Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Best Thanksgiving Cranberries Ever, invented by my Mom

My absolute FAVORITE thing to eat at Thanksgiving, maybe even more than turkey, is my Mom’s cranberries! They have been a staple at Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. Throughout the years she has tweaked it here and there, and has evolved into the ultimate most delicious cranberry recipe that ever was invented in the history of the world. I may be a little biased, but once you try them I think you will agree!
If anything, promise me you’ll never eat cranberries out of a can!
The final recipe tweak came last year, my first Thanksgiving eating Paleo, where my mom went out of her way to make an almost entirely Paleo feast so I could enjoy Thanksgiving during my first 30 Day Paleo Challenge. (yes, she’s really awesome like that) This is the recipe that stuck, I hope you enjoy!
By the way, this recipe is stupid easy, and if made the day before even BETTER because all the ingredients get to love up on each other and marinate and create bliss for your taste buds while you sleep.
12 oz bag of whole fresh cranberries (readily available this time of year but frozen/thawed will work fine too)
1 orange
1 large granny smith apple
½ cup of chopped walnuts
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup beet sugar
  1.  Using a food processor, pulse half of the bag of cranberries until they are chopped into small pieces. Place into a large bowl. Repeat with the rest of the bag and add to bowl.
  2.  Zest the entire orange over the bowl into the cranberries, then peel the orange and whizz in the food processor until completely liquefied/pulpy. Pour into bowl.
  3. Peel and chop the granny smith apple into small cubes. Place into bowl.
  4. Add walnuts, maple syrup, and beet sugar to bowl. Stir to combine.
  5. Cover and marinate in fridge for at least two hours, but up to a day ahead of time.
Enjoy! (I usually eat the leftovers for breakfast the next day until it’s all gone)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

One of the quintessential Thanksgiving side dishes is mashed potatoes. While I love those for a special occasion, I prefer mashed cauliflower on a regular basis. This recipe would be a perfect Paleo replacement on turkey day or whenever you are craving some serious comfort food. The soft, creamy texture is a perfect partner to turkey, and it can be made a day ahead of time as it reheats very well.

I have tried various versions of mashed cauliflower before, and this method is by far my favorite. By roasting them before pureeing, the flavors are much more complex than if just steaming.

2 heads of cauliflower, chopped into even sized florets
2 cloves of garlic
3 Tbl ghee
1 Tbl onion powder
1 cup of vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
Fresh chives to garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Place the cauliflower florets and garlic on a tinfoil lined baking sheet and season liberally with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 30 minutes, until cauliflower is soft, tossing the cauliflower a few times while baking.
  2. In a large pot, add the ghee, onion powder, and vegetable broth. Add the cauliflower and garlic once cooked and use an immersion blender to puree. (If you don't have an immersion blender, a food processor or blender will work, just blend in small batches at a time)
  3. Garnish with fresh chopped chives, and additional salt and pepper if needed

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sausage, Kale and, Pear Stuffed Acorn Squash

This week and next, I will be posting some Paleo options that can be incorporated into your Thanksgiving feasts.

This can be scaled based on how many people you need this for. This recipe is for 8 people. For Thanksgiving, it may be better to find smaller acorn squashes so everyone can have their own individual half.

2 large acorn squash, or 4 small
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 links hot Italian sausage, casings removed
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 bunches of kale, tough stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
1 Bartlett pear, chopped into cubes
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup chopped golden raisins
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh sage
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut each squash in half, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Drizzle ½ tablespoon olive oil over the cut side (or ¼ tablespoon over each if you use 4 smaller squash) and season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Place the halves cut side down on a baking sheet, and roast for about 20 to 35 minutes, until slightly browned and easily pierced with a fork. (The time will be less for smaller squashes; test with a fork after 20 minutes; if the fork doesn’t go all the way through, cook a bit longer.) source
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook sausage, breaking up large pieces with the back of a spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to a bowl.
  3. Rinse kale in water and remove the stems, tear into small pieces and place into a large bowl. Give the kale a quick massage to break down the fibers
  4. Reheat skillet and add garlic, raisins, and pears. Cook until soft, about 1 minute. Add kale. Cook until kale wilts and is almost completely cooked, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add sausage back into the skillet and stir to combine.
  6. Spoon sausage mixture generously into the squash halves and serve immediately source


