Roasted Cauliflower Bisque with Wilted Arugula, Toasted Macadamia & Orange Zest

 

 

 

 

The creamiest cauliflower bisque flavored with roasted garlic, orange & greens!

 

Ah, soup. There’s nothing quite like sitting down to a bowl of creamy, comforting soup to make your physical and mental woes be gone. At least for the 8 minutes it takes you to slurp it down and do nothing else with your hands or brain. This cauliflower bisque takes maybe 8 seconds to slurp because it’s extra delicious.

 

 

 

In college, my friend told me her favorite food was soup and my immediate response was, “How the heck!!? Why? Because it’s low in calories!?” I just didn’t get why you’d want to drink a pre-digested bowl of food for a meal when you could be eating bowls of roasted vegetables, quinoa, and beans.

 

 

 

That was pretty much my diet in college which is fairly balanced for a 20-year-old. I remember one semester I had $30 a week for groceries and every night I ate sauteed mushrooms and asparagus with half a sweet potato and a slice of whole wheat toast. I made it work, I guess.

 

 

 

Ever since starting the autoimmune protocol and jumping on the bone broth bandwagon (I feel like we need a Bone Broth groupie tshirt. It needs to be really well-worn, soft, and splattered with stains of liquid gold), I am the soup girl. The soup nazi who says “no soup for you” unless you appreciate whole-heartedly how damn lucky you are to eat my soup.

 

 

 

My mom also is cuckoo for soup and we call each other every time we make a good batch of broth. Lately though, I have been having a hell of a time trying to find high quality grass-fed bones for beef and pork broth. When we lived in Chicago, it was fairly easy for me to source such bones at the plethora of farmer’s markets and artisan butchers.

 

 

 

In Austin, my focus has turned to not being in the car for 30 minutes to find a farmer’s market that sells grass-fed bones for less than the price of your first born. Instead I’ve been purchasing pre-made broth from a local restaurant who makes fresh batches multiple times a week.

 

 

 

Unfortunately, the majority of us don’t live in cities with such restaurants. You ask your average dinner establishment to sell you broth and you may get a few cubes of buillon and the cook’s “secret” recipe of add buillon to water and bring to a boil for 25 minutes. And while buying non grass-fed bones is better than buying no bones at all, I have a serious aversion to poorly raised meat.

 

 

 

I KNOW, I KNOW. It’s all some of us can source or afford. I personally can taste a sad animal and will not enjoy my meal whatsoever. In fact, the other day at the Whole Foods salad bar I got a grilled chicken thigh for my salad. I took one bite and gave the rest to my husband. It tasted like it had been boiled in the tears of over-fed, under-nourished hens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what’s a soup-loving gal who can’t find any good bones supposed to do!!? Bone broth is an incredibly important part of any gut-healing diet, and I truly don’t think I ever found true healing until I added it into my regimen multiple times a week. It’s no joke, and it’s no wonder it’s becoming a fast-growing superfood in all segments of the population! I mean hello… Tom Brady and the entire Lakers team are doing it.

 

 

 

Back to my question. WHAT DO YOU DO!? You look to the Internet to solve all your problems. You thank Heavens for Fedex and dry ice. You visit the Osso Good Bones Website and check out their pre-made BPA-free pouches of high-quality grass fed and pastured bone broths and you order some to be shipped directly to your house because that means you don’t have to scrub nasty bone broth grease off your Instant Pot for 45 minutes tonight.

 

 

 

OSSO GOOD BONES IS NOW OFFERING…..

  • Two Autoimmune-Protocol Compliant Flavors: Grass Fed Beef & Organic Cage-Free Chicken Bone Broth

  • 20 ounce BPA-free, freezer safe pouch with easy-pour spout which makes measuring and pouring completely mess-free too!

  • Flavored with vegetables and no added sea salt so you don’t have to worry about a recipe ending up too salty

  • Rich and satisfying flavor because Osso Good knows how to do broth

  • It gels! Ah the holy grail of bone broth making.

 

 

 

And of course it’s what I used to make this ridic delicious creamy cauliflower bisque! It was so fast to throw together and is very hands-off. You let the cauliflower and garlic roast to savory and sweet perfection and simple blend it with the broth. A couple quick garnishes provides this bisque texture, color, and brightness, so don’t leave them out!

