Pierogies with Roasted Onions (Paleo!)

Happy Monday! I am delighted to have a few recipes to share with you all in the next coming days. I’ve been cooking quite a bit, have a lot of healthy recipes on deck, and have been inspired to make even more stuff.

Let’s start with this week. One exciting thing happening os the Full Moon on Friday, and how the moon will be in LIBRA. I, as a Libra, adore this. Why, you ask? I didn’t think i actually knew — I just knew that my little lunar astrological planner (visit www.magicofi.com if you want one!), I saw that Friday was a special Full Moon and I immediately got excited.

 

Well, here’s why that was. So, what officially is this particular moon? We are in Pisces, and this is a Full Moon positioned at 29 degrees, putting it in Libra. I know i’ve been itching for change. This has also really brought to light any emotional or supportive imbalances in relationships, so this particular moon calls for more patience and compassion when dealing with folks flying off their handle. The concept of the Libra sign is balance – what would that look like in your life at the moment, more balance? How do you view your interactions with others — do you find you’ve been giving a lot of energy up at your own expense to help others? Or is the opposite true — have you been stressed, calling for more than you may intend to from your  friends and loved ones? This particular Full Moon is a good oppportunity to evaluate it all, allow yourself to see where things are falling short, and to take action to bring more balance into your life. The spotlight is now on relationships that may need more attention to help them grow, or perhaps they no longer serve you and you need to cut the cord.

 

Gosh, this talk about balancing my life makes me hungry. Let’s talk food. specifically, let’s talk pierogies.

 

Do you know how much i like pierogies? I can remember my uncle (dad’s brother) and aunt making her old family recipes, hundreds of pierogies at a time. They were so delicious… indulgent, too. Tradtionally, you boil them. Once college came around and I had to get my fix without slaving away in the kitchen, Mrs. T’s in a frying pan became the go-to.

 

In my pursuit to make this gluten free and still indulgent, I came up with THIS. I was inspired by a jamaican beef patty recipe a friend made for her Celiac son, and I figured it could cross over into pierogie-land. While nothing truly beats the fresh taste of flour with potatoes and cheesy goodness, this is a great take on one of my childhood favorites. Bon Appetit 🙂

 

Pierogies with Roasted Onions (Paleo!)

Prep time: 40 min

Cook time: 20 min

Makes about 30 3-inch pierogies

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 cups cassava flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2/3 cup water, plus more if needed (dough can dry out)
  • sea salt, to taste (i used about 1/2 tsp)

For the filling:

  • 1 lb organic potatoes, peeled
  • ~ 1/2 cup cashew milk, or more if needed
  • 1 tsp of ghee, or grassfed butter
  • generous salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
    •  1 egg, whisked

    Directions

    1. In a saucepan, add potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 30-35 minutes. Drain, mash, and add your remaining filling ingredients, adding additional seasonings if desired. set aside.
    1. For the dough, crack TWO of your eggs into a medium sizzed mixing bowl. Add your water, and sea salt. Whisk to thoroughly combine.
    1. Slowly add your flour until it is fully mixed, stirring along the way. If dough is not pliable, add a tsp of water at a time until it is thick and sticky, but flexible. Use your hands to mold the dough into a ball. cut the dough in half, rolling together. Cut each piece in half again, so that you have four separate dough balls. Place the remaining dough in the bowl and cover with a warm/wet towel to prevent the dough from drying until used.
    1. On a dry flat surface, add a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle some cassava flour over it, spreading it evenly. Place your first dough ball and roll out until dough is approximately 1/8 inch thick.
    1. Using a biscuit cutter or rim of a drinking glass (at least 3in. in diameter), cut dough into circles and set aside on another piece of parchment paper. Continue with remaining dough balls until remaining dough is used.
    1. In a small bowl, whisk your remaining egg. If the egg is not runny, add a tsp of water to ensure the right consistency.
    1. Place a small amount of mashed potato filling in the center of each dough round. Be sure to leave about a quarter inch around the edge of the round to seal. Brush the edge of each seal with some egg mixture, and then gently folder the dough circle in half, pinching the edges together to form a semi circle. You may use a fork to gently press them together, if you’d like. Once assembled, transfer to a plate and cover with plastic wrap to prevent them from further drying out.
    1. Once all made, bring a large stock pot filled with water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Place the pierogi in the boiling water — only a handful at a time so they are not crowded. When they float to the top, continue boiling for another 10-12 minutes. Test one to see if the dough is cooked — it should resemble firmly cooked pasta. Once cooked, remove from heat with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain and dry.
    1. There are some that will sprinkle a pinch of salt over them at this point and eat them just like this. I like to saute mine next 🙂
    1. If you’re good at multitasking, you can cook your onions separately, while your pierogies are boiling. Add a tbsp of ghee or grassfed butter to a large frying pan over medium low heat. Add your sliced onion and saute, slowly, over low heat, stirring to prevent burning. add a pinch of salt and cook until starting to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
      To the same pan, add another tbsp of ghee or grassfed butter, over medium heat. Add your pierogies in a singer layer, cooking in batches of necessary. Brown on both sides until crisp, about 5-6 minutes each side. Add your onions to the pan to bring back to temperature and meld the flavors.
  • Serve immediately – enjoy!
  • -S

