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

Caribbean Party Rice (Vegan, Gluten-Free!)

Hey foodies. Half way through another week and the moon is now in Libra! To be honest, I don’t know that this would necessarily influence my life to the point where I stop and point it out to myself, but it’s nice to think about. I like to think that, similar to my actual birthday month, that this is my own little dedicated “me!” time, or that I should meditate or do more yoga during this time.

 

I made a really fun dinner this past Sunday — I was inspired by the super bright and sunny day we had on Saturday and decided to make a Caribbean themed dinner. All I wanted was bright colors, spicy and earthy flavors, and… pineapple.

 

I have a love/hate relationship with pineapple. It really does have a great flavor, but the texture is enough to make me gag and immediately spit it out. I think this stems back to my older sister force-feeding me pineapples after a stomach bug as a child. I’ll never fully recover.

 

That doesn’t stop me from enjoying little bits of it every now and again though. While I used the majority of the pineapple in the rest of my recipes, I added a little dash to this dish. I saw a jerk spiced rice recipe with beans in it, but I wanted this to be a bit more fun and colorful. 

 

Caribbean Party Rice (Vegan, Gluten-Free!)

 

prep time: 30 min

cook time: 30 min

Serves 6-8

 

Ingredients

 

  • 2.5 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 13oz can of coconut milk
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, finely chopped, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 large jalapeno, finely chopped, seeds and ribs removed
  • 3 stalks of scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts added
  • 1.5 to 2 tsp of sea salt (to taste – I love salt but tend to intentionally under salt)
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

 

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, add your coconut milk, cloves, cayenne pepper, pineapple juice, water and rice. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cover. allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, checking to ensure rice is not stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir, check that it’s cooked (should be soft, no al dente rice!) and allow to air out, fluffing as it dries.
  1. Meanwhile, as you’re waiting for the rice to cook, add your bell pepper, red onion and garlic to a large frying pan with your preferred cooking fat, over medium heat. Sauté until onion stars to become translucent, about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add your garlic and continue to sauté for another 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat until you’re able to add your rice (if it isn’t finished cooking).
  1. Once your rice has finished cooking, add it to your skillet, over a medium low heat. Add your fresh jalapenos and stir, adding additional seasoning if desired. Don’t be afraid to kick up the spices in this one — if you want flavorful rice, you must be generous with your spices!
  1. Continue sautéing until rice is thoroughly mixed, brought back to temperature and browned in some spots. Once finished, remove from heat and stir in your cilantro. Serve immediately.

 

Enjoy!

-S

Pierogies with Roasted Onions (Paleo!)

Happy Monday! I am delighted to have a few recipes to share with you all in the next coming days. I’ve been cooking quite a bit, have a lot of healthy recipes on deck, and have been inspired to make even more stuff.

Let’s start with this week. One exciting thing happening os the Full Moon on Friday, and how the moon will be in LIBRA. I, as a Libra, adore this. Why, you ask? I didn’t think i actually knew — I just knew that my little lunar astrological planner (visit www.magicofi.com if you want one!), I saw that Friday was a special Full Moon and I immediately got excited.

 

Well, here’s why that was. So, what officially is this particular moon? We are in Pisces, and this is a Full Moon positioned at 29 degrees, putting it in Libra. I know i’ve been itching for change. This has also really brought to light any emotional or supportive imbalances in relationships, so this particular moon calls for more patience and compassion when dealing with folks flying off their handle. The concept of the Libra sign is balance – what would that look like in your life at the moment, more balance? How do you view your interactions with others — do you find you’ve been giving a lot of energy up at your own expense to help others? Or is the opposite true — have you been stressed, calling for more than you may intend to from your  friends and loved ones? This particular Full Moon is a good oppportunity to evaluate it all, allow yourself to see where things are falling short, and to take action to bring more balance into your life. The spotlight is now on relationships that may need more attention to help them grow, or perhaps they no longer serve you and you need to cut the cord.

 

Gosh, this talk about balancing my life makes me hungry. Let’s talk food. specifically, let’s talk pierogies.

