Chorizo-Stuffed Baby Bella Mushroom Bites (Paleo!)

I’m in vacation prep mode! Also known as that hypervigilant, excited  and stressed out stage of trying to wrap things up prior to leaving for an extended period of time. AKA walking around in circles hoping I get something done.

The end of last week was nice. I did a really good yoga workshop — a Full Moon Yoga session on the rooftop of Hockessin Athletic Club. It was beautiful — not too hot, not too difficult, and really grounding. Friday, during the actual full moon, I enjoyed a nice dinner at a friend’s house, right before the storm came. There was fun, there was wine, and I sprayed a lot of Full Moon Mist on everyone’s heads. Obviously, the last part was the icing on the cake… heh.

I’ve been trying to get the last bit of ideas out of summer cooking before I go into full Fall-Mode. My second job (White House | Black Market) is starting to get their new clothes in, and it HAPPENS to be my favorite color… RED! and then LEOPARD! If y’all only really knew how I love clothes… you’d know that every new season that comes in is like Christmas for us that work there. And then the actual holiday clothes come, and we all get hysterical.

In the spirit of embracing my KSQ roots, this recipe is all about the mushrooms. My personal favorite appetizer bite! I feel like these even go one step further to highlight the strong Latino presence with some spicy chorizo… definitely a crowd pleaser. Bring to your next summer BBQ!

Chorizo-Stuffed Baby Bella Mushroom Bites (Paleo!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 25 min

Ingredients

  • 2 containers of baby bella mushrooms, rinsed, patted dry; stems and gills removed
  • 1 lb of ground chorizo
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, stems and seeds removed and diced
  • 1 heaping tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. on a greased cookie sheet (or cookie sheet with wire rack), scatter mushrooms face up. bake for 15 minutes to allow the juices to release.
  2. Once semi-cooked, remove from heat, drain any water that has shed from the mushrooms, and set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, as your mushrooms are cooking, heat 1 tbsp of your preferred fat (I like olive oil) in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add your onions and peppers, and sauté until browned, stirring occasionally — about 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Leave oven on.
  4. Once your onion/pepper mixture is cooled, add to a large mixing bowl with your chorizo and mix thoroughly. Add your parsley and garlic powder, continuing to mix.
  5. Once thoroughly mixed, grab a bit of chorizo mixture that matches the size of the mushroom you’re looking to fill — the diameter should be no wider or thicker than your mushroom, so the ratio is even. Press into the mushroom to secure the chorizo mixture, and reshape if need be. Space mushrooms evenly on another greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  6. Bake in oven for 25 min, or until chorizo is cooked thoroughly and starts to brown Don’t worry if the mushrooms sweat further — this won’t impact their flavor, and they typically dry out a bit once removed from heat. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

-S

Buffalo Chicken Dip (Paleo, Keto-Friendly!)

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

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

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

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

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

Buffalo Chicken Dip (Paleo, Keto-Friendly!)

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 25 min

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Enjoy!

-S

Lemon Garlic Scallops (Paleo!)

Happy weekend! How’s everyone doing?

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

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

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

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

Lemon Garlic Scallops (Paleo!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 10 min

Makes 16 scallops

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

-S

Super Easy Greek Avocado Dip (Paleo, Vegan!)

July, woo! Heatwave, woo!!

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

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

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

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

Super Easy Greek Avocado Dip (Paleo, Vegan!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: n/a

Serves: n/a

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Enjoy!

-S

Apple Sage and Onion Breakfast Sausage Patties (Paleo!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Apple Sage and Onion Breakfast Sausage Patties (Paleo!)

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Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 15 min

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

 

Ingredients

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

 

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, combine onion and apple and ~ 1 tbsp of your preferred oil. Sauté until browned, about 6-7 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and allow to cool.
  2. Once sausage has cooled off, combine the pork, garlic powder, sage, thyme, coconut sugar, cayenne pepper, cloves and salt and pepper. Use more salt than you think you’d need – I likely used a heaping tbsp of sea salt, and ½ tsp of black pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Roll into patties of your desired size. If freezing and saving for later, and chill for at least 20-30 minutes before freezing, so they keep their shape. If cooking immediately, heat a large skillet over medium high heat, and add another tbsp of your preferred oil and sauté until browned on both sides, about 4-5 minutes each side.

