming up related to our internal self and our need shake things up. It’s also a time to release tension, frustration, and anger. What we’ve recently seen socially and politically coincides with the energy of this time, where people are itching to lash out and rebel against the system. To counter this, it’s super important to keep flexibility in the back of your mind at all times, and to adapt to changing circumstances. This month, interestingly enough, opens and closes with a full moon. I truly believe this will be one of the most important times in 2020, so I will be doing my best to be thoughtful, patient and…. Well… I suppose I’ll keep my mouth shut.

On the side of shaking things up, I really should be taking a lot of my own advice – I know that outside of my work, I find the most joy when I’m doing things cooking, yoga or Reiki related. I’ve been trying to find more opportunities to incorporate more of that into my life, which brings me to my next point…. I’ve started my yoga teacher training! It was an impromptu decision last month to try this – I’ve enrolled with an absolutely lovely yoga institute, and I know I’m going to learn a lot about myself and the practice of yoga – the yamas, niyamas, asanas, pranayamas, pratyaharas… there’s a few other limbs, but I can’t give away all the goodies just yet 🙂

I’ve been stockpiling recipes, trying to get some momentum going – in the meantime, I’ve been making some goodies for my reiki and cooking projects…. A little hint hint, think… aromatherapy sprays, natural body care, wholesome stuff for the wholesome chef. I’ll try to post some info about it once I know what it is that I’m doing.

I rolled the dice on posting this one (I have a few other good ones!), but I figured since it was fresh off the stove, I’ll post it. The weather dipped a little in temperature today, so you KNOW I pulled out all of my pots and pans to simmer stuff, dump spices in… I couldn’t resist. While I’m doing the low-carb thing, I whipped out my Vegetti (yeah, you heard me), spiralized some zucchini, and went to town with whatever frozen meat was in my freezer… which happened to be turkey sausage. Turned out great – but you could use whatever meat you prefer.

Spicy Turkey Sausage Bolognese with Zoodles (Paleo!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients

  • 2 green zucchini squash, washed, ends trimmed – makes about 3-4 cups of zoodles

  • 1 lb turkey sausage, or preferred ground meat

  • 1 15 oz can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed

  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, diced

  • 1 tsp dried thyme

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 tsp dried rosemary

  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • ½ tsp salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more if preferred

  • 1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)

Directions

  1.  Using the Vegetti or other spiralizer, spiralize two whole zucchinis with the skins still on. I like to do this ahead of time, and let them air dry on a paper plate/towel for a few hours. (you can also buy pre-packaged zoodles, but they’re kind of expensive.) Set aside.

  1. Next, in a large frying pan, heat up your olive oil over medium heat. Add your onion and turkey sausage, breaking apart, stirring as you browned the meat – approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Season the meat lightly with salt and pepper, adding your garlic in once the meat is nearly cooked. I make sure the meet is as ground and broken up as possible – I just feel like the texture is better that way.

  1. After the meat has browned, add your can of crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, spices, and white wine. Stir and let simmer until bubbling, then turn heat down to low – allowing to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. If liquid evaporates too quickly, feel free to add a splash of chicken broth.

  1. This next step you could do a few ways, since technically the zoodles could be eaten raw, but nobody really likes that. You could either add your zoodles to the sauce pan and let simmer for another 3-4 minutes, or, you could sauté in a separate pan over medium heat with another tablespoon of your preferred cooking fat.  I like to do it this way, because while I only eat for one, I typically have leftovers and want to keep for as long as possible.  Sautéing or cooking your zoodles separately can allow for freezing or storing more easily, but it is a preference. However much of the zoodles you cook, cook them down to evaporate some of the leftover liquid still in the zucchini – about 4-5 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

  1.  Add your zoodles to a small pasta bowl and spoon your Bolognese sauce on, or add right in your pan if preferred. Serve immediately. If totally dairy free, feel free to garnish with nutritional yeast. If not strict Paleo, serve with grated or shredded Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

-S

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Muffins (PALEO!)

It’s Friday. Fri-yay.

I’ll excuse myself, now. JUST KIDDING!

A reader (who am I kidding – a real life friend) sent me a DM that I never post desserts – and I really think that’s indicative of my eating habits. I really don’t often eat desserts. I never wanted birthday cakes, I don’t really crave chocolate and I never have sugary drinks. My recipes aren’t a direct reflection of my eating habits (I really don’t each this much bacon, I swear) but I do make things that I’m familiar with. I thought it’d be a good time to show y’all some muffins. If we can’t all sit together at a coffee shop and stare at one another while sipping spiced cider and lattes in our new sweaters and puffer vests surrounded by pumpkins and apples, muffins will do.

There’s something really universal about muffins… I feel like they appeal to everyone. You have your breakfast muffin crowd, you have the let’s-put-fruit-in-everything crowd, you have the i-can-sneak-a-zucchini-in-here crowd… there’s a muffin for everyone. Personally, I hate surprises and I never want a surprise with my muffin, so this recipe really goes off of my universal muffin recipe base with some tweaks to keep things interesting. They’re paleo, use fresh fruits, and you can put whatever cocoa powder and chocolate you’d like in them. They freeze really well, and they don’t “taste gross and healthy” according to my step-dad, who hasn’t eaten anything dark and leafy green since 1986.

Having said that, to all my sweet-tooth-dessert-loving friends, here’s a muffin. I promise there’s no bacon in it.

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (unflavored is also fine)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your muffin tin lightly with your preferred cooking fat.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mash your bananas with a fork. Whisk in your egg, vanilla extract, maple syrup and almond milk until smooth.
  3. Next, in a separate large mixing bowl, mix your cocoa powder, baking powder, sea salt and almond flour. Once your dry mixture is evenly mixed, slowly add to your wet mixture, combining until smooth.
  4. Lastly, gently fold your raspberries into the mixture, careful not to break or mash them up.
  5. Since almond flour doesn’t immediately absorb the liquids, I like to allow my batter to rest for about 5 minutes before moving it into my muffin tin.
  6. Once the mixture has absorbed a little, divide batter evenly among cups – the muffin cups should be about ¾ full so they don’t overflow and bake over the sides.
  7. Bake for 18-25 minutes until starting to turn golden on top. Check if they are done by sticking a knife or toothpick into a middle muffin – if it’s clean, they’re finished. Let cool, and serve!

Optional: if you’re feeling extra indulgent, spread a little ghee over them.

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