Jalapeño Popper Deviled Eggs (Paleo!)

So, I’m starting to think that Fall is never actually happening… it’s sweltering hot, we’ve got hurricanes around every corner, there’s bugs…. There’s a lot of issues with this and it’s just not working out. You know what’s fun though? The Flyers playing, whatever other football game is on, baseball…. While I really only care about the Flyers, you know what I love about sports parties? FOOD.

I’ve had to behave myself a really eat well these last few weeks, because once a game comes on…. Well, willpower goes out the window I can’t help but eat everything in sight. What I really am trying to say is that I haven’t behaved myself at all, and I’ve been eating like a dump truck. Better get crackin’ on the treadmill.

I don’t know about you guys, but while I love the coziness of sit-down Sunday dinners each week, I also love making snacks for game time so there’s more variety, and more choices to eat. A friend at work has brought me jalapeńo peppers, and I knew just what I wanted to make.

Deviled eggs!

The cool thing about them is a.) once you hard boil them, they’re pretty hard to screw up. Not to say I haven’t had a nasty deviled egg in my life, but if you mess them up, you can add different flavors little by little to fix them back up. A great way to jazz them up is to add bacon… because bacon is the best. With that, I had an idea… why not add jalapeńo?

I bring you… jalapeńo popper deviled eggs. I promise you, they’re worth a try.

Jalapeño Popper Deviled Eggs (Paleo!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 12 min

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise, plus more if needed
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp paprika, plus more for garnish
  • 1 large jalapeńo(stems and seeds removed), minced
  • 1 heaping tbsp of chives, chopped
  • 3-4 pieces of cooked bacon, chopped

Directions

  1. In a large pot, place your eggs in room  temperature water that covers the eggs completely. Add a pinch of table salt, and a dash of vinegar. (rumor has it this makes the eggs easier to peel).
  2. Bring to a boil, and let boil for 90 seconds. Turn the heat off, and cover. Let sit for 12 minutes.
  3. Once 12 minutes has passed, place your eggs in a bowl of ice water to prevent overcooking. This also cuts down on cool-down time needed before you start to peel. Once the eggs are cooled, gently peel the shells off and discard.
  4. Cut eggs lengthwise in half. Remove yolks and place into medium-sized bowl. Set your white halves on a plate, face up,  to use later.
  5. Mash your yolks with fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar and black pepper, mix well. Next, add your bacon, jalapeńo and chives. Add any additional salt to taste, continuing to gently mix.
  6. scoop the mix into a ziploc bag with the tip cut (big enough for bacon pieces to pass) or a spoon, fill each egg white half with the mixture to desired amount — be generous. Refrigerate, covered, to allow flavors to blend. Sprinkle with paprika just before serving, if desired.

Enjoy!

-S

Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean Dip (Gluten Free, Vegan!)

Just a quick update for you all! Tomorrow is my birthday, and I’ve been SUPER busy. I haven’t forgotten about you!

I wanted to give you guys a good recipe for any upcoming parties you have, especially for fall J I love to make my own potato and sweet potato chips, which go really well with this recipe (air fryers for the win, I love Amazon… find mine here). This dip is super quick, super easy, and the last time I made it, it was gone within 30 min. Note…. Double the recipe next time, heh.

Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean Dip (Gluten-free, Vegan!)

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Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: n/a

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can of cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • ¾ cup of roasted red peppers (jarred, in olive oil, is what I used)
  • juice from ½ of a large lemon, plus more to taste
  • salt, to taste (I used ~1 tsp)
  • pepper, to taste
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ~1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • optional: handful of crumbled feta (FYI – feta is not vegan… it’s cheese…)

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except the feta cheese in a food processor and blend until smooth – about 30-45 seconds. Adjust flavors to preference – you may like additional salt, or lemon.
  2. If using feta, upon serving, stir gently into the dip. I also like to sprinkle some on top for presentation, but note! Again, feta is not vegan.

Enjoy!

-S

Super Easy Greek Avocado Dip (Paleo, Vegan!)

July, woo! Heatwave, woo!!

It doesn’t take much for me to whine about extreme weather. I don’t really like extreme  cold, I definitely don’t like extreme heat, and we’ve had some serious triple digit heat these last few days. BUT, I can’t really complain, because the sun has been shining and we’ve had some really great beach weather. I’ve gotten a lot of sun, even though I’ve got my zinc on my face like a little nerdlet.