 

 

 

 

 

2 reviews

Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic Bisque

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 00:35 Serves 2 to 3

Ingredients

  • 24 ounces cauliflower florets*, chopped into even-sized 1-inch pieces
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon truffle salt or sea salt, divided
  • 2 cups chicken broth, warmed
  • 1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts (omit for AIP)
  • 3 large handfuls arugula
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • Black pepper, to taste (omit for AIP)

Directions

 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. pan>

  2. Toss the cauliflower and garlic with olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drizzle the honey on top as evenly as possible. pan>

  3. Roast for 28 to 32 minutes until the cauliflower is tender with browned tips. Transfer to a high-powered blender, preferably a Vitamix or Blendtec for the smoothest bisque. pan>

  4. Add the bone broth and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to the blender and puree for 60 seconds until silky smooth. Ladle into individual serving bowls.pan>

  5. Prepare the garnish by toasting the macadamia nuts in a skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle on each bowl. Now add the olive oil to the skillet and gently wilt the arugula over medium heat for 30 to 60 seconds. Garnish the bowls with the wilted arugula, a bit of orange zest, and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve warm!pan>

 

 

Sweet & Sour Thai Turkey Meatballs (Paleo, AIP)

 

 

Have you cooked with tamarind paste before? It’s pretty new to me, since I bought it when I was cooking my way through Paleo Takeout (which has an amazing AIP modification guide here) by The Domestic Man. I’m almost a year late to the game on that book, but we share the same publisher, and when I was at his house during our Vegas book tour stop and saw it on his overly impressive bookshelf (aka every Paleo cookbook you wish you owned or probably do), I said “MINE!”. Well I was more tactful than that. We had two weeks of really amazing Pan-Asian meals from Russ’ book, took a mini break, then I realized I had a few tablespoons of tamarind to use up and some sad looking ground turkey in my fridge (plus all of these other ingredients – yay for no shopping).

 

Tamarind paste comes from the tamarind fruit, which boasts some impressive antioxidant and phytochemicals in it’s ugly little body. It’s a great source of iron, B-vitamins, and vitamin C too, and it adds a really interesting sour-umami flavor to your dishes. I used in it pretty hefty amounts in this recipe to get a puckery yet sweet and balanced sauce for the balls. Which means more vitamins and antioxidants for you, another “Yay!”

 

Asian-flavor on the autoimmune protocol may sound difficult to achieve or like a real let down, but it doesn’t have to be! There’s several Asian-inspired recipes in The Healing Kitchen such as Teriyaki Chicken & Fried Rice, Chinese Stir-Fried Lettuce, and Speedy Shanghai Stir Fry! You just have to stock your pantry with a few (really, just a few!) staples to create your own Asian flare meals.

 

My must-have AIP pantry staples for Asian food are:

 

When you combine the above with flavors like ginger, garlic, green onions, honey, and molasses, you can create these abundantly rich and nutritious sauces to top meatballs, meatloaf, stir-frys of all types, cauliflower rice, and even roasted broccoli or glazed carrots!

 

This recipe uses turkey thigh but you could try using an equally fatty cut of ground meat like ground pork, a mixtue of ground pork and beef, or ground chicken thigh too.

 

 

 

 

Sweet & sour Asian-inspired meatballs pair perfectly with cauliflower rice!

 

 

Sweet & Sour Thai Turkey Meatballs

Prep Time 00:20 Cook Time 00:18 Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro, loosely packed
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup mashed white sweet potato (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Red Boat fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 pounds ground turkey thigh
  • 1 recipe Sweet & Sour Glaze
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Sweet & Sour Glaze:
  • 1/3 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the tamarind, aminos, fish sauce, and sea salt until smooth. Stir into the herb and shallot mixture in the large bowl.
  4. Using your hands, mix the ground turkey with the rest of the ingredients until well combined. Form large 2 ½ tablespoon-sized meatballs with wet hands and place on the lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 18 minutes and let cool before tossing in the Sweet & Sour Glaze. Serve with lime wedges.

 

Sweet & Sour Glaze

Combine everything except the arrowroot and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a low boil for 1 minute. In a small bowl, whisk together the arrowroot and water to make a thin, smooth paste. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the arrowroot mixture immediately until thickened.

Recipe Notes

If serving entire batch at once, coat the meatballs in the sauce. If only serving a portion of the batch, coat only the portion you'll be eating during that serving with some of the sauce. This prevents the sauce from soaking into the meatballs when stored. Store the sauce separately in the refrigerator and reheat in a saucepan over low heat until pourable when ready to serve again.

