Well, it’s officially three weeks (tomorrow) until our wedding ceremony. Jesse and I went and signed our marriage license yesterday and got all the official paperwork in order. Coming up now, I need to go to the flower shop (I’m going to Geranium Lake Flowers) and pick out my bridal bouquet (I’m just getting a bridesmaid size one). I have a trial run of my hair and makeup a week before the wedding with my friend and makeup artist, Brooke Morse. Brooke and I also used to work together at Lululemon Athletica. As a treat, I also arranged for her to do my mom, sister and soon-to-be mother in-law’s makeup on the day of our ceremony. What else? Oh, Jesse and I need to go up to Council Crest Park, where we’re having our ceremony and figure out where exactly, we want everything to happen. As for Jesse, specifically, he needs to find a pair of shoes and learn how to tie his bow-tie. He has not been practicing! There’s also the vows situation too…still haven’t started and I don’t know that Jesse has either. I’m not sure I will be able to pull it off with everything else I have going on. We’ll see, I suppose. I want to, but right now, it’s a little overwhelming because I have a lot of other things with deadlines to manage.
As for this recipe, it rocks! The tortillas cook up easily (I only tore my first one…premature flipping) and hold together surprisingly well. I will definitely be making them again, but will probably try a different flavor combination. The egg filling is tasty and slightly spicy, and works well inside the wrap. These wraps would also be great for meat-based fillings — chicken breast with bacon, taco-seasoned ground beef, Greek-seasoned ground lamb, deli meat, sausages or grass-fed beef hot dogs, etc. There’s lots of possibilities.
For the filling:
- 4 slices US Wellness Meats sugar-free grass-fed beef bacon, chopped
- 1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 4 pastured eggs, beaten
- 1 8-oz can diced green chiles
- 1-2 Tbsp organic taco seasoning (make sure there’s no sugar or other junk ingredients)
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Dab of grass-fed butter or tallow, if needed
- Avocado slices
- Chopped romaine or greens
- Black lava course sea salt for garnishing, optional
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the chopped bacon. Cook for a couple minutes and then add the sliced mushrooms.
- Meanwhile, add the taco seasoning, sea salt and pepper to the beaten eggs in a medium bowl. Then, once the bacon is crisp and the mushrooms have softened, add the egg mixture to the pan. Add a bit of butter or tallow to re-grease the pan first, if needed.
- Turn heat down to medium-low and continue to cook. Add the sliced tomatoes and green chiles.
- Once the eggs are cooked through, adjust seasoning as needed.
- Spoon mixture into a tortilla and top with lettuce/greens and avocado.
Yields: enough to fill 4-5 tortillas
For the tortillas, adapted slightly from this recipe:
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup egg whites
- 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 clove garlic
- Pinch of cayenne
- US Wellness Meats grass-fed beef tallow, for cooking
- Combine all the ingredients, except the tallow in a blender. Blend for about 30 seconds or until mixed through and smooth. Let sit for 10 minutes to thicken.
- Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat and add a little tallow. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan and shake around a bit to form about an 8-inch circle.
- Let tortilla cook for a few minutes, until edges start to peel up and it’s no longer shiny on top — that’s when you know it’s ready to flip. Flip carefully using a large spatula. Once flipped, cook for roughly one more minute.
- Stack tortillas on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the moisture.
Yields: 6 tortillas
I’ve been wanting to make a big ol’ cobb salad for a while now, but the cold, rainy and wintery weather held me back. But now, it’s been calling my name again since the weather has been in the 80s — or what I deem as salad weather. Honestly, I’ve been wanting to replicate a cobb salad since December, when Jesse and I were in Hawaii. I ordered a cobb salad during our last dinner on the island, and it was so delicious, even without any dressing. You can’t go wrong with that much tasty fat and protein on one platter!
I warn you, this salad does take quite a bit of time to prepare if you don’t have things ready beforehand. So, if you do choose to make it, try planning ahead, even if it’s just grilling an extra chicken breast at dinner one or two nights before. This will at least put you one step further in the process.
For the salad:
- 1 leftover grilled boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped
- 5 strips US Wellness Meats sugar-free grass-fed beef bacon, cooked and chopped
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- 4 cups chopped romaine and kale
- 1-2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 avocado, chopped
Spread the chopped lettuce and kale out among two plates. Then, make a row of tomato, avocado, egg, chicken and bacon. If space is tight on your plate, combine the avocado and tomato together. Drizzle with vinaigrette just before serving (see recipe below).