 

Do you know how much i like pierogies? I can remember my uncle (dad’s brother) and aunt making her old family recipes, hundreds of pierogies at a time. They were so delicious… indulgent, too. Tradtionally, you boil them. Once college came around and I had to get my fix without slaving away in the kitchen, Mrs. T’s in a frying pan became the go-to.

 

In my pursuit to make this gluten free and still indulgent, I came up with THIS. I was inspired by a jamaican beef patty recipe a friend made for her Celiac son, and I figured it could cross over into pierogie-land. While nothing truly beats the fresh taste of flour with potatoes and cheesy goodness, this is a great take on one of my childhood favorites. Bon Appetit 🙂

 

Pierogies with Roasted Onions (Paleo!)

Prep time: 40 min

Cook time: 20 min

Makes about 30 3-inch pierogies

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 cups cassava flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2/3 cup water, plus more if needed (dough can dry out)
  • sea salt, to taste (i used about 1/2 tsp)

For the filling:

  • 1 lb organic potatoes, peeled
  • ~ 1/2 cup cashew milk, or more if needed
  • 1 tsp of ghee, or grassfed butter
  • generous salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
    •  1 egg, whisked

    Directions

    1. In a saucepan, add potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 30-35 minutes. Drain, mash, and add your remaining filling ingredients, adding additional seasonings if desired. set aside.
    1. For the dough, crack TWO of your eggs into a medium sizzed mixing bowl. Add your water, and sea salt. Whisk to thoroughly combine.
    1. Slowly add your flour until it is fully mixed, stirring along the way. If dough is not pliable, add a tsp of water at a time until it is thick and sticky, but flexible. Use your hands to mold the dough into a ball. cut the dough in half, rolling together. Cut each piece in half again, so that you have four separate dough balls. Place the remaining dough in the bowl and cover with a warm/wet towel to prevent the dough from drying until used.
    1. On a dry flat surface, add a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle some cassava flour over it, spreading it evenly. Place your first dough ball and roll out until dough is approximately 1/8 inch thick.
    1. Using a biscuit cutter or rim of a drinking glass (at least 3in. in diameter), cut dough into circles and set aside on another piece of parchment paper. Continue with remaining dough balls until remaining dough is used.
    1. In a small bowl, whisk your remaining egg. If the egg is not runny, add a tsp of water to ensure the right consistency.
    1. Place a small amount of mashed potato filling in the center of each dough round. Be sure to leave about a quarter inch around the edge of the round to seal. Brush the edge of each seal with some egg mixture, and then gently folder the dough circle in half, pinching the edges together to form a semi circle. You may use a fork to gently press them together, if you’d like. Once assembled, transfer to a plate and cover with plastic wrap to prevent them from further drying out.
    1. Once all made, bring a large stock pot filled with water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Place the pierogi in the boiling water — only a handful at a time so they are not crowded. When they float to the top, continue boiling for another 10-12 minutes. Test one to see if the dough is cooked — it should resemble firmly cooked pasta. Once cooked, remove from heat with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain and dry.
    1. There are some that will sprinkle a pinch of salt over them at this point and eat them just like this. I like to saute mine next 🙂
    1. If you’re good at multitasking, you can cook your onions separately, while your pierogies are boiling. Add a tbsp of ghee or grassfed butter to a large frying pan over medium low heat. Add your sliced onion and saute, slowly, over low heat, stirring to prevent burning. add a pinch of salt and cook until starting to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
      To the same pan, add another tbsp of ghee or grassfed butter, over medium heat. Add your pierogies in a singer layer, cooking in batches of necessary. Brown on both sides until crisp, about 5-6 minutes each side. Add your onions to the pan to bring back to temperature and meld the flavors.
  • Serve immediately – enjoy!
  • -S

    BBQ Cauliflower “Wings” (Paleo, with vegan option!)

    Happy Monday!

