Pecan-Crusted Dijon Salmon (Paleo!)

So, about this cold weather. I found a picture of someone’s toilet on the internet where the water in their tank froze and BROKE! The toilet tank. As in, the toilet tank is gone, and all that’s left behind is a huge chunk of water. It was a solid brick of water. Look at this! This is wild. I never thought I’d be so jazzed about a picture of a toilet. I hope everyone across the country is staying warm… it’s dangerous outside, and my dog has gone to the bathroom twice now on the front porch because that’s as far as she can bare to go.

Re: enduring this cold while I’m indoors… right before Christmas I bought myself a robe. I did not consider myself a robe person, by any stretch of the imagination. I lounge in leggings and a shirt, and I don’t go barefoot between November and April unless I’m showering, or sleeping (I’m not a total psycho, who wears socks to bed? Yikes). Why would I need a robe, I thought.

Well. Let me tell you.

Let the temperature outside reach -3, and I am a robe person now. I had on fuzzy socks, the Alo leggings with the foot warmers, a thermal, a sweatshirt with a hood, and a robe. I could’ve slept outside in the snow and still be warm, honestly. I imagine this is what a sheep may feel like before getting sheared… just warm, cozy, and completely insulated. It’s literally the greatest feeling ever. I mean, I probably looked like a Dementor, but function over fashion, baby. That’s the business.

Aside from this cold weather, another thing coming up that I really don’t care for is the Super bowl. Though I do not care one bit about the game, I am PUMPED to eat super bowl food. I have a few recipe ideas, and if it stays this cold, that’ll make it a great day. Stay tuned for more recipes on that front.

On a more exciting front, do you know what else is coming up? The new moon! When it comes to lunar phases, I think that recognizing where you are on the lunar calendar is a great way to link this up with your intentions for what’s going on in your life. Think about it, a new moon is just that- a clean slate, a blank canvas. You get a chance to start fresh if you need it, even if it isn’t the start of a new year. The full moon is when your intentions for your life are likely most up front and apparent, but a new moon is when you can stop and say, “I can start this over. I can change this if I want to.”  Take this time to plan our where you want to be in a month, 6 months, a year, five years. It’s not even a concrete plan that you’re bound to for eternity, because you can revisit this every few weeks.  Think of the New Moon as your check in — do you need a recharge on your enthusiasm for your goals? As the New Moon is on Feb 4th, in Aquarius, take the time to be creative, flexible, unconventional and really fluid in your goals. Live a little. Enjoy.

That being said, the best way to enjoy one’s self (in my eyes!) is to EAT food you really enjoy making and savoring. I got a Butcher Box right before Christmas, and in defrosting the last of it, I had some pieces of salmon left. What better way to enjoy it than with a tasty marinade? Keep reading for more delicious details 🙂

Pecan-Crusted Dijon Salmon (Paleo!)

 

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 15 min

 

Ingredients

  • 4 6oz boneless wild-caught salmon fillets, skin removed
  • ½ cup Grey Poupon mustard
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (ish) tsp salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup of raw pecans, finely chopped/crushed
  • ½ tsp garlic powder

Directions

  1. In a dry, preferably non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add your pecans, half of your salt, garlic powder and a pinch of paprika. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Toast until thoroughly golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  1. In a mixing bowl, add your Dijon, honey, garlic, olive oil, your remaining salt, shallots and paprika. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Add your salmon to the bowl, and coat thoroughly with mix. Let stand in refrigerator for 30 minutes, up to 2-3 hours.
  1. Once ready to cook, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place salmon in a greased baking dish, making sure to use as much of the marinade as available. Coat with crushed pecans, making sure to cover the sides – you may need to pat them on to ensure they stick. Sprinkle with a pinch of pepper, and bake until opaque and flaky, about 13-15 minutes (or more, if needed).

Serve with my Garlic Paprika Thyme Sweet Potato Fries, Roasted Broccoli with Goat Cheese and Walnuts, Chipotle Caesar Salad or Quinoa Kale Salad. Enjoy!

-S

 

Sweet Potato “Crostini” with Red Pepper Bruschetta (Paleo!)

Ah… the full moon. Sunday was an interesting day for it. My friend and I went out shopping, and the predicted temperature was supposed to dip down to about 4 degrees F that night. We planned to make dinner, and we had to go to 3 different grocery stores to find onions, ground turkey and ginger. Apparently, people in this area thought they weren’t going to be able to go outside… or… eat turkey. It was a really strange day that ended with a giant tarp blowing across the road and into/onto a man’s pick-up truck and then onto mine, and then finding that my cat got stuck in my room and peed on my expensive dress coat because he panicked. Again, very… interesting day.

