Nightshade-Free Instant Pot Chili + 3 Tips for Instant Pot Recipes!

 

 

I mentioned last week it’s a good idea to follow me on Instagram, in case I ever post any of my meals and you want the recipe. Here’s another example from that! I made this Nightshade-Free Chili in the Instant Pot for my mom this weekend, and we both loved it so much.

 

It took me under 20 minutes to prep, and then I let the Instant Pot do all the magic.It’s one of the last remaining appliances in my kitchen besides my coffee grinder and blender before our move.

 

So you know how you can take those stress surveys at the end of the year at work that rank how stressful your year was? I am in the tippie-top category this year. And I’m feeling it. It seems like I’ve been going through one major life change to the next, and I’m so ready for things to stop changing so dramatically. It’s hard enough being a first time mom, but we’ve both had changes in employment multiple times this year, bought a home, went through an autoimmune flare, birthed a baby, raised said baby away from family support, and are moving to another state during the holiday season. Too much for me to handle personally!

 

Another reason why I can’t get enough of my pressure cooker and why I cook almost all our meals in it. Somethings gotta give, and that’s standing over the stove and oven when I have 4 billion other things that have to get done. 

 

I’ve heard from a lot of you how you’re scared to experiment with your Instant Pot on your own. So I divided up the ingredients to the recipe into 4 categories.

 

3 TIPS FOR PERFECT INSTANT POT RECIPES EVERY TIME

 

  1. SAUTE FUNCTION: You want to start with your vegetables to par-cook them a bit with or without oil in the Instant Pot insert using the Saute function. This isn’t necessary all the time, but by par-cooking them, it means you won’t have to pressure cook them for as long, which means you won’t overcook everything else that goes into the pot for pressure cooking! 
  2. SEASONING: Then you want to add your dried seasonings, herbs and salt, along with your protein. I prefer ground meats and seafood for my Instant Pot soups/stews because they cook MUCH more quickly than stew meat, and then you won’t overcook your veggies inadvertently. 
  3. FINISHING TOUCHES: Once your dish is finished pressure cooking, it’s always a good idea to add Finishing Touches to brighten the dish and add extra flavor. Here we use lime juice, cilanto, green onions, avocado, fish sauce, and cocoa powder. If you’re wondering what cocoa powder, fish sauce, and coffee are doing in your chili, you are not alone. I had a few people wonder the same thing when I posted the ingredients on Instagram. They are added in small amounts to add depth of flavor since we are missing the nightshades. That’s why it’s also important to add all those yummy fresh toppings to your bowl of chili!

 

This nightshade-free chili is 100% a crowd pleaser, super filling + loaded with fiber-rich veggies and gut-healing broth!

 

1 review

Nightshade-Free Instant Pot Chili

Prep Time 00:20 Cook Time 00:10 Serves 4 to 5

Ingredients

  • 1 large white onion or 2 trimmed leeks, chopped
  • 1 large green plantain, quartered and chopped
  • 2 small turnips, cubed
  • 2 cups cubed sweet potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (omit for AIP)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon coldbrew coffee concentrate (omit for AIP)
  • 3/4 cup bone broth
  • 1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cocoa powder (omit for AIP)
  • for serving: diced avocado

Directions

  1. Turn Instant Pot “Saute” function on. Sweat onion, plantain, turnip and sweet potato with the oregano, thyme, sea salt, garlic andcumin for 4 to 5 minutes until slightly softened, stirring frequently.
  2. Add cold brew, broth and pumpkin to the insert and stir. Crumble in ground beef with your hands.
  3. Seal lid and set “Manual” timer for 5 minutes. Once timer elapses, immediately vent the pressure.
  4. Stir in the lime, cilantro, green onions, fish sauce, and cocoa and top with avocado. Serve warm.

 

 

 

Spicy Roasted Sweet Potato & Pineapple Salad (Paleo, AIP, Whole30 & Vegan)

spicy-sweet-potato-salad

spicy sweet potato salad
I love a good transitional recipe that can take you from season to season. If you live somewhere that’s mostly warm year round or has brutal summers like Austin, any little hint of fall is reason for major food celebration. But a lot of the time the crops in our CSAs and at our farmer’s market are lagging behind… the tomatoes aren’t ripe, juicy and sweet enough or the squash are tiny and blemished.

