Oven-Baked Salmon with Garlic Chili Lime Butter (Paleo, Keto-friendly!)

So, I had big plans to post something totally different. Then, I thawed something else and decided to cook it, and it turned out so nice I have to post it.

I’m trying to get in all of my seafood ideas before the weather turns – that way, I can start to cook pumpkin, squash, pumpkin squash, more pumpkin, fall, squash. It’s that time of year and I am jones-in’ for some fall.

I don’t have a lot else to say about this, so I may as well get right to it. This recipe is paleo and keto friendly, and it’s literally one of the easiest salmon recipes I’ve made in a long time.

 

Oven-Baked Salmon with Garlic Chili Lime Butter (Paleo, Keto-friendly!)

 

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 15 min

Serves 2

 

Ingredients

  • 2 4oz boneless salmon filets, skin removed
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated or pressed
  • 2 tbsp organic, grass-fed butter, or ghee
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (about ½ of a lime)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, for garnish

 

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. If available, place a baking rack overtop your baking sheet, greasing it so that salmon won’t stick. The baking rack will allow the bottom of the salmon filets to remain crisp, but it isn’t required – just preferred.
  2. In a mug, or in a small stovetop saucepan, melt your butter. Mix together with your garlic, chili powder, lime juice and sea salt.
  3. Place your filets on your baking rack/sheet. Spoon your butter mix evenly over your salmon filets, coating the salmon filets entirely.
  4. Bake until salmon is opaque and starting to brown, about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, and garnish with chives. Serve, and enjoy!

 

-S

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

 

Crab Flatbread with Honey, Balsamic and Fresh Basil

After a quick little stint at the beach, I am back, working, and already primed and ready for a weekend.

I think what I miss the most about this whole “don’t hang out with anybody” era is being able to laugh over drinks and enjoying new restaurants… as a group activity. I really considered myself an introvert (a loud one, but still). Now that I CAN’T actually be with people, it’s like a tired child that needs to go to bed but doesn’t want to. I don’t want to stay home, because now I’m being forced to. But…. It’s the right thing to do to slow this whole thing down until we have more information and more options, so this is what I’ll do.

I have more time than ever to make recipes, but I am feeling so UNMOTIVATED, it’s painful. My focus has been trying to eat less, workout more (not going into a gym for months really did a number on my body composition), and generally be kinder to myself. I normally am totally fine with working until the point of burnout and exhaustion, but now there is a visceral reaction to doing so – almost as if my mind and body are conspiring with the universe to force me to slow down, in every sense of the term. So, for now – I am trying to work with when I get little bursts of motivation. If I eat my recipe before I take a nice picture of it? Whatever, I’ll make it again. I’m going to devote more mindspace and time to ensuring I’m keeping myself up and motivated, but being patient when I’m not.

I’ve been doing a lot of work, a lot of thinking on what I want the next few years of my life to look like… I’ve recently taken this back seat to my own life and moving forward, and I realized that living passively is no way to live – we shouldn’t do stuff just to “get by”, unless survival depends on it. This recipe had me thinking as I was buying the ingredients. I was really into seafood, and wanted to make something a little indulgent – I immediately thought of crab. I was digging my heels in at spending money on a can of jumbo lump crab meat, but I figured I’d splurge. It’s worth it after all, right? Have you ever sat down and picked crab meat? That shit is HARD. You get your fingers all torn up, sometimes you can’t get it all out in a clean piece, it takes a long time, and it’s really not a lot of meat for the effort. But man, when you keep digging and pull out a huge chunk of backfin meat, it’s all worth it.

That had me thinking about working towards what I want whatever my next step in life looks like. Taking one step isn’t going to move me a whole lot, but each tiny step, though small, is a necessary. It sounds so cliché, really, but sometimes all you need to do is make a little jump on a new idea and stuff just starts to snowball. I think that’s what I’m going to do. Of course, you guys won’t see a finished product for a while, but…. Just know I’m trying to make something cool out of my passion project.

Ok, so RECIPE. This is indulgent, definitely party food, it could be subbed with gluten-free flatbread, but this was just an easy store-bought flatbread. Literally, one of the easiest things I’ve ever made. Perhaps if I remake it and experiment with a paleo or gluten free flatbread, I’ll share!