I started off this year really strong, actually. Not to say that my year is not still strong, but I was really intentional about my new year’s plans. I had maybe 1-2 drinks at a very small get-together, went to bed at 12:30, and woke up at 7, did some yoga/stretching, and went to the gym. I’ve made an effort to be much more aware of my thoughts, what I want to happen, and want I want, in general. The first week of January, I came across a numerology article about what this “year” is considered, and it says it’s a “3” year. It said that we’re already familiar with this number because our lives revolve around this number – we are on the third planet from the sun, we are made of mind, body and soul, good and bad things come in three’s. After calculating my personal number for 2019, I found that I am also a number 3 for this year. It felt spot on – I’ve said “This year is my year!” before, but this year, it actually feels accurate. It says my creativity and abundance are up on deck to shine, and I honestly couldn’t agree more. I think the thing that keeps me going is truly believing that this kind of energy really is limitless. If you put into practice the idea that your thoughts really do dictate your situation (your job, happiness, wealth, friendships, etc.), it really does happen. It’s so simple, yet so hard for a lot of us. My advice? Invest in yourself, and meditate. Do some yoga. It took me YEARS to learn how to settle into my hot yoga classes and focus – dozens of times to meditate and no longer wonder ‘was I just sort of sleeping?’ This stuff pays off, and it allows you to really connect with what’s going on around (and above) you.

I find that the frustrations of 2018 haven’t left me, they’re definitely still around. I’m just less mad about them, or more sure that they’ll fade or get better, whether I have control over it or not.  This full moon that happened on Monday was a total lunar eclipse. While eclipses sound like darkness, uncertainty, or unexpected events, there’s place for the confidence and courage to accept the change that is coming. This year is more of a reset button – to take a moment to pause and drop what isn’t serving you. Are you feeling really independent and capable? Awesome, that’s where you should be. This moon was huge – it was closer to us and it was close enough to leave behind some energy to those most sensitive or most in need of it. The moral of the story is this – this year, energetically, we have a leg-up to get ourselves through some challenges… much like our earthly New Years’ resolutions, this is only the beginning. Don’t give up yet.

I actually have a few recipes to post in the next few days, but every now and again I like to post a recipe for an appetizer, for a party. Now’s a great time to have some friends over – it’s colder than a witch’s bittie right now, so why not sit indoors and sip wine and eat snacks with your friends?!

Sweet Potato “Crostini” with Red Pepper Bruschetta (Paleo!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 45 min

Ingredients

For the sweet potatoes:

  • 3 long (or at least more skinny) sweet potatoes, cut into ½ centimeter slices
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried parsley

For the bruschetta:

  • 4-5 pound roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp (ish) balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a small dish, mix together your first parts of olive oil, paprika, and salt/pepper. Place your sweet potato slices on a greased or lined cookie sheet and brush with oil mixture on both sides. Bake for 20-25 minutes until starting to brown, then flip sweet potato pieces over onto other side for remaining 20-25 minutes, until brown (but not burnt!).
  3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, grab a small bowl for the dressing. Whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, balsamic, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt/pepper) until mixed. Add your tomato, onion and roasted red pepper, and allow to sit and marinate.
  4. Once sweet potato slices are cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool on a rack to allow them to crisp. Once cool to the touch, spoon some bruschetta onto each slice, and garnish with parsley and basil.

Serve, and enjoy 🙂

-S

Chipotle Twice-Baked Sweet Potato with Bacon and Avocado (Paleo!)

Hey y’all. Still cold. However, apparently there’s a snowstorm on the horizon…. Which I LOVE. I am ready for  snow, 100%.

As I sit back and think about how  close December is, and how close to an end 2018 is, I think about how much happened in 2018, and how much still has yet to happen as a result of what’s since passed this year. 2018 was a prime example of looking at things through a lens lined with emotional and spiritual maturity, peace and loving energy. What’s that really mean, outside of all the foo-foo stuff? Really, just this – as we begin to evolve more quickly, which is happening more and more each year, it’s easier for us to stay aware of what’s changing and going on around us, and how we can react to best suit our needs and heal.