Parsnip & Pancetta Chowder with Crispy Leeks (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

parsnip pancetta chowder

 

 

Today was all about resting, relaxing, and taking care of my body. I’m not very good at relaxing for extended periods of time (30 minutes is good, right?). I thought more than once, “Man, this is boring” and “Ugh, I want to go exercise, it’s been 3 days!” But I knew it’s what I needed after a day from the dark depths of you know where on Saturday. We had our Austin book signing Friday night which was super fun because we did a group dinner before it. It was a delicious 4-course AIP off-menu meal at Vox Table, and they served the most amazing smoked sunchoke and rutabaga chowder. It put me the mood for root veggie chowder this week, but I couldn’t find rutabaga or sunchoke at my store. It ended up being much more affordable to go with parsnips and leeks anyways, so this chowder tastes nothing like the one I had at Vox, but it’s hearty, filling, and fairly delicate in flavor. It really could be the base of a lot of additions such as salmon or cod chowder, and it’s based on my Bacon & Salmon Chowder from The Healing Kitchen. Fun back story, I know.

 

So basically the Austin book tour stop came in the middle of 4 weeks of insomnia that had been getting worse as my pregnancy progresses. Part of it I know is caused by stress (new job, new book, new baby, new city, new life in general) and anxiety (“Oh my god, I’m going to be a mother and not just for like a few years, but for the rest of my life. How am I going to survive on no sleep!? Will she be a good breastfeeder!? I hope she’s nice and not a bully when she’s older. I’m going to teach her about bullying from a young age and how important it is to be nice to everyone. Will I put cute notes in her lunch box? When is she going to lose her virginity!? I’m going to lock her inside the house if it’s before 16.” Yeah, that last one is the definition of anxiety. Worrying about your unborn child’s future romantic relationships. Yeesh. Plus all the tossing and turning you do as your belly grows and your tail bone aches and your little sweet nugget it simultaneously kicking your bladder and your pubic bone at the same time somehow. 

 

That night, I could NOT sleep, and I had only gotten 3 hours of sleep the night before, so I was delirious and exhausted. I had a series of tear-filled anxiety attacks that night, my husband stayed up with me the whole time like an angel, and when the sun rose, I had to make the decision on whether or not I would make the 5-hour roundtrip drive to Houston for the book signing. Honestly, book signings are exhausting I’ve learned. You’re on your feet for 3 to 4 hours, meeting tons of new & friendly people, and not taking enough water and pee breaks. I couldn’t imagine doing that to my body or my baby on a total of 3 hours of sleep in a 48-hour period, and I was also having a return of some pretty violent pregnancy sickness, which in itself is very exhausting. It ended up being a blessing that I did not go because I didn’t keep any food or liquid down for 24 hours that day and night and ended up extremely dehydrated. I’ll spare you the details, but I broke down crying on the floor at 11 pm Saturday night after I had gotten sick all over my bathroom floor for the 8th time that day, had to shower (again), and then on my way back to bed rolled my ankle and dropped my puke bucket on the floor. Remember, now I’m only at 5 hours of sleep in a 72-hour period at this point. I also have a terribly guilty conscience and felt really bad about letting people down about not going to Houston. I was feeling extremely defeated and anxious at this point.

 

I laid in bed and cried and thought about my grandma whom is very special to me that passed away several years ago. I told her I missed her and that I wish she was here to meet baby Grace. I just kept telling her out loud how much I missed her while I was shaking and crying. And then suddenly every muscle in my body relaxed for the first time in I can’t remember when, and I felt a strong sense of calm come over me. Within a second and no more. I’m a pretty spiritually-connected girl and believe our loved ones that have passed are not in our past. They are always with us, and I know my sweet grandma was reminding me how she will meet Grace and that I will be okay.

 

So that’s some pretty intimate stuff to share on a blog, but if you’ve been reading for awhile, you know I’m not shy. People hide behind social media and online communications so much these days, and no one just tells it like it is. This is what it is (other than poor grammar):

– Being a first time mommy is really scary and it’s normal to have a lot of self-doubt

– The people who really care about you will be there for you when you need them (i.e. my husband and my grandma) and will put their needs aside 

– Never feel guilty about choosing your health and healing and your family’s health over an obligation

 

I’m sure these aren’t the last lessons I’ll learn this year, but I thought I’d share. Writing a cookbook wasn’t easy, and doing it in the midst of full-time work, finishing my master’s program and research project, dealing with the worst Hashimoto’s flare ever, moving 4 times throughout the process, finding out I’m pregnant and dealing with everything that goes along with that, and then realizing “Crap! I need to be closer to my family once this baby arrives… we need to move AGAIN”, definitely chalks 2015 and the beginning of 2016 up to a year of stress and change.

 

So what I ask of you all is to be patient, kind, compassionate, understanding, and empathetic of others.

We often don’t know what someone has been going through, especially if the only communication we have with them is a text message here and there or a check in on Facebook. As a society, we seem to have lost the art of grace and selflessness in turn for power, money, ego, and self-interests. When we’re tunnel visioned, we don’t have the opportunity to see the people around us who could use some kindness. It’s time to take it back old school, if we’re going to talk about an ancestral movement at all, and remember that without our clan, family, and kindred, we would never have survived the dark ages.