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Paleo Spiced Banana Bread

Maybe it's because my new loaf pan is just so darn cute, or the fact that my fiance constantly asks me to make them, but I just can't get enough of Paleo breads these days! I've already posted Pumpkin Bread and Halloween Bread, now it's time for Banana Bread! Expect to see a few more variations throughout the cold-weather season, cause there is something just so comforting about these breads to me!

Can I also take a moment to talk about my kitchen assistant, Minnie!?  She was the most adorable banana I have ever seen for Halloween this year! (no Minnie's were harmed in the making of this banana bread)

2 cups almond flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
4 really ripe bananas (mashed well)
2 tbsp honey
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
Small dash of ginger powder

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl
  3. In a separate bowl, add the mashed bananas, eggs, honey, and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together, stir to combine.
  5. Fill batter into coconut-oil greased loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes
adaped from this recipe


Friday, November 2, 2012

Slowcooker Sweet Potato Beef Stew

It is not a secret that I love my slow cooker! I had a lot of leftover veggies from my Harvest Stew, and decided to try something a little different with beef stew meat. I was sure to write down everything that I put in my crock pot so if it turned out yummy, I would have accurate measurements of what I used.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and continued prayers go out to the Sandy victims. The American Red Cross has set up an easy way to help if interested.

2 lbs beef stew meat
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups orange pepper, chopped (approx 2 peppers)
1 medium white onion, diced
1 14 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, no salt added
1 qt low sodium beef broth
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbl ghee (or fat of choice)

  1. Heat a medium-large skillet and add ghee to pan
  2. Season beef liberally with salt and pepper
  3. Place the browned beef and liquid in the crock pot
  4. Add all other ingredients and spices
  5. Mix to combine
  6. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paleo Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Banana Bread aka "Halloween Bread"

When I posted my Pumpkin Bread recipe, I had hinted that I had another "jazzed-up" version in mind that I wanted to try. I am officially calling this Halloween Bread because the orange colored batter with the black chocolate chips mixed in looked really fun and Halloween-y.

Hopefully you aren't getting sick of breads yet, because I have one more coming! I've been in a big baking mood since the temperature dropped, and enjoy taking a slice to work to nibble on while I drink my coffee in the AM. Lately, I haven't had time to make breakfast, but that's my own fault. (colder weather = harder to get out of bed)

2/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ginger
6 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup mashed, ripe banana (1 – 2 bananas, depending on size)
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup Enjoy Life brand mini chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease a loaf pan with coconut oil
  2. Combine coconut flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a bowl. Whisk to incorporate.
  3. Combine eggs, pumpkin puree, banana, honey and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix well with a whisk or hand blender. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Pour into loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees 45-60 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

recipe adapted from

Friday, October 26, 2012

Paleo Salted Caramel Apple Dip

Happy Halloween Weekend! Since Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year, I am officially celebrating this weekend! I LOVE Halloween and really get into the couples costumes. In the past, we have been Sonny and Cher, and Adam and Eve (don't ask me how I got the boy to wear a nude-colored unitard with ivy leaves strategically sewn/glued on), and this year we are going to be a Pirate and Wench!
The funny thing is, that as much as I love Halloween, I HATE scary movies and being frightened. No haunted houses for this girl! Last weekend my girlfriends convinced me to watch Scream and I had to make them check all the closets and watch a "happy" movie before they could leave. 
Whether you choose to have a spooky or sweet Halloween weekend, I hope everyone enjoys this salted caramel apple dip! This seriously killed my craving for an Affy Tapple.