Again, what does this really mean? Here’s a few examples:

  • Not believing every first thought we have – some are rooted in human emotion and fear, and don’t suit our best interest. Taking a step back and realizing that our thoughts have a greater influence on what goes on around us can make a WORLD of difference in keeping with the positive instead of sticking without knee jerk reaction. Be patient with your thoughts, and allow yourself to process before coming to conclusions.
  • Not sourcing our own value from someone else’s perspective – on the flipside, while your thoughts do control your life around you, they cannot directly manipulate people around you. Focus on only your reactions, and understand that if you’re too worried about someone else’s thoughts, you lose sight and strength over your own.
  • Focusing your sights on not having enough, and whatever lackthereof is ailing you – this sounds counterintuitive if you gloss over it, but this one is the most important. I’m a FIRM believer in the law of attraction, for many  reasons. If you go around thinking about everything you don’t have, it will never be any further from you. You say… but, Sarah, how do I live my life like I have all the stuff I need, if I don’t already have it? Well, you choose your words carefully. You wake up in the morning, count your blessings (no matter how few there are), and thank the universe for the opportunity to gain everything you’re destined to. Once you’ve done this enough times, two things happen. First, you truly see how valuable what it is you do already have, and then simultaneously open your doorway for more.

Everyone is guilty of these thoughts at some point, because we are human. In order to truly evolve and heal, we need to catch ourselves and recondition our knee-jerk reactions into things much more suited for growth, and self love. We also need to stop thinking of self-love as a foo-foo, dirty of silly term, and start defining what that means to us, little by little.

Side note, I was pretty excited to see that my store introduced plum for the holidays – what a great color to finish off the year with. Plum, or violet, or any rich shade of purple, is an extremely powerful color – often associated with royalty (the Advent candles are also purple….) 🙂 I came across a healing technique recently, having to do with envisioning a violet flame – both the color, and visualization, are extremely powerful in that they present a quick spiritual “recharge” that we can do for ourselves.

The  color violet is special in that it holds the highest frequency within the spectrum of colors – this is a scientific fact. By identifying the highest color vibration we know of, we provide a segue to the next level of vibrational light. What’s the brightest thing you can think of, that you’ve seen on earth? Fire.

If I haven’t lost you yet, by envisioning a violet colored flame, we are calling our thoughts to move to the highest level of light our minds can think of. Light such as this has the ability to heal our physical bodies (think of laser therapy), alter our perception of what’s around us (think of illuminating a dark room), and provide warmth and comfort, helping heal our emotional bodies. A quick visualization can put you on the path of healing with a few steps.

In a quiet room, visualize yourself seated and surrounded by violet light. While you’re visualizing it, imagine it flickering as if it were a candlelit  flame – anything to create a realistic image.

  • As you picture yourself immersed completely within the violet light, say this to yourself several times:
  • “I am within the violet light, because the violet light is within me.”
  • Express your gratitude for the opportunity to connect with the Violet Light – this actually is a representation of connecting with your higher self.

If you’ve never visualized something like this, I may have definitely lost you. Trust me when I say that at the very least,  you will feel more calm, and definitely more empowered. Repeat this as necessary throughout the rest of the year.

—–

I bet you might be hungry after reading all of this. I know I am. Since it’s still COLD as a witch’s…. broomstick, please enjoy this tasty healthy version of a twice baked potato. Gluten-free, dairy free, paleo, keto-compliant, this thing is the bees knees. You won’t be sorry 🙂

Chipotle Twice-Baked Sweet Potato with Bacon and Avocado (Paleo!)

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 90 min

Serves 5-6

Ingredients

  • 3 sweet potatoes, more round/fat in shape
  • 1 lb of thick cut bacon
  • 1 heaping tsp of ground chipotle powder
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 2-3 ripe avocados
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prick your sweet potatoes with a fork, and coat with your preferred fat/oil (I like avocado oil). Bake for 50-60 minutes, until tender. Once cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool before slicing neatly in half. Further let cool once cut and halved. Turn oven down to 350. If using to cook bacon on a cookie sheet, bake until slightly browned. Leave oven at operating temperature. (skillet cooking bacon is fine too – just cook and set aside). Chop into small pieces, and set aside.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, add 1 tsp of your preferred oil and saute onion until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Then add your garlic, continuing to saute until starting to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, gently scoop the contents of each sweet potato half, leaving behind a thin layer if necessary to keep the skin in tact. Mash the sweet potato, adding the garlic, onion and chipotle. Next, add your bacon. You likely won’t want to taste test for more salt until after your bacon is added, since bacon does tend to add a lot of salty flavor. Add more chipotle, if desired.
  4. Scoop contents back into the sweet potato skins, dividing equally. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until potato starts to form a golden crust.
  5. Meanwhile, as the potatoes are cooking, mash your avocado in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and a pinch of chipotle if desired. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make this as you would any other guacamole (link to my recipe!), depending on what ingredients you have on hand.
  6. When potatoes are finished cooking, remove from heat and serve with a scoop of avocado on top. Garnish with cilantro.

Enjoy!

