Tag Archives: recipes

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Porridge (with Leftover Rice)

Leftover rice makes a great breakfast dish!

Leftover rice makes a great breakfast dish!

When it comes to breakfast, I’m as lazy as it gets.

I’m not a morning person so when I first get up in the morning, the last thing I want to do is make food . . .but I know for me to wake up and get myself going, I’ve got to eat pretty soon after getting up or I’ll be in foggy sleep land for hours. The best thing ever is that John stopped hitting starbucks on his way to work and now makes coffee before he leaves so I now wake up to a hot delicious pot of coffee waiting for me. Wake and pour! haha!

Anyhow, breakfast for me is often a smoothie, some sort of fast egg and vegetable hash, granola, oats! Maybe some smoked sockeye, avocado and greens. Nothing too complicated. I do, however love to use whatever leftovers I have in the fridge – this girl hates waste and also gets tired of food prep.

This week, I had some leftover arborio rice from dinner and a big apple that was calling my name so I decided to make a rice porridge with it. I’ve never actually looked up what constitutes a porridge so you’ll have to forgive me if I’m calling this dish the wrong thing. I tossed in a diced apple, some spices, the rice and some almond milk in a pot, cooked it for a few minutes and then served it with butter (oh yes) and maple syrup for a warm, satisfying and easy breakfast. You can toss in some hemp or raw pumpkin seeds for a little protein boost.

As a side note: You’re probably surprised to see a white rice like arborio here! While most of the time I’m a big fan of whole grain rices – like brown, japonica or wild – I do think variety is important and occasionally make room in my life for white rices (like in sushi or risotto!). One reason I include it in our diet occasionally is because white rice is a form of resistant starch. Resistant starches are interesting in that instead of being digested and released into the blood sugar as glucose like most other types of starch, resistant starch makes its way all the way to the large intestine (undigested) where it gets fermented and feeds the bacteria that is directly responsible for keeping the cells in our colon functioning their best. Making resistant starch a part of your diet can be a good thing for your digestive system – green bananas, cooked and then cooled potatoes and rices, cashews are a few good sources of it. So while I won’t eat white rice every time I have rice – I feel good about eating it occasionally.IMG_4790

Ingredients
3/4 cup leftover rice
1 large apple, diced
1/4 tsp ground cloves
dash of ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 -3/4 cup water or milk of your choice (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/2 tbsp butter and 2 tsp real maple syrup for serving

Directions
Put everything but the butter and maple syrup in a small pot and warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally until liquid is absorbed and apple is tender, about 5-10 minutes (this will depend on your stove – I have a slow cranky one). Serve warm with a little butter and maple syrup stirred in.

For a faster version – you can microwave the rice, apple and water/milk together for about 2 minutes and then stir in your spices at the end but I’m not a super fan of the microwave and just prefer the stove for most of my cooking.

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10 Days, 10 Dinners

Of all the things I get asked, “What do you eat?” or “What do you make for dinner?” is probably what I get asked the most. Last year I did a blog post that was an entire week’s worth of food in pictures.  It went over well – people loved to see what my meals / snacks consisted of.  I’ve been meaning to do one of those again but for some reason only seem to remember to take pictures at dinnertime!! So I thought I’d post a week and a half worth of our dinners so that you can see how I’m eating lately. So this is what I really ate for dinner from 4/28 – 5/7 (yes, it took me almost 2 weeks to get it into a blog post but when you see the LENGTH of this post you’ll see why!). I’ve included a loose version of a recipe for each meal (but I made most of these up on the fly with the exception of any linked recipes so it’s possible I’m forgetting an ingredient!) in case something interests you.

My hope is that these types of posts inspire you to get creative in your kitchen and see how easy and delicious more whole foods in your diet can be! And while I don’t want anyone to think that they need to eat exactly how I eat to lose weight or be their healthiest – eating the way I’m eating these days makes me feel my best. It keeps my cravings to a minimum, gives me tons of energy and it keeps the binge monster at bay. I want to encourage you to pay attention to how the foods that you eat make your body feel (and how the way your body feels affect your brain/emotions). It’s different for everyone and I encourage you to experiment to find what feels good to you.

My only gripe with our meals lately is that I feel like I need to make more of an attempt to eat  a couple vegetarian meals, at least for me. This is hard to do in our house as we don’t eat soy protein and John hates/can’t tolerate beans/legumes (and it’s rare for me to cook 2 different entrees). It’s something I struggle with. The meat / fish we do eat is always the highest quality I can get my hands on. I do not buy feedlot meats. I can’t support that and I cut back in other areas of spending so that we can afford healthier and more humane options.

Anyhow, enough blah blah blah here are 10 Days, 10 Dinners

1. Tues – 4/28
Wild Salmon and Oat Cakes with Salad and homemade tartar sauce

(and Tessemae’s Green Goddess Dressing). I totally went back for a second helping of salad and an extra “cake”.

