December 9, 2014

Roasted Turkey Soup

Wondering what to do with that leftover turkey meat that you spent so long picking off of the carcass and packaging to save in the freezer? Really, you had no idea what you'd do with it but knew you couldn't throw it away. Yep, me too. You could definitely tell I finished exams last week though because this was one of the first things I did... Get back in the kitchen and make up a new recipe. My friends who still had a few exams ahead of them were thankful for the fresh and healthy meal. Enjoy!

Roasted Turkey Soup
Serves: 6 Time: 6-8 hours

3 tbsp. EVOO
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet onion, diced
3 carrots, cubed
6 stalks celery, cubed
6 cups turkey broth, divided
1.5 cups picked turkey meat (white and/or dark)
1 sweet potato, cubed
1 tbsp. marjoram
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. oregano
1 bay leave

Heat EVOO over medium-low heat. Add garlic. Once softened, add onion. Let the onion cook down and season with marjoram, rosemary oregano, sea salt and pepper. Add celery and carrots. Add 1/4 cup turkey broth. Continue to simmer. Add turkey meat and the remaining turkey broth. Add 1 bay leave and sweet potato. Reduce heat to low and simmer all day.

I served mine with paleo garlic bread (Recipe Book). For non-paleos at the table, serve over rice or with non-paleo garlic bread.

November 17, 2014

Cauliflower Pizza Casserole

Credit for this recipe must go to my little sister. I have a Tuscan Herb Infused Olive Oil that I used to roast cauliflower last week; and, as we were snacking on the leftovers, she said, "This tastes like pizza." I laughed at the irony of the accuracy of her statement... and then the gears in my mind started turning. And, so, this recipe was born.

2 heads cauliflower, chopped into florets
4 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 lbs. high-quality pepperoni slices, chopped into 1/4s
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1 can basil, oregano & garlic diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 can tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
fresh Mozzarella, grated (optional)
fresh Parmesan, grated (optional)

Toss the cauliflower in the olive oil. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
Roasted Cauliflower topped with Pepperoni Slices

While the cauliflower is roasting, combine the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce in a medium-sized sauce pan. Bring to a low boil. Add tomato paste and mix well. 

Continue to simmer until cauliflower is finished, stirring frequently.

When the cauliflower is finished, transfer it to the bottom of a casserole dish (13" x 9"). 

Top with one half of the pepperoni slices. 

This should be a pretty complete layer. Pour the tomato sauce over the cauliflower and pepperoni. 

Top with the remaining pepperoni. 

Optional: Top with grated cheese. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. The edges of the pepperoni should begin to crisp. Bon appetit!

November 3, 2014

Dressed-Up Spaghetti Squash

Chicken, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Asparagus in Goat Cheese & Chardonnay Sauce over Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash, roasted
5 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2-3 chicken breasts, chopped
onion powder
garlic powder
sea salt
1.5 cups asparagus, chopped
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled and divided
1 cup Chardonnay
optional: 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Roast the spaghetti squash: Put the entire spaghetti squash in the oven at 400 for about 45 minutes, or until it is soft. For best results, rotate the squash after about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Season chicken breast with onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the olive oil. Sautee until cooked through. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a deep pan or a large sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add asparagus, and season with salt and pepper. Sautee for about 5 minutes, then add the sun-dried tomatoes.

Add asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes to the chicken. Add and stir in about 1/2 of the goat cheese, so the mixture becomes creamy. Add the Chardonnay and lemon juice and begin to boil down. After 5-7 minutes, add the remaining goat cheese. Continue to boil down, stirring frequently. The sauce should be opaque and reduced.

Serve over spaghetti squash. Optional: Crumble additional goat cheese over the dish.

October 25, 2014

Featured Ingredient: Saffron

My sister told me she didn't care what I made for dinner; the only specification I had was that she was sick of ground beef. So, that led me to this Saffron Chicken with Parsley & Lemon recipe that I've been wanting to try, and it was great! This was my first time ever using Saffron, so obviously I felt super sophisticated. My aunt gave me some this summer, and it traveled to Pennsylvania and back with me.

