Apple Cinnamon Muffins (Paleo!)

It’s September!

 

‘Tis the season to no longer be ashamed of my basic love for all things PUMPKIN. And carbs. And SWEATERS. Apples! Crunchy leaves to step on when walking my dog! I have to stop here, I’m getting too overwhelmed.

 

This weekend is the annual Mushroom Festival here in little ol’ Kennett Square. Here, you can find all things mushroom-related: décor, food, games, everything. I’ve been a lifelong spectator of the festival, but I’m extra excited for this year! I didn’t go into too much detail the last time I mentioned it, but I will be competing in the annual Amateur Mushroom Cook-off. This year’s special ingredient is Scaramuzza’s pasta – I will be making sage, pancetta and mushroom gnocchi in a garlic cream sauce. Definitely not paleo, gluten free, dairy free, or anything remotely *healthy*,  but it’s really tasty and I’m excited to make it! My first step to being on the Food Network…. hahaha. But no, really. Someone reading this, help me make that happen.  

 

After taking a long weekend and having a lot more time to make some recipe ideas for you all, I’ve turned out a LOT of fall stuff. I’m going to make this quick so we can cut to the chase and get on to talking about food. This is a nice variation of something similar I’ve made before, but it’s SUPER easy to make and freeze to save for later. I wrap them individually in foil or wax paper, defrost it overnight and take one on my way to work. These are nice because they stay nice and moist – they pretty much never go stale… they are what my neighbor’s kids refer to as “wet muffins”. It’s innocent because a four-year-old says it, so I’ll stick with it.

 

Apple Cinnamon Muffins (Paleo!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 25 min

Makes 12 muffins

 

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 fuji or gala apple, core removed – peeled and diced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (unflavored is also fine)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your muffin tin lightly with coconut oil.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
  3. Divide batter evenly among cups – the muffin cups should be about ¾ full so they don’t overflow and bake over the sides.
  4. Bake for about 25 minutes until starting to turn golden on top. Check if they are done by sticking a knife or toothpick into a middle muffin – if it’s clean, they’re finished. Let cool, and serve!

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

Enjoy!

-S

Restaurant-Style Spicy Mayo (Paleo, with Vegan option!)

We’re in a heat wave. 

This is about that time of year where I’ve gotten my summer vacations out of the way, and my next low-key excitement is buying sweaters from WHBM… so I get tired of the heat pretty quickly. My birthday is in the fall and as much as I try to hide my love for all things pumpkin, I really just can’t. Mums, pumpkins, sweaters, apples, pumpkins next to mums, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, roasting veggies while wearing a sweater and drinking Punkin Ale, arranging mums while stacking pumpkins while drinking a Punkin Ale, more pumpkins, ugh. It’s too good. Now that I think of it, 2 years ago I bought mums way too early and they just chose to leave me and die because of the heat. After replacing them twice, I decided I need more patience.

We aren’t there yet! It’s still hot, and I still have nice people bringing me fruit, tomatoes, peppers, etc from their gardens. A lady gave me a zucchini the other day the size of a baby. Little hot peppers, cute little radishes, herbs – I should appreciate this time of year more than I do. Having said that, a lot of this stuff translates well into different types of cuisines. Mexican food? Dice those tomatoes and make some guac. Jalapenos? Make a fun sauce. Lots of parsley, basil and cilantro? Make chimichurri! With all good end-of-summer recipes though, you need a good sauce. Fish tacos, roasted veggies, burgers, sandwiches, you need something to bring the heat and complement your food.

You know that delicious spicy mayo they make at sushi restaurants? That sauce that has just the right amount of flavor, and if you’re feeling sassy you order like 2 sides of it? Well, good news! I made a recipe that is probably nothing close to what they’re actually making, but it tastes pretty darn close and is easy to make. Put it on everything. This also puts that huge jar of Mother In Law’s Gochugaru Chili Flakes you may have bought for my last recipe to good use. I actually smothered those Cajun Artichoke Turkey Burgers with this spicy mayo and my chimichurri sauce in a lettuce wrap and a slice of grilled red onion. Yum 🙂

Restaurant-Style Spicy Mayo (Paleo, with Vegan option!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: n/a

Makes ~1 cup

Ingredients

  • ¾ Paleo-friendly mayo, or Veganaise
  • ¼ cup Sriracha, adjust for heat preference. Get the chicken-bottle stuff, keep it authentic J
  • 1 tsp coconut aminos (soy sauce, if not strict paleo)
  • 1 tsp paleo-friendly Worcestershire-style sauce – I like Primal Kitchen’s Steak Sauce. Annie’s also makes a vegan Worcestershire sauce (or use regular, if you aren’t strict)
  • 1 tsp gochugaru chili flakes

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Easy peasy.