    I don’t know how the weekend went so fast, but it was MUCH needed. Though it was technically a short week last week due to Monday being off and Wednesday being a snow day, it felt like the longest week ever. I’m ready for another vacation. While I was home on Wednesday, I got to experiment a bit with some really good  BBQ recipes. Example – cauliflower.

    Yes, you read that right.

    No, it isn’t gross. 

    No, you shouldn’t tell picky eaters what it is until after they eat it.

    They were like cute little  boneless wings, all crispy and delicious. If I made them again, I’d definitely tweak a few things… so here is my recommendation!

     

    BBQ Cauliflower “Wings” (Paleo, with vegan option!)

    prep time: 30 min

    Cook time: 45-50 min total

    Ingredients

    For the cauliflower:

    • 1 small head of cauliflower florets, trimmed into bite-size but still somewhat large pieces
    • 1 cup of tapioca flour
    • 2 tsp salt, divided
    • 2 tsp garlic powder, divided
    • ½ tsp chili powder
    • ½ tsp black pepper
    • 3 eggs (vegan option: 1 tbsp flax meal, pinch of salt and 3 tbsp hot water, stirred thoroughly)
    • 3/4 cup almond flour
    • 1/4 cup cassava flour
    • 1 tsp dried parsley

    For the BBQ sauce:

    • 2/3 cup organic ketchup
    • ¼ cup sriracha sauce
    • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
    • 1 tsp maple syrup
    • ½ tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • ¼ tsp cayenne powder
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions

    1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In three separate mixing bowls, add your tapioca flour with a tsp of salt to one bowl, your eggs (or flax egg mixture) to another, and then your almond flour, cassava flour, tsp of salt and parsley to the last one. Make sure the contents of each bowl are mixed thoroughly.
    1. Dredge your cauliflower first in your tapioca flour, tapping to dust off any excess, but not too hard so that all the flour comes off. Next, dip into your egg/”egg” mixture, thoroughly coating. Lastly, dredge your piece of cauliflower in your almond flour/breadcrumb mixture. Place on a greased/lined baking sheet spaced evenly apart, and repeat for the rest of the cauliflower pieces. Once finished, bake until golden brown, about 35-40 minutes.
    1. Meanwhile, as your cauliflower is baking, add your ketchup, vinegar, sugar, maple syrup, paprika, garlic, cayenne and onion powder to a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Once brought to a boil, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer and thicken for 15-20 minutes. Test for salt/pepper needed, and add to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
    1. Once your cauliflower is cooked, remove from heat and add to a large mixing bowl.  Set your oven to broil. Generously brush your sauce over the cauliflower bites in the bowl, gently stirring to coat. Once coated, add back to your baking sheet, spreading into a single layer, evenly spaced.
    1. Broil until cauliflower starts to crisp again. Remove from heat, and serve.

     

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Watermelon Salad with Feta, Basil and Mint (Keto-Friendly!)

    We’re having a cold spell recently… and I don’t hate it. There’s something about sweating before you even leave the house that just seems wrong. my dog is happier, I can wear better outfits to work…. it just works out better.

    Now that I’m so close to a dog park for the summer, I take Sydney and walk over to the park so she can make friends and  get some exercise. She is so out of shape… that makes two of us (at least cardio). I probably couldn’t run for longer than 5-10 minutes at this point, but it’s probably worth it to start. There was at least two dozen dogs in and out of the dog field, and Sydney made a bunch of new friends.

    I am also ready to eat some more garden food!!! All my little herblets are growing so well, I’m so excited. We had an abundance of basil in a giant flowerpot so I wanted to make something fresh like caprese… I just didn’t have mozzarella. Use what you got, yo. I’ll put a jalapeno in anything, it’s just the best. I’m not a big fan of feta cheese, but it definitely has the right briny flavor to make this salad work with the sweet watermelon and spicy jalapeno.

    Short and sweet. Enjoy this recipe!