 

Crab Flatbread with Honey, Balsamic and Fresh Basil

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

Serves 2

 

Ingredients

  • 1 large flatbread (the one I used was approx.. 12 in by 8 in, about the size of a piece of paper)
  • ½ cup of jumbo lump crab meat
  • 1 tbsp balsamic glaze (I like Whole Foods’ organic store brand!)
  • 1 tsp honey (local, if you can find it)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or melted ghee
  • 1 tbsp finely minced shallot or yellow onion
  • 1 heaping tbsp of fresh chopped basil
  • pinch of ground himilayan or sea salt

 

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. On a greased, foil lined baking sheet or pizza stone, place your flatbread. Drizzle olive oil over the flatbread, and add a pinch of salt. Sprinkle your onion, ensuring the flatbread is evenly covered. Next, carefully sprinkle your crab, ensuring any clumps (NOT the lumps!) stuck together are separated so the crab is evenly distributed.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until thoroughly heated and slightly crisped – you don’t want your flatbread to brown or get too crispy and turn into a rock.
  4. Once removed, Immediately drizzle with your honey. Let cool for a few minutes, then drizzle with your balsamic glaze.
  5. Lastly, garnish with your basil. Slice into even pieces, serve, and enjoy!

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-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

 

 

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

Shrimp Ceviche with Mango Avocado and Lime (Paleo!)

September 6th, and HOTTER THAN HADES! Good thing I’m not allowed to wear shorts to work, because I love a good ol’ fashioned heat stroke. Just kidding… no one loves that.

I figure I should  get some of my recipes up that are the last of summer cooking while the heatwave is still here. I definitely forgot about a few things I made, but it’s just really important that I share them. It’s also really important that I share a show I was recently introduced to, because now I’m hooked and watched it way past my bedtime last night. It’s called Humans, and I watch it on Amazon Prime Video. Without giving too much of the show away, it centers around artificially intelligent “synthetic humans”, whose purpose is to help people do tasks and be of general help. You find out very quickly  that a handful of them are different, in that they’ve been programmed to have feelings. You can imagine that may throw a wrench in things, and you must watch.

Trying to make this short and sweet so we can get right to the food. Go get the last of your freshly caught seafood, because this one is actually really fun and sort of like a science project! Just a PSA about sourcing ingredients for this recipe, it requires shrimp. If you’re like me and want to try and get the most sustainable and toxin-free version of seafood, you may no need to spend the big bucks for wild-caught shrimp. According to an article I came across on Medium.com, (Why Wild-Caught Shrimp Aren’t as Innocent as You Think), Shrimp is one of the most widely consumed seafood categories, which if wild-caught, may impact the ocean’s ecosystem in more ways than we know. Additionally, much of the shrimp in the US is imported and held to a different standard than US food regulations. There’s honestly a lot of grey area (and I don’t really spend a lot of time researching shrimp farms, to be honest…) that I’m not aware of, so I make sure if I make ceviche, I’m buying reputable shrimp. If you have an iron stomach or simply aren’t concerned, buying farm-raised shrimp will do you just fine.

To start, buying frozen isn’t bad – if anything, it gives you some time to decide what you want to do with it. Though I have yet to easily come across truly organic shrimp, there are a few things to look for if you want to make sure your choice in seafood is a smart, sustainable choice. The Marine Stewardship Council or Best Aquaculture Practices often add labels to shrimp so you know what you’re buying. As with any animal, the bigger ones likely have a greater impact than the normal sized ones, so I tend to just get the 21-30 count.

ANOTHER COOL THING! Did you know that the enzymes in citrus can actually “cook” seafood? Both cooking seafood with heat and curing it with citrus juice allows a process called “denaturation” to happen. I won’t bore you with the science… but it has to do with enzymes in the citric acid breaking down molecules within the fish as if it were cooked. Safe to eat, delicious, etc. Makes me think of sitting on the patio at a restaurant in Key West or Costa Rica, eating fresh ceviche with my morning omelette… 🙂

Shrimp Ceviche with Mango Avocado and Lime

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 3-4 hours (marinating time)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb raw shrimp, rinsed, tails removed
  • ½ medium sized red onion, finely minced
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 2 roma or vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced into small cubes
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, stems, ribs and seeds removed
  • Juice of 4 limes, plus more if needed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. On a plastic cutting board (no raw anything on wood, if you can help it!), dice your shrimp and add to a shallow pyrex or baking dish. I cut mine into thirds for bite-size chunks.
  2. Add your shrimp to your dish, spreading in a single layer if possible. You want to keep this shallow so the citrus juice can cover the shrimp entirely. Add your lime and lemon juice, stirring to ensure the shrimp is coated. Cover the shrimp with tomato and red onion, spreading to cover any bare spots. Cover and let sit for at least 3-4 hours in the refrigerator to marinate.
  3. Check back after the time has passed to ensure your shrimp is “cooked”. It should appear pink, and opaque. If you see bits of gray, give it a stir to coat (it’s fine to mix the onion and tomato around now) and let stand for another 30-60 minutes.
  4. Once the shrimp is cured, add your mango, cilantro and avocado. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. I tend to squeeze in a pinch more of lime juice for an added bite, as the shrimp tends to absorb much of the flavor.
  5. Garnish with extra cilantro, if desired. Serve with chips or preferred dipper, such as vegetables. I like Siete’s grain free tortilla chips 🙂

Enjoy!