For the vinaigrette:
- 2 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp raw honey
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Pinch of cayenne
- Splash of full-fat coconut milk
Whisk all ingredients together. Taste and adjust flavor as needed. Drizzle over individual salads just before serving.
Yields: 2 entree-sized salads
It’s hard to believe I go back to school already today, but then again, I did only have one week off. Anyway, I feel settled in again after my trip home to Michigan, and had a lovely weekend. It felt so good to not have any schoolwork and besides that, the weather was in the 70s! It felt incredible and I did my best to soak up the vitamin-D!
Because this is already going to be a lengthier post, I’m going to recap about our Easter dinner and then talk about my Saturday in Tuesday’s post. Here’s a little precursor about Saturday though: sauerkraut tasting!
I mentioned on Friday that I was thinking of making deviled eggs, and so I did. I didn’t want to make a big batch, so I made just enough for Jesse and me to eat. I had never made deviled eggs before, but have looked at many recipes and eaten them before, so I knew the basic idea. These turned out great, and Jesse and I sat out on the patio in shorts and t-shirts while eating them. We also enjoyed some chardonnay in our new wine glasses that my aunt and cousin sent as a shower gift, and had some pleasant conversation.
For dinner, we had a petite ham from US Wellness Meats with a homemade glaze, pineapple chutney, a spinach salad and cooked asparagus. We had a cake for dessert, which you’ll see my note about at the bottom of the post. Recipes are listed below.
For the small-batch deviled eggs:
- 4 hard-cooked pastured eggs, peeled
- 1.5 Tbsp macadamia nut oil mayo
- 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp dried dill
- Paprika for garnish, optional
- Slice eggs in half, lengthwise and carefully scoop the yolks out into a bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork and then add the remaining ingredients, except the paprika. Mix well and spoon into a small zip-lock baggie.
- Snip one of the corners from the baggie and pipe yolk mixture back into the egg cavity.
- Before serving, garnish with paprika, if using.
For the ham and glaze:
- 1 2.5 lb US Wellness Meats sugar-free ham
- 1 Tbsp raw honey
- 1 Tbsp orange juice
- Pinch of cloves
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ham in a foil-lined roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the glaze ingredients. After 30 minutes, brush half the glaze on the ham. Roast for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and brush on the remaining glaze. Bake for another 10 minutes.
The chutney was inspired by a Whole Foods recipe, but modified to my liking. It was a wonderful accompaniment to the ham and together, it was out of this world (and the glaze was not overpowering or super sweet). I hadn’t tasted ham probably since early high school and boy, was it good! I’d buy this US Wellness Meats ham again in a heartbeat! Compassionate-raised pasture ham is hard to come by, especially one that is both sugar-free and nitrate-free. This is a major win.
For the chutney:
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
- 2/3 cup orange juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer for 10-20 minutes, until mixture has thickened.
- Remove cinnamon stick and serve warm atop of ham.
The salad idea came together while grocery shopping for Easter dinner…on Easter Sunday. Ha, we never made it to the store on Saturday, like we usually do, so we had to go on actual Easter day. I expanded upon my salad idea as I assembled it at home, and the result was refreshing and summer-like.
For the spinach salad:
- 2 cups raw spinach
- 1/2 cup curley parsley, chopped
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 2 Tbsp chopped raw cashews
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 2 Tbsp Tessemae’s lemon garlic dressing (Whole Foods carries this line now! So excited!)
In a large bowl, mix together everything, but the dressing. Just before serving, mix in the dressing.
If you really want to know what I did for the asparagus, I melted 2 Tbsp of grass-fed butter over medium heat. Then, I added a bundle of asparagus (woody ends removed) and seasoned with sea salt and pepper. I tossed the asparagus occasionally and allowed it to brown and caramelize a bit. Once tender, after 5-7 minutes, I removed from heat.
We had a delicious chocolate cake for dessert that I will post about later in the week. I think there’s enough recipes here for one day!
I’d love to hear about your Easter, and what you cooked and ate! Feel free to share!