 

This savory dairy-free chowder is filling, comforting & easy too!

 

7 reviews

Parsnip & Pancetta Chowder with Crispy Leeks

Prep Time 00:15 Cook Time 00:15 Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 ounces pancetta, finely diced
  • 2 cups chopped leek (white part only)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled and chopped into even 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked sea salt
  • 28 ounces beef or chicken bone broth*, plus additional for thinning if desired
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Smoked sea salt and fresh parsley, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy bottom saucepan or Dutch oven. Sautee leeks for 2 minutes until beginning to brown. Add the pancetta and garlic and sautee for 4 more minutes until fragrant and the leeks have wilted. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil to the saucepan and turn heat to medium. Stir in celery and onion for cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Now stir in the parsnips, bay leaf, thyme, and sea salt. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until the parsnips have begun t soften.
  3. Add bone broth to the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cover saucepan with a lid. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until the parsnips are tender enough to puree but not mushy. Immediately transfer 2 cups of the chopped veggies from the pan to a separate bowl using a slotted spoon. These will be the chunky vegetables in your soup.
  4. Transfer the remaining contents of the saucepan, including the bay leaf, to a high-speed blender. Blend until silky smooth.
  5. Transfer blended soup back into the saucepan and then stir in the reserved leeks/pancetta, reserved chopped and cooked parsnips/celery/onions, and the lemon juice. Determine if you would like your chowder any thinner. If so, add 1/4 cup of additional warm bone broth at a time until desired thickness is reached.
  6. Serve sprinkled with smoked sea salt and fresh herbs, if desired.

 

Instant Pot Maple Bacon Balsamic Pulled Pork (Paleo, AIP)

 

I made a big, well big to me, announcement on social media yesterday! If you’ve been following G&E from its inception in 2014, you’ll have noticed I have written a few articles on fertility (or infertility as was my case) with autoimmune disease. I struggled with this issue for my entire 20’s (I’ll be 28 this year), and it was really that last piece of the puzzle that I felt like I had been chasing for years. I thought I would continue to chase it for many more years until I was so tired, I gave up. Or I went through menopause. Whichever came first. Fact is I’ve been wanting to start a family since we got married 18 months ago, and I was determined to do everything in my power to make that happen as naturally as possible. Thankfully, the race ended in 2015 with me crossing the finish line instead of ducking out at a water station and going home. I had a horrible, horrible, horrible (can I say it five more times or is that annoying?) Hashimoto’s flare that lasted from the end of 2014 through summer 2015. It nearly killed my soul. On the other side of that flare waiting for me though was a little baby girl. So all that suffering had a purpose after all. Keep reading, if you’re like, this is the worst baby announcement ever. It gets better.

 

For the first time in my life, I was actually overweight (according to doctors) in 2015. It wasn’t necessarily my diet or exercise by any means. I gained 20 pounds in less than 2 months without changes to either and then an additional 15 over the next 4 months. The incredible control the thyroid has over our bodies is really mind-boggling. And can be very depressing at times, especially those times when you cannot control the control board of your very own body. I struggled with poor body image all of 2015. My clothes didn’t fit (far from it in fact), I couldn’t believe the number I was seeing on the scale, and I hated looking at myself in photos. I’ll be honest – I still don’t love seeing new pictures of me. I’m vain, what can I say. Don’t tell me you’re not! But I have come extremely far in the past year in terms of my acceptance of my new body. I look like this for now, and I don’t know if it will ever change. I’ve had some not-so-nice comments said to me, and I’m sure more than one person thinks I’ve been bingeing at home the entire year, which is far from the case. Anyone with Hashimoto’s-induced weight struggles will tell you, it doesn’t matter if you’re living on carrots and lettuce. You still gain and gain and gain and gain. And then gain some more. It turns out that even know I don’t particularly like the looks of my newly cushy body, my fertility does.

 

So basically 2015, overall, sucked despite the amazing opportunity to author a cookbook. I was depressed almost the whole year and had very poor self esteem. When you go from happy with yourself, vibrant, social, and fit to the absolute opposite spectrum in every way possible, your world is rocked. I’m not ashamed to say those things about myself. It’s just the honest truth, and I know I’m not alone in those feelings in the autoimmune community.

 

In September, after I graduated from my master’s program, moved from Chicago (our 4th move of the year!), and was in between our move to Austin, I booked my husband and I a last minute trip to Hawaii. I just wanted to be somewhere peaceful, beautiful, and as far as &%&* away from everything without needing to bring my passport. I had apprehensions about the trip a few days before. Just odd feelings and very anxious. I don’t know why. Probably because I’m a bit scared to fly over the ocean and also because there were some nearby hurricanes and resultant tsunamis near the islands. It was also supposed to rain the entire time we were there, so I was a bit bummed.