-S

Lemon Garlic Scallops (Paleo!)

Happy weekend! How’s everyone doing?

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

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

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

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

Lemon Garlic Scallops (Paleo!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 10 min

Makes 16 scallops

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

-S

Super Easy Salmon Cakes (Paleo)

WHAT a weekend!

The Eagles won the Super Bowl. I was born and raised in the Philly area, and while I don’t particularly care (at all) for football, seeing the underdog win coupled with Philly’s excitement and undeniable loyalty to their team… what an amazing thing. Unfortunately, everyone who says that most Philly fans are obnoxious is right, as people completely desecrated parts of Center City. Tacky? Yeah. We never said we were classy…. but we did say we were excited. With an estimated 2 million people at the Phillies parade in 2008, and tons more estimated for the Eagles parade… I’m definitely not going. That’s terrifying.

I came to work this morning to find out I won the Q4 MVP Award for my organization, which includes tickets to an event sponsored by my employer…. quite a few things to  choose from!! Keeps getting better, pretty intense.

Not to jump around here, but was anyone as shocked as I was to learn yesterday that Kylie Jenner actually had a baby? I mean, it was almost undeniable that she was actually pregnant, but somehow I was still surprised when she broke the news yesterday about her new baby girl. I can’t lie… I watched that 11 minute video and teared up a bit because it was really touching.

Since I don’t really have a lot of important stuff to say, I’ll get straight to the food. I’ve been slacking a lot on the cooking from being so busy… but I’ve had this idea for these cakes for the longest time. I had considered using almond flour, but decided to switch it up with coconut flour to give it a finer, softer texture. These can be altered to cater to whatever flavors you like — I started off making it a bit Asian-inspired, but then went back to my good ol’ crab cake roots with the dijon and Worcestershire. Play around with it and see what you like!

Super Easy Salmon Cakes (Paleo)

Prep Time 10 min

Cook Time 20 min

Serves 5-6

Ingredients

  • 15-18 oz of canned cooked salmon, boneless and skinless (I like Wild Planet — each can is 6 oz, but in a pinch I will use 3 Star-Kist packets, which are each 5 oz)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/3 cup paleo mayo, plus additional 1/3 cup for sauce
  • 3 to 4 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp tamari, coconut aminos or low sodium soy sauce (not Paleo!)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 stalks of scallions, sliced thin (green and white parts), plus more for garnish
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 heaping tbsp Grey Poupon dijon
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp sriracha

Directions

  1. If baking, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Drain your salmon and place in a bowl. If needed, mash with a fork to break up any chunks.
  3. Add half of your mayo, eggs, dijon, Worcestershire, scallions and spices. Mix thoroughly, and do a taste test to adjust to your preference.
  4. Next, add in coconut flour, 1 tbsp at a time. You may not need the full amount, as coconut flour is VERY absorbent — your mixture should still be wet, but stable enough to keep its shape.
  5. Gather a handful and shape into a round, 1 in. thick patty… you should be able to make about 6-7, depending on the size.
  6. If baking, place on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until cakes start to brown. If pan-frying, heat 1 tbsp ghee over medium high heat and sauté on each side until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.
  7. As the cakes are cooking, mix together remaining mayo and sriracha for the sauce; set aside.
  8. Serve with spicy mayo and additional scallions for garnish.

Enjoy!

-S

Crispy Shrimp Tacos with Boom Boom Sauce and Jalapeno Slaw (Paleo)

Hello everyone! Lots to catch up on. I’ve been quite busy making plans, getting organized, and doing stuff  while out and about. I’m definitely going to need to talk about Reiki at some point, since that’s been a really important part of my life, recently. I’ll save that for another time. A few times this week, the concept of making choices has come up.

Its an interesting thing, making choices. Why is talking about that so important? Well, truthfully, it’s as important as you want it to be. Here’s a few examples.