-S

Buffalo Chicken Dip (Paleo, Keto-Friendly!)

Well… we’ve been having some interesting weather, to say the least. I can’t remember the last time there’s been a solid 10 days of rain in the forecast, but perhaps we can look at this a different way. Tomorrow is July’s full moon, which coincides with  entering Leo. Summer birthdays, what’s up!?

There’s a few cool things to note. This will also be a lunar eclipse — which, while we don’t be able to see it from North America, we will definitely know it’s happening. In a literal sense, eclipses both “reveal” and “conceal”. This is especially poignant when you think of all the Leo energy floating around – powerful, loud, and  very present — anything that needs to be addressed will come forth, and anything that needs to take a back seat will no longer be a part of our lives for the time being.

Though this may seem like the perfect time to take action on whatever is happening, wisdom says it should be done gently. If it suddenly feels like you r life is under a microscope and you’re noticing everything that needs to be fixed, don’t go dump your significant other, quit your job or anything else crazy. Doing so with an iron fist is not the best way to go about it. Be calm, diplomatic, and ensure you’re thoughtful in your problem solving during this time.

Ya know what else starts today!? Mercury retrograde! I feel like this is one of the most common things that solicits laughs and eye rolls, because this really shakes those who are heavily immersed in astrology, or earthly energy in general. Retrogrades tend to bring about setbacks, mishaps, miscommunications, and general… un-pleasantries. Things just seem “harder”, and even those who don’t feed into Astrology notice that something just doesn’t seem right.  I think the best remedy to this is to really just cut yourself some slack. Unless you’re truly letting things slide in your life to the effect that it will have long term negative consequences, live a little. Mistakes happen, crap happens… and Mercury will get its @$%& together soon.

Who’s hungry? I am! I’ll leave you with some delicious PALEO! Buffalo Chicken Dip. No dairy, no problem. Kite Hill makes a really convincing almond milk-based cream cheese that melts just like the real thing. If you’re feeling a little naughty… sprinkle some cheddar in there. I won’t tell. I used my instant pot for this, but you could just as easily use a regular oven — it just takes longer.

Buffalo Chicken Dip (Paleo, Keto-Friendly!)

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 25 min

Serves: ??? about 5 as an appetizer (but I could likely eat this myself

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless organic chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce
  • 8 oz Kite Hill plain cream cheese
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped; ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 heaping tbsp of paleo-friendly mayo, like Primal Foods Avocado Oil Mayo
  • optional for keto/non-strict paleo followers: 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 stalks of scallions,  sliced thin
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

  1. First, cook your chicken. In an Instant Pot, place your chicken breasts in and add chicken broth until just about covered. Cook on poultry/meat setting, following the Instant Pot directions for steam release. If using an oven, preheat oven and bake broth covered chicken in a Pyrex dish at 350 for 35-40 minutes, or until temperature registers 165 degrees. I prefer the instant pot because it gets that juicy crockpot feel, but much faster.
  2. Meanwhile, as your chicken cooks, sauté your onion and red pepper on a large skillet over medium heat until just about browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Once the chicken cooked (and your instant pot is properly depressurized), remove from heat, allow to cool and set aside. I tend to shred my chicken after it’s only slightly cooled because I feel it’s easier while it’s still a little hot. Once shredded, add to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Next, add your cream cheese and mayo to your bowl, mixing thoroughly. Continue to mix, next adding your peppers, onions, Frank’s sauce, salt, pepper, and most of your scallions. You only need a few for a garnish, so be generous with mixing the rest in. Add your cheddar, if using.
  5. Once mixed, add mixture to a greased Pyrex dish — I used a 5×7 so the mixture was thicker and wouldn’t burn.
  6. Bake at 350 for 20-25 min, until starting to bubble and turn golden brown on the top. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. Garnish with remaining scallions, and serve with celery or sweet potato chips.

Enjoy!

-S

Peppermint Patty Pudding Parfait (Paleo, Vegan)

Spirit animals.

Let’s just jump right into this, because I am too tired to come up with some fancy superfluous introduction. Have you ever given any thought to what a spirit animal is, or why it’s important?

I think because of subtle Native American influence throughout my life, I’ve paid more attention to it than the average person. Only until more recently did it start to make more frequent appearances, and I have to tell you — it’s more than just coming across a great meme on Instagram or talking about how Cardi B is your spirit animal because she’s a chatterbox who don’t curr about nothin’. A spirit animal is essentially Mother Nature’s driving force of what embodies you as a cultivated spiritual being, or what supports you as someone in need a spiritual fine-tuning.