2 Tbl SunButter (or almond butter)
2 Tbl honey
1 Tbl coconut milk, canned
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of coarse sea salt
  1.  Place the SunButter and honey in a small microwaveable bowl. Heat for about 20 seconds until warmed through and easy to mix
  2. Mix the honey and SunButter until smooth
  3. Stir in the coconut milk and the vanilla
  4. Finish with sea salt and serve with apple slices

A word to the wise, if you are doing Whole30 or any other type of Paleo Challenge, I would skip this. Even if you aren't challenging, I would approach this as a rare treat!

Massaged Kale Salad with Dijon Poppy Seed Dressing

Kale is one of the staples in my diet. With all the amazing health benefits, I try to put some in my grocery cart nearly every week.  If you want to know a little secret, I was never the biggest fan of kale because of it's fibrous texture. It didn't seem to matter how much I sauteed or steamed, there was always a lingering roughness that made it slightly too "green-y" for me. I still ate it because I knew that it is one of the best things I could be eating. That has all changed now that I have learned the trick to silky, smooth kale...a massage! Rubbing the kale breaks down the cellulose, causing it to wilt. The greens reduce in volume and take on a smoother texture like spinach. Genius! Massaged kale can then be eaten raw as a salad, flash steamed, sauteed, whatever your little green-eating heart desires!

So give your kale a little rubdown before prepping and let me know if you can taste the difference!

Ingredients, kale
1 bunch kale, stemmed and sliced into ribbons
1 lemon
Cold-pressed olive oil
Sea salt
A couple handfuls each red and green grapes
1 ripe avocado
¼ cup toasted pine nuts

  1. In a large bowl, dress kale with lemon juice and a few splashes of olive oil and add a pinch of sea salt. Wash your hands, then massage the kale until it turns dark green, soft, and tender. This takes about two minutes
  2. Add halved grapes, avocado cubes, and the pine nuts.
  3. Make the dressing, a couple tablespoons to taste and mix
Ingredients, dressing
¼ cup cold-pressed olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ shallot, finely diced
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Pinch sea salt
1 teaspoon honey

  1. Whisk all ingredients together. Store leftovers in a glass jar for up to one week, as this makes much more than you will need for the salad!

recipe adaption source

Monday, October 22, 2012

Paleo Fall Harvest Stew

Happy Monday, lovelies! Hope your weekend was fantastic. I had the honor of standing up in one of my best friend's weddings on Friday, and the rest of the weekend was spent catching up with some of my dearest college friends. We spent all day Saturday laying around my apartment, watching movies and chatting, only leaving twice to get food. So much fun, and much needed!

Let's ease into the week with something delicious yet simple to make, a fall harvest stew! Once again, you get to use your trusty crock pot for this meal! I loved the addition of the apples and apple cider in this stew, it really gave it a slightly sweet/savory  flavor and the squash and sweet potatoes made it very filling.

2 lbs chicken breasts
2 cups cubed, peeled sweet potatoes
2 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash
1 cup cubed rutabaga
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
2 cups apple cider (make sure only ingredient is apples!)
2 cups vegetable stock
1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Add chicken to bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Add all other ingredients on top of chicken and gently stir to just to combine.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through.
  4. Carefully remove chicken, shred with a fork, then return to the stew.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Paleo Pumpkin Bread

I promise I make things other than chili and pumpkin baked goods, but with this beautiful fall weather we have been having, can you really blame me? I get really REALLY into the holidays, and am already getting super excited for all the Thanksgiving and holiday creations that are in store for the upcoming season!