Enjoy!

-S

Health Food Haul – Ideas for Healthy Groceries

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

Whole Foods

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

Miso

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

Plant-Based Protein Powder

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

Olive Oils, Vinegars and Sauces

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

Ground Buffalo and Bison

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

Wegmans

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

Shredded Brussels Sprouts

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

Almond Milk

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

Organic Produce Selection

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

Giant (Martin’s)

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

Tahini

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

Low Sodium Chicken Broth

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

Maple Syrup

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

Diced Tomatoes

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

Local Markets

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

Eggs

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

Honey

honey

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

Kombucha

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

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

Enjoy!

-S

Watermelon Salad with Feta, Basil and Mint (Keto-Friendly!)

We’re having a cold spell recently… and I don’t hate it. There’s something about sweating before you even leave the house that just seems wrong. my dog is happier, I can wear better outfits to work…. it just works out better.

Now that I’m so close to a dog park for the summer, I take Sydney and walk over to the park so she can make friends and  get some exercise. She is so out of shape… that makes two of us (at least cardio). I probably couldn’t run for longer than 5-10 minutes at this point, but it’s probably worth it to start. There was at least two dozen dogs in and out of the dog field, and Sydney made a bunch of new friends.

I am also ready to eat some more garden food!!! All my little herblets are growing so well, I’m so excited. We had an abundance of basil in a giant flowerpot so I wanted to make something fresh like caprese… I just didn’t have mozzarella. Use what you got, yo. I’ll put a jalapeno in anything, it’s just the best. I’m not a big fan of feta cheese, but it definitely has the right briny flavor to make this salad work with the sweet watermelon and spicy jalapeno.

Short and sweet. Enjoy this recipe!

Watermelon Salad with Feta, Basil and Mint (Keto-Friendly!)

prep time: 20 min

cook time: n/a

serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of semi-ripe watermelon, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, diced into small pieces
  • 2 small English cucumbers, peeled and diced into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup of feta, small crumbles, plus more if desired
  • 1 large jalapeno, minced, ribs seeds and stems removed
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • pinch Himalayan sea salt

Directions

  1. Combine all fresh ingredients in a large bowl. Mix gently, so as to not bruise or break the watermelon and tomato.
  2. Drizzle with balsamic, adding more if desired. Season with a pinch of sea salt.

Best served right away, or brought to room temperature (to catch all the flavors!)

Enjoy 🙂

-S

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs (Paleo!)

Winner, winner! TURKEY DINNER!

Happy Monday, y’all. This has been one of the Monday-est Monday’s ever. I’ve been waiting for the weekend for what feels like 12 years. Then all of the sudden it’s Monday. That, and the days are made progressively longer by doing the whole keto thing. If you aren’t familiar with Ketosis and the Ketogenic “diet”, definitely read up on it… here is a good book to start.

I think what’s most interesting about this “diet” is that most people compare it to the Atkins diet. If you recall, Atkins was popular in the 90’s and I think everyone’s parents tried it at least once. It was controversial because of the “war on Fat”, when Ancel Keys proclaimed that eating fat made you, well, fat. That is so false. The link of consuming fat with heart disease was actually filled with incorrect inferences and cherry-picked information, and people just stuck with it. After all, if people don’t want to “be fat”, why would they eat it? And down the slippery slope we go.

The Ketogenic Diet and Atkins are similar in that they reduce carbs, but are done so a bit differently. The ketogenic diet was founded back in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder of the Mayo Clinic, and he used it to treat epilepsy. It focused on high fats, a fair amount of protein and the low carbs familiar with Atkins. By reducing your carbs as a source of energy, your glycogen reserves are depleted (as your body can only store that for +/- 48 hours), and it turns to fat as a means of energy consumption. Your stored fat is converted into ketones, which your body uses for energy. This is beneficial if you’re trying to lose fat, but also if you have a difficult time managing your blood sugar, as this increases your insulin sensitivity and lower your glucose levels.

The Atkins diet also reduces carbs, but does so in a step-based process that allows you to reintroduce carbs back into your diet as a form of weight maintenance. The science is the same as the ketogenic diet, but the perception behind this diet was that it was a quick fix, and that you risk gaining your weight back upon eating a high amount of carbs again.