I served mine with Saffron Cauliflower Rice (clearly, we needed to use more Saffron) and Garlic Green Beans.

For the Saffron Cauliflower Rice, I heated ~1/8 cup chicken broth in the microwave and dissolved a pinch of saffron in it and then combined that with the cauliflower rice, further sauteeing the "rice" until it was fairly dry.

For the Garlic Green Beans, I boiled fresh green beans and then strained them. Then, I tossed the green beans with ~1 tbsp. ghee which was mixed with 1 pressed clove of garlic and 1/4 tsp. onion powder. Yum!

October 24, 2014

Herbed Turkey Meatballs (Easy Weeknight Meal)

Herbed Turkey Meatballs
Serves: 1, 30 minutes 
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 lb. ground turkey
2 tbsp. chopped yellow onion
1/8 tsp. sage
1/8 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/2 cup beef broth
  1. Combine the ground turkey, chopped onion, and spices in a bowl. Form into quarter-sized meatballs.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs. Cover and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Flip meatballs. Cover and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Repeat #3 until the meatballs are at least browned on the outside.
  5. Add the beef broth to the pan. Reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for another 10-15 minutes. The beef broth should reduce and the meatballs should almost caramelize. This will give them a lot of flavor!
I enjoyed mine with Sweet Potato Hash (Recipe Book) and sauteed kale which I tossed with Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar from Smashing Olive, a local olive oil and balsamic vinegar store that a friend recently introduced me to. My poor bank account.

October 23, 2014

Mid-Day Creations: Coffee-Marinated Burgers & Creamy Coleslaw

There's something about cooking in the middle of a weekday that makes me so happy. It's like a grown-up version of the feeling you got as a kid going through the fast food drive-thru with your parent for lunch on a day you got to skip school for whatever reason. It's away from your routine and fun, but you're not doing anything wrong. I just love it!

My sister needed help with a school assignment, so I took the opportunity to make lunch: Burgers & Coleslaw. Coleslaw mix was BOGO this week at the grocery store. Of course...

This "Best Creamy Coleslaw" Recipe from the Paleo Mom is fabulous! Rather than the separated veggies, I used the coleslaw mix. I used a whole package and eyeballed the sauce measurements. My batch required more than the recipe because I had a lot of veggies to cover. Also, I used regular mayonnaise because I didn't have time to make paleo mayo.

Quick & Easy Coffee Burgers:
0.5 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tbsp. minced onion
1/2 tsp. chili powder
black pepper
1/2 cup strong-brewed coffee
coarse sea salt
  1. Mix everything but the coffee and sea salt together. Form ground beef into two patties. Marinate the burgers in the coffee for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet. Place the burgers in the oil. Flip after 5-7 minutes. Cook until done.
  3. Top with sliced avocado, turkey bacon & onion... and anything else you want. :)
P.S. Welcome, Turmeric, to my spice cabinet!

October 19, 2014

How to: Pomegranate

My roommate got a gift basket that included a pomegranate, something I had never used before. I knew there were seeds inside that are super healthy but had no idea how to get to them or what to expect when this beautiful fruit was opened.
 A quick Google search and Youtube video helped tremendously. I'll summarize and illustrate the process here.

1. Score the skin (exterior) of the pomegranate with a fruit knife, about 3-5 times length-wise.
Step 1
After Step 1

2. Cut off the top. Some seeds will probably be exposed.
After Step 2
3. Peel away the skin, using the score lines as your guide. Do this over a container, as the seeds will start to fall away from the membrane.
Step 3
4. Continue to peel and push the seeds away from the membrane until all of the seeds are removed.
Step 4
Mix them in coconut yogurt (Trader Joe's or SO Delicious) or with paleo ice cream (Recipe Book)! Or, just enjoy them on their own!!

