Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Wedges with Avocado Crema (PALEO!)

Sunday Funday! Except not, because we can’t really do anything.

Guys, I still have yams that I can’t seem to get rid of. When I bought so many, I really didn’t think about how creative I’d have to be to find ways to eat them… that weren’t super boring. Cue the bacon…

Though this year has been a lot different, I love going to the Kennett Square Farmers Market to get stuff like local produce, meats, etc. Though I don’t try to eat a lot of meat, I do prefer to know that it was responsibly farmed and that the animal lived as best a life as it could have. I like buying from Canter Hill Farm out of Malvern, PA – they take organic and animal welfare to the next level. I had some bacon in my freezer, and hot damn, it was the perfect thing to use with sweet potatoes. I’ve done a vegetable hash before, but I wanted to be ready with a great snack idea, once we’re all allowed to party again. Without further delay….

 

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Wedges with Avocado Crema (PALEO!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 30-40 min

 

Ingredients

  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes, cut into about 8 wedges each
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 lb thick cut (preferably local!) bacon

for the crema:

  • 1 small container of Greek-style dairy free yogurt, or regular Greek yogurt if not strict paleo
  • 1 avocado, ripe/bright green
  • Juice from 1 lime, or 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt, to taste

Important supplies – a wire baking rack for your sheet (so the bacon doesn’t get soggy)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease/spray your wire backing rack, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet (foil for easy clean up!).
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix together your paprika, garlic and chili powder, with just a pinch of salt. On each wedge, sprinkle the seasoning on both sides of the wedge, and wrap the bacon around the wedge like a spiral, starting at one end and working your way to the other end.
  3. Repeat this for each of the wedges, placing them evenly spaced on the wire rack/baking sheet.
  4. If you have any leftover seasoning mix, sprinkle over the wedges.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until bacon starts to brown. It’s best to flip them halfway through, so that the bottom side is able to brown just as the top does.
  6. Meanwhile, while they’re baking, mash your avocado in a mixing bowl, so that no chunks remain. If you like particularly smooth avocado puree, you can do this step in a food processor. Quite frankly, I did mine by hand because it was 8:30pm and I didn’t want to dirty another dish, so it worked just fine.
  7. Once the avocado is mashed or pureed, mix in your Greek yogurt, lime juice and pinch of salt. Continue to mix until smooth. Place in refrigerator until use.
  8. Once your sweet potato wedges are cooked, serve immediately while hot, with your crema on the side.

 

Enjoy!

-S

Smoked Salmon Breakfast Quesadillas with Spicy Mayo (PALEO!)

This week flew by. It was not without struggle though – tackling some difficult work tasks did a number on my patience… but it’s Friday! Which means… a weekend filled with wine-tasting and sunshine/pool time. Work hard, play/relax hard.

It only took 4 months of depressing quarantine where I drank a bazillion bottles of wine and ate cheese every day, but I have finally been hitting the gym and lifting again, 5 days a week. Some days I wake up and feel unmotivated and lazy, but I remember that if I want to work out when no one’s there, 6 am it is. At this point in 2020, none of my friends go to the gym right when it opens anymore, and I’m fine with that. No offense to anyone else, but I don’t want to breathe your air right now. Stay blessed….  From 6+ feet away.

I’ve also been cooking a lot more! Who would have thought that a total shutdown of my life would’ve afforded me all the time in the world, but also halted all of my passions and will to live my daily life as I know it? Total transparency – I am fine now. 3-4 months ago, not so good. Now that I’m busier, it’s like I have also regained the motivation to cook. I even went without buying White Claw this week. Baby steps.