Can be stored in the fridge for as long as the expiration date on your mayo says – I doubt it’ll last that long because you’ll definite eat it all!

 

Enjoy!

-S

Cajun Turkey Burgers with Artichoke (Paleo, Egg-free!)

Happy Tuesday!

Sort of. Yesterday was my first day back at work after having been off for the last 10 days. A much needed break, I spent time at the beach with good friends, did LOTS of cooking, lots of drinking beer, lots of suntanning. I’m currently doing a “dry” week…. No alcohol, LOTS of veggies, lean meats only. I already limit my dairy and gluten, but I think I may cut that out altogether. I feel as though I came back a dry, crispy potato. I need a detox.

There’s a lot of conflicting information about detoxing. Though juice cleanses and teas sound really effective, the best way to detox your body after a period of greasy eating or heavy drinking is simply to get back to your routine (assuming you eat somewhat healthy). A few things I’m doing to get back on track:

  • No Alcohol: this one STINKS, but I’ve decided to lay off the libations for a week or two. I love beer, love wine. It’s a nice treat to have on weekends, or occasionally with dinner. However, after this past week…. I need to take a breather. Increased alcohol intake can lead to inflammation of your digestive tract, dehydration and can alter your blood sugar levels. To feel your best, ditch the alcohol for a week, then another, a few months if you’re strong. The decreased carbohydrate intake can also lead to a few less calories, meaning you may even shed excess weight.
  • No Dairy: Depending on what sources you ask, humans should not have dairy. I could live without milk, but I adore cheese. I don’t have it often, but I’ll be darned if I’m passing up a charcuterie board with some good mustard, good goat cheese/manchego and some delicious salami. So…. When we had a ton of cheese down at the beach, I ate it. We ate all the cheese.
  • More dark, leafy greens: I love my kale salads! When done right (with a nice acidic dressing), kale can be filling and tasty. I love a good ginger/lime based dressing, or even my Garlic Tahini Kale Salad.  That and more spinach, arugula, and spring mix in general.  With some berries, a good dressing and some sliced almonds, pecans or walnuts, it’s a filling salad. You can even throw some chicken on there, too
  • Lots of WATER: I ended up getting a gallon YETI container. Is it practical? Yes and no. It’s heavy, people roll their eyes when I use two hands to drink my water, but I have 64 oz here at my desk without needing to get up to refill. It certainly helps. Side note – I had a very nice aesthetician tell me I’ll keep my tan longer if I drink more water. I believe that, and that’s all the motivation I need to drink water! (PSA – if you’re reading this, wear sunscreen)
  • Re-up my probiotics: A healthy, balanced diet should contain enough nutrients to keep your microbiome regular, but finding the right probiotic is good support if you need it, especially with bloating from vacation. I  like Ora Organic probiotics. They’re freeze-dried so you don’t need to refrigerate, and they’re vegan and gluten-free. It comes in a powder and a capsule form.

 

All the serious stuff aside, I must share with you the most amazing turkey burger recipe I created. I think the best things I make are from happy accidents or random experimenting, and this was no exception. My friend is on a AIP diet intended to lower her histamines, so a few substitutions were made. These burgers are egg free and the whole thing comes together and is SO delicious. I added some chimichurri sauce (recipe here!!) and a slice of grilled red onion, with lettuce as a wrap. Feel free to add your own burger twist, the more the better! This recipe makes a lot of burgers, but you can freeze them and save for later.