September 25, 2014

Ground Beef-Stuffed Peppers

I have to apologize for my absence from blogging lately. This semester has gotten the best of me in more ways than I can describe. I'm finally getting my act together when it comes to diet and being in the kitchen, so I promise to make an effort to post more. Just know that I am posting in spirit... meaning I'm thinking of posts and will write as many as I can. :)

Last night I made this Paleo Stuffed Peppers recipe. The local health food store has grass-fed ground beef for $3.99/lb. (Seriously! I got the e-mail in class.), so I obviously wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity. I was planning to cook for myself, but last-minutely decided that it would be much better with some company and a glass of wine. So, I texted a friend and asked if he would like to join me for dinner... He answered affirmatively. I have to say that it takes one trusting friend to say "Yes." to a dinner invitation without even asking what's on the menu. What if I was testing a new recipe that involved something like liver and onions? Or corned-beef and cabbage? He did ask what was for dinner when he walked in the door; but, at that point, wasn't it too late?

I halved the recipe and decided to use 1 green and 1 red pepper to make life a little more colorful. I also ended up not having fire roasted diced tomatoes like I thought I did, so I used basil, oregano and garlic diced tomatoes instead. When they first came out of the oven, I was a little weary that they may be dry. To my surprise, they had a ton of moisture just under the surface; and the filling has a ton of flavor!!! This is a great recipe for a weeknight because it doesn't require much prep; you can easily pick up the ingredients with one quick trip to the store on your way home if it's a last minute decision (or a sale prompts your decision); and, it doesn't take long, nor much effort, at all.

August 31, 2014

Out for Mexican, Hacked

So, this may or may not be overboard - possibly obnoxious. But, you gotta do what you gotta do. Right?

A few friends and I went out for Mexican last night, which - as I'm sure you've encountered - is one of the most difficult menus to navigate being paleo. As I was walking out the door thinking about the basket of chips that was going to be staring me in the face for the entire time until our food came, the words "plantain chips" started flashing in my head. YES! I threw a bag (from Trader Joe's) in my purse and headed out.

Tip #29: Bring plantain chips wit you to join in on chips & salsa.
This menu was suprisingly paleo-friendly. My order: Chicken Fajita Salad without sour cream and cheese which ended up being a plate of lettuce with guac, fajita chicken & fajita veggies (green peppers & onions). I actually won't dread Mexican anymore!!!

Here's another post I did in the spring on ordering paleo at Mexican places.

August 25, 2014

Honey Mustard Ham Quiche

There's this thing called Bid Day on university campuses that happens every year in August. It's basically a holiday for every sorority girl. Being an alumni that used to celebrate this holiday, I wanted to participate in the festivities and made a small brunch for my little sister and "G-Little" before they went to the house for Bid Day.

Honey Mustard Ham Quiche
Honey Graham Crust from Against All Grain - This is the crust I used. It is a GREAT crust recipe; although, it was slightly sweet for a savory quiche. My sister and I both agreed that it needs to have pie filling next time!

1 tbsp. olive oil 
1/4 cup asparagus, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3/4 cup diced ham
6 eggs
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
sea salt & pepper, to taste

1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sautee for 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add asparagus and satuee for another 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add ham and reduce heat. Sautee for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Scramble eggs with ground mustard, salt and pepper.

Fill pie crust with ham, asparagus & onion in the bottom. If using cheese, add that here as well. Pour the eggs over the filling. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until the center is set. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

August 24, 2014

Italian Baked Chicken

Adding the salami to this simple meal was a last-minute decision that added so much flavor!

Italian Baked Chicken
Servings: 1

1 chicken breast
1/4 cup olive oil
ground mustard
garlic powder
4 slices salami

Preheat oven to 375. Tenderize the chicken breast with a fork. Place in a small casserole dish. Combine olive oil and seasonings in a small bowl. The seasonings don't need to be measured, but I would approximate about 1/8-1/4 tsp. of each. Pour the oil/seasoning mix over the chicken and let marinate for about 20-30 minutes. Flip the breast over and coat again with marinade. Put chicken (with surrounding oil and seasonings) in the oven and let bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on size. Top with salami slices - the more salami, the saltier it will be BUT the more flavor - and bake for another 10 minutes. Enjoy!