I loved the way this pumpkin bread turned out, and my fiance has already requested that I make another batch. I have a jazzed-up variation in my mind, but you'll have to wait and see what that is...(if it turns out as good as I dream it to be)


2 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbls cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 cup pureed pumpkin
4 Tbls honey
6 eggs
  1. In a food processor combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and spices
  2. Add pumpkin, honey,  and eggs and pulse for 2 minutes (this can also be achieved with a hand mixer if you don't have a food processor, but you should really get one!)
  3. Scoop batter into a loaf pan, or two mini loaf pans. I used this one.
  4. Bake at 350 F for 35-45 minutes
  5. Let cool for 1 hour before removing from pan
  6. Slice and serve


Monday, October 15, 2012

Paleo Crockpot Chili

Hello friends! Are you sick of crock pot meals yet? What about chili recipes? I hope not because that's what I have for you today! The weekend rain postponed our plans for an apple orchard visit, but was a nice excuse to stay inside all day/night and watch football and Hocus Pocus. Just love that movie!

Something about fall just screams chili to me, and I love to try different types of recipes. Spicy, mild, on the stove, in the crock pot...the versions and possibilities are almost endless. This one is very mild, so if you don't like spicy it's the right chili for you! If you need more spice, add crushed red pepper flakes to your own bowl when serving, that's what I did. I do not recommend doubling this recipe, I ran out of room in the slow cooker and had to make last minute adjustments!

1.5 lb extra lean ground beef
1.5 lb ground pork
1 medium onion, diced
4-5 stalks celery, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 12 oz can tomato paste
1  15 oz can tomato sauce
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 Tbsp dried basil
1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
1/4 Tsp ground black pepper
1/2 Tsp salt
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Avocado to garnish, optional

  1. Brown the beef and pork in a skillet over medium heat until meat is browned. Drain excess grease.
  2. Place the meat in a slow cooker, add in all other ingredients, stir to combine
  3. Cook 8 hours on low
  4. Garnish with red pepper flakes and/or avocado slices if you wish

Friday, October 12, 2012

Paleo Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

This week really really wore me out! You know the phrase when it rains it pours? We had a regular monsoon over here! Between some craziness at work, broken internet at home, a clogged/broken sink, and some big wedding decisions that had to be made this week, I am approaching this weekend with a HUGE sigh of relief. I'm looking forward to brunch with my mom and step dad, watching my friend Danielle's dog Buddy while she is in LA, and maybe even prancing through an apple orchard and grabbing some pumpkins at County Line Orchard.

Luckily, something as simple as a fall-themed baked good can turn my day around, and these Pumpkin Cranberry muffins fit the bill. They were tasty, simple to make, and of course, Paleo!!


6 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup ghee, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tbl pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup fresh cranberries (if you can't find fresh use frozen, thawed)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Whisk the eggs, pumpkin, melted ghee, pure vanilla extract, and maple syrup together in a large mixing bowl. Sift in the coconut flour, sea salt, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice and stir until well combined. Gently fold in the cranberries.
  3. In a muffin tin, scoop 1/4 cup of the batter into each lined muffin cup, and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Recipe source

Friday, October 5, 2012

Slow Cooker Paleo Ropa Vieja with Cuban "Rice"

When the air starts to cool off and the days slowly begin to shorten, I crave a certain kind of comfort food that only a slow cooker can deliver. I love being able to throw all your ingredients into one pot, leave for the day, and come home to an amazing hot meal! My advice is always to buy the biggest slow cooker you have kitchen storage for, I use a 5.5 quart CrockPot and I have always been able to double recipes without worrying about running out of room.

This week, I made a Ropa Vieja, which is basically the most tender fall apart beef you have ever tasted, and paired it with cauliflower rice that was enhanced with tomato sauce and bacon bits. Do I have your attention now?  The best way to describe the flavors are warm, savory, and smoky. The bacon in the rice definitely adds a little something special to the meal. I was very pleased with the way this turned out! I used Juli's recipe and made a few adaptions which are noted below.