 

This recipe for sweet potato and pineapple salad really marries my two favorite seasons: summer and fall! You can find both of the main ingredients year round AND this salad is amazing over grilled late summer pork chops or as part of a comforting fall meal of roast chicken or tenderloin at home. Whatever season your town is in, enjoy this colorful, flavorful, and ginger-spiced salad warm or cold! Get the recipe by clicking below!

 

Get the recipe for Roasted Spicy Sweet Potato & Pineapple Salad!

3-Step Root Vegetable & Leek Soup (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

 

Summer weather is no excuse to forget about your bone broth! It’s been at least 100 degrees here every day in Austin and will likely never get lower than the high 90’s until October but I’m still craving my at least-every-other-day bowl o’ broth! The more soup I include in my diet, the more happy my brain and gut seem to be, which is obviously not big news. This is SO not a summer recipe. I realize this. But why wait until fall to give you guys this super-simple soup if you’re like me and always looking for new breakfast ideas!?

 

Soup for breakfast while following a gut-healing protocol is your number-one best bet for starting your day off with a Ka-pow after all! And this one takes such a small amount of time to prepare that I don’t dread having to make it. In fact, I look forward to making my weekly batch of breakfast soup and flavoring it just a bit differently each time. For example, I’ve made this soup using parsnips instead of carrots, elephant garlic instead of regular garlic, white onion instead of yellow onion, and added crispy leeks, sunflower seeds, bacon, and chopped pecans on top! If you’re following elimination phase AIP, stick with the crispy leeks and bacon and also add some diced chicken thigh or leftover pulled pork. You will LOVE your new morning routine!

 

If you own a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec, you will have the best luck getting a smooth and silky puree. I’m not sure how a regular blender works with soups like these, since I haven’t owned one in several years. I wouldn’t trade my Vitamix for anything and use it at least once a day.

 

 

3-Step Root Vegetable & Leek Soup

Prep Time 00:15 Cook Time 00:25 Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons fat of choice
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 medium white sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, sliced
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 3 cups beef bone broth, homemade preferably
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

1. Heat fat of choice in large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, potatoes, leeks, onion, garlic, sea salt and thyme leaves to pan and cook, stirring every few minutes, for 12 to 15 minutes until tender.
2. Add bone broth to pan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until vegetables soft enough to pierce with a fork.
3. Transfer to a high-speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec and blend on high for at least 60 seconds until you achieve a silky smooth puree.

 

Macadamia, Date & Rosemary Crusted Salmon – the best salmon I’ve ever had!

 

macadamia salmon paleo

 

This salmon is absolutely incredible. It is inspired by my popular Bacon-Date Crusted Salmon that you can find here and is also in The Healing Kitchen. It’s just a lovely combination of smokey, sweet, garlicky, herby, buttery salmon deliciousness. If you haven’t made it yet, please go do so! Especially if you are on the elimination phase of the Autoimmune Protocol. This recipe below for Macadamia, Date & Rosemary Crusted Salmon requires a macadamia reintroduction (der!) and I like it even more than the original bacon version! The topping is like candy (which is why it will be featured in a dessert recipe at a later date)!

 

Woohoo! I got around to re-photographing this recipe because the picture didn’t do it justice. THIS IS THE BEST SALMON DISH I HAVE EVER EATEN – PLEASE MAKE IT! I want everyone to have a foodgasm over this salmon!! The rosemary pops through the crumble but doesn’t overpower it, and there’s just something so creamy and succulent about macadamia nuts and dates when combined! I almost ate too much of the crumble and didn’t have enough to coat the last piece of salmon, so don’t do as I did and nibble, nibble. Or do as I did, and have zero regrets over a half-naked crusted salmon.

 

 

macadamia date salmon

You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten sweet & savory crusted salmon!