 

Two nights before we were to leave, we were visiting my husband’s family in Omaha and at a friend’s house. The friend has a close relationship with a woman she told me had some, shall we say, spiritual powers. Of course my interest was piqued, as I’m very open minded to that sort of thing. I wanted to know if the friend had any inklings about what was to come in my life. I didn’t feel like I had a big purpose for the first time in years. I was moving to Austin without a job and away from friends or family. I was overall disengaged from my previous interests and inspirations. I didn’t have that one big goal to work towards like I had throughout my adolescence and early adulthood.

 

The friend told me she saw a baby in my future in the next year and a whole host of other accurate and interesting things about my health, career, and relationships. What she said about my past was true, and she knew some intimate details about deceased family members whom I cherish. She had calmed my fears about my trip to Hawaii and said she saw it as a second honeymoon. Our first honeymoon was pretty terrible for me as it was at the beginning of that 2014 flare, and I was a miserable mess the whole time. I let go of my fear for the trip and off we went, hoping for the best!

 

A couple days later she texted me to tell me the baby was coming sooner than she thought. In fact, she said, I was already pregnant and just didn’t know it yet! She said it could be someone close to me in my life as well, it was hard for her to tell, but I had a gut feeling it was in fact me. I was only 3 1/2 weeks pregnant at the time, so I couldn’t test just yet.

 

In Hawaii, right at the 28 day mark of my menstrual cycle, I took a pregnancy test and when the two double lines showed up, I broke into tears. I was by myself because my husband had went to the bathroom to change into his trunks to go surfing. I wanted to take the test by myself because it was me and only me who overcame what I had this past year. Everything I had gone through in 2014 and 2015 DID have a bigger purpose. And I finally had mine. I wrote in the sand before his return to the beach “I’m pregnant!” We took a picture, giggled, went into slight shock, then he went surfing for a couple hours while I laid in the sand pondering this new little cell development. I can’t believe that was already 4 months ago!

 

I’m halfway through my pregnancy this week (20 weeks!), and I will be sharing my journey in a separate post soon, as I know there’s many young women who follow me here with similar goals and struggles.

 

Welcome to the family, Grace Julia! We will see you 6-1-16 (hopefully just a bit earlier than that, please?!) and cannot wait to smother you in kisses!

Oh yes, and here is a VERY delicious pulled pork recipe for your Instant Pot!

Only own a slow cooker? Just cook your pork on low heat until tender and shreddable for anywhere between 7 to 9 hours or overnight!

 

 

 

This recipe is so popular you can even find it in The Paleo AIP Instant Pot cookbook along with 140 additional recipes!

 

206 reviews

Maple Bacon Balsamic Pulled Pork

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 01:40 Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds bone-in pork shoulder roast
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Red Boat fish sauce
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions

  1. Place pork shoulder in Instant Pot insert. In a small bowl, mix sea salt, cinnamon and garlic together. Rub on all sides of the pork shoulder.
  2. Lay bacon on top of the pork. Sprinkle balsamic and fish sauce over the bacon, then lay onion slices on top.
  3. Pressure cook on manual setting, ensuring the lid is sealed, for 1 hour 40 minutes (100 minutes).
  4. Release pressure and use a set of large tongs to transfer the pork roast (bacon and onions included) onto a rimmed cutting board, baking sheet, or a large and deep glass storage container. Use two forks to shred the meat, bacon, and onion well.
  5. In a measuring cup, whisk ½ cup of the cooking liquid from the insert with the maple syrup. Pour over the pulled pork and toss to coat. Toss again just before serving.

Smoked Clam Linguine (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

 

 

February is a month where you can & should show off your new-found or well-seasoned cooking skills for loved ones. Complex flavors, creamy pasta, AND a nutrient-dense outcome may seem like the enigma of the  paleo autoimmune protocol, but I have solved that puzzle for you!

 

 

Check out my Smoked Clam Linguine which is not only AIP-compliant, but also will help you meet your Whole30, 21dsd, or Low Carb goals (if you’re still riding out those goals from your new year resolutions!) 

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all and be sure to celebrate, whether or not you have a significant other or not, because a day dedicated to love should not be missed!

