Roasted Cauliflower Leek Soup (paleo, with vegan option!)

I was really hoping by this point in the year that it would’ve been a little chillier. I’m ready to turn my A/C off…. But here we are.

For my non-US friends…. What’s it like to not stress-eat and go about your merry day, this week? We’ve been on edge waiting for the results of this election, and I will (hopefully) breathe a huge sigh of relief when this is done. Not that I don’t enjoy politics or anything – Political Science was actually one of my majors in college so I really enjoy a good debate. This year has taken the fun out of it though – less science and reason, more feelings. Having said that, I will be glad when the collective US people calms down a bit. Hopefully.

Even though there hasn’t been a whole lot of chilly fall weather, I’m ready for it. I’ve been making soups and crockpot recipes and baking…. Dare I say, I am even ready for some snow? I’m interested to see how my new Jeep fares in some powder, and I got some Carhartt wool socks that I’ll be sporting (it’s the little things, really). It’ll be a little different this year, since normally I’d love for it to snow and then get together with friends to cook and drink wine, but COVID has sort of hampered those plans. In the meantime, we all have to make due with whatever is thrown our way, and make sure we’re practicing self-care.

Out of curiosity, how much have you seen that term thrown around, “Self-Care”? It’s been adopted by a lot of trendy magazines, beauty lines, and has this spa-like association to it. To be honest, that really makes me mad. There’s nothing like ruining the meaning of something because it makes money – you’re selling someone an idea, something for them to reach for, and the wellness industry has done little to show people what it actually means – all the more reason for no one to really dig into the definition of self-care. From my own personal perspective, it even feels like it has this feminine tie to it too – doll yourself up, take a bubble bath, wear a fuzzy robe on Saturday night in –  all the more damaging, since self-care is for everyone.

What does self-care actually look like? Not to keep with the vague answers, but that really depends on you.

To me, self-care is reaching for water instead of wine after I’m done work, to make sure I stay hydrated.

Self-care is turning off the news for the day, because it gives me anxiety.

It’s making sure I shower before bed, because I like getting into a clean bed with clean pajamas, and clean hair.

It’s prioritizing my meetings, switching a less impactful one to tomorrow, because I need to get away from my desk and get some fresh air outside.

It’s being patient with myself when I short-circuit because I am stressed, or being kind to myself because I was in my feelings and gained some weight in quarantine.

It’s making healthy choices, and not overly depriving myself of things I enjoy as I’ve slowly shed my quarantine weight, and reminding myself that my friends still love me, no matter what I weigh.

It’s asserting my boundaries, telling people I’m uncomfortable with large gatherings, but respect that they can still do what they want.

And if doing these things inspires a big ol’ lumberjack man to put on his fluffy robe, sip Pinot Noir and take a bubble bath, then so be it.

Does this all sound mushy and weird to you? If so, it’s because we never understood that self-care is making sure we’re doing and feeling okay, respecting our own limits, and honoring our needs. To assign some sort of marketable idea that it’s to just shut off and shut down to primp and pamper, I think we’re doing ourselves a disservice. Learn what it is that you do for yourself when you feel your best, and then do more of it.

If it’s cold where you are, you’re going to love this soup recipe. It’s deceivingly creamy, and you may even fool some vegetable haters out there too. Get out those delicious leeks and let’s roast some stuff!

Roasted Cauliflower Leek Soup (Paleo and Keto, with Vegan option!)

prep time: 15 min

cook time: 25 min

serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 quart chicken stock (vegetable stock can be used to make vegan)
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, thicker stems removed
  • 1/2 to 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 leeks, sliced thin – using only the white or lighter parts
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika (plain, not smoked)
  • 2 tbsp ghee or olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • Salt + pepper (to taste; I used approx. 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper)

to garnish(optional)

