Garlic Paprika Thyme Sweet Potato Fries (Paleo, Vegan!)

Boy, do I love me some carbs. It’s sort of a problem.

My jeans have gotten tighter, but such is life when Dogfish Head Punkin Ale AND French fries are involved. Even if this means I have to go out and actually get both of them. Yum? Yes. Since I typically start off complaining about the weather, I’d like to point out that it’s been feeling particularly Fall-ish recently… with the exception of the monsoon and grey skies today, I enjoy that the leaves have been falling. I even went out to the barn yesterday! I didn’t ride, it was raining, but it was nice, crisp and cool. Two thumbs up.

I’m also back into the swing of things with cooking on Sundays… I hope to make a few things that I can pass along on the blog, but I do get a bit… lax…. When it comes to healthy eating as the weather gets cooler. I’ve been exceptionally lucky to not have to worry a WHOLE lot about gaining weight with as much as I do, but as I said… my jeans, they is tight. I will be doing some cardio today, with the intention of eating Guinness Beef stew soon, and some Shepherd’s Pie, and… other potato-ey goodness without sacrificing my waistline.

The good news is, not all carbs are created equal. There are complex carbs, and carbs are fuel! Unless you’re into the Ketogenic diet (which I do enjoy a lower carb recipe every now and again), use your carbs to your advantage, and dress em up with some garlic and zest. Like these, below.

Garlic Paprika Thyme Sweet Potato Fries (Paleo, Vegan!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 35-40 min

Ingredients

  • Two large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin, fry-shaped strips (sized to your preference, some people like wedges)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • ½ tbsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together your garlic, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl with your olive oil.
  2. To evenly coat, I like to put my fries into a bag, pour my oil mixture in, and shake… you can also coat sweet potato fries with a brush, or your hands if you enjoy a mess… heh.
  3. On a greased cookie sheet, place your fries in a single layer, evenly spaced, so they cook thoroughly. If you prefer super crispy fries, feel free to turn over with tongs once browned on one side. Once they start to crisp/firm up and brown, remove from heat and allow to cool a few minutes before serving. As they dry, they will  continue to crisp.

Enjoy!

-S

Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean Dip (Gluten Free, Vegan!)

Just a quick update for you all! Tomorrow is my birthday, and I’ve been SUPER busy. I haven’t forgotten about you!

I wanted to give you guys a good recipe for any upcoming parties you have, especially for fall J I love to make my own potato and sweet potato chips, which go really well with this recipe (air fryers for the win, I love Amazon… find mine here). This dip is super quick, super easy, and the last time I made it, it was gone within 30 min. Note…. Double the recipe next time, heh.

Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean Dip (Gluten-free, Vegan!)

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Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: n/a

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can of cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • ¾ cup of roasted red peppers (jarred, in olive oil, is what I used)
  • juice from ½ of a large lemon, plus more to taste
  • salt, to taste (I used ~1 tsp)
  • pepper, to taste
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ~1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • optional: handful of crumbled feta (FYI – feta is not vegan… it’s cheese…)

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except the feta cheese in a food processor and blend until smooth – about 30-45 seconds. Adjust flavors to preference – you may like additional salt, or lemon.
  2. If using feta, upon serving, stir gently into the dip. I also like to sprinkle some on top for presentation, but note! Again, feta is not vegan.

Enjoy!

-S

Mediterranean Zucchini Pasta with Garlic, Sun-dried Tomato and Toasted Walnuts and Feta (Gluten Free, with Vegan option!)

Hello, foodies. Hope you’re all staying dry out there! I’ve been thinking of those of you down south, the news about the devastating flooding breaks my heart 😦 My grandfather lives in Greenville, SC and he said the rain has been unbelievable. Those of you in coastal towns –  you’re in my thoughts! I’ve been trying to find the best way to offer assistance in the wake of all the flooding – unfortunately, not much can be started until the water recedes. If you’re interested in helping out those in need, always do your homework before donating money (local is better!), and make sure you know some details about where you’re donating. Here are a few ways I’m considering:

Local Food Banks – Harvest Hope Food Bank, Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. It’s recommended to contact them to see where their greatest needs are before donating.

Google Donate – if you google “Hurricane Florence donate”, Google has a donation page set up. There are FAQ’s if you’d like to verify its validity, and they will match up to $1MM in donations. Often times, money is the best way to go so it can be used however needed.