Some of the fam got a new boat, and this thing is pur-dy. All black, huge speakers, wakeboarding tower… I can’t wait to go on it. They’ve taken it out two days in a row, but I had to get my beach time in…feet in the sand is a must. The house is super close to Assateague State Park, which is where tons of wild ponies live. They’re pretty tame, you can definitely walk up to them (and they’ll walk up to you), but I wouldn’t advise it. I have PTSD flashbacks of a little boy yanking a horse’s tail and promptly getting kicked. Not saying he didn’t deserve it… but… you know. Just saying.

It’s so nice having the week off from work. I brought my work laptop down, but I’m sort of hoping I can fight the urge to open it and check on things. Honestly, thinking in general isn’t what I want to do much of. I bet you picked up on that, as this is likely the most A.D.D., non-guided, inconsistent stream of consciousness I’ve probably ever written. Let’s get to more important things.

If there ever was a “beach food” that is perfect in every sense of the word, it’s gotta be avocados. When perfectly ripe, they can do anything. On toast, in dip, in a smoothie, eaten plain with some salt… or back to dips J I make a mean guacamole, but sometimes you just want to switch it up with a different flavor. Cue the veggies! My version is made with almond milk Greek yogurt, so it’s both vegan and paleo friendly. If you don’t have any dietary restrictions, feel free to use your favorite brand of plain Greek yogurt. This is refreshing, tasty, and can be eaten with just about anything! Chips, tortilla chips, on bread, on a salad… you name it.

Super Easy Greek Avocado Dip (Paleo, Vegan!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: n/a

Serves: n/a

Ingredients

  • 3 avocados, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup Greek-style almond yogurt (or regular Greek yogurt)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced – ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 heaping tbsp of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 small English cucumber, diced
  • ¼ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • juice of 1 small lemon, or less if (to taste)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • optional: sprinkle of feta (not vegan, or paleo friendly, FYI)

Directions

  1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together all of your ingredients, adding lemon last. Gently stir until avocado starts to blend, still leaving large chunks. Add additional salt as needed.

Enjoy!

-S

Health Food Haul – Ideas for Healthy Groceries

So you’ve made the effort to eat more healthy foods, and you’re ready to shop. Where do you shop, and where do you start? What’s worth splurging on, and what’s worth buying the regular or generic brand? I’ve picked my favorite products and brands at my favorite stores.

Whole Foods

After Amazon acquired Whole Foods in 2017, there was a noticeable decrease in a lot of their produce and meat prices. I like to make special trips to Whole Foods a few times a month (since it’s sort of out of the way), and these are a few of my favorites.

Miso

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Miso is fermented soy-bean paste – derived from a legume, it’s not for the strict paleo dieters, but it’s gluten-free and loaded with flavor. Any time I’m making an Asian-style marinade, this is a definite staple because it’s a huge punch of flavor. You can find it in red or yellow “flavor”, depending on your preference, and I particularly love the brand Westbrae Natural.

Plant-Based Protein Powder

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Calling all Vegans! For the naysayers that lament you’ll never get enough protein, here’s your rebuttal. I love this brand of protein – PlantFusion Vanilla Bean Flavored Nature’s Most Complete Plant Protein. It has a really light flavor, so you can really add it into anything, such as smoothies, desserts, etc. It’s considered a “complete” protein, so you get everything you need.

Olive Oils, Vinegars and Sauces

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This one is more of an adventure than it is a requirement… I love sauces. Truly, I will put sauce on anything. I love aioli, I love gravy, I love dipping sauce. Whole Foods stocks a few of my personal staples, which I love… California Ranch Olive Oil (buy domestic!) has this flowery peppery taste that I have to have when using EVOO. Balsamic is another staple, and I often pick up a bottle of Napa Valley Naturals Organic Balsamic Vinegar, for salads and reductions. In a pinch, of I don’t have the time to make my own salad dressing, Primal Kitchen Green Goddess Dressing and Marinade is another favorite I like to keep on hand.

Ground Buffalo and Bison

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In my home town, we had a restaurant that actually made it to the Travel Channel, called Half Moon. It was known for sourcing “unusual game” on it’s menu, such as kangaroo, buffalo, alligator or other food not commonly found within the US. Nature’s Rancher Ground Buffalo is great to pick up when I’m trying to recreate Half Moon’s “buffa-loaf” – a tasty meatloaf made with buffalo, rather than ground beef. Nature’s Rancher is one of the “Animal Welfare Approved” farms in the US, where further info can be found at https://animalwelfareapproved.us.