Let’s use me an example. I’ve always known my spirit animal was a horse. I’ve loved them and ridden since I was very young, and I’ve always been a “horse girl”. What does a horse actually represent, though? Those of you who know me, I’m sure you know me quite well — I’m the most unintentionally transparent person alive. Apparently, so is a horse. So, the horse… the horse is known for pride, highly charged emotions, and a very driven instinct. Horses are powerful — not in that they are nature’s predators, but they are powerful in such a way where they know there’s strength in numbers and strength in endurance and perseverance. Horses, like any earthly being, are also not perfect. If given the option between fight or flight, a horse will choose flight 99% of the time. However — a horse is not defenseless. they are quick, and bold if need be.

The interesting thing about the representation of a spirit animal is that — no matter how domesticated, the instinct of an animal remains pure. Animals are born with imprints that can be subdued, but they cannot be stopped. A horse has the innate capability of horsey ways that stay with them for life. The same can be said for someone’s spirituality — you can live your life any way you choose and make any decision you want… but ultimately, one way or another, we are all drawn to the same thing, which is compassion, self-acceptance and growth. When situations come up where I know I need to take a step back, ground myself and really understand the situation, it truly does help to envision what qualities a wild horse possesses, what could apply to this situation and how I could channel that into my own perspective.

Not to get too “woo-woo” — you can interpret your spirit animal any way you choose. While mine is a horse, maybe I keep seeing a fox while out driving, walking or riding (a horse… lol..). Perhaps, for that time, I need to bring more fox-like energy into my life by way of my thoughts, my actions, or my reactions. I think we’re drawn to certain animals in certain times of our lives, and I don’t think it’s simply because nature is around us and it happens as coincidence. embrace your inner wild side!

Onto other fun things… like food! I’m not sure where you are in the world right now, but in the Mid-Atlantic US, it’s HOT. Like, stop-wearing-make-up hot. Like, could-I-really-fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk-today hot. Cool down with this fun delicious peppermint patty chia pudding parfait!

Peppermint Patty Pudding Parfait (Paleo, Vegan)

Prep time: 4 hours

Cook time:  n/a

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the chia pudding

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 heaping tbsp smooth almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, or 6-8 drops of food-grade peppermint essential oil (use sparingly)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

For the parfait

  • 10 oz almond milk Greek yogurt, such as Kite Hill or Silk
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

mint leaves, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a blender or food processor, mix together almond milk, almond butter, peppermint, vanilla, maple syrup and cocoa powder, until smooth.
  2. Once mixed, add to an airtight container and stir in chia seeds thoroughly. Place in refrigerator overnight or for at least 2-3 hours.
  3. Once ready to serve, mix together your yogurt ingredients – the Greek yogurt, honey and vanilla.
  4. Here’s where you can get creative if you want – layer your pudding, and then your yogurt. Add your cacao nibs, and garnish with your mint leaves. Best served chilled – if you want to put it back in the fridge, feel free to do so for a few minutes!

Serve and enjoy 🙂

-S

Lemon Garlic Scallops (Paleo!)

Happy weekend! How’s everyone doing?

What a cray cray week. Yes… I’m still using the term “cray cray”. So did you all know that we just had a new moon on Thursday? This is more fitting than we think, because a LOT is going on these days. This New moon was also a partial solar eclipse. Solar eclipses are interesting, because it’s a literal manifestation of “blocking the light”. The moon stands in front of the sun, essentially blocking the sun’s rays from reaching us. This can be seen as a good thing, but also as something negative.

This particular New Moon is also influenced by our alignment to Pluto, which falls into line with Earth and the sun – this has not happened since 1931. Feeling a little wonky? Yeah, people probably said the same thing back then, too, except they had no internet. I guess we’ll never know. The happening of alignment with this little planet-not-a-planet-now-a-planet-again indicates some sort of crisis with your self-esteem or self-worth, or some other interpersonal relationship. Everyone has traits or characteristics that are less than perfect, but they are really rearing their ugly heads at this point. The best thing is to be self-aware of your thoughts, feelings and actions. Pluto is also in retrograde, which represents a time to reflect about what control you have over things in your life. Are you on a power trip, or trying to desperately control a situation? Now definitely isn’t the time for that – it’s a great time to release whatever neurosis you have about control and to “live and let live”, or “let go and let God”.