These came out super good which I was sort of surprised by! I bought a 14.75 oz can of Wild Alaskan Canned Salmon – the kind that has bones and skin in it – and the only way I could think of making it that would disguise bones/skin (gag!) was by making salmon cakes. I’ve always avoided these types of cans because the idea of the extra bits grossed me out but since my dairy consumption consists mostly of butter, I need to make extra effort to get calcium from other foods and guess what salmon bones have?? Yup, calcium (and vitamin D too).  And eating the skin increases the amount of healthy omega 3 fats by more than double per serving and since those are essential for reducing inflammation we need to eat them where we can! I’m over my fear of skin and bones in canned salmon and will definitely buy it again – it’s quite a bit cheaper than fresh and it’s already cooked so it’s a great way to save time and money.

How long this took to make: 20 – 25 minutes total (includes Cakes, tartar sauce and veggies for salad)

Wild Salmon and Oat Cakes with Salad and homemade tartar sauce

How to make this:

I just drained the liquid from the 14.75 oz can of wild salmon, poured the contents into a bowl and literally crushed the crap out of bones and meat up with my hands. The bones are super crumbly and the skin was rather soft so it all blended up in small bits very quickly. When it was the right consistency for cakes, I stirred in 1 whole egg, an egg white (leftover from making mayo so I thought why not?), roughly 1/4 cup of rolled oats (processed in the food processor to a breadcrumb consistency), a few tbsp of chopped onion, 1 stalk of chopped celery, a little dijon mustard, garlic powder, parsley and a dash of tamari.  Mixed it together with a spoon and heated up my favorite cast iron skillet on medium high heat.  I added about a half tbsp of both butter and olive oil to the hot skillet and when hot, scooped about 1/3 cup of the mixture into the pan (per cake) pressed it down with a spatula so it formed a patty shape, cooked for about 3 minutes, flipped and cooked for about 3 minutes more. I cooked 3 at a time (and I think this made 7 or 8 total). They got an awesome brown crust and stayed together well.

TIP: I think the reason they worked out so well was that I let the mixture sit for a few minutes while I cut up salad veggies and the skillet heated up so the oats had time to absorb some of the moisture.  For the tartar sauce, I just made my homemade olive oil mayo and added some diced bubbies pickles to it, and a little of the pickle juice.

The best part was this meal came together in just a few minutes – I think start to finish was 20 minutes. It helped that I didn’t make the salad dressing – Tessemae’s makes ones with really simple ingredients so I buy it occasionally to save myself some time (not that dressing takes more than a minute – but I get tired of whisking!).

2. Wed – 4/29
Whole Roasted Chicken with sweet potatoes, onions, cauliflower and green beans
.

I know, who the heck makes a whole roasted chicken on a weeknight? This girl does. We eat pretty late so even if I don’t get home until 7 I can still stick a chicken in the oven for dinner. I will roast a chicken with just about any vegetable combination – it’s an amazing way to have a delicious dinner that looks and tastes like you slaved forever! The juices from the chicken flavor the vegetables and the natural sugars in your starches caramelize – you can’t replicate this stuff on the stovetop (well you can but it’s a lot of work)!  After you’re done with the chicken, save the carcass for making broth (I put them in the freezer until I’m ready).

How long this took to make:  Active time, 5 minutes Inactive time, 90 minutes

Desktop Pictures2

Whole Roasted Chicken with sweet potatoes, onions, cauliflower and green beans.

How to make this:

Prep for this took 4 minutes!! Chopped up a head of cauliflower into big florets, sliced two sweet potatoes into thick circles (skin left on but scrubbed well), rinsed a bag of fresh green beans, chopped an onion into a few chunks and then placed all of that in a big roasting pan. Drizzled with a little olive oil and tossed the veggies with my hands. Sprinkled with a little sea salt and black pepper, made a well in the center and stuck in a 5 lb organic chicken. The only thing I do to prep the chicken is open the bag it came in, remove any neck/giblets or whatever, stick it in the pan and sprinkle it with salt. That’s it (no rinsing, no trussing, no butter, no fuss!!).  Bake a 4-5lb bird with lots of veggies/root veg of your choice at 425 for 80 – 90 minutes. It’s perfectly done every time!  You don’t have that much time? You can cook just the bird by itself at 450 degrees for 50-60 minutes (and cook your veggies another way). This is the type of stuff we should all learn I was talking about here – techniques for cooking instead of specific recipes.

3. Thurs – 4/30
Got take out from You You in Nashua

I ate my weight in sushi and spicy mayo (though the spicy mayo was homemade and I used low sodium tamari instead of the soy sauce they gave us). Sorry no pic! Just picture me eating a massive plate of various sushi and smiling the whole time. I swear, I would eat it every day if I didn’t think it would give me mercury poisoning.

4. Fri – 5/1
Ground Turkey hash with kale, zucchini, mushrooms and onions, served with baked kabocha squash and a fried egg.