  • Scallions, sliced
  • Crumbled bacon, prosciutto or pancetta

Directions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add your ghee or olive oil, leeks and onion. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until onions and leeks become translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Next, add your garlic and more ghee or olive oil if needed, and stir, cooking for another 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower to the pot next, stirring so that it starts to soften and brown – about 3-4 minutes. Add just a pinch more salt and pepper. This allows the vegetables to “sweat” and incorporate each other’s flavors better.
  3. Now, add your chicken or vegetable stock, thyme and paprika, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the broth starts boiling, reduce heat to medium low and cover with a lid simmering for about 15-20 minutes – allowing the cauliflower to cook thoroughly.
  4. Once the cauliflower has simmered, add your lemon juice. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. If you don’t have one on hand, you can also carefully add the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. If using a blender, add back to your pot once blended.
  5. Taste the soup for additional seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, paprika or lemon as needed. You can also thin it out a bit with additional stock, if it’s too thick.
  6. Serve with garnish (optional), and enjoy!

-S

Fall Harvest Salad with Parmesan, Cranberries and Pecans (Gluten-Free!)

Y’all it’s fall! And it was WINDY today!

I’ve been hitting the gym pretty hard, so I’m not sure if that’s why I’m more hungry, or… if I am nearing hibernation. But I’ve needed to make some more heartier lunches and dinners…. So with a good protein, I’ve been enjoying some really good salads. It’s been a challenge to get my fats in as much as possible, especially with the weather turning – I am a carb-aholic, and potatoes when the weather’s cold just seems like the right thing to do.

Also, I just realized I am emotionally eating because tomorrow is one of the most intense Election Days in the history of America. I also have not done my annual haul of buying-sweaters-I-can’t-fit-into-my-closet, so the act that I have no exciting parties to look forward to stings a little, too. I suppose the first reason is a bigger problem concern than sweaters, but we cope how we can.

Not a lot more to say – I wanted to get this recipe out in time for dinner in case anyone was looking for a good recipe for a fall salad!

Fall Harvest Salad with Parmesan, Cranberries and Pecans (Gluten-Free!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: n/a

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of Spring mix, rinsed  (if not pre-washed)
  • 1/2 cup shaved/shredded parmesan
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, or craisins
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • For the dressing
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 3 tbsp cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Directions

  1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Adjust flavors as necessary.
  2. Add your spring mix to a large bowl, along with your shallot, cranberries, pecans and parmesan. Mix together thoroughly.
  3. Dress salad, mixing half of the dressing into the salad at a time to ensure you don’t drown the salad. Garnish with additional parmesan, if desired. Serve with salmon or on the side with some chicken!

Enjoy!

-S

Lemon Dill Salmon Cakes with Cucumber Tzatziki Sauce (Gluten-Free with Paleo Option!)

Wowzer!

I sure do go missing a lot. I have spurts of motivation, then I start working on something else, then I ……get sidetracked altogether, and here we are.

One thing I’d like to update you all on – if you didn’t know before, now ya do – I do Reiki sessions, and other energetic healing! If it’s not your cup of tea, I get it, but for those of you fabulous people that do, you can head on over to thedivine-house.com to check out what I do. I am working on the website, and what is more exciting, is that after getting my master certification in Herbalism earlier this year, I have been concocting cool stuff that I want to share with you too. Things like essential oil sprays, anointing oils, palo santo cleansing sprays… just to start.

Which leads me to my next point. This Saturday is a full moon, a blue moon (aka the second within a calendar month’s time), on Halloween. Days before Election Day, and the end of the current mercury retrograde. Is that not just the witchiest shit you’ve ever heard? Seriously. I’m so excited. Though a few of us are getting together to hide candy in random places in the little area next to the neighborhood for the kids, my real excitement will be bringing a blanket outside in the full moon, with all my crystals in tow, and a candle, to meditate in all my crunchy, spiritual, witchy, woo woo glory. At this point, (A friendly PSA: if you haven’t been vibing with this weirdness, you’ve either been missing out or you’re reading the wrong blog. Stay a while!)