As if we needed MORE confusing astrology, something called a “Grand Trine” has also occurred. In conjunction with the need to relinquish control over anything we’re desperately holding onto in life, we get a little help. Venus, Saturn and Uranus align at a perfect 60-degree equilateral triangle, which is essentially a huge window of balance and harmony to help us transform ourselves. Grand Trine energy fosters natural talent and creative potential in order to solve problems peacefully. There exists a different energy between each cosmic body, which can be felt for the next few months. Venus to Saturn is best for establishing to a relationship, or making long-term financial investments, or anything requiring long term stability. Venus to Uranus is best for trying something new, or experimenting. This is for all you folks that are itching for a new job, new relationship, or new adventure. Hop on the train to Funkytown, because you’ll be there a while 🙂 Next, Saturn to Uranus represents a shift or transition in life. See where this is going? They’re all related – take this time to make a shift or change in your life you’ve been waiting and wanting to do. If in your gut you feel it’s right, it’ll have long-lasting effects.

If you’re feeling a little confused, you should probably just take a breather and eat. I’ve got a lil sumpin’ fancy for you to try. Here’s some easy Lemon Garlic Scallops to make your day better. This takes like a micro-minute to do, and as easy as it is, you’ll still impress!

Lemon Garlic Scallops (Paleo!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 10 min

Makes 16 scallops

Ingredients

  • 16 sea scallops (the bigger ones), rinsed, drained and patted dry
  • juice from one lemon, plus a pinch of lemon zest
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley, curly or flat (I used curly)
  • 2 heaping tbsp of ghee (or regular butter, if not strict paleo)
  • generous pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add your shallot and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Then add your garlic, stirring until starting to brown. If it starts to brown too quickly, turn the heat down.
  2. Once your garlic and shallot are cooked, add your remaining ghee and turn the heat up to medium high. Then, add your scallops. These are best cooked when left alone! Don’t play with them or check them, they won’t burn. Let sear for 2-3 minutes per side, until a nice golden brown crust forms. Flip and allow the other side to brown. You can scrape the brown bits from the pan that start to form if they brown too quickly.
  3. Once your scallops are finishing, carefully add your lemon juice and zest, followed by your parsley. Remove from heat, and toss scallops to coat, spooning your butter mixture over them. Since they’re piping hot, I like to let them rest for about a minute in the pan before serving so that all the juices can soak in.
  4. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

-S

Apple Sage and Onion Breakfast Sausage Patties (Paleo!)

Hey ya’ll. It’s JULY. Or rather, it July this weekend. How crazy is that? I’m headed to the beach tomorrow but last night I had the chance to cook some delicious FOOD! Getting some ideas on what to feed the crowd when down at the beach.

Really nothing crazy going on recently, just a lot of the same busy stuff. I am getting my Reiki Level II in July, so that’s new! I can’t wait. I’ll be able to do distance Reiki, so if anyone will need me… I’ll be around. 🙂

In other news… the full moon was last night – it was the Strawberry Moon, which marks the close of peak Strawberry season. This particular full moon falls under the sign of Capricorn. Hardworking, steadfast, balanced and grounded are what we need to channel now and going forward after this full moon. Capricorn is represented by the Mountain Goat. As I write this, I realize now why I’ve been having so many thoughts about goats… I needed to really dig into that energy. I was just telling a good friend that she was appearing in my dreams, and she became a goat shepherd. I guess my elaborate dreams are a story for another time.

Mountain goats are quirky, but are even-keeled, have incredible balance, and are extremely resilient and determined with every step they take up the vertical pitches of a mountain. As we work through this energy during the full moon, it’s important to remember that we can adventure during this time because of how prevalent this grounding energy is.

Just like the mountain goat trusts its footing, also need to trust our place and be sure of where we are. Everything is as it should be, and now is the time to trust the existence of balance and go for what we want. Can I get an AMEN, ladies and gentlemen?

I’ll have more fun stuff to post about once I get to the beach… there’s a new boat waiting for me to lay around like a total slug on and not do anything active. Just kidding, I’m determined to run each morning when I’m down there. Gonna have to, because I’ll be eating a WHOLEEEEE lot. Starting with a solid breakfast!

This is delicious and a really an easy way to make breakfast for crowd, or to roll into patties and freeze for later. I bagged the rest of mine up to bring to the beach! Lord knows those boys can eat.

On that note… short, sweet and to the point. Bon Appetit 🙂

 

Apple Sage and Onion Breakfast Sausage Patties (Paleo!)

