Asian-Inspired Broccoli Cabbage Slaw (Paleo, Keto-Friendly, Vegan!)

I always say I’ll keep my momentum going with making posts and recipes to share, but often times I just get so busy that I completely forget. I love to make things, but in all honesty, a lot of what I make either doesn’t make the cut aesthetically, or I eat it before I even think to take a picture. You win some, you lose some.

 I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! Mine was small, but I did go to my parents’ house, against my better judgment. I was fine with eating alone, but decided that I would spend dinner with them, after we all decided that we had been sufficiently social distancing. Boy, was I wrong! COVID scare in the immediate family, and my test is scheduled for later today. Fortunately, they are asymptomatic and okay – fingers crossed that my test comes back negative, but I am quarantining for a few more days just to be sure.  It’s a bummer that I have to miss the farmers market today, but it’s in the interest of public good. Sigh.

So did anybody cook anything really interesting for Thanksgiving? I made a creamed corn recipe that is a hybrid of a fancy Epicurious recipe crossed with a sweet elderly lady named Millicent’s creamed corn. It was delicious. I ate the carbs. I enjoyed the carbs. I am over the carbs. To that end, I am only likely continuing my ketogenic adventures until the end of the year. I’m considering skipping Dry January, because it’s the one indulgence I can still have during COVID. We will see.

I made an Asian Slaw that I want to share with you all, so I guess that’s what I’m sharing. I have been all over the place, and I can’t go to the store until Monday 😦 (I know I could order food and have it delivered, but I’m very particular about feeling my avocados before I buy them) This was made a few weeks ago, and it’s definitely really tasty! Plus, it’s paleo, keto-friendly and vegan!

Asian-Inspired Broccoli Cabbage Slaw (Paleo, Keto-Friendly, Vegan!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: n/a

Ingredients

  • 3 cups red cabbage, sliced very thin

  • 1/3 red onion, also sliced very thin

  • 2 cups fresh broccoli, cut into small, bite-size florets

  • 1 large carrot, julienned

  • 1 large handful cilantro, chopped

  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

  • 3-4 stalks of scallions, sliced thin/on a bias

  • For the dressing

    • ½ cup Vegenaise

    • 2 tbsp sesame oil

    • 1/3 cup rice vinegar

    • sweetener of your choice, just a pinch to take out the tartness – I used a ½ tsp of monkfruit sweetener, but you can use a tsp of honey or maple syrup

    • 1 tsp Tamari, soy sauce or coconut aminos (may not need as much sweetener if using coconut aminos, FYI)

    • juice from ½ of a lime

  • Directions

    1. Mix together your salad ingredients in a large bowl. Separately, in a small bowl, mix together your dressing ingredients, whisking until emulsified.

    1. Combine dressing and salad ingredients. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.

    1. Note – if kept overnight or in the fridge for a while, it may darken due to the soy sauce and red cabbage colors bleeding together. It’s still edible! I always have red cabbage in my fridge, so if it gets over-saturated, I freshen it up the next day with some fresh-sliced red cabbage. Of course, err in your best judgment, but I like to make my salads last 🙂

    Enjoy!

    -S

    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

    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

    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 🙂
    • 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 definitely eat it all!

     

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Aioli – Inspired by 2SP (Paleo, with Vegan option!)

    Quick recipe share with y’all! 

    Pretty much every time I go out with my friends, we are looking for Brussels Sprouts on the menu (note to any restaurant owners/staff reading this… the people have spoken, and we want NEED Brussels Sprouts…). I decided I wanted to try and make my own copycat rendition of a personal favorite menu item on a local restaurant menu, Two Stones Pub.

    Let me prepare you for what this is like. The brussies come out crispaaay, the sauce is saaawsie, and to negate all healthy aspects of this, I like to stay hydrated with a nice Lot #3 by Evolution Brewing, or perhaps a 2SP Bellcracker DIPA. It’s a delightful time, really. It’s how I keep balance when I’m running, working, doing yoga, wrangling dogs, horses, credit card portfolios, food blogging, meal prepping, etc. The thing I like most about this, is that yes, it is actually paleo if you source your ingredients right.

    Enjoy! If you make this, let me know how you like it.

    Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Spicy Aioli – Inspired by 2SP (Paleo with vegan option!)

