Best Ever Simple Margaritas (Not Paleo, but vegan and gluten free!)

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Apparently only people outside of Mexico celebrate Cinco de Mayo… pero cuando estamos en cuarentena, bebemos.

Hello, yes. It’s me. Sad to say I haven’t been cooking as much because I’ve been limiting my trips to the grocery store to as few as possible (and only the one closest store). I’m back, right in time for a festive reason to beber (drink)!

I hope everyone has been quarantining responsibly. I take a few days off every now and then just so I don’t turn into a bottle of wine, myself. Alcohol is not paleo…. but then again, COVID-19 doesn’t care about paleo. Stay safe.

This is a refreshing and light way to make a Margarita on the rocks, and as healthy as possible. I don’t like them too sweet, so I love that you can add as much or as little simple syrup when they’re made at home.

Let’s cut to the chase – here’s the recipe. The easiest way to remember… the 3-2-1-1 ratio.

 

Best Ever Simple Margaritas (Not Paleo, but vegan and gluten free!)

 

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: none! It’s a drink

Makes 1 drink

 

Ingredients

  • 3 oz silver tequila
  • 2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
  • 1 oz orange liqueur
  • 1 oz simple syrup (directions below if you don’t have any on hand)
  • salt or sugar, for the rim (optional)

For the Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup water

 

  • additional cut lime, for garnish

 

 

Directions

  1. To make the simple sugar ahead of time, add the water and sugar into a small pot or sauce pan, over medium heat. Stir until sugar is melted and water starts to bubble – about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before using. You can store it for up to a month in a container in the fridge.
  2. On a plate, sprinkle about 1-2 tsp of sugar or salt. Using a cut piece of lime, press around the rim of your class to wet the edges, then dip the rim into your sugar or salt. Set aside.
  3. In a shaker, add your ice – about 7-8 cubes. Then add your tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and simple syrup.
  4. Shake, and pour into your glass, adding more ice if preferred. Add a wedge of lime for garnish, if preferred.

You can adjust the ratio to your preference, but this hits right every time 🙂

To make a larger batch, double, triple, etc the recipe.

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

 

 

Cheddar Old Bay Biscuits (with vegan options!)

Hey everyone!

So…. Last time I wrote, the world was normal, I was busy, and stuff was all status quo. Since then, a wild novel coronavirus has infiltrated every corner of the earth, I am stuck at home along with nearly 7.8 billion other people, watching Tiger King, praying I find toilet paper somewhere, and waiting for off-hours to log into my work computer because of network volumes. I am grateful to have a safe place to be, but I’d be lying if I said this was peaches and cream.

I’ve had a LOT of time on my hands in the last 3 weeks…. So why wouldn’t I take the time to post about food!??!

To be completely, honest, I’ve been down. I have been cooking a ton, but I haven’t been enjoying it all that much. I’ve felt guilty when I indulgently dump more shredded cheddar into a bowl (that I normally wouldn’t even eat), wondering if I should be more aware that I’ve still got a paycheck and should be more responsible with my resources. I go to the grocery store, holding my breath (literally) hoping that there’s vegetables there that I can think clearly enough to buy what I need and how to make it last so I’m not out and about, unnecessarily. I’ve left messes in my house, making me quite uncomfortable, so that I have “something to do” a few hours later in cleaning it up.

But it’ll get better – I am alive, healthy (as far as I know, for now), and I have luxuries that I still need to be appreciative of. Having said that, I am going to try to continue posting recipes to my blog, but with more awareness that right now, we’re all just doing the best we can. They may not be paleo, they may not be vegan or gluten free, but hopefully it gives you some inspiration to pass some time and think of everything we do still have until we can all frolic around town like a Disney movie and hug the townspeople.

If you have these things around and can tolerate a bit more lax of a diet, try out this treat for some normalcy, and to make friends with your quarantine buddies. Mine’s my dog, and she’ll eat anything….. but these will still please a picky eater!

Also, pardon this crappy picture of biscuits. Resources are a little stressed, and I ate the rest of them…. 🙂

*4/8/2020 note…. I just looked at my measurements, and they were super super wrong… like ‘worst typo ever’ wrong. Please see below for updated measurements!

Cheddar Old Bay Biscuits! (with vegan options!)