I was feeling a little breakfast for dinner ish but had some turkey I wanted to use up so a hash it was! I added some weird spices because that’s how I roll. Meals like this are a great way to work vegetables in and not even feel like you’re eating them. You’ll laugh but I cooked kabocha squash for me and potatoes for John. He can’t do squash but I would cut off my arm to eat it more often! I could have eaten potatoes too, but I just really wanted to eat my squash, so I made two things out of selfishness really. To be honest, the way I cook, it didn’t make extra work for me. I literally roasted the squash and his potatoes on the same cookie sheet in the oven for the same amount of time. This time, I went back for seconds of just the squash. I love me kabocha.  You should try it if you haven’t before – it’s drier and nuttier than butternut squash.

How long this took to make:  About 30 minutes for the hash and eggs, 60 min for my potatoes / squash (but you can microwave so that it can all be done in 30).

Ground Turkey hash with kale, zucchini, mushrooms and onions, served with baked kabocha squash and a fried egg

Ground Turkey hash with kale, zucchini, mushrooms and onions, served with baked kabocha squash and a fried egg

How to make this:

Cook your starch however you want (I baked potatoes and kabocha squash whole in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour or so. You’re welcome to microwave yours to save time). While your starch is cooking, saute a big bunch of chopped kale (I used lacinato – it’s my favorite), 1 chopped zucchini, half a chopped onion, and 8oz of sliced mushrooms in a little olive oil, coconut oil or butter. When they’re mostly cooked, remove from the pan and cook 1 to 1 1/4 lbs of ground turkey in the same pan until cooked through.  Add the cooked veggies back to the pan, plus some paprika, garlic powder, turmeric and (weird I know) ground allspice, plus some sea salt and pepper and stir / cook until most of the liquid released from the veggies are gone. While you’re cooking in the spices, heat a skillet up over medium low heat, add some fat and fry up a few eggs to your desired doneness. Serve the hash on top of your starch and an egg or two on top of that.  It’s super awesome with salsa on top.

5. Sat – 5/2
Went out to dinner at Copper Door with the hubs and his dad

I had Wood Roasted Haddock with corn-crab hash, fingerling potatoes, pearl onions, bell peppers and sweet compound butter. Also had 2 chicken rangoon appetizers (yup, I ate wheat) and a Manhattan the size of my whole fist. (sorry no pic!). I could totally replicate the haddock dish at home, no problem. Those rangoons though . . .

6. Sun – 5/3
Chicken Soup with Bok Choy, celery, onion, arborio rice and ginger/star anise

Made homemade Chicken broth (using the saved carcass from Wednesday’s dinner) while we were home this weekend and turned it into a delicious and easy to digest soup (was having stomach pains after my wheat indulgence the night before).  If you have a high quality, rich tasting broth, you can make delicious soups with just a few ingredients since the broth is already so flavorful. Try it, I swear you will wonder why you ever bought store broth!

How long this took to make: Since I had homemade broth already, soup took about 30 – 35 minutes total.

Chicken Soup with Bok Choy, celery, onion, arborio rice and ginger/star anise

Chicken Soup with Bok Choy, celery, onion, arborio rice and ginger/star anise

How to make this:

Place 1 to 1.5 lbs organic boneless chicken breasts or thighs in a 4 quart dutch oven or stock pot. Add enough broth to cover the chicken plus 2 inches (they should be completely submerged and covered by 2 inches of liquid) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, I added a 1/2 cup of arborio rice, a two inch piece of peeled fresh ginger and about a tsp of anise seed (which I immersed in the broth tied into a piece of cheesecloth). You can also use 3 or 4 whole star anise.  I brought it back to a boil, then reduced to a simmer and let the chicken cook 15 -20 minutes (or until cooked through). I removed the chicken from the pan and let cool for a few minutes. Keep the rice cooking at a medium low temp and add more broth if needed. While the chicken is cooking, heat up a saute pan with a little fat of your choice and saute a chopped onion and 4 sliced stalks of celery until softened, about 6 or 7 minutes. When chicken is cool enough to handle, chop up into bite sized pieces. Remove anise seed and ginger from the rice/broth, add chopped chicken, sauteed celery and onion and your raw but sliced head of bok choy to the pot. Add 1 tbsp low sodium tamari, a dash of rice vinegar and 1/2 tsp ground turmeric (or 1 tbsp fresh grated). Heat everything through and season with pepper.

7. Mon – 5/4
Ground Beef, onion and fennel stuffed Zucchini boats, topped with homemade fast marinara sauce and served with organic corn and steamed green beans

This was the result of one of those nights when I came home and stared into the fridge several times and didn’t know what to make. Nothing was appealing to me, I was tired and really didn’t want anything that we had. Took a chance in throwing this all together and it worked out well!

How long this took to make: About 45 minutes.

