Spicy Turkey Sausage Bolognese with Zoodles (Paleo!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spicy Turkey Sausage Bolognese with Zoodles (Paleo!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Enjoy!

-S

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Muffins (PALEO!)

It’s Friday. Fri-yay.

I’ll excuse myself, now. JUST KIDDING!

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

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

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

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

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

Directions:

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

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

Enjoy!

-S

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 40 min

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Enjoy!

-S

Zesty Mac and Cheese (Vegan AND PALEO!)

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

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

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

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

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

Yum!

 

Zesty Mac and Cheese (Vegan with PALEO option!)

 

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 45 min

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

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

optional – breadcrumbs:

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

 

Directions

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

-S

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

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

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

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

 

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

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 30-40 min

 

Ingredients

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

for the crema:

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

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

 

Directions

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

 

Enjoy!

-S

Smoked Salmon Breakfast Quesadillas with Spicy Mayo (PALEO!)

This week flew by. It was not without struggle though – tackling some difficult work tasks did a number on my patience… but it’s Friday! Which means… a weekend filled with wine-tasting and sunshine/pool time. Work hard, play/relax hard.

It only took 4 months of depressing quarantine where I drank a bazillion bottles of wine and ate cheese every day, but I have finally been hitting the gym and lifting again, 5 days a week. Some days I wake up and feel unmotivated and lazy, but I remember that if I want to work out when no one’s there, 6 am it is. At this point in 2020, none of my friends go to the gym right when it opens anymore, and I’m fine with that. No offense to anyone else, but I don’t want to breathe your air right now. Stay blessed….  From 6+ feet away.

I’ve also been cooking a lot more! Who would have thought that a total shutdown of my life would’ve afforded me all the time in the world, but also halted all of my passions and will to live my daily life as I know it? Total transparency – I am fine now. 3-4 months ago, not so good. Now that I’m busier, it’s like I have also regained the motivation to cook. I even went without buying White Claw this week. Baby steps.

Part of my motivation is also to cook some breakfast, as healthy as I can. Why not indulge in the AM, if you have the time? I recently stopped at Whole Foods and picked up a few treats I don’t normally buy. (PS – If you wanna know how my 2020 is going, let’s consider that I think about what my dog will eat with me when I cook. My dog has moved up to ‘roommate’ status, from ‘pet’ status. #LivingAloneDuringQuarantine). Smoked salmon made the grocery list cut – I love this stuff. However, I’m not so sure I vibe with how normal chain grocery stores supply their smoked salmon. I don’t know their farming protocols, I don’t know what chemicals or fake flavoring they’re adding to treat the salmon, or if it’s even really properly smoked. I know it’s a lot to really considered where you source food like this, but in a world where we have little control over a lot of things, making sure your food is responsibly cultivated and healthy can combat some of the stressful things we think about otherwise. Whole Foods won the highest rank on Greenpeace’s 2018 Supermarket Sustainability scorecard (source), and specifically for salmon, the buyers actually live in Alaska or PNW during the summer to choose their salmon for the store (source). That’s a lot better than I can say for a lot of other places.

Having said that, let’s share some food!

Smoked Salmon Breakfast Quesadillas with Spicy Mayo (PALEO!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 10 min

Makes 1 quesadilla

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chopped smoked Salmon (Whole Foods’ brand that I like!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 stalks of scallions, chopped, plus more for garnish if desired
  • 1 tbsp diced red pepper
  • 2 Siete Almond Flour wraps
  • 1 tbsp spicy mayo (recipe here!)
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • sprinkle of paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste

If you aren’t strict paleo or just like breakfast and smoked salmon, feel free to add cheese!

Directions

  1. In a large frying pan, add a tsp of your preferred cooking fat. Add your diced red pepper, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until softened.
  2. Next, to the same pan, add your whisked eggs and scallions. Scramble your eggs until cooked but not totally dry – adding a small pinch of salt or pepper. Remove from pan and add to a small mixing bowl. Add your chopped smoked salmon.
  3. Mix the tbsp of spicy mayo into your mixture – this will work to bind the ingredients together and to the tortilla, which is normally what cheese would do.
  4. At this point – your pan should still be on the stove. Carefully, so as to not burn yourself, wipe the pan out to clear any egg stickies, or caramelized stuff. Add another tsp of your preferred cooking fat.
  5. Here’s where this can go one of two ways – if you trust that you won’t burn yourself, reassemble your quesadilla right in the frying pan by evenly spreading your egg and smoked salmon mixture onto one tortilla while it’s in the pan. You can definitely assemble it outside of the pan and then add it, as long as you’re super talented and won’t drop stuff out of the sides. I am self-aware and know I can’t do that, so I just carefully do it right in the pan.
  6. (For y’all cheese people – this is where you add your cheese as a layer over or under your egg/salmon).
  7. Over medium low heat, gently brown your quesadilla. If needed, add another tsp of cooking fat once it’s time to flip the quesadilla. Brown slightly on both sides, then serve!
  8. Garnish with scallions and serve with additional spicy mayo, if desired.