    Beef and Broccoli (Paleo, Keto-Friendly!)

    Spring has sprung (for now)! Tomorrow it’s supposed to be cold and rainy, so I’m enjoying all of this while I still can.

    I’ve been doing a lot more cardio, and contrary to what I’ve wanted to be true for FAR too long, the pounds are coming off. I don’t know from where, because I don’t feel that I look any skinnier, but the scale says otherwise. I think I’m losing weight from my big ol’ head. If you knew me in person, you’d likely ask why I’d even want to lose weight. I’m 5’8”, a size 4 (sz 2 in some things) and am what most would consider quite fit or thin. I’m making a personal decision to trim down so that I can see the hard work I put into weightlifting, and to feel more comfortable in my skin when I’m at the beach. So far it’s going well, but to be conscious of every little thing I eat is pretty hard. I obviously LOVE food, love to eat, love to cook, the whole nine. That said, I’m sticking to it because I want my hard work to pay off. I’ll let you know how it goes in about…. 1.5 months.

    I’ve been missing for a while, and let me tell YOU! I’ve also set aside some time to cook for y’all. I do not think you’ll be disappointed. I feel like I often come back with a wacky dessert, but this has been a lot of experimenting with savory recipes. They have turned out pretty good. Another thing that recently happened is a good friend’s store opened up locally – it’s called Take Care Apothecary. Follow her on Instagram or Facebook! She’s an Ayurvedic wellness practitioner and her shop carries organic body care lines, Ayurvedic supplements, incense, books, and my personal favorite… tarot and oracle cards. I picked up a new deck and have been playing with it – it’s interesting that no matter how many times I use it, the same “message” comes through. I also got an amazing lunar astrology day planner that I LOVE. Which reminds me…. Tomorrow is a new moon!

    New moons are regarded as a time to press the “reset” button. You get another chance to course-correct the things you’ve been working towards that may have gone astray. I especially like to consider this a time look over things like my eating habits, my workout habits, my sleeping habits, friends I need to pick back up with… I can look at any part of my life and start to work towards improving that. This particular moon is now in Aries. What’s this mean? The official astrological calendar begins with Aries, so it may feel like the first part of 2019 went by in a flash, and you’re now just catching your breath. Aries is ruled by Mars, the planet of physical expression and ability, assertiveness, high impact, energy… so this feels like the fire is now lit under your tush, yes? So, what are you to do with all of this potential?

    During a time like this, I like to make a mantra or intention for the next few weeks until the full moon… something I’ll write down and repeat so it can govern my actions in a positive way. I’m a Libra, so perhaps I’ll focus on the balance of things within my job, relationships and other aspects of my life, and use that to move myself forward. Your new moon is what you make of it!

    In the meantime, you’ll need a snack with all of this planning. Get your protein in with some paleo-friendly beef and broccoli 🙂

     

     

    Beef and Broccoli (Paleo, Keto-Friendly!)