Ground Beef, onion and fennel stuffed Zucchini boats, topped with homemade fast marinara sauce and served with organic corn and steamed green beans

Ground Beef, onion and fennel stuffed Zucchini boats, topped with homemade fast marinara sauce and served with organic corn and steamed green beans

How to make this:

Preheat your oven to 350. Cut two big zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon then lightly rub with olive or melted coconut oil. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes. While zucchini is cooking, heat fat of your choice in a medium sized saute pan and cook 1 diced onion and a roughly chopped fennel bulb (freeze the fronds for the next time you make broth – adds a delicious flavor and it’s good for the belly) until softened (about 6 or 7 minutes). Add 1 lb grassfed ground beef and break up with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  Add 1 tsp paprika, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp ground allspice and stir until ground beef is cooked through. Season with sea salt and black pepper.  While the meat and zucchini are cooking, make a quick marinara sauce. I take a whole onion, cut in half and remove the skin and place the two onion halves in a hot sauce pan with a little olive oil or butter and then I add some dried oregano, either fresh or dried basil and 1 clove minced garlic and stir until fragrant (a minute or two). Then I add a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, a pinch of sugar and generous sea salt and black pepper and I let it simmer for a good 25 -40 minutes (depending on how hungry I am!). When your meat and veggie mixture is cooked through, fill up your zucchini boats with the mixture and place in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with marinara sauce (feel free to add grated parm or gruyere if you eat dairy). Serve with steamed green beans and (frozen) organic corn.

8. Tues – 5/5
Spiced Pan Seared Mahi Mahi with pineapple avocado salsa, quinoa and roasted brussels sprouts

This is really easy to make and John liked it despite not liking fish.

How long this took to make: About 30 minutes (Mahi Mahi takes about 10 minutes but brussels take a bit longer)

mahimahi

Spiced Pan Seared Mahi Mahi with pineapple avocado salsa, quinoa and roasted brussels sprouts

How to make this:

I totally cheated with my salsa. I had some Salsa Fresca from whole foods in the fridge. To that, I added some chopped fresh pineapple, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a diced avocado. Voila, Pineapple Avocado salsa bitches. I do make my own salsa sometimes but I’m also a fan of improvising with what I have available at any given moment. Put your salsa aside and make a spice rub for your mahi mahi. Use this as a rough guide and adjust to your needs: 1.5 tbsp paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp thyme leaves, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp sea salt. If you like spicy you’ll probably want to add some cayenne to that but I leave it out for John. Put it all in a bowl and mix together and then rub it all over (front and back) of 1 – 1.5 lbs Wild Mahi Mahi fillets. Let your Mahi Mahi sit for a few minutes, make some quinoa and prep your brussels sprouts. I roughly follow this recipe. Though I use less olive oil, less salt and cook at a slightly higher temp for less time (say 425 for 25 minutes – it really depends on how big your sprouts are). When your quinoa and sprout are almost done, heat a cast iron skillet or good saute pan over medium high heat, add about 1/2 tbsp of both butter and olive oil and when hot add your Mahi Mahi fillets. Cook for about 4-6 minutes on each side or until cooked through (will depend on thickness of your fillets – fish cooks pretty fast!). You should get a good sear if the pan is hot enough. Serve the Mahi Mahi with the salsa on top or on the side.

9. Wed – 5/6
Wild ramps, swiss chard and organic pork sausage risotto.

My risottos are really more like a bowl of vegetables that have some slow cooked rice mixed in, instead of the other way around. I used more of the chicken broth I made on Sunday instead of store bought – it’s way more nutritious and tastes so much better too.

How do we make risotto? I promise, it’s not as hard as people make it out to be but you do need to be present and available to stir regularly. Once you see that risotto is a cooking technique – and you just need to learn the formula you realize you can add anything to it – there are endless delicious variations. One word of advice, you probably don’t want to make it for the first time on a weeknight if you have hungry little ones waiting on you (try it on a weekend when you have some extra wiggle room).

How long this took to make: About 40 minutes.

risottoramps

Wild ramp, swiss chard and organic pork sausage risotto

How to make this:


You can follow this recipe here. To this, I added a whole bunch of chopped rainbow swiss chard in the last 10 minutes or so of cooking. I also use more than 3 cups of broth (probably closer to 5 cups) and have my broth warm before adding it to the rice. I used DuBreton Organic Mild Italian Pork Sausages. If you can’t find Ramps (not exactly in every grocery store are they!), try using scallions, leeks or egyptian onions for a similar light onion flavor (though you won’t want to use the tough green tops of leeks – again save those for broth making!).  If you don’t have vermouth, try white wine – and if you don’t use alcohol, skip it and add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a little acid kick. Lastly, the parmesan in risotto is totally optional – it’s still creamy and delicious without.

10. Thurs – 5/7
Paleo Pad Thai

This is super delicious.