Part of my motivation is also to cook some breakfast, as healthy as I can. Why not indulge in the AM, if you have the time? I recently stopped at Whole Foods and picked up a few treats I don’t normally buy. (PS – If you wanna know how my 2020 is going, let’s consider that I think about what my dog will eat with me when I cook. My dog has moved up to ‘roommate’ status, from ‘pet’ status. #LivingAloneDuringQuarantine). Smoked salmon made the grocery list cut – I love this stuff. However, I’m not so sure I vibe with how normal chain grocery stores supply their smoked salmon. I don’t know their farming protocols, I don’t know what chemicals or fake flavoring they’re adding to treat the salmon, or if it’s even really properly smoked. I know it’s a lot to really considered where you source food like this, but in a world where we have little control over a lot of things, making sure your food is responsibly cultivated and healthy can combat some of the stressful things we think about otherwise. Whole Foods won the highest rank on Greenpeace’s 2018 Supermarket Sustainability scorecard (source), and specifically for salmon, the buyers actually live in Alaska or PNW during the summer to choose their salmon for the store (source). That’s a lot better than I can say for a lot of other places.

Having said that, let’s share some food!

Smoked Salmon Breakfast Quesadillas with Spicy Mayo (PALEO!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 10 min

Makes 1 quesadilla

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chopped smoked Salmon (Whole Foods’ brand that I like!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 stalks of scallions, chopped, plus more for garnish if desired
  • 1 tbsp diced red pepper
  • 2 Siete Almond Flour wraps
  • 1 tbsp spicy mayo (recipe here!)
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • sprinkle of paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste

If you aren’t strict paleo or just like breakfast and smoked salmon, feel free to add cheese!

Directions

  1. In a large frying pan, add a tsp of your preferred cooking fat. Add your diced red pepper, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until softened.
  2. Next, to the same pan, add your whisked eggs and scallions. Scramble your eggs until cooked but not totally dry – adding a small pinch of salt or pepper. Remove from pan and add to a small mixing bowl. Add your chopped smoked salmon.
  3. Mix the tbsp of spicy mayo into your mixture – this will work to bind the ingredients together and to the tortilla, which is normally what cheese would do.
  4. At this point – your pan should still be on the stove. Carefully, so as to not burn yourself, wipe the pan out to clear any egg stickies, or caramelized stuff. Add another tsp of your preferred cooking fat.
  5. Here’s where this can go one of two ways – if you trust that you won’t burn yourself, reassemble your quesadilla right in the frying pan by evenly spreading your egg and smoked salmon mixture onto one tortilla while it’s in the pan. You can definitely assemble it outside of the pan and then add it, as long as you’re super talented and won’t drop stuff out of the sides. I am self-aware and know I can’t do that, so I just carefully do it right in the pan.
  6. (For y’all cheese people – this is where you add your cheese as a layer over or under your egg/salmon).
  7. Over medium low heat, gently brown your quesadilla. If needed, add another tsp of cooking fat once it’s time to flip the quesadilla. Brown slightly on both sides, then serve!
  8. Garnish with scallions and serve with additional spicy mayo, if desired.

Enjoy!

-S

 

Sweet Potato Medallions topped with Pesto Chicken (PALEO!)

Holy moly! This weather. Maybe it’s because my “desk” at home looks right out the window, so I’m super aware of every rain drop that falls outside. The most excitement I’m having these days.

Question for you all – how adventurous are you with ingredients? Will you make a substitution for something you really wanted to make, but don’t have all the ingredients? I wanted to make pesto, but didn’t have everything I needed…. I made some substitutes, and it turned out GREAT. Swapped out pine nuts because I didn’t have them, used walnuts. Wanted parmesan, didn’t have it, used nutritional yeast. Like, I may have eaten a spoonful of it by itself because it was so good, and because I am disgusting. Between that, and the sweet potatoes on my counter that were about to turn, everything was about to be disgusting. Until I had an idea.

I got out my Instant Pot, made some chicken, shredded it, and threw it together on some sweet potatoes. I couldn’t finish them all, so I threw the plate in the fridge with some foil and ate them for breakfast at 645am. Keeping the disgust going, that’s right.

Though the way I made them is more appetizer-style, these are just tasty when made as a regular baked sweet potato stuffed with this mixture. Highly recommend.