 

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 15 min

Makes 6-8 biscuits

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Old Bay seasoning, or a pinch more if you like zest
  • ½ cup cold salted butter (cut into cubes), plus ¼ cup melted butter – vegan butter is fine
  • 3/4 to 1 cup milk (non dairy is fine!)
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar (vegan is fine)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh, or dried parsley

(note: if you have Bisquick, you can swap the flour, baking powder, salt, cold salted butter and sugar for 2 cups of Bisquick and ¼ cup of melted butter)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  2. Pour the flour, baking powder, sugar, garlic powder, and 1 tsp of Old Bay seasoning in a food processor, then add the cold butter and pulse until the butter is chopped into small pieces. If a food processor isn’t available, mix the dry ingredients thoroughly by hand, then mixing the butter in by hand, pressing the dry mix into the butter thoroughly. (If using Bisquick, mix the Bisquick in a bowl with the garlic powder, Old Bay and melted butter and stir).
  3. Next, pour in the milk and shredded cheddar, then mix to combine. The mixture should be easily breakable by hand, somewhat sticky, neither runny or dry and crumbly. Add more flour or milk (or Bisquick) accordingly to achieve this consistency, if needed.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, or grease a foil-lined sheet. Use a scoop to place even portions of biscuit  (approximately 1/3 cup) batter onto the baking sheets, two inches apart.
  5. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes, or until golden.
  6. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining melted butter and parsley together for the biscuit tops. Once the biscuits come out of the oven, brush them with melted butter.

 

Enjoy!

-S

Nacho Kale Chips (Paleo, Vegan!)

Today’s the first day of school!

I don’t have kids, so the only reason this is significant to me is because traffic gets heavier and there are school buses everywhere. I get into my job very early in an attempt to miss work traffic, but I end up getting caught in school traffic. Always something. 

Ok – so having said that, I’ve been using any bit of spare time to create recipe ideas for fall, because Labor Day is coming. Soon it will be socially acceptable to turn into a pumpkin and sprinkle cinnamon and cloves on everything I touch. Can’t WAIT! I don’t drink caffeine if I can help it so I am not a pumpkin spice latte kind of girl, but I have already started buying sweaters and writing down recipes for soups, stews and things you can make in the oven. We’ve had a little taste of cooler weather recently and it’s been lovely. I even have a hair appointment next week for lowlights for cooler weather. When I say I am ready, I aint lyin’.

So, a lot of my posts are centric around the moon – I wanted to take this time to mention this coming Friday’s “Super Moon” new moon. The moon is something unanimously understood, even if it at a really basic level. I would imagine that not nearly as many people are going to relate to the fact that this new moon is conjunct with Mars, or that the Sun and Mars trine Uranus. While it’s significant, the moon is a universal touchpoint for people to understand astrological or cosmic influence and have it be relatable. New moons represent new beginnings – this one is considered a “super moon” because of how close (and large) it will be, though we won’t be able to see it that well if at all. Similar to the recent full moon, this particular phase is aligned similarly – an abundance of creativity because there’s a lot of masculine and feminine energy from surrounding planet alignments. Laymen’s terms – start something fun! Pick up a new healthy habit, start a craft, or kick off a project you’ve been meaning to get to. 

Switching gears. I’ve been doing recipes with a plan recently, trying to get the last of summer. I had one initially planned but then I decided to buy another giant bunch of kale, forgetting I already had one at home. What does one do when they have too much kale? Since I can’t give it to my dog (FYI, y’all – kale is high in calcium oxalate which can cause kidney stones in dogs), I was just going to make a bunch of salads and give them all away. Then it dawned it me. I’m going to make kale chips.

I love kale chips, but let’s be honest. They’re expensive when you buy them. They break and crumble. Oh, also – I am sort of cheap. Why am I paying $8 for a box of kale crumbs? I definitely should be able to make these? So it took about 14 seconds to decide that I wanted nacho kale chips. Vegan nacho kale chips. 

These were really easy, I was surprised. There wasn’t a whole lot of experimenting, so I think I lucked out here. They turned out delicious. Next time you want to buy 2 huge bunches of kale, keep this recipe in the back of your mind!

 

Nacho Kale Chips (Paleo, Vegan!)