Local Humane Societies – North Carolina (Greenville), and South Carolina (Myrtle Beach)

Frank’s Nation – Animal Rescue/Shelter- https://www.gofundme.com/frank039s-nation-vs-hurricane-flo

Verified by GoFundMe, this non-profit has launched a campaign to cover expenses of its volunteers who are searching for dogs in the affected areas. Save the pups left behind! 😦

Hopefully you all find some time or spare money to offer, if you’re able J many people won’t be able to return home until the water recedes, so anything we can do to help, we should!

Side note… I made some delicious stuff in the last few days. Some paleo and gluten free friendly, some “healthy”… and some are NAATTT. I made my family’s famous potato salad, which is filled with sugar, and mayo, and deliciousness… but I also made some light staples, appetizers and some good fall dishes. You’re in for a treat for the next few days, as this weather is going to be cruddy.

Until next time… here’s my delicious zoodles!

Mediterranean Zucchini Pasta with Garlic, Sun-dried Tomato and Toasted Walnuts and Feta (Gluten Free, with Vegan option!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 20 min

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 jar of sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and thinly sliced (save the oil!)
  • 3-4  green zucchinis, spiralized (or two 1lb packages of pre-sliced zoodles)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3  cups of fresh spinach, loosely chopped
  • Handful of toasted walnuts, seasoned to preference (I like garlic powder, generous salt and pepper! Clink the link for my recipe) If vegan- use plain walnuts
  • Optional: 2/3 cup crumbled feta, plus more to taste (cheese is not paleo compliant, FYI)

Directions

  1. Using a spiralizer, cut your zoodles according to the tool’s instructions. Place on a paper towel to remove some of the moisture. Pro-Tip – I like to do this ahead of time to allow them to dry a bit, as zucchinis are made up of a lot of water. If using pre-cut – leave the package open for a few hours in the fridge prior to using.
  2. Once ready to cook, heat about 1-2 tbsp  oil in large pan over medium high heat. Add zucchini noodles and saute for 5-7 minutes, allowing some of the water to cook out. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Once tender, remove from heat and set aside on a plate.
  3. Add another tbsp. of your reserved sundried tomato oil to the pan and turn the heat back down to medium – add your onion and saute for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add your garlic and allow to brown (but not burn), for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Once your onion and  garlic are cooked, add your sundried tomato and spinach to the pan, stirring. Next, add your wine and turn the heat to medium high in order to burn out the alcohol. Stir to combine, until spinach begins to wilt. Salt and pepper to taste, if needed.  Lastly, add your zoodles back to the pan, stirring to coat in the tomatoes and spinach.

Upon serving, garnish with walnuts and feta, if using.

Enjoy!

-S

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Garlic, Sage and Mushrooms (Paleo, Vegan!)

More rain. That’s totally fine. It means I’m not missing anything outdoors, and I can sit inside, watch Barefoot Contessa and stare at my dog. And more importantly…. COOK!

It’s September 1, which means a lot to a lot of different people. To me, as a fall baby, a Libra, and lover of all things fall, it’s been a countdown for the last 9 months. I’m not even ashamed of all the plaid flannel, suede booties and cute thermals I have… and the food is a whole different ballgame. Speaking of ballgames, I think other people are interested in football right now…? I love to watch baseball, but my sport of choice is hockey. Go Flyers. I’m a horseperson, so my hobbies aren’t really something people gather to watch unless they partake themselves. But I do love me some football parties, because that means COOKING!

Short and sweet, honestly. This recipe is a repost by request. I posted a little preview on my Instagram a little while back, but here we are with the final product! Gnocchi is one of the few Italian foods I do eat. While I love carbs, I’d much prefer potatoes than pasta. Growing up around a predominantly Italian extended family (though I am not one bit Italian, lol!), I got to see a lot of different ways to make staple Italian dishes. I love ricotta gnocchi, regular gnocchi, the whole nine… but red sauce isn’t something I typically prefer, unless it’s on top of a pizza. That’s a recipe for another time, so let me share with you how to make Brown Butter and Sage Sweet Potato Gnocchi! Yes, you read that right 🙂

These have an inherently sweet flavor because of the sweet potato, so balancing it with hearty mushrooms, garlic and sage just really makes the dish pop. Oh, did I mention these are VEGAN? You can definitely jazz them up by adding some pancetta, but these will do just fine. Promise.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Garlic, Sage and Mushrooms (Paleo, Vegan!)