For the ropa vieja
1.5-2lbs chuck roast
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 (6 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste
For the Cuban rice
1 head of cauliflower, stem removed and roughly chopped
3 thick sliced of bacon, diced
1 (4 oz) can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Pull out your slow cooker
  2. Add onions and peppers to the bottom of the slow cooker
  3. Place your chuck roast on top and cut 4 deep slits into the meat and push your garlic cloves into the slits.
  4. Add all the spices and salt and pepper.Then add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and bay leaf to the rest of the crockpot. I was worried about the meat drying out so I added about 6oz of water as well (pour on the side so you don't rinse off all the spices you just put on the meat)
  5. Place on low for 8-10 hours. (9 hours for a double batch was perfect)
  6. When your ropa vieja is almost done, it’s time to cook your rice
  7. Add the chopped cauliflower to a food processor with the shredding attachment. And rice the cauliflower
  8. Add the diced bacon to a large saucepan and cook down up bacon has browned and cooked almost completely through, discard about half the grease
  9. Then add the cauliflower, tomato sauce and spices to the saucepan. Mix thoroughly then cover.
  10. Let cook for about 10-12 minutes, stirring intermittently to help incorporate all the flavors.
  11. Once your ropa vieja is done cooking, use a two forks to shred your beef. I found it easiest to take the beef out of the slow cooker and put it into a big bowl to shred before returning the meat to the slow cooker and mixing it all together.  Serve ropa vieja on top of Cuban cauliflower rice

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Paleo Apple Cinnamon Cookies

The weather today was glorious! The sun was shining but the air was just crisp enough to throw on a scarf on my way out the door.  Have I mentioned how much I love fall? I wish this weather stayed put for longer.

These cookies are very simple to make, and are not very sweet at all (in a good way). My fiance said that these would be great for breakfast, too! I may have to see if his theory holds true tomorrow morning. I love the soft and nutty flavor, and these would be perfect to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.

2 large apples, cored and cut into eighths (the sweeter the better)
2 cups blanched, slivered almonds
2 tsp coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbls of cinnamon
1 Tbls of honey (use more for a sweeter cookie)
1 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
A pinch of salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Using the shredder disc in a food processor, shred the apples
3. Measure out 2 cups of shredded apples and set aside in a large bowl
4. Replace the shredding disc with the regular chopping blade in the food processor and add the almonds, cinnamon, vanilla, and melted coconut oil.
5. Pulse everything until it is coarsely ground
6. Combine the apples, almonds, coconut, and salt in the largebowl and stir to combine
7. Add the eggs and honey, stir everything until it is mixed evenly
8. Use a small ice cream scoop (or a large spoon) to evenly place the dough on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet. *The parchment paper is important, it will stick to your cookie sheet if you don't.
9. Lightly flatten the dough into evenly sized cookies with your hands.
10. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating cookie sheet half way through, take them out when the edges begin to brown and your house smells like heaven
11. Cool on a rack for 20 minutes before enjoying.

Recipe adapted from NomNomPaleo

Friday, September 28, 2012

Paleo Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Fall has arrived in Chicago! Which means the return of comfort foods, trips to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch, and a lot more cooking in my Paleo kitchen. After a crazy busy summer, I am really looking forward to a slower pace of life with less plans and more time to spend at home. Plus, the flavors of fall are by far my favorite..so look forward to some recipes incorporating apples, pumpkins, and the like.

This chili incorporates some of my favorite pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove) in an unexpected, savory way. I can not tell you how good my place smelled while this was cooking up, you will just have to see for yourself!

1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 tsp fat of choice (coconut oil, ghee, olive oil)
1 lb ground turkey (93% lean works best)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 28oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes (no salt added)
1 15oz can pumpkin puree (make sure only ingredient is pumpkin)
1 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large stock pot heat your fat of choice over medium high heat.
2. Add the onion and bell pepper, season with salt and pepper to taste, and saute until soft and translucent.
3. Add the turkey and saute until browned and cooked through.
4. Add the chicken broth and bring to a low boil. Allow the liquid to reduce by 1/2. *This step is very important, so be patient! If you do not reduce the chicken broth enough before continuing on, you will end up with more of a soup consistency than the creamy thick chili this is meant to be.
5. Reduce heat to simmer and add the tomatoes.
6. Stir in pumpkin until smooth.
7. Add all of the seasonings and stir.
8. Simmer covered over low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hrs, stirring every 20 minutes or so.