August 19, 2014

Chardonnay Scallops

I would apologize for two scallop recipes in a row, but I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. This summer was great for so many different reasons. I had an amazing internship which tremendously helped me professionally. But, also - and, arguably, more importantly - I learned so much about cooking and being in the kitchen. Last year - especially since starting paleo - I had begun to wean myself off of recipes but felt so lost staring at the seasoning shelves in the pantry. Now it's like a fun game of deciding what flavors will combine will together and what character I want the dish to have.

So I had one more serving of scallops left. Don't worry, there are more in the freezer for later. I went grocery shopping today, so it was a toss up between zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower and kale. I know I had scallops and kale last night but it just sounded so good. Plus, they're ingredients that can be completely transformed into something so different which is exactly what I did. I had more time tonight so I put a little more thought into what I was doing. Ends up... I do know a thing or two and created an AWESOME dish. It even warranted pulling out one of the nice dishes to plate all prettily. Enjoy!

Chardonnay Scallops over Kale
Servings: 2

4 cups kale, coarsely chopped
4 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 lb. Bay scallops
3 cloves garlic, pressed
4 tbsp. olive oil
onion powder
1/3 cup Chardonnay (or other dry white wine)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon zest, divided

Pan #1: Heat olive oil on medium-low heat. Add garlic cloves and sautee for about 1 minute. It should be soft but not brown. Add scallops. Sautee for about a minute, until they have at least been heated and stirred a few times. Sprinkle lightly with sage and onion powder. I would not use more than 1/4 teaspoon of each. Continue sauteeing for another 2 minutes. Add Chardonnay and lemon juice. Slightly increase heat. Sprinkle with parsley - again, no more than 1/4 tsp. Continue stirring occasionally. After another 2 minutes, lower heat and place lid over pan. Stir occasionally and continue to simmer until sauce has reduced and the kale in Pan #2 has softened.

Pan #2 (start after wine has been added to Pan #1): Heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add kale. Sautee for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place a lid over the kale for about 3 minutes, until leaves have wilted. Remove lid and continue to stir/sautee for another minute or so, until the leaves are softened completely. The key here is to not have the leaves become too soft so they don't soak up the sauce in the plate. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and 1/2 of the lemon zest. Mix together.

Plating: Fill the plate/bowl with kale. Top with scallops and about 1/4 cup of sauce. Garnish with remaining lemon zest.

August 18, 2014

Florida Scallops

I am taking full advantage of the last few days of summer and relaxing as much as possible while I still can. Don't remind me that I'll be getting home from a day of classes class this time next week. Anyway, I went to the beach with a friend of mine this weekend and went scalloping with her family.

Talk about fresh!! I picked these suckers out of the ocean with my own two hands. Although, I have to say they're quite beautiful when they're in the water. The inside of their shells are lined with a beautiful metallic blue. Anyway, I did pretty well - bringing in 52 in one trip.
I didn't have much time for dinner tonight. But, that doesn't mean that dinner had to be crap. Here's what I did:

Quick Sauteed Scallops
~15 small scallops
3 tbsp. olive oil (less if using a non-stick pan)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 tsp. rosemary
1/4 tsp. parsley
1/4 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. thyme

Mix all of the spices together and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic cloves. Add the scallops and sprinkle with spices. Sautee until fully cooked, stirring frequently.

I paired mine with Sauteed Kale with Red Wine Vinegar and Sauteed Chicken seasoned with Paprika, Onion Powder and Garlic Powder.

August 12, 2014

Mr. Roboto's (Tallahassee)

This menu was initially a challenge but ended up to be not so bad. It's hard at places like this when the menu is centered upon rice and soy. Sushi is basically out and so is the "Kitchen" menu which exclusively offers breaded options.

My Order: Hibachi Chicken with Salad & Veggies w/o Terriyaki Sauce - Yum! It came out as grilled chicken breast sprinkled with sesame seeds over lettuce with grilled vegetables on the side. You could do this with any of the Hibachi meat options - steak, chicken, shrimp.