  • You’re out to eat with a bunch of friends. You’ve recently made a choice to eat healthier, and you find yourself looking at the menu. You could get a burger (whatever! It’s Friday night, what are calories!?), or you could get a nice salad with salmon, dressing on the side and stick to the original choice you made to eat healthier.
  • You’re in a job where you’re unhappy, but it pays the bills. You’ve been at this job for years, and you’ve just hit a rut. You know you’d like to do something more fulfilling, but branching out into a new job that you might not be good at or might also not even like is terrifying.
  • You’re in a bad relationship and you’d love to leave, but due to financial or other resource constraints, you feel like you can’t. You’d be risking way too much to give up your home, benefits or the security of being where you are, so you tough it out (even though you know this only hurting you and everyone involved) because you think you’re stuck.

See anything in common with the above three examples? The person has a choice to make – and it could be incredibly easy, or devastatingly difficult to decide what to do. The fact of the matter is this: we make hundreds, if not thousands, of choices in our life. Some we don’t even give a second thought, and some eat at us daily until we come to a conclusion.

The idea that we make our own choices can be downright scary sometimes. Some people choose to give others those decisions, and that is truly one of the most disempowering things I can think of.  Another damaging idea is to consider that you don’t even have a choice – that your hand has been dealt and that you only have one option available to you in a certain situation.

That’s just not true! Not true, one bit.

Perhaps because I’m a Libra, I have this innate drive to be the Justice League and defend what I think is fair. I must say though – to think that this giant, complex universe puts us in situations that we HAVE to comply to (when we have so much independence otherwise) seems a bit silly. The next time you find yourself in a situation that seems as though your hands are tied, you’ve only one way to go, just know that you ALWAYS have a choice. Your options may not all be favorable, pretty, or easy, but they are there.

You know that saying, “not all that glitters is gold”? You always thought that it meant that good things aren’t always what they seem, didn’t you? Let’s make a choice and see that a different way. Not everything that’s best for you is going to be outfitted in shiny lights, saying “PICK ME!” as the obvious choice. Sometimes, you have to make a choice that seems foolish because it’s so darned unappealing. It all passes, and you are always given another set of choices to make.

An easy way to stick to this mentality is to go into every choice you make with this question: what will end up making me the most happy? This does require you to have some really personal reflection on what truly makes you happy, but if you use that as a guiding principle to all of your choices, there’s no way you can make the wrong choice.

Well Sarah, I want to be a free bird and retire early and have hundreds of puppies! Okay, then stop watching TV or going to happy hour for a few hours a week, start researching investment guidelines, and start volunteering at an animal shelter.

Sarah, I want to abandon my verbally abusive family, move to Nepal and weave fingerless gloves! (true story of a colleague) Okay, save your money for a one-way ticket instead of buying that handbag, cut your toxic family off, and learn how to knit on the flight over to Nepal.

But, Sarah, what if I realized I made the wrong decision? Well, you didn’t. It was the right choice at the time because that’s what you wanted to do, and now you’ve got different choices to make.

Moral of the story – conceptually, it REALLY is that easy to make choices when your goal of happiness is clear. The result of the choice may be difficult – it may be the hardest thing you ever do – but people forgive, wounds heal, time passes, and money keeps flowing. You just need to make the choice to have that stuff happen.

How about making the choice to enjoy some nice tacos? 🙂 Pardon the lack of actual photos of a constructed taco… once everyone put theirs together, they were already eating them by the time i came back around to take photos of them. Here are some action shots!

Crispy Shrimp Tacos with Boom Boom Sauce and Jalapeno Slaw (Paleo)

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 40 min

Serves 6-7

Ingredients

Boom Boom Sauce

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tablespoons honey
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or pressed
  • ½ tsp red pepper chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • Pinch of sea salt

Tortillas

  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 cups water, plus more if needed
  • 2 cups tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • ~1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ tbsp paprika
  • ½ tbsp onion powder

Shrimp

  • 2 lb shrimp, peeled and tails removed
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • ~1 tsp sea salt,
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne powder
  • ~2-3 tbsp ghee, for frying

Slaw

  • 1 1/2 cup napa cabbage, sliced very thin
  • 1 1/2 cup red cabbage, sliced very thin
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 scallion stalks, sliced thin
  • 1 large jalepeno, minced; ribs and seeds removed
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 heaping tbsp paleo mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tbsp honey