So this full moon, and this astrological mind-warp black hole we’re in. I know you’ve been feeling it. We’ve entered Scorpio, which is very much an inner-angst, touchy-feely time. But! This full moon is one to bring about prosperity, albeit some intensity. It’s also a full moon situated in Taurus, which is super active and bright – totally opposite of the Scorpio times we’re in now. Though there’s a lot of opposition going on right now (lol), any full moon is a chance to cleanse and renew, releasing energy that is counterproductive to you. It may seem that we haven’t been making a lot of progress, seemingly even moving backwards (lol again), but this is just the pressure from both Mercury and Mars both being in retrograde – where those energies remain slow and stagnant. Interestingly enough, Mars returns correct on 11/3, which will calm a lot of unruly energy (last lol, promise. More of an eyeroll, if anything). The astrology for this time is absolutely nuts – while I don’t have the level of expertise that several do (studying it is just a hobby of mine), if you’re interested – please check out Elizabeth Frediani – an astrologer that a friend referred me to.

So what do we do in a time like this? I feel like everyone is fatigued – COVID fear, the holidays coming up, the election, general unrest…. How do we catch a break?

We take one. We deliberately choose to do so.

Whether it be getting your hair done, booking a massage, enjoying a day off, drinking your favorite wine (in moderation!), Zooming with family, or just getting outside and putting your bare feet in the grass while the weather still permits…. Now is a time where we have to be deliberate in taking time for ourselves. We have to be extra clear in our boundaries, extra clear in our beliefs, but also extra compassionate with those around us – but especially ourselves.

I think what was most refreshing about looking at astrology charts is that 2021 is expected to be largely positive, for pretty much everyone. Having that hope, whether it’s anecdotal or not, just makes me feel a bit more excited to move through the literal dumpster fire that is/was 2020.

So let’s eat. I have a few recipes that I’ll share this week, but this one is one of my favorites. I try to make as much food from other types of culture and cuisine as much as possible – I find it’s really helpful to understand flavor profiles of different spices. Also, while continuing to eat in a ketogenic, low/no carb fashion, I have to get pretty creative. This particular dinner was inspired by some of my absolute favorite food – GREEK FOOD, ugh. Love it.

These are super easy to pull off last minute, or to plan ahead for. I use boneless, skinless canned salmon, which you can keep in your cabinet for a long time. Mixing some fresh herbs into everything just makes it all so delicious.

Lemon Dill Salmon Cakes with Cucumber Tzatziki Sauce (Gluten-Free with Paleo Option!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 15 min

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of boneless, skinless salmon, drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1 heaping tbsp of flax meal
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • sprinkle of dried oregano
  • ½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

For the sauce

  • 1 cup of greek yoghurt, or sour cream (almond milk greek style yoghurt or sour cream is a good substitute for paleo!)
  • 1 heaping tsp of dried dill
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • juice from one lemon
  • ½ cup of finely chopped cucumber (about half of a large cucumber)
  • salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or greased foil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add your salmon, breaking apart with a fork. Add all of your salmon cake ingredients to the bowl, mixing thoroughly – EXCEPT your egg. Since canned salmon is already cooked, I do a quick taste test to see if it needs anything.
  3. Once I’ve added anything (salt, more dill, garlic, etc), then I whisk my egg into the mix, continuing to gently fold everything together.
  4. Shape into patties – you should be able to get about 6-8 patties, similar to crab cake sizes. If your mix is too sticky, feel free to add more flax seed, a tsp at a time. If your mix is too thick, a tsp of olive oil should loosen everything up. Space your patties 2-4 inches apart, depending on the size of your baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a smaller mixing bowl, whisk your yoghurt ingredients together – yoghurt, dill, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and cucumber. Add preferred amount of salt. If you aren’t familiar with this type of flavor, I like to make sure mine is tangy from the lemon, zesty from the garlic, fresh tasting from the herbs, but cooling – I find that adding the salt last lets you control how bold of an overall flavor you get. I should note – additional zest from that lemon can always be used to add more flavor, if needed. Set aside in the fridge while the salmon patties continue to cook.
  6. Once the salmon patties are done, serve with a dollop of your tzatziki sauce. If you’re a sauce-heathen like me, just straight up drench them. Please know that I smothered mine, these photos don’t capture the accurate sauce to patty ratio. You can always pair them with a few nice salads, too…

Enjoy!