     

    Prep time: 10 min

    Cook time: 30 min

    Ingredients

    For the Brussels:

    • 1 bag of fresh brussels sprouts (I like the 10oz bag of organic brussels from Wegmans)
    • 1 1/2 tbsp of your preferred cooking oil – I like avocado oil
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced or pressed
    • 1 tsp ground sea salt
    • ½ tsp black pepper
    • 1 tsp Japanese 7 Spice seasoning (if not available, sub crushed red pepper, a dash of sesame seeds and a pinch of ground ginger. Make some extra to save it!)
    • 1 tsp coconut aminos or tamari/soy sauce

    For the sauce:

    • ½ cup paleo-friendly (or vegan-friendly!) mayo
    • Sea salt, to taste (I used literally a pinch)
    • 1 dash of tamari/soy sauce
    • 1 large squirt (lol) of sriracha around a tsp, plus more if desired
    • small dash of worcestershire sauce
    • 2-3 stalks scallions, sliced on a bias, for garnish

    Directions

    1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. 
    2. First, wash and trim the stems off of your brussels sprouts. Cut some in half, some in quarters, saving any small leaves that fall off. I even break some up so they aren’t as chunky.
    3. Add your cut brussels sprouts to a large bowl. Toss with olive oil and all other brussels ingredients, ensuring they are coated generously. If needed, add more oil.
    4. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread your brussels evenly in a single layer. Bake for 25-30 min, until the larger pieces are cooked thoroughly. **Note – check the brussels frequently – if the thinner leaves start to burn, remove those from the heat and set them side on a plate to prevent further cooking. Since they don’t retain really any heat anyway, I just throw these back onto the dish upon serving.
    5. While the larger brussels are still cooking, mix together your sauce ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Adjust flavors to preference.
    6. Once all the brussels are tender and crisp on the edges, remove from oven. Add a layer of mayo and spread on your serving plate. Arrange your brussels across your sriracha mayo and if desired, drizzle with any remaining sauce. Garnish with your scallions. Serve immediately.

    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

    Bacon-Wrapped Pepper Bites with Guacamole (Paleo!)

    I need to step my game up. I feel like every time I make a post, it has to do with either the full moon or new moon…. which means I am not posting all that much. I don’t know why I’m so busy, but I do know that it’s from running around like crazy. 

     

    So one thing I’m going to start doing more of this year is Reiki. I’m definitely going to do a whole post on the practice, benefits and effects of it, but for now, my priority is to get a plan together for continuing to practice. Stay tuned for more of that if that interests you.

     

    Onto more of the GOOD STUFF…. I have a lot of recipes I’ve been saving and just haven’t gotten around to posting because I like to put up what I think people are most interested in seeing. There are definitely times where a recipe idea jumps out at me and I have to make it and post it, and let me tell you… this is definitely one of those times. These things came out just as good as I hoped they would, which is excellent — I love bacon. If you have a party coming up, these are perfect for the guacamole lovers in your life. I’m not even kidding when I say you should probably make a double batch though, because you won’t want to give any away.

     

    Bacon-Wrapped Pepper Bites with Guacamole (Paleo!)

    prep time: 20 min

    cook time: 20 min

     Ingredients

    • 1 lb nitrate-free bacon, kept chilled until use (I recommend Butcher Box, or Wellshire!)
    • 1 large bag of mini sweet peppers – yields about 18-24 peppers
    • handful of toothpicks, soaked in water for 15-20 minutes
    • 2 large ripe avocados
    • 1 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
    • 1 roma or vine tomato, finely chopped (this part is important!)
    • 2 heaping tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
    • juice from 1/2 lime (or more, to taste)
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • Ziploc bag or pastry bag, for filling peppers

     