With the busyness of school, life and work, dinner planning is tough sometimes. Specifically, on nights that Jesse and I both get home at 8 p.m. On these nights, if we don’t have leftovers or something in the slow cooker, dinner is almost always a scramble. It’s fast, easy and always satisfies. Sometimes, due to similar reasons, I make a scramble for myself at lunchtime as well. The other day, I whipped up this little gem. The addition of the marinara makes it extra special and takes it to a whole other level. Feel free to add additional veggies or swap out the kale for something else. That’s another beautiful thing about this scramble…it’s so versatile.
- 1 tsp garlic and herb grass-fed butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 good-quality Italian chicken sausage, sliced (Applegate makes good ones)
- 2-3 fresh kale leaves, torn and stemmed
- 2 pastured eggs, beaten
- 1/3 cup good quality marinara sauce (make sure it’s unsweetened)
- 2 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk
- Pepper to taste
- Avocado for serving, optional
- Melt the butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced sausage and minced garlic, and saute a few minutes, until sausage is browned.
- Next, add the chopped kale and saute 30 seconds more. Then, beat the eggs together with the coconut milk, and add to the pan with the marinara. Stir and season to taste with pepper.
- Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until scramble is cooked through.
- Serve with sliced avocado, if desired.
Yields: 1 serving
Wahoo! I made it through another busy week, got some assignments out of the way, and passed my skinfold practical (2 practicals down in that class, 3 to go, plus a midterm and final project). A little bit of relief feels so good, and I can’t express how excited I am when Friday rolls around each week, even if I still have things to do. Life is definitely great, but man, it’s hectic! I can’t help but count down the weeks until this term is over, especially because I get to go home to Michigan during my spring break, but at the same time, I try to remind myself to take things one day at a time. It’s not always easy, but again, I try.
Anyway, in regards to this recipe, it is fantastic! The part that makes it extra special is the rubdown that the kale gets. Yes, rubdown, massage, whatever you want to call it, but the kale gets some up-close and personal attention. Doing so softens the kale, seasons it and draws out more flavor. This technique works great with cabbage too, which is a nice alternative if you don’t have kale on hand for this recipe. Additionally, you can use ground meat or chicken instead of skirt steak, but I highly recommend the steak if you have access to it. Skirt steak is one of my favorite cuts, as it’s tender, easy and quick to cook, and extremely flavorful.
- 1 lb skirt steak, preferably grass-fed, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/2 Tbsp grass-fed ghee or fat of choice
- 2 Tbsp organic taco seasoning blend (no sugar or additives)
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1-2 Tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
- One bunch of kale, stemmed and torn into pieces
- Avocado slices
- Fresh salsa (I like the Wildwood/Emerald Valley brand, medium spice)
- Avocado oil for drizzling
- Cilantro for garnish, optional
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the ghee. Next add the skirt steak, and season with sea salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium, and add the taco seasoning. Saute for a couple minutes, and then add the lime or lemon juice and chicken broth.
- Continue to cook for a minute or two over medium-low heat. You’ll know it’s done when the meat is browned and the liquid has thickened up a bit.
- Meanwhile, add the torn kale pieces to a large bowl. Shake sea salt all over the kale and then massage (yes, massage) the salt into the kale with your fingers for 1-2 minutes. This will help soften the kale and bring out more flavor.
- Dish up the massaged kale into each person’s bowl and top with some of the taco seasoned skirt steak. Drizzle with avocado oil and top with fresh salsa. Garnish with avocado slices and cilantro, if using.
Yields: 3-4 servings
Some of you already know this by now, but I don’t care for pork. I’m just not fond of the taste, unless it’s bacon. You may recall though, that on New Year’s Eve, I ordered a shredded pork dish for dinner. I mainly ordered it because it was the least complicated thing for me to paleoize, but also thought I might like it since I love shredded meat, specifically chicken and beef. Well, I did like it … a lot! Since then, I’ve been thinking about trying out a shredded pork recipe myself. This past weekend, it finally happened.
It was a spur of the moment decision and completely unplanned. I really value moments like that. Anyway, I was in Food Front Co-op in NW Portland after work on Sunday, and spotted one small and lonely pork shoulder roast. At that moment, I decided it was time, and threw it in my basket. For the recipe, I flew by the seat of my pants and used what I had on hand.
The recipe turned out phenomenal. It tasted so good, that I didn’t want the last bite to come. To compensate, I very slowly savored every last morsel. I usually do well with eating slowly, but I especially did well this time.