-S

Spicy Turkey Sausage Bolognese with Zoodles (Paleo!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spicy Turkey Sausage Bolognese with Zoodles (Paleo!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients

  • 2 green zucchini squash, washed, ends trimmed – makes about 3-4 cups of zoodles
  • 1 lb turkey sausage, or preferred ground meat
  • 1 15 oz can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more if preferred
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)

Directions

  1.  Using the Vegetti or other spiralizer, spiralize two whole zucchinis with the skins still on. I like to do this ahead of time, and let them air dry on a paper plate/towel for a few hours. (you can also buy pre-packaged zoodles, but they’re kind of expensive.) Set aside.
  1. Next, in a large frying pan, heat up your olive oil over medium heat. Add your onion and turkey sausage, breaking apart, stirring as you browned the meat – approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Season the meat lightly with salt and pepper, adding your garlic in once the meat is nearly cooked. I make sure the meet is as ground and broken up as possible – I just feel like the texture is better that way.
  1. After the meat has browned, add your can of crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, spices, and white wine. Stir and let simmer until bubbling, then turn heat down to low – allowing to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. If liquid evaporates too quickly, feel free to add a splash of chicken broth.
  1. This next step you could do a few ways, since technically the zoodles could be eaten raw, but nobody really likes that. You could either add your zoodles to the sauce pan and let simmer for another 3-4 minutes, or, you could sauté in a separate pan over medium heat with another tablespoon of your preferred cooking fat.  I like to do it this way, because while I only eat for one, I typically have leftovers and want to keep for as long as possible.  Sautéing or cooking your zoodles separately can allow for freezing or storing more easily, but it is a preference. However much of the zoodles you cook, cook them down to evaporate some of the leftover liquid still in the zucchini – about 4-5 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  1.  Add your zoodles to a small pasta bowl and spoon your Bolognese sauce on, or add right in your pan if preferred. Serve immediately. If totally dairy free, feel free to garnish with nutritional yeast. If not strict Paleo, serve with grated or shredded Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

-S

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Muffins (PALEO!)

It’s Friday. Fri-yay.

I’ll excuse myself, now. JUST KIDDING!

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

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

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

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

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

Directions:

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

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

Enjoy!

-S

Thai Tofu Curry Over Rice (VEGAN with Paleo options!)

So, is it fall yet? When the weather turns, I love to make lots of warming fall recipes. While I probably won’t be going to many potlucks or bonfires this year, I still love to make lots of bowls… soups, broths, everything.

Totally unrelated, I had an astrology reading last week. The woman was lovely – her name is Elizabeth Frediani, a knowledgeable astrologist out on the West Coast. We had a phone call, and discuss things about my chart that I already know. I’m not a skeptic by any means, but the first five minutes I was concerned that I wasn’t really going to hear anything I didn’t already know. Once she dove into what my chart actually means and how that influences my life, decisions, personality, etc… I realized that there was a lot more to this than people think about, and a lot of it is very specific. Basically, she let me know that I have a lot of change coming up, I felt very stagnant and I need to explore my creative side a bit more, and use that to “perform acts of service” for others. This was a major part of my chart, that I feel most valuable when helping others achieve their goals, or heal.

Having said that… you may not know that I am a Usui reiki master. I began studying it a few years ago after lots of discussion with some of my other woo-woo friends…. and I never looked back. I wanted to use my hands, and help with the healing that I saw was so desperately needed around me… but I knew something like massage therapy was not for me. I worked towards my classes, practiced on lots of people, and something clicked. I love feeling the energy, allowing people to find their own energy balance, and helping out that positivity out there in the world. If you’re interested in learning about what reiki is, find more out on my website, here.