 

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of kale, ribs removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more if needed

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet or two with foil and spray, or use parchment paper to line the sheet.
  1. In a small mixing bowl, add your tahini and spices. Whisk your oil in, slowly. Mixture should be thinner than straight tahini but not quite runny. Add more olive oil in if needed, 1 tsp at a time to get the right consistency. Adjust flavors to taste – it should be pretty zesty with a noticeably salty flavor. 
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add your kale (ensuring it’s dry first!). Drizzle your dressing over the kale. With clean or gloved hands, thoroughly mix the kale, pressing the dressing into the leaves to break them down.
  1. On your cookie sheet(s), spread your kale out in an even single layer, ensuring pieces aren’t overlapped.
  1. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until thoroughly crispy but not burnt.

Enjoy!

-S

Restaurant-Style Spicy Mayo (Paleo, with Vegan option!)

We’re in a heat wave. 

This is about that time of year where I’ve gotten my summer vacations out of the way, and my next low-key excitement is buying sweaters from WHBM… so I get tired of the heat pretty quickly. My birthday is in the fall and as much as I try to hide my love for all things pumpkin, I really just can’t. Mums, pumpkins, sweaters, apples, pumpkins next to mums, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, roasting veggies while wearing a sweater and drinking Punkin Ale, arranging mums while stacking pumpkins while drinking a Punkin Ale, more pumpkins, ugh. It’s too good. Now that I think of it, 2 years ago I bought mums way too early and they just chose to leave me and die because of the heat. After replacing them twice, I decided I need more patience.

We aren’t there yet! It’s still hot, and I still have nice people bringing me fruit, tomatoes, peppers, etc from their gardens. A lady gave me a zucchini the other day the size of a baby. Little hot peppers, cute little radishes, herbs – I should appreciate this time of year more than I do. Having said that, a lot of this stuff translates well into different types of cuisines. Mexican food? Dice those tomatoes and make some guac. Jalapenos? Make a fun sauce. Lots of parsley, basil and cilantro? Make chimichurri! With all good end-of-summer recipes though, you need a good sauce. Fish tacos, roasted veggies, burgers, sandwiches, you need something to bring the heat and complement your food.

You know that delicious spicy mayo they make at sushi restaurants? That sauce that has just the right amount of flavor, and if you’re feeling sassy you order like 2 sides of it? Well, good news! I made a recipe that is probably nothing close to what they’re actually making, but it tastes pretty darn close and is easy to make. Put it on everything. This also puts that huge jar of Mother In Law’s Gochugaru Chili Flakes you may have bought for my last recipe to good use. I actually smothered those Cajun Artichoke Turkey Burgers with this spicy mayo and my chimichurri sauce in a lettuce wrap and a slice of grilled red onion. Yum 🙂

Restaurant-Style Spicy Mayo (Paleo, with Vegan option!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: n/a

Makes ~1 cup

Ingredients

  • ¾ Paleo-friendly mayo, or Veganaise
  • ¼ cup Sriracha, adjust for heat preference. Get the chicken-bottle stuff, keep it authentic 🙂
  • 1 tsp coconut aminos (soy sauce, if not strict paleo)
  • 1 tsp paleo-friendly Worcestershire-style sauce – I like Primal Kitchen’s Steak Sauce. Annie’s also makes a vegan Worcestershire sauce (or use regular, if you aren’t strict)
  • 1 tsp gochugaru chili flakes

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Easy peasy.

Can be stored in the fridge for as long as the expiration date on your mayo says – I doubt it’ll last that long because you’ll definite eat it all!

 

Enjoy!

-S

Chimichurri Sauce (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free, EVERYTHING)

I’m a little late on posting this. And, by a little, I mean a lot. I really wanted to post it last Wednesday, but time got away from me.

So! This most recent full moon (in Aquarius) was directly opposite of Venus, which calls love and relationships front and center and puts you directly in front of whatever you’ve been facing in the background. Because of how strong this position is, until the new moon, ensure that important decisions you make are done so with logic and understanding, and not just emotion. The open window for opportunity is also here, so if there’s something to shake up and change, now would be the time.

That’s one thing I like to think about when it’s a full moon. I look at new moons as though they’re a beginning to a new chapter, and full moons as sort of a “pulse check” to make sure your intentions are where they should be by shining literal and figurative light on everything around you.