To each their own — I feel better, stronger and I have more clarity when I eat fewer carbs, so that’s what I stick to. with that said… these were born out of a need to eat Frank’s Hot Sauce. I love Frank’s hot sauce, I love buffalo anything. That, and while my brother was home from college, I wanted to make him something that tasted “late night drunk food”, but didn’t leave you feeling like a slug when you woke up.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you… Buffalo Turkey Meatballs. Yaammm.

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs (Paleo!)

prep time: 20 min

cook time: 25 min

Makes about 12-14 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • half container of sliced brown mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, plus separate 1/4 cup set aside
  • 1 heaping tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp salt (this is conservative), plus more to taste
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 2 tbsp almond flour
  • 2 heaping tbsp scallions, green and white parts, sliced thin

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat a tbsp of oil or your preferred fat over medium heat. sauté onions until translucent, about 5-6 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add your mushrooms and sauté for another 4-5 minutes, until soft. remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together your turkey breast, mushrooms, onions, egg, almond flour and scallions. Lastly, add your hot sauce.
  3. The mixture may be quite wet — if you feel you need to add more almond  flour, do so 1 tsp at a time until the mixture is able to hold its shape when rolled into a meatball.
  4. On a cookie sheet with a greased wire rack, set your meatballs about 1-2 inches apart. The rack is optional — I find that these run a bit as the moisture burns out, and I don’t like to drain my cookie sheet halfway through to get them to crisp. Bake until starting to brown, about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, as the meatballs are baking, mix together your remaining hot sauce and ghee. Season with salt, to taste. Drizzle over the meatballs and serve.

Enjoy!

-S

Full Moons…. and Zesty Ginger Sesame Chicken Wings (Paleo!)

Happy Monday…. um, Tuesday! Definitely feels like a Monday, but that kind of thing usually happens over a long weekend.

How was everyone’s Memorial Day? Ours was just crud weather in the mid-Atlantic… but I sort of feel as though the weather in general has been pretty bad. I also feel as though I’ve prematurely aged mentally where I insist the weather/flies/mosquitos/hurricanes/snow/potholes/pollen/life in general gets harder or worse each year. I’ll have to press the reset button on that…. that’s not good energy to be putting out there.

Friday was a busy day, too. I worked from home — after a flurry of appointments, I finally had a chance to COOK STUFF!!! Not that I haven’t been cooking, I’ve just been making food that’s much more palatable to my family. I’ve been cooking a lot of non-paleo, non-vegan and non-keto foods since we’re all around more. I can definitely tell a difference with my body, and it does not like it. My jeans don’t, either. Oh also, I forgot how much I like beer? Yeah, this weekend wasn’t good for that.

In other news, we’ve got an interesting Full Moon. This one falls under Sagittarius, which is the best opportunity to give us a fresh perspective.

Is there anything you’ve been struggling to wrap your head around? Have you been wrestling with thoughts that you just can’t seem to get behind? This is an amazing time to really gain a different lens and to garner better insight to everything going on in your life. Sagittarius energy is really about building on what you already know and already have, and broadening  your horizons. What have you done so far that’s really propelled you towards where you want to go? How are you going to use this to get where you’re going next?

This sounds vague, but it really isn’t. It applies most closely to whatever you’re experiencing in life. If there’s something you’ve been waiting to do, wait no more. If you’re waiting to take a risk, move somewhere, take a job, make a big decision, splurge on a vacation, this is the perfect time to start the momentum on that and get it moving. Reevaluate your goals to make sure they still fit you, and to check your state of mind to ensure you’re an open book for growth.

Onto the foodies…. these wings have made an appearance in quite literally everyone’s house this weekend. I made them. All. Weekend. I love them! The key is keeping a bit of the marinade separate and brushing it on right before serving so they keep that really tasty briny and gingery flavor. Try these out on the grill… I whole heartedly believe that good wings always belong on the grill. Plus, while chicken wings certainly aren’t the bare essentials of paleo eating, who doesn’t love a good wing? YUM.