So with all this stagnant “feeling” I have, what will I do next? Great question. I was recently wondering the same thing. I’ve been mulling doing this over for a few years now, but I finally reached out to a friend of a friend, Susan Smith of One Yoga. I’m going to start my YTT-200 (yoga teacher training) at the end of the month! It’ll be a wild new adventure but I’m excited. I know the experience will be intense, raw, lots of knowledge, practice, etc…. and it’s a lot more than just, “okay, this is how you do a proper Warrior III pose.” I want to find that mind/body balance that I was never ready to find before, and allow this to complement all the other healing work I’ve been doing on myself. Yay, new adventures!

Ok, so back to food. While I’m currently following a ketogenic protocol and this meal ultimately is NOT low carb, it’s delicious, and VEGAN! If you aren’t vegan, you can easily swap out my tofu for chicken or shrimp. This recipe is an easy way to make a Thai-inspired meal, and no… it isn’t one of those “pay $45 to make it yourself when you could’ve paid $15 to buy it” meals. If your kitchen is stocked well, you likely only need a few things!

Thai Tofu Curry Over Rice (VEGAN with paleo options!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 40 min

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of extra firm tofu (vegan, but not paleo), sliced into inch cubes. can sub shrimp, or 1-in cubed chicken if preferred
  • 1.5 cups of cooked basmati rice, or 2.5 cups riced cauliflower if making paleo
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk, shaken
  • 1 red bell pepper, stems and seeds removed, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 small yellow onion, halved/sliced
  • 1 heaping tbsp red curry paste
  • 2 tsp curry powder, separated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 tbsp of tamari or coconut aminos (or regular low-sodium soy sauce, if not strict)
  • 3 stalks of scallions, sliced thin
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • optional (not paleo!): peanuts for garnish
  • also optional (not vegan!): 1 tsp fish sauce – very much a staple in this cuisine, use it if you are able!

Directions

  1. In a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat, add your tofu (or chicken or shrimp) with a tbsp of your preferred cooking fat. I’m loving avocado oil right now, but any is fine.
  2. season with a touch of salt, pepper, and 1 tsp of your curry powder. Sauté until starting to brown or crisp on all sides, about 2-3 minutes total for shrimp, 8-10 minutes for chicken or tofu. Once browned, remove from the skillet and set aside.
  3. At this stage, begin cooking your basmati rice or riced cauliflower according to package instructions. If making homemade riced cauliflower, chop up about 2 cups of cauli in a food processor until it has a rice-like consistency. Add to a skillet over medium heat with 2-3 tbsp of water, pinch of salt and a small tsp of cooking fat and allow to steam for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove your lid and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes to allow any water to evaporate, then set aside on low to keep warm.
  4. Back to the curry – in the same skillet, still over medium heat, add another tsp of your preferred cooking fat, and add your bell pepper and onion. Begin to sauté as well, stirring occasionally, until translucent – about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Once your pepper and onion is at this stage, add you garlic, turning the heat down to medium low to prevent burning. Sauté for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Lightly season with salt and pepper, or a pinch more of your curry powder, doing a taste test.
  6. Now, add your tbsp of curry paste, stirring and pressing it into the pepper/onion mixture, stirring to allow it to cook and break down – about 2 minutes. Add your can of coconut milk and tsp of fish sauce (if using), as well as your tamari or soy sauce.
  7. Turn your heat to low and add your protein (tofu, chicken or shrimp) continuing to stir, and allowing to simmer – either until rice is done, or for another 5-7 minutes. You want to cover the skillet, so that too much water does not evaporate out of the pan. If the mixture bubbles too aggressively/is too hot, turn the heat down to the lowest setting.
  8. Once finished, spoon rice into a bowl, then your curry mixture over your rice. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, and peanuts (if using).

Enjoy!

-S

Cheese Burger Casserole (Gluten-Free, Keto-friendly!)

Today is exactly one month until my birthday! I  can’t believe it’s already September. Time feels like it’s stopped but is also moving at warp speed.