Paleo Pad Thai (from The Clothes Make The Girl)

Paleo Pad Thai (from The Clothes Make The Girl)

How to make this:

Use this recipe for Paleo Pad Thai by Melissa Joulwan. It’s basically spaghetti squash with grilled chicken thighs, sugar snap peas, scrambled egg and a delicious sunbutter sauce. We’re not paleo but searching for paleo recipes is an easy way to find recipes that only contain whole foods / real foods and you can adjust them as you see fit. This recipe can take a bit to make so I usually try to make the sauce and cook the whole spaghetti squash the day before (both of which only take a few minutes of active time – but having some steps done saves time when I’m actually cooking).  This is definitely quite different from traditional pad thai but that creaminess and crunch we’ve come to expect from pad thai makes this total healthy comfort food.

There you have it. 10 consecutive days of dinners at my house. What have you been eating lately?

Chicken Soup with Bok Choy, Celery and Sweet Potato

Simple dinners are sometimes the best ones!

Simple dinners are sometimes the best ones!

This was a really simple soup I put together for John recently when he wasn’t feeling so hot and it was perfect!  It really hit the spot and was a snap to make!  The key was using homemade chicken bone broth that I had made the day before. It’s exactly what you want to eat when you’ve had a busy day of Christmas shopping, errands or have been over indulging a little too much! Good old comfort food!

You can certainly use store bought broth for this, but the final flavor really depends on the quality of your broth.  If you wouldn’t want to drink your store bought broth by itself, it probably won’t be tasty enough to use in a simple soup like this.  Consider making your own if you can, it’s so very good for you and tastes so much better than anything you can buy.  I have a recipe here which is good base.  On this particular day, instead of the carrots and onion in my regular broth, I added the dark green parts from a couple of leeks and the fronds from a fennel bulb (both of which I had saved and put in my freezer for the purpose of making stock). It  came out really good!

Good quality stock and a few simple ingredients and dinner is done.  You can throw almost anything into some good homemade broth and it will taste good. I love adding a huge chunk of fresh turmeric (grated) to it – it adds a ton of rich color and an earthy flavor.

Ingredients
4-6 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
2 split bone in chicken breasts
3 heads baby bok choy or 1 regular sized one, sliced into bite sized chunks
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled
1 2-inch long piece of fresh turmeric, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap peeled sweet potatoes in foil and place on one side of a large cookie sheet. Put the split chicken breasts on the other side of the cookie sheet.  Bake both for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside for a few minutes.  In a large stock pan or dutch oven, bring the chicken broth to a simmer and then add the bok choy, rosemary, celery and turmeric.  Continue simmering for 10 minutes or until the celery is tender.  When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, cut into bite sized pieces and add to the soup.  Open the foil packets and chop the sweet potato into bite sized pieces and add to the soup.  If the sweet potato is still somewhat firm, let the soup continue simmering until it is soft, otherwise just cook until everything is warmed through.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve!

Makes 4 light servings

Mushroom Herb Quinoa Patties with Pan Seared Sea Scallops & Spicy Garlic Mayo

Delicious, easy and good for you!

Delicious, easy and good for you!

That title is a mouthful, huh?

Who says eating gluten free or not eating cheese has to be boring?  Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a meal that looks a little fancy even if it isn’t.  This was delicious and came together really quickly even on a weeknight! I had leftover quinoa in the fridge and scallops take less than 6 minutes to cook in a pan.  The worst part is whisking the oil into the mayo (just take a break and stretch your forearm if needed. Just kidding, it’s not that bad). And if you’re grossed out by the idea of eating mayo as a condiment with a meal, well I have news for you, you’ve eaten it before at fancy restaurants – it’s also called aioli or rouille.  Using well flavored mayo’s to flavor seafood, soups or other dishes is a much older tradition than using it on sandwiches. So there. I’m going to go enjoy my homemade mayo now that I’ve gotten that off my chest.  I think I just made mayo hipster? Is that what just happened there?

This is a great way to use up leftover quinoa and any diced veggies you may have in the fridge.  I use mushrooms, celery and onions here but you certain could use other things if you don’t have those. No need to limit yourself!  And if you don’t eat seafood or are vegetarian, the quinoa patties each have about 5 g of protein in them so a couple of those and some veggies and you’ll still have a filling meal!  These are also good when used as sort of a falafel with some tahini sauce, tomatoes, cucumbers and all that deliciousness.

A note on substitutions: If you have a problem with soy, feel free to leave out the tamari – it just adds a little umami flavor.  It won’t be a big deal if you leave it out.  Feel free to use other GF flours that you have on hand or if you eat wheat, you can use breadcrumbs.

I think you’ll love this!  When you eat like this, you won’t miss heavily processed food, cheese, wheat or anything else.  Good stuff!