Enjoy!

-S

 

Sweet Potato Medallions topped with Pesto Chicken (PALEO!)

Holy moly! This weather. Maybe it’s because my “desk” at home looks right out the window, so I’m super aware of every rain drop that falls outside. The most excitement I’m having these days.

Question for you all – how adventurous are you with ingredients? Will you make a substitution for something you really wanted to make, but don’t have all the ingredients? I wanted to make pesto, but didn’t have everything I needed…. I made some substitutes, and it turned out GREAT. Swapped out pine nuts because I didn’t have them, used walnuts. Wanted parmesan, didn’t have it, used nutritional yeast. Like, I may have eaten a spoonful of it by itself because it was so good, and because I am disgusting. Between that, and the sweet potatoes on my counter that were about to turn, everything was about to be disgusting. Until I had an idea.

I got out my Instant Pot, made some chicken, shredded it, and threw it together on some sweet potatoes. I couldn’t finish them all, so I threw the plate in the fridge with some foil and ate them for breakfast at 645am. Keeping the disgust going, that’s right.

Though the way I made them is more appetizer-style, these are just tasty when made as a regular baked sweet potato stuffed with this mixture. Highly recommend.

 

Sweet Potato Medallions topped with Pesto Chicken (PALEO!)

 

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 40 min (total)

 

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, skin on, sliced into rounds
  • 2 large chicken breasts

 

For the pesto:

  • 1 large bunch of basil, stems removed (approx. 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (if not strict paleo, you can sub for two heaping tbsp of shredded parmesan or pecorino cheese)
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • sea salt, to taste

 

Directions

  1. Cook chicken breast by preferred method – I used my Instant Pot on the “Meat” setting for 14 minutes, but you can also bake in a pyrex dish at 375 degrees F for 30-35 min with a cup of water, salt and pepper. Once cooked, place in a bowl and shred with forks until no large chunks remain.
  2. In the meantime while the chicken is cooking, prepare the pesto. In a food processor, add your basil, garlic, walnuts, lemon zest/juice, salt, and red pepper flakes. Pulse until no large chunks remain, about 30-40 seconds total. Once emulsified, while the food processor is running, drizzle your olive oil in until fully mixed. Do a quick taste test, add more salt if needed.
  3. If you didn’t use it already to cook the chicken, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. On a greased or parchment lined baking sheet, brush your sweet potato medallions with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from heat once finished, leaving oven on.
  4. Once the pesto is finished, mix 1/3 to 1/2 cup of pesto into your cooked/shredded chicken and mix thoroughly. Chicken should be thoroughly coated – add a teaspoon at a time if it appears dry. Spoon the chicken mixture neatly onto your sweet potato medallions, and place back into the oven for another 5-7 minutes, reheating thoroughly.
  5. Optional: garnish with a small dollop of pesto. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

-S

Shrimp Pad Thai (Gluten Free with Paleo and Vegan substitutes!)

Happy….Tuesday? These days blend together. I hope everyone reading this is healthy and safe at home!

I did wake up at “normal” time today, won’t be doing that again until stuff is open once again. It’s only fun to do when I have things to tend to, like getting dressed and going to the gym. Right now, I just leave here to either take my dog out for as long of walks as we can, or even less frequently, go to the store. I have been doing yoga once or twice a day, and I even skipped the wine and White Claw last night. I’m trying. It’s hard.

I put it off in favor of getting take out, eating an outdoorsy Easter dinner in my mom’s flowerbed with my own plates, fork and serving utensils (social distancing, y’all), as well as trying to stretch out my leftovers… but I FINALLY made my Pad Thai. It was worth the wait.