As always, I doubled this recipe in order to have leftovers. If you want to try this in the crock pot, brown the turkey and drain the fat before throwing all your ingredients into the crock pot. Cut the chicken broth in half and you will have similar results. 8-10 hours on low did the trick.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ginger-Lime Grilled Shrimp and Satrawberry Savoy Cabbage Salad

Pfew, it was a long week! Since the 4th fell in the middle of the week last week, my schedule felt completely thrown off and this week dragged on and on and on. I am looking forward to the weekend to celebrate my birthday (including a sure to be decadent cheat meal at Maude's Liquor Bar) and catch some of the CrossFit Games on TV. Next year Tim and I are definately going to go watch the games! I can just imagine the palpable excitement and energy swirling around LA right now. It's extremely motivating to see the fittest people in the world doing what they love. Makes me want to go do some snatches and burpees!

Who doesn't love grilling out? Summer is synonymous for grilling, even if it's on your electric counter top grill. Oh how I wish I had an outdoor space to get a grill and sit outside and enjoy a meal! Hopefully next year I can invite friends over for a grill-out insted of a grill-in.

This shrimp recipe couldn't be easier! The flavors are bright and interesting, and the slight spice plays really well with the strawberry and savoy cabbage slaw I made to acompany the shrimp.

Here is what you need: (photos show double batch)
  • Juice of 1 larger lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
    • TIP: Freeze your fresh ginger before grating. Room temperature ginger tends to turn to mush when grated (especially with a Microplane), where frozen ginger comes out a lot better!
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 lbs large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
    • I asked the fish monger at Whole Foods to do this for me, as the task is not fun. Luckily, they already had some prepared!

In a small bowl, squeeze the lime juice, then add the red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, and cilantro. Mix well with a fork, then drizzle in the olive oil, stirring constantly.
Add the shrimp to a medium bowl, mix with the marinde until the shrimp are coated, cover tightly and refridgerate for 20 minutes. Don't skip the marination, or the lime juice and ginger won't be able to work their magic.
While the shrmp is marinating, preheat the grill on high.
Cook the shrimp for about 2-3 minutes per side. When shrimp are raw they look grey...
When they are cooked, they will be a nice pretty pink!
Shrimp adapted from Well Fed
For best results, enjoy immediately. I have found that shrimp do not reheat very well, as the microwave tends to turn them to rubber. The leftovers, however, were very good the next day cold on top of a salad. 

For the Strawberry Savoy Cabbage Salad
  • 1 head of Savoy cabbage
  • 1 pint of fresh strawberries, sliced
  • about a 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Splash or 2 of red wine vinegar (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Sorry this recipe is not very exact. I combined the raw sliced cabbage with the strawberries and played around with the seasonings until I felt it tasted right. I suggest you do the same! General rule of thumb for vinagerette is 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. Stick to that and you can play around with your oils (olive, walnut, avocado) and your acids (balsamic or red wine vinegar, citrus juice, etc).
Enjoy, al fresco if you can!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Want an easy side dish that looks gourmet but is really foolproof? Good, cause that's what you're getting tonight. I love salty pork parts, and have gone into great detail about my love for bacon. I may love prosciutto even more! Its like the cuter, skinnier older sister to bacon. It's also more expensive, but worth the splurge when you feel like gettin' a little fancy.