Sauce Bar: Disappointing - I know - but forget about Yum Yum Sauce. I used 1/2 of a sauce cup of Ginger Dressing on my chicken and salad to add a little flavor. Other than that, nothing seems to be too safe.

August 10, 2014

Pan-Seared Scallops with Bacon and Spinach

I can definitely tell that I am back in my zone... I have a WholeFoods, Trader Joe's and Publix nearby and my kitchen with even more exciting toys. That means so many new exciting recipes! Last night I made "Pan-Seared Scallops with Bacon and Spinach" from "the Cooking Light Gluten-Free Cookbook" by Oxmoor House.

In brief terms - without copying the recipe verbatim - crisp the bacon and remove. Chop the bacon into small pieces. Pan-sear the scallops in bacon drippings - Use a large skillet with high heat and about 2.5 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Add chopped yellow onion and sliced garlic - I did 3 jumbo cloves and 1 yellow onion. Sautee. Add spinach until wilted.

To serve: Top spinach with scallops and sprinkle with chopped bacon.

I blanched asparagus on the side. For this...
Blanched Asparagus
Fill a large skillet with water. Bring the water to a boil. Add the asparagus. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper & garlic powder. Let boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

August 5, 2014

Turkey Bacon & Brussel Sprout Scramble

Thinking outside the box can lead to so many great dishes, especially being paleo. So many people discount, or even disregard, greens when it comes to breakfast ideas. We had some leftover roasted brussel sprouts from dinner the other night - Paleo Beef Roast with Mashed Cauliflower & Roasted Brussel Sprouts - so I added them to our breakfast. This recipe is written for two people, but it can be adjusted proportionally.

4 strips turkey bacon
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup roasted brussel sprouts (or more)

Cut the turkey bacon into small pieces using kitchen sheers. Fry in a skillet until it has started to release some grease and start to crisp. Add the brussel sprouts. Continue to fry, stirring almost constantly, until the bacon is thoroughly cooked and the brussel sprouts have softened. This will take longer if you're using raw brussel sprouts.
Add the eggs. Scramble everything together until the eggs are cooked through.
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August 4, 2014

Butters of all kinds...

For something that is immediately cut out of your diet when you go paleo, the word "butter" seems to sneak back quite frequently. Its original dairy form doesn't come around much, but there are so many other "butter" products that can be found in a paleo pantry.

Listed Left to Right:

Almond Butter - I'm slowly getting used to the taste of raw almond butter. We're not as close as sunflower butter and I are. But, it's great for baking!
Coconut Butter - I have not used this, but my mom has. I know it is used in a lot of baking recipes.
Sunflower Butter - This is one of my best pantry friends. If you're aimelessly roaming through the fridge and/or pantry looking for that something that will satisfy you for a few hours... this is it. A spoon full of sunflower butter will keep you full, give you a protein boost and tastes awesome. I used to be a peanut butter-aholic, and this has been my best replacement.
Apple Butter - My sister got this from WholeFoods because this Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread recipe calls for it. Although it's made from concentrate, and I've become a non-concentrate brat, it's actually really good. Like, really good. When I was in Pennsylvania this summer, I saw a lot of this because it is produced by the Amish.
Ghee - This is clarified butter which is basically butter which has been boiled to remove the lactose solids. Use it to flavor dishes that you would ordinarily flavor with butter, e.g., mashed cauliflower to replace mashed potatoes.
Sweet Potato Butter - I ordered this from, and it is so so yummy! There's got to be a way to home-make this. I just haven't looked into it. If you find a recipe, let me know! I used it on home-made paleo biscuits with eggs which was so yummy!
Cashew Butter - I haven't tried cashew butter, but I hear it's great. My mom said she read somewhere that cashews are one of the best types of nuts too.

Not pictured:
Pecan Butter - Another nut butter... This one reminds me of apple pie the moment it touches my tongue!
Walnut Butter - Another nut butter!
Macadamia Butter - Expensive but luxurious!

What other butters do you have in your paleo pantry?