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Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 15 min

Makes about 12-14 small patties, 8-10 large patties

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 Fuji apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp dried fennel
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, combine onion and apple and ~ 1 tbsp of your preferred oil. Sauté until browned, about 6-7 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and allow to cool.
  2. Once sausage has cooled off, combine the pork, garlic powder, sage, thyme, nutmeg, coconut sugar, cayenne pepper, cloves and salt and pepper. Use more salt than you think you’d need – I likely used a heaping tbsp of sea salt, and ½ tsp of black pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  3. To get nice and *shudder* “moist”, sausages, you need to mix the crap out of these, while the meat is cold. I mean, your hands need to hurt from fatigue, or you need to take some anger out on this stuff. Really mash this sh*t up.
  4. Let it chill in the fridge for an hour or two, come back, mash it some more. Put it back in the fridge for another hour or so. You want the proteins in the meat to break down so that everything becomes tender. I don’t know the science of this, but a hunter told me, so I won’t question it.
  5. Once the meat is puliverized and chilled once more, shape into patties of your desired size. If freezing and saving for later, and chill for at least 20-30 minutes before freezing, so they keep their shape. If cooking immediately, heat a large skillet over medium high heat, and add another tbsp of your preferred oil and sauté until browned on both sides, about 4-5 minutes each side.

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

Winter Apple Crisp (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

I learned something interesting this weekend about this month. January 1st was a special new year’s day, as is the rest of this year, actually. In numerology, 2018 is an “11” – this number is considered by some to be a “master karmic number”, which holds a sacred vibration. Have you ever looked at the clock and caught that special 11:11 time? I always felt it was special, but I never really thought about why it was. Little did i used to know, the number 11 represents an enlightening and transformative sense a balance and alignment. This will feel especially different on days like New Year’s Day, January 11th, November 1st, and November 11th.

 If you aren’t familiar with numerology, I highly recommend taking a look into some books about it. Each number, much like anything else present here on earth that has roots in ancient civilization, has its own vibrational energy and meaning, and ties into literally everything. We base everything in today’s world off of numbers – time, money, organization, everything. Number 1 can mean something different to anyone, but in its purest form, it represents the beginning. Are you looking to start something? This month (or even this year!) is a great time to do so — not just your New Years’ Intentions, but something to carry through the rest of your life. This could be meditating, a new hobby, exercising more — anything that can improve your life for the better.

 This is particularly important today, as today is the start of the New Moon for this month. Set some goals, be clear about your approach, and stick with it! 🙂

Winter Apple Crisp (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

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Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 40 min

Serves 5-7

Ingredients:

For  the filling

  • 5-6 apples (any kind you like!) – peeled, cored and sliced
  • ¾ cup organic brown sugar
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup vegan butter alternative (or ghee), melted
  • Pinch of finely ground Himalayan sea salt

For the crumble topping

  • ¾ cup gluten free-certified oats
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free baking flour
  • ¾ cup organic brown sugar
  • 8 oz organic vegan butter (cold); or 1 stick cold organic butter, cut into ½ in cubes
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a glass 9x13in baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss apples with all of the filling ingredients and mix to coat thoroughly.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the crumble ingredients except your butter. Once dry ingredients are mixed, add in the butter, a little at a time, pressing the crumble into the pieces of butter. You don’t need to be neat – if anything, really pressing the ingredients into the butter is better.  The butter should be reduced into mixture until you’re left with large/coarse crumbs.
  4. Spread the apple filling evenly within the baking dish, patting gently to make sure there are no gaps. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the apples, ensuring all of the apples are covered.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top becomes golden and the apple mixture is bubbling. Allow to cool before serving.

Enjoy!

-S

Full Moons and Moussaka

Remember how I said the weather turned, and I dug out all my sweaters? It was a fluke. It was 60 degrees yesterday, maybe warmer in the sun. I still wore a sweater, and it was the complete opposite of fun. It was un-fun. My building at work had the heat on, too. Because it’s November, right? It should be cold, right? No, because it’s 2017 and we are very much into global warming right now. Yet — today, I walked out of my house in a light shirt, only to find I need the same warm type of sweater now that I thought I needed yesterday.

This weekend was also a full moon. Every time a full moon comes along, I have every intention of doing something special – doing yoga outside, doing some sort of special meditation, or cooking some earthy dish to complement a beautiful night with a bright, clear moon. I end up doing none of those things, but I do notice that without fail, stuff gets weird around a full moon.

The logic in me says, “This is just confirmation bias! Nothing weird happens on a night with a full moon.” The logic needs to be quiet, because that’s no fun, whatsoever. While crazy stuff can happen all the time, I have always found that people act particularly strange and noticeably different during this moon phase.
Since full and new moons happen when the sun, earth and moon are all in alignment, this impacts the tides more than normal, making them stronger and in turn, falling higher and lower. While we don’t notice it on land, don’t you think it’d be a little silly to not consider what impact it has on us if it can move trillions of gallons of water in a cyclical motion? We are more aware and in tune with the vibrations going on around us during a full moon, which, quite literally, is able to illuminate things more than usual.