 

1 review

Macadamia Date & Rosemary Crusted Salmon

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 00:12 Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry roasted and salted macadamia nuts
  • 5 soft Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon truffle salt or sea salt
  • 4 6-ounce filets of wild-caught salmon, patted dry

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.pan>

2. In a food processor, combine nuts, dates, rosemary, and sea salt until chopped to a fine, sticky crumble.pan>

3. Press a couple tablespoons of macadamia crumble onto "meaty" side of salmon to coat. Save extra crumble for a delicious recipe to come later this week!pan>

4. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 12 minutes (depending on the thickness of your salmon filet) until the center flakes easily with a fork and is a medium pink.  pan>

Herbed Shrimp with Dairy-Free Tzatziki (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

 

shrimp dairy-free tztaziki

 

This recipe may be one of my all-time best – especially when it comes to how much flavor is packed in such a simple preparation! While I have a delicious dairy-free avocado tzatziki recipe in The Healing Kitchen, I wanted to make a more traditional version to pair with these stellar sauteed shrimp!

 

If you can only find almond milk yogurt and tolerate nuts, then feel free to use in place of coconut milk yoghurt! Coconut yogurt (co-yo) is very easy to make but takes a bit more time than just swiping some off the grocery store shelf. There is a recipe included for coconut yogurt from my friend Laura at Sweet Treats (here it is). If you really want to make this a quick & extra easy recipe, then you can also use Primal Palate Super Gyro seasoning, which is a 100% AIP-Friendly seasoning from the Paleo power couple. It is SO delicious and so are the rest of their AIP-friendly seasonings in the AIP Spice Pack

 

 

 

GET THE RECIPE FOR HERBED SHRIMP WITH DAIRY-FREE TZATIKI!

 

Crispy Lebanese Chicken (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

crispy lebanese chicken
Lebanese chicken is my favorite simple childhood meal! It’s usually prepared with just lemon, garlic, sea salt, and maybe some additional spices like oregano, cinnamon or cardamom depending on the grandmother in the kitchen.

 

This version of the recipe combines my favorite chicken thigh preparation a la adding chicken thighs skin side down to a cold pan and then turning the heat up. It crisps the skin slowly so you don’t burn the outside with an uncooked middle. Deelish! Just be sure to either use a splatter guard (which I don’t own) or an apron because chicken fat is the bacon of the poultry clan.

 

This weekend has been so much fun! A perfect summer weekend for my new family full of meet ups with friends, good coffee, spending time out at the lake, and relaxing over some tasty eats. Breastfeeding has further enhanced my relationship with food because now I really, really have to be good about getting 3 or 4 square meals a day or I’m starving, starving, starving. I haven’t been able to eat cruciferous veggies because they were causing her immature digestive system a little too much stress, but I hope to bring them back in around 4 months because they are my absolute favorite. I practically lived on kale during pregnancy!

 

But I’ve really been enjoying food even more lately now that I’m home with her and have more time to plan better and get more creative in the kitchen. This week we had Macadamia and Date Crusted Salmon (recipe to come), Mediterranean Beef & Pork Vegetable Skillet, Herbed Shrimp with Dairy-Free Tzatziki (another recipe to come), and lots of salads with avocado, wild-caught salmon, fresh herbs and tahini (my old-found new-found love). See Salted Tahini-Date Fudge for proof.

 

I also procured an incredible book of vegan ice creams off of Amazon called N’Ice Cream! Holy waffle bowls, it’s an amazing collection of AIP & Paleo-friendly ice creams!!! No gluten or dairy and very, very little grain (a couple recipes with oats). Tons of refreshing pops, instant ice creams that use frozen ingredients and no ice cream maker, and non-instant ice creams using more fresh ingredients like avocados.

 

There’s a recipe for Apple-Mint-Avocado Pops that I’m getting on FAST. The book actually inspired my Macadamia & Date Salmon recipe, which has been my favorite way I’ve consumed salmon in a long time! (By the way, they have a recipe for paleo-friendly gluten-free waffle bowls using coconut sugar, almond flour, and tapioca flour!) While you dream of dairy-free ice cream, go eat your protein first!

 

Crispy bright lemon chicken is the perfect pair with Cauliflower Cous Cous!