So about those turkey burgers I posted last week. It seems a lot of people were as jazzed about them as I was, which is always awesome. I definitely need to share with you this sauce concoction I made while I was at the beach. It’s called Chimichurri sauce – most often found in South American food, I’ve seen it served with steak. Personally, I’d eat it on everything and anything. When I’ve had it before, it’s been a bit more heavy on the oil, so I lightened it up this time and while the texture/consistency is different, I HIGHLY recommend keeping this on hand pretty much all the time. Put it on your breakfast, put it on your burger, put it on your chicken, your tacos, your fish, anything you’re eating, this pretty much takes what you’re eating from a 2 to like an 11. Delicious. Make it your own, too – my version has some zip to it, but you can change yours up to add whatever other common herbs you have on hand too (oregano, mint, etc).

Chimichurri Sauce (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free, EVERYTHING)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: n/a

 

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of cilantro, stems removed
  • 2 handfuls of fresh basil
  • 1 large bunch of fresh parsley, stems removed

(at this point, I should be honest, you don’t need specific ratios, just a medium sized mixing bowl filled with fresh herbs… just go heavy on the parsley)

  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/3 of a red or yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp gochugaru chili flakes (I like Mother In Law’s Korean Chili Flakes)
  • Sea salt, to taste (I used ~1 tsp)

 

Directions

  1. In a food processor, add your herbs, garlic and onion. Start blending, slowly pouring in your olive oil until you achieve a thinner consistency.
  2. Once the herbs are finely blended, add your lime juice, salt and chili flakes. Continue to blend. The consistency should be thin, almost runny, but not watery.
  3. Do a quick taste test – this should be herby but not taste like a mouth full of grass… it should be tangy, salty and flavorful. Add more lime juice, chili flakes or salt if needed, and blend for another 10-15 seconds.
  4. Serve and enjoy! I keep mine in the fridge for up to 5 days after. It may slightly dull in color over time but it’s still tasty, don’t worry!

-S

Orange Ginger Kale salad (Paleo, Vegan!)

Hello, my food-loving friends! This week is especially exciting for me for a few reasons. Let’s break this down:

It’s a new moon on July 31st, which is quite fitting for me at the moment. New starts, new opportunities (and a pair of new shoes that should be coming in the mail that day….). So this particular one aligns conjunct with Venus and square with Uranus, so… to all my hetero friends, be kind to your significant others. You’re likely going to want to roundhouse kick someone, and the battling masculine and feminine energy of this alignment is all it’s going to take for someone to get sassy. Also – with this confusion and battling balance between yin and yang energy, try not to impulse-buy or make major decisions without really thinking things through.

Let’s start with my upcoming vacay. I’ll be off this Friday for a week, spending some time down at the beach with friends. SOOOO excited. Against my better judgment, I’ll be laying around like a baked potato by the pool, cooking, enjoying some fun time with friends. I have a ton of new recipes and several willing taste-testers, so be on the lookout on my Instagram (@thedivinekitchen) to see what I’ll be cooking and doing.

Side note, as I’ve typed this, I need to share those shoes I bought. I’m a huge fan of Athleta, and I love those funky-looking Sorel Kinetic sneakers they use a lot in their ads. They’re edgy, different and apparently super comfortable. I’ve had my eye on them for about 2 years, but as a shoe-holic and sneaker junkie as it is, I figured I didn’t need a pair of play sneakers. Then, I saw Zappos was having a sale, and then a sale on top of a sale… so you bet your buns I caved and bought them. Go check them out and grab a pair while they’re still marked down! Link here.

Now, onto the real excitement. I found out on Friday that I’ve qualified as a finalist in the Mushroom Festival’s Amateur Cook Off! The mushroom festival is a town festival in my hometown of Kennett Square, PA,  hosted to  celebrate our town’s claim to fame as the mushroom capital of the world. The winner wins some cash, bragging rights, and a ticket to the World Food Championships to compete again. Wow, talk about nerves! I never signed up for the show “Chopped” because it seems terrifying, and here I am trying to win and go to the World Food Championships. Ayeyeye. Maybe one step closer to being on the Food Network, my Guy-Fieri inspired outdoor kitchen, and having the horse farm of my dreams.

My recipe is required to have mushrooms and this year’s sponsor item, Scaramuzza pasta. I will be making Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage, Pancetta and Mushroom in a garlic cream sauce. not paleo, but definitely tasty. I think I’ll be doing a lot of mushroom recipes as it gets closer to the festival so you guys can really appreciate mushroom recipes that aren’t weird. After all, it’s a fungi…. Eating fungus sounds gross in theory but mushroom recipes are delicious.

All of that being said (and switching gears to something a lollbit healthier), try this delicious salad that’ll serve a crowd with some in-season summer goodies. Yum!