    Watermelon Salad with Feta, Basil and Mint (Keto-Friendly!)

    prep time: 20 min

    cook time: n/a

    serves 6-8

    Ingredients

    • 3 cups of semi-ripe watermelon, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
    • 1 large beefsteak tomato, diced into small pieces
    • 2 small English cucumbers, peeled and diced into small pieces
    • 1/3 cup of feta, small crumbles, plus more if desired
    • 1 large jalapeno, minced, ribs seeds and stems removed
    • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
    • 1 tbsp of fresh mint, chopped
    • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • pinch Himalayan sea salt

    Directions

    1. Combine all fresh ingredients in a large bowl. Mix gently, so as to not bruise or break the watermelon and tomato.
    2. Drizzle with balsamic, adding more if desired. Season with a pinch of sea salt.

    Best served right away, or brought to room temperature (to catch all the flavors!)

    Enjoy 🙂

    -S

    Cabbage, White Bean and Potato Hash (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

    Happy St Patrick’s Day!

    This holiday is a strange tradition in that it’s celebrated widely, but few truly know its origins (ok, so I guess it’s not that strange).

    The day is to commemorate Patrick, who was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Though his mission and praise is widely accepted in the Christian community (obviously), I wanted to point out a few key things.

    Typically, when people think of St. Patrick’s Day, they see it as celebration of Irish pride, acceptance of immigrant culture and supporting diversity. That’s a beautiful avenue to take this holiday through. However, St. Patrick’s Day is actually a day of religious observance, especially within the Catholic Church in Ireland. St. Patrick is credited with the conversion of “thousands” of Irish Pagans to Christianity, steering them away from what appeared to be a life of sin and toil. A little bit of background on the Paganism, shall we?

    By now, I suppose a few of you are feeling that Catholic guilt, by even reading on about what Paganism is. I know I did when I first learned of it. But really, what’s the issue with someone holding different beliefs than you, that are more rooted in nature (pun intended)? And that’s perfectly fine – Christians and other mainstream religions are often brought up to equate Paganism with a sense of hedonism, impurity, or without fear of holy reprisal. If that’s what you’re taught, it’s really all you know, right? Well…. let’s reconsider.

    Interestingly enough, Paganism is a blanket term for any religion not recognized as “mainstream”. Pagan rituals typically focus on honoring a deity or deities rather than complete devotion; observing natural patterns such as seasonal changes, moon phases and lifetime rites of passage. They feast, honor nature through ceremonies, and incorporate the earth and its offerings into almost everything they do. Sounds harmless, right? Well, it is. Check your pre-conceived notions at the door and do some googling – if you find yourself eye-rolling as you read, you’re denying yourself and your soul the opportunity to learn and see something different.

    Much like anything else deemed “abnormal”, or weird, I think we’ve ignored a lot of what originates from Pagan tradition and how a lot of modern religions honor this. Even what we know today, of Saints, religious symbolism within Christianity, isn’t so different. I think everyone has the God-given right to believe what they choose, and no one can take that away from them. What I think is even more important is that you also cannot take that away from anyone else, either. We live in a world with 7 BILLION+ other souls – and the idea that each one can see the same thing much differently is absolutely crazy, isn’t it?

    Moral of the story, I am not pro or anti- St Patrick’s Day. Some years I get into it, others I like to honor other sides of the traditions that it comes from. If you do decide to do some research today in honor of St Patrick’s Day. I hope you learn something that moves you, and drives you to be accepting of others. I hope that you can draw some correlation to how maybe we haven’t really lost touch with the roots of this holiday, but are celebrating it in spite of what it started out as. Again – believe what you choose, and be passionate about it. But there’s 7 billion seats at this dinner table, and everyone deserves to be there. Honor yourself by honoring others! 🙂

    *note: sources of this information are from my own education on these topics. If you would like to do research, please make sure you are relying on fact-based outlets, educational and scholarly articles, and moderated/unbiased media.