 

13 reviews

Crispy Lebanese Chicken

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 00:18 Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thigh
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus additional for greasing the pan)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric powder
  • additional sea salt and lemon juice for seasoning

Directions

 

  1. Using a sharp knife, you are going to increase the surface area of the chicken that will crisp in the pan. Make two vertical slices along either side of the bone (do not slice through the skin side) and pull meat away from bone so the chicken thigh lays flat. pan>

  2. Mix together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Toss well with the chicken thighs in a large plastic bag or glass container. Marinade in refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours, or overnight. pan>

  3. Grease bottom of large cast-iron skillet with a small amount of olive oil. Add chicken thighs, skin side down, to the pan and turn the heat to medium. pan>

  4. Cook chicken thighs until golden and crisp on skin side (about 8 to 10 minutes) then flip and continue cooking until chicken is fully cooked (6 to 8 more minutes). pan>

  5. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and lemon juice and serve with cauliflower rice, and Grain-Free Taboulleh and Roasted Root Vegetables with Garlic Sauce from The Healing Kitchen.  pan>

 

Bistro Chicken Salad with Garlic-Thyme Vinaigrette (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

 

Bistro Chicken Salad

 

It’s finally salad season! Salads don’t go out of season in my house, but then again I spent the winter in Texas where I had little excuse to avoid a light and refreshing meal. Although I eat soup at all times of the year, so why do we think salads are only for sweltering days!? Yesterday it was 88 degrees and dinner was chicken and vegetable soup — heated up to a barely lukewarm temperature though! 

 

I’m trying to get a few blog posts up and ready for before Baby Grace arrives, but my focus right now is mostly getting things together for her, overanalyzing every menstrual-like cramp or episode of nausea I am having (first-time-mom probz), and loading up my freezer with homemade food.

 

I am one of those so-called “lucky people” that can go hours and hours and hours without eating, forgets to eat if they’re busy, or will go without food out of laziness when big shifts in my life happen. I am so gung-ho and excited about breastfeeding though, and I know it both causes and thrives on a healthy appetite, so I’m doing my best to prevent light-snacking all day in favor of varied and nutrient-dense AIP meals after she arrives. 

 

I was thinking back to the moment I found out I was pregnant on a beach in Hawaii (could it have been anymore beautiful!?) and all the feelings I felt at the time. Exhilarated, shocked, nervous, proud. I still feel all of those things, so not much has changed, but I also feel incredibly confident in my abilities to be a good mother.

 

All these years of pretending my dog is a human baby that requires 24/7 love, attention, and tending may be paying off, but my motherly instincts have always been strong. Make sure you follow me on Instagram for baby updates though, in case I take a mini blog hiatus! I also post some daily meals (the ones that aren’t a hideous display of splattered soup, unevenly chopped vegetables, and shredded meat that never catches the right light), photos of my adorable cockapoo Rafael, and life here in Austin! 

 

Get the recipe for Bistro Chicken Salad – aka best salad ever!

Creamy Smothered Beef & Artichokes (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

I think I need to do a G&E Instant Pot recipe round-up sometime soon! For those of you without one, you may be a getting a little tired of my obsession, but I promise you every Instant Pot owner becomes a die hard. We can’t go a day or two without our fix.

 

 

creamy smothered beef artichokes

 

 

This week I used mine to make the Maple Tamarind Ribs from the blog and this Creamy Smothered Beef & Artichokes. With a baby coming soon, I’ve been trying to cut back on our grocery bill even more while still maintaining the nutritional principles of the autoimmune protocol. The Instant Pot has helped me save so much money because it turns less than exciting cuts of beef into something special and really infuses the meat with the flavors and seasonings you add. 

 

Even though I’ve healed my histamine intolerance dramatically, I still cannot tolerate spinach, but I keep seeing all these yummy Paleo recipes for Spinach Artichoke Dip! I made a batch of the Avocado Mayo from The Healing Kitchen this week to serve with cast iron sweet potato fries (ooooh!!). I forgot how yummy that mayo is and so nutrient dense too! And it takes 5 minutes or less to make!