I’ve made this a few times and because I rarely go by a recipe, sometimes it turns out better than others. It’s never been bad, but last night’s edition was the best I’ve done. Fortunately, I wrote down most of it. Key word – “most”.

A lot of my best recipes are based off of improvisation. Outside of basic ingredients, when it comes to seasoning, my recipes tend to err on the  cautious side. I have a really high tolerance for spicy, and I LOVE love love salt, so when I piece these recipes together, it’s done for the masses who may not be able to tolerate the 7 teaspoons of red curry paste that I’m really using… so I only write in to use the 4 tsp that I started with, “plus more, if preferred”. It’s a good lesson for me to start writing down my recipes more accurately… but I’m always open to feedback!

Okay, on to the noodles. This recipe uses rice noodles from my local grocery store, but if you wanted a bonafide paleo recipe you could use shirataki noodles, zoodles (zucchini spiralized “noodles”), or the new Jovial Cassava pasta once it’s available.

 

Shrimp Pad Thai (Gluten Free with Paleo and Vegan substitutes!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 20 min

Serves 3-4

 

Ingredients

  • 1 package of rice noodles –  if preferred: shirataki noodles, any whole wheat or gluten-free spaghetti noodle or Jovial brand’s Cassava spaghetti noodles will do
  • 2 large carrots, julienned or shaved
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved then sliced into ¼ inch thick semi circles
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen sliced green beans, or snow peas
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced or pressed garlic
  • 1/3 to ½ lb of raw shrimp, peeled and tails removed (if vegan – sub tofu in, or your preferred veggies)
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp plus one tsp fresh grated or chopped ginger
  • juice of ½ a lime

For the sauce:

  • 1 heaping tbsp peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (omit if making vegan)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (can sub tamari or regular soy sauce), plus more if desired
  • 1/4 cup mild olive oil, or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or more if preferred
  • juice from the other half of your lime

 

  • Peanuts and additional sliced lime, for garnish

 

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together your nut butter, fish sauce, vinegar, coconut aminos, oil, crushed red pepper, lime juice and the tsp of fresh ginger. Do a taste test – if it’s too sweet (sometimes coconut aminos can be), add more lime, or rice vinegar. Set aside.
  2. Cook your noodles according to instructions. I typically start boiling the water at the same time I do my next step, as the water takes a bit to heat and the noodles vary in cook time. Cook until soft, drain, and set aside, watching to ensure they don’t dry out and get sticky.
  3. Meanwhile, as the noodles boil, in a frying pan with a tsp of your preferred cooking oil, add your onion, carrot and green beans over medium heat. Sauté for 5-6 min, stirring frequently, until starting to brown. Add your ginger, garlic and shrimp (or tofu) and continue to sauté for another 3-4 minutes, stirring, making sure shrimp does not overcook. Once shrimp has turned pink (or your tofu/veggies have browned), Add your noodles into your frying pan. With tongs, gently fold, mixing together.
  4. Next, pour your sauce over the noodles, gently mixing to coat. If your noodles are absorbing the sauce too quickly – no worries! Drizzle a tsp of additional oil in at a time until they’re smooth again. You can also add additional coconut aminos/soy for a punch of flavor.
  5. Gently mix in your chopped cilantro.
  6. Serve in a bowl with peanuts and lime for garnish.

 

Enjoy!

-S

 

 

WHIPPED Coffee, aka “Dalgona” Coffee! (Paleo, Vegan)

Hey y’all!

As it turns out, all I needed was a little globally-enforced R&R to feel rejuvenated and start churning out the recipes again.

I have been seeing a lot of videos and Facebook posts on this whole new “whipped coffee” trend. So… what am I to do with 16 hours of waking time in my house and nothing to do? I’m going to make the darned coffee.

I found out that it’s an Indian/Pakistani tradition and was popular long before these quaran-times…. I don’t know how we never found out about this until now.

No story time here, just going to give it to you straight. This recipe is PALEO! I’m doing my best to still eat healthy, but when there’s little else to do… I’ll eat whatever I’ve got. You can certainly sub this recipe out with regular granulated sugar, but it will definitely be sweeter. I drink my coffee black anyway, so I wanted minimal sweetness. The whole thing was different, I’d definitely try again!

A disclaimer…. This would be SUPER hard without a hand mixer of some sort. I had to whip it for about 5 minutes, and I’m not sure if it was because I didn’t use real sugar, but if you’re doing this by hand, be prepared for a workout!