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with foil.
    1. Cut the top off of each pepper, discarding the stem, seeds and ribs from the inside. Make sure the pepper is cut so that it can stand on its own, flat side down, when placed on the baking sheet.
    1. Starting from the uncut side, carefully wrap each pepper with bacon completely. Depending on the size of the pepper, you may want to start with a half-slice of bacon. If you happen to do multiple layers, it’s alright too – the bacon will still crisp because it isn’t lying flat on the baking sheet. 
    1. Once wrapped, secure the bacon to the pepper by poking the toothpick across the pepper, near the flat side. This will keep the bacon from unwrapping as it cooks.
    1. Place your bacon wrapped peppers in the oven, spaced apart evenly, and bake until the bacon is thoroughly browned, about 20-25 minutes.
    1. Meanwhile, as your peppers cook, prep your guacamole. In a medium sized mixing bowl, gently mash your avocado thoroughly, ensuring there are minimal chunks left. You don’t want to beat it too hard though, as it will start to become runny.
    1. Next, add your onion, tomato, cilantro, lime and seasoning. Mix thoroughly, adjusting salt and pepper to taste.
    1. Once peppers are done, remove from heat and set aside, leaving toothpicks in place until partially cooled. Once cooled, add your guacamole mixture to your bag. If using a Ziploc bag, place guac into the bag before cutting a small part (about 1/2 in across) of the corner off your bag. If you don’t cut enough, you can always cut more off.
    1. Squeeze your guacamole into your peppers until just filled. Arrange on a plate, and enjoy!

     

    -S

    Pizza Soup (PALEO!)

    Hi world! I’m back after a much needed hiatus. I had these lofty and grand plans to cook a ton of stuff around the holidays and share it all with you… but then I got sick, then had to get back into the swing of things at work… I was tired… uninspired… you know how it goes. Plus, it’s been COLD. Here in the northeast, there’s been “snow” looming in the distance. I don’t actually know if it’s coming, but everyone’s been talking about it and now we just wait. I have no idea, but I have fuzzy socks on and a chenille scarf wrapped around me that I can’t part with. I fell asleep wearing it last night. I am ready for the snow!

    What’s interesting these days with all of you!? Well, with me – a whole lot and only a little. This spring should bring a lot of really cool changes, but I can only share them with you once I have more details J In the meantime, I’ve been working off my Christmas fluff (deeeefffffinitely put on a few pounds from all the beer and pizza), working on strength training and cardio. I got an Apple Watch for Christmas, and closing my fitness things is honestly the realest motivation I have had in a long time. That, and dry January, which I’ve already failed. Oh well, there’s next year.

    This post is more of a drop-in…. when I have some more time this weekend, I will definitely be jumping into some fun spiritual stuff, at least before January is OVER. Better late than never.  With the looming snow storm coming up, I want you all to enjoy something warm, healthy, and delicious, with minimal guilt.

    Soup!

    My inspiration was simple. I’ve been eating so much pizza these days, I wanted to dial it back. After giving up pizza for Lent one year, many years ago, I swore I could never go without it again. After much compromise and upset, I decided to nix the bread and make it into a soup, because… life without pizza is no life at all. This is a paleo friendly soup (unless you add some cheese), and is absolutely delicious. I like to use Applegate Naturals turkey pepperoni, and Garrett Valley pork bacon when making this soup. If you aren’t on any restrictive dietary plans, I bet dipping a breadstick in this would be just glorious. For those of us that are on the healthy train, this soup alone will do ya just fine… I promise 🙂

    If you don’t already, follow me on instagram @thedivinekitchen. I need more folks to hold me to posting my daily dinners, recipes, etc. Come join the party!

    Pizza Soup (PALEO!)

    Prep time: 20 min

    Cook time: 30 min

    Serves 6-8

    Ingredients

    • 1 15oz can of tomato sauce (not marinara, just plain)
    • 1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
    • 1 tube of pork or turkey sausage
    • 4 oz (~20-25 slices) of paleo friendly (uncured) turkey pepperoni, cut into quarters
    • 3-4 slices of cooked paleo friendly (uncured) bacon, chopped (optional)
    • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
    • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
    • 1 heaping tsp of dried oregano
    • 1 pinch of chili powder
    • 1 pinch of cayenne powder
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions

    1. In a large skillet or frying pan, over medium heat with a tsp of your preferred cooking oil, sauté your pepper and onion until translucent and starting to brown – about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside in a bowl.
    2. In the same skillet, also over medium heat, sauté your sausage until thoroughly cooked/browned, breaking up any larger chunks. Remove from heat, and set aside.
    3. In a large sauce pot or small stockpot, add your tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Turn to medium high heat. Next, add your pepper and onion, sausage, pepperoni, bacon (if using), spices, and chicken broth. Gently mix thoroughly – heat until mixture starts to bubble gently, stirring to prevent burning at the bottom of the pan. Once brought to temperature, cover with a lid, turn to low heat, and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes.
    4. The soup should thin out – it should not resemble the thickness of sauce. If too thick, add additional chicken broth, 1/4 cup at a time, and continue to simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    5. If preferred, serve with a pinch of shredded cheese (not Paleo, fyi :)). Enjoy!