Wegmans

Wegman’s is my grocery store superhero. I get so excited when I’m able to stroll around and get my groceries, bulk nuts/candies, AND BOOZE! Plus, if I’m absolutely famished, I can get things at the food bar, or restaurant. It’s the mecca, the toy store, the everything for foodies.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts

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These have to be the best thing ever. I have a food processor that I love using, but for whatever reason, I can’t stand using it for brussels sprouts. I don’t want them paper thin, but rather a little chunky… and Wegmans sells these glorious bags of pre-shredded brussies. You can find Wegmans Cleaned and Cut Shaved Brussels in the produce section. LOVE IT.

Almond Milk

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I can’t take credit for this one. My friend started getting this brand after Wegmans discontinued their generic store brand (we called just to be sure… it really was tragic….), and not only is the bottle cute, but it really is the tastiest. Califia Farms Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk is carrageenan free, and is so far the simplest almond milk I can find without making my own. For the record – carrageenan is derived from red seaweed and is commonly used as a binding agent or additive in foods, or a thickening agent. Carrageenan is not FDA regulated, though side effects with the digestive system have been documented.

Organic Produce Selection

This isn’t any one particular product, but I find the organic selection at Wegmans to be a lot wider than Whole Foods. I’m not sure if it’s product placement or marketing, but I also feel like there are cheaper options for little things that add up, such as organic herbs, or veggies I don’t normally buy a lot of. Highly recommend.

Giant (Martin’s)

Giant is my usual go-to, out of convenience. I will say that I think they do an exceptionally good job at stocking a lot of organic items I prefer, and if they don’t stock it, management actually takes requests to start stocking certain items… which has worked out in my favor a few times. If you look enough, you can find pantry staples I use in my ingredients right around your local grocery store if these other big-chain retailers aren’t feasible! Giant even has their own natural/organic brand, called Nature’s Promise. I love the selection it offers.

Tahini

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Other stores have good brands I’m sure, but I am a big fan of this brand because it’s unsalted. A quick stop to Giant and I can stock up on enough Woodstock tahini to make whatever my heart desires…. like this Garlic Tahini Kale Salad…. 🙂

Low Sodium Chicken Broth

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This speaks for itself. Beef and vegetable broth not pictured, but I can pay a fraction of what some of the other brands at Whole Foods and Wegmans charge for organic and anti-biotic free chicken broth. I typically start with low-sodium options to limit my salt, that way I can add to the dish later if necessary.

Maple Syrup

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This stuff can really cost a fortune. I really only use maple syrup as a sweetener in recipes to get that nutty flavor, as I think it’s too sweet to eat on waffles and pancakes. This is just enough to last me a few months, as I use it sparingly.

Diced Tomatoes

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I have about 4 of these cans on hand at any given point. I use them for Caprese Chicken, Curried Chicken Meatballs, and even my fresh salsa! I’ve spent hours chopping tomatoes into little pieces, and I have to say this tastes just as fresh as if I cut the tomato myself. It just saves a LOT more time!

Local Markets

Some things are just better left to the local markets, made one at a time, and with love. A few favorites sourced locally near me, below!

Eggs

it’s a life dream of mine to have chickens on my would-be horse farm… but I’ll settle for local eggs in the meantime. Harvest Market, one of my favorite places, is my go-to for local goodies. I learned (a lot later in life than I probably should have) that brown eggs come from brown chickens, so for no other reasons than purely aesthetics, I love to get brown eggs from my beloved brown chickies. The local farms that Harvest Market sources their eggs from let their chickens roam and live their best lives.

Honey

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I like eating local honey for a number of reasons. One brand near me, Walt’s Swarmbustin’ Honey, is made right down the street by local bees. Local bees means local pollen, and local pollen means local allergies… which means if I’m eating local pollen, I’m building immunity to it. In my smoothies, I’ll also by the pollen kernels from Walt’s, for an extra kick. So far, so good! ATTNit should be noted that if you have any life-threatening allergies to bees, bee stings or anything bee-related, you should consult your doctor before starting this. It’s an unusual link, but not worth the risk!

Kombucha

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I’m finicky about this. I really think there’s a difference in taste/quality of small-batch kombucha that makes it special. A few local brands that I get at Harvest Market (or my local farmer’s market in KSQ) are Baba’s Bucha, and Inspired Brews. Both have Unique flavors, and who doesn’t love a good dose of probiotics?

Not sure where to start in your area? Visit www.localharvest.org to check out local and seasonal markets that source your next favorite produce, goodies or grocery staples. You can search based on zip code, or for what you’re specifically looking for, such as co-ops, CSA’s, markets.

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