     

    Prep time: 20 min

    Cook time: 15 min

     

    Ingredients

    For the beef:

    • ~1 lb beef (skirt steak or sirloin is fine!)
    • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed, divided in half
    • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
    • ghee, coconut oil, or your preferred cooking fat
    • 1/4 cup of coconut aminos
    • 1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
    • 1 tsp of tapioca starch
    • 1 large head of broccoli, broken/cut into fairly small florets (cut up the super large ones!)
  • For the finishing sauce:
    • 1/8 cup coconut aminos
    • dash of fish sauce, about 1 tsp
    • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
    • pinch of crushed red pepper (do you love these measurements? I do)
    • Sesame seeds, for garnish

     

    Directions

    1. Slice your beef into thin strips, about 1/4 inch (definitely no more than 1/2 inch thick).  Mix together your 1/4 cup of coconut aminos, your 1.5 tbsp of sesame oil, tapioca starch and half of your garlic in a mixing bowl large enough to fit your beef. Add your beef, cover, and allow to marinade as you continue to prep, or up to 2 hours.
    1. Separately, add about 4 cups (or however much water you need to immerse your broccoli) of water to a pot — bring to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water, separately (this is relevant, I promise). Blanch your broccoli – allow to boil for 1.5-2 minutes until tender, yet still a bit crisp… it should still be bright green. with a slotted spoon, remove from the boiling water and add to your ice bath, to stop from further cooking at getting mushy. Once cooled, set aside on a plate.
    1. Now for the fun stuff. If you have a wok, go get it! Otherwise, a large frying pan will do. Heat your pan/wok with your preferred cooking fat over medium heat. Once brought to temperature, Add your remaining garlic and ginger. Stir until starting to cook, about 20-30 seconds.
    1. Now, turn the heat up a little, to medium-high. Add your marinated beef, spreading out in a single layer. Sauté until browned and starting to crisp, flipping pieces as necessary.
    1. Once the beef is cooked, add the ingredients for your sauce, allowing the beef to sauté in the sauce for about 1 to 1 1/2 min. Now add your broccoli, stirring and tossing to combine and coat in the sauce. Remove from heat.
    1. Serve immediately; garnish with sesame seeds.

     

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Chicken Bacon Broccoli Ranch Casserole (Paleo!)

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

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

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

     

    Chicken Bacon Broccoli Ranch Casserole (Paleo!)

    prep time: ~ 2 hours for all cooking involved

    cook time: 35 min

    Ingredients

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

     

    Directions

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

    Serve, and enjoy!

     

    -S

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

    Happy Monday!

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

    Yes, you read that right.

    No, it isn’t gross. 

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

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

     

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

    prep time: 30 min

    Cook time: 45-50 min total

    Ingredients

    For the cauliflower:

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

    For the BBQ sauce:

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

    Directions

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

     

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Spicy Chipotle Turkey Meatballs in Gravy (Paleo!)

    Well hey, y’all. Interestingly enough, a wild snowstorm appeared in the bushes and all of us are here waiting for it.  Some sources say 3-5 inches, some say 4-6, I say…. I’m wearing leggings, found a giant blanket, and I have my work laptop out with a cup of tea, a dog and two cats staring at me. Woo! Unexpected snowstorms. An interesting turn of events after a few days off from work followed by a day of intense work crises.

    I said yesterday that I often post and talk about the moon. While I’ve not had anyone openly object to my doing so, I figured I’d at least share why I believe it to be so important. Have you ever heard the word “lunatic”? While it’s an antiquated way to refer to someone who is behaving erratically or is mentally ill, the word has roots in a deeper meaning. Philosophers like Aristotle believed that those with bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses were triggered by the moon. Though in modern days, there’s evidence on both sides that the moon impacts human behavior, I’m here for the fun stuff. The “I Can’t Explain It But I Know Something’s Different” stuff. The far-out, woo-woo stuff.