Here's what you need:
  • large bunch of fresh asparagus
  • package of all natural prosciutto
  • oil of your choice (olive or avocado works great, do not recommend coconut for this recipe)
  • balsamic vinegar
  •  Preheat oven to 350 F
    Cut the ends off the asparagus, wash, and dry with paper towel.
     Cut the prosciutto lengthwise into three equal strips. Place the asparagus on a cookie sheet and toss with a little bit of avocado or olive oil. I didn't measure this out but it was around a tablespoon. Carefully wrap the prosciutto strip around the asparagus and arrange on the cookie sheet.
    Roast in the oven for abut 20 minutes, carefully flipping the asparagus about halfway through. Keep a close eye on it so the prosciutto does not burn.
     Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving. If you like, lightly drizzle with balsamic vinegar. (as you can see in the photo, we couldn't wait long enough to even get a proper photo before devouring)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Infused Spa Water

News flash! It's hot outside. Hopefully everyone is staying well hydrated and enjoying the weather as much as possible.

I have always had a problem with drinking enough water. I have even resorted to setting reminders on my phone throughout the day because I will leave work and realize that I literally have not had a sip of water! Not good.

 Whenever I make Infused Spa Water (aka water that looks fancy and has junk thrown in it), I always seem to drink it more frequently.

Lemon, Blueberry and Mint

Strawberry Basil

Other combinations I like
  • Cucumber and Lime or Lemon
  • Watermelon and Mint
  • Raspberry and Lime
  • Pineapple and Mint
  • Blackberry and Sage
  • Ginger and Lemon
This is a great way to use fresh herbs before they go bad, and the possibilities are endless! Leave a comment with other combinations you have tried and loved.

As a side note, I know you are very curious for an update on my kitchen assistant, Minnie. She has a new man in her life! His name is Buddy and I think he makes her very happy. His mom Danielle and I couldn't be happier! This little love fest was from a few weeks ago when I was watching Buddy while his mom moved into her new charming and adorable apartment. I see many play dates in their future.

They snuggled on the couch...
 Had some deep convos about life...
 Napped on top of each other...
 And ultimately became best fur-pals for life!
I know I'm a crazy dog lady and I wouldnt have it any other way.

Happy weekend friends!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pizza Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite quick weeknight meals. It makes a great side dish to any protein and saves well for a few days as leftovers. In the Paleo world, sweet potatoes can cause some confusion. While traditional potatoes are most definitely on the NO list, sweet potatoes toe the line. Different Paleo autoritues will have different opinions on whether sweet potatoes are an OK paleo food. While they are very carb-dense, they are extremely nutrient-rich and just plain tasty. After doing some research on Mark's Daily Apple, and Whole 9's websites, I feel good about eating sweet potatoes on a semi-regular basis.

This Pizza Sweet Potato recipe was a big hit in my house. It is very dense and comforting, and reheated really well as leftovers. Play around with the toppings, putting whatever you would traditionally order on your pizza. I would have loved to add mushrooms to this, but my fiance is "emotionally allergic*" to them. It makes me very sad that I can never cook with mushrooms, as they are one of my favorites, but you have to make compromises for the ones you love.
*The term "emotionally allergic" came from when we were once eating out, and he told our waiter that he was allergic to mushrooms. A few glasses of wine deep, I blurted out "no he isn't!" His response was that he was "emotionally allergic." The waiter, Tim and I all started cracking up, and the term has just stuck. For those of you who know Tim, you know he is the king of coming up with these kinds of verbal gems on the regular

I'm done talking, let's hunt and gather the following to get started.
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 lb sausage
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 orange bell peppers, sliced
  • any pizza toppings you like will work
For the Sauce
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to400ºF.

Prick and place your sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. Let them roast until their insides are soft, about 30-40 minutes.
While the potatoes are roasting, mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust to your preferences, then set aside.

In a large saute pan, crumble and brown the sausage. Remove the meat from the pan, reserving the rendered fat.

Toss in the peppers and onions. Let them cook until the peppers and onions are soft.

Once the potatoes are done, slice them in half (lengthwise) and arrange the halves nicely on the baking sheet. Smash and loosen the sweets' insides with a fork.
Ladle a few spoonfuls of sauce on top of the sweet potato, followed by the pepper/onion saute, and sausage.
Put the baking sheet back in the oven for a couple minutes, to re-warm everything.

adapted from Health-Bent