Cajun Turkey Burgers with Artichoke (Paleo, Egg-free!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 12-15 min

Makes 12 burgers

Ingredients

  • 2 lb ground turkey
  • 1 heaping tbsp Cajun seasoning (link)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 heaping tbsp flax seed
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 ½ tsp ground sea salt, plus more if preferred (be generous with your salt!)
  • Optional toppings: slices of grilled red onion, spicy mayo, lettuce, tomato, bacon, or gluten free/sprouted grain buns

Directions

  1. Preheat your grill or griddle pan to medium high heat, ~375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all of your ingredients and let stand for 5-10 minutes to allow flax to absorb.
  3. Taking about 6-8 oz of burger mixture, shape into patties and pat thin, making a divet in the center (as burgers tend to “puff” up when cooking). Your mix should make about 12 medium sized burgers.
  4. Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side, until browned. Flip, and continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes. Once at temperature, turkey tends to cook fairly quickly, so keep an eye on them so they don’t overcook.
  5. Remove from heat and cover, letting rest for approximately 5 minutes. Serve immediately, and top with your preferred toppings.

Enjoy!

-S

Arugula-Quinoa Salad with Lime Vinaigrette (Vegan, Gluten-Free!)

Mondays. It’s sort of warm out, but it’s also sort of cloudy and a little sad. I’ve been perpetually hungry, too, so I’ve been trying to eat a lot more protein as I try to run more. Finding alternatives to animal sources of protein has been kinda hard since my go-to is usually chicken, but I’ve been wanting to incorporate a more plant-based approach to my diet.

 

A few weeks ago, I had seen this recipe on one of those facebook videos. I usually scroll past them as they are typically fried, filled with cheese, beef, or weird combinations of meat. Don’t get me wrong, I love bacon…. But I don’t want to wrap a chicken breast loaf stuffed with Babybel cheeses wrapped in ham and ketchup. Exaggeration? Yes. But only a little, which is kind of gross.

 

When I planned to make the salad, I was making my weekly Sunday Dinner. Since we already had a meat, I didn’t want meat in my salad, too. I actually swapped out the meat (which I think was seafood) for quinoa, and it was a welcome substitute. I don’t go out of my way to make quinoa because unless it’s really dressed up, it sort of tastes like shit. This has a lot of really great flavors, fun textures, and it keeps in the fridge really nicely when you have leftovers. Let’s just jump right into it. This salad isn’t the most beautiful dish on the table, but it sure does taste good!

 

Arugula-Quinoa Salad with Lime Vinaigrette (Vegan, Gluten-Free!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 15 min (plus cooling time)

 

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup dry quinoa (yields about 2.5-3 cups cooked)
  • 1 pkg (~10oz) of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 avocados, cut into 1/2 in cubes
  • 1 mango, diced into 1/2 in cubes
  • 1 cucumber, seeds and skin removed, diced into 1/2 in cubes
  • 2 heaping cups of arugula, roughly chopped
  • 1 big handful of cilantro, chopped

 

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed or very finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Optional (not vegan!) – Feta, to taste

 

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, heat 2 cups of water and 1 tsp sea salt  until boiling – add your quinoa and turn heat down to low. Simmer until quinoa is softened and water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, add to a bowl to cool, and fluff with a fork occasionally to let the heat out. You can also do this step ahead and refrigerate your quinoa.
  1. While your quinoa is cooking, combine your halved tomatoes, chopped onion, diced avocadoes, diced mango, diced cucumber, cilantro and arugula in a bowl. Gently mix to combine, careful not to mash the avocado.
  1. Next, mix your dressing ingredients together in a large bowl, whisking until emulsified. If it separates while you’re preparing your dish, whisk to combine just before using.
  1. Once your quinoa is cooled, fluff with a fork once more and add to your mixing bowl, along with your dressing. Gently stir again to combine, careful so as to not crush the avocado.

Serve, and enjoy!

-S

Chicken Bacon Broccoli Ranch Casserole (Paleo!)

Good afternoon, y’all! it’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood. The weather might get warmer (not holding my breath), the sun is shining, I am trying to shed some winter fluff and I have picked up running much more regularly. All the good things! I told my younger brother that we’re running the Kennett Run, so there’s a goal to work towards. I’ve been in the gym at least 6 days a week, but let me tell you… these ol’ bones take a beating. I jumped back into it like I was 18 years old again, and that was DEFINITELY! not the right way to do it. I suspected a plantar fasciitis flare up (or a peroneal tendon issue), so I let up for a few days and soaked my foot in Epsom salt. It did the trick, but now I’m nursing some sore quads. Does anyone have any good recommendations on running shoes for folks with extremely high arches? 🙂 🙂

I’ve made a ton of food over the last few weeks, but I’ve just been so busy with everything that I either hadn’t documented it once I cooked it, or people ate it before I got a chance to.