Ingredients

Patties
1 cup dry quinoa, cooked and cooled
6 – 8 oz mushrooms, chopped in small pieces
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 tbsp unsalted pasture butter
1 clove garlic minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 whole egg or the whites from 2 eggs
2 – 4 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp low sodium tamari
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Sea Scallops
1 tbsp unsalted pasture butter
1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
12 sea scallops, trimmed, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
sea salt and black pepper

Spicy Garlic Mayo
2 egg yolks (from pasture raised organic hens – local is best!)
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil (don’t use Extra Virgin for this)
juice from half a lemon
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt
1 tbsp sriracha sauce (I use Ninja Squirrel brand from Whole Foods)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make the patties first.  Heat a medium sized saute pan over medium heat. When it’s hot, add 1 tbsp butter and saute the celery, mushrooms and onion until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have browned. Add the garlic, rosemary and oregano and cook for just 30 seconds or so.  Turn off the heat and stir into the cooled quinoa.  Add the egg whites (I used egg whites only because I used the yolks for the mayo and didn’t want to waste them) tamari, parsley, coconut flour, salt and pepper.  Start with 2 tbsps of coconut flour and stir well.  Add more coconut flour if the mixture is very moist.  Coconut flour will absorb some of the moisture but sometimes too much so! Add a couple tbsp of water if that happens.

Grease a baking sheet with whatever fat you prefer to use and then form the mixture into 10 – 12 patties.  They should be a little smaller than the palm of your hand.  Place on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, then flip and bake for another 5-7 minutes.raw quinoa mushroom patties before going in the oven.

Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.

Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.

While the patties are baking, make the spicy garlic mayo. Put the minced garlic on a firm surface (a cutting board will do) and sprinkle generously with sea salt.  The salt will soften the garlic and help it to release juices. Place the egg yolks* and dijon mustard in a medium bowl and whisk until well combined.  Continue whisking and slowly drizzle the olive oil down the side of the bowl.  The oil and the yolk mixture will start to emulsify. Keep whisking and pour the oil slower than you have to.  If you pour too fast, the emulsion will start to break (stop pouring and whisk until it comes back together).  As it thickens, the bowl may start to slide around – it might help to rest the bowl on a dish towel.  When you finish whisking in the oil, add the garlic with it’s juices and salt, the lemon juice and whisk.  When that is well blended, whisk in the sriracha sauce.  If you don’t like spicy, you can leave out the sriracha – it’ll still be a delicious garlicky mayo!  Add more salt if necessary and set aside while you make the scallops.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  While it is heating, sprinkle your scallops* generously with sea salt and black pepper. When the pan is very hot, add 1/2 tbsp butter and 1/2 tbsp oil to the pan.  When the butter is melted, add half the scallops, placing one of their flat round sides face down in the pan.  (Unless you have a very large skillet to work with, I recommend only making 6 at a time – otherwise they will release too much liquid and you won’t get a good sear).  Cook for 2-3 minutes, flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  They should have a nice browning on the outside but still be tender on the inside. If they stick to the pan, they probably need another minutes on. Remove from heat before they get tough!

Pan seared scallops are super easy to make and make you look fancy!

Pan seared scallops are super easy to make and make you look fancy!

Serve a couple of quinoa patties topped with 4 scallops and a big dollop of the garlicky mayo. I happened to serve this with some raw romaine leaves and some sauteed kale & extra mushrooms – but you can serve it with any vegetable you have on hand.

Serve a couple of quinoa patties topped with scallops & spicy garlic mayo on a bed of vegetables. So good!

Serve a couple of quinoa patties topped with scallops & spicy garlic mayo on a bed of vegetables. So good!

*This recipe contains raw egg yolk and scallops that are not fully cooked.  Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness. 

Gluten Free Tourtiere – French Canadian Meat Pie – with Kale and Celery Root!

French Canadian Meat Pie - Tourtiere (made gluten free and a little less carb heavy).

French Canadian Meat Pie – Tourtiere (made gluten free and a little less carb heavy).

I know we just finished Thanksgiving but bookmark this one for when Christmas rolls around in a few weeks! How many of you ate “meat pie” on Christmas Eve?

Can I just tell you that when I decided to stop eating flour on a regular basis the thing that made me waver on it the most was meat pie???? Not pizza, not cake, not sandwiches, but something I ate only once or twice a year.  I grew up in a household that ate French Canadian Tourtiere (also known as meat pie) every Christmas Eve after we came home from the 7pm Mass (and right before my sisters and I exchanged Christmas presents with each other).  My mother was the cook in our household and she passed away in 2001 so while a lot of our traditions have changed since, I’m always quick to hold on to whatever I can that reminds me of her.  Tourtiere was not one I was willing to give up.  Just the smell of it cooking in the kitchen reminds me of being a kid and all the fond memories that go with holidays around that. It’s kind of funny how hard I’ve held on to that, especially considering I didn’t even eat pork or beef from my early teenage years until just a few years ago – but that reminder of family times is still there.

Looks naked without a top crust, I know, but it tastes so similar to the one I had as a kid - and won't make me feel terrible later!