    -S

    Pomegranate Dijon Glazed Pork Tenderloin (Paleo!)

    The weather is starting to cool down 🙂 🙂 Which means… I get to wear all my sweaters that I love so much! Sigh. I just get so excited.

    I can’t remember if I ever mentioned my favorite show that a friend turned me onto… it’s called Humans. It’s a UK-broadcasted show available on  Amazon Prime… and I binge watched the first two seasons in about 2 weeks. (Binge watching TV for me is watching more than 20-30 minutes at a time… I really hate watching TV). It’s so good. Without spoiling the premise of the show, it’s a little Will Smith in I, Robot meets Modern Family… with less of the dumb humor. Definitely worth the watch.

    To be honest… I don’t have much material to work with here. Nothing new  going on, just wanted to tell you guys I love Autumn, and that new show I found. Here’s some pork tenderloin, because I think we need to show the other white meat some love. Happy almost-Fall!

    Pomegranate Dijon Glazed Pork Tenderloin (Paleo!)

    Prep time: 30 min

    Cook time: 20 min

    Ingredients

    • 1 (1 to 1.5 lb) pork tenderloin
    • ½ cup pomegranate juice
    • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
    • ¼ cup Grey Poupon Dijon mustard (I am very particular about my djion…)
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
    • ½ cup of chicken broth
    • A pinch of chili pepper
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1 heaping tsp of tapioca flour
    • Optional: pomegranate seeds, for garnish

    Directions

    1. In a large bowl, whisk together your pomegranate juice, orange juice, Dijon, honey, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and chicken broth. Season with salt, pepper and chili powder to taste. Adjust flavors to preference, if needed.
    2. Next, trim any “silver” skin or unwanted fat from your pork. Place in a bag or bowl, and marinate for at least 2-4 hours in the fridge, or as long as overnight. When ready to cook, select the Sauté button to heat the Instant Pot. When “Hot” is displayed, add a tbsp of olive oil.
    3. Add the pork and sear on all sides, approximately 4 minutes per side. Once completely seared, press Cancel and remove pork from the Instant Pot. Set aside on a plate.
    4. Next, place the Instant Pot trivet into the pot, followed by your pork tenderloin. If it doesn’t fit lengthwise, you can cut it in half. Pour the marinade over the  pork, ensuring it’s thoroughly coated. It’s okay if it isn’t submerged.
    5. Place lid on Instant Pot and turn the valve so it’s sealed. Select the Manual setting, high pressure (this is the default setting), and set timer to 7 minutes for fresh pork (10 minutes for semi-frozen, or 13 minutes for frozen).
    6. Once the timer is done, turn the Instant Pot off and let pressure release naturally for 8-10 minutes. Open the lid and remove the trivet with the pork on it and let rest for 5-10 minutes while you make the glaze.

    For the Glaze

    1. In a large skillet, add your remaining liquid from the instant pot, reserving about ¼ cup. Turn heat to medium. Using your reserved ¼ cup of broth, whisk your tapioca flour in until thoroughly mixed.
    2. Add your reserved tapioca flour/ broth mix into the pan, continuing to whisk. Be sure to turn the heat down if it thickens/bubbles too quickly, as you don’t want it to  burn. The mixture should slightly thicken after simmering for 2-3 minutes, or a bit longer with lower heat. If desired, add any salt and pepper,  to taste. At this point – I think I added a splash more pomegranate juice for some color. Once at desired thickness, remove from heat and set aside.
    3. Slice your tenderloin and serve with glaze as preferred. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and herbs if desired!

    **Note: if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can make this in the oven. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, as well as heating a skillet over medium heat with a dash of olive oil. Sear Pork tenderloin in the skillet on all sides, 2-3 min per side – place in a baking dish once browned. Pour glaze over, and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 145-150 degrees F. Set tenderloin on a dish to rest, and then follow the glaze recipe and serve as preferred.

    Enjoy!

    -S