    Though it’s really anecdotal evidence, I find that days where the full moon is expected are not the same. Perhaps it’s that it really is just brighter outside, and you notice all the little leaves blowing about. Perhaps it’s just that it’s something bigger in the sky to look at, and triggers a series of thoughts about what’s really out there, thoughts of existentialism, or how there’s so much more going on than we can see. I’m a believer in the moon’s influence, but I realize its not for everyone.

    That having been said, this moon comes at an interesting time. The “Snow Supermoon”, as they’re calling it, came just on the brink of a major snowstorm. It comes at a particular time of year where people are coming out of their fog, eager for what’s next. Bonus season just ended for a lot of employers, which is a precursor to a lot of job changes, new adventures, and the like. But on a more personal level, Spring is just around the corner. Daylight savings is, too. There’s a lot of change on the horizon politically and economically. So, how does this particular moon really have anything to do with that?

    This  particular moon, falling within 0 degrees of Virgo, is said to strengthen our intuition and emotional side, but also creates the space for us to really take ownership of how to make real what our intentions are. This is really the time for one to lay groundwork and get organized – to set up the logistics to get what it is they really desire. This full moon falls during a great shift in awareness, so it can feel really intense to suddenly realize, “Wow, I have REALLY got to get moving.” Just don’t forget to set aside time to have fun, to relax, and above all, to de-stress your mind.

    What better way to de-stress than to enjoy some good ol’ comfort food? Little meatballs! Maybe I should call them moon-balls. I don’t think people would eat them if I did. I guess we’ll stick with meatballs.

    Enjoy these paleo-friendly Spicy Chipotle Turkey Meatballs – recipe below!

     

    Spicy Chipotle Turkey Meatballs in Gravy (Paleo!)

     

    Prep time: 25 min

    Cook time: 40 min

     

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb ground turkey
    • 1 4oz can of adobo sauce
    • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped; stems and seeds removed
    • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
    • 1 egg, whisked
    • 1/2 cup almond flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1 can of full fat coconut milk
    • 1 tsp coconut flour or tapioca flour (for thickening), plus more if needed

     

    Directions

    1. In a large skillet, add splash if your preferred cooking fat as well as your chopped onion. Sauté over medium heat until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
    2. In the same skillet, also over medium heat, add your garlic and bell pepper. Sauté until the peppers have cooked out much of their water and onions start to brown – another 5-6 minutes. Season with a small pinch of salt.
    3. Remove from heat, leaving half of your onion/pepper mixture in your pan and set aside – you will move the remaining half into a large mixing bowl.
    4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
    5. Within your mixing bowl, add your ground turkey, egg, almond flour, 2 tbsp of adobo sauce, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. If mixture is too wet, add more almond flour, 1 tbsp at a time. Turkey tends to be less stiff when raw than ground beef or other ground meat, so you don’t want to add too much more flour – they will be dry once cooked.
    6. Once thoroughly mixed, use your hands (or a melon baller/cookie scooper for consistency) to roll mixture into 1-1 1/2 inch balls. Arrange on a greased, foiled or parchment lined baking sheet, evenly spacing 2-3 inches apart. Bake until they start to brown, about 20-25 minutes. It may be more or less time, depending on the size of the meatballs.
    7. Meanwhile, as your meatballs are cooking, place your skillet with onion and peppers back over medium heat. Once brought to temperature, add your coconut milk and another 2 tbsp of adobo sauce, allowing pepper and onion to simmer. Add salt and pepper, to taste. If more adobo is needed, continue to add, 1 tbsp at a time, to ensure appropriate spiciness. Once simmering, if still quite thin, add your tsp of coconut or tapioca flour and stir until well combined. To avoid burning, turn the heat to low and allow to simmer.
    8. Once meatballs are finished cooking, gently remove from  your baking sheet and add to your skillet, stirring to coat meatballs in your gravy. I like to cover it and let it simmer so the meatballs stay tender/juicy for about 3-4 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 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 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

    Mexican Fajita Chicken Salad (Paleo!)

    Greetings! How’s everyone doing today?

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

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

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

    Now, let’s talk some food.

     

    Mexican Fajita Chicken Salad (Paleo!)

    Prep time: 25 min

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

     

    Ingredients

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

     

    Directions

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