Zesty Ginger Sesame Chicken Wings (Paleo!)

prep time: 20 active min, plus marinating time

cook time: 20 min

Serves anywhere from 1-5 people, depending on your appetite

Ingredients

  • 2 packages organic or all natural wings (separated into wings and drumettes,
  • 1 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 stalks of scallions, green and white parts, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp tahini paste (or miso, if not strict paleo)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (black and white preferred for aesthetics, but any color will do)

Directions

  1. Whisk together your tahini and coconut aminos in a large bowl first to emulsify.
  2. Once the sauce is thoroughly mixed, add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. It should taste VERY briny — chicken absorbs a lot of the salty flavor, so it should have enough zest to really taste salty. Set aside a 1/2 cup of the mixture in a small bowl.
  3. Place your chicken wings in a bag, pour your sauce over them and marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, up to 24 hours. Refrigerate your separate sauce as well.
  4. Once ready to cook, preheat your grill to 400 degrees. We want high heat to make sure the skin is crisp.
  5. Place the wings on the grill, about 1 inch apart. Turn as needed, once the wings darken and appear blackened. They aren’t necessarily burnt — the caramelization from the coconut aminos will just make them appear darker.
  6. Continue to turn until thoroughly browned on all sides, about 15-20 minutes in total.
  7. Remove from heat, and brush with remaining sauce. Garnish with a pinch of scallions.

Enjoy!

-S

Instant Pot Meal! Curried Chicken Salad (Paleo)

Well, well, well – LONG TIME NO CHAT! A lot has been going on this last month – I’ve been MIA and I feel terrible that I haven’t posted anything for you all to make. I moved at the end of April in preparation to build my house, I had a wedding I traveled for, and just general work busyness. I finally had some time to share my recent food adventures, let alone COOK something. I’ve taken a real liking to my Instant Pot, recently. I don’t know about you guys, but crockpot chicken is the best. I’m talking fall-apart-on-your-fork, melt-in-your-mouth chicken made from 8 hours of slow simmering in some juice.

Well… imagine my dismay when I actually used my Instant Pot for something easy, like chicken simmering in chicken broth? Life-changing…. Yes. Sometimes overlooking the simplest things is where we go wrong.

So I decided to throw a bunch of chicken breast in there, set it to cook for 35 minutes, and I was not disappointed. I let it cool and it took MOMENTS to shred with my fork for this recipe, and that is so satisfying. Literally. It is the best thing. I hate shredding chicken because it’s always clumpy. No more clumpy chicken, now! It’s the little things in life.

You could really take this in any direction… a local health food store has something similar, which inspired me to add my own twist to it. I’ll keep this short so y’all can get to eating… yum.

Curried Chicken Salad (Paleo!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 35 min

Serves 6-8 as an app, or 4-5 with sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts, trimmed (no one likes that rubbery part. Take that off, yikes)
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • Handful of roasted cashews, to taste
  • 4 large scallion stalks, sliced thin (green and white parts included)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp red curry powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ to 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp Coconaise (or other paleo mayo brand), plus more if needed
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, sliced thin (OPTIONAL – I hate celery and would never include it.. but I realize that I’m the weirdo for that)

Directions

  1. Place your chicken breast in your Instant Pot and add your broth until chicken breasts are just about covered. Secure your lid set to high (or Meat setting) for 35 minutes, lock your vent, and start.
  2. While your chicken is cooking, mix together your cumin, turmeric, garlic, coriander, chili powder, parsley, salt and pepper. One thing to remember is that the chicken tends to absorb a lot of the sodium in things like this – I usually err on the heavier side of salting my sauce so that once the flavors meld, it’s the right taste. Add your scallions, reserving a pinch for garnish later.
  3. Once your chicken is done and you’ve released the steam from your Instant Pot, carefully remove with a slotted spoon so as to not bring much juice over with it and place in a large bowl. Discard broth (or save for your puppy like I did 😊) Shred with a fork to desired consistency.
  4. Once cooled, add your mayo mixture to your chicken. If you feel the chicken is too dry, feel free to add a teaspoon more mayo, followed by an additional sprinkle of curry.
  5. Gently fold in your cashews and raisins and mix thoroughly (as well as your celery, if using). Garnish with pinch of scallions and serve.

Enjoy!

-S<<
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