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August 3, 2014

Paleo Beef Roast

My family has come to find that when I'm home the table will be being set for dinner around 6:30/7:00 every night with a healthy, home-cooked meal every night. Usually, the required groceries are minimal. This beautiful hunk of meat was in the freezer so I pulled it out and bought the following from the grocery store:

2 heads cauliflower
1 bag brussel sprouts
1 yellow onion
8 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 can beef broth

Basically any piece of beef which can be roasted in the oven will work for this recipe.

A few hours later... there it was. A beautiful dinner on the table! I have to say, I was a little apprehensive as to how this piece of meat would fare, but it was wonderful!
I served it with Mashed Cauliflower (Recipe Book) which I mashed with 4 tbsp. ghee and 1 tbsp. thyme and Roasted Brussel Sprouts which I quartered (advice from my mom - still not sure how I felt about it) and roasted with olive oil and fresh garlic (advice from my mom which I really liked!).

Paleo Beef Roast
1/2 tsp. white or black pepper
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 yellow onion, sliced
8 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 can beef broth

Place the roast in a roasting pan. Pour beef broth over the meat. Combine all seasonings in a bowl to create the rub. Rub the meat with seasoning mixture to coat the outside. Surround the roast with the onion and mushrooms. Roast at 300 until a meat thermometer reads between 155 and 165, depending on your preference. Baste the meat occasionally and, if you'd like, move some onions and mushrooms to the top of the meat once they have tenderized.

To serve, slice against the grain and top with onions and mushrooms.
Optional Gravy: Baste the liquid out of the roasting pan and put into a small sauce pan, leaving the onions and mushrooms. Bring to a low boil over medium heat. Combine 1 tsp. Arrowroot powder with 1 tbsp. water and slowly combine with the broth, stirring constantly until it congeals into a gravy.

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August 2, 2014

Blueberry Scones

Alas, another blueberry recipe! These blueberries weren't part of the original 20 pounds - which were actually used - but were awaiting being used in my mom's refrigerator upon my arrival.

Blueberry Scones

2.5 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 tbsp. honey
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup blueberries - fresh or frozen

Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Fold in the blueberries. Oil a baking sheet with coconut oil. (I use a paper towel.) Form 1/4 cup batter into a triangle for each scone. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.

This batch made 9 scones. 
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July 19, 2014

Banana Bread

I've accumulated several frozen bananas this summer and needed to at least use a few of them before I either abandon them or throw them away.

So I made this Perfect Paleo Banana Bread recipe. I ended up using an extra banana; so, when I realized that I had three and the recipe called for two, I threw in another 1/4 cup almond flour and about 1/16 of a cup of coconut flour (to keep the proportions the same). The bread came out so moist! I put it in the refrigerator after letting it sit out all night because of the amount of moisture it has.

July 15, 2014

Blueberries & Chia Seed Pudding

Fresh blueberries are the perfect addition to this standard paleo breakfast item: Chia Seed Pudding. There are so many variations of Chia Seed Pudding; but, the simplicity of vanilla and blueberries is perfect for the summer. This recipe makes a wonderful mid-week breakfast.

For anyone who has not tried chia seeds before, they expand upon exposure to liquid and soak up the liquid around them which is what causes the combination of chia seeds and coconut milk to form a pudding. Yum!

Chia Seed Pudding
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. honey

Combine all ingredients in a glass, sealable container. I mixed everything together and then split it between two mason jars. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, pull the pudding out of the refrigerator and stir to re-allocate the chia seeds. It should be thickening by now. Repeat another 1-2 times and then refrigerate overnight. Spoon into a bowl and top with fresh blueberries (or other fresh fruit and/or nuts) for a great breakfast.

This should make about 4 servings.