 

So with my leftover mayo and no more fries, I decided let’s do something wild and combine it with the ground beef in my fridge and the artichokes in my freezer and see what kind of magic we can make happen. Creamy, flavorful, ridiculously easy, satiating, and a wonderful excuse to make some mashed cauliflower or white sweet potatoes! I buy frozen artichoke hearts from Trader Joe’s. I will warn you those still contain citric acid, but many people seem to tolerate it just fine occasionally, and I don’t personally avoid it. You may be able to find frozen artichoke hearts without citric acid from another brand. I have not made this recipe with canned artichoke hearts, but definitely give them a good rinse and drain before adding to the recipe if using. Marinated artichoke hearts would probably be even more tasty!

 

Creamy, flavorful & ridiculously easy meal that everyone will love!

 

15 reviews

Smothered Beef & Artichokes

Prep Time 00:05 Cook Time 00:12 Serves 3 to 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cooking fat of choice
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 pound grassfed ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon dried dill (to your own taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 12-ounce bag frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teapsoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Avocado Mayo from The Healing Kitchen

Directions

  1. Set your Instant Pot to the sautee function. Heat your cooking fat in the pot. Add the yellow onion and cook for 5 minutes until lightly browned.pan>

  2. Add ground beef and seasonings to the pot, breaking up the ground beef with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Cook until lightly browned for 2 to 3 minutes.pan>

  3. Add artichokes and water to the pot and set the pressure cooking function to a Manual timer of 7 minutes. Seal the lid. Once timer is up, release the vent.pan>

  4. Let cool 5 minutes. Drain out any water at the bottom of the pot. Now stir in the apple cider vinegar and Avocado Mayo, breaking up the artichoke hearts into smaller pieces as you stir. Serve warm with mashed cauliflower or white sweet potatoes.pan>

 

Instant Pot Caribbean Spiced Shredded Beef (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

 

 

Can’t stop Instant Potting. It is my life. Well, not my life, since it takes up a marginal portion of it, but it saves my life. I got a beautiful pastured grass fed chuck roast the other day. It was almost too pretty to turn into a pile of shredded brown meat, but I pulled through and did it.

 

This is a heavily spiced recipe and not shy on flavor. If you aren’t a giant fan of cloves, you can cut those down to 3 but don’t leave them out completely. I served this two ways. For me, over cauliflower rice with cucumber-avocado salsa, and diced mangos with lime juice. For my husband, over tortilla chips with the same salsa and extra avocado. It really works for any season of the year even though it uses a hefty dose of Caribbean-inspired spices. Just switch up the sides!

 

If you’re still in the dead of winter (ahem, Canada) then serve it over mashed cauliflower. My favorite way to get the creamiest and thickest mashed cauliflower is to steam the cauliflower florets until tender, transfer to my Vitamix, and puree with a load of truffle salt. I do not add any liquid. That is when you achieve cauliflower puddle puree. That happened the first time my mom made mashed cauliflower for company at Christmas 3 years ago 🙁 Speaking of cauliflower, have you tried the new frozen grilled cauliflower from Trader Joe’s?

 

It’s not organic, so take your “risks” there, but it’s super delicious and makes a really easy side. We honestly can’t afford to buy 100% organic vegetables 100% of the time, so I do my best t buy 75% organic for the things that matter most to me and then the rest (bananas, avocados, mangos, oranges) I don’t worry about so much. Simply spiced but full of flavor! No nigthshades here which makes this easy, anti-inflammatory shredded beef an easy choice for a weeknight AIP meal! 

 

 

 

You can find this recipe + 140 more AIP Instant Pot Recipes in THE PALEO AIP INSTANT POT COOKBOOK!

 

28 reviews

Instant Pot Caribbean Spiced Shredded Beef

Prep Time 00:05 Cook Time 01:30 Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pound grass fed chuck roast
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

 

  1. Whisk together all of the seasonings except the whole cloves. Rub evenly overly all sides of the chuck roast. Stick the whole cloves into the chuck roast and place roast in your Instant Pot insert. pan>

  2. Pour water around (not on top) of the roast. pan>

  3. Set the manual pressure setting timer for 90 minutes. Let vent naturally when the timer expires. pan>

  4. Transfer the chuck roast to a serving dish and shred with two forks. Pour some of the juices from the pot over the shredded beef. pan>

  5. Serve the beef with avocado, red onion, cilantro, and cauliflower rice for a Caribbean-inspired taco bowl. pan>

 

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!

 

8 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.