I CANNOT WAIT! To start making pumpkin everything. This fall looks a little different, where I’m not drowning in new sweaters and drinking Punkin Ale. While both are tradition, I haven’t worn anything but leggings in 6 months… and I am going the low-carb route to reset my metabolism and blood sugar. Perhaps a little bit of calorie cutting…. I still have to fit into my sweaters from last year.

So, the interesting thing about low carbs is all the hype about how cool and effective the Ketogenic diet is, and how you just lose weight super fast and it’s sooo great! Well, maybe… but also, no. A bit of science on how this works:

Most of us know what macronutrients, or macros are. These are carbohydrates, fat, and protein. When you eat, your body will seek to burn carbohydrates first from foods, and then fat and protein. Without the go-to of carbohydrates for energy, your body will burn fat instead…. This metabolic state is called ketosis. With your macros, a typical ketogenic ratio is 5:20:75 – carbs, protein, and fat %. This helps maintain that state, and can contribute to fat loss.

It’s a lot of hard work to count macros so specifically, but with an increase in energy, mental  clarity, reduced bloating and potential weight loss, it’s rewarding!

So having said that… what do you cook?

…..a Hamburger. Sort of.

Enjoy this recipe and just picture a Big Mac. You can do it. Just close your eyes. It sort of works.

Cheese Burger Casserole (Gluten-Free, Keto-friendly!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time 45 min total

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

    1 lb lean ground beef (I used 90/10)

    1 medium zucchini, grated (pro tip: I shredded mine first thing in the morning and let it sit on a paper towel/plate to dry out all day until I cooked it. Less water = better casserole!)

    ½ medium sized yellow onion, diced

    1 small tomato, diced

    1 heaping tbsp Grey Poupon Dijon

    1 tsp paleo-friendly Worcestershire sauce

    1 tbsp vegan or paleo-friendly mayonnaise

    ½ tsp sea salt, plus more to taste

    pepper, to taste

    1 tsp hot sauce of your choice

    ½ cup shredded cheddar/Colby mixture, plus a pinch more for the top

Directions

  1. In a large frying pan, add your onion and preferred cooking fat. Sauté until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add your ground beef, breaking up into small pieces. Sauté until browned, about 10-15 minutes. You may want to drain the liquid and fat from the pan if any collects – I use a turkey baster and remove it.

  1. Once cooked, remove the ground beef from your pan and add to a large mixing bowl. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. Next, add your zucchini, cheese, tomato, Dijon, mayo, hot sauce and sea salt to the mixing bowl. Mix together thoroughly, tasting and adding any additional salt or pepper.

  1. In a greased pyrex dish (I used a 9X9in – it all fit perfectly!), pour your mixture into it, ensuring an even layer. Sprinkle your remaining cheese over the top.

  1. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until bubbling, and cheese has melted. Enjoy!

-S

Oven-Baked Salmon with Garlic Chili Lime Butter (Paleo, Keto-friendly!)

So, I had big plans to post something totally different. Then, I thawed something else and decided to cook it, and it turned out so nice I have to post it.

I’m trying to get in all of my seafood ideas before the weather turns – that way, I can start to cook pumpkin, squash, pumpkin squash, more pumpkin, fall, squash. It’s that time of year and I am jones-in’ for some fall.

I don’t have a lot else to say about this, so I may as well get right to it. This recipe is paleo and keto friendly, and it’s literally one of the easiest salmon recipes I’ve made in a long time.

 

Oven-Baked Salmon with Garlic Chili Lime Butter (Paleo, Keto-friendly!)

 

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 15 min

Serves 2

 

Ingredients

  • 2 4oz boneless salmon filets, skin removed
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated or pressed
  • 2 tbsp organic, grass-fed butter, or ghee
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (about ½ of a lime)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, for garnish

 

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. If available, place a baking rack overtop your baking sheet, greasing it so that salmon won’t stick. The baking rack will allow the bottom of the salmon filets to remain crisp, but it isn’t required – just preferred.
  2. In a mug, or in a small stovetop saucepan, melt your butter. Mix together with your garlic, chili powder, lime juice and sea salt.
  3. Place your filets on your baking rack/sheet. Spoon your butter mix evenly over your salmon filets, coating the salmon filets entirely.
  4. Bake until salmon is opaque and starting to brown, about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, and garnish with chives. Serve, and enjoy!

