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

Wowzer!

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

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

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

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

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

We take one. We deliberately choose to do so.

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

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

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

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

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

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 15 min

Ingredients

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

For the sauce

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

Directions

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

Enjoy!

-S

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

Cheddar Bay Biscuits (Gluten-Free!)

Hello, internet! It’s already April, and wouldn’t you know it, we got snow yesterday morning. Some surprise.

I’ve been a lot busier than I’d like to be these days. The good news is that now that it stays lighter for longer, I don’t feel the need to close up shop shortly after getting home from work. I can cook when I get home, I don’t need to rush, and I can photograph my food without needing to work from home… I mean, what? I don’t do that.

My friend came over this weekend and we made Indian food — Chicken Curry, it was delicious. I even had some leftover naan bread, spiced some chick peas, the works. The best part was that after, she asked me to do Reiki on her. I didn’t have a lot of time to give it enough thought to say no, but I realized how apprehensive I was do actually practice Reiki. Will people think I’m weird? Will they believe what I’m actually doing? If I do sessions on people, will they actually think that what I’m doing is legitimate?

I did a quick half hour session on her, and oddly enough, once I did it, I stopped worrying about the legitimacy of the practice and fell right into it like a seasoned habit. I was able to pick up on physical energy blockages that manifested from what was going on in her life and I was able to clear them to set her on the right path. It was nice hearing from her yesterday that she said she felt a lot better and truly believes that it makes a world of difference after she receives Reiki. Perhaps as I study it more, I’ll practice on more people 🙂

No other updates from me, but I wanted to leave you a little treat. I LOVE biscuits. Like, I can’t even convey in words how excited I am when a restaurant has good biscuits, or biscuits and gravy (HUGE points… love it so much). Here’s a little gluten free treat, cheddar Old Bay biscuits!!!

Cheddar Bay Biscuits (Gluten-Free!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 25 min

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste (after you add your Old Bay!)
  • 2 eggs

For the topping:

  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • ½ tsp old bay
  • ½ tsp garlic powder

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. In medium bowl, mix together almond flour, tapioca flour, cheese, salt, chives and garlic powder. Mix in the cold butter cubes with your hands until the mixture is chunky and the flours are thoroughly pressed into the chunks of butter. Add your eggs and sour cream and stir thoroughly.
  3. Divide into your preferred biscuit size on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  4. As the  biscuits bake, mix together your spices with your butter. During the last 5 minutes of your biscuits baking, brush with butter mixture and return to oven.

Enjoy!

-S

Spicy BBQ “Pulled Pork”! (Vegan, Paleo)

This weekend was super fun! I enjoyed a nice Saturday off from WHBM to go to Terrain for brunch for a friend’s birthday, and then Chadds Ford Winery. I don’t normally booze that much, but a birthday seems like a perfect reason to enjoy the amazing weather we had with some Mimosas and a wine-tasting.

On to what I was talking about last week — I recently received certification as a Level I Usui Reiki Practitioner! Really exciting, actually. During the training, I was a bit skeptical at first of whether or not I’d be able to actually do what is required of practicing Reiki. It was an amazing thing, being able to actually feel the shift in energy when doing a body-scan on someone, and this unfamiliar sense of serenity I’ve had since I took the course. I’m required to practice Reiki on myself for 21 days after the certification, and I can practice on family and friends. I’m working on being more confident about it, so I figured I’d start with my dog (my teacher reassured that animals really enjoy Reiki as they already operate at a higher frequency than we do as humans). Imagine my surprise when my dog wanted NOTHING to do with me putting my hands on her head? She’s not feeling it. She even went so far as to cart of fat little behind off of my bed to sleep (she would never), just so that she didn’t have to deal with it. I haven’t tried it on her since we healed her possible fear/belief of energy work at dinner one night last week, so I suppose I’ll try again. PS – yes, we do all sorts of things at the dinner table… sometimes eating, but more often belief clearing, spiritual readings, pendulum work…. you know. Normal stuff.

Anyway, I’m all about the knowledge.. so I’ve gotten several books and educational stuff from Amazon about the study of Reiki… scholarly articles, educational books, the whole nine. I’m finding that like anything, the best practice and lessons come from doing it in person… so I will be working on finding reasons to practice on people.

On a side note, does anyone miss barbeque weather???? I miss grass, and sunshine, and a sun tan. I also came across something called jack fruit, which apparently mimics the texture of pulled pork, but it’s VEGAN! I was up for an adventure this morning as I didn’t work from the office… so as I did things on my computer, I let 2 cans of jackfruit simmer in some homemade bbq sauce, added some spices, and lo and behold… I sort of want to make someone try it who doesn’t know it’s not pork to see how different they think it tastes because I couldn’t tell the difference. It’s not chewy like pork since it isn’t meat, but it’s definitely tasty.

Check it out!

 

Spicy BBQ “Pulled Pork”! (Vegan, Paleo)

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Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 4.5 hours (high heat), 8.5 hours (low heat)

Serves 4-6

 

Ingredients:

For the jackfruit:

  • 2 20oz cans of young green jackfruit in water or brine
  • 1/2 tsp ground Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

 

For the BBQ sauce:

  • 1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tbsp grey poupon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

note: you can use your favorite storebought too — it cuts down on time!

 

Directions:

  1. Combine BBQ sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until thickened, about 30-40 min. Once you reduce the heat, taste and adjust to preference – additional Dijon, vinegar or sugar may be preferred. Note: BBQ sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in your fridge for up to 7 days.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse and drain your canned jackfruit, discarding the center little core piece. Place in your crockpot, and season with salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne and garlic, stirring to coat.
  3. Add your thickened BBQ sauce over your jackfruit and allow to simmer on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours. If you’re around while it cooks, stir occasionally. If not – no worries! You can stir a few times before you serve to ensure the flavors are consistent throughout.
  4. When ready to serve, shred to your preferred texture with two forks. Serve over buns, with some coleslaw, or over some veggies!

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Enjoy!

-S