Meatballs in Sticky Peach Sauce (Paleo, AIP)

 

 

January’s recipe contribution for my monthly post over at Autoimmune Paleo is going to take you right outta the winter blues! Meatballs made from ground beef and pork and mixed with savory herbs and naturally sweet no-sugar-added peach preserves then caramelized in a homemade sticky sauce sweetened only with a few dates!? Sign yourself up, sign your husband up, and sign your kids up for this one-of-a-kind AIP & Paleo recipe that is absolutely stellar over a root vegetable puree for the ultimate stick-to-your-ribs winter feast!

 

GET THE RECIPE FOR MEATBALLS IN STICKY PEACH SAUCE!

 

 

Paleo Vaca Frita (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

 

 

Cuban food is up there for me for some of my favorite flavors. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Florida, or maybe it’s because they love their meat and rice just like I do. Either way I couldn’t wait to take my husband to my hometown’s best Cuban restaurant which is only a 5 minute walk from my parents. You need at least a 45 minute walk post-meal to make enough space in your diaphragm to breathe again, but hey. We went right before we left to come back to Austin after the holidays.

 

I am very careful about what types of oils I consume at restaurants and always ask what type is used to fry, saute, or dress the foods. If it’s not olive oil (highly unlikely) or canola oil (more likely) I don’t touch it. I’d rather go hungry than deal with the wrath of soybean oil or corn oil on my body. This restaurant unfortunately used a vegetable oil mix that included soybean so I had a homemade limeade (water, sugar, lime juice) and boiled yucca without the mojo sauce. I seasoned it with salt and lime juice and it was quite filling since yucca may be the starchiest food on the planet.

 

My hub on the other hand had my favorite food in the world at the moment (the crispiest, thinnest tostones) and fried shredded pork with rice and beans. It looked amazing but I didn’t have any food envy since I know I can recreate that type of meal at home within the Paleo framework without the use of dairy, gluten or nightshades.

 

This recipe uses my favorite appliance: The INSTANT POT

 

I’ve been making tostones at least 3 times per week. My favorite method is using my recipe in The Healing Kitchen but frying in bacon fat and topping with truffle salt. This Vaca Frita, which means “fried cow” quite literally, would be amazing with tostones and a green salad on the side and sure to please any meat-loving man or woman in your life. It’s absolutely delicious! Imagine slow-cooked (well, in a pressure cooker… but you could use a slow cooker and just adjust the cooking time to 4 to 6 hours) tender beef roast, shredded, then lightly pan-fried until crispy but still moist.

 

Add savory onion and garlic and brighten things up with orange juice and apple cider vinegar, and this is a meaty dish that is well-balanced, flavor-driven, and oh-so-versatile. 

 
[simple-recipe:1953a]
 

 

AIP Maple Caramel Chews & Maple Caramel Fudge

maple caramel chews

 

 

I have been craving Sucre a La Creme lately but it is incredibly difficult to achieve it’s texture without butter, white sugar, and real cream. Instead, I decided to make Caramel Fudge which has just as rich of a flavor as my childhood favorite, but MUCH less sugar! Basically, I made a simple caramel sauce out of coconut milk, maple, coconut sugar, and vanilla. Then to thicken it up, I added coconut butter and coconut oil (which provides some firmness), and the result was perfectly smooth, chewy, decadent, and rich Caramel Chews OR Caramel Fudge (soft fudge, not hard flaky fudge which is what Sucre a La Creme is) depending on how long you freeze it. Good Sucra a La Creme will crumble as you bite into it, leading a trail of gluttony and shame in its wake. It literally has 2 to 3 cups of sugar in it per tray. Cwwwaaazzzy.

 

I’m not going to give up on my hunt for the perfect traditional Canadian maple fudge recipe but until then, this recipe was too delicious not to post! You can use either light coconut milk (I did this to save on calories because yes, I am one of those people who thinks balanced eating includes some sort of acknowledgment of caloric value) or full fat coconut milk (which would probably be even creamier).

 

Next time I would like to top mine with flaked sea salt because flaked sea salt has the ability to make my knees quiver. I also suggest cutting the fudge into small squares because 1 is definitely enough. I had 2 and was like… nope… ONE, ALAENA. ONE. I’m very sensitive to sweets though, so your blood sugar may be able to handle 2. I can’t even have a chocolate chip cookie without feeling queasy. It’s a tough life. I used to be able to handle 1/2 a container of ice cream. What in the world has happened to me? Do you mean to tell me my body only wants to eat meat & vegetables these days? Yes I do mean to tell me that. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be having treats this Christmas! I will be making my Avocado Carob Fudge Bars (definitely my most unique, delicious, and addicting treat on this site!) and my Peppermint Fudge (with chocolate instead of carob this year) because my family is always requesting both of those!

 

 

 

Chewy soft dairy-free caramels with just a few ingredients!?