Directions

  1. For the Boom Boom Sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside and/or refrigerate.
  2. Next, start the slaw (to let it marinade). In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mayo, honey, cilantro and jalapenos and whisk together. Taste test to see if you prefer any additional honey, vinegar or spice and adjust accordingly.  In a separate bowl, combine the cabbage and green onion. Mix with sauce and stir to coat. Set aside, stirring occasionally during downtime during prep time for following ingredients.
  3. Start with the tortillas. Preheat a medium sized skillet over medium high heat.
  4. In a bowl, combine your flours and spices, whisking to mix thoroughly. Next, add your egg and water, ensuring there are no clumps and the mix is uniform. It should be quite thin, like soupy pancake mix – you want the mix to spread out to make thin tortillas. If not runny, add a tbsp. of water at a time until your mix is thinned out.
  5. Using a ladle or measuring cup, pour a ~6 inch circle of batter, shimmying the pan to even out the mix. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Your batter should make about 5-6 tortillas.
  6. While your tortillas are frying, prep the shrimp. In a large bowl, combine the tapioca flour and spices in a bowl and toss the shrimp, coating entirely.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and melt the ghee. Saute the shrimp for 1-2 minutes until golden; flip and saute on the other side for another minute until crisp.
  7. To put together your tacos, layer your tortilla with slaw, top with the shrimp and drizzle with Boom Boom Sauce.

Enjoy!

-S

Smoked Trout Dip (Paleo, Dairy-Free!)

I’m a water person. I love being near the beach, on a boat, by a creek, you name it. People find that being near moving water is really relaxing, and I couldn’t agree more. The sound of a creek meandering around rocks, the gentle turnover of waves on a beach, or the sound of a boat rocking over the water… I don’t really know of anyone that doesn’t get enjoyment out of this.

It very well could be the fact that moving water rarely goes stagnant and people like to absorb the energy from this. Moving water is doing exactly that — it’s in motion, on its way somewhere. That same inherent drive lies within people, which is why it seems people get so uncomfortable in “dead-end” jobs, relationships, and situations. If you aren’t moving, you aren’t changing your perspective. If you aren’t changing your perspective, you’re likely not growing as a person… which leads to a pause in all of the lessons you’re learning.

At some point in their life, no matter the scale, everyone will face a situation where they either see a need for change coming around the bend and adapt, or they will be put in a situation so desperately uncomfortable that they have no choice but to change their situation. I see it in my own life to an extent, maybe more than I’d like to admit. I’m a creature of habit, but I reluctantly force myself to do things that I know are necessary, knowing that sooner is better than later. I also see it in others’ lives — people that are close to me. The hardest thing to watch is someone with their feet planted firmly, not wanting to budge. Their world could be crumbling, but their “breakthrough” lesson of letting go has yet to happen. The biggest part of lessons like these are that they need to come from within — you have to feel so uncomfortable within your situation and your state of mind that you feel there’s no other choice but to take action.

Some people are much more urgent — others take a bit longer to react, and to feel comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s a process, but as with everything, you take it step by step. If you are always changing, you will always end up downstream where you’re supposed to… much like moving water.

With this monologue about water and its likeness to us… comes a delicious dish of the sea. Or… the creek, rather. There’s something about brining and smoking a fish over a nice low heat until it’s got that rich, delicious flavor. If you don’t have the time for that, I recommend visiting your local grocer to find some sustainably-sourced trout fillets, already smoked (much quicker!). As for the other yogurt, feel free to use a a brand/type of your choice — I like this Almond Yogurt because it closely resembles the tartness and thickness of regular dairy Greek yogurt, but feel free to experiment and use what you’d like. This dish is

a perfect appetizer for a party!

Smoked Trout Dip (Paleo, Dairy-Free!)

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prep time: 15 min

Cook time: n/a

Ingredients

  • 16 oz boneless, skinless smoked trout fillets
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup Greek style, plain dairy-free yogurt (can use regular Greek yogurt if not paleo)
  • 1 tbsp Coconaise mayo
  • Juice from half of a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp old bay
  • 1/2 tsp of preferred sweetener, such as honey, maple syrup or agave (do not use stevia!)
  • optional: salt and pepper to taste**

Directions

  1. On a plastic cutting board, loosely chop the trout fillets, ensuring larger chunks aren’t left behind.
  2. Add trout to a medium sized bowl. Mix in yogurt and mayo — gently stir until thoroughly mixed.
  1. Add in spices and herbs, and continue to stir.
  1. **At this point – I do a taste-check prior to adding any further salt or pepper — I find that I didn’t need it. When making this recipe, I added Old Bay first, which I knew would add to the saltiness of the smoked trout, but I wanted the Old Bay flavor. The lemon wasn’t enough to cut it alone, so I added a smidge of honey to balance it out. You can add additional yogurt, 1 tbsp at a time, until you get the desired taste.
    1. Lastly, add the lemon, then your sweetener, stirring the flavors together. Serve, and enjoy!
  • -S