If you’re not much of a pork person, like me, this recipe may surprise you. I can’t wait to make it again.
- 1.5 lb pork shoulder roast
- 2 tsp grass-fed ghee
- 3/4 tsp cumin
- 3/4 tsp chili powder
- 3/4 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 4 large carrots, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 head cabbage, chopped (use more if serving more than 2 people)
- Avocado slices, optional
- Combine spices, sea salt and pepper, and coat all sides of the roast. If you have extra spice mixture leftover, set it aside. You will use it later. If you use it all, that’s fine too.
- Melt 1 tsp of ghee (or fat of choice) in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork shoulder, and brown a couple minutes on each side. Once all sides are browned, remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, melt the remaining 1 tsp of ghee (add more if needed) over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic and saute 4-5 minutes, until softened. Once done, pour the mixture into the slow cooker.
- Add carrots to the slow cooker and place the roast on top of the veggies. Add the chicken broth, lime juice and any remaining spice mixture.
- Place lid on slow cooker and cook on high for 6-7 hours or low for 8-10.
- Once done, turn the slow cooker off or to warm. Then, remove the pork roast and cut off the twine. Shred meat with two forks and add back to the slow cooker. Give everything a stir.
- In a pan over medium heat, melt a little fat of choice. Add the chopped cabbage and season with sea salt and pepper. Saute about 5 minutes, or until softened.
- Serve the shredded pork mixture over the cabbage and serve with avocado slices, if desired.
Yields: 3-4 servings
The flavor of this soup instantly took me back to childhood. Growing up, I ate a lot of macaroni and tomato soup, made with Campbell’s condensed tomato soup, milk and elbow noodles. If it wasn’t macaroni and tomato, it was plain tomato soup with grilled cheese. It always tasted delicious and was definitely one of my kid comfort foods.
It’s funny, because my sisters and cousins all agreed that our Grandma Reilly’s macaroni and tomato soup tasted the best, but we didn’t know what tasted so special about it, other than the fact that it had really soft, overly-cooked noodles. Well, a few years back at a family get-together (probably Christmas or something), we told grandma that her soup always tasted better than anybody else’s and asked what her secret was. She replied, “I make it just like everybody else — a can of Campbell’s tomato soup, milk, macaroni and a little oleo,” (but it sounded she said a lil oleo).
We all laughed hysterically at the last ingredient and the fact that grandma said it as if we all knew to put oleo in the soup. You’d have to be part of my family to truly understand the humor in this. My grandma always used the word oleo for margarine and butter. I think it’s because one of the first margarine brands back in the day was actually called, Oleo. Does or did anybody else’s grandma call margarine and/or butter oleo?
I decided to make this soup on behalf of my friend Kim over at Healthy Foods to You. She posted a tomato soup and biscuit recipe the other day and the soup sounded so easy, that I decided I wanted to give it a go and add my own twist to it. Honestly, I didn’t change much, other than switching the order of things and adding a couple pats of “oleo” (grass-fed butter in this case) to the soup. I had to for my dear grandma, who passed away earlier this year. Plus, it’s butter … it makes things taste better.
I wanted to add some protein to the meal, but didn’t want to add any meat to the soup to take away from its pure flavor, so decided to make one of my breakfast sandwiches for the side. I whipped up some almond flour biscuits, fried an egg in grass-fed butter and sliced some avocado. Wham, bam breakfast sandwich made!
- 1 28 oz can organic diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh basil for garnish, optional
- Pour the tomatoes into a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter, sea salt and pepper, and stir for a few minutes.
- Once the butter is melted and the tomatoes are heated through, stir in the coconut milk. Once incorporated, pour the entire mixture into the blender and blend on high for a couple minutes or until smooth.
- Pour the soup back into the pot to stay warm. Serve with chopped basil, if using and a breakfast sandwich.
Eating out on vacation everyday gets expensive. Sure, it’s fun and enjoyable, but the bills stack up. Thankfully, Jesse and I have saved some money by eating breakfast in our room every morning and the other night, we cooked our own dinner to save some extra cash too. We have access to a nice gas grill where we’re staying, so decided to grill some burgers. The meal itself is very simple because we didn’t want to buy a bunch of spices or things we wouldn’t use up in time. One thing I did find to jazz the burgers up is finishing salt, specifically black lava sea salt. This simple addition to our meal definitely took it to the next level and added a nice smoky flavor and delicate crunch. As stated on the package, “black lava contains premium activated coconut-shell charcoal, an anti-toxin and digestive aid.” What a nice bonus!