November is already a powerful month with the vibration of the number 11, so it’s not surprising that people are getting quirky when the entire moon is exposed. As a double digit of the same number, 11 is thought of as a “master number” — so anything occurring during this time is magnified.. both good and bad, because with a double number like this, there’s also balance. This particular full moon could’ve potentially been very confusing — a full moon is the end of a revolving cycle — yet the number 1 has a common understanding of beginnings.  Truthfully, you can take from it what you want. Moon phases are consistent and cyclical, and people tend to see the moon as feminine because of this. At this point in time, the entire moon is exposed, bright and clear – which could be symbolic of moving energy, unearthing problems, concerns, chores or tasks, and approaching them with full clarity.

Whatever the case may be, it is truly beautiful. You can see the little craters, and just thinking how there are footsteps that remain untouched since the landing on the moon is really surreal. Something so still, quiet, and distant can have such an impact on the world around us, to the point where people’s moods change.. it is really cool, is it not? A little floating sky rock moves water next to us from hundreds of thousands of miles away.

We tried to  come up with something we’ve never made this weekend — we landed on Greek cuisine. Fitting for a full moon, as some of the greatest discoveries in astronomy and moon phases happened in ancient Greek culture… things like Ptolemy, Hipparchus, Aristarchus… all the things you learned about but forgot how brilliant these minds were. Greek culture is so rich, so our tribute to that for the full moon was the heartiest and most flavorful dish we could think of — Moussaka! While I know it’s not made by your family Yia Yia, I think Greek grandmas everywhere might say we did pretty well.

Make a note to keep an eye out for everything around you on the next full moon – you might be surprised with what you notice. In the meantime, as it gets colder (and hopefully stays colder), enjoy this delicious dinner 🙂

 

Moussaka

note: this picture was taken from healthyfood.co.uk, which reserves all rights to the photo. Unfortunately, the kitchen was dark and people ravaged the moussaka before I could get a good picture of it. Mine did resemble this image almost identically (in person), and I promise it looks this delicious when you make it.

Prep time: 40 min

Cook time: 30 min

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

Eggplant and Lamb

  • 8 garlic cloves, finely grated, divided
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped mint
  • 3 tbsp chopped oregano
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 3 medium eggplants (about 3½ pounds total), sliced in half lengthwise and then cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
  • 2½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 lb ground lamb
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 large jalapeño, finely chopped (ribs and seeds removed)
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes

Béchamel

  • 3/4 stick of unsalted butter (if using salted butter, add a pinch less of salt once mixed)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 oz of farmer’s cheese, crumbled
  • 4 oz grated Pecorino, grated
  • 3 large egg yolks

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Whisk half of the garlic, ½ cup oil, 1 tbsp mint and 1 tbsp oregano in a small bowl.
  2. Thoroughly coat the eggplant rounds with the mixture and season with salt and pepper. Transfer eggplant to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast until tender and browned, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400°.
  3. Meanwhile, add about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Cook lamb and ground beef, breaking up with a spoon, until browned and liquid starts to evaporate, about 12–16 minutes. Drain fat from the meat and transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add another tsp of oil and allow to heat. Add onion, garlic, ~2½ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 8–10 minutes. Add jalapeño and cinnamon and continue to cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until onion has browned, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add paprika, cinnamon and tomato paste and allow to cook for about 1 minute.
  6. Add wine, stirring to mix thoroughly, until reduced and alcohol burns off — about 3 minutes.
  7. Add tomatoes and all of the juice. Carefully break up the tomatoes with a spoon or spatula into smaller pieces… as they heat, they will pop, so be aware.
  8. Add lamb and remainder of mint and oregano and stir to combine. Allow to cook until most of the liquid is evaporated, and remove from heat.

 

Béchamel

  1. Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium until completely melted and starting to froth. Add flour and cook, whisking quickly and constantly, until combined, about 1 minute.
  2. Whisk in milk, slowly and a little at a time, and continue to heat, allowing to bubble. Whisk often, until mixture becomes very thick (like pudding), about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Stir in salt. Remove from heat and whisk in farmer cheese and half of the Pecorino. Let sit 10 minutes for cheese to melt, then add egg yolks and vigorously whisk until combined and béchamel is golden yellow.
  4. Brush a 13×9″ baking pan with 1 tbsp olive oil. Layer half of eggplant pieces in the pan, covering the bottom entirely. Spread half of lamb/beef mixture over eggplant in an even layer. Repeat with remaining eggplant and lamb/beef to make another layer of each.
  5. Top with béchamel and smooth surface; sprinkle with remaining Pecorino cheese.
  6. Bake moussaka until bubbling and béchamel topping starts to brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

-S