One thing I’m super pumped about is this tasty casserole. I came across a recipe for a buffalo chicken casserole I really liked, but I wanted to put a different twist on it with some other flavors. the good thing about this one is that it’s low in carbs, high in protein and just overall filling and delicious. Just to warn you, it’s definitely a weekend project that reheats well during the week… I’d advise to make this when you’ve got some time to play in the kitchen 🙂

 

Chicken Bacon Broccoli Ranch Casserole (Paleo!)

prep time: ~ 2 hours for all cooking involved

cook time: 35 min

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 
  • 1 medium sized spaghetti squash
  • 1 package paleo-friendly bacon (typically 8-10 oz, or a generous half pound)
  • 1 large head of broccoli, stems trimmed and cut into small florets
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup paleo-friendly mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Grey Poupon dijon
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tbsp chives
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley

 

Directions

  1. As this takes the longest, preheat your oven to 400 F. Cut your spaghetti squash in half and place face-down on a lined baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 50-60 minutes. Once cooked, carefully scrape the seeds out with a spoon and discard. With remaining flesh, gently scrape out with a fork into a large mixing bowl and discard the leftover skin.
  1. Now onto your chicken. Cook your chicken in an instant pot per instructions —  with enough chicken broth to cover the meat for 30 min. If using a traditional oven, (while simultaneously cooking your squash), place chicken a Pyrex dish and cover with broth. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until fork tender and cooked thoroughly. With both methods, remove from heat  after cooking, shred finely, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, then cover and set aside until ready to use.
  1. While chicken is baking, cook your bacon  by your preferred method (I like to bake on a baking sheet at 375 degrees F until crisp) until the bacon is thoroughly browned, but not burnt.  Remove from heat once cooked, roughly chop (once cooled!!), and set aside.  
  1. Since I like to live dangerously and multi-task, at this point I start cooking my broccoli, until just slightly tender. In a large skillet, add your preferred cooking oil and broccoli over medium heat. Once brought to temperature, add 1/8 cup of water to the pan and cover with a lid. The broccoli should only slightly cook, until bright green — about 2 minutes. Once finished, remove from heat, drain and set aside.
  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together your spices, dijon and mayo. adjust flavors as needed — I like a bit of a punch of dill and garlic to really bring out the ranch flavor. Remember, be generous with your salt, as the chicken has a lot of protein to break down, and the squash has a lot of fiber – salt is our friend!
  1. Once taste is up to par, add your two eggs, continuing to whisk until thoroughly mixed.
  1. In your large bowl with spaghetti squash, add your chicken and bacon, and mix together. Add your sauce, continuing to mix thoroughly. Add to a greased Pyrex dish and spread evenly.
  1. Hopefully your oven is still hot! Set temp/pre-heat to 350 degrees F. Bake your casserole until your egg has set and the top starts to brown, about 35 minutes.

Serve, and enjoy!

 

-S

BBQ Cauliflower “Wings” (Paleo, with vegan option!)

Happy Monday!

I don’t know how the weekend went so fast, but it was MUCH needed. Though it was technically a short week last week due to Monday being off and Wednesday being a snow day, it felt like the longest week ever. I’m ready for another vacation. While I was home on Wednesday, I got to experiment a bit with some really good  BBQ recipes. Example – cauliflower.

Yes, you read that right.

No, it isn’t gross. 

No, you shouldn’t tell picky eaters what it is until after they eat it.

They were like cute little  boneless wings, all crispy and delicious. If I made them again, I’d definitely tweak a few things… so here is my recommendation!

 

BBQ Cauliflower “Wings” (Paleo, with vegan option!)

prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 45-50 min total

Ingredients

For the cauliflower:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower florets, trimmed into bite-size but still somewhat large pieces
  • 1 cup of tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp salt, divided
  • 2 tsp garlic powder, divided
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 3 eggs (vegan option: 1 tbsp flax meal, pinch of salt and 3 tbsp hot water, stirred thoroughly)
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup cassava flour
  • 1 tsp dried parsley

For the BBQ sauce:

  • 2/3 cup organic ketchup
  • ¼ cup sriracha sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In three separate mixing bowls, add your tapioca flour with a tsp of salt to one bowl, your eggs (or flax egg mixture) to another, and then your almond flour, cassava flour, tsp of salt and parsley to the last one. Make sure the contents of each bowl are mixed thoroughly.
  1. Dredge your cauliflower first in your tapioca flour, tapping to dust off any excess, but not too hard so that all the flour comes off. Next, dip into your egg/”egg” mixture, thoroughly coating. Lastly, dredge your piece of cauliflower in your almond flour/breadcrumb mixture. Place on a greased/lined baking sheet spaced evenly apart, and repeat for the rest of the cauliflower pieces. Once finished, bake until golden brown, about 35-40 minutes.
  1. Meanwhile, as your cauliflower is baking, add your ketchup, vinegar, sugar, maple syrup, paprika, garlic, cayenne and onion powder to a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Once brought to a boil, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer and thicken for 15-20 minutes. Test for salt/pepper needed, and add to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  1. Once your cauliflower is cooked, remove from heat and add to a large mixing bowl.  Set your oven to broil. Generously brush your sauce over the cauliflower bites in the bowl, gently stirring to coat. Once coated, add back to your baking sheet, spreading into a single layer, evenly spaced.
  1. Broil until cauliflower starts to crisp again. Remove from heat, and serve.

 

Enjoy!

-S

Mexican Fajita Chicken Salad (Paleo!)

Greetings! How’s everyone doing today?

I had a really cool weekend – went to a tarot reading with Earth and Fire Tarot at the Prana House in West Chester. It was interesting – often times, I don’t really know how to think of card readings, even though I do them with myself often. I have dozens of oracle and tarot decks… I know the material is legitimate when I’m the only one pulling them, and all too often, coincidences that are really more than just coincidences happen. In this particular reading, they let me pull my cards – while one could argue that you can make anything work if you’re vague enough, the cards fit very well with one another and were a truthful, accurate and very specific representation of a situation in my life at the moment. At the end, they decided to pull a card for me, from a deck I own. I told them, this particular deck, I have a very strange connection to, and I very frequently get the same card. It’s the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck by Kim Krans. The detail within the artwork is absolutely beautiful, and Kim’s descriptions are insightful, comprehensive and honest. The card that frequently comes up is the Dragonfly – and I am grateful that it does. Both in real life and in this card, the dragonfly is this versatile and resilient creature that embraces transformation. It’s born with a finely tuned hunting skill, and requires little to no time in understanding that it can fly, almost immediately. I find that I get this card because I need to be reminded that being aware of your transformation as its happening makes it any less special. In fact, the dragonfly represents the power of self-awareness, knowledge, intuitive thinking and reflection.

As they were just as familiar with this card and its meaning as I was, I wasn’t surprised when they pulled it as expected and gasped and how that was possible. I don’t know, but when ya know, ya just know, ya know? We confirmed what I already knew and off I went.

This wasn’t meant to be a self-righteous post, or me toot-tooting my own horn about something anyone could just chalk up to a “coincidence”. My point is this – there is no such thing as coincidences. Once you take full ownership of your life and surroundings, you suddenly have this knowingness that you never paid attention to. You have a little more peace, and a little more perspective, and a little more confidence. Who couldn’t use a little more of that?

Now, let’s talk some food.

 

Mexican Fajita Chicken Salad (Paleo!)

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 25 min if using an Instant Pot, 45 min if baking 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 heaping tbsp small red onion, finely chopped (or more if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped with seeds and stems removed (optional)
  • 1/2 cup paleo mayonnaise or Veganaise
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • preferred greens, such as romaine, arugula, spring mix

 

Directions

  1. If using an Instant Pot, place your chicken into the pot and pour chicken or vegetable broth over until pieces are just covered. Seal and cook according to instructions — about 25 minutes. If using an oven, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken into a baking dish and pour broth over, also until just covered. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
  1. Once cooked, allow to cool, remove from broth and shred with a fork. Reserve some of your broth to add to shredded chicken to prevent drying, cover and set aside.
  1. In a small mixing bowl, mix your mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar thoroughly. Add your taco seasoning, salt and pepper, and continue to stir. Set aside.
  1. In a larger mixing bowl, add your shredded chicken and all remaining ingredients except your lettuce. Mix until well combined.
  1. Next, add your mayonnaise mixture, continuing to thoroughly mix. Add salt or pepper to taste.
  • Serve over crackers, in a wrap, or over a salad.
  • Enjoy!
  • -S