Oh, and I also don’t recommend putting it in a champagne flute… but I didn’t want to waste any more almond milk than needed, gotta limit my trips to the store!

 

WHIPPED Coffee, aka “Dalgona” Coffee! (Paleo, Vegan)

 

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: n/a

Serves 2

 

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp instant coffee
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar (granulated regular sugar or really any other type will do just fine)
  • 2 tbsp very warm water
  • 8-10 oz piping hot almond milk (or other dairy/non dairy milk), or chilled with ice cubes if preferred

 

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix together the coffee, sugar and water. Whip until you have semi-stiff peaks, somewhat close to egg whites. Set aside.
  2. Over stovetop or microwave, heat your milk to preferred temperature and pour desired amount into your coffee cup or mug. If using chilled milk, pour over ice cubes into your cup.
  3. Spoon your whipped mix overtop, and enjoy!

-S

 

 

Authentic Maryland-style Crab Cake, but Paleo!

Alright y’all, I’ve been newly inspired.

This past weekend, I felt compelled to go buy a pound of jumbo lump crab meat. Why, you ask? Because apparently my greatest indulgences happen at the grocery store. I live a wildly dangerous life.

Anyway, I had been menu-surfing restaurants out of town for an upcoming work trip (does everyone do this?) and I came across a very seafood-centric restaurant that had what looked like the most beautifully made crab cake, ever. I love seafood, but I am particularly…. particular… when it comes to crab cakes. I grew up in the Mid Atlantic – we’re blessed to be a short drive from the beach, whether it be New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland or the Chesapeake Bay.  Having said that, I’ve grown up to be a bit more  discerning with my seafood sources than someone that doesn’t live near water. (Shameless unpaid plug – if you want the best crab cake on the east coast, Woody’s in North East, MD has it, hands down. Not even up for debate).

So this whole “being-around-Maryland” thing. I have a deep appreciation for the price of crab meat, after actually knowing what it takes to pick enough jumbo lump meat to fill a container. I was probably 17, visiting OCMD for the White Marlin Open that year. At the marina, this petite elderly woman sat in a chair at the end of the dock – we had time to kill, so we stood near her as she picked at the crab with the thimbles on her thumbs and tossed the shells aside. She asked us if we had any good crab recipes, and if we didn’t, did we want one? Without hesitation, she summoned me to find a paper to write her recipe down – I grabbed a Walmart receipt out of my pocket and scribbled it down. I’ll tell you – that recipe is THE ONLY crab cake recipe I’ll ever want to know. It’s indulgent but not heavy, and it will please even the snobbiest of crab-cake connoisseurs.

For a friend with gluten-free needs, I adjusted the recipe and I have to say – it turned out fab. A few more paleo-friendly tweaks and it still turned out really well. I thought I’d share. You can cook them a few different ways – I normally bake mine (so they stay nice and tall and round), but they’re pictured pan-fried. You can make smaller portions for an hors d‘oeuvres, or larger for a dinner. Enjoy!

 

Authentic Maryland-style Crab Cake, but Paleo!

 

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 15 min

Makes 6-8 crab cakes, or 15-18 small bites

 

Ingredients

  • 16 oz jumbo lump crab meat
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup paleo-friendly mayonnaise, such as Primal Kitchen
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp old bay seasoning
  • Pinch of Fines Herbs seasoning, or dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp Grey Poupon (I only use this brand!)
  • 1 tsp paleo Steak or Worcestershire Sauce (I love Primal Kitchen’s Steak Sauce for this)
  • ~1tbsp ghee (or salted butter, if not strict Paleo)
  • Pinch of salt (optional, if making with ghee)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or if using foil, grease your pan with spray or butter.
  2. In a small bowl, pick through the crabmeat to ensure there are no shells.
  3. In a separate, medium sized bowl, whisk your egg. Add your mayonnaise, continuing to combine.
  4. Next, add your breadcrumbs, old bay, herbs and garlic powder, and stir thoroughly. Add your Dijon and Worcestershire, and stir until combined. Lastly, add your crabmeat and gently stir in, careful not to break apart the lump meat.
  5. Form into 6-8 crab cakes, and space evenly (2-3 in) apart on the baking sheet. If using ghee, melt and add pinch of salt, drizzling a bit over each crab cake. If using butter, add a very thin pat of salted butter to the top to make a nice golden crust.
  6. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until they start to turn golden brown.

 

Enjoy!

-S