 

Sweet Potato Medallions topped with Pesto Chicken (PALEO!)

 

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 40 min (total)

 

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, skin on, sliced into rounds
  • 2 large chicken breasts

 

For the pesto:

  • 1 large bunch of basil, stems removed (approx. 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (if not strict paleo, you can sub for two heaping tbsp of shredded parmesan or pecorino cheese)
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • sea salt, to taste

 

Directions

  1. Cook chicken breast by preferred method – I used my Instant Pot on the “Meat” setting for 14 minutes, but you can also bake in a pyrex dish at 375 degrees F for 30-35 min with a cup of water, salt and pepper. Once cooked, place in a bowl and shred with forks until no large chunks remain.
  2. In the meantime while the chicken is cooking, prepare the pesto. In a food processor, add your basil, garlic, walnuts, lemon zest/juice, salt, and red pepper flakes. Pulse until no large chunks remain, about 30-40 seconds total. Once emulsified, while the food processor is running, drizzle your olive oil in until fully mixed. Do a quick taste test, add more salt if needed.
  3. If you didn’t use it already to cook the chicken, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. On a greased or parchment lined baking sheet, brush your sweet potato medallions with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from heat once finished, leaving oven on.
  4. Once the pesto is finished, mix 1/3 to 1/2 cup of pesto into your cooked/shredded chicken and mix thoroughly. Chicken should be thoroughly coated – add a teaspoon at a time if it appears dry. Spoon the chicken mixture neatly onto your sweet potato medallions, and place back into the oven for another 5-7 minutes, reheating thoroughly.
  5. Optional: garnish with a small dollop of pesto. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

-S

Crab Flatbread with Honey, Balsamic and Fresh Basil

After a quick little stint at the beach, I am back, working, and already primed and ready for a weekend.

I think what I miss the most about this whole “don’t hang out with anybody” era is being able to laugh over drinks and enjoying new restaurants… as a group activity. I really considered myself an introvert (a loud one, but still). Now that I CAN’T actually be with people, it’s like a tired child that needs to go to bed but doesn’t want to. I don’t want to stay home, because now I’m being forced to. But…. It’s the right thing to do to slow this whole thing down until we have more information and more options, so this is what I’ll do.

I have more time than ever to make recipes, but I am feeling so UNMOTIVATED, it’s painful. My focus has been trying to eat less, workout more (not going into a gym for months really did a number on my body composition), and generally be kinder to myself. I normally am totally fine with working until the point of burnout and exhaustion, but now there is a visceral reaction to doing so – almost as if my mind and body are conspiring with the universe to force me to slow down, in every sense of the term. So, for now – I am trying to work with when I get little bursts of motivation. If I eat my recipe before I take a nice picture of it? Whatever, I’ll make it again. I’m going to devote more mindspace and time to ensuring I’m keeping myself up and motivated, but being patient when I’m not.

I’ve been doing a lot of work, a lot of thinking on what I want the next few years of my life to look like… I’ve recently taken this back seat to my own life and moving forward, and I realized that living passively is no way to live – we shouldn’t do stuff just to “get by”, unless survival depends on it. This recipe had me thinking as I was buying the ingredients. I was really into seafood, and wanted to make something a little indulgent – I immediately thought of crab. I was digging my heels in at spending money on a can of jumbo lump crab meat, but I figured I’d splurge. It’s worth it after all, right? Have you ever sat down and picked crab meat? That shit is HARD. You get your fingers all torn up, sometimes you can’t get it all out in a clean piece, it takes a long time, and it’s really not a lot of meat for the effort. But man, when you keep digging and pull out a huge chunk of backfin meat, it’s all worth it.

That had me thinking about working towards what I want whatever my next step in life looks like. Taking one step isn’t going to move me a whole lot, but each tiny step, though small, is a necessary. It sounds so cliché, really, but sometimes all you need to do is make a little jump on a new idea and stuff just starts to snowball. I think that’s what I’m going to do. Of course, you guys won’t see a finished product for a while, but…. Just know I’m trying to make something cool out of my passion project.