 

23 reviews

AIP Maple Caramel & Caramel Chews

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 00:10 Serves 12 to 15

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine coconut milk, syrup, sugar, vanilla, and sea salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low simmer, whisking every couple minutes until this happens, then turn the heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer for 12 minutes. Continue to whisk every couple minutes as it simmers. The sauce will thicken slightly during this time but will remain rather liquidy.

  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the coconut butter until smooth and thickened. Now stir in the coconut oil until well combined.

  3. Line the bottoms and sides of a 7"x5" glass dish such as a Pyrex container with parchment paper. Pour the caramel into the parchment-lined dish and smooth. Follow the directions below depending on whether you want to make caramel chews or caramel fudge.

  4. For Caramel Chews:pan> Freeze for at least 4 hours until semi-firm. The caramel should be soft enough that you can roll it into a ball in your hands without it sticking to your hands. Roll it into a traditional log shape for the most appealing look. If wrapping in parchment paper, wrap loosely and freeze until ready to serve. Instruct any recipients to do the same or the caramel with soften too much to unwrap nicely. pan>

  5. For Caramel Fudge (my favorite!): Freeze overnight to allow the fudge to firm up completely. Slice into squares (it's rich, so the smaller the better) and serve directly from the freezer. pan>

Store in the freezer until ready to serve for best texture.

Butternut Rice with Beef & Nut-Free Basil Pesto (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

paleo aip beef pesto

 


 

How many times a week do you stare into your fridge, nothing prepared, and say out loud “I need to eat and I need to eat NOW.” Me: 5 to 10 times a week on average, on a good week. I’m pretty horrible at “meal planning”. Like I PLAN to eat at least 3 meals a day, but I’m no good at planning what those meals will be. Lately, I’ve started to think at least 24 hours in advance and it’s saved me a lot of curse words. I’m going to store those up for a later date. Like when Macy’s smells like dust and polyester and I wonder what the _____ I’m doing in there. 

 

I have a hard time clothing shopping in public these days. Most of my purchases are made online in hopes of the item not looking terrible. If it’s a 5/10 or greater I keep it, rather than hassling myself with a return. I also care almost zero about clothing these days, so that helps. I don’t walk around looking like a schlep, I just don’t go all out like I used to (high-waisted skirts, tucked in blouses, statement necklaces, 4-inch pumps). Nothing sounds more horrible than what I just typed. I now go for comfort. I have a favorite pair of black leggings that look good no matter how much I weigh (that tends to fluctuate) and I know what looks good on my petite frame: long asymmetrical, lightweight, not too baggy shirts and sweaters with knee high slim boots. Now everything in my closet resembles this outfit in some way but that’s okay. I can’t help it – Whole Foods really knows my style.

 

Yes, that’s right, almost all my shopping is done at the same time as picking out 3 pounds of wild-caught sockeye salmon for chowder that evening. It’s a very gratifying and thrifty experience and it’s one of the only places I can get organic cotton and fair trade clothing without feeling like a sweet 4-year-old hastily sewed together my knits. I’m not negating child labor with that statement; I have found it increasingly difficult for me to shop at typical retailers like GAP and LOFT these days. I only like to support retailers that serve well-raised animals, so why wouldn’t I want to support clothing retailers that treat humans like humans should be treated! 

 

Unplanned rant for the week. Sowwy. 

 

About this recipe a little more: I made this basil pesto vinaigrette for my friends this weekend over a spinach salad. It was way too amazing to not develop into a recipe so this evening when I saw grass fed beef and a lone butternut squash in my kitchen just pleading to be eaten. I wanted to keep this recipe super simple for a weeknight meal and let the basil pesto do all the talking! If you want to add more greens, definitely throw in several handfuls of spinach when you add the bone broth and let it wilt! You can even add chopped roasted garlic, minced shallot, extra basil or parsley, whatever your sweet little heart desires! And it makes awesome leftovers!!

 

This was my first dish using my NEW Cuisinart 9-cup food processor! And I am obsessed. You can make all different types of vegetable “rices”, thinly slice sweet potatoes to make homemade sweet potato chips in the oven, pulse small amounts of hard to chop foods like garlic & herbs and make the easiest chunky guacamole you ever did see! If you haven’t finished your holiday wish list you MUST add a food processor so you can get even more creative in your kitchen!!

 

 

 

Beef & Butternut Rice with Nut-Free Pesto

Prep Time 00:15 Cook Time 00:10 Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 pounds grass fed ground beef (or pork or lamb)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup bone broth of choice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice nutritional yeast flakes, for serving (optional)
  • Nut-Free Pesto:
  • 2 cups basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Directions

  1. Make butternut rice by running cubed squash through your food processor using the shredder blade attachment. Scoop into a separate bowl and set aside. Wipe down food processor bowl so it will be clean when you make the pesto below.