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed so that any chunks are broken up
  • 1/2 cup of cassava flour, plus more if needed. Sometimes the sweet potatoes hold a bit more water than anticipated, which is no biggie!
  • ~2 tsp olive oil, plus more if needed
  • pinch of sea salt, to taste
  • 1 package of pre-sliced cremini/baby bella mushrooms, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 heaping tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • additional herbs of choice, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Peel and rinse your sweet potatoes, removing any knots. Boil in a large pot, potatoes covered with water until soft. Once finished, remove from water and allow to cool. Place in a large bowl and mash until smooth.
  2. Add in your cassava flour and mix until completely smooth. Add salt to taste. If you prefer a bit of zest, feel free to add a smidge of garlic powder and paprika, a pinch at a time. The flavor will be in the sauce, so don’t worry if it’s light.
  3. This part can get tedious, so be patient! Take teaspoon sized scoops of the mixture and roll into balls. I used a gnocchi roller to really get the shape going, but you can form into an oblong sphere and roll with a fork to get your gnocchi marks.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop gnocchi into it. Once they have risen to the surface, remove, and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
  5. If you have one, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into the pan. Add gnocchi and cook on each side until golden, then remove. I’ve tried this with cast iron and regular metal, and they may stick unless you use a nonstick skillet.
  6. While your yams are boiling (or while your gnocchi mixture sits), Add your onion to a large frying pan along with a tbsp of olive oil (or ghee/butter if not vegan) over medium heat. Sauté 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent.
  7. Add your garlic and mushrooms, continuing to stir. The mushrooms may start to release some water, so make sure these remain uncovered.
  8. Once the mushroom and onion mixture starts to caramelize, add your gnocchi to the same pan as well as your sage, and continue to sauté. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Try not to disturb the gnocchi too much, as you don’t want them to break apart. Shimmy the pan to mix until further browned, another 2-3 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Garnish with herbs.

Enjoy!

-S

My Top 5 Favorite Superfoods (and where to find them!)

Happy Friday!

Today starts another fabulous long holiday weekend… complete with rain, rain and more rain. I’m home working for the day, so hopefully I can squeeze in some cooking to get you guys some delicious recipes.

One thing I wanted to share, though. I love healthy food, but I didn’t always love it. Growing up, my mom was an excellent cook, but I still hated vegetables. My parents ate them so I don’t know if I was just being stubborn. I didn’t like to eat steamed vegetables and I certainly didn’t know how to cook for myself until the last few years so I was sadly deprived of a lot of delicious ways to eat and cook vegetables. Then Amazon came to the rescue and now I feel like I need to share all the fun things I found recently to you and your loved ones/picky eaters if they aren’t into trying new things (though I think my recipes are delicious…).

8Greens Effervescent Super Greens Dietary Supplement – $14

Link: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0792HYX21/ref=twister_B07DPWSPSF?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

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This stuff is liquid gold. My favorite local cosmetics store, Houpette, started carrying this when they moved to their new location, and I am DELIGHTED. It has a nice citrus-y taste, isn’t sludgy, and gets you the Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Zinc and other minerals you need if you don’t plan on eating your broccoli. It’s vegan, gluten free, sugar free, salt free and preservative free.

 

TerraSoul SuperFoods Gelatinized Maca Powder – $13

Link: https://smile.amazon.com/Terrasoul-Superfoods-Organic-Gelatinized-Powder/dp/B00EHQQ1A6/ref=lp_6944339011_1_11_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1535718486&sr=1-11&th=1

maca

Don’t let this one’s name fool you – it’s vegan, certified, organic, non-GMO and also gluten free. Maca is a root native to Peru – it’s balanced in carbs and protein, and also contains vitamin C, copper, iron, potassium, fiber, manganese, along with others. Studies have suggested it increases libido and fertility in men, and it has been suggested that maca root also alleviates unfavorable symptoms of menopause. As with everything – always pay attention to your body, as anything that influences your hormones can impact things sych as your thyroid, or general hormonal wellness… however, the state that you will likely buy your maca root powder carries little adverse side effects compared to its natural state (raw, uncooked). When taken properly, this can do wonders, but always consult your doctor if you have concerns!