 

-S

Zesty Mac and Cheese (Vegan AND PALEO!)

So…. Let’s talk about fall. Let’s talk about….. how I have a closet full of sweaters, I’ve done really well and haven’t bought any new ones (because where the hell am I going, let’s be totally honest), but am bummed because normally I get to go to wineries, fun parties…. Who am I kidding, WORK is my fashion show. Even still, the little things I miss the most have gotten to me a bit… down.

So, I eat my feelings. Working on that…. But for now, we eat.

I’ve been trying to eat a lot less meat in general, and with that – I figure, why not reduce animal stuff altogether? It isn’t actually difficult once you know some basic swaps – vegetable broth for chicken broth, vegan mayo for regular, dairy-free milks (cashew, almond and oat for ones without flavor!)… even if you’re not looking to go “vegan” per se, I find that these little swaps are great ways to cut down cholesterol, sodium or calories in general, if you need to. That, and I have several friends that have dietary restrictions, so I love a challenge.

I was familiar with butternut squash as a sauce, but this was kind of a “winging it” type of thing. Some of these ingredients aren’t normal things one has in their kitchen, but they’re worth buying, and at least in my area, can be found pretty easily. If you have an immersion blender or regular blender, you’ll need it for tonight.

Please note… as good as this is, I realize that some of my friends reading this just want the real thing. Just shoot me an email if you want a real Pennsyl-tucky dairy filled Mac-and-cheese recipe…., my mama makes a mean recipe I also happen to know how to make…. 😉

Yum!

 

Zesty Mac and Cheese (Vegan with PALEO option!)

 

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 45 min

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups paleo-friendly noodles, like Jovial Cassava noodles
  • 2 cups of cubed butternut squash, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp vegan sour cream (I love this brand, search the link where to find it – omit if strict paleo!)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 heaping tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Sprinkle of pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter, or ghee
  • ½ cup of vegetable broth, plus more if needed for texture

optional – breadcrumbs:

  • 2 tbsp almond flour (if not paleo, panko breadcrumbs can be used)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of parsley

 

Directions

  1. In a sauce pan, add a tbsp of your preferred cooking fat, your onion and squash. Sauté your onion and butternut squash until soft, about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover with a lid to ensure steam stays in to soften them faster.
  2. Once soft, add your vegetable broth. Continue to simmer for another 2-3 minutes, adding some salt and pepper. Now, add your paprika, garlic, cumin and chili powder.
  3. At this step, you can either use your immersion blender to puree until smooth, or place into a blender and puree until smooth. The texture should be somewhat thick like cheese sauce and soupy, but not thick like veggies or thin like soup. Add vegetable broth accordingly to adjust texture. Set sauce aside so that the flavors can meld.
  4. In a separate put, bring water to a boil – add your noodles, and boil until al dente.
  5. While they’re boiling, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a skillet or pyrex dish (my skillet is an 8 inch mini Lodge skillet).
  6. Once noodles are cooked and drained according to cooking instruction, Mix them into your sauce. It may look like you have “too much sauce”, but it will absorb slightly into the noodles once baked. Place into your skillet or baking dish, and bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes.
  7. While your macaroni is baking, if using paleo breadcrumbs, mix together all breadcrumb ingredients in a dry small frying pan and toast slightly over medium heat until starting to brown. If using regular breadcrumbs – no need to pre-toast. With 5 minutes left of cooking, remove the mac and cheese and sprinkle your breadcrumbs over top – bake another 5 minutes until starting to brown further, but not burning.
  8. Serve while hot. Enjoy!

-S

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

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

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

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

 

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

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 30-40 min

 

Ingredients

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

for the crema:

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

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

 

Directions

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

 

Enjoy!

-S