Looks naked without a top crust, I know, but it tastes so similar to the one I had as a kid – and won’t make me feel terrible later!

Earlier this fall, on a chilly evening, I realized I had all the ingredients on hand to make Tourtiere but I didn’t want to make it with wheat flour – knowing that if I did, I would feel bloated, constipated and have joint pain for the next 4-5 days afterward. I decided I’d make a crust of sorts with coconut flour and I also decided to lighten up the carb load by using celery root instead of potatoes. And being the weirdo I am, I added a few cups of chopped kale to it too.  Believe it or not, the kale blends right in with the strong spice flavors so don’t shy away if you are a meat pie fan and want to make it a little healthier. And the celery root is completely passable as potato!!

I went with just a crust on the bottom of this pie instead of the traditional top and bottom crust because in all honesty, I’m not the best “dough” person.  I’m not super experienced in working with coconut flour or any other gluten free flour (let’s be honest – dough of any flour type fears me) and while I felt confident that I could make a pat in pan type of crust for this, I wasn’t so sure I could roll it out on top of the pie.  I’m sure there is a way to do it but the first night I made it, it wasn’t going to happen.  The second night I made this I tried to roll it out but I don’t think I moistened the flour enough – it might have worked had I added a second egg or some extra liquid.  I’m sure there are bloggers out there who can come up with a much better pastry than me for this particular dish – a couple of google searches will probably take you to them.  BUT, I have to say, the pie holds it’s shape pretty well without the second crust and the flavors all mimic the original pretty well.

No, celery root is not potato, no coconut flour is not wheat flour, and no kale isn’t extra pork or pork fat . . . but with these substitutions this is a dish that tastes like Christmas Eve without making me feel heavy and lethargic afterwards.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Ingredients
filling
1 lb grass fed ground beef or
1/2 lb organic ground pork & 1/2 lb grass fed ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1 large celery root / celeriac, peeled and chopped into small pieces
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
a pinch of ground allspice (or more)
1 head of kale, chopped finely (steamed if you like it very tender)
sea salt and black pepper

Crust (makes just one layer of crust)
1/4 cup coconut oil or butter
1 egg
1/2 cup coconut flour
generous pinch of salt

Directions
Put beef/pork, onion, celery root, water and bay leaf in a pot and simmer covered, stirring occasionally (to break up the meat and celery root) for 40 minutes, remove cover and let simmer for another 10 or until water is cooked off. Mash gently with potato masher if celery root isn’t completely broken up. While meat mixture is cooking, make your crust (fyi- this is just a one crust pie – different than traditional tourtiere).

That crust looks pretty good huh?

That crust looks pretty good huh?

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt your coconut oil or use softened butter and mix into coconut flour.  Add 1 egg and a pinch of salt and mix until well combined. If it seems very dry you can add a tbsp of water but it should resemble a thick dough. Transfer the dough to a pie plate and press out into the plate using your hands.  You’ll need to press from the center and work out to the sides. Don’t be shy about pressing it firmly and working it up the plate – coconut oil firms up as it cools and the warmth from your hands will help it be more malleable.

Once you have it covering the pie plate, bake the crust for 10 minutes.

While the crust is baking, stir in cinnamon, cloves, allspice and (raw or steamed) kale into the celery root and meat mixture. Season with salt and pepper.  Stir for a minute or two until kale wilts and then pour into the baked pie crust.  Bake the pie at 400 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.  The longer you let it sit, the more firm it will be for serving. Serve with a tomato relish or ketchup (that’s how we ate it growing up!).

Note: Don’t be shy with this – the second time I made this I added mushrooms and dandelion greens instead of kale and it also blended in really well.  What swaps can you make in some of your childhood favorites that might be more nutritious?

Mix and Match Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie (topped with Butternut Squash!)

Shepherd’s Pie (topped with Butternut Squash!)

Growing up, we had Shepherd’s Pie quite a bit! In our house, it was essentially leftover mashed potatoes, frozen or canned corn and ground beef all baked in a dish together.  To be honest, I did not love it.

But now as an adult, I realize that was my mom’s way of using up leftovers and she didn’t get fancy with ingredients because she had 5 kids and at least one of us at any given time was a picky eater.

While I didn’t love the combo of plain beef and corn, I do see the appeal of a one pot dish and a form of Shepherd’s Pie appears in our house at least a couple times a month.  I like to call it Mix and Match Shepherd’s Pie.  It’s essentially one part protein, one part assorted cooked vegetables, a little tomato paste, worcestershire and appropriate spices, topped with mashed root vegetable or starch of your choice. This is not really a recipe, but more a loose formula, so go crazy if you like.  It’s a phenomenal way to use up leftovers, it’s full of comfort food, and it’s comprised of whole foods . . .what’s not to like?