 

Greenbow Organic Bee Pollen – $11.99

Link: https://smile.amazon.com/GREENBOW-Organic-Bee-Pollen-Certified/dp/B019HI4CRC/ref=lp_6944339011_1_1_sspa?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1535718486&sr=1-1-spons&psc=1

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Though I’m a firm believer in buying this particular one locally (the bees are pollinating your local flowers – it couldn’t hurt to ingest local pollen for allergy reasons!), if that isn’t available to you, this is a great choice. Bee pollen contains amino acids, Vitamin B and other minerals to support a healthy immune system. I am particularly fond of this brand because they donate 1% of their proceeds to the Planet Bee Foundation, which helps to repopulate the bees and promote awareness of dangers to the bee ecosystem. Word to the wise – without bees, we all die…. If we’re being transparent, here. **side note: if you are allergic to bee venom, or anything bee related, it is recommended that you consult your doctor prior to any consumption of a bee byproduct.

 

Navitas Organics Goji Berries – $15

Link: https://smile.amazon.com/Navitas-Organics-Goji-Berries-oz/dp/B000FFLHSY/ref=sr_1_21_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1535719220&sr=1-21&refinements=p_n_feature_nine_browse-bin%3A6997074011%7C6997076011&th=1

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This one is fun in that… it’s kind of fun to say. They’re like a dried cherry cranberry raisin type thing, and I add them to my smoothies or overnight oatmeal. Chinese folklore says these are nicknamed “Happy Berries” – as the monks were jolly, happy and cheerful, and attributed this to their consumption of goji berries. They are high in antioxidants and vitamin A, and they taste pretty darned good, too. If chewing on these things freaks you out, Navitas also sells, powder form, available here.

 

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides – $25 (30 servings)

Link: https://smile.amazon.com/Vital-Proteins-Pasture-Raised-Grass-Fed-Collagen/dp/B00NLR1PX0/ref=sr_1_4_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1535719464&sr=1-4&keywords=vital+proteins+collagen+peptides

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I love this stuff. While I am fortunate enough to have what some would consider “good skin”, there’s no sense in letting it go to waste! I add this to my coffee every morning… it’s taste-free, smell-free, and doesn’t change my coffee at all. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and makes up a good part of all the connective tissues in our body. It maintains skin’s elasticity and regeneration of cells, your hair, tendon, cartilage, bones and joints. Collagen is a protein made up of amino-acids: glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine. In laymen’s terms… if you’d like to help slow the process of saggy boom-booms or crepe-y skin, this is a great product to give you a head-start.

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These are just a few of my favorites that I’ve found over the years. If you aren’t interested in buying at Amazon, most local health food stores, as well as Whole Foods and Wegmans, carry these products. Much of the evidence provided around these products is from my own research, so always be sure to educate yourself on what the best superfood regimen may be for you. I’m always here for questions too!

What’s your favorite superfood or healthy product you’ve found? Share yours!

-S

Quinoa Kale Salad with Almond Ginger Dressing (Gluten-Free and Vegan!)

Hello everyone!

I’ve been quite mum these last few weeks. No great reason, honestly. I’ve definitely been busy, but I think it was just dedicating the time to sit down and write something out wasn’t something I wanted to bring myself to do. The good news is — I’ve written up some really good recipes, so the next few weeks you are all in for a treat!

Sunday night was a full moon, and yesterday was the close of a very prominent Mars retrograde.  Between June 26th and August 27th of this year, Mars appears to rotate backward when orbiting the sun. While these things are typically just illusions, a lot of impact can be made by this. Had you noticed that people in general were a lot more aggressive this summer? A lot more turmoil or feelings of discomfort in the air? This had been where we needed to reassess where we stood with our projects, and what we needed to move forward. Because of the appearance of a retrograde, any Mars energy, or masculine energy, is aimed inward, rather that outward — internalizing anger, fear, or heightened emotions sounds like a recipe for disaster. For some people, it was.

THE GOOD NEWS! it’s over. New beginnings. Get stuff started. Starting with this delicious salad. it’s the best of both worlds, grains and veggies. and I love it.

Quinoa Kale Salad with Almond Ginger Dressing (Gluten-Free and Vegan!)