     

    Cabbage, White Bean and Potato Hash (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

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    prep time: 10 min

    cook time: 30 min

     

    Ingredients

    • 1 small head of green cabbage, sliced, core and large stems removed
    • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 1 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
    • 1 can of white kidney beans (cannellini), drained and rinsed
    • 3 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ in cubes
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • olive oil, for sautéing

     

    Directions

    1. In a large skillet, add your oil over medium heat. Add onion – sauté until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add your potatoes and cover, allowing to steam. Stir every few minutes and sauté until potatoes are slightly soft, about another 10 minutes or so. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
    2. Turn your heat to low. Add your cabbage and stir to mix – cover and let steam, stirring every few minutes. Once mixture is visibly wilted and browning in spots, add your beans. Stir to mix, and cover. Let cook for 2-3 minutes.
    3. Once mixture is thoroughly heated, remove lid and turn heat back to medium to allow the starches in the potatoes and beans to dry. Sauté for another 4-5 minutes and remove from heat. If you prefer crisp, continue to sauté until at your preferred level of browned cabbage and potatoes. Serve and enjoy! (Optional for non-Vegans – crumble some bacon over the top).

     

    🙂

    -S

     

    Best Guacamole Ever (Paleo, Vegan, everything)

    Happy March! What’s shakin’?

    I’ll tell you what. My house, this weekend. The wind was so bad in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic that people lost siding, shutters, roofs… no bueno. I made a few things in the last week, not all paleo/vegan but some yummy treats! Gluten free rice crispie treats, carne asada tacos, slaw, gluten free macaroni and cheese with pancetta…. The whole nine. I’ll get to food in a second, but I wanted to talk about March.

    Did you know the month is named after Mars? The planet, not so much. The Roman God of War, definitely. Things you think about when you think of March are battles, conquests, adventures…. random last minute snowstorms because mother nature is funny like that…. you know. Just the normal stuff.  Also, March used to be the very first month of the Roman calendar, which also aligned with new beginnings of Spring and the continuation of life from the prior year, or era. Remember how February had only a new moon and no full moon? That was the suppression of things to prepare for your new beginning. Those plans you carefully crafted last month? Jump on them now. With the brunt of things almost behind us, the latter part of March leaves us with light, easy living and smooth sailing. It is what you make of it, though. Care for your business now to lighten your load later this month. 🙂

    On to fun foodies. One thing that’s super important to parties, snack time, dinners etc is my guac. I’m not sure what about it makes it so special, but it’s probably my number 1 requested food when I have friends over. It’s simple, you can put it on anything… it’s all around just a good recipe to have on hand. Try it out! The one thing about making this recipe the best ever is really paying attention to the ingredients. You can use what you have on hand, but I like to find the perfect tomatoes, avocados, etc. Yum.

    Best Guacamole Ever (Paleo, Vegan, everything)

    Prep time: 15 min

    Cook time: n/a

    Ingredients

    • 5 pretty ripe but still bright green avocados
    • 1/3 of med-large red onion, -OR- 1 small-med yellow onion
    • 1 red bell pepper, diced into very small pieces
    • 2 ripe-but-not-too-mushy roma tomatoes (the oblong shaped ones), diced into small pieces
    • 1 large bunch of very fresh cilantro, finely chopped
    • juice of a half or whole lime, to taste
    • salt, to taste (I typically start with 1/2 tsp and  go from there)
    • pepper, to taste

    Directions

    1. In a large bowl, mash your avocados with a fork, gently. you don’t want to bruise them and turn them into complete mush.
    2. Next, stir in your tomatoes, gently folding them into the mix, including any juices from the cutting board. Now add your onion, and bell pepper. Stir in your cilantro, as well.
    3. Now add your pepper — just a pinch, and then your salt. Taste test every so often to gauge if you need more… some like their guac a bit more salty.
    4. Lastly, add your lime juice. The idea behind adding your salt before your lime juice is that the enzymes in the citrus react differently to salt, so your flavors are much more vibrant if the lime is added last. I have no idea if that’s really what’s happening, but it sounded nice when I heard it.
    5. Unless you have several hours until you serve your guac, cover with Saran wrap, pressing down against the guac to prevent any oxidation/turning brown. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes prior to serving. If serving within the hour, leave at room temperature to let the flavors meld.

    Enjoy!

    -S