The options are endless – almost anything you’ve got in your fridge can work here! I’ve made some really crazy combinations and so far neither John or I have turned up our noses at the result.  When you can’t think of anything to make – make this! The amount of nutrients you can pack into it are endless!

sausage, bell peppers, spinach, celery, onions and who the heck remembers what else! Filling for Shepherd's Pie!

sausage, bell peppers, spinach and who the heck remembers what else! Filling for Shepherd’s Pie!

Ingredients
16 – 20 oz protein of choice: try ground turkey, beef, lamb or pork, or sausages (casings removed), thinly sliced chicken breasts or canned beans.

3-4 cups leftover mashed root or starch: try potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash, celeriac, turnip, rutabaga, kabocha squash or cooked polenta.  (If I don’t have leftovers, I boil and mash and then stir in 2 tbsp pasture butter or coconut oil to my starch/roots, plus salt and pepper. I usually will leave potato & sweet potato skins on)

3 cups chopped mixed vegetables of your choice: try mushrooms, broccoli, kale, dandelion greens, bell peppers, carrots, peas, zucchini, mizuna, cabbage etc.

1 cup diced onion or thinly sliced leeks
1 tbsp pasture butter, olive oil or coconut oil
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried herbs (one or two): try ground sage, savory, basil, oregano, thyme, tarragon, marjoram, dill
optional: 1/2 tsp garlic powder, onion powder or smoked paprika
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of coconut or olive oil (or butter) and saute 3 cups of chopped mixed vegetables and 1 cup of diced onions/leeks until they begin to soften and the onions are almost translucent. Remove the vegetables from the pan and cook your meat (you don’t need to cook canned beans if you are using them), stirring occasionally until cooked through.  Stir the vegetables back into the pan, add the worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, herbs and any optional spices until everything is well blended.  Most meats will yield a small amount of liquid during the cooking process, if you use something that doesn’t and the pan seems dry, feel free to add a couple tbsp of water while working in the tomato paste and other flavorings.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Pour the meat / bean & vegetable mixture into the bottom of a large casserole dish or 9X13 pan.  Top with mashed root or starch and bake for 30 minutes or until warmed through.  Some toppings will brown better than others, if your top doesn’t brown, turn on the broiler and broil for 1-2 minutes (keeping an eye on it as roots brown quickly).

Remove from oven and let cool briefly before serving.  Makes 4 generous delicious, comfort food servings.

Note: If your mash topping seems soupy (as the case might be with things like butternut squash) stir in a beaten egg before cooking and it will firm right up during cooking!

My favorite combos:
Topping: Colcannon (mashed potatoes with kale, leeks & cabbage stirred in)
Filling: Ground Turkey, broccolini & carrots (photo below)

Colcannon/Butternut Squash shepherd's Pie with ground turkey, carrots and broccolini!

Colcannon/Butternut Squash shepherd’s Pie with ground turkey, carrots and broccolini!

photo 1 copy 5

Topping:  Butternut squash
Filling: Sweet Italian Sausage, Kale, Bell peppers, peas

Topping: Smashed Parm Potatoes
Filling: Ground Beef, mushrooms & carrots

Do you make Shepherd’s Pie? What are your favorite filling and toppings? Are you a traditionalist or do you like to veer off and clean out your fridge like me? Share in the comments below, I’d love to hear your side of things!

Free 31 Page eBook – Healthy Eating Shouldn’t Be a Workout!

This 31 page ebook is yours for free with sign up of my newsletter!

This 31 page ebook is yours for free with sign up of my newsletter!

I’m giving away a Free 31 page ebook called Healthy Eating Shouldn’t Be a Workout:  Real Life Strategies to Take the Confusion Out of Healthy Living.  I launched it today and I’m really excited about it!  I know it’s kind of a weird thing to write a blog post about but I want to make sure as many people get access to it as possible and sharing it here is a great way to do that.

This is a great free resource for anyone who wants to take charge of their health and is willing to put in just a little effort to do it. It’s full of tried and true strategies for eating well, recipes, snack and meal ideas, ways you can save money when adopting a new lifestyle and so much more!  Everything in this book is something I know works because these are the things I have come back to day after day after years of trying to lose weight, eat more intuitively and take better care of my body.  Why do I come back to them?  Because these are things that work.  These strategies keep me moving forward and enable me to get back on track quickly when I take a detour.

I know we’re hit with so much health and wellness “noise” today that it has become hard to know who to listen to.  One minute we’re told something is good for us, the next it’s bad.  It’s really confusing knowing if what you are doing is helping or harming your health.  My goal with this ebook is to take some of that stress away for you, especially if you are a beginner in making changes.  I know just how overwhelming it can be!

If you want to feel your best, you need to eat your best.  And this free guide can help you figure out how you can make that happen.  If you don’t want eating well to feel like a workout, it doesn’t have to! How do you get it?  Just click on the photo at the top of this page and follow instructions or click here.

If you sign up for it, I’d love to know what you think!