For dessert after our dinner, we had fresh island papaya. It was delicious.
- 1 lb grass-fed ground beef (I used Hawaiian grass-fed beef!)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Small clamshell of mixed greens
- Avocado slices
- Persian or pickling cucumber slices
- Palm Island black lava sea salt
- In a large bowl, mix the ground beef with salt and pepper. Form into four small patties, or two large if you want bigger patties.
- Place patties on a grill over medium-high heat and grill for 3-4 minutes per side for medium doneness.
- Serve on top of mixed greens with cucumber slices and avocado. Garnish the burgers with a pinch of black lava sea salt (seriously, only a pinch … a little goes a long way).
This is sort of an odd combination and I admit that it’s not the prettiest looking thing, but it is surprisingly refreshing and satisfying. Not only that, but it comes together in a pinch and is a great way to use up a ripe avocado. Feel free to vary the apple variety, choosing a sweeter or more tart variety depending on your tastes. I happened to have a some Gala apples on hand from my CSA box, so it was an easy decision. Furthermore, you can also vary the dried fruit.
- 3/4 large avocado
- 1 small apple, cored and sliced
- 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
- 1/4 cup coconut water (I like C2O Pure Coconut Water or Amy & Brian Coconut Juice)
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened dried currants, optional
Blend everything together in a food processor until well blended and creamy. If need be, add more coconut water to adjust the consistency to your liking. Chill or enjoy at room temperature.
Total time: 5 minutes
Yields: 1-2 servings
After over one year on the SCD (specific carbohydrate diet), I decided to officially try something on the illegal foods list. It’s something that I’ve been dying to try and have yet to understand why it’s an SCD-illegal food … unsweetened cocoa powder. It’s not starchy, a grain, sugar or soy, etc. So why? Why unsweetened cocoa powder? I know of others who adhere to the SCD, but have tried cocoa powder and felt fine, and since it’s been over one year for me, I thought I’d try too. If you’re lost on what I’m talking about because you haven’t read my ‘About Me’ or health story (links to my health story are listed in ‘About Me’), I suggest you go check it out, so that you’re up to par. If not, then just roll with the punches.
I got the idea for these brownies from my boss at Recreate Fitness. Last week, she brought in a batch of raw brownies that she made and shared them with others at the gym. She apologized that I couldn’t try one (not even a little bite!) because she said she added oats to them to cut back on the amount of nuts. She told me the oats were the only ingredient that I wouldn’t be able to have, and that they can be made without. I took it upon myself to check out her recipe and make it my own (note: she’s also a food blogger and creates some beautiful dishes; beautiful photography too). The result? Fudgy, bittersweet, nutty and moist.
So far, so good on the cocoa test too, but I’m not pushing it. I don’t eat more than two tiny pieces a day and understand that symptoms can take up to four days to set in, so I’m definitely paying attention to how I feel (though I generally do anyway). Again though, I’m not too worried about cocoa powder. It seems pretty harmless, which is why I decided to try it. I don’t plan on trying any other SCD-illegal foods anytime soon and to be honest, I’m scared of trying things like yams/sweet potatoes, turnips, plantains, etc. All that starch kinda terrifies me and the potential hazards it could cause in my GI tract. I’m happy to continue staying away from such foods for a while still.
- 8 plump medjool dates, pitted
- 1-1/4 cups pecan pieces
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Place 1 cup pecans in the food processor and blend until mixture is finely ground.
- Next, add the dates and pulse until dates are broken up and somewhat combined with the pecan flour.
- Add the avocado, vanilla, sea salt and cocoa powder. Blend well until all ingredients are mixed together. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.
- Scrape mixture into a large bowl and mix in the remaining 1/4 cup pecans.
- Pat mixture into a small pan (I used a 5×7 Pyrex dish, an 8×8 pan works too). Sprinkle and pat down additional pecan pieces on top, if desired.
- Place in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to set. This will make it easier to slice the brownies.
- Serve with a dusting of cocoa powder, if desired.