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef in skillet and season with sea salt. Cook beef, breaking up into small pieces, until browned and cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes.

  3. Add butternut rice to the pan and toss well with the beef. Pour broth into pan, bring to a boil, and cover with a lid. Cook for 2 minutes until butternut is tender.

  4. Remove lid and cook for a couple more minutes until most of the broth has evaporated. Season with lemon juice and remove from heat immediately.

  5. Meanwhile make pesto: Place all pesto ingredients in clean food processor using regular blade attachment. Turn the machine on for at least 30 seconds until a very finely minced pesto sauce is achieved. Set aside.
  6. Distribute beef and rice among individual serving bowls and drizzle with desired amount of basil pesto. I personally like a hefty amount because it is utterly delicious and addictive! Serve warm sprinkled with nutritional yeast if desired & enjoy!

 

 

Spiced Lamb with Caramelized Cabbage, Figs & Cranberries (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

 

Even with the boom of American food culture in the past decade (thank you Buzzfeed, Yelp, Instagram, and Food Network), lamb still does not hold a place in our country’s heart like it should. I could pull a Jimmy Fallon and ask 100 random people on the street if they have ever eaten lamb, and I think the majority would say either “Ew no” or “No, but Lamb Chops was my favorite creepy puppet show from the early 90’s.”

 

Lamb meets my three D criteria: decadent, drool-worthy, and damn tasty. It’s loaded in fat (the healthy omega-3 rich kind thanks to our friends Down Under perpetuation of grassfed animals), flavor, B vitamins, and selenium. All happy, nutritious, inflammation-fighting, and baby-making qualities we look for in our dinner.

 

I purchased a couple grass-fed bone-in lamb chops from Sprouts this weekend without a plan. I also happened to pick up dried Turkish figs (the big soft light brown ones) and dried cranberries. I had a leftover 1/2 head of cabbage in my fridge that needed to be used up, so I thought why not combine some of my favorite things into one dish. It can’t go wrong. And it certainly didn’t. I’ve spoken before about my introduction into cooking at age 15 spurred by an obsessive tendency to re-read my Food & Wine subscriptions over and over until I picked up on every nuance of a cooking skill I could from each recipe. When I cook for myself and my husband, I often imagine creating a recipe for F&W that would actually make it into their publication. Another recent meal I made would certainly make the cut: chicken thighs cooked using Jacques Pepin’s technique, garnished with lemon juice, fried capers, salt-cured olives, and fresh parsley. My horn is a-tootin’. And I don’t care. It’s my one skill.

 

This meal would be equally as good for date night, and quite a romantic one at that. There’s something about the rich smell and taste of seared lamb that is intoxicating and reminds me of cozying up in our favorite Chicago restaurant listening to jazz and dining on lamb and filet on a snowy night. One of my favorite memories of the city (which I miss terribly!) from our time there. Instead, I sweated my buns off in my Texas kitchen to prepare this meal for you and me, so I could at least pretend that eating at my countertop alone in silence was just as romantic.

 

If you enjoy wine, a bright and fruity red would go amazingly well with this meal! Cider lover? Try a sweet and light cider made from organic apples and nothing else.

 

Restaurant-worthy dinner on your table in 30 minutes!

 

 

Spiced Lamb with Caramelized Cabbage, Figs & Cranberries

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 00:20 Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds bone-in lamb shoulder chops, 1-inch thick (2 large chops)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus additional to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and halved
  • 3 cups quartered and thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 6 dried Turkish figs, quartered
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

  1. Remove chops from refrigerator to countertop 30 minutes prior to cooking.
  2. Rub chops on all sides with mixture of sage, salt, garlic, and cinnamon until evenly coated.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot.
  4. Sear chops for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium doneness. You want a crust on the bottom before you flip. Boneless chops will take shorter to cook; decrease cooking time by 1 minute per side if using boneless.
  5. Remove chops to a plate and rub with the sliced garlic clove on each side. You will see the garlic almost “melt” into the meat. Discard garlic clove. Let lamb chops rest tented in foil while you prepare the cabbage.
  6. In the same skillet, cook cabbage in the rendered lamb fat until caramelized and tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. If not enough fat has been rendered to coat the cabbage, add one tablespoon to the pan prior to adding the cabbage.
  7. Add figs, cranberries and a pinch of sea salt to the pan, cooking for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the figs and cranberries have deepened in color and are tender. Sprinkle lemon juice on top and stir briefly to combine. Remove from heat.
  8. To serve, divide cabbage mixture onto two plates and place lamb chop on top.