Orange Ginger Kale salad (Paleo, Vegan!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 15-20 min for kale to absorb dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 head of kale, ribs/stems removed, loosely chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • dried white craisins
  • optional for non-paleo or non-vegans – 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

For the dressing

  • juice of one orange, plus zest
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp champagne vinegar

Directions

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, add your dressing ingredients and allow to flavors to infuse. Set aside.
  2. Add your kale to a large bowl.
  3. Stir your dressing once more, and pour through a fine strainer to catch the garlic and ginger chunks (no one wants an entire mouthful of garlic in a refreshing salad!)
  4. Stir to combine and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes, mixing gently every few minutes to let the dressing break the kale down a bit.
  5. Once ready to serve, add your pecans, shallot and goat cheese, if using.

Enjoy!

-S

Crispy Roasted Plantains with Cilantro Lime Aioli (Paleo, Vegan!)

Hey y’all!

It’s definitely been a while, I know I need to make an effort to post more. I’ve been cooking, I’ve just been terrible about documenting everything. Some fun stuff, some un-fun stuff, busy with work, the whole nine. I’m headed to the beach late next week, followed by a trip to Philly to see KHALID! (thanks work!), and I plan to just eat… NON STOP. I’ll have to fit some running in there, I think.

Guess what today is! It’s the start of Leo.  Where are my LEO’s at?! A lot of people near and dear to my heart are born under this sign, and I definitely feel a complete shift in energy, for the better. Interesting about this particular time is that when we are dead in the middle of this fixed Fire sign, there’s a lot more intensity, energy, creativity and overall happiness. People are back in their element. I like that, because all of those warm-weather summer projects are calling. Oh, and that intense heatwave is done, so I no longer have to carry my giant dog across the pavement to the grass for her to go to the bathroom.  It’ll only get better when mercury retrograde is done on July 31, when all the confusion and A.D.D.  slows down.

Let’s get to it! Who loves to dip stuff into..stuff? I do. My latest obsession is plantains. They’re the older brother of the banana… less sweet, starchier, can go sweet or savory. Though I feel like I’ll never live down the nasty, bouncy-ball, chewy charcoal briquette plantain slices I made a few months ago, my tribe… they’re good sports. They’ll try these again.

The key to making this dish is RIPE plantains. Borderline brown. Slice them down the middle, gently, and carefully peel them. They’re just so wonderful.

 

Crispy Roasted Plantains with Cilantro Lime Aioli (Paleo, Vegan!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 40 min

 

Ingredients

  • 3 large plantains, peeled, sliced into ½ inch pieces on a diagonal
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • sprinkle of onion powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the aioli

  • 2/3 cup paleo or vegan friendly mayo – i like soy-free Vegenaise
  • juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • 1 small garlic glove, pressed or finely minced
  • 1 heaping tbsp of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • pinch of Himalayan salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

 

Directions

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of ghee. Once up to temperature, add plantains, spacing evenly. Sauté until golden brown on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side. Use your remaining tbsp of ghee once you flip the plantains to the 2nd side, to ensure a consistent golden brown crust.
  2. As plantains are cooking, mix together your aioli ingredients and add to a small serving bowl.
  3. Once plantains are thoroughly cooked, tender and brown on both sides, transfer to a paper-towel covered plate to drain excess oil. Serve immediately while still hot.
  4. Garnish with cilantro, lime and one last dusting of salt.

 

Enjoy!

-S

Arugula-Quinoa Salad with Lime Vinaigrette (Vegan, Gluten-Free!)

Mondays. It’s sort of warm out, but it’s also sort of cloudy and a little sad. I’ve been perpetually hungry, too, so I’ve been trying to eat a lot more protein as I try to run more. Finding alternatives to animal sources of protein has been kinda hard since my go-to is usually chicken, but I’ve been wanting to incorporate a more plant-based approach to my diet.

 

A few weeks ago, I had seen this recipe on one of those facebook videos. I usually scroll past them as they are typically fried, filled with cheese, beef, or weird combinations of meat. Don’t get me wrong, I love bacon…. But I don’t want to wrap a chicken breast loaf stuffed with Babybel cheeses wrapped in ham and ketchup. Exaggeration? Yes. But only a little, which is kind of gross.