Ok, so RECIPE. This is indulgent, definitely party food, it could be subbed with gluten-free flatbread, but this was just an easy store-bought flatbread. Literally, one of the easiest things I’ve ever made. Perhaps if I remake it and experiment with a paleo or gluten free flatbread, I’ll share!

 

Crab Flatbread with Honey, Balsamic and Fresh Basil

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

Serves 2

 

Ingredients

  • 1 large flatbread (the one I used was approx.. 12 in by 8 in, about the size of a piece of paper)
  • ½ cup of jumbo lump crab meat
  • 1 tbsp balsamic glaze (I like Whole Foods’ organic store brand!)
  • 1 tsp honey (local, if you can find it)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or melted ghee
  • 1 tbsp finely minced shallot or yellow onion
  • 1 heaping tbsp of fresh chopped basil
  • pinch of ground himilayan or sea salt

 

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. On a greased, foil lined baking sheet or pizza stone, place your flatbread. Drizzle olive oil over the flatbread, and add a pinch of salt. Sprinkle your onion, ensuring the flatbread is evenly covered. Next, carefully sprinkle your crab, ensuring any clumps (NOT the lumps!) stuck together are separated so the crab is evenly distributed.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until thoroughly heated and slightly crisped – you don’t want your flatbread to brown or get too crispy and turn into a rock.
  4. Once removed, Immediately drizzle with your honey. Let cool for a few minutes, then drizzle with your balsamic glaze.
  5. Lastly, garnish with your basil. Slice into even pieces, serve, and enjoy!

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-S

 

 

Blueberry Peach Throw-Together Crumble (Gluten-free, Vegan!)

Hello my friends! It’s been a while.

Summer is always busy… I should be honest though, I think every person on this planet knows that’s not necessarily true in this case. Here are some updates.

I, the queen of risk aversion, decided to quit my job and start a new one in the middle of a global health crisis. While it was in the works since around Christmas time, it was a mix of emotions, telling my manager the week after my state (and surrounding states) decided to implement a stay-at-home order, that I would be giving up a job I’ve held for several years to start a new one, with limited understanding of what even the following week would look like in today’s world. It was the best decision for me, keep moving forward!

Back to food. I have made a few things. Peaches and blueberries are in season, and I couldn’t think of a better way to use my almost-turning-the-corner peaches sitting on my counter than to chop them up and smother them with some crusty goodness. I dumped a carton of blueberries in for good measure, because why not?

Total transparency, this looks like shit – but it tastes really good. Yours probably won’t be hideous, but I took mine out of the oven to go outside and put it back in, totally not the way to do things. I’m flex eating at the moment (read: my diet is mostly White Claw, which I do not advise, but this is a hurdle I am not willing to get over just yet) so I wasn’t concerned about strict paleo, but this IS gluten free and vegan. Enjoy!

 

Blueberry Peach Throw-Together Crumble (Gluten-free, Vegan!)

 

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time 20 min

 

 

Ingredients

 

For the filling

  • 4-5 ripe (but not mushy!) peaches, peeled and pit removed, sliced in ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 cup blueberries, rinsed
  • 2 heaping tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

 

For the crumble

  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free steel cut oats
  • 2 heaping tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, frozen and chopped into cubes or pieces (if not strict in diet, can substitute regular butter, refrigerated and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 pyrex dish with coconut oil or your preferred fat, set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together your fruit filling, coconut sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and lemon juice, stirring gently. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all of your crumble ingredients, pressing the flour and oats into the butter, mixing until you achieve a sand-like consistency.
  4. Pour your fruit mix and spread into an even layer into the pyrex dish. Next, evenly pour your crumble mixture over your fruit layer, evenly covering the fruit.
  5. Bake until crust starts to brown, about 20-25 minutes.

 

Enjoy!

-S