Optional Alteration
Instead of topping your pudding with fresh blueberries, pull out your juicer when you're making the pudding.
1/4 cup fresh blueberry juice
2 tbsp. chia seeds

Juice fresh blueberries until you have about 1/4 cup. Add the blueberry juice and additional chia seeds to the pudding mixture above.
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July 12, 2014

The Busy Bee (Central Market - York, PA)

There is a little slice of heaven on Philadelphia Street, about 1.5 blocks from N. George St. in York, Pennsylvania. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the place comes alive with local vendors with all kinds of offerings - hand-painted pottery, salads, espresso, burritos, freshly-baked cookies, Mediterranean food, hand-cut fries, just to name a few - But, I usually bypass all of that and head straight for the stand on the back wall (Pershing St.) where Andrew and his crew are always buzzing around their small kitchen, putting amazing culinary creations into recyclable brown to-go boxes.
The standard menu is full of breakfast and lunch treasures - oatmeal with out-of-the-ordinary mix-ins, breakfast sandwiches, salads with only the freshest ingredients and burgers. But then, there is the ever-changing menu of specials. That's usually where I start, as I know there are wonderful "back-ups" in the tri-fold menu if nothing on the board catches my eye. Surprisingly, the offerings are healthy and paleo-friendly! Many of the salads are a unique spin on a classic spinach salad with chicken.
Habanero BBQ Pork salad with Apricots, Red Onions & Almonds

Finally, one day, I was in the mood for a burger. Not only are their burgers wonderful; but, they're buffalo! There's something special to me about a buffalo burger. And, you know it's a good spot if it's on the menu.
Kaptain Chesapeake (buffalo burger with crabcake) without a bun or chips, over spinach

July 10, 2014

Fresh Farms Cafe (Lancaster, PA)

One of my day-trip adventures was to the Tanger outlets in Lancaster. After shopping and, surprisingly, only spending 1/2 of the budget I gave myself for the shopping spree I was on the hunt for a lunch spot. The lady at the Ann Taylor Factory store told me about Fresh Farms Cafe which is right near the campus of Franklin & Marshall College.

It was so hot outside that day, and they have smoothies on their menu. Unfortunately, after a few probing questions, it became apparent that their smoothies were the kinda laden with sugar and almost vacant of fresh fruit. The wonderful girl working the cashier told me about a juice place around the corner. I rushed there before it closed and satisfied my juice/smoothie craving before returning to the Cafe for lunch.
My Order: Healthy Trio Salad with Balsamic on the side. The chicken and tuna salad had so much flavor that I didn't need the dressing. It doesn't seem like it, but this is a HUGE salad! I was so full after eating the whole thing.

This is a great place to stop if you're ever in town and looking for a healthy lunch spot. All of their produce is local, and everything was very fresh.

They also have a pretty extensive coffee menu; and, it seemed to be popular among locals.

The juice store around the corner is also great. They have smoothies and juices; and some of the juices are pre-made and can be bought to-go. I bought one juice to go and brought it to work as part of a healthy, clean piece-meal lunch the next day... Larabar, hard-boiled egg, nuts of some kind and juice (beets, carrots, etc.)

July 8, 2014

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins & Blueberry Jelly

One of my favorite things about getting more familiar with cooking and baking and growing in the kitchen has been trying new flavor combinations and developing a sense for what flavors pair nicely with each other. This lemon and blueberry combination is far from original. But, I took two separate recipes that I found on two different sources and created a wonderful combination.
I seriously bought poppyseeds over 3 months ago because I wanted to make this recipe. I finally got around to making them this weekend; and, my motivation was the blueberries which I used to make Against All Grain's Homemade Blueberry Preserves without Pectin to go on the muffins! I actually mashed the blueberries with my hands which proved to be way more efficient than fighting each berry with the back of a fork. Once I had most of them mashed, I started heating everything and mashed the big ones with the back of a spoon as they softened with the heat. I used 1/2 cup honey, max; and it's definitely sweet enough.
Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
This combination is even better than it sounds! I was a little nervous about the muffin recipe because recipes that only use coconut flour tend to be dry; but, they have so much moisture and the perfect lemon flavor! I was SO HAPPY about the texture of the jelly which is perfect. It's so smooth and spreadable. These are definitely two recipes that I would recommend separately. But, together, they make one of my favorite paleo weekday breakfasts thus far!