 

When I planned to make the salad, I was making my weekly Sunday Dinner. Since we already had a meat, I didn’t want meat in my salad, too. I actually swapped out the meat (which I think was seafood) for quinoa, and it was a welcome substitute. I don’t go out of my way to make quinoa because unless it’s really dressed up, it sort of tastes like shit. This has a lot of really great flavors, fun textures, and it keeps in the fridge really nicely when you have leftovers. Let’s just jump right into it. This salad isn’t the most beautiful dish on the table, but it sure does taste good!

 

Arugula-Quinoa Salad with Lime Vinaigrette (Vegan, Gluten-Free!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 15 min (plus cooling time)

 

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup dry quinoa (yields about 2.5-3 cups cooked)
  • 1 pkg (~10oz) of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 avocados, cut into 1/2 in cubes
  • 1 mango, diced into 1/2 in cubes
  • 1 cucumber, seeds and skin removed, diced into 1/2 in cubes
  • 2 heaping cups of arugula, roughly chopped
  • 1 big handful of cilantro, chopped

 

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed or very finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Optional (not vegan!) – Feta, to taste

 

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, heat 2 cups of water and 1 tsp sea salt  until boiling – add your quinoa and turn heat down to low. Simmer until quinoa is softened and water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, add to a bowl to cool, and fluff with a fork occasionally to let the heat out. You can also do this step ahead and refrigerate your quinoa.
  1. While your quinoa is cooking, combine your halved tomatoes, chopped onion, diced avocadoes, diced mango, diced cucumber, cilantro and arugula in a bowl. Gently mix to combine, careful not to mash the avocado.
  1. Next, mix your dressing ingredients together in a large bowl, whisking until emulsified. If it separates while you’re preparing your dish, whisk to combine just before using.
  1. Once your quinoa is cooled, fluff with a fork once more and add to your mixing bowl, along with your dressing. Gently stir again to combine, careful so as to not crush the avocado.

Serve, and enjoy!

-S

French Onion Gnocchi Casserole (Paleo, with Vegan option!)

Happy Thursday!

 

These weeks go flying by sometimes. I swore it was just Sunday, then it was Tuesday, and now the week is pretty much over. I like when the weekend comes quickly, but sometimes I wish it would just slow down.

 

I also can’t wait for warmer weather. Being able to comfortably run outside and walk my dog in a t shirt will be so nice — I also can’t wait to cook outside. All these spring recipe ideas are coming to me, including spicy seafood… AH I’m so excited.

 

Making posts short these days, I want to make sure you guys have allllll that you need to make delicious food as the days countdown to summer. HOWEVER, there are still a few days in the forecast here in the Northeast that are a bit chilly and rainy. This recipe is perfect for that, making a variation of one of my favorites – French Onion Soup.  Best of all? While it’s made with beef broth, you could definitely sub vegetable broth  to make it vegan. AND, this is a quicker option than most recipes, since you can use something that’s already pre-made. Casserole for everyone!

 

 

French Onion Gnocchi Casserole (Paleo, with Vegan option!)

 

prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 90 min (total)

 

Ingredients

  • 2 bags of Trader Joes cauliflower gnocchi (or your own paleo-friendly homemade recipe)
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 2 cups organic beef broth (sub equal amount of vegetable broth, plus a tsp of tamari sauce if making vegan alternative!)
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • your preferred cooking fat (I used avocado oil)
  • optional (NOT paleo or vegan): 1 cup shredded provolone cheese

 

Directions

  1. In a large frying pan, add a tbsp of your preferred cooking oil over medium heat. Add your gnocchi, spreading in a single layer so they cook evenly. Stir frequently to prevent them from burning, until browned – about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  1. In the same frying pan, add the remaining tbsp of oil over medium low heat. Add your sliced onions and stir occasionally, adding a pinch of salt and pepper. The key here is to let these go slooooow over looooow heat, for about an hour — this will let them caramelize properly (I can hear my sister Lauren reading this, nodding in agreement). Add more oil if needed, you definitely don’t want them to dry out.
  1. After your onions reach a deep dark brown color, Add your gnocchi back to your pan, along with your garlic, thyme and parsley, turning up to medium heat. Continue to sauté for another 4-5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Add your beef broth, continuing to simmer as the beef broth reduces.
  1. As your gnocchi and onion simmer, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2 quart (11x7in or similar) dish.
  1. Once your gnocchi and onion mixture has thickened, add to your Pyrex dish. If using, sprinkle your cheese across.
  1. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes. Once finished, remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.

 

Enjoy!

-S