Prep time: 40 min

Cook time: ~20 min for the quinoa

Ingredients

For  the salad:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 small purple cabbage, sliced very thin
  • 2 large carrots, skinned and thinly sliced (I used vegetable peeler)
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized bunch of kale, rinsed, dried and chopped

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup almond butter (you can sub another butter if you have allergies!)
  • Juice from one lemon, plus zest (if needed)
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos, or gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 heaping tsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp of water (at a time), to thin the dressing as needed
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions

  1. First, rinse your quinoa through a fine strainer (so it doesn’t wash away!). Place in a saucepot with 2 cups of water, chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and turn heat down and simmer until quinoa is cooked with little water left – about 15 minutes. Remove from pot and allow to cool in a bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, as your quinoa is cooking, add your almond butter, aminos/soy sauce, and stir until mixed. Add in the remaining dressing ingredients, and continue to stir. If you find that by adding water, your dressing has less “zest”, feel free to add some more coconut aminos or soy sauce. It should be somewhat thin like pancake batter, so as to coat your kale. Set aside about 3 tbsp of dressing for your quinoa.
  3. Separately, in a large bowl, for your salad, add your kale. Add in the rest of your vegetables and mix.
  4. Once quinoa has cooled, stir your set-aside dressing into your quinoa and mix thoroughly. Add into the kale. Pour your remaining dressing in and use tongs to mix thoroughly.

Chill in the fridge until serving.

Enjoy!

-S

Summer Peach Crisp (Vegan, with Paleo-friendly option!)

I think I should build an ark.

Is that the stereotypical response when someone mentions the fact that we will be getting 10 straight days of rain in the mid-Atlantic? Yes, it is. And yes, that is actually happening. I am glad I am a strong swimmer.

That aside, I had an amazing weekend! Friday I was able to cook some delicious things to share with y’all. I then got to hang out with my old neighbors, which was fun. It’s nice to find a group of people that you click with, even though you are all so different. A few friends were absent (and dearly missed!), but there’s always next month. Saturday I got to brush up on my Reiki with some additional training – that might be a topic for another time, but I have to say… energy work is amazing and highly recommended! One of those things that you didn’t know you needed until you have had some exposure to it. Saturday afternoon I got to enjoy dinner with some friends I haven’t spent time with in a while, and it was just a really nice weekend. I think the best part was when I inadvertently bought 6 lbs of peaches from a precious little Amish boy and spent the remainder of my free time trying to find ways to use it. Things I made, didn’t document (tasty as they were, some things were a little ugly/sloppy…) but ate  came out FABULOUS. Have any of you put peaches in your tomato sauce? No? You should consider it. Maybe I’ll post a little walk-through on Instagram for my Peach Bolognese sauce recipe. Yes, you read that correctly. and yes… tried, tested and approved by picky eaters.

Let’s get right to the point and talk about my Vegan Peach Crisp. While this particular version is not gluten-free, it’s just a glorious throw-together treat for when you buy 6 lbs of peaches from a little boy on the side of the road and need something to do with them. Or, I mean…. if you grocery shop too. It’s fun, it’s quick, and it keeps really well, which is just the best.

Summer Peach Crisp (Vegan, with Paleo-friendly option!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 40 min

Serves 5-7

Ingredients:

For  the filling

  • 5-6 peaches (any kind you like!) – peeled, pit removed and chopped
  • ¾ cup organic brown sugar
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup vegan butter alternative (or ghee), melted
  • Pinch of finely ground Himalayan sea salt

For the crumble topping

  • ¾ cup oats (or ground flax for paleo substitute
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, or paleo-friendly baking flour (such as Bob’s Redmill mix, or almond flour)
  • ¾ cup organic brown sugar
  • 8 oz organic vegan butter (cold); or 1 stick cold organic butter, cut into ½ in cubes for non vegans. Note: if using paleo alternatives, add additional ghee because of the dryness of paleo alternatives. Start with using 1.5x the amount of ghee/butter)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a glass 9x13in baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss peaches with all of the filling ingredients and mix to coat thoroughly.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the crumble ingredients except your butter. Once dry ingredients are mixed, add in the butter, a little at a time, pressing the crumble into the pieces of butter. You don’t need to be neat – if anything, really pressing the ingredients into the butter is better.  The butter should be reduced into mixture until you’re left with large/coarse crumbs.
  4. Spread the peach filling evenly within the baking dish, patting gently to make sure there are no gaps. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the peaches, ensuring all of the peaches are covered.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top becomes golden and the peach mixture is bubbling. Allow to cool before serving.

Enjoy!

-S